It All Comes Down to Color

Color plays such an important role in our lives from what we wear to the vehicles we drive. As embroiderers, we have artistic license to experiment with color. The possibilities are virtually endless when you mix fabric and thread combinations. I'm using the same design in several different way... [More]

Best Stabilizer for Stretchy Performance Knits? It’s in the Bedroom!

I just want to pass on the latest trend in stabilizers that is actually a blast from the past! The new thin and stretchy performance knits with brand names like Under Armor and DriWick have given commercial embroiderers fits. After trying all available sources, they have turned to an “old sc... [More]

In-the-hoop Cookies

The girls love to play with the kitchen that their dad made for them.  Their play kitchen isn't [More]

Ann's Sweetest Heart Collection: Perfect for Your Sweetheart

Ann's Sweetest Heart Collection makes it fun and easy to create a variety of special valentines you can't find in any big box store. And, for a limited time, purchase the small, large, or full collections, and get a Valentines Sayings pack absolutely FREE. Intricate, yet delicate, the des... [More]

Get Organized and Save Money Doing It!

It's just a number on a calendar, but the new year usually brings with it a desire to regroup and reorganize. Tired of looking for designs you know you have but can't locate? It just isn't any fun anymore. With the sheer number of embroidery designs amassed, the task of organizing them... [More]

Finish it Like a Pro - Trimming Tips

Have you ever wondered whether it matters if you first trim the top or the bottom of your machine embroidery work? It’s best to trim the top first, so that when you trim the back, you can gently pull on the bobbin tails to secure the trimmed thread end inside the fabric for a neater appearanc... [More]

A Pretty Felt Playhouse -Part 2

Finished!  And with a little time to spare. We decided to just button down the sides instead of sewing them.  It will make removing it from the table and folding it up for storage a little easier.  Kate got to see it during the final fitting since she is doesn't talk much and is t... [More]

Thinking Out of the Block: Embroidering on Pieced Fabrics

Perhaps one of the greatest attributes of machine embroidery is its versatility. Embroidery can easily stand alone or, when combined with pieced blocks, become a personalized second-dimension embellishment.   The Blocks I fussy-cut four 6.25-inch blocks from a striped fabric (I used Jackie... [More]

A Pretty Felt Playhouse - Part One

OK.  It is the Thursday before Christmas!  A few weeks ago my daughter showed me a picture of a playhouse made from felt.  It fit over a card table.  Very cute and felt is easy to work with. So I planned one for the girls for Christmas.  When I showed my drawings with the me... [More]

A Snowman Sweatshirt Jacket

  Snowman Sweatshirt Jacket     Being a cold natured person, I love making jackets out of sweatshirts.  They are warm and comfortable. This is one that would be perfect for the child in your life. (Adults would love it also.)   To make the jacket, you will need: Sw... [More]

Metallic Thread Tips

Working with Metallic Thread At this time of year, we seem to have more need to use metallic thread than any other time. If you find that you struggle with this thread type, try some of these solutions. When shopping for metallic thread, buy the largest spool you can afford. The larger the spool di... [More]



Embroidery Advisor Presents: Rub a Dub Dub, your Critter Kid in the Tub

You either have a kid who hates bath time or loves it.  Why not try to make your kid’s time in the bath a little more fun?  How about sewing them a personalized animal towel/bathrobe that is all their own?  Have a look at the Critter Kids Bathrobe Design Pack to make a special t... [More]

Great Gift Ideas for the Creative People in Your Life

It's the most wonderful time of the year! Stumped as to what to get your favorite quilter, embroiderer, or craftsperson? Hate the idea of Black Friday chaos? Shop from the convenience and comfort of home, 24 hours a day, any day of the week, on Here are some suggestions. (If fri... [More]

More Than One Use for a Christmas Design

I think its time to start some of the projects I want to do for the holidays.  I usually wait too long to actually accomplish them as things get very busy as December draws near. Dakota Collectibles has a new “Merry Christmas Ornaments” collection that combines free standing lace a... [More]

Don't Sweat the Small Stuff...

          Do you ever embroider small lettering that seems to disappear completely in to the fabric? Sometimes it seems that there is more thread on the underside of the material than on the top! There are some simple things you can do to make sure that your small lett... [More]

I made this from a Linen Guest Towel---really!

So here's the thing---I didn't get any sewing done in the last couple of weeks.  I was getting ready for and attending the Houston Quilt Festival for the last two weeks, and this week I was playing catch up the whole time.  So when faced with a little deadline for this blog, I... [More]
How a computer stopped an embroidery business ..

How a computer stopped an embroidery business ..

Computer repair can be costly, I don't just mean out of pocket cash .. but, cash that doesn't reach your pocket because your computer issues are halting business.  As you can probably tell, I have been MIA for the last 2-3 weeks.  Blame the computer .. I spent hours of my time trying to rig the problem myself before I broke down and approached a computer tech.  All that resonates in my mind is, "Out of warranty."  But, it wasn't my fault, "I'm sorry sir, but for $69/year .. " 

I'm here to tell you, warn you, beg you .. take care of your computer if you rely on it every day like I do.  Let me cut to the chase and fill you in on the end story:  Computer and it's owner are all fine and resting well!  I had to "scrub" my hard drive .. that means cleaned fresh, like wiping a blackboard .. all information GONE and irretrievable.  Then, I had to reload the Operating System (Win XP Professional), all the drivers, and all my programs.  Luckily, I was taught well by a computer tech 10 years ago and have all files and data stored on an external hard drive.  I owe that man a steak dinner.

MOST problems we have with our computers can be avoided through proper maintenance.  Please review the 5 tips that I TRY to practice:

1. MOST IMPORTANT:  SAVE all the CD's that came with your new computer purchase.  Sure, I had to delete my hard drive by wiping it clean, but I have the original Operating System disks and all the disks of the software that came loaded on my computer.  The manufacturers site is also a great tool.  I was able to download new and updated drivers from their site.  I won't mention the brand name, but, it rhymes with BELL.  I know of people that have had issues with them, but, I NEVER HAVE.  Even with out of warranty issues, they have been helpful.  So, if you need to wipe your hard drive, make sure all your program CD's are available with your driver CD's as well.  OH, and don't forget to file away the product keys !!  Those are very important also.

2. Back up your important data NOW.  Finish reading this post, then collect all your important files, dump them into My Documents, purchase an external hard drive and move them all there.  I use my external hard drive as my drive of choice.  All customer art, digitized files and emails are saved on this hard drive.  Luckily, embroidery files are very small, so I don't need a huge external, but space and ram are extremely inexpensive today.  You can probably recover data from dead hard drives, but it is expensive.  Very expensive.  And, to let you know, my external hard drive is backed up online, it's worth the money ..

3. Anti-Virus software needs to be loaded and can be running all the time.  If by running all the time interferes with your downloads, reconsider whether you really want it running all the time.  Some softwares have the ability to program times to run the anti-virus software.  All anti-virus software doesn't need to be purchased.  There are a few good free softwares that I know of, but, I choose to purchase mine.

4. Often, either at the store, office or trade show, my friends, guests and customers simply ask, "Can I use your computer for a moment?" or, "If I can just jump on your comptuer for a moment .."  Nonsense.  If you share your main profile or allow people to use your computer, be ready to face the consequences.  What can you do?  Create a limited access account on your computer that you can sign into and that guests can use.  And, this is for my mom .. keep liquids away from your computer !!

5. Lastly, don't be afraid to ask for help, even if your help is from Google.  I spent hours, and hours turned into days, on trying to fix what I thought was a simple fix.  It was simple, after I asked someone to help who knew what they were doing.  It was humorous, he asked me, "Rick, do I try to embroider my own shirts?!"  Point taken.

Coming next week:  Embroider and applique fish bowls on childrens clothing.

Thanks for worrying about me !!


Rick Macali \ 407 509-2400 <-- Opens July 3, 2009 / your spot for embroidery resources

Comments (5) -

Sorry to hear about your troubles, and glad you are back up and running.

I feel your pain.  As a retired computer professional,  I cannot stress hard enough, the importance of a good backup system.  That being said, did I backup my files at home?  No, and I lost a lot of good stuff.  Now, I back up at home as well.  Lesson learned.  Your advice is priceless, I hope everyone listens.  Glad you are back in business and the computer is back in good health.  

I too know the frustration of loosing data.  I had a backup, but the computer I got failed AND the backup was 'sacrificial' (does not copy, it downloads and was gone) so I lost it again.  

I am nearly finished my latest 'minibook' which is called PC's for Embroiderers (and we are not dummies!)  

Watch for it coming soon.


karenseviour 6/22/2009 1:58:08 AM

Good advice Rick but the problem here in Oz is that we no longer get CDs with the purchase of a new Desk/Laptop, just the security codes.

But I did scamper out and purchase an external hard drive so thanks for that info.



Halls Head.W.A.

I bought my new computer with Vista. Put in all my programmes and found that two would not be accepted by Vista. after looking for drivers to run them. Got one working.The other was a no go.

Some how I lost the lot of them. Woe is me. My daughter is a bit of a whiz and got me up and running again. I have great fun with my machine and recently bought an embroidery only machine second hand. It is only 12 months old. It is great what a bargain. I use a computer stick for all my work it works well.

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