Thursday, August 31, 2017

Digitized Folk Art Wristlet with Guitar Strap

When you digitize your own designs the possibilities are endless - take a look see at my new handy wristlet - functional yet colorful.  I started with this initial graphic (antique patterns) which is a great public library with oodles of patterns.

I used fabric my my stash and purchased the swivel hook hardware with my handy dandy Joann's coupons, so it was very inexpensive.

I used multiple hoopings (2) for the strap, and the canvas was a bit challenging as it becomes thick at the seams, but I just love the final product. It's functional - large enough to hold my phone, cards, etc., right-sized- not too big, and very fashionista - embroidery is in right now - ooh la la!

The zipper is in a cool funky place and and lining is a vivid blue moire that matches the blue
embroidery thread and zipper. 


This was digitized using my Janome Digitizer V5 and sewn on my Janome 15000 (Calypso).
Fabric exterior was black canvas duck cloth. I used 40 wt. rayon embroidery threads,
black cutaway stabilizer, a blue Janome needle for embroidery, and a denim needle for the assembly. To ease in the assembly I created a clear 7.5" template and traced it onto the front of the embroidered piece for visual placement. I then basted on the circle and used the backside as a sewing template. I pondered using my circle attachment, but decided to manually align the circle to the design as I like to eyeball the design placement prior to sewing.

Now that I have a short guitar strap, there's nothing stopping me from creating cross body guitar straps, and I think I will just do that - coolie moolie!

Monday, July 3, 2017

New Janome Digitizer V5 Challenge - Crochet Cut work In-the-Hoop Coaster

One of my goals in 2017 is to get close and personal with my Janome Digitizer. I am a member of a digitizing group with project challenges. A recent challenge involved a simple line design project. Then the next challenge included machine embroidery cut work and crochet.
Here's the vintage cherub graphic I chose.

I machine embroidered the completed sample on simple cotton. I took some liberties in changing the design as it was not a very good graphic, or very symmetrical. I realize now that it was a very poor choice for digitizing and will be careful in the future in selecting suitable graphics.

Another challenge was an in-the-hoop cut work and crochet coaster. The cut work was challenging as the design's cut out areas were very small (pull-your-hair-out small), but I do like the results of the crochet border.


Machine used - Janome 15000
Software - Janome Digitizer V5
Linen Fabric
Sulky 30 wt. Long Staple Cotton Matte Finish and 40 wt. Rayon Embroidery Threads
Light Tear-away and Light Wash-away Stabilizers
Top-stitch needle

1. Cut work patterns without copyright restrictions are very hard to find. I located a free download for a machine embroidery cut work butterfly design that I used. I only copied the graphic and did not download the free stitch file. However, here is the link should you want to obtain the free stitch file yourself from ABC embroidery designs:  free butterfly cutwork design
2. I hooped Tear-away on the bottom, light Wash-away next layer up.
3. I stitched the run lines for the cutouts then hand cut the tear-away on the bottom, and the linen fabric on the top. 
      4. Then stitched the rest of the butterfly in the 40 wt. rayon adding a layer of wash away on top.
      5. I then removed the tear-away from the bottom under the crochet border, then stitched the crochet border with the Sulky 30 wt. cotton and satin stitch ring last with the 40 wt. cotton rayon another layer of wash-away on top. 

      I hope this inspires you to to maximize the use of this wonderful tool and it's many functions just waiting to be unlocked by all of you creative machine embroiderers. So grab your tiny scissors and start snipping those cut-outs!

Friday, March 31, 2017

Happy Belated 2017 Pi Day!

I'm sure havin' fun with Heidi Swapp's mini lightbox in my craft room. The basic kit comes with a few pre-made slides. Of course you can purchase extra alphabet sets and slides. My fav has the fun icons (luv the nerd with glasses). It's just the right size - not too large, not too small. I even purchased a set of blank slides so I can generate my own quotes with my Silhouette vinyl sheets. Coolie moolie!

I sent this to my girlfriends as my Pi Day card and baked my usual batch of Pi cookies (using my handcrafted cookie cutter from a kit gifted by my daughter-in-law.)

Our son still receives Pi cookies every year (nerds unite).  Another great Pi Day -  Nyuk Nyuk!

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Adobe Photoshop Monogram Picture Collage Series Finale

As you may recall for my grandaughter's 2nd birthday (2014) I generated an "A" monogram which was featured on

Tutorial | Make a Photo Collage Monogram with Hybrid Techniques

Last year I continued the series with a second monogram. This year, for her 4th birthday, I'm completing this series of collages with the monogram - "M." I am also adding some detailed tips for you fellow craftistas just waiting to start your own series.

Side 1
Side 2

The sides, top and bottom were pre-measured and Mod Podged on as a single strip except the inside corners on the bottom of the "M" where seams facilitated a nice flat result.


Overall this is was an inexpensive project, just very time-consuming. But oh, what a fantastic customized gift for your loved one!

Handy dandy recommendations:
- Purchase your letters all at once to avoid chances of them being discontinued. These were purchased at Joann's the first year (with coupons of course). They measure 12" tall.
- I think Mod Podge could survive a nuclear attack - I used the same bottle all 3 years. Woo hoo!
- I painted the "M" white (2 coats on the back) prior to starting the process and allowed it to dry for 24 hours.
- To create the collage base I scanned (in 2  pieces) an outline of the "M" that I traced and created a Adobe Photoshop photomerge panorama as the base of the collage. Then dropped each pic and resized to cover the lines.You will have to fiddle with which ones to bring to front, sending to back won't work. I upgraded to Photoshop Elements 13 and found it an easy transition from the ancient version I was utilizing.
- To create a focus item, a pink color was revealed on a single photo. To achieve this you "uncover" the area you want color to show through:
  1. Create a new adjustment layer with a gradient map.
  2. Use the brush (adjust size) and brush over the area you want the color to reappear. Magic!
  3. Then I resized the photos and rotated as required for all sides of the "M."
- I created exact measured canvas sizes for the top, sides and bottoms. Some I enlarged 1/8" to allow for overlap when I applied it to the initial. Mod Podge is forgiving if you carefully to seam any of the pieces. Some of the inside corners resulted in a cleaner finish by seaming at the corner.
- Print out each piece and final fit it by trimming or adjusting as required. You may have to move pics a little wider over the edges and trim them back to get a tight fit. This takes patience, I had to print the "M" at least 7 times to achieve my level of satisfaction.
- Apply sides, top and bottom prior to the front. That way you can overlap the sides slightly to allow the front to fit right on top without a white seam showing through.
-The back was painted white and the date and occasion was also Mod Podged.

  So, now it's time to sharpen my scissors for next year's project. I challenge you to sharpen your own pair and let your inner craftista shine!

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Knitted Poncho, Katniss Cowl Vest, and Cowl Bandana

I am dedicating this post to my darling daughter-in-law, Sarah. 

Knitters gonna knit, and knit Sarah does well.

I LOVE LOVE LOVE ponchos, shawls and cowls. This shawl is soft, warm and so versatile. Love the pattern and button and neutral tone, it goes with everything even though I wore gray  to simplify the photo session - shout out to the always fabulous Dr. T :-)

Here's the back, just as beautiful as the front.
Coolie moolie!

I can even wear it with the points off center for another look. You could even unbutton it  and wear as a simple shawl, but what's the fun in that?

I picked up the pattern at my local knitting store, but you can always order from someone on the web - Blue Sky Alpacas Techno Sasha Wrap

Here's the adorable cowl that Sarah whipped up - pls ignore the uggo selfie :-(

Love it ! Perfect with sweaters, coats or jackets.

Want one of your own? Here's the free pattern -  Bandana Cowl

This is my very FAV - my Katniss vest. I LOVE hunger games. When I first laid eyes on this unique knitted wonder in the movie I knew I had to have it. Sarah was so willing to try something new and did an AWESOME job! I love sashaying around the mall and watching people's reactions. Several recognize it and mention the Hunger Games. My response - the Katniss salute of course!

The back is just as unique.  I do wear it without the leather jacket and it's just as cute!

I saw several knitted versions for sale on etsy. When I Sarah offered to knit one, I found the pattern on etsy, and the rest is history! Here's the pattern on Ravelry - Katniss Cowl Vest

Of course, no photo op is complete without including Diva Coco. As usual, we couldn't get her out of the way to take the pics, but she didn't enjoy being held for an actual planned photo. "She who must be obeyed" was finally freed to monitor her kingdom on her own terms.

Sarah's working on some new items, and yes, they aren't gray! I can't wait to see them! Hope these great ideas transform you from potential knit-wits to knitologists! FYI - Sarah is leading the way!


Thursday, November 6, 2014

Anna's Two Year Embroidered Child's Clothing

More birthday gifts for Anna Banana! Nothing like customized outfits! How fun-o!
Like the nerdy touch on this little balloon robot from Urban Threads? Love their designs.

 Gotta have another Pi design to satisfy the geeky-ness in our family.

Since she's swimming now, this is perfect.

 I just had to use one of the new Janome 15000 built-in designer designs embellished with one of my fav Japanese words which translates into cute or adorable.  I think it turned out Kawaii!

Now that she's old enough to get into characters, this is one of her favs right now. Recognize it?

Another year of fun gifts! I can't wait to grab my scissors and snip those jump threads next year.


Saturday, August 16, 2014

Adobe Photoshop Elements & Mod Podge Picture Collage

Another year has flown by and Anna Maxine is already 2! After last year's shadowbox I was ready for another challenge. The picture collages I have investigated involve pictures printed, cut and assembled on a base template with Mod Podge. The base is usually a flat template and I would guess the multiple layers of Mod Podge may still result in an uneven finish due to the spliced and pieced pics. In creating Anna's collage, I decided to use a 3-D base (paper mache initial) with the goal of a smooth (no piecing) finish. I combined technology -  Tera (my supersized computer) and manual crafting - Mod Podge for the best of both worlds. Oh yeah babee!

Of course, a flat template would have been  much easier, but this Jedi is up for the challenge of all those extra sides, bottoms and top. Hmmm, do or do not -  there is no try!

The long sides and top were the easiest to assemble.

Added a simple "quilt" label on the back to finish it off.

Want the scoop on creating your own?

1. For the front, I scanned in a basic traced "A" template into  Adobe Photoshop Elements and used it as the initial layer.
2. I modified each pic to a gradient hue of black/gray and cropped as necessary. I also
removed the gradient hue from the "Anna" text in the hat pic exposing the original pink color.
3. Then added all the pics in separate layers onto the base "A" template to ensure adequate coverage.
4. For the sides, tops and bottoms I created new files with canvas sizes equivalent to the   measurements of each. Then followed steps 2 and 3 above.

I had read many articles about Mod Podge bleeding images from inkjet printers. And I tried different mediums for printing. I really wanted a canvas look, but found canvas and matted paper resulted in poor quality images. So plain old copier paper worked best, and I experienced no issues with ink bleeding when applying the layers of Mod Podge. I printed 11" x 17" pages on my trusty Epson Photo R2000 to get a nice flat surface with no piecing required. The front required several tries of prints and cuts to complete, and was the most difficult part.

Just remember - Mod Podge each section and let it dry completely before starting another. And always start with clean hands. I found out the hard way that any trace of sticky Mod Podge on your fingers touching another wet portion will result in pulling up finger sized holes of your print - uff da!
My method reduces all that cutting and piecing until the final assembly. Time to grab your own scissors and trim your template pieces for that perfect collage!


Monday, June 16, 2014

Child's Hooded Bath Towel

Yep, Anna is no longer a baby. Since she's outgrown her baby towels I thought I'd have some fun-o with this project. It only requires 2 bath towels, a hand towel and some ribbon. I found these great Ralph Lauren towels that are big, fluffy and the perfect beach color!

 Of course mwah had to kick it up a notch and personalize the hood for my darling Anna.

Here's the link for the tutorial from icandy.

icandy hooded towel tutorial

No problems with any of the steps and they turned out just mahvelous babee. Love the built-in script lettering and icons on Calypso (Janome 15000). What a dream machine.

Time's a wastin' -  drop that rubber ducky and snip those handtowels in half for this quick project!


Thursday, June 12, 2014

Hemming Jeans and Pants

For those of you who are also vertically challenged, this is one chore that seems to pile up on me. I have found an easy smeasy method of quickly hemming up any type of pants, shirts, sleeves, etc. so I thought I'd share the link 'cause these gals are great. Also remember when hemming jeans to use a denim needle. And let me tell 'ya - Calypso (my Janome 15000) sews through jean layers like butta!

Do It Yourself Divas Hem Up Jeans Fast and Easy

After marking with the pin and rolling up the hem, I usually just measure the first hem and then use the same measurement for the second. And they show a few options to finish off the extra fabric that you cut off. Once again, Sergio (my 1200D Janome Serger) performs flawlessly.

So hey girl, no excuses! It's time to get caught up on your clothing alternations and strut your stuff.


Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Morse Code Quilts

First quilts designed by mwah - yeah you heard it babee! Benjamin, Sarah and Anna (Last Name) morse code in beach teal themes (their fav). Quilt measures 54"x68".

Here's the design scoop:
1. Laid it out in Excel first. Dots are small squares, dashes are large squares. (Yeah, Dr. T and I both  have ham radio licenses KA9ZQL, KA9WNE - Nyuk nyuk).
2. Input the design and uploaded the fabrics into EQ7 so I could manipulate color placement.
3. Pieced and stippled it on Calypso (Janome 15000). 90 hoopings it took. But patient I was - the force was strong. (Yoda Cincess)
4. Used batiks for the piecing and King Tut varigated blue threads for the stippling.

And to kick it up a notch, I used the leftover fabrics to make Anna Maxine her very own Morse Code Quilt. A nerdette in the making!

I was running on fumes with the light fabric, so the quilt labels are small, but sufficient.

Ms. Diva Coco is giving her paw of approval in the first pic so I knew they were a hit!

So remember to snip away your fears and design your own quilts. Originals are never boring!


Monday, November 18, 2013

Goodbye Janome 12000 - Hello Janome 15000!!!

Yep, you heard it - Goodbye Mercury - Hello Calypso! Dr. T surprised me with an early birthday present. Uffda! Shocked and excited I was (thanks Yoda). 

The neat-o aqua stripe below the screen (yep, biggest embroidery sewing machine screen on the market) inspired her theme.

If you recall - Calypso was a nymph in Greek methodology who lived on an island. Calypso enchants Odysseus with her singing as she strolls to and fro across her weaving loom, with a golden shuttle. Had to name my new baby after a craftin' nymph - yah babee! One of the fun features is the ability to change the colored light setting.  Love the ocean blue!

I had a busy couple of days, but got the screensaver updated (Anna Banana was first to go on), downloaded the new version update from Janome and tested her out. Let me tell 'ya - I didn't believe it when I heard sewing a straight line was hugely improved, but it really is! There are also new built-in designs from designers and new stitches. And the new Horizon Link Suite is a huge upgrade. And last but not least - it's all connected to my mini ipad so I can view, edit and monitor designs from anywhere in the house. Coolie Moolie! Yep that's Dr. T with hair on Calypso's screensaver!

There's a reason my nickname in college for Dr. T was "Mr. Perfect" - yep, you heard me. Lucky gal I am. He and the ladies from my fav hangout Edwards Sewing Center yukked it up while keeping this big secret. It sure worked because I had no idea. Time to ride this wave of happiness and see where it takes me!

Anyhoo - gotta get my scissors sharpened so Calypso and I can dive into those Xmas gifts - and how!


Friday, October 25, 2013

Anna Banana's Halloween Bag

I cackled with delight when I spotted this Banana Sock Monkey on one of my fav embroidery design sites - Urban Threads. So I zoomed on my broom over to the computer to download it.  Digitized the text in a "Thriller" font, and completed the design with some rustling leaves from one of my standby design packs by Stitchitize.


Next,  I added her monogram on the back 'cause just couldn't have a plain bag for my darling Anna. -  only the best for our little fashionista.

And last - created an embellishment with my first try at Perler beads. Tedious, but what funn-o!


So, cast your own spell on your scissors and remember...

"When black cats prowl and pumpkins gleam,
May luck be yours on Halloween!"