Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Inspired by a Paper Cutter

Hellooooooooooooo! I must say that I have been LOVING the weather this week. It has been in the 60's and 70's. Now that's my kind of January and winter for sure! hee,hee,hee.

If you have been following my blog for a while, you know I'm inspired by many things like music, animals and nature, not to mention, other artists. I think every creative person is inspired by many things and people.

Today, I want to share an incredible artist who truly inspires me. Her name is Karen Bit Vejle. She is from Denmark, but lives in Norway. Her paper cuttings are incredible and I love the stories they tell. They inspire me when I work as many of my designs start out as a paper cutting. In fact, I will have a new design coming soon that was indeed a paper cutting.

So take a little hop into Karen's (Bit as she is called) world. There are two video's I think you will really enjoy.

Bit in action from Karen Bit Vejle on Vimeo.

Hugs and see you back here next week!

Michelle and the Bunnies

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

An Amazing Wool Artist - Inger Johanne Rasmussen

Hi my sweet! Hope you are having a good week so far. I got a bit of a cold over the weekend, but I'm feeling much better now. Mother nature has been a bit crazy for sure!

It's been a while since I shared an artist that I admire, so I thought it would be fun to do that today. Her name is Inger Johanne Rusmussen and she lives in Oslo, Norway. I found her work to not only be beautiful, but captivating as well. They are very large pieces she creates with wool she dyes herself.

Enjoy this video and let me know what you think. :)

Hugs to you,
Michelle and the bunnies

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Mid- Atlantic Quilt Festival

Hi ya! How's your week going so far? I have been spoiled by some really warm weather. I know it won't last long. It was 76 yesterday and by Saturday it will be 36. Poo! It's ok though, it gives me a perfect reason to stay inside and stitch over the weekend. :)

Speaking of stitching, Jules and I are over the moon excited about all our new family members who have joined us on the journey down Briarside Lane. We can hardly wait to show you the next block! There is a tab at the top of the blog where all the posts for Briarside Lane will be so you can easily access them. There is also some photos of what Jules did with her "Bumblebee Cottage." Remember, this entire journey is about inspiring your artistic spirit. We would love for you to share photos of your creative journey with us. You can email me photos or you can share them on The Raspberry Rabbits Facebook page.

Next, I am sooooooooooooo excited to share this with you! I have been attending the Mid-Atlantic Quilt Festival for over 20 years. It's such a fun show with incredible quilts and lots of shopping! I applied to be a vendor there well over a year ago. I knew the waiting list would be long as I have been told it could take up to 7 years to be accepted. Well, I got accepted!

So, if you are around Hampton, VA next month, I would love for you to hop over and see me! Here's more information on Quilt Fest. 

Have a fun rest of your week and I'll see you back here next Wednesday!

Light, love and hugs,
Michelle and the Bunnies

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Briarside Lane - The Journey Begins

Welcome travelers!

The journey down Briarside Lane is not only about completing a project, but inspiring your artistic spirit -- the spirit that seems to get lost as we grow older.

In a world where everything moves so quickly and things are simply "reproduced," our wish is that you take time to stop and enjoy the moments and peacefulness which comes from making something with your own hands.

The patterns, as well as the photos of our work, are meant to guide you as you build the quilt blocks. However, we encourage you to use other methods of stitching, colors and even fabrics to create an individual piece. A piece that is a reflection of your own creativity.

So come and join our journey down Briarside Lane. A quiet country road that meanders gently through the British countryside, with hidden surprises around every corner. It's a rather special place.

We'll be walking, but don't worry, there's no traffic here! We may go miles and miles through different counties of Britain and many changing landscapes. We never quite know where we're going to stop or what we might see next. We just know that it will be worth stopping for!

The Back Story: Britain's varied landscape, nature, and historic past have always captivated Jules. Traveling along Briarside Lane is a journey from her imagination, but it's full of real life places and events which reflect some of the unique treasures of the British Isles. All of these special memories make her heart beat a little faster. We hope some of that magic appears for you , as you stitch a little bit of Britain in the USA. 

Bumblebee Cottage - our first stop on the journey.

It's been a beautiful day, hiking along the lane. Sitting at the bottom of the wooded hill, is the cottage. Its freshly thatched roof gleams golden in the sunshine on the warm, summer evening. The air is full of enticing scents -- the fresh, clean smell of new mown grass and the heady perfume of the old rambler rose that clambers over the worn wooden porch. Nothing can be heard but the "thrum" of the bees as they meander through the borders gathering pollen, and the gentle "coo" of a wood pigeon hiding in the tall conifers.

We stop, leaning a little on the garden gate and drink in the scene. Then we open the gate and go down the path. A delicious supper awaits, then a retreat to the garden and later a cozy feather bed before we continue our journey.

The Back Story: Years ago, out walking along a country lane in the beautiful Malvern Hills of Herefordshire, Jules rounded a bend and discovered a tiny, ancient cottage with a picturesque garden. The whole image looked as if it had been pulled straight from a book of fairy tales. Next to the front gate was a small post box, bearing a polite notice for the postman, "Please do not use the post box until further notice. It is being used by a family of nesting Chickadees." The house was called "Bumblebee Cottage," which she thought was simply delightful and just the place she would love to live!

Briarside Lane will be a mystery quilt, but as mentioned above, we want to inspire your artistic spirit. So, when you purchase the e-pattern, you will not only receive the instructions to make the block in wool (or cottons if you like), but you will receive an embroidery version for FREE.

We also have Valdani size 12 perle cotton kits available. This kit will be used for all the blocks.

In addition, we will be offering National Nonwovens blended Wool Kits for each of the blocks.

The e-patterns, thread and wool kits will all be sold separately. Pick and choose as you like. So hop on over HERE to the SHOP to get what you need for Bumblebee Cottage. While you are there, you can also pick up Soft Fuse fusible web and embroidery needles if you need them.

We are ever so delighted to have you with us. What a wonderful journey it will be!

Hugs to our Raspberry Rabbits family,
Michelle and Jules

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Briarside Lane - where friends become family

Eight years ago, I was a member of an online group called "Stitching Fingers." This was a group where people, with a common interest in stitching and creating, could share photos of their work with each other. One day, I came across a photo of a beautiful piece of stitched art and I left a comment. That beautiful piece of art belonged to Jules Woolford, from England. That single comment led her to my blog, where she fell down the rabbit hole into my crazy little world.

Jules and I have become very close friends over the years and truth be told, we consider each other family. Like sisters, we love to share little gifts with each other. She is an incredible artist and many of her original paintings and creations fill my home. Esmeralda, the blue bunny muse, is the newest addition to my collection. She hangs in my studio and reminds me to keep magic in my heart when I design. After all, creativity should be fun right?

After years of emailing and writing letters to each other "across the pond," we finally had an "ah ha" moment and said,"Why don't we Skype each other?" All this time we could have been looking at each other and hearing each other's voices. We both laughed that it took us so long to come to this conclusion. Now, twice a month, we get to see and hear each other. Oh how wonderful the power of the internet can be to bring people together and how it can easily turn friends into family.

Early in the year, we had a conversation about the things we love to do the best and the goals we would like to accomplish moving forward. It was one of those long conversations over a few cups of tea. We decided we not only wanted to share a creative adventure together, but we wanted to share it with others. Thus, "Briarside Lane" came to be.

Jules draws, sketches and paints from things she is inspired by in nature. Even on the coldest of days, she is lured outside with sketchbook and pencil in hand to be inspired by the wonder of nature around her.

We decided that Jules would create original paintings and stories of our journey down Briarside Lane. The first stop on the journey takes us to "Bumblebee Cottage."

Next, being that I am always inspired by Jules' work, we decided that I would take the paintings and turn them into my signature "Folk Art Fusion" pieces, which will feature reverse wool applique, hand stitching and patchwork. This will be a Block of the Month mystery project beginning January 1st and continuing until July 1st. There is no registration fee, no signing up, or prepayment required. All you have to do is show up on the first of each month to see the next stop on the journey.

In addition, not only will there be a wool and cotton mystery project, but we will be offering an embroidery version as part of the pattern for FREE!

As I have traveled down the road on my own creative journey, I have learned many things, but the biggest thing I have learned is to trust my own gut feelings and to listen to myself. In this world of constant bombardment of information, much of it stressful and useless, I find that I want a return to simple. I have always worked for small companies and I find that I truly love being a small business. Being able to have customers, who then become friends, and giving them a place where they feel welcome, loved and appreciated is my ultimate goal. I want to provide designs that inspire your own creative journey, designs that bring back a time when things were simple and creating was for pure fun and joy. Thus, going forward in 2017, in addition to "Briarside Lane," all my new designs will be sold exclusively through my website, The Raspberry Rabbits.

Jules and I look forward to seeing you on January 1st for our new adventure down "Briarside Lane." An adventure where friends become family.

Light, love and hugs,