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,
Michelle

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Christmas at our Cottage

Hi there! Merry Christmas to you! I hope you are having a fun day of feasts and festivities. As promised, here are some photos of our cottage.

Mr. McGregor is dressed in his finest bow to greet visitors.



I chose a simple wreath for the front door and I have always loved jingle bells.



Amazingly, I managed to not kill my evergreen shrub, so I added some berries around it. I love the simple look of the red pillows on the black rockers.


Instead of wreaths around the lights, I found these swags which looked nice with our front door wreath.




We got a new tree last year, but living in the apartment shed, we didn't get to use it. It was fun to set it up this year. I still have that rustic looking bucket to put it in. Of course, the tree is topped with a bunny and loaded with ornaments that hold special meaning to us. Decorating it every year is a gift to myself.



The morning after the tree went up, I came out to find Sabrina here. Seeing this melted my heart. I think back to when she was living outside in the cold. This is her first Christmas tree. She loves laying in front of it, starring at the lights. She has been so good. Nobody can believe she didn't bother the tree. She is such a precious girl and I am so grateful for her in my life.


Hannah enjoyed checking out all the bunny ornaments. She is doing very well and every day with her is a gift. Yukon Cornelius, the elf in the back, knows that bunnies are magical. hee,hee,hee He was made for me a few years ago, by my dear friend Jillayne.



Outside of that, I had a simple flower arrangement and hung our stockings and cards from friends on the mantle. Next year I will change the stockings out to my new design. I didn't have time to get Davids finished this year.



Oh and Mr. Bunny, on the media center, is holding a star. Lydia gave this bunny to me over 16 years ago. It's hard to believe she and I have been best friends for 20 years this month! Love you Lyd!



As the sun sets over our cottage, I wish you every blessing and happiness. Thank you dear friend for being such a gift to me and for following along on my adventures.



I will see you back here on Wednesday with a preview of our next adventure down "Briarside Lane."

Light, love and hugs,
Michelle


Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Houston Quilt Festival Part 5

Well, we made it. Whew! I truly hope you enjoyed seeing all these amazing quilts. I know I have enjoyed seeing them all again. I was going to show you photos of our cottage decorated for Christmas, but it has been raining and I have been swamped with some exciting news that I will share with you in the new year. So, I will do an extra little post on Christmas day of our cottage. It's quite simple, classic and I love it. The older I get, the less stuff and complication of things I want. ;)

Until then, here are the rest of the quilts, a few art dolls and a even a couple of miniatures! Enjoy!






























































































































 These are all made from leather!







































































































































































































































See ya back here on Christmas day!

Hugs,
Michelle and the fuzzy ones