Thursday, June 23, 2011

Fabric Infatuation

It's true, I will be the first to admit it - I love quality cotton quilting fabrics...the feel, the colors, the patterns, everything about them - it's an addiction...let me loose in a specialty quilt shop and I am in sheer heaven. Sometimes I shop with a project in mind...other times, I let the fabric pick me, then I find a either case, my stash drawers are overflowing - so much fabric, so little time! In my perfect world, I would be designing fabric that would incorporate and complement my needlework designs - I would be "over-the-moon"!

Today I was able to spend the afternoon with my girlfriends visiting a couple local quilt shops - and of course, I found amazing fabric! There are certain things I always look for - I adore fabric with birds, trees, owls, or fruits (especially apples and pears)...and of course, any fabric featuring needlework when visiting shops, I am always on a quest for fabric lines that include any of these items. Today I hit the jackpot - thanks to one of my very favorites: Riley Blake Designs...this line is Hoo's In The Forest by Doohickey Designs...and I just love truly makes me happy. I was immediately drawn to the apple and cherry fabric...but then I saw the yellow fabric, featuring whimsical trees, owls, hedgehogs, deer and skunks (yes, fun little skunks) - so cute! The florals and coordinating fabrics just spoke to me...and I had to get a few Riley Blake charm packs, as well. See, it is an addiction!

I also found these fabulous fabrics - yes, I know, I'm out of control...but did I mention the quilt shop was having a sale?! I was tickled to find the pink and light blue birds on brown fabric (Love Nest by Carina Gardner for Northcott Fabrics)....and the abstract trees, birds, houses, and bicycles (Spring Street by Carolyn Gavin for P & B Textiles). Then, the last two I picked up are from a great line called Tree Huggers by Julie Dobson Miner for Studio e Fabrics - I just couldn't resist fabric with owls, birds, insects, and beavers...yes, beavers...I thought it was adorable! Do I know what I am going to do with it??...well, no, not yet...but I promise you, it will all be put to good use...

Monday, June 20, 2011

Patriotic Paisley Patchwork

I have been working on this quilt for about a week...the piecing was done on day one, but I have been doing machine quilting to embellish it for several days. This is a "Quartered Nines" quilt...meaning you make nine-patch blocks, then cut them in quarters to make new blocks. It is a very fun and easy quilt to piece and put together. My finished quilt is 36" x 36" - but "Quartered Nines" works well for just about any size you can imagine. I used my AccuQuilt GO! to cut the quilt top - utilizing the 5" Square Die, the 1 1/2" Strip Cutter Die, the 2" Strip Cutter Die, and the 3 1/2" Strip Cutter Die...but obviously, if you haven't acquired a GO!, you could easily rotary cut this project. I wanted to work on a small quilt for the upcoming 4th of July holiday and this fabric worked perfectly - it is a fabric line from a year or two ago called "Wiscasset" by Minick & Simpson for Moda. After the piecing and pin basting was completed, I started machine quilting by stitching in the ditch. Next, for the sixteen full squares, I printed a floral pattern on a piece of paper...pinned it to the center block...and then quilted directly on the lines....once I was done, I just removed the paper - this works really well if you are like me and can only dream of the day you have a longarm machine. A couple tips, if you try this quilting method - use a recyclable or thinner (cheaper) paper, that is easier to tear - I use paper that is made for paper pieced quilting...and the smaller your stitches are, the easier it is to remove the paper (I like a larger quilting stitch, so it takes me quite a while to tear away all the paper). I still want to machine quilt a complimenting pattern in the borders (I'm thinking stars), as well....but for now, I am pretty happy with the results and I will be able to use it on my table for the holiday.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Remembering My Daddy

As you all know, my normal blog posts are about stitching, sewing, inspiration, and creativity. However, in honor of Father's Day, I thought I would share a few photos of my father with you - I lost him many years ago, but he continues to play a large role in my life every single day. I don't have many photos of my dad, so the few I do have are cherished...and before anyone asks, yes, that is me he is holding (5 mos. old) - one of my all-time favorite photos.

Wishing you a very special Father's Day, filled with special moments and/or wonderful memories...

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Pink Paisley Party

Yesterday was the most glorious day - I got to spend several hours with my dear friends Kimber and Merry...we got together for some girl time...a lovely tea party and lunch...which I am referring to as the pink paisley party, as Kimber had the most adorable table set for us with a pink and green paisley tablecloth and matching napkins. I wish I had a photo that did her decorating justice - the table setting was incredible (I took a TON of photos, but none of them look as inviting and exciting as it did in person). Our spring tea was held at Kimber's amazing home, a cozy 1885 farmhouse, which she lovingly refers to as Ashton House. As always, the three of us had a marvelous time! We started by having hot tea and some of the delicious treats Kimber had ready for us...seriously, look at the photos below of the table and my plate...oh my goodness! Kimber had various vintage cake plates spread across the table with all sorts of goodies, antique bowls filled with nuts and treats, a huge assortment of teas, and delicious little sandwiches. We sipped our tea, chatted, laughed, and just enjoyed each others company.

Some time was then spent opening gifts, seems even though we don't plan to bring presents, we all always have special little packages to exchange. Merry, as usual, outdid herself...not only did she make the most fabulous lunch for us, she also brought me a large assortment of gorgeous wool roving (which thrills me, as I can use it with my needle felting machine) and two jars of her homemade jam (Raspberry Rhubarb - oh my goodness, am I ever looking forward to trying it - maybe later today!). Kimber, who was gracious enough to host our gathering, had the sweetest gifts at our place settings (see photo in the top right corner of this post) - two adorable mini loaf pans with paper cups filled with vintage buttons and trims (she is SO creative!), she gave both of us a beautiful teapot that was wrapped in paisley fabric and tied with vintage bias tape (perfect!)....she even gave me a copy of a book that his been on my wishlist for months - talk about generous! We had a delightful time with our exchange.

Next, it was time for lunch...and it was scrumptious! Merry, the best cook in the world, made us homemade bread and a homemade quiche....again look at my plate - seriously - she amazes me! At Merry's request, I brought a fresh fruit salad, which (she was right) was the perfect addition to our meal. And get this - Merry made homemade macaroons (really - look how perfect they are) - they were seriously "to die for"! Having this special lunch and enjoying their company was a heavenly afternoon.

After clearing our plates, we moved to the sitting room and spent a couple hours visiting...I brought my stitching, but didn't even get it out of the bag (except to show them the new project I was working on). I was thrilled to get gardening advice from both of them - they are so knowledgeable and I a fledgling gardener, so it was great to get advice and tips! It was another excellent afternoon with my dear friends - I feel inspired, encouraged, and educated every time we get together - I truly cherish each gathering we have!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The First BRD Facebook Giveaway

Hello stitching friends! Just a quick note...

I have posted my first Facebook fan giveaway - to see how you can win one of the Blue Ribbon Designs charts on your wishlist, please visit my Facebook page for details:

...and...there will also be a giveaway right here on my blog once I reach 500 followers...that's a pretty big milestone, so I will have to think of something really good...stay tuned...

Beautiful Button Bags

I had so much fun making these special little button bags yesterday afternoon. They were actually made for my dear friends Merry and Kimber, as we are getting together later this morning for some girl time, tea, and lunch. We have been planning this time together for several months...and as always, the three of us have been looking forward to spending a morning/afternoon sharing. laughing, and (of course) eating. We have a habit of making and bringing little gifts for one another...and I had been planning these sweet little bags for some time. I didn't use a pattern...I just had the idea and ran with it. I had found this wonderful button fabric months ago...and used my sewing machine to do the ribbon casings - and my serger to do the rolled hem edge and piecing. I added a couple fun wool/fabric/button flowers to the front and satin ribbons for closure...then filled them with handfuls of buttons (some new, some vintage, some novelty). I was just tickled with how they turned out and have made a few more for future gifts...I may even keep one for myself! I think these will be perfect for our get together today - speaking of which, I am running a little late, so I will cut this short...but I am sure I will be back later with photos of the festivities....

Monday, June 13, 2011

New On Newsstands...

The July/August issue of Just CrossStitch Magazine is currently arriving in mailboxes, at needlework shops, and on newsstands. I am happy to tell you, this issue features an ornament by Blue Ribbon fact, my ornament made the cover! It is called "Christmas Cottage" and is located middle right in the features a little red cottage with pine branches and red birds. This ornament is stitched on Weeks Dye Works Mocha linen with Weeks Dye Works cotton floss (DMC conversions are provided). Even more fun...there will be another ornament that coordinates with this one in the Just CrossStitch Ornament Issue due out later this fall...and a little hint (shhh) has an adorable snowman. It is the perfect time to get a jump start on your holiday, if you are not a subscriber, be sure to pick up this holiday issue at your favorite needlework shop!

On an additional note...I am planning a giveaway especially for my Facebook "fans" this if you haven't visited the Blue Ribbon Designs Facebook page, be sure to do so and click the "Like" button...details will be posted soon...

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Saturday Sunflower

Today I decided it was definitely time to change the mini quilt on my tabletop stand. It has been a couple months since I worked on a new mini fact, I think the last one I made was in this afternoon I made time to do a little sewing. I have been feeling under the weather the last couple days and I thought the time in my sewing studio might be good medicine. I decided to work on a "Sunflower" block - which at 12.5" x 12.5" quilted up pretty quickly....and although you can't see my quilting very well in the photo (the black thread blends well with the fabric), I actually quilted a very cool looking sun outline in the center square. Since I do not have a longarm machine (although I do dream of the day!), I decided to print a pattern on piece of it to the center block...and then quilted directly on the lines....once I was done, I just removed the paper - it actually worked really well and I am thrilled with the results. Although I am still feeling run down, the time in my sewing studio did lift my spirits. Now I head back to my stitching nest - I am hoping to feel well enough to do some more cross stitching - I am really enjoying the work on my new model...

Friday, June 10, 2011

Parallelogram Pizzazz

The terrible stormy weather the last few days has found me quite productive in my studio. I have been logging lots of hours modeling stitching a new design...and working on a small wall hanging quilt. My husband has been working a crazy schedule and I have been up until the wee hours each late last night and early this morning, I finished up my GO! Parallelogram Pizzazz! quilt - in fact, I was hand stitching the binding at 2:00 AM. I actually took the free AccuQuilt pattern with me a couple weeks ago when Kimber, Merry, and I took a road trip to a favorite quilt took me quite a while to decide on the the fabrics (which I love!)...and I couldn't wait to make time to work on it! The fabric is from an older line called Le Poulet by Whistler Studios for Windham Fabrics and it matches my home perfectly. The entire quilt, with the exception of the backing and batting was cut on my AccuQuilt GO! fabric cutter. I really enjoyed using the smaller Parallelgram die...along with the Half Sqaure 2" Finished Triangle die...and then using the strip cutter dies (1 1/2", 2", 2 1/2") to make the borders and binding easy! There are 32 parallelograms and 64 traingles...and although it looks complicated, I actually found it rather simple to piece - I truly enjoyed working on this challenging 23" x 23" wall hanging (which I may also use as a table runner).

With the rain continuing today, I just may have to start my next sewing project...but for now, I will return to my stitching nest and continue work on my new model (Quilted Garden) is rather large and is going to take some time to complete...

Thursday, June 9, 2011

A Rainy Afternoon...

It is a gloomy, stormy day today...and I have been taking advantage - stitching a new design model and piecing a challenging small quilt (which I will share once it is quilted and binded). My new model is coming along nicely and I can't wait to share the design with you - it is tentatively called "Quilted Garden" and I am loving every stitch! While taking a small break this afternoon to do some quilting, seems Simba readjusted his toys to find a nice warm place to lay in his (rarely used) bed...he is definitely a lap dog and gets fussy when he doesn't have a friendly lap to curl up it's back to my stitching nest - after all, I have to keep my spoiled little boy happy...

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Questions Answered...

Have you seen the cover of the new Just CrossStitch Halloween Collection Book? This fun new Halloween soft cover book is due out later this fall...and I have received several questions about it, so I thought I would share what I know with you. First of all, this is NOT replacing the Just CrossStitch Halloween Ornament Issue - there will still be an annual Halloween do I know??...because I designed an ornament for look for that special magazine issue later this year, as well. The soft cover book is a separate release - it is 100 pages...and has over 50 Halloween designs (40 of them brand new - including an ornament from Blue Ribbon Designs). This special Halloween Collection Book has a tentative release date of 09/01/11, so be sure to pre-order one from your favorite needlework shop! And if the ornament in lower left-hand corner looks familiar, you are right, it is a Blue Ribbon Design...yep, I was thrilled to see my ornament made the cover of this whimsical Halloween's a cat on top of a jack-o-lantern with a bat flying overhead. I hope this post clarifies a few of the questions floating around...and I hope the Halloween stitchers out there are excited to add these new designs to their stitching collection....

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Pretty Pincushions

I made a little time this week to work on a lovely machine embroidery project - I found the project pattern (Pin Cushions by Smith Street Designs) on a recent trip to Quilts & Other Notions and couldn't wait to create each one. This project is a collection of four pincushion machine embroidery designs - each pin cushion measuring about 4 1/2" in diameter after stuffing. Smith Street Designs are always perfectly digitized and the instructions are top notch - if you are new to machine embroidery, be sure to check them out (no affiliation, just a happy customer)! I had TONS of fun choosing fabrics for each from my stash...and one is even made from wool (Woolie Pincushion - pictured back center) . I worked on the Victorian Pincushion last, as I thought it would be my least favorite - but I was amazed with the results - the pattern calls for silk, but I used cottons and specialty cottons...and I love how it turned out - the detailed "fancy" stitches worked up extremely nice. Each one makes me happy - so much so, that I can't choose a favorite.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Harvest Huswif

If you are a fan of Blue Ribbon Designs, then you have probably read I will be teaching a workshop for Elegant Stitch in Modesto, CA this coming October. I am so super excited - I have always wanted to visit Lois's, it will be my first ever trip to California...I seriously can't wait! Many of you know I have been working on finishing up the project - and I actually got it done earlier this week (it took WAY longer than anticipated) - I wanted to wait to share it here until Lois had a chance to update her website with photos and details. So here is is - "Harvest Huswif" - a special stitching case with fun-shaped wool pockets inside and a matching scissor fob. This project is stitched on Weeks Dye Works linen with Gloriana Silk Threads...the wool fabric is from Moda and WDW...and the gorgeous hand-dyed ribbons are also from Gloriana. Inside: the wool pumpkin is for needles and pins, the upper acorn will hold a thimble or needle threader, the left leaf holds scissors, and the right leaf holds a 3" you have the large stitched pocket across the bottom. I really enjoyed designing this piece and can't wait until October to share it with the attendees! For more information and details on this workshop, please visit