Friday, June 28, 2013

Stitching and Swimming

Happy Friday friends and followers! I have been busy finishing up my "pink" project...and details on how to obtain this very special design will be posted in the near future (stay tuned!)...for now here is a sneak peek at the finished project titled "Red Rosies and Pink Posies"...

I also thought I would share a short video with you today...this was taken last weekend at Raccoon River Park. My husband and I took Schatzi to the lake for a swimming lesson, and here is just a bit of what I got on tape...she is learning quickly and does like the water! She is growing like a weed - last week at her vet visit (14 weeks) she was 35 pounds... 

Monday, June 17, 2013

Pincushion-A-Day Progress...

Since my last post, I have managed to keep up with a pincushion a day...finishing four more...which, at this point, is pretty much a miracle. Schatzi, Simba, and I are experiencing some quality time for 10 days and I have been scheduling accordingly...which doesn't leave much time to be creative. I am still trying to get in some stitching, doing my best to finish up my special "pink" project...I have the main piece finished and now I am working on the needlework smalls. I am also trying to prepare two new designs for printing, hoping to have them ready for production in the next few weeks. I am happy with my pincushion scrap bin is overflowing and I am thrilled to putting some to good use! I managed to pull out some Mary Engelbreit fabrics...some Blackbird Designs fabrics...and even a few blue scraps for a little embroidered heart motif...

Yesterday, Schatzi and I made it to the park to work on some of her obedience training...and to have a little fun...she loves the playground equipment and is pretty much fearless - making it through all the obstacles and stairs easily (even the rope bridge). She is growing like a weed...and has now started teething (ugh) - which has caused one of her ears to temporarily drop (which definitely makes me giggle). He are a couple photos taken yesterday at the park (thirteen and a half weeks old) ear up, one ear down...

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Creating In Small Doses

I've learned over the last month (since we added a German Shepherd to our family), that I need to create in small doses...trying to run a home-based business and a household with a puppy in the mix has put a strict limit on any quiet time (really, any time at all). My sewing machine has only been turned on four times since returning from California at the end of April...yes, I keep track...and yes, I am going through heavy duty withdrawal. This week I have made an effort to change that...because, let's be honest, I am a much "nicer" person when I have even a few minutes of creative time in my studio. I decided to try to finish up all my small projects in progress - even if I just get to make one teeny tiny thing each day. Yesterday, I worked on a project I started in early April...I had this idea to machine embroider some very tiny designs (1" - 1 1/2" square) to put in the center of some more intricate paper-pieced blocks for pincushions. I had eight small embroidered designs ready, so I pulled out my various paper-piecing books and resources and found several blocks that fit my vision...I got the designs printed...and finally sat down at the sewing machine to piece my first one (only a few months later). Like most quilters, I have a HUGE bin filled with fabric scraps...all sorts of colors, styles, and I went through the bin to pick a few fun coordinates...I decided on a 5" square block, so I didn't need too many pieces...and of course, they could all be quite small. The result is the design you see in the photograph...I was able to get the block pieced in the evening, but then had to wait until my husband came home from work to cut the wool felt backing, sew the perimeter, and stuff...but I did get it done in one day! My goal is to make a selection of these for my Etsy with any luck, in several weeks, I will have a nice grouping to list. The challenge will be to get another one done today - I have a full schedule and a giant list of errands...but a girl can dream...

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

The Early Bluebird...

Happy Wednesday friends and followers! It is a warm, sunny day here and we are getting ready to put lunch on the grill, but I thought I would check-in with a quick update first. I managed to finish a very small quilting project last night - an appliqué wall hanging. I actually started this project weeks ago and have not had any spare time to turn on the sewing machine....after picking up some fun/new stash and projects on my road trip last week, I really want to get my in-progress projects done, so I can start something fresh and new. I have one LARGE quilting project left to finish (something for a very dear friend) and then I can play with some new ideas. This project is called "The Early Bird" and is part of the Skinny Mini Wall Hanging Series from Country Traditions in Fremont, NE...I have done several of these satisfying projects...the kit contains everything you need, with the exception of backing fabric and batting - but at a finished size of 5" x 15", those supplies are easily found in my stash. Normally, I make these projects "my own" and cut a lot of the appliqué a little differently by using one of my AccuQuilt Fabric Cutters...but this one, I actually did as directed, using the appliqué patterns provided. I thought it turned out super cute...a perfect tiny quilt for my spring/summer decorating.

I have been cross stitching up a storm in quiet moments (which are few), working on my special "pink" project...and I have the main part of the design complete...just working on a few small extras and last minute details...I should an update and photos for you soon!

Schatzi continues to grow leaps and is a recent photo from last night - she is twelve and a half weeks old and over 30 pounds...and yes, she should grow into those ears!...and she can finally wear her pink camouflage collar. She is keeping me on my toes...and although she is a complete handful, I have already grown quite attached to her...I will just be much happier when she is out of the "puppy phase" which is quite exhausting...

Well, I am off to get lunch started and mark off a few to-do items before my husband leaves for work...I now have to prioritize my day around the puppy (I never thought I would be saying that!)...

Sunday, June 9, 2013

A Colorful and Inspiring Day

Friday was a road trip day...and thank goodness...I needed it even more than I thought! My dear friend Lorrie and I made a trip to Omaha, Nebraska for the 4th Annual AccuQuilt Barn Quilt Unveiling event...and we had a FABULOUS day. We left Des Moines a little before 8:00 and made it to AccuQuilt a few minutes before 10:00...perfect timing, as the festivities started at 10:00 AM. We were greeted with a very warm welcome from Steve Nabity (CEO), Linda Pumphrey (National Sales Manager), Lynn Gibney (Director of Marketing), and all my favorite AccuQuilt staff members...seriously AccuQuilt has the friendliest staff around...and they were all outside to greet us! Once inside, I couldn't wait to meet the special guest Ricky Tims (woohoo!)...he was kind enough to autograph my GO! Arabesque #3 die (one of his designer dies for the AccuQuilt GO! Fabric Cutter) and pose for a couple photos (here is where I thank Lorrie for taking the photos of me with Ricky Tims). I was also thrilled to see a bunch of familiar faces from last year...always so much fun to see quilting friends from across the country (and Canada)!

After meeting celebrity quilter Ricky Tims, we entered the AccuQuilt Quilt Gallery (always worth a visit if you are in the Omaha area) where some of his AMAZING quilts were on display...they were breathtaking...I mean SERIOUSLY incredible! I managed to get most, if not all, of them photographed for you...even with the hoards of people crowded in for on any image for a larger, more detailed photo...

Asternoon Delight
Year made: 2009 - 36" x 44"
Created by Ricky Tims

Bears in Bertie's Log Cabin
Year made: 2004 - 53" x 53"
Pieced and Quilted by Ricky Tims

Dad's Lone Star
Year made: 2002 - 92" x 92"
Pieced, appliqued, and quilted by Richard Tims and Ricky Tims
(Father and Son Quilt)

Viva Violetta
Year made: 2007 - 58" x 58"
Pieced and Quilted by Ricky Tims

New World Symphony
Year made: 2002 - 90.5" x 90.5"
Pieced and Quilted by Ricky Tims

Time Warp
Year made: 1999 - 82" x 82"
Pieced and Quilted by Ricky Tims

Self Portrait
Year made: 2012 - 22" x 22"
Pieced and Quilted by Ricky Tims

Bohemian Rhapsody
Year made: 2002 - 88" x 88"
Pieced and Quilted by Ricky Tims

Simple Gifts
Year made: 1996 - 88" x 88"
Pieced and Quilted by Ricky Tims

Lifelines III
Year made: 2012 - 50" x 50"
Pieced, Embellished, and Quilted by Ricky Tims

Next we entered the AccuQuilt Dream Studio, where attendees of the event were busy making pillow cases  for American Patchwork & Quilting 1 Million Pillowcase was insane in the dream studio (as you can see from the photo) - wall to wall people busy sewing pillow was almost overwhelming just to walk across the room!

Our next stop was the AccuQuilt warehouse where there was shopping...yes, I said shopping! AccuQuilt had set-up a merchandise area with all sorts of goodies for sale...including "gently used dies" at greatly reduced prices...and how could I pass that up...both Lorrie and I found several dies we *had to* have!

We then made our way outside to the where Ricky Tims would be making his presentation to a tent full of enthusiastic quilters...and what a marvelous presentation it was...thoroughly enjoyable. Ricky is so down to earth...and listening to his life story was inspiring and uplifting...

Next was a performance by "Steve and the Stitches"...and to say it was amusing would be an understatement...the whole entire crowd was smiling, clapping, and enjoying the entertainment!

It was then time to reveal the 2013 Barn Quilt Contest winners and unveil the grand prize winning block...I must say it was sad to see a new 17' x 17' block in the place where my winning block has been for the last year, but Sue's block definitely looked FABULOUS on display and I was so excited for her!

After the unveiling, it was time for lunch...and barbecue really hit the spot...but more importantly,  it was time for door prizes! Lorrie and I had a conversation about how we never win drawings of just doesn't happen...and we watched quite a few happy quilters take home some stellar prizes. When Linda held up an adorable pink GO! Baby Fabric Cutter Tote, I leaned over to Lorrie and said "you could use that" and her response was "yes, I could"...and guess what, they called her name...we were dumbfounded....and SO excited!...I was just thrilled for her to win a prize to take home. Then the most incredible thing they called names for the last few prizes, I heard my name too....what?!...this never happens... My door prize the coolest thing ever...the book "Japanese Quilting Piece by Piece" by Yoko Saito (it is a DELIGHTFUL book) and an assortment pack of SCRUMPTIOUS AURIfil Threads (so totally awesome!). WOW, WOW, WOW...what a perfect treat for our trip...

After saying goodbyes and gathering our purchases and winnings, we headed off to one of our favorite quilt shops...The Quilted Moose in Gretna, NE...this shop is a must visit whenever we are in the area! We managed to find just a few a TON of marvelous things to take home...yes, we did some power fact, time flew by while we were in there...and although we had plans to possibly visit other shops in the area, we knew we had a two hour drive to get home (and I had an anxious puppy in the kennel that I knew needed dinner and a potty break) after enhancing the economy of Greta, NE, we headed for home.

So, there you have it, my day at the 4th Annual AccuQuilt Barn Quilt Unveiling was a perfect day - I couldn't have asked for more - time with a dear friend was just what the doctor ordered (all the quilty goodness was a bonus!).

Monday, June 3, 2013

A Postcard Afternoon...

Schatzi - 11.5 weeks - 28 pounds
Life in our household has been a little more hectic than usual...trying to balance a home-based business with a new puppy in the house is "insane" to say the least. I am working on finding a better balance...but for now, I have just accepted that things are going to be a little crazy in the coming months. Today I feel a sense of relief, as (late last night) I finished a gigantic deadline for a publisher that was completely stressing me out...and I actually got the Blue Ribbon Designs June Newsletter emailed this afternoon...and (fingers crossed) later today, I am really hoping the dogs allow me to do some much needed model stitching!

Yesterday afternoon, we took Schatzi to Raccoon River Park, to see if she likes the water...we walked her down to the lake, and after just a bit of gentle coaxing, she actually walked right in ...luckily I had my camera to commemorate the moment. It was a postcard afternoon, which was most welcome, after more than a week of severe weather, thunderstorms, and rain....I got a lovely photograph of the clouds reflecting on the lake...

I have had several messages asking me about my perennial garden I planted last year....first a photo from last year...then several photos from this year. I am happy to report, I just may have inherited my mother's green thumb after-all. Everything I planted returned this year, with the exception of one shrub....and I even moved a few things around a couple weeks ago to make the bed more eye-pleasing. My Knockout Roses are just starting to bud...and I am thrilled that my Spiderwort, Dianthus, Pincushion Flower, Cranesbill Geranium, Valerian, and Coreopsis are all in bloom...everything looks healthy and happy!

Perennial Garden 2012 - just planted..

Perennial Garden 2013 - after one year...


Knockout Rose Bush


Cranesbill Geranium, Chives, Lavender

It feels good to finally take a moment and catch-up with my blog readers...I have been missing you...I will do my best to get back to regular updates! I do have some sewing I *must* get to this week, as we are attending a wedding next weekend and I am making the gift...hopefully I will be back soon to share the project with you! I should also have some stitchy updates soon - I have a bunch of projects in the (if all goes well), I have a special road trip planned for Friday that will have lots of fun photos...
Wishing you a cheerful and productive week...