Craftsy Class Event

One more post!! Craftsy is having a class event this weekend with 50% off their top classes! The sale ends Sunday (7/10) at midnight! You can click HERE to check out the classes on sale. As always, once you buy a class, it’s YoUrS!! You can watch it as many times as you want. You can take notes and learn from the pros! You can learn how to paint, make jewelry, take great pictures, decorate cookies, learn how to knit or quilt or make socks, and the list goes on and on! A couple of my favorites are Product Photography at Home and 20 Things Every Machine Embroider Should Know, as well as How to Start a Machine Embroidery Business! Look through all of the classes available and see if anything catches your eye! 😉

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Happy Summer 2016

Happy Summer everyone! Since my last post, school got out and we’re just enjoying our {very short} summer! It’s already July 7, and my kiddos go back to school on August 9th. That is a month + a day or 2 away!!!! We still have more beach, more camps and more fun to squeeze in! I’m not ready to think about school supplies yet. We are nowhere near done with summer reading or math packets. I did, however, check new school uniforms off my list. Not. ready. nope. no. summer rules. As Mallory would say “summer is my life!”.

I thought I’d share with you a few of our summer pics. Here are my 3 this week on the 4th of July obviously! “G” is 10, Browder is 13 {gasp} and Sissy is 8. Don’t you love our store bought shirts? Pay no attention to Browder’s 2015 version.

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This keeper is from our beach trip we went on as soon as school let out. #chacos

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Another one from our May/early June beach trip. We were in Perdido Key, FL and are headed back there soon for another family vacay.

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This may be my favorite picture from the summer!

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I am also working part time this summer (3 days a week) and squeezing in a little monogramming/applique work too. Here are some shirts I did for some sweet sisters up in Birmingham. These are all Blanks Boutique t-shirts that my customer purchased and had shipped directly to me. We are also adding new designs here & there and you can check them out at Applique Cafe!

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Enjoy the rest of your summer! Thanks for stopping by! 😉

Photo Editing Update

Good afternoon! If you read my recent blog post {about my computer crash of 2016}, I have an update for you! I’ve blogged before about photo editing and which programs I use – search PHOTO EDITING on my blog.

Photoscape – I use this for adjusting photos, cropping, lightening, combining pics, adding watermark, resizing, etc. = pretty much everything. It’s FREE!

Before the *CRASH*, I also used Photoshop Elements 10 to remove the background of my design photos for the website. I was unable to get PE10 back after the crash because a) I couldn’t figure out how to download it again for the life of me because I have zero record of my serial number and b) I now have Windows 10 and PE10 is an older version and unfortunately not compatible with Windows 10. I DID download a trial version of PE14, and I played around quite a bit with removing the background. I watched lots of YouTube videos. I am just not that photo savvy folks! By the way, PE10 had a handy dandy Magic Extractor tool that made it super easy to remove your background (I did a blog post on this too). Around the time they came out with PE12 I think, they decided to leave that handy dandy tool off, so PE12 and after (or maybe 11 or somewhere around then) you have to remove your background using some other very difficult {to me at least} methods.

SO………………. I finally had sense enough to google “removing backgrounds from photos” and discovered Clipping Magic! It’s essentially the Magic Extractor from PE10 but has a lot more features and is MUCH easier to use. The only downside is that you pay a monthly fee, but it is totally worth it to me! $3.99/mo gets you 15 projects/month and credits carry over. $7.99/mo gets you 100 projects, and $14.99/mo gets you 500 projects/mo. I went with the cheapest version since I only really need this for new designs and we MIGHT do 15 in a good month!

It is SO EASY! You just click on the parts you want to keep with GREEN, and parts you want left off (the background) in RED. As you do this, it forms a border around the parts you want to keep – see the yellow line. You can also adjust this easily! Here are a couple of examples…

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Here is my before and after! Check out their website too to see other features and neat things Clipping Magic will do! I use it for design photos, but you might see some other use!

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The Gulledges are in SURVIVAL MODE around here. It’s May, which means we have 28 events on our calendar and school is wrapping up. Sunday was Jeff’s birthday AND Mother’s Day (plus we had our last soccer tournament all weekend in Decatur, AL). My triplet nieces and nephew turned 16 yesterday (and all 3 passed their driving test!). My middle child “G” turned 10 today. Jeff and I celebrate 15 years of marriage Thursday (Whoop!) and Browder will turn 13 (GASP) on the 25th. And school gets out May 20th for my oldest and May 27 for my youngest 2. Then it’s SUMMER!

Applique Cafe NEWS: All of our DESIGNS are on sale through May 17th, and you can see what’s new below! Lots of cute stuff for SUMMER!

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Until next time…..

Monogramming Waffle Weave Stuff

Back in February I did a blog post reviewing a Craftsy class I did on monogramming textured items. You can go back and review it HERE if you missed it! Today I’m monogramming 7 lavender waffle weave short robes which are bridesmaids’ gifts. If you’ve ever monogrammed waffle weave, you know that sometimes your monogram can turn out a little “waffley”. Yes, all those little squares can show up in your monogram. I’ve done it in the past and ended up running the monogram twice just to get a pretty result. One thing I learned in the Craftsy class I mentioned on monogramming textured items (terry cloth, towels, waffle weave, etc.) is that it’s best to 1) use a water soluble topper on top and 2) apply an underlay stitch underneath your monogram. I use Monogram Wizard Plus (Master Circle font shown) and there is an option to add underlay, which is extra stitching beneath your letters which helps the monogram stay on top of the texture and turn out pretty! It takes a little longer (these are averaging 18 minutes each at 4.25″ tall) but the result is worth it. Adding underlay adds a few thousand stitches to my particular monograms. Note: I used a waffle weave tearaway stabilizer on bottom.

Here is what the underlay stitch looks like:

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Here is the finished product! Both are the same color robe by the way … lighting! See how nicely the monogram lays on top?

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I wanted to share this because this is what I’m working on today, and because CRAFTSY is having a 50% off top classes sale through tomorrow (Saturday, 4/23). Here is my affiliate link if you want to check out any of their classes – click HERE. I’ve reviewed several on my blog and have found them all fun to watch and very helpful! Just search Craftsy or click on the Craftsy tag.

Have a great weekend!

Black Screen of DEATH

Last Monday, April 11th, my computer was making a funny noise, so I turned it off to let it “rest”. A few hours later I turned it back on to find the black screen of death! You’ve all heard of it. You’ve all feared it. I lived it! After several attempts to “revive” it, I texted my husband who spoke to the computer guy at his office who confirmed it was dead. Dead. Hard drive was dead. Don’t you love my Emojis??

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Jeff took the computer to work Tuesday and I had it back by Thursday with a new hard drive AND Windows 10. With a lot of patience and a little help, and the saving grace of Carbonite, a little over a week later and I am back in business. The only casualty that I know of right now is my Photoshop Elements 10 photo editing software which I can’t seem to recover. I don’t believe it would be compatible with Windows 10 anyway, so I will most likely upgrade to PE14. One of the reasons I can’t recover it is because I can’t seem to find any record of when or where I got it! That is my fault.

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Reinstalled Monogram Wizard Plus with a simple upgrade from the MWP website… Check!

Reinstalled all of my MWP fonts I’ve purchased over the years (both from CD’s and from online in the Needleheads store)… Check!

Reinstalled Sew What-Pro. I did have to get my registration info from Sands Computing because it had been on my computer since September 25, 2008 and I had failed to write it down… Check!

Reinstalled my Photoscape photo editing software… Check!

Reinstalled my Canon camera software… Check!

Now on to Carbonite. The day my computer “expired”, I called Carbonite to let them know what was going on. They sent me an email with great instructions on how to restore all of my files. On Sunday afternoon I began the process, which took a little over 24 hours to complete. 12 years worth of embroidery and applique designs… RESTORED! 12 years worth of kid photos, design photos, website photos, etc… RESTORED! There were some files that were unable to be restored, but so far it’s not anything I miss. There are also some email files I had saved in my Live Mail that we have not restored yet, but they CAN be restored. If our computer guy can’t figure out how to restore them, then you can pay a support service of Carbonite 50 bucks to restore them for you. Worth it. Did I mention we pay less than $100 PER YEAR for Carbonite service? That “insurance” is well worth every dime, nickel and penny should your computer crash like mine did! I have customers email me all the time saying their computer crashed, and they’ve lost every design they’ve ever purchased (which is usually $2-4 a pop). I didn’t lose a single design, or a single photo of my precious children!

What I have learned… KNOW what softwares are on your computer and keep a hard copy somewhere of registration numbers, serial numbers, a list of where you purchased them etc. Also, keep all software CD’s in a safe place. I was able to re-install all of my MWP fonts I purchased (before the creation of the Needleheads Online Store) because I had all of my CDs and their serial numbers. I had to do some searching to find all of the above, so I will be more organized from now on.

I’m still getting used to Windows 10, but thankfully everything has been compatible and I got back to business with ease.

What else I have learned… go get Carbonite NOW, or SOME TYPE of backup system. You are CRAZY not to!

Let me know if you have any questions!

I’m leaving you with a couple of personal pictures. Jeff and I celebrated (early) our 15 year anniversary this past weekend down at The Grand Hotel in Fairhope, AL. It was FABULOUS and I’d move there Saturday if I could. Great shopping, TOP NOTCH eating (every restaurant downtown is a “local” place), and everyone and everything was so laid back. The people who waited on us in every restaurant and store we went in were super nice. Loved it! The Grand is a remarkable place in and of itself! And the TREES….

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Lastly, (2 of) the kids and I met Steve Harvey a few weeks ago. We are huge fans of his show Little Big Shots, and everything else he does (Family Feud, his talk show, Miss Universe (oops), etc). Mr. Harvey is friends and business partners with my neighbor, so when my neighbor saw the kids and I loitering on our front porch stalking them like crazy, he called us over for a picture. He was in town all weekend, so it was quite an exciting few days on our street. Lots of texting with neighbors and tracking his every move! That night Mallory asked if she had to take a bath, because Steve Harvey had touched her shoulder!! L…O…L Anyway we are big fans and can’t wait for him to come back to town!

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Have a great weekend!

Craftsy Class Event

Happy Spring Break! We went to the beach for a few days last weekend (Perdido Key, FL) for “spring break”. Basically we had 1 rain day, 1 sunny beach day, and then a couple of freezing cold windy days. We visited Pensacola Sunday and ate a late lunch at a place called Hub Stacey’s, which was very cool. It was an interesting mix of people and the food was great! Funny story…. as Jeff was paying the bill, I somehow noticed a guy walking by the restaurant outside that looked familiar. I literally saw his head for like a half a second. I didn’t say anything, and then G asked “IS THAT BRUCE PEARL?” For Auburn fans, you know who Bruce Pearl is. For non Auburn fans, he is the Auburn head basketball coach. Anywho, the kids and I quickly walked outside and watched as he walked across the park. We still weren’t sure if it was him, so all 5 of us jumped in our car and then stalked tried to find him to see if it was him. We rode around a couple of blocks until we finally found him heading our way, and saw that it was in fact Bruce Pearl! We may or may not have startled him when we jumped out of the car and requested a photo with the kids. He was with his wife and walking their dog, and graciously obliged! College coaches are somewhat famous around these parts, so the kids loved this (and Jeff and I were pretty excited to). Totally random!! Luckily one of our kids had Auburn gear on. Thanks Bruce!!

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Our real reason for visiting Pensacola was to attend our first ever ICE HOCKEY GAME! It was SO.MUCH.FUN!! Other than the guy behind us yelling “YOU SUCK RUBIN” the whole time, and people waving real life brooms (the sweeping kind) at the opponents, and the lady who blew confetti all over our section every time the Ice Flyers scored, and the other lady who screamed at the opposing team the whole time.. something about splinters in their behinds, it was SO FUN! I highly recommend attending a game if you have ice hockey in your area. The fans are quite interesting! The players really do slam each other in to the glass too. The Ice Flyers won, and every time they scored the crowd went C-R-A-Z-Y!! As you can see below the kids got in to it too!

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Very fun (and fascinating)!!

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Good news for my fellow Craftsy Fans… Craftsy is saying a sweet farewell to National Craft Month by offering you the chance to get any online class for $19.99! Check out all the classes on sale before the offer ends on Monday, March 28. Click the photo below, or HERE, to check out available classes. They have lots of EMBROIDERY classes and also cooking, *photography* and other classes.

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Be sure to follow us on Instagram to see what’s new, what’s on sale, and what’s going on! https://www.instagram.com/appliquecafe/ The Ice Cream Cone and Vintage Strawberry are coming soon!

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Monogramming Towels & Textured Materials

Happy Friday Friends! As a work update, I’ve been back for 3 weeks and am loving it! The 3 days I work are jam packed from 5:50 AM until bedtime, but then I have a 4 day weekend and time to catch up on other things and rest a little. I love working with the people (aka adults) I worked with before, and the structure of a schedule for 3 days has helped me to be super organized and I’m getting a lot more done around the house and with Applique Cafe!

You may or may not know that I am an Affiliate of Craftsy.com, which means I get to review some of their videos from time to time and then share with you. I’ve reviewed a couple in the past (search Craftsy on my blog) and have a new one for you today.

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This morning I got to spend a couple of hours {in my pajamas} learning about Machine Embroidery with Terrycloth & More, by Deborah Jones! You may wonder why I would be interested in this video after I’ve been doing embroidery (and monogramming my share of towels) since 1997. I was interested because I think we can all agree, towels are a popular item to monogram, and not always the easiest thing to monogram. Plus, this class is about monogramming towels, wool, velvet, corduroy, waffle weave, fluffy stockings, minky and other textured materials. 

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This class will help you *perfect* your technique in monogramming all of the above mentioned fabric types. Deborah shows you how to adjust the density, boldness or pull compensation & underlay settings of your fonts to avoid your towel peaking through your beautiful monogram.**The end goal is for your monogrammed towel to look great AFTER your stabilizers and toppers (water soluble is the most used) are removed and AFTER laundry.**

She also goes over what type of fonts work and which ones don’t. Think thicker vs thinner fonts. A lot of time is spent on all the different types of stabilizers used in each project, and believe me, there are a lot of options!! Deborah also doesn’t hoop the majority of projects she goes over, so she shows you which stabilizers to use and how to get the job done without hooping. Personally, I hoop most everything, but her techniques are great too and probably a little faster than my hooping techniques.

Another tip that I hadn’t thought of, was that she used matching bobbin thread when monogramming towels. I think this depends on your machine and which type bobbins you use. It made sense when monogramming a towel or blanket where the back of the monogram would also be visible!

Deborah also uses a spray bottle after the embroidery is done to help remove water soluble stabilizers. Her solution – 1 part FABRIC SOFTENER to 12 parts water. Adding that to my Target list….

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Watch the video to also see how she uses coffee filters or paper towels to help remove water soluble topper!

Deborah also goes over using “background frames” when monogramming towels, bath mats, bibs and other fluffy items. Background frames are light density fill stitch frames used behind a monogram. They are hardly noticeable and look like part of the design when finished, and really make the monogram *POP*. There are a few frames included in the cost of her class. Here is an example she showed and this is a bath mat. You don’t use a top stabilizer when using a background frame, and use a color thread that “goes” with the item you are monogramming. On this white bath mat she used white thread for the background frame, and it makes the terrycloth lie down, which is the goal. It really makes the monogram stand out!

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She also discusses monogramming the different types of corduroy – baby or pin wale, regular wale or wide wale. Deborah also demonstrates techniques in monogramming ridged surfaces like a ridged place mat. Waffle weave is another surface that can cause your monogram to be “bumpy” or “uneven” if you don’t do it the right way.

The 8th lesson in the class was on monogramming Christmas stockings, which we all know can be a PAIN to monogram! Deborah shows how to get the monogram on the cuff correctly and also how to monogram FAKE FUR like you might see on a stocking or Santa hat! The last lesson was on monogramming stuffed animals. I found this lesson interesting because I haven’t monogrammed many stuffed animals in my tenure.

If you are interested in learning how to better monogram towels and the other items mentioned, then this is a great class to get in on! It’s 1/2 off through next Friday, February 26th for my Applique Cafe readers! It took me about 1 1/2 hours to go through the class while taking notes this morning, and with all Craftsy classes, you can go back anytime and re-watch lessons. There is also a DISCUSSION tab where you can ask questions and see questions others have asked that have been answered. You can check out the discussions by lesson, and there are 9 lessons within this class.

Let me know if you have any questions! Again, this class is $19.99 for the next week! You can click HERE to check it out! I hope to test out a “background frame” this weekend and will let you know how it goes! 🙂

All You Need is LOVE!

I just wanted to let you know that all of our Valentine Designs are 50% off right now at Applique Cafe! I’m not sure which is my favorite, but I do love the new Heart Bicycle design! There are more on our site, but here is just a sampling…. Lots of LOVE here……

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I started back to work today! It was a little strange to get up before the sun to really get ready to go do something. Normally I throw some clothes on and put my hair in a ponytail for carpool. I dropped the kids off at school and headed downtown. I drove that route for 10 years, but haven’t driven it in about 8, so that was weird too. When I walked in the building, NOTHING had changed! A few different people and a dear friend of mine wasn’t there who passed away a little over a year ago, but other than that the decor was the same. Even sitting on the toilet in the bathroom was strange because I sat on it for 10 years and everything looked the same!!!!! Meaning the wallpaper! 😉 They already had me a computer with my old email address (which they never deleted), so I had over 2,000 emails going back to 2007 in my inbox. A lot of the folder labels were the same and in my handwriting. It was like backwards deja vu!! I have a lot to learn but am really excited about being back, and I was home by 2:00 to check the kids’ homework and work on Applique Cafe stuff too. We are working on new designs and here’s a pic of 1 I sampled yesterday…

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Vintage or redwork stitch designs are super fast to sew and this would be so cute for boys! I do recommend using a water soluble stabilizer on top when doing these designs. It helps with t-shirt puckering! This one will be listed soon!

Catching up!

Hello Friends! Let me start out by saying that I just logged in to do a quick post, and had 27 comments waiting to be approved. I. am. so. sorry!! Normally I get an email when anyone comments and it gives me the option to approve it or spam it right there on the spot. I swear I haven’t just missed 27 emails in the past month!? Not sure what happened there! I replied to a few, but if I didn’t reply to yours and you STILL need help, comment again, or shoot me an email at rosemarygulledge@appliquecafe.com! I didn’t want to assume you still needed my help a month later…..

It’s been a while since I posted last. We had a great Christmas and low and behold it’s already almost February!? How in the world?? It’s going to be summer again before we know it. I say I had a great Christmas (and I/we did), but let me just tell you how fun it is (not) to have laryngitis for 3 weeks. I am just now getting somewhat back to normal. I woke up hoarse on December 19th, just as the kids were getting out of school. It went from bad to worse to ok-i-am-so-tired-of-this over the course of 3 weeks. I got several shots in my booty and made a couple of trips to various doctors. Finally after 3 weeks I went to see my ENT, who stuck something down my throat (gag!) and told me I had nodules on my vocal chords. Evidently this is pretty common with people who sing. I only sing in church with the rest of the congregation, so whatevs. Fast forward to today after 3 weeks of steroids, and I am finally (pretty much) back to normal. It could come back, but hopefully it WON’T!!! If anyone ever suffers from this, let me know and I can give you a list of helpful hints that were shared with me by friends who have experience with nodules!!

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In other big news, I decided this week to return to the “real world” and will be returning to WORK next week *super* part time. Before I “retired” in 2007 to be home with my kids, I worked for a fabulous company for 10 years. They contacted me this week about coming back to work! I immediately declined because I have the craziest schedule with 3 kids in 2 schools, and wasn’t looking for a real job. However, after some back and forth and a lunch meeting on Thursday, I decided I was going to be an “adult” again. I start on Tuesday, and will be working 3 mornings a week from around 8:00 until 1:30. Not a bad schedule!! I will still have my Mondays, and my Fridays, and my afternoons, and library duty, and weekends, and I WILL STILL HAVE APPLIQUE CAFE!! I am actually hopeful that being structured again after 9 years of complete freedom and chaos will be good for me and I will probably get WAYYYYY more done with Applique Cafe than I do now. We will still come up with new designs! I will still do blog posts! I will continue to monogram and do appliques for my longtime local customers! I will still keep up with Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and all that! Nothing is going to change here, other than the fact that I get to put on real clothes and go somewhere a few mornings a week to work with adults. It’s super exciting and also scary! This will be a huge adjustment for me and my fam, but since I worked at this company before (for 10 years), I hope to pick back up where I left off! Stay tuned!

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Speaking of new designs, I just listed these earlier today! Y’all. It’ll be Easter before we know it! I’ve also listed more new stuff since my last blog post, so check them all out at Applique Cafe! We hope to work on a new batch of designs over the weekend as well! Have a great weekend!

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Craftsy Classes

It’s less than a week until Christmas! I had a monogram-a-thon last Thursday and have several more items to finish up for customers this week. I haven’t posted about Craftsy in a while and got an email that all of their classes are on sale through 12/26/15. Search “Craftsy” on my blog to see which classes I’ve posted about, including Embroidery and Photography classes. Click on the photo below to see if there are any classes you might be interested in. Once you buy a class you can watch it any time, as many times as you’d like. The Jewelry class looks fun to me! 🙂 affiliate_1200x1200_collage1

Applique Cafe is an affiliate of Craftsy!