Stabilizer Savvy

Happy Monday! I’m excited to share with you ANOTHER great video class on Craftsy that I just watched! This one is on STABILIZER and is perfect for beginners, but still great for the experienced embroiderer like me. I took 4+ pages of notes!

IMG_5566

This one is called Stabilizer Savvy with Terri Hanson, and it’s 9 lessons and took me about an hour to watch. I skipped through a few parts and you can also go back and watch different lessons or skip around.

stabilizer savvy

Here are the lesson topics:

1) Intro

2) Storage, Labeling & Other Basics – this lesson gave a couple of cool ideas for storing your stabilizer and labeling it to know what is what! She also went over hooping and basics of stabilizer (stabilizer = SUPPORT for your garment or item).

3) Cut-Away Stabilizer – medium weight vs. mesh which doesn’t show through as much

4) Tear-Away Stabilizer – great for more stable fabrics like denim, towels, canvas, etc., she also goes over “floating” tearaway stabilizer underneath

5) Sticky Stabilizer – true sticky stabilizer vs. spray adhesive + cutaway, what to do about sticky residue

6) Water Soluble Stabilizer – wash away vs. film topper and when you need them (she discussed free-standing lace designs and patch-looking designs)

7) Fusible Fleece (I skipped this one but will watch later)

8) Fuse & Stick Stabilizer (such as Heat N Bond Lite or Wonder Under) – in this lesson she goes through the applique process step by step also which might be helpful for beginners

9) Toppings & Cloud Cover (aka Solvy & Comfort Cover) – WHEN do you use these and how to remove it

I tried doing a video once using my Iphone and ended up posting like 9 snippets of video of me trying to applique and show you how to use my machine! :P What I love about the Craftsy videos is that they are professionally done (in a real studio) and super easy to understand. There are Questions & Answers on the right side of your screen with real people asking questions and Terri and others answering. You can also check out the Q & A’s under the Discussions tab when you are done. There’s also a spot at the bottom to type NOTES while you are watching that you can look at later (or you can hand write them like me!)  Also, when you purchase the class, you can watch it as many times as you’d like and you are given materials you can download like a sample design that Terri used and a Resources & Templates download which is like a cheat sheet with short notes on which stabilizer to use with what (for this particular class).

Here are a few of my take-aways for this class:

Stabilizer is used to SUPPORT the item you are monogramming, embroidering or appliqueing! She goes over hooping and stabilizer and how to avoid gaps in fill stitch designs, distorted designs and puckering which are usually all stabilizer issues! When all else fails, test your design first on a similar fabric to make sure your stabilizer is right!

If you missed my last post, it was another awesome video ~ How to Start a Machine Embroidery Business.

All designs are on sale at Applique Cafe til the 28th!

sale

How To Start a Machine Embroidery Business

OK people… I may be “late to the party”, but I just came across a cool website for embroidery. Has everyone else already heard of (and joined) Craftsy? The class that has caught my attention, mostly because I get asked this question A LOT, is How to Start a Machine Embroidery Business.

craftsy

Here are the topics covered by Marie Zinno, who owns and operates a successful embroidery business! Marie has written books and contributes regularly to popular sewing magazines. In other words, she is WAY more qualified than me to give you great tips and advice on starting your own embroidery business! :)

Lesson 1 – Business Basics – stuff you need to consider, think about and decide BEFORE you take the plunge!

Lesson 2 – Choosing a Machine – single needle? multi needle? single head? multi head/multi needle? Say what? Pros and cons of each and how to choose!

Lesson 3 – Ordering Blanks & Keeping Inventory – sounds like how NOT to just order everything you see that’s cute! ;)  Be strategic in what you order!

Lesson 4 – Pricing Embroidery & Taking Orders – what is your time worth? I think we all struggle with this one! How much do we charge these people??

Lesson 5 – Customizing & Bundling – learn how to package your products and innovative ways to create gifts and items people will WANT to purchase!

Lesson 6 – Organize Your Studio – this sounds like the whole “organization” thing I’ve been blogging about!

Lesson 7 – Promoting Your Business – you are ready now, so how do you get the word out?

Y’all, I’m excited about this CLASS! The good news is that you can watch it on your own schedule! Here is what you get:

  • 7 HD video lessons with anytime, anywhere access
  • Class materials, including pricing guidelines, order templates and vendor lists
  • Detailed instruction, explanation and demonstration
  • Answers from Marie in our virtual classroom

If you are interested in this video class series, please follow my link HERE! There is a cost involved, but for the information you are getting, that you can have access to anytime, it’s worth it!!

Organization, Part 2

I wanted to go ahead and do part 2 of my Organization posts, but first, I am excited about something new we are selling on our website. I looked back through my old records, and on June 4, 2007 I purchased my first embroidery (font) software. If you’ve read my blog, you know I use Monogram Wizard Plus for my fonts (names & initials) and I use Sew What-Pro for merging and editing. I bought MWP first and have loved it for almost EIGHT years!! I don’t have to tell you I love SWP too, as we’ve been selling it on the website (here) for a little over a year now and I mention it on my blog quite often. It’s become our top seller each month over any single applique design. We are now selling Monogram Wizard Plus too, and while it’s more expensive than SWP, it’s worth every penny! I’ve used it for the past almost-8 years, so it calculates to just $30 a year thus far. It’s a great investment if you are in the business of embroidery and monogramming!  Check it out – click HERE!

Here is just a sampling of what you can do in Monogram Wizard Plus. Lots of great fonts and motifs:

mwp4

Here is a screen shot of your workspace in MWP. It’s super easy to use and super easy to scroll through all of the various font options, sizes, etc. Again, a great investment! You can click on the TAG Monogram Wizard Plus on the right column, or search “Monogram Wizard Plus” on my blog in the search box. There is also a post or two in Helpful Posts.

mwp3

Now on to ORGANIZATION. As a follow up to my last post, Part 1, Kristi D. messaged me about a couple of apps you can download to help with to do lists and organization. They are: Evernote and Todoist (not “todolist”, but todo+ist). I just downloaded Todoist so I will try it out and see how it works! It looks like you can add tasks to certain days, set up reminders, etc. I just downloaded it so I haven’t gotten far yet! I may still be a pen and paper kind of girl but will give it a try!

OK…..

When is the best time to work?

I think everyone might answer this question differently because we are all in different stages of life and all have different schedules. Beth S. answered “I try to throw one or two things on the machine after my kids go to bed. I get a lot done when my husband takes my boys to practices.” (yay hubby!) Beth also works from home on Fridays so she tries to get 5 or more things on the machine on Fridays. For me, I try to get work done when my kids are at school. They go to a classical Christian school and they get out at 12:30 every day, so this is sometimes hard! Morning is my time to run my errands sans kids, go to bible study, volunteer at their school, etc. Usually 1 or 2 mornings a week I get to just stay home and work. I also try to work in the afternoons while they are doing their homework, but this is usually chaotic and I’m constantly interrupted and usually get frustrated. I try NOT to work much when Jeff gets home from work and throughout the evening, but sometimes it happens a day or two a week while the boys are at soccer practice. I also try to avoid working on the weekends unless we have NOTHING to do and I need to knock out a job or two. as I type this on Sunday afternoon…. If your kids are small and take naps, nap time is a great time to try to get a few things done! Maybe nights and weekend are your only time to work. That’s fine too! Just don’t sacrifice precious time with your family to work unless you have to.

Overall I think you have to look at your schedule and try to carve out time when you can get some work done uninterrupted! If you do this part time, you need to set hours and stick to them. I have a friend who lives in Atlanta who once told me that he intentionally gets up in the mornings, gets dressed and purposefully goes out for coffee or to grab breakfast. He then “goes to work” which is back at home. It’s hard to separate yourself from being at home when you work there! I am often distracted by laundry, cleaning, the dog, watching TV (I love The Today Show!), etc.

This is what happens when I try to work in the midst of kids!!

kids blog post kids blog post 2 garrison spider man

When is the best time to check email (other than every 5 minutes like I do sometimes….)?

I would add to this: Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram and all the other “distractions” I struggle with that are “for work” but can distract me for an hour!! When we first started Applique Cafe, I worked out of our dining room in our old house and felt the need to check email literally every time I walked by the dining room. It was out of control! Depending on what your business is and how important email is to you, I would say to check it 3 times a day. Set a schedule and try to stick to it barring special circumstances. Try to check it in the morning when you get up or sometime in the morning when you have a few minutes. Check it at lunchtime or in the afternoon if you are away from home during the day. Lastly, check it quickly at night before heading to bed. We do have to check ours often b/c the majority of our business is email, but I have found that if I check it too much, I am taking time out of my day to check it and may only receive 4 emails b/c I just checked it 20 minutes ago!

Social Media… if anyone is guilty of wasting too much time on social media, it is ME! There is no telling what I could accomplish in the hours and hours I’ve wasted since Facebook was invented! If you use social media for your business, try to stick with the same 3 or so times a day rule. Yes you might need to check Facebook to see if you have any messages or comments you need to check on. What you don’t need is to open Facebook in the middle of sewing a shirt and waste 30 minutes scrolling through to see what all your friends are up to! Same with Pinterest and Instagram! Both are great tools for business and most importantly they are FREE, but they can also distract you from your work and next thing you know an hour has passed and you haven’t even finished a single monogram! SET LIMITS!! 

How many items do you do each day? Goals are good!!

Beth S. says that she sets small goals. If she has 11 baseball bags on her to do list, then she tries to complete 2 to 3 a day. If she finds some extra time here or there, she can usually exceed her goal. I agree with Beth in that small goals are a great idea! I not only do this with embroidery work, but I do it with my every day stuff as well. Every day I either think about what I need to get done that day or write it down. It might be: go to the bank, send out X email, bathe the dog, monogram Leslie’s 2 items. Doesn’t it feel good to mark those things off the list, 1 by 1? I might have 32 embroidery items on my to do list, but know today is sort of a busy day and I don’t have a lot of time. Set a small goal of monogramming 1 thing, or 2 or 3 things. A lot of times you might be able to squeeze in 1 more and that’s great, but if you can’t, then at the very least you can accomplish the small goals before the day is done!

That’s all for today! I will continue next time with time savers & tips for doing monograms and appliques and the easiest fastest way to pick out fabric and thread colors! I would love to read your comments or suggestions for ORGANIZATION, so comment away!

Organization, Part 1

A couple of months ago, I did a blog post soliciting help, tips, shortcuts, whatever… on being organized and efficient. Just to show you how efficient I am, 2 months later I am finally back to share what I learned! I have to give a special SHOUT OUT to Beth S. who took the time to answer my plea for help in this area. Her answers were organized by questions by the way, so 2 thumbs up!

To give you a little background on Beth, she works full time and got her first embroidery machine 5 years ago. She upgraded to a Brother PR650 6-needle after 2 years, uses Monogram Wizard Plus and also has several extra hoops (I will touch on that later). Her biggest business is logos on baseball stuff (bags, pullovers, etc.) She’s an accountant by trade, so she is super efficient and doesn’t like to have inventory sitting around the house. Her goal is to create a sizable business so she can retire from her “real job” and still have income for vacations! I think that’s how a lot of us start out… embroidery “on the side” until we can see if we can really do it full time and still contribute to the family income or make a decent living. On the side, making extra money, is always good too!

Here is the first question on organizing orders! I will continue to answer the questions from THIS POST in future posts. I don’t want to overwhelm anyone! :) A lot of the answers came from Beth, some from my own experience and a few others from emails and comments on the post.

How do you organize orders?

Beth has a to-do list on her computer that she keeps open at all times. It includes to dos for her house, real job & embroidery and she updates it throughout the day. She organizes her orders in the order in which they were received, but will sometimes switch between customers based on which hoop she is using on her machine. Beth’s turnaround time is a standard “2 weeks” but she often finishes early! Personally, I get overwhelmed with big orders! If I have a big order staring at me, and a couple of onesie twosie items on my to do list, I sometimes knock out the 1 or 2 items and then work on the big order. As long as I’m getting my orders done in a timely manner, it doesn’t really matter and it feels good to mark items off the to do list!!

to do list

I sometimes carry a little notepad or notebook around with me where I keep all of my to dos! I am 40-something years old, so if it ain’t written down, it ain’t going to happen. I can have someone bring over a bib to monogram and tell me they want bubblegum pink thread and a Master Circle monogram. Fast forward a few hours, and I cannot tell you what color or what font they want if it’s not written down. Truth.

As far as organizing orders, you need to have a system for writing stuff down. Whether it be a notepad where you write down the date and what the customer wants, or something more sophisticated like a typed up order form with the date and all the important details included on it. I believe you also need a PLACE to PUT your orders and a way to keep them organized. I got this nifty thing at Hobby Lobby on clearance a couple of years ago… The numbers come in handy!

order organizer

It helps that I have a dedicated sewing room now, but years ago I worked in our dining room and I had a wire industrial shelf from Target (see photo below) and baskets from Walmart where I kept all of my orders. That’s when I was doing customer work full time, and Jeff would sometimes hide stuff from me because I would become overwhelmed at my to do pile on the shelf. I think the key is to be organized as best you can! Put a date on everything. Keep a spreadsheet with important order info on it. Print emails if people email orders to you. Develop some type of system that works for you depending on where you do your embroidery, where you keep your to do orders, when you find time to work, etc.

wire shelf

If you aren’t organized, find a friend who is and ask for help! I have a friend who is super successful in the embroidery business. Her sister is super organized so she came in and helped her develop a system to keep track of all of her orders!

Keeping a good calendar is great too! Jeff and I have have 2 of these dry erase calendars on our wall in our office. We have 2 months going at a time. I know smart phones can do all that for us, but we like things written down.

calendar blog post

Chime in by commenting if you have any more specific ideas! Next I will cover the best time to work and juggling the computer stuff – email, social media, etc.

Bathroom Afters

Happy Spring Break people!

We are livin’ it up here at some exotic beach destination in Montgomery, Alabama for Spring Break. White sand Almost-green grass and crystal blue water soccer goals was our entertainment for today. We braved the sun clouds from 8:20 this morning until around 4:00 this afternoon, with excursions such as snorkeling and scuba diving 4 soccer matches in which we tied or lost all 4 games. We then refreshed ourselves with some strawberry daquiris and pina coladas milkshakes from the Tiki Bar Chick Fil A! It’s supposed to start raining at 8:00 tonight and rain ALL NIGHT LONG, which means even our plans tomorrow for watching more soccer for Spring Break may get cancelled! Good times….. JUST KIDDING!!! Well, not really kidding, but the kids and I are beach bound Monday so we hope to get some sun and sand in before the week is up.

In all seriousness, have you tried the FROSTED LEMONADE from Chick Fil A?? I used to be admittedly addicted to Starbucks Mocha Frappuccinos (with 1 pump of “gasoline” as my kids would scream from the backseat). Y’all…. FROSTED LEMONADE!! I have had FOUR, yes 4, of them since Tuesday! They are DELICIOUS, and $1.39 cheaper than Starbucks! I am not sure what I’m going to do on Sunday when they are closed…..

cfa

As promised, here are a few “AFTER” bathroom pics from our recent bathroom renovation. Let me preface this by saying, if you dislike our new bathroom, don’t agree with the cabinet choices we made, don’t like the paint color (Benjamin Moore Manchester Tan btw…), think the vanity lights are awful…. please do not mistakenly email me thinking you emailed your BFF to tell her how you don’t like MY bathroom that you will never step foot in. True story… when we redid our kitchen, I had a girl email me to tell me she hated the chandelier over our table (which we had not replaced yet) and that she would have never chosen the island color. She hit reply to a blog post instead of FORWARD (to her BFF)!!!! lolololololololol…. I still laugh about that!

Before tiny plastic SHOWER and hubby’s vanity & AFTER bigger not-plastic-anymore shower and linen cabinet:

IMG_9275-vert

Before my lovely *oak* vanity & AFTER his and hers double vanity:

IMG_9272-vert

Before gigantic heart shaped space-wasting tub & AFTER normal human sized tub (plus the TV for me to watch HGTV and The Today Show when I’m getting ready every morning):

IMG_9267-vert

Here are several more photos. Everything is so new and clean and simple and we love it!

IMG_9370 IMG_9371

I no longer have to balance on one leg and shave my legs!! Hooray!!

IMG_9381

IMG_9377 IMG_9368

I got the little stool from TJ Maxx! Everything is still very much a blank slate, so I need a painting or something to bring in some color. Maybe a towel rack over the tub and some monogrammed towels? I wonder if I can find someone to monogram some for me…..

IMG_9379

We love the cabinets, which are from Bishop Cabinets of course (where Jeff really works)! If you recall, the tile is from Home Depot and is Castle Travertine. We went through literally hundreds of tiles to pick out each and every tile that is in our bathroom. It was a huge headache, but I have to say that now I appreciate each and every tile. When I’m showering, I look at all of them and remember all the work that put in to choosing them! Really! I do!

I hope all of you who are on Spring Break have a great week wherever you are! Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

Applique Cafe fans… all designs are 50% off through TUESDAY! Woop!

appcafesale1815

Multi-needle Error Message

Multi-needle users… how often do you get this error message? “Check upper and bobbin thread.” Sometimes this message is legitimate and you are out of bobbin thread or top thread. Sometimes you get it and realize one of your needles is not threaded correctly ~ you missed a guide or the thread has wandered around the wrong guide. Sometimes you get this message and everything appears to be FINE and you want to throw your machine out the window because it keeps happening every 7 stitches and you keep closing the error message and starting the machine again only to get the message again and again and again. Hypothetically. IMG_9337
I was having this issue with needle 1 and 6 on my machine recently and had my machine serviced a couple of months ago. I haven’t sewn a whole lot since I got it back, but noticed needle 6 was still giving me trouble. I emailed Steve at Sewingmachine.com last week about it and he sent me a GREAT list of “try this” for this error message issue. I took some pictures today to include and hopefully this will help if you are having the error message problem.

Please note: If you have this problem with needle 4, which has the shortest route from the spool of thread to the needle, wrap the thread around the tension disk twice! I did a short blog post on this – click HERE to read it! It worked for me!!

The following are suggestions from STEVE:

When your machine stops and says check upper and lower thread, it stopped because the machine did not “sense” the tension disc turning. The tension disc is the little (silver) wheel under your tension knob that you wrap the thread around 1-1/2 times when you thread up the machine.

IMG_9338
Tension Disc:
6 needle disk 2

There are two reasons for your to be getting a “false thread break” error. The first reason, and it is very uncommon, is that the electronic sensors that sense the motion (turning) of your tension discs are bad. We very rarely see that as the problem. The other reason is that your tension discs are just not turning steadily.

The first thing you want to try is to wrap your thread around the tension a second time to see if this stops the error message. The tension assembly is supposed to looped around one time during your threading of the machine – try looping it twice. This is just a test to see if it helps stop the error message. If that works then we know that your tension discs are not turning properly and it is not a sensor. (I tried this FIRST and this WORKED FOR ME! However, you still need to troubleshoot the issue with the following steps. Double wrapping the thread will eventually fail you, but it’s an easy fix to get through a project. RG)

Next if you pull straight down on a thread at the needle on one that is not giving you any issues you will see that the tension disc spins smoothly. (pull slowly) Next pull on one of the threads that is giving you problems and watch – the disc will spin erratically. If the disc was turning smoothly and steadily we would have to check the electronic sensor, but ninety times out of a hundred the disc or the felts, or a threading issue are to blame. Cleaning can also help and I will go into detail on that in a moment.

Disc & Felts:
6 needle disk
Below pics are from a blog post I did on 6 needle maintenance (found HERE):

6 needle disk 1

Tension can be an issue if the tension knobs are twisted down too tight and not allowing the tension disc to turn steadily. Try loosening the tension a little to see if the discs spin more smoothly.

The most common threading issue is that the little clips (pretensions) at the back and front of the head are not threaded correctly. The thread will only be half way under the clip or not at all and that will cause an issue. These pretensions help to hold your thread taut so that the when you wrap the thread around the tension disc the thread will “grip” the disc and spin it. Incorrect threading of the machine will also cause the error message. If the tensions and threading are correct then it may require cleaning to solve the issue.

Pretension Clips:
IMG_9341 IMG_9340

Here are the instructions for cleaning your tensions:

At the back and front of the head are two metal clips you run the thread under, these are called pretensions. Start by cleaning out under them. The space is very small under the clip so what we do is to cut a long skinny strip of fabric and run that under the clips. Soaking the fabric in rubbing alcohol can help to clean out any waxes or oils or dust that is trapped under the pretensions.

Next move onto the tension assembly itself and screw the cap off. Take each component of the tension off and stack them in a row for reassembly. As you take off the tension wheel that you wrap the thread around look at the underside and you will see a round ridge, that is the magnet the machine sense is turning, so that it knows that your thread is feeding and not broken. Clean any lint off of the blue felt disks, take a Q-tip or a fabric strip and clean inside the groove of the tension wheel. Use rubbing alcohol again to clean the tension wheel as you cannot have your thread slipping on this wheel. Be sure that when you reassemble the tension wheel that you put the side with the magnet facing down. After reassembly pull on your thread down at the needle and watch the tension wheel to assure that it is spinning. Pull slowly and the wheel should spin smoothly and not start and stop. If it will do that then you are good to go!

Tension Assembly:
6 needle 1

The blue felts should be replaced every so often – and the tension discs too. But cleaning is a first step to try, if that fails then replace the felts and discs. make sure and clean under the pretensions though as if you do not have adequate pretensions even new parts will not help.

Blue Felts (again) and the one on the right has a piece of lint on it, which can cause issues:

6 needle disk 1

I hope that helps you with this bothersome error message.

Again, check out my blog post on 6 needle maintenance and see how lint can collect and cause problems with your embroidery!

Steve has tons of great videos on their website ~ www.sewingmachine.com! Click on VIDEOS.

THE Mighty Hoop

First and foremost, the master bath-de-Gulledge is D-O-N-E!! I know I got behind in my renovation posting and will try to catch up soon. It’s DONE and we have moved back in, but it needs some decorating before I post my final AFTERS. Here is a little peek at the before/after of the tub/vanity area. Again, nothing has been hung (tv, decor, artwork, etc.) so it’s a bit of a blank canvas right now. We are enjoying it immensely but had a bit of a crazy week last week so I haven’t had a chance to add some color yet! I’m pretty sure HGTV will be calling me soon…..IMG_9267-vert

Totally random, but I noticed a blog comment today that had to do with SCISSORS so I thought I would add that in here! For all these year I have preached about the Gingher 4″ curved embroidery scissors. They sell them at Joann and probably most sewing stores. Well…. maybe it’s my old age and poor eyesight lately, but I’ve started using the 5.5″ double curved scissors (Ginghers also) and I.LOVE.THEM! I think what happened was that my 4″ got dull after years of use so I got a new pair. They are sharp, but a little tighter and don’t trim as easy. It may be that they are not broken in yet? Anywho… I started using the bigger ones and now I like those better! Not sure what it is about the extra curve and 1.5″?? The big scissors below I use for cutting fabric and my big pieces of stabilizer. The blue handle ones are Brother scissors I think (they came w/ my machine in the little tool box). I use those for trimming the stabilizer around the applique (back) when I’m done, and also for when I am trimming inside of a design. They aren’t super sharp, so I pierce the fabric with them at an angle and then cut with my Ginghers.

photo (28)

I haven’t been doing much work lately b/c of the craziness going on at Casa de Gulledge ~ renovations, travel soccer management and family stuff (my dad was in the hospital for several days last week and goes home tomorrow from the therapy rehab facility). I have a friend in ATL who asked me to do a few baby gift items for her and told me the colors were navy blue light blue, gray and white. I REALLY like those colors together after sewing a few things! It has also been raining here in Montgomery for like the past month, so these pics were taken inside and don’t do the items justice! LOVE the colors! :) Anchors and whales were the theme also.

IMG_9312 IMG_9310

Now on to the title of my post…. MIGHTY {magnetic} HOOPS! I recently got the 7.25″ x 7.25″ and finally got around to trying it out! It is SO EASY to use and I’ve taken a few pics along the way for this post!! First of all, they are magnetic and REALLY STRONG, hence the warnings….. I haven’t gotten pinched yet but I can see how it can easily happen! They are STRONG. I like the size of the 7.25″ x 7.25″ also b/c I typically stitch 5×7 designs and it gives me a little extra room for initials or a name. There is also a pacemaker warning on it…..

photo 2 (15)-horz

Here is the bottom frame. All you have to do is get it in place and the magnets do the rest!

photo 1 (11)

I did my burp cloths using the MIGHTY HOOP and it was super easy! Burps can be thick and hard to hoop. With the MH, no wrinkling or hoop burn! As you can see, I got the burp cloth on top of the bottom of the hoop. You just have to make sure it’s straight.

photo 2 (12)

Just hold the top of the hoop frame over it, and BAM it snaps in place. Very easy!

photo 1 (13)

They go on the machine just like Fast Frames. You just have to make sure you check your boundaries to make sure the needle is not going to hit anything. Unlike Fast Frames – no sticky stabilizer is needed!

photo 2 (14)

You may notice that Bentley is in navy blue down below. When I did the baby gifts the first go-around, I had navy and gray in my head (which looks great together also by the way…). If anyone knows of a baby boy named Bentley, I have a bib and burp cloth available…..

The MIGHTY HOOP also works great on bibs!

photo 3 (11)

photo 4 (12)

I also used the MIGHTY HOOP on a Market Tote. I typically use Sticky Stabilizer and Fast Frames, but the MH was easy and worked great and I didn’t have to peel “sticky” off of anything!

photo 4 (11)

This is Monogram Wizard Plus “MC Center” H (I made it wider than usual) plus some motif ends which are also done in Monogram Wizard Plus!

photo 5 (5)

I got my Mighty Hoop from Sewingmachine.com (search: mighty hoop) and you can find demo videos on Youtube HERE! They also have some videos at Sewingmachine.com under Product Demonstration Videos – click HERE. They sell a variety of sizes sort of like the Durkees. Anyway, I look forward to using them more as I get time to do more work!

Did anyone get to go to the Everything Embroidery Market last weekend in Chattanooga? I was so sad to have missed it! I realized several weeks ago that with the renovation and our soccer schedule that I was not going to be able to wiggle my nose and appear there for the weekend. On top of all that with my dad being in the hospital, I would not have made it anyway. I have seen tons of pictures and have heard nothing but great reviews, so I hope you all had fun and that they will do it again!

Have a great weekend! OH… I will work on the ORGANIZATION post ASAP with the feedback I got from my last post! I got some GREAT Tips!! One idea I had was to go ahead and get your next project ready while your machine is sewing. DON’T jump on Facebook because you will get sucked in to “15 Ways To Bond With Your Daughter” and then next thing you know 45 minutes has passed and you’ve done 1 burp cloth. Go ahead and iron the stabilizer on the bib you plan to work on next. Go ahead and iron the applique fabric and iron Heat N Bond Lite on it so it’ll be READY! If you have extra hoops, you could go ahead and hoop it! I would get a lot more done if I could discipline myself to think ahead and actually do stuff while my machine is sewing! photo (22)

One more time…. have a GREAT weekend! We have been out of town for soccer tournaments the past 2 weekends, so we are looking forward to being HOME. :)

Organization HELP!!

Happy Monday! Let’s take a break from BATHROOMS! Do you ever feel totally disorganized? Inefficient? Stressed out? Like you can’t get anything done? Overbooked? Forgetful? Find yourself on Facebook for no reason? Easily sidetracked by laundry or the Girl Scout cookies in the freezer? All of the above describe how I feel on a daily basis! I wanted to work on a BLOG POST with tips on how to stay organized and efficient. I know most of us are stay-at-home moms who maybe do this for fun/on the side/for friends and family…. or maybe this is your full time J-O-B? What are your best tips for staying organized and efficient?

How do you organize your “orders”?

When is the best time to work?

When is the best time to check email (other than every 5 minutes like I do sometimes….)?

How many items do you do each day? Goals are good!!

How do you not get distracted?

Tips & time savers for doing monograms and appliques?

Easiest way to pick out fabric & thread colors?

When do you not work or when is it OK to take the day off?

Those are just A FEW questions I could think of! I’d love to hear your thoughts. Sound off in the COMMENTS, or email me at rosemarygulledge@appliquecafe.com. Photos would be AWESOME too, if you have any to share! Be on the lookout for my BLOG POST!

Here are just a few pics of my sewing room from a previous blog post on ORGANIZATION! Thanks in advance!!

organization 2

 My BLANKS & SUPPLY closet:

organization 3

 My ORDER organizer:

organization

Bath Reno Take 2

I have more reno photos to share! If you aren’t interested in bathroom before and afters, then go ahead and jump on over to Facebook! We are getting closer. These pics were taken since my last post but we have come a long way since these. I will update more soon! It has been fun, exhausting, stressful, time consuming, etc. but I know it’ll all be worth it when it’s all done. If I sound like I am complaining about redoing my bathroom, I AM NOT! :) It’s just a process and it’s not all fun! I thrive on a clean, organized house. A renovation and having people in and out all day every day is rockin my world! :)

Here is the shower area again. I think I had a pic in my last post with the frame of the shower. As of today it’s fully tiled (but not grouted). More pics coming soon!

IMG_9298

Here is our vanity area again. It’s amazing that they can take THIS and make it in to something beautiful! We now have some cabinets in place and the counter top SHOULD go in tomorrow. IMG_9299

When I go in each day (several times a day), I am never quite sure what shape things are going to be in! This was a mess….

photo 1 (8)

This is my soon-to-be closet, which has our old toilet in it….

photo 1 (9)

This is the condition of our bedroom and one of the many nights we have spent time sorting through tile, one at a time. Jeff and I have gone through hundreds of tile. They are 18×18 and heavy. We chose a travertine tile which is beautiful, but the color varies from one piece to the next. They come in packs of 4, and in most cases we may have only chose 1 tile out of the 4 for our “keep” pile. Did I mention the tile is heavy? and dirty!! It’s going to be beautiful though!!

photo 1 (10)

More tile sorting….

photo 2 (9)

More of the mess! THERE are my yellow scissors!!!!

photo 2 (10)

And now what we have all been waiting for! TILE!! This was after the floor was laid and I think the last corner piece went in yesterday. Saturday morning, we get GROUT!

photo 2 (11)

Our shower with the 2nd round of floor tile! The shower floor was tiled, then removed, then tiled again.

photo 3 (5)

Another pic of the floor! You might be able to see some of the variation.

photo 3 (7)

This is my old closet which will now be Jeff’s closet. It is a MESS!!! Eventually this will all be cleaned out and we will have new carpet! Again, I’m amazed that this will be clean and new soon cause it is NASTY right now! :)

photo 4 (9)

This is out of order, but this was when tile guy #2 started laying tile and we had to send him home for the day. He never returned, and tile guy #1 came back and started over.

photo 5 (2)

And lastly, this is our room. Thank GOODNESS we covered everything with drop cloths. There is a 2″ layer of dust on everything! Jeff and I look forward to moving back in! Hotel Mallory has been nice and I’ve gotten used to the queen sized bed, but we will be ready for normal again! :)

photo 5 (3)

I will get some more pics up soon!

In Applique Cafe news, all of our designs are on SALE! Plus, we have a new PICK for $1.50! I love a good trio design!

appcafesale1815 appcafeframe1loopy cmas tree 2

 

Bath Reno 2015

Happy Monday people! I have been MIA for a couple of weeks… busy getting ready for another travel soccer season and we are also renovating our master bathroom! If you’ve been with me for a while, you know that we renovated our kitchen a few years ago. After 2 years of thinking, discussing, putting off, saving, secretly wishing, trying to be content, discussing again… we finally decided it was time! Last summer we came home from vacation and noticed the tile made a crackly sound when we walked on it, which meant it was coming loose. Fast forward to 6 or so mos later and we finally bit the bullet to reno. Here are the “before” pictures, and I will post updates in my next post. We are currently beginning week 3 and hopefully the tile will start going back in today!

Here is the ginormous heart shaped tub that we have used maybe 10 times in our 3+ years in this house. The walls are a lovely shade of blue and absolutely nothing matches! We have light blue walls, bronze fixtures and plenty of brass thrown in there as well.

IMG_9267

This thing takes up half the bathroom!IMG_9269

Here is my closet, and it’s huge, but with a weird partial wall in the middle. We are getting rid of that! IMG_9270

This is my vanity, and as you can see I’ve been experimenting with cabinet color trying to figure out what will work! I will not miss these oak cabinets! Not that there is anything wrong with oak, but…..IMG_9272

Here is our tiny plastic shower and Jeff’s vanity. Brass & bronze. IMG_9275

I will not miss this shower! It was faux marble plastic something, and this is what I had to look at every day while sudsing my hair. See if you can figure out what this looks like! Hint: all women have 2. Am I right? That’s what this reminded me of every.single.day.

IMG_9282

The lovely light in the potty room. This thing is surely vintage. I’d say filthy too. IMG_9277

Jeff’s vanity again. When we moved in, he had to replace the drawer insides b/c they smelled like a cat may have lived in one of them. It has been a constant battle of odors! IMG_9280

Here is where the tile was coming off, and the whole floor creaked when you walked on it b/c the tile was coming loose from whatever is under it. The grout is 50 shades of nasty as well. IMG_9284

There is something weird about cabinets and drawers that other people used for years and years and years!! Yuck!! IMG_9286

So those are the BEFORE pics! Here are just a few pics of the progress over the last week or so…

This is my vanity area, which will be expanded to be mine and Jeff’s vanity area.

IMG_9287

The tub before it was completely removed! It’s amazing the wasted space that was just tile! IMG_9288

Here is where the shower and Jeff’s vanity were. We are gaining a little more shower square footage and gaining a nice utility cabinet for all of our linens! IMG_9289

This shows the shower framed a little bigger, and the utility cabinet will go on the right.

IMG_9290

Utility cabinet area. Another closet on the right. IMG_9291

This is my closet without the strange half wall. Jeff and I are actually swapping closets b/c he has 88 times more clothes than I do, but that is another story! This will be his closet (for his 48 pairs of khaki pants and 97 golf shirts).IMG_9293

We will have a normal human size tub under the window, which leaves more space for a double vanity for me and Jeff! IMG_9294 IMG_9295

It’s a slow process but things are shaping up! I will try to get in and take some more pictures tomorrow! Jeff and I took over moved in to Mallory’s room. Bless her heart, this is what she has to deal with in her kitchen. These are all Jeff’s clothes btw. He also has clothes stashed in Browder AND Garrison’s closets, but again, that is another story.

photo 1 (7)

We are sleeping in her queen bed also, which is like a toddler bed compared to our king. Luckily she has a full bathroom that I am using during this process, and right next to her bathroom is our guest bathroom which also has a shower. So for now we have his and hers bathrooms which makes living in Hotel Mallory a little easier. photo 2 (8)

I will post more pictures soon! We had bath reno crisis (not really a crisis) #1 today (in between me typing this post) when the tile guy began laying tile. He got 3 down and called me in for a looksee, and the tile was darker than we had anticipated. This resulted in him quitting for the day at 2:00 and me running to meet my contractor to look at more tile. That resulted in me going by another place to look at more tile and him driving up to Prattville to look at even more tile. Long story short… the tile guy is taking tomorrow off while we get our act together and decide which tile is going down! Our only other speedbump was a leak in one of the pipes where the shower was. Luckily that was a semi-easy fix and as many HGTV shows as we have watched, it was totally expected. You cannot renovate anything without a leak or rotten wood somewhere.

Pray for us! :)