Sunday, August 29, 2010

"Halloween With A 'Y'" Framed & Smalls

As promised, here are photos of "Halloween With A 'Y'", a new design being released at the end of September at the TNNA St. Charles Needlework Market. I love the frame molding - it reminded me of a swamp when I saw it - black, green, and gold melded together - almost eerie looking - perfect for this Halloween design....and I am so very proud of these smalls - I thought they turned out SUPER cute - better than I imagined! The models are stitched on 40-count hand-dyed fabric from Lakeside Linens (Tundra) with The Gentle Art Sampler Threads. Of course, as usual, I designed this piece so each box would be perfect for a needlework small. This design will contain the charting for the entire sampler and complete finishing instructions for making the flat ornament and the treat bag!

There will be one more design released at market called "Blessed Beyond Measure" - it is the special needlework tool I designed and complementing needlework small(s) - I will share photos of this design when I return....I am really thrilled with this this unique piece and I am looking forward to giving you a special look soon...

Well, I leave for a much needed vacation tomorrow morning, so I will not be updating for about a week...but since I am going to Las Vegas, I am sure I will have plenty to post about when I return. Until then, be well, be happy, and be productive...and take a little time to stitch...

Saturday, August 28, 2010

"Frolic In The Foliage" Framed & Ornaments

Happy Saturday friends!

Before I left for vacation, I wanted to share some photos with you of my new designs coming out the end of September at the TNNA St. Charles Needlework Market. Today I am showing you "Frolic In The Foliage" now that I have it back from my framer (I love this frame with an autumn look!)...and a couple of matching ornaments. It is stitched on 40-count overdyed linen from Weeks Dye Works (Beige) with Weeks Dye Works cotton floss. Of course, as usual, I designed this piece so each square would be perfect for an ornament, scissor fob, or hook hanger. This design will contain the charting for the entire sampler and finishing instructions for making the smalls backed with either matching linen or coordinating fabric (two different finishing ideas). I am so thrilled with how these new pieces turned out....and I hope you enjoy your sneak peek! Tomorrow I will try to make time to post "Halloween With A 'Y'" with the matching smalls...

Friday, August 27, 2010

Sewing and Celebrating

Today, during what has been an insanely busy week, I broke out of my studio for a few hours to meet with three of my girlfriends for lunch - two of which are celebrating a birthday this next week. We had a wonderful lunch and chatted for hours - amazing how time flies when you are sharing it with good friends! We met at a "new to me" restaurant that opened here this last year called Mimi's Cafe and the food was fabulous - we all ordered different things and every plate looked scrumptious...I had the delicious Bleu Cheese and Walnut Salad - it was super yummy! After eating and catching up, it was time for the birthday girls to open their presents...

I made my dear friend Merry a new autumn tote bag and an embroidered/patchwork pillow. The pillow embroidery is a design called "True Friend" from my friend Shelli at Needle In A Haystack and the machine embroidery file can be found at - the fabrics are from a lovely line called Garden Party by Blackbird Designs for Moda. I really enjoyed working on this special pillow - it was quite fun to make! I also tucked in a Bareroots wool applique' kit titled Quilt Block Candle Mat (I thought this was just adorable!).

Today we also celebrated Kimber's birthday. Kimber is a magazine writer and quilt book editor...and an AMAZING quilter, doll maker, and all around crafter....chances are, you have seen her work! Kimber has recently started a blog called Heirlooms by Ashton House and I know you will just love it - please stop by and take a look at her *perfect* work - it is truly inspiring! I really enjoy her company and was thrilled to find out she would be joining us for lunch. I made her one of my machine embroidered scissor cases and filled it with pins, needles, and a gold pair of scissors...I have made many of these (a bunch from the same line of fabric) and featured them here before - It is done completely in the hoop on my embroidery machine and was digitized by Birdhouse Cottage Crafts. There is a pocket for your scissors...a wool page for your pins and needles...under the wool is page of quilt batting to collect your orts...and under those pages is a little hidden pocket - perfect for a needle threader, package of needles, or a skein of floss. This is a favorite fabric of mine (which I recently found yardage of in a sale room while shopping in IL with my dear friend Terri) called Coventry Cottage by Linda Hohag for P & B Textiles.

Finally, I may have a post or two before I go on vacation, but don't count on week, I am headed to Las Vegas for a week of much needed rest and relaxation. If you are reading and live in the Las Vegas area and/or have any advice about needlework or quilt shops in the area, please let me know - we have rented a car and I plan to do a little shopping!!

Monday, August 23, 2010

"Milestone Giveaway" Winners

Good morning friends and followers ~ Happy Monday!

I would like to thank you all for making my latest giveaway so much fun - I truly wish I was able to send something to everyone who entered. Since there were so many entries (well over 300), I have decided to award 3 runner-up prizes, as well. If your name is not on the list, please don't be discouraged - I love to give things away, so there will definitely be more chances in the future...maybe even a little something when I reach 300 followers (which at the rate things are going, could be soon!). Again, thank you all for following and entering, for spreading the news about my blog and giveaway, and for your kind and encouraging words - you all truly brighten my days!

Runners-up: you will be receiving one sewn-by-me Tool Pouch (same sampler fabric) and the SYHO chart "Established With Love".

As seen below, I printed each entry from the comments on my blog (multiple prints for multiple entries) and put them in a LARGE Longaberger Wash Day Basket - I then randomly pulled six entries....

So, without further ado...

1st Place:
Phyllis said...
Hi, Belinda! Your bag is beautiful, and I'd love to win it. I could certainly put it to good use to carry around one of your designs that I'm working on. (You can never have too many bags!) I follow your blog but don't have a blog of my own -too busy reading everybody else's blogs. -Phyllis August 16, 2010 10:43 PM

2nd Place:
Pumpkin said...
Oh, I hope I'm not too late!!!! I LOVE that fabric and your pouches are beautifully done :o)I have been following your Blog for awhile now but unfortunately I'm not on Twitter :o Thank you for such a generous giveaway! Cathey August 15, 2010 1:55 PM

3rd Place:
Raggedy Ann said...
Hi Belinda! Thank you for such a wonderful giveaway. This is so very generous of you. I absolutely love your designs! I would love to enter, I am a follower of you blog (raggedy ann icon) :)I follow you on Twitter. I posted about your wonderful giveaway on my blog! Blessings to you, Raggedystitches, Louise in Florida August 15, 2010 9:21 PM

Theresa said...
Congratulations on reaching 200 followers!!!! This project bag is fabulous!!! I would love to enter for your giveaway~~~~~I am a follower and has posted a link on my blog. Thank you soooo much for the opportunity!!!!

~ Stitchin Sweet Sue ~ said...
Hi Belinda, I follow (even long before your blog~lol), and posted to my toolbar. Zippers aren't my forte, so I'd be thrilled for chance, especially since you've selected Rhubarb and Ginger ~ swoon:)

Valerie said...
Oh Belinda! I would love to enter your giveaway! Here is the info you requested...I have left a comment. I am a follower (Valerie). I follow you on Twitter. I posted about your giveaway on my blog. Again, thank you for the opportunity to enter your generous giveaway!

I have emailed the winners, and they will each have 48 hours to respond....

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Iowa State Fair - The Quilts

Here is my final Iowa State Fair is the quilts...and as you will see by all the photos, there were hundreds of entries - I was in was truly an inspiring exhibit! I hope I don't overload you with pictures - I just couldn't help posting so many - it was a fabulous exhibit. A huge display upstairs, then the blue ribbon quilts were in a room on their own downstairs. The best of show was an AMAZING floral applique' quilt (see top image) - a photo could not do this beauty justice. The second photo is a whole cloth quilt ribbon winner - hand quilted white on white - it was hard to get a photo of all the detail - it was UNBELIEVABLE, a masterpiece. The top images where the quilts are shown "unfolded" are the big winners. I hope you enjoy today's photos and see something that will inspire you! I will be back tomorrow with the giveaway winners...

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Fabric and Threads - Iowa State Fair

Before I start today's post...remember, you have until 7:00 PM CST on Sunday, August 21st to enter my milestone giveaway - see last Saturday's post for details....

We are blessed to have a wonderful fabric and threads division at the Iowa State Fair. They actually display all the entries upstairs in the huge Varied Industries Building...and best of all, it is clean, dry, and air-conditioned. Although my husband kind of rushed me through the exhibit yesterday, I still managed to get some great photos - there are aisles and aisles of entries including: knitting, counted thread, toys and dolls, sewing for the home, counted cross stitch, tatting, hooked rugs, crochet, needlepoint, weaving, quilting, embroidery, and clothing construction. It truly is awe inspiring to walk through each area and see such precise and creative work. Congratulations to all the well-deserved ribbon winners! I will start with some photos of the needlework aisles (this is just a sampling, there were hundreds of entries!)...since there are so many, I think I will wait until my next post to show you the quilting...

Friday, August 20, 2010

All About The Iowa State Fair

Today, my husband and I made our yearly trip to the Iowa State Fair. We knew it was supposed to be raining this afternoon, so we went bright and early this morning...and yep, it did start down-pouring before we had a chance to see everything....but we still managed to take in the sites and enjoy our time before the storm. For those of you in Iowa, you know how AMAZING our state fair is...a walk through the fabric and threads is worth the trip alone...but for the many of you who will never have the experience of the Iowa State Fair, I thought I would share just a touch of it with you. Even our fair grounds are a sight to be seen...Iowa's fairgrounds cover 435 acres - and host one of the world's largest livestock shows, the country's largest state fair foods department (approx. 900 classes), the state's largest arts show, hundreds of competitive events and wacky contests; 600 plus exhibitors and concessionaires selling tasty treats, and 160 rolling acres of campgrounds...all attracting over 1 million visitors each is almost overwhelming. There are still quite a few historic buildings on the grounds - dating back to the late 1800s and early 1900s...and as seen below, even the gardens on the property are beautiful...

There are many "must see" things at the Iowa State Fair...for instance:
The Butter Cow - yes, a cow sculpted out of butter - the Butter Cow has been a staple at the Iowa State Fair since the early 1900s. This creamy cow starts with a wood, metal, wire and steel mesh frame and about 600 lbs. of low moisture, pure cream Iowa butter. Once inside the 40-degree cooler, layers of butter are applied until a life-size butter cow emerges - measuring about 5-1/2-ft high and 8-ft long. Of course, the cow is behind glass, so it is nearly impossible to get a good photo with all the glare...but you get the idea. This year also had a butter tribute to the 50th Anniversary of Dr. Seuss' Green Eggs and Ham.

There are also the big boar and the big bull out in the barns...and oh my goodness, you have to see these to believe them. This year, the Champion Big Bull is named "Duster" - he weighs in at 3,022 pounds (a Charolais from Stalcup Farms Charolais in Prescott, Iowa)....and the Champion Big Boar is "Big D" weighing in at 1,212 pounds (a Duroc-Cross from Farm in Ladora, Iowa).

If you can grow it or make it, chances are there is a category for entering it in our state fair...building after building filled with, photography, doll houses, wood carving, quilting, knitting, tatting, embroidery, baking, cooking, canning, farm and fruit crops, livestock, you name it. For obvious reasons, I can't show you photos of all of these...but as a sample, I will share a photo of some winning Heirloom Vegetables...

I have saved the best (or at least my personal favorite) for my next blog entry - the Fabric and Threads division. I took so many photos, it will be hard to pick the ones to post...the exhibit this year was truly unbelievable! Look for the needlework and quilting photos tomorrow....

Monday, August 16, 2010

Art From The Heart

Hello friends and followers - I'm glad you are here! Thank you so much for entering my current giveaway and spreading the news about my blog - you are all amazing - the response has been incredible - I sincerely thank you for your lovely compliments! I have been having the best time visiting/reading your blogs and seeing all the creativity!

...for those of you visiting my blog for the first time (or if you haven't visited in several days), there is still time left to enter my milestone giveaway - just check out Saturday's post...

Today I received the most special package in the was from Karen at Purplecatscorner (I hope she doesn't mind me sharing it here - I just couldn't resist!)...I found Karen on Twitter through a mutual follower - I visited her Etsy shop and immediately fell in love with her art....then I found her special blog and I was hooked! Karen is a mixed media artist and seeing her original work automatically brings a smile to my can tell each piece is definitely "art from the heart" me, her artwork is full of joy. Last week, to celebrate 300 followers and 100 Etsy sales, she had a blog giveaway....I shy away from any blog giveaway related specifically to cross stitch/needlework, as I am blessed to have many projects and a stash to last a lifetime....but Karen's giveaway was not needlework related, so I took a chance and left a comment....sure enough, I was a runner-up (I feel so extremely lucky)! I received both a magnet (approximate size 2.5"W x 3.5"H - seen right) and a mini print (approximate size 3.5"W x 5.25"H - seen left), both of her original work - both truly WONDERFUL!...and of course, after getting her package, I *had to* go order several more pieces from her Etsy shop. :-) I just had to share a photo of the pieces I received today with you - hopefully they will make you smile too...

To see more artwork from Purplecatscorner, you can:

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Halloween With A "Y"

Oh my goodness...I am completely overwhelmed by the response to my giveaway - WOW - blogland has been busy - thank you all so much for reading and following...and for posting about my giveaway on your blogs - my follower list grew leaps and bounds overnight (I feel so special)! Welcome to all my new friends and followers - I am so glad you are here - and I hope I keep you entertained enough to stick around...

...and for those of you who are just visiting for the first time - there is still PLENTY of time to enter my milestone giveaway - just check out yesterday's post...

So on to some more exciting news....a new SNEAK PEEK!!

I have finished stitching my new Halloween model...and it will be heading to the framer tomorrow. It is titled "Halloween With A 'Y'" and will be released in September at the TNNA St. Charles Needlework Market. EVEN MORE FUN - it will have instructions for making each box into an ornament or treat bag (photos of these will be coming soon!). It is stitched on 40-count Tundra by Lakeside Linens with The Gentle Art Sampler Threads. I have to admit, I am very proud of this piece - it turned out even better than I imagined - I have been working on it for about 10 - 12 hours a day this last week (with my sore fingers taped), trying to get it done and framed before I go on a much needed vacation - I wanted to make sure it was ready for market. I hope you all enjoy this special peek...and there will be more to come...

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Milestone Giveaway

Happy weekend friends and followers!

Today I was sewing a project bag (a gift for a friend), and the light bulb went would be a great prize for my blog here I am, ready to post about my 200 followers milestone giveaway...

First, a little about the project bag...the one in the photo was made from a long discontinued fabric (from Rhubarb and Ginger by Blackbird Designs for Moda)...I found a couple partial bolts of this fabric line in the sale area at a local quilt shop months ago and bought all they is one of my favorite fabrics of all time. This project bag is approximately 9" H x 13" W...the perfect size for a current project. It uses quilt batting for a little extra padding....and the inside raw edges are all serged and finished nicely. I use a great pattern by Lazy Girl Designs (Perfect Pouches #113) for the basic idea and cutting dimensions, but as with most patterns, I make little changes as I go....for instance,this pattern did not call for the raw edges to be serged. You can make these fun little zipper pouches in a variety of sizes - they sew up quickly - make great gifts - and can be made in a multitude of sizes. Smaller sizes of the zipper pouch are great for your needlework tools!

So you want to know about the giveaway??

There will be three winners:

  • 1st Place: One Project Bag (same fabric as in the photo), One Tool Pouch (same fabric as in the photo)...and your choice of TWO design charts from my current design catalog.
  • 2nd Place: One Project Bag (same fabric as in the photo)...and your choice of ONE design chart from my current design catalog.
  • 3rd Place: One Tool Pouch (same fabric as in the photo)...and your choice of ONE design chart from my current design catalog.

...and depending on the number of entries, I may add a few more surprises...

How to enter - please read carefully:
You can receive multiple entries - one entry for each of the following:

  • Leave a comment = 1 entry
  • Be a follower (current or new) = 1 entry
  • Follow on Twitter = 1 entry
  • Post about this giveaway on your blog = 1 entry
Leave me one comment with all of this information and be sure to include your email address (or make sure it is viewable in your profile) - entries without a valid email will be not be eligible. A sample entry may look like:

  • Words, words, words (your comment)

  • I follow your blog.

  • I follow you on Twitter (User ID).

  • I posted about your giveaway on my blog (blog address).

A comment like the one above would be worth four entries.

I will be choosing the winners by random draw on Sunday, August 22nd (cutoff time will be 7:00 PM CST) and they will be posted here on Monday, August 23rd. I will contact the winners via email - you will have 48 hours to respond, if I do not hear from you in that time, I will choose a replacement winner.

So those are all the "details" - good luck to each and every one of you!!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Sunday/Monday Sewing

Before I start today's sewing post...I want to share my excitement...I see I have reached 200 followers - WOW, I really am amazed! I mentioned I was contemplating a giveaway when I hit this milestone - and I do plan to have that giveaway very soon...I am still working out the details, so stay tuned...
A HUGE thank you to all who read/follow my blog - I appreciate each and every one of you!!

As you have probably been able to tell by my newsletter and blog posts, I have been keeping quite busy model stitching the new designs for the St. Charles Needlework Market in September...I am planning on three new releases and I am trying my best to get everything ready before I take a much needed vacation at the end of the month. Although I truly adore my hand needlework, I have definitely been needing a quilting/sewing fix - so I pieced a small project yesterday and finished the quilting and binding this afternoon. Those of you who quilt will recognize this as a "Weather Vane" is actually a miniature quilt, measuring about 12.5" x 12.5" square. The fabric is from the line "Home to Roost" by Renee Nanneman for Andover Fabrics. This project was super fun to complete and gave me that much needed quilting time! Now, I am headed back to my stitching nest and my model stitching...

Sunday, August 8, 2010

An Attempt at German Schwalm Embroidery

Yesterday I attended the most wonderful needlework class (The Princess Pillow) by Phyllis Maurer of Ethnic Fiber Art. This class was such a treat - I have known Phyllis for years and it was a pleasure to be in her class - she is such a wealth of knowledge when it comes to cultural needlework and history - and she definitely honors tradition with her lessons, materials, and projects. I found I truly enjoyed learning about and practicing the techniques of German Schwalm Embroidery. I actually got quite a bit done in class and felt surprisingly comfortable. We started with the large heart (frequently used in Schwalm) - doing the inner border of chain stitch, followed by a row of coral knots (love these now that I received Phyllis's instruction), followed by another row of chain stitch...we then moved on to working a couple flower buds with a combination of straight stitches and buttonhole stitches. A distinctive identifier of this type of embroidery is the combination of chain stitches and coral knots adjacent to each other - so she made sure we understood these in class. While Phyllis spoke about the other types of stitches/filling patterns and others were still perfecting their chain stitches and coral knots, I worked ahead and started pulling threads for the open darning filling. I am definitely looking forward to working more on this project in the future - someday when I can make the time. It was refreshing to learn a new technique from a knowledgeable and detailed teacher. You can see a closeup of my class piece to the right...and a photo of my project in the hoop/dressing with my instruction manual below. Phyllis is getting ready to retire from teaching (to focus on her research and personal projects) so, if she is going to be in your area, make sure to check her out while you still can - you will be happy you did! -she also has a wonderful website where you can see many samples of her work and purchase her books, instructions, and kits....she is also introducing an EGA correspondence course on Swedish Naversom later this year. Although it was a little bit of a stretch for me to take the day away from work, I sure am glad I did! Take a little time to try something new...

Friday, August 6, 2010

Fresh from the Farmer's Market

I'm forced to take a little break from work this evening and tomorrow...our EGA guild is bringing in an outside teacher and months ago (before I knew how busy I would be), I signed up (and paid for) for the lecture this evening and the class tomorrow. Don't get me wrong, I am excited for the lecture and class...and to get out of my office for a bit...but I truly have so much work to do, I feel almost guilty taking a break. The fun news is, the teacher is Phyllis Maurer from Ethnic Fiber Art and we have known each other for years...we met taking classes together back in the Spirit of Cross Stitch and CATS days. I haven't had a chance to see her for a couple years, so I am really looking forward to have a chance to chat with her! The class she is teaching for our chapter is in German Schwalm Embroidery and is titled The Princess Pillow...I am not super familiar with this type of embroidery, so I will definitely be learning something new.

Tonight for the lecture, we are having a salad/dessert I am not usually a fan of potluck style eating, but our EGA group usually does a great job with some healthy choices. You all know how much I adore vegetables, so obviously, I chose to bring a salad. I decided to try a brand new (to me) recipe. Earlier this week when I was shopping with my girlfriends, we went to one of my favorite places - Penzeys Spices - where I found a great new recipe and new salt-free seasoning called Mural of Flavor. The recipe is for Mural Of Flavor Green Bean Salad...and it combines some of my favorite things - fresh green beans, cherry tomatoes, red onion, and feta cheese...with a very nice herbal dressing. The Mural of Flavor seasoning is a mix of shallots, onion, garlic, thyme, rosemary, basil, coriander, lemon peel, citric acid, black pepper, chives, green peppercorns, dill weed, and orange peel. I have a nice big bowl prepared for the potluck tonight, but I had to make myself a small bowl for lunch...and it is YUMMY....and the vegetables are fresh from the farmer's market! I can't seem to find the recipe on the Penzeys Spices website (where there are tons of great ideas!), so I am posting it for you, just in case the photo entices you...
1 pound fresh green beans
1 small red onion, peeled and minced
1 cup cherry tomatoes, quartered
1/2 cup Feta cheese
1 tablespoon Mural of Flavor from Penzeys Spices
1 tablespoon water
1/3 cup olive oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1-2 teaspoons sugar

Bring a large pot of water to a boil.

While the water is coming to a boil, mix the Mural of Flavor and water in a roomy bowl.
After 5 minutes, add the oil, vinegar, sugar, and red onion.
Mix well and set aside.

Wash the beans, cut off the stem end, and chop into roughly 2 inch chunks.
Place the beans in the rapidly boiling water.
Cook until just tender (approximately 5-7 minutes for large beans).
Remove the beans and run under cold water until cool (this will stop the cooking process and keep the beans green).
Drain well.
Toss the beans with the dressing.
Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Add tomatoes and half of the feta cheese.
Toss to combine...sprinkle the rest of the feta cheese on top and serve.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Frolic In The Foliage

Happy Wednesday! Today I bring to you a sneak peek of "Frolic In the Foliage" new autumn design that will be released in September at the TNNA St. Charles Needlework Market. I have been doing the model stitching on this project for the last week - and I must say, I really enjoyed it! It is my first model on the new 40-count overdyed linen from Weeks Dye Works (Beige) and it was very nice to stitch on...very soft and very easy to handle...and for those of you who I know will ask, it is stitched with Weeks Dye Works cotton floss. I will be taking this to my custom framer tomorrow, which is a treat, as she has been getting in all sorts of new frame makes it so much fun to pick out something both perfect and unique! So here is a preview photo for you, before framing...and (of course) each square is perfect for an ornament, scissor fob, or hook hanger (photo of smalls coming in the future)! Now I am off to start the model stitching for "Halloween With A 'Y'"....I'm keeping busy; there is so much model stitching I want to do...

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Quilted Cup Cozies

What a blessing it is to have a few good friends who understand me, my quirks, and my hectic schedule....they just "get me". These last few weeks have been quite discouraging for me and I am looking at ways to give myself a boost....or at least an attitude adjustment. Sometimes we are forced to make major life decisions and find a good balance - make new priorities...I have been struggling with this - looking for a change or challenge...second-guessing my artistic abilities and choice of career. Amazing how a few harsh words (or no words at all) can make you rethink all that you thought was true. Luckily, I have a small select group of good friends who can tell when I am down and know just what to say (and do) to lift my spirits! Yesterday, my good friend Merry gave me the sweetest little gift bag "just because" - she knew I needed a lift in spirits...and that is exactly what she did! As many of you know from reading my blog, Merry makes the GREATEST homemade/handmade gifts! This gift was an ECO ONE "The Perfect Not Paper Cup" in sage green (LOVE IT!) looks just like an everyday disposable takeout coffee cup, but is ceramic with a silicone spill-proof lid...and it can go right in the dishwasher...and best of all, it is reusable! Of course Merry put her own spin on it by making awesome quilted cup cozies for me out of fabric she knows I is an adorable light blue floral fabric with whimsical birds....and one is a pumpkin fabric, perfect for use this autumn. She also included a very fun card, a tiny tin of vanilla lip balm, and a magnetic bookmark. This TOTALLY UNEXPECTED gift made me feel so very special and completely brightened my day (month) definitely put some things into perspective for me.

These quilted coffee cup cozies are a great project for a beginner...and super fun for using that special piece of fabric you picked up without a specific purpose...the supplies needed are minimal...and they (obviously) make a fabulous gift! Here are few links with instructions and tutorials for making your very own...and best of all, these patterns/tutorials are FREE:

How to Make a Quilted Coffee Cup Sleeve (by Cyndee Kromminga - eHow)

Quilted Coffee Cozy/Sleeve Tutorial (Recycled Lovelies) - video - unique pattern and tutorial with images - love the elastic and button!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Happy Birthday To My Dear Friend!

One of my very dear friends (who by request will remain nameless) is having a milestone birthday tomorrow...yep, the big 50. She is truly one of the most giving people I know and is always volunteering and making things better for those less fortunate...and although, she is not one to have people make a fuss over her, that is exactly what we did today! Another dear friend and I have been planning (or should I say plotting) her birthday celebration for months...we decided since she was turning 50, she should have 50 gifts to open...and not just 50 single gifts, we decided each gift should be something with a quantity of 50. A few months ago we started making a list of gifts...both of us took 25 items of 25 and started collecting...and to make it even more fun (if that is even possible) we wrote little notes for each item. For instance one of my items was cotton balls - so I wrapped 50 cotton balls with a note that said "50 Cotton Balls - to remind you not to get soft in your old age!"....another one was "50 Thank You Cards - to thank people for forgetting how old you really are!"...and so on. We tried to come up with 50 things that she really could use...and as we did our shopping, our lists did fluctuate a little bit for size and cost reasons....and some of the little notes had to do with her age, but some were just sweet little sayings. My list included 50 skeins of DMC, 50 needles, 50" of rick rack, 50 pins, 50 mini candy bars, 50 wet wipes, 50 oz. of get the idea! Over the last couple weeks, I have been foofing (wrapping) and labeling my share (25) of the fifty gifts (shown below). To carry all the gits, I made her the cutest market tote bag with one of her initials on a pocket (shown right)...but of course, all of my gifts didn't fit into the tote, so I had to use a big gift bag, as well. My other "partner in crime" put her gifts in a neat recyclable tote bag...and also brought a bouquet of flowers and a singing balloon (yes, you heard me correctly, the balloon would sing "Happy Birthday" at the push of a button). We met today at a wonderful local Thai restaurant called Cool Basil...and it was a good thing we arrived early, because during our meal, the power went out and all the businesses around were without power for most of the afternoon. You would think the biggest laugh for the day would have been opening the gifts; however, that was not the case....when my "partner in crime" arrived with the balloon and flowers, she accidentally popped the balloon on the way to the table (it touched a hanging light and popped immediately)...first a loud "POP", then it started singing "Happy Birthday"....we all had a very good laugh about it...especially the staff in the restaurant! After a fabulous lunch and opening presents, we did a little shopping together - and although many places were closed due to the power outage, we still made it enjoyable - the three of us always seem to have the best laughs. I truly hope this was a "birthday to remember" for my friend - she certainly deserved all the fuss!