Monday, March 28, 2011
Saturday, March 26, 2011
Wednesday, March 23, 2011
Tuesday, March 22, 2011
So, stop by the Weeks Dye Works website and explore...check out their products....read about their dyeing process...view an extensive list of designers that use their fabric and fibers....and the check out the "Free Designer Charts" (hold your cursor over "Designers" in the top menu) to get your own copy of the new complimentary chart ("Little Blue Bungalow") that I designed especially for them! You will have to scroll down, as they listed my design at the very bottom of the page...you will need Adobe Reader to open/print the chart....and as always, this design is protected by copyright law - thank you for respecting my copyright. You will also find free charts from some other favorite designers - Cherrywood Design Studios, SamSarah Design Studio, and Just Another Button Company!
This fun little design definitely brought some springtime cheer into my household - I enjoyed working on the design and making it into a floral pillow. The model is stitched on 35-count WDW Angel Hair Linen with seven colors of WDW cotton floss...including two of the great new colors just released at the Nashville Needlework Market (Capri and Charlotte's Pink).
I hope you enjoy this special new complimentary design - another gift to you for your continued support, friendship, and encouragement - thank you for allowing me to "pursue my passion"...and if you need a new project, I hope this chart will entice you to visit your favorite needlework shop and purchase some of the larger designs in the Blue Ribbon Designs catalog!
Monday, March 21, 2011
Sunday, March 20, 2011
If you are wondering where you can get this special little Blue Ribbon Designs cross stitch design, details will be here soon. It is a complimentary chart and will be available for download in the near future...yes, you heard me correctly, it is a NEW freebie! Keep an eye on my blog and when details are available, I will share where you can find it....
Saturday, March 19, 2011
National Quilting Day...so to celebrate, I made sure to make time to quilt this afternoon.
After going through some of my stash patterns, I found this adorable little applique quilt - it is by
The Wooden Bear and is titled
May Flowers (from the
Little Quilts Squared series). I definitely took some creative liberties (as you can see if you visit the link for the pattern) - I completely changed the colors...and the shapes of the flowers and leafs...I wanted it to be cheerful and springy. I was able to cut most of the pieces with my
AccuQuilt Go! Fabric Cutter which made it quite fun (using several strip cutter dies and the GO! Rose of Sharon by Sharon Pederson die)...plus I was able to play with fat quarters and fabric scraps in my ever growing stash.
Over the last year, I have really grown to love machine applique...for me, it is addicting...once I started this project, I worked on it all afternoon until it was completed. I already have it hanging in a small quilt stand in my living room...and it is bringing me comfort and joy!
I hope you make time this weekend to work on a project that brings you sheer happiness...
Friday, March 18, 2011
For those of you not familiar with cotton laminates - they are similar to oil cloth, but not quite as heavy. It is a quilting-weight cotton sandwiched with with a thin polyurethane coating making it substantially water-resistant. Great for making items such as raincoats, diaper bags, cosmetic bags, aprons, lunch bags, or picnic place mats/blankets. These coated fabrics are the new trend in quilt shops and are popping up in fabulous prints and colors. Laminate cottons do not really have any "give"...you can't straighten the grain...so you will want to pick patterns without a lot of piecing or detailed sewing. You will want to cut a single layer at a time with the right side up...and you won't want to use any pins, as pin holes will remain in the fabric. I used an all purpose cotton thread with a sharp 80/12 top stitch needle...and I had great results using the roller foot on my sewing machine (which I was thrilled to use again, as I bought it for repairing my husband's leather motorcycle suit) - a Teflon presser foot or non-stick glide foot would also work well. Another note - only use a warm iron on the wrong side of the fabric, if absolutely necessary - this coated fabric will melt.
I was a little nervous when I started out, but as you can see I loved working with laminated cotton - I actually made six bags this afternoon. Now that I know how much I enjoy it, I will be looking for some fun prints and colors to work with...and I will definitely be trying more projects!
Thursday, March 17, 2011
This morning I took Simba to his monthly grooming appointment and I was lucky enough to spend my late morning/early afternoon with my dear friend Merry...and if you are already wondering, yes she made these phenomenal chocolates for me! Don't they look like they came from a wonderful gourmet chocolate shop?! Merry and I have both had a rather rough week and definitely needed a little "girl time"...but I had no idea she would try to fix all my problems with a gorgeous plate of delicious chocolates....even the presentation was fabulous (my foofing obsession has rubbed off on her) - I love the polka dot plate and festive green ribbons. I have already savored one of the hearts - which had scrumptious, creamy, ooey gooey caramel inside....there are even homemade peanut butter cups, and a chocolate truffle (in the center ) - yep, I am so spoiled (and she is so amazing and thoughtful)...and I will definitely need to do some extra workouts this next week. Plus, I almost forgot to mention she brought me her last jar of Jalapeno jelly (which is "to die for")...she definitely treats me like a queen!
Merry and I made a trip to a wonderful local quilt shop - and of course we found some new fabrics that we just had to give a new home...then we went to our favorite little Japanese restaurant in town and thoroughly enjoyed our sushi lunch....and then somehow, *poof*, my terrible week was not so terrible anymore.
May you enjoy the company of a good friend and a sweet decadent treat to soothe your soul...
Sunday, March 13, 2011
Feeling inspired by the fabric "June Blooms" from June Bug by Alexander Henry Fabrics, I decided to finish this special cross stitch into a pillow sham for a 15" x 15" pillow. I found a great sage colored fabric in my stash that matched the stitching and coordinated with the "June Blooms" print for the inner frame - this was a piece from a scrap bag without a selvage, so I am not sure of it's origin. I thought it would be fun to do a piped pillow - so I also used the sage fabric to make coordinating piping...this was made super simple with three things: my AccuQuilt Go! Fabric Cutter (used to cut 1" strips of fabric for the piping...I also used it to cut strips for the pillow cover), my Groovin' Piping Trimming Tool (fabulous!), and the piping presser foot for my Designer Diamond. All in all, it took me about 2 hours to complete this pillow cover from start to finish - and I totally adore it...just looking at it makes me happy! Special thanks to my friend Mary for cross stitching this piece for me...it was a joy to finish it today....
Wednesday, March 9, 2011
The time spent in my sewing studio definitely did the trick - my "spring fever" is still in full effect, but working on this project definitely cheered up my mood! Find a little time to work on a project that brings you joy...
Tuesday, March 8, 2011
The gloomy weather has been the perfect excuse to lock myself in the studio - I have been busy working on class kits, some small magazine models, and I am almost finished with a nice size quilt I started over the weekend. I used a sunshine yellow fabric to sash my quilt, just to brighten up my mood....hopefully I will have a photo for you real soon. This evening, I will be doing some finishing work and maybe do a little more quilting...I am not going to let my spring fever inhibit my creativity!
Saturday, March 5, 2011
This weekend, I will be busy working on class kits for this event and the one I am teaching the following weekend in Junction City, KS...two very large groups means lots of materials to prepare! I am very excited to be hitting the road in April and meeting new groups of needleworkers - it is going to be a marvelous time...
Thursday, March 3, 2011
It was enjoyable to spend a couple hours in my sewing studio and complete a small project...it was a wonderful stress-free afternoon.
This evening I am back in my stitching nest, working on a couple Halloween ornaments for Just CrossStitch Magazine. Tomorrow, after a lunch date with a good friend, I will be working on class kits for a couple large teaching events in April - I have over 200 pieces of linen to cut and serge - so I will definitely have more time in the studio, only tomorrow it will be with my serger...
Tuesday, March 1, 2011
Last week, during the height of my flu epidemic, my dear friend Lorrie dropped off a belated birthday package - I was not feeling well enough to open it...in fact, I didn't even come close to feeling well enough to open it until this past Sunday. It sat on our living room table all week and everyday, my husband would say, "I can't believe you haven't opened your gift yet"...but I really wanted to wait to open it when I could enjoy and appreciate it. When I opened it, I was speechless - a handmade "Bel's Stitching Nest" sign...complete with an actual nest!
Lorrie attached a detailed note telling me about this slate tile sign and how it came to be...the thought and time that went into this project made me feel so very special...her kindness touched me deeply.
A friend painted the large piece of slate for her...but Lorrie thought it needed more, so she added the bird's nest and filled it with treasures. As you can see from the enlarged photo, the nest is overflowing with personal touches. There is a vintage pewter button (from an antique tin of buttons found in an old Indiana barn) that actually looks like it has an ear of corn on it...a piece of white linen and a red button from the drawers of her Great Grandmother's old Singer sewing machine...beautiful blue hand-dyed silk thread and ribbon...a lovely piece of lace...and even a piece of cotton sampler fabric! It truly is how I envision "my stitching nest" and such a personalized gift...isn't it wonderful?! There are not words to describe how touched I was by this gift - Lorrie, you are amazing!
I just had to share this unique handmade treasure with you and some of the details that make it super special. I am beyond blessed to have so many generous, creative, and talented people in my life. I hope reading about this will inspire you to give a gift from the heart...