My Favorite Things

I had a couple of people ask me what was in my “Favorite Things” giveaway basket at the Everything Applique Conference this past weekend. I hope these are in a somewhat logical order, but if not, you’ll get the idea! I’ll also try to reference where everything came from. First of all, here is a picture of my door prize ~ Applique Cafe’s “Favorite Things” basket. The basket, or Angled White Beverage Tub, came from Target. If I knew how to use my vinyl cutting machine, I would have adorned it with lime and/or pink polka dots! The cellophane basket bag came from Michael’s and the Raffia came from an Etsy store. I also used hot pink crinkle cut paper filler from Caffco Floral Outlet. (I had a lot of fun doing door prizes). The AC stickers came from!

The winner of my basket, Demonica, posted this photo on Facebook. If you’ll remember my last post, she rode from New Orleans to Birmingham on a TRAIN! I just think that is so awesome and fun! She said it was very relaxing and gave her some quality time away from the family to rest and do a little work on her laptop (in the sleeper car). I honestly had no idea you could ride a train anywhere, so it’s even cooler that she rode a train to come to the Everything Applique Conference!

Now on to the basket… I included my go-to stabilizer, 12×12 and 8×8 2.2 oz precut medium cutaway stabilizer squares. Both of these came from Check out all of their “commercial backing” and you can narrow down your search by the type of stabilizer you are looking for (cutaway, precut squares, tearaway, etc.). Click HERE for precut squares. They come in a variety of weights, but I like the 2.2 oz, as it is not too thick or heavy. I have used 2.5 oz as well and it’s not too heavy either. Their commercial cutaway also comes on the roll, but the squares are really convenient.

As you can see the 8×8 squares are perfect for the 4×4 hoop. (This is my Brother PR650 4×4 hoop)

The 12×12 squares are great for the Durkee 9×9 hoop and also the 5×7 hoop. Check out this post for more info on the Durkee Hoop, which is compatible with most multi-needle machines.

You can use the entire 12×12 square for your 5×7 hoop, or cut a few inches off before you hoop.

 Now on to Sulky KK2000 spray. This is a temporary spray adhesive that I use to “stick” my cutaway stabilizer to the inside of my shirt before hooping. It keeps the stabilizer in place so I am able to hoop my shirt. I also use the 99 cent tape measurer from Hobby Lobby! I keep one in my purse as well ~ you never know when you’ll need to measure something. When I do a shirt, I measure from armpit seam to armpit seam and mark my center. This distance is usually a good even measurement (14″, 12.5″ etc).

 Spray adhesive can build up and make things sticky, so I recommend spraying it OUTSIDE. My sewing room is right by our front door, so I walk out on the porch and spray my stabilizer over the bushes. My bushes might be sticky, but at least my carpet isn’t!

 My shirt is inside out, I’ve sprayed my stabilizer with spray adhesive, and now I stick the stabilizer to the shirt. Turn it right side out and I am ready to hoop! The Sulky KK2000 spray is temporary, so when I am finished appliqueing my shirt, it pulls right off so that I can trim the excess stabilizer around the design. See this post for more info on hooping.

 Also in my basket: Schmetz Embroidery Needles (75/11) and an air erasable pen. I use the air erasable pen (from Joann or any sewing store) to mark the center of my shirt (or bib, or towel, etc). It disappears with a little time, or you can also squirt water on the dot and it’ll go away. A wet Q-tip works as well. If I am marking the center of a dark item, such as a navy blue t-shirt or a fluffy blanket, I use a straight pen. Chalk would work as well. You may notice the lint buildup in the clip on my pen. I have had this pen since I started doing applique about 5 years ago!

As far as embroidery needles, I use 75/11 needles for everything. Some people use ballpoint needles and some people change out their needles for various projects. 99% of the time I am doing samples or tshirts so this is the type of needle I use. You can get Schmetz needles from, Joann (I stock up when notions are 50% off) or most any sewing store. Steve ( recommends Schmetz, as they are the oldest needle company around. Basically they have been making needles for a long long, long long long, time!

Bobbins ~ for my Brother PR650, I use the Fil-Tec Magnetic Core Bobbin. A box of 100 is $28, again at I recommend any prewound bobbin, as the tension is consistent and it’s fast and easy to change out your bobbin. These were not in my basket since I didn’t know what kind of machine the winner would have, but I’m including them in my favorite things!

 Heat. N. Bond. Lite ~ check out this post on why I love this product!! You can buy HNBL by the bolt, in a box, on a small 3 yard roll, 15 yard roll, etc. Some people buy it at their local Walmart, but I have not seen it in Montgomery. You can buy small packages at places like Joann or Hobby Lobby. sells it as well. I used to stock up at Joann when notions were 50% off, but lately I have not been able to find any there. Wonder Under is another fusible product you can use, but I use and recommend HNBL.

Instructions ~ very easy to use!

 Another item NOT in my basket, but still one of my favorite things (and a necessity in applique). The iron is your friend! I have a Shark iron. It’s not fancy and yes, it leaks water sometimes. Iron your shirts, iron your bibs, use the iron for your HNBL, iron when you’re done. IRON!! Do you get hoop burn? Squirt with water from your iron, iron over the hoop burns. They are gone! I see photos on Facebook a lot and it looks like someone took a picture of a t-shirt from the dirty clothes basket. Ironing can make all the difference in your appliques, your pictures, etc! I hate to iron my own clothes, but ironing is so important when doing embroidery and applique.

 Scissors ~ I did include 4″ curved Gingher scissors in my basket, as well as a 2-pack of Fiskars fabric-cutting scissors. I use the Ginghers in the applique process only to trim the fabric around the tackdown stitch. I use regular fabric-cutting scissors to cut fabric, to cut stabilizer, to cut ribbon, etc. You can never have enough scissors! p.s. I got my Ginghers at Joann and you can usually catch them on sale or use a coupon.

The Ginghers are great for trimming closely around your applique! The curved end helps you to NOT cut a hole in your shirt (been there, done that, got the t-shirt)!

 As you can see here, I trim very closely. I do this with the help of a) the scissors and b) the HNBL on my fabric makes trimming easy and CLEAN! This design is ready for the satin stitch!

 There were also a few fabrics in my basket. I typically buy 1/4 yards of fabric since a little goes a long way when doing applique. I LOVE polka dots, ginghams, stripes and small florals and prints for applique! These are all my GO-TO fabrics, as you can probably see in my design sample photos.

 You can’t beat good ginghams, and try to avoid the cheap thin ones. Fabric Finder brand ginghams are great!


 One more item that I should have included in my basket but didn’t have time to get… a REAL thread chart! This is the Isacord real thread sample thread chart. I also have the Exquisite (formerly Poly-X from Kens Sewing Center) thread chart and use them both. We all know the color print charts are impossible to match as well as the color square on your computer screen. These charts are usually $10 each and are well worth every dollar when you are searching for thread to match that funny colored peach dress.

 Another tip that I NEED to do ~ mark, circle or underline the colors you have on the chart. That way if the sticker comes off of the top of your spool of thread (which happens to me all the time), you have a record on your chart of which colors you have and like!

 I did include a few spools of thread in my basket ~ Isacord 5830 is my favorite lime (it’s hard to find and only comes in 1000M as far as I have found)! I also included a hot pink, yellow and turquoise. Demonica also got an Applique Cafe Gift Certificate in her basket! (Hint Hint: Mother’s Day is 2 weeks away)

There are probably a few more things I consider my favorite things, but that was about all I could fit in the basket! If you have any questions please comment or email me ~! A lot of these things were discussed in our class, Applique the Right Way!

EAC 2012

OK friends, here is my post-Everything Applique Conference blog post! For those of you who have no idea what I’m talking about, a (1st ever) Everything Applique Conference was held this weekend in Birmingham, AL (at the BJCC). 7 digitizer applique website owners like myself assisted 1 digitizer/website owner (Kathy [and her hubs Jeffrey] the host and brain child of this event) in planning the event and we were all “presenters” and were able to teach the classes.

I first want to say how overwhelmed I was at the amount of people I met at the conference who said they read my blog, had been following for years, asked about my kitchen, etc. Honestly there are times where I wonder if anyone is reading, or if I am just blabbering my heart out to my 3 friends and long lost cousin. So, I left the conference this weekend re-energized about blogging and I promise to do a better job at it from now on. I think I am still on a Conference high. It was so exciting and fun and I told someone at church yesterday it felt like an out-of-body experience. Did I mention there were over 700 women (and a few men) there?

Friday night a couple of hundred women came for a “Meet & Greet”, which was a lot of fun and I think it ‘broke the ice’ and calmed our nerves a little! Each of us had a table for our door prizes and samples. (sorry some of these photos aren’t fabulous – some were taken from my phone). Here is my table, and next year I hope it’ll be a little snazzier! This was kind of a last minute “bring some samples” thrown-together kind of thing.

Each digitizer did a basket of “favorite things” as well as other various door prizes (gift certificates, fabric, thread, etc.)

Here we are on Friday night ~ L to R: Cristy from Itch 2 Stitch, Brandy from Applique Momma, ME from Applique Cafe, Emily from Applique Alley, Kathy from Applique Corner (she is the one who put this whole shindig together), Holly from Applique Junkie, Rachel from Embroidery Boutique and Karen from Applique Market. We are all competitors, and after talking on Facebook, email, messaging 24/7 for 2 weeks straight, we all met for the first time this weekend. It was SO MUCH FUN! A few of these ladies I have “known” for a long long time, and it was so much fun to hang out w/ them!

 I, along with Brandy from Applique Momma, taught 4 classes on “Applique the Right Way” and I just hope what we said and did made sense! Our first class was a group of advanced women (hello nervousness), but overall I think they walked away maybe learning SOMETHING?? Some weren’t familiar with Heat N Bond Lite and they were great to ask and answer questions, so it was a great 1st class. After advanced we had 2 packed-out classes of Intermediate folks (200+ people), followed by our last class of beginners.

Here is our class presentation table!

We discussed designs (satin, zig zag, raggy, etc). I am excited to report that I took all of those cut out samples of our AC test designs and USED THEM!!!! We were able to pass them around the room for each class so everyone could see the different types of designs (satin, raggy, zig zag, mini). We also discussed fabric, thread, stabilizer, scissors, and Brandy demonstrated the applique process on a shirt for each class. She did a great job!

 We discussed all the different types of stabilizer, most of which came from They were vendors at the conference and I think they were a big hit ~ most of the people in our classes were shocked when I told them the large roll of medium cutaway stabilizer (on the right by the Exquisite thread chart) costs $12.99! Look for their commercial backing on their website, and I recommend the 2.2 oz! We also discussed thread, and as you can see I use both Exquisite (Ken’s Sewing Center) and Isacord ( I love them both! Exquisite has some colors that Isacord doesn’t have, and vice versa, so I use both.

We had a Brother PE770 machine in the room as well as a PR650 6-needle. The PE is a great starter machine!

Here’s another shot of my “favorite things” door prize! After the conference I met the sweet girl (for the 2nd time) who won my basket. First of all, when they called out a ticket number for my basket, no one stood up. I wish I could remember her name, but the girl who eventually won told me she prayed “Lord, please let me win!!!”. Her number was THEN CALLED!!!!!!! How fun!!!! She then told me that she rode to the Conference on a TRAIN all the way from New Orleans! How AWESOME is that!?!?!??!! Had I known she would have gotten a prize for mode of transportation, for sure!! It was fun to talk to her and I hope she will message me! I met so many women that I’ve “known” from Facebook! I met one lady who I’ve ‘known’ for years, and it didn’t hit me until my ride home who she was. We also signed a couple of autographs (ba haaaaaa haaa) which was fun!!

Here is picture of the stage and our master conference planner, Koral! She kept us in line and on our toes all weekend! The items on stage were just a portion of the many door prizes that were given away (including a PE770 machine!!!!!)


Here is an attendee winning the thread collection from Ken’s Sewing Center!

Here is Steve from – he demonstrated some great machines and hoop options during lunch! Even the table of digitizers were in awe as he demonstrated the Mighty Hoop!

The only thing about the conference that I would change is that I would have LOVED to sit in on the other classes! I’ve heard such great reviews on the Photography and Marketing class! We all know I could use some help on photography!!  Here are some pics from our class (Applique the Right Way). First of all, please notice I am holding a m-i-c-r-o-p-h-o-n-e. Those of you who know me know that I am relatively quiet and this is so out of character for me. But, we were forced to use it by the first class. We taught 4 classes total ~ the intermediate classes were over 200 folks each. Here I am discussing spray adhesive.

Brandy is demonstrating sewing a shirt on a PR-650. Notice how a lot of people are taking notes (or writing down out their grocery list for next week).

Lots of people asked lots of great questions, thank goodness!



Here are the digitizers again. Our aprons are from 4Retro Sisters on Etsy! Aren’t they cute??

This is the view from the back of the room where we all met. That’s Jeff walking on the left. It was an amazing turnout!

At the end we all got up on stage for a Panel Q & A!

This photo is blurry, but we presented Kathy with a beautiful framed painting from Donnie Sasser. Kathy and her husband were FABULOUS to work with and we were all so honored to be able to help with this event!!

 It sounds like Kathy is already planning for next year! She is considering making it a 2 day conference which would give more time for classes and vendor shopping. This year was wonderful (and the planning was done in a matter of 2 to 3 months). I can’t imagine how awesome it’ll be when she has a whole year to plan! Lastly here is a picture of Jeff and Jim. Jim is Karen from Applique Market’s hubby and he & Jeff hung out all weekend and had a great time. They were put to work during lunch!

Sewing Room Update # 879

I hope everyone had a good Easter! It was such a beautiful weekend here in Montgomery! On Friday I got my valances back that I had made for our office/sewing room. YAY!! Since we hosted the family Easter lunch and egg hunt yesterday (32 folks), I was so glad they were ready in time and we hung them Saturday afternoon. These pictures are not great. While our office/sewing room has these 2 windows (see below), I can’t take a decent picture in here for the life of me. Outside of these windows is our (covered) front porch, so I don’t get great sunlight (and I am not a professional photographer!!) Trust me – it looks a TON better than white walls and no window treatments! I love the new wall color and the bright valances tie in the green desks. And you’ll see below, the black gingham-ish trim and pleats tie in all the black (chairs, bulletin boards, etc). This is Jeff’s office too, hence the TV mounted on the wall obstructing partial view of my pretty valances. 😉

 I still have my thread stands and Expedit cubbies. Those are several of Browder’s paintings and such from his art classes on top. 2 calendars on the other wall – we keep 2 months pretty full. Side note: I recently asked Steve ( about my thread and the threat of dust. He told me that dust CAN accumulate on your thread if it’s stored out in the open. Such dust CAN get in to your machine too. But, if your thread is not directly under an air vent you should be fine. He saw my set-up and seemed to think mine was OK. I have started dusting mine off before I use it just in case. If you are like me and use your thread daily, it’s not reasonable to keep it stored covered up somewhere. If you store your thread on stands like me, just check to be sure it’s not directly under an air vent. If you see dust on the thread or the spool, wipe it off before using it!

Same setup w/ desks and machine. I had several people suggest me moving things around, but the way it is now I can sit at my desk and everything is within reach (except for fabric and thread). I have my iron, machine, hoops, etc. all within reach, so this is the best possible setup of our furniture. I do share this space w/ Jeff, so it’s not like I can completely take over! 😉

Closeup of the valances. This is Waverly Modern Essentials from The black gingham I got at King Cotton here in town. I love the colors!

 I have posted before that my machine used to be on a Craftsman tool chest from Sears. My machine is now on a file cabinet “desk” from Home Decorators, but I still use (and love) my tool chest. It’s where I store all of my hoops, stabilizers and “junk”. The top is a GREAT surface for hooping as well! I would recommend either of these pieces as a machine stand. Both are sturdy and I have never had my machine vibrate or move AT ALL. p.s. The “real” machine stands are great too!

 Precut 12″ squares from on the left, 8″ squares on the right under my machine toolbox. Fil-Tec Magna bobbins and my big roll of sticky stabilizer. All of this is from! The other 2 drawers were too messy to show you! 🙂

And… I posted a while back about throwing away my samples. Several of you got on to me 😉 for throwing them away, so since then I’ve kept them. They are done usually on stabilizer if I don’t have a t-shirt to do them on. OK folks… here is my pile of samples. What am I supposed to do with them? Any ideas??

Reminder: Our current 35% off sale at ends this Wednesday, April 11th! We are also gearing up for the upcoming Everything Applique Conference in Birmingham, AL on April 28th! There is still time to register ~ the deadline is Monday, April 16th at midnight. Check out the EAC link to register or for more info! As of right now there are over 600 folks signed up to attend! I’m really looking forward to a fun time and getting to meet so many people I *know* on Facebook and through my blog. SIGN UP!!