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]

Embroidery Advisor Presents: Autumn Toile Goodies

Hard to believe summer is almost over and Autumn is right around the corner.  Autumn can be a beautiful time of year though with all the colors changing, and is a good time to start on your embroidery projects for all of the upcoming holiday and seasonal events.    &n... [More]

Introducing Pre-Design Studio III

It has been a while since I posted here at the AnnTheGran site. Earlier this year we have released a new version of Pre-Design Studio, named "Pre-Design Studio III". We have added many functions that make it even easier to quickly create your own artwork for embroidery digitizing sof... [More]

What's a Tortilla Warmer?

Sometime ago, I saw an advertisement for tortilla warmers and loved the idea.  They looked fun and useful but the cost was $8.00 - $12.00 each, depending on the size, plus shipping.  "What a great way to use up scraps!" I thought.  So, I tore out the ad and saved it.&nb... [More]

The Hot Retail Look of Reverse Applique - You Can Do It Too

You don't need a $100,000 embroidery/laser cutting combo machine to create the reverse applique look that's so hot in retail stores right now. And it's the perfect time of year to put this impressive technique on sweatshirts. You can put this technique on lots of fabrics, but I particula... [More]

An Oldie but Goodie - Bag Keepers Never Go Out of Style

As you probably know by now we have been slowly trying to go green.  So we use cloth bags (see designer bags)for most of our shopping.  Even so, we still end up with some of those thin plastic bags from various places.  They have some uses such as lining the bathroom trash cans, tying... [More]

Winners in the African Folklore Embroidery $500 Challenge

  The entries in this year African Folklore Embroidery $500 Challenge, were spectacular. Congratulations to first place winner, Roberta Peterson from Woodland, Washington. Roberta attended an African folklore Embroidery class that I taught at Monica’s quilt and bead shop in Palm Spri... [More]

Favorite Fonts Galore!

I’m often asked about the fonts we choose for various projects, and folks are sometimes surprised when they find out some of my most favorite fonts—the ones I go to over and over again—are fonts digitized by AnnTheGran herself!  If you search the www.annthegran.com website for... [More]

Stabilizing Super Stretchy "Technical" Fabrics

Fortunately, manufacturers have developed wonderful, lightweight, moisture-wicking materials to keep us dry and comfortable in this record-setting heat. Unfortunately, stabilizing these materials is not as simple as other knits. In addition to being very thin, they also have more stretch than typica... [More]

I know They're in Here Somewhere!

Have you seen the big purses, or should I say suitcases, that are in style this year?  They certainly hold a lot of stuff but I continually see women trying to climb inside them to find their key rings.  Watching them always made me smile until the other night.  The heat index re... [More]

Quick and Easy Sample Book

   Wouldn't it be great if you could turn your sew-outs into a well-presented sample book? One that you could use to seel from, or just to show off your workmanship? You can! It's easy, inexpensive and quick to use some of your existing stitch-outs that had been relegated to ... [More]

Teaching African Folklore Embroidery to children

The past four weeks of summer have flown.  For the sixth year in a row I have been teaching children African Folklore Embroidery at a summer art camp. The children from ages 7-11 have from over thirty different arts related classes from which to choose. It is an honor that African Folklore E... [More]

Keeping It simple - Bandanas - Perfect for Summer and No Need to Tie

Our girls have longer hair but it is so fine.  Pony tails and pig tails seem to last about 20 minutes before the hair starts creeping out and looks messy.  We saw the teens at the park wearing bandanas  to keep their hair back and the oldest commented that she thought they w... [More]

Holding the Slippery Stuff

Slippage and marring are the two biggest challenges when hooping satin. Because of its soft hand, it is necessary to hold it securely without damaging the delicate surface yarns. Hoops may have nicks, splinters or burrs that can catch and damage these long delicate warp threads. I prefer that the ho... [More]

Embroidering for Pets

  Identify your pet and add fun sayings to pet bandanas. Make a patriotic one for the 4th of July - and then keep it rolling, making a new one for each holiday or mood. Rather than regular tie-style bandanas, you might want to make a slip-ver-the-collar bandana. This type of ban... [More]
AnnTheGran.com | Beautiful people make beautiful things

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]

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 Embroiderywww.aflembroidery.cominfo@aflembroidery.com(818) 999-6094Click here to view clips from the HGTV show. Back to Our RootsDuring summer I spent seven weeks in South Africa, regroupin... [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]

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]

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]

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]