Tuesday, January 3, 2017

All Bundled Up Fabric Baskets

Greetings creative friends - I have a special treat for you this afternoon! We are all aware of just how crazy the month of December can be - I know, I was a little (actually A LOT)  overwhelmed trying to get everything accomplished...but in that craziness, I did manage to get another AccuQuilt friendly tutorial created and ready several weeks ago...and I know you were all expecting to see it on their blog in December (thank you for your messages asking me about it) - there was a little confusion on their end, but it is finally posted (YAY!) and I am excited to share it with you today...my "All Bundled Up Fabric Basket."

Be sure to head over to the AccuQuilt Blog for this new tutorial...you will find a supply list and complete instructions for these fun fabric baskets, including all the details...and I must warn you, these are very addicting - be prepared to make up a couple (or ten)...they sew up rather quickly, use minimal supplies, and are perfect for gift giving or organizing all sorts of things!



Again this month, I used the GO! Qube Mix Match 9” Block and GO! Qube 9" Companion Set-Classics....but feel free to use your favorite block dimensions - just remember it will change the finished size of your fabric basket. I will walk you through each step and you will find this quilted 3D project is quick and easy to create…in fact, you should be able to whip up several in an afternoon!

I chose winter fabrics, but this tutorial would work well with batiks, prints, or solids...or mix and match to fit your personal style and decor. I see several holiday print baskets in my future...wouldn't one be C.U.T.E. filled with Valentine's Day or St. Patrick's Day treats?!

...and one more note - for this project, I used the GO! Qube 9" Companion Set Classics-72 Block Patterns Booklet – this FREE downloadable pattern booklet will give you detailed instructions for piecing the quilt block featured in project (along with 71 other choices)...be sure to choose your favorite quilt block(s)!



Make your way over to the AccuQuilt Blog for a materials list and step by step tutorial, with images:
https://www.accuquilt.com/blog/education/go-project-tutorials-education/all-bundled-up-fabric-basket-a-quilting-tutorial/


I was super excited to gift several of these baskets to stitchy friends for Christmas - I created coordinating pincushions to fit inside and added several stitching tools/accessories...they are also great for coffees and teas, make-up or a manicure supplies, stationery, or sewing supplies...the possibilities are endless!


Sunday, January 1, 2017

Holiday Wrap-Up

While I tend to spend my time looking forward and adjusting to new challenges, I always find the start of a new year is the perfect time to reflect on accomplishments and dream for the future. The year 2016 was a bit of a rollercoaster ride for me - starting off slow...lots of ups and downs...and calmly coming to a stop. I definitely learned some life lessons this past year...I also reached some personal goals and did some big planning/dreaming for the future. With the arrival of the new year, I feel refreshed, hopeful, and ready to tackle what life has in store for me!

The last couple weeks leading up to the holiday were a bit of a whirlwind, filled with all the traditional year-end tasks, including: keeping up with all my various work projects...while trying to make all my Christmas gifts and send cards and packages...and decorate, clean house, bake, shop, wrap, and prepare a large Christmas dinner with all the trimmings. I will be the first to tell you - my holiday spirit wasn't really in full-swing this year - I got everything done and did enjoy the preparations, but truth be told, this year I was a bit "bah humbug" - that is until my mom decided to lift my spirits. Knowing I was a bit down, she arranged for a gift to arrive each of the six days before Christmas - and the first surprise was a beautiful fresh floral delivery...a gorgeous bouquet featuring carnations (my favorite), chrysanthemums, holly and pine - and it smells so good (I say "smells" because after 2-weeks, it is still thriving). The following days, multiple gifts arrived to pamper me (and boy, oh boy, did I feel pampered)...on one particular day, I even received a box full of retro candy, which was quite the treat! We talked on the phone each day, sharing our holiday joys...and she gave me her list of favorite holiday movies, which I promptly recorded.
 

In the end, I finished making all my gifts and they were wrapped and shipped (ON TIME)...the cards were sent (some a little late, but BEFORE Christmas), the house was clean, and the Christmas dinner went off without a hitch....yes, I am truly blessed. It was fun to receive cards and packages from faraway friends - some were a complete surprise. The holiday movies reminded me of the true meaning and reason for Christmas...and a big holiday meal with family was one more blessing to add to the list. My heart is full....



So in love with these little cross stitch sled ornaments…
my dear friend Robin makes me one each year... 2014 was the squirrel, 2015 was the quilt,
and this year she stitched the monogram... 💗


Some of my wrapping...

From Instagram - my "best nine in 2016" (photos with most likes)...

Binding a floral table runner for a gift...

One of my fabric baskets with a matching pin cushion and a few stitching treasures
to tuck inside...a gift I sent to a dear friend...

My Accuquilt blog post tutorial for December features these
fun fabric baskets - there was some confusion at AccuQuilt, but I have been
assured it will be posted soon - if not, I'll post it here on my blog
this week - thank you for your patience!

An Americana wall hanging I made for a very special friend...
my own design...

Another fun thing to share...
In a package from my fabulous friend Terri, I received a lovely engagement calendar, that I am already putting to good use. I use a calendar in my iPhone for daily appointments and deadlines, but I am using this beauty to keep a list of everything I create in 2017 - I already have notes on several dates. This will be tracking all my creative activity and to-do lists...
Inside this spiral bound calendar, the year is conveniently broken down by week...with seven days per page...along with color photos of prizewinning quilts...perfect to have open on my desk!


As we start a new year, I would like to thank you for supporting Blue Ribbon Designs and my artistic journey. You continue to inspire me with your creativity, kindness, and generous spirits - BRD would not be possible without you and your patience as I explore new creative avenues and ideas. In preparation for 2017, take a moment to reflect on the past year and the many blessings bestowed upon you...and be sure to take a look at all the beautiful stitching, sewing, quilting, and crafting projects you have accomplished. I wish you a happy, healthy 2017, filled with joy, laughter, and creativity! 

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Colorful Companion Sampler

Yesterday, I mentioned I would return to share a new sampler quilt with you...one of my latest pattern designs for AccuQuilt - the GO! Qube 9" Companion Sampler Quilt. This bright and cheerful sampler quilt features twelve pieced blocks created with the GO! Qube Mix & Match 9" Block and the GO! Qube 9" Companion Set-Classics....along the with GO! Strip Cutter-2 1/2" (2" Finished) for the binding. I used lovely Robert Kaufman Kona Cotton Solids for this colorful project...but this pattern would work equally well with prints or batiks. It uses all of the GO! Qube and GO! Qube Companion shapes, except the GO! Parallelogram...and while I designed and created it with the 9" block sets, you could easily use your favorite GO! Qube block size. Using 9" blocks, this quilt measures 35" x 46"....but if you choose to make it with 12" blocks, it would measure 44" x 58" - a nice throw size quilt...and it would make a fun mini quilt using 6" blocks!




The pattern has instructions for the twelve blocks I used for the sample, but you could easily replace any block(s) with your favorite(s). ...and the good news? - right now, the pattern is FREE for download on the AccuQuilt website:
http://www.accuquilt.com/shop/go-qube-9-companion-sampler-quilt-pattern.html


Even better, if you need a little kickstart for this modern project, check out this AccuQuilt video that features the GO! Qube 9" Companion Sampler Quilt - it shows more details and gives you some tips and tricks! For those who can't view the video on my blog, please visit this You Tube link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YpxJcKeI1NY


I hope you are inspired to start your own sampler quilt...and if you do, I hope you will keep me updated on your progress - it's a great way to practice and showcase your skills! Try doing a block each day (or each week or each month) to make it more manageable and before you know it, you will have a full quilt....

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

On the Cutting Edge...

If you are a regular reader of my blog, then you know there is always a special project going on in my studio...and earlier this year I had my design hat on, creating a plethora of quilt blocks and projects for the new AccuQuilt GO! Qube Companion Sets. Now, I know these have been available for a few months, so you might already have seen all of this...but I have quite a few AccuQuilt enthusiasts that follow my blog....and so, better a little late than never. Plus I wanted to share what I designed/created for these versatile new die sets...

I'm sure you all remember my excitement when the GO! Qubes were released (if not, you can read my blog post here: https://blueribbondesigns.blogspot.com/2015/11/quilt-block-heaven-in-qube.html)...so you can probably guess that I was "over the moon" when AccuQuilt decided to release a GO! Qube Companion Set to coordinate with each size of GO! Qube - seriously, how cool is that?! The GO! Qube Companion Set-Classics is available in each of the four GO! Qube sizes: 6",  8", 9", and 12"....and is designed to expand the possibilities of what you can create with the existing GO! Qube Mix & Match Blocks. Each Companion Set includes four classic shapes labeled 9-12 (a continuation of the 1-8 die numbering system from the GO! Qube Mix & Match Blocks), a cutting mat, an instructional DVD, and a 20-page pattern booklet. Yep, it's pretty awesome! The four GO! Dies included in the GO! Qube Companion Set-Classics are:
  • GO! Chisels (Shape 9)
  • GO! Signature Block (Shape 10)
  • GO! Drunkard’s Path-Arc Shape (Shape 11)
  • GO! Drunkard’s Path-Quarter Circle (Shape 12)



The fun thing for me...I designed/wrote all the patterns for the GO! Qube Companion Set Classics-72 Block Pattern Booklets (for each of the four sizes)...and that includes the new Mix & Match block patterns included in each box! Plus I designed/wrote the pattern for the GO! Cutting Edge Throw Quilt (for each size) that is included in the Pattern Book in each set. I was pretty ecstatic to see the finished product when the sets were released! Right now, you can download both the GO! Qube Companion Set Classics-72 Block Pattern Booklets and the GO! Cutting Edge Throw Quilt patterns on the AccuQuilt website for free (yes, FREE!). Here are links and photos for each size...












It is always rewarding to share some of the projects I have had the pleasure of working on...it just took me a little time to get around to these. I hope you enjoy exploring the links and downloading the free patterns/booklets...and if you have a GO! Qube Companion Set, I would LOVE to see what you have been creating...

Tomorrow, I will be back to share another new pattern design that uses the GO! Qube Mix & Match 9" Block and the GO! Qube 9" Companion Set-Classics...a colorful sampler quilt!

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Piece of My Heart

With the cold winter weather, I thought I would share a new project with you that warms my heart - it is my latest pattern design for AccuQuilt called the "GO! Piece of My Heart Wall Hanging." I had so much fun designing and creating this project that uses the GO! Strip Cutter-5 1/2" (5" Finished)...and the GO! Strip Cutter-2 1/2" (2" Finished) for the binding - that's it - only two cutting dies! Once I had the pattern written, it went together super easy and I was thrilled with how it turned out...so much so, that I had a really hard time boxing up the sample and sending it to AccuQuilt - I wanted to keep it for my very own! I worked up the sample in beautiful Robert Kaufman Kona Cotton Solids...but this pattern would work well with prints or batiks...and it could even be done with one basic color in a variety of prints. For the quilting, I used simple wavy lines on my domestic machine (yep, I'm still dreaming of the day I will own a longarm!).



You can find this new pattern on the AccuQuilt website...and it is currently free of charge (yes, I said FREE) to download:
http://www.accuquilt.com/shop/go-piece-of-my-heart-strip-quilt-pattern.html

My tip to you (if you want to make one of your very own) - keep your pieces organized - I pinned my pieces for each vertical strip set together until sewing....and then I placed each strip set in order on my design wall. The finished wall hanging measures 55" x 55" and would also work quite well for a lap quilt.


This colorful project is sure to brighten up a winter day....and with Valentine's Day in less than two months, it is the perfect time to get started! So, go check out the AccuQuilt website, download the free pattern, and gather your supplies - you'll be finished in no time...
Happy quilting!

Monday, December 19, 2016

Warm Winter Wishes

Countdown to Christmas (BRD-077)
Ready to turn the piece for today...
Greetings friends! It is a chilly day here in Iowa - perfect for spending a little time at the sewing machine or curled up with a cross stitch project. It has been a whirlwind of creativity in my studio the last month - finishing up freelance jobs, custom finishing, and special holiday orders...and trying to fit my own handmade gifts in the mix. I am happy to say I finished up all my big deadlines last week and finished up my holiday gifts over the weekend...and I am now down to just a few projects that were not included in the holiday rush (those who are waiting, thank you for your patience)...whew! The last few packages are shipping today...and I am ready to get the house cleaned up and ready for Christmas...and get the last few items checked off my Christmas list. I managed to hang all my framed Christmas cross stitch pieces and place a few decorative bowls with holiday ornaments and smalls throughout the house...yes, I know, I have been saying it for too many years to count - I *need* to get a tree to display my cross stitch ornament collection which has surpassed well-over 100 stitched ornaments (one day, I a tree will be in the budget, but until then, I will find creative ways to display the ornaments throughout the house).

I want to thank everyone who voted for my video in the Husqvarna Viking #sewworthit contest to win a Designer Epic (my dream sewing and embroidery machine). I placed third in votes (VERY close to second place when the contest abruptly ended)...and while they encouraged everyone to make creative videos, the contest was based on the most votes - so, I will be receiving the runner-up prize - a $500 prize package of sewing notions and supplies, which we all know I can definitely use...so a HUGE thank you for voting and supporting my entry - I truly appreciate it! While my dream didn't come true, my heart is full from all the love and support I received...thank you SO MUCH - I may not be blessed with the sewing machine of my dreams, but I am truly blessed to have great people in my life that support my creative passions! I'll be sure to post a photo of my prize package when it arrives.

Here are a few photos of things I can share (including some recent shots of some of my Christmas cross stitch models)...more details on a couple of these will be posted in the near future...

Peppermint Twist (BRD-076)

Just Add Tinsel (BRD-089)

A machine applique Americana design in progress...

Poinsettias and Pines (BRD-059) 

A custom order Stitch Starter Ruler Sleeve with my BRD Stitch Starter Ruler...

A new pattern I created for AccuQuilt - the GO! Piece of My Heart Strip Quilt
I will post more details very soon....

My "All Bundled Up" Fabric Baskets
Details coming soon along with a full tutorial on the
AccuQuilt Blog later this month...stay tuned....
I'm off to work on some custom orders and a few new items for my Etsy shop...then some household chores...and tonight I will be in my cozy stitching nest working on a new design model. I hope you are enjoying the holiday season and (if you are in the COLD zone) keeping warm!

Monday, December 5, 2016

DESIGNER EPIC #sewworthit Video Story Contest

Have you watched my Video Story Contest Entry yet? It tells you why the Husqvarna Viking Designer Epic is #sewworthit using elements from my daily life - I hope you will take a moment (it is only a minute long) and watch it and maybe it will make you smile! I'm not the best saleswoman or good at asking for help/votes, but I am good at being creative and persistent. I am currently in second place and could use your help to win the sewing/embroidery machine of my dreams - if you could view my video, then place a vote for me, I would be greatly appreciative!
Visit: http://woobox.com/eyk7zi/gallery/DvLFOHRtQis to view and vote...it only takes a second and you don't need to sign-in or sign-up, just click the word VOTE above my video. Thanks!


Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Freeze Frame Mug Rugs


Hello creative friends! Be sure to head over to the AccuQuilt Blog today for my latest guest blog post...there you will find a complete tutorial for my "Freeze Frame Mug Rug", perfect for holiday gift giving...

This project is perfect for a beginner...and the entire project was cut on my GO! Fabric Cutter (project is GO! BigGO!, and GO! Baby compatible) using:

GO! Qube Mix & Match 6” Block (55775)
  • Dies Used: #1 GO! Square 3” Finished, #2 GO! Square 1½” Finished, #4 GO! QST 3” Finished Square, #5 GO! HST 1½” Finished Square, and #8 GO! Rectangle
GO! Qube 6″ Companion Set-Classic (55779)
  • Dies Used: #9 GO! Chisels
GO! Strip Cutter-2″ (1 1/2″ Finished) (55025 or 55164) (binding only)...


My winter mug rug is created with both traditional piecing and machine appliqué...and with the small size, it can be worked up rather quickly. This project is great for scraps or fat quarters...and while I used cotton print fabrics, it would look great in solids or batiks...and one of my favorite things about this design - once you build the house, you can embellish it with any of your favorite motifs - I chose pine trees, but it would look great with an assortment of snowflakes, reindeer, or even a Santa! You could also change up the scenery and make it for any season. Using the 6" Qube and Companion, it finishes a nice size (9”W x 6”H) - but you can adjust it to any size Qube/Qube Companion to make it larger for a runner, candle mat or table topper.


So  be sure to stop by the AccuQuilt Blog for a materials list and step by step tutorial, with images: 
https://www.accuquilt.com/blog/education/go-project-tutorials/freeze-frame-mug-rug-a-quilting-tutorial/

I know they may look a bit complicated, but I show step by step how to create them...a beginner could have several created before Christmas! 


Finally, I would like thank everyone who has voted for my video in the Husqvarna Viking #sewworthit Video Story Contest (see the prevous post for more details)! I truly appreciate your support. The competition is heating up and I only have a slight lead (several people have even copied my video idea - using images, think bubbles, and music - GRRR!). I hope you will visit the following link and view/vote for my video....you don't have to sign-up or sign in or leave any personal information - simply click on the link, then click vote - easy peasy! ...and to those who have shared my link/details in their groups and on social media - I appreciate you more than you know - you are AMAZING! Thank you for helping me try to win my dream sewing and embroidery machine...
http://woobox.com/eyk7zi/gallery/DvLFOHRtQis

Friday, November 25, 2016

Giving Thanks...and My Story Video

Wild turkeys having a feast at the bird feeders
 in the backyard on Thanksgiving...followed by
a drink from the bird bath...
Happy day after Thanksgiving - I hope you had a wonderful celebration with family and friends! My husband and I actually made a trip to Lake Summerset, IL, so I could spend Thanksgiving with my mommy for the first time in over 20 years. It was a quick, but special trip...and it was so nice to see my mom and Dan and extended family. We left yesterday morning - made the five hour drive and arrived an hour before dinner - then, spent the night and returned home bright and early this morning, as my husband had to work this afternoon (many of you know, my husband is in management for UPS and we all know how much shipping is happening this time of year!). In any case, we had a lovely trip, family time, and a delicious meal...and Schatzi even tagged along and spent time with some new friends (Daisy and Wilson).

Thank you to everyone for your love and kind words regarding Simba...I found comfort in many of your messages. I also have to thank those who have checked in with me since my oral surgery - it went as expected and I am healing - all is well. I feel very blessed to have so many caring people in my life - my heart is full.

On to the creative part of my post...
We all know how passionate I am about anything created with a needle and thread - by hand or machine....and many of you know there are two things I can't live without in my sewing studio - my Accuquilt products and my Husqvarna Viking Designer Diamond sewing and embroidery machine/Huskylock s25. I'm pretty sure everyone knows how much I love my sewing machine and how hard I worked to get it years ago - it brings me joy every single day. Over the years, they have released new and improved versions of my machine...but the most recent, the Designer Epic, is truly extraordinary - oh how I have been drooling over this machine for months. Obviously a machine of this caliber is not in my budget, so when I saw Husqvarna Viking Sewing Machines was have a video contest with an Epic as a grand prize, I had to put on my thinking cap to think of a video idea that would be worthy of submission. My idea grew slowly and turned into the contest entry you can view below - I am an amatuer videographer, but I had so much fun making it...and I knew I had to give it a shot! I'm not a big fan of contests that require you to solicit votes - many times it is a popularity contest and the entry itself (no matter how good it is) isn't a factor...but I had to make an exception in this special case and at least TRY. I hope you enjoy my short video testimonial about why I love the Husqvarna Viking Designer Epic sewing and embroidery machine and why it is #sewworthit...and if you feel so inclined, please place a vote for my entry.

To vote, simply visit the following link - and click on VOTE - NO sign-up, e-mail, or personal information is required - yep, just visit the link and click VOTE:


It only takes a second and I would appreciate it "sew" very much! Contest rules state: you can vote once per IP address.

You can see the video in it's entirety by visiting the link above, or my YouTube page, or for those who have a browser that support it, I am posting it below (note: you still have to visit the link above to vote):



I hope it makes you smile and you can tell how much I enjoyed putting it together...and, of course, a squirrel made the final cut (after all, it is "my video story"). My fingers (and toes) are crossed, as I am sure there will be some GOOD competition (at the time of this post, my video was the only submission - along with two Epic videos from Husqvarna Viking)....maybe that is good luck!

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Scribbles, Still Lifes, and Simba

Hello friends - I know a post is overdue, and I do have quit a bit to share. Somehow, once again, this month has totally gotten away from me...and to think - Thanksgiving is next week...where does the time go? First a few personal things...then a few creative things...

Today, I start with some some sad news - many of you are are aware, but I know some of you are not...we had to lay Simba, our little rescued Shih Tzu, to rest last week. He was getting ready to turn fifteen and had been experiencing some health issues that escalated over the past several months. I won't go into too much detail, as my heart is still broken...he had dementia and would constantly spook himself, flinch, and shake...which was quite worrisome and of course caused quite a few daily accidents...and in his last weeks, he really was disoriented and wasn't sure where he was most of the time...and he was not sleeping. We did try medication that worked for a little over a week, but he became immune to it quickly and the symptoms continued to worsen. The most important thing to us was that he was happy, comfortable and not suffering, as he brought us (and our family and friends) so much joy and unconditional love. We knew it was time and it was the best/right decision for Simba. I thought I had prepared myself, but it has been WAY more difficult than I anticipated - Travis has reminded me that he was by my side 24-hours-a-day for almost 14 years, so it will take some adjustment. The good news is Schatzi is taking great care of me and giving me extra love and affection. Thank you for the comforting notes, cards, comments, love and support. The photo above was taken a couple weeks ago...a rare moment when he was relaxed and I captured it to share with my husband - it makes me smile.

On to other news...last Saturday, Travis and I made a road trip to Iowa City to see Michigan play football - yes, most of you know, although we are in Iowa, we are both HUGE Michigan fans. I was excited to go to a college game under the lights - especially with our Wolverines being undefeated...and we had quite a few friends that were at the game and tailgating. Michigan losing probably would have broken my heart, if it wasn't already hurting from Simba...but I must say, a highlight was seeing all the Hawkeye fans storm the field in a manner of seconds...their excitement was fun to see and I can appreciate it (even if they did upset my team).



Travis continues to improve after his back surgery and he was able to go on his 10-day fishing trip to southern Louisiana a couple weeks ago. He took some great photos for me and I thought I would share a couple with you. I sure wish I would have been along to see this sunset...



On the last of the personal news...
I am headed in for another oral surgery in the morning - I will be having a sinus lift and my implant put in place. More stitches in my mouth....and soft, cold foods for a few days again...and a couple days of rest. I think the most annoying part (besides try to rest) is having to take a week off from the gym...the last time it was torture. So if you don't see me around or hear from me for a few days, don't worry - I will be resting and healing.

On to some creative things...here are some photos of what I have been working on and what has been going on in the studio. I have been completing quite a few custom orders and some holiday needlework finishing (most of which I have been asked to keep secret until after Christmas). I have also been doing quite a few AccuQuilt projects. I was lucky enough to be one of the first to use the new Embrilliance Essentials AccuQuilt GO! Edition embroidery design software...and I created the samples they used to introduce this user-friendly software at Quilt Market. I created multiple blocks and used the software to digitize and create a new version of my GO! Snow Much Fun Wall Hanging (shown below) - yes, all those blocks were appliqued in the hoop....and now I am working on a few more top secret projects that use the software, as well. There is a lot to share on that subject, so I will save it for it's own special post...I will also post about the sampler quilt you see below....and about the new Qube Companion Sets...yep, I have A LOT  to share with you in future posts - I have fallen a bit behind, but I will get you caught up! The final photo is a peek at my upcoming AccuQuilt blog post tutorial project for November - look for more on that in the future, as well...

Thank you  AccuQuilt - a new rotary cutter, cutting mats, and rulers!
I really needed these....

Custom order - project bags and tool pouches...

Custom order - project bags and tool pouches...

GO! Qube 9" Companion Sampler Quilt 

New Embrilliance Essentials AccuQuilt GO! Edition embroidery design software...

GO! Snow Much Fun Wall Hanging - each block was digitized and
then appliqued in the hoop on my embroidery machine....

Sneak peek of my November project for the Accuquilt Blog
That gives you a pretty good idea of what has been happening the last couple weeks...tonight, I am cutting and preparing some more customer projects for assembly line sewing...and finishing up the set-up on my new cell phone (my new iPhone 7 Plus finally arrived and I am switching over from Android - it's a bit of a job, but I am almost done). If I am lucky, I'll put in a few stitches on a new model before bed...