Saturday, September 28, 2013

Saturday Snippets

One of the "perks" for being an active business in the needlework industry for so many years is getting new fabric and fiber samples for use in my models...and yesterday, I was excited to receive the sixteen new DMC floss colors! I had seen the new colors advertised by needlework shops and on the DMC blog, but it was wonderful to see them in person - these are fabulous new colors and are a welcome addition to the DMC color pallet. In case you haven't heard, DMC is adding 16 brand new colors to the line of Cotton Embroidery Floss - these are the first new colors to be added since 2001, and were developed based on input from some of your favorite needlework designers. The new colors expand on several of DMC‘s existing color families, and are split into two distinct palettes: eight soft, natural shades and eight bright, vibrant hues...and they are numbered from 3880 - 3895. These new colors will be available in a package containing all sixteen colors and will be available only in the United States (and come with several free patterns) - rumor has it these special packs will be available in look for them very soon! Your favorite needlework shops are taking pre-orders for this special set of new colors and you can visit DMC’s website for additional information...

On a personal note...
I also wanted to share an update on our German Shepherd puppy...Schatzi is now just over six months old and is already 67 pounds!...yes, she is growing up very quickly!! Just like Simba, Schatzi has her own webpage on the BRD website and you can follow her adventures and see her grow. She is still puppy 2.0, but is learning commands very quickly and is starting to walk better on a leash (thank goodness)...she continues to surprise us with her intelligence every day. One of her skills is being an alarm clock and she seems to wake us every morning at the same time (which has gotten earlier and earlier over the last several weeks). We concluded this might be because of the light shining in her kennel, so last weekend, armed with 6 yards of black bottomweight canvas, I made a cover for her kennel. I was actually thrilled with the results, as I didn't have a pattern - I just measured the kennel (which is HUGE - 49"L x 30.5"W x 32.25"H), devised a plan and started ironing, cutting, serging, and sewing. It did manage to give us an extra 45 minutes of quiet time in the early morning hours, so my three hours last Sunday were well spent! It is now so dark in her crate, I can barely see her inside...

....and for those of you who ask about Simba...he is adjusting well to his new sister - they aren't best friends yet, but they get along...and I'm sure this will improve drastically when Schatzi is a little older and not so hyper! Simba is still my little boy and never leaves my side...and yes, he is still spoiled - he lives like a little is hanging out with me outside on our deck...

I am now back to my stitching nest to work on a new BRD model (the perfect afternoon activity on this rainy Saturday) has been a productive morning and although I have a hundred irons in the fire, I'm feeling good.
Enjoy your weekend!

Friday, September 27, 2013

Pumpkins for Cathey

Happy fall y'all - today is officially "Pumpkin Day"!

This post is dedicated my dear friend Cathey (aka Pumpkin) and her beautiful and brave is the perfect day to celebrate this amazing woman and her blogiversary! That's right, Pumpkin's friends have banded together and posted pumpkins see a complete list of all the blogs participating and the hundreds of pumpkins honoring Cathey and her blogiversary visit: for some great reading, make sure to visit Cathey's blog "Pumpkin Patch & Co." at:

Cathey - today I celebrate YOU - you are in my thoughts and in my heart...and I am proud to walk 60-miles for you in November!

I had a marvelous time collecting my pumpkin images for this post...a couple vintage pumpkin themed cards...a couple photos from my personal collection...and a pumpkin project from Bunny Hill Designs that I adore!

The first photo was taken at the Blank Park Zoo in Des Moines, IA...I snapped a photo of these pumpkins lining the path all around zoo - autumn is definitely a wonderful time to visit our local zoo! The second photo was taken at the Enfield Shaker Museum (Enfiled, NH) on my teaching trip last year - these itty bitty pumpkins were outside the back door and made me smile each time I entered the Great Stone Dwelling I thought they looked great with the brick and stone...

...and since this is a creative blog, I just had to post a quilting project I would LOVE to add to my stash - "Pumpkin Pie" by Bunny Hill Designs - isn't it incredible?! I just love the look of this pumpkin themed quilt, complete with blackbirds and an owl...and the polka dot border makes me is such a cheerful autumn quilt!

...and finally, here is one more vintage card...there is just something special about old postcards and images - I have collected quite a few over the years and was happy to find a couple that were all about pumpkins!

I hope you have enjoyed my collection of pumpkins...and be sure to check out all the other blog posts titled "Pumpkins for Cathey"...they just might inspire you, as much as Cathey inspires us!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

"Shaker Valley Harvest"

Like I mentioned in my last post, this coming Friday I start shipping two new autumn designs to needlework shops that participate in my automatic program...I am THRILLED to have two very unique fall pieces ready for you! Today I will tell you all about "Shaker Valley Harvest" (BRD-115)...and you can read the previous post to find out all about "Harvest Huswif" (BRD-114).

"Shaker Valley Harvest" features on an oval Shaker Shallow Carrier Box (11" H x 7 3/4" W x 2 3/4" D - with a 9" H handle)...this gorgeous Cherry Shallow Carrier is handcrafted by Canterbury Box Shop (I will provide you with purchasing details later in this post). This special design was inspired by my research on the Shaker culture and gift drawings, the simplicity of the Shaker lifestyle, my trips to Enfield, NH, and the beauty of the autumn season. The project includes a padded base for the inside of the carrier box (also suitable for framing), along with several needlework smalls: a carrier handle wrap, flower scissor fob, needlebook with autumn leaf pages, and an owl pincushion – giving you a very unique stitched Shaker-style display.

This harvest design is stitched with Weeks Dye Works cotton floss on 30-count Parchment linen, also from Weeks Dye Works. The package includes charting and complete finishing instructions for the Shallow Shaker Carrier Base, handle wrap, and three needlework smalls (scissor fob, needlebook with leaf pages, and owl pincushion) - along with stitch diagrams, stitching instructions, wool shape templates, and an alphabet/numbers for personalization.

For additional photos, visit:
For a complete supply list and details, visit:

Information on the Shallow Shaker Carrier:
#6 Shallow Shaker Carrier SCC-6 - Cherry Wood
Dimensions: 11" H x 7.75" W x 2.75" D with approximate 9" handle from base
Canterbury Box Shop - Tom Dupell
139 Shaker Road
Canterbury, NH 03224-2530
Telephone: (603) 783-0394
Consumer and shop orders welcome.

Expect this new autumn design to start arriving in needlework shops the first week of October!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

"Harvest Huswif"

I am so excited to share a new release with you today...there are two (yep, I said TWO!) new Blue Ribbon Designs shipping to auto shops at the end of the week and to distributors next week. Today, I am telling you all about "Harvest Huswif" (BRD-114).

This special stitching case features fun-shaped wool pockets inside and a matching scissor fob...and of course, this sampler style project is also suitable for framing, should you not want to make it into a huswif. Here are some of the supply details: this autumn project is stitched on Weeks Dye Works linen (35-count Angel Hair) with Gloriana Silk Threads (Weeks Dye Works cotton threads and DMC embroidery floss conversions provided)...the wool fabric is from Moda and WDW...and the gorgeous hand-dyed ribbons are also from Gloriana. Inside: the wool pumpkin is for needles and pins, the upper acorn will hold a thimble or needle threader, the left leaf holds scissors, and the right leaf holds a 3" you have the large stitched pocket across the bottom.

Huswif Closed - Front

Huswif Closed - Back

Huswif Open - Outside

Huswif Open - Inside
You can find a complete supply list here:
...along with additional photos and details here:

The package contains charting for the huswif (stitching pocket) and scissor fob, stitch diagrams (there are some specialty stitches), stitching instructions, complete finishing instructions, wool fabric/felt templates, and an alphabet/numbers for personalization. If you shy away from Cross Stitch over-one, an alternative verse to work in Back Stitch is provided.

I have had quite a few people ask me about the term "huswif", so here is a little "bonus" information for you...

Etymology: From hus (“house”) + wif (“woman, wife”).
Definition: house·wife ˈhaʊsˌwaɪf or, usually, ˈhʌzɪf for 2 [hous-wahyf or, usually, huhz-if for 2]
1. a married woman who manages her own household, esp. as her principal occupation.
2. British. a sewing box; a small case or box for needles, thread, etc.
1. Archaic. to manage with efficiency and economy, as a household.

A "huswif" or "hussif" is the name for a case which stores needlework supplies. Before the days of pockets on clothing, women often carried a huswif in one of the large tie-on pockets worn under their skirts. The use of a huswif was certainly not exclusive to women - sailors, soldiers, and other men who needed sewing items carried huswifs.

Expect this new autumn design to start arriving in needlework shops the first week of October!

Tomorrow, I will return to tell you all about "Shaker Valley Harvest" - another unique BRD fall design with needlework smalls...

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Tidbits and Teapots...

Hello friends - happy Tuesday! So today, we will start off by talking about the finishing kits for "Mischief at Midnight". I have put together 50 more finishing kits and will be listing them in my Etsy shop tomorrow morning (Wednesday, September 25th). These are finishing kits only - you will still have to purchase the needlework chart and stitching supplies (linen and threads) from your favorite needlework shop. These are the same kits provided when this project was taught as a class. The finishing kit includes:

13 Pre-cut pieces of stiffened felt - Eazy (E-Z) Felt:
  • 2 - 8½" x 8½" (tray base)
  • 8 - 1½" x 8½" (tray walls)
  • 2 - 2" x 2" (pinkeep)
  • 1 - 3" x 8½" (needlebook)

4 Pre-cut pieces of fusible lightweight interfacing
  • 2 - 2½" x 2½" (scissor fob)
  • 2 - 3½" x 6½" (needlebook)

1 - 10" x 10" pre-cut piece of  cotton quilting fabric (tray bottom)
1 Small bag of transparent nylon thread (approximately 4 yards) (tray)
2 Round neodymium magnets ½" diameter (tray and needlebook)
1 Pre-cut piece of black Moda wool fabric (needlebook)
2 - 12" pieces of ⅛" black grosgrain ribbon (needlebook)
2 - 2" x 2" pieces of heavy cardstock (pinkeep)
1 - 9" piece of black baby rick rack black (pinkeep)
12 Black ball point pins (pinkeep)
#10 Beading needle (found on the precut piece of black wool)

NOTE: These pieces are cut specifically for use with 30-count linen (as instructed with the chartpack) - if you have adjusted the count of your linen, these pre-cut pieces will not fit accurately.

I have completely used up all the cotton quilting fabric that was originally used for the bottom of the tray and it is discontinued, but (thanks to a very dear friend) I have been able to locate a fabulous substitution that matches perfectly. The original fabric is shown on the left and there are only a few kits with this print - the new substitution is shown on the right and is in the majority of the new finishing kits. This fabric is used on the bottom of the tray. I will list the two separately in the shop and once the kits with the black polka dot fabric are gone, that fabric is completely gone. I do have more of the fabric on the right arriving, so if the demand is high, I will be able to make more kits in the near future.

Orders placed for the finishing kits (through the Etsy shop) on Wednesday will ship on Thursday.

Also ready for the Etsy shop are some new freestanding lace ornaments - this time, an assortment of teapots! I recently received a message from my friend Missie (Traditional Primitives...formerly Hallbrook Designs) with a photo of a 3D freestanding lace teapot - it was the neatest thing...and it inspired me to make some teapot ornaments. I found some wonderful digitized designs by C-Some-Stitches that stitched out beautifully - there are 10 different teapots, each one unique! They measure (on average) 3.9" W x 3.7" H and are absolutely perfect for including in a card to surprise a dear friend. I have already made them in white and a lovely shade of blue...and photographs have already been taken to list them in the shop (hopefully this evening). I think these are just perfect for my ornament collections...

...and I have replenished the Halloween ornaments....and more seasonal items are in the works! So, check out my Etsy shop on Wednesday morning for the "Mischief at Midnight" finishing kits...and while you there, check out my other special items...

Tomorrow I will be back to tell you about the new Blue Ribbon Designs shipping to needlework shops on Friday...

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Fabulous Fabric Finds

I was inspired by several fabrics and projects in my stash this afternoon....there is just something about taking a few moments and finding the right project for the right day. Today, I decided I wanted to start on a quick project "just for me"...something I rarely do! I found the cutest flannel fabrics and panel for a quick quilt last week while shopping with my friend Kimber...I saw this fun model hanging in the quilt shop and just had to have it...flannel fabrics are perfect the autumn season and provide much needed comfort during the winter months. The fabric collection is "Flirty Birdies" by Michele Scott for Northcott (I love the name!) and the adorable birdies make me smile. This will be a fun throw quilt and will feature the panel with the orange polka dot for borders...the multiple birdie fabric for the back...and the blue flowers for the binding. I actually pieced the borders today on my serger and look forward to doing some simple quilting in the next week or so...

I also picked up a few fat quarters worth mentioning...not sure of their use yet, but they just spoke to me...

Finally - I just have to share a very favorite just screams my name...Village Green by Carolyn Gavin for P & B Textiles...just seeing these fabrics I want to turn on my sewing machine ASAP and get to work...they are just wonderful!

With all this inspiration surrounding me, I definitely need more hours in the day! For now, I am back to my stitching nest to work on a fast approaching deadline. I did manage to get lots of new items listed in my Etsy Shop late last if you have been waiting for something to be posted, go take a look. Tomorrow I will start cutting supplies for the "Mischief at Midnight" finishing kits - I only have limited yardage of several of the items, so I will make as many as I can...give me a few days to get them ready, then (as I mentioned previously) I will post the details here before posting them in my Etsy Shop. So, for now, I am off to take care of the dogs...and then it will be a late night in my needlework nook...

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Pretty Patchwork Pincushions

Here are a few photos of "pink" pincushions I mentioned in an earlier post. These pretty pillows were made using a honey bun (1.5" strips) from the Aviary Collection by 3 Sisters for Moda (this collection is from March 2009 and is long retired)...after piecing the strips, I cut them into 5.5" squares - then fused a medium weight interfacing to the back side before attaching a felt heart with machine applique. The pincushions were then backed with the same pink felt and stuffed firmly with fiberfill. Each one measures 5" square finished...and I added a couple decorative pins as an embellishment (one of which is a pink ribbon). I decided since I am using all funds raised by my Etsy shop for my Komen 3-Day Walk expenses, I just *had to* have some pink items for sale. These were quite enjoyable to make and have inspired me to work on a couple other pink ideas. I have the individual photos taken and hope to get them listed in the shop soon (along with the little Halloween pillows)...I could just use a few more hours in each day...

I managed to get the new designs for October all bagged and ready for shipping later this month, so I will share those with you in the near future...and the supplies have been arriving for the "Mischief at Midnight" finishing kits, so I am hoping to get to work on those soon...and I have a new holiday design all kitted up and ready for model stitching...yep, as always, the list goes on and on...I am definitely keeping busy!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

It's Still All About The Squirrel...

Today was "Friendship Funday"...I technically can't call it the usual "Friendship Friday", as we actually met on a Thursday - and what was even more special about this day...we had an additional guest, as our friend Kimber was able to join us! As always, we met at a favorite local restaurant for lunch and enjoyed great conversation and delicious food...we all had so much to talk about, we were there almost three hours (and I never looked at my watch once). It was a much needed break in my stressful work week and I definitely felt a tad more relaxed after some "girl time" with my best friends. I feel so blessed to have girlfriends that listen, provide honest feedback, and help me learn and grow...they always help me get things into perspective! I returned home this afternoon feeling refreshed and loved...

Now, on to the squirrel...
If you are a regular reader, than you know/have heard all my squirrel stories...and about the fun/unique squirrel gifts I have received from my friends across the country...well today, my dear friend Mary gave me this ADORABLE squirrel dish at our luncheon...isn't it the CUTEST?! When I got home, I immediately filled it with chocolates and put it on the coffee table in my stitching makes me extremely happy! I have never really searched out squirrel items when shopping, but Mary informed me that they are not easy to come I was just tickled to receive this smiling critter...

Well, it is getting late and I still have a pile of things to tackle (that's what happens when I take a few hours off during the day)...I'm off to photograph my pink heart pin pillows (which I will blog about soon) and my little Halloween pillows, so I can get them listed in my Etsy shop in the near future...I also have some kitting I need to do, so I can start on some new needlework models...and the list goes on and on...

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Finishing Kit Update

Folks - as I posted yesterday evening, the finishing kits for "Mischief at Midnight" sold out almost immediately - thank you for the truly overwhelming response! I only had so many supplies leftover from the class on hand, therefore, there were a very limited quantity. I have ordered additional supplies to make more finishing kits and once they arrive I will have more available. Once they are ready, I will post about them here before listing them on Etsy - these will be on a "first come, first served basis", I will not be taking pre-orders. Please expect the wait to be about two weeks (if all goes as planned), as the ordered supplies to need arrive and then the kits have to be prepared. NOTE: these are finishing kits only - you will have to purchase the design chart and stitching supplies from your favorite needlework shop. I truly appreciate all the enthusiasm and excitement (I really do), however, I do not have enough hours in the day to answer all the e-mail inquiries, Facebook messages, and comments - please be patient and keep an eye on this blog for up-to-date information. Thank you so much!

Monday, September 9, 2013

Simply Spooky Sewing

This weekend, my sewing machine was humming along...I managed to get some more Halloween  machine embroidered ornaments finished and listed in my Etsy shop...and I made eight little Halloween pillows/pincushions. I cut small witches, bats, and and jack-o-lanterns out of wool felt and appliqued them onto 5" squares of fun Halloween fabrics....then I backed them with more fun fabrics and used rick rack for edging. I love working with tiny motifs, so the witches (3.25" x 2.75"), jack-o-lanterns (3" x 2.25"), and bats (1.5" x .75") were a treat for me to appliqué! It was also quite enjoyable to choose the Halloween fabrics...I used charm packs and chose prints from several different Moda collections. I will be getting these spooky little pillows/pincushions listed in my Etsy shop in the next few days - in plenty of time for your Halloween decorating!

The fun backing fabrics...
I also worked on some adorable  patchwork pink heart pillows/pincushions and I will be back to share those with you very soon!

One final note today...for those of you working on my new Halloween design "Mischief at Midnight" - I have listed a very limited number of finishing kits for this project in my Etsy shop - these are the same finishing materials used for the model and original class kits...and all the supplies are pre-cut and ready for use (it is a finishing kit only - you will have to purchase the chart and the stitching supplies from your needlework shop of choice). UPDATE - THESE ARE SOLD OUT.

Enjoy your week...

Friday, September 6, 2013

One of the Reasons...

Over my ten plus years in the needlework industry, I have had the sincere pleasure of "meeting" stitchers from across the globe...corresponding with those that share my passion for needle and thread is truly a gift and a blessing that brings me so much joy! Many of you have become dear cyber friends and we keep in touch through our blogs and social media, with floss and specialty threads connecting us across the miles.

I had the pleasure of "meeting" Cathey (or "Pumpkin", as many of you know her) years ago...and if you haven't checked out her blog Pumpkin Patch & Co. - then you must visit now! We aren't best friends, but I feel I have gotten to know Cathey over the years via her blog and messages that we have exchanged. She is an amazing needleartist and photographer...but more importantly, a generous, kind, and beautiful person, wife, and mother.

Many of you know I am walking in the Komen 3-Day in San Diego in November...and you want to know why I am walking...and why this particular cause is important to me. Some of you have been following me on my journey and totally "get it" - the response I have received has truly been incredible...and while there are definitely those who are negative about the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation and have very strong political views, the majority of the messages I have received have been extremely positive. So, to answer the question: why am I walking?? The answer is simple - just read a few posts from Pumpkin's blog and you should understand (seriously, click on the link and go read now). You see, Pumpkin is just like you and me - she has a beautiful family and she loves her needlework...only, she is at Stage 4 Breast Cancer with incredible amounts of complications (and her blog is honest and beautiful and tells it like it is). I am walking for Cathey...and the dozens of you who have sent me messages that you are battling or have battled breast cancer...and the dozens of you that have sent me messages that you have watched a loved one suffer. Breast cancer is the most frequently diagnosed cancer and is the leading cause of cancer death among women worldwide. I am walking for those who are currently fighting, I am walking in memory of those who have lost their life to the disease, and I am walking to celebrate the lives of the millions of survivors - it is that easy - I walk because I can.

I hope that gives you a little more insight on "why" I am walking - I try to always keep my blog light, fun, and creative...but Cathey's recent blog posts have touched me deeply and I wanted to share them with you. Please follow her blog...and send good thoughts, vibes, and prayers her way - from experience, I know support and love from the needlework community is a definitely a source of strength and encouragement!

For now, I am back to my training and preparation for is coming up fast. Thank you all for your love, support, and encouragement - and for helping me get closer to my fundraising goal - it is within reach - and I have 70 days left to obtain it! My special "pink" design "Red Rosies and Pink Posies" with 100% of the proceeds benefiting the Komen 3-Day is still available - you can read all the details here:

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Halloween Hang-ups

I promised I would be back with photos of my freestanding lace Halloween ornaments...and here they are...aren't they fabulous?!! I have been having so much fun working on these machine embroidered ornaments - and this is just a small selection...there are 20 different ornaments in this digitized Halloween Lace collection by Anita Goodesign (this is an older and harder to find collection from 2007) and I have been working on them in an assortment of colors. If you read my blog yesterday, then you know these are done on an embroidery machine...using digitized designs, the machine embroiders the ornaments on water-soluble stabilizer - once the design is completely stitched, you put it in water and the stabilizer dissolves, leaving you with a beautiful piece of lace made completely of embroidery thread. These spooktacular ornaments are larger in size most measuring over 4" x 4" and would be perfect for decorating a Halloween tree, wreath, or garland...and they look fabulous hanging in a window with light shining through them! If you happen to have an embroidery machine, I hope you will try making some of these detailed decorations yourself...but for those of you who would like purchase some that are ready to hang, I have a good assortment listed in my Etsy shop...

These ornaments stay looking great for years and can be pressed with a hot iron and/or starched at any time to keep them sturdy and flat.

I can't wait to start decorating our home for Halloween/autumn - I need to get my seasonal cross stitch designs exchanged...and some of these spooky ornaments will definitely make my ornament tree stand out! Do you decorate you home for the seasons?? - I would love to hear some of your fall/autumn decorating ideas... more thing...for my dear friends and students who know the "bat story", yes, there is a bat ornament! :-)

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Autumn Leaf Ornaments

I managed to finish quite a few machine embroidered lace ornaments over the last couple weeks...if you have followed my blog for quite some time, then you know I make these to slip inside cards, tie on packages, and for seasonal decorations. These have been so popular, I decided to make even more to put in my Etsy shop...and not only did I make additional snowflakes (which are always in demand), but I made some autumn leaves...and a bunch of Halloween motifs. The autumn leaves and snowflakes are already listed in my Etsy shop and the Halloween ornaments will be posted very soon! These ornaments are made on my embroidery machine...and are technically called "free-standing lace"...they are made entirely of thread!

For those of you not familiar with an embroidery machine, here is a little idea of how these autumn leaves are made - using digitized designs, the machine embroiders the ornaments on water-soluble stabilizer...once the design is completely stitched, you put it in water and the stabilizer dissolves, leaving you with a beautiful piece of lace made completely of embroidery thread. I like to put a piece of ribbon through the hanger on each leaf or snowflake before placing it in a card or on a gift. Each large motif can take anywhere from 45 minutes to well over an hour to make, so I usually set up my machine and let them embroider while I am working on various other chores in my studio...the larger and more detailed the design, the longer they take to embroider. In the photos you can see a selection of my embroidered leaves...the size of the maple leaf is 3.91" x 3.93" and the size of the oak leaf is 2.82" x 3.94". Many digitizers offer freestanding lace designs for machine embroidery (just do a google search), but if you are interested in these particular leaf designs, they are designed by Criswell Embroidery & can purchase the digitized designs from this designer at your favorite quilt shop or download them from their website.

I will be back to post again soon with photos of the Halloween ornaments...they are truly spooktacular!