Wednesday, December 7, 2022

Christmas Countdown 2022

©Copyright 2022 Belinda Karls-Nace/Blue Ribbon Designs, LLC http://www.blueribbondesigns.blogspot.com
Greetings friends - happy Wednesday! If you follow me on social media, then chances are, you have seen some of my recent creations for the Poppie Cotton Christmas Countdown Challenge. Poppie Cotton created a very fun word prompt list beginning on December 1st - each day, you can use the word as a prompt to create something and post an image(s), tagging them for a chance to win prizes - you can participate as little or as often as you like. You can visit their Instagram page post for all the details...and visit their website for a downloadable list, a coloring page and Santa templates! I have been participating on  most days and have enjoyed my time creating projects for some of the words...

I have posted on multiple days, and here are some of my photos and creations....

Day 1 - Christmas Pincushion

I created two cube pincushions, using the Poppie Cotton Snuggle Up Buttercup fabric Collection. 

©Copyright 2022 Belinda Karls-Nace/Blue Ribbon Designs, LLC http://www.blueribbondesigns.blogspot.com

©Copyright 2022 Belinda Karls-Nace/Blue Ribbon Designs, LLC http://www.blueribbondesigns.blogspot.com

©Copyright 2022 Belinda Karls-Nace/Blue Ribbon Designs, LLC http://www.blueribbondesigns.blogspot.com

©Copyright 2022 Belinda Karls-Nace/Blue Ribbon Designs, LLC http://www.blueribbondesigns.blogspot.com

©Copyright 2022 Belinda Karls-Nace/Blue Ribbon Designs, LLC http://www.blueribbondesigns.blogspot.com

Day 3 - Hot Cocoa

I created a whimsical mug rug with a tea cup of hot cocoa, using mini buttons for marshmallows. I was just playing around...but will create a pattern, if there is interest (let me know in the comments!).

©Copyright 2022 Belinda Karls-Nace/Blue Ribbon Designs, LLC http://www.blueribbondesigns.blogspot.com

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©Copyright 2022 Belinda Karls-Nace/Blue Ribbon Designs, LLC http://www.blueribbondesigns.blogspot.com

Day 4 - Peppermint

For peppermint, I created a small project bag - appliquéing the word JOY and using wool for the peppermint appliqué. I used  red, white and green baker's twine for the zipper pull. This was a lot of fun to make and was (again) just me playing around in my studio...

©Copyright 2022 Belinda Karls-Nace/Blue Ribbon Designs, LLC http://www.blueribbondesigns.blogspot.com

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©Copyright 2022 Belinda Karls-Nace/Blue Ribbon Designs, LLC http://www.blueribbondesigns.blogspot.com

Day 5 - Ornament

This day was easy - I used my 2021 and 2022 cross stitch Christmas ornaments..."My Frosty Friend" and "Bundled Up Birdie"....

My Frosty Friend and Bundled Up Birdie ©Copyright 2022 Belinda Karls-Nace/Blue Ribbon Designs, LLC http://www.blueribbondesigns.blogspot.com

Bundled Up Birdie ©Copyright 2022 Belinda Karls-Nace/Blue Ribbon Designs, LLC http://www.blueribbondesigns.blogspot.com

My Frosty Friend ©Copyright 2022 Belinda Karls-Nace/Blue Ribbon Designs, LLC http://www.blueribbondesigns.blogspot.com

Day 6 - Cookie Exchange

For cookie exchange, I made my favorite molasses cookies and photographed them on my Alphabet House Mug Rugs (pattern available in my Etsy Shop in both paper format and digital format). I also provided my molasses cookie recipe, so you can make a batch yourself!!

©Copyright 2022 Belinda Karls-Nace/Blue Ribbon Designs, LLC http://www.blueribbondesigns.blogspot.com

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I hope these creative ideas will get you in the holiday mood and provide some inspiration and Christmas cheer! I have more posts up my sleeve for future days, so look for those on my social media pages...

For now, it is back to work - I am feeling quite stressed with client orders after my time away in New Zealand and recovering from a terrible case of the flu (I am much better, but still have a nasty cough!)....so I am busy from morning until night in the studio. I will share some of those pieces soon. Also, I have some very exciting news to share in the coming days - I am a brand ambassador/designer for a favorite company and will be posting fun projects and tutorials for them soon...stay tuned for that announcement...

Friday, December 2, 2022

"Bundled Up Birdie" - 2022 Cross Stitch Christmas Ornament

Bundled Up Birdie ©Copyright 2022 Belinda Karls-Nace/Blue Ribbon Designs, LLC http://www.blueribbondesigns.blogspot.com
Hello creative friends - thanks for stopping by for a visit! Today, I have a very special post that includes my 2022 Christmas Ornament

NOTE: If you are a regular reader of my blog, I'm sure you recall my post in December 2020 about the Just Cross Stitch Christmas Ornament Issue (if you have not read it, please take a look for context). 

I struggled with how to release my holiday ornament again this year, as over the last couple years I have tried to put more value in myself and my artistry. I didn't want to provide my ornament design for free to a publication/corporation that was profiting from it, as I truly believe that artists should be compensated appropriately for their work - see the noted link. However, last year, I found myself wanting to provide it directly to my fans and needleworkers for free...and this year, my feelings have not changed. In a year full of challenges, unrest and divide, I wanted to do something positive and share some joy - after all, sheer happiness comes from giving. Many have needed strength, love, hope and positivity to overcome challenges and loss over the past couple years - and during this season of giving, even with my own challenges and struggles, I have an abundance of blessings. Today, I want to thank YOU for a multitude of things: for allowing me the opportunity to continue to pursue my passion - for your kind support of my needlework and quilting designs - for making purchases in my Etsy Shop - for inspiring me - for your uplifting comments, notes and e-mails - and for sharing your enthusiasm of all things needle and thread with me. 

Bundled Up Birdie ©Copyright 2022 Belinda Karls-Nace/Blue Ribbon Designs, LLC http://www.blueribbondesigns.blogspot.com

My 2022 Christmas ornament is called "Bundled Up Birdie" and is available as a complimentary pattern. It complements my previous ornaments and is in the same style as my 2020 and 2021 ornaments (Rejoicing Reindeer and My Frosty Friend). I continued in my flat-finish tradition (if you stitch it on 32-count fabric, 3 1/4" circles work perfectly) and used DMC floss (321 and 505) to make two-tone twisted cord. I decided to attach a 3/8" red gingham ribbon bow with a couple 1/2" red jingle bells. I used hand-dyed 32-count fabric this year....search your stash for a darker neutral fabric...just make sure the white floss will stand out. I used Weeks Dye Works cotton floss for the model and provide DMC conversions with the chart, if you prefer. I truly hope this cheerful birdie wearing a scarf will bring you joy - please stitch it with a happy heart

You can find the printable PDF chart here:

https://blueribbondesigns.com/free-charts/

I kindly ask you do not post the actual chart on the Internet/social media or on Pinterest - instead, post a photo of the finished piece and direct users to this post or my website.

For those who have kindly asked if they could purchase this ornament design in the spirit of valuing my work (your messages make my heart happy!), I ask you talk about my designs with your stitching friends (spread the word about Blue Ribbon Designs) and/or visit my Etsy Shop to make a purchase...or you can Buy Me a Coffee...it is definitely not required or necessary, but truly appreciated - thank you for supporting my creativity and valuing my artistry!💕

Bundled Up Birdie ©Copyright 2022 Belinda Karls-Nace/Blue Ribbon Designs, LLC http://www.blueribbondesigns.blogspot.com

I also want to note, Just CrossStitch Magazine has changed their policy going forward (starting with the 2022 Christmas Ornament Issue) - they will now be compensating  designers for submissions. I should also note -  they did not invite me to design an ornament for the 2022 issue or the 2023 issue. I want to thank each and every one of you who spread the word regarding my blog post and called out Just CrossStitch Magazine for their outdated policy. We did make a difference!...and while they did not reach out to me for the 2022 publication, I am proud of myself and everyone who stood with me to make this change that benefits all cross stitch designers working with them in the future. Thank you.

Finally - if you plan to stitch "Bundled Up Birdie,"  I hope you will share an image of your progress or finished ornament on social media and tag me, so I can see it.

Enjoy and stitch it with joy in your heart!

South Island, New Zealand Travel Log 6

©Copyright 2022 Belinda Karls-Nace/Blue Ribbon Designs, LLC http://www.blueribbondesigns.blogspot.com
Kia Ora friends! Welcome to my sixth (and hopefully final) travel log featuring my adventures visiting the South Island (Te Waipounamu) of New Zealand. This post will be a bit longer, but will conclude my extended travel log.

A quick recap, if you haven't been following along...I just returned from traveling to New Zealand with my momma and second dad for an adventure-filled few weeks. We arrived in Christchurch a few days before meeting up with our tour group to hike the South Island for a couple weeks. There were eleven of us, plus one guide. We traveled daily in a Sprinter van to grand locations throughout the South Island and experienced some incredible trails, scenery and excursions.

After our day at Doubtful Sound and our final evening in Te Anau, we packed up the following morning and headed to the Kepler Track (another one of New Zealand's "Great Walks") for a 6+-mile hike. This was a secluded, magical beech forest hike with glimpses of Lake Te Anau...incredible ferns and lush vegetation surrounded the track with moss-covered branches, stumps and mounds...a truly remarkable trail (I believe this one was the favorite of both my parents). At a clearing, we walked down to the beach, where we watched and listened to the boisterous paradise ducks (pūtangitangi). After this truly enjoyable hike, we made our way to Kinross Winery, outside of Queenstown for a wine tasting and lunch. After a delicious lunch (I had Martinez Chorizo and Chili Pizza) and sampling some of best wines NZ has to offer, we started the drive to Aoraki/Mount Cook. We stopped at a perfect roadside viewing area to photograph a very visible Mount Cook...then headed on to our accommodations for the next couple nights in Tekapo. After checking in at the hotel we had dinner and I took a quick walk around the area...

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The next morning, after breakfast at the hotel, it was time for another grand adventure - a heli-hike! Dan had signed the two of us up for a heli-hike on the Tasman Glacier. Many in my inner circle know that I am obsessed with mountain climbing (especially Everest) and read/watch everything I can get my hands on related to the subject. I know that many world-renowned climbers use Mount Cook as a training ground for climbing Everest, so I was really excited about this day. We met our guide (Charlie) in Mount Cook Village and took a van to the local airport for the helicopter ride to the glacier. Once on the glacier, we put on crampons and explored...and we found several ice caves. This was such an incredible experience - made even more special by the fact that I was able to do it with Dan (my second dad). To be up close and personal with Mount Cook was truly a breathtaking experience for me! I also enjoyed filling my water bottle with cold glacial water. After taking the helicopter back to the airport and the van back to Mount Cook Village - we had a quick lunch on the go, as we met up with the other tour guests and boarded a bus for the Glacier Explorers Trip. The bus took us to the Tasman Valley, where we had a 30-minute hike through Mount Cook National Park - then we boarded a custom boat for a scenic glacier tour. We tasted ice crystals from the icebergs while our guide shared a plethora of information with us - it was a really interesting tour. After the hike back to the bus and a quick drive back to Mount Cook Village, we had dinner at the swanky Hermitage Hotel....followed by a drive back to our hotel in Tekapo.

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The following morning, we set out on our last hike on the Lake Tekapo Peninsula Walkway. We started in the Tekapo Village and hiked along the shoreline - crossed the stunning 125 meter MacLaren footbridge to the Church of the Good Shepherd (one of the most photographed churches in the world - situated on the shores of Lake Takapō amongst the natural beauty of the lake and the mountains, this church was built to the glory of God and as a memorial to the pioneers of the Mackenzie Country using materials found within a five-mile radius). This was a peaceful hike, with surprising amounts of wildflowers (lupine) and a breathtaking view of the lake and surrounding mountains. Following the hike, we visited a completely automated restroom - an ExeLoo - it was the talk of the day. I took a fun video, but it is not quality enough to post on my blog (there are several videos on YouTube that are similar). We then started on our journey back to Christchurch (where we started two weeks earlier). We stopped in Geraldine for a delicious lunch at the Foodstore Eatery (I had Warm Noodle Salad with Teriyaki Salmon) and a little window shopping...AND I found an open quilt shop (The Pin Tin). Our next stop was in Ashburton at the Ashford Store (a textile store carrying a full range of Ashford Wheels and Looms along with a range of quality New Zealand knitting and specialty yarns)…and there was a lovely coffee shop...and beautiful rose/flower gardens. After reaching Christchurch, we dropped several travelers at the airport, said our goodbyes, and then we were dropped at our hotel. My mom and I decided to walk to grounds and the area and then have a perfect dinner of salad and soup (fresh tomato).

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On our final day in Christchurch, we visited the International Antarctic Centre and it was so much fun! We rode the Hägglunds, did the cold water challenge, endured the storm room (where we rode snowmobiles and I got inside an igloo), met some very intelligent sled dogs and learned all about Antarctica. We had special VIP Penguin passes, so after a penguin feeding, we got to go behind the scenes and learn all about the penguin rehabilitation center.

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…and that concluded our trip to the South Island. It was then time to fly to Auckland, then fly to LAX, then fly to Chicago, then take a bus to Rockford and then drive to Davis, IL (where I stayed at my parent's house)…then it was time for a drive to the Amtrak train station, a very delayed train ride to Kansas City, where my husband happily picked me up for the drive home. All in all, about 40 hours of travel for me, each way...but the time with my parents, the scenery, the adventures and the memories were well worth it!

Since arriving home, I have been down with a terrible case of the flu - at the time of this writing (several days before posting), I still have a deep chest cough and sore throat...I'm sure all the travel and my stress level just elevated it. I have pretty much been down for the count since my return. I had grand plans of new cross stitch releases by now, but plans change...I will be back soon with new releases AND my 2022 Cross Stich Christmas Ornament. Thanks for visiting!