Posted on

Personalized embroidered chair is the perfect gift for my fishing and camping coworker

Embroider an outdoor chair for a man that loves the outdoors
Embroider an outdoor chair for a man that loves the outdoors

Let me start this by saying I cannot believe how well this turned out. I can also do not believe how much my coworker Jake, liked this gift.  I’m already getting ahead of myself…

Jake’s birthday was last week and I wanted to do something nice for him. But, the afternoon prior to his birthday I had no idea what this would be. Embroidering gifts for male coworkers is a bit tricky, because you don’t want to do anything too personal. And, let’s face it, guys don’t usually get that excited about monograms.

Last year, though, I did hit a homerun embroidering St. Louis Cardinal dish towels for my other coworker, Bryan. But Jake doesn’t have the same passion for the Cardinals that Bryan does.Jake likes to fish, camp, canoe and basically spend a lot of time outdoors.

Inspiration struck as I was slogging my way through Walmart with three kids in tow when we discovered outdoor camping chairs on sale for $12. They came in great bright colors and looked like they were good enough quality that they wouldn’t fall apart in their first year of use. But how in the hell was I going to get them on my embroidery machine.

I decided to give it a go – stitching Jake’s name on the back of the chair. This made me extremely nervous since I only have a single needle machine, however I was able to rest the chair on my sewing table while sticking the back headrest onto sticky back stabilizer and stitching it out just like that. I sort of tried to hold it in place as the stitching was going on and keep the chair from folding back up during the stitching.

And… I can’t believe this actually worked. The stitching looks great; it was straight and I had no problems whatsoever. But the best part was that Jake absolutely loved the chair. He was texting pictures to his wife and brother shortly after I gave it to him. Who knew a $12 gift from Walmart could make someone so happy?

Posted on

More embroidery requests from my husband. I’m kind of loving this.

2014-01-14 22.12.47
Embroidering on a knit scarf

I guess all of the fabrication of embroidered Christmas gifts that I have been putting together for my family and friends must have rubbed off on my husband because a week or so before Christmas he sent me an email containing a link to a very attractive and a bit pricey scarf from Johnson & Murphy soliciting my opinion on whether it could me monogrammed for his two guy friends: Alex and Ryan. Wait – are you asking me to embroider something for you?

Apparently he was, and I’m happy to do it. Again – more justification for the time I spend in my sewing room. But embroidering on a sweater-like materials is always a bit tricky and gives me a bit of pause, especially when the scarves are as expensive as these were.

But all went well in the embroidery process. I ironed on a leave-in stabilizer and stuck it to an adhesive back hooped piece of stabilizer. For the thread I used a cotton embroidery thread to ensure that it would stand out on the knit fabric.

Fortunately both guys really seemed to like their scarves. It’s the least I can do to facilitate my husband’s gift giving – while giving me another reason to spend more time in my sewing room.

Posted on

Monogramming ties with a single initial for Christmas gifts

Monogrammed ties
Monogrammed ties for my friend and my brother-in-law

A few months ago I was SUPER intimidated by the idea of monogramming a tie. Before I even tried I asked all my Facebook embroidery friends for advice – then bought the cheapest tie possible for my test – and then I gave it a go – making a monogrammed tie for my father-in-law for his birthday.

On the tie that I made for my father-in-law, I embroidered his initials along the angle of the tie point. I was swayed to do the full monogram by my father who commented that a full monogram was more custom. (Really – should I be taking sewing and embroidery advice from my father?) I actually like the look of a single initial of the wearer’s last name embroidered on the bottom, center of the tie instead of the three letter monogram.

So I went for it – embroidering two ties with a single initial for my brother-in-law who is a Southerner – so the light blue linen looking tie with a script initial seems to fit him – and the other for my friend’s husband (too personal??) who is an architect so the black and white with the bold initial seemed more appropriate for him.  I think they both turned out pretty well and they only took a minute or two to embroider.

Here’s my advice.  You can get ties for a great price (< $10) at stores like Marshalls or TJ Maxx – but if you want to go really original – consider the plain white silk dies from Dharma Trading Company.  You can dye them any color you want and then do the monogramming… This could be the perfect groomsmen gift or an inexpensive Christmas gift for all the men (or the ladies who like to wear ties) in your family.

Posted on

It’s Inspiration Sunday and I’m inspired by the World Series

World Series 2013 hat
Can’t decide who to root for?

Here’s what it looks like when I log into my Facebook account.  “Go Cardinals, Go Red Sox, Go Cardinals, Go Red Sox.” It’s actually kind of funny during and after a game because one person is happy the next is angry.

The reason why I have this situation is because my husband and I used to live in Boston so I have 7 years worth of friends that I am connected to via Facebook most of whom are Red Sox fans. Also – both of my daughters were born in Boston, so I have some love for the city (a tiny tiny morsel of love).

So you might think that I would be torn about who to root for in the World Series. But, here’s the deal.  If the Red Sox were playing some other National League team – I might be rooting for the Red Sox – but otherwise – I’m a Cardinals fan.  My husband, on the other hand, is a native Virginian who lived in Boston longer than me – so he’s a bit more torn – but still ultimately rooting for the Cardinals.  But my Boston-born girls feel a little bit sad when Boston loses a game.

When we first moved to St. Louis, my husband made the mistake of wearing his Red Sox hat into Home Depot.  He found a Home Depot employee and began explaining a problem he was having with the plumbing in our house.  The man listened politely, then responded… “I’ll tell you what your problem is… it’s that hat your wearing.” Since then my husband has been a bit more careful about the hat he wears around town.

So tonight as we are watching the game, my husband came up with a brilliant idea.  How about I make him a hat that could be worn in two ways.  I think this brilliant, so I decided to conceptualize this reversible, embroidered knit cap.  Like the concept?   I may have given you the perfect gift idea for the sports lover in your life torn between two teams.  You can thank me later. ha!

Posted on

Gift for my father-in-law part 2: the monogrammed tie

Monogrammed tie for my father-in-law
Monogrammed tie for my father-in-law

Well… I did it. I monogrammed my first tie, and I already have it packed up and ready to be shipped out to my father-in-law as part of his birthday present (only two weeks late). I bought this simple, silver tie at Marshalls for about $8.  At this price, I could afford to try something new.

Here’s what I learned when it comes to monogramming a tie: it’s really not that big of a deal.   But because I had never embroidered on a tie, before doing so, I asked my Facebook embroidery friends for their advice.

One of the suggestions that was given to me via my Facebook embroidery groups was to use extra stabilizer since a tie is cut on the bias and would be prone to stretching.  But actually the tie material had very little stretch to it. So I didn’t do anything out of the ordinary.

The whole process was actually pretty easy. Because the embroidery area is so small – you can get away with doing it on the mini hoop, and, of course, a small amount of embroidery goes really, really fast.

As you can see from the picture, I decided to do a three letter monogram instead of a single initial. Frankly, I think the single initial concept is more elegant. But I decided to go with the full monogram along the bottom of the tie – taking my father’s advice, as he thought a three letter monogram felt more custom and personal. Also, monogramming at the end of the tie prevented me from having to take that tie back seam out to open it up for a single letter monogram higher up on the tie.  See? Easy Peas-y.

Now that I have seen how easy monogramming on a tie is – I am ready to do some more.  This may be my go to gift for all the men in my life.


Posted on

Gift for my father-in-law, part 1: a monogrammed doppkit

Monogrammed doppkit for a man
Monogrammed doppkit for a man

I am finally making some progress on my father-in-law’s birthday gift.   His birthday was over a week ago – ugh!  In my defense – I picked out a couple of items that are a little tricky to embroider on: a doppkit and a tie.  But – part 1 – the doppkit – is officially done.

I was inspired to embroider a doppkit after having made one for myself.  I found this doppkit for father-in-law at Marshalls. It cost less than $15, and is really nice.  Actually – it’s a lot better quality than the one I made for myself – but a bit harder to work with.  Monogramming my doppkit went as smoothly as butter – but this one – not so much.

What made this particular doppkit so tricky to monogram was that it had a some very rigid pieces within its structure – so it was not very maneuverable.  I struggled to keep it in place while the letters were stitching out. I probably should have actually hooped the doppkit – but alas – I did not.

It’s not perfect – but I am sure it’s a huge step up from the 25-year-old doppkit my father-in-law is still using.

Posted on

Working up the nerve to monogram a tie for my father-in-law

Saturday was my father-in-law’s birthday.  So, of course, I started thinking about what to give him on Saturday morning.  He is usually pretty easy to shop for because a) he never shops for himself and b) he is retired and has plenty of time to figure out how to use the gift you give him.

On Saturday morning I was returning some shoes I bought one of my kids at Marshalls and I decided to have a look over in the mens area to see if they had any canvas belts that might be appropriate for embroidery.  My husband has been wearing the belt I embroidered for him (even though it is upside-down), so I ran the idea by him of monogramming a belt for his father, and he approved.

At Marshalls I had no luck in the belt department, however, there were some nice canvas doppkits.  After a quick call to my mother-in-law and hearing about how he was still using his 25-year-old doppkit – I decided to pick up a new doppkit for him and monogram it – just like me! Then I got a really crazy idea.

In the mens accessories area at Marshalls they had a ton of nice and inexpensive ties.  What if I monogrammed a tie.  But do men even wear monogrammed ties?  And what precautions should I take when monogramming  a tie?

Well – a quick Google search revealed a lot of beautiful monogrammed ties.  Some of the examples are a single initial (first or last) – some have a full monogram.  Some are centered and some are along the diagonal of the tie.   So many options.

I asked my Facebook embroidery friends for their opinions on monogramming ties.   Apparently I am not the first one to think about monogramming a tie.  My Facebook friends offered a lot of advice.

Stabilize the heck out of tie since a tie is cut on the bias and will stretch!

Use a seam ripper to open up the back of the tie so you can get it nice and flat when you do the embroidery.

OK – good tips.  While I am still a bit nervous about embroidering on a tie I am comforted by the fact that the tie only cost $8.99 so it’s not the end of the world if I screw it up – but I do want it to look nice and have my father-in-law wear it.  So I really don’t want to screw it up.

I have been thinking about this project a lot.   Because this has been stirring around in my brain – I happened to mention my plan to monogram a tie to my own father, and of course, he offered his 2 cents.  He said he preferred the three letter monogram as opposed to the single letter monogram because he felt like it was more custom.  Ok – good point.  Now maybe he will get one for his next birthday too.


Posted on

Got baseball fever? Got you covered with these baseball themed embroidery designs

My fancy gift wrapping of the Cardinals towels sitting on Bryan's desk.
My fancy gift wrapping of the Cardinals towels sitting on Bryan’s desk.

Let me start by say that I am not a hardcore baseball fan. But when the post-season is approaching it’s hard not to catch a little bit of baseball fever. From what I have been hearing, the Cardinals are in the running for the National League Central Division pennant. Again – I know this from what I hear/read – not necessarily because I follow. Nevertheless, I am still excited, and I will definitely be watching the post season games (assuming the Cardinals do make it to the playoffs).

Much unlike me, one of my coworkers, Bryan is a HUGE Cardinals fan. He also recently bought a new house. With all that in mind, I thought he would be the perfect recipient of my “I heart STL – Cardinals” embroidery design stitched out on some kitchen towels. I gave them to him yesterday – and with the understanding that he is not an overly effusive kind of guy – I think that he liked and appreciated the towels. Most importantly, though…. I converted the design to all applicable formats and the “I love St. Louis” design is now on my Etsy store in two sizes.

And being that baseball is on my mind these days… I thought it was an appropriate moment to revisit my baseball design (that I made a while ago especially for my daughter’s sporty friend, Stella) and add a size that would fit inside a 4″ x 4″ hoop. If you go check out the baseball design on the Etsy store you will now see that two sizes are included for an even lower price!

So, wait – are you saying you’re not a Cardinals fan? Let me know your favorite team and perhaps we can figure out the way to adapt the design.

Posted on

“I love St. Louis” machine embroidery and appliqué design

"I Love St. Louis" applique design
“I Love St. Louis” applique design

My coworker, Bryan, recently became a new home owner, so I thought it would be nice to make him a little house warming gift. But what to give? I think guys can be tricky when it comes to embroidery gifts. But for Bryan I had the PERFECT idea! Bryan loves the Cardinals. I mean he LOVES the Cardinals.

I can’t remember where I saw a version of this design, because I didn’t take a picture of it when I first saw a t-shirt with a similar design, but clearly it made an impression of me. The idea to re-create it as an embroidery design has been stewing in my brain ever since I saw the t-shirt. I actually loved the idea so much that I told my father and sister about my idea to recreate the design. Both of their responses were, “Um…. I don’t really get it.”

But undeterred – I recreated the design using a random picture of a St. Louis Cardinal for the basis of my outline.  And it turned out great.  In fact, the picture within this post is my first attempt, and I think it turned out good enough to give as a gift.

Of course, as soon as I finished stitching out the design on the dishcloth, I had to send pictures to my dad and sister who both said…”oh! I get it now!!” And of course now they both want the towels. I am so crazy about how these turned out that I am sure I will be making quite a few… so if they want in, they better get in line!

I am sure there are very few readers out there who give 2 cents about the Cardinals – but I am wondering if a similar design could be made to show your love for other cities / teams… ideas?  I’d be happy to digitize.