Saturday, February 27, 2010

Jeanne-Caroline Franssens (or Gigi as we call her) did this wonderful piece. It's stitched over 2 threads on an enormous linen piece. She left it hanging for the entire market. I took this from a distance so you could see the size of this piece. This is not the only piece this size stitched by her either. She has done one of all the Prairie Schooler Santa's and one of some of our designs too.

I can't imagine the time this took ....or even the amount of floss! Can you? If you visit Kathy Schmitz's blog and scroll down to Feb. 24th you can see a picture of Gigi with her sampler. Really amazing! (I'm still working on my Beatrix Potter Quaker sampler....I just have several dates to add....no excuse for me after taking a look at this one!)



The next picture is of our dear friend Niky Farrauto. Her designs are featured in our books, My Heart is True and Joyeux Noel. We were able to see her at market and look at her wonderful patterns. Click on her name and visit her blog. She said she is willing to work with us again, even after the mistake I made on her last pattern. (Don't forget to e-mail me if you purchased the Joyeux Noel book for her missing strawberry pattern!)




We all have to get a plane ticket and go and visit these ladies!

Liezbeth Gottschall from Crown Stitches writes:
"Our 'Kerstsokkencafe' Stocking-café is blooming. 20 Ladies who come here every month to stitch and 35 post members. They are hoping there will be a follow-up on the monthly series.
Last Saturday they brought their stockings. You will find the photos as attached. We look forward to all the new designs and a group of 65 ladies are also hoping to get the Remember Me houses 7 - 9. Are they still to come????

From all the Dutch ladies a big hug,
Liezbeth Gottschall

Now take a look at the number of stockings they have stitched!


(I'm sure there will be more Remember Me houses....but it will have to be much later...we have shifted gears and are now in our quilting mode. We are finishing up several quilts for our "Country Inn" book.)

And several of you have finished the free pattern.


Christine sent the above picture and she writes, "I'm sending you a picture of your last freebie so cute!! I liked stitching it and I finished it with an old slate for a student. The shoe in front is an old inkpot. I had only "Red Rocks" so I have chosen the other colors from WDW.
Thanks for you charts ! I did also "Joyeux Noêl" but I am waiting to find a beautiful frame!

Click on Christine's name to visit her blog.




Tina Quidone stitched the above piece. The addition of the buttons is very sweet.

Jennifer Holcombe stitched the above piece. She used Crescent Colours. Love how they turned out. Jennifer writes, "I thought you might like to see my finished version of the free sampler since you already got to see the work in progress. I’m not quite sure what I’m going to do with it yet, but I have a few ideas brewing."

Thanks to all of you that send in pictures. We love seeing what you finish!

Goodnight to all and sweet dreams!

Until later,

Alma

Friday, February 26, 2010

Market update

Barb and I are back from market and almost ready jump into work again. There's never enough time to talk to everyone. Market was fast and furious this year. Your shop owners really have to work hard to see it all and pick out new items for you. They wait in lines and carry heavy loads!

The above photo was our Louisa Bell's sampler from Honeysuckle Manor. I wanted to show you how Barb framed this piece. We were not able to get this photo into the book. And I'm very sorry about the lighting....but our room was dark. I love everything about this piece.

Barb didn't want the framing to damage this sampler more. After taking one look at the nail holes you can tell it's been stressed enough. It's sewn to a piece of linen backing and was framed by Cathy at C.C & Company.

The small pin ball in front of the sampler is made from an unpainted wooden napkin ring. The pattern and instructions are in the book Honeysuckle Manor.

Every year while planning for market I search for fun items to decorate the booth. This market my favorite find is on the plate with the pin ball. Radishes! Can you believe them? I found them at Curious Sofa, one of my favorite stores here in Kansas City. Debbie had them in an old basket...they are chalkware and I'm not sure if they are old or not. I really didn't care. They just look like spring to me.


If you look right of Louisa's sampler you will see the basket with more radishes. I'm sure there must be some medication for me....but the good news is Barb just lets me decorate with what ever I want. I didn't even have to explain the "radish thing" to her. This is one of the tables we decorated at market. Inside the cloche on the right is the covered tape measure (which is in the book too.)

The round "tomato" pincushion and the keepsake box are both in the book. We love our pincushions!!! The Bluebird and Bird in Hand pincushions are pictured here too. They are in our Reward of Merit series.

You recognize the small sampler on the upper right. It's the free pattern offered in the last blog post.



When decorating the room, we have to deal with a large sleeper sofa. It's the white elephant in the room. You know it's there...but how to hide it? Usually we hinge three doors together to block the sofa from view. We use the doors as walls and hang samplers and other fun items on them. This room seemed smaller and more claustrophobic than our previous room. To provide a more open space we covered the sofa with a quilt and put the doors over the arms. The result...a table.

Lois from Elegant Stitch in Modesto, CA, is always teasing us about making things from toilet paper tubes. I know these look just like giant ones...but these are really long cardboard columns sawed into 8" segments. I lightly spray painted them white and bolted them together to make a shelf. You should have seen me in the parking lot....well, maybe not. If you ever come to market and see a strange woman with her rear up in the air sawing and painting like crazy ...it will be me. Not a very pretty sight. My feelings won't be hurt if you pretend that you don't know me.


Here's our trusty fireplace. We take it with us to all markets. No fire burning here though!

The paper covered pincushion and Hannah Lovina Joslin (the sampler) are both in Honeysuckle Manor. Hannah is the Barb's reproduction of Louisa Bell's sampler. She replaced Louisa's name with her great great grandmother.


The two samplers hung at the top are from our newest series, "Anniversaries of the Heart." The one on the top left is Snow Garden and the one on the right is Valentine Rose. They can be stitched individually or on one piece of linen. Instructions for both ways are noted on the pattern.

Pat Ryan from R&R Reproductions is going to stitch all the pieces on one piece of linen. She let me photograph this to show how it's coming together.

More to show...but it will have to be tomorrow!

Until later.

Alma

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Free Chart

Dave got the link working ...so for the free chart click on the words "Now I Know My ABC's"
Happy stitching!

Until later,

Alma

Winners!!!

Blogger
Here are the lucky winners.

1. #95 Connie
said...

Love to read your blog and see what great ideas you have. Would love to win!
conniep203@yahoo.com


2. # 129 Louise said...

Thank you for sharing that little love note with us on your blog. His heart was definitely in the right place. Happy Valentine's Day to both of you...Louise

3. #210 Cari-in-VA said...

Oh my goodness what a wonderful, wonderful giveaway. I would just love to have your new patterns. Please add my name to your drawing. Thanks so much!

4. #494 Martha Have just recently discovered your awesome designs and would love to add to my collection (of 2 .. so far). Thank you :-)

5. #358 Blogger Evy said...Well, love is all about giving to so maybe he wasn't that far off :)


Congratulations ladies! Please e-mail your address to alma@blackbird-designs.com

Will send out your packages this week.


We feel very humbled by all of your kind words. We want to leave all of you with something to stitch while we are at market. The picture below shows the project. Barb stitched the small sampler in the hoop. The framed piece is the antique piece Barb found at an antique show this winter. She fell in love with the colors and the small size of the piece.


I will have my husband upload the chart for you tonight. I thought it would make a great coin purse. A little zipper at the top. When you open your purse and pull it out ....everyone will want to know where you found it! Or stitch it into a small pillow...just the right size to tuck on a shelf.

We will try to keep you posted at market. I make a lot of promises...but usually when we are working there is little time. My daughter will be there to help. She's pretty savvy about pictures and computers. I'll get her to lend a bit of help.

As you are stitching this small piece, know that Barb and I are thinking of you.

Until later,

Alma

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy Valentine's Day

Hope your day is a sweet one!

As I was washing dishes this morning, my husband came up behind me and whispered into my ear. "Happy Thanksgiving!"

I said to him, "Somehow that just took out all the romance of the gesture Dave."

Poor Dave, he's been working in the garage too long. He's cutting out hundreds of pincushion bases for me. I think inhaling sawdust is affecting him. He said he was thinking of Valentine's Day as he was walking toward me....but it just came out Thanksgiving. I think he misses the kids and turkey. If turkey was involved in this holiday and the kids were here, I'm sure he would get it right. I've been laughing about it all day....at least he gave me a good story to tell all my friends.

Of course we have to have a contest before Barb and I leave for Nashville. Be the first to get all the new Blackbird patterns. 5 sweetheart winners.

Just leave your entry in the comments section and I will do the number generator thing and let you know before we leave. Please only one comment per person. You have until midnight Monday. We will announce the winners on Tuesday.

Each winner will get: Honeysuckle Manor....our newest book,
5 new patterns and 1 cupcake wooden pincushion base. Enough to keep you busy stitching for at least a couple of months...

Good luck all!

And wishing you much chocolate, flowers and romance....and a turkey too!

Alma

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Snow and Tell Day

It's going to snow again here...I'm really ready for spring. And I know you all are feeling the same. Has everyone had enough snow? I say, "Absolutely!!!"

A bit of show and tell here today. I've had these pictures for almost a month....it's about time I posted these on the blog site.

The stockings and A Merry Heart are from Paula at Kelmscott Designs. (The small gold scissors in the above picture is one of her newest products. Aren't they sweet?)

She writes, "In 2009 I actually had time to stitch and I was able to do 5 of your lovely stockings. They are all stitched on 40 ct Vintage Sand Dune, so I love that they are 25% smaller and have a vintage/antique look. You will notice that I have used my mother of pearl round rings at the top as these will hang on a gold metal ornament tree. As much as I enjoy finishing, due to limited time, I brought these down to AZ (where we winter) and there is a fantastic finisher Carol Wilson - sewdakgirl@yahoo.com here in Mesa and she did a wonderful job.
The other attachment is another of your lovely designs which I asked Carol to finish on a Trail Creek Farm pillow - I LOVE this design!"




The next 5 pictures are from a stitching group called Kindred Spirits. They had a "Blackbird Designs Day." Just wish Barb and I could have been there. I could'nt find their e-mail in my file....so I have no details on the pictures. If these are yours send me an e-mail and I will label them correctly. Barb and I are honored anyone would want to have a Blackbird Day....and to have so many fabulous projects ...it just takes our breath away. (Wish it would take my hips away...but that's another story!)

The above quilt is from our Home Sweet Home quilt book.

The above small quilt is from our book Small Favorites for All Seasons.

This quilt is from Quilting the Garden.

Look at all the cross stitch lined up on the window sills! This group has really been busy!
I love the picture below....More cross stitch and they even brought their own hedge apples.
I just hope those aren't for snacks....cookies would have been my choice.


Catherine from France sent the picture below. It's from Joyeux Noel.

She writes, "I hope everything is ok for you and you are not under the snow. For us, it is quite different since it is snowing constantly !!!! So in order to cheer up, I have finished and sew the pattern c'est la saison pour être joyeux !!!! I have read you are publishing a new leaflet, I am looking forwards buying it. Have a nice week-end."



Nina sent the two pictures above.

She writes, "I would like to show you my two pieces, Love Letters and Sweet Heart. I have finished both as an ornaments. Love Letters was hung on my Christmas tree and the heart was made as a gift for my friend . If you want you can post on your site/blog of course!"
Click on Nina's name for a link to her blog. She overdyed both pieces of linen.

And last, but not least...here is a "snow" and tell from Barb and me. These two patterns are in the Rewards of Merit series. We are taking them to Nashville. Your local shops should have them after market.

Wishing you all sunny skies and warm breezes!

Until later,

Alma

Sunday, February 7, 2010

New Book


Barb brought over her projects yesterday....and my mouth just dropped open. Many times we don't see what the other is working on until photography day. It's almost like we are working in the dark....just hope when the light of day hits, everything will go together. I had no idea how her projects were turning out....and needless to say they turned out great. I know you will love her things as much as I do!

The inspiration for our book is an antique sampler by Louisa Bell. Barb found it on e-bay. Let me tell you, this one sampler inspired quite a bit....lots of fun projects. Oh just you wait! Not much longer now.

Our book is in the final stages....above is a picture of the book cover.....a bit more writing and a couple more photographs and it will be done!!!

At market we will have Honeysuckle Manor, 5 patterns and a wooden pincushion base that's painted and made to look a bit vintage.

Until later! I have to get back to work.

Alma