Saturday, May 24, 2014

Saturday Samplings....

Wow - who hijacked my week?? - how can it possibly be Saturday already?? It seems like I blinked and my entire week was gone. It has been a creative and productive few days and I have several fun things to share...

I started my week finishing up several large sewing/quilting commission jobs (which I can't share, just yet)...but I did manage to get in some late night stitching time. I have been working on my 2014 "pink" design every evening - this special fundraising design will only be available to those who make a donation to my 3-day 60-mile walk in Dallas this year...and just like "Red Rosies and Pink Posies" from last year, ALL proceeds will benefit the Komen 3-Day. It is an autumn design and I am still working on a title for it...more details will be coming soon - but for now here is a second sneak peek (you can see the first peek here)...

I also made time to start doing the appliqué and/or quilting on more covers for my stitching wallets - these will be headed to my Etsy shop, once complete. Yep, I still plan to put an assortment of my stitching wallets up for sale - it is just having/making the time to get them put together. There will be several different cover styles and I am working with a variety of fabrics. I enjoy playing with the hexagon shapes and using my machine to appliqué them in place, but they are quite labor intensive - I just need more hours in each day to accomplish everything I want to do...but I will get these finished up and post here when they are ready to go into the shop.

...and if you read my AccuQuilt Block Party Blog Hop post on Monday, then you know I had put together some pincushion tops using leftover shapes from my deck pillows...another wonderful project I made using the new AccuQuilt GO! Simple Shapes die by Edyta Sitar. I actually finished up the pincushions this week, and was quite pleased. Machine appliqué is one of my favorite ways to spend my day - it makes my heart happy - so these were a joy to work on - in fact, I may have to put together a few more! I'm not sure what I am going to do with these three yet - they may become gifts...or they may end up in my Etsy shop...I'm still deciding.

I have been truly inspired by all the posts in the Block Party Blog Hop - this entire group is amazingly talented and if you haven't had a chance to check out the other posts, take a minute or two to peruse the following links (you won't be disappointed!)...and there is still a week left in the hop, so more wonderful posts are still to come...

May 19th – Samplings from a Blue Ribbon Girl  (that's me!)
May 20th – Beaquilter
May 21st – Freemotion by the River
May 22nd – May Chappell
May 23rd – Sew Incredibly Crazy
May 24th – Laundry Basket Quilts
May 26th – Inventive Denim
May 27th – Sew Fresh Quilts
May 28th – Quilt in a Day
May 29th – Nancy Mahoney Designs
May 30th – Ray’s Sew Crafty

Here are a few close-up shops of my bright and cheerful pincushions....

Time to get back in the studio...I want to get more sewing/quilting done on my stitching wallets while the house is quiet...I also want to get more work done on my new website...and I have to get in a training walk...and of course, I have stitching to do! Enjoy your weekend...

Monday, May 19, 2014

Block Party Blog Hop - Artful Appliqué

Welcome friends and AccuQuilt Block Party Blog Hop visitors - I am so glad you have stopped by for a visit!

If this is your fist time visiting my blog, let me introduce name is Belinda and I am a counted thread needlework designer by trade (Blue Ribbon Designs). I picked up my first needle at the young age of six and have been designing professionally in the Cross Stitch industry for over 10 years. I am completely obsessed with just about anything created with a needle and thread - and when I am not working on my original cross stitch designs, I find sheer enjoyment sewing and quilting. I love to create and I am pretty much fearless when it comes to most needlecrafts - I jump into projects full steam and expect the best results. I bought my first AccuQuilt GO! Fabric Cutter years ago after seeing an ad in a magazine (this was well before the GO! Baby)...I was immediately intrigued and spent quite a bit of time on the AccuQuilt website before jumping in and purchasing one, along with my first dies - well, it didn't take long, and I was completely hooked. In 2011, I bought a Studio Fabric Cutter to help save me time when preparing class kits for my needlework designs. So, yes, I am an AccuQuilt fan, proudly owning all three fabric cutters and a wide assortment of cutting dies...and yep, I probably use one of them almost every single day. My blog follows my creative journey - including needlework, sewing, quilting, and machine embroidery...pretty much anything that inspires me...I hope you enjoy your stay and visit often!

Now that you know a bit more about me, let's get to the fun stuff...
This is the first stop on the AccuQuilt Block Party Blog Hop...and I couldn't be more excited...I had so much fun playing with one of the new Block Party dies! AccuQuilt released 11 exciting new GO! cutting dies last week...and I am here to tell you all about  GO! Simple Shapes by Edyta Sitar (Laundry Basket Quilts). I knew immediately when I saw the packaging that I was going to fall in love with this is so very "me" I am a HUGE fan of Edyta's work. I really enjoy machine appliqué and I couldn't wait to get started on a new project. I decided I wanted to work on some new pillows for the benches on our deck...and I knew I wanted bright, cheerful colors. I gathered up 10 fat quarters and some fusible web and started contemplating how many shapes to cut. My little trick when I have a new cutting die - I cut a piece of paper first so I can play with shapes and get a handle on the sizing....I wouldn't cut tons of paper, as that can dull/damage your cutting blades, but a piece of paper or two is not going to harm it. After playing with the paper shapes, I decided I would just cut a wide variety of pieces in multiple colors and start designing. Since this is a 6" x 12" cutting die, I cut 10 - 6" x 12" pieces of paper backed fusible web and adhered one to each of my 10 fabric choices. On this die, the stems on leaves are on one side and the birdie and flower petals are on the other I simply folded my 6" x 12" paper backed fabric piece in half lengthwise before placing it on the appropriate side of the die - this gave me lots of mirrored shapes. Once I ran the fabric through the fabric cutter, I still had plenty of good areas left to cut additional pieces, as needed. The whole process was quick and easy and I had a pile of perfect shapes in less than an hour.

I decided on an 18" x 18" pillow and a 12" x 16" pillow. I knew I wanted to use a linen fabric for my base, but it can be unruly, so I backed it with fusible fleece to make it sturdy and keep it's shape while I did the machine appliqué. I then went to work laying out the pieces. For the 18" x 18" pillow, I had decided I was going to use the Studio Watercan (I had been waiting for a fun way to use this die) - so I placed the watercan first, then started adding the stems, leaves, flowers, and birds. Once everything was fused in place, I did the same with my 12" x 16" pillow top...I had so many pieces cut, I decided to make a couple pincushion tops, as well (shown upper right). I machine appliqued all the pieces in place using a blanket stitch...and backed both pillows with the cutest sunshine yellow polka dot fabric. The end result...these beautiful pillows that are exactly what I envisioned...

Are you feeling inspired?? I sure hope so!...and this is just stop one...there are 10 more stops on this AccuQuilt Block Party Blog Hop - all guaranteed to give you fresh new ideas - I personally follow all of the blogs on this impressive list, they will definitely not disappoint....

May 19th – Samplings from a Blue Ribbon Girl  (that's me!)
May 20th – Beaquilter
May 21st – Freemotion by the River
May 22nd – May Chappell
May 23rd – Sew Incredibly Crazy
May 24th – Laundry Basket Quilts
May 26th – Inventive Denim
May 27th – Sew Fresh Quilts
May 28th – Quilt in a Day
May 29th – Nancy Mahoney Designs
May 30th – Ray’s Sew Crafty

Be sure to explore my blog to see many more AccuQuilt projects and finishes...and please stop back soon...

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Stitching Through The Seasons

Today is the "Learn To Cross Stitch" video class is live and ready for purchase/'s been a long time in the making...and I am happy to say, I am pleased with the results! When I started working on this special video project with Annie's, I had no idea how much work it would entail or what to expect...but, here we are a year later and the finished product turned out great! This is definitely not your average "shot in a basement" video - this class was professionally filmed in Annie's studio with top notch production, high quality cameras, and a full set. There are 13 segments in the video and I start with the very basics; we start out discussing materials, supplies, and tools - then we talk about how to read a Cross Stitch chart, how to prepare your supplies, and how to take your first stitches. We cover how to work Cross Stitches (two different methods), Back Stitches, Partial Cross Stitches, and French Knots....and each technique segment has an exclusive Blue Ribbon Designs I talk about finishing touches and finishing ideas. This video class is perfect for a beginner, as well as a seasoned needleworker that wants to brush up on their skills and knowledge.

Annie's online classes include downloadable and printable class projects in PDF format in addition to the online video content. The five exclusive projects that accompany my video class work through the seasons...starting with a very basic spring project (Cross Stitch in one or two colors)..."Springtime Magnets"...

The second project introduces Back Stitches and multiple colors -"Summertime Treasure Boxes"...

Project number three is "Autumn Greeting Card" and it introduces Partial Cross Stitches...

The fourth project revolves around French is a set of "Winter Hoop Ornaments"...if you struggle with French Knots this class has an entire segment (with up-close video footage) that will help you master these pesky knots...

The final project combines all of the previous skills into one project...a "Seasonal Sampler" may choose to stitch the entire design or your favorite segment(s)....

As many of you know, needlework is my passion and obsession...I worked hard to write a comprehensive video script that showcases the time-honored tradition of Cross Stitch. I did my best to cover all the basics and give the viewer as many details and examples as goal is to have the viewer/student feel comfortable and at ease learning...I want you to enjoy every stitch! If you know someone who can benefit from this "Learn to Cross Stitch" video, please direct them to: 

No previous needlework experience is required to successfully complete this video and the exclusive class, Annie's online classes can be viewed at your convenience, 24/7, 365 days a year from any mobile device - both tablet and non-tablet (but classes are best viewed on tablets or computers)...and they never expire...also, there is an "Ask The Instructor" option, just in case you need to ask me a question while you are learning. This class will also be available from Annie's on DVD in the very near future. 

You can see a Class Overview and the Introduction video for free by visiting: and clicking on the links in the "Lesson Description" box (lower right corner).

Now that I have shared all about my new online video class with you, I am off to do a little sewing/quilting...and then I will be in my stitching nest working on a new design's another cold, rainy, gloomy day - perfect for needlework...enjoy your day!

Monday, May 12, 2014

Rainy Day Inspiration

It's a happy day today and I am feeling inspired (even with the pouring rain)...maybe even a little more so than usual! I've been getting in my early morning training walks with Schatzi each day (yes, we walked this morning in the downpour!)...and that gives me good, quiet time to create in my head. I have been working on new needlework design ideas, new sewing/quilting patterns and projects, and I have been making time each day for my sewing machine (working on gifts and Etsy items). Plus, building my new BRD website is filling me with all sorts of ideas. To top things off, there are ELEVEN new AccuQuilt GO! dies being released today, and we all know how much I love my AccuQuilt Fabric Cutters! These new Block Party dies are right up my alley...especially the two designer dies from Edyta Sitar (Laundry Basket Quilts) - I am just such a fan of her work. Her two designer dies (shown top right) are called GO! Simple Shapes and GO! Dancing Umbrella (prefect for this gloomy, rainy day) and they are fabulous!

I am also intrigued by the Flowering Snowball, the Kite, the Ohio Star, and the Schoolhouse...all of these dies *need* to come live in my studio...and there is also a Cupcake die, a couple new basic shapes, an awareness ribbon, and a new circular rag die. I sure wish I was independently wealthy, so I could afford all these new cutting creations...then I could just cut and play with fabric all day, every day! Just seeing these new releases has my head swimming with ideas and has me longing for some quiet quilting time...

...and here is some exciting news...I am part of the AccuQuilt Block Party Blog Hop taking place the last two weeks in May...and I am working on a very special project that uses the new GO! Simple Shapes die by Edyta Sitar. I will be the very first stop on the blog hop - so stop back next Monday, May 19th, to see my creative take on this new floral design die with an adorable little birdie. I can tell you, I have been busy selecting fabrics, and it is a colorful project for spring! There will be ten other stops on this blog hop and I have no doubt that each one will be make sure you visit me next Monday, and I will share all the details with you...

Today, I must also thank my army of voters - you are keeping my quilt block entry in AccuQuilt's Design Contest in the top ten (out of almost 600 entries) and I'm feeling the love! Most of you know how much winning some money for my charity (The Komen 3-Day) would mean to me...and you have kept my hope alive. I know each and every person reading this post has been touched by breast cancer and I know many of you donate yearly to help eradicate this dreadful disease...this is just a small way you can help contribute and no money is necessary.  Please keep voting daily through May 27th, and keep is free, it only takes a few seconds...and you may be helping me make a difference. Simply click on this link to vote for my design:!/entry/6685538 - I truly appreciate your kindness...

For now, I am back to working on my new stitching wallets...I have a pile cut and ready for the assembly line...then I have a few hours scheduled to work on my "new and improved" website (new homepage peek below)...then this evening, I will be doing more model stitching - I am about half finished with my 2014 "pink" design for charity (I'll give you an updated peek real soon!) is coming along nicely. I also have a hair appointment, a list of errands to run, and chores to do - it is another full day and I plan to be productive!

Thursday, May 8, 2014

A Passionate Plea...

2013 Komen 3-Day - San Diego (60 miles in 3 days to raise
money for funding breast cancer research and public health outreach
 programs, along with breast cancer awareness - we took every step...)
Many of you know how passionate I am about raising funds for breast cancer awareness and education...and most of you know that I am walking 60-miles again this year in Dallas at the 2014 Komen 3-Day event....but did you know you could help me win some money (A LOT OF MONEY) towards my yearly fundraising goal without spending a penny?? Well, it's true! All you have to do is take a minute and vote for my "Pinwheel Party" quilt block design in AccuQuilt's Annual Quilt Block Design contest. That's it - it's super easy - and only takes a few seconds...simply click on one of the links in this post (or on my quilt block below) and then click on "VOTE FOR THIS BLOCK". Currently, my block is in 13th place out of hundreds of entries - and I need to be in the top three to win money for my charity (I have a lot of ground to make up, but I still have hope!) - so please take a couple minutes daily to vote for my quilt block. If each of my blog followers would place a vote(s), I would be in winning position....and I know you are all up for the challenge (I know you are all competitive)! Needleworkers and quilters have proven to me time and time again how generous their hearts are...and I know you all support me. We have until May 27th to ban together and vote - please help me spread the word! You can vote once daily per e-mail would have my sincere gratitude...and you would be helping me make a difference...
Pinwheel Party
I know each and every person reading this post has been touched by breast cancer and I know many of you donate yearly to  help eradicate this dreadful disease...this is just a small way you can help contribute and no money is necessary. Please take a minute to vote for my block...write yourself a note to vote each day through May 27th...and tell your friends - social media is a VERY powerful thing...

Thanks for reading...thanks for voting...thanks for sharing...I heart you!!

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

So Happy Together

Moving right along this week, I completed another gift on my list...this time a miniature red and white quilt. I had so much fun putting this together yesterday and then finishing it up by hand sewing the binding last night...I am just thrilled with how it turned out. It is approximately 17.5" x 17.5" and I am excited to ship it to it's new home. I just adore this redwork style fabric by Marcus Brothers Textiles (it is quite old and doesn't have any other information on the selvage)...when I purchased it, I thought it would be fun for fussy cutting...and it was a bargain on sale for $3.00/yard...that was last October - and now I wish I had a bunch more! I used my AccuQuilt Fabric Cutter to cut strips for the border and fussy cut four of the red squares for cornerstones...the backing fabric is also a favorite (a gift from a dear friend) - it is Love Letters by Sharyn Sowell for Clothworks. I hope I have enough fabric left to make a couple more - I know someone else that I would like to give one to for a special occasion....I'll be measuring what I have left this afternoon.

I know many of you asked me about my new stitching wallets and if I would add some finished ones to my Etsy shop...well, I got 6 cut and ready for sewing/quilting yesterday and plan to prepare a few more today before I sit down at my sewing machine and begin working this week. They are quite labor intensive with the machine appliqué, so I want to have a bunch ready to go - that way I can work on them in "assembly line" style. I'll post here when I have some completed...

Finally today - I just had to share a photo I snapped late yesterday was taken at our front door where both dogs (our Shih Tzu Simba and our German Shepherd Schatzi) were enjoying the sun...I just love it when they can happily share the same space...

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Hexagons and Hearts

I had to make some time for sewing and quilting this week - partially because I *needed* a creative fix at my sewing machine and partially because I needed to make several gifts for upcoming events. I have started working on some of my own original sewing/quilting design patterns that will be available on my new/updated website in the near future. The first one I have been finalizing is a stitching wallet...and I have been working on several prototypes. I finished one will be an upcoming gift for a very special friend...and I am just tickled with the results!

Instead of English Paper Piecing (EPP) hexagons for the outside of the wallet, I decided to fuse them in place on a background fabric and machine appliqué each hexagon place. I used my AccuQuilt GO! fabric cutter to cut the hexagons, playing with various sizes. Once I had the outside of my wallet complete, I started playing with ideas for the inside. I wanted a place to hold a pair of scissors, a wool piece for pins/needles and several pockets to hold a ruler, package of needles, and special stitching accessories. I used some fun Riley Blake cotton quilting fabrics (So Happy Together by Deena Rutter) for the inside...and added some adorable owl ribbon for a fun embellishment. I finished it off by adding red binding around the perimeter and an elastic with vintage button closure..

I have several more of these in the works with assorted fabrics - as my finished pattern will have several different options....and I may sew up a few for my Etsy shop (you know, in my spare time).

Finally today - a HUGE thank you to those who have been voting daily for my quilt block designs - I really appreciate your support and kindness - two of my blocks are currently in the top 25 (shown below), but I would love to boost them up even higher! I would really like to win some money for my charity (The Komen 3-Day) please consider voting (it's really easy - just click on the titles of my designs below or read my previous post for details)...and to those of you already placing votes daily - I heart you! Remember you can vote for all your favorite blocks once per day (per email address)...

Pinwheel Party
Blue Skies

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Crossing My Fingers (and Toes!)

It's that time of year again friends - voting is live for the AccuQuilt Quilt Block Design Contest...and this year I have 6 blocks eligible for your votes! So, I need your help...I really, really need your help...and this year you can even help me win money for my charity, the Komen 3-Day (isn't that AWESOME?!)!

They have changed things up a bit for for voting...and unfortunately, the first time you vote you have to register...but then after that, each day, you just sign in and vote (it's really easy!)...AND this year, everyone who votes is eligible for, not only are you helping me, but you have a chance to WIN too!

So, here is what you need to do...
  1. Visit!/auth/register and enter your name, e-mail address, and a password.
  2. AccuQuilt will send you a verification e-mail - simply click on the link in the message and you will be registered.
  3. To VOTE: Visit:!/entries - log in - you will see thumbnail images of all the blocks (there are many pages) - click on the thumbnail of the quilt block(s) of your choice - then click on VOTE FOR THIS BLOCK under the image. Easy!
  4. You can log in and vote each day between now and May 27th - and you can vote for each/every block of your choosing once each day (per email address)! This means you can vote for any/all the blocks you like once each day - so, (if you so choose) you can vote for all six of my blocks each and every day!
...and remember, each day you vote, YOU are eligible for prizes (watch the very short video below to hear about the spectacular prizes!)...and you are graciously helping me at the same time. This year there is a HUGE prize package at stake for the winner (and a couple great runner-up prizes, as well)...but the grand prize winner selects a favorite charity for AccuQuilt to donate $1,500 in the winner’s name...and, of course, you all know I am fundraising for the Komen 3-Day in Dallas this November, so that would be AMAZING! I hope you will help me out and vote for me daily - I would be so appreciative!! I have posted direct links to each of my blocks below, so once you register, just click on each block to vote - that way you don't have to scroll through the hundreds of entries.... You could also use the search box on the entries page and enter "Belinda" and my six blocks will be filtered out for you.

Sunny Side Up
Half Square Happiness

Pointed Posy
Pinwheel Party

Criss Cross Carnations
Blue Skies

I really enjoyed working on my entries this year...and they are all so very me...I love to combine piecing with appliqué. I also like to design blocks that stand alone or work good in multiples or in combination with other blocks...and of course, I think about what would look good as a barn quilt block. I hope you will support my quilt blocks again this year and place your votes for my designs!