Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Friendship Totes

I managed to escape our massive home remodel madness yesterday by taking a road trip with my dear friends Merry and Kimber - we escaped for the day to the Amana Colonies to celebrate both their August birthdays (more on our trip in a future post). I had been collecting gifts for them over the last several months and decided to make them both a large tote bag to carry everything. I actually didn't use a specific pattern - I just made my own - I used things I liked about several bags I had made in the past and a couple ideas of my own to create these extra large totes. I really had fun choosing fabrics I thought they would enjoy - Merry's tote was made with "Rouenneries" by French General for Moda (one of her favorites) and Kimber's tote was made with "Simplicity" by 3 Sisters for Moda (Kimber's favorite colors are pink and green). I used a fusible fleece to make the bags nice and sturdy...and was very happy with their 16" x 16" x 8" size. Both bags were slightly different, as I learned a few things as I went along and made some adjustments. Over-all, I was thrilled with how they turned out and may just have to make one for myself once things settle down here.

Well, I better get back to preparing tutorials for my upcoming classes (amidst the remodel - windows and doors being installed today, along with more trim work)...but I will return shortly with a post about my trip to the Amanas...

Monday, August 29, 2011

My Autumn Quilt Block

Friends, family, and followers - I could really use your help....I recently designed a quilt block using EQ7 and AccuQuilt GO! die shapes for a giveaway on the Feed Dog Designs blog...the winner receives an AccuQuilt GO! Baby and three dies of their choice...and you all know how desperately I want to win a GO! Baby Fabric Cutter (I've been trying for months and months)!! Please take just a moment and visit the Feed Dog Designs blog post and vote for my quilt block - it only takes a second and you don't have to be a follower - just mark the box next to my block and click the word "VOTE" at the bottom - I WOULD GREATLY APPRECIATE IT! The link to vote is:

My block is under Belinda K. and is pictured below - as we are nearing the autumn months, I decided to do a 12" fall themed block...which I would love to quilt up and put in my tabletop stand:

Thank you for taking a moment to read my post and vote for my just made me happy!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Catching-up and Equilateral Triangle Pincushions...

I apologize that is has been almost 2 weeks since my last post - I really appreciate you staying around and being patient with me! I do have a good excuse - we are having a bunch of construction/remodeling done on our home and it is nearly impossible to get anything accomplished while the workers are here - it has been eleven noise-filled days of little sleep...and most of the time I have been trying to keep Simba calm and happy. So far we have replaced the deck (no small job, as it 12' x 36') - we replaced all the siding and trim work - painted the foundation and garage door - replaced the gutters and all out-door lighting - and now we are having all new windows and doors put has been insane. We have three sets of sliding doors on the back side of our house and two were replaced yesterday - we actually have a quiet weekend - then they will be back bright and early Monday morning to put in the 3rd sliding door, a new front door and storm door, and replace all of our windows...hopefully, within the next week, everything will be done and things will start to get back to "normal". With all the chaos, I have found it challenging to keep up with everything...and I have done very little stitching and/or sewing. I plan to work on a few things this weekend once my chores are done - we have to hang some new blinds, put up our new street numbers, do some major yard maintenance ( it really got destroyed during the siding application), and I have a long list of other things that need to be done before Monday.

Late last night, I did have a chance to add the buttons to these fun hexagon pincushions (I couldn't sleep - what's new?)....aren't they adorable?! There is a fabulous tutorial for making these Equilateral Triangle Pincushions over on the Feed Dog Designs blog. If you have an AccuQuilt GO! or GO! Baby fabric cutter, these are super simple to make and only require two dies: GO! Equilateral Triangles Die (55079) and GO! Hexagons Die – 2", 3", 5" (55011). I used some colorful pieces from my scrap box and then found some coordinating buttons (I love going through my button stash!)....then I added some decorative pins (you know my favorites are from Puntini Puntini - LOVE THEM!). I had actually sewn these before the home construction started, but never had a chance to finish them until last night. My next pincushion project? - my dear friend Kimber has a creative/unique pincushion tutorial (Sew Simple Star Pincushions) posted at the Moda Bake Shop that I am excited to work on in the coming weeks...

Again, thank you all for being patient with my posts - once the construction is finished up on our house, I will be back to posting more creative projects and ideas! For now, it is on to my chores and catching up on my work projects - I have class tutorials to prepare, some kits to build, and some new designs to get model stitched...

Monday, August 15, 2011

The 2011 Pets on Quilts Show

Those of you who adore animals/pets...and/or those of you who quilt or appreciate the skills of quilting will definitely enjoy the "Pets on Quilts Show" going on now! This fun and unique quilt show is hosted by Darlene at is a cyber quilt show running from August 15 - Aug 19th...and what a treat it is to look at all the entries! If you have photos of your pet(s) on one of your quilts...or you have made a quilt with a pet theme...or you have used Electric Quilt to design a quilt with a pet theme - then this show is for you!!...and there is still time left to enter...just head over to for all the details (and thanks to some FABULOUS sponsors, there are AMAZING prizes to be won!)... So without further ado, here is my entry:

This is Simba...AKA: little boy. We adopted Simba almost seven years ago from the Animal Rescue League of Iowa, here in Des Moines. To be honest, at the time, I really didn't want a dog - I just felt they were a lot of work and responsibility and my plate is usually quite full...but my husband was very adamant about bringing a dog into our household. He actually wanted a larger hunting dog and had been (unsuccessfully) trying to talk me into one for several years. I'll never forget the phone call I received from him the day after Thanksgiving telling me he just rescued a dog - of course I was at work (typical "do it now, ask for forgiveness later"). He told me he was picking me up from work and he would have our new dog with him....and to my surprise it was a Shih Tzu - a much smaller dog than I expected. At that time, Simba wasn't in the best of shape - you could tell he had not been well cared for - but as soon as I sat down in the truck, he curled up in a little ball on my lap and just looked up at me with the most amazing eyes - I was done for! Poor baby was completely shaved, micro-chipped, fixed, and got an array of tests and shots within about 24 hours - plus a brand new home...but he never lost his sweet, calm, and loving demeanor. When we adopted him, the ARL thought he was about a year old, so we celebrate his birthday every Thanksgiving....and although he came to us in pretty bad shape, he now lives like a KING (yes, my friends and family will tell you how much I spoil him!)...

Simba is definitely a lap dog and is his happiest when he can be on fact, he gets quite frustrated when I am working or in my studio. He has two beds that he will sleep in when a lap is unavailable...and one is right at my feet at my work desk...he is always by my side. Here he is perturbed that I am working...I just love that face...

Simba loves all the quilts and pillows I sew...he especially loves the pillows! As soon as I lay out a newly finished quilt for a photograph he is circling it and laying down right in the center (of course)...I'm pretty sure he thinks everything I quilt/sew is for him....and if I lay yards of fabric anywhere he can get to, they are his new bed...

Simba really does live like a king...and this will prove it...I actually made him his own pet pad pillow for when he rides with me in my Jeep...and yep, I used my embroidery machine to add his name when I stitched it should see the ladies at the bank swoon when we pull up to the drive through window and he is perched on his pillow - they always send out a treat! Yes, that is how much I am addicted to quilting, sewing, and machine embroidery - I actually made my dog a personalized pillow (he has several pillows and blankets that I have made)...

I hope you have enjoyed your chance to get to know Simba a little bit better...and I hope you will check out all the other entries in the "2011 Pets On Quilts Show"...and of course, you can always enter - just write up an article following the guidelines and post it on your blog (directions for non-bloggers are given, as well) - I would love to read about your pet and see your pet-related projects and ideas! There will also be voting for the viewer's choice in several categories this be sure to give Simba a vote! Get all the details here:

Sunday, August 14, 2011

New England Stitcher's Retreat - "Botanical Blessings"

Have you been thinking about taking a needlework class this fall??...well, then you are defnitely in luck!...I will be teaching "Botanical Blessings" for the New England Stitching Retreat on two separate sets of dates - and there are still a few openings available for each:
Retreat Two: October 11-14, 2011
These retreats are scheduled to take place during the peak of the colorful autumn leaves in New England...and the location for this unique retreat experience is The Enfield Shaker Museum in Enfield, New Hampshire...with accommodation provided within the historical Great Stone Dwelling House...and it truly is the perfect place to hold a needlework retreat. Those of you regularly follow my blog may remember reading about the New England Stitching Retreat after I had the pleasure of teaching there in May 2010....and I was THRILLED to be invited back for another event - and with the popularity of this class piece, they opened a second set of dates to accommodate everyone. If you would like to read about my previous experience in Enfield, see my posts from May 2010:

The New England Stitching Retreat is an all-inclusive, intimate retreat, restricted to a maximum of approximately 30 overnight guests...the setting is quiet and relaxed...the food is fabulous (the desserts are "to die for")...the stitching lounge is open 24 hours a day...and there is even an afternoon tea with private shopping at ABC Stitch Therapy!

The exclusive class design - "Botanical Blessings":
  • The autumn 2011 class project focuses on an 8” miniature Shaker chair. This special design was inspired by my research on the Shaker culture and gift drawings, the simplicity of the Shaker lifestyle, and the beauty of nature. We will be stitching a “seat” for the chair - along with a scissor fob “pillow”, a pin pillow (tied to the top rung of the chair), and a needlebook “rug” – giving you a unique display set of needlework smalls (shown above right)...all of which coordinate with a floral wreath sampler (shown below).
  • Class will cover stitching of the sampler and needlework smalls, working any specialty stitches, finishing techniques for each of the smalls (including attaching the “seat” of the chair), personalizing your pieces, and making twisted cord. Plan to focus on (and hopefully complete) your chair “seat” or scissor fob in class.
  • Stitches include: Cross Stitch over 2 linen threads, back stitch, Nun Stitch, and whip stitch (also known as a ladder stitch).
  • Each piece will be stitched on 32-count Lakeside Linen (Porcelain) with Weeks Dye Works cotton floss. Students will receive complete kits to stitch/finish all of the needlework smalls and sampler (with the exception of framing supplies).
  • Students should have previous experience working on linen or linen-like fabrics and should be comfortable working from basic stitching diagrams and cross stitch charts. Students will need their favorite stitching tools or basic sewing kit (sharp sewing scissors, ruler or tape measurer, writing utensil, extra needles, a hoop or Q-Snaps, etc.). If required, student will need to provide their own additional lighting or magnification (remember, if bringing "plug-ins", please bring an extension cord).
  • NOTE: This special design will not be released to the general public for at least one year after the events...and more than likely it will be the sampler and a set of needlework smalls only, as the chairs were specially made for this retreat by a local New England artisan.
If you are looking for a very special needlework retreat experience, then I hope you will join us in Enfield, NH this coming October! Visit for all the details and information on how you can register - I would truly love to meet you!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Giveaway Recipients

Good morning friends and followers!

WOW - I was blown away by the enthusiastic response to my latest giveaway - what a treat it was to read many of your encouraging and kind my followers (long term and new) - thank you for joining me on my creative journey...I truly wish I could afford to give each and every one of you the chart of your choice. For those of you not listed as one of the recipients, please don't be discouraged - I love to give things away...and there will definitely be more chances in the future! So without further are the randomly chosen recipients:

A. Moonlit Midnight recipient: Paula Still
Paula said:
What a wonderful and generous offer! All of your designs are amazing and - to win or not - I know I will be adding them all to my BR stash! If I were to choose one (ugh ... decisions, decisions, decisions), it would be ... drum roll ...
A. Moonlit Midnight
Not only is Halloween my favorite holiday, but I love how you incorporate all these "spooky" motifs into a stunning collage. The best part of this design is that each motif can be stitched separately and finished into a fob, ornament, etc. I feel like I am getting 10 designs for the price of one!!!
Thank you for entering me in your giveaway!

B. Pocketful of Peppermint reciepient: MommyDearest (Connie)
Connie said:
Belinda, Thank you so much for such a wonderful give away.....and for making it SOOO hard to chose just one!! It would be terrific to win B.Pocketful of would be an awesome birthday gift!!

C. Quilted Garden recipient: Tricia
Tricia said:
I would love to win Quilted Garden! I started quilting a number of years ago and really enjoy it - or at least I enjoyed it until I started having trouble with my shoulders and started to get migraines after quilting. : ( I would love to stitch a quilt instead, and the colors in your piece are so lovely... plus there are bluebirds -- which make me remember the old Shirley Temple movie about the bluebird of happiness being found right in your own home. Love it!

The three recipients were notified notified via email earlier this morning.

Again, thank you all for reading, following, commenting, and supporting my blog and designs - you all make me happy!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

A, B, or C Giveaway

Hello friends! I was thrilled to see my official follower count pass the 500 mark last week - thank you so much for visiting my blog! - and I promised a big giveaway when this happened for those who choose to faithfully follow...I finally have three prizes together and the details ready...and I think (hope) you will be pleased and excited!

For this giveaway, official followers will have the chance to win an upcoming design chart (you will be one of the first to have one!) along with the coordinating threads and finishing kit - you will be responsible for your own linen, stuffing, mini drill, and basic sewing supplies.

Out of all the comments provided, I will randomly choose three recipients: one winner from those who choose A. Moonlit Midnight; one winner from those who choose B. Pocketful of Peppermint; and one winner from those who choose C. Quilted Garden.

The rules are easy (please read carefully):
  1. Make sure you are an official follower - current or new (you must be listed under "Followers" on the right-hand toolbar) if you aren't already following, feel free to sign up by clicking on the "Join This Site" link in the right-hand tool bar (this button is right under the word "Followers". My international followers are also welcome!

  2. Leave ONE comment to this post telling me which of the three new designs is your favorite (the one you would like to win) and why: A. Moonlit Midnight...or B. Pocketful of Peppermint...or C. Quilted Garden. Please leave only one comment and make sure to tell me your choice - multiple comments will be deleted/disqualified.

  3. All entries require a valid email address. Please make sure your email address is visible in your profile (so I have a way of contacting you, should you be randomly chosen) - if you are uncertain, please leave your email address with your comment - entries without a valid email will be disqualified.

  4. The deadline to enter will be 11:59 pm CST, Friday, August 12th. Recipients will be chosen by random draw and posted on my blog on Saturday, August 13th. I will contact the recipients via email - you will have 48 hours to respond, if I do not hear from you in that time frame, I will choose a replacement recipient(s).
So those are the details....I hope this giveaway was worth the wait...I am happy to be able to thank those who continually follow my blog and leave encouraging and enthusiastic comments! I hope my future posts maintain your interest and inspire you...

Good luck to all!!

Friday, August 5, 2011

"Quilted Garden" - Coming Soon

The last couple weeks, I have done blog posts on my new designs coming out later this month at the TNNA Fall Needlecraft Market - I have already shown you "Moonlit Midnight" and "Pocketful of Peppermint"...and today the focus is on "Quilted Garden". This design model (which combines two of my favorite things next to needlework: quilting and gardening) is stitched on beautiful Pecan Butter hand-dyed fabric by Lakeside Linens and uses Weeks Dye Works Cotton Floss (DMC equivalents are provided). The entire piece is cross stitch over two linen threads, except the verse and the personalization (initials/year) which are cross stitch over one linen thread. I know some needleworkers will shy away from over-one cross stitches, so the chartpack includes alternative charting for these stitches in back stitch (there is an additional back stitch alphabet/numbers for personalization and an alternate back stitch chart of the verse) you can choose to do either over-one cross stitches or back stitch - whichever you feel more comfortable working! This design pack also includes charting and complete finishing instructions for a matching pin pillow and scissor fob. 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, pinkeep, or floss ring tag using the quilt block motifs...oh - wouldn't the little quilt blocks make great magnets for a quilting friend?! I thoroughly enjoyed working on this design and have some other ideas for new pieces that would incorporate some of the same concepts.

You can get all the information on the three new designs by visiting my website - stitch counts and supply lists for all three pieces have been posted - visit the "Future" page or the "Designs" page for complete details! All three new charts are set to be released at the TNNA Fall Needlecraft Market next look them at your favorite needlework shop in the coming weeks...

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Little Bluebird

After a couple hectic weeks preparing the new market releases, I was thrilled to get out of my office/studio today to help my friend Mary celebrate her birthday - we made plans a couple weeks ago and it was perfect timing. We took a mini road trip to one of my favorite quilt shops a little over an hour away (Quilts & Other Notions in Creston, IA)...then had lunch at a great little Mexican restaurant in the area. I found some wonderful fabrics (seen below) for the Winding Ways quilt I want to get started on (in my spare time) and a couple Halloween print fat quarters...we enjoyed a yummy lunch, had a chance to catch-up and giggle, then it was back to Des Moines (and reality).

Once I dropped Mary off and unloaded my car, I headed out to do a long list of WAY overdue errands. In the midst of things that had to be done, I made a quick stop at Archiver's to see if they had a tool in stock I was looking for (they didn't)...but, they were having a free mini card workshop - where I made the card shown (upper right)...isn't it cute?! I am still kind of a newbie to cardmaking, but have found I really enjoy it. The little card shown was quite fun to make and I got to try out some products I had never used before, including Distress Ink and a Xyron Mega Runner Adhesive Gun. I loved making this sweet little card and hope to make many more in the future...

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

"Boo Mansion"

Look what is arriving on newsstands now: the Annual Halloween Issue of Just CrossStitch Magazine...and I am delighted to share my Halloween ornament made the cover! It is called "Boo Mansion" by the title, I hope you know my ornament is in the upper right corner - the haunted house with the ghosts exiting the chimneys. When I first started designing, I never dreamed I would have so many Halloween designs on the market or that I would be designing ornaments especially for Halloween - but they really are a treat to stitch and design! This ornament model is stitched on 35-count Straw Linen from Weeks Dye Works...and uses Gentle Art Sampler Threads. I backed the pillow style ornament with a second piece of linen and used DMC six strand embroidery floss (310) for the twisted cord. 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 Halloween issue at your favorite needlework shop!

Today I spent the majority of my day bagging charts (I started with just over 4,000 to package and I am down to about 1, I did make a big dent in the boxes) and organizing/rearranging my warehouse, trying to make the stock of the new designs fit - ugh, what a job - I am worn out! I never dreamed I would have more than 100 design charts on the market...I am feeling very blessed - thank you all for supporting Blue Ribbon Designs!

Finally - I know I mentioned a giveaway when I reached 500 official followers...and IT IS coming soon - I am just working out the final details....please do stay tuned...

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Oh Happy Day!

I received the most wonderful surprise in the mail today - a lovely package from Paola in Italy....and it was filled with the most gorgeous assortment of her Puntini Puntini pins, buttons, tags, and thread winders...need I say it was the greatest mail day EVER?!....I am still over-the-moon with excitement! I was giddy as I opened the envelope - there were 7 cards of her amazing pins and a little organza bag filled with her perfectly detailed buttons, tags, and thread winders. I slowly open each card of pins and admired them one by one...then I promptly opened the bag and drooled as I placed each piece on a linen covered table. Paola - I am in awe of your kindness, talent, and totally surprised me...your package made my day/month/year. I will cherish these special gifts....and I am already inspired for future projects...thank you so very, very much - my heart is smiling!

Those of you who frequent my blog know I am a huge fan of Puntini Puntini decorative pins, buttons, tags, and thread winders - they are something special - they truly make me happy! I use them often in my pincushions and as embellishments for gifts. To find out more, visit Paolas websites filled with eye candy:
...and to purchase her pins, buttons, tags, and thread winders...along with her needlework designs in the United States, visit ABC Stitch Therapy: