Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Winter Break

Miss Schatzi supervising snow removal...
It's been a busy week, finishing up last minute deadlines and orders before I take a vacation - yes, you heard me, I am taking a REAL vacation (gasp!). Yep, I am getting away from heaping mounds of snow (and everyday stresses) and headed to the beach and SeaWorld...a true winter vacation with my family. I managed to get quite a bit on my list accomplished...I still have a few irons in the fire, but they will wait until my return...or at least I hope they will.  I just finished up three ornament designs (one Halloween and two Christmas) for future Just CrossStitch magazines...and I am getting ready to start stitching my 2016 Komen fundraising Cross Stitch design. I have been sewing and quilting and pattern designing...and working on new pieces for my Etsy Shop - yep, my creative juices have been flowing...here's a few recent photos...

An original quilt block design project I am working on...

Another deluxe pincushion I made for a friend...perfecting my pattern...

Sneak peek - I can't show you the fronts, but here are the backs
 of two new Christmas ornament designs for JCS magazine...

Sneak peek - I can't show you the front, but here is the back
of a new Halloween ornament for JCS magazine...

A WIP update (And A Forest Grew by Rosewood Manor) -
it will be done one day...

A snippit of a new St. Patrick's Day machine applique
design/project I have been working on...

Simba keeping warm in his Michigan sweater...

So, I will be away from my studio/office from this evening (Wednesday, February 3rd) through Thursday, February 11th...all correspondence and orders will be answered/filled in the order received upon my return on February 12th...I truly appreciate your patience! I am sure I will have some fun photos and things to share when I get back...sunshine, here I come...

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Sweetie Pie Pinwheels

I just adore working on projects for Valentine's Day - it makes me happy to work with red, pink, and white fabrics...and I always have fun with heart shapes/motifs. I have been working with various Valentine fabrics in my stash (and a few new fat quarters I picked up at a local quilt shop) and enjoying every minute of it! Today, I am sharing with you my January project for the AccuQuilt Blog - my Sweetie Pie Pinwheels table topper.

This project was cut entirely with my AccuQuilt GO! Fabric Cutter (you could also use the GO! Baby or the GO! Big Electric) and the new GO! Qube Mix & Match 8" Block....plus I used the GO! Strip Cutter-2" to cut my binding. I chose two traditional blocks - the GO! Double X No. 1 Block (because I could see hearts in it) and the GO! Turnstile Block (because I wanted some festive pinwheels)...and I created a center block, which I call the Four-way Heart Block, to pull it all together. You can find the complete tutorial to create this heartfelt table topper on the AccuQuilt Blog - I provide you with step-by-step instructions and have images to help you follow along. If you are looking for a sweet Valentine quilting project for your February decor, this should do the trick!

  



This project is great for scraps or fat quarters...and while I used more traditional holiday colors, it would look great in a variety of color pallets! It finishes a nice size (24” x 24”) - perfect for your Valentine decorating...

So be sure to stop by the AccuQuilt Blog for a materials list and step-by-step tutorial, with images:
https://www.accuquilt.com/blog/education/go-product-tutorials/go-qube-jan-project-v10/

...and while you are there, check out a plethora of creative projects - there are TONS of wonderful ideas to get you in the sewing/quilting mood!

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Owl You Need Is Love

In December, I was busy working on two new Valentine's Day designs for AccuQuilt (my regular readers may remember seeing a couple sneak peeks)....and I am super excited that I can finally share them with you. I created a pair of patterns/samples that are sure to fill your heart with love - one is traditional piecing and one is piecing with machine applique. I had quite a bit of fun designing these two projects and working with the lovely Robert Kaufman Fabrics (pinks and reds always brighten a mood)!

First up is the GO! Log Cabin Love Wall Hanging. This log cabin heart might look a bit complicated, but it truly is easier than you may think...it uses one cutting die for the entire quilt top - the GO! Log Cabin-12" Finished Square by Leslie Main.  Twelve 12" log cabin quilt blocks fit together to make a large heart wall hanging that measures 48" x 36". The GO! Log Cabin cutting die cuts makes it SUPER simple to cut the quilt blocks...and to make this project go even more smoothly, be sure to keep your cut pieces organized and follow the images in the pattern (the instructions breakdown each block and the layout).  For added convenience, I used the GO! Strip Cutter-2 1/2" (2" Finished) to cut my binding strips.




...and for a little cute overload, here is my GO! Owl You Need is Love Wall Hanging. This heartfelt machine applique project give you a chance to be a little creative with the layout. It utilizes the following cutting dies:
Be sure to iron on your fusible web before cutting the applique shapes and you will have this super sweet wall hanging complete in plenty of time for Valentine's Day!




You can find both these patterns (along with several other new valentine projects) on the AccuQuilt website...and for a limited time, they are FREE...so visit the following links to download the patterns and make a couple heart-filled projects for February!

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Blue Ribbon Designs In The Spotlight

If you stopped by the AccuQuilt blog or website this week...or if you get the AccuQuilt e-mail newsletter, then chances are, you may have seen the Quilter's Spotlight story they wrote about me/Blue Ribbon Designs. It has a fun question/answer session and some assorted photos of my recent work. I was very flattered they chose to write about my creative endeavors...and pleased they asked about my Komen 3-Day journey! They asked for a "fun" photo of me - and what says "quilting" more than an image of me with a bunch of hungry alligators?? It made me chuckle that they used it for the top of the article....and it's a little scary they didn't size it down (no one needs to see my face that HUGE). So, if you want to read a little about what I have planned for the future...and you haven't seen it already, you can find this article by visiting the following link:
http://www.accuquilt.com/blog/inspiration/quilters-spotlight/needlework-designer-belinda-karls-nace-is-a-triple-threat/

...and just a note...
Last week, my desktop computer (where I do the majority, if not all of my work) crashed...I had done a full back-up about a week before (as I had been experiencing problems), but I am still trying to get everything sorted/transferred to my laptop. I have all my design files, photos, financials and important business things...but I am missing all my e-mail folders and address book - plus I lost a couple days of e-mail. If you sent me a message needing a response and have not heard from me, please do resend and I will respond as promptly as possible (I'm not ignoring you, I promise!). Thank you for your patience - I know many of you have probably been through the same ordeal and can understand...just a little bump in the road to start the new year...

Thursday, December 31, 2015

A Moment of Reflection

In just a matter of hours, we will be welcoming the new year...and as 2015 comes to a close, I am reflecting on the last 365 days...it sure has been another busy and artistic year...2015 was full of achievements, challenges, advancement, self reflection, and new directions. Thank you for contributing to the success of Blue Ribbon Designs and for your support, encouragement, and loyalty - there are many talented designers/finishers/teachers out there...and a vast amount of needlework and quilting patterns to choose from - I sincerely thank you for welcoming my designs and allowing my dream to be a reality. I truly love sharing my creativity and I hope you will continue to receive my designs/patterns with open arms and share in my passion for all things done with needle and thread. As we move forward into 2016, I have many goals (too many to list) and a good amount of projects in the works...a pile of creative design ideas and (as always) exciting plans for the future. Thank you for allowing me to pursue my passion!

Here's a look back at a sampling of the projects I designed/created/finished in 2015 - a combination of needlework and quilting/sewing...and my studio tables are covered with new things for 2016...

As 2015 comes to a close, I would like to thank you for supporting Blue Ribbon Designs and my blogging journey. You continue to inspire me with your creativity, kindness, and generous spirits - BRD would not be possible without you and your patience as I explore new creative avenues and ideas. In preparation for 2016, take a moment to reflect on the past year and the many blessings bestowed upon you...and be sure to take a look at all the beautiful stitching, sewing, quilting, and crafting projects you have accomplished. I wish you a happy, healthy 2016 filled with joy, laughter, and creativity! HAPPY NEW YEAR....

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Snow Buddies

It is always a real treat when a design in my head works out well in fabric...and that is exactly what happened with my "Snow Buddies" design! This fun table runner design is featured on the AccuQuilt Blog today - and yes, I shared a complete tutorial with all the details.

When I requested the GO! Big Snail's Trail-12" Finished (55460) cutting die and the GO! Big Circle-4", 6", 7", 8" (55462) cutting die to use for my monthly guest blogger post, I'm pretty sure AccuQuilt thought I was crazy and wondered what the heck I was going to create that used those two dies in combination...but I had a plan (a plan that I really hoped would work well in fabric). You see, every time I would come across a completed Snail's Trail quilt block, my brain would see two stocking caps (or Santa hats) twisting together (see die packaging below) - so I thought it would be adorable to have a snowman on either end, with their hats meeting in the middle. I couldn't wait to try out my idea...and I must say it worked out even better than I had planned and made the perfect gift for a dear friend this holiday season. This project makes me happy and I hope it brings a smile to your face too!

So make your way over to the AccuQuilt Blog today for all the details and a step-by-step tutorial that will have you creating your very own "Snow Buddies" table runner with ease. Choose your favorite fabrics and have fun embellishing/dressing your snowman - I listed the exact cutting dies I used, but you could use actual buttons or alternate shapes to make the snowmen your own...how about a little fringe on the scarf ends?...or a pom pom at the top of each hat? There are so many ways to dress these cheerful snowmen - be creative!

You can find the complete tutorial here:
http://www.accuquilt.com/blog/education/go-project-tutorials/snow-buddies-table-runner-quilting-tutorial/

My hope is, you will try making a "Snow Buddies" project...and when you do, please share a photo with me. Personally, I think the design would make an adorable bench pillow...maybe I need to get started on another one....


Tuesday, December 29, 2015

"Qubed" Diamond Stars

Right before the fall quilt market, I was busy working with the four new (extremely versatile) AccuQuilt GO! Qubes (these are sets of cutting dies for the AccuQuilt GO! Fabric Cutter). I designed a simple Diamond Star Quilt that works well with each size of the GO! Qube and then made a sample of each. Today I am showing you each of these quilts...and telling you a bit about each one...

Before we get started - here is a little recap about the GO! Qube...  Each GO! Qube contains eight geometric dies that make cutting a wide variety of quilt blocks extremely easy...there is a GO! Qube Mix & Match 6" Block (creates 6" finished quilt blocks), a GO! Qube Mix & Match 8" Block (creates 8" finished quilt blocks), and of course, a GO! Qube Mix & Match 9" Block that creates 9" finished blocks and a GO! Qube Mix & Match 12" Block that creates 12" finished blocks. The geometric shapes in each set include: two squares (one larger, one smaller), two half square triangles (one larger, one smaller), one quarter square triangle, one square on point, one rectangle, and one parallelogram; you mix and match these basic geometric shapes to form an endless number of quilt blocks. For more details and a to see a selection of quilts blocks the GO! Qube can make, visit my post Quilt Block Heaven in a Qube.


Now on to my quilts...
The GO! Qube 6" Diamond Star Throw Quilt measures 48" x 60"...and the pattern includes instructions for a full size quilt (84" x 90") and king size quilt (108" x 96") as well. It uses three fabrics, the GO! Qube Mix & Match 6" Block, and a GO! Strip Cutter die for the binding. For this pattern in the throw size, you make 80 diamond star quilt blocks....




The GO! Qube 8" Diamond Star Throw Quilt measures 48" x 56"...and instructions are included for a full size quilt (88" x 88") and king size quilt (104" x 96"). It uses three fabrics, the GO! Qube Mix & Match 8" Block, and a GO! Strip Cutter die for the binding. For this pattern in the throw size, you make 42 diamond star quilt blocks....




The GO! Qube 9" Diamond Star Throw Quilt measures 45" x 63"...and it includes instructions for a full size quilt (81" x 90") and king size quilt (108" x 99"). It uses three fabrics, the GO! Qube Mix & Match 9" Block, and a GO! Strip Cutter die for the binding. For this pattern in the throw size, you make 35 diamond star quilt blocks....




...and finally, the GO! Qube 12" Diamond Star Throw Quilt measures 48" x 56"...and the pattern includes instructions for a full size quilt (88" x 88") and a king size quilt (104" x 96"). It uses three fabrics, the GO! Qube Mix & Match 12" Block, and a GO! Strip Cutter die for the binding. For this pattern in the throw size, you make 20 diamond star quilt blocks....




...and the GREAT news is, if you would like to make a GO! Qube Diamond Star Quilt, all four patterns are FREE to download for a limited time...simply visit one of the links below to download your favorite size(s)!
I hope you will make a GO! Qube Diamond Star Quilt of your very own - they work up quite quickly (especially the 12" block version, which only needs 20 quilt blocks!). Although I was working on a quick turnaround deadline with these quilts, I was able to make all four within two weeks...so you could easily make one in just a few days! Play with your favorite fabric colors and prints...and be sure to share your finished quilt(s) with me - I would love to see them...

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Sunday Samplings

Season's Greetings! I can't believe it has been several weeks since my last post...and quite a few of you have checked in to make sure I am okay. I have been so wrapped up in work projects, holiday projects, and life, that I haven't really had time to catch my breath (or write a blog post)...but the Christmas packages were sent - a few cards made it to the post office - the Christmas dinner went smoothly - the house is clean - and my pre-holiday work deadlines have been handled...so here I am to do a quick wrap up.

Let's see...on a personal note: I have been trying to stay healthy (but not exactly successfully), many of you know I had the flu when I returned from the 60-mile walk in Dallas...then I contracted a terrible upper respiratory infection that lasted what seemed like months - and the cough has been lingering for a few weeks, but getting better each day. I have been going to the gym daily - still weight training, with several days of cardio a week - it is my quiet time (my only "me" time) - I feel healthier and stronger - and my cardio consists of lots of stairs and incline, preparing for 60-miles in San Diego next year. The weather here is unusually manageable for December, but we are getting TONS of rain...in fact, the grass was still green a few days ago. I have been able to walk the dogs to the park almost everyday (don't get me wrong, I have to bundle up - there just isn't the usual snow/ice on the ground). Although, we did just get a couple inches of snow, in time to celebrate Christmas (and it looks like quite a bit of snow is forecasted for the upcoming week). Simba and Schatzi are both well and have become best friends. Travis and I stayed home for Christmas again this year - but you can't make any holiday plans this time of year when your husband is in management for UPS (they even worked Christmas Eve). We hosted his parents for a Christmas dinner on Friday and that was pretty much the extent of our holiday celebration. All in all, life is good...and we are looking forward to early February when we are leaving the Iowa winter and heading to Florida for a week of vacation with my mother and her husband.



On the creative front...there has been quite a bit happening in the Blue Ribbon Designs Studio. I finished up more designs and samples for AccuQuilt - this time for Valentine's Day...and I can't wait to share them with you (a couple sneak peeks below). I completed a handful of custom orders and managed to make gifts for nine packages...and they were all delivered BEFORE Christmas! I also made gifts for two of my local close friends...and gifts for family...so my sewing/embroidery machine and stitching fingers have been busy. I also finished the cutest winter project and tutorial for the AccuQuilt Blog that will be posted next Wednesday, the 30th - I will post a reminder about in the coming week - you won't want to miss it. Plans are underway for my January AccuQuilt project tutorial - it uses the new GO! Qube and I am having fun working on the design (think Valentine's Day). In the evenings, I have been cross stitching a couple ornaments for Just Cross Stitch Magazine that will published in 2016....and I have been working on a couple new design ideas - including one for my 2016 Komen 3-Day fundraising piece (Twinkle Toes will be walking in San Diego in 2016!). Last, but not least, I have been working on new pieces for my Etsy Shop - I am working on a BUNCH of Stitch Starter Ruler Sleeves and a pile of zippered pouches and project bags...plus I have a couple new ideas that I worked up that I will be trying in limited numbers. Then, in my "spare time", I am working on custom customer projects. Busy is a blessing...
















I hope you have been enjoying this holiday season. As we quickly approach the new year - may you find joy in the celebration, beauty in your surroundings, and love in your heart...happy holidays!