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12 Days of Christmas

Every year when it gets close to Christmas I have to stop posting pictures because I am either working on Christmas presents for my family or for my customers.  I wouldn’t want to spoil the surprise and try to be very careful and considerate about posting pictures before the gift is received.  So after Christmas I can finally reveal what I’ve been working on!  Here you go:

DAY 1 – Battenburg Lace (Design EmbLibrary) – These free-standing lace pieces are meant to go on a pair of jeans.  I gifted them this way so that the wearer of the jeans can decide where she wants them.  Then I will stitch them in place.

Battenburg Lace


DAY 2 – This embroidery is on the back of a zip-up sweatshirt for one of my regular customers.  He’s going to rehab after Christmas and wanted something to remind him of his band.

DAY 3 – There are 20 of these scarves – each with a personalized tag – the initials of all the people who work in the department.  I can’t embroider directly onto this stretchy knit material without risking a tear when it gets stretched, so we came up with the idea of making tags. This was their Christmas present from their department.


DAY 4 – What’s better than a cool bag to carry your sports equipment?  A cool bag with your name on it!  So here you go!

DAY 5 – People like to give aprons for a variety of reasons – sometimes it is to encourage someone else to cook more, sometimes it is to help the cook stay cleaner.  Sometimes it is just for fun.  No matter what the reason, it’s always a great idea! 

DAY 6 – Here’s another apron that will be given this Christmas.


DAY 7 – Sometimes just a little something can make a plain t-shirt a lot more meaningful.

DAY 8 – If there two robes hanging in your bathroom and they both look the same, what should you do?  Get them personalized with a monogram!  That way you can always tell them apart.

DAY 9 – This lightweight linen throw takes on a special meaning with a personal message.  Tone in tone it’s not very obvious, but it is still there.

DAY 10 – Admittedly I didn’t make these t-shirts.  But I did have the idea!  They were made by my friend Eve from Reinette BlaueMannschaft.  She does silk screening with some great artwork and I knew that my kids would love these!

DAY 11 – Grammie has just moved and now she has a sign to welcome guests to her new home.  I bet she’ll think of her family every time she sees it!


DAY 12 –

Journaling is really in right now.  But it is more than that.  As you get older you realize that you can’t possibly remember everything and it is nice to have a written record of certain events.  Here’s a personalized journal cover to help inspire you based on a picture of a cabin in the mountains. It’s always fun to have a book there to sign in or out and let people know when you were there, how the weather was and what you were up to. I sure hope the recipient likes it!

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Fall Flowers

One of the pieces I will be showing at the Quilt Show in Unterhaching are these fall thistles.  This work was inspired by the book ‘Beautiful and Bold – Artful Quilts from Just One Fabric’.  Here they talk about looking for shapes in batics or self-died fabric and embellishing on them.  So that’s what I did with a piece of fabric I had painted myself.  The fun thing about this is that by using color thread in the bobbin you can get an image on both sides.  What do you think?


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Munich Artists in the Sun

In a conversation with Emmy Ann Horstkamp from Munich Artists we were talking about how to best use a large window with lots of sunshine.  I mentioned that it would be necessary to be careful since the sun will fade a lot of different materials.  But that’s exactly the process we want to use for the upcoming installation of Munich Artists.  Each artist will be given a black bag which they should then make a design on using tape.  The bags will be hung in the window for a month during which time they will fade.  Afterwards the tape will be removed and the design will still be visible.

The video above shows a few ideas of how to make the bag.  Results will be posted here soon!


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HandmadeKultur – A super magazine!

Are you familiar with HandmadeKultur? It’s a great magazine for everything that has to do with ‘handmade’, published in Hamburg.  I’ve known about it since they got started.  At the time I sold copies of the magazine in my store Hands Gallery.  Meanwhile my daughter has a subscription that is sent to our house.  After she’s finished reading it, I’m also allowed to take a look.  And there’s always a project that we’re interested in making – in every issue!  Plus, they introduce some really great people and their projects.  So hurry out to the nearest store and get yourself a copy!  But beware, it’s only available in German!

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A Match made in Heaven

At the start of 2017 I promised myself a lot of new things – especially in regard to products, materials and techniques.  Now I’m ready to introduce the first new product from 40 Stitches – a matchsack!  Why?  There are lots of reasons, but when my kids were packing for summer camp the instructions on the packing list stated ‘No plastic bags.’  The kids were to be gone for one week and, if you think about it, you realized that in this amount of time dirty and damp clothes can start to mold in a plastic bag.  That’s not as likely with a fabric bag.  Plus, you can wash the bag and use it over and over again – for workout clothes, for school, for shoes, to go shopping and for a lot more.  That means that a matchsack is a multi-talented helper.

These matchsacks are made of 100% cotton fabric and closed with a cotton cord.  And with the practical outside loops you can always shorten or replace the cord.

Take a look at the other matchsacks here!

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Reach Your Goals

The other day I was bowling with the kids.  I am not a good bowler, but occassionally it’s fun and we had guests so it was a good activity for everyone.  I kept concentrating on the pins at the end of the lane and throwing a gutter ball!  Then I noticed the arrows at the beginning of the lane and started using them to place and aim my bowling ball.  Voila!  I was knocking down pins left and right!

By changing my focus from a goal far away to a simpler goal close at hand I was able to achieve better results.

Sometimes that’s the way things are in life.  And since it is January it is time to set goals.  This year I plan to try for lots of little goals to make a bigger overall success. I want to develop new products, try new materials, work in more depth and communicate more regularly with you.

What about you?  What are you planning?