Monday, September 18, 2017

Finishing Touches

Hello friends - it is another late night post - it seems this is the quietest/easiest time of day to sit down and visit with you! I thought I would stop by and share some recent needlework finishes I completed for a favorite customer. I've been trying to balance the abundance of needlework finishing jobs with project bag orders...and I think I finally have a system down with everything in dated trays in order of arrival and have been steadily working through each. These needlework pieces were all for one customer...and she is GREAT to work with - a box of needlework arrives with a list of each piece and any details...and all of these were requested as flat-finishes - the only details were not to put hangers on the Prairie Schooler Santas, as they would be on easels...and she wanted the patriotic heart to be round....oh, and minimal fabric allowance around the edges. I truly adore orders like these, as 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 and making the twisted cord...and, as always, adding the finishing touches...

Cross stitch designs are by Misty Hill Studio.


Cross stitch designs are by: Misty Hill Studio (left), Blue Ribbon Designs (center),
Country Cottage Needleworks (right).




Cross Stitch designs by Prairie Schooler.


I am now back to sewing project bags until I feel tired enough to sleep. Yes, friends, the insomnia is real and is still here...my schedule is completely out of sorts...but after some medical testing over the last several weeks, I finally have some answers and new medication and I hope to start feeling back to myself in the next few weeks (Ruth - if you are reading this - I received the fabulous book you sent me this week - it was perfect timing and is proving to be quite helpful - THANK YOU!!). I have a list of multiple things to share with you, so I should be back another late night this week...I have some very inspiring photos I took of my mother's gorgeous flower gardens...along with photos from a lovely Wisconsin apple orchard to give you an autumn fix!

Friday, September 15, 2017

Zigzags and Zippers

It is another late night post for me...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...plus I have been working on tons of needlework finishing for some of my favorite clients...and oh my goodness, there are some fabulous photos coming in the next few days! I have some very talented clientele and I am honored that they trust me to finish their handwork. I've been cutting fabrics most of the day for the next batch of custom bags and started some sorting and planning for my next needlework fishing order (which is so large, it is almost overwhelming!)...the day flew by and now, it is almost midnight here...

Here are just a few of my latest project bag finishes...I have created so many custom bags in the last couple months that I had to spend an evening organizing what was left of my zipper supply and place an order for 200 more of my most used colors....









Zipper organizing...

My zipper order...
I did get to take a couple hours off on Wednesday afternoon to spend time with a very dear friend...we enjoyed a leisurely lunch, then walked over to the local quilt shop. I wanted to pick up a special tin to house my Pinmoor Pin Anchors (a good excuse for a quilt shop visit!)...I found the perfect size (it was part of three tin nesting set from Moda Fabrics) and several fat quarters (and a 1/2 yard) of fabric that may have ended up in my purchase... 


I just finished packaging today's orders for tomorrow's post...it's been a long day! Tomorrow will be spent at the sewing machine (after watching the Michigan game, of course)...I have bunches of bags to sew. I'll be back in the next few days to share some of the needlework finishing I have completed...lots of fun Christmas ornaments. See you then...

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Blue Skies and Roses


I have been hanging out in my studio all week (still feeling a bit worn out - thank you for all the well wishes), working custom project bags...lots of them. I have a tall stack cut and ready to assemble (and more orders arrived today), so I am looking forward to a few solid days at the sewing machine. I've also been preparing materials for a large needlework finishing order - choosing Christmas fabrics for ornaments...so those on are the table, as well. In my spare time, I've been listing more cross stitch stash items in my Etsy shop and doing some freelance design work too...the list is LONG (as usual).

In the midst of all the irons I have in the fire, I decided to design several quilt blocks for AccuQuilt's 2017 Quilt Block Contest. If you are a regular reader of my blog, then you know how much I enjoy designing quilt blocks and projects...I just love working with shapes, design, and color...and I have fun putting together my entries for this contest every year. The voting for the contest is now live...and I am hoping you will check out all the entries for this year...and if you like my blocks, throw a vote my way. The criteria for the contest is to design an original block that can be created with available AccuQuilt dies...plus it really should look good enlarged to fit a 17' x 17' sign displayed at AccuQuilt Headquarters in Omaha, NE. My cheerful and colorful blocks all follow these specific guidelines and were designed especially for this contest.

This year, you can vote once a day for one block - now through September 5th (so make sure you pick your favorite). You can view all 107 entries by visiting:
http://www.accuquilt.com/shop/contest
All three of my entries are on page 3.

...to vote for one of my blocks, simply click on the link below your favorite image below...there are some great prizes up for grabs, so I would really appreciate it!

Signature Star
http://www.accuquilt.com/shop/contest?entry_id=166274063

Star Spangled Pinwheel
http://www.accuquilt.com/shop/contest?entry_id=166276088

Blue Skies and Roses
http://www.accuquilt.com/shop/contest?entry_id=166274111

It is fun to look through all the entries and see the diverse group of talent this contest attracts....even the entries that don't follow the guidelines are interesting. So, go check out all the design inspiration and cast one vote for your favorite each day...and if that happens to be one of my entries, I would be thrilled!

Sunday, August 20, 2017

"Dahlias In Deco" - A Quilted Wall Hanging

I am so happy to finally be sharing my "Dahlias In Deco" wall hanging with you - it's been a long time coming. I finished it up several days ago, but didn't have time to get this post completed until now. Believe it or not, this quilted wall hanging has actually been a couple years in the making. The design started out as a Timeless Treasures Block Challenge on the Electric Quilt Blog back in July 2015 - at the time, I was just playing around with the fabrics (Charleston by REVIVE for Timeless Treasures) in EQ7 (Electric Quilt design software) and had no immediate plans to make it into an actual wall hanging/quilt. During the block contest, I posted a photo on Instagram, showing my computer screen working on the contest block...and a month or two later, I was contacted by one of my good customers (who saw the image) to see if I would make it into a quilt. I worked up the wall hanging design in 2016 and she loved it, so I ordered the beautiful fabrics...and added it to my long list of projects for her (she keeps me busy and is very patient with my other orders and crazy schedule...and we prioritize what she wants completed first). I was super excited to finish it up last week and ship this beautiful wall hanging in Art Deco style fabrics to it's new home! It is a combination of intricate piecing and applique...with each finished block measuring 12". The entire wall hanging was cut with AccuQuilt dies, making it easy to precision piece. I will be writing a pattern for this design (to be titled Dahlias In Deco) in the coming weeks, once my project bag making schedule slows down (I have somewhere near 100 bags requested at the moment) - plus I have have two REALLY big piles of needlework finishing to accomplish...but my goal is to write the pattern as soon as I can fit it into my schedule. Here are some images of my process from design to completion:






I am really happy with how it turned out and I am excited to hear from my customer, once it is received. I am also looking forward to new projects, as this one was quite time consuming and was in the works for what seemed like FOREVER. 

The last week and a half, I have been suffering from a terrible flu bug (my husband has been doing TONS of traveling for his job and managed to pick up the virus along the way, which he lovingly brought home and shared with me), and even after a couple full days in bed and taking very good care of myself last week, I am still quite rundown. After taking him back to the airport today, I finished cutting fabrics for several orders and completed up a very small Etsy custom request...but after this post, I have plans to rest for the evening...life has been hectic, to say the least, and I really need to shake this bug. I'll be back to visit with you again soon - creative things are happening!!

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Stitching, Sewing, and Celebrating

Last Friday, I was blessed to spend an afternoon with my dear friends Mary and Kimber...it was a friendship Friday birthday celebration! Both Kimber and Mary celebrate a birthday in August, so it was the perfect excuse to have lunch and catch-up. Spending a few hours with Mary and Kimber is incredibly good for my soul...and even more special when we are celebrating! We had lunch at a local Italian restaurant and enjoyed great food and extremely fun conversation...is there any better way to spend an afternoon?! It was delightful putting together birthday gifts for my friends...they truly appreciate handmade gifts and really notice personal touches and details...and now that they have received everything, I can share the treasures I created with you...

I decided to make each of them a small tote/purse/bag and place small wrapped packages inside. These are Mini Charmer Totes (pattern by Quiltsillustrated designed by Penny Sturges) - the lighter colored bag in pinks and grays (Puttin on the Ritz by Bunny Hill Designs for Moda) was made especially for Kimber...and the brighter bag (kitted fabrics, not certain of the designer) was made especially for Mary.


I tucked an assortment of small gifts inside each bag, including: a floral pen set, a little owl notebook, special hand cream, and a small cross stitched pincushion/bowl filler. The pincushions were stitched from an old Eye & Eye & Friends pattern (Petite Exemplary 2) - I changed several floss colors and added to the border...plus I decided to stitch them on Graziano Soft Rose/White Gingham Linen. I backed each one with polka dot fabric and filled them with crushed walnut shells...then added several cute pins.



I don't know what was more fun - putting together these birthday bags...or watching my friends open each of their gifts...it 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!

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Pretty Project Bags

It's another early morning post for me - I haven't been sleeping well for the last couple weeks, so I have been keeping busy stitching/sewing/quilting into the wee hours each morning. I finished up three more large orders for my zippered bags in the last week..and I have a wall hanging in the process of quilting for a customer right now. I completed the last project bag order a couple hours ago and it feels good to be temporarily caught up...I say temporarily, because more packages of fabric are on the way...the orders for my large and small project bags and tool bags have been pouring in, thanks to some great customers sharing my details with their friends! It is always enjoyable to work with the fabulous fabrics my customers supply for their custom bags...even when they send directional prints and prints with straight lines, it is still fun to play with all the different patterns and styles. Here are a few photos of my most recent custom project bags...




...and very soon, I'll have photos to share with you of the appliqué wall hanging I have in progress - it is an original design that combines patchwork blocks and floral appliqué. I am quilting it now and will hopefully be binding it tomorrow night. Here's a peek at the block design process in EQ7....


In my "spare time", I have started listing more vintage/hard to find needlework books and cross stitch stash in my Etsy shop...mostly out-of-print (OOP) books/charts/kits - currently, I am in the process of listing a TON of OOP Blackbird Designs patterns and kits (I am listing the Loose Feather Club patterns in order - some are just the pattern, some are kitted with the listed supplies, some I have multiples - I have listed #1 through #9 and have scanned #10 through #20 to list next - they will be added in groups as I have time). So, if you are looking for something special and hard to find, you may want to visit periodically and see what's new. I have also listed more Stitch Starter Ruler Pocket Sleeve Sets...plus I have more ruler sleeves and tool/project bags cut and ready to sew that will be listed as they are completed.

For now, I should head to bed - it is 2:30 AM...and I have a full day tomorrow! Thanks for visiting...

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Captivating Cross Stitch Completions

As promised, I am back today to share some more needlework finishing. It's been a productive couple weeks...I have been very focused in my studio working on all sorts of customer projects. This week, I completed all the Blue Ribbon Finishing orders that have been sent my way (just in time for more to be shipped to me!). Most of these are flat-finish ornaments, but there is one bowl filler and one floss tag ring. It was enjoyable selecting all the backing fabrics and trims...plus making all the twisted cord. I managed to snap photos of some of the projects, so I thought I would share an assortment of the beautiful needlework pieces one of my customers trusted me to finish...again, not my stitching and only one is my design, just my finishing work...fronts and backs...





While I wait for the next finishing orders to arrive, I am busy quilting a detailed appliqué wall hanging for a very patient customer (my own design) and a pile of custom project bags...I'll be back to share more creative finishes with you real soon...

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Finishing Frenzy

It's been a finishing frenzy in the Blue Ribbon Designs studio the last few weeks. I have been super focused and working round the clock to finish up the projects on my to-do tables, so I can start on some new original creative endeavors...I am ready to work on some of my own designs and ideas (I have a sketchbook full of ideas that I *need to* make reality!). I am down to one last project or at least I was until a moment ago (an expected box of fabric for a custom order arrived while typing this post). I have been working on a variety of creative activities, including: lots of needlework finishing, custom sewing, custom quilting, and freelance designing. Here is a picture album of some needlework finishing I completed earlier in the week (not my designs or stitching, just my finishing)...these were all for the same customer...

La-D-Da - "My Friend"

La-D-Da - "And Rudolph"

Sisters & Best Friends - "Boo!"

Cricket Collection - "Autumn Blooms"

Abby Rose Designs - "Tea for Two"

Prairie Schooler - "Christmas Tree"

After a brutal 6-mile run/walk with weights in 105 degree extreme heat yesterday, my body is recovering...so I will be taking it a bit easy today. For now, I'm off to complete some light chores...then I will be working on a quilted wall hanging later today and a birthday gift...and maybe have time for some cross stitching tonight (I'm working on a new design model and a small gift). I'll be back tomorrow with more customer needlework finishes to share with you! I hope you find a little time to be creative today...