Monthly Archives: December 2008

Its not over yet

We still have 2 more family parties before Christmas is completely over. but at least things in my store have slowed down. I’ll be spending the next week cleaning, doing inventory, and restocking the store. The kids got tons of stuff for Christmas that should keep them busy while I get some things done. I know I should make them help but sometimes its just easier and faster to do it myself.

The school sent home free passes to the roller skating rink. The kids are too little to go by themselves so I’ll waste half a day sitting at the rink doing nothing productive. If I don’t take them they will hate me forever – well, maybe not, but you know how it is.

Tomorrow we have to take a few things back and get a special light bulb for Harleys bug thing. It won’t take just any bulb, it has to have a real small end and still be at least 60watts.  I think the toy company and the light bulb company had a meeting and thought this would be the best way to suck every last dime from my poor pocket.

Monogramming towels

Recently I got a big order for custom monogrammed towels.  Each towel is different, so every one had to be set up separately.  All of them consisted of a name with a picture on each side.  The pictures were a wide range of items, from fire trucks to cats to soccer balls.

To put it simply, the towels turned out amazing, better than I expected.  Here’s how they were done:

  • Janome MC350E Embroidery Machine w/ large hoop
  • Janome Customizer software
  • Janome Wet N’ Set Stabilizer
  • Sulky Solvy

Stabilize the towel to the Wet N’ Set.  Lay a top layer of Solvy on the towel and hoop all three together.  Make sure everything is good and tight in the hoop, with the bulk of the towel to the left side of the machine where it’s out of the way.

Use the Janome Customizer software to create the monogram (or name, in this case) and lay out the designs on each side.  Once they’re all lined up, combine them within Customizer and write them to the USB drive so they’ll all stitch out together.  Customizer will let you scale the designs +/- 10% if needed.

Pop the hoop onto the machine and go for it!

Here are a couple examples:

Digimax A50 / KENOX Q2 Digimax A50 / KENOX Q2

We got the designs from two places, and  We’d have probably gotten them all at one place, but the customer’s requirements on some things like the color of cat made us shop around some.  Both places provided some truly excellent designs.  Some of the contouring within the patterns of things like a horse’s muscles really gave a nice 3-D appearance.  We didn’t have a single problem with towel nap sticking through the design, as the Solvy did it’s job well.

There are pictures of all the completed towels in our Image Gallery so you can see them for yourself.

Best week ever

I’ve had a great week! This was the biggest week this year. I hired some part-time help and between the two of us we stayed very busy.  Every order shipped on time and now I have to finish my Christmas shopping. Tomorrow I’ll be out there pushing and shoving my way through the crowds, trying to get what’s left if anything!! Wish me luck.

Only 2 weeks left!!!

Yep, the countdown has begun. I’ve been so busy that I haven’t had much time to shop. I was planning to make some quilts to give as gifts, but that’s NOT going to happen, as I’m way too busy. As far as my store goes you would never guess that times were hard. I’ve sold more this year than ever. The orders are big too, usually around $50 or more – even a few over $400.

We just got back from Walmart and the shelves were empty! Not just the toy aisles but regular things like shampoo. Jason could explain this better but the stores try not to overstock. Anything they don’t sell over Christmas they either have to put on sale to get rid of or store in warehouses for the next year. If the economy is bad they expect lower sales and they order less. If times are good they expect higher sales and order more. I know things are tight this year, and I think that most people spent less earlier in the year so they would have more for Christmas. Now they’re spending and the store’s could have sold more but the shelves are empty.

I added up all the stuff I didn’t get today becouse they were out and it came to around $45. Take that $45 times every family that walks though the door and the stores are losing a lot of money.

Towels and Digitizing

The weekend is half-gone, and the project of the day is …..  TOWELS!  I’ve got an order to custom-embroider 10 towels with names and designs.  Towels are a little different to machine-embroider, in that special steps need to take place.  In addition to stabilizer on the back of the towel to keep it all in place, there’s also a stabilizer that goes on the front of the towel that the machine sews on top of.  It keeps the terry-cloth tags from poking through the design and keeps the embroidery thread from trying to bury itself in the towel knap.

On another note, I’m looking for some reasonably priced digitizing software.  I’ven been using a completely free program called Thred, which although has many cool features, has absolutely no support and hasn’t had a new release in 5 years.  It’s been okay for the few things I’ve used it for, until this weekend when I tried something new.  Some of the more sophisticated designs include contour stitching.  An example is a little duck.  The duck could be stitched out with all horizonal stitches, but it would look much better for the stitches to follow the curve of the duck, to simulate feathers.  Thred can do the contour fill, but the program keeps crashing when I try to adjust it.  With no support to call, it’s basically junk at this point, and I’m looking for something to replace it.  I’ve played with Embird a little, and I think it will do the contour fill, but I’m still learning how.  Embird is nice because it has a free demo period.

If Embird can’t do the contour, I’ll be looking for something else that can, because it’s fairly important to advanced designs.


I had a friend come over a help me with orders today.  I really needed help getting the shelves stocked and she got some extra cash for Christmas.  Most of all it was nice to talk to some one over the age of 10.  Yeah that’s right – an adult – no baby talk.

Our kids are the same age so it was great to have some one that understands some of the silly stuff that goes on throughout the day.

Jason does better than most men as far as helping me with the kids and keeping me for looseing from time to time.  But I think that girls need to get together once a month to talk about girl stuff, you know, makeup, hair dye, support bras & other stuff like that.

It’s a coffee cozy day

I have 75 coffee cozies going to WA. Add that with heating pads, snowmen, toy tents & sleeping bags!! Well I’m just pooped. Im thinking about getting some part time help for just this month, that or start paying Jason to help. If he had extra money I might get a bigger Christmas gift like the Janome MB4!!! If  we get another machine we’ll need a bigger house! Well a girl can wish.