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 AnntheGran.com. 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]

Merry and Bright: Christmas Embroidery with Lights!

The new Merry and Bright collection from Amazing Designs incorporates blinking lights with embroidery for an adorable holiday accent unlike anything I've ever seen.   Ten eyelets are embroidered within 14 different designs. Eyelets are then cut out for placement of 10 LED Fabric... [More]

Embroidery Advisor Presents: Courage. Strength. Cure.

I am sure that a lot of you have been touched in some way by *** cancer.  Whether it being Yourself, or your Sister, or your Mother, or your Friend.    While we wait and hope for a cure, there can be many ways to keep our hands busy & our hearts tender.  The Cancer Scrapb... [More]

Halloween Applique: Not Just for Clothing Anymore

Applique is usually reserved for embellishing clothing or quilted items. Unfortunately, that doesn't allow for much face time. Holiday applique is especially vulnerable to a short shelf life. But by it's very nature, applique is perfect for holiday decorating where it can be v... [More]

Bobbin Tails

There are many kinds of bobbins available to us for embroidery, but and there is no single answer to the best bobbin type for every embroiderer or every machine. There are metal, plastic  disposable, plastic reusable,  cardboard and sideless. Bobbins also come in colors. Colo... [More]

Sweet Sweet Shoes

Our baby girl just loves shoes, anyone's shoes will do.  She brings them to be put on and clomps around, falling about every other step.  She carries them around hugging them like they were baby dolls, pushes them in her stroller and throws them in the trash (then wants them ... [More]

Easy Trick or Treat Bags

Hello all!  I am Virginia, an embroidery enthusiast and an educator for Dakota Collectibles.   I love creating things with embroidery and thought it would be fun to share my projects and ideas with others, so I am entering the world of blogging.  I use Dakota Collectibles' designs... [More]

Battenberg Lace Tree Skirt Makes a Unique Wedding Gift

Typical gift ideas for newlyweds include linens, fine china, or kitchen wares. But if you are looking for a wedding gift unlike any other, consider a monogrammed Christmas tree skirt. Ann's Battenberg Lace tree skirt looks quite elegant and is perfect for beginner ... [More]

Gotta Love a Baked Potato

For several years I have seen and heard about bags made to bake potatoes in the microwave. They are touted to produce fluffy, moist baked potatoes.  So when I had all the cotton stuff out to make the tortilla warmer I decided to make one and see.  Hey, what do you know, it works pretty wel... [More]

Yarn Threads

  This fall, you will be seeing lots of thicker threads – yarn-like in appearance – in retail stores. On my current trip East, I have seen tons of this decorating method on everything from sweatshirts to bags and even on the back of woven menswear shirts.     Industry su... [More]
Two More Really Terrific Free Software Programs

Two More Really Terrific Free Software Programs


The following tips can be used for both Windows XP and Vista.
Operating systems vary, if in doubt, check with your provider and/or technical support.

I had a lot of difficulty with my Adobe Reader recently.  All things considered, it was a very bad situation and I wanted to drop kick the entire program out of my laptop.

After working with a technician at HP for too long, he suggested that I try "Foxit Reader."  After downloading this free software, all my issues disappeared.  I cannot say it enough, a problem that persisted for 6 weeks was gone and I was so elated.  And, to add joy to the situation, it is faster than Adobe!

Here is a portion of a review from the site and if you want to read the remainder, check the download site:  

Reviewed by: Seth Rosenblatt on December 08, 2008

To put it gently, Adobe Reader is a real pain in the hindquarters. It's monstrously large, slow to load, and includes many features most users will hardly ever need. Foxit PDF Reader 3.0 kills the bloat and throws in some useful features, such as multimedia support and content-sharing options, while still allowing you to quickly access your PDFs.

Believe me, Adobe may have the lion's share of the Internet's pdf documentation, but that does not make it the best. 


My second ‘find' is a really full featured photo editing software.  There are a number of good ones on the Net, but this one has several advantages, the best of which is that you DON'T DOWNLOAD IT AT ALL.

You use it on the Internet, so it does not add a zillion new files to your already overcrowded hard drive.  

Techies have believed for some time that eventually no one will have software on the computers in the future.  There are several reasons for that:

  • Software has become more and more complex and ‘bloated' (where did I just hear that term?)
  • Software always has a quirk or two (just ask Microsoft. . . ) that have to be patched or repaired. Doing it on the Internet will benefit all users at once.
  • You will still "buy" the use of some software, you just won't have it on your pc.

There are other good reasons, so try to keep an open mind, because it is in the future - date unknown.

My new recommendation is Aviary.  The features of this program are so very lengthy, that even if you are not looking for a new photo program, you will want to look at what is available.  You may find something you cannot live without; maybe your software has it too, but you have not yet discovered it.

I am going to be doing some tutorials on this software for your use with embroidery in mind.  So, you have a project, but you cannot seem to get a good photo of it, I am going to (attempt) help you share your photos and/or projects.

Here is one thing that I will be teaching and working on:

Addi and Cameron Diaz

Here is Cameron Diaz admiring my granddaughter Addi enjoying the very last kernel of corn.  Obviously, this is my first attempt and it leaves a lot to be desired, but there was a lot to understand and I am pleased with my first layer project. 

Learn about layers and what they can do for your photo.  Learn about how to make your photo seem 3D.  I hope you will join me, because I cannot wait to make interesting photos.

For more ideas on how to take a great photo check these out: Party Tips and Tricks,  Composing a Photo and Resizing a Photo.

Check out the Catalog Xpress, the best design organization program on the market AND, it is 50% off.  Support where you learn.

These layered projects will be especially great for you who are Scrapbook Fans!


Comments (3) -

i can't afford to buy embird for my new computer after the last one was stolen. i ran out of my trial period on another similar program. what program is either free or very inexpensive that i can use to change design formats and sizes? thanks

i have the same problem.  help.

i would like to know a free program like embird, too.

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