Christmas in January – with Mary Engelbreit

Its always fun to meet someone who you really admire.  At the Atlanta Gift Market last month, I had the good fortune to meet Mary Engelbreit in the showroom of Katherine’s Collections.  Mary was there for a personal appearance.  I have always been a fan of Mary’s as well as appreciate her as a trail-blazer for art licensing.

The past couple of months have been the most hectic of all.  Preparing for two major trade show events in January required hours and hours of work.  Attending the shows, Atlanta Gift Market and CHA (Craft and Hobby Association) were almost like vacations because while they were technically work, I could lay down my paint brush and ignore my computer for a few days.  Plus, its always such fun to meet up with friends.

The day before the CHA show in Anaheim, Brenda Pinnick and I went to Laguna Beach for some much deserved R&R.  We shopped and had a great lunch while watching the Laguna Beach surf (which was very high due to the recent rains).



Although the shows are over, work continues with work from the shows as well as the work that was still in progress before the shows.

And, I am happy to say that I just finished a new fabric collection and am really excited about it.

I hope you are all staying warm in all this cold and snowy weather.









Make it Merry – Christmas crafts

Welcome to another edition of Make it Merry, where talented crafters share their holiday how-to’s.

Advent Candy Tree

Everyone loves counting down to the holidays…add candy to the mix and you’ve got a fun Advent calendar from Sherri Osborn for the whole family to enjoy.

Pumpkin Cross Stitch Pattern

Use a variegated floss to make a swirling pumpkin that would look great near the Thanksgiving table. Connie G. Barwick has the free pattern.

Knit Wreath Ornament

Scrap knitting makes for fun quick projects that are perfect for any skill level. Sarah E. White has the instructions for this cute wreath.

Miniature Glitter Houses

Snowy villages look great upon every mantle and tabletop. Lesley Shepherd has a free printable so you can make your own tiny houses.

Paper Bead Star Ornament

If you’re looking for something a little different to do with your paper beads then take a look at this paper bead star. This project is simple to adapt in a wide variety of ways.

Rustic Pillar Candles

‘Tis the season for running out to buy candles. David Fisher will show you how to make these festive pillar candles with the perfect finish.

Pear Diamonds Painted Card

This card has an intricate finish, but it is so easy to make. Tina Jones shows us how to create this colorful card from start to finish.

Christmas Apron Pattern

Just because you’ve got to bake cookies for the whole family doesn’t mean you can’t look fabulous! Phyllis Dobbs has created this adorable holiday apron, and she’s got the free pattern just for you.

Flower Petal Ornament Cover

Sometimes those plain ornaments just need a little dressing up. Tammy Powley will show you how to use seed beads to create this unique ornament drapery.

Paint a Christmas Tree

Instead of paying a premium for a colored tree, Barbara Crews will show us how to paint your tree red to match the latest holiday trends.

Want to Join Make it Merry to show off your holiday crafts? We will showcase your crafts and recipes of all holiday traditions. Learn more.

Holiday Blog Hop – You can win!

Welcome to my turn in a Holiday Blog hop.  I’m delighted to be part of this blog hop put together by talented artists.  We are taking turns sharing a fun holiday project or craft and hope that you are inspired to make some using our free patterns and instructions.  And leave a comment on each of the artists blog and you may win a random drawing for a prize by each artist.

I love to entertain over the holidays and often need more festive dishes or bowls.  I painted this terra cotta flower pot to give an extra bowl to hold holiday treats (or even a plant).  Since stripes and dots are very popular design elements and which I also happen to love, I used these to decorate it.  It’s easy to do and you can make one and use it that night.

1.  Use a terra cotta flowerpot the size of your choice – you can make it as big or small as you like.  Wash the flower pot and go over it with alcohol to disinfect it.

2.  With a pencil, draw the lines for the stripes around the rim.  I made the stripes on mine about an inch wide.  Also, draw 1/2 inch circles randomly on the bottom of the pot.

3.  Paint the red dots and the red stripes, alternating the stripes.  Paint the background of the bottom pot white and the remaining stripes.  It will take 2-3 coats of paint.  Let it dry between coats.  Paint the inside of the pot your choice of white or red.

4.  When the paint has dried, add small white dots in a line on the red stripes.

5.  After all has dried, use a clear satin acrylic to seal the paint.

6.  Fill with your choice of snacks, chips, ornaments or whatever you desire.

Please leave a comment to be entered into a random drawing for a prize.  Also please visit the other artist that are participating in this blog hop and leave comments for a chance at more prizes.

Nov 14 – Terri Conrad

Nov 15 – Brenda Pinnick

Nov 16 – Tori Higa

Nov 17 – Joyce Shelton

Nov 18 – Me!  Phyllis Dobbs

Nov 19 – Cherish Fleider

Nov 20 – Joy Hall

Nov 21 – Barbara Johansen Newman

Nov 22- Sharyn Sowell

As part of this blog hop, we are supposed to answer these questions to give some information about ourselves.  Mine are below.

5 things we might not know about you that you’d like to share.

1.  I love to listen to music when I work and have music of every genre except rap.  The type of music I play depends on what I’m working on.

2.  I planted lettuce for the first time this fall and was delighted that it turned out so tasty.  The only place I had to plant it was in the flowerbed by the mailbox, but the bright greens looked very pretty and my husband backed down from being horrified by veggies growing front and center of our yard.

3.  I’m a color junkie and often buy stupid stuff just because I like the color, however anything with great color is not stupid! Like a purple cooler to carry to the beach when we have several in basic red and white.

4.  I enjoy social gatherings with my girlfriends such as bunko, girl’s poker, pokeno and book club. And, I don’t have time to read the books so I go to listen, socialize and drink wine.

5.  I feel guilty because I don’t get around to exercising as frequently as I want – almost non-existent at this point as I’m working hard on close deadlines.

5 things going on in my creative world.

1.  In October, I signed with a fabulous agent, Jewel Branding & Licensing and am very excited about this partnership.

2.  I’m working on several new art collections and am looking forward to seeing new products created with my art at the January markets.

3.  I’m putting together a quilt e-book.

4.  I’ve been creating Christmas crafts to share with my blog readers.

5 things that really inspire me.

1.  Color, lots of it.

2.  Humor

3.  Nature, especially the greens

4.  Flowers, even though this is technically part of nature.

5.  People – family, friends, and other artists.  I’m also really inspired by the paintings of Matisse – love all his work.




Be sure to leave a comment and be included in a drawing for a prize.





Sew a Christmas apron with this easy pattern.

Cooking and entertaining goes with the holidays, so I designed and sewed this Christmas apron for a festive addition to kitchen chores.

The first step was to hit my fabric stash to find red and green fabrics.  I found the perfect combination of  red, green and red and white stripe fabrics.  I created a simple pattern that can be made in less than 2 hours and is easy enough for a beginner at sewing. The ties are long enough that you can tie in the front for a fresh look.  This pattern and other apron patterns can be found in Craftsy Vibrant Quilts.

I would love to see pictures of aprons you make using this pattern.  Enjoy and have a fun Christmas as you whiz through the kitchen wearing your new apron!

Happy sewing!





Blog Hop with Artists – and Win!

I’m inviting you to join our Blog Hop with the Artists. Each artist will post a  Christmas project, craft, idea or fun project. Play, post and win – a prize will be given by each artist from the comments made on her blog!

How it works –

1.  Between now and November 22, visit each artist blog below on the date listed to Play, Post and Win.  Each artist will have some fun projects, free patterns or crafts or How-to’s for Christmas.

2. Just post a comment on each of our blogs when you visit, and you will be entered for a random drawing of a prize by each artist from the comments made on her blog.

So you can see, its fun and easy and you may win!  Regardless, you will be a winner from the free projects offered by each artists.

This is my first blog hop and I’m excited to be a part it with such talented artists. Each artist licenses her art for products such as gift items, fabrics, table ware, stationery and much more.  Check out their blogs for a chance to win and learn more about each very creative woman.

Today starts with Terri Conrad, so please visit her blog and be sure to leave a comment.

Nov 14 – Terri Conrad

Nov 15 – Brenda Pinnick

Nov 16 – Tori Higa

Nov 17 – Joyce Shelton

Nov 18 – Me!  Phyllis Dobbs

Nov 19 – Cherish Fleider

Nov 20 – Joy Hall

Nov 21 – Barbara Johansen Newman

Nov 22- Sharyn Sowell








Make it Merry – Christmas & Holiday Crafts

Create a Pumpkin Candle

What better to put in the middle of the feast. David Fisher will show you how to make this easy and impressive pumpkin tealight holder.

Make a Sesame Street Wreath

For 40 years, Sesame Street has been part of our lives and has encouraged us to accept all holiday traditions. Barbara Crews will show you how to create this wreath dedicated to some of our favorite Muppets.

Draw a Penguin Pilgrim

For Thanksgiving crafts like place mats and name cards, you’ll need some festive art. How about a lesson from Helen South on drawing this cutie penguin.

Embroider a Gift Bag

Save cash for presents when you reuse gift bags or buy those inexpensive plain bags. Phyllis Dobbs will show you how to dress them up for the re-gifting process with a touch of delightful embroidery.

Stitch a Swedish Ornament

If you’ve got an ornament exchange to attend this year, a traditional Swedish ornament will really stand out in the crowd. Cheryl Fall will show you how to hand stitch this original piece.

Wax Resist Holiday Cards

Add a contemporary look to your holiday while saving some cash on Christmas Cards. This wax resist technique from Marion Boddy-Evans is just what you need.

Pumpkin Foam Sticker Earrings

For a quick Fall look in a pinch, try these pumpkin sticker earrings from Tammy Powley. She’ll show you how to make them in five easy steps.

Paper Globe Ornament

This dimensional ornament has an intricate look, but is actually simple in design. Kate Pullen will show you how to cut and stamp this delightful addition to your decor.

Knit a Stocking Ornament

A mini stocking is a creative way to give a gift card, or hide a little treat on the tree. Sarah E. White shows us how to knit this cute little sock.

Christmas Tree Bunting

Decking the Halls has never been so fun, and this one is perfect for helpful kids to take part in. Use up those scraps of fabric with this decorative craft from the Sadie and Lance blog.

Make a Mini Hippo

Stuffed animals add a bit of fun and tenderness to any slew of presents. Stuff a stocking with a smile when you sew this little hippo from Lesley Shepherd.

Snowman Candy Jar

Top off your candy jar with a snowman face as sweet as the treats inside. Sherri Osborn will show you how to paint and assemble this wintry decoration that is appropriate to show off all season long.

Joy Ornament Crosstitch

Stitch a little bit of joy for someone this Christmas. Connie G. Barwick has the free pattern for this jolly cross stitch project.

Want to Join Make it Merry to show off your holiday crafts? We will showcase your crafts and recipes of all holiday traditions. Learn more.

Christmas crafts – embroider a gift bag.

Embroider a plain gift bag to make it unique and tell someone they are special – all you need is some Pearl Cotton and assorted buttons.

This is so quick and easy to make, you can make several.  Starting with a plain white gift bag, I used Pearl Cotton #3 from The DMC Corporation for the embroidery.  Draw 2 top lines 1 1/4″ apart and stitch the lines with a back stitch using 1 strand of green Pearl Cotton.  Stitch the inside lines with a running stitch and then stitch assorted sizes of red buttons between the embroidered lines.

Stitch a large lazy daisy flower with 2 strands of red Pearl Cotton.  Use a second needle and red sewing thread to anchor the loops at the outside edge with a small stitch over the Pearl Cotton.  Sew a large green button at the flower center to finish the bag.

You can add your own personal touches as you make your bags.  I would love to see what you make.

Have fun and happy stitching.


Copyright – this design if for your personal use and may not be used commercially without written permission.



Make It Merry – Christmas Crafts


Clothes Pin Holiday Card Holders

What to do with all those holiday cards? Hold them up with clothes pins as dazzling as twinkling lights with this how-to from Kate Pullen.

Make a Gingerbread House

Ever want to create the perfect gingerbread house? Okay, I have yet to master this skill..but you can! Our Barbara Rolek will show you how.

How to Draw a Christmas Tree

Here is one that will come in handy for all those handmade cards. Master sketch artist Helen South will show you how to draw the perfect tree from start to finish.

Paint a Glass Ornament

Turn a plain glass ball into a work of stained glass art. Our Guide to Painting will show you how to create this delicate trimming.

Silent Night Cross Stitch Pattern

Don’t just get cozy, get your stitch on. Create a Silent Night design with this free pattern from Connie G. Barwick.

Stitch a Pear Trio

Hang up something special in your home for that Thanksgiving gathering. This free ‘Pear Trio’ needlepoint pattern from Cheryl Fall is just what your walls needed.

Easy Christmas Ornaments

Start a tradition for the kids to make new ornaments each year. Sherri Osborne has the shape patterns and project ideas for these ornaments that reflect Christmas traditions.

Print Thanksgiving Placecards

Add some warmth to your table with these Thanksgiving place cards that will have your guests saying ‘awwwww’. Barbara Crews has the free printable for you to personalize.

Wine Bottle Wrap Pattern

Instead of giving a bottle of wine in one of those skinny bags, make a felt wrap that the bottle can be displayed in all season. Phyllis Dobbs will show you how.

Make a Miniature Christmas Tree

Why are tiny things always so darn cute? Learn how to make a little pine tree with Lesley Shepherd.

Interchangeable Thanksgiving Pins

Sometimes you just can’t commit to just one pin. With this interchangeable Thanksgiving pin by Tammy Powley, you can tell everyone when you’re ready for pie…and when you’re overstuffed.

Want to Join Make it Merry to show off your holiday crafts? We will showcase your crafts and recipes of all holiday traditions. Learn more.


Christmas is approaching – time to start with the handmade items!

I know!  Its not even Thanksgiving yet! But when you are hand making gifts or decorations for Christmas, there is never enough time.  Between now and Christmas, I will be posting some Christmas projects.  I hope that enjoy them and even make a few – as always, I would love to see what you make.

When I am giving a gift of wine to friends or as a hostess gift,  I always look for a cute bottle bag.  But, with this easy pattern and some felt, you can make a snowman bottle wrap to use instead of the bag.  In addition, it can be used throughout the season to display a bottle of wine.  So when you are making one (or more) for gifts, make one for yourself.

Free downloadable pattern and instructions.

Happy crafting!


Sewing and quilt designs made with fat quarters

I was fortunate to have 3 designs published in a new book, Sew Special Fat Quarter Gifts published by House of White Birches.  As the title suggests, all projects in the book were made with fat quarters (fabric cuts that a fat 1/4 yard).

My projects were varied in style, an apron, decorative towels and a Christmas quilted table runner.

The apron is made in a patchwork style with black and white fabrics. I just love how popular aprons are and all the different styles.

I designed the decorative hand towels using embellishments of beads, rick rack, and applique.

The quilted Christmas table runner is decorated with appliqued poinsettias and bead trim.

Have a great day!


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