Tuesday, April 22, 2014

On The Mend...

Hello friends! I truly must apologize for my absence...I think this may be the longest I have ever gone without a blog post...but I do have somewhat of a good excuse. Remember the head cold/virus I told you I was suffering from???...well, I had a terrible/excessive dry cough for over a week...and then lots of extreme chest pain, like I broke a rib or two (or three)...turns out my viral infection turned into pleurisy...not fun at all and it has slowed me WAY down...yep, the girl who is always busy has pretty much been out of commission for several weeks (praying it didn't turn into pneumonia). I am slowly on the road to recovery, but that nagging cough is still hanging around and I still have some persistent chest pain...but thankfully, the exhaustion is starting to subside. Over the last few days, I have been slowly catching up on things (the piles are deep) and starting to get out of the house....and I have finally been able to get back to stitching (instead of sleeping). I posted the photo of my stitching nest on Instagram yesterday when I finally picked up a needle!

I have been doing some light spring cleaning in my studio and office...and trying to get organized...because I really want to focus on my BRD website redesign and some major sewing. My quilting scrap bin that is located under my cutting table is overflowing with good fabric scraps, so I have been putting my AccuQuilt Studio Fabric Cutter and some of my favorite new dies to good use and cutting piles of shapes for sewing. With my schedule, I have to make time to sew - when I have a few minutes, it's wonderful  to have a pile a basic shapes ready and waiting for piecing. Right now, I am obsessed with 1" equilateral triangles (perfect for really small scraps)...so I have been cutting them, sorting them by color, and placing them in poly bags in a basket by my sewing machine...then when I only have a few minutes, I can start piecing right away.

With my sick time downtime, I have also been working on my entries for this year's Quilt Block Design Contest...you know I enter every single year (and this year is definitely not an exception)...AccuQuilt has put together an incredible prize package...the best one to date...and it truly is a dream! I think I drooled a bit when I saw everything the winner receives this year...and included in the Grand Prize package - the winner selects a favorite Charity for AccuQuilt to donate $1,500 in the winner’s name...and, of course, you all know I am starting to do my fundraising for the Komen 3-Day in Dallas this November, so that would be HUGE! This year AccuQuilt has created a "design tool" that makes it super easy to draw your own design and enter for a chance to win! You can visit: http://www.accuquilt.com/block-contest to read all about the design contest and submit an entry...and of course, I will be asking all my friends and family to help me out by voting for my design(s) again this year! Here is a link to see my first entry: http://www.accuquilt.com/block-contest#!/entry/6633123 (I am not sure why it says "user" instead of my name???...will have to check into that...hmmm)...

Lastly, I have a current photo to share with you of Schatzi...with spring finally arriving (thank goodness!), we took her to the local park to play and do some training work (she is in training to become a certified therapy dog)...it is hard to believe she is a year old! She is definitely still a puppy, but is constantly learning new commands and happily walks 3 to 5 miles with me daily (when I am feeling up to it)...she is quite inquisitive and makes sure to keep me company throughout each day!


So now that I am finally on the mend, I will do my best to visit with you more often and share my creative endeavors...I have a nice long list of new projects just waiting to be created! Thank you for your patience with me over the last month - hopefully things will be back to "my normal" soon....

Friday, April 4, 2014

A Special Sneak Peek

As many of you know, I am participating in the Susan G. Komen 3-Day in November again this year – I'll walk 60 miles in Dallas, TX over the course of three days with my fabulous "Twinkle Toes" team members and hundreds, possibly thousands of other women and men....all of us with a common goal to raise funds for breast cancer research, scientific programs and community-based breast health and education programs. So, I will be asking for your kindness and generosity again this year to help me reach my fundraising goal. I am currently stitching the model for my exclusive 2014 Komen 3-Day fundraising design (ALL proceeds will benefit the Susan G. Komen 3-Day)...and today I thought I would share a little peek with you! You are seeing this little glimpse here first - I don't have the perfect title yet, but I can tell you, it is an autumn themed design and I am so excited with how it is turning out. Last year I did a more traditional "pink" design, so this year, I wanted to do something a little different. I chose an autumn theme because the 60-mile walk is in November...and because November is the month of Thanksgiving - and I am so very grateful for all your love and support. More details will be forthcoming - I just wanted to share my stitching excitement with you...as soon as this very special design is ready, I will be sure to post all about it here on my blog. For now, you can find my fundraising page and read more about my journey by visiting: http://www.the3day.org/goto/Belinda

Tonight, I am back to nursing away my terrible head cold, which has now moved to my chest...I am hoping to do a little more stitching this evening...I want to be able to share this extra special design with you soon!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

A Squirrel Playing Guitar Kind of Day...

A very short post to let you know the April newsletter is forthcoming - just postponed a few days. This has been a banner week...I won't go into all the details, but I am suffering from a terrible head cold and have pretty much lost my voice...and, of course, both dogs have an intestinal virus, so I am a little "over the edge".

I will share a little something that is making me smile today...because even when I feel awful, it is still all about the squirrel...this adorable card arrived in my mailbox from my dear friend Robin...and yes, it has stitching around the perimeter...it is so very me!


So, with a little luck, and a whole lot of cold medicine, the newsletter will be sent in the next day or two...and if you are waiting on an e-mail from me, please be patient, I haven't forgotten you...and I have done a wee bit of stitching this week, so I will have a sneak peek for you soon...

Monday, March 31, 2014

Triangular Tuffets

I am in model stitching mode today, but I wanted to stop by quickly and show you the finished chair cushions I made over the weekend. I have two wooden chairs in my studio - one at my desk and one at my sewing/serger machines....these are really not the most comfortable chairs, but like many of you, I work with what I have. So, I decided to make a couple quilted tie-on cushions - to make the chairs prettier and to make my hiney happier. I used the Tuxedo Collection by Doodlebug Design Inc. for Riley Blake, as it matches my studio nicely...and some black grosgrain ribbon with white polka dots for the ties. The top is pieced 7" equilateral triangles and the bottom is a 7" hexagon...both cut on my Studio Fabric Cutter using Nested Bullseye Dies by AccuQuilt. I was able to accurately cut all the pieces in just a couple minutes and started sewing right away...I fused a piece of Pellon SF-101 Shape-Flex Interfacing to the wrong size of each hexagon, to make the bases nice and sturdy. I quilted the tops with cotton batting and muslin, then filled the tuffets firmly with fiberfill - in fact, I over-stuffed them, because I knew they would flatten out after I sit on them for hours. I added the grosgrain ribbon to tie the cushions in place...and I think they turned out perfectly! It only took me a couple hours to completely make both cushions and they are such a nice added touch to my studio...




I am headed back to my stitching nest for a few hours, then it is back to work on my website...the sun is shining (I will try not to focus on the 45 mph wind gusts - ugh!), so I will be taking both dogs on good walks to the park today, as well. Enjoy you day!

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Pincushion and Pillow Pizzazz

I must admit, I am a bit behind on my blogging...it has been difficult to find balance lately. Yes, I have been stitching my heart out and I will have some new Blue Ribbon Designs to show you soon...and I have started stitching my 2014 fundraiser piece for my Komen 3-Day walk (a little hint, it has an autumn theme!). I am also busy working on the new website...and I have been scheduling time to quilt and sew daily.

I finished a couple more equilateral triangle projects over the last couple days...both using the brand new Bullseye Equilateral Triangles Die Set (1", 3", 5", 7" Finished Sides) for the Studio Fabric Cutter by AccuQuilt. I wanted to try out the 1" triangle size (yes, I said 1" triangles!), so I made the cutest little pincushion...it is approximately 3" W x 4.5" H. I added several decorative pins, a piece of rose lace, and a little tag for gift giving.


I also did some piecing of 3" equilateral triangles...and I took a photo that shows the difference in size...


I am just in love with this pillow! It is made from the fabric collection Pom Pom de Paris by French General for Moda...and the accents and backing are from the Rouenneries Deux collection by French General for Moda. It is approximately 18" W x 16" H...and I made my own custom pillow form. I am just tickled with this pillow...it makes me happy!



I have also been working with 7" equilateral triangles and 7" hexagons to make two new chair cushions with ties for my studio...more on those in a future post.

So, as always, it's been a productive and creative week...thanks for visiting!...I'll be back with more projects and stitching posts soon...

Monday, March 24, 2014

Sewing Stars

Today I am back to share another sample I created for AccuQuilt - the Bullseye Mosaic Triangle Quilt....along with a table runner I put together yesterday in the same style. Both the quilt and the table runner use Bullseye Hexagons and Bullseye Equilateral Triangles, cut with the Studio Fabric Cutter...using these two shapes and piecing in rows, completely removes the need for inset seams, making the piecing much easier than expected. Plus the Bullseye Equilateral Triangle dies have dog-eared corners allowing the cut shapes to line up perfectly!

Here is a close-up look at the two sets of Buyllseye Nested Dies needed for the quilt and the table runner. In the back in each photo, you see the Foam Boards (without blades for spacing)...and in the front you see the Blade Boards (with blades for cutting). Mix and match these two sets of die boards to cut a variety of shapes and sizes. You can read all about these Bullseye Nested Die Sets and see videos that show exactly how they work by visiting this link:
http://www.accuquilt.com/cutting-dies/studio-bullseye-nested-dies.html

Photo courtesy of AccuQuilt.com
Bullseye Equilateral Triangles-Odd-1", 3", 5", 7" Finished Sides for Studio

Photo courtesy of AccuQuilt.com
Bullseye Hexagons-1"-7" Finished Sides for Studio

....and here is a look at the Studio Mosaic Triangle Quilt that uses these two die sets...oh my goodness, how I love this quilt....it was so difficult to ship it to AccuQuilt - after it was complete, I REALLY wanted to keep it in my personal collection...in fact, I may have to make another, just for me! You can currently find this pattern for free on the the AccuQuilt website. It measures approximately 39" W x 48" H...and it does take a while to correctly piece all the equilateral triangles, but it is straight forward piecing with no inset seams! Having a design wall is quite helpful to make sure you keep all the pieces lined up correctly...

Bullseye Mosaic Triangle Quilt Pattern for Studio



For my table runner, I simply used one complete star row from the quilt pattern...I used 4 hexagons (3" finished) and 72 equilateral triangles (3" finished). I wanted a nice cheerful table runner to brighten up my living room coffee table and this size fit perfectly. The fabrics are from the retired line Oz by Sanae for Moda.


My schedule continues to be quite full, but I am doing my best to finish up a few more sewing/quilting projects. I also have new needlework designs I will be able to share with you soon, along with a plethora of other projects...and yes, I am still working away on my new website design with tons of new features...it should be another productive week!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Tumbling Table Runner and Topper

It's no secret I adore my AccuQuilt Fabric Cutters...I use one almost every single day. Over the years, I have built up quite a collection of dies for both the GO! and the Studio versions. I probably use my Studio Fabric Cutter most often, as it needs a designated space (it is larger and heavier), so it is readily available at all times...and with the GO! Die Adapters for the Studio, I can use every single one of my dies without changing fabric cutters. All of this equipment can be quite an investment, but in my line of work, the quick convenience and the accuracy of die cutting is well worth the expense. Every time new dies are released, I add them to my "wish list" in my AccuQuilt account on their website...and let me tell you, that list is quite long...a girl can dream...plus, it is always good to have something to work towards...

As a long time (passionate) fan and friend of AccuQuilt, I am lucky enough to do some sample sewing for them...and yes, that is my dream job. I just LOVE playing with the test dies and working on new bright and cheerful projects for them behind the scenes...and it is even more fun, when I see the models I have sewn/quilted for them featured on their website. Yesterday, AccuQuilt released Four New Bullseye Nested Dies for the Studio Fabric Cutter (2 sets of tumblers and 2 sets of equilateral triangles) and I was thrilled to make a couple samples for them using these special new dies! I was extremely excited to try out the Bullseye Nested Dies, because I am yet to have any in my collection - they come with a well-deserved price tag, because each one is capable of cutting multiple shapes and sizes, and that price tag is currently out of my personal budget. I was very interested to see how well these dies worked and the wide range of cutting possibilities.

Here is a close-up look at the die set for the Bullseye Tumblers-Even-2", 4", 6", 8" Finished for Studio. In the back, you see the Foam Boards (without blades for spacing)...and in the front you see the Blade Boards (with blades for cutting). Mix and match the two sets of die boards to cut a variety of shapes and sizes. You can read all about this Bullseye Nested Die Set and see a video that shows exactly how they work by visiting this link:
http://www.accuquilt.com/cutting-dies/studio-bullseye-nested-dies/bullseye-tumblers-even-2-4-6-8-finished-for-studio.html

Photo courtesy of AccuQuilt.com

The first project I worked on was the Bullseye Tumbling Table Runner Pattern for Studio (shown directly below) which uses the Bullseye Tumblers-Even-2", 4", 6", 8" Finished. This particular pattern is available on the AccuQuilt website and uses the 4" Finished Tumbler - the piecing was easy and straight forward and I really like the look of the wavy binding....I was very pleased with how this particular sample turned out...in fact, it was hard to send this finished piece back to AccuQuilt!


Being the perfectionist that I am, I wanted to test my binding skills on a test table topper before working on the actual model, so I used some extra tumbler cut-outs from the project, along with some scraps and fabrics in my stash to create a smaller version (show below and in the upper right-hand corner) - I wanted to make sure to sew the four corner angles properly and that the bias binding the directions called for worked well for the two long sides. It actually worked out perfectly and personally, I think the edges and binding make this table runner extra special. Here is a look at my test table topper...


I learned I absolutely ADORE the Bullseye Nested Dies! They cut beautifully and accurately (with dog-eared corners for perfect piecing)...and the possibilities with each set are enough to make any quilter happy. You can cut solid shapes, rings, and frames...and you can mix, match, and layer Bullseye dies for a wide range of combinations (which I will show you in my next post project that features Bullseye Hexagons and Bullseye Equilateral Triangles). Now that I have tried and tested some of these innovative dies, I *have to* start saving my pennies so I can afford to add them to my collection...they are really quite spectacular!

AccuQuilt was kind enough to let me hang on to a couple sets of Bullseye Nested Dies for a few weeks, so I could play a bit more...I have a unique project in the works, so I will be showing that to you soon, as well...

I hope this post has inspired you to play with shapes, color, and new interesting finishes...take a little time to be creative...

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Saturday Samplings...

My design studio has been overwhelmingly busy this past week...and unfortunately, I can't really show you much just yet...I finished a Christmas ornament for the 2014 Just CrossStitch Ornament Issue and a Halloween ornament for the 2014 JCS Halloween Issue...and super exciting - I am finishing up an original quilt block submission for a very fun quilting magazine...I'm also just finishing up the stitching on a few small items I designed for the Elegant Stitch annual breast cancer kit...plus there are new designs that I need to prepare for release...and I am slowly, but surely, rebuilding the entire Blue Ribbon Designs website...yep, I've been burning the candle at both ends.

Another thing that is keeping me busy, is training for the Komen 3-Day in Dallas this coming November. I have received questions from several of you wanting to know if I am walking again...and the answer is ABSOLUTELY, 100% "YES" - in fact, my airline travel was booked this week! Team Twinkle Toes will be meeting up in Dallas to walk the 60-miles for breast cancer awareness/fundraising and I can't wait to get together with my teammates and lace up my shoes again...and yes, I will be asking for your help with my fundraising again this year. I have continued to train throughout the winter months, even with the bitter cold and snow/ice/wind...and with a little help from my treadmill...I just have to get back in the habit of logging each of my walks, so I can keep track of my mileage....having two dogs that need daily walks also gets me outside every single day. There will definitely be an exclusive design again this year for those who make a donation on my fundraising page - I am in the charting process now and there will be more information and photos in the coming months.

Mama Twinkle Toes has also been SUPER busy working on fundraising ideas/projects for our team expenses (which add up extremely quickly)...and the first one has been released and is a HUGE success! See the beautiful scissor holder in the upper photograph? - isn't it GORGEOUS?! It is made from an antique wooden weaving spool, polished from years of service and a lot of thread running over it....the bottom is wrapped with a black strip of 100% wool and then a little black and white gingham ribbon tied in a bow with 2 keys attached...and the bottom of the spool is covered with a circle of brown wool to protect your furniture...and little black scissors are the perfect accessory. This very unique scissor holder is the first fundraiser for our expenses - it is called "Key to Everything" - and is in very limited supply - I know the first scissor holders have sold out, but Mama Twinkle was able to get a few more of the antique spools and is now waiting for more scissors to arrive. If you would like to purchase one (or more) to help support our team, visit: http://www.elegantstitch.com/what%27s%20new.htm for all the details. The price is a very reasonable $20 + postage (and this includes a pair of those cute black scissors)...I am not sure exactly how many are still available, so if you are interested, be sure to promptly visit the link and follow the instructions for ordering. Team Twinkle Toes is so very grateful for your support - we truly are!

...and with permission (my blog readers are seeing this first!)...here is a little peek at the next fundraiser...an antique wooden domino pincube - seriously, how cute is this?!...



It is just the sweetest pincube, with needle felt sandwiched between two antique wooden dominoes, tied with a black ribbon bow, and adorned with pearlized pins...so fun!! I don't have all the details or pricing for these just yet...they are still in the works...but I will post more details when they are ready...this is just a little teaser of things to come...


I'm off to finish up my quilt block project and possibly get in a little more quilting before heading back to my stitching nest for more model work...I hope you are having an enjoyable weekend!

Friday, March 7, 2014

Lessons Learned...

So, it's been quite a while since my last post...but I have a good excuse...I have busy working on a large project with Annie's - a "Learn to Cross Stitch" video class. Over the last year we have been working on all the details - I have been writing a script, preparing five exclusive projects for the video, and gathering supplies and materials to use as props for the class. This week, I traveled to Berne, IN to their studios for two full days of filming (and the black cloud that has been following me made the trip too! - ugh!)...it was a lot of traveling and two days of hard work (the whole project was WAY more labor intensive than expected!)...I had to wear more make-up and hairspray than I have worn in my entire life...and I had to wear clothing that was not really my style and made me look old...but that was all needed for the bright lights and cameras. I had a bunch of very fun photographs of the set and filming....but I was told by the producer I could not share them, as they don't want their competitors to see how they do things...bummer...but I have a couple that I think are clear of technical details, just to give you a glimpse. The online class/DVD will not be ready for a while, as they still have to do quite a bit of production and editing...but I can tell you, it is a beginner class and covers all the basics - materials, tools, and notions - preparing for a project - how to read a chart - step-by-step Cross Stitch techniques - creative finishing ideas - pretty much all the basic information you can imagine. We cover Cross Stitch, Back Stitch, Partial Stitches, and pesky French Knots. If you know someone who can benefit from this Learn to Cross Stitch video, I'll be sure to post when it is available and all the specifics.




I did learn a few things - there are no good leafy green vegetables in the small town of Berne (especially in the winter) or healthy meal options...the weather was pretty much the same as in Iowa (cold/snow/ice/wind), except a little warmer and a little less snow...local taxi drivers will share all sorts of interesting personal information (yes, I heard an entire story from a man who walks his cat on a leash with a harness)...and I'm really good at reading from a teleprompter and not so good at "winging it" during filming (I'm just too detailed!)...

Another thing I learned - Schatzi must have really missed her momma and our daily walks...
We just replaced her crate pad last week - she had already destroyed one...then I repaired/covered it with my sewing skills, only to have her chew another big hole in it. So a few days before I left, her new crate pad from K9 Ballistics arrived - they claim to have virtually "indestructible" dog beds and crate pads that are "chew & scratch resistant"...well, her new TUFF crate pad lasted only four days. While I was out of town, I received this photo from my husband, showing the destroyed crate pad and the culprit...this was sent to the company to get our warranty replacement...


So now that my part of this huge video class project is complete, things should start to get back to normal. I have a few magazine deadlines to work on...a few new releases to prepare...more work on the new/improved website...more sewing/quilting projects...and a few surprises to complete, as well... Tonight and this weekend, I will take a deep breath and just dive in...

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Sunday Samplings...

Congratulations to Pat M. - she is the recipient of my latest giveaway - I have already e-mailed Pat with the details. Thank you to everyone who entered the "Extra Special Giveaway" - thank you to the Rafflecopter widget for organizing the entries and randomly choosing a winner - and a very special thank you to Rina for providing the inspiration and zippered project bag for the prize! If you didn't win this time, please don't be discouraged - there will be more giveaway opportunities in the future...

Today, I will be in my sewing studio working on several commissioned quilting projects - it is the perfect day to spend sewing and quilting...and who knows, I may just get in some model stitching this evening! My fingers will be keeping busy...

...and before I forget...for those of you who have been asking about Simba and Schatzi - they are getting along better each day...and yes, Schatzi is growing like a weed - she isn't even a year old yet and is already around the 80-pound mark! Here they are, side by side, waiting for dad to finish making their Kong treats...


Schatzi LOVES the snow and cold...here she is (our "baby" girl), playing outside during a recent snow storm...and yes, she is starting to grow into those ears!



...Simba, on the other hand, rather be curled up inside on my quilt...and I can't blame him...


Enjoy your day...and I will be back with more creative inspiration soon!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

An Extra Special Giveaway

On occasion, I receive a message from a blog friend/follower telling me that my posts and projects gave them motivation and/or inspired them to expand their creativity...those are messages I am thrilled to receive! Recently, I heard from Rina - she is an avid cross stitcher who has followed my blog for a few years - she told me a wonderful story about how my blog and Etsy shop inspired her to take a sewing class. You see, she had be admiring my sewing/quilting projects and had ordered one of my project bags...when her new project bag arrived, she decided she would like to be able to make them for herself in different sizes and she would like to be able to finish some of her cross stitched items into pillows...so she decided to take a sewing class. She proceeded to tell me - "one three-week course was extended into a nine-week course...my husband bought me a Pfaff sewing machine for my birthday, and I was on my way!!"...she told me "sewing was fun....and quilting was a natural progression - super-fun! How had I lived this long without my sewing machine?? And fabric, well, fabric was, and is, downright addictive!" - I think many of us can agree with that statement!! Rina told me how quickly her tastes have changed and how she still enjoys cross stitching, but right now her passion is for quilting and she even shared a couple photos of her beautiful quilt blocks with me.

So what does all this have to do with a giveaway?? Well, Rina still had that project bag she purchased from my Etsy shop (click to see more photos and details)...and it is still brand new...and since her taste in fabric has changed and she was not going to be using it, she wanted to know if I would like to give it away to one of my blog followers. Well, of course I would! I know many of you are going to be excited about this giveaway, because this particular zippered project bag uses popular sampler print fabric from the Rhubarb & Ginger Collection by Blackbird Designs for Moda for the outside and a floral print from the Madeira Collection by Blackbird Designs for Moda for the lining - and both of these fabrics are long retired! The zippered project bag is approximately 14" W x 10.25" H and is the perfect size for taking your entire needlework project on the go...it will easily hold a standard pattern/booklet (8.5" x 11"), along with fabric, threads, and tools.
...and since Rina was generous enough to supply the zippered project bag, I thought I would add a couple charts to the giveaway, as well...how's that for a BRD prize??!


I am so thrilled Rina decided to message me and share her story (and allow me to giveaway her zippered project bag to one of my blog readers) - I have a feeling we are going to be great faraway friends, as we share a passion for many of the same things. Rina has an Etsy shop called Stitcherina that specializes in quilting fabrics (many of which are retired) - check it out, you may find something you have been searching for...

Giveaway Fine print:
As this giveaway relates to those inspired/motivated by my blog, only followers (current and new) are eligible - after you tell me how you follow, you will have four more entry opportunities! One winner will be chosen randomly and will receive the zippered project bag shown and two Blue Ribbon Designs charts of their choice from my current catalog. International entries are welcome. You must use the Rafflecopter widget below to enter - no e-mail entries will be accepted. The giveaway is open until 11:59 PM CST Saturday, February 22, 2014 and the recipient will be announced on Sunday, February 23, 2014. No prize substitutions.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

If you have been inspired by my blog, I would love to hear from you...I always enjoy getting messages from my readers!

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Birthday Blessings

I received an incredible birthday package from my very dear friend Robin this past week, so I have a few more inspiring/creative birthday gifts to share with you. You should have seen me smiling when I opened these packages - Robin knows me extremely well and spoils me beyond belief! She sent me another gorgeous cross stitch piece - she does BEAUTIFUL work - and this design is perfect for me...a quilt block with birds!! It is finished as a stand-up with gorgeous quilting fabric on the back - it is LOVELY and I am extremely touched.

She also sent me some fabulous fabrics for my stash and a new book. Robin knows I adore mini quilts, so the book Simply Charming Minis from Moose on The Porch Quilts is right up my alley - there are 16 mini quilts included ranging from 13" - 21" and they are all made with scraps and/or charm squares - several of them are already on my "must make" list! The fabric included a gorgeous panel and a 1/2 yard of fabric from the American Beauty Collection by Beth Logan for Henry Glass & Co., Inc....along with several other marvelous prints that fit nicely in my fabric collection...





...and, as if all that wasn't way more than enough, she included a new squirrel for my collection...a miniature pewter squirrel pincushion. It is just shy of 1.25" tall and is completely adorable...I put two 1" applique pins in it and they almost look too big...it is just the cutest thing!


I had a wonderful birthday - my heart is full - it was a fantastic week and I am so grateful to all my family and friends - you all spoiled me rotten and I feel like a princess - thank you!

This afternoon, Travis and I are headed to his parents house for one final birthday celebration...his mom is making her homemade pizza (my favorite)...

I hope you are having a wonderful weekend...

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Topsy Turvy

Remember these fun mugs that I am totally obsessed with??



Well, I heard from many of you asking where they came from and who makes them...and I had absolutely no information - one was a gift and one came from a local gift shop...neither had a tag or information, so I had very little insight to share...

...but last week, look what arrived from my very dear friend Terri for my birthday (yep, she knows me well!)....


...four more adorable mugs...a turtle, owl, butterfly, and pig...and guess what...they had tags! The are called Topsy Turvy Mugs and are made by Midwest-CBK...and if you do a Google search for "Topsy Turvy Mugs", there are TONS of them! Now I have a wish list - I just have to find a place that has them locally or order them online...the first one on my list is this springtime rabbit - yep, I have to have her...hopefully I will be able to track one down (I'll keep you updated)...


I know they are goofy...even my own mother thinks I am completely crazy...but for some reason they make me smile...plus, isn't it always fun to have something to collect and look for???...hmmmm...I wonder if there is a squirrel....

Friday, February 14, 2014

O'fish'ally Fun!

I'm not one to make a big fuss for Valentine's Day - I usually send a handful of cute cards to friends...and make a nice dinner for my husband...nothing over-the-top. Travis and I don't "go big" for Valentine's Day anymore - it was different when we were dating or when he could send me flowers at an office - but now, after quite a few years of marriage, the mushy stuff has long gone by the wayside (which is fine by me). However, this year, I was inspired by a blog post over at Lil' Luna to do something fun for my hubby. You see, he has a couple big fishing trips planned in the next several months and the talk around our house seems to be about fishing reports and rods and reels (and pretty much anything fishing related)...so when I saw the "Reel U In Valentine" a few weeks ago, I just knew I had to make him a tackle box filled with treats. I picked up the tackle box organizer a few weeks ago and started hunting for "fishing" treats...I found some really fun candies, including (unbelievably) Sour Brite Octopus...of course I got some Swedish Fish (in red and assorted colors) and Gummi Worms...and I had to get a box of Whoppers, because you know on his fishing trip he wants to catch a "Whopper". I looked everywhere for Gummi frogs, but couldn't find any in the city of Des Moines (bummer!)...but I think I got a pretty good assortment of sweet treats. I decided to play with the label for the tackle box just a bit - combining a couple that Lil' Luna has for free download (I did this in Photoshop) to make it more "me". After filling the tackle box and applying the label, I tied the Whoppers (they wouldn't fit inside one of the compartments) to the top of the box with sea blue silk ribbon...I thought it turned out pretty darn cute! ....and the verdict?? - I'm pretty sure he loved it - especially the fact I put some thought into it...



I hope you are enjoying the Valentine's Day and that you are inspired to do something a little fun for a loved one!