Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Three Blue Houses

Hello friends! I thought I would stop by for a quick visit tonight - I have been a little overwhelmed trying to catch up with work obligations and really needed a break from my sewing machine. I have been frantically trying to catch-up with custom sewing orders and finish a couple cross stitch deadlines (two more pieces for Just CrossStitch magazine)...my studio tables are pretty full at the moment and I have been feeling a bit frazzled...so, of course, my husband asks me to whip up a very special baby quilt for someone he works with (you know, in my spare time 😉). My to-do list is nice and full - but I feel extremely blessed to be busy. I have been meaning to stop by and share a couple cross stitch pieces with you - one I stitched for a very dear friend...and one that very dear friend stitched for me...

If you are a regular reader of my blog, then you know, my personal stitching time is close to non-existent these days - when I'm stitching it is almost exclusively one of my own Blue Ribbon Designs. However, I have an extremely special friend that stitches for me often - in fact, my studio is full of pieces that remind me of her and her kind heart...and I knew I wanted to stitch her a piece for Christmas. I actually had something specific in mind, finished a specific way. Since our recent move, I still have a few large studio boxes in the basement to unpack (I know, shocker)...they are labeled quite well and I have just been grabbing things from them, as needed. Well, when searching for that something specific for my original idea, I ran across a small kit with a tiny desktop frame...I didn't care for the pattern, but I really liked the frame...so I quickly switched gears and started looking for a pattern to fit. I do have my charts and patterns unpacked and accessible in my studio, so I grabbed my large basket of cross stitch stash and found an old Ewe & I & Friends chart, that I thought would be perfect...it's called Three Pink Houses. I explain all of this, because I made quite a few changes to make it exactly what I wanted, but it was a great starting point for what I envisioned! Here is a photo of the original chart...


First of all, I left off the border, so it would fit properly. Next I changed the pink houses to blue...and I personalized it with our initials and the year...I'm pretty sure I moved around a few colors too! I used the DMC colors listed...and for the houses, I used Blue Moon from Classic Colorworks. All in all, I was thrilled with the results and it turned out exactly as I had hoped!



Imagine my smile when I opened my gifts from this special friend and she had stitched a beautiful piece for me, as well. This is Antique Scissors & Spools by Shakespeare's Peddler -  a fabulous addition to my studio...and it looks wonderful with the piece she stitched me for my last birthday (Sew Happy by All Through The Night). Right now, they are both displayed on the high-top counter in my studio, until I get some 3M Command Hooks (my husband says no holes in the walls of our new house). Aren't stitchy friends THE BEST?!! I feel so special and loved...




Our first Christmas in the new house was memorable because I have the very best friends (located all across the country)...my circle may be small, but it is mighty!

It's been the longest day and I am off to relax a wee bit before bedtime. Thank you for visiting with me tonight...I'll do my best to stop back again soon!

Monday, December 30, 2019

Season of Sewing

Happy holidays to all my readers - I hope you have been having a joyous season!

I spent most of October, November and the beginning of December in a needlework finishing frenzy...but for the last couple weeks, I have been able to get back to some custom sewing projects. I thought I would stop by for a very quick visit tonight (as I am recovering from a terrible stomach bug) and share a plethora of project bags I completed the last couple weeks...along with an additional sewing project.

To start, I will share an assortment of my large and small project bags...for these particular bags, all the fabrics were provided by clients. I have quite a few zippered bag orders right now - an assortment of large project bags, small project bags, and a few tool bags...plus some custom panel project bags...yes, I am sewing up a storm to catch up! I continue to have quite a few questions on the patterns I use and the sizes of the bags...so I thought I would clear up any confusion. My project bags are made from my very own pattern that I designed specifically for cross stitch patterns and supplies (it is not available for sale)...all of my bags have a zipper across the top instead of the front...and all of my bags have enclosed seams (no raw/exposed edges on the inside of the bag). I use a custom die cutting system for consistent size and minimal fabric waste. My zippered bags are popular with clients who want to provide their own favorite fabrics - my clients get to shop and pick the fabrics they love (for themselves or for gifts), then ship them off to me and I create the requested size(s) of choice...


Here are details for my four most popular sizes:

Large Project Bag (most popular size):
Size: Approximately 14.25" W x 10.25" H
Designed for full size patterns measuring 8.5" x 11" and supplies.

Small Project Bag:
 Approximately 10.75" W x 7.75" H
Designed for half sheet patterns measuring 5.5" x 8.5" and supplies.

Tool Bag:
Approximately 9.25" W x 7.25" H
Designed for small projects and or tools/accessories.

Artist Bag (Over-Sized Pencil Bag):
Approximately 9.25" W x 4.5" H
Designed for needlework tools, colored pencils or supplies on the go...


My custom bags are made to order (most commonly, my customers supply fabrics of their choice). When time allows, I make them for my Etsy Shop (with fabrics I choose). The four sizes listed above are my basic/most requested bags, but (for a small additional fee) I can make them to any size requested. Should you like more information (pricing and fabric size details), please e-mail me (link also in profile). You can see all sorts of photos on my Instagram page...and see what is available and read my reviews by visiting my Etsy shop...









Finally - I did a little additional sewing and quilting a couple days before Christmas. I wanted to try out a new stocking template...and I was itching to try a new transparent quilting thread that came highly recommended (which is FABULOUS!). I decided to use a fun word fabric that I have a partial bolt of on hand -  Mama Said Sew Revisited by Sweetwater for Moda (click on photos to enlarge). I was so happy with how this quilted stocking turned out and will keep this template in my arsenal for custom orders. For photography, I thought it would be really cute as a seamstress stocking filled with sewing notions - which (coincidentally) would be the ultimate stocking for me! Unfortunately, Santa didn't come fill it (there is always next year)...but I think it will be very cute to hang in my sewing studio...




I'll be back soon with a couple fun needlework finishes and some more creative projects.

As 2019 comes to a close, I am reflecting on the last 365 days...it sure has been another busy and artistic year...I hope you will take a moment to reflect on the past year and the many blessings bestowed upon you. Thank you for supporting Blue Ribbon Designs and your love and support throughout the year! I wish you a happy, healthy 2020 filled with joy, laughter, and creativity!
HAPPY NEW YEAR...

Monday, December 23, 2019

Holiday Highlights

It’s almost Christmas, so today I have a little video treat for you...it features all sorts of Blue Ribbon Designs (some you may have forgotten, some may be new to you). Merry Christmas to those celebrating - wishing you a blessed and magical holiday! May you find joy in the celebration, beauty in your surroundings, and love in your heart...



To find more information on these BRD holiday designs, visit the following resources:
https://blueribbondesigns.com
https://blueribbondesigns.blogspot.com
https://etsy.com/shop/BlueRibbonDesigns

Happy Holidays!

Monday, December 9, 2019

The Finishing Touch

Hello friends - I'm back for a quick evening post - it seems this is the quietest/easiest time of day to sit down and visit with you! Our household is on a crazy schedule at the moment and I am finding it a bit of a challenge. I thought I would stop by tonight and share some recent needlework finishes I completed for a favorite customer. This is the last of the needlework finishing for a little while and I will be back to cutting project bags and custom sewing orders later tonight. These needlework pieces were all for one  wonderful customer...and she is GREAT to work with - a box of needlework arrives with the instructions of "do whatever you think" - these are my favorite type of orders that make the time in my studio rewarding and fun. I truly adore orders like these, as I get to choose all the backing fabrics, shapes, and embellishments...and truth be told, that is my favorite part!! I had fun picking coordinating fabrics for the backs, picking trims (thanks to Lady Dot Creates) and making the twisted cord...and, as always, adding the finishing touches...

One piece I should share about is the needlepoint pillow (shown in upper right corner and below). I normally do not finish needlepoint or canvas pieces - they are definitely not my specialty...but this was a unique situation and the piece was in remembrance for a family member. The stitching wasn't quite complete and there were a couple stains - but I got it cleaned up, pressed and blocked the best I could. The original idea was to trim the pillow with piping or cord around the perimeter, but once I had the pillow created, I really liked the look without any edging. I sent photos to the stitcher and we agreed it looked good without. I was quite pleased with the end result. It is always rewarding when something special turns out as imagined.

I hope you enjoy these images...and maybe you will be inspired to pull out your most recent cross stitch piece and do a little needlework finishing yourself. Designers/details are listed with the images when available...fabrics in the photos are used for backing...

Needlepoint Canvas by Bucilla
(I do not have a title or year)

Needlepoint Pillow Back

Let It Snow - Threadwork Primitives

Jingle All The Way - Just Another Button Company (I think)

Jingle All The Way - Ornament Back


Family Mittens by Cricket Collection

Grand Olde Flag by With thy Needle & Thread
My finishing idea - model is flat finished.

Grand Olde Flag Hanging

Summer Stroll by Just Nan

Spell of the Moon by Backbird Designs

Tom Turkey Sampler by Heart in Hand

Love Sampler by Heart in Hand
My finishing idea - valentine/letter holder - model was framed.
I 💗 this!!
I am now headed down to my cutting room to prepare project bags until my husband gets home from work. Yes friends, the sleep schedule is insane here and the struggle is real...my daily routine is completely out of sorts. I'm guessing I have over a hundred bags to cut, so I have plenty to keep me occupied...plus I'm listening to a great book (I LOVE Audible) that will keep me company (along with the dogs - they love the cool basement floor!). I have more creative things to share with you, so I should be back another late night this week...

Friday, December 6, 2019

Apple Patch

Hello friends - I am so happy you stopped by for a visit! Today, I thought I would share a recent quilt finish...a small wall hanging quilt I made for my momma. This lovely little quilt pattern has been in my stash for quite some time...I purchased it specifically to create for my mom...and her recent birthday was the perfect occasion to pull some fabrics and start sewing. While this design looks a little complicated, it is actually a paper foundation pattern - Apple Patch by MH Designs. Foundation paper piecing is a quilting technique done by sewing fabric to a printed paper foundation - this method is great when working with tiny pieces and can be used to create extremely precise points and shapes. The finished size of this quilt is 8.75" x 14", so as you can imagine, some of the pieces can be quite tiny. MH Designs has a fabulous selection of paper foundation patterns, that range from beginner to advanced and the instructions are wonderful! I have a small pile of these patterns in my library, several earmarked for specific recipients. The fabrics used in this quilt were all scraps and fat quarters found in my stash - all different collections - just fabrics I thought would work well together for this project. I truly enjoyed working on these quilted apples...and I'm pretty sure my mom was happy with it too! 💗




A day or two after this little quilt was delivered, I had a delivery myself...a gorgeous holiday flower arrangement from my mom...thanking me for the package. It was the perfect arrival at the perfect time. There has not been a lot of Christmas spirit in the new house, especially with being far away from our family and friends...and with my husband working insane hours, holiday excitement is pretty much non-existent. I know, every year, I say I am going to get a tree...but that still hasn't happened....and yes, I know, I have designed and stitched over 100 ornaments and I could easily fill a tree with handmade pieces...so I am not sure what is holding me back (the expense is part of it). I even went as far as measuring the height of the ceiling in our new living room (well, my husband did - who knew we had 9' ceilings?!)...and we looked online at TONS of trees (I knew I wanted a really natural looking tree with white lights)...but in the end, I din't order one (I know, insert eye roll here)...but I did take notes on a few that I liked. However, thanks to my mom and her flower delivery, I have a "mini tree" - it consists of carnations (my favorite), daisies, lilies, and lots of pine...and most importantly, it smells fabulous!! I have moved it around the house three or four times, trying to keep it in my vision at all times. 😊


So, that is my holiday excitement. I do have most of my (minimal) shopping complete...and I have belted out a few Christmas carols while working in my studio...oh, and I have managed to watch a couple Christmas movies/specials on my studio television while working. I'll get myself into the holiday spirit sooner or later...😄

I still have lots of finishing, sewing and quilting orders to complete...so I am spending my days in my happy place...or should I says "nights" - my husband has been working crazy mixed up hours and I tend to keep the same sleep schedule he does. I have also been formatting a few fresh cross stitch designs and researching printing companies in our new area...while my studio is clean, my desk is a complete MESS (I could barely find my keyboard to type this update)!

I'll be back soon with some more gorgeous needlework finishing photos to share with you...until then, I hope you find beauty and joy in the season....

Sunday, December 1, 2019

Bring on December

Happy December friends and family! Wow - where has the time gone??...this year has passed by so quickly...this time last year, we had just learned we would be moving out of Iowa - and now, here I am writing this from Kansas...it's been a whirlwind. I hope you have been enjoying the season, keeping warm and cozy, and finding a little bit of time to do the things you enjoy!

I have been stitching, sewing, quilting, and needlework finishing - happily creating almost every single day. I have finally completed all the orders that "had to be done before Christmas"...now I am working on all the "no holiday rush" projects, which lets me breathe a sigh of relief (even though the piles are high)! I finally took some time and re-organized the upstairs sewing studio over the last couple days - it *needed* to be done (oh my goodness - it was somewhat disorganized chaos!)...next up will be the basement warehouse/cutting/shipping area. I am still trying to get everything the way I want it after the move...the dream is, one day, I would really like everything in one big studio area....but I am not complaining - I have wonderful spaces!

First up today - I am having a Holiday Shop Sale (today and tomorrow, which is Cyber Monday)...Visit either https://blueribbondesigns.etsy.com or https://blueribbondesigns.com to save:
20% Off All Single Blue Ribbon Designs Cross Stitch Charts, Pincushions and Pin/Button Packs! PLUS: All orders of $40.00 or more (before shipping/sales tax) will receive a free gift - my "Woodland Tree Farm" cross stitch chart. In addition: FREE shipping in the United States with $35 purchase. I know that is a lot of information - but if you have been waiting to purchase any favorite designs, now is the time to stock up!


Next up today....some fabulous needlework finishes! These were all stitched by the same talented person...they are not my designs or stitching...this is just my custom finishing work. I truly enjoyed finishing each and every one of these special pieces...and I still have a pile to complete for the same client (guess what I will be working on later tonight)...

Love My Stitching by Hands On Design
My style large project bag...

Ye Old Crow Sampler by Heart in Hand

The Embroideress Stocking by Kathy Barrick

Forever Friends by Summer House Stitche Workes
Limited Kit - A Little Help From Our Friends Stitching Circle from Silver Needle

A Nordic Mitten by JBW Designs

Queen of the Needle by With thy Needle & Thread
Finished as a needlebook...

Queen of the Needle by With thy Needle & Thread
Finished as a needlebook...INSIDE

Finally today - a little about our Thanksgiving holiday...
Many of you know that my husband is in management for UPS, so there is never any traveling for us during the holidays...as he works seven days a week and is on call 24-hours a day. So, for me, the holidays are a little challenging - especially this year, being far away from all my loved ones in a new state. Last weekend, we made the trip up to Iowa to celebrate Thanksgiving with Travis's parents and to celebrate Friendsgiving with our "neighborhood gang" family (see fun photo below - I'm chuckling as I type this remembering how much work it was to get everyone in the picture and we still didn't quite accomplish our goal - these are my people!!💗)...it was a quick, but much needed road trip - I truly cherished the time with family and dear friends! I even got to see my BFF Mary for a big hug and a quick walk around the block (she lives just a few houses away from my in-laws!). That short trip gave me enough joy to get through this holiday season! Oh, did I mention we took the dogs with us??...yep, they rode in the back of the Jeep with the seat down...


My fabulous Iowa "neighborhood gang" family...💗

I hope you had a wonderful thanksgiving and made a few fun memories! We were actually at home in Kansas for a quiet day - we went to the gym for an early morning workout, then had homemade pizza and wine for our Thanksgiving feast...and watched a movie with the dogs kids. After getting to celebrate early, this was a pretty perfect way to spend the holiday...

Thanks for visiting today - I am headed back to my CLEAN sewing studio to get a little weekend work done and some orders ready for shipment tomorrow. Take a little time to find joy during the holiday season rush!

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Fresh Finishes

My Handmade Needle Minders
Special Gifts for Friends... 
It's been a finishing frenzy in the Blue Ribbon Designs studio the last few weeks. I am doing my best to get all the holiday finishing orders complete and shipped in a timely manner...I am "one of those" who has an extremely hard time relaxing - especially when I have work waiting for me...so, I have been super focused and working round the clock to finish up the projects on my to-do tables. I am down to one large needlework finishing order (that I started yesterday) and then I am back to custom sewing and quilting for a while. I have been working on a variety of creative endeavors lately, along with some handmade gifts for birthdays and the upcoming holidays...and I have been working on some pieces for Just CrossStitch magazine, including my ornament for the 2020 Ornament Issue and a very special Halloween piece for the Halloween Issue. Here is a picture trail of some of the projects I have completed in the last couple weeks (some I can't share with you quite yet)...and again, these are not my designs or my stitching - just my finishing work...designers and titles listed with each photo...

Swirly Birds and Flowers - Sam Sarah Design Studio
(Silver Needle: A Little Help From Our Friends Stitching Circle)

Another view of Swirly Birds and Flowers - Sam Sarah Design Studio
(Silver Needle: A Little Help From Our Friends Stitching Circle)

The Swim Instructor - The Cricket Collection

An 18th Century Stitcher's Pinwheels - The Goode Huswife

No Place Like Home - Victorian Motto Sampler Shoppe

Welcome Friends - Victorian Motto Sampler Shoppe
Scatter Smiles - Victorian Motto Sampler Shoppe

Merry Christmas - My Big Toe Designs

Checker Bird - Heart in Hand

Hats Off to Uncle Sam - Blackbird Designs

Pursue Thanks - Tree of Life Samplings

....and just wait until you see what is currently on my finishing table...some more fabulous finishes will be shared again soon...

Finally - for those who have been asking - here are a few photos of the kids. They have been adjusting well to life in Kansas and are doing a great job of keeping momma on her toes!! The builder has just completed some major work in our backyard and replaced quite a bit of sod...fingers crossed they have a great area to run around in the spring. They are still talking to the cows (our new neighbors) - but the cows just ignore them...😊 

Garin - 2-years-old (our little boy)
Schatzi - 6-years-old (our beauty girl)

This last photo needs a bit of explaining...we are still trying to make the furniture from our previous home work in our new house and have rearranged our living room at least ten times. A few days ago, I moved their doggy bunk bed (yes, they have a bunk bed) to a different area - afterwards when I commanded them to go to their "place", they both got on the bottom bunk...not sure the bottom bunk is supposed to support 175 pounds, but it was definitely photo worthy...


Thanks for visiting today - I hope you are leaving happy and inspired! Stop back soon for more creative goodness...