Thursday, July 30, 2009

July 31, 2009

Cajun Corner – Vol. 1, No. 10 – JuLY 31, 2009

Bon Jour! Welcome to Cajun Stitchery’s weekly email and welcome to our family.

I met the nicest man today. He owns a local screen printing/embroidery shop. We had lunch and he really helped me out a lot with ideas. By the time I left our little luncheon my self-esteem had risen three fold. He will be referring potential customers interested in display tablecloths to me. So, he’s one of my best friends now. Lol

I did get a drop of oil on a napkin today. That reminded me of a tip that I read not too long ago about embroidery. You know how you put sand on your driveway pavement to remove oil spills from changing oil in your car? (I know this because my daddy was a mechanic.) If you get oil drops on your shirt or any cloth, put baby powder on it. It’s the same principal. The baby powder absorbs the oil and leaves a nice smell to the cloth.

Cajun Stitchery will be closed tomorrow. As you all know, we are going to Wausau, FL to the Possum Festival. I plan on perusing all of the arts and crafts. In fact, George and I are going before the rest of our gang, by a couple of hours, to take a slow drive and look at all of the scenery and hopefully get some extra time at the arts and crafts. Our anniversary is August 14th and we’ve decided to make this weekend the celebration. We have been married for 39 years as of August 14, 2009. I’m sure we’ll be dancing in the streets this weekend. Not to mention that one of my granddaughter’s birthday is Sunday and I will certainly bring back something possum for her.

George has become quite proficient at the patches and is turning them out faster than I can count.

Always remember that we are just a call or email away at or 850-261-2462 and place your order.

Cajun Stitchery has over 50,000 stock designs and numerous fonts from which to create your work of art.

For Valentines Day Boudreaux wanted to get Clotile, his wife, a real surprise. She had been wanting a milk bath for a long time.

So Boudreaux told his friend Pierre, he say, "Pierre," he say, "I wanna give Clotile a milk bath for Valentine Day." He say, "Why don't you bring you cow over to da house and put me some milk in da battub."

And Pierre say, "Okay, Boudreaux," he say, "Dat milk, you want dat pasteurize?"

Boudreaux thought about it a while, then said, "No, just so it covers her belly, dat's all I want."
French phrase of the week: Qui sait?
Translation: Who knows?

· Applying aloe vera juice or gel as it helps in soothing the skin to reduce pain, redness and itchiness
· You can also apply calamine lotion
· You can apply vinegar or apple cider vinegar on you skin which acts as a great remedy for sunburn
· Keep wet towels around the affected area for 10-15 minutes several times a day to soothe the sunburn
· Wash the affected area with anti-bacterial soap to prevent any other kind of an infection
· A cool milk compress is one of the best remedies for sunburn. Dab your skin with cool whole milk for 20 minutes and the rinse it off with cool water.
· You can apply cod liver oil for sunburns
· Make a mixture of grated cucumber with milk and apply it on the sunburned skin
· Remove juice from grated potatoes to be applied on the sunburned skin.

Please let me know if there is something that you would like to see in the weekly email. You may always call me at (850) 261-2462 or email me at

Although Cajun Stitchery began with a Singer Quantum Futura embroidery machine, it wasn’t long before we realized a commercial machine would be necessary. In addition to the Singer, we use a SWF 1201C Commercial Embroidery Machine, which has a top speed of 1200 stitches per minute. Man, dat’s fast, yes!!!

If you are not a subscriber and would like to receive Cajun Corner weekly, please email and let me know to put you on our email list.

C’est tout, mes amis

Peggy Henshall
Cajun Stitchery
(850) 261-2462

P.S. You are always welcome to stop by and look at all of the new catalogs and pass some time with me, cher.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

July 29, 2009

George was just a stitchin out patches today. He's going to have all 200 SOB patches done in no time. That's okay because when he's finished with the SOB patches, we start on the Shark Alert Team patches. I figure we'll need about 50 of those for the festival.

While he was stitching out the patches, I was cutting out placemats. I have about 30 cut out and more material. Looks like we'll have about 50 placemats in the end.

Of course, I did finish the other towel. I think it turned out nice.

Today's blog is short. It's been a long day and I'm tired.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

July 28, 2009

We now have one Shark Alert Team badge made. George likes the badge. I think it's okay. If anyone has any ideas on how to spiffy the badge up, let me know. It really is what I imagined, but it needs something. Not sure what. Anyway, until we get a better idea, this is the badge we will be using.

I realized that I have a whole bunch of things to make and time is ticking. I was pulling out fabric from all over the house today and cutting out tote bags and placemats. It's amazing how much fabric I can collect. Mama used to tell me that I was addicted to fabric. I think she was right. I'm not a pack rat. I don't think I save too much, but when it comes to fabric and sewing I save everything. You just never know when you will need that little one inch piece of lace or that piece of elastic. Mama used to tell me about a cousin who was a seamstress and that she would save everything, just like me. In fact, Mama taught me to save all the scraps in sewing. They really are useful. But the seamstress cousin would save the thread pieces. Mama asked what she was going to do with that and she replied that when you need to match a color with thread, like a hem or something, those little strings come in handy. George used to wonder why I saved all of those little things for sewing, but now he's starting to understand. When we did the big display table cloth, I had to do a lot of basting and used the thread in my thread bag. We use left over pieces of stabilizer for smaller projects. Part of sewing is saving that stuff. I have a bag for fabric scraps, a bag for thread scraps and a bag for stabilizer scraps. In fact, I have bags for larger fabric scraps and another for smaller fabric scraps. When the fabric scrap bag gets full, I sew the end closed and voila! I have a throw pillow.

This afternoon we went to my favorite fabric store -- Fabric Outlet in Cantonment. It is a drive, but not too bad. The ladies there are so nice and helpful. My only complaint about that store is that it is so old that the lighting is bad. It could not be that I'm getting old? haha George and I wanted some more background colors for the patches and I needed to see if there was anything that I would want to use for totes and placemats. Yep, I walked out with a lot of fabric. While I was there, one of the ladies was in the back doing a hook rug. Talk about beautiful. All made out of little jersey strips about 3-4 inches long. You pull each strip so that the edges curl, and then you hook each one onto the base. The one she was working on was probably 3/4 done and was magnificent. I don't think I would have that kind of patience anymore. I used to, though. We came home with our bag of fabric goodies. Shopping is not my forte, but put me in a fabric store and you will have to pull me out. George is so patient and understanding about this weakness.

When we got home, a shipment from one of my vendors had arrived. Oh, goody, more things with which to play.

We have an order for a 30"x60" towel with the initials CRW on the corner, at a 45 degree angle, embroidered in gold metallic thread, 6" wide and 2" high. Metallic thread can be a bear. I learned to work with metallic thread on my home embroidery machine -- Doris. (She's a Singer Quantum Futura. My favorite singer as a child was Doris Day. So, her name is appropriately "Doris" because she's my favorite Singer.) You can purchase good metallic thread and bad metallic thread. It all has to do with how the thread is made and how the metal (yes, it really is a type of metal) adheres to the core of the thread. The type of core is important, too. All of that said, you actually have to handle metallic thread differently. First, it must be very loose. If it's tight the metal can shred and curl up the core. In other words, the thread frays. You want a needle with a large eye but not too big to leave large punctures in the fabric. Second, you want to avoid the thread twisting as it comes off of the spool. I haven't done a lot with metallic thread on the commercial machine. Threading the commercial machine is not hard, there are just a lot more hooks and tensions to go through than a home machine. Third, you need to sew slow because of the friction of the needle going up and down into the fabric. Metal, friction, get the picture? Obviously, I finished the monogram. Looks pretty good, don't you think? She hasn't even seen it yet and has ordered another for her husband. Luckily, I did order extra towels.

Off to bed with me for tomorrow is another big sewing day.

Monday, July 27, 2009

July 27, 2009

I didn't sleep much last night. Too much on my mind to do today and we got it all done. My friend, Amanda, chose the Curlz font for Kayla's backpack. How cute is this? It matches the monogram on her new little sun dress. This 2 year old is going to nursery school styling and profiling.

We've been putting together a list of all of the things we will need to take with us to the Arts & Wine Festival in October. There is going to be so much stuff to carry. There is a lot of embroidery to do between now and the first week in October. I read once that if you are going to have a craft booth that you should have a lot of a few items. So, we are limiting ourselves to 5 or 6 things.

Of course, we will have the SOB patches. The SOB's will be out in full force that weekend for sure. I'm thinking of totes. I love making tote bags. Then we'll have the wine coasters and napkins. I was thinking of choosing between hand towels and placemats for the final item. A friend of mine suggested both. We may end up doing that. We are also creating a Shark Alert Team patch. There is a story on the beach about one year, long ago, a lot of the islanders had Shark Alert Team t-shirts made and would wear them on the beach. Tourists would become very alarmed when those people would start pointing to the water. You simply cannot put anything past those crazy island people. This year I would like them to have Shark Alert Team patches.

Now we have to get to work. Expect to see postings on all of these crafts as they are generated.
Stay tuned!!!

Friday, July 24, 2009

July 24, 2009

Today we embroidered the Fiesta Flag. Just embroidered 2004 on the bottom. It did turn out really nice. Here is a picture of the result.

This evening we joined our neighborhood friends and handed out the coveted Possum Patch. There are only 8 Possum Patches like these in the world and we have them. That must make them really valuable. lol After dinner we had some serious discussions about next weekend's Possum Excursion and made hotel reservations. Little Possum Patrice got us some really good hotel rates. Possums Rhonda and Peggy are looking forward to the arts and crafts festival. We are all looking forward to this adventure.

A friend called today asking for her child's name embroidered on her backpack. We will meet tomorrow to discuss the details and for me to look at the backpack. It just sounds so simple to put a name on a backpack. I suppose I could just put the name on there, without any choices, and be finished with the project. The problem is that I want customers to not just like the embroidery that they receive. I want them to love it. A lot of people really do not have an idea of what they want -- just a name. I need to know the size that they want, the color(s), the font. We can do some fancy lettering with designs in it. Or, we can make it plain. Whatever we make it, I want the customer to love it and get lots of complements.

We have 209 fonts and a lot of unique alphabets from which to choose. Not to mention all kinds of designs that can be incorporated into names and monograms. We can twist and turn, change colors, and size, the list goes on and on of how to manipulate a name or logo for personalization. When you order from Cajun Stitchery, please be patient with me because I will ask a lot of questions and talk with you about likes and dislikes. I am merely trying to get that perfect design worked out for you.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Cajun Corner -Vol 1, No. 9

We are creating some patches for our neighborhood group. Possums Rule! There is actually a Possum Festival in Wausau, FL. We had hoped to be in the Possum Parade but some of our group has to work and we decided that the remainder of us will still go to Wausau on July 31st to check out the festival and the parade on August 1st. Maybe we can be in the parade next year.

The SOB patches are still a hit on the beach. That’s a good thing because we plan on making 200 for the Art & Wine Festival the first weekend in October.

In fact, the patches have given me an abundance of ideas. I had to do an exercise recently of blurbs for Cajun Stitchery. The usual, “We embroider on ready made items,” “We have great personal service”, and so forth. I was listing some of the myriad of things that can be embroidered upon and that brought me to patches. What can you do with patches? Of course, if you love to ride a motorcycle, there are lots of patches for your attire – lots in black leather, too. Certainly, we can do all of that. Since Pensacola still celebrates Mardi Gras – thank goodness – Mardi Gras patches are a big thing. My krewe – The Mystic Krewe of Nereids – has a krewe patch for the back of our tuxedo jackets that’s 9” diameter. Girls Scout, Boy Scout patches, we could do but I’m not sure if the Scout’s would object to someone honing in on their coffers. I probably would not do it – but we are capable of doing that. Then there are the usual groups, like the SOB’s, who want a group patch. Of course, people with a message to say, Vietnam Veterans, the military are all big on patches. We can do patches for the military up to a point, at this time.

When it comes to the official military patches, I still feel we need to learn a bit more. It may be because I don’t feel confident that I know what the regulations are. I have been told that as long as we meet the requirements that anyone can embroider them and sell them. Cajun Stitchery fully intends to do this but I will not sell anything less than professional looking, especially to our armed forces who I hold in the highest of esteem and who have filled my heart with gratitude. However, Cajun Stitchery can produce really cool patriotic patches.

In all of this intense thinking, I realized that anything that can be embroidered can be made into a patch. Just put the design into a geometric shape, circle, oval, square, etc. In today’s economy people are trying to save money, or at least not spend as much. How would a patch help the economy? Ahhh, if you want something embroidered by Cajun Stitchery or any embroiderer, you want to purchase embroidery on a garment or a ready made item. That’s cool. I certainly don’t have a problem with that. If you ask an embroiderer to embroider on an item that you furnish, ooooh, certainly, that can be done, but there is definitely a risk involved to the embroiderer. If something happens while embroidering your item – and stuff does happen – and your item is messed up or ruined, there is no way for the embroiderer to replace the item for you, and certainly no way for the embroiderer to make money or gain a good reputation. I usually have customers sign a hold harmless agreement when I accept that sort of work. Most embroiderers have a hold harmless type agreement for these things. I actually got mine from another embroiderer. But, what if you got a patch instead? The patch on an item that you already have will take the risk out of the project and will probably cost you a little less.

If you have a business and find that your marketing budget has been curtailed and you can no longer purchase polo shirts with the firm logo embroidered – then get a patch with the firm logo. In fact, hand out patches to your employees to put on their clothes, bags, visors, hats, whatever they like. Put patches on things that cannot be embroidered upon. I am not the first or only person to think of this common sense method of marketing. You can even put tacky glue on the patch to take the patch off of one item and put it on another. It’s the cost of a patch vs. the cost of the logo and the item, polo shirt or whatever. Don’t get me wrong, though, Cajun Stitchery can get you whatever garment you would like and we will be happy to embroider whatever you like upon it.

While making the 3” round patches, we kept putting our coffee cups on them. There’s a wake up call! Patches make great coasters. My friends know that I love to make wine glass coasters. Wine glass coasters are the kind of coasters that have an opening in the top to slip the bottom of the stem into. I guess you would say that wine glass coasters are a step above regular coasters. And regular coasters are virtually patches. What about a set of coasters with your firm logo on them? Even for your home – coasters with your monogram on them. Now that’s elegant!

Speaking of patches and elegant, what about patches for weddings? Wow! That would be a really nice keepsake. Have a “wedding patch” for each member of the wedding party. Also, a nice gift for the newly weds would be a set of coasters with their monogram. And since the patch/coaster can also be sewn directly onto fabric – include a set of personalized towels.

What about birthday parties? Patches with “Guess who turned 40?” or whatever the age would be wonderful. We can embroider whatever you like on the patch.

The simple patch is so versatile. Keep it in mind when figuring out you marketing budget, as well as gifts and party favors.


For awhile the cloth/recycled tote bags at the stores were all the rage. I really don’t see them much anymore. In fact, I was at Wal-Mart a few days ago and did not see any for sale. They apparently still have them but they are no longer at the check out counter. At least, not at the Wal-Mart store near me.

We have several of those bags from various stores. The bad part is that I keep forgetting to take them with me in the store. I used to just keep one in my purse at all times, and I need to remember to do that again. We used to keep a bunch of them in the back of George’s car, so they would be handy when we went shopping. I guess we used them, brought the groceries inside, and forgot to put the bags back in the car. The plastic is such a waste. It’s a hard habit to break but we simply must. It’s my understanding that in Europe, the people have always used their own shopping bags. We are a spoiled society.

I saw a really good idea at Office Depot a few months ago. Tote bags in their own little 2” or 3” container to put into your purse. They were just like the old, plastic rain bonnets that used to be so popular, the ones that would fold up into its own pouch and you kept in your purse for rainy days. Of course, you would still have to remember to put the tote bag in your purse after you use it.

That’s not to say that I don’t use the tote bags. I use them all of the time. I have clothes in them; fabric in them; paper in them. I use them as beach bags and, on occasion, as suit cases. There are so many events to attend around here, year round, and I’m always hauling something in those bags. Hummm. I paid for the bags. The bags have the store name on the bag. I’m a walking advertisement for the store – even though I paid for it. Now that’s marketing. I will say one thing. The Wal-Mart bags do not have their name printed on the bag. They have a little bitty tab on the side that says Wal-Mart. Give credit where it’s due.

Tote bags have also become popular handouts at seminars, conventions and the like – of course, with the logo usually screen printed on them. I don’t mind that at all. I think more companies should hand out tote bags – of course, I’d prefer they were embroidered.

My neighbor gave me a really nice attaché-type bag that she received from a seminar or convention that she attended. It’s not padded, but it really has nice compartments and looks nice. I just cannot leave well enough alone. I kept looking at that bag and thinking about how I would embroider on the bag. I decided to take a piece of cloth and do a satin stitch edge, like a patch, only this would be appliqué. Then embroider the design in the middle. It was not hard to embroider, at all. Hooping was challenging because I wanted the design big enough to cover all of the screen printing. It didn’t work out exactly as I expected, but it did work and looks terrific.

Then I went to the Wal-Mart bag. I have embroidered on Wal-Mart bags before. In fact, I embroidered a great scene with polar bears on a Wal-Mart bag that we call “My Office.” That was embroidered on the solid black side of the bag. Today, I embroidered on the screen printed side of a Wal-Mart bag. I did not obliterate all of the printing but it turned out so pretty. I call it an artistic endeavor. You know where the Wal-Mart bags says, “Plastic or Recycle? Neither.” The “Pa” shows and the “?” shows. The design over it is a silhouette of an Indian on a horse. The Indian is hanging his head. It just makes such a wonderful statement.

Monday, July 20, 2009

July 20, 2009

The napkins are done -- all 3 sets. The butterflies were done a couple of days ago. Today we did the A for apple and the tea cup. I love embroidering on napkins. They are easy to hoop and come in all of the colors of the rainbow. I simply love to put a design into the machine and watch it stitch out. Napkins are perfect for that.

Watching the designs stitch out on the machine reminds me of watching artists on PBS take a blank canvas and I'm always amazed, every step of the way, as the artist turns the canvas into this and that, all with the stroke of his hand or the flick of his wrist. That's the way it is with the embroidery machine. I know the design that is going to stitch out, but watching the stitches and colors and the design take shape. It's simply mesmerizing to watch.

Remember when I said my friend was like a walking advertisement for Aqua Magic. I'm sold, too. That stuff is amazing. It's a wash away stabilizer strong enough to really hoop well. And washes away easier than Solvy.
Cajun Corner is my weekly e-newsletter. If you would like to be on the email list and are not presently, please email me at and ask to be placed on the email list. Each week I try to have a sale of some sort. This week is a 30" x 60", white, beach towel with your name or initials embroidered up to 12" for $20.00, plus tax (if you live in Florida), shipping and handling. The sale is good through this Thursday and I'm placing the towel order on Friday. So, if you want to take advantage of this sale, let me know.

Since I'm new to the embroidery business, I've put myself on a myriad of vendor lists and receive catalogs frequently. The big trend at this time is the eco fabric, like the organic cotton, bamboo and hemp. Today I received a catalog from Blue Generation with some of the coolest colors, fabrics, garments and designs. The problem is that you have to order a minimum of 24 of whatever you get. Always something.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

July 18, 2009

Yesterday we were working on a possum patch. We just could not get the satin stitch outline to work right. I edited and edited and it wasn't working. Well, I need to learn digitizing anyway, so I digitized a nice thick, satin stitch outline, put the whole thing together and was ready to stitchout when, OMG, we noticed that I misspelled Possum. Actually, the patch read Possum's Rule. The apostrophe shouldn't be there. What was I thinking. To make matters worse, I had the wording on a curved angle to match the possum's back -- not easy to do. And I cannot figure out how to move the last "s" over. I can take out the apostrophe without a problem but not sure if I can move that "s". I've been working on it for a day now. It's the little things that drive me nuts. lol

This afternoon we attended the memorial service, or rather, celebration of life for our friend, Chuck L'oingon a/k/a Chuck Le Bum, at the Elk's Lodge on the beach. I think Chuck would have been please to see so many friends. The place was packed. Chuck was such a fun loving and lovable guy. He will truly be missed by many.

George and I are continuing our efforts to try to quit smoking. This is not easy. Back in mid-March we decided that we needed to quit, if for no other reason that the price is skyrocketing. Almost immediately we cut down to half a pack a day -- that's cutting our smoking habit in half. Since then we can't seem to get past half a pack a day. And cigarettes now cost about the same for 2 packs as it did back in March for a whole carton. We want to quit so bad. We are addicted to cigarettes. I have no doubt that we will quit eventually, but this is not easy. To make matters worse, just cutting the habit in half and I'm packing away the pounds. That does not make me happy at all. Oh, where is the cute, little tiny body I used to have? Buried someplace inside the large, flabby body that I now have. lol At least I'm jolly.

Ah, back to the possum.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

July 16, 2009

My friend and graphic artist, Valerie, ordered napkins. I worked on the first set today and think they look great. The original butterfly design that she chose was over 20,000 stitches. That would have been like putting a lead weight on the corner of a napkin. I drastically reduced the density and think it turned out fine but was worried that we would lose some of the integrity of the design. All's well that end's well.

The next set of napkins that Val has ordered is a large A with an apple. I've been working on that design today. That one was too small and I enlarged it. The density looks fine and these should be easy to stitch out.

She also ordered a third set of napkins which I haven't begun working on yet.

The SOB patches remain a hit and I even received a telephone call about them today.

Since we are planning on attending the Possum Festival at the end of the month in Wausau, FL, George and I are thinking about making Possum Patches. That should be fun.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

July 15, 2009

One of my appointments cancelled which left one appointment for me to attend. Glad I went because we have a new job, albeit small. A friend wants "2004" embroidered on his Fiesta of Five Flags flag. It was good to get out of the office and visit with friends.

George worked on more and more SOB patches. They are beautiful and he is doing a wonderful job. Now that George is getting used to the machine and learning the business more, he's getting more and more creative -- which is a good thing.

We sent the orange shirts to the bowling team today.

This evening I attended my weekly Wednesday night girls night and everyone loved the SOB patches.

Can't wait to see what tomorrow brings.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

July 14, 2009

Today was patch day. Well, we started the day doing our monthly maintenance on Boudreaux. That took all morning but ya just gotta keep him in tip top shape if we expect him to work hard -- and we do.

After maintenance we worked on patches. We have the 3" round patches down. We timed it and can turn them out at about 1 every 10 or 15 minutes, depending if we change colors, the unexpected, etc. They are going to sell for $5 + applicable tax, shipping and handling.

I glued one of the patches to my visor and we went to Bands on the Beach this evening, visor and all. Had a wonderful time singing goldie oldies.

Tomorrow promises to be a busy day. I have to do some bookkeeping in the morning and then I have appointments in the afternoon, ending with my Mental Health Night with my Wednesday night girlfriends. Probably won't have time to write in the blog tomorrow. Not much time tonight.

Catch ya later.

Monday, July 13, 2009

July 13, 2009

We've been busy at Cajun Stitchery today. Patches, patches, and more patches. I had designed the patch that we're working on a few months ago but it never worked out really well. The design was fine. I just couldn't seem to make a patch that made me happy. I was, and am, convinced that patches can be made on the embroidery machine to look as good as Merrow machine patches. That was my quest.

First of all, unless the patch or item is digitized for free standing lace (FSL), you cannot simply sew the design onto Solvy stabilizer and think that will work. We did that. Once the Solvy dissolves you have a wad of thread and nothing more. I'll skip to the chase of all of the fabulous ideas that we thought of and tried that did not work.

Finally, we came to the applique conclusion. A patch is merely an applique with a Solvy stabilizer, rather than a fabric stabilizer. We have made countless attempts hooping the Solvy, placing a piece of fabric over the Solvy, not hooped, stitching the first round of underlay stitches, removing the hoop, trimming the fabric, replacing the hoop, and finishing the design. Solvy isn't strong enough for this and requires at least 2 or 3 layers to hold it taunt in the hoop. With 2 or 3 layers of Solvy, in the end, when you wash the Solvy off, you get one sticky, gummy mess. Even when I put them in the washer to get all of the Solvy off, they come out of the washer gooey and out of the dryer tacky and stuck to whatever was in the dryer with it. Not only that but I never could get close enough to the underlay stitches when trimming and there always was, at least some fabric showing that just could not be trimmed enough.

We tried cutting circles of fabric the size of the applique and then when the first round of underlay stitched out, we would glue our fabric circle inside. Just never could get the thing centered correctly. There was always something poking out the sides. In addition, to get the thickness of the patch that I wanted required several layers of fabric. Then it became a test of getting all layers perfectly centered. Frankly, we never could get one perfect.

We did some tiny U.S. flag patches 1"x2" that turned out really cute and nice. With the flags the entire patch was stitched and the fabric was placed underneath just for stability when the Solvy was washed out. We were able to cut the fabric imperfectly and/or to place it imperfectly just for holding everything together. Even with the flags, the Solvy caused them to be tacky and gooey. The flags did turn out well.

We tried a bookmark with an eagle design and completely stitched, but the bookmark did not turn out as well as the little flag. The stitches weren't as dense and when the Solvy washed away, so did a lot of the stitching, even with the underlay of fabric.

As I've mentioned before, I then talked with a friend of mine who suggested that I use Aqua Magic rather than Solvy and told me about a great pair of scissors that trip closer. The scissors are shaped to go over the hoop and trim. They are Havel's Ultimate Embroidery Scissors. I order both the Aqua Magic and the scissors (both left handed, for me, and right handed, for George).

We picked up the quest again. We hooped the Aqua Magic, which is more of a fiber-type stabilizer, much more stable than the Solvy, and began with a piece of fabric over the stabilizer, then the underlay stitching for the outline was done. After the underlay, we removed the hoop and trimmed with the new scissors, and finished the design. Oh my, not close enough. Then we decided that a bit of minor digitizing was needed and I took the design to the computer and enlarged the length of the satin stitches. We tried again. Same method. This worked much better but there were still little pokies sticking out the side. Then we tried the cut the circles and glue in the middle of the stabilizer theory. That still didn't work, even though George used all of his wonderful measuring techniques to hit dead center. We played around with all of these theories and tried a multitude of different fabric and thicknesses.

Then we decided to wash away the Aqua Magic on the one's we had done and see how they turned out and if that helped. No sticky, gooey anything. The stuff washed away, like it was supposed to but did not leave any residue. I'm sold on Aqua Magic now. The patches came out a bit curled, distorted, and wrinkles. George got out the old trusty ironing board and steam iron and began ironing them. Except for the pokies sticking out, the patches looked really nice. Then he tried simply steam ironing a patch with Aqua Magic -- it worked. Don't even need to put in the washer. We did have to pick a few tiny pieces of stabilizer off, but that really wasn't even worth mentioning. As a lark, he did the steam iron on a row of patches we had one with the Solvy. They all stuck to the fabric he placed over the patches and we had a heck of a time ripping them off. Even at that, not all of the Solvy was removed.

We had even solved the thickness issue and put 2 sheets of canvas to get, what I consider, a good patch thickness.

Finally, we were looking at the satin stitch outline on the computer and came up with the brilliant idea of moving the underlay stitches closer to the inner stitches of the satin stitch outline, thus giving us more leeway for trimming. It worked!!!!!! The little nudge on the underlay allowed us to trim as we had been but since the underlay itself was moved further from the edge of the stitching, so was the trimming. The pokies are gone and we have one beautiful SOB patch.

Tomorrow we begin manufacturing the SOB patches.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

July 11, 2009

It's Saturday afternoon. The display tablecloth is done and looks beautiful. The orange VDL bowling team shirts are done and look great.

We had 19 shirts, some t-shirts and some woven. The color scheme, bright orange with black embroidery, was chosen by the team. Since the bowling team consists of deaf/blind, elderly individuals, they felt the colors would allow them to see the shirts. The embroidery allows them to see through touch. We did the embroidery large and dense to assist the members in seeing and feeling the designs. My only concern is when washed, they may curl a bit. This is another benefit of embroidery -- the blind can see it.

We had a time finding orange in both t-shirts and woven. Although the catalog photographs of the colors of each appeared to me to be identical colors, as you can see, once received, they are a bit off. However, there is no mistaking that they are all orange.
This project was definitely a labor of love for me.

Now to determine the lagniappes for each of these projects. At Cajun Stitchery, every order receives a lagniappe.

Next project is the patches. The particular patches that we are doing are for a group of wonderful women on Pensacola Beach. We are called "Sisters of the Beach", the SOB's. The design has already been done and I've made a few patches but I'm not satisfied with the outcome. After consulting with a friend of mine in the industry, I've decided to change the wash away stabilizer to Aqua Magic. The design is a simple applique with the stabilizer as the bottom fabric. The trick is to trim the patch fabric so that it's not too close and thus frays on the inside of the patch; and, not to far where the satin stitch doesn't completely cover the fabric. So, I'm off on another project.

Friday, July 10, 2009

July 10, 2009

Fridays are Cajun Corner day. Every Friday I send the weekly email for people who have asked to be on the Cajun Corner list. The problem was none of the pictures would upload on the email. I have to figure out how to either archive Cajun Corner to this blog or upload the pics to the email.

We are nearly finished with the display tablecloth and orange bowling shirts.

I should write a tutorial on the multi-hooping at this point. I looked on the internet and only found very few tutorials on multi-hooping. We did the display tablecloth on a 72"x120" tablecloth. The design itself is 37"-38" wide. In the end we stitched 3 practice designs and then the final. The first was each part to the design separately (shown in the first photo). The second, was all parts together, including the tree (shown in the second photo). The third, was the trial run before we did the final (shown in the third photo). The last photo shows the final picture and we are very proud of this endeavor. The tutorials suggested printing out the design and placing it on the fabric to determine measurements. That was a pain in the go-go. This was a mathmatical endeavor. It's a good thing that George was a finish carpenter. He measured and measured and measured. George always says, "measure twice and cut once." We measured a lot more than twice. Half of the 72" is 36" = the center of the table cloth. The table top is 24", so the drop begin 12" from center. Take the 12" from the 36" to get 24". 24" is the drop and you want the design centered in the middle of the drop. Half of 24" is 12" -- mark it. Then half of 120" is 60" -- mark it and you have dead center for the design. In our design we stitched out each part separately rather than printing on the printer (see the first photo, above). This gave us a feel for how each part of the design stitched out and fit. We had to use our largest hoop, the jacketback hoop. The design at times went all the way to the edge of the hoop and we were worried that it wouldn't fit into the hoop, but alas, as you can see, it fit. Then we had to align each part of the design, measuring off of the center cross hairs. Our machine has a trace feature which proved invaluable on this project. Everything was traced multiple times. We stopped the trace when it would get to an area that we weren't sure would clear the hoop, and to do all sorts of aligning. Since this was our first display multi-hoop project, we were nervous to the end. But when we finished the final, we had a glass of wine together and toasted our new knowledge of multi-hooping. I wouldn't say we are expert at multi-hooping, but I think you will agree that the project turned out very nice and professional looking. Now we need to do some ironing and removing excess stabilizer and this project is ready to go out the door.

After the bowling shirts, I plan on "trying to" perfect the patch. I've read and heard that a "real" patch is done on a special machine called a "Merrow". Merrow has a very interesting history and if you are inclined to read this sort of thing, I suggest you go to the Merrow web wite. If you look at the edge of store bought patches you will see that the edges are serged. The embroidery machine does applique with a satin stitch around it which looks very much like the serged edge of a patch. I've read a few articles about making patches on the embroidery machine with the satin stitches, rather than the merrow. I've seen pictures of the embroidery machine patches and they look really good. A month or so ago I met with a friend from Orlando who showed me a patch that she made and plans to sell. We discussed making patches and she is convinced that I'm using the wrong stabilizer. I was using Solvy. She said that Solvy wasn't strong enough to do what I want and instead I should use Aqua Magic. She's a walking advertisement for Aqua Magic. I've just received my Aqua Magic order in the past week and am anxious to start on the patches. Of course, my friend's was done via FSL (free standing lace). She is a digitizer and created her own patch via digitizing and layering stitches in different directions. I would be applying designs onto fabric as though I were doing applique work. The difference for me would be that the "fabric" that I would put the applique upon would be the Aqua Magic. Anyway, that's my theory and we'll see if it works. Stay posted for this project.

The Blue Angels are having a show today and tomorrow at Pensacola Beach. I'm avoiding the area because the traffic is usually horrendous but the show is wonderful. Since I live so close to the navy base -- Home of the Blue Angels -- they fly over my house a lot. I get my own free air show without leaving home. So, I'm staying put for the weekend. But anyone who has never seen this show and has the opportunity should see it. This is ballet in the sky. The precision is absolutely incredible.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

July 9, 2009

Wednesday nights are always fun. It's Mental Health Night (MHN). Originally it was Social Committee Meeting (SCM) night. Explanation: I belong to one of the coolest groups, The Mystic Krewe of Nereids. It's a Mardi Gras krewe in Pensacola Beach. The group consists of all girls, ranging in ages in their 30's to 60's. We are an active group year round, differing from other mardi gras groups that are active only for Mardi Gras. When I first joined, Wednesday nights were Social Committee Meeting nights. We would go to my friend, Paulette's house; Elaine would cook dinner and we would all sit around the beach house, chat, laugh, and occasionally have a real meeting. The beach is a close knit community. Everyone knows everyone. As time went by other friends, not members of the krewe, would drop by and join us. Since we are all friends anyway, some of those non-members became regulars. So, we changed the name to Mental Health Night (MHN). It is truly a mental health night! All of these women chatting and cutting up. We can let our hair down and just be silly. Or, when circumstances call for it, we can pull together in a time of need and wrap our arms around friends who need help or comforting.

Our friend and krewe member, Judy, lost her husband this week to heart disease. We have, once again, pulled together to make sure Judy has anything and everything she needs.

It's a wonderful group of women from all areas of life. I'm sure this blog will contain many references to these wonderful ladies.

Another wonderful woman in my life is Angelie. Angelie was originally my mother's friend but over the years we have become non-related sisters. As Angelie tells me we are coeur de soeur. When Mama was alive she wanted me to make an apron for Angelie. Angelie is a gormet cook. Mama loved dainty and frilly fabrics and apparel. I made the attached apron for Angelie. I must say this is one of the most beautiful items that I have made. The fabric is a very light, almost transparent. Lots of lace and ruffles. Ruffles are actually fun to make and there are many methods and techniques which can be used. My mother loved pockets and this apron has two. Then the embroidery, a very light and dainty floral design. No mistaking this apron is for a lady!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

July 8, 2009

This computer virus issue keeps coming back to haunt me. After I thought everything was resolved, yesterday afternoon I got a pop-up saying I'm at risk and there are more Trojan Horses in my computer. Well, I had broken down and bought AVG (the creator of AVG, so I understand, is the same guy who originally created Norton -- clever fella). Yes, I paid hard cash. Now I have real technicians to help me. Apparently, they don't do telephone calls and only work off of email. Well, as long as the email is working, I'm okay with that. The technicians and I worked to 2 a.m. (for the second night) on this thing. We've been emailing them since first thing this morning, for day #3. It's comforting to have a technician that you can email and send files and they sound like they know what they are doing. I wonder if they need their logo embroidered on their shirts?

These technicians are really nice and polite. I remember years ago when we were trying to set up mine and George's computers on DSL for the first time. I was on the phone for nearly the entire day. At one point the guy, who spoke only broken English, had told me to unplug George's computer, which I did. Hours later we were still working on it and ready to rock and roll and nothing happened. The guy was telling me to do this and that. Finally, I said "shouldn't I plug this machine in?" He was obviously exasperated with me and said, "M'am, how in the world do you think this computer is going to work without it being plugged in?" I didn't know I was supposed to plug it in. I thought he would tell me, just like he told me to unplug it. I fell apart and started crying and we ended our session. I guess we were both tired and frustrated. Funny that since then we have learned to connect everything to computers and network and everything else. That's probably why the technicians work with you over email, rather than over the phone.

I did, finally, get batteries for my camera yesterday and was able to take photographs of my black and white project. This bag has 2 of the 13" palm trees on it with 3 vertical rows of ric-rac. The coconuts in the trees are beautiful beads that look like Mother of Pearl. The same beads are used at the ends of the pull strings. The double pull strings (on each side) was a favorite of my mother's. She would get annoyed if there was only one pull. The inside is lined in black silky type fabric. This would make a lovely tote for any occasion. It's on the large side and you could easily put a beach towel in it with you other beach stuff like suntan lotion, sun glasses, a book, etc. It would also be good for shopping. The black and white is very en vogue these days.

This morning we looked out our kitchen window to see the 2 red tailed hawks that have taken up residence in our trees. One was perched on our pergola very close to the house. How lucky are we that the hawks would perch so close to humans! Nature is beautiful, as long as we don't mess it up.

We had to order a few more orange t-shirts, which should arrive tomorrow. All of the others are done. We sacrificed the little bowling logo on the front and the words "bowling team" in order to make the words larger. The names are in a semi-circle above "V D L" which is a straight line, on the front, left chest area. I wanted the letters large to give the team a better chance of actually seeing the words, rather than just feeling. Of course, the back has the big bowling ball and pins. No mistaking these are bowling shirts.

It's been a few days since we practiced on the big multi-hooping design. We are ready to start the table cloth now but we both feel we need a little more practice before the final. We were ready to go with it, but since we took the time to get the orange shirts done, we need to get back in the flow for the multi-hooping. It's one of those things where precision is so key that it unnerves us. Especially since this is our first multi-hooping display tablecloth. Someone is paying us good money for this and I want it perfect. The only thing that really worries me is that on one hooping the logo ends with an "i" on the bottom and the next hooping picks up with the next letter in the word, which is an "l". That "i" and "l" will be next to each other and need to be on the exact same line -- not a hair above or below or it will be very noticeable. I'm sure if we did this type of project on a regular basis we not only would be good at it, but we wouldn't be freaking out so much. It's just that this is our first big multi-hooping project.

Until next time.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

So Much Happening

So much has happened since I wrote the blog yesterday.

One of our friends, Chuck, passed away and our prayers are with his family during this very difficult time.

Then my computer got several viruses/worms and I "think" I've just conquered that problem. Took last night and most of today to get the computer back on track. Now I have my fingers crossed and I'm tired and frustrated.

We are still waist high in orange shirts for my aunt's bowling team and the machine is embroidering away. Thank goodness George is a quick learner and has become a champ on that embroidery machine.

We have another big project after the bowling shirts. That's a 72"x120" display tablecloth with the logo embroidered. In fact, this is the project for which we've been practicing and learning multi-hooping.

I need to get back to business and start making stuff for the October arts & wine festival at the beach.

My batteries died in my camera a couple of days ago and things got so busy that I wasn't able to get to the store to get more batteries until today. I have a solar battery charger and am replacing the batteries in the house, slowly, with rechargeable batteries. It just irritates me to throw those batteries in the trash when they are dead. That's a footprint I would rather not leave behind, if I can help it.

I like to take pictures of my projects and post them on this blog or at least just have them. They make a nice portfolio. I've added this pepper design that I embroidered.

The news has been all about Michael Jackson. He really was a very talented man -- talk about a gift for dancing and anything to do with music. Even when I went to Radio Shack to get the batteries, all of their televisions were on the memorial service for Michael Jackson. My dear friend, Kelvin, suggested that I embroider Michael Jackson shirts. I like that idea, Kelvin, but I worry about copyright and trademark infringements, etc. Maybe I can think of something.

Monday, July 6, 2009

July 6, 2009

It's Monday morning after the big weekend. Kind of hard to get going today.

We are working on a project for my favorite aunt's bowling team. My Aunt Philo is 90 years old. She's been deaf since she was 9 years old and now has macular degeneration. Yes, she and her friends bowl. Personally, I think that shows a lot of character. The team has ordered bowling shirts from Cajun Stitchery. So, what designs do you put on a bowling shirt for the deaf/blind? They specifically asked for bright orange shirts with black stitching. Since they can see in shadows, the orange is bright enough and the black dark enough for them to make out their shirts. And the fact that the shirts are embroidered, rather than screen printed, allows them to see the shirts and designs by touch. How amazing is that!!! The design on the back is a simple Dakota Design of a bowling ball and 3 pins, a very basic design so that they can feel the bowling ball and pins. On the front, left chest area will be their first name over VDL (Village du Lac). Their name will be in a semi-circle over VDL in a straight line. Since they are in Louisiana and I'm in Florida, they have promised to send me a picture of the team in their new shirts once this project has been completed and delivered. I will certainly post that picture on this blog.

I have put off doing my quarterly sales tax report long enough and must get that done today.

This isn't a very good picture but while learning to multihoop, we did this tablecloth with the little heirloom design around the edge. It really is pretty. Of course, this one was a practice project. It's not easy unhooping a design and then re-hooping and aligning these designs up to the exact stitch -- but we are learning -- and the tablecloth turned out pretty nice. The Larkspur photo at the top of this page is our first attempt at multihooping -- not bad.

Catch ya later.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

July 5, 2009

The 4th of July at the beach was a blast indeed! Started with socializing and dinner at my friend, Paulette's house and ended up for dessert and fireworks at my friend, Kathi's house -- 3 stories high on the balcony that surrounds her 3rd floor. We were able to see the Pensacola fireworks, as well as the Pensacola Beach fireworks, not to mention the various hotels were having firework displays and the individual homes. It was spectatular.

The traffic was even spectacular -- an hour and a half to get home for a trip that usually takes 20 minutes. Poo yie!

Today is more of a lazy day. We've just hung out at the house and watched movies. George has been out piddling in the garden, while I was inside doing bookkeeping work and learning new programs.

This tiger stitched out nicely but I haven't figured out where to put it. I just love stitching the designs.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

4th of July, 2009

Ah! Saturday the Fourth of July, 2009. We worked so hard this week, we were just plum tuckered out last night. I've been taking lots of pictures of projects this week and thought I'd share some, but then there's the picture of Tigger, my cat. We had just received a box of t-shirts and put the empty box off to the side on the recycling bin and wouldn't you know it...Cat In The Box!

I should do some designs of cats and dogs. We have 3 cats and 2 dogs. My golden retriever, Chelsea, passed away in January of this year. She was 14. The best dog I ever owned, or owned me. Think about it, we're the ones that go to work and earn a living, clean the house and the yard, feed them, let them outside and provide a climate controlled home (they are all inside animals). Just who owns who. I think I am the pet.

Then there is all of the wildlife outdoors. I live just outside of town -- 5 minutes from my home and you are downtown Pensacola -- but the animals are amazing. For the past few years we have had red tailed hawks nesting in our oak trees. They are fascinating creatures. Hawks mate for life. Of course, they are predators and there is usually a voluminous amount of feathers under the nesting tree -- poor little fellas. We have quite an array of indiginal birds in this area. Pensacola is a natural habitat for the Bald Eagle (oh yes, and they are breath-taking to watch), osprey, an assortment of hawks, as well as the usual gulls, pelicans, egrets, herons, and other birds that live near and around the Gulf of Mexico. Also, the migratory birds always take a holiday in Pensacola on their way north or south.

I haven't heard the Blue Angels flying this week -- that I recall. I live about a mile from the Naval Air Station, home of the Blue Angels. They usually put on a spectacular show at the beach the 1st or 2nd weekend after the 4th of July -- but we get to see them every time they are in town and practicing because they fly directly above my house. How terrific is that! We get to watch the air show and not leave home. Woohoo!!!

We are going to the beach today to watch the fireworks and enjoy the 4th with friends. Life is good.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Palm Tree Project

Love this palm tree! We actually did the palm tree for a display tablecloth but I liked it so much that I have used it to make this tote bag. The palm tree itself is 13" tall. The fabric is a polyesther and has a black silky lining. The handles are made from the same fabric as the tote. This tote has a pleat on each side at the bottom (similar to plastic store bags), thus allowing extra room.

July 3, 2009

Cajun Stitchery is a home based embroidery company. We do embroidery on ready made items that we can purchase for you. Some of the items might be t-shirts, polo shirts, ball caps, aprons, napkins, tote bags, beach bags, towels, etc.

You have a graphic artist onboard. If you have an idea of your own special design but need an artist to take your design from an idea into art that you can see, our talented graphic artist can do this.

You have a digitizer at your disposal. Our digitizer takes the artwork from either you or the graphic artist and turns it into embroidery stitches in a computer file readable by the embroidery machine.

Then you have the embroiderer. Our embroiderer takes the embroidery computer file from the computer to our commercial embroidery machine and onto whatever ready made product you have requested.

Voila! Your ideas and dreams can become a beautiful, embroidered item.

What about your child's drawings? Yes. This type of art can be digitized.

Logo? Of course, that can be digitized and embroidered.

That drawing that you hid in the closet. You know, the one that you drew and loved but just stashed away. Your art can be embroidered onto a table runner or an assortment of items of your choice.