Off Center?

 I hope everyone is having a great summer! We are in denial over here that SCHOOL starts back in 2 WEEKS. In 2 weeks I will be crying over enjoying my very last day of summer 2013. I have mixed emotions as I do every year. On the one hand, all 3 of my children will be at the same school on the same schedule. But… my youngest also starts REAL Kindergarten which makes me a little sad. Not looking forward to getting up at the crack of dawn and doing carpool twice a day. But… we are already getting up sort of early (see later part of post) and entertaining them all day can be exhausting. Looking forward to the routine. Not looking forward to homework X 3 and all the tears that first month or so which I like to call the adjustment period. You know.. the “I can’t BeLiEvE you are making me do homework when it is so pretty outside!!!” (lots of drama and tears)

Anyway… I have been doing a little work the past 2 weeks. This morning I had on my to-do list a Baby Elephant onesie with “Blake” underneath. I did a post a couple of years ago about designs that are centered, but have features that make them APPEAR off center. It’s not a design flaw. It’s just that some designs have tails, noses, trunks, vines, etc. that throw the main part of the design off center while the entire designs itself IS, in fact, centered. Here is a great example!

This is my screen in Sew What Pro, and as you can see, the elephant is centered and the name is centered underneath. (p.s. I used Monogram Wizard Plus “Kazoo” font) So everything is centered, but because the main body of the elephant is to the right a bit, the whole thing appears off center. The name needs to line up more with the feet of the elephant to make it appear centered.

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I kept Blake centered, and moved the elephant to the left. Even though the elephant is now NOT centered, it appears centered because the name and feet line up more. I could save this as is and stick it on my machine to sew, but my machine is going to center the whole thing again so it will turn out off center. Are you confused yet?? Before I save a design, I press the CENTER button in SWP one last time, and had I pressed it it would have shifted this whole design to the right and then Blake would have been off center (to the right). So…….

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I thought… why don’t I add something to the design that I won’t sew, but that will make and keep the design centered on the onesie. In the previous blog post I mentioned, I added a word or name underneath and then centered the applique and did not sew the name or word underneath. Today I thought.. why not add a “.”? So as you can see below, I added a dot (MWP Motif SySerif 26) to the right. My name and design is “centered” looking on the screen so it will appear centered on the onesie. The dot is also last in all of my steps, so I will just skip it!


Here is the finished onesie. As you can see, the name Blake is centered and the legs of the elephant are centered over the name, therefore the whole design appears centered on the onesie!


I also did a backpack today so I snapped a few pics to share. This is your typical Jansport backpack. I used a seam ripper to remove the Jansport label (which did not “go” with the cute hot pink backpack). It took me all of 3 minutes to get the label off.


Here it is after I removed the label. A lint brush took care of the loose threads.


This picture is a smidge blurry but I covered where the label was with our Frame Patch 5 (minus the inner patch) and MWP Party Time monogram. Keep this in mind when you are out backpack shopping! I also did this last year with some mini designs ~ see this post!


We have also been working on new designs, and this is a Mini Applique Pumpkin I did on a onesie the other day. Mini designs are great for onesies & baby gowns.


And now to the reason we are getting up early… we added to our family last week! Our kids have been b-e-g-g-i-n-g for a dog for the past few years. We kept saying “when Mallory is older” “when Mallory is 5”. Well, Mallory turned 5 in February so they put us under some serious pressure. We were able to put them off until August so that we could enjoy our vacations this summer out of town, and I found this little girl while at the beach a couple of weeks ago. All of the kids were out of town last Thursday when I picked her up, so Jeff & I were able to enjoy {and prepare} her for a couple of days with no kids. Browder got home from camp Saturday morning and was shocked and surprised when he saw her! The other 2 got back Sunday afternoon and were also shocked and surprised! They LOVE her, although I think the newness is wearing off a bit. She is a Maltese and we named her Maggie (or Maggy as Browder spells it on Instagram). She is teeny tiny but has already grown since we got her!

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If you have any puppy training tips, please let me know! We are crate training her to sleep and potty training her to go outside. The tee tee part is going well with only 1 accident (that I have FOUND). The poo poo part is a bit more challenging. Those are NOT raisinettes we keep finding all over the rug. She likes fabric! We try to keep her busy and entertained with her toys.

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Mallory gave her this little stuffed pink puppy, so they took a nap earlier today.

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The kids LOVE her!

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This is where we found her the other night after she first met Mallory & G and had all 5 of us swooning over her. This is the back corner of our den behind the chair. She is precious, and hopefully the potty training and sleeping-all-night will kick in. Again, any tips? Email me!!

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More on Fast Frames

Yay another post! Today has been a crazy day! Some days I get sucked in to Facebook and then it takes me all day to keep up with all the comments and replies. Today has been one of those days. I managed to monogram a backpack (not the one in this post) and edit these pics for a new blog post on Fast Frames. I also have a great new post on Monogram Wizard Plus but will save that one for tomorrow or another day this week.

This, my friends, is a backpack (duh). You may be able to tell that my friend who sent this to me to monogram took the tag off (right above my straight pin). Her daughter is going in to 4th grade (I think??) so she said do her name, and that she’s in to peace signs! Sounds like a call for MINI DESIGNS! First I pinned my center of the top part of the front pocket (flap, we’ll call it). 

 I got my name together merged with a couple of cute mini designs. The peace sign is from Embroidery-Boutique and the Flower is from Applique Momma (it also has a peace sign in the middle). I used Monogram Wizard Plus Specs font. I love the font and it’s great for initials, but names are tricky. It spaces out rather strangely. I will explain all that in my next MWP post this week, but in the meantime you can see that I layered this name together IN Monogram Wizard Plus so that it all lined up and/or was spaced correctly. Layer 1 – A, Layer 2 – nn, Layer 3 – a. I then saved it and merged it in to my Sew What Pro. I added the mini designs, centered the whole thing and then saved it to my machine. I saved this in a 5×7 hoop space but will use my Fast Frames.

Now it’s time to pick out the right sized Fast Frame. This one measures 7″ x 8″.

I very loosely cut my sticky stabilizer (from You want to cut it bigger than your frame so that it’ll overlap the edges of your frame.

Peel the paper side off to reveal the sticky side.

 Stick it to the bottom side of your frame (see photo down below which illustrates a little better what the “bottom” is). Hint: Your frame should slope down from where you attach it.

Wrap the edges around the frame. Doesn’t have to be all neat and perfect.

I then “stick” the backpack flap to the sticky paper on my fast frame. I usually line the top of the flap up with the top of the frame and then pin it in place with straight pins. This also shows me my borders. Since multi needle machines don’t technically recognize fast frames, you have to check the outer border of your design to make sure the needle won’t hit the edges of your frame.

Here is how your fast frame should attach to the frame ~ it slopes down. That’s how you know what the bottom of your fast frame is to attach the sticky paper (believe me, I have stuck it on there upside down and backwards).

 Blah blah blah sew the design AFTER testing your borders and here’s the outcome! I use FILL STITCH instead of satin stitch. Since this is a backpack I wouldn’t want the satin stitch to get snagged or pulled.

 I peel the sticky stabilizer/fast frame off the flap and as you can see it leaves a little inside the letters. You can peel that away easily. Get under it w/ scissors if need be. The sticky stabilizer is just sticky enough and comes off great!

I then peel the sticky paper off my frame. As you can see it comes off very easily with no residue left on the frame.

Here is my finished backpack!

Again, stay tuned for my next post on another Monogram Wizard Plus trick.

Followup to my last post on MWP ~ here is a link to the Facebook Page – click HERE. As far as the Yahoo Group I mentioned… I am not a member of it. I just heard about it on the Facebook page. Evidently it’s a private closed group and they are currently not accepting new members! Check out the Facebook page! So far I’ve seen a few great tips on there!

We are celebrating 3 years of Applique Cafe, so all designs are 1/2 off through next Wednesday, August 15th!



Feeling Crafty!

I recently “ran out” of my blog hosting services from when I switched over to WordPress (from my old Blogger blog). Meaning I paid a big fee to have it converted over which included a year or so of hosting. I am now paying monthly, and I HAVE GOT to start posting more to justify that money. With that being said, I vow to do better! School starts in a couple of weeks and this year I will have 4 mornings free (a few hours each morning) with the 5th morning having only 1 child at home, so I *think* I will have more free time (ha ha we know how that goes).

Last week was our last family vacation of the summer. We spent the week in Perdido, FL and for the most part spent some fun time with the whole Gulledge family (Jeff’s parents, sister and bro and their spouses and the kids’ cousins). It was so much fun! When I say “for the most part” I mean that we got a couple of days w/ Jeff’s bro and his new wife and several days with Jeff’s parents. We stayed the whole week. Here’s a pic of the kids on our last night. Mallory has on one of my favorite Applique Cafe designs ~ Loopy Flower. Garrison is about to start Kindergarten while Mallory will do Pre-K 4 and Browder is going in to 3rd grade (sob sob where did my babies go?)

 Here is what I have been doing the past couple of days. Wednesday afternoon I met my mom half way and she took all 3 kids for a few days so that Jeff & I could have a “break” (which translates to me monogramming for 2 days). Yesterday I was super lonely. Today Jeff & I met for lunch and then I ran several much-needed errands, which was nice to be able to do ALONE! Not to mention I treated myself to my last pedi of the summer. Anyway, these are super duper cute backpack laundry bags brought to me (graduation gifts) to monogram. My customer found these at Marshalls (try TJ Maxx?) and I think they were like $8.99/each. I know Bed Bath and Beyond sells them too but maybe only in black?

Drawstring at the top. I took these photos quickly before she came to pick them up yesterday so sorry they aren’t great.

Backpack ~ great for toting to the car to head home from college to wash all those clothes. I didn’t measure these but they were nice and big!

 I also monogrammed this long sleeve polo for my customer’s daughter. I have seen these a lot as bridesmaids gifts ~ the girls wear them on the day of the wedding (button down shirt is usually a plus). I have done several of these for the same customer for her daughters and I think they are cute! On a couple of them I monogrammed a very small block straight-across monogram on the top of the pocket (like a man would wear), but on this one she wanted the full circle swirly monogram (I used Monogram Wizard Plus “Master Circle” which is my favorite monogram font). Just an idea!

 Last night and today I have been monogramming 14 towels for my new sister in law. All the same font and 2 different colors so pretty easy, but time consuming! Luckily these are “set it and forget it” type items so I was able to multitask while they sewed.

This is Monogram Wizard Plus “Victor” font.

 I did have some trouble and I was so anxious to share this because I’ve seen this complaint a lot on one of the Facebook groups. You may have had this happen before? I did “FILL STITCH” on the towels and had trouble with some looping. After changing needles (literally replacing the needle), switching the thread to a different needle (on my 6 needle), cleaning my bobbin case AFTER changing my bobbin out and then doing a different color towel using different thread and having NO looping, I determined it was the spool of thread! I did a tension test and everything while trying to determine my problem.

 This is a 5000M spool of thread (a brand I use ALL THE TIME). I noticed that as it was coming off the spool it was twisting some, so I honestly think it was the thread. Today I went to a local quilt store and found an Isacord 1000M spool in the same color and finished the towels without a single loop. So….. if you have problems with looping, it MAY be your tension or any of the other issues I ruled out, OR, it may be the thread. Maybe it wasn’t wound on the spool correctly? I don’t know, but I’m going to try it again with regular appliques or satin stitch and see if it just doesn’t like fill stitch monograms.

 Now on to my crafty segment! I have been on Pinterest forever. I’ve tried a few recipes and spend hours upon hours each week just checking who’s pinned what without every DOING anything. We are going to Birmingham tomorrow (Jeff & I) to shop a little and have lunch with Jeff’s bro and his new bride (whom I monogrammed all the towels for). Several months ago I pinned a Christmas ornament made with a wedding invitation. SO… I stuck their wedding invite in my drawer and finally today made the trip to Hobby Lobby to get my supplies. I got 2 different size ornaments because I wasn’t sure which size I needed. After trying the bigger one, I went with the smaller one and everything fit great! I’ll keep the bigger one for some other project. With sale prices and coupons I spent less than $7. These look glass but feel more like acrylic. Also, I bought them individually but they did sell them by the box as well and also in a few different shapes (great for vinyl).

First I used my el cheapo Fiskars paper cutter I got from Walmart and cut the invitation in to strips as best I could, trying not to cut off any of the lettering.

I then wrapped each strip around my (Applique Cafe) pen, making it curl.

 I then just put each curled strip in to the ornament (the top pops off). I tried to place the strips with their name, etc where they would show. I put the top back on, attached the heart charm (the Pinterest photo used a sea shell) and then tied my ribbon on. I used 1/8″ navy organza ribbon for the hanger and 5/8″ navy organza ribbon for the bow. Their wedding color was navy, hence the navy ribbon. In the Pinterest photo she used white and cream ribbon. I honestly couldn’t remember while at Hobby Lobby whether the invitation was more white or cream, and then remembered NAVY was their color so I went with navy! Anyway, I thought this was a cute little personal gift and I hope they like it! Finally, all those hours on Pinterest paid off!

 As a follow up to my Mini Embroidery Design post, I have another technique to measuring your polo type shirts for mini or other designs. A blog reader emailed me her trick ~ she said she measures from the top seam of the arm down to the armpit seam. On my shirt it was a little over 6″. I then stuck a pin where the middle was and then measured from the button placket to there.

A pretty even 6″ so my initials or mini design would go where my pin is! This is a great “rule of thumb” for measuring and much more scientific than my post! Thanks for the tip!

I apologize for this post being all over the place! I guess a random post is better than no post! Have a great weekend!