Thursday, January 13, 2011

Another Year of Birthdays

Each year I pick an item to be embroidered for each of the girls in my Mardi Gras Krewe.  For instance, in 2009, everyone got embroidered napkins for their birthdays.  In 2010, everyone received embroidered pillowcases for their birthdays.  This year, 2011, they are receiving bath towels. 

The first birthday of the year in the Krewe is always Courtney.  She loves being the first but says that as the year progresses my creative juices start flowing on the item and by the end of the year, the girls are getting some really unique and creative embroidery, while her's is kind of plain Jane.  I really wanted Courtney to get something special this year, but you never know where the designing will end up by the end of the year.  To start off, it's difficult to put a lot of creative juices into a gift right after the holiday season and the time of year where we are the busiest.  I pondered Courtney's gift for a very long time.  Last year I found a design for a beautiful diva that I knew I wanted to use.  So, while I was pondering Courtney's design, the diva came to mind.  She was only about 2 or 3 inches tall but I redigitized her to 9 inches tall and digitized so her dress would be Mylar.  She turned out beautiful but alone she was lacking something.  She needed some pizzazz.  For a long time I've wanted to work with applique.  I touch on applique every once in awhile but not the in depth stuff that I'd like to do.  Courtney's birthday came and went but the girls had decided to celebrate her birthday this past Wednesday, yesterday.  This week had been so busy that I wasn't able to do much on her design, not to mention that I had orders to fill.  The beauty, for me, of designing is that I can be anyplace, doing anything, and get an idea and work it out in my head.  By the time I get to the design program on the computer, I pretty much have already worked the project out mentally.  Before I knew it, it was Wednesday morning and I needed that towel embroidered and wrapped to give her that evening.  The thought occurred to me to put a large clam shell behind the diva and done in applique.  I could not find a clam shell design that I liked but I did see a star applique that intrigued me.  I pulled the star design into the program and began the process of enlarging.  By the time I got the star to 9 inches, the stitches were all askew.  That just wouldn't work.  I decided to take the 9 inch design into the digitizing program and redigitize the star.  I had never used the applique function in the digitizing program before.  It seemed simple enough.  A star shape is not difficult.  The first time I did it, part of the stitches looked fine but most were not coming through.  I finally decided that I must have the satin stitches too wide.  Indeed, that was the case.  I redigitized and the star appeared fine on the computer.

The star behind the diva looked great on the computer but you never really know until you actually stitch it out.  I used one of the cheap towels that I purchased last year for the stitch out.  Then I had to find and determine what fabric to use in the applique.  I happened on a silky, woven, black fabric that I was going to use, just for the stitch out.  OMG!  After that design stitched out, and it stitched out perfectly, I immediately placed that towel in my bathroom.  It was beautiful.  I used one of the nice, new white towels for Courtney's and added her name inside the black star. 

My plan is to use the stitch out towel repeatedly, washing and drying, to make sure everything is sturdy and doesn't fall apart easily.  Then I think I'm going to use the same design for each of the girls this year but change the colors and applique fabric so each is individual.

When my friend, Turtle, was here earlier this week, she was telling me that she uses Fray Check a lot.  I have a bottle of Fray Check but had just never used it.  I did run a bead of Fray Check partially around Courtneny's star where I felt it was the weakest.  That should hold it nice and tight.  I can see that I will probably start investing in a lot of Fray Check, especially if I'm going to be doing a lot of applique.

Also, while Turtle was here, we stitched out an in the hoop card holder.  It holds business cards, as well as gift cards.  The paisley design is so en vogue and fun.  Another friend of mine told me sometime ago that I should always carry give-aways with my cards, so people can see my work.  This card holder would be an ideal give-away.  Just put my card inside and hand the holder to whoever I was giving the card.  Maybe I'll change the design to say Cajun Stitchery. 

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