Wednesday, June 19, 2019

The Bag Factory

Today, I am waiting for a large order of zippers to arrive, so I can get back to work...I decided it was the perfect time to stop by for a quick visit. My mom started lovingly referring to my sewing room as the "bag factory" and we chuckle about it often...lately, it seems that I am working on project bags almost every single day. It's a fun job because I get to play with an assortment of beautiful fabrics for hours upon hours. The last few days, I have even made time to work on large and small project bags for my Etsy shop...and I have to smile, because they sell out almost as fast as I can list them (as I write this, there are just a handful left)! I'm working on a scheduling plan to make several a day to try and keep it stocked up...we'll see how that goes. Thank you to all my customers and clients for keeping me busy!! I have also found time to get back to listing more of my historic needlework book collection for sale (although I dearly love each and every book, my shelves are overflowing and it is time for others to experience the joy in these very rare finds. I really realized this *needed* to happen with our recent move...you don't even want to know how many boxes of books I had 😲...if you are looking for rare historic needlework or sampler books, keep an eye on my shop and I will list more as time allows). For now, here are just a few photos of bags that have been shipping out of "the factory" the last couple weeks...


















For project bags that are ready to purchase - visit my Etsy Shop (assorted bags are listed when available): https://www.etsy.com/shop/BlueRibbonDesigns
For custom made project bags - send me an e-mail for details:
designer@blueribbondesigns.com

Well, I hear the mail truck - that should mean my zippers are here...along with a couple custom orders...time for me to get back to the bag factory. I have a goal in mind and then some model stitching this evening...

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

My Apple Valley

It is such a blessing to have my fancy sewing machine up and running again...it has definitely been humming along in my new sewing room! May was a busy month of birthdays and special occasions...and when I know it will be well-received, I like to give handmade gifts. 

I knew I wanted to make my mommy a special little wall hanging quilt for Mother's Day. This is my own take on a pattern/kit called Apple Valley (Tiny Traditions Series #4) by Cozy Quarters - if you like tiny quilts be sure to check out Phyllis's designs...they are wonderful and her kit packaging is FABULOUS! For this design, I changed the shapes of the appliqués, but used the same layout as her pattern - I used various wool scraps for all the apples, leaves and birds and they were machine appliquéd. Once it was quilted and bound, I made a wood hanger for the back...and off it went to Illinois. I was extremely happy with the results...and I think my mom was too...


Next up, here is another recent quilted creation...
My very dear friend Robin (who just had a birthday) had asked me about fabric amounts and details for a cross stitching class/retreat mat...so of course, I made her a unique one for her special day! Over the last year or so, I have had requests and made custom retreat mats for many needleworkers that like to use them at their place setting for classes, retreats or cross stitch gatherings. These special little quilts are like a large placemat - they measure 16" H x 22" W (which could be adjusted) and can be made in variety of patterns. This particular gifted mat was made with a charm pack from the Blueberry Crumb Cake collection by Blackbird Designs and was backed and bound with coordinates from the same collection. The layout is my own design...




Finally today - here is a birthday gift I made for my BFF Terri in Illinois...a large project bag, small project bag and stitch starter ruler sleeve. The fabric has a bit of a story - I have been searching for a good Noah's Ark fabric for years to make this set (Terri and I actually met when she e-mailed me about creating a Noah's Ark cross stitch design). Every so often, I would search Etsy (and other sources) looking for a Noah's Ark fabric that wasn't too childish or cartoony...and a couple weeks before her birthday I found 1.5 yards of this border print (Country Noah Series by Daisy Kingdom) and I immediately snatched it up. After posting a photo on Instagram, I found out this fabric is vintage...from 1995! It arrived in new, perfect condition and I was thrilled. 😊 I was able to make her all three pieces and still have a yard or so left in my stash for future use...


There you have it...just a few things I have been working on since our big move...it has been great to be back at my sewing machine.

With my husband out of town all last week, I spent almost all my time in the sewing room and was able to catch up on most orders...so, believe it or not, last night I cut and prepared project bags to create for especially for my Etsy shop...in fact, as soon as I post this, I will be in my nest starting assembly...be sure to check out my Etsy Shop in a day or two if you have been waiting...

Monday, June 3, 2019

My Happy Place

Greetings friends! My apologizes for not visiting much lately...we are yet to have Internet service at our new home (a downfall of new construction), making it more of a challenge to get online for tasks that require more than my iPhone. I'm trying to get on a schedule where I can share more often...and fingers crossed, we will have WiFi by the end of June...

If you follow me on social media, then you know I have TONS of news and lots of finishes to share. First and foremost, I am working on new cross stitch designs...YES, you heard correctly...in fact, I have been model stitching for the last couple months. I have an arsenal of unreleased designs that have been sitting on the back burner for quite some time (years)...and recently, I have had a strong calling to get back to my true passion of needlework design. To be 100% honest, I have been hesitant to share this information, as I wasn't sure how well new designs would be received...and I really don't have a plan yet, as far as printing and selling/distributing, plus the high cost of it all (we all know, it takes money to make money...and that has been the issue the last few years)...but something inside kept telling me to work on all the designs swimming around in my head and somehow, someway, it would all work itself out. So, that is where I am at...designing and model stitching and hoping there will still be some interest in my work when I am ready to release them. I will be sure to keep you updated and share some more peeks, along the way. This image (top right) is a model I just finished stitching and will be titled "My Happy Place" - it is a cheerful signature sampler featuring a bunch of my favorite motifs. I have found since the move, I still feel like "a fish out of water"...but designing and cross stitch can still put me in my "happy place" and that is what this sampler is all about!

I will save my recent quilting, sewing and needlework finishing for a few future posts - I have definitely been BUSY...however, I will share a few photos of the kids (our German Shepherds - Schatzi and Garin) today. I have had a lot of questions on how they are doing since the move....so, here is a brief update. Our backyard fence has been completed and they LOVE their new larger backyard (when it has been dry enough for them to enjoy it!). Garin pretty much ignores the cows, but Schatzi is quite talkative when they visit. They have both adjusted quite well to the new neighborhood!





Speaking of the cows...I love having them as neighbors! I know it is going to be a good day when they come for a visit. My husband laughs, because I have become quite attached to seeing them every few days and miss them when they are not around. Here are a few favorite photos...





Hopefully, I will be back to visit soon - I have taken quite a few photos since we arrived in Kansas. I have a few photos of my new sewing room and some creative storage solutions I came up with out of necessity. I also have a few quilting projects, a ton of project bag photos, and some needlework finishing to share with you...AND I made my first visit to the local quilt shop a few days ago, so I have that to share too! I look forward to chatting with you soon....

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Greetings from Kansas

Hello from Kansas! Just a quick update while the garage door openers are being professionally installed...and then I am off to pick-up Schatzi and Garin from the kennel.

MOVING UPDATE: We left West Des Moines early Monday morning, once we knew everything was good for the closing and headed to Kansas. Although we put the majority of our belongings in storage PODS that will be arriving tomorrow and Monday, we had our Jeeps loaded up with necessities, along with a U-Haul trailer - Travis had the trailer and I had both dogs...it was quite the trip! We dropped off the dogs for boarding and spent Monday night in a hotel getting everything in line with our new house and closing Tuesday morning. All of the documentation was taken care of yesterday and we arrived to our new home in the early afternoon. I was able to go to the local post office and get everything set-up for receiving mail - thank goodness for Google Maps - then I spent the afternoon/evening getting the necessities unloaded and unpacked. With the majority of our belongings arriving over the next week, we are trying to get as many odds and ends done before the craziness starts...

BLUE RIBBON DESIGNS UPDATE: I have my business license in Kansas and paperwork has all been filed. YAY! Next Monday, the storage POD with all of my studio and warehouse items will arrive and I will do my best to get everything put away and be somewhat ready for shipping/receiving orders late next week. It is going to be quite the job to build all the warehouse shelving and get things organized, but once that is complete, I will get the website and Etsy shop turned back on. My goal is to ship distributor and shop orders sometime next week. If you are a current client - I will be sending an e-mail to you with details regarding sewing/finishing/quilting orders. Please be patient just a little while longer while I unpack everything and I hope to be up and running by April 22nd (well that is my plan, barring any complications). Thank you again for your patience during this transition - Wifi may not be available in our area for possibly a couple months, so my response time may delayed...I will do my best to keep in touch!

Leaving our Iowa home...bittersweet....

Arriving at our new home in Spring Hill, KS...beautiful day and
green grass (the sod is taking well)....

New front door - the personalized welcome mat was gift from
our realtor (the first personal touch)....

Our backyard backs up to a farmer's fence and field...this is the first
cow to walk up and say hello to me...yep, this is now what I see
out my back windows...we'll see how the dogs like the cows!

Another lovely gift from our realtor - we will have to find a place for it...
and yes, it is laying on my beautiful new hardwood floors...

I want to thank everyone from our old neighborhood that helped with the move (heavy lifting and therapy sessions across the street). I also want to thank everyone who has sent us words of encouragement and kindness - I truly appreciate it. Finally, to those who placed an order for my first Norwex show - THANK YOU SO MUCH! - I had a great show and I appreciate you.

For now - I'm off to pick-up the dogs and get them acclimated to the new house/yard...plus I have a million errands to run - Google Maps is going to be busy today.

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

It's All Happening...

Happy Tuesday readers! I am checking in today before the next couple weeks are monopolized by the move. We are set to close on our house in Iowa on Monday (less than a week), then I am headed to Kansas with the dogs to close on our new home next Tuesday...yes, you heard me correctly...in a week, we will be ready to move into our new house. I am finally starting to get a wee bit excited (how could I not be with that view - the red arrow points to our house and shows our fabulous backyard "farm" view)...I was actually in the Kansas City area over the weekend...picking out window coverings and appliances and seeing the Spring Hill area...we drove by the local quilt shop (it's only a couple miles from our house) and stopped at the dog kennel where we will be boarding our fur babies. As a bonus, I made my first trip ever to IKEA (yes, there is an IKEA close by) and made a shopping list of items that we will pick-up in the coming weeks. It was a whirlwind trip, but quite productive. Today, I cleaned the garage and storage shed and packed some of the last boxes - I'm starting to see a light at the end of the tunnel...but I know I will have my work cut out for me unpacking and settling into the new house and area.

I am hoping to have Blue Ribbon Designs back up and running by the end of April...I will be sending an e-mail to my current clients with details as soon as they are available. I will definitely post when I am taking orders and opening my Etsy and website stores...you will only have to be patient a tiny bit longer. I can't wait to get back to work - designing, sewing and filling orders! We spent some time at the new house over the weekend and I have a plan for my office, studio and warehouse.

I personally want to thank those of you who placed an order for my first Norwex party and/or shared about your experiences and favorite products - thanks to you, I am able to start building my collection...a couple more orders and I should be able to reach my goal (a mop - yes, I have hardwood floors, along with lots of tile in the new house - I know it is a lofty goal, but the mop is at the top of my wish list!). I have been so thrilled with the few products I have and I can't wait to try more. The Pet Towel has been a lifesaver during the terrible weather this past Midwest winter and is now saving me with all of the rain...I am so thankful I have one for each dog! My party is still going on for a couple more days, so if you are just seeing this and would like to help me out, you can place an order for my online party and/or view a catalog, by visiting this link:
http://carmenjacobsen.norwex.biz/en_US/customer/party/3651994
I truly appreciate it...and if you have any questions or favorite products to tell me about, please comment below!!

Last but not least - here is the last quilt I completed before I started packing for the move - I titled it "Pineapples and Prickly Pears"...I designed the pattern and made the sample for AccuQuilt a few months ago. It uses the new(er) GO! Pineapple 10" Finished Cutting Die. I really enjoyed designing and creating this quilt and see more pineapple style quilts in my future.




I'm looking forward to getting back to work in a few weeks and creating projects that bring me joy! I have so many lists and ideas, it will be hard to choose where to start...and my beloved sewing machine is finally back from the repair shop (yay!), so I plan to start bonding with her as soon as I can...

For now - I hope you can be patient with me while we travel to Kansas and the dust settles from the big move - I will be back here to visit with you as soon as I can!

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Sew Happy

As we get closer to the actual move, I am starting to get a little more excited - truth be told, this born and raised Iowa girl really didn't want to move...but all of the waiting, unknown, complications and stress have taken a toll and now I just want to get moved and settled into our new home. Things have finally started to fall into place and we will finalizing even more details this coming weekend (window treatments and appliances). Some great news we received a couple days ago - our sod is in place - YAY! - which means we can have the fence installed as soon as we close on the house. Also exciting - thanks to a stitching friend - we have found what looks to be a fantastic kennel to board our dogs...and it is close to our new house. The next stress is finding a new hair stylist - yeah, I'm somewhat nervous about that...I can handle a completely new area and leaving my home in Iowa, but I can't handle bad hair....and with the stress of the last few months, the gray is coming in a bit faster.😄 It all started to feel real last week when I ordered "we're moving" postcards and a self-inking stamp with our new address. April 12th will be here soon!!

Oh, and one more quick thing before I get to the needlework pretties...
I am fairly new to Norwex cleaning products - in fact, I just tried them a few months ago for the first time (and although I was skeptical, I was quite impressed). I was looking for cleaning products that were environmentally (and dog) friendly and Norwex checked all my boxes. With the new home on the horizon, I have quite a wish list...I happened to mention this to a dear friend and she suggested I have an online party - I am not a big fan of this and hate to solicit family and friends, but I was assured it would help me grow my extremely small collection. So, if you happen to need any Norwex products - I would be thrilled if you placed an order...or if you would like to learn more about them - I am happy to help!!
To place an order for my online party and/or view a catalog, visit:
http://carmenjacobsen.norwex.biz/en_US/customer/party/3651994
(when you review your cart, it should show my name and details (Belinda's Starting Fresh & Green in KC - Host: Belinda Nace)
Okay - that is all on that subject - and I appreciate you listening and possibly placing an order.💓 Now on to the creativity portion of this post...

I can't wait to get settled into a new studio...but for now, here are some needlework gifts and needlework finishing photos I haven't had a chance to share with you yet. The lovely sewing bird in the upper right corner ("Sew Happy" by All Through The Night) was a birthday gift from my very dear friend Robin - I can't wait to hang it in my new studio - isn't it FABULOUS?! Next up a couple finishing photos - that were done for a customer...

Flat finishes for placing in a basket...
Fronts
Designer information unknown.

Flat finishes for placing in a basket...
Backs

Flat finish ornaments - "Blue and Silver Christmas" by Misty Hill Studio

Flat finish ornaments - "Blue and Silver Christmas" by Misty Hill Studio
Backs

The next few photos are small pieces I have stitched while my studio has been packed for the move...the first is a Christmas ornament I stitched and finished as a holiday gift for a friend. The other two are personal stitches that I will finish after we are settled...

"Christmas Biscornu" by Just Nan

"Christmas Biscornu" by Just Nan

"Noel Squared" by Lizzie Kate

"Red Santa" - Birds of a Feather

These last photos are all exquisite gifts I recently received (yes, I am blessed!). I am so *in love* with these little cross stitch sled ornaments (designed by Foxwood Crossings) - my incredible friend Robin has made me one each year since 2014 and she signs/dates the back...2014 was the squirrel, 2015 was the quilt, 2016 was the monogram, 2017 was the red bird with green background...and for 2018, she stitched the cardinal with the blue background...aren’t they AMAZING?!



...and since we all know how much I love squirrels, check out these spectacular cross stitch ornaments and fabrics, along with a needle minder and keeping bag (pen and ink pieces by one of my favorite artists Michelle Palmer!)...all of these gifts made my heart swoon!



Thanks for stopping by and visiting with me today! I am looking forward to getting back to work and sharing fun new ideas with you. For now, I am off to do a little cross stitching - a very thoughtful friend sent me a surprise kit in the mail and I am itching to start it...