Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Pondering, Projects and Pups

It's been a finishing frenzy in the Blue Ribbon Designs studio the last few weeks. The needlework finishing orders and custom bag orders keeping rolling in, keeping my work queue overflowing (a blessing). I have been working on a variety of creative endeavors, including: needlework finishing, custom sewing, custom quilting, and freelance designing.

Keeping it real - I feel extremely blessed to be creative on a daily basis, but I must admit, I am feeling a bit overwhelmed and frustrated - it's hard to believe that something that can bring me so much joy can also leave me feeling empty and unappreciated....I try to always be positive on my blog, but today has been a challenging day. I am going to take a good look at my pricing and my policies and may be making some notable changes. Needlework finishing is extremely time consuming and the materials are costly - I find many don't want to pay for my time or expect my labor to be pennies an hour. So, time to give this all some thought and make some decisions. What do you think is fair to charge for professional/quality needlework finishing? What do you expect from a professional finisher? Do you have an opinion? - if so, leave it in the comments or send me an e-mail - I would love to hear some thoughts on the subject!

Enough pondering for this post... Here is a picture trail of some needlework finishing projects from the last week...again, these are not my designs or stitching - these are just photos of my finishing work...

















Lastly, by popular demand, here are several photos of the kids...the last one is a photo taken by the window in my studio...they have definitely become best friends...



Friday, July 10, 2020

Halloween Haul

Hello stitching friends! Although we are in the midst of a very HOT and humid summer, it looks like many of you are working on autumn and Halloween projects. I always enjoy checking out creative blogs and social media to see what my fellow stitchers and quilters are working on and I keep seeing fall projects popping up everywhere...perhaps you are all ahead of the game OR perhaps thoughts of autumn and winter are keeping you cool during the heatwave...OR maybe it is the release of the 2020 Just CrossStitch 
Halloween Special Collector's Issue. This annual issue is quite impressive with 58 spooky designs...and it looks like there is something for everyone - including Blue Ribbon Designs fans - yes it's true, I have a spooktacular design in this issue!

You can find my "Halloween Haul" wall hanging starting on page 36. This "sweet design" is a relatively quick stitch and I provided finishing instructions for the quilted wall hanging...OR this design will fit perfectly in a standard 8" x 10" frame (when stitched as directed on 32-count fabric). The stitch count is 98H x 129W and the finished design size measures approximately 6.125" H x 8.125" W . I stitched the model on 32-count Tarnished Silver from Lakeside Linens with Weeks Dye Works Hand Over-dyed Floss...and DMC Cotton Floss conversions are provided. The linen matches my photo as seen in the upper right-hand corner much better than the image depicted in the magazine and shown below (it is gray, not purple). For some reason, I always lose the lottery with photography in this particular publication (insert eye roll here)...




....AND look for another special Blue Ribbon Designs Halloween project in the October 2020 issue of Just Cross Stitch Magazine (an ornament)...I can't wait for you to see it...

...and of course, I designed a Christmas ornament for the upcoming Just Cross Stitch 2020 Special Christmas Ornament issue!

Things are buzzing along in my studio and I will have quite a few new needlework finishes to share with you soon. This weekend, we are headed to Iowa - but I will be back to visit with you again soon....

Thursday, July 9, 2020

Sequestered in the Studio

It's another hot and humid day in Kansas and I have been in my studio working on needlework finishing since early this morning. So while I grab some caffeine and take a short break, I thought I would share a few recent client finishes. Thanks to the pandemic and stay-at-home stitching, Blue Ribbon Finishing is flourishing right now - seriously, I have never had so many finishing orders and new clients! First, I will share some cross stitch ornament finishes, then a large cross stitch wall hanging...again, these are not my designs or my stitching, just my finishing work...

These ornaments were all stitched by the same talented stitcher - and each was a joy to finish (lucky for me, this needleworker gave me minimal direction and let me be creative!). This particular stitcher (a new client) asked for both flat and pillow finishes and let me choose all of the materials. All of the cording is custom made with DMC Six-Strand Embroidery Floss and my Kreinik Custom Corder....and it is hand-stitched in place (I don't use glue on any pieces I finish - just my personal preference) - I also hand sew ribbons, trims (visit Lady Dot Creates for THE BEST trims) and embellishments in place. The fabrics shown with each ornament were used for backing...


Santa's Helper by Mosey 'N Me - 2013 JCS Christmas Ornament Issue

Ewe-le Tide Greetings by Mosey 'N Me - 2013 JCS Christmas Ornament Issue

Deck the Halls by Little House Needleworks

Glitter House 9 by Country Cottage Needleworks

Gingerbread Village by Little House Needleworks

Needlework Shop by Little House Needleworks

Coffee Shop by Little House Needleworks
Finally, here is a large cross stitch piece I finished as a quilted wall hanging. This piece was a bit of a challenge, finishing at 24" x 36"...probably the largest piece I have finished in this way. This is Julian Giraffe from WooHoo Textiles. It was stitched on washable grid aida fabric by a new cross stitcher, who is just learning - I thought this was a very impressive piece for a beginner! I was able to soak out the grid...then found (what I thought were) the perfect fabrics at my local quilt shop (The Quilted Sunflower). I did very small stipple quilting in the border...and attached pockets on the back for a wooden slat with with sawtooth hanger. For the size of the piece, I was extremely pleased with the outcome...




I hope you are inspired to work on something creative...and I'll be back with plenty more cross stitch  finishes in the very near future...

Oh...and stay tuned - I'll show you the cross stitch piece I designed for the Just Cross Stitch Halloween 2020 Special Collector's Issue...yes, I designed a special Halloween piece that can be made into a quilted wall hanging or fit in an 8" x 10" frame. This annual publication is just starting to ship to shops and mailboxes, so I will be back with images and all the scoop VERY soon!

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Studio Summary

Happy July! I'm back with another very quick blog post...my days have been filled trying to keep caught up with customer orders (which is a great thing!).  I have been making all sorts of project bags in a variety of sizes and fabrics and I still have large quantities on order, so I thought I would stop by and share photos of some of my latest completions...plus I have been working on tons of needlework finishing over the last week...and oh my goodness, there will be some fabulous photos coming in the near future! I have some very talented clientele and I am honored that they trust me to finish their handwork. I've been spending the last couple days finishing a large order of Christmas ornaments - and I have six more large orders of needlework finishing to complete before I get back to more sewing and quilting.

Here are just a few of my latest project bag finishes...these are some beauties for a couple of my favorite customers...they always send the most gorgeous fabrics that brighten up my work table...these are my large and small project bags, along with a couple of my special clear vinyl-lined cosmetic bags...











I'm in the middle of printing a cross stitch chart order, then I am back in my studio working on more Christmas ornaments...it truly feels like Christmas in July here...😃

I hope you are staying healthy and positive this summer...and finding ways to be creative!

Monday, June 22, 2020

Nifty Needlework Finishing

Hello friends - I'm back for a quick evening post - it seems this is the quietest/easiest time of day to sit down and visit with you! I thought I would stop by tonight and share some recent needlework finishes I completed for a favorite customer. These needlework pieces were all for one wonderful customer...and she is THE BEST to work with - a box of needlework arrives with the instructions of "do whatever you think works best" - these are the type of orders that make the time in my studio rewarding and fun. I get to choose all the backing fabrics, shapes, and embellishments...and truth be told, that is my favorite part!! I had fun picking coordinating fabrics for the backs, picking trims (special thanks to Lady Dot Creates) and making the twisted cord...and, as always, adding the finishing touches...

One piece I should share more about - the little Queen Bee tin. This is one of those pieces where I had an idea in mind and it turned out just like I planned. I have several different sizes of tins on hand (this round tin has a diameter of approximately 2.5" and has a screw top lid) and worked quite well. I mounted the cross stitch on the top and a little padded circle of coordinating cotton fabric inside (both embellished with Hand-dyed Pom Pom Trim by Lady Dot Creates)...attached a black gingham ribbon around the top perimeter...and I covered the base of the tin with black wool fabric. This worked out so well, I will definitely be using it for future finishes...a BRD signature finish to add to my list!

I hope you enjoy these images...and maybe you will be inspired to pull out your most recent cross stitch piece and do a little needlework finishing yourself. Designers/details are listed with the images when available...fabrics in the photos are used for backing and/or lining...

Queen Bee Mini Card - Prairie Schooler

Queen Bee Mini Card - Prairie Schooler

Set Free Pinkeep - Scattered Seeds Sampler

Set Free Pinkeep - Scattered Seeds Sampler

Tired Trio - Plum Street Samplers

Apple Pickin - Little House Needleworks

Autumn Urn - Ewe & I & Friends

Bloom Where You’re Planted - Brenda Gervais


Chris Moose Berry - Erica Michaels

Chris Moose Berry - Erica Michaels
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Seasons Greetings - Little House Needleworks


O Christmas Tree - Lizzie Kate


Flowers and Plaid - Trail Creek Farm


This order also included several project bags that are shown above - the awesome bicycle fabric was used for an Artist Bag....and the adorable sheep fabric was used for a Small Project Bag and a Large Project Bag.

Tonight I am working on a couple large piles of project bags...and then I will be back on needlework finishing for a bit - I have a BUNCH of Christmas ornaments to finish for several new customers. 

I also have a couple really fun projects to work on for Poppie Cotton - I have a couple of their gorgeous upcoming fabric collections to work with for two blog tours later this year. I truly adore their fabrics, so I am thrilled to be working with them on some very special projects. I will stop back soon to share some images of these beautiful fabrics and give you a couple hints about what I am working on...