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A set of baby month applique onesises for my friends at FORAI

baby-monthsOver the past couple of years, I’ve gotten to know an amazing woman who lives here in St. Louis, named Jen Owens. Jen founded and runs a non-profit called FORAI whose tagline is “bringing together beauty and opportunity.” The way they do this is by mentoring “refugee and immigrant women as they begin home-based microbusinesses to supplement their incomes through the production of high quality, marketable handicrafts.”

Until last week, FORAI was selling these products at local craft fairs throughout the year. Now – FORAI products are available on-line! To celebrate this huge milestone, they hosted a silent auction and launch party at a popular micro brewery in town, Schlafely Bottleworks.

When Jen told me about this exciting event, I knew that I wanted to contribute in some way, so I offered to donate an embroidered item to the silent auction. The problem? I had no idea what it would be… I thought about embroidering some baby items, but without knowing who would purchase the products, there was no way to personalize them.

Fortunately, a few days before the event I got inspired. I came up with the idea to appliqué a set of baby onesies – one for each month for the first year of a baby’s life. I had seen pictures of friends’ babies on-line wearing these types of onesies but had been told they were just wearing blanks with stickers… Applique would be so much nicer. I had the perfect idea – I was stoked!

After a lot of digitizing and a lot of stitching – I made a set of 6 baby onesies – one for each significant month in the first year: 1 month, 2 months, 3 months, 6 months, 9 months and 1 year. I stitched them out in pastel, gender-neutral seersucker fabric, and O-M-G C-U-T-E.

Because inspiration had struck so late – I was literally running in my donation to the auction, and, of course, Jen was super appreciative. And the event was fantastic as well. It was truly inspiring to meet some of the women who are involved with FORAI.

So what’s next for me and FORAI? Jen mentioned that someone had donated an embroidery machine a few years ago and it was just sitting at her house!! She asked if I could possibly teach them how to use it. Um… yes!

Like the baby month applique design set?  It’s available now on the Machine Embroidery Geek Etsy store and SWAK Embroidery

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My new lotus flower embroidery design transforms a simple black tank dress.

2014-03-04 14.32.58Around Christmastime I found a simple black tank dress on the clearance rack at Old Navy for less than $10.  I thought it would be the perfect blank canvas for some crazy machine embroidery, so I snapped it up.

My friend, Alix, is a willing recipient of all my crazy embroidery creations (e.g. the sweatshirt I made for Christmas).  Since her birthday was at the end of February  (Leap Year, exactly, which is kind of bizarre), I had the perfect opportunity to do something crazy with this black dress and give it to her for her birthday.

Lately when I have been embroidering on skirts – I’ve embroidered designs around the hemline or up the front of the skirt.  I was really wanting to do something different.  Since this dress had such a high neckline I thought I would embroider something on the chest.  My only concern was that a design stitched out on the chest might look too casual.

Don’t ask me how I came up with the idea of a lotus flower design… but after test stitching it out, I knew I had a winner.  I just finished stitching the design on the dress and I’m so excited I can hardly stand it.

2014-03-02 14.57.13Maybe I should make something else for my friend and keep this one for myself?

The lotus flower embroidery design is now available on the Machine Embroidery Geek Etsy store.



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Now you, too can make this funky skirt!

A few days ago I wrote a post about an embellished denim skirt I made for my sister-in-law.  Well – she went bananas for it and tried it on right away for an impromptu fashion show.  I was thrilled and I had to share pictures of the skirt with my embroidery Facebook buddies – which earned me comments like: “awesome” and “so cute.”

This got me thinking… maybe you all would like to make a similar skirt.  So I cleaned up the design a bit, test-stitched it out and now I have it up on my Etsy store! Enjoy!

This design is  has so few stitches that it works really nicely stitched out overlapping on itself in multiple sizes.  You could “make” an embroidered fabric with this design and use it for pillows or other home decor projects.  I would love to see pictures if you decide to make something with this design.modern-circles1


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Santa hat “believe” machine embroidery design

Santa Hat - "believe" embroidery design
Santa Hat – “believe” embroidery design

If you are anything like me, preparing for Christmas never seems to be done. I almost always think of one more gift I want to make, all the way up to Christmas Eve. If you follow this blog, you have probably noticed that I have been posting a lot of Christmas-themed designs in my free design offerings. I think these would all look cute on some hand towels, placemats or napkins, and make a great last-minute hostess (or even regular) Christmas gifts.

Well since there are only two more Free Embroidery Design Mondays prior to Christmas, and I have a lot more embroidery design ideas, I am making some new Christmas themed designs and posting them on my Etsy store for $1 between now and Christmas.

And I am ready to debut the first one. It’s a simple Santa hat filled embroidery design with the word “believe” underneath. I think the inspiration for this came from my visit to that awesome little gifty store in Laguna Beach. I love how this turned out – so sweet and whimsical and a perfect design for towels, napkins or placemats. Or- what about an apron or even on a Christmas stocking?  Have I made you a believer!

Check out the Christmas designs on the Machine Embroidery Geek Etsy store. 

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New United States and Texas appliqué and embroidery designs

U.S. state applique and embroidery design
U.S. state applique and embroidery design

Perhaps you will remember a while ago when I posted about digitizing all the states in the U.S. Well the project is still coming along. I have about eight states digitized, mostly based on requests by people who have bought one of my advertised state appliqué and embroidery designs.  This is because I am giving away a free state for every state purchased. So while the buyer may purchase Alabama, for example, she can pick any additional state as her “free state.” and then, in most cases I need to get to digitizing.

Last week one of my buyers chose Texas as her free state, and of course I hadn’t digitized it yet. As I was getting ready to digitize Texas, I got the crazy idea to digitize the entire shape of the U.S. How darling would this look stitched out on a pillow with the heart stitched in a favorite part of the country? Then, on the reverse side of the pillow, you could stitch out your favorite state. The best part about this idea is that you can buy the United States design and get any state for free!

I am nearly breaking my arm patting myself on the back with this fantastic idea, as I am hoping this will really move my “digitizing the whole US” project along! And then I had another idea, if I am going to digitize the US, maybe there is potential for other making embroidery and appliqué files in the shape of other countries. Thoughts?

Check out the new designs on the Etsy store.

U.S. embroidery and applique design.
Texas embroidery and applique design set.


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The eight petal flower appliqué design on a sweatshirt – so psyched about this super cute design!!

Cute flower applique on sweat-shirt
Cute flower applique on sweat-shirt

Well – I finally did it.  Maybe you recall MONTHS ago when I wrote a post about getting inspired by the flower within the Belk logo? I finally created an appliqué design based on this flower and OMG – I think it turned out so cute.  I can’t say who this sweatshirt is for – just in case certain people might be reading this blog.  But I think this is right up her alley.

I bought this sweatshirt at Old Navy a few weeks ago with the idea of creating this type of design and stitching it out on this sweatshirt.  Luckily – due to the fact that I bought boat loads of fabric this summer at cool independent fabric stores, I had the four pieces of fabric that actually coordinated with each other and the sweatshirt.  I actually think I bought this fabric at Sewcial in Madison, WI with the intention of making tiered skirt for one of my girls – which may still happen since I only used a tiny bit of the fabric.

I have to admit – this design is a bit of a pain to stitch out since all of the petals need to be trimmed before the finished satin stitching is done.  But I think the pain is worth it… don’t you?

Check out the modern 8 petal flower machine applique design on the Machine Embroidery Geek Etsy store

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Medical symbol embroidery design – but it’s actually not the real symbol for medicine

Medical symbol embroidery design
Medical symbol embroidery design

My daughter and her little friend decided to be mad scientists for Halloween. One of the key elements of their costumes were lab coats.  This presented a great opportunity for a bit of payback on my sister’s part.  Since she’s a pediatrician she has tons of lab coats lying around.  And she owes me big time.  I mean – jeez – I have given her all my designs and my ideas for embroidery projects – she could hook me up with some lab coats.

Now that Halloween has come and gone, and the lab coats have been sitting in my car for waaaay too long, and I have been to notice the embroidery on them.  Starting at the coats for all this time has given me the idea to digitize the medical symbol.

The ironic little tidbit about this symbol is that it is not actually the proper symbol for the medical field, but has been used mistakenly since the early 20th century instead of the proper symbol – the  Rod of Asclepius.  But – since it is what it is – I’m going with it.

Medical symbol on the Machine Embroidery Geek Etsy store

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Florida, Georgia and several more states, digitizing my way through the U.S.

Florida machine embroidery design
Florida machine embroidery design

A couple of weeks ago I posted a Tennessee applique design on my Etsy store. Digitizing the state of Tennessee was motivated by a conversation on one of my
embroidery Facebook groups. One of my embroidery Facebook friends was looking for a Tennessee design, so I took it as an opportunity to digitize it for her – as this has been on my to do list for a long time. My plan is to eventually get all of the states digitized, and, I thought that by posting the Tennessee design on my Etsy store and offering another state for free with the purchase of Tennessee, I might eventually get all the other states digitized.

Well, the plan is working, albeit a bit slowly.  I am chugging along, one by one, until I digitize the entire United States. Since I know that most of my customers are located in the Southeast, I decided to begin by digitizing Florida and Georgia, and then proceed with other states based on my customer’s requests.

For each state, I am making seven different versions of the file: one satin stitch appliqué and one triple stitch appliqué in a size that will fit in a 6″ x 10″ hoop, one that will fit in a 5″ x 7″ hoop, and another that will fit a 4″ x 4″ inch hoop. I am also making a small filled version of each state that is a maximum dimension of 2.5 inches.

I am starting to list them all individually on my Etsy store with the same offer that if you purchase one, I will give you any other state for free. So we will see how it goes.  So far I have digitized Tennessee, Mississippi, Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Virginia, California, Texas and Illinois.  That’s 9 down and 41 to go… I’m curious to see how long it will take for someone to request Alaska.

P.S.  I just noticed that I got a comment from my last post about digitizing the New England state.  That is next – I promise!

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The “hang loose” (shaka) applique design comes to fruition

Hang Loose Machine Applique Design
Hang Loose Machine Applique Design

A few weeks ago I watched some dumb HGTV show (Hawaiian Life??) about people trying to buy real estate in Hawaii and wrote about it on my blog.  It’s a really dumb show, but after watching it, I was inspired to make some Hawaiian inspired embroidery designs.

While I have seen hibiscus flowers on every embroidery site, there are other Iess common Hawaiian icons that I still think would be cool to digitize. When I originally wrote that post, I cited the “hang loose” hand signal also called the shaka sign as a cool graphic that I would like to digitize.  After a couple of enthusiastic responses to my idea – I decided to digitize this design and stitch it out.

The “hang loose” is also referred to the shaka sign.  It became popular among Hawaiian surfers in the 1960s.  There are many theories about it’s origin.  One legend is it originated from a Hawaiian fisherman who lost his three middle fingers in a sugar mill accident.  He was then relegated to signaling the sugar train.  When local children started imitating the gesture – it just caught on with the locals.

I love the spirit of this design.  I can see it on t-shirts, beach towels, home decor items… anything you want to emblazon with a bit of aloha spirit. Maybe this could make a great holiday gift?? Well anyway – I hope you like it as much as me.

Check out the new hang loose design on my Etsy store.


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Lightning bolt machine applique design for my little boy.

lightening bolt applique design
lightening bolt applique design

Some people describe their little boys are “all boy.”  But that depiction does not apply to my little 4-year-old boy, Thomas.  He’s not really “all boy” but more of a ladies man.   Thomas, being the younger brother of two older girls, has a vocabulary of a child a few years his is senior and a familiarity with all things girl.  These characteristics serve him well when it comes to wooing the little ladies in his class.  As his main (4-year-old) squeeze explained to her mom, “Thomas is a boy but he will play with princesses.”

When I make embroidery designs for Thomas – anything overly boyish (trucks, sports, etc…) – really doesn’t suit him. I like to put designs on his shirts that are more gender neutral and slightly bohemian. The fish skeleton design that I stitched out a t-shirt is a perfect example.

When it comes to dressing Thomas (or any of my kids for that matter) – another thing I don’t like is using my kids as an advertisement for a specific product or character.  For example – I would never dress my kid in a Sponge Bob t-shirt in public. Pajamas – ok – to wear to school?  no thanks.  Ok ok I am a snob.

My husband does not abide by any of my rules for dressing Thomas and bought him a set of underoos.  But in his defense, it’s hard to buy little boy underpants without characters on it.   I guess I must have been inspired by a vague superhero notion, because I found myself digitizing this bolt of lightning design.  I based it off some royalty-free clip art so I don’t think it’s associated with a specific superhero… but who knows.   The bottom line is that Thomas likes it – and he wants it in pink.

Check out my new lightning bolt design on my Etsy store!