This Holiday Season With My Brother, Literally

Hello Everyone,


          Now that the trip is over with, my bags have been unpacked, the laundry done, and things are settling back into the humdrum everyday life, I had to make some decisions about this next year and what I will be doing. First let me tell you that while I have enjoyed doing these writings for Ann The Gran, I had to make a few changes in my life. I am sorry to say that doing more of these writings is one thing that has to go. For no other reason than life changes and so must we. Now don't feel sad, because it is not a sad thing, at least for me. I will be moving on to some things that require my full and undivided attention.

          First let me say Thanks to all who have read and written into the comments. Supported me in many ways, and helped me in troubled times. I will miss each and every one of you. Don't think that I will not be checking back in either, as I will, likely in the forums and in the comments of the blogs too. So although I am sure some would like it, you're not rid of me that easily.

          I also want everyone to know that I have purchased a new machine, thanks to (CK). Sorry,  she will know, but she would not like it if I blurted out her name for all to see. I bought a Brother 4000-D, and all the parts that came with it. While it is not the new one, it is new to me and I have had fun (well sort of) learning all the new features that it has. It has only been a week since I picked it up, while the first few days were sort of crazy, it is now coming more naturally to me. I have had to re-learn everything as the Janome that I have is so old , it still had a black and white screen. The new color screen just tickles me and just makes me smile. Smile




          When I went to pick it up, she showed me all the stuff that went with the machine and I was floored. When I bought my Janome it came with an instruction book and two hoops, so this was all new to me. Even though it has only been a week, I am starting to feel more at home with it, after making a quick phone call to (CK) to find out some things, only to realize that I was not threading it correctly (Imagine that). Then it dawned on me that I was feeling the way any new person would feel trying to learn all this stuff so they could sew a design on a piece of cloth. Oh My! I am a newbie!  I then sat down with the manual, started going through it page by page, thinking that this thing had more instructions than an airplane. (which by the way looks like a runway when in action)

          After realizing that I didn't really want to sit and read, I thought I would sew out a design to see how it sewed. Whoa! Wait a minute, did I just see that machine cut the thread, move to the next section, then start sewing again? I really thought I was dreaming when I saw this, not to mention it is self-threading. Holy smokes, what will they think of next? I could not imagine this, after all, my old machine didn't do this. So now every time it does that, I just giggle.

   First Design


          This one went so smoothly that I figured I would try another one, since Christmas is going to be here soon, what the heck, I had a few things to sew for gifts. So here is the second project I did. He is cute and he came out great.

          It will take me some time to teach myself all the quirks to this machine, but the verdict so far, is wonderful. I never dreamed I would ever have a machine that does so much. Now if I just had a little elf in the closet to come out and change the thread for me then all I would have to do is watch it sew. I used the Ann The Gran Stabilizers of course, and that always helps things along as well. No matter what happens in the coming months, rest assured that I will still be using the products I get from the ATG site. As well as the design pages, like Vermilion Stitchery, Ken Parsons, and the ATG Alphabets, and Sudberry House.

          So far I love all the new features that the new machine has, and some that I haven't discovered yet. I love the fact that I can hook it to the computer and download right to the machine, as well as change the size, add lettering, and do a lot of editing right at the machine, instead of running back and forth. Now all I need is a laptop dedicated to just the sewing room and I would be all set. Hmmm, maybe that should go on my Christmas list, then again, maybe the machine is enough to ask for. So I'll save that one for my birthday.

          As I mentioned, the manual to this thing is like reading a novel, 237 pages long, but filled with information. Not only do I not have to trim jump threads any longer, but it also has features for quilting, (which I love) and even has patterns to do the fancy quilting stitches throughout the quilt. I can also design my own stitches, move the pattern, rotate it, change the colors in a stitch-out, and so much more that is to me is simply amazing. Not to mention that if the power goes out (which it does frequently in Florida), that it will start back up where it left off. I have never had that luxury before.  All of you 4000-D owners know what I am talking about.

          So I retired the ailing Janome, and it is getting a well-deserved rest. I have sewn thousands of designs on it, and it has served me well. As with all things, it is tired and getting old and outdated (like me). Now it is time to move into the future, with the new machine, that I am sure will last me for many years. Likely by the time I am ready to retire this one, maybe they will have robots that will come and change your thread colors for you. (Well one can hope, can't one?)

          Again I want to Thank each and every one of you who believed in me and have supported me, as well as the decision that I have made to discontinue these writings. As I said, I am on to do some different things with my life, which includes the start-up of a new web site and business. It should be up and running soon, and it needs not only my full attention but also deserves that as well. For those of you that wish to stay in touch with me, you can do so through this site. As always, just click on the contact button on my profile page and I will receive it. This is not a good-bye, but a see you later. I will be popping in and out of the site, even though you may not know I have, or maybe you will.

For those of you who are Orchid people, this is one a neighbor gave to me before they moved back north, she said it never bloomed for her. Hmmm



          This was taken last week, it now has over 10 blooms on it.

          Take care everyone, have a great and Blessed Holiday Season. Know that I will miss you all, but hope you will stop by the site when it is up and running, you don't have to buy anything, just pop on and say Hello.

          Thank you and God Bless,


   Remember to KISS someone you love today!


          Suzy's Tip Of The Week>>>    Whenever you have several fabrics that you are using for a project, I like to mark all of it first, re-stack it and cut it all. It saves you time, rather than switching back and forth continuously. As I cut them, I stack them in the order in which I will be using them, especially if I am using the same design on several pieces, I can then embroider all the same ones, then move onto the next design. It just makes sense to do this opposed to constantly switching designs. When done embroidering, I simple stack them in the order with which they are to be sewn. This works especially well with quilt designs.

 All photos were submitted by: Judy Alcumbrack.

Comments (18) -

Judy, Judy, Judy, you're breakin' my heart!  I will miss your blog posts so much. It's always like sitting down and chatting with you. I'm so glad you love your new Innovis. It's the same machine I have and I really love mine, too. The biggest problem I've had is remembering to actually thread (i.e. push the button) the machine when I change threads!

Hello Judy.

I have been away from the site for a bit but knew when your blog would be out so I popped back in today.

This Blog surpassed all your other Blogs by far.  I am sorry to hear of your Blog Retirement, but I am sure you have a good reason and hope all goes well for you.

Life does seem to get in the way sometimes doesn't it?

Glad to hear you got an Innov-is.  I love mine.  Although, I would not mind the Quattro.  Oh well.

Much success Judy.


I am sorry to hear that you won't be doing your blog.  

It is exciting to hear about your new site and I wish you well.  

I am jealous about your new machine.  I look at them all the time and remember that I started with a small Disney Brother machine and I have a terrific BabyLock now.  

Best wishes, Pat

jalcumbrack 11/8/2008 9:58:10 AM

Hi Ann,

I am sorry to go as well, and I will miss doing them and chatting with everyone, but things need my attention and time right now. After things settle in a bit then I will feel more at ease with spending some time here again. For right now, 24 hours in a day just isn't enough for me to get everything done. I have already been accused of sewing in my sleep, maybe I should start and lessen the hours a bit.

Yes I know what you mean, that is a tough one for me to do also, after so many years of threading it myself! It is a hard habit to break. But I really do love the machine, it is like sewing with butter! But better(ouch that hurt didn't it?) I have had some issues with thread breakage, and am not sure if it is tension related, or if it is just picky about the thread choice. Once I get all the quirks learned, then it will be terriffic.

Hi Joan,

Yes I will miss everyone, but I know it is the right choice for me right now. I would love a Quattro also but alas, ye 'ol pocketbook can't with stand that right now, so this was my best option. It will be better than the one I had been using and feel like I have been jetisoned into the current century!

There are many that I will really really miss a lot, and you are one of them. You always have such a great common sense approach to things, and some great advice to those in need of help. You will have to e-mail once in a while to let me know how you are doing. Thank you for your kind words, and things will work out, I have the confidence that they will be alright.

Hi Pat,

Thanks. I love the Innovis a lot. I looked at the babylocks, and while they are a nice machine, they are way out of my price range right now, and I Really liked the features that the Innovis has much better. I am only on page 143 in the book, so I am sure there are many more things that it does that I haven't discovered as yet. It is an adventure! As is life!

I am very excited about it and have lots of Great folks to help out as well. It should be fun, don't expect to become a millionaire, just want to offer something different and nice for folks. One thing I have learned in all the years of single parenting, is that the most wonderful things that life has to offer, don't come with a price tag!

Thanks everyone, I will  miss this part of my life, but I will see you all in the forums, and Ann hopefully in the Groups area. Someone has to keep them on their toes, Ha!



I am sorry to see you go too. I have learned soooo much from you.

I truly hope that your new adventure is verry verry very successful. Let us know what the sight is? I did not see it posted.

Congratulations on your new machine. I know you will have lots of great times with it. I do not have the 4000, but I do have the 2500D. It is great also.

As time permits, come and visit us and let us know you are here.

cme    8^(


BTW, I love your orchid. It is beautiful. What kind is it?



We really hate to see you go.  We have followed each other for these last few months.  I do understand the time factor involved and I hope your new venture works well for you.  Keep us posted.

I have two orchids, neither of which can I coax to produce flowers.  Please send me some advise.  They are both young, but I keep hoping to see results eventually.

Stitches to you,


jalcumbrack 11/8/2008 3:10:50 PM


Thank you so much for the wonderful comments! You make me blush. The site is not posted because it is bad ettiquite to do so on another site, although I am excited and wanted to shout it from the roof tops, it is just not something that I would do. I like Ann too much to do that.

Any way the Orchid is a "Cattleya". Here in Florida we can grow about anything because of the humid weather, orchids in particular do very well. I leave it outside all year long, and mostly ignore it,with the exception of watering it twice weekly, and mist it once a week.

I will be in and out of the ATG site, so if I see anyone online I will give you a shout!


Thanks, but ATG has plently of things to keep folks busy. With all the info you give on quilting alone, should keep them busy for a while!

Now about the orchid! First, don't leave them in standing water, they don't like to get their feet wet, if you have them sitting atop a layer of pea-gravel they like that particularly well. It also helps to provide humidity for them.  You have to make sure that they drain really well as they can develop root fungus easily. This one only blooms once a year and they have to be

at least 5 years old before they bloom at all. I only fertilize it once in a while, mostly because I forget to, so far what I am not doing is working, so I will keep not doing it, as long as it is blooming!

I have several orchids of various types and sizes. I have a small little one that has bloomed ever since I brought it home and has not stopped. I also have one that hangs out in front too that only blooms once a year at Christmas time. It is a beautiful burgandy color, and while the blooms are quite small, there are a lot of them. I usually have one blooming all the time, they all do so at different times of the year so it makes it nice. I like orchids because as long as you provide them with quite a lot of shade, they really don't require much care.

Thanks Everyone,



I can't tell you how much I'll miss your blogs! You're one of my best teachers. What will I do without you? Thank you for getting me introduced to ME and well on my way to an addiction!

Best of luck in your new venture! If you're as dedicated to it as you are with the rest of your sewing, you'll do great.

Be sure to come visit often & share your words of wisdom. I'll be looking for you!


jalcumbrack 11/9/2008 10:14:01 AM

All right, you guys are going to make me cry!

Hi Rosie!

Well I am glad that I was able to help you in any way possible! Just so you know, it is a good addiction, isn't it?! There is no turning back once you discover the joys of ME! Just watching the machine sew out the design, still amazes me. I never get over that one, no matter how many designs I do.

You are very welcome! Thank you, and I hope so. I am sort of out here on a limb, like a cat hanging on for dear life right now,Ha! But I know in my heart that is the right thing for me to do now. I hope I will see you there as well.

You have been a loyal reader, and I will miss you as well. If you need to get in touch just click on my profile and e-mail me, that is if they ever get this thing going again! I know they are working on it, and hope it will be soon.

Thanks Rosie, see you soon.


Good luck in your new business.

Good luck to you.  There isn't much left to say.  I have learned lots from your blogs.


oliveprocyshyn 11/9/2008 4:15:07 PM

Loved reading all through.

Best wishes and good luck in your new venture.

Olive (U.K.)

tourlady522 11/9/2008 8:14:29 PM

Hi Judy,

I too am sorry to see you leave but it has been great reading your blogs.

I am sorry I did not actually meet you at the Community Circle in Orlando last April.


maggiedrafts 11/9/2008 11:25:55 PM

Judy, I just learned about the "blogs" two times ago.  And now you are leaving!!!!  Shucks!  I have just traded my Innov-is'4000D for the "beyond belief" Quattro!  Just got it so haven't emb. anything yet.  I too, loved the Innov-is',  This HAS to absolutely be my LAST machine.  And to think, my mother sewed for years on her one and only machine!!!!  God bless as you go forth and serve!

Maggie, another Brother Sister!

jalcumbrack 11/11/2008 2:39:45 PM

Thanks Sherry,LDiane,Olive, Bonnie and Maggie!

I will be looking forward to seeing you all again soon.


Just because I am leaving the blogging world, does not mean I am going to disapear! Ha, oh heck no! Some will see me at the Community Circle this year, as well as online here and other places. I will pop in from time to time just to say hello if nothing else.


Congrats on getting the new Quattro! In a word, Wow! Lucky you! I am certain that you will be sewing designs in no time flat. Good luck with your new "baby".

Take care everyone.


Judy, I've been meaning to come on and say what a pleasure it's been having you as an ATG blogger. As I said to you in a private e-mail, you have an open door if you decide you want to return, and I'm sure your readers feel the same way.

Wishing you the best of luck on the road ahead.


jalcumbrack 11/18/2008 6:39:35 PM

Thanks BB,

Maybe when things settle out a bit I can return once in a while with a little something. It has been a pleasure to work with you as well. So far I have been too busy to notice the lapse in work around here. ( I really have to slow down someday)

Thanks for the "good luck" wishes, I am learning new things every day, I love it! Tom has been a big help too with doing a lot of things around the house and with the sites design. It is looking good right now, and with a little luck should be up and running by the end of the week. The tech dude is working hard to get everything on it and I send him new pages daily.

Thanks again to everyone for your support with this new stage in my life!


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