WEDNESDAY WEBSITE CRUSH – Amazing Designs

 Amazing Designs  is a very versatile machine embroidery resource. They are owned by Tacony Coporation, the mother company of Baby Lock, Madeira, and Koala Studios, so you know their name is reputable. Their high-quality designs are worthy of the family name. Their meta tag touts of having 11,000 embroidery designs.  That is a lot of designs from which to choose.

Amazing Design's Bazooples Collection and Baby Lock's built in font

Amazing Design's Bazooples Collection and Baby Lock's built in font

Amazing Designs has an artistic flair with their anthropomorphism that I just love.  

Amazing Design's Tiny Tailor Collection

Amazing Design's Tiny Tailor Collection

Their little animals all dressed in the cutest clothes and doing human activities are so adorable. 

Amazing Design's Tiny Tailor Collection

Amazing Design's Tiny Tailor Collection

My absolute favorite is their Tiny Tailors Collection by Janet Wecker-Frisch. If I were not afraid of embarrassing my family, I would wear these designs on everything, but as it turns out, I only have a cleaning jumper that I embroidered them on. Even then, I get the, “Seriously, Mom!”

Amazing Design's Tiny Tailor Collection

Amazing Design's Tiny Tailor Collection

For those of us who love coloring (so glad that is such the rave these days!), you will love many of their designs, as many of their designs are outlined in black.  I am so drawn to them (pun intended). I think the outlining makes them pop, but these are the kind of designs that you really have to make sure that it is hooped tightly or the outline will shift even so slightly.

Amazing Design's Bazooples Collection

Amazing Design's Bazooples Collection

As you would expect they have pages for tips and techniques, projects and lots of other resources. There are several links, so surf around, you will find lots of treasures.

They have a page of freebies that can be downloaded monthly.  Do you have a list of websites that you can click on to download their free designs monthly? I am in the process of developing such a list that I will share publicly, and would love to add your favorite, quality developers to the list.

Amazing Design's Tiny Tailor Collection

Amazing Design's Tiny Tailor Collection

While I have fun writing about quality machine embroidery websites regularly, I must admit that I do not have much will power, and wind up finding a collection or two to purchase when I am gathering the links for this blog. This week I noticed that Amazing Designs was having a great sale under the “Specials” category on so many of the designs I had on my wish list.

So many designs, so little time! Happy stitching!

Wednesday Website Crush - Adorable Ideas

John Deer is the driving force behind the website Adorable Ideas and technically, Ultimate Stash is the website that offers the machine embroidery designs.  Adorable Ideas is the parent company that also owns Digitizing Made Easy, for which John Deer is really known. To make it even more confusing, do not type in “John Deer machine embroidery” into google or your hits will come back with lots of tractor designs. You probably noticed this, but John Deer does not spell his name the same as the tractor company John Deere.

Ultimate Stash Design Aspm051

Ultimate Stash Design Aspm051

John Deer is a third generation embroiderer.  His family began designing Schiffli lace on looms around 1910 and has passed down that skill to John Deer. [Digitizing Made Easy by John Deer, 2007] What an incredible heritage. 

On the top bar of their website is the Learning Center that includes: Classroom, Inspiration, and Tutorials. All three of these sections will keep you busy learning for a long time.  Personally, I love seeing the exquisite gowns made with the Schiffli lace.

Close up  Ultimate Stash  Design Aspm051

Close up Ultimate Stash Design Aspm051

The designs on the Ultimate Stash website are a very high quality. You can tell that it comes from many years of experience, but it is most evident when you click on the lace designs. They are gorgeous.  This is really authentic Schiffli lace that is available to every home embroiderer.  Before my husband bought me my embroidery machine, I never dreamed that I would have the ability to create such beautiful, authentic lace.  It has been such a joy to me to find this site.

Close up  Ultimate Stash  Design Aiml015

Close up Ultimate Stash Design Aiml015

My favorite purchases are from his “Vintage Lace Project Series” hosted by Janet Carley.  These lace projects are so elegant. You learn professional methods of using the lace designs on projects. I am not sure if they are still available as I could not find them on the website any longer.  I now wish I had purchased all of them. 

The website does have many designs that are not lace oriented.  They have a free design for you to try. In addition to regular designs, they specialize in “Sparkle Designs;” and they offer kits as well to accompany the designs.

This bride and groom lace motif is just lovely and makes a wonderful wedding card or can be added to even an anniversary gift.  

Ultimate Stash  Design Mesa043

Ultimate Stash Design Mesa043

Have fun machine embroidering and I hope you enjoy the Adorable Ideas website. 

How to Prep Fabric for Neckline Embroidery

Machine embroidering a garment is so much fun.  You get the pleasure of both embroidering it and wearing it.  Many of us just embroider to enhance premade garments, but on those special garments, we even break down and create the whole garment. We do not get to do as much embroidering, but for some of us, garment construction is as much fun (well…almost).

Personally, I get extra enjoyment when I am embroidering for my family. My college daughter asked me to embroider her a Mexican flower peasant blouse, but after purchasing several patterns and fabrics, we settled on a tunic design.

She chose Simplicity 4149 with the cap sleeves from Simplicity 1461.  The fabric is a handkerchief weight cotton from Spechler-Vogel. Choosing the embroidery design was the easiest part.  I just loved Embroidery Online's Flores de Mexico. It looks and sounds so authentic. Their color combination that they chose to stitch out is just beautiful with a rich turquoise. My daughter chose a bright and neon combination from Floriani that just pops and screams, "Young."

It took me a little while before I had to courage to tackle this project as my daughter is a great machine embroider and I knew she would not be happy if the placement was not just right, but I also knew that if anyone would appreciate it, it would be her. 

The best strategy that I decided was to prep the fabric with all the necessary markings. When I purchased the fabric I did not have the foresight to buy extra since I knew it did not have a nap or a design. Next time I would definitely buy an extra half yard so I could put it in the hoop comfortably. Since I was right up to the edge on everything, I decided that I did not have any room for mistakes and would embroider with that mind set.

All the other pieces were cut out and I left the front of the pattern uncut. I traced the front pattern with a blue chalk onto the fabric. I knew that after multiple hoping that the chalk lines would not remain and I was not sure if they would be visible to the sewing machine's camera, so I decided to baste the chalk lines with a red cotton thread.

The seam allowance on the neckline was very important, as well as, the center front line and the placement for the front placket.  

In hindsight I needed the sleeve seam allowance also, so I wound up drawing them in when I was at that point.

For me the biggest decision was what stabilizer to use.  My daughter kept insisting that she wanted a wash away, but my I did not feel comfortable doing that with such a lightweight fabric combined with a heavy design.  That was not a good mix in the first place. I practiced with a wash away and was not happy with it. She loves the convenience of the tear away, but I went against all her wishes and used the "No Show Mesh Nylon Cutaway Fusible Stabilizer" by Floriani. Of course, I was a smart mom and did not tell her what I used until she said she loved it. 

The stabilizer was applied to cover the entire area that was going to be embroidered, including the area where it would need to be hooped, but the fabric would not be in the hoop. Here is where I would have loved to have had those extra inches of fabric, but since the fabric was so thin, it would hoop so evenly and tightly that it would not even make a difference.

My daughter loved the placement of the Embroidery Online tunic, so I tried to duplicate it as much as possible. After close examination, we determined that the main bottom center design was actually two designs stitched on top of each other. 

The camera and snowman feature of my Babylock Ellisimo Gold were lifesavers. Even in the placement of the first design I used the snowman first, then the camera, to make sure the placement was exactly matched up with all my stitching lines.  Thankfully, it was right where I wanted it. I stitched the first design and then used the camera to find the placement of the second design. Presto! Right on the mark again. I cannot imagine having embroidered this project without that scanning feature. 

Most everything fit exactly as I had imagined it, with the exception of the sleeve area.  The very end of the scroll goes into the seam allowance, but that was adjusted when I sewed by taking it just right to the edge of the scroll and right there is the best part about constructing your own garments instead of purchasing them to embellish. 

Which do you prefer to embroider on - ready-made garments or constructing your own garments?

 

 

 

 

Machine Embroidered Flower Headband

One of my college daughters asked me to make her friend a flower headband. Since my daughter also machine embroiders, it was so much fun to be facetiming while looking at machine embroidery designs at the same time. This truly is a wonderful technological age! Who would have guessed that you could see your daughter who lives over 800 miles away and still go shopping all at the same time – let alone, be planning for an embroidery design that will be stitched by a machine! Sometimes it just boggles my mind!

Free Standing Sunflower Beads by Sonia Showalter

Free Standing Sunflower Beads by Sonia Showalter

We settled on a free standing flower design by Sonia Showalter, entitled “Sunflower Beads.”  It is a very versatile design and can be stitched in any color combination. My daughter chose white with a single grey center.  It was designed with a three-color combination – one for the petals and two for the center design – with two parts to the flower.  There is an upper and a lower part of the flower.  The bottom flower has a loop on each side where a ribbon can be threaded through, which is the main reason why we picked this design.  It was cute, the right size and could be simply made into a band by looping them together.  Perfect!

The instructions state, “When completely dry, the flower pieces need to be glued together before stringing.” Ugh! This is machine embroidery! Surely we can do all this in the hoop and skip the gluing phase. There was my challenge!

So here it is.  Here are my instructions for machine embroidering the two flower parts together without gluing them.

For this project, I used Floriani’s water soluble stabilizer, “Wet N Gone.” This product is not the plastic type of stabilizer, but has more body like a true stabilizer.  I used two sheets in the hoop initially and then I added one more sheet in step 8. 

Floriani Wet N Gone Water Soluble Stabilizer

Floriani Wet N Gone Water Soluble Stabilizer

SUNFLOWER BEADS SPECIAL INSTRUCTIONS

STEP 1

Follow Sonia’s instructions to machine embroider all the “bottom” flowers first.  Trim the threads at this time. Wash them and set them aside to dry overnight.

STEP 2

Follow Sonia’s instructions to machine embroider the “top” flowers next. However, stitch colors 1 and 2. STOP before stitching color 3.  If you are stitching several flowers in one hoop, you will have to carefully watch your stitch out and advance your machine manually from color 2 in one flower, back to color 1 in the next flower.

STEP 3

Trim all the threads from the top flowers at this time.

STEP 4

When all the flowers are stitched for colors 1 and 2, advance your machine back to the starting point and then advance it again so it begins at color 3 of the first flower.

STEP 5

Take your hoop out of the machine.

STEP 6

Carefully turn your hoop upside down on something that is approximately the width of the inside of your hoop. [For me, it was a Body for Life for Women book that was sitting on my cutting table just dying to be opened.]

STEP 7

Individually spray the front of each “bottom” flower lightly with Sulky KK 2000, but completely. [I tried using a fabric glue stick, but it was not strong enough to stick the two flowers together.]

Do not use Fabric Glue

Do not use Fabric Glue

TIP: I have a tall, but medium sized cardboard box that I use for spraying with Sulky KK 2000. I put the item in the bottom of the box to spray it and then all the sticky mist does not get onto everything.  I keep the box folded up against a wall so it does not take up any space and it is readily available when I need it.

Sulkiy KK 2000 Spray

Sulkiy KK 2000 Spray

STEP 9

Cut another piece of water soluble stabilizer larger than the size of your hoop and lightly spray it with the Sulky KK 2000. Place it sticky side down on top of the flower sandwich that was just created. This will keep those bottom flowers from getting caught in the feed dogs or any other openings. Finger press this down very securely.

STEP 10

Carefully, put the hoop back into the machine. 

STEP 11

Double check to make sure your first stitch will be color 3 the center of the first flower. (See step 3)

STEP 12

Stitch ONLY color 3 for each flower by advancing the stitch order manually on your machine.

STEP 13

You are now done with the special instructions. You can remove the hoop, trim the threads and wash the away the stabilizer.

The flowers were threaded all together with fold-over elastic and tied with a simple knot to keep it together.

This headband is such a fun spring project.  What will you be making to celebrate spring?

How to Hoop Plush Towels

Machine embroidering plush towels can be a challenge, as they are very difficult and sometimes impossible to hoop in a traditional manner.  No matter how hard you try, when you put that thick terrycloth between those two rings, it pops out when you fasten it down. If your terrycloth is a thinner grade or has been washed many times as my test sample was, then it is not a problem and can be hooped like other fabrics.

Font by Sonia Showalter

Font by Sonia Showalter

There are many ways to conquer this problem, but here are the three easiest. All three options use a sandwich approach, which consists of a bottom layer of water soluble stabilizer (this differs depending upon the method chosen), the towel itself, and then the important water soluble topping stabilizer which serves to keep the pile of towel down so it does not get caught up in the needle or the foot as it travels across the design, but it also keeps the pile down while actually embroidering so the design is very uniform. It really makes a difference by using this topper. It takes the embroidered finished product from amateur to professional. 

The first option for hooping the towel sandwich is to purchase the Snap Hoop Monster from Designs in Machine in Embroidery, if you have the time and the funds for the purchase. This magnetic wonder solves all your problems and is the easiest solution.  You lift the top magnetic hoop, line up your towel sandwich of water soluble tear-away stabilizer, towel and topper, then put the hoop back on top. Presto, no further issue.  It is an amazing invention, by a very creative lady, Eileen Roche. I have the 5 x 7 model and it is fantastic.  It is worth every penny, but I chose not to purchase the largest hoop, which I am now regretting.  It is on my wish list for sure. The design I chose for these towels is larger than the 5 x 7 hoop. I could have opted to split the design in half and then hoop it twice, but I decided against this method as I thought it would take me longer in the long run. 

The next two methods are similar in that you hoop a tacky or pressure sensitive stabilizer instead of the water soluble tear-away used with the Snap Hoop Monster,  in between the two rings and then stick the towel to the stabilizer. This is another amazing product that I do not know how we lived without.

Wet N Gone Tacky Stabilizer by Floriani

Wet N Gone Tacky Stabilizer by Floriani

It is easiest to hoop the stabilizer before removing the protective paper as it is very difficult to hoop it tightly since it will stick to the top hoop and not allow you to readily tighten it. Also, it will leave a residue on the the hoop. This process solves both of those issues. Once the stabilizer is hooped, you lightly score the paper with scissors being careful not to push too hard as it will cut through the actual stabilizer and you will need to start all over again.

Thicker scissors seem to score better than thinner ones. Maybe I just apply less pressure.

Thicker scissors seem to score better than thinner ones. Maybe I just apply less pressure.

Once it has been scored, remove the protective paper being careful not to touch the stabilizer.

Finger prints and score marks on the tacky stabilizer.

Finger prints and score marks on the tacky stabilizer.

Then align the towel onto the stabilizer with both rings of the hoop under the towel.  It seems counterintuitive, because it looks like the towel is just floating on top of the hoop, but with these next two steps it works really well and this is were the methods differ.

This towel has a border that can easily be used to line it up with the edge of the hoop.  You can see the hoop placement in the right corner.

This towel has a border that can easily be used to line it up with the edge of the hoop.  You can see the hoop placement in the right corner.

This topper must be secured to the sandwich. It can be done in many ways such as basting it by hand or machine to the towel before it is attached to the sticky stabilizer or it can be done after it is attached.  Most machine embroiders opt to baste after and use the built-in basting feature on the newer machines. With the click of a button it adds the basting lines and knows to sew it before the design begins. 

On the Baby Lock machine, basting is simply added automatically at the beginning of the process by the press of a button.

On the Baby Lock machine, basting is simply added automatically at the beginning of the process by the press of a button.

The hard part is keeping it secured while it is basting.  I have seen some embroiderists hold it in place with their hands, but I strongly do not recommend this method.and yes, I have tried it.  You know those times when you are in a hurry and you want to skip a few step.  It never pays.

The second method is to pin it in place, but it is difficult to get it taunt and to especially get the pins to go down and back up without loosening the stabilizer. 

Topping pinned to the towel and underlying stabilizer.

Topping pinned to the towel and underlying stabilizer.

The third method is the method that I chose.  Use a tacky water soluble stabilizer on the bottom, with the towel in the middle and then spray the towel with a temporary adhesive (I used Sulky KK 2000). 

KK 2000 Temporary Spray Adhesive by Sulky and Water Soluble Topping by Floriani

KK 2000 Temporary Spray Adhesive by Sulky and Water Soluble Topping by Floriani

Once the towel is sprayed, I affix the topper directly to the towel and smooth it out by pressing in the middle first then working out and down firmly, so all the air bubbles are removed and it creates a nice tight suction with the towel. If you misplace it, the nice part is that is lifts right up and you can reposition it, starting all over again.  

The basting keeps the topping in place and taunt while the design stitches.

The basting keeps the topping in place and taunt while the design stitches.

Now you are ready to baste and begin your beautiful design on your towels.  This Sunday our church is having a baptism that will now have six embroidered towels for the occasion.

Fleur de Lis Capital and Lower Case Alphabet with the Baptism Cross Designs by Sonia Showalter

Fleur de Lis Capital and Lower Case Alphabet with the Baptism Cross Designs by Sonia Showalter

What method do you use to machine embroider plush towels?

So Many Books, SEW a Bookmark,

Oh, we have so many books in our house.  There is not a room without a book. We even have so many bookcases that every time my father comes to visit (a former city inspector), he warns me that houses were not built to withstand that much weight in any one room. 

In our house it is forbidden to write in a book a dog-ear one, so with so many books, you know that most of us love bookmarks too and are always on the hunt for that favorite one. 

Machine Embroidery Design by Embroidery Library

Machine Embroidery Design by Embroidery Library

This darling bookmark was so cute that I could not resist buying the design from Embroidery Library.  It is an in-the-hoop design that stitches up so quickly. 

The best part of this project is that it did not cost anything to make, other than the design which was on sale through one of Embroidery Library's fabulous sales, as the fabric was from my stash (well, stash of old sheets, not yardage) and the thread was from previous projects. But, I must be honest, when I want to close a book, I am usually in a hurry because someone wants my attention and I do not take the time to place the page neatly into the little corner pocket and I wind up just sticking it in the book like a normal bookmark. At least it is better than grabbing whatever is nearby. You name it, I have used it for a bookmark.

In-the-hoop Bookmark

In-the-hoop Bookmark

What is the funniest thing you have used for a bookmark?

 

Going from Ready-Made to Unique

Buying garments and accessories today is so ordinary. You can walk in a mall and see several women with the same item and their style is all so similar. Talk about cookie-cutter. I really think that is why I sew and machine embroider. While my style may not suit yours, it is unique.  I can craft it just the way I want and the best thing is that my garments fit my particular body measurements.  You cannot get that in your local department store or even at a high-end retailer.  They must accommodate the shape of the majority.

Pashmina scarves at one time were quite unique and not very many women could afford to buy them, but today it is a different story. Amazingly, in New York City, the street vendors sell them for as little as five dollars.  Sure they may not be the highest quality as the ones of old, but they are still beautiful. While I am so very thankful that this is the case and that I can own not just one, but many, it does pose a bit of a problem when you want to be individualistic. 

However, in five minutes, the embroidery machine can transform a common pashmina scarf into something truly one-of-a-kind. 

Swirly Initials Font by Anna Bove Embroidery

Swirly Initials Font by Anna Bove Embroidery

Anna Bove Embroidery has a full selection of machine embroidery fonts.  Her specialty is beautiful older styles like Victorian and art deco, but this swirl initial is quite modern and appeals to the younger generation. My college daughter loves it and I have had several people ask for it once they saw it.

Swirly Initials Font by Anna Bove Embroidery

Swirly Initials Font by Anna Bove Embroidery

The thread can make all the difference in how the design looks.  Here it is quite subtle.  The thread is a silver metallic by Floriani.

Swirly Initials Font by Anna Bove Embroidery

Swirly Initials Font by Anna Bove Embroidery

It really pops with a contrasting color such as black or like this navy blue with gold metallic on a white silk scarf. It all depends upon the individual's personality (especially if it is a gift), what it will be worn with and its purpose - warmth, attention grabber, subtle color, etc.

Swirly Initials Font by Anna Bove Embroidery

Swirly Initials Font by Anna Bove Embroidery

Always be as unique as you are!


Machine Embroidery for Men

Those of us who machine embroider regularly are usually a little obsessed with it.  I know I constantly look at things and think, "Can I duplicate that?' "Can I monogram on that?" Then there is the ultimate challenge - men!  

We love the men in our lives and our machine embroidery is an expression of our love, so we naturally want to gift our men with our embroidery. 

Embroidering for husbands is a challenge, but they love us so dearly that they will usually just smile and say, "Thank you, dear."  But try embroidering for the young 20-something men. I have six adult sons (well, one is still a mature teen) and I am constantly asking, "Can I make this for you?" Only to be disappointed again with the response, "No, Mom. Men don't do embroidery." 

One of my sons travels regularly, so when I saw this cute - oops - handsome collapsible tray for in-the-hoop projects, I just knew I had to try one. Now how to make it manly. A manly design in the center should do the trick.  The project that I purchased had four options - channels, grid, maze, and stipple. The channels were very manly with a khaki fabric and black thread when I gave it as a Christmas gift to a young professional man, but I wanted my son to have something that was uniquely him and a monogram was out - not his style.  In college he was in the equestrian club and his favorite horse is a Friesian.

Friesian Horse Sketch Design by Embroidery Library

Friesian Horse Sketch Design by Embroidery Library

My search for the Friesian horse design started at my favorite website for downloadable designs Embroidery Library. Unbelievable! It was there. They are the best.

The actual in-the-hoop tray was digitized by Zippy DesignZ. It stitched up just great and had no problem with substituting the design for the center part that quilted it together.

In-the-Hoop Tray Design by Zippy DesignZ

In-the-Hoop Tray Design by Zippy DesignZ

The best part of this project was that my son actually loved it and uses it when he travels.  Success! Love expressed tangibly!

A New Twist on Handbag Handles

Eileen Roche and Nancy Zieman are so creative! They devised a way to make the difficult task of constructing a handbag into the easiest process ever by creating it with machine embroidery.  The embroidery machine does all the work for you.  If I had to sew each stitch myself on my tote bag, I would have given up a long time ago, but take a look and see how much their designs ease the process.

Their book, Designer Handbags, comes with the CD to download the machine embroidery designs.  When you first look at the back of the book with the embroidery designs illustrated, you cannot believe your eyes.  They look so simple.  They took a complicated process and simplified it.

So that you will understand the different parts of this process, here is a picture of my finished tote bag that I created using their CD. The twisted cord handles are not really handles at all.

The design on the front of the tote bag was an Urban Threads Parisian Bee design that I had in my digital library and wanted to use for a long time.  Since the leopard fabric was bolder than my usual comfort zone, I decided to go all out and add the design. I convinced myself that it was just a tote bag that I was using to practice their designs.

Since I was going all out, why not add a bold monogram on the inside.  I used the Family Tree font by Anna Bove Embroidery.  I just loved it.  It added the touch of class I wanted.

The corners were the first part of their process.  They are a combination of applique and designs. The main black part is black fabric that has quilted stitches on top of it. The tan line is also fabric that has been appliqued, but the black satin lines and darker tan dots are all machine embroidery designs.

The bottom seam, side seams and the corner seam perpendicular to the bottom seam that gives the tote its depth, are all sewn on the machine, but the insides are well constructed so that they will keep their shape. I will keep that a secret so that you buy the book. Actually, if you go onto Nancy Zieman’s website Nancysnotions.com you will find all her tips there. Adding the feet gave it that designer touch!

The book gives instructions on how to make your own handles, but I love the feel of handles on my purse (so kinestic!) and I wanted something special. Plus, I was feeling really creative.  I had two black-corded curtain tiebacks that were just sitting in my closet - just the trick. Ugh! They were trickier than I thought.  My bamboo stick came in pretty handy as I held my breath trying to get the loop of the tiebacks to stay in place while it stitched close to the main part of the cord. This was very difficult and at the top of the stitching for the handles, I had to slow the machine down to its slowest speed and at a certain point I would stop the stitching, readjust, start, and do that several times.  I loved the look and feel, but it was stressful.

The rest of the construction was a breeze with a bias trim around the top and while they recommend sewing it with the machine, this is one process that I just love doing by hand even when I quilt.

Eileen and Nancy, thank you for such an easy process. I cannot imagine how many times you had to practice before you got it right for us.


Your Wedding Should be as Personal as You

Weddings are unique to each couple and this should be reflected in every detail of the ceremony and reception. Some people just exude their style every minute.  You know these people – they stand out in the crowd.  There is no doubt that their wedding will continue in their own unique genre, but what about the rest of us?

 Monogramming is the most personal expression because it reflects your name(s) and it is so trendy.  The wedding venue is just the place for such personalization. Just about anything and everything can be monogrammed.  For every type of product there is practically a different method of monogramming.  You can print, decal, paint, stamp, machine embroider, etc.

Machine embroidery stitched by Colleen Bell and initial designed by Embroidery Online

Machine embroidery stitched by Colleen Bell and initial designed by Embroidery Online

 Maybe you do not want to go all out and personalize everything in your wedding, then think of different areas that are important to you that you want to reflect the personal you: the bride’s accessories and gown, the bridesmaids, the groom, the groomsmen, gifts, decorations for the ceremony, the reception, etc. Just like planning your wedding in general, just take one area and concentrate on that, making the project of personalization much easier to handle. 

Take a look at each area of your wedding focusing on all the items that can be monogrammed.  Then set up a plan for personalizing your wedding. Reflect on making your special day as just that - as special as you. 

Mono-Gram : One-Letter

If you judge by Pinterest, monogramming is very popular. You can monogram anything and everything.  It truly is a reflection of the person.  Are the monograms ornate or minimalistic? Maybe you even think it is quite egotistical to monogram and would never wear one.

 When you think about monogramming, how many letters do you think of – three – two, maybe even four with families of today?  Well, technically “mono” is a Greek word in its origin (“monos”) and means “one” or “single” and yet it has come to mean any number of initials. One definition I saw even defined “monogram” as two or more letters.  Well, they clearly forgot the origin of the word!

Machine embroidery stitched by Colleen Bell and designed by Sonia Showalter

Machine embroidery stitched by Colleen Bell and designed by Sonia Showalter

You would think that the “grams” part of the word had to do with math or science and was a weight of measure, but not when it is combined with the word “mono” and has a Greek origin too. The Online Etymology Dictionary (www.etymonline.com) sets us straight by showing us that it comes from “gramma,” which means “letters” or “written,” like learning your grammar.  Now I know that is going too far for some of you.

Whatever your opinion is of monograms, they have been with us for many years, dating back to the ancient of days, and they are here to stay at least for a little while.

We all have one – A Name!

Your name – is it unique to you? Probably not. If you are like most of us, your name is not as unique as you are as a person.  Just try googling it.  You will be surprised how many people have exactly the same name as you. So what makes it unique? It is you that makes it unique.  There may be other people in the world that have exactly the same name, but none also look like you, unless, of course, your twin was named exactly the same name.  Seriously! Who would do that!

So how popular is your name? Check out the Social Security website to find out exactly.  Let’s take the name Rachel.  In the year 2000 it was ranked as number 21, but in 2013 it had decreased to 138 place.

Machine embroidery stitched by Colleen Bell and font designed by Embroitique Embroidery Designs

Machine embroidery stitched by Colleen Bell and font designed by Embroitique Embroidery Designs

 Maybe you named your daughter Rachel thinking it was a beautiful name, but did you really look at the meaning – ewe.  This is the meaning according to A Dictionary of First Names by Oxford University Press (2006).  Do not feel bad most of us have animals in our family.  We have a cow and a gazelle in our family and believe it or not, we knew that when we named them.

No matter what you think of your name, it is the way that we are identified in this world.  It is your name that represents your reputation. "A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches.." (Ps. 22:1 KJV) So much is wrapped up in those few words, so cherish them.