Wednesday, September 2, 2020

Rejoicing Reindeer

©Copyright 2020 Belinda Karls-Nace/Blue Ribbon Designs, LLC

The Just CrossStitch 2020 Special Christmas Ornament Issue is currently arriving at needlework shops, in mailboxes, and on newsstands. Today, I am pleased to share my contribution with you. My ornament for this year is titled "Rejoicing Reindeer" and can be found on page 96, with my Christmas memory and recipe found on page 102. This year, I included my recipe for Salt Dough Ornaments...you know, the favorite childhood ornament project - dough cut with cookies cutters, embellished and baked, then painted if desired. My recipe has a simple list of ingredients (which you probably have on hand) that will make quick and easy ornaments and a fun family project! My 2020 cross stitch ornament complements my woodland ornaments from the past several years, only this year it is circular in shape. The entire design is Cross Stitch over two linen threads, so you can easily change the type/count of fabric. I stitched the model on 40-count Mocha linen from Weeks Dye Works (same as previous ornaments in this series) and used Weeks Dye Works cotton floss (DMC conversions are provided). I opted for a flat-finish with two-tone twisted cord to match my previous holiday ornaments.

©Copyright 2020 Belinda Karls-Nace/Blue Ribbon Designs, LLC

©Copyright 2020 Belinda Karls-Nace/Blue Ribbon Designs, LLC

This is the 15th year I have been included in the annual Ornament Issue (2006 - 2020)...which doesn't even seem possible! If you would like to see all 15 of my contributions, you can visit the "Publications" tab on my website (my coordinating ornaments from the Christmas Ornament Preview Issues are shown there, as well). This magazine has gone through a lot of changes over the years (just like my design style), yet still continues to be a yearly fan favorite.

I remember getting my first designer invitation back in 2006 to be in the magazine - I was SUPER excited - it was an honor to get that invitation each year to be included. Over the last several years, criticism regarding this issue seems to pop up everywhere - complaints that the ornaments seem too simple and/or without thought, harsh statements about the finishing of the ornaments, complaints that favorite designers are missing....some say the photography isn't good and the magazine is of lesser quality. As a designer and contributor (who puts a ton of thought and time into EVERY ornament design), this can be quite discouraging. Over the years, the magazine has taken away quite a bit of the prestige and excitement that came along with being included in this publication. For those who do not know, this issue has always been an unpaid assignment and designers do not receive any compensation for being included. In years past, the included designers would receive a handful of copies of the magazine (which I would give away in contests to my readers and social media followers) - now we get a single copy (and somehow, mine always arrives bent and damaged)...these are just a couple reasons why you may not be seeing some of your favorite designers in the more recent issues. The needlework industry is constantly changing, who knows what the future holds - but I have been happy to be a part of this special publication for the past 15 years! I can't wait to sit down with my issue and look through each page. There is always a diverse selection of designs from some very talented creators (some are new and upcoming talent, some are longtime favorites)...these designers love needlework so much that they contributed/donated their time and talent...so, while each and every ornament might not be a personal favorite, I hope you will still be able to find a few to stitch up for your tree!

I would love to hear your comments on this year's issue - do you have a favorite ornament(s)???

...and now, here is my holiday recipe for 2020... 

Salt Dough Ornaments

Dough ingredients:

  • All-purpose flour - 4 cups
  • Table salt - 1 cup
  • Warm water - 1 1/2 cups

Decorating tools:

  • Cookie Cutters
  • Textural items (kitchen utensils, rubber stamps, toothpick, etc.)
  • Straw (to create hang hole)
  • Acrylic paint, glitter, puffy paint
  • Polyurethane spray - optional
  • Ribbon (for hangers)

 Directions:

Mix flour and salt – whisk until well combined. Slowly add warm water while stirring. Continue stirring until you have added all the water. Use your hands to knead the dough until smooth and pliable – this will take a few minutes. Roll out the dough 1/8″ thick. Use cookie cutters to cut into desired shapes. Texture or draw/write on ornaments using your favorite tools. Use a straw to make a hole for hanging. Bake the ornaments in a 300°F oven for about an hour or until hard. Paint and decorate ornaments to your liking. Once paint is completely dry, coat with poly spray for extra longevity. Tie ribbon hanger and hang on tree.

May decorating your tree create lasting memories!

©Copyright 2020 Belinda Karls-Nace/Blue Ribbon Designs, LLC

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Sewing Session Snippets

Hello friends, readers and Blue Ribbon Designs enthusiasts - it's another post filled with creativity! I have been keeping busy with needlework finishing, stitching, sewing and quilting for the majority of my hours each day...trying to get a handle on projects and custom orders before we take our yearly Colorado trip in September. I finished a handful of orders for my zippered project bags this past week (along with a few custom pieces). It is always enjoyable to work with the fabulous fabrics my clients supply for their custom bags...even when they send challenging fabric with directional prints and/or straight lines, it is still fun to play with all the different patterns and styles. This batch includes more With Thy Needle and Thread project bags that are created from a printed panel...but in true Belinda fashion, I have changed the instructions inserting the zipper across the top and adding rick rack to both sides of the front panel...and I've made quite a few with a boxed bottom. I also had a request for a small scissor/needle case, measuring 5" W x 4" H - I quickly wrote up a pattern and made a prototype, then made two for my client with fabrics she supplied....if there are more requests for these, I may make some for my Etsy Shop. Here some photos of projects I worked on in the past several days...

My large and small project bags...

My large and small project bags...

My large and small project bags...

Custom-size bag: 14" W x 18" H

Two large project bags...

Project bag from fabric panel by Brenda Gervais/With Thy Needle & Thread
See designer website for information....

Project bags from fabric panels by Brenda Gervais/With Thy Needle & Thread
See designer website for information....

Project bags from fabric panels by Brenda Gervais/With Thy Needle & Thread
See designer website for information....

Custom Scissor/Needle Case 5" W x 4" H - Prototype

Custom Scissor/Needle Case 5" W x 4" H

Custom Scissor/Needle Case 5" W x 4" H

Two more project bag orders are in progress, then I start some HUGE needlework finishing orders. My holiday deadline for needlework finishing is September 1st...and sure enough packages are arriving daily. I always work in the order received and now it is time to steadily start working through those finishing projects. There are currently over 200 pieces of needlework finishing in my queue, so I am going to be a "finishing machine." These client orders contain some gorgeous needlework (LOTS of ornaments) and I can't wait to share some of the finishes with you...

Wishing you a happy and productive week!

Friday, August 21, 2020

Creative Week Wrap-up

Happy Friday readers! It has been another creative week in the studio. With my holiday finishing deadline in just over a week (September 1st), orders that need to be returned in time for Christmas have been pouring in and keeping me on my toes. I had a nice mixture of projects to complete this week - both needlework finishing and sewing/quilting. The needlework finishing photos featured today (I'll share the sewing/quilting finishes with you in a future post) were all stitched by one very talented needle-artist and dear friend -  and it was such a lovely grouping of pieces (again, these are not my designs or stitching, just my finishing work). I have provided designer details with each photo...and the gorgeous hand-dyed chenille, tape measurer trim, and lace are all from Lady Dot Creates...fabrics shown in individual photos were used for backing/lining. 

La D Da - Gentle Words

Scattered Seed Samplers - Little Berry Thief Pinkeep

Heart In Hand - Stitching Bird

Little House Needleworks - Rose Sampler

Heart In Hand - 2018 Collector's Heart
This chart contains both cross stitch designs shown (the stitcher
asked to have one on the front and one on the back)...

Threadwork Primitives - Life's Sweetest Flower

Ink Circles - This Heart of Mine

Little House Needleworks - Saltbox Village

Little House Needleworks - Season of Love

I also can share a piece of personal stitching I completed as a birthday gift for my super sweet friend Mary. This is Blackbird Designs "Small Token" (Reward of Merit Pincushion). I stitched it on 32-count Sand Dune by Lakeside Linens, with the called for Crescent Colours threads (now Classic Colorworks). For finishing, I used the fabric in the photo (from a retired Blackbird Designs collection) for the backing and hand-dyed cotton lace by Lady Dot Creates. Cross stitching, personalizing and finishing this small design was a nice break from my workload, as I don't have a chance to stitch gifts as often as I would like...

This afternoon I am headed back into the studio to work on a pile of project bags, a nice reprieve from all the needlework finishing...and if I can make a little personal quilting time, I would really like to finish my Christmas in July "Jelly Snowflake" quilt from the Fat Quarter Shop Sew Along - I kept up with the weekly block piecing in July, I just need to make time to quilt and bind it. I also have a small hand embroidery design I am working on in my stitching nest that I would like to complete. Wishing you a happy and creative weekend....

Friday, August 14, 2020

Cherished Moments Fabric Tour:
Precious Pillows

©Copyright 2020 Belinda Karls-Nace/Blue Ribbon Designs, LLC
Happy Friday...and welcome to the Poppie Cotton Cherished Moments Fabric Tour! I am super excited to be able to share a plethora of pillows I created with the new Cherished Moments fabric collection. It was extremely refreshing to be able to put on my quilt designing hat and work on a project with my own vision. I knew months ago when I first saw this collection and the exquisite tiny details that I would be making an assortment of pillows. Most of my readers know that I love to combine piecing and appliqué, so you will see that technique in several of my pillow designs - I also utilized some paper-piecing and some fun embellishments. Designing and creating each of these pillows brought me so much joy! 

If you missed my post last Friday, it was all about this blog tour - please visit it to read about these special fabrics and see a list of the other designers involved. Now, let me share my precious pillows with you...

Floral Canoe 
This pillow design was created using the traditional Crossed Canoes quilt block and just a touch of appliqué in the center.This fabric collection has lovely floral fabrics with beautiful details - so I thought a floral appliqué would be the perfect touch in the center. This pillow is 18' x 18"...

©Copyright 2020 Belinda Karls-Nace/Blue Ribbon Designs, LLC

Floral Cottage
For this pillow design, I used a pieced block with a house on a hill for the base. I appliquéd flowers and stems on the hillside and added strips of Kindly Said Black to the sides. The Kindly Said fabrics in this collection are covered in happy words and sentiments (see a snippet below)! I used teeny tiny buttons for the flower centers and door knob...and quilted a pair of window panes, as a couple finishing touches. This pillow is 16" x 12"...

©Copyright 2020 Belinda Karls-Nace/Blue Ribbon Designs, LLC

Floral Kaleidoscope 
This shining star pillow was created using the paper piecing technique. I used the Kaleidoscope Collection in EQ8 for the layout of the design...should you want to create one of your own, here are the details: Strawflower 2, Kaleidoscope Collection (Copyright © Andrea Bishop, 2008) - I made it 12" x 12" square. I also added a 2" finished border using Kindly Said White. EQ8 Software makes it extremely easy to size quilt blocks to your needs and print foundation papers...plus, paper piecing this particular block will give you perfect points! This pillow measures 16" x 16"...

©Copyright 2020 Belinda Karls-Nace/Blue Ribbon Designs, LLC

©Copyright 2020 Belinda Karls-Nace/Blue Ribbon Designs, LLC

Floral Love

Lots of love went into this final pillow! For this appliqué design - I cut a base from Seeing Dots White and added 2" finished strips of Kindly Said Pink to the top and bottom. I then used various cuts from this collection for the word LOVE and an assortment of flowers, stems and leaves. I thought using a heart for the center of the letter O would make a cute touch! This pillow measures 20" x 12"...

©Copyright 2020 Belinda Karls-Nace/Blue Ribbon Designs, LLC

©Copyright 2020 Belinda Karls-Nace/Blue Ribbon Designs, LLC

Floral Pin Pillows
Finally, as a little bonus, I whipped up a couple adorable pincushions with a few leftover scraps. The square pin pillow is the Log Cabin Rose quilt block found in the foundation piecing blocks in EQ8. I paper-pieced this block in a 6" size, then hand stitched hand-dyed Ballerina Jumbo Chenille by (my dear friend) Lady Dot Creates around the perimeter. For the second pincushion, I did the "quilt as you go" method using strips and selvages (yes, Poppie Cotton fabrics have the cutest selvages...see below!). I added several flowers cut from wool and used pins as the centers and to hold them in place...and I flag cut a cute piece of selvage that says "joy and sunshine" and pinned it in place, as well. I thought these turned out super cute!

©Copyright 2020 Belinda Karls-Nace/Blue Ribbon Designs, LLC

©Copyright 2020 Belinda Karls-Nace/Blue Ribbon Designs, LLC

There you have it - my pillow designs using the Cherished Moments Collection by Poppie Cotton. This fabric line is in shops now, so be sure to check your favorite local shop or online shop to find these gorgeous prints. I used a fat quarter stack to create all my pillow tops.

©Copyright 2020 Belinda Karls-Nace/Blue Ribbon Designs, LLC

©Copyright 2020 Belinda Karls-Nace/Blue Ribbon Designs, LLC

©Copyright 2020 Belinda Karls-Nace/Blue Ribbon Designs, LLC

I hope you have enjoyed this stop on the fabric tour - thank you for visiting. Could you feel the happiness and joy I put into each piece?! I am already working on a quilt for the next Poppie Cotton fabric tour in November...it is for the upcoming Woodland Songbirds collection...and it is a BEAUTY. If you make a project from the Cherished Moments collection featured in this post, I would love to hear from you...happy sewing and quilting!

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Keepsakes and the Kids

Blue Ribbon Finishing
Today will be a very quick post, as "my list" is long. My holiday needlework finishing deadline is quickly approaching (September 1st), so sure enough, the orders have been pouring in....and it is actually a bit overwhelming. Now that I have completed my projects for the Poppie Cotton Cherished Moments Fabric Tour (stop back to see what I created on Friday!), I will be living in my studio, trying to get a handle on the huge assortment of piles...especially before we take a vacation in mid-September.

 The pieces shown today were all stitched by the same wonderful client...and again, these are not my designs or my stitching - just my finishing work. She was kind enough to provide me with details for each piece, so I will share them with each image....

I will also share a cute video of "the kids" at the close of this post...

Blue Ribbon Finishing
Sweet Strawberry by Cosmic Handmade
Visit her blog for the complimentary chart:
https://cosmichandmade.wordpress.com/

Blue Ribbon Finishing
Heart Stocking by JBW Designs

Blue Ribbon Finishing
Cardinal by Leisure Arts

Blue Ribbon Finishing
Bob Bob Bobbing by Sharon Bennett
Visit her blog for information on this complimentary chart:
https://itsdaffycat.blogspot.com/

Blue Ribbon Finishing
Joy by Pineberry Lane

Blue Ribbon Finishing
Live Simply Strawberry by Erica Michaels
All About Berries Club - an exclusive club through Dyeing To Stitch

Blue Ribbon Finishing
Live Simply Strawberry Cap


Finally today - by popular demand - a video featuring Garin and Schatzi. A little back story...some of you may know that we have a Kuranda bunk bed for our dogs. When Garin was a puppy, we just didn't now how we were going to fit two large Kuranda beds in our living space (this was pre-move). After a glass of wine (or maybe two), I came up with the brilliant idea of "doggie bunk beds" - we googled it - and sure enough we found out it was really a thing! So, when the dogs need a time out (or mom needs a break)...or I need to vacuum or answer the door, I command the dogs to their "place" and they stay there until released. Some of you may also know that I have a TikTok account that is all videos of our dogs...this is a video I posted of the dogs on the their bunk bed with a funny sound bite I found that fits perfectly (not my voice) - make sure your sound is on! If you enjoy this video, visit my page for more: https://www.tiktok.com/@brdgirl 

Monday, August 10, 2020

Pick of the Patch

Halloween Haul
Can you believe how quickly the summer months are passing?? - I can't believe it is already mid-August...where does the time go?! Halloween items are popping up everywhere...and soon stores will be setting up their Christmas holiday displays (if they haven't already). It's time to start working on Halloween and holiday items, if you want to have them completed in time to display this year...

The current issue of Just CrossStitch Magazine (October 2020) features a Halloween Spooktacular section that includes five ornaments to stitch up and decorate your Halloween tree....and yes, you can find Blue Ribbon Designs in this feature. My Halloween ornament this year is titled "Pick of the Patch" and is a fun, quick stitch!  You can locate my ornament and all the details on page 40. My ornament is worked in cross stitch, partial cross stitch, elongated cross stitch, and back stitch...and I used Weeks Dye Works linen (Confederate Gray) and Weeks Dye Works cotton floss (a DMC conversion is also provided). There are TONS of fabulous ways to finish your Halloween ornaments - for this particular ornament, I chose a classic flat-finish with black twisted cord. This is the autumn issue, so there are a plethora of fall designs, as well...and it includes Halloween ornaments by StitchyFish Designs and Charlotte's Web Needlework...along with a fun Halloween framed design by Durene Jones (featured on the cover). You can find this issue of Just CrossStitch Magazine at your favorite needlework shop or on newsstands now...

Pick of the Patch

Pick of the Patch

....and don't forget to grab a copy of the 2020 Just CrossStitch Halloween Special Collector's Issue featuring my "Halloween Haul" wall hanging...

Halloween Haul