Applique Cafe Christmas List!

Just a quick post to share with you all the things we offer at Applique Cafe that should¬†be on your Christmas list! ūüôā

  1. GIFT CERTIFICATES!! We sell them in $10 increments and they can be printed and mailed to you or to your mom/friend/cousin/neighbor. If time is of the essence, I can also fill in the info and email it to you to print!

Applique Cafe gift cert 400

2) Monogram Wizard Plus!! I’ve sold 2 this week, so a couple of people are¬†getting new font software for Christmas! There is an actual installation CD for MWP which is shipped to you. I usually mail same day, so it will arrive in your mailbox within 2-3 days (we ship USPS Priority Mail). If you are new to embroidery and are frustrated with the fonts that came on your machine, or with merging letters together, then check out MWP! It’s a GREAT investment for your embroidery business. Below is an example of your screen and it’s super easy to use!

mwp3

Look at all the possibilities! It comes with all of the font options you see below, plus you can add to your font collection with a few clicks at the Needleheads store.

mwp4

3) Needleheads Store Gift Cards!! You bought or already have Monogram Wizard Plus, and you want to add to your font collection? We sell $25 Needleheads gift cards for $19.99, so you’re saving $5.01 off the bat! Needleheads often runs sales and specials too, so you can save more by using our gift card on top of their sale! We have physical gift cards we can mail you, OR, most people just want the code to get the discount (which we can email to you). Needleheads gift cards are redeemed at the Needleheads Online Store.

Needleheads gift card sale

4) Sew What-Pro Embroidery Software!! SWP is a top seller at Applique Cafe month after month. Not only is it super affordable ($65), it’s easy to use and honestly I couldn’t survive without it! I use it for merging (adding a name to an applique design), minor editing (deleting a part of a design) and for the most part, just to SEE the applique design I’m working on. It shows me the size I’m working on, each step in the process and I can play around with colors (thread) to help me choose my fabrics!

Here are a couple of workspace examples, and I just updated my SWP last night so the screen now looks a smidge different! By the way… the names you see are done in Monogram Wizard Plus, then merged in to Sew What-Pro!

swp4

SWP ad1

5) Durkee Cap Frame!! OK so we don’t sell cap frames, but if you saw my recent post on the “new” Durkee Cap Frame, then you might want to add it to your list too! Check out my blog post from earlier this week to learn all about it – HERE. If hats are on your product list, then consider investing in a DCF to make life easier! ūüôā They have frames that are compatible with multi AND single needle machines!

Durkee Cap Frame

6) Mighty Hoops!! Again, not something we sell here at Applique Cafe, but again, check out my recent blog post on the super easy magnetic Mighty Hoops! The hoops can be used alone, or with a fixture to help with centering and easy hooping. Check out that blog post HERE. Below is the 6.5″ square Mighty Hoop and Fixture, and I’m giving it a workout this week monogramming towels!

IMG_6487

And here is my 7.25″ square Mighty Hoop that I use without a fixture! It’s great for items like bibs and bags that are a little harder to hoop.

photo 3 (11)

7) Applique Cafe Christmas & Holiday Designs!! Lastly….. all of our Christmas & Holiday designs are 40% off, so if you are still working on Christmas shirts, towels or even winter (this category includes snowmen, ice skates, mittens and other winter designs), then they are on SALE!

cmas sale

Give Life to an Old Design!

So I had a longtime customer email me the other day, and she wanted a baby gown with an *old* design on it that I had not sewn in years. It was the below elephant design and I bought it YEARS ago on Etsy, like in 2009 or before! I don’t believe the seller sells it [or any designs for that matter] anymore. I had done a gown or onesie for my customer’s¬†son and she wanted the same to give as a baby gift. So…. I searched and found the design on my computer, and quickly remembered the design was digitized a little wonky. The design had 1 marking stitch (#1 black below) and then elephant outline satin stitch¬†(#2 below) and then the eye and ear¬†(#3 below) . What does that mean? NO TACKDOWN STITCH. In the good old days I would just repeat the marking stitch after I placed my fabric down, trimmed around the design and then proceed with the satin stitch around the elephant. However, I decided this week to give this old design a makeover using Sew What-Pro!¬†long thread

First on the list, create a tackdown stitch! I click on step 1, which is the marking stitch. long thread marking

Next I click on the COPY icon in my menu bar. This will copy that step 1 marking stitch.

IMG_6323

Next I click the PASTE¬†icon in my menu bar, which pastes another marking stitch step 1 (aka tackdown stitch) in my design. How handy! It does place that new step at the end, so it’s step #4 of my design which wouldn’t work. No fear… we can reorder our steps to make this right!

IMG_6324

Click Edit, then Order Threads in the toolbar.

IMG_6325

This is the order of the steps after I have copied and pasted that marking stitch. I want to move step 4 up to step 2 so that the design stitches 1) marking, 2) tackdown, 3) satin elephant and 4) eye and ear. The satin stitch and eye/ear are 2 different steps in case you might want to sew those in 2 different colors.

long thread order

Below I have typed in the New Order, and when I click OK it reorders the steps.

long thread order 2

Now, since this is an old design, the satin stitches are really thin. Guess what? I can make them thicker in Sew What-Pro! I first click on the ear/eye step in my thread chart. Just pick one of the satin stitch steps – it doesn’t matter which one.

long thread ear and eye

I then click on the Stitch Density and Pull Compensation icon.

IMG_6326

On the bottom you see Pull Compensation, which makes the satin stitch thicker. I bumped it up to 5 and when I click OK, my satin stitch becomes thicker. You can go all the way up to 20, but 5 to 10 is usually enough. Please note that I do not mess with density!

long thread density

I do the same for the satin stitch of the elephant step. I click on that step in my thread chart.

IMG_6326

Again, bump the pull compensation up to 5. Again, you can do more, but 5 is plenty for this project!

long thread density

As you can see below, my satin stitch is noticeably thicker.

long thread outline satin thicker

Here is a side by side comparison! Again, this is bumping my pull compensation up to 5. You could do more if you like really thick satin stitches. So… I was able to add in the needed tackdown step to my design AND make my satin stitches thicker!

long thread thinner satin-horz

And here is the finished layette gown! I used Monogram Wizard Plus “Kazoo” font. I also did all of my satin stitches and my name in a light green color.

IMG_6327

To see and read more about increasing Pull Compensation using Sew What-Pro, check out my previous blog post where I show several different variations of increasing the PC of the satin stitch (5, 10 and 20) – that post is HERE! Pretty cool, eh? Sew What-Pro is a great investment at only $65! Please note that SWP is a Windows embroidery software. I get asked a lot if you can use it with a Mac, and you CAN, but only with a Windows Emulator. PlayOnMac Windows is a free emulator available on the Sands Computing website – click HERE for more info. Applique Cafe is an authorized dealer of Sew What-Pro!

Here are a few new designs we added last week! I LOVE LOVE LOVE the Girly Turkey! She has been a popular design since we added her! The Vintage Christmas Tree is a fast and easy design too! You can see all of these at Applique Cafe!

girly spider 500-horz

Lastly, our new Digitizer’s Pick which is $1.50 for a limited time….

adigitizerspick 500

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!