Eventually we set up a small refrigerator in front of the garage. We painted a simple sign that said "Fresh Brown Eggs", a rough painting of a couple of brown eggs and then "Self Serve". Then one day I looked outside to see a gentleman in the chicken coop trying to collect a dozen eggs, so we changed the sign to read "Self Serve Refrigerator in Front of Garage" and we put a paper sign on the refrigerator in a page protector to keep it dry. (A chicken coop is a very dangerous place if you don't understand proper handling and how important it is to get your hands washed as soon as possible.)
Being out in the weather day in and day out, the page protector accumulated condensation and was unreadable within days. So I bought a nice chicken design and embroidered a sign on nylon flag fabric. I ran magnets in the hems to hold it in place on the refrigerator. It was eye catching and no one missed seeing the refrigerator again.
The embroidered sign eventually faded so it was barely readable but it lasted a year before I needed to replace it. The snowplow did in our painted sign by the road and other people in the area also started raising chickens and putting out painted signs by the road. We like being different so I not only embroidered a new sign for the refrigerator but I made a small flag to replace our road sign. While I was in a garden center, I found a cute welcome flag hanger which was perfect to hang our egg flag. (For those who are wondering, I backed the flag with fabric before I hemmed the edges to hide the back of the embroidery.)
As I stood back to admire my handiwork, I wondered just how many people have unusual uses for their embroidery. Home embroidery machines are capable of such beautiful things, it almost seems like a crime to have an embroidery machine gather dust or not used to it's full potential. I know many people are reluctant to make what seems like a splurge purchase, for a machine they think is only for decorating purposes. I embellish with machine embroidery all the time, but simply saying embellishment is not a huge reason to explain why someone would want to make the jump to an embroidery machine.
Here's a list of the ways I commonly use my embroidery machine:
- Pocketbook Embellishments -- A simple denim pocketbook takes on a whole new look with embroidery. I've also mixed machine embroidery and other fabric embellishments to take denim to a whole new level
- Simple to Special -- A simple tote bag is no longer just a simple sack when it has an embroidery design on it.
- Personalization -- I love making personalized gifts with my embroidery machine. So many of my daughter's friends have names that you don't find on the pen and pencil racks so making them a personalized gift is even more special than for someone with a common name.
- Hobbies, Collections and Favorites -- Almost everyone has something they collect... and my budget may not allow me to make a considerable gift to their collection but I can embroider something that is associated with their collection. For Example, my daughter has two Chihuahuas and two is more than enough to keep her busy but she loves the bags and blankets that have similar dogs embroidered on them that I have made her as gifts.
- Mask a Hole or Stain -- I've used machine embroidery to mask a hole and stains. The jeans I used to make a bum bag were very well worn so embroidery was great to strengthen the well worn spots. I have saved many shirts and a few pairs of jeans from the rag pile by embroidering over a hole or stain.
- Money Saving -- I've bought oodles of shirts and plain tee shirts on clearance for under five dollars and transformed them with machine embroidery so they can be worn to meetings and I don't look like I just came in out of the garden.