This summer we took a trip to the Iowa state fair (my husband’s idea), where we mingled with the locals and ate every meal (and dessert) on a stick. While I can’t deny that milking a cow wasn’t a thrill, my favorite part of the trip was stopping off at Amana Colonies, Iowa on the way home.
Amana Colonies is a German colony in Eastern Iowa that has remained relatively preserved. The town is quaint and charming, attracting tourists from all over to sample their restaurants and purchase handcrafted goods. After eating our body weights in spaetzle, we headed over to the Amana Woolen Mill where we purchased copious blankets for Christmas gifts that were made at the facility. (Yep – we started our Christmas shopping in August.)
Of course – I didn’t want to just give the throw as a Christmas gift without something personalized and embroidered. So I ordered a pillow sham in a coordinated color and designed a new single initial monogram design. I am pretty happy with how it turned out – but even more thrilled with the fact that I’m making my way through my Christmas list.
One of my favorite things that my grandmother had in her kitchen was a hand-painted plate mounted on the wall. It was painted with sweet flowers with a subtle message above the flowers that was anything but sweet. In dainty cursive, it said: “this is my house and I’ll do as I damn please.”
What I found so funny about this plate was the fact that most people probably wouldn’t have noticed what it said until they actually took a minute and stopped to look at it. Most people would have given it a quick glance and thought it was just a sweet old lady plate.
Like many others, I too, had not given the plate much thought or even realized what it said until after my grandmother passed. But my older sister had. I guess it pays to be observant because she requested it outright, and now she proudly hangs the snarky little plate in her kitchen. Frankly, it makes me a little jealous.
So what’s a spaced out second child to do after missing the boat on a gem like this? Digitize it, of course! Using the original plate as inspiration, I set up a design that lends itself well to be stitched on kitchen towels or even an apron. Now I can use my embroidery machine to share a little piece of my granny’s humor with my cousins and aunts who will appreciate it.
Since my sister has just one daughter and two sons she has been asking me for designs that might work for the boys. Her requests (plus an upcoming birthday party for one of my son’s friends) has motivated me to make some “boy” designs.
I am not sure where I got the idea – but I thought it would be cool to make a fish skeleton applique. It just seemed sort of cute and a little bit edgy. I found a great graphic from which to base my design and I set the file up as a triple stitch applique. I then stitched it out on a navy blue t-shirt. For the applique fabric I used one of my husband’s old t-shirts, and I did all the stitching in a bright green thread. It turned out so great that I immediately posted it on my Etsy store.
I hate to classify designs as being gender specific, however when I showed my girls the t-shirt I made with the fish skeleton on it – neither of them were very interested. I mean – they are not girly girls at all but, still this design held no appeal. Hopefully the recipient of my t-shirt will think it is super cool as well as may other little boys or girls.
When I think of cupcakes, I think of Kristen Wiig in Bridesmaids when she elaborately decorates a cupcake for her pity party of one then proceeds to devour it. I was captivated by the scene because it was a) something I would never do – the baking part – not the eating part, and b) it provided such insight into her character, her emotional state and her passion.
While we once associated cupcakes with birthdays and special occasions, they are now becoming more commonplace, having recently soared in popularity. Exclusive cupcake bakeries have opened up and garnered celebrity fans like Katie Holmes, who loves cupcakes so much that she recently had them delivered to the movie set.
Despite newly acquired status as the hip new dessert – cupcakes are still associated with birthdays – which is why this new design is so versatile. Put it on t-shirts, napkins, aprons, whatever… Make something for the birthday girl or use it on party favors for the attendees.
My friend, Alix, has had this crazy idea for making t-shirts for mostly moms that have a superhero flavor with a big abstract superhero-like symbol on them. So she came up with some designs for emblems that she thought looked somewhat superhero-ish and sent them to me so that I could digitize them for her. She calls the design the “super token.”
Alix is a good friend of mine – in fact she is my best friend – so I wanted to honor her wishes, and I digitized and stitched out her “super token.” I even stitched it on a black tank to make it look even more superhero-like. I probably should have done the stitching in red to give it even more super hero flair. But I didn’t want to go too overboard – because I am just not sure of what exactly she had in mind.
To be honest with you I don’t totally get the idea, but she seems to think the super token concept is really cool. She tried to explain it to me.
Like people would look at it and think that it looks like some type of superhero emblem, but think “I’m not sure what that means but maybe I should… But it looks powerful.” And when you wearing you pretty much feel like a superhero, even though the iconography is meaningless.
Ummmm… okay. So there you go, Al! The first ever super token T!!
Yes – I know it is How-to-Tuesday…. I just am not feeling very instructional today and am at a bit of a loss for ideas. So, instead I will share with you a new design that I digitized that was inspired by the 3rd grade moms at my kids’ school.
My third grade daughter is a girl scout and has had fantastic troup leaders this entire year. Now that the school year is winding down, we want to give these ladies a gift. One of the more organized moms sent out an email soliciting ideas for the thank you gifts. I immediately responded, offering to embroider some linen guest towels and they quickly took me up on the offer. I figured that this is a perfect opportunity to digitize something new!
One of my favorite and versatile designs that i have ever designed is my modern initial wreath design. I digitized this a few months ago and have since stitched it out on placemats and dishtowels. However, for this project I wanted to make a new initial design.
The resulting modern wreath initial design is a bit more formal than my other wreath. I may play around with different type styles for the initial – but I think the first draft is encouraging enough to move forward. What do you all think? Would love to hear your thoughts.
I thought that this design might be more versatile if I made another version in a smaller size, as I know many people are limited by the size of their hoop. This smaller version would be great for pillowcases, purses, small towels, or….wait for it DISH TOWELS!
I was actually inspired by my sister’s monogramed dishtowels that I noticed the other night hanging from her dishwasher in her kitchen. As I admired her dishtowels – I thought.. life is too short to live with ugly dishtowels.
Now I just so happen to have some of the UGLIEST dishtowels in the world. I think I must have inherited them from the previous owner of our house, because I swear I never bought something so hideous. But now it’s time to move onwards and upwards. $3 at Target for my new towels and a little time with my embroidery machine and now my kitchen looks a whole lot cuter!