Starting an online business

Q:  I heard that online businesses were a fad and that in time physical storefronts will emerge on top again.A:  Ask your local travel agent what they think of it being a fad !! Online stores are more popular than ever before, as a matter of fact, I was working on a deal with a large fran... [More]

Basic embroidery digitizing

Q:  How does the embroidery machine know where to put all the stitches?A:  You just scan the image and the software analyzes the art and tells the machine where to place the stitches. Well, that's what our customers think.  I wish it were that easy.  Actually, I don't ..... [More]

LaRueSews-Quilt-By Request, My Woodworker

I am taking a little turn in the road this time.  Before Greg left AnnTheGran, he requested that I write a blog about Ralph and his woodworking skills.  After attending the ATG Community Circle, and meeting Pat Snyder, she also requested the subject.  My daughter, has asked me also to... [More]

It's Over (Sigh) for Another Year II - Coffee Cup Wraps

The sun shone on us all in Orlando and we had a great time at the second annual Annthegran Community Circle gathering.  We met up with old friends and made some new ones too.  For two days we learned lots, laughed lots and ate lots. Mary Mulari and Rita Farro kept everyone in stitches as ... [More]

Being Creative with few resources- Basket Weaving, Arts & Crafts in South Africa

Dear AnnTheGran readers, thank you so much for your comments and your excitment regarding South Africa. I so enjoy sharing this information with you and giving you a small taste and experience of African art and culture. I am always amazed how creative people can be with so little! Creativity does ... [More]

LaRueSews-Quilts-Hand quilting, It’s Personal!

If you have worked along with me, you will soon need to decide if you will quilt by hand or by machine.  I have a friend who began quilting a little more than a year ago.  As we talked, one day, I asked how she planned to do her quilting.  She quickly said, “by machine.”&n... [More]

Party Time ! 12.5 years of Artistitch

Twelve and a half years ago I wrote my first tutorial! Can you image? Twelve And A Half years of Artistitch. That's one eighth of a century. And isn't it great that AnnTheGran is organizing an event for me to celebrate this? Kidding of course! My first book for PE-Design version 1, in Du... [More]

Magic Bookshelf - Re-Connecting with Distant Family & Friends

Hello, AnnTheGran Community!It's only been about a month, and I miss all of you already, so I thought I'd come back and say hello. More importantly, I have unfinished business. I had some great requests from a previous Magic Bookshelf post about technology aspects to talk about, and I never ... [More]

Enjoy The Moment

I was supposed to write a blog last week – but I was just getting home from the “Sewing & Stitchery EXPO” in Puyallup, Washington – and then my son Elliott and his wife Emily had our FIRST GRANDCHILD – a beautiful baby girl named Lillian Claire. One of life’s... [More]

All Jazzed Up for Community Circle 2009!

Here at home in Minnesota, the ground is white and the sky is gray, so once again it's great to have Orlando and my trip to Florida to think about. I did get a break from winter when I traveled to the Sewing & Stitchery Expo in Puyallup WA last weekend. Rita and I were both there and we did... [More]

Brother and Jillian Lewis Dedicate a Beautiful Red Dress to the American Heart Association

Last week many folks in this country were shoveling the white stuff.  I even got stuck in Seattle on Sunday evening because my flight into New Jersey was cancelled.  What I cannot understand is how my Colorado grandchildren were playing in their new playhouse in 70 degree weather duri... [More]

LaRueSews-Quilts - Borders, Square, Miters, and Fabrics

On this sunny, beautiful,  but cold day in Alabama, here’s wishing you a March that goes out like a Lamb.  Since much of the USA saw a snowy and cold first day of March, It must have come in like a Lion, so it should go out like a Lamb.  To all of you in the southern hemisphere,... [More]

The Redwork Wizard - a mini tutorial

Here's a mini tutorial, showing my sheer admiration for Design Center as "Redwork Wizard". Try and see if you can find a continuous path, without jumps in the above image If you are one of the embroiderers who consider PE-Design's / Palette's Design Center to be "beginne... [More]

Random Thoughts and Mindless Miscellany

Ways to save! I’m not unaware of or unaffected by the present state of the economy and I know that this isn’t the time to be asking you to spend money on non-essentials. On the other hand, when times are difficult it’s more important to connect with friends and take time out for o... [More]

SEW CRAZY for Community Circle 2009

Hi everybody!  This is Misty and Greg from Sew Crazy in Lake Mary, Florida.  We are SEW excited to be featured as the store at this years Community Circle 2009 event in Orlando, Florida.  We look forward to seeing some familiar faces from around the area and also meet new friends from... [More]

Autopunch and bean stitch tutorial

As promised here's a mini tutorial on how to use PE-Design Lite in combination with our Pre-Design Studio program. It's getting the best of two worlds: create filled areas using the AutoPunch function in PE Lite on the basis of an image made with Pre-Design Studio and create bean stitch line... [More]

LaRueSews-Quilts-Square it up!

OK, Everybody, If you have followed this blog from the beginning, and have been making quilt block as we go, you should now have enough block to make into a quilt. “How do I do that?” someone says.  Well, that’s the purpose of this blog.  Let’s put those little bugg... [More]

Behind the scenes at HGTV on Uncommon Threads

My Television experience on the show Uncommon Threads with host Alison Whitlock.Leora Raikin, African Folklore 999-6094Click here to view clips from the HGTV show. Back to Our RootsDuring summer I spent seven weeks in South Africa, regroupin... [More]

My Valentine Box

Here we are coming up on Valentines Day, coincidentally Bill’s and my half year anniversary. Coincidentally because we first met on the 14th of August and, when we decided to marry, set the date at one year from our first meeting. There wasn’t any thought about Valentines Day and it was ... [More]

Graffiti Glam Coming To Community Circle 2009

Mary and I are so excited about coming to Florida for the Community Circle Event the last weekend in March!!  What perfect timing.  It's been a bitter cold winter here in Iowa -- and I am really looking forward to FLORIDA.It is always a joy for me to present my seminar, "Life Is N... [More]

Sun in Florida - Shade in Holland (quick and easy project)

Only a couple of weeks to go before I meet you all at the Community Circle Event in Orlando Florida. I will meet you all, right? You just have to come: in two days you will learn more than you could learn in two years on your own. If a picture is worth a thousand words, then lecture demos are worth ... [More]

What Makes Our Furniture Different - Construction Boards and Finishes

At Sylvia, we pay attention to detail and quality.  Period.  So if we plan on spending quite a bit of time and money on the hardware we use, the dowels necessary to hold tight the joints of the cabinets, and even the lift for the sewing machine, it only makes sense to use quality construct... [More]

Greetings from Mary Mulari - Looking Forward to Sharing Project Ideas

Greetings to the Community Circle participants and those of you who are still thinking about attending! Rita and I, the Midwest YaYa Sisters, are eager to come to Florida for this event. Both of us are looking out our windows at lots of snow. Here in northern Minnesota we've set some records fo... [More]
Random Thoughts and Mindless Miscellany

Random Thoughts and Mindless Miscellany

Ways to save!

I’m not unaware of or unaffected by the present state of the economy and I know that this isn’t the time to be asking you to spend money on non-essentials. On the other hand, when times are difficult it’s more important to connect with friends and take time out for ourselves. In order to help you do that we’ve come up with a couple of ways to save on the registration fee for the upcoming AnnTheGran Community Circle.

  1. Bring 3 and you come free! Yup, just round up 3 friends and you can come for free, or get together with three friends and divide the saving among the four of you.
  2. Oh, you came to the Community Circle last year? That makes you an alumna (or alumnus!) and you qualify for the $60 alumni discount.

Now there is a downside: you mayn’t combine discounts. Choose the one that’s best for you. If you're unsure about how to take advantage of either of these discounts, contact and put "Community Circle Registration" in the subject line. 

Now about digi-scrappery . . .
I’ve enjoyed seeing a few of you getting into digital scrapbooking and visiting my "other home" at Gotta Pixel. Stacy has been writing some really terrific tutorials to help you get started. I have several graphics programs: Photoshop, Elements, Paint Shop Pro and others that I use with photographs, preparing graphics for embroidery digitizing, web site design, etc., but for scrapbook layouts I use a simple program called FotoFusion. All of the layouts in my Gotta Pixel gallery (I'm ScrappyStitcher" there) and FotoScraps gallery (and I'm PurpleCow there) were created with FotoFusion. Recently I spent a few days in Atlanta helping a few embroidery friends get into digital scrapbooking with that program. Now these are women who have worked with computers and graphics for embroidery and web site design for years and who have several of the graphics programs I have, so they’re all very bright and no slouches in the art department. Yet, they needed a little help getting started. Believe me when I say a “little” help. Once I got them started they just took off. Anyway, that got me to thinking that maybe there are some of you who would like to get into digital scrapbooking but you’re a little intimidated by the software and might feel more comfortable with a simple scrapbooking specific program than with a complicated graphics program. FotoFusion is a simple program to use and the learning curve is nearly flat. You can download and use the program for as long as you like before purchasing. The only difference between the trial version and the registered version is that you can’t save your layouts in the trial version. There’s a video demo on the web site and a really friendly and helpful support group on Yahoo.  Stacy wrote a tutorial on using quick pages on her blog a couple of months ago and I thought you might enjoy a mirror tutorial for the same thing done with FotoFusion. I’ve created one in PDF format so you can download and print it. Just click here if you’re interested. Oh, BTW, there was an acronym that we used in my first machine embroidery group when we recommended something: NAYY, which stood for No Affiliation Yadda Yadda. I have no affiliation with FotoFusion other than being a happy customer. NAYY

Points I’ve been pondering

All of my life until the past few years the term “off the wall” meant wild, wacky, unconventional, etc. and the term “off the hook” meant freed from danger, obligation or blame. A few years ago I began hearing people say “off the hook” when they obviously meant to say “off the wall,” i.e. “That party was really off the hook.” At first I thought these were misguided errors. Lately, however, I’m hearing people all over the place saying “off the hook,“ meaning wild, wacky, unconventional, etc. I’m not resistant to change, so my question is: now that we’re apparently saying “off the hook” instead of “off the wall,” what  are we saying when we want to say what “off the hook” used to mean, freed from danger, obligation or blame and, just as important, do we say “off the wall” anymore?

I’ve been watching a series about the British monarchy on PBS. So far I’ve watched episodes about the queen’s visit to the United States, the queen’s birthday and, today, about the opening of parliament and the queen’s visit to Estonia. That last episode was of particular interest to me because Bill and I will be visiting both London and Tallinn, Estonia, in the spring. Anyway, I’ve noticed that wherever the queen goes she’s carrying a purse.  Being a person who never carries a purse if what she needs to carry will fit in a pocket or tucked in a sleeve, I couldn’t help but wonder what in the world the queen of England could possibly be carrying in that purse. Finally, this morning, I Googled “what does queen elizabeth carry in her purse.” I’ve found that Google is surprisingly responsive to very specific questions like that and I was not disappointed this time. I was whisked to a web site that answered that question for me.  So now I know. And if you want to know, too, you can visit the site.

The acronyms “ATM” and “PIN” have become such common parts of the ordinary conversations in our daily lives that I’m thinking that either people have forgotten what those acronyms stand for or, perhaps, never knew in the first place. As all of you who are reading this know, ATM stands for Automated Teller Machine and PIN stands for Personal Identification Number so people who say “ATM machine” or “PIN number” are actually saying “automated teller machine machine” and ” personal identification number number.” Just saying . . .

Well, this one isn’t something I think about very much but here it is anyway. Here in Orlando Who Wants to Be a Millionaire comes on right after Good Morning America so sometimes I get hooked into watching it. Then a contestant will miss as question like “People buy a surge protector  for protection from unexpected surges in electric current, water flow, air pressure or buyer's remorse” and the contestant answers, “water pressure.” That’s when I slap my forehead, roll my eyes and decide it’s time to get to work. Want to bet he calls an ATM an ATM machine? Big sigh . . . .

Yeah, I know, I spend WAY too much time in my own head . . .

Speaking of acronyms, as I seem to be doing today, and that first machine embroidery group, one day I was reading the digest and I saw someone referring to my web site as ATG, as in “ I found the design I was looking for on ATG.” At first I didn’t even realize that the person was referring to me and then, when I did, I said to myself, “Wow! I’m an acronym! Who knew?”  And with that I leave you for this week. Take care of each other until next time. TTYL

Comments (21) -

OOPS.  I have refered to Ann The Gran as ATG a number of times on LaRueSews.  I know you keep up with everything, so you must have read it.  Were you offended or flattered at learning that you are an acronym?  ;o)  Whatever, we love you, just the same.  Personally, I would be flattered.

Stitches . .


Well, ATG, I have always felt that we give 'brief' names to those we really like.  

I think that the Queen carries gum (for when NO ONE is looking), her Drivers License (for those quick trips to Taco Bell) and her credit card (it is good for over a million pounds).   Now I will check to see how right I am!

Pat, The Avid Embroiderer - aka - TAE

Gee - I now know what she carries AND I know how to "De-jelly my Belly"  What an informative site!

Pat, tae

Oh, LaRue, I was most definitely flattered! I thought I'd "arrived." I even digitized a monogram parodying the old "I want my MTV" with "I want my ATG." Maybe I ought to give it away and give a special prize to anyone who wears it at the Community Circle! Hmmmm.

Dear Ann

I love your site.  When I started embroidering 5 years ago it was the only site I knew!

This is not an embroidery question - but - the picture of you in a field of yellow, what sort of flowers are those?  It reminds me so much of our own Namaqualand in South Africa when the fields look like that during August and September.

Kind regards

Anna - Johannesburg - South Africa

Hi, Anna,

That picture was taken at the bulb fields in Holland a couple of years ago. Maybe one day I'll get to visit  Namaqualand and have my picture taken there!

mamaweinland 2/28/2009 10:26:55 AM

This is my first time commenting. I love your stuff just have never figured out how to comment before. I looked and finaaly realized I wasn't signed in. Sorry, I am not very computer saavy. Thanks for your blog I look forward to reading it!

I am new to making comments too.  I have always enjoyed your web site.  You were the first site I went to.  I have been enjoying my embroidery machine for about 6 years now and keep promising myself to stop getting new designs until I use the ones I have.  Well we all know how that goes.  Lots of luck on that.  I do enjoy reading all your articles too.  Thanks and keep up the good work and thanks to all your helpers too in case I don't have time to comment to them.  Angie Williams in TN

Hi Ann, i do enjoy reading all the blogs but very rarely comment on any groups I am with.

As for the Queen and her handbag, I was taught a LADY always wore matching hat, gloves, shoes and handbag. That was a complete ensemble.

As I am in Aust.I am unable to attend your Comm.Group but wish I could.

Kind Rgards Marie

karenseviour 2/28/2009 10:49:54 PM

G'day Ann,

I do so love reading your bits and bobs, taking up machine embroidery and cycling (Heaven forbid) at the age of 65 has cracked all my friends up. Soooo, saving like mad now to be able to be a proper member, the pound sterling is so weak I feel I might have to find a job of sorts.

Have a brilliant time in Orlando, I'm green with envy! Have been spoilt in the past and enjoyed 15 holidays in Clearwater Fla before moving to Western Australia. Keep safe. Cheers, Karen

Love your site just never left a comment before.

Thank you for all the little snippets giving an insight into life as a ME in the US.  You make me feel part of a sisterhood instead of a little stitcher on my own!  I look forwrd to reading all about the Community Circle ...have a wonderful time.


Love your site and this is my first time to comment.

Patty from WI

lindaconklin 3/3/2009 8:23:31 AM

I love your site, too, but being an old fart on a fixed income, I cannot afford to "join the club". I have tried a few of the free embroidery designs, and more than half of the time find my poor Janome 3000 can't handle them. I'm getting broken threads and constant jambs, especially with the complicated designs. I also find many of the free designs are broken up into illogical blocks, and sometimes I have to delete the blocks and re-digitize them. When I digitize clip art, I don't have anywhere near as many problems. Does anyone else have these kinds of problems?

Linda from Michigan/Florida

lmartinez4171 3/5/2009 9:13:14 PM

Thank you

Ann..just want to let you know that I love the blogs.  You were the first website I went to when I first started embroidering...about 3 yrs ago.  Still not that good but I welcome all the tips that I find here.  I like ATG- when I see it I know exactly who they are talking about.  You should feel flattered.  I ususally don't leave comments because I am always in a hurry,,,my time doesn't seem to be my own since I took up the embroidery quest.  I too am envious about the community circles..maybe one day I'll be able to join.  Have a great time.

janethockenberry 3/8/2009 2:12:51 PM

Ann I love to read your blogs.  Am so looking froward to seeing you again at the Community Circle in Orlando.  I need to get my bag embroidered before I come doen.  Getting anxious.

Janet Hockenberry

judykellyinstl 3/9/2009 6:04:41 PM

I am guilty. I read the blogs but have never commented.  I love your website.  Would love to come to the Circle, maybe next year.  Would someone who doesn't embroider but likes quiting enjoy coming to the Community Circle?

judykellyinstl 3/9/2009 11:22:47 PM

I meant does someone that enjoys quilting and is not an embroiderer, find the Community Circle enjoyable. LOL

I wanted to comment on several different blogs but didn't realize that I had to be signed in to find this magic Comment box til I read mamaweinland comment here.  I love the 'pet peeves' you write about on ATM and PINs, must confess I've done it myself.  The ATM machine... another is the CPU unit...Central Processing Unit unit... lots of them out there!

cherokeesnowbyrd1 6/9/2009 8:59:16 AM



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