Saturday, March 31, 2012

BRD Springtime Giveaway

Spring has definitely arrived in my corner of the world - we are having lovely, sunshine filled days and everything is green and starting to bloom - so let's celebrate by having a Blue Ribbon Designs giveaway!

The prize?? - a duo of Blue Ribbon Designs needlework charts - "Sweet Songs of Spring" and "Blooming with Inspiration"...yep, one lucky recipient will receive both design charts...

To enter, simply leave one comment on this post - tell me what you love about springtime, what you plant in your gardens, or what you enjoy doing this time of year - all comments will go into a random drawing where one fan/follower will receive this special pair of design charts.

Fine print:
  • Giveaway is open until 11:59 PM CST Tuesday, April 3rd, 2012.
  • International entries welcome.
  • 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 or post "anonymously", please leave your email address and your first name with your comment - entries without a valid email will be disqualified.
  • No chart substitutions.
  • E-mail entries will not be accepted, you must leave a comment on this post.
  • One comment per person; multiple comments will be deleted/disqualified.
  • One recipient will be announced on Wednesday April 4, 2012.

There you have it - all the "Springtime" giveaway details...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!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Perfect Day To Play

I have spent the last week stitching non-stop, working on my Halloween class design for the New England Stitcher's Retreat. I was so happy when the fabric arrived and I have been completely focused on the project ever is coming along beautifully and I am about 75% done with the stitching and hope to start putting it together later this week. If all goes well, you will be seeing some photos very soon!

This afternoon I took several hours off to have lunch with my dear friends Merry and Kimber - I had made plans with them several weeks ago...and I am so glad I did - I really needed to get out of my stitching chair and take some time away. It felt absolutely marvelous to get out of the house on such a beautiful day and enjoy a leisurely lunch with my BFFs.

I was excited to give them each a special gift I had put together while waiting for my fabric to arrive. I know, they aren't Easter all reality, they are collapsible cocktail napkin holders...but I thought they would work perfectly to hold some Easter treats. I used a Terry Atkinson Groovy Girls Club Pattern called Napkin Holder....and it gives you the option of 4 different sizes of collapsible holders: Cocktail (5.5" x 5.5" x 2.5"), Luncheon (7" x 7" x 2.5"), Rectangle (5" x 8.5" x 2.5"), and Sugar/Tea (2.5" x 3.5" x 2"). I chose the cocktail napkin size and I picked out fabric specifically for Merry and Kimber. I was pretty happy with how they turned out, considering this was my first try at this pattern....once all the pieces were cut, they went together rather quickly....and another fun thing - I got to go through my vast button stash to pick buttons for each...and the button ties are colorful hair elastics. After finishing both, I put Easter grass in the base and filled them with special treats...then I foofed them, using GiftGloss and springy green tulle. Didn't they turn out adorable??! I have plenty of the ultra firm single-sided fusible stabilizer - in fact, I have an entire bolt of it - so I see many more of these in my future. The smallest size will be a perfect little collapsible ort container to take with me on my travels...and the larger ones are perfect for gifts and organization. Now that I have made a couple, I'm sure I can adapt the pattern to any size holder I is easy to adjust.

After spending the afternoon with Kimber and Merry, I have a better attitude and feel refreshed and ready to get back to work. My chores for the day are done, so I am headed back to my stitching nest - it will be another late night (early morning)....

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Pretty Floral Purse

This weekend we celebrated my mother-in-law's birthday. We had a nice dinner at our house...and I baked a homemade lemon cake (which turned out so fabulous - I wish I would have taken a photo). I also made her a quilted purse, which I filled with several other gifts. This purse is an adaptation of "Bow Tucks Tote" (ps008) by Quilts Illustrated...I have made several of these and decided to try one with a bit of a different shape (more of a purse than a tote) and an additional pocket on the back side - I finally feel comfortable enough with my sewing skills to make changes and try new things. I love the adjustable ties on either side...and the inside is filled with pockets. My version has a pocket on the front and one on the back...and it has very sturdy handles. I used a vintage floral button I found at a local shop for the closure, which I thought matched the fabric perfectly. The original designs is 13" x 11" x 5", where mine measures approximately 14 1/2" L x 7" H x 4" D. I was quite pleased with how this bag turned out! After completing the purse, I wrapped several smaller presents to place inside...including a matching tissue holder (this was made using the Thimbleberries pattern "Quilter's Carry-All & Accessories"). My mother-in-law seemed to really like her new purse and definitely appreciated the time and work that I spent creating it...

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Springtime Stitching Case

I can't tell you the last time I worked on a cross stitch design that was not my own - it seems like it has been years. Since the last several days have been a bit of a struggle for me...and I am still (yes, still) waiting on my linen order for the three designs on my current to-do list (it WILL be here Monday - I even have tracking information), I decided it was in my best interest to work on a project that has nothing to do with Blue Ribbon Designs - something quick and springy and stress-free. My choice was the new Lizzie Kate Limited Edition Stitch Kit "Birdz & Bugz"....I saw this at market and loved how cheerful it just makes me happy...I even have yardage of the fabric collection used for the fold-up stitching case in my stash. The kit included the pre-made stitching case (you stitch the design on the attached banding), the chart, and the beads. I had all the required threads in my stash, so that was easy. I did the majority of the stitching last night in one (yes, one) sitting...put in the last few stitches this morning and added the beads. I will mention, since some of you may have this kit in your stash - the center arrows on the chart for the outside band (the one with the large flowers and snail) are not correct - they are not centered - they are several stitches off, so be aware if you are super picky! - I didn't realize this until I had quite a bit stitched, therefore, mine is it character, don't you think?? I am super happy to have this fun little stitching case complete and it was wonderful to take my mind off of work for several hours this weekend. Now it is back to the tasks at hand - I am super anxious to have some of the fabrics for my upcoming class pieces in my hands tomorrow...this week will be dedicated to the New England Stitcher's Retreat Halloween design...hopefully the rest of the project will go smoothly....

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Sunshine on St. Patrick's Day

Happy St. Patrick's Day friends, family, and followers! I received a beautiful Marjolein Bastin Hallmark card from my dear friend Robin yesterday and thought the sentiment would be perfect to share today...

Wishing you -
sunshine round your shoulders,
shamrocks at your feet,
a rainbow in your pocket,
and friendship ever sweet...

Yesterday was a challenging day for me, but my close friends made it better - I am very blessed to have super special people in my life that listen, support, encourage, and inspire me (you all know who you are). Amazing how when things seem rough, true friends sense it and send you a note, give you a call, or lend a hand (even when it is not asked of them).

I truly hope you are having a happy St. Patrick's Day - filled with the gift of friendship, good luck, and life's blessings!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

A Touch Of Twinkle

We have had the most gorgeous weather here in Iowa this week - unseasonably warm - temperatures in the 70s and 80s with a nice breeze...and the sun has been shining all week - it is making it REALLY difficult for me to focus on anything work related...I just want to be outside! I'm still waiting on the fabric for my New England Stitcher's Retreat project {still sighing}...but good news...fingers will be here tomorrow (although I thought it would be here yesterday or today) and I will be able to work on the class project over the weekend...if not, I am going to throw my hands up in the air (probably cursing), use another linen supplier and color, and completely start over, as I just don't have any more time to wait...and I know you are all very anxious to see the project - I'm feeling the pressure. I have been keeping busy with charting for several new class designs and some summer pieces....and in the evenings I am model stitching a set of needlework smalls for an upcoming release...

I had a huge list of errands to accomplish today - but before I started, I had to decided to go to Archiver's and do a little shopping - my dear friend Mary gave me a gift card for my birthday (she knows me so well, as Archiver's is one of my very favorite places) and I wanted to put it to good use! Finding creative things to purchase was definitely not a problem for me - friends who have shopped at Archiver's with me know I can fill a hand cart pretty quickly! Today, the store was having a free "Make It" class for a mini booklet, so of course I had to partake...isn't mine (upper right) adorable?! The free classes are always good for teaching me about some new fancy product that I can't live without...or teach me more about a product I already own. Today's class started with the Martha Stewart Scoring Board, which I already have and adore (thank goodness)...then moved on to a Crop-A-Dile Corner Chomper which was WAY COOL and is now on my list of things I *need* (gee, that list just keeps growing), a Crop-A-Dile (Original) was used to punch the holes for the ribbon. The bunting flags were cut with a punch...and attached with Pop Dots to give them a nice dimensional look...and finally a touch of twinkle was added by using a Gelly Roll Stardust Clear Glitter Pen (and I must admit a package of these pens went home with me!). It was a quick project and gave me a few minutes to "play" before heading out to accomplish my list...and I have a cute little mini album - finished and ready for photos, embellishments, and memories. I managed to use my entire gift card (and a little more) - I know - SHOCKER! What else did I pick up...well - some sunshine yellow scalloped notes that will be perfect for Easter, some vintage inspired spool buttons, a package of beaded hat pins, a card of pins and buttons, some doodle twine (I just loved the pink/brown combination), and a few more odds and ends. It was a very inspiring visit and a nice creative start to my day!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Festive Fabric Envelopes

I have had minimal time for sewing lately - but over the weekend, I managed to try out a newly purchased pattern. I cut the pieces on Saturday evening - quilted and binded them on Sunday - then finished up these fun fabric envelopes last night. The pattern is called Hold That Thought! (TP#102) by The Teacher's Pet - it is one of their "Simple Pleasures" patterns, which are great for using up small pieces/scraps of fabric. It has directions for four sizes of gift envelopes - the smallest one (shown top right) is made with two charm squares (5" squares) of fabric...isn't it adorable?! I started out by making the two larger envelopes, as I really wanted to try out my new binding tool (The Binding Tool by TQM Products) and I needed at least 14" on one side to use it correctly. I absolutely LOVE this binding tool and am so thrilled I was able to find one while I was in Franklin, TN - I am always looking for ways to improve my binding techniques, and this tool is definitely a "keeper". After working on the two larger envelopes, I knew I just *had to* make the smallest one - after all, it is so cute! These fabric envelopes are perfect for a beginner and use minimal supplies - the smallest envelope only needs two 5" squares of fabric, a 5" square of batting, and a binding they are almost instant gratification, as they sew up quite quickly and easily. I plan to make these for some upcoming gifts using the recipient's favorite fabrics and filling them with special treasures.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Shamrock Snack Mats

I have spring fever...massive spring was almost impossible for me to focus on work today, as it was beautiful and sunny outside...still a little cool, but sunny, blue skies. I have several BRD class projects in the works, but I really wanted to be outside "playing" today.

I'm sure part of that is frustration - I am about half done with the Halloween project for the New England Stitcher's Retreat (which I know some of you are VERY anxious to see - and believe me, I am anxious to finish it), but I am at a stopping point until my fabric order arrives - when I started I only had a sample of the fabric - I have been waiting for more than a week for my fabric order from the manufacturer, and it is yet to I am in a holding pattern...waiting {sigh}. To try to keep on track and meet my deadlines, I have been finishing up the charting for two other class designs (fabric for those is on order too) and model stitching a springtime release in the evenings.

Tonight, I finished up a quilting project a started a couple days ago...I decided to use the scrap fabric from my St. Patrick's Day "Twisting Star Table Topper" to make a handful of snack mats. I made quick work of cutting the 2" squares by using my AccuQuilt GO! Baby fabric cutter....after cutting 75 squares, I started laying them out in sets of 5 x 5 (25 squares to a mat). I then used one of my favorite ways to piece them together - I fused the 25 squares to a 10" x 10" piece of fusible lightweight interfacing - then pieced them together from the wrong side - it works really slick for smaller pieces of fabric. I added jumbo rick rack around the perimeter of each before attaching the batting and backing. Once they were turned and pressed, I top stitched around the entire perimeter - the finished size is 7.5" x 7.5"....perfect for sprucing up my afternoon snack (a Golden Delicious apple and a handful of raw almonds). I have built up quite a collection of these fun snack mats (mug rugs), thanks to my girlfriends who have made me a nice assortment...along with several I have quilted much better than a napkin or plate...and definitely more cheerful!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Tomato Tuffets

While I was shopping with friends in Franklin, TN, I picked up the cutest Tomato Pincushion kit at The Quilting Squares Quilt Shop & Knit Emporium (Tomato Pin Cushion by P.S. Goin' Sewin'). It contained everything needed to make two tomato spool pincushions...I just provided a needle, glue and scissors...easy peasy...and in true Belinda fashion, I added some ribbon from my stash. I had started the process of creating these the day after I got home from my Nashville trip, but (as usual) I was sidetracked and put them aside....then yesterday morning, one of my shopping companions sent me a photo of her completed pincushions and it was just the motivation I need to finish mine! The "tomato" and the "strawberry" are felt balls...the tops are green wool felt...and pearl cotton floss was used to make the tomato wedges, attach the tops, and connect the strawberry. So adorable and so easy! I thought about painting my spools to give them a bit of pizazz, but opted to add some coordinating striped 1" grosgrain ribbon from my stash...which I thought was a nice splash of color to the plain wooden spool. I liked this idea so much, I went to my stash of wool felt/felt balls and made a couple without spools...these will make fun gifts throughout the year...and look cute with or without the spool. I just love the petite size - perfect for a small sewing box or taking on the go...the tomato only measures approximately 1.75" wide (the wooden spools measure 1.25" W x 2" H). I hope this quick and easy project inspires you to make a couple pincushions of your own...

Monday, March 5, 2012

St. Patrick's Day Twisting Star

So, there are several reasons I am excited about finishing my latest quilting project...first of all - I have had this in my to-do pile for over a year - yep, I purchased the fabric before St. Patrick's Day last year...second of all - it has several inset seams, which I was kind of scared of, but worked out quite well...and finally, all my star triangles have points (woo-hoo)! I actually started this project on Saturday afternoon and finished the piecing and binding this evening. I am so tickled to have this project done and on my dining room table before St. Patrick's Day. The pattern is called "Twisting Star Table Toppers" and is from Quilt has 8 different projects, including: a candle mat, two table toppers, a set of placemats, and four table runners. I chose the 24" table topper...and I have enough of the fabric leftover to make the candle mat. I was actually impressed with how easily this project came together and how well it turned out....and I can definitely see working this project with a variety of fabrics. One of my local quilt shops had a template set (3 sizes) made for the center hexagon(s) and I am very happy I made that purchase - it made cutting the center quite easy...I also used my AccuQuilt GO! Fabric Cutter to cut all the strips and the binding. Yes, I am very happy with my new holiday table topper...