Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Contest Winner

Before the day gets completely away from me, I wanted to post the winner of the simple contest I started last week....I will return later with a more detailed blog update! The lucky winner from a random drawing is...NITA. Nita, please email me your snail mail address and I will get your small heart shaped yo-yo maker in the mail right away. Thank you all for the entries...I will have more contests in the future, so stay tuned...

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Funky Floral Finishes

Yesterday evening, with a quiet house and an "itching" to use my sewing machine, I decided to work on a couple sewing/embroidery projects. The first is a small zippered bag with floral embroidery...it is the perfect size for stitching tools (4 1/4" H x 5 1/2" W). I machine embroidered it on dupioni silk from my stash with rayon embroidery thread for a nice shine. I was so happy with how it turned out, I decided to do another project from the same collection...which turns out to be the perfect ort or scrap bag! It is stitched on white cotton fabric...is about 6" tall...and has a boxed bottom, so it stands easily. Both of these designs have matching embroidery on the back sides and are from the Husqvarna Viking Collection "Purse Pizazz" (#184) by Anna Haraldsson. I plan to make several more of the stand-up bags in colors that match my bathroom - they would be just right for cotton balls, q-tips, hair accessories, etc. These projects were the perfect way to spend my few hours of "down time". I have also been working on a little personal cross stitching - the Blackbird Designs monthly miniature stockings I mentioned a couple weeks ago....I will post a progress photo soon...and I have been playing with several other new Clover gadgets that I will show you in the near future! I hope you have found some quiet time to enjoy working on your own special project(s)...

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The Bunnies Leave The Nest!

After a terrible storm last night, my husband and I decided to check on the bunny nest this morning...and to our surprise, the baby rabbits were leaving the nest! I can't blame them...it has been over 100 degrees here for the last several days...and five little bodies in that tiny hole has to be miserable. Yes, there are five little ones, as we quickly found out this morning. First we saw one baby on his own in the yard (top photo below)...then two just outside of the burrow (second photo below)...and then two still in the burrow (third photo below). I managed to get several photos - they are still quite small and you can see the white diamond patch on the top of their heads. My husband also took a photo with my hand (right) to show the small size of the bunnies...keep in mind, I have tiny hands...they are ranging from 4" to 5" in length. The bottom photo below is my favorite - it shows the two just outside the burrow and the two inside the nest. Isn't nature amazing?!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Great Gadgets & Simple Contest

Last week when I posted about piping, I mentioned I would post some more favorite gadgets this week. Today, I will focus on three - all products by Clover - all fun and easy!

First of all, Yo-yo Makers - I am sure these are familiar to many of you. I just LOVE these....they come in a variety of sizes and shapes...and are super user friendly. The photo shows the round yo-yo makers with examples of Extra Small, Small, Large, and Extra Large (there are no medium sizes)....the Flower Shape with examples of Small and Large...and the Heart Shaped with examples of Small and Large. These are perfect for using up scraps of fabric and are great for embellishing and decorations! The directions are user friendly and one stitches up in minutes - these can easily be found at most craft and quilting stores. New on the market is a Jumbo size yo-yo maker, which has a diameter of 3 1/2" (I have ordered one of these and can't wait to try it out)!

Next, the Pom-Pom makers. What a perfect gadget for those with children! I remember making these with yarn when I was a child. This gadget makes pom-poms a simple task...and you can make one in a matter of minutes. The directions are easy to follow and all you need is yarn and scissors. Shown in the photo are the small and large sizes. The "small" package contains makers for both 1 3/8" and 1 5/8" size pom-poms...the "large" package contains makers for both the 2 1/2" and the 3 3/8" pom-poms. These would be cute attached to flip-flops or hair ties and can be used used to decorate scarves, hats, mittens, and other accessories - I have even seen a cute little snowman made from pom-poms (great for crafting). These also come in an extra small and an extra large size (not pictured).

Finally, here is the Sweetheart Rose Maker...and this gadget is quite slick! At first, the directions seemed a little confusing...but once I got started they were quite easy to follow. You start with a strip of fabric (the maker lists the cut size needed)...then you basically fold and sew...really simple. The makers come in sizes small, medium, and large - my model photo shows the medium. Very thin or normal fabrics are recommended - such as: chiffon, organdy, cotton, linen, satin. These are quite new on the market...and are a unique new tool.

For a little treat, I thought I would have a simple contest! If you have read this far and are interested in trying a heart shaped yo-yo maker, I have brand new one up for grabs. Simply leave me a comment, and on Tuesday, June 30th, I will draw one lucky winner from all the posts...and mail them a small size heart yo-yo maker. Anyone can enter....and I will post the winner here sometime next Tuesday afternoon.

That is all for today...more gadgets will be featured in the near future! Wishing you a day filled with creativity....

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Lavender & Baby Bunnies

This morning was filled with yard work - the usual mowing, trimming, pulling weeds, etc. This task was much more enjoyable in the hot, humid sun today, as my lavender has started to bloom and made the front yard smell divine....nothing quite like the crisp, clean smell of fresh lavender!

Earlier in the week, I made an interesting discovery in our yard (or should I say Simba made a discovery)...a nest of baby bunnies. It is hidden quite well under a tree in our front yard. Now, I was not thrilled about this discovery...don't get me wrong - I like rabbits and bunnies - just not digging holes in my yard. The burrow is quite deep and is disguised quite well...I would not have known it was there had the mother not been continually sitting in the same spot....in fact, I had mowed that area earlier in the day and had no idea it was there. Simba chased the mama away the other night and she kept returning...it was dark, so I grabbed a flashlight and sure enough I could see several (at least four, maybe five) babies - all about 2" in size. Each day, I have been checking on them...and today I finally got a decent photo of one in the top of the nest...and although from the photo it looks quite large, in reality, it is at the most 3" in length (they are growing fast)...the diameter of the rabbit nest is maybe 6"...but it is super deep and completely covered with grasses and rabbit hair (as you can see by the photo). I carefully moved some of the hair and took multiple photos, but the babies were all moving and jumping...this was the best image. I can't believe how they are all piled in this nest...it is actually quite fun to watch them!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Polishing Projects with Piping!

Last September, Elegant Stitch came out with a fabulous kit called "Buttons and Blooms for the Cure" (raising funds for breast cancer education and awareness) - the chart/pin pillow was created by Blackbird Designs and uses their fabric line "At Water's Edge" by Moda. I fell in love with this piece, and stitched/finished it the week it arrived (which is rare for me, as I am usually model stitching)...since then, I have been infatuated with piping. I felt the piping around the pin pillow added so much dimension...just the perfect touch. I started playing with and reading about piping and it's various uses. Last weekend, I was watching an old episode of "Sewing with Martha" (Martha Pullen) and one of her segments included piping and used a special trimming tool - I immediately went to the computer and researched this fabulous tool. It is called a "Groovin' Piping Trimming Tool" and was invented by Susan K. Cleveland... it helps you trim your piping seam allowances to a perfect 1/4" or 1/2". Her website http://www.piecesbewithyou.com/ was a goldmine of piping products and books...a wealth of information! I couldn't wait to get my hands on this trimming tool and try it for myself...and I was not disappointed...my order arrived within 2 days...and it works easily and accurately...what a great find! My next sewing project?...I would love to use my new texture embroidery hoop to make an embellished quilt square...and finish it as a pillow edged with piping...hmmm....I need more time! I have a couple more unique gadgets I will share with you later this week....

Sunday, June 14, 2009

A New Project Bag

The newest Blackbird Designs pattern - "Three Stockings for May" arrived in my mailbox yesterday....I have been itching to start working on this wonderful series of miniature stockings since it's debut in February! I decided these patterns would be my new traveling project...and what a better way to transport this project than in its own special zippered pouch....made with Nell's Flower Shop fabric by Blackbird Designs for Moda. With a couple quiet hours to myself this afternoon, I immediately began working on my quilted project bag...and it turned out perfectly - exactly as I planned! It has plenty of room for one or more of the patterns, fabric, floss, and scissors and is small enough to easily tote with me.

I have also had a little time to play with some new toys (for my sewing/embroidery machine) that were just released earlier this month at the Husqvarna Viking Convention. Once my dealer returned from the convention, I couldn't wait to visit the quilt shop and see the new products that the Internet was buzzing about! First of all, there is a great new hoop....called a Texture Hoop...which is a wonderful art quilting hoop....it allows you to easily add yarn, ribbon, cords, and different fibers to embroidery...giving any project a creative and unique spark. I have done a couple samples just playing and learning about the hoop...I really look forward to having some time to work on more of these special pieces soon! I also purchased the new 4D Monogram Software...and it sure is easy to use...it makes embroidering a monogram a "snap"...I am going to have tons of fun finding ways to use this easy peasy software! ...and of course I had to have the new 9mm flat felled foot. There was also an update to my machine that added a bunch of great new features...and new heirloom stitches, scallop stitches, fashion stitches, and 44 decorative tapering stitches....woohoo! Lots of new things to try out and play with....just what I need - more to keep me busy!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Sweet Little Projects

Today I took a couple hours "off" in the afternoon to "play". I worked on two more purse accessories to match the three I posted the other day...a key ring with a tiny pocket and a cell phone holder (both by The Purple Hat). Then, I worked on the sweetest little project...a sewing case that I personalized. The digitized design is from Too Cute Embroidery and is called a "Travel Sewing Kit". I decided to do it in Redwork style on red and white paisley fabric and add my name in embroidery. The inside has a pin cushion on the left and two pockets on the right....I just love this....I may have to do a couple more! A girl can NEVER have too many stitching/sewing accessories...

It feels great to have some time to blog today! The reason I have been absent for a few days?...I have been frantically bagging charts and shipping orders to shops and distributors, so you can add the new designs to your stitching stash! The automatic shops are already receiving their orders. Several were curious about the piles of charts....I didn't have time to take a photo before orders started shipping, so this is a little more than half of the printing...packages contain 50 charts each for quick counting and shipping. If you want to see more details/photos of the new charts, visit the "Designs" page on my website.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Small Sewing Treats

Over the last couple days, I have been longing for time to sew....yesterday before my printing was ready to pick up, I had time to work on a set of purse accessories: a zippered tissue case, an eyeglass case, and a cosmetic case. I used a great grey fabric with black paisley designs on it...picked to match my favorite Vera Bradley black purse perfectly. I also found time (a couple nights ago) to work on some assorted zippered box bags - using some sewing notion fabric from my stash. Thanks again to The Purple Hat for all the quality digitized designs (not any affiliation, just a very happy customer)! If I am lucky, after all the charts are bagged and ready to ship, I will find more sewing time....

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

The First Rose

Today has been a busy day...the new designs are all printed and I just got back from loading (and then unloading) 20 cases of printing....tonight will be a bagging frenzy! Sometimes things get so hectic I almost forget to enjoy everyday beauty...but this afternoon as I returned home, I noticed today's rain brought out my first blooming rose of the season....actually there were two blooming sided by side. Now to you, this might not seem interesting at all; however, I have never had much of a green thumb, so this is HUGE to me! I have also posted a photo of my beautiful blooming begonias hanging next to my front door. Take a moment to take in the beauty that surrounds you....

Monday, June 1, 2009

Special Delivery

What is it about getting mail...and why is it so exciting to have a special letter or note arrive in the mailbox? For me, a handwritten note immediately brightens my day! My love of the postal note goes back to when I was a little girl - writing letters to my grandparents and family in New Jersey (I have to credit my grandparents with my love of writing notes and letters - I believe they taught me well and encouraged me to send correspondence....and they ALWAYS reciprocated). I am a self-proclaimed stationery addict - always looking for unique notecards, writing paper, and cards for special occasions - I rarely go on a shopping trip without returning home with some sort of stationery. My favorite finds?....a fancy box containing matching notecards and envelopes (envelopes need decoration - that makes them even more exciting). I also have a pile of "tuck-ins" - you know, tiny flat items you can add to a handwritten note....I personally love tucking a special bookmark or a package of needles in with a note. Today I share with you some photos of stationery I have collected...and I encourage you to send a loved one a note from the heart...

....and one more thing today - WOW - needleworkers have got to be the most caring and special people on the entire planet! Thank you all so much for following my blog "journey" and for all your comments and e-mails (and posts on your own blogs). I never expected my writings to be of interest and I am thrilled to have so many followers. You all brighten my day!!