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,


Castles Crowns and Cottages said...

Beautiful friend,

How I know this incredible feeling that many who came before us knew through pen pal correspondence. I have made the best of friends with three women in particular, and with all three of them, I've been able to see their faces in some way. One, I actually met in California, and what a MAGIC MOMENT. Like you and Jules, this woman and I have created a little world of wonder with our imaginary characters, mine in illustration, hers in felted or sculpted figures. The second woman, we email daily. We can feel each others' joy in the exclamation of our ideas and projects and mutual love of LIGHT in all forms. The third, a wonderful soul out in the Netherlands with whom I've Skyped; the moment we saw each others' faces, we laughed, we cried. She got to see me in my true, wild, loud self, and she met my husband and was in wonderment of his wit and humor.

We are connected, and no culture, color, creed or race can break the human bond of needing to be creative, express it, and to feel a sense of belonging. I wish you and your loved ones great peace as 2017 knocks on our doors, and I LOVE YOUR COTTAGE DESIGN! LOVE!

Beatrice said...

Hello, sounds like a great partnership! I look forward to seeing the first part of the mystery.

Vroomans' Quilts said...

Sounds like a wonderful partnership between friends. How sweet of you gals to share your creative side with us with this new venture. I look forward to this series.

tink's mom said...

Oh this sounds like a wonderful creative path to be invited to wander with you and Jules. What a terrific bond you share.


Ohh--hope that cottage is a peak of the first project??
I just love it--
and what a wonderful idea to work off each other--
great plan--
glad she is in your life and you are in hers--
Happy New Year--
love and laughter, di

Warm Quilts said...

What a sweet and creativity-filled friendship! I love the idea on blending your two passions into something to share with all of us. Your post is quite inspiring.

fernandez said...

hola mioechelle mis mejores deseos para este año que comienza, me gustaria poder participar de su proyecto
reciba mi cariño en cristo jesus

Jules Woolford said...

Counting down - and painting hard!xxx

Kris Thompson said...

Sounds like fun. Hope you had a Merry Christmas, and that the New Year will be a good one!

Chickadee Sue said...

Hi Michelle
Hope you had a merry Christmas?
The new designs look so pretty, I will be back on Jan 1st!
Happy New Year.

Jenny of Elefantz said...

((((Yes)))) this is you...this will be wonderful. If only I could swim the pond to give you an excited Jenny-hug. Love you sweet friend, and sooooo happy for you and Jules. xxxx

Jeanette said...

How exciting. Can't wait. I love that you are doing both applique & embroidery design. Hugs,xx

Jindi's Cottage said...

What a wonderful adventure...Bumblebee Cottage is soooo cute...what a fun journey to look forward to...Happy New Year!

kc said...

What a fun and rewarding friendship and collaboration. Looks like a fun adventure!!

Connie Kresin Campbell said...

What a wonderful friendship and now a partnership! Can't wait to see the new creations! Best of luck.

Sherry said...

This sound wonderful. Thanks for sharing your story, the chance to "meet" people through their blogs and other media has been an inspiration to me. Looking forward to January 1st.

Jenny Bonynge said...

How exciting for the two of you and, of course, your adoring audience! I look forward to watching this grand adventure begin. We all need some positive vibes this coming year...busy hands are happy hands!

Sharon Decker said...

I can hardly wait for this to start. I love the design and what you have done with it (from the peek you gave us). Thank you both so much for your generosity and loving hearts.

Rabbits' Guy said...

Get your passport polished up - a trip across the pond coming up!!

Great work.

Brynwood Needleworks said...

I can see this is going to be a beautiful new year for you, Shelby. What fun it will be to see Briarside Lane unfold.

Anne-Lise at Rag, Tag, Bobtail said...

Wishing you and Jules a funfilled, creative 2017!
The design looks sweet and I look forward to seeing it unfold.

Raewyn said...

So many beautiful friendships have been forged through blogging - yours sounds like a special one! I look forward to learning more about this mystery :-)

Createology said...

I truly believe in the bonds we form over miles of distances that cannot keep our friendships or our creative journeys from forming. I am excited to follow your new Briarside Lane journey and partnership. I adore this cottage. May you have a Wonderful 2017 dear. XO