Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Happy New Year!

Hello my dear fellow artists!
I have been reflecting upon your comments, your kindness and your encouragement lately. How blessed and happy I am that we are all connected together by creative passion. Can you imagine what we could create if we all joined together? I often take time to click on your profiles, check out your blogs, the other blogs you follow and I feel more inspired than ever. I wish there were so many more hours in the day.

I'd like to take some time today to share some of my most recent projects. I've taken some time away from all the custom orders I used to accept. I know if you have been reading my posts, a lack of time is a common thread from one post to the next. Here are a few things I've made lately. I think if I hadn't taken the time to play, my imagination would have burst from me like steam from a boiling tea kettle!

This is one of my favorites. I've been collecting pretty flower prints to do some applique projects. Since my time was limited, I instead created a simple 9 patch patchwork. I then embellished each center with beads. The colors gave me such a joyful feeling! It was like a visit to a garden in the depths of Wisconsin's cold winter. Its 8 below zero here! That cold, even for us!

I then went to my vintage embroideries and started to patch and piece a few crazy patch designs. I love to combine them with 1930's reproduction prints. The first one is simply a large embroidery embellished with beads. Oh how these linens take me back to simple days in my grandma's kitchen.

Now that the holidays are over and everyone has gotten their gifts, I can share some of the custom orders I created. I made everyone wait forever for their orders but got them out in time for giving. Whew! I was stitching into the wee hours to complete some of these.
This one was a gift for one of my best customers. It was ordered by her sister-in-law who received a similar pincushion as a gift. She wanted to return the favor. We chose true vintage feed sack fabrics and I embroidered one of Tracey's favorite flowers, a cardinal on it. She was thrilled and that made me so happy!

I also love to collect vintage doilies. This one is so spectacular. I can't believe its still in my shop.

I stitched up a series of Churn Dash blocks in assorted red and white prints. I was going for something fun, simple and cheery. I hope I hit the mark. My next series will include other single patchwork blocks. I working on learning how to match points, stitch curved seams and I'm also trying some paper pieced blocks. Here are my Churn Dash blocks.

The second pincushion is available here.

If you like paper and patchwork, I'd love to share a website and blog I found that have many, many blocks, free patterns to print and a lot of wisdom on how to create each block.
The first is an Australian site called Wombat Quilts, hosted by Cath Hill. She has created all the blocks she features so she is generous with her images, patterns and insight. What a treasure trove of loveliness!
The blog I would like to share references vintage blocks from the Chicago Tribune in the 1930's. Nancy Cabot was the Needlework editor there for 32 years. She featured a block of the day in her column. Candace Moore, the contemporary fiber artist and host of Nancy Cabots Sew Along, offers many links to the patterns, The Quilt Index, an amazing website for quilters, and other resources and tutorials for and about quilters and how they approach the many blocks. Candace also has a fabric shop, Fabric2Go Studio on Etsy you may want to check out.
I recommend that you fill your coffee cup, your printer with paper and open your mind to the many possibilities of patchwork. I don't think I went to bed the evening I found those sites.

Well, here are a few more of the custom orders I created this holiday season.
I received a challenge to create a set of pincushions for a young lady heading off to an education in sewing design. Her lovely grandmother asked me to make a wrist pincushion with a standard pincushion to match. Denise gave me complete freedom to create these items. I knew she loved my wool pincushions so I decide to stay in those fibers. This is what I came up with. You will see more of these in my shop in the future. I want to make one for myself! The wrist version has a metal bracelet inside so it is adjustable and won't flip and flop as it is worn.

The base of each pincushion is made from recycled cashmere sweaters. I backed used metallic threads to add some loose free motion designs. I didn't want to compete with the flowers. I just wanted to add some interest to the black surface.
I then created 3-dimensional petals by needle felting layer upon layer of wool scraps and wool roving. The centers are made the same way. I added beads to them for a bit of sparkle.

I'd love to show you more but my images are not loading as they should. I am still waiting for the release of my instruction sheets. As soon as them become available by Google Blogspot, I will add them to a future post. If you would like to access the PDF version, just look at my previous post.

I would like to add some of your views, images, links and wisdom to my blog in a future post. I don't know if the comment section is good enough for some of the things you could share with me and others. You may send me your views, images, tutorials or wisdom to my email address at I'll post them as they relate to future topics.
Lets start with any images of your Summer Garden Pincushion. They can be progress shots, finished images or project you were inspired to create related to flowers in embroidery. I'd love to post them. Maybe these thoughts will get you started.

One of my next post will be a collection of comments related to how you find time to create. I know I would like to know more about your time management skills, your triumphs, your challenges and how you feel about balancing all the things a day can bring that get in the way of your creating time.

My family has been and will be growing, along with all the things we women do to show them our love. My family is one of the only other parts of my life that come before my work. I have an amazing husband who works so hard and supports my many endeavors. His daughter of 18 has recently moved in with us. She has one of the sweetest hearts in the world. I spend much time with my grand daughter and in just a few months, I'll soon have another to love. I have her here with me 2-4 days a week for the entire day. She is my sunshine but she definitely requires much or most of my attention while she is here. My sons and their wife's are so amazing. They continue to bring me much pride and joy. Either there are things I want to do for them, or things they ask me to do which often mean a day or so of non-work time. I hope this doesn't sound like I am whining. I love this part of my life more than I can say!

I often work about 5 hours in the early day. I then begin another work session from 10pm to 2 am. Now that I am sharing my favorite embroidery workspace, my comfy couch, with others, I find that my work time is cut nearly in half. I have so many dreams and I have worked so hard to take my Etsy shop to the next level. I get more requests for orders than I can create with a full work schedule. Soon I'll be watching a newborn along with my 3 year old grand daughter. I am terribly worried that I just can't do it all. I've been struggling this year to do even a fraction of what I accomplished last year. I am worried I will feel quite crabby without my creative time and quite sad to see that steady income disappear.
I'd love to hear how you all cope with time challenges. Do you have a secret to share with others? I'd just love to hear your ideas and experience. Drop me an email at When I have enough responses, I'll show them in a future post.

Well, off I go to work. My shop is nearly empty and I have some involved projects to complete! I hope your holidays were very wonderful. Thank goodness they are behind us!
Have a healthy, loving, passionate, creative and amazing new year!

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Instruction Sheets for Hydrangea and Geraniums, and the Rose

Lets try this. I hope it helps you while Google decides to undo the blocking of my PDF files.
Here are the instruction sheets in JPEG form. The size may be off, but if you freehand your design, it should allow you to continue with your stitching.
If you print them off in a standard 8 1/2" by 11", the size should be right.
Have fun!

Here are a few more variations you may try in one of your sections. I do not have a template for you. I think it may be fun to sue these as inspiration when designing new designs for your pincushion.

How about sweet peas and a hummingbird? The sweet peas are lazy daisy stitches.

I am not sure I like how I created this queen annes lace, but I love the addition of a little butterfly. I used mainly straight stitches to create the flower.

Here is the poppy flower. It is made with small straight stitches.

Finally, I am showing you my version of hollyhocks. I used a blanket stitch in a circle to create the flowers. You can find the blanket or button hole stitch (same stitch, different name) on my blog on my stitch tutorial page. Mary Corbet's Needle N Thread will walk you through just about any stitch in video form. Find them here.

Good luck. I'll keep working on getting those PDF instructions to you. Hopefully that will happen soon.

I want to wish you all a Very Happy and Creative New Year!
I hope it brings you many new projects and ideas. Lets all create a wonderful new year!


Saturday, December 27, 2014

Summer Garden Pincushion Tutorial, Part 6 and a Bonus Flower

Its time for the final 2 flowers! Here are the instructions for the Hydrangea and Geranium Flowers.
They are quite similar. If you would like a bit more variety, I am also giving you instructions for a Rose section.

Here are the downloadable instructions for all of these flowers. The geranium and hydrangea are together since they are nearly the same in stitches and shape.

Summer Garden Hydrangea and Geranium Instructions

Summer Garden Rose Instructions

Here are a few images to show you how they look. I want you to notice that I did not stick to any specific colors or patterns for each example. I think variety is the spice of life! Go for it.



Here are today's stitches.
I think you will see that you have used all of them so far in other flowers, so for the hydrangea and geranium you are ready to stitch!

The most common stitch to the hydrangea and geranium flowers are tiny lazy daisy stitches.

You may choose to wrap your stem stitches for the hydrangea, since it is a woody stem in nature. Geraniums are a bit thinner. I kept the leaf pattern vague. I think you should decide how you would like to approach them. I like a simple fly stitch. For larger leaves, I may use a satin stitch and add a second color, one on each side of the leaf.

When you get to the Rose, you may need to learn a new stitch. The Bullion Stitch is so wonderful! I just love it. It has texture, it can be made as short or long as you like. It is really fun to do. Just think of it as an extra long french knot!
I do not have a tutorial up for this stitch on my blog. I am going to send you to see a wonderful and very expert stitching expert, Mary Corbet. She may be responsible for teaching thousands of people how to embroidery. Not only does she teach you how, she shows you in both a picture form and a video form! She also has created The Hand Embroidery Network. Its a wonderful place for stitchers to learn and share their work. She inspired and taught me much of what I know about embroidery. She speaks to both the beginner and the expert. She is so very talented and generous.

Every thing you wanted to learn about Embroidery, is here- Needle N Thread.
Her Videos can also be viewed on U-Tube at her channel- Needle N Thread
Her Stitch videos on her Web Site, Needle N Thread are here.

Here is her Bullion Stitch video tutorial.

Once you have your 6 sections of flowers embroidered, all you have to do it put it all together!
Tutorials for the final steps are on my blog.

First, you should Block your Embroidery. This gets all the stitching nice relaxed. it will lay flatter and any imperfections will seem to disappear.
Find out how to Block your Embroidery Here

Next, follow the Classic Pincushion Tutorial to sew the top and bottom pieces together. Use linen for both. Use green or cream Perle Cotton, Size 5 to tie off each section.
I recommend that you use Emery, but you don't have to. You can learn more about Emery Here.
You can add a bit of lavender to the stuffing for a surprising aromatherapy session each time you use your pincushion.

Finally, create an Embroidered Button. You will find that tutorial here. You can use a standard button if you like. I really think that the embroidered version is perfect for this project!

I hope you have enjoyed this tutorial. I have received so many wonderful comments along the way.
I am so sorry that I did not get all of the patterns up in time for you to give this pincushion for Christmas. I really tried.
Better late than never. Finish your pincushion and give it anyway! I have a feeling the recipient will not be too upset.

Thanks for all of your support and kindness. I love my blog because of you! I love to share my ideas and I am always thrilled to know that you are sharing your talents as well. I am trying to make time to visit your blogs. I have enjoyed getting to know you very much. It is such a joy to be a part of a creative family such as our own!

I'd like to post some of your pincushions. Please send me your images and a bit of info about yourself to my email address, I'd love to see how you are doing!

Happy Stitching!!!

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Joy to You Today and Always!

I don't know why, but I completely fell apart this Christmas. It was the most disorganized, discombobulated and all around dizziest of holidays. Whew! I'm not quite sure what happened. I was a crazy year. However after a very lovely day with my amazing boys and their wonderful families and I have come to the conclusion that its all good in the end. Its not about the all the wrappings of the season, its love.

To be so loved and to love so deeply is the greatest gift of all.

I do have to tell you how dreadfully sorry I am to have not finished my pincushion tutorial for you by Christmas. Please accept my most sincere apology. I just don't know what to say. Do know that I really tried. With the new baby coming, my mom's passing and a recent family upheaval, the last few weeks literally left me with not a moment to spare.

I will try to get those last flowers up by this weekend, just in case, you have an understanding gift recipient or a late holiday gift exchange. The final touches are not too hard. In fact, if you go to the Classic Pincushion Tutorial, it will walk you through the final construction of this pincushion.

I would love to extend a holiday discount to you all in my Etsy Shop.
You may take 15% off any Ready To Ship Item from now until December 31st.
Just use the coupon code FiberSanta15.

Here a just a few items you may choose from. You might recognize some of the textiles from a recent post.
Pretty Vintage Doily on Cherry Red Felted Wool

A Round Patchwork Pincushion in fun 1930's reproduction prints.

A Sweet Vintage Embroidery with Red Rick Rack Trim

Here is my newest little Owl Pin Assortment. The owls were so darn cute I just had to give them a special little home.

I wish you all the Happiest of Holidays and a very creative and wonderful New Year!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Summer Garden Pincushion Tutorial Part 4 and 5

I hope you haven't given up on me! My life has been so crazy busy these days. I have been struggling with everything lately. Whew its been a tough year. The good news is that I am going to be a grandma for a second time! The challenge has been that this little one is giving his poor mom a bit of trouble. She is healthy and fine, but poor mom has needed lots of rest. I have been blessed with taking in my 1st grand daughter more than usual. She is the love of my life but her enthusiasm and energy keeps me hopping.

I promise to give you the final flowers in the next week. Here are 2 fun flowers. I put them in every pincushion I make. I also get requests for pincushions with nothing but sunflowers. Here is one of them-

One of my favorite flowers is the daisy. I gave this one a bit of flair. It may be more of a Gerbera Daisy which has so many fun color possibilities. As with all of the flowers in this tutorial, please feel free to mix up your color choices. If you do, I suggest that you do a little test flower on a scrap of linen, just to see how things will look when different colors play together.

You won't have to learn any new stitches this time. We will be using a few old favorites for both flowers.
The Lazy Daisy is the perfect petal stitch. When you add them together, one after another you will be making the Chain Stitch.
That same stitch can take on a new look just be opening up the base of the stitch. That is called an open Lazy Daisy. When the stitches touch at the base, it is called a Closed Lazy Daisy Stitch.

Here is a simple illustration. (please check back for photos)

I think you will find that most of the embroidery you may do involves just a few stitches. The variation comes in how you place them and the size and color you choose.
here are some examples how the Sunflower looks just by changing up the colors.

The daisy is just as easy. (I'm having a bit of a problem getting photos to load. Check back soon to see examples)

If you shrink and simplify the daisy, use a variety of blues, you suddenly have a Forget Me Nots. How fun is that!?!

I love them all! Even the pincushion on top is another variation on the same flower using a different combination of stitches. It can be just that easy.

I have 2 downloadable instruction sheets for you.
Summer Garden Sunny Sunflower Section
Summer Garden Dearest Daisy Pincushion Tutorial

Here are a few larger photos of the sunflower and daisy. Its hard to see each stitch when showing 3 strands of embroidery floss. I've used Perle Cotton in size 5 to show you how I've created these flowers.

I am having a bit of problems getting my photos to load so I am going to end for now. Please check back in a day or so. I hope to have all of the illustrations up soon.

The next post will have our final flowers. In the interest of giving you enough time to get your stitching done, my posts may be a bit more brief than I had hoped. I will be giving you at least 2 more flowers. The last post will include Hydrangeas and Geraniums. They are incredibly close in how they are stitched, so you will find them to be very easy to make. In fact, you know the stitches. If you are impatient, give them a try by looking at the completed pincushion on the top of the page. Use a bit of practice cloth the first time you give them a try. They have such tiny stitches!

I know you would love to have the roses on your pincushion. They involve one last new stitch. I'll be tackling that flower next. The rose involves a bullion stitch center, surrounded by open lazy daisy stitches. They will be easier than you think.
If you are adventurous, there are many rose tutorials on-line using a wide variety of stitches.

I hope you had a very wonderful Thanksgiving. I know that I am very grateful for your support, your kind comments and the creativity we share.
I'll be back soon!

Friday, November 7, 2014

Lots of Goodies...

Hello to you all! I have a feeling we are all busy as the holidays approach. Anyone who gives hand made gifts knows what I'm talking about. I believe that those are the best. I can't remember the last time I gave my mom a gift from a store. She treasured every one of them from warm blankets to cuddle up with to little warm little stitched messages of love. It doesn't take much to show someone you care. I hope you all find time this year to give a bit of yourself to those you love.

I wanted to give you an update on the next section of our Summer Garden Pincushion. I'll be posting 2 flowers in the next post. They use the same stitches. Better yet, there will be nothing to learn. The daisy and sunflower use stitches we already used. The way they come together is what makes them so pretty and different from each other. Check back early next week for that lesson. I will also be showing you some progress on a custom order I am working on. Occasionally I get a request for a new flower. This time its the Poppy. While I don't quite have the time for an instruction sheet on this flower, I'll show you how I designed it. I hope that gives you the inspiration to play with some ideas you may have in adding your own touch to your pincushion!

Between orders and tutorials I'm trying hard to squeeze in some new items for my Etsy Shop. Here are two new additions I added today. I have so many new fabrics and trinkets on hand. Its hard not to take some time to play now and again. This one is a double decker doosy! Its bigger than most, but that print and the large ceramic button just begged for some room to play. Find it here.

This pincushion is a variation on my tomato design. I've been admiring some fussy cut quilts lately. I picked up a sweet paisley print and I wanted to do a bit of experimenting. There will be more versions on fussy cuts soon. Its fun to let the fabric work every once in a while! If you saw my stash you would be itching to play with fussy cuts too! You can find this pincushion in my shop here.

I always have something in progress. I encourage you to take 10-30 minutes a day just to be inspired. Look at your new or old fabrics and let them tell you what to do. If they are quiet, just start cutting! I have a stash of strips in measured widths and some wonky pieces at the ready at all times. When I have a few moments I pick up a book and give a block or a stitch a try.

Here are a few of my current adventures. I actually have a box of blocks and embroideries! Some are dead ends and some are gems just waiting for a debut. If I didn't play now and again I think I would suffer from boredom burnout. You can only make the same thing just so many times before it gets stale and totally non-fun.

I have been so busy with custom orders that my playtime has been limited to a few minutes here and there. I feel total guilty the whole time because I know people are waiting for their orders. It is getting so hard that I finally had to decide to not take custom orders until after the holidays! That has not been well received. I am not good at saying no, but the requests continue so for now I've been able to say, "Can you wait till January?".

If my customers could just see all the pretty things I have in my head just waiting for uninhibited playtime, I know they would have more patience!
Then it dawned on me. If they could see what I see, maybe they would be as excited as I am to see what is coming if I only had time to play.
So here is a glimpse into the goodies I have been adding to my stash. When I can finally sit down with them and let them talk to me, there is going to be a creative party like no other!
I have so many ideas in my head I'm about to burst! So if you have seen my "No Custom Orders" note in my shop, please be patient.

The best is yet to come!

Just look at these....

These are just the fabrics! Did you see those lovely feed sacks! They are to die for. I'll be sharing a tutorial next year on how to design with prints. If you want some of your own, I got most of these feed sacks from Vintage Notion on Etsy. Jeong is lovely to work with, the service was outstanding and her selection is truly amazing.
I have new books with lovely wool felting ideas, patchwork books, applique books and then there is my brain.. just brimming with ideas.
I have sooooo many pretty buttons, crazy quilt embellishments, vintage doilies, buttons, laces and rick rack in a rainbow of colors! Its nearly impossible to be surrounded with these and not be able to play with them! Could you?

Well, now that I am drooling once again, I better stop. I have some work to get done. Maybe there will be an end in sight to my responsibilities and play time will be here. I'm hoping to fill my shop with holiday goodies featuring some of these wonderful materials.

I just finished a pear using these fabrics. I won't be taking orders for them till February. I just wanted you to see what I've been working on and how these fabrics inspired me to be unique in my work. This was just a joy to make. I hope the person who receives this is thrilled. I think it is one of my best yet!

In the meantime, I can't wait to share my new flowers with you. I think you will enjoy your play time with these pretty posies!

And remember.... its essential to find your own adventure. Take time to do the things that inspire you. Be sure to set a few boundaries. Yes dinner may be late, but you will whistle when you cook if you take time to feed your soul first!

And..more importantly... share your creative spirit with those you love. If you think your work isn't good enough, you are very wrong. A gift from the heart and from your hands is more precious than gold. You will touch those you love when you give a bit of yourself.

Talk to you soon!