embroidered commissions {custom wedding vows}

For the past month or so I’ve been working on one of the most labor intensive custom orders I’ve ever taken on. I’ve stitched a few custom wedding vows before, but this one was special.

Custom wedding vows - tapestry inspiration

I got an email from the husband with photos from their wedding and specifically of this huge tapestry in Australia that was an integral piece in their love story. It was also the backdrop for their wedding. From the invitations and programs to the decor pieces images of this tapestry was everywhere. So obviously, it needed to play a big part in this 2nd anniversary gift…aka a cotton anniversary.

I’m always up for a good challenge so I took it on and I’m so excited with the results. While I had a few ideas running through my head of how to best incorporate the words he spoke to his bride and the tapestry, I ended up deciding on recreating a few of the blocks from the tapestry.

Custom wedding vows - tapestry inspiration

Custom wedding vows - tapestry inspiration

I added a some satin stitched text to the piece to give it more texture to go along with the squares.

Custom wedding vows - tapestry inspiration

I have to say that this piece taught me so much though. It stretched me as a designer and as a stitcher, but it also helped to clarify who I am as an artist. I realized while stitching this piece day in and day out for so long that this is who I am. I’m not an embroiderer who can bust out a million different orders a day. I am slow and methodical. I love absolutely nothing more than making one of a kind items for people. Heirloom items that match that picture that they’ve had roaming around in their heads.

As I’ve become more and more familiar with other embroiderers out there in the world, amazing people creating amazing things; I’ve caught myself so often getting down on myself. Down on myself for not creating something like so and so is making. Frustrated because I’ve been working on this one order while nothing else is really coming in. But to be honest, over and over again I am reminded how God truly provides what we need when we need it. Nothing has taught me this more than growing this little etsy shop. I’m blessed to be able to have the space to create items such as this and I’m going to keep looking at it from that viewpoint. As nothing more than an amazing gift.

throwback thursday {a lunchbag}

It’s Thursday again and time to pull from the archives. This post back from 2009 is probably one of my favorite tutorials and finds on the web. I love this pattern and it always turns out super cute. So for all of you looking for a new lunchbag as school ramps up…this is a great one!

I made this lunch bag from Skip to My Lou a while back for my husband and have been wanting to do one for myself since I am taking my lunch somewhere again.

Lunch Bag

Making this pattern again made me realize how super easy it is and how much fun you could have with it. The first time I used iron-on vinyl for the inside and outside and it was a booger to sew. It has also gotten wet and all the vinyl has unattached and I’m not sure how to salvage it.

Lunch Bag

That said, I was out of vinyl this time so I had to figure out another solution. I ended up heat’n bonding 2 fabrics together to give it some stiffness and I LOVE how it turned out!

tutorial {mini buckle mat}

One of my biggest sellers this year has been my preschool/toddler buckle mats. I’ve lost count on how many I’ve made, but it was all started via a request from a friend. Truly, people coming to me with their custom orders is why I love doing what I do.

Buckle matAt the zoo

While these larger mats are made to order, at one point I decided to make a smaller version to sell at markets. These are much quicker to put together and a great beginner project for learning how to make a great quiet activity for a child.

buckle tutorial cover

One of my goals in the next year is to start writing more tutorials and patterns…so here goes! A tutorial for making your own pint size buckle mat and I spy toy.


Mini buckle Mat tutorial

cotton fabric for the top
stiff felt for the middle (regular felt can also be used for softer mat or a thin cotton batting)
regular craft felt for the back
cotton scrap fabric for the straps
small piece of vinyl
1/8 cup of poly pellets (which I just discovered you can buy a small bag of at JoAnns)
small jewels, buttons and/or beads for the I Spy game
2 side release parachute buckles
a 4 inch circle template

Cutting directions

Mini buckle Mat tutorial
Cut your cotton fabric, stiff felt and felt back into 6 1/2 by 6 1/2 inch squares.

For the straps, cut two of each coordinating fabric into 5 1/2 long by 4 inch wide strips.

Making the straps

Mini buckle Mat tutorial
Take your strap pieces and lay them wrong side up on your ironing board.

Mini buckle Mat tutorial
Fold them in half, wrong sides facing and press.

Mini buckle Mat tutorial
Open them back up again, and fold each long end towards the middle and press.

Mini buckle Mat tutorial
Fold in half again and press and repeat with the remaining straps.

Mini buckle Mat tutorial
Take them to your machine and using a 1/4 inch seam, stitch down the long end of the strap.

Mini buckle Mat tutorial
Flip it over and repeat on the other side. Then repeat with the remaining 3.

Attaching the straps

Mini buckle Mat tutorialMini buckle Mat tutorial

Pin the straps in place onto the cotton piece and baste these to the sides of your square.

Making the I Spy Mat

Take your 4 inch circle template and cut out a piece of vinyl for the back. Just a hint…don’t put a pin through the pattern or the vinyl because it will put a hole in your vinyl. Just hold the pattern and do your best to cut around it.

Mini buckle Mat tutorial
Go to your machine and stitch around the circle with a 1/4 inch seam, being careful not to pull too tightly on the felt as you go around the circle.

Mini buckle Mat tutorial
Make sure to leave a roughly 2 inch opening to fill!!

Mini buckle Mat tutorial
Now you are ready to fill with your poly pellets, charms, beads, sequins, buttons etc.

Mini buckle Mat tutorial
Go back to your machine and starting at the opening, stitch the opening closed and stitch a second time around the circle on top of your original seam. I like to do this for aesthetics and also because it gives an extra line of stitching for safety.

Mini buckle Mat tutorial
Now you want to baste your felt piece to the piece of stiff felt. If you are using batting or regular felt, I still suggest basting this piece, but it’s not as necessary.

Putting the square together

Mini buckle Mat tutorial
Now you are ready to sew your squares together. Make a sandwich using the basted I spy mat and the cotton piece with wrong sides together. You want your I Spy mat and your straps facing out.

Mini buckle Mat tutorialMini buckle Mat tutorial

Sew a roughly 1/2 inch seam around the sides two times. Again, I like this extra line of stitching for looks, but also to give an extra measure of strength for the straps.

Mini buckle Mat tutorial
Because my squares never come out just perfect due to pulling etc, I take my rotary cutter and cut about 1/4 inch off on the sides to even them all out and straighten them up.

Adding the buckles

Mini buckle Mat tutorial
Now you are ready to add the buckles. Make sure they are put together and slide the ends of the straps through the ends of the buckles. Pull the straps to make sure that the buckles are even in the center of your mat.

Mini buckle Mat tutorialMini buckle Mat tutorial

Fold the ends of the straps under and pin in place.

Mini buckle Mat tutorial
Open the buckles up and take it to your machine and sew in the middle of the fold. Make sure to do a lock stitch (stopping and starting at the beginning and end) or tie your threads before you snip them.

You Made It!!!

Mini buckle Mat tutorial
Check to make sure all your loose threads are tied and snipped. Pass it to your nearest toddler and proclaim victory!

**please respect that this is my design and share only with a link to this original tutorial and please give credit where credit is due. Also remember that this is a toy with tiny parts and while even the best sewers will tie up all their loose ends, children who are at the age of putting things in their mouths do not need to play with this unattended.** Thanks!!! ~ aimee

throwback thursday {onesies}

On Thursdays I look back at my store of archives as a way to tell my story and remember where I’ve come from along the way. God is merciful and He is using this way of looking back as a way of reminding me of His blessings and how it is Him that has grown my talent and love of embroidery and not me.
This week we look back at a host of onesies. While the first thing I ever embroidered was a burp cloth, the first products I ever really sold were onesies. I did a whole line of onesies with little animals on the front and silly words on the bum and sold them on etsy, at a local shop and mostly word of mouth through friends. I don’t do onesies anymore, except for the occasional request, but it’s fun to look back and see where I got started with embroidery. This is back from September of 2008.


welcome fall

I’ve got many more to come, but couldn’t resist posting the newest additions to my inventory. These are all new designs and I can’t figure out which one I like best. I’m running out of flickr space so until I have the money to upgrade, I don’t have pictures of the words on the backs…sorry!

Here’s the acorn (it says “little nut” on the bum)

acorn "little nut

Here’s some pumpkins (it says “my punkin'” on the bum)

pumpkin "lil punkin"

Here is the new owl. This one turned out much better than my first owl design. He’s sitting on a branch that is hard to see when it’s folded up. (it says “hoot” on the bum)

owl "hoot"

And last is mr. frog. I think he’s my favorite so far (he says “hop” on the bum)

frog "hop"

In other news, I am going to be a vendor at the Dixie Lee Farmer’s Market on October 4. If you are local, come out and visit and support local farmers, crafters (and me of course). And cross your fingers, say a prayer or whatever that I can actually get everything done in time w/o crashing and going to funny farm instead.

tipsy-tuesday {needle threaders follow up}

A few Tuesdays back I shared my low-cost solution to threading needles in my sewing classes using floss threaders. I thought that I would share an update on how that’s going…primarily because it’s a mixed bag of results.

For the most part, I like using the floss threaders because they are cheap and if they break or get lost it’s not a big deal to pass off another one. I have run into issues of them not fitting through the eye of every needle. I think it’s a mix of the thickness of the floss threaders and sometimes the eye of the needle not being exactly the same from needle to needle.

Some of my girls have had a hard time with the floss threaders, so I’ve passed off a few of the Loran needle threaders that we used last year. I’m still not sure that these are my favorite either.

But, this past weekend I taught an Introduction to Embroidery class and while I was gathering up supplies I came across these threaders at Michael’s and thought I would give them a whirl.


I have to say that so far, these are my favorite. They are much simpler to use (and fit well within my class budget) and they seem easier to hold and I’m excited to try them out with my little girls this week.

Who knew the world of threading needles could be so complicated!

throwback thursday {a star wars birthday party}

On Thursdays I pull from my years of archives, taking a look back and where I’ve come from. The Lord is good and I am beyond blessed for the journey that He has taken me on. Today’s throwback is in honor of my son who is about to turn 11 (yikes!). This was one of the best birthday parties we ever threw back in 2010. And probably the most amazing cupcakes ever.

Today I experienced one of the the most relaxing and easy birthday parties I have ever experienced. I have to back up to tell you the whole amazing deal. We have a bunch of crap going on in our life right now (I don’t say crap because it’s all bad, it just a lot at times) so when I realized that it was time to start planning for the Rooster’s birthday I got a little nervous. (I will back up again and tell you that we have started a family tradition of doing birthday “parties” only on odd years; basically this means that the Rooster gets a “party” this year and the chick gets a small family gathering. Then next year it will be her turn for a “party”) Realizing that we weren’t going to have it at our house, I started looking around town for other options and the other options were all very pricey. Then came the deal of all deals. Our local science museum (which is a bit of a dive I must say…but cool to a 7 year old!) has this awesome deal where you pay $50 to become a member of the Association of Science Museuems (aka: reciprocal admission to cooler science museums all over the US) AND you get a free birthday party (including a planetarium show). Needless to say, we jumped at it and it was a rousing success!

The theme was Star Wars and while I did do a bunch of custom made “crafting” sort of things; I spread them out over the last month or so and honestly never felt overwhelmed once.

Party Favors
First I did the party favors. I hate party favors. Little bags full of crap that I end up tossing behind my kids backs because I don’t want to find it in the far reaches of their closets 15 years from now. So I decided to do t-shirts. I freezer-paper stenciled a Tie Fighter on black shirts for the boys and glittering star on the girls. I scored big at the Target dollar spot with this great little silver cans that were 50% off and then threw in a glow stick (also 50% off from Target) and some tattoos.

SW thank you notes
The last addition was a thank you note in advance from the Rooster. Instead of standing and trying to keep track of who gave him what and writing it down and sending thank you notes, we decided to do them up early and put them in their treat bags.
SW cupcakes + stand
Next, I decided to do cupcakes. I manufactured this great little cupcake stand from foam core, scrapbook paper, a styrofoam cube and a few stolen Duplo blocks from the kids bin.

SW cupcakes closeup

I made these awesome little cupcake toppers from a Star Wars lego clipart that I found via google. The cupcakes were Cookies and Cream from Annie Eats and they. were. divine. I honestly loved doing cupcakes. No cutting or clean up. No need for silverware. Pass them out and enjoy. Simple.

It was by far the most fun I’ve ever had doing and giving a birthday party.