Wednesday, March 31, 2010

On To The Next...

I am SUPER EXCITED...After 4 years and two months, I have FINALLY finished my Papillon Creations Mystery Sampler (The Gift Of Stitching Magazine)! Your comments, encouragement, and compliments really helped motivate me...thank you so much. I can not wait to take this piece to the framer later today. I stitched my sampler on 45-count Pearled Barley hand-dyed fabric from Lakeside Linens with the Vikki Clayton silks it called for...stitch count is 199 x 199, so my piece is about 8.5" x 8.5" (I placed the ruler in the photo to give you a sense of how small it is). Now that this design is complete, I feel a little bittersweet - I truly enjoyed each stitch and it has been my "go-to" stitch gathering piece for quite some time....however, I am ready to move on to my next UFO....

So I have decide the next piece I plan to finish is Sarah Moon's Quaker Sampler (Needleprint)...a project I started in November of 2006. I picked 40-count Light Examplar hand-dyed fabric from Lakeside Linens for this project...and my threads are an assortment of silks - I ordered the Vikki Clayton Silks for this project, but was not happy with about half of the color conversions, so I changed them to other various silks I had in my stash (making it a true sampler). I am excited to get back to work on this piece and stitch these beautiful medallions....and hopefully finish another one of the UFOs I have started over the years. My early apologies to my stitching group, as this will now be the project I will have in hand each time we meet...and if history repeats itself, they may be seeing this sampler for quite some time!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Odds and Ends...

This past weekend was filled with home improvement activities...a birthday party for my mother-in-law...and I actually found time to do a little stitching on some community outreach projects.

As some of you know, I have been doing some major spring cleaning and organizing...and with that I have been picking out little home improvement projects I want to get done. Last week, my husband was out of town on his yearly fishing trip with the boys and I decided to research changing toilet seats and installing them myself (which was super easy)...then when my husband returned this past weekend, he humored me by replacing all of the water faucets in our house (three bathroom sink faucets and the kitchen sink faucet), along with replacing the seals and springs in my shower faucet. I couldn't resist taking a photo of Simba being the plumber's assistant...he is such a good helper! It is nice to do those little jobs that make such a BIG up, fixing our master bathroom door (which needs the shims replaced)....

You know I love to share with you my favorite things....
This weekend we celebrated my mother-in-laws birthday...I had so much fun "foofing" her present! Many of you know how much I like giving and wrapping gifts...and last fall I shared with you my new love of GiftGloss...I am so addicted to "foofing". The highlight on my MIL's gift - I used a bendable bloom to add a little springtime touch...this beautiful glittery flower has a small alligator clip on the back, making it easy to attach to the gift. If you are not familiar with foofing or the FoofQueens, you should visit the "features" page of their website and check out their products and videos! is such a fun way to "spruce up" your gifts and you don't need to have boxes, wrapping paper, and tape on hand. I am inspired every time I visit their website...their community even has great ideas for that special occasion gift. Seems like every week I "gloss" something...and I am going to start sharing some of my unique foofs with you...maybe you will be inspired to give a special gift!

...although my weekend was pretty full, I did find time to do a little cross stitch. I worked on community outreach projects for my local EGA guild (Valley Junction Chapter). I did several kissing pillows (our Chapter just signed on to make 100 more) - these 4” X 4” patriotic pillows were designed to be used as a keepsake for the children and loved ones left behind by the soldiers being deployed for military service - the soldier kisses the pillow and gives one to each of his/her loved ones to hold onto until he/she returns from war. I also worked on a handful of baptismal shawls - these are given to the neo-natal and birthing units at Mercy Hospital. I challenge you to find a local stitching group or organization that has community outreach stitching projects...for an investment of your time (doing something you enjoy), you can make a HUGE difference!

...and finally, I saved my BIG BIG BIG news for last - if you are in my local stitching group, you may want to sit down before you read the next sentence...
I have finished my Papillon Creations Mystery Sampler (can you see me happy dancing?!) know the one I have been working on since February 2006...the project I take every time my local stitching group gets together. I put in the final stitches this afternoon and it is ready for the framer. Thank you to all my friends and readers who have given me encouragement, compliments, and gentle pushes to complete this project! Tomorrow I will share the finished photo with you...along with a photo of the next project I need "shamed into finishing"...

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Getting Closer...

So, as promised, here is an update on my "forever-in-the-works" project...and TA-DA, I have actually made some progress. As I shared with you previously, this is the project I take to my local stitching group has been in my travel stitching bag since February it is about time I get it done!! I am FINALLY on the last page...and have only 9 motifs left to finish...something I should easily be able to attain in the near future (right?!). Maybe I should try to get a "motif-a-day" done...then I could have it done in the next couple weeks...wouldn't that be spectacular and worthy of a party?! My local stitching group got together this week and we were already discussing future plans of what I will work on when this is complete (getting a bit ahead of ourselves, as it has taken me years to get this far)...I assured them, my list of half-finished projects is long and I will have plenty to keep me busy once this is complete. In the started pile to catch-up on next are Needleprint's "Sarah Moon's Quaker Sampler" (1/2 done - Started November 2006), Just Nan's "Silkwood Manor" (1/2 done - Started in 2003), Rosewood Manor's "And A Forest Grew" (a little over 1/2 done - Started July 2006), and Hope's Dwelling Place "Janet Gibson's Scottish Swan Sampler" (border half done - started January 2008)...whew, that is quite the list. So there you have it, my secret stash of half-finished projects...once this Papillon Creations Mystery Sampler is complete, I will have plenty to keep me busy! Please continue to cheer me on and motivate me to get this long overdue project done...after 4 years, I am ready to move on to the next...

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Another One For The Collection

Okay, so I know I finished this about a month late...but I just had to complete this adorable little pincushion! With everything I had going on in February, I didn't get to all the Valentine projects I had on my fact, I didn't even get this ordered until after Valentine's Day...but it just makes me smile, so (while trying to focus on anything other than my crappy head cold) I worked on it this evening. It is called "Valentine Priss" (which is a perfect name) and is from Elegant Stitch...Lois is doing a fabulous limited line of these cute little priss pincushions...I just saw the spring one on her website and it is a wool flower with bunny and carrot pins! It comes as a complete kit, including the the glass base and the whimsical Just Another Button Company pins....and the step-by-step directions are SO EASY to follow. I fall in love with most Valentine projects and this one was no exception - and bonus, it works up in about an hour! Another pincushion to add to my ever-growing collection...and, yes, this one will be on display year round...

UPDATE: Today I spent the morning and early afternoon with my local (fun-filled) stitch group...and, of course, I took "the usual" Papillon Creations Mystery Sampler from early 2006 (you know, the one I told you about in February)...well, today I actually made progress and finished another page of the chart! I am down to less than a page to stitch...and we meet again in several days, so look for an updated photo soon....hey, I might actually finish it in 2010!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Snowy Robin

Remember all the way back to yesterday when I was commenting about how signs of spring were everywhere? I was thinking I need to take some photos of the robins and tiny little sprouting plants popping up...and this morning the sun was shining and I thought what a lovely day to go outside and do some yard work...well, now it is 8 hours later and it is SNOWING! It started out misty, then sleet, now snow - how did my beautiful sunshine day completely turn around?! I had to go outside and catch a photo of this beautiful robin on my freshly snow-covered lawn. Yes, signs of spring are arriving...but winter has decided to keep it's presence a little longer....

I guess it will be a good evening to stay inside and do some much needed model stitching. My broken finger is finally starting to heal and I am able to hold a needle much easier. I'm looking forward a Saturday stitch-in with my girlfriends tomorrow - always a special treat! Maybe I will bring that poor Papillon Creations Mystery Sampler I have been working on since February 2006....

Thursday, March 18, 2010

A Day Filled With Sunshine

It is a gorgeous day here in Iowa - finally - the snow is almost all melted away and signs of spring are just starting to pop up! I took a much needed break from my office today to take Simba to the groomer and do a little shopping....even the quilt shop is full of new springtime fabric.

So, with all these signs of spring, it is the perfect day to share my new blog award...fittingly titled "The Sunshine Blog Award" (I know, it's crazy - two blog awards in one month - I am a bit shocked). This award was given to me by one of the most creative and talented people I have had the chance to meet online - Tommye at I'd Rather Be Stitching....and if you haven't visited her blog, you should make the time to visit! I am told this award is for bloggers who inspire others with positivity and creativity. The rules for accepting the award are:

1. Put the logo on your blog or within your post. (check)
2. Pass the award to 12 bloggers. (check)
3. Link the nominees within your post. (check)
4. Let them know they received this award by commenting on their blog. (check)
5. Share the love and link to the person from whom you received this award. (check)

So, here are my twelve nominees (in alphabetical order)...all of who are positive and creative with their blog posts...all of whom inspire me!
  1. A Shenandoah Sampler
  2. A Stitchers Ramblings
  3. Always Smiling
  4. Annie Bebop's Coloring Book
  5. Bronny's Bits
  6. Cathryn's Place
  7. Chris Cross Corner
  8. Crazy Purple Mom
  9. I Stitch Therefore I Am
  10. I'll Be Perfect In My Next Life...
  11. Little Village Naturals
  12. Needle In A Haystack Designs

I hope you are enjoying sunshine today, as well...take a little time to enjoy the beauty that surrounds you!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Established With Love (SYHO)

For those of you who have been waiting to see my SYHO Designer Encyclopedia Design...HERE IT is titled "Established With Love". This new design will be available from your favorite needlework shop in April. It is in a bit of a different format from my normal design releases - it is a 5.5"W x 8.5" heavy duty card, with printing on front (color photo) and back (chart)....which turned out really well - I think you will like it! Additional photos and a supply list have been posted on my website.

Many of you are familiar with the Stitch Your Heart Out Campaign (SYHO)...but for those of you who are not, here is a brief recap:
The Stitch Your Heart Out (SYHO) Campaign was created to excite stitchers with a new & fun project, create an interest in stitching for non-stitchers, and introduce stitching to the next generation while promoting heart health. I am thrilled to announce I am one of the twelve designers participating in the SYHO Designer Encyclopedia. Each month for 12 months (it started in February 2010) a fun, new design will be released by a different designer...there will be interviews, interactive games, fun LNS stitch nights, prizes, heart healthy recipes and much much more! My design will be number three in the series, arriving in needlework shops in April 2010. Once you have stitched all 12 designs, you will receive free instructions on how to assemble the 12 designs into a stitched "designer encyclopedia". For more information and to see how you can get see a list of all twelve participating designers visit:

This campaign is a fun way to interact with others in the needlework community/industry and promote heart health. Designers will be donating a portion of sales from their special to design to CAROL for Heart, a regional non-profit organization that educates and empowers women to take charge of their heart health. I hope you will look for these special designs each month! For the latest news, read the March SYHO Newsletter.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Pretty Little Pincushion

This is a fun little Nashville market release from Theresa Venette of Shakespeare's Peddler called "Ole Pincushion". I thought this was a fun idea, using an old Zinc Ball Jar lid for the base...a quick, simple cross stitch design and ready for finishing. I must add that I changed the colors a called for Flax linen, but I used Black Forest hand-dyed fabric from Lakeside Linens. The model looked as if it had maybe black or navy fill-in stitches all around the motif, but the chart did not show this...I liked the look of a dark fabric better than the flax, so I made a simple substitution. It stitched up in about an hour and finished easily. Sometimes a simple little project can you bring you the most joy! Now, when I am antique shopping, I will be on the lookout for more of these unique jar lids...

A few Blue Ribbon Designs notes...I am just finishing up my ornaments for Just CrossStitch Magazine (both the annual Halloween issue and the Christmas Ornament issue)...and I have started designing a special sampler for them to be published early next year. I finally had a new photo taken of myself today for the Christmas ornament issue...I have used the same one for the last several years, so it was WAY overdue. I have a bunch of great new ideas for summer releases and will be working on them very soon! Also, my SYHO (Stitch Your Heart Out) design will be released for April, so stay tuned for photos (they will be coming soon) can read more about the SYHO Campaign and find out how you can get involved by visiting the official blog. I am also busy kitting up my teaching designs for later this year....

So much creativity and inspiration, so little time...

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Rick Rack = Happiness

Okay, so we all know I love trims, buttons, ribbons, and rick rack...but this giant rick rack, for some reason, makes me so very happy! Now, it is not for the conservative, because it really makes a statement...and it definitely needs to be used with the right project...but when you find the right project, it can be super adorable. In the last year, it seems it has become readily available at quilt shops in a plethora of eye-pleasing colors. I absolutely love the effect it has on this quilted table runner...just the perfect touch. I had so much fun working on this "Rick Rack Stack Table Runner" by Anka's Treasures (from the book "The Sweet Life"). Normally, I like very equal and balanced pieces, but the scrappy strips worked perfectly in this design. It is a good size runner - about 14.5" x 40.5" and works perfectly for my dining room it makes me smile!

Make time to work on a new project that makes you smile...

Friday, March 12, 2010

My First Blog Award

Today I received my first blog award, thanks to Monica at Cottage Rose Garden cool is that?! Thank you so much Monica! It seems kinda odd to be receiving an award for something that brings me so much I have only been at this for about 10 months...and my blog is truly a "work-in-progress"...but nevertheless, I did a little happy dance when I saw this award was passed on to me...

The rules to accept the award: Thank and link to the person who gave you the award. Paste the award on your blog. Write 10 things about yourself others might not know....and then pass the award on to 10 others.

So, part of the award is to tell 10 facts about yourself (which isn't easy for me, as I don't find myself incredibly interesting) and then pass the award on to 1o other deserving bloggers (which also isn't easy, as my list of favorites is endless...).

Ten little known facts about me...hmm...this could take a while...
  1. I am a music junkie and collect all sorts of music memorabilia and autographs...I still collect and listen to vinyl record albums.
  2. In my teen years I was a "punk rock girl" and an avid skateboarder.
  3. I still secretly watch most of the MTV line-up.
  4. I don't go to the movie theater because I am a germaphobe.
  5. When I am upset, I clean house.
  6. I am a HUGE Michigan Wolverines fan (although I did not attend college there).
  7. I get really grumpy when I am hungry.
  8. I can recite all 50 states in alphabetical order (thanks to a song I learned in 1st grade).
  9. I am a Longaberger addict...seriously need of an intervention.
  10. I would love to design greeting cards and/or stationery.

Now, in no particular order, here are my nominations (I wish I could nominate 100 more - I need to win more awards, so I can award more of you!!):

Celtic Heart Knitting and Quilting
Crafting With The Stitch Witch
My Life In Threads
Three Cool Pugs and Me
Stitchyangel's Treasures
Shari's Sharings
Pumpkin Patch & Co
I'd Rather Be Stitching
For The Love of Cross Stitch
Days of A Sampler Lover

I thought about writing a little something about each of these nominations - but then I realized, I was going to be saying the same things for each blog. These are all incredibly talented and creative people...with amazing skills in needlework and/or quilting and/or crafting....and I enjoy each and every one of them! So go visit and investigate these links...and who knows you may just find someone new to follow....

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Springtime Treat Bags

I was having a rough morning and needed a little clarity, so I decided to do a little sewing and machine embroidery to lift my spirits. The outcome?...I'm in a much better place...and I made these fun little treat bags! I just loved this little applique' embroidery design called "Best Friend Tree", digitized by Bunnycup Embroidery. The little bags are about 5" x 7" in size...and didn't require a pattern...I just made them up as I went along. I used one of my new ribbon presser feet to attach the cute ribbon band across the top...and did a three-thread rolled edge on my serger to hem the opening. I then filled the bags with springy Easter chocolates and tied the bags with matching pink and green raffia...the perfect little gift for a dear friend!

I can now get back to work with a smile on my face...and look forward to tomorrow morning (I'm taking some time off to visit a quilt shop and have lunch with my girlfriends....hmmm...guess who is getting these little treat bags?!....).

Take a little time to find your happy place....

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

A Work In Progress...

"Can you bend it?" (the first question asked to me by my husband after smashing my finger while we were doing some snow and ice removal) was a freak accident...and my poor first finger (the pointer) on my dominant hand was crushed...and there is a high possibility it could be broken. So for the last few days, I have been barely able to type or grip anything...and even worse, I have been unable to hold a needle....but yes, "I can bend it". Thank goodness, the ice and ibuprofen must be doing the trick, because it is much better today (with the exception of it being horrible shades of black, blue, and purple)...and I have been typing gingerly and have even been doing some model stitching! It is a good day...and I am finally able to type a blog update...

So I thought I would share with you the machine needle felted journal with some embellishing. To me, pieces like this are always a "work in progress"...all of a sudden I will feel the need to add it could definitely "grow" and change over time. I added lots of fun machine stitches with rayon, metallic, and cotton threads...some beads....and some buttons. I like to have sketch books and notebooks readily available to jot down ideas, phrases, and design layouts...pretty much anything I think of that sparks my creativity. This little journal with bright and springy colors will be the perfect place to record things that inspire me...

Friday, March 5, 2010

Playing With Machine Needle Felting

I love to keep scraps of fabrics, ribbons, yarns, threads, wools...well, you get the idea. Not sure why...I don't like clutter or knick knacks and I am not normally a "saver", but when it comes to fabric, trims, and fibers I save it all. A couple months ago, I purchased a Husqvarna Viking ER10 Embellishing Machine (which is a fancy name for a needle felting machine) I have found a grand use for all those trimmings! After getting some design work done this morning, I decided to make time to play with this fabulous machine. For those of you not familiar with a needle felting or embellishing machine, it looks like a sewing machine without consists of five (some models have seven) individual barbed needles that catch the fibers of your chosen material and pushes them into the base fabric to create your design. Many think needle felting can just be done with wool fibers...but really with this machine your creativity is limitless. I start with a craft felt base and then start adding scraps of cotton, wools, wool roving, netting, taffeta, lace, name it...the more you work the pieces under the needles, the more secure and blended they become with your base. The photos shows a machine needle felted piece, without any sewing or thread used (all of the pieces are securely attached). Once I have the base the way I want it, the next step is to take it to the sewing machine and add specialty stitches (or, of course can do this by hand) can also add stencil shapes, puff paint, beads, buttons, wires, embroidery...basically anything your heart desires. Tomorrow, I will take the piece in the photo to the sewing machine and start to add specialty stitches and will then be used as a journal or sketch book cover (at least that is currently my plan)....