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Home Decor

Opportunity Knocks!

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

My friend Tore works in a corporate environment—picture a quiet, organized, office setting.  The exact opposite of my space where there’s an explosion of stitched samples, fabrics, trim, buttons… and somewhere there’s a desk.

He recently told me he volunteered to supply the office decorations for the common area at his workplace.  I immediately smelled an opportunity to introduce embroidery into a new environment.  I quietly agreed to help him buy some standard St. Patrick’s Day decorations but we both knew the odds were good I’d surprise him and his office with some of my embroidered handiwork!

But where to start?
I started on social media.  

I noticed our friends at Sulky shared a St Patrick’s Day TBT blog post featuring a free downloadable shamrock design.  Perfect!  Want the design?  Visit here!

Next I used the Scalloped Letter Squares from Joann Connolly’s book, Sweet Stitches.  You might recognize the design… or you might not!  Here’s the original design below.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

I combined the two designs in embroidery software.  You can do this in any embroidery editing software you own.  Keep the following tips in mind:

  1. Test, test, test. I feel like I’ve said this before!
  2. Just like in arithmetic, you need to remember order of operations. You are combining two different applique designs.  The Scalloped Letter Squares Design has a piece of fabric that covers the back to create a clean finish.  But you also need to stitch the Shamrock design before you stitch the back.  You will need to rearrange the sequence of stitches so the two designs stitch in the proper order.  You’ll have to test and experiment—but that’s part of the learning process.

Here’s what happened during my “experimental” process.  You’re looking at the back of the project that should not have the shamrock outline exposed.  Oops.  But flip it over to the front and no one will know the difference!

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Here’s a look at the final outcome.  For added fun, I added a shamrock ribbon as a hook and sewed a button to each piece.   Then I glued some buttons onto some pushpins to make it easy to hang the shamrocks on their bulletin board.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

I sure am lucky to have the opportunity to spread the love of machine embroidery everywhere!  You can do the same!

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Takeaways from this blog:
1.  It’s ok to mix, match and have fun.  Look for ways to repurpose designs.  Combine, remove stitch elements—change the color sequences to fit your new invention.  This is what makes the creative process fun.

2.  Opportunity often knocks quietly and sometimes it might require some effort.  But the results are worth it.  You can create and design your happiness and growth as a person and in that process you might brighten someone else’s day.

Your assignment for this week:
Spread happiness.  Take the time to thank a person.  Be specific with your reason for thanking them.  Spend some time listening to someone that needs to talk.  Listen more and speak less!  Smile at the barista the next time you are at the coffee shop.  Instead of “liking” a post on Facebook, Instagram, etc, engage with the person by commenting a positive thought.  Hug your husband, your grandchild or your best friend.

The winner of last week’s blog post answered the following question:
What type of projects would you like to see more of?  Quilts, crafts, adult clothing, children’s clothing or home decor?  One lucky winner will receive a 1 year subscription to Designs in Machine Embroidery.

The winner is:
Stella:  “I would love home decor or useful items to use at home. There have already been a lot of towels and pillows, so new ideas would be fun to learn.”

Thank you, everyone for taking the time to comment.  The information you shared is very helpful as we continue to come up with fresh content you’ll enjoy!




  • stella

    I am excited that I won. Today’s post is encouraging. I am going to try to experiment more. Thank you. A smile warms the heart especially on these cold winter days. Is there anything I need to do as far as winning the year of Designs in Machine Embroidery?

    • Denise Holguin

      I’m happy to hear from you! Congratulations on winning.

      Ted will be in touch with you within the next couple of days regarding the details.

      Thank you for your participation on the blog.


      • stella

        Denise, I have not heard anything from Ted or anyone yet and it has been two weeks. Would you please let me know what to do? Thank you.

        • eileenroche

          We’ll email you privately.

  • Beth R

    Love these decorations – very cute!

  • Lynda

    Thanks for reminding us to work with combining designs and looking for various ways to use them. Be our own designers.

  • Shirley Clark

    I talk to a couple of my best friends every day on messenger. I hate that people don’t seem to have the time or take the time to talk in person or on the phone anymore. However, I do enjoy chatting no matter how it’s done. My daughter calls me nearly every day going or coming from work depending on her schedule. I always look at the clock to be sure I’m free to talk!

  • Gail Beam

    Your St. Paddy’s decoration is so cute!! Love how you combined the two designs!

  • Catherine Stiele

    Spread happiness, be kind, share with others. Right on!

  • Nancy Weber

    I love to keep a stash of FSL angels on hand to give to my friends on their birthdays, when they are sick or just when they need a pick-me-up. It brightens their day.

  • Jeannette Covan

    I have ordered new software as I could not work with what I have. I am so excited to try combining patterns!!!!
    now how do I enter to win?

  • Donna Fecteau

    I love your idea! But the buttons on the pushpins is just adorable. What a great idea! I want to make some for my cubicle at work everyone knows I sew, embroider, and quilt but there isan’t really room for any of it at my cubicle but the button pushpins will be cute and functional.

  • Donna G.

    Love this week’s assignment! So let me begin by thanking you for your wonderful ideas and inspiration!

  • Joan Shriver

    nI love Nancy’s idea of keeping lace angels on hand for special friends. When I had breast cancer, a friend sent me a lace angel with the pink “awareness” ribbon. That angel went into surgery with me. What a blessing!

  • Carolyn

    Each day I ask ask the Lord to help me be a blessing to at least one person. I’m a “chatter box” so I must remind myself to listen. I always have product on hand to give to someone who needs a pick-me-up. Sometimes I think I give as much away as I sell at shows.

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  • Bruce

    You have awesome creativity! Amazing! Thanks for sharing.