Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Let's Build A Birdhouse

Hello creative friends! Be sure to head over to the AccuQuilt Blog today for my latest guest blog post...there you will find a complete tutorial for my "Let's Build a Birdhouse" machine appliqué  pillow with all the details, so you can make one of your very own...

This colorful pillow is created with machine appliqué and can be worked up rather quickly. It uses the following cutting dies:
GO! Qube Mix & Match 8” Block (55776)
GO! Simple Shaps by Edyta Sitar (55178)
....along with the GO! Fabric Cutter (55100S) or GO! Baby Fabric Cutter (55600) or GO! Big Electric Fabric Cutter (55500).

This project is great for scraps or fat quarters...and while I used batik fabrics on a linen fabric base, it would look great in a variety of color pallets...and one of my favorite things about this design - once you build the birdhouse, you can embellish it with your favorite flowers and outdoor life - I chose yellow daisies and birds, but it would look great with an assortment of flowers and bees, butterflies, or dragonflies! It finishes a nice size (15”W x 15”H) - perfect for summer 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/?p=14929

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

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Spring Projects and Creative Sparks

It is a lovely, sunny afternoon in central Iowa...and Schatzi and I just returned home from a 6+ mile training walk. I love this time of year when beautiful blooms are around every corner and the air is fresh and clean. I have been getting in my walks and training each day and I continue to be full of inspiration in my studio...plus I am spring cleaning and simplifying a room per day (so far I have the dining room and kitchen complete and I will be working on the living room tonight). There is something refreshing about deep cleaning each spring and letting go of unused items - and with my husband away on business for two weeks, it is the perfect time - for me, a room a day is manageable and I can fit it into my busy schedule.

Here are a few photos since my last post...several completed pieces from my studio and some inspiring images from my training walks...

Another fun zippered project bag I  created for a birthday gift...
I love it when fussy cutting works perfectly!
Fabric is long retired - Garden Party by Blackbird Designs for Moda.

Tote bag I created to match the project bag - both my own designs...
this set was sent to a very dear friend for her birthday...
Fabric is long retired - Garden Party by Blackbird Designs for Moda.

Miss Schatzi and I were startled by a female mallard duck flying out of a bush...
then we saw this amazing nest with eight eggs...

Sweet pea plants in bloom at my local park...

All the recent rain has brought out the blooms...this was my first daisy spotting...

Another zippered pouch made for a faraway friend's birthday...I placed several
wrapped treasures inside...

 These five custom "tea themed" zippered project bags and tool pouches
shipped out to a new home yesterday...

I spotted a beautiful iris garden on my walk this afternoon - this beauty stood out to me...
perhaps a bit of inspiration for a future project...

Time to get Simba walked, have a bite to eat, finish up another quilting project...and then get to work on today's spring cleaning. I hope you are having a happy and productive week!

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

A Colorful Catch-Up

Since my last post, I have been in extreme creative mode (full disclosure, I am usually in extreme creative mode!). It has been a busy couple weeks in my studio...finishing work, designing work, custom orders, birthday projects, Mother's Day projects, and model stitching (along with a few things I can't show you just yet). Here is a glimpse at some of my recent finishes...

Finishing order from a customer...two cross stitch Prairie Schooler Santas to
be finished into pillow ornaments...I chose the materials and finishing technique...



Customer order for zippered project and tool bags in progress....

Two finished project bags and three finished tool pouches for a customer...

Mother's Day gifts in progress...



A birthday gift for a dear friend...my own pattern designs...a tote bag and coordinating
zippered bag - fabric is long retired (Beach House by Blackbird Designs for Moda).

A "Slouchy Backpack" made at a special friend's request...I love how it turned out!
Pattern: The Slouchy Backpack by Bonnie Christine
Fabrics: Modern Mixers II by Studio E Fabrics

I also have to mention something truly special that arrived in my mailbox. One of the things I love about social media is connecting with fellow stitchers, sewists and quilters from around the world - and I feel extremely blessed to have a fabulous circle of virtual friends. As I have matured, I have learned to surround myself with those who make me want to be a better person - those who have a positive outlook on life - and those who are filled with joy. Through my love of quilting/sewing, I met an AMAZING online friend who fills all three of those categories - she has the biggest heart and is always giving to others - she is one of those people who truly makes a difference. Last week, I was on the receiving end of her kindness - she mailed me an extraordinary package that brightened my day more than you can imagine. It included a very special AccuQuilt cutting die and a lovely assortment of Aurifil Thread (my very favorite thread, but a little out of my price range for daily sewing)...and it was wrapped and tied in beautiful batik fabric with a handwritten note. This RAK lifted my spirits and put me in a happy, creative, colorful place...it even makes me smile to look at this photo....I can't wait to make time to play with the little butterfly die (hopefully in the next day or two)....


I have a pile of projects on my sewing table (as usual), so there will be more photos to share with you VERY soon...but for now, I will leave you with an image of the fabrics I am currently working with - aren't they cheerful?! Enjoy the rest of your week and take a little time to do something you enjoy...

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

"An Umbrella for Two" Table Runner

Hello creative friends! Be sure to head over to the AccuQuilt Blog for my latest guest blog post...there you will find a complete tutorial for my "An Umbrella for Two" table runner with all the details, so you can make one of your very own...

This April showers table runner is made with some basic piecing and machine appliqué and can be worked up rather quickly. It uses the following cutting dies:
GO! Qube Mix & Match 12” Block (55778)
GO! Dancing Umbrella by Edyta Sitar (55178)
GO! Birds (55324)
GO! Strip Cutter-2” (1½” Finished) (55025 or 55164) (Binding)
....along with the GO! Fabric Cutter (55100S) or GO! Big Electric Fabric Cutter (55500).

This project is great for scraps or fat quarters...and while I used cheerful primary colors, it would look great in a variety of color pallets! It finishes a nice size (36”W x 12”H) - perfect for springtime 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-project-tutorials/an-umbrella-for-two-table-runner-a-quilting-tutorial/

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


Monday, April 25, 2016

Springtime Snapshots

Hello friends! The last few weeks have been a bit of a whirlwind, but filled with good things - I continue to keep busy with my creative endeavors, training for the Komen 3-Day, and all the usual household things (including yardwork and planting). I even managed to get out for an afternoon on the boat with my husband - we took Miss Schatzi along for the first time (and more than likely the last - she was a handful)! Model stitching has been happening each evening...sewing, quilting, and pattern writing has been happening each day...long training walks are in full swing...and my design sketch books are full of new ideas. Here are a few photos to catch you up...



A little design work with EQ7 and BlockBase...

Lunch and a trip to the local quilt shop with my very dear friend...
I brought home these goodies...

Schazti snuggles selfie...

Simba holding down the stairs...in his favorite sweater, in his favorite spot...

Schatzi at the park after retrieving the ball (what seemed like) a million times...

A custom order of Stitch Starter Ruler and Pocket Sleeve Sets...

A new project ready for binding...

My latest AccuQuilt blog project...details/tutorial will be posted later this week...
So there you have it...my last couple weeks in a nutshell...projects are going on behind the scenes that I can't share just yet, but I will as soon as I can (some really fun stuff!). Have a great week and I'll be back soon with my latest project tutorial....

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Nothing But Blue Skies

It's a sunny afternoon here in Iowa and the winds have started to calm...maybe, just maybe, spring is around the corner! If I have my way, soon I will be mowing the lawn and planting new flowers...and I can finally do my long training walks outside.

I have been hanging out in my studio all week, still working on a huge freelance job...but it is almost complete and I am excited to move on to new projects! I have a nice pile of custom project orders ready to assemble, so I am looking forward to a few solid days at the sewing machine. Plus, I am really enjoying my latest model stitching and can't wait to share a new cross stitch design with you soon.

In the midst of all the irons I have in the fire, I decided to design a handful of quilt blocks for AccuQuilt's 2016 Quilt Block Contest. If you are a regular reader of my blog, then you know how much I enjoy designing quilt blocks and projects...I just love working with shapes, design, and color...and I have fun putting together my entries for this contest every year. The voting for the contest is now live...and I am hoping you will check out all the entries for this year...and if you like my blocks, throw a vote my way. The criteria for the contest is to design an original block that can be created with AccuQuilt dies...plus it really should look good enlarged to fit a 17' x 17' sign displayed at AccuQuilt Headquarters in Omaha, NE. My cheerful and colorful blocks all follow these specific guidelines and were designed especially for this contest.

This year, you can vote once a day for one block - now through April 21st (so make sure you pick your favorite). You can view all the entries by visiting:
http://www.accuquilt.com/shop/contest
...or if you have a favorite block below, simply click on the link below it to cast a vote - I would greatly appreciate it. You can also visit the contest link and type "Belinda" in the search bar to see all eight of my entries.

It is fun to look through all 149 entries and see the diverse group of talent this contest attracts....even the entries that don't follow the guidelines (and I was surprised to see quite a few) are interesting. So, go check out all the design inspiration and cast one vote for your favorite each day...and if that happens to be one of my entries, I would be thrilled!

Ribbon Star
http://wshe.es/x4aRfIa3
A Splash of Summer
http://wshe.es/HQS7jg0X

Sunny Park
http://wshe.es/SeYsaOil
Shady Park
http://wshe.es/GrcxFKlp

Ninja Star
http://wshe.es/038UK8Eb
Nothing But Blue Skies
http://wshe.es/WR9LS8TJ

Wrapped Up
http://wshe.es/9eiC9BVt
Rays Over Rows
http://wshe.es/mX6IDiBS

These blocks all bring me joy and I hope you see something special in one (or more) of them. With your votes, I have the opportunity to win some AMAZING quilty prizes (including a feature in Quiltmaker Magazine), so thank you for taking the time to look!

I'm off to do some design work for the next few hours - then my husband and I have dinner reservations at a favorite restaurant to celebrate our wedding anniversary (we celebrated 16 years this week!). Enjoy the rest of your weekend....

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

A Colorful Catch-Up

It is a cold, windy, rainy night and I am just about ready to head to my cozy stitching nest for the rest of the "evening". I am still working away on a huge pattern writing freelance design project - it is monopolizing most of each day, but I continue to make time to do a little model stitching each night (for my sanity!). Here is a sneak peek at what I am working on at the moment (right). I also have a couple other colorful/creative things to share tonight...

A couple new books that are full of sewing inspiration arrived a few days ago - I managed to take a break this past weekend and give them a quick once over with a hot cup of tea...oh how I wish there were more hours in the day! These books are full of cheerful ideas to keep me busy...you know, in my "free time"...

 Also, if you ever wondered what 200 colorful 14-inch zippers look like, here is a photo to quench your curiosity - I go through quite a few making my zippered pouches and bags and it was time to stock up...I'm obsessed...and these make me happy!


Etsy has launched a new website program called "Pattern by Etsy"...it gives Etsy shop owners the ability to have a stand-a-lone eCommerce website that directly links to their Etsy shop. I already have my own eCommerce website that took me moths to build and perfect, but thought I would give the 30-day trial a chance (it's always good to try new things!). It is a nice, simplified twist on the standard Etsy shop - you can find my new "pattern" shop here:
http://blueribbondesigns.patternbyetsy.com/


 Etsy has also been "remodeling" and ALL shops will have a new look - they started updating today and although it may take up to a week for all shops to have the new format, I think you will like the changes. Sometimes you need to freshen things up...so while you might still be seeing my original shop, here is a just a peek at the new layout...
http://etsy.com/shop/BlueRibbonDesigns


Finally, here is a small sign of spring...and I can't wait for more! This was taken a few days ago...we actually had a few nice days...but then the winds and cold returned and now it is feeling like winter yet again. These daffodils are giving me hope...


I hope you are starting to see signs of spring in your corner of the world...