Sunday, December 30, 2012

It's All Greek To Me- Floriani Total Control Software


Hey y'all, Karin here again.  Kelly's kinda busy right now, so I've hijacked her blog for the moment.

Once in a while, I get a design challenge opportunity.  That's a request where I have to step outside my comfort zone and think outside the box to come up with a solution.  I got one such request a couple days ago.  A lady wanted a luggage handle wrap embroidered with a Greek letter D.  OK, I know that'd be a Delta, but did I have that on my Babylock?  I wasn't sure, so off I went, right away, to check it out.  I'd always thought I had to have the embroidery  module attached before I could edit or create a design directly on the machine, but surprise!  Nope, not with my Ellegante anyway.

Lesson #1 - when faced with something new, TRY something new.  Instead of hauling out the embroidery module and turning on the machine, I decided to just turn it on and see if I could get to the embroidery edit screen....it was about midnight, so I really didn't want to go to a lot of trouble just to see if it could be done.

Surprise!  I did NOT have to load the embroidery module, I could get to the letters screen easily enough just by turning the machine on and pressing the Embroidery Edit button.  But nowhere could I find the Greek letters I was hoping for.  However, I did find some other symbols and characters I didn't know I had!

Lesson #2 - don't be afraid to go into uncharted territory.  Ya know, the options & characters were always there, I had just never clicked over to page 3 to see any of them!  (sad, but true, and yes, I've had this machine for well over 2 years now)

Lesson #3 - just because you can't get there from here doesn't mean you can't get there at all!  Enter Floriani Total Control!  I knew that Floriani TCP had many different font options - way more than the 8-10 that came with my machine.  One of them was bound to have Greek letters, right?  Oh yeah, baby, that they do!  And armed with that knowledge, I confidently answered the request with, "Sure, I can do that, just not until after Christmas."  The lady was in no big hurry, so I got the order, and we were both confident that I could get 'er done.

A couple days went by, Christmas came & went, and eventually I was ready to stitch out the luggage handle wrap.

And just how was I going to get the Greek letter to be the size I wanted?  Heck, even before that, how did I even know what size lettering I even wanted?  Well, I was going to put this lettering on one of my luggage handle wraps, and space is pretty limited on those puppies, both horizontally & vertically.  The embroiderable area is only about 3 1/2 inches by 4, total, and there's binding on both sides and Velcro on the top & bottom, so there's no allowance for fudge-factor or error.

So the first thing I did was to program the K, drop down a line & program the last name, Tayler.  Then I re-sized the last name to fit within the allowable area.  That gave me a good idea of how thick & wide I could make the K.  Once I got the last name shrunk down to size, I could shrink the K to be a comparable size.  But how was I gonna get that Greek Delta in there?  That's where Floriani Total Control software comes into play.

I launched the program, and opened a new project.  I selected the Text tool button on my toolbar (that's the big T in the very left, upper corner) and clicked once in the project window.  That brought up the Text Properties box and all I had to do next was select the Greek font from the drop-down list:

and type a D in the text box & click Apply:




Only one problem - it wasn't the right size!  Yeah, go figure - I wasn't surprised either.  Some people are lucky and it would be just right, but not me...if it can happen or be wrong, it usually does or is, and this time was no exception.  So now I had to figure out how to shrink it down to be compatible with all the other letters.  No problem, Floriani's got that figured out too!  

I just clicked the Transform tab (still in the Text Properties box), and set my desired size (when I programmed the K, I wrote down what its size was, based on the info from the embroidery machine sceen). I also UNchecked the Maintain Aspect Ratio Size box.  Bet you're wondering why, huh?  Glad you asked!  When I left it checked, as is the default, I couldn't make it skinnier without making it shorter, too.  So, since I wanted it kind of tall and skinny, to match the K and T, I had to uncheck the box that kept it all in proportion.  Surprisingly enough, sometimes the machine doesn't know better.

Once I had the D sized right, I just saved the file in PES format, on my thumbdrive.  I put the thumbdrive into my sewing machine and added that file into the design window:



I adjusted the spacing just a bit & I was ready to sew!  Couldn't have been much easier!  I was a wee bit worried about how it would look with the other letters, but I am plenty pleased with the results:


The underlay stitches were nice and plentiful, so there's no worrying about that letter coming undone or anything, and I'm happy with the way it sized out as compared to all the other letters.  I forgot to take a picture of the finished product, so you'll just have to take my word for it - it turned out fine and I got the wrap out just in time for mail pickup!

That's a wrap (no pun intended!) for today - I hope I encouraged you to try something new or do something different!  In the meantime, sunny stitches to you all!

Karin

THANK YOU Karin!  You so totally Rock :)
Smiles,
Kelly

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas

To all who celebrate Christmas, Merry Christmas!

Zach and Aaron
 Krista and Maddy
Even the Flamingo Family were celebrating!

May all your days be merry, healthy, and enjoying the company of all of those that are near and dear to you!

Smiles,
Kelly

Friday, December 21, 2012

Looking for a Sign

Have you ever "looked for a sign?"  Sometimes seeing "the sign" helps. 

Life seems insane of late and I know I have it within my power to change the course of my current experiences....so why am I still running around like a chicken with my head cut off and choosing insanity instead of sanity? 

Perhaps it was all the excitement of two of our daughters arriving on Tuesday.  Could it have been wrapping all those orders in order to get them to people in time for their holiday.   Maybe it was helping my Mother move from her house of 40 years to a seniors apartment this week.  Do you think it could have been preparing all those teacher gifts and cookies for the boy's school Christmas party?  Well, then again, it could be all the dishes and laundry...and did I mention picking up after 6 people.  I guess it could have been any one of these things that has sent me off the deep end...LOL.

Self Portrait

I need to be reminded to slow down and breathe.  Have you ever gotten yourself into a tailspin and needed to remind yourself to wipe that crazed cat look off of your face?  ROFL

Taking time to slow down and enjoy the process of making 160 chocolate chip cookies.
 Enjoying the scent of fresh made chocolate chip cookies.....ahhh...that would have been nice.

And then there were those Oreo Truffles....they should be called "Dangerous Truffles!"

Krista, our oldest daughter, taught us about Oreo Truffles.  

You take 39 Oreo's and put them in the food processor and turn them into a very fine powder.  Add one 8 oz package of cream cheese and combine.  Then you make small balls and put them in the freezer or outdoors if it is cold where you live.  We put ours on the back porch.  Melt some mild chocolate on the stove and when the truffle balls are hardened, dip them into the chocolate and place them on wax paper and take them back outside to harden.  There is no recommended dosage so prepare yourself :)

The rest of the evening I'm going to focus on "being" and not doing....after all I am a human being,  not a human doing.  Why is it that I get confused so frequently?

Smiles,
Kelly

Monday, December 17, 2012

Hand Made Gifts Are The Best

As I was driving home the other night I passed this house.  What a gift it is to everyone who drives past.  A labor of love that has been shared with those of us who drive past....I'm very grateful!

In those few extra moments I get to stitch, I've been working on making these kitchen towels with Holiday Recipe Towels (they come on USB).

These designs are by Lunch Box Quilts and from the moment I saw them, I just knew I had to make some for gifts.  I'm learning quite a bit using my "new to me" embroidery machine.  I know many gals who have asked Santa for an embroidery machine and I just hope those reindeer have been fortified because those machines are heavy! 
 
My girlfriend, Diane, made these beautiful gifts for me.  The towel is absolutely beautiful isn't it?  I can only hope to be as proficient one day as my friends are at machine embroidery.

Speaking of proficient, look what Karin sent to me recently:
Do you remember the Fall Machine Embroidery Hop?  If not, you can see the post HERE.   The design is from Marjorie's online store, Shop.B-Quilts.com.  I choose the Turtle Design to make mug rugs for my co-workers for the holidays and then promptly broke my hand and couldn't make them.  I'm all better now so I'm planning on making them each a mug rug for next to their bed.  Every night they take a glass of water to bed so a mug rug will come in very handy.


Karin always does such a lovely job.  If you have not seen her Etsy Shop, Sew-Write Creations, you really do need to go see the beautiful things that she makes.  Karin also does custom orders and I've had the pleasure of seeing the appliance covers she has custom made for some of  her customers.  They were absolutely top quality.

A Flamingo Update:

I know these photos would be much more fun if taken in the dark so you could see the lights, but then the flamingos don't show up as well.  You'll just have to use your imagination.
The Flamingos are being kept busy as you can see.  For those who would like to send the Flamingo Family a holiday card, you can Click Here for their address :)

Recently I saw this quote and thought it was wonderful....so I thought I'd share it with all of you.

Smiles,
Kelly

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Swimming as fast as you can?

Me too!  Yet, the faster I swim the farther it seems to be to that relaxing beautiful reef where they have everything under control and you can take a deep breath and let out a gust of air that lets every other fish in the school know you've doing just fine.

If you are like me....then you have lots to do and you need it done fast.  I thought I'd share some excellent gift ideas with you....and I'd love to hear about your excellent gift ideas too :)

In no particular order....these are some of my best gift ideas:


I can't think of a person over the age of 35 who doesn't appreciate getting a hand written note or letter....and I recently bought these beautiful note cards from Gene Black, Alabama Artist and Quilter.

 You can find them HERE at Gene's Etsy Shop

Gene's art is beautiful and his cards would make a lovely gift for anyone....and everyone.  The other thing that makes giving Gene's note cards as gifts is that it supports an artist to continue doing what he loves to do....create, sew and quilt.  A gift that keeps giving....that's what I call a win/win :)

Giving that continues to give....that is what is important to me.  I'm very blessed to have meet and know many talented artists in the past three years.  I'm so intensely grateful for all that they have added to the beauty of my life and their work makes the best gifts....in my opinion. 
  
Here are more of my favorite artists that sell their work.  Buying from them....from their websites or stores....helps them pay for the expenses of their life....so they can continue to create.  I know you have others whom you would love to support and I'm always open to hearing about them...just leave a comment after this post.

If you click on the persons name, you'll be taken directly to their website :)



 I have all of Susan's DVD's and would highly recommend them.  Her book is excellent as well.
She also sells her work....sadly for all of you....ya can't buy this one....Mr. McSteamy got this for me for Christmas already ....sorry!  (A total bold face lie...I'm not sorry....I'm tickled beyond all tickled)


I've known Kathy for several years and her work is excellent...down to the finest detail.  I've purchased several of her purses and given them as gifts over the years.  I can promise you the quality will be impressive! (I know this will embarrass her....that's ok....cuz I'm telling the truth)
Wildflower Shoulder Bag
 
Time to whip up a beautiful quilt?  Me either....Kathy has some ready to ship :)



Patsy and Ernie are both very talented artists.  I've purchased several of Patsy's DVD's and books and have learned so much from her.  Earnie, her husband and partner, does the work behind the quilting, machine embroidery and thread painting scenes.  He is the amazing artist who does the video work.  Earnie is also a wood worker and a skilled artist himself. 

Patsy has added many new Digitized Embroidery Designs to her website.  This Bird Block is just one example of her beautiful designs.

Hyperquilting is so much fun Patsy has done a wonderful job of  illustrating how you can add some pizazz to your projects by adding some Hyperquilting.

Patsy is very generous with her free videos as well....don't miss the opportunity to see some of them HERE.



Clyde's Workshop offers absolutely beautiful wood crafted Quilt Ruler Holders and Wall Mounted Quilt Ruler Holders that are made from a variety of beautiful woods.
I am fortunate enough to have one of these Wall Mounted Quilt Ruler Holders and if you missed my blog post about it...click HERE.

Only a person who absolutely loved working with wood would make and sell these heirloom pieces for such an affordable price. You'll be so surprised to see the quality and the price....I know I was!


Pat absolutely loves being a quilt designer and teacher.  One of her greatest joys is traveling and teaching others to quilt.  She is definitely a people person and someone who exudes the true spirit of a quilter.

Spotlight on Neutrals is Pat's most recent book.  If you missed my blog review, you can read it HERE.

 Strawberry Pie is one of Pat's "Go-To" patterns when you need an excellent pattern and you need to get your quilt done quick.  Click HERE to see several of her other lovely patterns.

Pat also has some very fun cards :)
This one makes me smile and to see all of the other great cards....you know what to do....just click HERE.




SewCalGal's desire to share all of the insights and lessons she has learned about in the world of quilting and machine embroidery is what makes her extraordinary.   Not only has she hosted a Free Motion Quilt Challenge for the last 12 months, she has also hosted the following events:

Maintains an ongoing list of Quilt and Machine Embroidery Events

SewCalGal  is an excellent teacher and mentor and has recently taught at Quilt In A Day!!!

Did I mention the Contests and Giveaways that SewCalGal keeps the rest of us updated about?   I have such respect and admiration for her great work and have always respected the fact that she has done all of this work to promote others, teach others and share her enthusiasm for quilting and machine embroidery. 

Did you know you can now SHOP SewCalGal?  Yes you can!!!  Click HERE to see all of her favorites available from Amazon.   She receives a portion of each purchase and that money is used to subsidize the expenses of shipping prizes for giveaways.

Oh yes, and there is always I Have A Notion!!!  You will need to order very soon to guarantee your gift arrives in time for the holidays.  Don't like to wrap or ship?  Let me do that for you.  Just send me an e-mail with your list and the addresses, I'll do the rest. 

Stay tuned for more of my favorites soon!!!

Smiles,
Kelly

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Charm Square Bow Tie Tutorial

Guest Post by Karin


I have this charm pack of fabric and I never know what to do with squares - I usually start with strips or yardage.  So here's what I'm doing with it:

Fabric is Lilac Hill by Moda
I started by laying a charm, face up.
 Fold it in half, right sides together and finger press it.
 Rotate it 90 degrees, and fold it in half again, still right sides together.  Finger Press again.
Easy so far, right?  OK, here's where it gets hairy, so don't say I didn't warn you.  Flip your charm over, so it's face down.  Pinch the edge right at one of the middle folds, and bring it to the right, to meet the corner and pin it there (you may certainly go left, if that's easier for you):

Rotate the charm 90 degrees, clockwise and do that again:



 Next verse, same as the first.  Do it until all middles are pinned to their corresponding edges:
 So now you've got a lumpy charm, with 4 pins in it right?
 Neatly flatten out that lump, so it looks like you have a 3-D square in a square:

OK, here's where you break out the hand-sewing needle.  Wait, don't drift off just yet - I know, hand sewing's not my favorite either, but this is really REALLY easy.  And you can do it while you're watching TV, so you can do this instead of snacking (one of my REALLY bad habits!).

Single strand thread is fine, and please, don't be too fussy about the size or even placement of your stitches. Make a knot in the end of your thread.  About halfway down one of the smaller square's side, slip the needle between the base fabric and the 3D square, and poke it through, coming out towards your other hand (or your face, whatever is most convenient, just don't poke out your eye at this point, 'cuz you're gonna need it in a minute).


Rotate and repeat.  See the pattern?
Go all the way around, and take another stitch right next to your first stitch, so you now have another square in a square:
 Give a good tug on your thread (should still be in the needle), and draw all the edges together:
Now pinch to adjacent folds together and whip stitch them closed.  Remember, you don't have to make your stitches pretty, but do try to go through all 4 layers:

When you get to the end of those two, go back to the center with your thread, and start stitching the other two folds together:
 When you're done, they should be nice and neatly stitched together into a line:
Take your pins out and flip your charm over:
 Gently tug the corners of the bow out:




When you've piled up a few, give 'em all a good press, making sure to straighten out the sides, so that everything keeps pretty square.  Sew them all together in any combination you choose.  I'd suggest pinning, to keep those layers straight and square.


There you have it - a fun and easy way to use charm squares.

Karin


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