Friday, September 21, 2012

"Roaming Reindeer" - Woodland Ornament Collection

"Roaming Reindeer"
The 2012 Just CrossStitch Christmas Ornament Issue has arrived! This publication continues to be a favorite of mine - I remember when I first started designing, it was my goal to be in this special magazine. I always enjoy paging through each section, reading the holiday stories, checking out the recipes...and perusing all the finished ornaments! I have been blessed to be invited to design a holiday ornament for this issue for the last seven years....and I have also been featured in several JCS Ornament Preview Issues. The last two years, I have been working on a woodland series of ornaments - the first appeared in the 2011 Ornament Preview Issue and was titled "Christmas Cottage" - followed by "Frosty in the Firs" in the 2011 Ornament Issue. This year I continued the set with "Woodsy Winter" in the Ornament Preview Issue and now "Roaming Reindeer" in the 2012 Ornament Issue. I have had quite a few questions on this series and how many are available - so if you are stitching or plan to stitch the entire set, there are currently four (show in order below). Will this series continue?? - well, we'll see if I get invited to design more ornaments in 2013...and where my creative journey takes me...stay tuned!

You can get more information and see photos of my designs in magazines/publications by visiting my website and clicking on "Magazines" in the left-hand menu.

Just CrossStitch 2012 Christmas Ornament Issue Cover

L to R: "Christmas Cottage" - "Frosty In The Firs" - "Woodsy Winter" - "Roaming Reindeer"

Blue Ribbon Designs will be featured in several upcoming publications - including the January 2013 Issue of Cross-Stitch & Needlework Magazine....and the The World of Cross Stitching: WOXS Issue 199 on sale in the UK on January 3, 2013.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Niagara Falls in Photos

Today I thought I would take you on a photographic journey through Niagara Falls. Last week while visiting Lockport, NY to teach a workshop for the Buffalo Chapter EGA, the event coordinator (and my delightful personal tour guide) Stephanie was kind enough to take me to see Niagara Falls for the first time (I know, I am an extremely lucky girl!). We went in the evening after class had finished for the day - we arrived in sunlight and as we walked through Niagara Falls State Park, the sun slowly went me all sorts of great lighting for photography. We parked at the State Park entrance and then were able to use the walking paths to see the majority of the park. The views were breathtaking - and I felt extremely blessed to be able experience the beauty of the falls and the surrounding areas - it was truly AMAZING! I was in awe of the mist from the falls that traveled hundreds of feet in the air and across the park every time the wind (or even a breeze) would blow...and I found myself cleaning my camera lens often! Not only did I get to see seagulls (which we don't have in Iowa), but I got to see black squirrels - which was also a first for me. One day, I would love to return and see the Canadian side of the falls, as well as do the Maid of the Mist boat tour. Here are some of my favorite photos, taken as we explored the Niagara Falls State Park (click on any individual photo to see larger images):

Canadian Skyline
So there you have it - I hope you enjoyed seeing Niagara Falls through my camera lens - it truly was a magical experience for me! A HUGE thank you to Stephanie for taking me on a field trip of a lifetime and showing me this incredible landmark...

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

From the Heart: An Exhibit of Hand Embroidery

The class project and several Blue Ribbon Designs
on Display in the classroom...
Happy Wednesday friends! I have returned from my teaching trip to the Buffalo, NY area - and it was a wonderful experience - and (as always) I have a lot to share with you. I was blessed to spend several days in Lockport, NY teaching a workshop class to members of the Buffalo Chapter of the EGA. I had a small but very creative/talented group and definitely enjoyed my two days working with the attendees! The class took place on Saturday and Sunday at the Holiday Inn...and we spent two days stitching and sharing our mutual passions for needlework. I was able to cover all sorts of fun finishing ideas and techniques in class...and even had time to share some of my favorite tips and tricks! It was a FABULOUS group and it was wonderful to get to know each and every one of the talented needleworkers in attendance.

Buffalo Chapter EGA Workshop attendees Marilyn and Stephanie hard at work in class...
I arrived in New York on Friday afternoon, as class was scheduled for Saturday morning....and I am so glad I arrived with time to see the From the Heart: An Exhibit of Hand Embroidery at the Kenan Center in Lockport, NY - hosted by the Buffalo Chapter of the Embroiderers' Guild of America. It was a FANTASTIC display of needlearts and I was excited to see the extensive collection of pieces on exhibit - this is one extremely talented group of needleworkers! There were hundreds of pieces on display - including (but not limited to) Cross Stitch, Bead Embroidery, Stumpwork, Needlepoint, Surface Embroidery, Petite Point, Brazilian Embroidery, Hardanger, Crazy Quilting, Bargello, Blackwork, Schwalm Embroidery, and White Work (to name a few)...seriously, this exhibit contained just about any/every form of needlework I could think of!

To make this show even more impressive, it was held at the Kenan Center House Gallery - the perfect venue for such an impressive collection of works! The Kenan House is an exquisite example of late 19th century Italianate architecture and was a beautiful gallery for a needlework exhibit - the foundation of the house was laid in 1850...and when the house was nearly completed, a fire destroyed all but two walls...the house was entirely rebuilt by 1859. The Kenan's purchased the house in 1912 for $18,500 and did extensive remodeling during their first year of ownership. Before his death in 1965, Mr. Kenan deeded his home and property to the First Presbyterian Church for development as a community center. The Kenan Center is situated on 25 beautiful acres...and although it was raining during my visit, I could tell the gardens and grounds are extremely well maintained - along with the Kenan House & Gallery, the property includes multiple gardens and an orchard, an Education Building, the Taylor Theatre, a large greenhouse, and the Kenan Arena. The needlework display was incorporated throughout the Kenan Center House Gallery...making wonderful use of each room - it was a treat to see needlart intermixed with beautiful woodwork, white marble flooring, fan-shaped and floor to ceiling shuttered windows, chandeliers, and elaborate fireplaces. Here are some photos of the house and interior, along with needlework on display (click on any of the photos for a larger look)...

The Kenan Center House Gallery

Living Room

Left: Pennsylvania Sampler Sleuth - Marie Socha

Top to bottom:
How Much is that Doggie in the Window? - canvas - Peggy Lynn Kresovich
Cleopatra's Cat - canvas - Margaret M. Stoll
Cleopatra's Cat - counted canvas - Gerry Stark
Quaker Mother Bear - cross stitch - Gerry Stark
Quaker Baby Bear - cross stitch - Gerry Stark

Master Bath

The Nativity - Cross-Stitched by Anne G. Koberstein - Fireplace Screen

Wooden Peperkor Tree with 14 Folk Art Ornaments (Crewel Embroidery) -  Wilma Nantka

One of my favorite items on display: Winter Village Houses
(Mill Hill  Bead and Button Kits on Perforated Paper) - matted and placed in
a room screen - Paula Rychtarik - GORGEOUS!

Three Pumpkins - Beverly Molak
Stitching Witch Halloween - Susan A. Koch

Oriental Needlework Display - South Bedroom, 2nd Floor - Victorian Marble Mantlepiece

Shuttered arched windows...

Breathtaking Beaded Needlework by Stephanie Drehs

Framed - Schwalm Sampler - Patricia Karpenko
Crazy Patch Quilt Block - Surface and Bead Embroidery - Marjorie Tritto
So Dear To Thy Heart, Lamb Needlebook, LeNouveau Palais Royal - Counted Thread and Crewel Embroidery - Stephanie Drehs
Quaker Ball, Leaf Ball, Noel - Cross Stitch - Beverly Molak

Jacobean Blanket Chest - Original Furnishings of William and Alice Kenan
Ladies' Parlor - Mrs. Kenan's Sitting Room

Ladies' Parlor - Mrs. Kenan's Sitting Room

Hepplewhite-style Chair - Original Furnishings of William and Alice Kenan
Ladies' Parlor - Mrs. Kenan's Sitting Room

Theme Basket Auction Items

To read more about the Kenan Center, visit if you visit the page for the Kenan Center House Gallery, you can see a small slideshow of the exhibit. If you are in the area, the From The Heart: An Exhibit of Hand Embroidery will be on display through September 30, 2012 - make the trip, you will not be disappointed! Oh, and did I mention - they have a lovely shopping mall with many items for purchase (including handmade and hand stitched items)...and a wonderful theme basket auction?!

While in Western New York, the event coordinator (and my personal tour guide) Stephanie made my stay extremely memorable - she took me to Niagara Falls for my first visit! I will share that experience with you tomorrow...