craft business

Applique Letters

Need to add a name or monogram to a project and don’t have an embroidery machine?

You have options.  Most involve some tracing and a bit of paper backed fusible web.

Option 1:  Make your own letters either by hand or computer:  Reverse the letters before tracing onto paper-backed fusible web.

Option 2:  Die-cut machine.  If you own a Sizzix, Accquilt or similar manual machine,  you can buy letter dies to run through your machine. There’s a variety of fonts and sizes available. You are only limited by your budget and amount of storage space.

Option 3:  Electronic cutting machine.  If you have the funds, GO FOR IT! Make sure it can cut fabric. ‘Nuff said. 

Option 4: Bulletin Board Letter Sets – You can find these at any teacher supply store or in the school sections at your local office supply/big box craft store.  I have a 3″ basic letter set for when I need to use capital letters and a 4″ set in Playful and Friendly fonts for when I use lower case letters.


Option 5:  Freebies from around the web. Check Pinterest for alphabet letter sets or monogram letters that may meet your needs.

Be sure to use a size 75/11 or 80/12 embroidery needle and polyester thread. I like Isacord and the small spools of Coats Dual Duty thread. I either use a satin stitch or a small  zigzag (W=2.5 and L= 1.0)

craft business

Truth in Advertising

I am inundated with sales pitches at both the day job and my creative arts biz. I am skeptical of anything that claims to solve all of my problems, so I frequently hit the delete key or throw the mailer in the round file (a/k/a trash can).  Occasionally, I find value in a promotional pitch and look at the item/service a little more closely.

Recently, I received an invite to join a professional directory. For an annual fee, I could be listed in this directory and be “ranked” on certain attributes by the self-described “world’s leading expert” in this industry. My Clark Howard radar immediately went off!

I realize this organization/person obviously thinks there is a “need” for this sort of product, or else the marketing email would not have shown up in my inbox. I’ve had some interactions with the “expert” and yes, the person is quite knowledgable about the subject under discussion, but to bill themselves as “the world’s leading expert?” –  I think not!

I realize this is nothing more than marketing hype using some hired-gun verbiage at best. Hopefully, the “expert” is well aware of the claims made on the website and in the advertisement. My guess is this was done to raise the ire of others in the community and to get people talking (thus, driving people to the website).  Some of my friends and I certainly had a fun discussion about this tonight.

I am all for businesses promoting themselves and trying to increase business. However, when you make the claim that you are “the world’s leading expert” on ______, you’d better have the credentials and data to support that claim.  This is one of the major discussions I have with my students about evaluating information. (Can you see a future library skills lesson coming?????)  IMHO, this person does not have said credentials nor the data to make that claim.  Nor does this organization’s ranking system make a lick of sense to me due to the fact it is so highly subjective. 

Once I feel I have all the details and facts surrounding this “promotional offer” I may post links to the website and other discussion on the subject.  Then again, I might not!

The takeaway:  Be sure you are truthful in your advertising and that the claims made can stand up to public scrutiny.





craft business

Minimizing the book stash

I must confess.

I HAD a 5 shelf commercial bookcase in my sewing studio FILLED with books and magazines.  (Hey, I’m a librarian by trade!)

Today, I still have the bookcase, but 60% of the books and nearly all the magazines are gone. What’s left will be arranged by subject (garments sewing quilting, embroidery, general reference, craft business, kid’s sewing, etc.).

I donated the last of the books to Better World Books this morning. Apparently, several others in my area must have had the same idea!  The organization has several collection bins locally. I had to go to 3 separate locations before I found a bin that had room to take my books.

Moving forward:  I’ve been sewing for a long time.  Honestly, it seems that much of the content published in books and magazines today is simply old content repackaged and gussied up a bit. I already have a good print collection in my personal library. In the future, I’ll look to borrow books from the local library or simply flip through them at the newsstand.  My wallet will thank me!  My print magazine subscription list has also been narrowed down to: Block Magazine (Missouri Star Quilt Company) and American Patchwork & Quilting (Meredith).

While I prefer printed books and magazines for pleasure reading/browsing, I find myself moving more and more toward a paperless office with the record-keeping side of the business.  I use an app to keep up with the die-cuts for my Sizzix and Accuquilt Go! systems.  It took some time to input the data, but boy, does it save time when planning projects and needing to see a photo of the finished applique for placement of the cut pieces.

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Can we just show pictures of cute puppies or vintage sewing machines everywhere until we get some awesome photos of the solar eclipse on Monday?

I am over all the negativity in the news media.  And the double standard.  And the lack of decorum and civility.

Just. Stop. It. NOW!






craft business

Saying good-bye to my first sewing machine

*Sniff.*  *Sniff.*  

Old Faithful (what I dubbed the very first sewing machine I bought for myself some 20+ years ago) is no more.  She’d been relegated to the stable of sewing machines kept at school for Friday clubs, but I occasionally borrowed her for kid’s classes at the quilt shop when needed.  Which is why I went rummaging through her accessory box on Wednesday afternoon looking for a specific foot (found it!).  I also left the machine out on the news desk to be put away in the morning (as I had done many times before).

Well, Thursday morning, I heard a crash and one of my students came running out obviously upset.  One of the boys had tried to move the machine so they could set up for the morning broadcast.  Yup.  You can guess what happened. Old Faithful hit the floor upside down and broke in several pieces – bobbin winder, presser foot lifter, bottom case cracked.  I tried to get her sew, but it was very wonky and strained.  My fault for leaving the machine out. The boy who had dropped the machine was so apologetic and literally cringed like he expected me to lay into him. What good would that do?  It was my fault for leaving the machine out.

So, Old Faithful was given a proper send-off  this afternoon. Hopefully, none of the scavengers at work resurrect her from the dumpster and set her in my office over the weekend.

The sewing machine was put in the dumpster for a reason people. and not worth it to try to fix.  Believe me, I got my money’s worth out of her over the past two decades!

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Intro to Sewing (ages 16+) – now registering for Fall sessions

I am SEW happy to announce that I will be teaching this class at the Mable House Arts Center for the fall semester.

Dates:   Mondays  Session I:  8/14 – 9/25   or  Session II:  10/2 – 11/6
Time:  6:30-8:00 p.m.
Cost:  $80.00 + supplies.
Portable sewing machine required.

To register:  contact Marie at the Mable House Arts Center at 770.819.3285






craft business

Social Media or where you’ll find me…

A PR class I recently attended strongly recommended users pick two social media platforms and spend the bulk of our time there. This is in addition to a website. The objective of  social media activities is quite simple:  promote your business in a positive manner to drive people to your website.  Some refer to this as user engagement.

Time is our most valuable commodity.  What are you offering your readers in exchange for their time to follow you on Instagram, like your FB page or stalk you on Pinterest for creative ideas?  What content, item or service is on your site that you can promote to add value to your customer’s life?  Hmmm…

Most of my business still comes locally via word-of-mouth. I chose Instagram and Pinterest as the platforms to devote most of my social media activities for the business. There will still be a presence on Twitter as that’s how I get a lot of my news.

Meanwhile, here’s to three more weeks of summer break before I report for teacher pre-planning on 7/24.  Yep, we start school early around here!