Friday, December 27, 2013

... progess. . .

It's been a wonderfully quiet & peaceful Christmas around here...
I've been piecing a lot of these . . .

. . . trimming & squaring-up. . 

. . . which makes a lot of these. . .

But, when the end result are these. . . I don't mind.
(These are the star block centers... there are 36 of them.)

I finished all the star blocks for my large 'for my grandmas' quilt, & I'm going to start the cutting for the 'setting' blocks this afternoon. I'm loving the process of it all. I also finished a block for my 'Beyond the Cherry Tree' quilt (... That one has been sitting in my stitchery basket for months!), so I prepped the next two blocks.
I'm wanting to make sure that I have all the projects that I've been working on, or thinking of working on ready to go... & I have a little of everything (piecing, appliqué, English paper piecing, embroidery, & cross-stitch) prepped & ready, so that whatever I'm feeling like doing. . . It's ready to go.

On the website front... WOW!... Guess you liked the buy-one-get-one-free for the patterns special!! A lot of you took advantage of the PDF versions. . . But you also kept Dad & I running to the post office in the days before Christmas (& jeepers... was that parking lot ever crowded!)!
SO... Since you liked it so much (& since some of you asked because you got some $ in your stocking...) I'm going to keep the B-O-G-O free offer on patterns (including the PDF versions) going on for the rest of 2013. (So, that's until the end of next Tuesday, 12.31.2013) Happy end-of-2013!!!
 For every two patterns you purchase, we will refund the price of one of the patterns back to you. I just can't thank you enough for being such wonderful customers... & if you're like me & planning lots of projects for 2014... hopefully this can help in getting some of them started!

Hoping you are enjoying these last days of 2013!

xo,  Bren

Thursday, December 19, 2013

… back to the beginning. . .

The first quilt I ever designed is 'For My Grandmas' (above). 
That was 2005 (?… I think.)
It is a wall hanging size, & when it first came out, almost immediately I got emails wondering if it was available in queen size. I was so busy making other new patterns - I never got back to it. . . until now.

I have been fiddling around with the directions & my calculator, & I'm finally at the 'testing' point. (… not to mention that because this quilt design has a lot of meaning for me I really have wanted to have it as a quilt for my bed…)  So yesterday, I started cutting all the pieces for the star blocks. It was more like cut some pieces. . . take a break. . . cut some more. . . take another break. . . (!) (For the original there were nine star blocks. . . for the queen size - there are thirty-six!) I'm having fun making it a scrappy version (like the original) - using my 'Hill Farm' fabrics. For the next few days - we are supposed to have some more rain & cool days again (& more snow on our mountains) - so it will be perfect for sewing the star blocks. . . & then cutting out the setting blocks. I've been itching to get back to my sewing machine & this will 'scratch' that itch rather nicely I think!

. . . & we've had so much fun with so many of you who have been keeping us busy buying gifts from the website. . . I've decided that I wanted to do one more Christmas special. . . so. . .

. . . starting today through December 25. . . my gift to you is. . . all patterns are buy one - get one free! (…& yes, that includes PDF patterns!)
Simply choose a second pattern (of equal or lesser value) for every pattern you wish to buy, & we will refund back to you the cost of the second pattern. You do not need any code - we will automatically refund the second pattern.  I just wanted to somehow let you know how special you are to me & how much I appreciate you!  (…& if you have ordered a pattern from the website in the last week - mention it in your order & we will look it up & will refund a second pattern choice for you.) 

I know that it seems like this Christmas season has come up so fast. . . but I hope that you will find the opportunity to stand back & enjoy the joy & the special-ness of these days leading up to Christmas.


Tuesday, December 10, 2013

… it's coming so quickly!

Just got a peek at my last post & I realized that I'd better get a new post up. . . 
. . . Thanksgiving was almost 2 weeks ago!

If you've been following me on Instagram (which I must admit - I post on a lot more frequently!),
then you've been seeing my progress on this table-runner.  It's the project that the wool club that I've had the privilege to lead this past year has been working on since September. It's called 'Seven Snowmen' & it's a pattern by Bonnie Sullivan (All Through the Night). It's all wool, & I've had so much fun stitching on it. (You can find it by clicking here.) I've put my final stitches in it - since Thanksgiving weekend. . . (I had to make myself stop!. . . I can still think of so many things that would be so fun to add!) I could see making this as a really cute tree skirt as well. . .

I know that it's been getting very busy for most folks - but I wanted to also pop in & let you know that we've gone through the last bin (I think!) of quilt show items that I had stored & have added them to the website. Some on the 'Gift & Treasures' pages, 'Notions & Tools' pages, & some on the 'Tag Sale' pages. I've priced them to move & a lot of the inventory has been getting snatched up - so don't delay! 

Also, I have added some kits & some finished quilts (all ready to give. . . (or keep!)) & they are either one of a kind - or are limited in quantity.

Also. . . a biggest news (& your reward if you read through this entire post. . . (thank you!)). . . is that we will be offering free domestic shipping for all orders over $50.00 through midnight (MST) Friday, December 13.  So for any (U.S.) order over $50.00 (before shipping) - we will refund the shipping charges! (For international customers - while I wish I could offer the same. . . for orders over $50.00 - we will refund the equivalent to what the domestic shipping charges would be. . . hoping it will help a little too!)

But remember - you must order by midnight (MST - Mountain Standard Time) on Friday, December 13.

. . . Hoping this will help a little to help make your holidays a little brighter!

Have a great rest-of-the-week & for the majority of the US residents. . . stay warm!  


Tuesday, November 26, 2013

…my Thanksgiving wish. . .

Although I may not look as cute. . . this will be pretty much my role this weekend!
Usually Thanksgivings have been pretty quite around here, with it being just Dad, Bailey, & me. . . but this year we will have the pleasure of my niece & her family (husband & 3 littles - 4 years & younger!) are traveling from San Diego & blessing us with joining us as we count our blessings!

Dad is so excited they are coming. . . & I'm sure that Bailey will love having a lot more activity going on (. . . backyard buddies!) My niece has a couple of craft activities planned for them to do - so you know that I'm over the moon about that!. . . (in fact - I know that I have a bunch of boxes of crayons & color books I need to go find!) They will only get to be here for 2½ days. . . so we will make the most of it while we can. (After all - there's all of next week to recuperate!) :o)

So, while I'm thinking about all the blessings God has blessed me with,
please know that I count you as one of those blessings. The fact that you check in to my little blog from time to time means so much. . . I'm so very honored & thankful for you!

As the 'holiday' season gets started - whether you are celebrating the American Thanksgiving Day or not - I pray that you will be filled with the wonder of all the blessings, big & small, that grace our lives.

Happy Thanksgiving!


Wednesday, November 20, 2013

… finishing & starting. . .

Thought I'd give you a look at my progress on the snow-people table runner. . . as it's getting close to the finished stage. I'm almost done with stitching the border down & then it will just be adding a few final touches & I will have this ready for decorating the house! I usually wait to start with decorating for Christmas until after Thanksgiving, but since Thanksgiving is so late this year, I've decided that I'm going to start decorating this weekend. Also, since being on Instagram (& following others). . . I've realized that most of the folks in other parts of the world have started decorating for the holidays! So, since I haven't added much to my autumn decorations for quite a while (need to work on that!),  I'm thinking that the white pumpkins that I have out can be incorporated nicely with some Christmas touches. . .

So with all the stitching that's been going on. . . I've discovered a new favorite. . . Dove Dark Chocolate Mint Swirl pieces.  Oh. My. Yummy-ness. I'm hoping that these are not seasonal as I'd love to keep them around all year 'round. (…& don't they look right at home in my aqua Ball jar?!?)

The other think that I've been busy with, has been cleaning out my office. I have 'straightened-up' in there over the years (I can be a 'pile-r'. . .), I have never done a big clean-out in there since I moved my office into the back bedroom almost six years ago. So, it was due overdue. 
My thought was that it had to be thorough. . . & it was …every drawer, every file, every cubby kind-of-thorough. It took me 3 days, & to be completely honest - I still want to spend another morning to finish up a few more things. I took a photo of it when I was midway. . . but I'll save it for when I take the 'finished' photo.

With going through all the items in the office - I found a couple of boxes of items that I had pulled for my website, but they got buried . . . so now that I've done the photography & listings. . . I wanted to let you know that I've also just added pages (several of them!) of items (fabrics, kits, notions, tag-sale items) to the website! Also, we've added another colorway to the 'Remember 'Whooo' Loves You' special order quilt options. We're having so much fun with making these & if you've been thinking about having one made - to be able to give for Christmas. . . it's looking like the cut-off date for that will be mid-week next week. (Unless we get more that we expect & then it will be sooner.)

. . . & then there's my little guy. . . doing the thing he does best - wondering when I'm going to go to bed - um, supervising.

Hope you have a great week.

Monday, November 4, 2013

… I'm so pleased. . .

Some of you know the history behind this little quilt design. . .

(for those of you who don't . . . you can read about it here.)

It has become one of my all-time best selling patterns, and time & time again, I have been asked if I was ever going to sell the sample quilts (nope. . . they're all spoken for). So, what we have decided to do. . . (just in time for the holidays. . . or for any other reason as well) is to make as many of the 'Remember 'Whooo' Loves You' quilts as we possibly can. (I'm getting nervous putting this out there!)

We will be creating the quilts & are taking special order deposits on the website for the quilts we have in process. There you can see the fabrics we are using & can claim one for your own to keep or give to that special little one! I have set up a 'Special Order quilt' page on the website - where you can see what  colors/fabrics are being offered at this time (& get in on the introductory price!).

If you go exploring around the website - you'll find there are a few new items on the 'Gifts & Treasures',  'Kits',  & 'Tag Sale' pages as well!

Okay. . . that's it for today. . . I've got some stitching to do!

I'll be back with some more fun items soon!


Friday, November 1, 2013

… welcome November!

Happy November!

One post in October... pretty sad. Funny though, I thought about posting this & that. . . just never when I had the internet handy. So, I'll play 'catch-up' with this post.

Had a wonderful trip to Minneapolis for 11 days. Got to see such pretty colors & there were even a couple of snow flurries. . . just enough to make me grateful that I was returning to temps in the high 70's! But, with the colder temps & rainy days in MN, I had plenty of opportunities to snuggle up next to the fire in the fireplace with my brothers pups & I got lots of stitching done on my next cross-stitch design. It was a great visit. I met my brother for lunch one day & got a tour of his new office (he has just been named President & CEO), & I got to put my interior designer hat on, & with my sister-in-law, we gave the freshly painted office a little makeover. It was nice, just a little bare... & we just warmed it up a bit with some lamps, artwork, & a basket or two. It was great fun shopping for it, & we had quite a few giggles on what we could have put in there! But we were good... Kept to a small budget, & it turned out wonderfully.

Since coming home, Bailey has been extra snuggle-y. . . Which is a relief, because it can also go the other way where he ignores me for s few days. Thankfully when I walked through the door, he gave out a little cry from his 'post' on the back of the living room chair & came running with lots of kisses & snuggles. (whew!)

I've been making some updates to the website (finally got the 'fabric lines' page updated), & will be continuing to add some things in the next few days. There are some fun things that we will be making & making available... just in time for the holidays... (or for anytime really!) I will really try to get all the info posted on Monday.

I've been baking cookies for Dad (molasses, his favorite & sugar cookies too) & since Dad finished off the sugar cookies last evening (!), I'm making some shortbread as I post this. It's just beginning to smell so good! The only issue I have with baking shortbread is that is has to cook at a lower temp for so long! But it's worth it. So, I'm having a cup of coffee & decided to enjoy the smells for now. (But, I must admit... I may be having shortbread for dinner!) ;o) 

I love this month... for so many reasons. The weather getting a crisp feel to it, the autumn light as the sun sits lower in the sky, & the reminder to think on the things we are thankful for. I have been working on doing that all year, & it's amazing on how my perspectives have been changing. I've been doing quite a bit of reflection & looking for the things that really matter & to focus on those things. It's not been the easiest thing, as I have had to realize that I need to let go of some things (I can be a control 'freak' if I'm not careful), but it's also opened a lot of doors that I never really would consider. Good for me to be stretched, & I'm looking forward to what's ahead.

Hoping you have a wonderful start to this special month.


Thursday, October 10, 2013

… a little (more) wool

This past year, I have had the pleasure of leading the wool club for one of our local quilt shops, The Quilt Basket (it was chosen as one of AP&Q's top 10 shops this past spring!).

After finishing the 'Tavern House' (top photo) this summer (sorry, my photo is a bit blurry), we decided to make something seasonal this time around, & so we decided we couldn't  resist Bonnie Sullivan's (All Through The Night) 'Seven Snowmen' pattern.

Oh. . . my. . . gosh! How fun this design is! It's like playing with paper-dolls. . . except they are snowmen (& women)! I decided to do mine on a lighter wool background. . . & I'm mixing both of the design options Bonnie gives you together. I'll give you progress reports as we go along. But seriously. . . is that not the cutest wool bunny you've ever seen?!?

After completing a couple of large graphic design projects this past week. . . it felt so good to get to sit & stitch down this center part. And, now that it's all stitched,  I think I'll head into the studio tonight & glue down the next few snow people. . . (honestly, they are that much fun!)

Speaking of Bonnie Sullivan & her cute patterns. . . if you have not seen Bonnie's new 'Bertie's Year Club' that Shabby Fabrics is offering. . . you must check it out. Adorable!
(. . . & I giggle at each month & Bertie's special hats!) Bonnie is so creative & I know this is one that I am going to have to make the time to do!

(By the way. . . Shabby Fabrics still have a couple of the kits for 'Betsy's Closet' left. . . so if you've been thinking about getting a kit. . . this could be your last chance.)

I hope you have a wonderful weekend. . . I'm looking forward to autumn finally arriving!


Monday, September 30, 2013

... a little psa (public service announcement)

Although I'm in the midst of (trying to) getting distributor orders out the door, some design deadlines, & getting ready for some stitching friends to come over. . .
my UPS man just brought these. . . & I had to let you know!

'These'. . . are the latest line from Primitive Gatherings - called Floral Gatherings (the top bundle), & Floral Gatherings Shirtings (the bottom bundle), & I have been smitten with them ever since I saw them a few months ago. (!) The colors are classic, the prints are classic shirtings prints & they are altogether lovely.

I'm posting this because I did get some extra bundles so that I could make some available for you! I got fat-eighth bundles - so that they are affordable & are such a great size for some stash 'enhancing'. (Although, I'll be honest - mine won't last long in my stash, my head is swimming with ideas!)
The yardage won't be out in shops for about a month - but I have a feeling these won't last that long! (oh yea!. . . you can find them by clicking here!

Hope you're having a great start to your week. . .
. . . now, I've got some orders to finish!


Thursday, September 26, 2013

... instant vintage

Okay... there really are some photos. . . but first this story of how it all came about. . .

About a week ago, while my Dad was out of town, I decided to do a thorough clean-out of the guest room. (Which, had in all honesty become a bit of a 'dumping' room for quilts, patterns, books, kits... etc.) Once or twice a year I usually get a 'spring cleaning' bug, & I weed through things to do a good cleaning & sorting, but late this summer I have felt the need to go much deeper. Even though I've done the weeding through for the past few years. . . I still found that I had items (craft items, books, fabrics, clothes, etc...) that after a year or so I still wasn't using... & honestly didn't know if I really ever would. It struck me that keeping all of it was really weighing me down. Then the thought came to me that if ever something would happen to me, that someone would have to deal with all that 'stuff' (yikes!!!).

So, my first step was to empty everything out of the room (into the breakfast area & the end of the studio). . . every shelf, every drawer, every box, & everything in the closet. As I pulled everything out, I sorted through things & put a lot in boxes to donate. But there was still soooo much stacked up. As I was wondering how much more I could 'delete'... I took a break for a day. (This is why I waited until my Dad was out of town.) I would walk by the clean & empty room, & I soooo loved how it looked! (It's across from my bedroom... so I look into this room numerous times during the day.) What happened next, I wasn't expecting... Where just 24 hours before, I was wondering how I could whittle down the piles of things that came out of the room, perfectly good things..., I found that when it came to putting things back into the room, I was able to make what were such tough decisions just the day before, so much easier. I was able to discern what was something that I would need & actually use, & not just keep something (that I hadn't used for years ... or was something I had but had never used) just because it was nice or cute or pretty. Even if it were (nice, cute, pretty...), but would just be stored away & never enjoyed suddenly made it so easy for me to only put back what I knew I would use. 

What I now have is a three drawer dresser that had two of it's drawers emptied... five+ shelves emptied, not one pile on the floor, & a bunch of room in the closet. (Insert happy dance here!)

One of the things that I had to really think about was the amount of quilts that I (still) had. I had to make some tough choices & put a couple more sample quilts for sale on the website. (I will try to get some better photos of a couple of them...) Then, while sorting through the quilts, I found one that really has never been used, except for display in my booth at quilt market three years ago. I loved making the quilt (the smaller version of Opie's Home), but I knew that the colors were just a little bright for me to use in my home. I had thought it might become a gift, but I really do love this design, & I thought that if maybe it was a little more 'vintage' looking, it would work for my own home.

I remembered a process that I had read about in a book (Home Sweet Home) by Barb & Alma of Blackbird Designs, where they used a two step process to age fabrics. First, you wash the fabrics with a package of Rit Color Remover.... (I know, a little scary sounding!), & then put them through a dye bath (in the washer) using Rit tan dye.  I had played around with the process a few years ago (lightening a quilt - that was way to bright), but then couldn't find the Rit Color Remover until a couple of weeks a go. Now please know, that in the book, Barb & Alma use this process on fabrics before they are used to make a quilt, as you don't always know how a color might react in the color removal process, ... but I took the chance & tried it on my finished quilt. (... & to be honest it was a little scary & fun all at the same time!)

Here is the quilt before I started. Cute fabric, 1930's style, but a little too bright for me to use...

...then came the wash cycle with one package of the color remover...

I forgot to get a photo of the quilt when it came out of the first wash. (oops.) I liked it, but a couple of the colors were still a little too bright. And, when I saw the progress, I could tell that adding the tan dye bath would make this a great autumn colored quilt... (Which I have very few of.)  

When I took it out of the washer, after the tan dye bath (& then a full wash), I couldn't wait to  put it in the dryer... I could see that all of the colors were more subtle, & I knew that when dry, they would be even lighter... I loved the results!

All the blues, & greens turned to shades of aqua... The lavender/purple turned a wonderful pebble-y grey... The reds turned to browns, & the yellows kept their yellow hue, but it was a more buttery version. (I was a little fearful that the yellow might disappear.) ... & the pinks softened up I am smitten with them! (So much so, I'm thinking of making a quilt using pink & white fabrics, and then using this process...!)

I know it might not be everyone's favorite, but I love it. It looks like it's been around for years & years & I can hardly wait to decorate with it now that autumn is here. My plan is to use it on the dining room table & group together some of my vintage aqua Bell canning jars filled with some mums & daisies ... & a couple of white/creamy pumpkins too!
(Time to go to Trader Joe's!)

Until then, I've got some patterns to finish writing... 
Hope you have a great weekend!

xo, Bren

Thursday, September 19, 2013

… my first Needlework Market

First, I'm just going to post a bunch of my (long overdue) photo from Needlework Market. . .

(the TNNA Needlework Market neighborhood)

I had visited a couple of  TNNA (The National NeedleArts Assoc.) Needlework Markets,  but I took my time before 'dipping my toes' into the needlework industry. . .
. . . & I'm so happy that I (finally) did!

What a fun time. . . & what a great way to have a trade show market!
For this Market - instead of setting up a booth, the Market is held at an Embassy Suites, & as exhibitors, we simply set up our displays in the living room area of our suite! It makes for such a home-y & comfy setting, with comfy furniture (if needed) & a coffee maker, sink, microwave, & bathroom right there! It's like hanging out in your little house & the shop owners come to visit. . .!

I made up some samples of Betsy's Closet - In Stitches, & Benji's Pockets - In Stitches, for the needlework shop owners to get for their own shop displays, & then I also made some bunting for my window. . . (had to have a little quilt-y pretties in there somewhere!)

The photo's pretty much take you around my suite from when you walk in the door.  You may see a little peek of the fact that I 'slipcovered' the sofa & then covered it with one of my quilts (Opie's Home).(It was a pretty sofa. . . just with a pretty busy print that would have been a bit of a distraction.)

I'm really looking forward to the Nashville Needlework Market (in February), & am already starting on new designs(!)

The (cross stitch) designs I presented at this Market are on the website. . . & they are:

The other (embroidery) designs I took were:

(you can click on the pattern name & see it closer on the website.)

Whew! Long post. . . lots of photos. . . (!) If you hung in there for all of this. . . thanks. :o)

(p.s. . . . the sale is still going on - on the website (including the new designs), but will be ending this week. So, if there's anything you've been thinking about. . .  

Hope you have a great week!  (. . . the last few days of summer!)