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!