Saturday, August 31, 2013

Shapes for Everyone!

Today is the first day of College Football 2013!  Can I get a War Eagle?  At least from some of you, right?   Whoever you cheer for there is one thing for sure...long football games are a perfect time to fit in some quick sewing projects.  And I have just the thing for you:  Raggy Shapes

Our Raggy Alphabets and Raggy Numbers have been super popular and now you can continue the education and fun with our brand new Raggy Shapes


I was able to stitch all 14 shapes in under an hour and I even had "help" during the process from my five year old! He examined each shape very carefully as soon as it was completed. This is a great set of shapes because there are some familiar shapes that most kids will know (circle, triangle, square) but there are also some more challenging shapes (hexagon, octagon, crescent moon) which is a great teaching opportunity mixed in with fun!

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I decided to use solid colors of felt for this set of shapes which you can find for a quarter a sheet or less at most craft stores. You will receive a detailed pdf tutorial complete with photo illustrated step by step instructions.

There is so much you can do with our Raggy Alpha and Shapes...but one of our favorite activities this past week was Hide and Seek Shapes. I did the "hiding" the first time around and tried to keep it simple as they were still getting used to what all of the shapes looked like.

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We knew we hid 14 shapes so it was a good counting exercise to make sure we found all 14 hidden shapes. (I must the games progressed and the level of hiding difficulty increased we didn't always find all 14 right away!) Here is a pic of my boys on the hunt the first time!

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My five year old has started hiding by blending the shapes into an object of the same color. Our white pentagon was cleverly set on our white bookshelves but even though it was in plain site it was one of the last ones for me to find because it blended so well. Clever little guy!

And here is one more thought for your raggy shapes. I kept mine simple and plain, but you could also use your editing software to add a smiley face to your shapes or even add the names of the shapes and the numbers of sides to the tough shapes to help with the learning as well.

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We are really enjoying our shapes and I am thinking of making sets for my boys' preschool classes too!  How will you make yours?


You can find our Raggy Shapes shapes here. (They are on sale through September 2, 2013.)

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Tuesday Tip-Day: Change of (Fabric) Plans

Confession time.  How long does it take for you to pick your fabrics when stitching?  Does a fabric pop into your mind as soon as you look at the design?  Or do you put two, three, or ten fabric swatches on top of a blank item to try to help you decide which one to use?  I typically fall somewhere in the middle of those extremes but have been on either end at some point too!

Do any of you get through a design and then realize you should have used another fabric?  I have had those problems too...but I have also been able to fix that issue mid way through a design!  Want to know the trick? 

At All Things Applique, I typically create the designs so all of the placement and tackdown stitches are at the beginning of the design and all of the satin and detail stitching follows at the end of the design.  This can't be done all of the time, but I prefer to get all of my trimming done at the beginning and then let the time consuming satin stitches run at the end while I prep my next project.  When all of my tackdown and trimming steps are complete, I usually hold up my hooped item and take a good look to make sure I like what I see.  In the picture below, I thought the fabric on the left for the crown was too busy.  When I put my fabrics together ahead of time, I thought the stripes would look great against the orange pumpkin, but once the small crown piece was tacked down I knew it didn't look how I pictured.  Sigh.  Instead of starting over, I simply went back one thread color on my machine and tacked a new piece of crown fabric on top of the old crown fabric! 

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Here is the finished Princess Pumpkin with our Pirate Pumpkin...

Aren't they a cute pair?

A few extra tips:
  • make sure that the new fabric is dark enough to cover the first fabric.  If not, try putting a solid piece of fabric in between the old fabric and new fabric
  • make sure the first fabric is trimmed a close as possible before tacking down the second fabric
  • in the example above, if you want to change any "bottom" fabrics (such as the pumpkin), you will also need to re-tack the top fabric. 
  • I would only recommend doing this once.  The more fabric layers you add, the tougher it will be for the satin stitches to cover all of the edges. 
Hope this Tuesday Tip helps you work through any fabric change of plans with ease! 

Friday, August 9, 2013

A New Kind of Busy Season

Several years ago the term “busy season” caused an increased level of anxiety for me.  It meant extremely long work hours and lots of tight deadlines.    Can you guess my old profession? 

Tax Accountant.  I worked at one of the Big 4 firms in Atlanta for several years after graduating college and worked on many a tax return.  January 1 to April 15 every year was crazy busy and stressful and I think I ate more dinners at the office than at home.  And as typical accountants, we had a very efficient spreadsheet that was circulated every afternoon to place an order if you were working late.  Ha!  But somehow we always survived and met all of our deadlines.  Phew! 
Now, I have a different busy season.  It involves apples, footballs, and pumpkins.  It gets me excited and makes me want to sketch and think of different fabric and stitch combinations.   I feel like the “to do” list is longer than there are hours in a day, reminiscent of past busy seasons.  Still, every morning I am ready to tackle one or more items on that list!  With Back to School, Football, and Fall right around the corner it is busy season for sure…but in a good way. 

Over the past few weeks, I have released a mini set of Football Designs

 Back to School Designs

And now I am about to do it all over again!  Today I am working on one more set of back-to-school designs including some more “sketch” designs as well as some preschool patches, a fun back-to-school dino and some raggy shape designs.   

Have an idea for my next set of Football or Fall designs?  Please leave a comment below!  If I use your idea you will receive that design for FREE!