Sunday, July 31, 2011

Appliqué Frolic Wall Hanging

First of all, welcome to all my new friends and followers! I can't believe I have officially passed the 500 followers mark (WOW!) - thank you for visiting - I will be hosting a giveaway in the near future to mark this momentous occasion, so stay tuned...

Over the last several evenings, I have been working on several birthday gifts for friends and family - one of which is this small appliqué wall hanging quilt...August is a busy birthday month and we all know how I like to make the majority of my gifts. After picking the pattern, I went through my stash and found some gorgeous fabric - the majority of the fabric is from the line "Bliss" by Bonnie and Camille for Moda. The entire quilt was cut using my AccuQuilt GO! fabric cutter - the pattern uses 4 different sizes of GO! Strip Cutter dies, along with the GO! Heart die, the GO! Round Flower die, and the GO! Critters die....and the design is actually a free pattern that accompanies the 6 1/2" Strip Cutter die. I had so much fun putting this together - I really enjoyed the machine appliqué and playing with these beautiful fabrics. It all went together smoothly for me - I did the cutting, appliqué, and piecing in one evening...and the quilting and binding the next. I added a sleeve to the back for hanging...and my husband made me some more wooden strips with sawtooth hangers so I could include one with this gift. All in all, I was quite pleased with how this special wall hanging turned out!

Friday, July 29, 2011

"Pocketful of Peppermint" - Coming in August

Last week I blogged about the first of three new designs being released in mid-August ("Moonlit Midnight") - today the focus is on "Pocketful of Peppermint". This new release is a companion to the popular "Peppermint Twist" design I released in 2008 - it is a combination of motif boxes that can be stitched collectively for a framed piece or on their own as ornaments or needlework smalls. The pattern contains charting for the entire sampler and detailed finishing instructions for making three types of holiday ornaments:
  1. Pillow ornaments backed with coordinating cotton or wool fabric (gingerbread man and reindeer in the photo)

  2. Pillow ornaments backed with linen - with or without a beaded edge (the tree ornaments in the photo)

  3. Flat ornaments using finishing forms (round ornaments featuring the heart and the dove in the photo)
This design was originally a teaching piece for Stitcher's Hideaway Needlework Retreats, so it contains multiple specialty stitches - large diagrams of all the stitches are included...or you can easily replace them with cross stitch. The models were stitched on 28-count Fawn hand-dyed fabric from Lakeside Linens and use Weeks Dye Works cotton floss (DMC equivalents included) and one spool of Kreinik #8 Fine Braid (100) to add sparkle and definition to the snowflakes (this is optional). Also included in the chartpack - an alphabet/numbers and personalization area for adding your initials and the year to your sampler or ornaments. All the details will be posted on my website soon, so keep an eye on the "Future" page for more information. This chart is set to be released at the TNNA Fall Needlecraft Market in look for it at your favorite needlework shop toward the end of next month....

*NOTE*: This holiday design will be part of a very special upcoming giveaway once I reach 500 official followers - so keep an eye out for that, as well.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Another Tasty Treat!

I've been in a bit of a baking mood lately...not really sure why - I just know it brings me joy and relieves my, last night, I decided on a whim to make homemade vanilla cupcakes. This cake recipe card has been in my kitchen for many years - I'm not sure where it originated. The frosting recipe (which I got from my mother and I am guessing came from my grandmother) is one of my very favorite recipes - I used it for most cookies and all cakes.

White Cake
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
1/2 cup shortening
1 teaspoon vanilla
5 egg whites

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Place paper baking cups in cupcake trays (will make 24 cupcakes). In large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, milk and shortening; beat on low speed for 30 seconds, then on medium speed for 2 minutes, scraping bowl occasionally. Add vanilla and egg whites; beat an additional 2 minutes. Pour into baking cups - filling each 2/3 full. Bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool completely before frosting.

1/3 cup margarine
2 cups powdered sugar
2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla (or flavoring of your choice)

Beat on low speed: softened (not melted) margarine, milk, and vanilla. Slowly add powdered sugar until desired consistency. Add food coloring, if desired.

Frost cooled cupcakes and decorate with your choice of sprinkles or embellishments. This recipe will make 24 beautiful and tasty cupcakes!

I used silver foil baking cups, as those were always my favorite as a little girl...and after frosting my cupcakes, I sprinkled colored sugar on them...didn't they turn out festive and cute?! My husband and I both enjoyed a cupcake and a hot beverage last night - what a treat! We have enough cupcakes to last a while...then what will I bake next??

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Nine-Patch Pixie

Those of you who follow me on Twitter may have seen a photo of this quilt in progress back on July 3rd...yes, I did start this before the 4th of July holiday (with intentions of finishing it sooner)...but BRD deadlines have been keeping me quite busy and I just had time to quilt and bind this patriotic table runner today. It is called Nine-Patch Pixie and the pattern is by Tea for Two...I used a mixture of Moda fabrics - including prints from Zippity doo dah! by Sandy Gervais, Solids, and Polka Dots. This pattern is done with a scrappy assortment of 2 1/2" squares - which I cut with my AccuQuilt GO! Fabric Cutter, along with the 6 1/2" square in the center. It goes together rather simply, you just have to pay attention to the layout diagrams in the directions...especially if you are like me and don't want any of the same scrappy fabrics touching each other. I really enjoyed the actual quilting of this piece - I did a "swirly" stipple for the entire quilt; except the center square where I quilted a fun flower which I thought complemented the fabric print. All in all, I am very happy with the results and will be anxious to have it out next summer for Independence Day!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

My Fabric Stash...

I recently entered the AccuQuilt "Bust My Stash Photo Challenge"; AccuQuilt fans were asked to send in a photo of their fabric stash (mine is shown below) for a chance to win a GO! Mix and Match Starter Set. Voting started on Facebook today and runs through July 31st. Please take a moment to "LIKE" (vote for) my's how:
  1. Visit the AccuQuilt Facebook page:​ilt
  2. Click on "Contest" under the AccuQuilt Logo in the left-hand menu
  3. Scroll down, then go to page 3 - my photo is on page 3 in the second row, far right side.
  4. Click on "Like This Entry" under my photo (shown below).
You can vote once every 24 hours until July 31st...tonight I am tied for 2nd place, so I could really use your votes (only the photo with the most votes wins)!...and to those of you who have already voted, thank you for keeping me in the running!! And yes, I know, I am addicted to fabric - I could only submit one photo, so I just fit in as much as possible...

Thanks friends - I heart you!

"Moonlit Midnight" - Coming in August

Over the next couple weeks, I thought I would do several blog posts featuring my new designs being released at the TNNA Fall Needlecraft Market. This fun Halloween design is item BRD-101 and is titled "Moonlit Midnight". The models are stitched on 32-count Tundra hand-dyed fabric from Lakeside Linens with Weeks Dye Works cotton floss. This whimsical piece is perfect for taking sections and making Halloween ornaments, needlework smalls, and holiday decorations! The chartpack contains charting for the sampler and needlework smalls shown below, stitching instructions, and complete finishing instructions for the ornaments/fobs and pins/magnets. I had a lot of fun working on the small pieces; the ornaments/fobs are made with 2" Finishing Forms by Flying Needles ( the pins/magnets are made with Half Ball Cover Buttons by Dritz ( mounted on cotton fabric yo-yos....the chartpack gives you easy step-by-step instructions for making each! I will be posting all the specifics and a complete supply list on my website in the next couple weeks...and stay tuned for feature posts on two more new designs coming out in mid-August...

Friday, July 22, 2011

Unburied Treasure

Over the years, I have stitched baskets and baskets full of needlework smalls - I truly love the assembly/finishing work. In fact, in my studio, I have two very large Longaberger Blanket Baskets overflowing with needlework smalls and ornaments (many of which are my own designs) - I try to circulate them throughout our home, especially the seasonal pieces...but the truth is, there are so many, I don't always get each piece on display. Recently, I was digging through the baskets to find some summery pieces to put in my display cabinet - and I found this huswif and set of needlework accessories I stitched back in the fall of 2008...and believe it or not, I had completely forgotten about them. This was an EGA Group Correspondence Course (that I actually led for the local Chapter) called "Handy Huswif" and was designed by Cathy Trostmann. What a treat it was to find this little cotton bag in one of my baskets - it was still in the plastic bag and all the piece were still tagged from when I sent it in for evaluation. It made me smile to see how much my binding technique and sewing skills have improved over the last several years. It was almost like getting a present, as I unwrapped each piece...the huswif, needlebook, scissor fob and pin disk - plus I had made the optional sewing case to keep them clean and safe. It is amazing I could spend so much time on a single project and then completely forget it existed. Now that I have unburied this treasure, I will definitely put it to good use and keep it out for a while...

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Baking Brownies

As usual, things are a bit hectic in our household...and yesterday was just one of those days where the sky fell in...a black cloud seemed to hover over my head the entire day. When I finally looked at the clock last night, it was almost 8:00 PM and I was exhausted and stressed to my what did I do?? I made my way to my kitchen, of course! Looking for just a taste of comfort food and the solace I find when baking, I decided to make a batch of homemade brownies....and not homemade where you throw the contents of a box in a bowl...but true homemade, pull all the ingredients out of the cupboard/refrigerator, stir, mix, and bake. While a brownie mix can be convenient and quick, there is just something about making baked goods from scratch. This is my favorite tried and true recipe for brownies - it is from an old well-loved Betty Crocker cook book that I believe belonged to my mother when I was growing up - this cookbook is missing the cover and is in two separate pieces, but it is my "go to" book for recipes. This makes fabulous chewy, fudgy squares...and although I am not usually a chocolate person, I thoroughly enjoyed my homemade brownie with a hot cup of cinnamon tea latte last night!

2 squares unsweetened chocolate (2 oz.)
1/3 cup shortening
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
3/4 cup sifted flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
Optional - 1/2 cup broken nuts

Melt together the chocolate and shortening over hot water in a double boiler. Beat in eggs and sugar. Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt...then stir into melted mixture. Mix in nuts, if desired. Once thoroughly combined, spread in well-greased 8" square pan (8" x 8" x 2"). Bake in a 350 degree oven for 30-35 minutes (top will have a dull crust and a slight imprint will be left when top is touched lightly with finger). Cool slightly, then cut into 2" squares. This recipe will make sixteen 2" brownie squares.

So, the next time you need a little stress-reliever, try baking something from scratch...the result: a happy heart and a happy tummy...

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Quilted Garden Needlework Smalls

A little over a week ago, I posted about my new upcoming design "Quilted Garden" and I was so encouraged to here such positive comments/remarks from many of you - I am thrilled you like this future design. The chart for "Quilted Garden" will be released in mid-August at the TNNA Fall Needlecraft Market being held in Baltimore, MD for industry professionals. The models are stitched on a beautiful new color of Lakeside Linen called "Pecan Butter" with gorgeous Week Dye Works cotton floss. The entire piece is stitched in cross stitch and partial cross stitches...with the verse, initials, and year in cross stitch over-one linen thread (the chartpack includes alternate charting for the verse and an alphabet/numbers in back stitch for those who shy away from one-over-one work). I have also designed two needlework smalls that will be included with this design pack - a scissor fob and pin pillow - charting and complete finishing instructions for these two pieces will be included, as well. There are many other fun ideas that can be taken from this upcoming design - wouldn't a row of the quilt blocks make a great bookmark?...or you could easily make a needlebook or floss ring tag using the quilt block motifs...the little quilt blocks would also make great magnets for a quilting many fun ideas keep popping into my head! Keep an eye on the "Future" page of my website, where I will be posting all the details in the next several weeks...but for now, here is a sneak peek at the scissor fob and pillow....

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Personalized Quilted Journal Covers

Recently I have been working on several new Blue Ribbon Designs, leaving minimal time for sewing/quilting/other projects...but I did arrange a few hours this past weekend to finish up a birthday gift for my friend Lorrie...and do a little more piecing on my Nine-Patch Pixie quilt. I had been saving this lovely sampler fabric (Willimasburg R Presents The Sampler Collection by Windham Fabrics) with shades of blue especially for Lorrie, as blue is her favorite color...I decided I would make her a quilted journal - one of my favorite things to sew.

I have shown a couple of these journal covers to you before - they are so much fun to work on...and easy to personalize! The cover actually fits over a composition notebook that can easily be found at any office supply store - it measures 9 3/4" h x 7 1/2"w. The supply list is minimal - this is a great project for using up scraps of fabric...and they can easily be embellished with all sorts of trims, buttons, and/or embroidery. Best of all, there are two FREE patterns available online! The pattern used for the samples in the photos is from an older Quilts and More Quarterly Challenge and can be found in PDF form on the website. For a slightly smaller version (made to fit a spiral bound A5 art diary 8 1/4" h x 6 1/4" w) visit the Moda Bake Shop Blog for an excellent tutorial called "Journal Covers". These journals are the perfect size for making a list, taking notes, or writing down your personal thoughts....and to top it off, make a lovely gift! I have made quite a few of these and each one is unique and special - I like to embroider the recipients name on a piece of wool felt or fabric and applique it to the front...and there are so many other ways you could make these covers recipient specific. I hope you will try making one of these fun quilted journals...for yourself...and/or a friend!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

"Quilted Garden"

Hello friends! Thank you for being patient with my lack of posts...I certainly haven't forgotten you and I have definitely missed my blog. I do have a good excuse (besides getting over a terrible case of a nasty circulating stomach flu bug)...I have been working on my latest design model and preparing for market releases in August...and you are seeing a peek of this new design here first! It is called "Quilted Garden"...and I absolutely loved every minute working on this new design. It's stitched on a beautiful new color of Lakeside Linen called "Pecan Butter" with gorgeous Week Dye Works cotton floss. The entire piece is stitched in cross stitch and partial cross stitches...with the verse, initials, and year in cross stitch over-one linen thread (I am planning alternate charting to be done in back stitch for those who shy away from one-over-one work). This design will be headed to my framer first thing in the morning - and I can't wait to pick a molding to coordinate with this piece. I have some ideas for coordinating needlework smalls that may become part of this chartpack, as well. "Quilted Garden" has a tentative release date of mid-August at the Fall TNNA Needlecraft Market. So there you have it, my excuse for minimal posts - I hope seeing a sneak peek of this new piece was worth the wait...

...and a little note...there is a "Christmas In July" giveaway happening now through Monday evening on the Blue Ribbon Designs Facebook fan page...visit for details...

Monday, July 4, 2011

Freedom and Fireworks

Today, the 4th of July, we honor the birthday of the United States and the adoption of the Declaration of Independence. I hope you are spending time with family and friends, enjoying this Independence Day.

I am celebrating with a quiet day...a little quilting and some model stitching...maybe later we will do a little grilling and enjoy some time outside on the deck, where tonight we will be able to view the fireworks.

Wishing you a safe, happy, and healthy holiday!