Saturday, July 23, 2016

Sunshine and Positivity

Hello friends...thanks for stopping by today! I thought I would pop in for picture-filled blog post...I wanted to show you what has been inspiring me and a few current/recent projects. Last weekend, I headed to Illinois to visit my mom and her husband Dan at the lake for a little time away....sometimes when you feel discouraged and the weight of the world is resting on your shoulders, taking a road trip can really put things into perspective. I thought I would share some photos I took of the beautiful gardens my mom nurtures/perfects daily and the peaceful lake - these images (and my time there) brought joy to my soul and reminded me of what is really important. It was quite enjoyable attending some of the lake community's "Summerfest" activities, including a water skiing show...and visiting some of the rural/local establishments. I was also able to do some modeling stitching and a little design work surrounded by nature...and I even got to have a long, leisurely breakfast with a very dear stitching friend before heading back to Iowa.

















I managed to get quite a bit done in my studio over the last few weeks...lots of custom sewing, model stitching, and needlework finishing...and even quite a bit of design work. Here are just a few recent finishes...and I have more creative things in store to show you soon!!




Lastly...a little wisdom for a Saturday evening:
Recently, someone has been trying to steal my sunshine and intentionally hurt my feelings - even going as far as to tell me to stop designing cross stitch. It's hard not to let negative people bring you down, especially when it comes from someone you thought was there for you....we all know that familiar saying: misery (negativity) loves company. I have done a lot of self-reflection over the last month and I am choosing to be happy and better myself...surrounding myself with those who make me a better person and want good/positive things for me. I like being a happy, fun-loving person - I LOVE designing, creating, and having my own business - I like going to the gym and trying to live a healthy lifestyle - I enjoy taking care of my home, yard, and husband - I like being young at heart - and I love taking photos and sharing things that inspire me on social media. I will continue to do all those things, because they bring ME joy. My advice:
Be happy - be you (you are perfect just the way you are) - be positive.
 Don't let anyone attempt to steal your sunshine...

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Snow Much Fun

A couple months ago, I was busy working on today's feature project...yep, when we were all preparing for summer, I was hard at work on a snowman project (such is the life of a designer - always working months in advance)! I designed this "Snow Much Fun" wall hanging pattern especially for AccuQuilt...and now that they have released the pattern on their website, I am finally able to share it with you.

If you are a regular reader of my blog, then you know I like to use my AccuQuilt cutting die shapes in unique and creative ways...like how I designed a plethora of animals using only the GO! Owl cutting die in my GO! Talk To The Animals quilt. For the GO! Snow Much Fun Wall Hanging, I had the challenge of designing a quilt that made a fun selection of snowmen using only the GO! Holiday Accessories die and the the GO! Circle-2", 3", 5" die....add in the GO! Square-8 1/2" (8" Finished) for the applique background blocks and the GO! Strip Cutter-2 1/2" (2" Finished) for binding and you can EASILY cut this out this intricate wall hanging in an afternoon.


Since this project pattern was created for a July release, I wanted to use a bright assortment of colors...and Robert Kaufman Kona Cotton Solids seemed the perfect choice!...and although you can't see them in these images, I used some actual buttons for embellishing (instead of appliquéing some of the very small circles). I also had fun naming each of the blocks for the pattern instructions (like "Snowman Stargazer", "Snowman Snow Globe", "Snowman Love").
If you want to try one or more of these blocks, but the wall hanging seems a little daunting, here are some other suggestions...make one block and use as a mug rug...use your favorite blocks to make a table runner...one block would make a cute winter potholder or trivet...or use four blocks and make a mini quilt. Any of these options would make a heartfelt holiday gift!


So, go visit the patterns section of the AccuQuilt website and download this wintry wall hanging pattern...which for a limited time is FREE - yes, I said FREE!
http://www.accuquilt.com/shop/go-snow-much-fun-wall-hanging-pattern.html

(and during the month of July, the GO! Holiday Accessories die and the GO! Circle-2", 3", 5" die are on sale)

....and if you want to see more on how to make this cheerful project, AccuQuilt has posted a video with more details and tips for cutting all the shapes...


I hope you will make a Snow Much Fun project...and if you do, please be sure to share a photo with me - I would love to see your interpretation of my design!


Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Shining Bright

I am guest posting over on the AccuQuilt Blog today...and the spotlight is on my latest patriotic design creation "Shining Bright". This Americana wall hanging/table topper (measuring 27" W x 27" H) will definitely add to your 4th of July festivities and decor...and I give you a full tutorial, so you can make one of your very own. This project uses your favorite AccuQuilt GO! Fabric Cutter and the GO! Qube Mix & Match 9" Block to create the assortment of three traditional 9" quilt blocks...and is embellished using the GO! Star-2", 3", 4" and a little basic machine appliqué. I provide a detailed tutorial with images that will have you sewing your own Independence Day project in no time! So, stop by the AccuQuilt Blog for all the specifics...this holiday project is simple enough, it can be completed before the annual fireworks!

https://www.accuquilt.com/blog/education/go-product-tutorials/shining-bright-a-patriotic-wall-hanging-quilting-tutorial/


Thursday, June 23, 2016

Plans Change...

Hello friends - I apologize for not returning sooner with the promised new cross stitch design sneak peek....unfortunately, I had a touch of some sort of nasty flu the last couple days and it slowed me down a bit...but I am happily feeling better today - I have finally kept some food down and worked out at the gym this morning, so it's all good. 

As I mentioned in my previous post, I did go fishing with my husband last Saturday...and this time, I did catch some fish! I had to chuckle at many of your responses to my post about having a hard time just sitting still and fishing for hours...and this time I did take my Nook and a little stitching project with me, but I didn't get them out of my bag, as I was actually catching some fish - in fact, I caught the biggest fish of the day - a two and a half pound bass (I know, that doesn't sound large, but my husband assures me, that in Iowa, that is a good fish - and I also know, he is probably boosting my ego, so I keep going out on the lake with him) - you can see I was extremely happy in the photo (I know, not my best look - we were up at 5:30 AM to get on the water before the extreme heat, so hair and make-up weren't an option). Oh, and for those who might question whether we keep what we catch - no, we catch and release...

So, as promised, here is the peek at the new cross stitch model I have been working on...I had a special plan for this design, but sometimes plans must change, so I have decided to release it (along with a couple others) once it is complete. I have a title for it and a finishing idea...so give me some time to get everything (including the stitching) done, then I will post all the details here! Cross Stitch designing has always brought me immense joy, and it is nice to work on some new project ideas...


I planned to share a couple more things today...but Miss Schatzi needs to be picked up from the vet (just a routine check-up) and I have a pile of work to get to when I return...so again, plans change...but I'll be back soon with a new creative post. Thanks for visiting!

Saturday, June 18, 2016

"Flurries in the Firs"

Summer temperatures arrived early in Iowa and I am not even remotely thinking about the winter holidays...but if you are "one of those" early bird needleworkers already working on Christmas ornaments, then you are in luck (and WAY too ahead of the game), because the Just CrossStitch Annual Christmas Ornament Preview Issue is here! If you have been enjoying my woodland ornament series, then you will be happy to see Blue Ribbon Designs included in this issue. You can find "Flurries in the Firs" in the the August 2016 Issue, which is now available.

My 2016 preview ornament complements my woodland ornaments from the past several years and uses Cross Stitch (over-two), Back Stitch, and Smyrna Cross Stitch. I worked the model on 40-count Mocha linen from Weeks Dye Works (same as previous ornaments in this series) and used Weeks Dye Works cotton floss. I opted for a flat-finish with two-tone cord as an embellishment....and as a little finishing tip for those of you using the 40-count linen - I used standard hotel room keys padded with cotton batting (or you could use fake or expired credit cards) instead of the padded mounting board that the magazine suggests...they are the perfect size!



Look for another Blue Ribbon Designs woodland series ornament in the JCS Christmas Ornament Issue out later this year. I'll be back in the next couple days with the sneak peek of my new cross stitch design...I ran out of time to get an "in progress" photo today...I'm going fishing with my hubby EARLY on Saturday morning, so I am writing this on Friday night and scheduling it to post on Saturday while we are out on the water...wish me luck (and yes, this time, I am taking a book and a small stitching project)...maybe this time I'll catch a fish!

Friday, June 17, 2016

In A Happy Place

Beautiful butterfly spotted on an evening walk...
Hello friends - I've missed you! I was ready to sit down and write this post a few days ago, but the air conditioning in our home stopped working during a heatwave and the temperature in my studio loft was well above 90 degrees...so I really didn't want to use my computer or my sewing machine until it was fixed. I was thrilled to see the repairman yesterday afternoon and it was a quick fix (whew!)...it just took the rest of the day to get the house back to a normal temperature. I am thrilled to return to my studio today - back to business, and functioning without overheating! I have a pile of projects to catch-up on...including an assortment of needlework finishing pieces, a quilted wall hanging, and several custom sewing/quilting projects. I did manage to get some model stitching done the last couple days which was a great thing! The last few weeks have been business as usual - lots of creativity and custom/freelance work, lots of time in the gym, dogs walks, and household/yard projects - I've been in a happy place...keeping busy and focused and finding some personal clarity. Of course, I have been taking some photos along the way....

More custom zippered pouches for a customer...

More custom tool bag/zippered pouches for a customer...

My prize package from the AccuQuilt Quilt Block Contest...lots of goodies!
I also received a Craftsy Class (I chose a "quilt as you go" class) and
an AccuQuilt merchandise credit - which I used today to order some
Studio applique cutting dies (I'll show you which ones when they arrive).

Simba taking over my stitching chair...

Schatzi in the yard...

Schatzi at the park...

I'll be back tomorrow to share my latest magazine piece published in Just CrossStitch magazine...and maybe a photo of my current cross stitch model in progress....I am so excited to share a peek of this new design with you...we'll see how much progress I make tonight...

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Just For Fun...

Can you believe it is already the last day of May?! - how are the months disappearing so quickly? I hope you enjoyed a nice holiday weekend and (if you are in the US) spent a moment reflecting and remembering those who have died in service to our country.

After being on a business trip for two weeks, my husband (thankfully) returned last Friday and we were able to get the boat out on the water on Saturday. It was a lovely afternoon to be outside...and while my husband managed to catch some fish, I didn't catch any (boo hoo). I am quickly learning that fishing may not be "my thing"...I am not good at relaxing or sitting still (I know, shocker!), so casting a line and just waiting for a fish to bite is almost pure torture for me - I honestly don't know how my husband and his buddies can go on week long fishing trips - a couple hours without seeing a fish and am ready to head home. Now, don't get me wrong, I love being out on the water and taking in nature...I just think I need to bring a good book or some stitching along with me (especially when the fist aren't biting). In any case, it was good to be out of my studio/office and just breathe....


Before I forget, I just have to share this photo I captured of Schatzi curled up on the corner of the sofa - she usually doesn't sit still for long...and if she sees a camera, forget about it...but I came home from the gym while she was sound asleep and I managed to get a photo of the moment...



Let's see - what else has been happening...oh...we purchased a new dining room table and chairs - the first set we have ever picked out (and we have been together almost 20 years) - the others have all been secondhand. This set is counter height (which I love) and the table has two leafs that I removed for our every day living...and one side has a bench instead of two chairs. I was second guessing my choice (mainly the color) when we returned home...but when it was delivered I was thrilled - it worked out perfectly. Here is a photo of the new set-up...followed by a lunch photo (yep, I have been enjoying the table daily!)...




I have been sewing, sewing, sewing, and stitching daily...not much I can show you right now, but some fun things are on the way! Here is an image of what is currently on my table...



I also have to share, that one of my quilt block designs in AccuQuilt's Quilt Block Contest received an honorable mention as one on the top ten blocks this year - WOO HOO! I just found out it was my "Ninja Star" design...which totally surprised me (I had a different block that received quite a few votes and just assumed it was that one). I will be receiving a very fun (and useful!) prize package which includes $50 to spend at AccuQuilt, a free Craftsy class, a plethora of fabric bundles (YAY!!), and a package of batting. My prize hasn't arrived yet, but I'll be sure to post a photo when it gets here. I don't think this particular block got many (if any) consumer votes, but if you did vote for it - THANK YOU! 



Another thing to share - a couple weeks ago, I finally jumped on board with Snapchat...which I really enjoy (almost as much as Instagram) - I think it is because I LOVE taking photos. Anyway, now that I understand how it works, I really need some friends to share with...so, if you are on Snapchat, you will find me as brd_girl (Belinda K N). I share things of more of a personal nature on there (like a fishing video or a picture at the gym or my new haircut or Schatzi running through the hose in the backyard), as well as images in my studio and things I am working on...


Finally, here is an image I took early this morning in my flower garden...it is an evening primrose...which many may consider to be a weed, but the brilliant yellow flowers are quite spectacular...life is truly beauty full!


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!