Still here…..

I got an email from my husband today. He noticed recently that I had not posted anything here since May.
Then he typed up a few paragraphs for me to post!! Yay! I also just approved a few recent comments and one was “I don’t even know if you still have this blog….” LOL
I AM STILL HERE…
When school started over a month ago I was thinking ‘we finally get to slow down from being on the go all summer’.  I am now realizing I had completely forgotten about all the activities that come with school and fall!  I never considered football practice, Monday night football games, weekly soccer clinic, Wednesday night church activities, volleyball practice, Saturday morning volleyball games, homework or helping kids study. Sigh. Throw all of this in with the normal work week (still have my side hustle 3 days a week) and it is no wonder I feel like a walking Zombie by Wednesday. While it is a lot of fun watching my kids in each of their activities, it is by no means a “slow down”. Did I mention I was down for the count Saturday with a stomach virus? I’m still recovering from that one.
First day of school 2017: Garrison 5th, Mallory 4th and Browder 8th
My oldest made his debut as a kicker last night at his 2nd middle school football game.  This is a big deal because he is the first Gulledge in multiple generations to strap on the gear and get on the field.  Neither Jeff or his dad ever played football.  Browder has been a soccer player since the age of 4 and has been working very hard on his football kicking, so it was great to see him get the opportunity to play {for 3 seconds}! He has mastered the “hands on hip” stance. p.s. How is he this big? Photo creds to my friend Karen who actually brought a real camera to football. 
 
We lost the game but it was fun seeing him finally play!
In Applique Cafe news…
Halloween will be here before you know it so be sure to check out our fall Halloween and Thanksgiving designs. We have listed a bunch of new Vintage Stitch (aka Bean Stitch aka Redwork Stitch) designs which are super easy and require no fabric. I always use a water soluble stabilizer on top when doing these designs. It helps the shirt not to pucker. Check out a blog post I did a while back on Vintage or Simple Stitch Designs – click HERE. Here are some pics of our recent designs:
The above is a shirt I did for a precious little sister who’s big brother plays with Browder. He’s #13. How cute is that!
Have a great week!

The Best Sewing Machine For Kids

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Hello Friends! I am always looking for good blog material. This one actually came to me! Maria with Stitch and Sew sent me a link to her guide to kids sewing machines and I thought it was a great fit for The Cafe Blog! I bought my first sewing machine (see above) off E-bay for $99 when my first born was about a year old. He is now about to turn 14 and it still works! Granted there is some tape holding it together, but I whip it out every now and then as needed and it still works like a charm. At the time I took a class and learned to make jon jons and a few other things like kids pants and shorts. I attempted a bed skirt once and always wanted to learn to REALLY sew. I never did, as embroidery took over my life as well as applique and then 3 kids. I can, however, sew a straight line when needed.

Do you have a daughter, granddaughter, or a boy in your life who is interested in sewing? If so check out this article! It covers things to consider like:

Speed control of the machine

Brand name {I have always owned Brother machines}

Auto needle threaders

Large dials

***SAFETY***

and much more! Click on the picture below to check out the article now! She also has several other articles that look interesting. Like I’ve never really understood SERGERS and how they work and what you use them for. Amateur, I know.

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Survival Mode

Hi Friends! I don’t know about you but we are in SURVIVAL MODE around my house! School is almost out for summer and I have no idea how that happened. It was like Christmas break then I blinked and it was this week. I’ve had a couple of Mondays where the reality of what all goes on in May hit me like a ton of bricks = anxiety and stress. Just one more day and a couple/few half days and my 3 will be OUT of SCHOOL. I did proclaim last night that “you people are going to have to learn to do some stuff” when school gets out. I’m determined to teach my almost-14 year old how to do laundry. Because.it.never.ends. I was out of town this weekend and on Monday my almost-14 year old claimed he had no clean sports underwear. My husband piped in that he had washed “all the clothes” Saturday. I told him that you must wash every 2 hours to keep up. It’s true, right?? Anyway, I have some lofty goals for the summer so we’ll see how that goes. How do you best handle kids and summer? Lists? Chores? I work 3 days a week until 3:00 so I’m determined not to go cray cray on those days when I walk in the house.

I spent this past weekend with some girlfriends down in Mexico Beach, FL. This is an annual trip for us and I’ve known and loved these girls since college! We have THE best time together and they are my favorite friends on the planet. There are no other friends like your college friends with whom you can be REAL with! We share the good, the bad, the awesome and the ugly and I hate we can only spare a weekend each year! Thank goodness for Group Me!

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In Applique Cafe news, we are having a Memorial Day sale at the moment (through the end of May) and will be adding a few new designs in the next day or two {previews are on Instagram}. May has been insane but we are trying to focus on designs now that school is getting out! We’ve been celebrating birthdays and anniversaries + end of school craziness + a stomach virus so we have neglected the biz.

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I also have a new post coming soon about The Best Sewing Machine for Kids! Stay tuned!!

Embroidery Blanks Sources

Happy Spring Everyone! I hope everyone is enjoying the spring weather {before it gets hot and we all melt} and the last month or so of SCHOOL! This year has flown by! The hours and days fly by. I was at work today and before I knew it, it was almost 1:00. Tomorrow is Friday already. TIME FLIES!

I’ve added a new Ad over on the right for a website that has been on my LINKS list forever. Apparel-n-bags! The pigment dyed hats, Comfort Colors t-shirts and sweatshirts, trucker hats…. all there! I’ve been using the Adams brand hats for a long time and have done a blog post or two on doing them (monogramming hats + I’ve done a couple of designs on them too (Mini Stitch & Anchor Patch). They come in youth and adult sizes too. We all love Comfort Colors also. And I feel I am too old for trucker hats, but they sure are popular these days! Anyway, great blanks and all from ANB. Check them out! Click on any of the pics below to pop over!

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We hope to get a few new designs done ASAP. We hosted 40 people for Easter, so now that it is behind us we can get some other stuff done (besides pine straw, cleaning and mowing the grass). You can check out all of our latest designs at Applique Cafe! Have a great weekend! Here are those HATS I did on the Adams hats… Also, be sure to click on the LINKS tab up top for lots of other BLANKS websites! It needs updating but it’s a great place to start browsing.

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BOGO Craftsy Classes

Just a quick post to tell you about a Craftsy BOGO event this weekend! Starting tonight at MIDNIGHT, get 2 classes for the price of 1 with code: BOGOJAN17

I’ve reviewed several classes on here before (click the Craftsy tag or search Craftsy). There are some great ones related to embroidery and even photography (think product photos). You can also learn about sewing, quilting, baking and many many other “craftsy” things! As always, the classes are yours to keep and watch whenever you’d like once you purchase.

Click on the image below and don’t forget the code “BOGOJAN17”. This offer will expire Sunday at midnight! Please note it’s one offer per person, and there are a couple of exclusions (Mastering in Minutes series and classes from The Great Courses).

Enjoy!

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Happy 2017 Machine Maintenance!

HAPPY NEW YEAR my faithful blog readers!! It’s a NEW YEAR and I’ve got some new 2017 SQUAD GOALS!!!!

  • MORE BLOG POSTS!!! If you evveerrrr have a suggestion, please let me know! After all these years it’s hard to come up with new material. Jeff says he is going to help in this department as well. I would even welcome guest posts! Do you like embroidery related? What we are up to? What do you want to read?
  • With more blog posts I promise to actually read and approve and answer comments in a more timely fashion! 🙂
  • MORE newsletters. I actually pay good money to send you newsletters, and some months I don’t even send them. Basically it’s like giving money to my newsletter provider for doing nothing. So, I hope to send out a newsletter a month with sale info, new design info, new blog posts, etc.
  • MORE designs. We get so busy and weeks fly by. We hope to do more designs and on a more regular basis.

I’m sure the list will grow! We’ve been doing this since 2009 and we want to stay strong and continue providing you with great simple and unique designs and help you out on the blog along the way!

On that note, it’s a NEW YEAR, and a great time to CLEAN YOUR MACHINE!! Now would be the perfect time to get your machine in shape for the new year, and also set a schedule to keep it clean and maintained. Set a reminder on your phone. Mark your calendar. Get on a schedule!! The schedule really depends on your machine usage, but you need to keep your machine clean and free of lint and junk and also CHANGE YOUR NEEDLES on a regular basis. Are you using more sticky stabilizer than usual? Are you doing more towels and linty stuff than usual? If so, you need to clean it more often! I did mine this morning…

Here are the tools needed. If you have a multi needle, they came with your machine. I also use alcohol and Q-tips to get the gunk! I’m a couple of needles short to change out my 6, so heading to Joann at some point today so I can change them all. I use Schmetz 75/11 Embroidery Needles.

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Here is some of the gunk that came out of my bobbin case area. GROSS!

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I use the brush as well as the alcohol+Q-tips to clean the bobbin case area really well. I also dust around where the needles are screwed in, and dust the top of the machine where the tension knobs are. You just need to make sure to get the dust away from the machine, and not blow it IN to your machine.

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It’s amazing the amount of dust that can accumulate! I did my share of towels for Christmas, so keep in mind the projects you are working on. If you are doing a lot of towels, or using sticky stabilizer a lot, then you need to clean and change needles more often.

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Take the plate off the bobbin case area to really get inside the bobbin case. When all clean, screw it back on tightly.

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For a complete blog post on Multi Needle Machine Maintenance, check out my previous blog post by clicking HERE. It has been shared and pinned a lot on Pinterest!

Happy 2017 to you and you’ll be hearing from me again soon!

Rosemary

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Pinterest Recipe Share Time!

Merry AFTER-Christmas! I hope everyone had a fabulous Christmas with friends and family! I love Christmas, but once it’s over I like to go back to normal rather quickly at my house. At 9:30 on Christmas morning Jeff and I already had our tree (that fell at 5:30 one morning and broke 1/3 of our ornaments) un-decorated and it was in our yard. I could not handle the needles ANY.MORE!! By last night everything else was put away and we are back to a normal (clutter free) house. I love how people can enjoy their decorations until the New Year or after. I am not one of those people.

I wanted to share a recipe that I made about 27 times over the past month or so. Perhaps I should have shared it sooner now that the Holidays are sort of over? I didn’t think about it until my last batch Saturday. It’s a SNACK MIX recipe that I got off Pinterest back in November. I had to make teacher snacks for my kids’ school, so I made a big batch of it and sent it. My daughter told me her teacher loved it, so I made more in December when my kids’ middle and upper school had Wassail Week (aka snack week) in the library. I made 3 batches that week and sent it to school! We also made it for all of our neighbors, Jeff’s office and other friends!

Here is the recipe:

3/4 cup vegetable oil

1 packet dry ranch dressing (or dip) mix

1 tsp onion powder

1 tsp garlic powder

2 tsp dill weed

1 – 9 oz package of oyster crackers (I used big and small ones)

1 – 11.5 oz reduced fat Cheez-its (I used the Walmart box my last several batches -cheaper. Doesn’t necessarily have to be reduced fat either)

8 oz (half a normal bag) waffle pretzels aka Snyders Snaps (I used these and also pretzel sticks. Don’t get the butter flavored snaps. You could probably use regular shaped pretzels too, but I went to great lengths to find and use the waffle shape.)

I honestly used more than the above – sometimes I threw in 2 bags of oyster crackers (1 big and 1 small size oyster cracker), and I also threw in extra waffle pretzels and pretzel sticks too. I added a little extra of the onion powder, garlic powder and dill weed. You could also use Goldfish or any other small cracker.

Directions:

Preheat oven to 250 degrees. In a large bowl, combine the pretzels and crackers. Drizzle the vegetable oil over the mix a little at a time, stirring continuously so that everything is coated. Mix dry seasoning ingredients in a separate bowl, and sprinkle a little at a time over your mix, stirring continuously so that again, everything is coated.

Spray 1 to 2 cookie sheets with non stick spray and spread snack mix evenly among cookie sheets. Cook at 250 for 15 minutes, then give it a good stir. Continue cooking for 15 minutes and then let cool. Store in an airtight container. Will keep for 2 to 3 weeks.

This is my mix in my huge Ikea bowl!

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Here are the pretzels I used. They can be hard to find! Walmart was hit or miss but Publix had them. Don’t get the butter snaps! Like I said, you could probably use any pretzels, but I had these in my head so that’s what I used each time.

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My seasoning mix:

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I sprinkle, then stir, sprinkle, then stir, and so on and so forth!

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Ready to bake:

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Seriously this was like my 18th batch! We even game some to the mail lady and trash men!!

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I hope you make some, share it and enjoy!! I’m usually not a huge Chex Mix person, but this stuff is really good!!

Merry Christmas 2016!

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Merry Christmas from Applique Cafe! We look forward to what 2017 brings!

p.s. Our Christmas & Holiday Design collection is 40% off … shop HERE if you are still making last minute Santa shirts! 🙂

Happy November and DIY Costumes!

It’s November already, although it hardly feels like it. My weather app says it’s 85 degrees. I’m still wearing my stinky summer OTBTs and my closet is still in summer mode. This is the worst time of the year to attempt to dress with the season and not sweat to death. Monday was Halloween, and below is my trio in our (mostly) DIY Costumes. My 10 yr old’s costume was a 2:00 day-0f purchase from Target (Santa pjs) and I made the beard from a piece of white felt, jumbo cotton balls and too many glue sticks to count. Oh and a piece of elastic! It was in shambles before we hit the first house and was no where to be found 20 minutes later. He also wore a Santa hat so Skinny Santa had a great night of trick or treating. Bonus: PAJAMAS!! He can wear them to sleep in too! Side note: his friends were a snowman and an elf, so they were a cute trio!

My 8 year old knew a week or two in advance that she wanted to be Larry Culpepper (see Dr. Pepper commercials). Luckily the 10 year old played Larry last year so all we had to do was pour out some DPs and hot glue them to the lid of a shoe box and attach a cooler strap. By the end of the night I think 1 can was left, but she was adorable in a sea of girly costumes and loved every minute of it.

The 13 year old. This was our Sunday afternoon painting-in-the-driveway project. If you live in the Southeast, then you know who Alexander Shunnarah is or have seen a billboard or two (or 380). He wanted to dress normal and be a “bottle flipper”, but one day while driving to work last week I saw a billboard and decided this would be much funnier. His costume was a hit in the neighborhood and on Facebook! Plus it only cost me about $13 in alphabet stickers.

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In other November news… did you see our Girly Turkey aka Digitizer’s Pick? I sewed this on a little t-shirt Monday and it’s one of my all time favorite Turkeys! Plus only 3 fabrics. It’s $1.50 for a ltd time!

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Here are a few of our new designs also! The Holly & Wreath are both raggy, and I used 1) red gingham on bottom, 2) white flannel in the middle, and 3) green polka dot on top. Check them out at Applique Cafe for a better photo! These designs plus all the others are 40% off through Tuesday, November 8th, which happens to be ELECTION DAY!! Won’t we all be glad when that’s over!?!?

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Enjoy the rest of your week!

Small Shirts and Multi Needle Machines

Happy Fall Friends! I can’t believe it’s almost November. Where do the time go y’all? We all know that time does not stand still (even though moms like to hash tag that on every.single.photo of their kids), and weeks turn in to months since my last post….

Anyway… The question was asked the other day by M. Jennings in a Facebook group I’m in (and I edited it slightly)… “Ok multineedle friends. I skipped the fast frames and plan to get magnetic {hoops} soon, but in the meantime, does anyone have any tricks for when doing little people’s shirts to keep the tail out of the way?” By tail she means the back bottom of the shirt.

Low and behold, I did 4 sz 2T shirts yesterday. As you can see below, I used my 5×7 hoop and everything looks normal. By the way…. I also get asked a lot about design size vs shirt size. For all of the 2T shirts I did (and I did not take a single picture of them), I used the 5×7 size design, BUT…. when I put the design on my machine, I shrunk the design down as much as my machine would allow. It seemed to be the perfect size after that. I did the Dog Truck, Tractor Patch, Frame Patch 2 and Basketball Patch – sorry no pictures. They were cute I promise! Most machines, if not all, have a re-size feature and will enlarge or shrink your design/monogram up or down 10-20%. You can also chose 4×4 and enlarge it as much as possible!

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What she was asking is: how do you keep the bottom of the shirt {as seen below} from possibly getting caught up on top of the machine arm. As you can see there’s not a lot of room and it could get tangled up and your shirt could get sewn together. In the pic below, you can’t see the arm of the machine!

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Before this post and discussion on Facebook, I’ve always held my hand there and kept the bottom/back of the shirt held down so there is no chance of it getting caught. Not a bad thing, but, M. Jackson threw out a suggestion for us and we were all pretty much blown away at the geniusness of her trick!

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Her suggestion was to place a CD case, or a small thin children’s book, below the arm of the machine between the arm and the shirt. This keeps enough space between the shirt and the arm that no accidents are likely to happen! I used the sleeve of one of my Monogram Wizard Plus cd’s, but anything small, thin, lightweight and about that size will do. I DID kind of keep an eye on things to make sure the CD case didn’t shift or cause my machine to mess up or get caught on anything. However, it seemed to stay in place AND even when I took the shirt off the machine to trim applique fabric, it stayed in place. It really worked well for me AND I was hands-free to cut fabric and do other things.

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Thank you thank you thank you M. Jennings for the question and M. Jackson for this suggestion!! I love a good trick! 😉 If you have a great trick to share, please email me at rosemarygulledge@appliquecafe.com. I’m always looking for blog material!

These new designs will be listed soon at Applique Cafe, along with a SALE – you heard it here!

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