Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Night Song

I had such an enjoyable time working on this small wall hanging quilt. It is the GO! Night Song Quilt...and is a free pattern on the AccuQuilt website. Normally I am not a huge batik fabric fan - I can usually take it or leave it...but a couple weeks ago a local quilt shop had a nice sale on batiks and I knew I wanted to use them for this quilt - and I am so glad I did...I love how it turned out! All of the fabric was cut on my AccuQuilt GO! fabric cutter - it used the following GO! dies: Birds (a new favorite of mine!), Drunkard's Path 7", Rose of Sharon, Stems & Leaves, Strip Cutter 1 1/2", Strip Cutter 2", and Strip Cutter 2 1/2". This small quilt (21" x 21") was perfect for practicing curved piecing (which I really enjoyed) and machine appliqué. I put a split sleeve on the back and my husband helped me make a great sawtooth hanger, so it is ready to put on the wall...now I just have to find the perfect place to put it!

A couple notes:

I have finished the Elegant Stitch Workshop piece that I will be teaching this fall...and photos will be posted very soon! http://www.elegantstitch.com/

...and (drum roll please) Blue Ribbon Designs is now on Facebook...I know, it's about time! If you want to be "friends", you can find me at http://www.facebook.com/BRDgirl and make sure to "LIKE" Blue Ribbon Designs at http://www.facebook.com/BlueRibbonDesigns!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

A Little R & R

I apologize for my absence this week - in an attempt to de-stress and unwind, my husband and I took a few "much needed" days away this week for a little rest and relaxation. We headed down to Kansas City for several days of unplanned vacation...and although the terrible storms limited our activities, it did feel good to getaway. We spent a couple days finding indoor activities to avoid the thunderstorms and tornadoes - we visited Crown Center and toured the Hallmark Visitors Center (which was very cool - my favorite was seeing the bow making machine create star-shaped bows!)....we walked around Union Station...we spent an afternoon at The Plaza and had wonderful barbecue....we visited the Federal Reserve where we saw millions of dollars...and we saw a movie at the greatest movie theater I have ever been to (leather recliners, a full cocktail bar, dinner menu, totally classy, clean and comfortable!).

When we finally got a day of sunshine, we visited the Kansas City Zoo, which we thoroughly enjoy...below are some of my favorite photos I took while we explored the gorgeous grounds. I loved seeing the Straw-Necked Ibis adding to their giant multi-tiered nest with eggs in several areas...and even got a close-up shot of one of the Ibis repositioning some eggs...there was an adorable baby Rhinoceros (and although they were laying in a position where it was hard to take a photo, I did manage to get the baby snuggling up with mama)...there were several baby Giraffes...young Southern Lesser Kudu...an Aldabra Tortoise slowly making it's way to some shade...a Meerkat that posed perfectly for me...and a Kangaroo just a few feet from us. We always have a lovely time at this zoo and the weather cooperated and made it a relaxing way to spend a day.

I am still feeling a bit rundown and stressed, but a few days away definitely helped. Tomorrow I will get back to business - I have the finishing to complete on the Elegant Stitch Workshop piece...I have some new charting in the works...and I have a couple models I really want to get started. On a personal project note I have a small appliqué wall hanging that I need to quilt and bind, a cool new machine embroidery pin cushion to finish, and a small black and white quilt I want to start....so I will have a lot of fun creative things to share with you in the near future...

Monday, May 23, 2011

Giveaway Winners - Just CrossStitch Magazine

Good morning friends and followers! Just a quick post to announce the winners of my latest giveaway....the random number generator helped me pick comment #2 and comment #37....so congratulations to Jacki and Marlene - I have sent you both emails requesting your mailing information....you will both be receiving the March/April issue of Just Cross Stitch magazine featuring my design "Berries, Birds, and Blooms"!

Jacki said...
Love it! I kept meaning to pick up a copy at my LNS, but never got around to it. Thanks for the giveaway opportunity!

Marlene said...
I would love a copy of the magazine. Thank you...Marlene

I really must thank each and every one you who took the time to post...and those of you who continually follow and leave me encouraging comments - thank you so very much - I read each and every one of them! I do my best to keep up with your blogs...and although I rarely comment, I really do read them....I truly need more hours in each day. There will definitely be more giveaways in the future...so, if you are not a recipient today, don't be discouraged....you know how I like to make things and give them away...

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Sparkle Snowflakes Table Runner

I know it's early in the year for another holiday post...but I have been anxious to share a project with you using another one of the fabric cutting dies AccuQuilt sent me to play with and review. Today's project - a table runner - centers around Sarah Vedeler's licensed die design GO! Sparkle-Snowflakes...I was also able to use Sarah's coordinating digitized designs for machine embroidery.
I had a lot of fun planning this runner and going through my stash to choose
the fabric and materials. The actual piecing
of the table runner is quite simple, requires minimal fabric, and is adaptable - you could easily make one without the machine embroidery for just about any season or occasion....therefore, I am going to share my supply list and a short simple tutorial with you, so you can adapt it to make one of your own!

Supply List:
White fabric (snowflakes): five 5 1/2" squares
Red fabric (setting triangles): two 8 1/2" squares
Light blue printed fabric (squares on point): five 7" squares (trimmed after machine embroidery to 6" squares)
Backing 9" x 42"
Batting 9" x 42"
Tearaway Stabilizer
Lightweight Fusible Web
Sulky KK 2000 Spray Adhesive
Embroidery Threads
Sewing Threads

AccuQuilt GO! Fabric Cutter
AccuQuilt Sarah Vedeler Licensed Fabric Cutting Die: GO! Sparkle Snowflakes
AccuQuilt GO! 6" x 12" Cutting Mat
AccuQuilt GO! Square 8 1/2" (Die To Try) and 10" x 10" cutting mat
AccuQuilt GO! 2" Strip Cutter (binding) and 10" x 24" cutting mat
Machine Embroidery: Sparkle by Sarah Vedeler Designs
Rotary Cutter/Mat/Ruler
Sewing/Embroidery Machine

I start my project by preparing/cutting the fabric.

  • White fabric: I ironed lightweight fusible web to the back of the fabric, then cut five 5 1/2" squares. I used my AccuQuilt GO! fabric cutter and the GO! Sparkle-Snowflakes die to cut five snowflakes - I cut three of one snowflake design and two of the other (this is personal preference).

  • Red fabric: Using my AccuQuilt GO! fabric cutter and the GO! Square 8 1/2" die, I cut two squares. Then using my rotary cutter and mat, I bisected each square twice, making eight setting triangles.

  • Light blue printed fabric: I cut five 7" squares (these will be trimmed to 6" squares after machine embroidery or snowflake appliqué.

Next, I did the machine embroidered appliqué using Sarah Vedeler's Sparkle digitized designs (choose the snowflake designs that match the shapes you cut - I made two of snowflake 1, one of snowflake 2, and two of snowflake 4). If you do not have an embroidery machine, you can machine appliqué the snowflakes and embellish as desired - the GO! Sparkle-Snowflakes die comes with nice diagrams for sewing machine embellishing (and you could use some of the fancy stitches on your sewing machine!). Here are the directions for how I did the machine embroidered applique':

  • Hoop a piece of tearaway stabilizer.

  • Stitch out color one - this will stitch a center placement line on your stabilizer.

  • Mark the center of a light blue printed fabric square.

  • Remove the hoop from your machine and position the fabric square in place, aligning the center of your marked fabric with the center mark on the stabilizer - I used Sulky KK 2000 adhesive spray to hold it in place - you may choose to use pins.

  • Replace hoop and stitch color two - this will stitch the appliqué placement line.

  • Remove the hoop from the machine and fuse the snowflake appliqué in place.

  • Replace the hoop and continue stitching out each of the colors - changing your threads as you desire.

  • Repeat these steps for all five snowflakes and light blue squares of printed fabric.

  • Remove the tearaway stabilizer from each piece and trim each block to 6" square - being careful to center the snowflake designs.

You are now ready to piece the table runner. Layout your pieces following the diagram below. Sew five rows, using a standard 1/4" seam allowance....then sew the five rows together. Once your top is pieced, quilt and bind as desire.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Giveaway - "Berries, Birds, and Blooms"

I have a couple copies of the March/April issue of Just CrossStitch magazine featuring my design "Berries, Birds, and Blooms (shown right) to giveaway! This cheerful, springtime design is mainly Cross Stitch...but does have Smyrna Cross Stitch and Back Stitch....making it a fun, quick stitch. The model was worked on 32-count Chantilly Creme from Lakeside Linens with Weeks Dye Works cotton floss (DMC conversions are provided). If you have been wanting to pick-up a copy of this magazine for my special Blue Ribbon Designs project, now is your chance to win a copy! Simply post a comment to this post and I will use the random generator to choose two lucky recipients...each reciepient will receive one Just CrossStitch magazine (March/April 2011) featuring the design "Berries, Birds, and Blooms"....and yes, I will sign your copy!

The fine print: make certain you leave an email address in your comment or it must be visible in your profile - entries without a valid email will be not be eligible...and if you enter anonymously, please also include your first name so I have a way of identifying you, should you win. Please leave only one comment - multiple comments will be deleted/disqualified. The deadline to enter will be 11:59 pm CST, Sunday, May 22nd. Recipients will be chosen by random draw and posted on my blog on Monday, May 23rd. I will contact the recipients via email - you will have 48 hours to respond, if I do not hear from you in that time, I will choose a replacement recipient. So, there you have it....all the "details" - good luck to each and every one of you...and thank you supporting Blue Ribbon Designs - I hope to bring you quality designs for years to come...

Friday, May 13, 2011

Bluebirds and Daisies

Recently I received an email wanting to know how I finished my complimentary design "Bluebirds and Daisies"...and I was extremely embarrassed to reply that I had not yet finished it (I designed and stitched the model in 2008). The design was done quickly, without much notice for a Hoffman Distributing summer promotion and at the time I was working on a long list of deadlines...so, I stitched it up for a photo and then added it to a pile of "to be finished later" cross stitch pieces. Well, that email was just the gentle nudge I needed to finish my stitched design in to a cute little summery pillow. I used my AccuQuilt GO! fabric cutter to cut strips for framing the design...then backed it, stuffed it, and added an assortment of buttons in two of the corners. I was very pleased with the results...and I now find myself inspired to start finishing more pieces in my cross stitch pile! This complimentary pattern is still available on my website, for those of you who may want to try your hand at making your own little pillow - just visit my website http://www.blueribbondesigns.com/ - click on "Freebie" in the left-hand menu - and scroll down about half the page to the design for Summer 2008 - as always, you will need Adobe Reader to view/print the PDF file. I hope you will be inspired to stitch this fun, summertime piece...and if you do, be sure to send me a photo...I would love to see where your creativity takes you with this design...

Saturday, May 7, 2011

My First Word Book

Wanting to try something new for my mother-in-law's Mother's Day gift, I decided to use my new Cricut Expression machine to make a word book. I used the Cricut DesignStudio Software to create the M-O-M letter pages - which actually worked really slick! After getting the pages designed, I hooked my Cricut Expression to my laptop and was able to cut my designs...and it actually worked...I was so proud of myself...I picked a rather large project for a new Cricut user, but that is me, I just jump in! After cutting the pages, I cut an assortment of cardstock and pretty paper shapes, frames, and letters...then got out the glue stick and went to work...I added photographs of Travis, Simba, and myself...rick rack, buttons, and a couple epoxy stickers. The back page was done using a color ink, instead of a cutting blade in my Cricut Expression - it actually draws the shapes instead of cutting them...it was my first time trying this and it amazed me! I punched holes in each of the pages, then used book rings tied with pretty ribbons and trims to bind the pages. It took a little longer than expected (and it looked like a bomb exploded in my studio), but I was thrilled with the results! Travis and I will sign the back page to commemorate the occasion. Shown below are each of the pages as you work through the book...

I hope you have a wonderful Mother's Day...and find a little creative time for yourself...

Friday, May 6, 2011

Four More Tuffets...

Today I continued to lower my fabric scrap stash and made four more tuffets....I wanted to make a few more for gifts, since I have given away all the others I have made. This time I added appliqué shapes to a couple random strip rectangles, which I thought turned out well. Again, these were adapted from the pattern "Tuffets" from the Schnibbles collection by Miss Rosie's Quilt Company. I was able to use my AccuQuilt GO! fabric cutter with the the 1" strip cutter die...along with the GO! Heart die and the GO! Star die to cut my scraps. I used wool fabric to back all of these pin pillows and added coordinating pins from my collection. Working on these was a nice break from a few personal and professional challenges I have been facing...a couple hours of sewing in the afternoon is always a "spirit lifter"...plus it allowed me to check another item off my ever-growing to-do list. Now I just have to make time to finish a Mother's Day gift for my mother-in-law...and it uses my new Cricut Expression cutting machine...so hopefully I can get it completed tomorrow morning. For now, I am off to walk Simba, cook dinner, and get to my stitching nest for a needlework marathon...my model for the Elegant Stitch Workshop is calling my name...

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Watermelon Wednesday

Today's afternoon stress reliever produced this adorable watermelon pincushion! This is a perfect project for those who like to machine sew/quilt and do hand stitching...but it is a little labor intensive, so plan on an afternoon to finish this good sized fruity pin pillow. The pattern is from Miss Rosie's Quilt Co. and is titled Fruit Salad Pincushions...it has instructions for both a watermelon and a strawberry. This is a great pattern for using up scraps...and you know I have been trying to put my scraps to good use lately! I used my AccuQuilt Go! fabric cutter and my 1 1/2" strip cutter die to cut most of the pieces. After piecing the fruit and the rind, both pieces are quilted, then cut to shape. Seeds are then added to the fruit by using Perle Cotton No. 5 and hand working French Knots...then the pieces are sewn together by machine, turned, and stuffed...finally you do a Herringbone Stitch by hand through both the rind and the fruit using Perle Cotton No. 5. This scrumptious watermelon is approximately 8 1/2" W x 4" H x 3 1/2" D...a nice big size. Shown in the photo are some more FABULOUS decorated pins from one of my favorite designers PuntiniPuntini....I just love these special pins! This fun summery pincushion was a wonderful afternoon distraction from several stress-filled days...it is always a treat when I make some time to sew...plus I got to combine two of my favorite things: hand stitching and machine sewing/quilting....