Friday, August 28, 2015

Friendship Friday - A Celebration

Today was the perfect day for a friendship Friday has been rainy, gloomy and gray all day, but having a long lunch with dear friends was like having a beautiful, sunny day! Spending a few hours with Kimber and Mary is incredibly good for my soul - and today was extra special because we were celebrating Kimber's birthday. We had lunch at our favorite local restaurant and enjoyed great food and extremely fun fun, we completely lost track of time and were there for three hours (is there any better way to spend a rainy afternoon?)! It was delightful putting together a birthday box for Kimber...she truly appreciates handmade gifts and really notices personal touches...and now that she has received everything, I can share them with you. I decided to make her a couple small zippered pouches to use in her favorite purses/bags...and since she loves wool, I thought one of my wool applique pin pillows (featuring pink, of course) would be a perfect addition. I have also been collecting yardage of ribbons in her favorite colors that I wrapped around a large vintage wooden spool (found at a local antique shop). I wrapped all the presents in gift gloss and tissue paper and put them in a photo storage box, tied with a bright pink grosgrain ribbon.

I don't know what was more fun - putting together Kimber's birthday box...or watching her open each of her made my heart happy. To have many of the important people in my life spread across the country, what a joy it is to have two wonderful friends just a few miles away - I always look forward to our special outings!
...and just like that my rainy day was filled with sunshine!

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Halloween at the Cabin

I'm back today to share a very fun Halloween finish! I really enjoyed creating this custom Halloween table topper for one of my repeat customers (she happily keeps me busy!). I had to search and search for Halloween fabrics that were to her liking and I finally found this wonderful collection from Maywood Studio - it is called "Black Cat Crossing"...and it worked perfectly. She had a log cabin block in I pulled up my EQ7 software, scanned in the fabrics, and immediately started working on a design. I already had a custom block drawn/saved that was created specifically for my AccuQuilt GO! Log Cabin-12" Finished Square die by Leslie Main - I created it in an assortment of sizes for various uses (this particular die cuts logs to make 5", 6", 7", 8", 9", 10", 11" and 12" finished Log Cabin blocks) - I decided the 9" block would work best for her table size. I added some border strips to get it sized to fit her table measurements just right...and the end result, I titled "Halloween at the Cabin". The quilting was enjoyable too - I used a large zig-zag which gave it a little extra spooky Halloween embellishment (you can see some of the quilting in the block image below). I was quite happy with how this project turned out and I look forward to using my log cabin cutting die more in the future...and (shocker!) I just may have to order more of this specific fabric line, as I only have some smaller pieces leftover...

I continue to sew/quilt by day and stitch in the evening...that seems to work best with my hectic schedule. I managed to finish up several additional projects this week and I will make time to share with you real soon...I have been in "create" mode and loving every minute of it...I just wish I could stretch a few more hours out of each day!

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Pumpkins and Spice

Today, I am sharing another one of my original autumn "Pumpkins and Spice" table topper. For this fall project, I combined Sawtooth Star blocks with golden fabric points to make what I like to think of as a sunflower center. I cut the 12" blocks on my AccuQuilt Studio Fabric Cutter...and used a fabulous border print (an older fabric in my stash - Pumpkins and Spice by Whimsicals for Red Rooster Fabrics). The final project measures 32" x 32"...and was designed to be used square or on point.  This autumn table topper has already been shipped off to a new home and (you guessed it) I didn't waste any time moving on to the next project...which I will be ready to share in the next day or two...

Of course, my sewing machine has been humming along today...and I'll be in my stitching nest tonight working on the model for my exclusive fundraising always, I have a ton of creative endeavors in progress and I'll be back to share some of them with you very soon!

Saturday, August 22, 2015

"Halloween Hangings"

I was super excited to receive several
e-mails from faraway friends last week telling me that they received the latest issue of The World of Cross Stitching magazine (WOXS 233) and they can't wait to stitch my "Halloween Hangings" featured in the issue. I was excited to receive my copy of the magazine today and was thrilled to finally see the layout (and inset photo of one of my pieces on the front cover)!

We all know I enjoy working on Halloween projects...and I LOVE working with this particular publication - Ruth (the Editor) asked I use hand-dyed threads and 28-count evenweave fabric - so I used Weeks Dye Works cotton floss and Zweigart Cashel in Summer Khaki (3281-323)...but the charts include a DMC color conversion and the designs would look lovely on a higher count hand-dyed linen.

A here's a little tidbit that will shock many of you...I personally stitched the designs, but the magazine finished them into the hangings. We all know that I adore the finishing process and I thoroughly enjoy putting things together...but the magazine had an idea in mind and wanted to do the finishing, so this control freak designer *had to* give the reigns to someone else for a change...and I am very happy with simplistic/folky finishing I see in the photo!

I am always impressed with this particular publication and the variety of it has beautiful large color pages and photos...and the heavier weight cover/pages hold up to all the page turning and project picking. If you are a Halloween stitcher, be sure to check out the "Spooktacular" section on pages has 31 Halloween motifs and fun finishing ideas...there are some super cute ideas!

Those who subscribe to this magazine are currently receiving their issues...for those looking for it on newsstands - it is The World Of Cross Stitching (WOXS 233, October 2015) - it went on sale in the UK on August 13, 2015...those in the United States will need to be a little patient, as it usually takes a month or two for this magazine to arrive at shops and booksellers...

Friday, August 21, 2015

Harvest Home

It's that time of year again...summer is slowly fading and we are quickly headed toward the autumn months. I have been spending some time designing and sewing/quilting projects for fall. I finished up this original table topper project this week...and I just loved working with some subtle autumn prints paired with a focus fabric. This table topper combines Sawtooth Star blocks and Jewel Box blocks giving the pattern a nice outward movement and I thoroughly enjoyed creating it! I cut all of the pieces for my "Harvest Home" project on my AccuQuilt Studio Fabric Cutter, making it quick and easy. The quilt blocks are all 10" square, making a nice custom size of 30" x 30". It has already been shipped off to a happy home and I didn't waste any time moving on to the next project, which I will share very soon...

Currently, I am quilting a Halloween project, but for the rest of the night, I will be in my stitching nest working on the model for my Komen 3-Day fundraising design - in am frantically stitching trying to get it complete by the end of the month...

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Stitch Pink - "A Journey"

When Just CrossStitch Magazine contacted me last year about the possibility of designing a special breast cancer awareness project for the October 2015 issue - I didn't even have to think about it...I had several ideas in my sketchbook ready to expand on and I was immediately "all in". Those of you who read my blog regularly know I have done quite a few designs and quite a bit of fundraising benefiting breast cancer awareness/education over the years...and I was excited to work on a piece that could reach such a large audience. I was actually stitching this model back in January and shipped it off to the magazine in I was super excited on Friday when my model was returned along with a couple copies of the newly released magazine.

You can find my very special "Stitch Pink" project titled "A Journey" starting on page 57 of the magazine (Volume 33, No.5 - October 2015). The main design is mounted in a 9.5" square whitewash tray by Sudberry House (#68002), but is definitely suitable for regular framing (or would make a lovely pillow). There are also three coordinating needlework smalls to complete the set - a pin pillow, a scissor fob, and a heart-shaped wool fabric needlekeep. I cross stitched the model with Weeks Dye Works Hand Over Dyed Embroidery Floss on 32-count Buttercream Linen from Lakeside Linens; however, DMC 6-Strand Embroidery Floss conversions are provided and this design would look lovely on an array of fabric colors. Sudberry House has a variety of tray options and colors available...and a larger (11.5" square) tray available for those who would like to work on a different count of fabric.

I have had quite a few questions asking if this design is my Komen 3-Day fundraising design for 2015 - and I can happily tell you, no, it is not - as always, I have something extra special planned for this year's exclusive fundraising piece and I am hoping to share it with you very shortly...and I thank you for your patience! I know it is late coming out this year, as the walk is quickly approaching (Team Twinkle Toes is walking in Dallas in November)....but just like the subject of this blog post, my life continues to be "a journey"...and just like me, the model is still a work in progress. It will be available soon (I have been diligently working on it every evening) and I hope you will find it has been worth the wait... To the handful of you who have already made a donation on my fundraising page (we have corresponded and you know who you are - I have a list!), I will be e-mailing the chart to you as soon as it is ready - and I truly thank you for your support and encouragement!

For now, I have a pile of customer sewing/quilting to do this afternoon...then a training walk this evening...then back to model stitching. Enjoy the rest of your weekend and make time to do something you enjoy!

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Big-hearted Blossom

I had to drop in today and tell you about one of my latest creations: "Big-hearted Blossom" (a quilted wall hanging or runner). Recently, my dear friend Mary was celebrating a birthday and I thought I would go through my fabric stash/scraps and pull her favorite colors to make a beautiful bloom as a gift for her special day. This project was aptly named after her HUGE and loving heart.

I am always looking for alternate ways to use my AccuQuilt GO! cutting dies, and that is exactly what I did with the GO! Orange Peel-4 1/2" (55455) in this project. Instead of using it for the popular traditional Orange Peel 4-Patch quilt block, I decided to use it for appliqué leaves along with a GO! Fantasy Flower. I purchased GO! Fantasy Flowers by Robbie Joy Eklow cutting die quite some time ago and I was excited to put it to good use!

The orange peel "leaves" were super easy - I just ironed fusible web on the back of eight assorted charm squares from the Sunkissed Collection by Sweetwater for Moda (the GO! Orange Peel-4½" die works perfectly for charm squares!). Next, I went through my fat quarter stash to find fabrics for the stem and flower petals. The stem was originally cut with the GO! Strip Cutter-1" (1/2" Finished), but I thought 1" was a bit wide, so I trimmed it down to a ¾" width. After seeing the approximate size of my Big-hearted Blossom, I cut a piece of neutral fabric (Natural Kona Cotton by Robert Kaufman) approximately 18"W x 35" H. I was able to easily center, fuse, and machine appliqué my flower on my neutral background - I used a blanket stitch for the machine appliqué, but a zigzag stitch, blind hem stitch, or satin stitch would work very nicely. Once the quilting was complete (I simply quilted about 1/4" out around the perimeter of each shape), I trimmed the piece to 15"W x 34" H and added a pretty floral binding that coordinated with the backing fabric.

The GO! Fantasy Flowers die is quite versatile with multiple fun petal shapes included. Plus, it was fun to dig through my fabrics...I just used what I had on hand, giving it a scrappy look. If you are anything like me, you have a scrap bin (or two or three) filled with fabulous floral colors perfect for this project.

This entire design truly came together in one afternoon and I was extremely pleased with the results! It could be used as a wall hanging or a runner...and additional flowers could easily be added...I can see it with a patchwork border too....hmm, I can certainly see more of these fabulous flowers in my future...

Visit the AccuQuilt blog later this week to read my guest blog post about this project...

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Creativity in the Works

It's been business as usual here at the Blue Ribbon Designs studio...designing, stitching, quilting, sewing, walking...and all the normal duties, challenges, and positives that life entails. It's been a little tough to find a balance lately, but I am starting to get things under control once again...and if I could just finish stitching the model for my 2015 Komen 3-Day exclusive fundraising design, then I might be able to catch my breath (just maybe). As always, I have a plethora of pretty projects in progress (my tables are covered) and some really fun finishes to share with you in the near future...but for now, here's a photo walk of what has been inspiring me and keeping me busy...and some of my creativity in the works...