Another Halloween Mug Rug off the Machine

UT Vampire mug rug

This cutie is two Urban Threads designs, the corner webbing and the lil vamp.  He is one of their sketchy designs and the outline is not meant to match up (really, no excuses here, check it out their dark charcoal is on the outside of the outline all along the bottom edge plus has those gaps – it’s supposed to be that way, sketchy). Emphasizing this as there’ll be someone who think the embroidering is off. I get a lot of their sketchy designs as I’m a fan of the look. My vamp has a blue cape to call out the blue of the witch hat in the border. Mentioned a few posts back, that the ITH mug rug is from Stickbaer, edited, and that I changed it to use a backing with an opening in a seam in the center back so the edges don’t show any of my horrid hand stitching. Too hot to be outside here today, so it’s back to the machine for me!

This post is participating in Unknown Mami’s Sundays in My City – check it out, most folks are out and about not hiding inside from the glaring sun.

Halloween Mug Rugs

EL Haunting Ghosts mug rug
Been in a “do a Christmas project – do a different project – do a Christmas project” mode (really, you don’t want to be sick of looking at Christmas images before December 1st!).
EL Shake Bones mug rug
This ‘in-between’ project is some quick stitching mug rugs. I love mug rugs for the little splash of season or holiday they can bring – yet they don’t take space or have the weight or require the effort to put up that other decorations might. Simple and cheerful, a fun little gift for a friend or for me 🙂 .
EL Halloween mug rugs
I tend to go for sets, two, four or six – you get the picture. The center designs are from Embroidery Library, their Shake your Bones and Haunting Ghosts vintage designs.
EL Shake cup
The in the hoop (ITH) mug rug pattern is the Easter Mug Rugs from Stickbaer, edited. I often create my own, moving the border size to better highlight the design, but I had Stickbaer’s as I loved her appliqués for the hen and bunnies and dropping her outline in meant less time fussing with the digitizing program. I don’t sell or that would be a no no, both her and Embroidery Library’s terms of use let you edit designs – some companies specify that you may not – even for your own ‘not for sale’ project, I try to avoid those companies.

Chris's mug rug

After doing a fairy mug rug for a friend, (Embroidery Library’s sprite for the fairy and their bramble quilting used on the side piece, Five Star Fonts edited wave quilting under the fairy) I realized I should never attempt designs where hand stitched closures may show. (Showing the digitized version as I didn’t nab a shot before heading out to the post office). My hand stitching is not something to rave about. Some folks do the envelope or overlapping back style. It takes twice as much fabric for a back, but is neat all around. I decided the easiest was to make the back an inch longer, cut it down the center and stitch it together with an opening that is now in the middle of the bottom piece – so my ugly hand stitching won’t show and I can choose to use iron on seam tape to close it up. Takes just a moment for the extra step but what a difference in my final mug rug. With this black back, not such a big deal – but with my friend’s mug rug I used some beautiful quilting fabric for the back and I get a little stingy if I’m using the expensive stuff – hate to use twice as much if I don’t have to.

Mug rug back

More projects – plus a trip in for machine service – on the schedule. Time to log off and get cracking again 🙂

UC Master Gardener Conference Marketplace

Dig Plants

The Master Gardener statewide conference has a Marketplace where counties can sell to fundraise for their group and its projects. My group was pretty busy when the sign-ups came out, so I volunteered to “just do it” and make all items plus run a table (yes, I am a bit nuts). It’s been a few months of nose to the sewing machine when I’m not working.

Embroidered Avant Gardener apron

I’m posting this a tad backwards – this week I’ll have more detailed posts on making the items – but my Sundays in My City friends will appreciate simply seeing the end results and being spared all the bloody details.

Turquoise Crazy mug rug

I’d been stitching up mug mats / mouse pads with a garden theme …

Black and white canvas Cafe Apron

Cafe aprons that are great for farmer’s markets and plant sales with their nice deep pockets …

Black and white cafe apron

Binding their pockets ..

mg beginning to look organized

Crafting earrings and ornaments from machine stitched lace and tatting plus beads, then carefully packaging..

MG FSL Lace Ornaments

and stitching more ornaments (the off-kilter loops were fixed) ..

MG fall fruits apron lined pocket

Lining apron pockets and matching designs ..

Embroidered Tree Hugger Bag

Of course, stitching only my favorite designs (so having a green tote/grocery bag for me with this one!) ..

MG Buttons on floral cotton apron

Adding buttons to hide where the ties connect to the apron …

Machine embroidered cupcake mug rugs

Creating more mug rugs for a cupcake theme silent auction basket ..

mg cupcake apron

And finishing pot holder and stitched matching towel to adorn the cupcake apron in that silent auction basket ..

mg I dig plants embroidered apron

Finishing the canvas aprons (oops, did trim that thread after the photo) …

mg Embroidered Avant Gardener tote

Finishing the canvas totes, getting everything packed and to the conference …

MG Marketplace table Front

Making signs, snapping a few pics mid set-up ..

MG Reception at Tenaya

And then mustering the energy to enjoy our wonderful reception with my fellow Master Gardeners at the Tenaya Lodge ..

UC Master Gardener Conference Yosemite

Joining 650 other California Master Gardeners for informative sessions over 3 days..

Heims at UC Master Gardener Conference

And make it all the way to the closing Horticultural Humor presentation, plus demanding drive home through circuitous mountain roads. Believe it or not, I am happy I did it. Haven’t challenged myself craft wise other than the annual mad Christmas push. Raised oodles and oodles of money for my group – a lot of their funding goes to the school gardens they run across our county. And, finally – best of all- I had a fantastic time at the conference itself.

Be sure to stop by Sundays in My City to see what kinds of things that global group spend their time doing.

Christmas in July

Cross stitch Santa mug rug

Christmas in July, for those who craft, is time to start thinking about, designing, collecting materials for and creating those items we may want to gift in the coming season. This isn’t to say that I haven’t spent my fair share of Christmas eves madly sewing squares of an afghan together, determined to finish before morning – but, the college days of staying up all night to finish and sew a sleeve onto a sweater or bind those squares are just a glimmer in the rear view mirror. I still thrive a bit too much on the adrenaline of the last minute rush – but do try not to leave EVERYTHING until that last moment.

Cross stitch Santa close

So, July has me pondering where to put my energies this season. These are items I created last season but didn’t post.  The mug rugs were easily packed in envelopes that winged their way to Ireland and Japan to bring a bit more Christmas cheer than a simple card.

Noel mug rug

For embroiderers, the overall design for these 3 mug rugs is from Five Star Fonts. I add rick rack by holding it down and repeating the step that sews the left fabric piece on – fast and easy. The angel embroidery is from Sudberry House, the Santa is free from ABC Embroidery ( – sign in then access the free archive for LOTS of great designs). ABC is also Anna Bove ( ) – you can also register with Anna as a few of the free designs are different than on ABC (although they are mostly the same). The Noel is from Tatjana who is the creator behind deStickbar – it was a free design she did and offered on the Mettler thread site (you MUST leave the site in German or the free designs disappear ).

Cross stitch angel mug rug

I’ve warned you in the past, that although I’m not an all day every day proponent of cute – the holidays bring out the kid in me and that kid loves Santa and Snowmen and cute little Christmas designs. Adding more white/cream into the mix of the deep forest colors I live in will bring that extra bit of bright and light to my winter season, the new placemats for me are perfect.


This set of four are from Julia’s Needle Designs (she has wonderful sales!) with the exception of the mitten quilting by Mother Hen’s Quilt Embroideries (the mittens are just one of a multitude of free designs in her Yahoo group). I’d split the quilting designs in software to place as borders. Also mitigated my tendency to get things just a bit off by using Five Star Fonts candle mats as a base, deleting the rounded corners and using her final round of stitching to lay down my borders perfectly square. This ‘borders at the edge of the hoop, then sew a bit’ style allows me do larger finished items than my machine is capable of producing solely within the hoop.

JND Redwork Santa c

I layer the batting in the hoop and just stitch the design right through all layers plus stabilizer (medium weight cutaway makes a nice mat). Best to use an embroidery needle. I usually sew with Sharps but with batting prefer to switch to an embroidery needle.

JND Santa redwork b

I was a bit remiss in capturing photos as the holiday closed in – they were bordered again in deep brown. When I get around to digging them out, I’ll have to shoot and post pics of the finished items.

JND Redwork Santa a

My favorite designers have been having Christmas in July sales and I’m stocked and ready – now to the who would like what in which colors and fabrics. List time!

Be sure to pop in to Sundays in My City to see what other folks around the globe do with their weekends, it’s a fun group.

Valentine Mug Rugs

I have been diligently stitching, gardening, baking, cooking, snapping photos of sunsets and voraciously reading over the past few months although you would not know it when stopping by the blog.

Let’s see if I can catch up a tad.

I’d gotten into the habit of decorating for various holidays when my nieces and nephews were younger and my neighbors with young kids would stop by.  Although I have substantially fewer neighbors,  a bit seasonal decorating makes me smile –  so I keep it up.

Here are in progress valentines day mug rugs a.k.a. snack mats a.k.a. cocktail coasters.

Mug Rug Machine Embroidered

A free heart embroidery from Kreations by Kara graces the first one. I LOVE this heart – it stitches so fast. and easily The little fabric squares on the right aren’t really “square” which threw things off a bit. I also pieced it outside of the hoop and stitched it in the evening after work – not my best time – everything is just a tad off spacing wise, but I’m ok with it. I did make a note to self to do all piecing in the hoop in future.
KBK mug rug

The mats match an existing apron (Makower UK piece of fabric I’d gotten ages ago) and table runner (thus the two reds and not square fabric squares).
Makower UK fabric apron

Some folks are fussy about backs of things – not me. I hooped muslin as the mat back, then cutaway stabilizer (to make the mats stiff, the corners and sides stay flat), batting (aka Warm N Natural – a thin batting) and my pieced cotton top without the binding strips. I add the binding as a stitch and flip at the end ITH (in the hoop). This binding will be stitched by hand to the back. The main thing is to use a 90 needle as with all those layers you’d have shredding thread if you don’t. My machine can handle all these layers – I understand some cannot. Here are the muslim backs so you can see what’s done ITH.
mat backs

San Francisco’s Stitch has a bon bon bash that’s a very active in their Yahoo group. Folks are downloading the candy designs and stitching them up in all different wonderful combinations of colors and fabrics. This mat has their designs.

SFStitch bon bon mat

Urban threads is one of my favorite machine embroidery design purveyors. . The next two mats feature their designs. The “heartwood” makes me smile. 

UT heartwood mat

The daydream love heart is lovely, but I was a tad careless on spacing here, so this will be the one I use with coffee.
UT Heart mat wip

Now let’s see if I can get off the laptop and get these things finished 🙂

Machine Embroidery Madness

When it comes to crafting, I am a schizophrenic with ADD. I appear to labor under the delusion that I am not lil old me – no I’m SUPERWOMAN who can craft endless projects in a single effortless bound. And the later – well “oh, I can make this”, “I can make that”, “so & so would love XYZ”, then “this could match it”. Flickr, Pinterest, Facebook, Yahoo Groups – the project ideas and suggestions just keep rolling in. And onto the pile of best intentions crammed into plastic bins these projects go. Yes, I’ve been making some progress lately – you know why? It’s summer, people go on vacation in summer, much of what I do for work is focused to when all of the hoards can be available. The “year end close” time leading up to Christmas – my Achilles heel season for purchasing and planning projects that never get done – is often overtime and cramming. So, I’m finally getting smart (it takes awhile, k?) and making things for people I want to create for now.

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This set – “Cocktail Coasters”™ snack mats, mug rugs – is for sis and her hubby (there are two of the beer ones, she loves fairies so can smile at hers with morning coffee while he gets the gryphon in that set). Designs are from Urban Threads and Embroidery Library; the machine embroidered ITH “in the hoop” quilted mat is from Five Star Fonts.