Friday, February 27, 2015

Finishing Frenzy

It has been a productive week and I have been working on multiple stitching projects, quilting projects, and needlework finishing. The last couple days have been a finishing frenzy, as I worked on a pile of beautiful needlework pieces for a customer. I always enjoy finishing cross stitch projects, especially when the stitcher allows me to "finish them as I see fit"....I just love finding coordinating fabrics, treasures, and embellishments that work well with a stitched design...along with finding unique ways to make a project ready for display or use. I have also been working daily on some of my original quilting and sewing designs and writing patterns -  it is fun for me to see my projects come to life in fabrics...and I am still stitching every evening, working on magazine projects/features for publication later this year. Here is a sampling of what I worked on the last couple days...

Needles & Pins Heart Pinkeep by With Thy Needle and Thread
I had the perfect antique spool with the original  vintage thread
to match the design...

Cinnamon Hearts by Threadwork Primitives

Winter Grows on You by Waxing Moon Designs - I found the perfect
fabric for this zippered pouch (project bag) - it looks like a knitted sweater...

Winter by The Prairie Schooler (JCS Ornament Issue 2006)

Needlework Garden Accessory #4 Ruler Pocket - Olde Colonial Designs

I'm not certain of the title or designer of this's familiar...
maybe a JCS Ornament issue design??...

I have a quiet house this evening, so I am going to clean up the studio and then get to work on my February QM Bitty Blocks (the month is almost over and the March block will be up very soon!)...then late night, I will be model stitching...I'll be back with another update soon...

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Ten Days of Inspiration:
The AccuQuilt GO! Big Blog Hop

If you are a quilter, sewist, or are on the lookout for creative inspiration (aren't we all), then I have some wonderful news for you! The Accuquilt GO! Big Blog Hop starts this week - that's right, it starts tomorrow...and it features 10 incredible bloggers over 10 days - each with a special project tutorial to get your creative juices flowing. All the stops will share a bit about AccuQuilt's new GO! Big Electric Fabric Cutter...and each one will showcase a new GO! Big Cutting Die and a unique project tutorial that uses fabric prints from the Downton Abbey collections by Andover Fabrics (Downton Abbey - Logos and Labels and Downton Abbey - The Downstairs Collection). You will have to stop back here on Monday, March 2nd, as I will be the eighth stop on this blog hop journey - but you can get started first thing Monday morning...

Here is a complete list of the 10 stops...and you can read more about each of these participants on AccuQuilt's Blog:

  1. Mon 02/23 - Beaquilter: - GO! Big Snails Trail
  2. Tues 02/24 - The Zen of Making: - GO! Big Circle
  3. Wed 02/25 - May Chappell: - GO! Big Double Wedding Ring
  4. Thurs 02/26 - Cut To Pieces: - GO! Big Churn Dash
  5. Fri 02/27 - Pleasant Home: - GO! Big Square
  6. Sat 02/28 - Free Motion by the River - - GO! Big Snails Trail
  7. Sun 03/01 - A Quilting Life: - GO! Big Churn Dash
  8. Mon 03/02 - Blue Ribbon Designs -YOU ARE HERE - GO! Big Square
  9. Tues 03/03 - Sew Many Ways: - GO! Big Double Wedding Ring
  10. Wed 03/04 - Simple Simon and Co.: - GO! Big Churn Dash
Here are the five new dies that work exclusively with the new GO! Big Electric Fabric Cutter (each one is featured in the blog hop):

...and here is the spectacular GO! Big Electric Fabric Cutter (and yes, you can cut two 6" wide dies side by side with six layers of fabric on each!)

I have been playing with my new GO! Big Electric Fabric Cutter for a few weeks, and I can tell you, it is impressive - so quick, easy, and accurate! The GO! Big Electric Fabric Cutter Starter Set includes the GO! Big Electric Fabric Cutter, the GO! Flying Geese Die, a 6" x 12" cutting mat, plus a free 20-page pattern booklet which includes five Flying Geese patterns. It was really exciting for me to see the included pattern booklet, as I designed all five of the patterns included and made all of the samples....seeing them in print was a real treat! Here is a photo of the booklet and each of the projects I designed and created:

...and the most exciting news - I have designed a very special project especially for this blog hop and have written a complete tutorial with details and diagrams to share with you (you can see just a hint of it in the top right photo)....and I even shot a very short video in my studio. So, make sure you return on Monday, March won't want to miss the project tutorial for my "In-an-afternoon Organizer"...and be sure to visit the other nine stops (I promise, these talented and creative bloggers will not disappoint)...

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Saturday Snapshots

Fabric and threads for a pair of Halloween designs
I am working on for The World of Cross Stitching magazine...
I have been busy model stitching every night - still working on my special design for the October issue of Just Cross Stitch Magazine...and switching it up with a pair of Halloween designs for The World of Cross Stitching Magazine - they both have the same deadline (which will be here before I know it), so I have been keeping my needle super busy. I have been at the sewing machine too - working on a few quilting projects and making more machine embroidered Easter Egg ornaments for my Etsy shop.

This week, I received some wonderful cards and gifts in the mail to help me celebrate my birthday - I sure have some thoughtful and talented friends...I'm a very blessed girl! Here are some creative things I am "crushing on" this week...maybe they will inspire you...

A whimsical cupcake pincushion...

An incredible wool pincushion with handmade
pins made especially for me...

Beeswax treasures...

Somebunny loves me...isn't this handmade
gift fabulous?!

Owls, jewelry, and very thoughtful...

It's all about the squirrel in this cross stitch ornament - a lovely gift!

Owl cross stitch made just for me - isn't it beautiful?!

Fabric inspiration and a fun new pattern...

Easter Egg Ornaments that can be found in my Etsy shop...

I love my new GO! Big...and will be participating in the
GO! Big Blog Hop that takes place next week...
look for my project/tutorial on March 2nd...

More on the GO! Big Blog Hop will be posted on Sunday...
stay tuned...
I hope you are having a wonderful weekend...and remember, it's the perfect day to create!

Friday, February 20, 2015

A Quilted Sampler

I know my stitching friends are familiar with needlework samplers...but are you familiar with a sampler quilt? Sampler quilts are made up of an assortment design blocks - they are often used as a teaching tool for beginner quilters to help with skill building or for more advanced quilters to show off their skills or a variety of quilt blocks. The sewist makes a range of quilt blocks and then those finished blocks are pieced together to make a full quilt.

Several months ago, AccuQuilt asked me to create a sample for their GO! Value Die Sampler Quilt which features twelve 8" quilt blocks that can can be created with one cutting die (the GO! Value Die). This sampler quilt is perfect for a beginner quilter and/or a beginner AccuQuilt GO! user, as it is straightforward piecing of squares, triangles, and strips - and you get to try out a variety of quilt blocks. Although this quilt looks a bit complicated, it only uses three cutting dies: the GO! Value Die, the GO! Strip Cutter-4 1/2" (4" Finished), and the GO! Strip Cutter-2 1/2" (2" Finished) - and it really is simple, if you break it down block by block. It only uses six fabrics...and if you are unhappy with any of the individual quilt blocks, AccuQuilt has 72 GO! Mix & Match 8" Quilt Blocks available, so you can easily make adjustments. I made this quilt in a couple days, but you could do one block a day (or one block a week or month) and have it done in no time.

If you are in the market for a GO! Fabric Cutter, the new GO! Fabric Cutter Starter Set includes the GO! Fabric Cutter, the GO! Value Die (55018), a 6" x 12" cutting mat, a die pick, and a 20-page pattern booklet which includes the 12 block patterns and the GO! Value Die Sampler Quilt pattern I am featuring you can start creating this beautiful sampler quilt right away. If you already have a fabric cutter and/or you would like to have the sampler quilt pattern, you are in luck - for a limited time, you can download the pattern, along with instructions for any/all of the 72 - 8" quilt block patterns for FREE...yep, I said free!..and that is A LOT of sewing inspiration...

You can find the GO! Value Die Sampler Quilt pattern here:

You can find each of the 72 - 8" block patterns and instructions here:

You can read more about these quilt blocks and the sampler quilt on the AccuQuilt Blog:

Believe it or not, AccuQuilt has asked me to make four more of these sampler quilts, and I enjoyed the first one so much, I took on this huge I will be creating four more. This quilt is a great size at 48" x 48"...maybe in my "spare time", I can make a fifth one for myself - it would make a great lap quilt! If you want to brush up on your piecing skills...or try some new quilt block designs...or perfect your triangle piecing, then I hope you will try making this sampler quilt - I think you will be impressed with yourself and how quickly it comes together!

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Do The Math...

Today I have a new design to share with you that I created  especially for AccuQuilt. This geometric quilt was a treat to design...and I truly enjoyed making the sample. It is called the GO! Add It Up Bed Quilt and is a great size at 60" x 60". Head on over to the AccuQuilt Blog to read my guest blog post and see my tips and tricks for making this bright and cheerful modern quilt...and for a limited time, you can download the pattern for FREE (yes, I said free) - just visit this link: This quilt is comprised of 12" blocks that come together rather quickly using strips and squares - this design uses uses the following GO! Cutting Dies:
My AccuQuilt guest blog post gives you tips for making perfect strip sets and flawless straight seams which will make your project shine - I hope you will stop by for a visit and read all about this "positive" quilt!

Why not try doing a little "addition" and make a GO! Add It Up project yourself?!...there are many possibilities with this versatile 12" block...for a smaller project, how about a table runner or a set of pillows?...feel free to be creative!

I have more exciting projects to share with you in the next several days...please stop back and visit with me again soon...

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Take A Little Trip With Me

The Castle at Disney's Magic Kingdom
Hello friends - we are back from a fabulous Florida vacation and it was wonderful to spend some time away to recharge and refresh...and I am feeling inspired and ready to get back to work. What a blessing to be away from the bitter cold and snow for a week, even though I contracted a MISERABLE head cold midway through our time away. I was able to manage it with medication and make the best of it until returning home, but then it really set-in and I have basically slept the last three days away...which is really frustrating, as I have a plethora of projects and business tasks that need my immediate attention. I am hoping the worst has passed, as I can almost focus this morning...fingers crossed.

This was our first winter vacation EVER...yep, fifteen years of marriage and we have never escaped an Iowa winter...and my husband had never been to Florida or Disney World...and I haven't been to Florida since I was a teenager (my only trip to Disney was on my 5th birthday) when my mother and her new husband invited us down for a winter getaway, we made some sacrifices to get away and spend a week visiting with them!  We wanted to do and see as much as fact, we were busy from early morning to late night every single day. Here are just a few photos/videos I captured along the way...

We arrived in Orlando on Thursday afternoon and wasted no time, heading straight to the beach. We stopped at a local's recommendation for a late lunch at Hidden Treasure Rum Bar & Grill on Ponce Inlet...then we were off to New Smyrna Beach for a drive along the ocean...

Friday we spent the entire day with my mom and her new husband (Dan) at Walt Disney World - Magic Kingdom Park. Dan has been going to Disney World every single year for over 20 years and was an excellent tour guide - he had us on a schedule and we were able to see and do EVERYTHING from the Magic Kingdom Welcome Show at the park opening to the Main Street Electrical Parade (AMAZING) and Wishes Nighttime Spectacular before park closing....and yes, we rode all the rides (Splash Mountain was my personal favorite!).

A video posted by Belinda - Blue Ribbon Designs (@brdgirl) on

Saturday we went to Walt Disney World - Epcot. We had a fun-filled day riding some of the major rides and we started visiting all the countries in the World Showcase...having lunch and a jalapeno margarita in Mexico and then continuing through the United Kingdom. Once it was dark, we had scoped out the perfect place outside of Italy to view Illuninations: Reflections of Earth (a spectacular fireworks show over the water).

A video posted by Belinda - Blue Ribbon Designs (@brdgirl) on

On Sunday, we spent some time at Gatorland, where I got to feed the alligators and get up close and personal with one after the Gator Wresting Show (yes, I got to pet an alligator). We were shocked at the amount of alligators, birds, and wildlife at this park...even though it was a bit touristy, we still had a great time. Next we were off to Titusville, FL, where we had an early dinner at Dixie Crossroards Seafood Restaurant (another local suggestion) and then to Kennedy Point Park to watch the rocket launch from Cape Canaveral (it was canceled at the last minute, but we had a lovely time by the water and met some new friends).

Monday we had the entire day planned at Walt Disney World - Disney's Animal Kingdom Theme Park with my mom and Dan...but the weather had other ideas. We were able to see quite a bit before it started raining...I mean really was a downpour! We were lunching when it started and after discussing our plans, we decided to get ponchos and make the best of it. We were able to do most of the things on our list...and I got to meet Chip and Dale (yay!). We did as much as possible in the rain, then headed to the Rainforest Cafe for our dinner reservations. Even with the rain, we had a fabulous day (although it didn't help my head cold)!

Travis and I set out on our own again to finish touring Walt Disney World - Epcot on Tuesday. We still had one country left on the World Beer Tour and a few places left to we had a fast pass for Soarin' (a spectacular ride where you virtually fly above California). We toured Canada (which had beautiful gardens), enjoyed the Canadian Lumberjacks show, and took in the American Adventure. Once we finished up Epcot, we headed to Daytona Beach to see the Daytona Speedway, have dinner, and take in the ocean....and maybe see the rocket launch from Cape Canaveral (but it was canceled at the last minute AGAIN - maybe next time).

Quilting inspiration in Morocco

A video posted by Belinda - Blue Ribbon Designs (@brdgirl) on

Wednesday was our last full day in Orlando and we spent it with my mom and Dan at Walt Disney World - Disney's Hollywood Studios. Travis and I loved this park - and once again with Dan as our tour guide we were able to take in all it has to offer...including the Tower of Terror (LOVED!) and the Rock 'n' Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith (WAY FUN!).  I thoroughly enjoyed Walt Disney: One Man's Dream, which is a gallery of rare artifacts and an inspiring 15-minute film on the life of Walt Disney. Then to top off a perfect day, we stayed for Fantasmic - a 30-minute fireworks and water extravaganza, which was spectacular - what a great way to end our winter break!

It's still all about the squirrel - this little french fry thief joined us for lunch
at Disney's Hollywood Studios...

We were up and out the door at 4:30 AM on Thursday, heading to the airport and back home to Iowa...and my miserable head cold was in full swing...but the week we had definitely made up for my discomfort. My birthday and Valentine's Day were a complete blur, as I slept and nursed this nasty bug...but that's okay, we made enough memories last week.

So today, I am in catch-up mode - still nursing the horrible head cold. This afternoon, I am hoping to be at my sewing machine...and I have a couple magazine submissions to complete...and I have loads of model stitching to do...time to get back into creative mode!