Friday, July 31, 2009

Sewing Inspiration

Okay, I admit it...I am "in love" with trims, buttons, and rick rack; there is something about embellishments that instantly inspires me. On most shopping excursions, sewing and stitching notions are the first thing I look for....it is always a treat to find some vintage buttons, lace, ribbon, rick rack, or handmade trim in an antique or specialty shop. Then, the fun begins...trying to find the perfect project for these special treasures. This week, I happened upon a plastic bag full of vintage buttons for $0.50...what a find!...some were plain...but some were quite unique...and I giggled with excitement all the way home...my $0.50 will bring me LOADS of sewing fun and inspiration. Over the years, I have collected baskets full of sewing treasures and garnishments...all of which I hope to find the perfect use for...but until then, they will continue to spark my imagination and creativity!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Saturday Sewing

What is at the top of my constantly growing "to-do list"??...finding more "me time" to do sewing, quilting, and machine embroidery. Today the ever-growing list of Blue Ribbon Designs tasks is at a stressful high...however, something told me if I took a couple hours off to do a personal project, I would be much more productive...so that is exactly what I did! Today's project combined machine embroidery and a tiny bit of sewing - an embroidered cutwork envelope. This project brought together my love of sending notes and special stationery and my passion for needlearts. The embroidery design is a new release from Husqvarna Viking (#215) called "Hoop! Sew! Go!", digitized by Lena Mattson. I made a few changes in the embroidery design for my project...found a matching notecard to slip inside...and I must say, I am thrilled with the outcome. It felt good to actually complete a project today...and now I am ready to get back to work on some future designs. Find a little time for your own personal project...it will lift your spirits!

Friday, July 24, 2009

An Enjoyable Afternoon...

I decided to take a much needed break today and get out of my office for a short drive. I took a scenic road trip out to Adel Quilting and Dry Goods...I just love this quaint little shop! The drive and the shopping were just what I needed today...it was refreshing. I picked up several new fat quarters...including three new Christmas fabrics...and a beautiful breast cancer fabric I had not seen before...



...and the pattern and the frame for "Be Thou Humble" by Mac-A-Doodles. I just love these embroidery designs with matching frames. They stitch up quickly and the inexpensive frames make them cost-effective to finish. I have several of them on display in my home...they just make me happy!
















After returning home, my husband and I enjoyed a late lunch and did a little grocery shopping...it was a lovely afternoon. This evening, I plan to catch up on some housework...then make my way to my stitching nest to work on some new needlework smalls. Wishing you a enjoyable afternoon in the near future...

Thursday, July 23, 2009

My First Fabric Flower

I recently read an article in the July/August 2009 issue of Sew Beautiful Magazine on an up-and-coming book called "Kanzashi In Bloom" by Diane Gilleland. I was very intrigued by the article and decided to pre-order the book last month...well, it was released this week and arrived on my doorstep yesterday afternoon. What a fun and fabulous book - I am thrilled with the contents! Kanzashi tsumami is the Japanese art of folding delicate squares of silk into three-dimensional flower petals - used most traditionally as hair ornaments worn by Japanese women. American crafters have made this form of art their own by creating flowers with different materials and accents...and adapting the flowers for a variety of projects. The flowers can be used in so many ways...and the book has TONS of great ideas and instructions. In a short amount of time this morning, I made my first flower...and the instructions were quite clear and easy!! I used eight 3" inch squares of fabric for my first flower (the suggested size for beginners) and made the basic round petal (instructions are included for three petal-folding styles)...for the center, I stacked two buttons. I love how creative I can be building my own flowers...and it is the perfect way to use those favorite fabrics and fat quarters! These are great for "dressing-up" wrapped packages, adorning fashion accessories, or adding to a favorite fabric craft (a quilt, tote bag, or wall hanging). Pictured below is my first flower...and I plan to make an entire bouquet!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

How Cute Are These?!

What a fun little package I received in the mail today! These special hand painted stitching treasures came from Studio Twenty...an Esty shop run by a fellow needlework designer - Monique of My Mark Designs. This was my first "Etsy Experience"...and I have to say, I may be hooked...I spent quite a bit of time browsing different shops and viewing all the remarkable craftsmanship....it is addicting. I am sure I will be adding more treasures to my stitching collection in the near future...there are so many amazingly talented artisans with fabulous items listed! Pictured below are: Little Frog Bling for your scissors, Counting Needle Heart, Pretty Threads Bluebird Threadholder, and Halloween Bat Threadholder...I am thrilled to give each of these a new home, where they can mix and mingle with other accessories in my stitching collection. I hope you too find some handmade treasures that brighten your day!

The "Halloween Bat Threadholder" was perfect for today, as I finished stitching my new model for "Black Cats and Flying Bats" this afternoon...and I have already taken it to my framer. I posted sneak peek on the "Future" page of my website, so make sure to fly over there and check it out...http://www.blueribbondesigns.com/...

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Happy Times Two!

I have been SUPER busy working on new designs for this autumn/winter and for the TNNA Fall Needlecraft Market in September...lots of model stitching and finishing...therefore, my posts here have been a little less frequent. However, today I thought I would share a couple things from this past week that made me happy!

First of all, my Christmas ornament made the cover of the 2009 Just CrossStitch Ornament Issue again this year...what a treat! Many of you know my design style and can easily pick it out...it is the diamond shaped ornament with the two cardinals. This issue has been a favorite of mine for many years...when I first started designing one of my major goals was to make it in this holiday magazine...needless to say, each year I am invited to participate I am beyond thrilled! You will be able to find this special issue on newsstands in September...
















Secondly, yesterday, my husband and I made an out of state road trip to pick up a new SUV for me to drive! I can't believe it...my first new vehicle in 15 years...and it is spectacular! The interior is gorgeous light grey leather...and it is fully loaded (so much, in fact, that I have to study the owners manual to figure out how to use half of the options). I am constantly hauling boxes of printing and orders to be shipped...and it was extremely difficult trying to do that in my old little sports car...plus taking my sewing machine and embroidery unit to a class or a friends house was a HUGE challenge....now everything easily fits in the back...SUPER convenient for me. Plus, it is exciting to have a shiny new ride after all these years! I thoroughly enjoyed my trip driving it back to Iowa yesterday and I am ready to plan a road trip or two to visit some stitching and quilting shops...
















Time for me to get back to model stitching...I am almost finished with "Black Cats and Flying Bats". Have a wonderful weekend...find time to appreciate the little things that make you happy!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Halloween Teaser

What has been keeping me busy??...a new Halloween model of course! I have been working on a new Halloween design called "Black Cats and Flying Bats"...and here is a little sneak peek for my blog readers....of course, I will post a full size photo on my website "Future" page in the next week or two, once it is at the framer. I am really happy with the fabric color for this piece...it is Lakeside Linens Tarnished Silver...

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Baby Birds Leave the Nest

This afternoon, I was lucky enough to see some baby birds leaving the nest for the first time. It was quite the sight...there were three babies (that I could find) hopping around our yard...with the parents chirping and flying overhead. It was so amusing to the see the babies learning to use their wings. They were teeny tiny - at the most a couple inches in size - and could actually move quite quickly - I was thrilled to get a decent picture of each of one. Within just a few minutes they were all flying and off on a new adventure!

Friday, July 3, 2009

Six Little Stockings All In A Row

Finally...here is a progress photo of my Blackbird Designs stockings series! The left three are "By The Chimney with Care - Three Stockings for January" and the right three are "Love Is In The Air - Three Stocking for February". This is a tremendous feat for me, as I have very little time for personally stitching - models seems to take most, if not all of my time - but I have been diligently working on these just a little each day. The special project bag I made for them must have been just the motivation I needed. I am stitching these on 32-count Country French Latte Linen with the recommended threads. I see the two new designs sets for June and July are on the way, so I have quite a bit of catching up to do!









For those of you celebrating the 4th of July holiday (and even those of you who are not), I wish you a fabulous weekend of fun, family, friends, and food...filled with sunshine!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Friendship and Fat Quarters

Seems like my life has been insanely busy lately...I haven't had much time to catch my breath or cultivate my friendships. Finally, yesterday I took most of the day off to reconnect with a dear friend...and boy did we have fun! We visited several quilt shops, a bead shop, a stitching shop, and had a wonderful lunch chatting, laughing, and catching up - when I returned home I felt refreshed and rejuvenated - it was just what I needed. Then today, (after a miserable trip to the dentist) I was able to get together with an inspiring little stitching group - what a treat to spend time with this talented group of women - all working on needlework projects that amaze me - all dedicated to their friendships and needlework - it is always a wonderful morning when we get together and stitch. I feel very blessed to have such diverse and creative people in my life.

The shopping trip yesterday found me with several sacks of new goodies...including the fat quarters shown below. Fat quarters of fabric are so addictive and inspiring...and always manage to make their way into my shopping basket. I also picked up some new unique fibers and yarns...a couple great quilting patterns..and three new sets of stationery. It was a day (and dollars) well spent! I hope you find time to cultivate your friendships...make some time to laugh, chat, and catch-up...