Monday, December 26, 2011

On Vacation...NOT!

Hoo, boy.  December has been busy, even with my maternity client taking a vacation for the month.  It was probably a good thing, too, since I had orders coming in left and right and was literally working until about an hour before Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve!  Even so, there were a couple of things I didn't get done that I was really wanting to do, have to look at things by what you were able to accomplish, not necessarily by what you were NOT.

This was the month for embroidery orders, that's for sure.  There were more than a few large orders for the appliqued onesies this month for stores, but also some requests for custom embroidered ones:

(I have to admit this was a
personal favorite - my initials
were E.L.F. before I got married.)
Ok, the Sweet Tart Lab client and I were scratching
our heads over this one.  All we could
figure was maybe the kid's name
was Chase?

Working away on the onesies orders to be done by Christmas, my client was suddenly struck with the realization that she needed gifts for the little girls from her daughter's preschool who were coming over for a little party & dinner.  She had purchased these cute PJs for each of them, and asked me to customize them for the girls.  Hopefully she'll be able to forward a photo with the three of them in matching tops:

Following that came the Great Blanket Glut of 2011....LOL!

Two for the Sweet Tart Lab:

One for a good friend (band mom), whose son wanted to give his girlfriend something unique for Christmas:

This one came bundled from the store in a black belt-like
ribbon - by the time I was done stitching and re-packaging
it in the black ribbon it looked like I had stuffed Santa
into the shopping bag, LOL!!!!

Another good friend (colorguard mom) came over with her daughter, with a Girl Scout gold award project I'll be helping her with (stay tuned - should be in the next post), spied the above blanket, and the lettering on the PJs and ordered this for her boyfriend:

She designed this herself, with the treble clef subbing as
the "&" sign, since they have been performing together
for four years, and dating for nearly that long!

A couple months ago I embroidered about 19 cheerleading warmup jackets for someone who was referred to me by yet another band mom (anyone else starting to hear the theme song from "It's A Small World"?).  When that project was done, she asked if I were able to do custom blankets.  I love designing things with the software I bought to go with my Husqvarna/Viking machine - and this was something I could totally sink my teeth into - custom design & digitizing (yeah, baby!).  She is hoping that when the other hockey team moms get wind of this custom blanket, she'll be bringing me more orders for them:

Her son's team is in Anaheim, so they are the Anaheim Junior Ducks.
They swiped the logo, not me.  (Whistles off into the distance....)
This is the coolest fabric I have stitched on to date:  faux suede with a faux
shearling underneath.  Scary, but it embroidered beautifully.  I finished it
with black satin blanket binding.  The photo totally doesn't do it justice.

Her daughter also goes to the same high school as all the aforementioned band kids - only she plays on the girl's volleyball team.  She had a school blanket already, but needed it customized for her daughter.  

There's a story you need to know about this one.  I hunted for quite some time, looking for just the right clip art image to digitize for the volleyball on the blanket.  I tried one after the other, but a lot of them digitized like something out of a caveman's nightmare - big, misshapen, and scary looking.  Weird.  FINALLY I lucked onto one that came through the digitizing looking familiar, at least - success!  The blanket, like a lot of the others shown here, is very plush fleece.  The Sewing Assistant fell in love with it immediately.  While I was hooping it up on one side, he had the other side in his mouth, purring, kneading kitty biscuits, refusing to let go.  I finally got him disengaged, and took it over to the machine to start the embroidery.  About five minutes into it, he came flying over the piano and landed with a thud on the blanket, fully intending to take up where he had left off.  I shooed him away again (and boy, can he grumble) and started the next color block, only to realize that he had knocked the hoop out of alignment by about an 1/8th inch.  OY!  I didn't realize it until the entire block (about 3,000 stitches!) was done, and I wasn't about to try to clip all those stitches out of a plush fleece blanket and try to start over.  UGH.  I let the rest of the embroidery stitch out, only to realize that her name at the bottom was going to run into the existing lettering on the corner of the blanket.  

The Sewing Assistant is fired, once again.  
I iz hiding.  You can't see me. 

Not enough time to start over.  NOT going to go out and buy another blanket for the client - school was out by this time and no one in the office with school merchandise!  I had to make do and fill in the stitching afterwards with some tiny zig-zags (and set the name off with darker thread):

This 1/8th inch is going to haunt me for my entire career.
However long that lasts. 
I didn't get another photo of it after I was done, but the client was good with the fix (the volleyball looked fine - and she totally understood the Sewing Assistant's strange fascination with this particular blanket).  

Are you exhausted yet?  I am.  But wait......there's more.....

Seven altered nightgowns for a neighbor's mother.  One custom fleece jacket for another neighbor (which I didn't get done before they left to visit that family member - argh!).  And one very special custom order for my son's girlfriend.  This one was totally icing on the cake - a jeans jacket refashion that he designed himself, using a thrift shop jacket he found in her size.  I bought the fabric for the refashion with a Joanns coupon I had (score!) and used some embroideries I bought from Embroidery Library with a coupon from them (score some more!) to update the look:


Maneki Neko - with sushi!  Nom!!

He wanted to put a Yin Yang symbol somewhere on the
jacket.  I designed this one with the paw prints
to go with the Maneki Neko - came out really cute!

Happy recipient - that's what it's all about!  Hope you all had a very Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

A Little Gift (And a Happy Cat Dance)

I like being busy, but it looks like things might be slowing down, at least for one of my clients for a while.  Which is okay, because it's that time of year again and I'm already doing last-minute gifts.  I wanted to post about this earlier, but it would have "let the cat out of the bag."  Or maybe into it?


Needed to give a big thank-you on a small budget to some of the volunteers who helped me with the huge band project (see here) - always a brain-bender to figure out what to give that won't break the bank, but won't look cheap, either.

Embroidery Library to the rescue.

I love Embroidery Library - if you have an embroidery machine, and you don't know about this company (or its affiliate, Urban Threads), you need to click on over there.  Right.  Now.  Not only does Embroidery Library have some of the best looking embroidery files out there, they are well-digitized, stitch out perfectly (almost all of the time), and are VERY reasonably priced.  (If you are a bit on the wonky side, like me, you'll love Urban Threads for the same reasons - and add one more:  they have some of the quirkiest embroidery files on the net.)  They both have great sales.  They both have great specials.  And they BOTH give out freebies, so there is no excuse not to try out one of their great embroideries.  This week, Embroidery Library has a great file for free, and it came at just the right moment - problem solved!  I picked up some kitchen towels at my local Dollar Tree (you have to select very carefully - not all of them are things I would consider giving, even with some fancy embroidery on them....) and zoomed home to stitch up some thank-yous:

Plain Dollar Tree kitchen towel on the left.
Embroidered embellishment on the right - this was a freebie!  Amazing!
All three recipients were thrilled and very grateful - I just hope they know how much I appreciated their going above & beyond to help me out this season!  (N., S., and C. - if you're reading this, I will love you always!  S. - Thank you Spoon Much!)

So many blankets....all for me, right?
Still working on Takara Baby blankets - Neko adores the fabric and it's all I can do to keep him out of the stash when they hit the house.

He is such a goof.  Orders for the onesies for Sweet Tart Lab are exploding through the roof, and he has to personally inspect every order that comes through.

Even when he thinks no one is looking.

Okay, let me start counting all the onesies......
(....and dance like no one is watching! La, la, la, la, la.....)

Once in awhile I get to do some custom embroidery for Sweet Tart Lab.  This blanket was sent to her by a client who wanted some personalization done on it for her son.  She sent one that she'd had done for her daughter previously, and wanted the text to match on her son's new blanket.


Fortunately, I happened to have the exact same font, so all went well.

HAD to place it next to the heart, between the two boats.
Thought it looked really nice, there.  
I love my embroidery machine.  Thank you, Husqvarna Viking!  I had a chance recently to test-drive their newest machine, the Diamond Deluxe.  Totally drool-worthy.  (Saving my pennies.)

Final Count for November:
22 Velour baby blankets
79 Onesies (most appliqued, one custom embroidered)
7 Maternity items
19 Cheerleading Jackets
1 PJ repair
1 Knit shirt repair
6 Placemats, 6 Napkins, 1 Table runner repair (finely woven from Guatemala - had to secure the fraying edges)
3 Thank-you towel gifts