Friday, January 26, 2018

Humming Along

It's a quiet Friday night and I thought I would take break from a stitching marathon to post an update. I have been working on more cross stitch projects for Just CrossStitch Magazine and a new AccuQuilt design, so things are humming along. I've been trying to clean up my counter of customer projects, so there are piles of project bags cut and ready to sew, along with a couple small quilts and a wall hanging...and multiple piles of needlework finishing, all in various stages of completion...there is also a tray of Stitch Starter Ruler sleeves and several project/tool bags prepped and ready to sew for my Etsy Shop. I'm still trying to find a balance with the puppy requiring quite a bit of attention while my husband is traveling.

...and since when it rains, it pours, there were a few challenges this week. My web host tried to move my website to a new server and (of course) my e-mails are tied to my website, which caused a bit of an issue - no e-mail for a couple days, then it all started pouring in my inbox in large batches...and when a new batch would arrive, the old batch would disappear (poof!) - it seems to be fixed now and I think we recovered everything, but if by chance you sent me a message that needed a response and didn't receive one, please re-send it! I managed to get my 2017 sales taxes completed this week and started preparing our income tax paperwork for the CPA - something I dread all year, even though I am quite organized. It was just one of those super busy weeks where it doesn't seem like anything was accomplished. I got back on track yesterday and the to-do list is starting to look manageable....hopefully this coming week will run smooth (fingers crossed)!

Last Friday, I was able to have lunch with my dear friend Mary - it felt great to get out of the house and just breathe. Since the puppy arrival last October and then the holiday rush, I have been on scheduled autopilot - I really only make it out to go to the gym and to run errands, so "me time" has been pretty much non-existent - to be able to relax, even if only for a couple hours, was pure joy. After lunch, we walked over to a local quilt shop and picked fabrics for a couple small projects....and I felt refreshed and ready to tackle more of what life has been throwing at me. I have been doing quite a bit of needlework finishing for Mary and was able to return some of her beautiful stitching (these photos showcase her stitching and my finishing):

This piece has been getting quite a bit of social media buzz and we are trying
to figure out the designer/title - the consensus is that it was in a magazine,
 but I don't have specific details - if you know, please leave me a comment!

Don't you love it when seams line up perfectly!

This shows the back and the side seams...



...and for those who have been patiently waiting, I was able to get another 50+ Stitch Starter Ruler Sleeve Sets listed in my Etsy shop...they have been selling out very quickly (thank you!!!) and I am always trying to keep them in stock. I have another 50 ready to sew...


Time to get Garin out of the kennel for one more play session with Schatzi before bedtime. Wishing you a creative and productive weekend...

Friday, January 12, 2018

Projects, Presents, and a Puppy

Happy Friday friends! I thought I would pop in on this bitter cold afternoon and visit with you. The winter months are wearing on me and I am already dreaming of springtime and sunshine. This week I have been focusing on balance - it has been a struggle since we added a puppy to our family at the end of October. Trying to keep on a schedule and accomplish everything I have to do has been a bit overwhelming...and truth be told, I could really use a vacation....but I'm trying to keep on track and steadily work through my deadlines and work obligations.

This past week, I finished up a couple magazine models for Just CrossStitch Magazine - look for a new ornament in the July/August issue (Christmas Ornament Preview) and another in the special Christmas Ornament Issue. I can't show them to you before the publications are released, but here is a photo teaser of the ornament backs (upper right) - I will tell you, they complement my previous woodland ornament series.

I have also been working on a huge pile of Stitch Start Ruler Sleeves - the last couple weeks have wiped out pretty much all of the stock in my Etsy Shop...so if you have contacted me or have been waiting, I should have a good assortment listed in the next week.


Between client special orders, I have been working on a mini heart quilt and I'm in the process of basting it for quilting. I used a layer cake from the "Lovely" Collection by Sandy Gervais for Moda - isn't it adorable?? I can't wait to get it quilted and bound...it makes me smile!


I also have a couple fun cross stitch photos to share with you. Even though I cancelled Christmas this year, I still received a few heartwarming packages in the mail from a couple very dear friends. Check out these cute, unique ornaments...and several AMAZING squirrel gifts...each one of these pieces fills me with joy!



Finally today - for those who have asked, here are some recent photos of Garin. He is growing leaps and bounds...and believe it or not, he will be old enough to leave for his formal training at the end of February. We sent Miss Schatzi through this exact same training when she was a puppy and it was worth every penny and the time we were apart. As you can see from these photos, Schatzi and Garin have become best friends - they play hard, but every once in a while, they rest long enough to get a photo...



Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Outstanding Ornaments

It's another frigidly cold day and I have been in my stitching nest working on a couple cross stitch magazine models this afternoon. Before the day gets completely away from me and while Garin is in the kennel taking his afternoon nap, I thought I would share a few more needlework finishes. These ornaments were all stitched by the same fabulous stitcher - and each was a joy to finish (lucky me - this incredible needleworker gives me minimal direction and lets me be creative!). I am sharing photos of the fronts and the backs, so you can see the fabrics I chose to coordinate with these flat finishes. All of the cording is made with DMC Six-Strand Embroidery Floss and my Kreinik Custom Corder....and it is hand-stitched in place (I don't use glue on any pieces I finish - just my personal preference) - I also hand sew ribbons, trims and embellishments in place. Another large package of needlework arrived from the same stitcher yesterday and has been added to my to-do list, so I will get to start picking fabrics, colors and trims again soon!









For now, it is time to let the puppy out of the kennel (and yes, for those asking, I will post a new photo of him soon - he is oh so adorable, but oh so mischievous!). Later tonight I will be working on more needlework finishing...and if time allows, quilting a small patchwork wall hanging...my studio tables are full of projects, so there will be A LOT of creative finishes to share in the future....

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Fortitude and Finishing

As we welcome the new year, I am taking a look back at the last 365 days - 2017 was a challenging year - full of triumphs, tests, and restructuring. Thank you for your support, encouragement, and loyalty regarding all avenues of Blue Ribbon Designs - there are many talented designers, creators, finishers, and teachers out there...and a vast amount of needlework/sewing/quilting patterns to choose from - I sincerely thank you for welcoming my designs into your creative space and allowing my dream to be a reality. I hope you will continue to receive my creations with open arms...it is a blessing to share my passion for all things done with needle and thread. As we jump into 2018, I have many intriguing goals and objectives...a pile of design ideas and exciting plans for the future - plus a good amount of projects in the works. Thank you for following me on my creative journey...

In my last post, I mentioned I have been keeping busy with all sorts of needlework finishing - I thought I would share some of the fabulous pieces my stitching clients have trusted me with...these were stitched by one of my very talented customers - only the finishing is my work...

Design information:
"Snow for Christmas" by With Thy Needle and Thread


Design information:
"Very Merry Winter" by JBW Designs


Design information:
"Snowman Trio" by Stitchy Kitty

Design information:
"Santa Knitting" - 2007 - Prairie Schooler

Design information:
"Bernard's Snow Day" by Kaniki's Prims & Whims
Winter 2016 PNPS Magazine

...and finally - I shared this stocking finish in my last post...but today, I have more to add. A very dear friend stitched this Christmas stocking for her (gorgeous!) first granddaughter and asked me to finish it. I was so pleased with how it turned out...and was overjoyed when she sent me a photo of her granddaughter holding it (isn't she precious?!)...this made me smile instantly!

Design information:
"Snow Bears Stocking" - Counted Cross Stitch Kit by Dimensions


As we start the 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 2018, 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 2018, filled with joy, laughter, and creativity! 

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Pre-holiday Photo Parade

Needlebook gift I stitched/created
 for a dear friend. Stitched over-one.
Design is Bent Creek - "Red Winged
Blackbird" (heavily modified and
the word "needles" added).
Happy holidays everyone! Wow - where has the time gone??...I have neglected my blog for far too long...ugh...I will definitely try to visit with you more in the coming year. 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! Having a puppy in the house and the holiday rush have monopolized my time for the last couple months, but all is well. I have been stitching, sewing, quilting, and needlework finishing - happily creating almost every single day! In fact, I have so many photos to share, it will take a few posts over the next several days to get all caught up. It seems much easier to keep up with my Instagram feed - so stop by, if you are ever wondering what I am up to!

...and yes, Garin (our German Shepherd puppy) is doing quite well...growing every day! He was almost 40 pounds at his 16-week vet check-up...and he has had all his big boy shots. Today, Miss Schatzi and Garin had a long play session in the snow-covered backyard (if you follow me on Snapchat, you can see it!) - they have quickly become best friends. 😊

Here is a brief photo journey of (just some of) the customer sewing I have been doing lately...and a few pieces of customer needlework finishing. I will share quite a bit more cross stitch over the next couple days (you are in for a real treat - there are some gorgeous needlework pieces). As you can see, zippered bags continue to keep me busy - most of these were created with (beautiful) customer supplied fabrics - I work on three main sizes (large project bags, small project bags, and tool bags)...plus I have a couple other sizes I have been auditioning to add to my brand (see the last photo)...











For now, I am off to my stitching nest - I am working on a couple Christmas ornaments for Just CrossStitch magazine - yes, I'm already stitching for the 2018 holiday season!! I'll be back soon with some beautiful needlework images to share with you...

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Time Limits and Tail Waggers

It is a cool, quiet morning and while Garin is having a much needed timeout in his kennel, I thought I would clear my head. Whew! - what a crazy few weeks it has been...I'm actually a little speechless. Garin is a smart, fun, and lovable addition to our family - but WOW - he sure keeps me on my toes - you can't leave him alone...not even for one minute. So, of course (Murphy's law), my husband was informed he has to be out of town for work until Christmas...perfect timing, NOT...did you just hear my deep (VERY deep) sigh...yeah, I'm not thrilled. Trying to balance my workload and daily life chores/events with a very active puppy is quite challenging - I have to work in spurts when he is in the kennel, which for me is not ideal...so there is not a lot of sleep happening here...and let's face it, there is asbolutely no time for me....and preparing for the holidays is basically non-existent. So, last week, I made a simple decision - I'm cancelling Christmas this year - yep, it's not happening - on my calendar, Christmas 2017 doesn't exist. I like to make 95% of my gifts, and well, there just aren't enough hours in the day. Friends and family, you are reading correctly - if I happen to be on your holiday list, your list just got shorter - please take me off...see, I'm helping you out too - your shopping/creating list just got shorter! If you are a good friend or longtime reader of my blog, then you know, I have terrible "gift guilt" - I am not good at receiving gifts if I can't reciprocate - seriously, I am the worst. Right now, I just really want/need to focus on my clients and make sure each and every one is happy and taken care of...and to be honest, even that is a challenge - but it WILL happen! So, in an effort to make my life less stressful, I'm lightening my load - bye, bye Christmas - see you in 2018....and you know what - it feels great to put that out in the universe and cross it off my list.

Now that my load is slightly lighter, let me share what has been happening in the studio when I am not on puppy duty. Last week and this week, I have been on a project bag frenzy - you heard me right - it has been zippers, zippers, and more zippers in the studio....more orders were shipped out today and the piles are starting to almost look manageable - if I have received fabrics from you, your bags are in progress!  I will be busy cutting and preparing the next several bag orders this afternoon during Garin's afternoon kennel session...I am working in the order received...last count, I had seventeen project bag orders left to complete (each with multiple bags)...and my goal is to get as many done this week as absolutely possible. I have also been sneaking in more Stitch Starter Ruler Sleeve Sets for my Etsy shop when time allows (extra special thanks to those who have shared my rulers and sleeves on Flosstube - you helped me sell out quickly and I am busy restocking)...I have a huge pile of ruler sleeves cut and ready to sew, and each time I change thread colors to sew bags, if the color matches any of the sleeves, I sew a few up. Next week is reserved for needlework finishing - I have quite a bit to get done before the holidays - so that will be my focus. Again, thank you to everyone for being patient with my turnaround time during this busy holiday season!