Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Coming Soon - "Botanical Blessings"

I told you I would be back soon with information on two new releases that are shipping in the next few days...and (finally) here I am to tell you about the first one! I have been busy getting new Blue Ribbon Designs ready for release...two new designs will be shipping the first week of August, two the first week of September, and two the first week of October. Shipping to needlework shops later this week are "Botanical Blessings" and "Feathers, Flowers, and Fruit".

Botanical Blessings (BRD-110) is a Shaker-inspired needlework design and the chart includes a framed piece with three coordinating needlework smalls. After visiting the Enfield Shaker Village (for a teaching event) several years ago, I began doing quite a bit of research on the Shaker culture and gift drawings...this design was inspired by my visits to Enfield, NH, Shaker artwork, and my quest for knowledge.

A tiny bit about the Shaker culture:
The Shakers are known for their cleanliness, honesty and frugality - they believed in the value of hard work and kept comfortably busy. All Shaker villages ran farms, using the latest scientific methods in agriculture - they would raise most of their own farming and preserving the produce required to feed them through the winter season were seen as priorities. When not doing farm work, Shaker brethren pursued a variety of trades and hand crafts; when not doing housework, Shaker sisters did likewise, spinning, weaving, sewing, and making sale goods. Many Shaker villages had their own tanneries, sold baskets, brushes, bonnets, brooms, fancy goods, and homespun fabric that was known for high quality...but most communities were more famous for their medicinal herbs, garden seeds, apple-sauce, and knitted garments. The Shakers' dedication to hard work and perfection resulted in a very unique range of architecture, furniture and handicraft styles - they designed their furniture and architecture with care, believing that making something well was in itself, "an act of prayer." Other well-known artifacts of Shaker culture include their spirit (gift) drawings, dances, and songs.

In the few Shaker documents in which gift drawings are mentioned, they are typically referred to as sheets, rolls, signs, notices, tokens of love, presents, rewards, hearts—sometimes prefaced by the adjective sacred. Inspired by visionary experiences, gift drawings bridge the heavenly and the earthly spheres. Many portray beautiful images of heaven intended to demonstrate to Believers, young and old, the rewards that would await them by remaining faithful and living their lives in accordance with the Shaker principles. Many gift drawings depict delicately rendered trees, fruits, flowers, and other natural forms, as well as Shaker meeting houses, furniture, clocks, jewelry, and other human-made structures and objects, rendered more decorative than those common in daily life on earth. Gift drawings portray heaven as an idealized image of the earth and many demonstrate formal similarities with traditionally feminine crafts outside of Shaker culture, such as needlework, quilt making, plate painting, and samplers.

Another interesting fact - although the 1821 Shaker Millennial Laws did not prohibit the display of pictures, the 1845 Laws include the following ruling: "No maps, charts, and no pictures or paintings, shall ever be hung up in your dwelling-rooms, shops, or office. And no pictures or paintings set in frames, with glass before them shall ever be among you." By 1860, the Shakers began to relax the 1845 Laws, but history would suggest the gift drawings were not on display on an everyday basis, but rather kept privately by those to whom they were given or by the spiritual leadership in the Ministry and then shown to Believers on specific occasions.

My latest design, Botanical Blessings, was born after studying/reading about the Shaker spirit/gift drawings and seeing images in history and reference books.

BRD-110 Botanical Blessings

The models are stitched on 30-count Linen hand-dyed fabric from Weeks Dye Works with Weeks Dye Works cotton floss. The sampler (framed design) has a stitch count of 180 W x 180 H and is stitched with beautiful, rich colors...and the needlework smalls include a scissor fob, pin pillow, and needlebook. The chartpack contains charting for the sampler and three needlework smalls, stitching instructions, stitch diagrams, complete finishing instructions for the needlework smalls, and an alphabet/numbers for personalization.

Botanical Blessings - Needlework Smalls Front 

Botanical Blessings - Needlework Smalls Back

Botanical Blessings will start shipping to needlework shops on Friday, August 2nd...and will begin shipping to distributors on Wednesday, August look for this design to be available in needlework shops in mid-August.

For more details including a complete supply list, visit:

For additional photos visit:

Please stop back tomorrow when I will share all the details about my other new release BRD-111 Feathers, Flowers, and Fruit...

Sunday, July 28, 2013


For some reason, when I start a new project (needlework or quilting), I always think I can finish it overnight...take this for example...would you look at this and think "no problem, I can get this done quickly"?...well, I did...

"And They Sinned" - Examplar Dames Design Co. (Vilma C. Becklin)
Started in February 2003 - Finished in June 2003
Stitched Over-One on 32-count Flax Linen
Stitch Count: 809 H x 169 W
I do it with my design work, as well...I design a grand project and then think to myself: "I should be able to have this stitched in a week"...and I find myself getting quite frustrated when it takes me a bit longer. ...and it's not limited to stitching/needlework projects - I do it with sewing and quilting projects, as well - I start a quilt and think it should be done in one day. In fact, I started a project back in April thinking, "this is doable, I can have it done quickly" (it's only 56" x 70")...and here it is three months later and it is still waiting for backing, quilting, and binding. It seems the last three months have been filled with challenges and "time stealers"...the California plague, Blue Ribbon Designs deadlines and projects, walking/training for the Komen 3-Day, household chores, yard work...and these two (especially the new German Shepherd puppy)...

So today, I have plans to work on that April quilt I started months is calling my name...and I *need* some quiet time with my sewing machine! The fabrics are yummy and they make me happy...and strange as it may be, for this quilt, I picked the backing fabric (shown below) before deciding on the quilt top (I just loved it). I can't show you anymore yet, as it is a gift (yes, a long overdue gift)...

Posh by Chez Moi for Moda (retired)
This week, I will have details on some *NEW* Blue Ribbon Designs charts...I am just waiting to see a final proof from my printer before giving you shipping/release dates. I have six new designs ready and currently in printing production...and I will be releasing two in August, two in September, and two in October. Plus, I am working on two winter/holiday designs that will follow in November...yep, I am going to be keeping all my Blue Ribbon Designs fans happy for the next several months - there are very fun things coming soon! Check back later this week for details and photos of the August releases...

For now, I am headed to my sewing studio...I am taking an afternoon off from work and other obligations to sew...yep, a little "me" time (I know, it doesn't happen often)...and hopefully I will have a finished quilt to show you soon...

Friday, July 19, 2013

Excuses, Excuses...

I know I seem to be "missing in action" lately...but I do have a good is just a taste of what I have been working on....

....and here is what the floor of my design studio looks like right now...yep, new designs are coming soon! Expect more details over the next several weeks...

Friday, July 12, 2013

Friendship Friday

This week has been full of deadlines and goals for me...and truth be told, I have been pretty much overwhelmed by my ever-growing Blue Ribbon Designs to-do list, household chores and yard work, and our two dogs. It seems my schedule is always full and I can't find the balance I so desperately need. Today, however, I took a break from the craziness and enjoyed "Friendship Friday"...a Friday where I meet two of my very dear girlfriends (Mary and Lorrie) for lunch and just relax for a couple hours...and today was made even more special, as we were celebrating Lorrie's birthday!  We met at one of our favorite restaurants "On The Border" for a little Mexican fiesta...we had fabulous food and spent some much needed time catching up  - conversing about our lives and families and everything in-between...and afterwards, Lorrie opened her birthday gifts.

I always have fun working on birthday gifts for my close friends...and although I usually sew and quilt many of my presents, this time I changed things up a bit. I decided to make Lorrie a little friendship photo album, with pictures from our recent road trips and outings. I used chipboard tags and covered them with pretty scrapbook papers and added the photos...using one of my favorite gadgets - a 5" Xyron Creative Station (OMG - I love this fancy little machine that makes pretty much anything adhesive)!  I also used a 1.5" Xyron Create-A-Sticker to adhere chipboard buttons, laces, trims, and rick rack. Yes, I adore these Xyron products...and wish I had more of their fabulous crafting supplies - do you hear me Xyron?? - I heart you (no affiliation, their stellar products just make my crafting life better)! It was so much fun printing out the photos and then working with my stash to decorate this fun friendship book...digging through ribbons, laces, trims, and buttons always brings me joy!

I also decided to stitch Lorrie a pendant. This from Milady's Needle, titled Quaker Pendants II - it is stitched over-one on 36-count fabric...and then I backed it with a piece of retired Blackbird Designs sampler fabric stabilized with fusible interfacing. This is the second one of these pendants I have made for a gift...I think I need to get an additional pendant, so I can finally make one for myself!

I also have to share this book with you - I purchased this book for Lorrie months ago, after we had a discussion on using vintage handkerchiefs in sewing projects. This lovely book has fabulous ideas for using those special antique hankies, laces, doilies, and ribbon you may be holding on to...

It was a lovely luncheon and we all commented on how we need to do it more fact, I think every Friday should be "Friendship Friday"....

Tonight, after an evening walk, I am hoping to finish up the last set of needlework smalls for my upcoming new releases. I am getting ready to send out a large printing order and I am crossing my fingers I can get all the files and photography completed this weekend (or early next week). There are new designs on the way and I can't wait to share them with you!

Finally - I am truly touched by the AMAZING response I have received for "Red Rosies and Pink Posies" - the support, encouragement, and beautiful e-mails I have received are heartwarming. Your generosity is beyond compare - and I sincerely thank each and every beautiful soul who has made a donation and/or spread the word about this special design and my fundraising page for the Susan G. Komen 3-Day! I still have until November to meet and surpass my goal...and (for those of you who have asked) my special exclusive design for donors will be available until that time. Please continue to help me spread the word...and I will continue to train and work hard to make sure all my supporters proud!

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Weekend Wrap-up

"Red Rosies and Pink Posies" a Blue Ribbon Designs
chart exclusive to those who make a donation on my
Komen 3-Day fundraising page. For details:
First of all, I have to start by thanking everyone who has made a donation on my fundraising page supporting my Komen 3-Day 60-mile walk in November - the response has been tremendous and I am overwhelmed and humbled by your kindness, generosity, and HUGE hearts. I have received the most touching e-mails and correspondence and I thank you all! I also want to thank those of you who have shared my Facebook posts, blog post, and tweets with your needlework friends - I REALLY appreciate you helping me spread the word by telling your friends about "Red Rosies and Pink Posies", my Blue Ribbon Designs "pink" design exclusive for donors. Thanks to all of you, I have surpassed the required fundraising amount of $2,300 and I am well on my way to surpassing my goal of $6, fact, at this time, I have passed the $4,000 mark...which is so thrilling - it is making me quite emotional just thinking about it. I have always said that needleworkers are incredibly generous and have the biggest hearts...and this truly proves my point. Please help me keep the momentum rolling and the donations coming in...working together we can all make a difference!

For those of you who have made a donation and received the PDF of Red Rosies and Pink Poises, Elegant Stitch has put together a linen/thread package to support the chart and are giving a substantial discount. They are only making a limited number of these linen/thread packages and this special offer ends next Friday, July 12th. For details, visit: and read the news for July 3rd. Lois at Elegant Stitch is a dear friend, captain of the Twinkle Toes team (and a breast cancer survivor), and has been extremely supportive of this special "pink" design!

Next up - as I continue my training and fundraising, I have to start putting together all the needed supplies for the walk...including several more pairs of shoes (which are extremely expensive, so if you are in the "shoe business" and can help me out, please let me know!). My husband is on sleeping bag and air mattress duty...and I have a list of other needed items to pack. I have already purchased my airline ticket for California, so things are really starting to come together. In the coming weeks, I will be posting new items in my Etsy shop to help with all the expenses...I will keep you updated when they will be available.

In other news, I found out earlier in the week that Blue Ribbon Designs made the cover of the 2013 Just CrossStitch Ornament issue, due out in early September. My ornament ("Redbirds Rejoice") is just below right of center...two redbirds on pine branches with the words "Hope", "Joy", and "Love". Look for this magazine favorite in your mailbox, or at needlework shops and newsstands later this year...

And finally, here is a fun video of our kids, Schazti (German Shepherd puppy) and Simba (Shih Tzu)...Schatzi is learning to "shake paw" and Simba is watching and wanting in on the treats/action...

I hope you are enjoying this July 4th weekend...and keeping cool in the summer heat!

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Independence Day

BRD-032 Stitches, Stars, and Stripes ~ A Sampler for Vicki
Today, the 4th of July, we honor the birthday of the United States and the adoption of the Declaration of Independence. I hope you are spending time with family and friends, celebrating this Independence Day. Enjoy the festivities, food, and fireworks!

I am celebrating with a quiet "work" day...catching up on paperwork, correspondence, and a little model stitching. My husband wants to go out to dinner tonight, which is a nice change of pace for me (no cooking required!)...and hopefully later this evening, we will spend some quiet time outside on the deck, where we will be able to view the fireworks...

Wishing you a safe, happy, and healthy holiday!

BRD-082 Americana Panorama

Monday, July 1, 2013

"Red Rosies and Pink Posies"

As many of you know, I am participating in the Susan G. Komen 3-Day in November – I'll walk 60 miles in San Diego, CA over the course of three days with my fabulous "Twinkle Toes" team members and hundreds, possibly thousands of other women and men....all of us with a common goal to raise funds for breast cancer research, scientific programs and community-based breast health and education programs. I started my journey, fundraising, and training last November...walking over 800 training miles to date...and I plan to take every single step of the 60 miles in 3 days this fall! All walkers are required to raise at least $2300.00 to participate...but my true goal is actually $7,500 (I know it seems outrageous, but I believe it is totally doable!)...

So, here is where my new "pink" design "Red Rosies and Pink Posies" comes into is an exclusive Blue Ribbon Design, available only to those who donate a minimum of $15.00 to my fundraising page (all proceeds benefit the Susan G. Komen 3-Day) gift to you for supporting me and this incredibly worthwhile cause.

First I will tell you how to get this very special design...please read the instructions carefully:
  1. Visit my fundraising page:
  2. Make a minimum donation of $15.00.
  3. Send me an e-mail (designer @ with "Red Rosies and Pink Posies" in the subject line. The body of the message can be as simple as "I made a donation".
  4. I will verify your donation and reply to your message with a PDF attachment of the design.
Easy Peasy!

If you made a donation before I posted this information, simply follow steps 3 and 4 and I will get this special design sent to you, as well - you are not required to make an additional donation.

Please note, it is not feasible for me to sit at the computer all day and respond immediately - please give me 24-hours to reply to your message - I promise to respond to your message as soon as possible. Also, this gift is only available as a PDF file via e-mail, following the instructions above - I will not be mailing printed charts.

About this exclusive design:
"Red Rosies and Pink Posies" is a sampler box-top (also suitable for framing) and three needlework smalls (scissor fob, pin pillow, and needlebook tag). The PDF chartpack is set-up like all my printed Blue Ribbon Designs and includes: a color photo, charting for each of the four pieces (sampler for box-top and three needlework smalls), stitching instructions, stitch diagrams, complete finishing instructions for all four pieces, template for needlebook tag, and alphabets/numbers for personalizationYou will need Adobe Reader to view/print the e-mailed chart and contents. 

The PDF chartpack will include a complete supply list and a listing of finishing materials...the model was stitched on 40-count "Linen" hand-dyed fabric from Weeks Dye Works with Weeks Dye Works cotton floss (DMC conversions are provided). I used a pink wooden craft box I found at Michaels (ArtMinds Pink Craft Box from Michaels – 218559 UPC 400100983584 – approximately 8" H x 8⅜" W x 1¾" D)...but several other options are listed for those who cannot find the exact box or do not have a Michael's in their area...and remember, you may need a different size of box, should you stitch the design on a different count of fabric (or you may choose to frame the design).

One more thing, please remember: "Red Rosies and Pink Posies" is protected by copyright law and is meant for personal stitching only by the donating recipient. I kindly ask, please do not share, email, or post the PDF file on the Internet; if your friend(s) would like to stitch this design, please encourage them to visit my fundraising page ( and make a donation to the cause...after-all, ALL proceeds are benefiting the Susan G. Komen 3-Day. Thank you for respecting my copyright.

Finally - please help me spread the word...if you like the design or think your friend(s) would like it, please share a link to this post on your blog, Facebook, message boards, or other social media...I would really appreciate it!

You can read some of the reasons I decided to take this journey on my fundraising page. I'll be keeping all of my donors in mind, and in my heart, as I walk 60 miles in San Diego in fact, I plan to have a complete list of all donors with me for motivation - if you are making a donation honoring a loved-one or you are a fighter or survivor, please note that in your e-mail - I would be proud and honored to walk for you! Thank you so much for your love and support...