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!

clipping magic

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!

may sale

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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!

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! 🙂