Wednesday, April 28, 2010

SYHO Heart Healthy Recipe

As many of you know (especially needleworkers), I have been involved in the Stitch Your Heart Out (SYHO) campaign. The 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. Since the month of April features my design ("Established with Love", seen below) in the designer encyclopedia, I thought I would share with you my heart healthy recipe.

I absolutely love fresh vegetables...especially spinach...I seriously could eat a spinach salad every day and be happy...and I pretty much do! I am already anticipating the first farmers market of the season later this week....
Here is my heart healthy recipe for spinach salad:

In a large bowl toss salad ingredients:
Fresh spinach (torn)
Fresh mushrooms (sliced)
Green onion (chopped)
Grape Tomatoes (whole or cut in half)
Fresh Red and Yellow Peppers (chopped)
Feta Cheese (crumbled)

These are my personal favorites - but I have been known to add hot peppers and/or seasonal vegetables and/or nuts and/or black beans to "spruce it up" - use your favorite salad ingredients or whatever you have on hand!

Raspberry Salad Dressing:
· 1 cup fresh or thawed/drained frozen raspberries
· 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
· 4 teaspoons olive oil
· 1 pinch ground black pepper or cayenne pepper (I like things spicy!)

Press the raspberries through a fine sieve into a bowl to remove the seeds. In a sealable jar mix the raspberry puree and remaining ingredients - shake to combine. Add the dressing to your tossed salad.

You can learn more about the SYHO campaign by visiting the official blog...and be sure to read this month's SYHO newsletter (where you can read five little known facts about me). Plus, you can find "Established with Love" at your favorite needlework shop!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Simple Sassy Snap Bags

Do you ever have those days when you never slow down, but it doesn't seem like you have much to show for it?...that seems to be my life lately. I have been buried under an endless pile of work, trying to get my new BlackBerry set-up the way I want it, and yesterday my new color laser printer arrived. I think I finally have my new phone under control...and the printer is up and running...but the pile of work is still here. I *had to* mow and do yard work has been raining for what seems like an entire week and we finally have some this morning after dealing with the printer issue, I managed to make it outside to manicure the lawn...but in the process, I missed getting together with my stitching group and the local quilt guild meeting. I really need an invention to give me a few more hours each day....either that, or something has to give. After tearing my hair out this afternoon working on some printing files, I decided to take a few minutes and finish my "snap bags"...a little sewing therapy...

This is such a fun little pattern called "Snap Happy!" by Stitchin' Sisters. These cute little bags use metal carpenter measuring tape (in the casing) to snap them open and works really slick! I just purchased a cheap metal measuring tape at Lowe's and used old scissors to cut it into the needed pieces. The pattern has instructions for three sizes of bags: large (7.5" x 6.75"), medium (6.5' x 5.5"), and small (5.5 x 4.25). They are quick and easy to make and the directions make them "sew" simple. The prairie point tabs on each side are used to pull the bag open...and handle loops are added for easy hanging. The pattern also gives you basic instructions to create your own custom size - I plan to experiment to make cross stitch project bags approximately 12" x 9.5"...I have some fabulous sampler style fabric that would be perfect to more of these. I have also thought about machine embroidering names or monograms on them...or adding trims/rick rack...I have lots of ideas to embellish these snappy bags! (The fabric used in the photos is "Attitude Girls" by Mary Engelbreit for Moda.)

Now that I have had some time to be creative, I must get back to those *insert expletive* printing files...hopefully stepping away for a bit has made the task a bit more manageable...

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Saturday Sewing

This morning I made time for a little Saturday sewing. My days have been filled with Blue Ribbon Designs and I needed a little creative intervention.

My sewing pile (or should I say stack) is I picked an older project I had packaged up with fabric and ready to go - it is called "Foldover Bag" and is by Renee Plains of Liberty Star. I really liked the front and back pockets with buttons...I used some great flower-shaped shell buttons from Moda. I am always on the lookout for black/brown cotton prints - I have been collecting fat quarters of black/brown fabrics for quite some time - hoping to one day make a large quilt. I absolutely adore the floral focus fabric I used in the this tote (it is also the lining) - I bought yardage of it specifically for this project and pulled a couple of my black/brown fat quarters to work with it. The photo on the right shows the bag without being folded over for closure - the photos below show the top folded over - front (left) and back (right). This bag took about 2 hours to make...and that includes all the ironing, cutting, and piecing. This is a great size for carrying my favorite stitching project...and has a nice size pocket on both the front and the back...along with a generous inside pocket. It was the perfect Saturday Sewing distraction...refreshing me for my current workload. For me, it is always fun to take a break and do a little sewing and quilting...

Enjoy the rest of your weekend...find time to take a break and on a project that brings you joy!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Just For Fun...

Hello friends and followers!

I know it has been a whole week since my last post...and well, basically, it is because I have been super busy. I am teaching at the first New England Stitchers' Retreat next month (there are still a few openings - please join us - I would love to meet you!) and I have been preparing and getting the files layouts ready for printing. I have also been charting some new designs for release this I have designed a special needlework tool and have been spending time perfecting the prototype and getting production started.

I have managed to finish a set of fabric dolls...these are actually from the fabric line "Aunt Lindy's Paper Dolls" by Sibling Arts Studio for Blue Hill Fabrics. I picked up this fun fabric panel (four dolls and four pets) on our weekend getaway to Galena. I actually have a paper doll quilt from the Baum Textiles fabric Paper Dolls completely pieced and ready to fact, it has been in the machine quilting pile since last fall....maybe these dolls will be the motivation I need to get it finished! Over the last week, I worked a little on the dolls each day - I think cutting them all out took the longest. Last night, I finally got them stuffed and started hand sewing the openings closed...and this morning I finished them up. Each doll is approximately 14" tall. For some reason, even though I am not a "doll person", these bring me joy! Hopefully I will be showing you my finished paper doll quilt next....I just have to make the time to quilt it...

On the agenda today...I am starting to model stitch "Sweet Simple Samplings"...a new release for this summer...maybe you will get a peek in the next few weeks...

Wishing you sunshine, signs of spring, and things that bring you joy...

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Shiny New Frames

My Papillon Creations Mystery Sampler is finally ready to display - I was able to pick it yesterday...and just had to share it with you before it went on the wall! What a treat to have this piece finished and framed after starting it years ago. ...and going along with my finishing UFOs and spring cleaning, I decided it was time to frame a couple more pieces in my aging completed pile. I think we all have them....pieces we stitched and put aside to finish or frame at a later date...well in my case, these pieces were stitched years ago, as you see by the "2004" date on one of the pieces. Over the years, I have compiled a pretty good pile of completed pieces waiting to be framed or finished in some way. Slowly, but surely, I have made the decision to get these orphaned pieces out of the needlework safe and into my home! There is one small problem - with a couple hundred framed works already in my home, the challenge is finding creative ways to display them...

Shown below:
Left: "Freedom Flowers" by Just Nan....I remember stitching this design right when it was released...and I loved the over-one stitching (butterflies) and specialty stitches. The fun frame gave it a great new look!
Right: "Truly Thine" by Blackbird Designs (Loose Feathers Number 6). Over the years, I have collected and kitted all the Loose Feathers Club designs...and the first year, I actually stitched all of them. In 2004, I stitched both the heart-shaped pillow with strawberry emery and the sampler just took me until 2010 to get it framed.

It was delightful to see these pieces I worked on years ago in their shiny new frames....and as I continue to rescue old finished pieces from the completed pile, I will be sure to share them with you!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Replenished and Refreshed

This past weekend, my husband planned a wonderful getaway for our recent 10th wedding anniversary. He knew there was a gorgeous bed & breakfast I really wanted to visit in Galena, to surprise me, he made reservations to spend Saturday night, along with dinner reservations in their dining room. What a wonderful getaway - I truly did not realize how much I needed it!

We left early Saturday morning drove to Galena...spent the late morning and afternoon shopping on Main Street and having lunch at Durty Gurt's (which is a fabulous burger joint!). I got to visit The Timeless Needle, an amazing needlework shop in Galena, along with a bunch of other fun and artistic shops...what a treat! That evening we headed to the Goldmoor Inn a FABULOUS bed & breakfast located high atop the bluffs overlooking the majestic Mississippi River - this inn was incredible! My husband had planned for flowers, champagne, and chocolate-covered strawberries to be awaiting our room arrival (which was so very sweet). We unpacked, cleaned-up, and after a short country drive through the area, took our bottle of champagne and glasses to the sitting room deck and enjoyed it outside overlooking the Mississippi River. We then walked over to the dining room, where the chef prepared the most wonderful dinner...what a great, relaxing night. And I must mention, as it has never happened before, earlier in the evening, while I was getting cleaned-up, my husband ironed for me...yes, I said he ironed for me!

After sharing a delicious breakfast, we were on our way home, making a late morning/afternoon stop in the Amana Colonies for more shopping and a visit to Heritage Designs Quilting and Needlework, where I did even more stash enhancement! It was a lovely weekend getaway, and I am feeling replenished and refreshed...

Shown below is the Goldmoor Inn:

We stayed in the Elizabeth Suite - complete with full-canopied bed, fireplace, whirlpool and private breakfast nook:

Friday, April 9, 2010

Cute As Can Be

Before picking up Sarah Moon as my go-to stitching project, I wanted to work on Little House Needlework's 2010 Nashville Market Hoffman Exclusive titled "Needle and Thread"...I think this is as cute as can be...and the scissor bed/pin pillow by Impie, Hattie, & Bea is completely adorable! I did adjust one of my floss colors, as the dye lot did not match the project...and I did a slightly different finishing method for the coverlet. My scissor fob was stitched over-one on the same fabric (32-count Natural Raw Linen) as the coverlet. I am just tickled with how this project turned out and after using it for a few days, I will be ready to put in on display in my needlework smalls cabinet.

...and since I finished the 2009 Nashville Exclusive before I started blogging last year, I thought I would share a photo of it, as well. It is titled "Traveling Stitcher" and the base sewing pouch and needlebook were both made by Impie, Hattie, & Bea....and I absolutely adore the fabrics used for these pieces! When finishing, I lined both pieces with matching cotton fabric and attached them both as pockets. This is a great set to take "on the road", as it holds your stitching necessities and a small project.

Now that I have had some fun working on projects by other designers, I am ready to get back to model stitching on some new Blue Ribbon Designs for this summer and fall - I have been busy charting and working on new ideas and I am ready to start stitching models...there are some fun things in store for later this year!

This weekend, I am heading to Galena, IL for a much needed getaway...I am sure this trip will be full of inspiration and I will feel creative and refreshed when I return! Wishing you all a weekend full of inspiration and relaxation....

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Owlivia Giveaway Recipient

Happy Thursday friends and followers!

It is time to randomly choose the winner for my Owlivia giveaway....thank you all for your entries and comments....and don't be discouraged if the random generator doesn't choose you today - you all know I love to make things and give them away and there will be more chances to win in the future...

So without further ado, here are the entrant names...and the random generator chose number 6...which is Jan. Congratulations Jan - I will be sending you an email shortly....

Again, thank you for following my creative journey...I appreciate all your comments!

Jan - your new stitching companion is "foofed" and migrating your way....

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Bounding Bunny

I would love to brag and tell you I made this adorable leaping bunny...but it was actually made my my dear and talented friend Merry. She gave it to me as a gift for my birthday last year...and I simply love it! I am not sure if there was a design/pattern for this fun piece...knowing Merry, the idea just popped into her head and she ran with it....and isn't the little penny rug perfect?! The bunny is sitting on an antique oil can...and to make it even more whimsical, is wearing a lovely beaded me, this was such a special handmade gift. And although I am sharing this tiny treasure with you for the Easter weekend, this piece is actually on display in my studio truly makes me happy! Wishing you a blessed Easter...filled with happiness...

There is still time to enter my latest giveaway (a Stitching Companion Owl)....see the previous post for lucky follower will be randomly chosen from all comments (on the Owlivia and Friends...and Giveaway Post) on Thursday, April 8th....

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Owlivia and Friends...and Giveaway

A very wise and dear friend just told me: "I recommend you take frequent sewing breaks" this evening, that is exactly what I did! Meet Owlivia, A Sewing Companion by Sandy Gervais...isn't she adorable?! She was so much fun to make, I made several friends for her...I didn't want her to be lonely. Didn't I just tell you how happy jumbo rick rack makes me? Best of all, the pattern and directions are FREE...yes, you heard me correctly, FREE! To find the list of supplies, directions, and owl template, visit (IMHO, one of the greatest blogs EVER!) is the March 10th entry. The directions are easy peasy - a beginner can definitely make one. Sandy even has a kit available with all the supplies she used (including her new Frolic Fabrics) for a small fee. I used several of her Frolic Fabrics for Moda, along with some coordinating fabrics from my stash...and I chose smaller buttons for the centers of the eyes. Owlivia is about 8.5" H x 6" W.

Now for the even better of my owls is looking for a new home...preferably one where she will be loved and well taken care, for those of you who don't sew or don't have the patience or just want something I made...I am giving away one of my owls (made with my own two hands) to one of my blog followers...simply leave a comment on this post. I will use the random generator on April 8th to choose the lucky recipient. PLEASE leave your email address or make sure it is in your profile - entries without a valid email address will not be eligible. Thank you all for following and reading my blog - I enjoy your comments and compliments...

Good luck!