Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year's Eve Day

Hello friends and followers! Thank you for hanging out while I took a little break from my blog posts. Like most, the holiday season has been a little hectic for me, as I struggled to balance family/friends, holiday plans, and my business obligations. I sure could use a "sewing day" to clear my head and regroup. I have been frantically working on two teaching designs for 2010...stitching so much, my fingers are bleeding. I have also been trying to get several new designs "in-the-works" for the Nashville Needlearts Market in February. Things here have been insane to say the least, and I am starting have a short fuse. I did have a lovely Christmas holiday, made so very special by my good friends and family....and it was definitely a white Christmas, as snow has continued to fall here on a daily basis.

Speaking of snowfall, I wanted to share this beautiful ornament with you! This snowflake arrived in my mailbox yesterday, all the way from England....and let me tell you, the photo does not do it justice. This lovely hand-beaded ornament came from Lindsay and it is gorgeous! Lindsay posted on an earlier blog entry (December 5th) that she would like to do a snowflake ornament exchange with I sent her some machine embroidered snowflakes and she sent me this beautiful work of art - thank you Lindsay!

As 2009 comes to a close, I would like to thank all of you for supporting my blog journey and Blue Ribbon Designs. You continue to inspire me with your creativity, kindness, and generous spirits! 2009 has been a successful year for me (and my business) and that would not be possible without each and every one of you. As we prepare for 2010, take a moment to reflect on the past year and all the many blessings you have in your life...look at all the beautiful stitching and/or sewing projects you have accomplished. Wishing you a happy, healthy 2010 filled with joy, laughter, and creativity!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Holiday Wrapping - Do You Foof??

Here is another one of my favorite things...this holiday season, I have been glossing all my gifts!
If you haven't heard of the FoofQueens or GiftGloss, then you must visit their website: "Foofing", also known as "glossing", is a great new way to spruce up and embellish your gifts...and I warn you, it is highly addictive! GiftGloss is a clear, tubular wrap that comes with its own can slide your gift into the GiftGloss alone (as a clear wrap)...or roll/wrap your gift in tissue paper before sliding into the GiftGloss to conceal the gift. You can tie each of the ends with ribbon (these are called "piggy" tails) or you can pull the excess to the top and tie a "pony" tail. My favorite part is finding the perfect tie-on to embellish the gift. The FoofQueens website has all sorts of inspiring photos and will be amazed at the creativity. I have been enjoying my first "foofed" Christmas...finding fun ways to wrap my is also a fabulous way to cover baked gifts and treats!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Holiday Trio Giveaway Winner

Happy holidays all....thank you for reading and following my blog...and thank you for your fun giveaway entries! I wish there could be more than one recipient, as I enjoy ALL of you. Remember, there will be more giveaways in 2010 (I promise!). The random generator chose lucky number 23...which is Kellie....Kellie, I will be emailing you.

I still have a few holiday things to post I will be back with more...

Friday, December 18, 2009

Teacups & Tiaras

First of all, my final giveaway of 2009 is still going on...see my blog entry from yesterday (December 17th) to enter for your chance to win...

Last night was our local EGA (Valley Junction Chapter) holiday party...and what a nice evening it was! I was disappointed not all of us could fit in one room, so several of us were left to sit in an adjoining room; this made it very difficult to be involved or hear the festivities...but I didn't let that ruin my night....our little group made our own fun! The holiday party committee did a fabulous job...and planned a special tea party at one of my favorite spots in Historic Valley Junction called Teacups and Tiaras. The entire evening had a tea party theme...each place setting had a teacup pincushion and a goodie bag...including a specially made laying tool with teacup and tiara charms...and a hand folded teabag with counting pins inside...all made by the talented committee members. The dinner was delicious...and I kid you not, the dessert was one of the best I have ever tasted (think Oreo cookie crust, peppermint ice cream, with a chocolate fudge frosting - garnished with a dab of whip cream and crushed peppermint candies)! Each year, for those who want to participate, we do a handmade ornament exchange...pictured below is the ornament I stitched (Lizzie Kate's "Noel Squared") and the ornament I received - stitched by member Sharon B. (Blackbird Designs "Peace" from the 2009 JCS Ornament Issue)...I absolutely LOVE my ornament and it will make a nice addition to my nonexistent tree (I know, I know, I really need to get a tree....I hear you!)....

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Holiday Giveaway - Trio Of Gifts

I promised yesterday I would be back with a share my group gift...and to have another holiday giveaway, so here I am!

We all know I love to play with my sewing machine, so yesterday as my gift to each stitcher in our little group, I brought a basket full of zippered pocket tissue cases...all made from holiday fabric. I had so much fun spending some time at my sewing machine and making all of these...but even more fun giving them away! I featured these fun little pocket tissue cases in my homemade holiday gift ideas (number four), so if you would like to read more about them see my post from November 21st.

Now on to my final giveaway for the year...and I think it is a pretty good one! If you have been reading my blog and following my gift ideas, then you will recognize each of these items. One lucky recipient will win: a pocket tissue case (with tissues), a holiday pincushion, and a humbug bag (the three pieces shown in the photo)! ...and yes, I made all three of the pieces with my own two hands. Here is what you need to do to be eligible for this prize:

Simply leave a comment to this post (you must leave a comment, email entries will not be accepted) telling me your favorite Christmas carol or holiday song...or favorite Christmas story or TV special...and you will be in a random drawing to win the final giveaway of the year. I will post the winner Sunday, December 20th; I will use the random generator to choose one lucky recipient from all the entries. PLEASE leave your email address or make sure it is in your profile - entries without a valid email address will not be eligible. Check back on Sunday to see if you are the lucky winner - I will be contacting the winner by email - if I have your information in time, your prize will go out in Priority Mail on Monday - in time to receive it before Christmas (an overseas winner may have to be a little more patient with the post)!

Good luck to all...and thank you for reading/following!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Feeling So Blessed...

Today was my local stitch group's holiday gathering...and what a delightful time we had! I hadn't been in the most festive of mood this year, but that changed today - there is nothing like stitching and sharing with friends...add to that good food, hot cider, and special gifts...all in a fabulous holiday atmosphere...I feel completely refreshed and much more in the Christmas spirit! I have some of the most talented, creative, and generous friends. You all know I absolutely love opening tiny presents...could be a pencil or a toothbrush, but if it is wrapped, I am "over the moon" - so what a surprise today when we all found out each of us had brought gifts for the whole group...we had so much fun stitching, exchanging packages, laughing, and catching up...what a joyous way to spend part of my day - I am feeling so very blessed! To my stitching friends - thank you for making this day so very special...

Shown in the photos - lovely treasures from our gift exchange: top right - a handmade prairie point (fabric) pine cone ornament...below (L to R) - Red Raspberry Jam, Mill Hill Holiday Pin Kit, Handmade Tapestry Threader, Handmade (by 10-year-old child) Beaded Ornament Hanger, Handmade Scissor Fob, Tweezers (the most unique ones I have seen), DMC variegated floss, and Vanilla Chai drink mix.
Check back tomorrow to see the gift I brought for everyone...and for your chance to win one in a new holiday giveaway!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Homemade Holiday Gift Ideas ~ Number Seven

Today's homemade holiday gift idea is a quilted journal...and although, these may look complicated to make, they might actually be easier than you think! I have shown a couple of these to you before, but yesterday I made four more for gifts. The ones shown below have the recipient's name embroidered on the cover; therefore, I have chosen to "white out" the names until the gifts are received. The cover actually fits over a composition notebook that can easily be found at any office supply store - it measures 9 3/4" h x 7 1/2"w. The supply list is minimal...this is a great project for using up scrap fabric...and they can easily be embellished with all sorts of trims, buttons, and/or embroidery. Best of all, there are two FREE patterns available online! The pattern used for the samples in the photos is from an older Quilts and More Quarterly Challenge and can be found in PDF form on the website. For a slightly smaller version (made to fit a spiral bound A5 art diary 8 1/4" h x 6 1/4" w) visit the Moda Bake Shop Blog for an excellent tutorial called "Journal Covers". These journals are the perfect size for making a list, taking notes, or writing down your personal thoughts....and make a lovely holiday gift!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Something Adorable, Something Elegant, Something Sweet

Today I have three fun things to share with you...something adorable, something elegant, and something sweet! Let's start out with the "something adorable"...
This special Christmas Ornament is so totally awesome...the photo just doesn't do it justice! It is called "Willy's Gift" and was designed (and stitched) by Michelle Lutzen of Stitchy Kitty. This ornament was part of The Busy Needle Diabetes Ornament Tree, a yearly fundraiser benefiting local diabetes charities. This is the 10th year Sara has hosted this increasing popular fundraiser...and each year, she outdoes herself. This year included the "always talked about" ornament tree (with a cross stitch freebie packet available with donation), an eBay auction, and raffle items...and the festivities continue through December 31st...visit The Busy Needle webpage for more details on this fantastic cause. I was lucky enough to be the high bidder on this fabulous ornament...signed on the back by the designer! If you are not familiar with Stitchy Kitty designs, please check out Michelle's website...her fun and whimsical designs always make me smile....and she even has some freebie treats just for stopping by! (I know what you are thinking...Belinda, you really need to get a Christmas tree...)
Next, "something elegant" gorgeous are these beaded needlework accessories?! The were made by Tommye at TJB Designs...and I absolutely LOVE them. Check out the TJB Designs Etsy Store for more of these great pieces in the photo include a scissor fob, counting/marking pins, and three needle threaders...and I love them all! Tommye does a fabulous job...the craftsmanship was top notch and even the packaging was special...and as a nice surprise, she included a brand new shiny needle with my order! For an additional treat visit her blog (she gets more stitching projects done than anyone I know!)...I have been having fun following her holiday list and seeing all the amazing gifts she has been making...

Finally, "something sweet"...last night we had a holiday party to attend and of course I brought a tray of cookies. These are one of my favorites (and my husband likes them too!)...
Peanut Butter & Chocolate Star Cookies
1 bag chocolate stars
1/2 cup shortening
3/4 cup peanut butter
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
1 egg
2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
Granulated sugar (for rolling dough before baking)
Heat oven to 375 degrees. Beat shortening and peanut butter in large bowl until well blended. Add sugar and brown sugar; beat until fluffy. Add egg, milk, and vanilla; beat well. Stir together flour, baking soda, and salt; gradually beat into peanut butter mixture. Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Roll in granulated sugar; place on ungreased baking sheet. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Immediately press a chocolate star into the center of each cookie; cookie will crack around edges. Remove from baking sheet to wire rack. Cool completely. This recipe makes about 4 dozen "yummy" cookies.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Snowflake Recipients

Thank you all so much for your entries in my snowflake holiday giveaway! The holiday memories and stories were all uplifting and fun to read...and I am so thankful I have the random generator to pick the winners, as I honestly could not do it on my own (there were so many wonderful posts!). I have had a difficult time getting in the holiday spirit this year and I appreciate you reminding me what the season is all about...

So, without further ado...the grand prize winner is:
Post #1
Catherine, you will receive 6 of my large specially made snowflakes!

Now what fun would it be to only have one winner...your stories put me in a holiday mood, so I have chosen three more "runner-up" winners, each of who will receive one large snowflake! ...and these lucky recipients are:

Post#37 Mare

Post#22 Lisa

Post#4 Tommye

Congratulations to all! Recipients, you will receive an e-mail from me. Thank you again to all the participants - I enjoyed each and every one of your stories and memories. You know I love to give things away, so there will definitely be future giveaways...stay tuned...

Thank you for reading and following my blog!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Snowflakes...and a Holiday Giveaway!

If you are on my Christmas card list, then chances are you have seen one of these snowflakes before! As you know from many of my previous blog posts, I love stationery, note cards, and sending letters in the mail...and Christmas is no different! My husband and I send out just over 100 cards each year...and many include one of my lace snowflakes. I start early in the season and make well over 100 of these snowflakes, then tuck them inside of cards and tie them on packages. These are made on my embroidery machine...and are technically called "free-standing lace"...they are made entirely of thread! For those of you not familiar with an embroidery machine...using digitized designs, the machine embroiders the snowflakes on water-soluble stabilizer...once the design is stitched, you put it in water and the stabilizer dissolves, leaving you with a beautiful piece of lace made completely of embroidery thread. I like to put a piece of white ribbon through the hanger on each snowflake before placing it in a card or on a gift. Shown in the photos...a small selection of embroidered right are mini snowflakes (average size 1 1/2" - 2" square)...shown below are larger snowflakes (average size is 3 1/2" - 4" square).

Now for the fun part! How would you like to win some of my embroidered snowflakes?? is your chance! How do you enter?? - simply leave a comment to this post (you must leave a comment, email entries will not be accepted) with a holiday idea, holiday story, or something about the holidays you would like to share with me and my readers...and you will be in a random drawing to win a set of six large snowflake ornaments (of my choosing). Next Saturday, December 12th, I will use the random generator to choose one lucky recipient from all the entries. PLEASE leave your email address or make sure it is in your profile - entries without a valid email address will not be eligible. We may have multiple winners depending on the amount of entries....

Good luck....and Happy Holidays!!

Friday, December 4, 2009

From My Kitchen...

We all have those "go to" recipes...the ones when you have a family gathering or a potluck that everyone wants you to bring...the ones that everyone asks for the "go to" recipe is for stuffed mushrooms. I started out years ago with a basic recipe and have continued to make changes...years later, I have finally tweaked my own recipe to (what I think is) perfection. So, here is my original recipe...from my kitchen to yours...happy holidays and enjoy!

Blue Ribbon Stuffed Mushrooms
1 Pound of mushrooms (washed and stems removed)
3 tablespoons margarine (softened, not melted)
1/4 cup finely chopped bell pepper (I like to use a red pepper)
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
1/4 cup Feta cheese (crumbled)
2 strips of cooked bacon (crumbled) (real bacon bits make it easier!)
1 1/2 cups soft bread crumbs (I like to use moistened Pepperidge Farm Herb Seasoned stuffing mix)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper (fresh ground is best!)
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon thyme

Mix all ingredients except mushroom caps in a bowl - blending ingredients well. If your mixture seems a little dry, add some chicken broth or stock (or water) to the mixture to moisten. Fill mushroom caps with mixture. Place stuffed mushrooms in a lightly greased baking dish, then bake for 15-20 minutes in a 350-degree oven.

Stuffing mixture can be made and refrigerated a day early for stuffing the mushrooms the day of your event. ...and of course, the measurements don't have to be exact, this is just a guideline for ingredients - I usually just "eyeball" the measurements! I always make these during the holidays and they are a BIG hit...

Thursday, December 3, 2009


A trip to Williams-Sonoma last weekend (I love this store!) found me with new cookie cutters...and high expectations. I had read about their exclusive new Message-in-a-Cookie Holiday Cookie Cutters and couldn't wait to try them out! I really enjoy being in the kitchen and especially baking, so these were right up my alley. They come with words and letters that allow you to personalize your holiday cookies...and they actually worked with ease. It takes a little time to insert the letters...but they work like a charm. I followed the recipe and the directions included with the cookie cutters and had no issues with dough sticking...and they turned out delicious! The kit comes with three cookie cutters: a gingerbread man, an ornament, and a snowflake...and there is a huge assortment of letters and multiple words included. Clean up is easy - the letters come with a mesh bag that is safe for the top rack of your dishwasher. Now I just have to brush up on my decorating skills...

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

My Dirty Little Secret...

My close friends will tell you, I love Longaberger....baskets, pottery, furniture, you name fact, one might say I am a Longaberger addict. So when I saw the new Collector's Club Wrought Iron Tree (made especially for their Backyard Bird Ornament Collection), I immediately thought it would be fun to use for displaying my seasonal handmade ornaments. I was so excited when this tree arrived in November - just in time to display some of my many Christmas holiday ornaments! Shown in the photos: my tree with a small collection of ornaments (my designs)...and a photo of it's intended use with the Backyard Bird Ornament Collection. This tree is a great size at 24"l x 6"w x 20"h and the base can easily be removed to hang on the wall. It is definitely one of my new favorite things!

Another thing my close friends will tell you...although I have designed over 100 Christmas ornaments and have a HUGE collection of stitched pieces, I am yet to have a Christmas tree. Each year I think will be the year I finally purchase a tree. I have fond childhood memories of picking out a tree each year and having our house smell like pine...I would love to have a freshly cut tree...but alas, I don't think that is the best option for a tree full of linen stitched I have toyed with the idea of getting a GOOD faux tree (for six years now) and just haven't jumped in and purchased one. I get so busy around holiday time and it just never seems to happen...each year I have the best intentions, and yet our house is still "treeless". So there you have it, my dirty little secret...I love the holidays...I love designing for Christmas...and just maybe, one day I will have a tree to decorate....

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Homemade Holiday Gift Ideas ~ Number Six

Today's idea gives you a chance to be extra creative - patchwork pincushions. This is a great way to use up scrap fabric, those special fat quarters you just happened to pick up, buttons, trims, and rick rack! No pattern is required...just a bit of inspiration, the aforementioned materials, some stuffing, and a needle and thread....they can be made by hand or machine. Shown in the photo - a few pincushions I made from fabric scraps in my stash and some fun buttons. A wonderful gift for a stitcher or seamstress...and to add a special little touch, give them with a package of needles or glass head pins...or some fat quarters of fabric and button cards...or a special sewing treasure - such as a pair of scissors, laying tool, seam ripper, or sewing ruler. Use a project bag for a gift bag and it makes the perfect gift!

For those of you needing some pincushion inspiration, has a wonderful reference with links to 60 FREE Pincushion Patterns! There are all sorts of ideas listed here, using all sorts of materials - you are sure to find a pattern to inspire you...

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thanksgiving Day

To those of you celebrating today, Happy Thanksgiving! It was a lovely day here in central Iowa...and I hosted/cooked the Thanksgiving meal. I have so many things to be extremely thankful for...loving family, a wonderful husband, amazing friends (who accept me, my quirks, and my crazy busy schedule!), a career I find joy in every single day...too many things to list...and I am thankful for all of you who share my passion, encourage me with your comments and emails, and support my designs - you all brighten my days!

The plate photo (on the right), is my husband's first helping of Thanksgiving dinner - his mother and I both admired the artistic layout of his meal and how it could be in a magazine photo shoot - I just had to take a picture! Below is a shot of our dinner table...

Wishing you all a wonderful holiday - filled with family, friends, food, and laughter....take a little time to count your blessings...and a little time to stitch....

Homemade Holiday Gift Ideas ~ Number Five

How cute is this?! It is a "Sweet Treat Bag" made from 1 1/2" strips of fabric...and Moda has a free pattern available for this great little bag! This is the perfect way to use those pre-cut HoneyBun strips you see in local quilt shops....and it's possibilities are endless (for the stitcher, it is a wonderful project bag). The photo shown on the right is made from the holiday fabric "Crazy 8" by Sandy Gervais for Moda.

Another fabulous pattern for the same style of bag is called "Little Jelly Bags" by Bunny Hill this quilt pattern, designer Anne Sutton gives you instructions and ideas for five different sized bags, all made from strips!
These are perfect to use as a gift bag and tie with a beautiful bow...tuck inside a few sewing treasures...or art supplies...or a manicure set...or even some lotion and soaps...

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Simba's Pet Pad

Taking a short break in the homemade holiday gift ideas to share a little personal project with embroidered "pet pad" (or at least that is what I am calling it) for my baby boy Simba. Simba LOVES to ride in my new Jeep, but I was concerned about my leather interior, so I decided to make him his own seat blanket and embroider his name on it. I made it with the softest no-pill fleece and machine embroidered his name and a paw print on the front...then inserted a 15" x 17" piece of NU-Foam Densified Batting...making the perfect sized pad! He loves it so much, he was sleeping on it before it even made it to the Jeep...I almost put a crown over his name (instead of a paw print) because he definitely lives like a little king!

More holiday gift ideas are coming soon...and I guess if you have a pet that likes to travel, you can consider this entry a homemade gift idea...

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Homemade Holiday Gift Ideas ~ Number Four

Today's holiday gift idea makes a great stocking stuffer...a tissue holder. These holders are made for pocket packs of tissues and there are a lot of different sewing patterns...along with a number of ways to "spruce" them up. I am going to give you some of my favorites!

For simple sewing, I have two favorite patterns. The Teacher's Pet has an inexpensive and unique pattern called "Tissue Totes"...this pattern is for adorable two fabric tissues holders with or without a hang tab (bottom right in the photo). Another favorite is from Thimbleberries and is from a fabulous pattern called "Quilter's Carry-All & Accessories" - this quilt pattern also includes a tote bag, planner cover, and eyeglass case!

For quilting in a machine embroidery hoop - The Purple Hat has a great digitized quilted tissue holder done completely in the hoop and is part of the Purse Essentials Set (which also includes an eyeglass case and zippered cosmetic bag). I love this design, as it has a zipper for closure, perfect for throwing in your tote or purse.

If you want to machine embroider a design on an in-the-hoop tissue case, visit Embroidery Library and check out the "In-The-Hoop Tissue Holders Design Pack". There are a variety of embroideries for these fun little tissue cases (bottom left in the photo)...

And finally, for those wanting a FREE tutorial or pattern to try, here are a couple of places online where you can print out instructions...

As you can see, these little tissue holders are easy to make and offer lots of options. For a special treat - put a package of Swankie Hankies or decorative tissues inside!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Homemade Holiday Gift Ideas ~ Number Three

Today's easy homemade gift idea is a humbug bag. These unique shaped bags are easy to make...and require few materials...the shape is based on a traditional 19th century English candy, from which the bag takes its name. They can be sewn/quilted with a regular sewing machine...or done in the embroidery hoop for those with an embroidery machine. McKenna Linn has a great "Humbug Bag" pattern for those of you with a sewing machine....quick and easy. For those of you with an embroidery machine, The Purple Hat has digitized Humbug Bags that are made almost entirely in the embroidery hoop. You can make these bags in various sizes...with fabric to match your recipients personal style....fill them with candies or baked goods or small treasures....medium and large bags are great for stitching/sewing necessities, make-up, jewelry, hair accessories, crayons, jacks, marbles, etc. - the options are endless! For those of you wanting to play with this idea, One Hour Craft has a fun, free tutorial that makes humbug bags out of patterned paper to fill with treats. I made the bags in the photo with holiday fabrics from my stash and plan to use them for small gift bags this Christmas.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Homemade Holiday Gift Ideas ~ Number Two

Today's gift idea - embroidered flour sack towels. These are such a nice homemade gift...and pair up perfectly with baked goods, or pot holders, or kitchen utensils...the list is endless. Flour sack towels are relatively inexpensive (a package of 5 for $5.50 at Walmart) and can be adorned with all sorts of embroidery - by hand or by machine! For hand embroidery, visit the Needle In A Haystack Stitchery Blog for a fabulous tutorial and free design...and you can find more hand embroidery designs at The towels seen in the photo were done on my machine...and there are TONS of great digitized designs available, as well. The designs shown are from the Vintage Christmas Tea Set from Embroidery Library...also check out for more great digitized redwork. Whether you embroider your flour sack towels by hand or machine, they make a great gift and a wonderful addition to any kitchen!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Homemade Holiday Gift Ideas ~ Number One

With the holidays quickly approaching, I thought I would take a week or two and write about some of my favorite homemade gifts and ideas....a little inspiration to get you in the holiday mood!

Today, the first fun idea is a "mug rug"....the perfect gift or stocking stuffer for a coffee or tea drinker! This quilted coaster has two pockets - one for a teabag or instant coffee sachet...and one for a could also include sugar and/or creamer packets! You can make it with or without a loop for hanging...and can choose the perfect fabric for the recipient. This particular "mug rug" design was done completely in the embroidery machine hoop and was digitized by The Purple Hat (they have great digitized designs and quick gift ideas!) measures about 4 1/2" x 4 1/2" square. If you are without an embroidery machine, you could easily quilt and bind one (a square fabric/batting sandwich). Give as a gift with a new coffee mug or teacup...or with fresh baked goods...

Check back often for more holiday gift ideas!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Merry Christmas Pillow

It has been an insane week - bagging, packaging and shipping the new designs to shops and distributors...along with my usual workload...a pile of finishing work for a customer...and trying to get some new designs charted and ready to stitch....but I am not complaining, busy is definitely a blessing! I took a sewing/quilting break today to try and maintain my sanity and get into the holiday spirit...

The center design is machine embroidery (Victorian Merry Christmas digitized by Embroidery Library). When I first saw this design, I knew exactly what fabric I wanted to use with it..."Christmas Past" by Polly Minick & Lauri Simpson for Moda...I had some yardage and a charm pack from this line in my stash, just waiting for the perfect project! I decided to make a holiday pillow with a pieced border....and I am so happy with the results! The pillow is 12"H x 16"W and has an envelope back.

I have also been working on some small sewing gifts - perfect for stocking stuffers...I will share these with you in the next few days.

Tomorrow will be spent making a short road trip to Cedar Rapids, Iowa for a family husband's grandmother is turning 92 tomorrow and his family has planned a birthday celebration in her honor. A big luncheon and get together...should be an interesting day!

Enjoy your weekend...

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Sunday Sewing

This morning I found a little "me" time with a quiet house...time to play with some machine embroidery and do a tiny bit of sewing. I started out working on a new zippered cosmetic bag for my purse...and enjoyed it so much, I decided to make a second little envelope-style pouch. The digitized embroidery came from "Pretty Purses in the Hoop" by Anna Haraldsson for Husqvarna Viking. The embroidery is done first - I used rayon threads (black and charcoal), along with a black metallic thread for the circle centers (a little bit of sparkle)...all on a silk fabric base. After the embroidery is complete, there is a small amount of sewing to finish off the pouches. A nice Sunday morning project...before getting back to work...

The last couple days I have been busy rearranging my design warehouse, bagging charts, packing and shipping automatic shop orders, and working on some new charting for releases in 2010. It is a crazy, hectic time. Since I have all my designs professionally printed, I keep stock of each piece in what my husband and I affectionately call the "warehouse"...every several months, I have to condense/organize the warehouse for the new designs. I thought you might appreciate seeing a couple photos of this special room (while it is under "under control") wall is shelving, ceiling to floor, with bagged charts in numerical release wall has shelving (more bagged charts) with a counter-top for packaging and weighing...the closet is filled with organized packing materials. The angle of the room and the height of the shelving makes it hard to get good images, but you get the idea! It is now time to get back to bagging charts...only twenty plus boxes to go...

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Pair of Precious Pillows

Finally, a beautiful sunny day here in Iowa...I am feeling much better...getting a bunch of work accomplished and deadlines fulfilled...the new designs are finally in printing production...and I have reached 100 blog followers (THANK YOU FOR FOLLOWING) is a great day!

The last three days have been spent working on getting the new designs published...and this time, there was a bit of a challenge with the covers - but now, the proofs have been finalized and the printing is underway. This was a very large print order, but I am confident my printing company has it under control and I should have the new designs in my hand by the end of the day on Friday...then the *fun* weekend will be spent bagging thousands of charts, filling invoices, packaging and shipping...all in an effort to get my new charts to your favorite needlework shop as soon as possible.

I finished stitching the model for my SYHO Designer Encyclopedia this was a bit of a challenge to work with a 50 x 50 stitch count for me...but I am quite happy with this small design and look forward to sharing it with you in the future! I am now excited to work on teaching designs for 2010 and new pieces for the Nashville Needlework Market in February.
(By the way, have you heard - I will be teaching at the first New Endland Stitchers' Retreat in conjunction with ABC Stitch Therapy in June 2010 - I am super excited about this!!)

Yesterday, I took a couple hours to test two new machine embroidery designs for Shelli at Needle In A Haystack Stitchery; two beautiful Pink Ribbon Breast Cancer Awareness files - one has the ribbon filled with embroidery - the other the ribbon is applique'. I enjoyed finishing these two designs into a pair of pillows. The applique' was embroidered on wool felt (and the ribbon is wool felt)....and the ribbon fill design was embroidered on quilted cotton with rick rack for an embellishment. The fabric for the borders is one of my favorites (Karen Neuburger - 2006 Pink Ribbon Signature Fabric) and I have been holding on to it for quite some time, waiting for the perfect project! These will make very special taking a couple hours to sew was (again) great therapy for me!

...and although October (Breast Cancer Awareness Month) has quickly come and gone, we all still need to be proactive....PLEASE do your monthly breast self-exams and your yearly mammogram - early detection is key!