London Olympics Ribbon Bracelet

I am working on a ribbon jewelry tutorial for an upcoming post on the Renaissance Ribbons blog and I fell in love with the Union Jack ribbon they recently sent to me.  With all the buzz about the upcoming London Olympics opening this week, I thought this easy-to-make project would make a great accessory to get into the spirit of the games.

Union Jack Ribbon Bracelet – Ready for the London Olympics

Here’s what you need to make the bracelet:

7/8″ British Flag ribbon (Measure your wrist to determine the size of bracelet you want then subtract 1″ from that measurement to determine the length of ribbon you will need.), two 7/8″ ribbon crimps, lobster clasp and 3 jump rings, chain nose and nylon jaw pliers, Fray Check.

Apply a little Fray check on the cut ends of the ribbon to prevent them from unraveling.  Then use the nylon jaw pliers to attach the ribbon crimps to each end.

Hold the ribbon straight while you close the pliers and crush the crimps tightly onto the ribbon ends.

Add a jump ring to each ribbon crimp.  Add another jump ring and the clasp to one side.

It’s that easy……you’re done!                                          

The British Flag ribbon is available in the regular style I used as well as a very cool distressed styleI may not be able to jump on a plane to see the games an person, but I can wear my ribbon bracelet while I sit in front of the telly eating my crumpets and tea (better make that iced tea!)

Schiaparelli and Prada…..Carol and Me

Yesterday I met my friend Carol Zentgraf for a play date in NYC.  Carol is a prolific author, sewist and designer and was in the city visiting her daughter.  Since we share an interest in all things fabric and design, it was easy to come up with some fun things to do, despite the fact it was about 100 degrees and very humid outside.

Arriving at the Metropolitan Museum of Art

Last year when she came to NYC, we went to the Metropolitan Museum of Art and enjoyed the John McQueen exhibit.  This year we set out to see Impossible Conversations at the Met, the Schiaparelli and Prada exhibit.  It was amazing!  The details and embellishments of the garments and accessories were so intricate and interesting and everything was so well displayed that we could see all the details.  The exhibit showcases the work of these two legendary Italian designers of different generations and includes footage of an imaginary conversation between the two.  Although photographs were not permitted in the exhibit, I did find this review online that included several images.

The book that was published for the exhibit is beautiful so of course I had to order a copy as soon as I got home.  (We both decided we didn’t need to lug that book around the rest of our day in the city.)  It is available on so if you can’t get to NYC before the exhibit closes on August 19, you can order a copy and pretend you were there with us.

After a yummy lunch at the Eataly, we took a quick detour to Fishs Eddy and then headed to ABC Carpet and Home, our personal mecca of design and trends.  As expected, we loved everything we saw and came up with so many ideas we could use in our work.  Just as I looked at my watch and realized I had better head back to NJ to catch the train home, the heavens opened up – buckets of rain, roaring thunder, flashes of lightening and hail pounding the pavement.  Needless to say, we stayed in ABC to ride out the storm.  We laughed as we thought of ourselves stranded there for the night.  What a hardship that would be…..forced to spend time amongst all those beautiful things?

In the end I braved the storm and made it to the train station.  My feet were soaked, my sandals will never be the same, but I was smiling.  I had a wonderful day with my friend with memories and inspirations that will last me quite awhile.

The Renaissance Ribbons Blog & Me

I am thrilled!  Edith Minne, owner of Renaissance Ribbons, has invited me to be a regular guest contributor to their blog.  I am a huge fan of their gorgeous woven ribbons so I know it will be easy to write posts about all sorts of topics related to ribbons.

A box of beautiful Renaissance Ribbons – what a treat to receive in the mail.

Renaissance Ribbons creates original designs for woven ribbons and works with many talented designers including Anna Maria Horner, Kaffe Fassett, Sue Spago, Laura Foster Nicholson, Jennifer Jangles and Dena Designs.  All these unique ribbons are so lovely and special that it is very easy to design projects to use them.  Just a little bit can be made into a card or sewn to a pillow or made into a bracelet.

In my posts on the RR blog, I will share project ideas and tutorials, tips and techniques for working with ribbons, as well as interviews with the people who work and design with Renaissance Ribbons and upcoming sneak peaks of new products.  Plus anything I can think of that is related to ribbons.  This is going to be fun!

Recently Renaissance Ribbons opened an online retail shop so now it will be easy for anyone to purchase their ribbons.  Take a minute and check it out.  But keep in mind that their ribbons are a little bit like really good chocolate….a little addicting, especially if you are a ribbon lover/collector (OK, hoarder) like me.

My HQ Sweet 16 is Home Sweet Home

I have never called myself a quilter.  I like to design quilts.  I love the mixing and matching of colors and patterns and the sewing together of pieces.  But I have never liked the quilting part.  My mom was an expert hand quilter and my home is full of beautiful quilts she made for me, each one lovingly hand quilted with thousands of perfectly even little stitches.

My mom’s perfectly even hand quilting stitches

But the patience for hand quilting I did not inherit from my mom.  I’ve tried machine quilting, but was never happy with my attempts at free motion machine quilting.  Oh, I have made small quilts on my sewing machine, but the quilting was limited to straight line stitching, stitch in the ditch and anything super easy.

Over the years I have noticed long arm quilting machines whenever I have visited trade or consumer shows.  They looked very cool and I would sit (or stand) at the machines and try them all out.  But I just couldn’t justify investing in one.  After all, I wasn’t a quilter.  I love sewing and thread, but did I really need another machine that sews?  Let’s see, how many “sewing” machines do I have here…there’s my faithful workhorse Pfaff that sews through anything (I have to confess that I did get the one with the computerized machine embroidery unit that I never really got the hang of despite several lessons.), my 30 old Bernina that needs a little repair work, two Elnas (one was my mom’s and one was mine – between the two of them there are probably enough parts for one machine that will work), a serger, an old treadle that was my husband’s grandmother’s (in case the power goes out and I have to sew?) and then my husband’s favorite sewing machine, the Embellisher for needle felting (“You realize that you just bought a sewing machine that doesn’t use any thread, don’t you?”)  That makes 7 sewing machines.

As you can tell by the title of this post, sewing machine number 8 has joined the group.  I am now the proud owner of an HandiQuilter Sweet 16 mid-arm quilting machine.  On the last day I was at spring Quilt Market in Kansas City this past May, at the very last hour of the show, I had time to spare and found myself in the same aisle as HandiQuilter.  Debby Brown was sitting at the HQ Sweet 16 demo machine and recognized me from a local show I had attended in NJ earlier in the year.  So I sat down and sewed and we talked and then I heard “the voice”.  You know, the one inside your head that makes you do things like eat chocolate chip cookies or say yes to the dress.  But this time is was my mom’s voice, and she was telling me to “get it!”.

My mom passed away at 95 3/4 years old this past March.  She loved to sew.  Over the years, It was a creative outlet for her.  She sewed everything from my Halloween costumes to draperies to my wedding dress to the patchwork quilts she pieced together but always hand quilted.   As she got older, sewing made her feel like she was doing something useful.

So thanks to my mom’s advice, my HQ Sweet 16 is now home sweet home, and I am a quilter. 

Granted, I have lots to learn, but I am so excited.  My plan for the summer is to “play” as much as I can and practice, practice, practice.  I am sure there will be much improvement over these first attempts.

My first attempts at free motion quilting on my HQ Sweet 16.  I can write my name!

My mom would have loved this new machine.  Thanks for helping me make the decision, Mommy.  You’ll always be the voice that guides me.  Love you.  Miss you.