Sunday, December 19, 2010

FREE Freight at RibbonSmyth this week! Collages with Vintage Images

These are fabric collages I created with RibbonSmyth Vintage Images. I add a quote to the collage that fits the image.  The collage pieces are approximately 12"x14". I incorporate vintage hankies, rayon motifs, lace, and lace doilies. All the fabrics and lace pieces are tea-dyed. I finish the pieces with vintage buttons and beads. All the fabrics and trims have been collected from Mennonite estates. All these pieces have been sold.

For the holidays we are offering free freight on any order of $25 or more at
Our thanks for all the great customers we have the pleasure of working with!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Christmas Tree Skirt Completed

The skirt was completed with an onion fringe in a gold/taupe color.
I created a label that has been attached to the back of the skirt.
 I used a large print rose gold pink floral upholstery fabric for the back of the skirt.
The skirt is under the tree and my Mother has chosen to not put gifts on top of the skirt!

Christmas Tree Skirt with Center Fabric

The blocks have been joined together. The circle of blocks were then laid on top of different gold fabrics. I chose an upholstery fabric with a diamond pattern.

Christmas tree skirt blocks

The tree skirt is made with  eight pieced blocks using basic seam treatments.
Since the blocks were pieced while travelling, I used muslin or assorted vintage cotton tea towels, taken from my Mother's "cuptowel drawer" at their cabin in New Mexico, for a backing fabric.  Scalamandre  thread was used for the seam stitches. The thread is a nice, heavy weight; heavier than pearl cotton and mimics the threads used in Victorian crazy quilts. I used a large-eye chenille needle and only  used several stitches such as Herringbone, Feather, and  Lazy Daisy Chain.   No beads would be added to this piece.
The great thing about crazy quilting is the melding of fabrics. Some of the fabric remnants are gold silk Scalamandre pieces, taken from bolts of fabric woven for the White House. Some of the pieces are men's tie pieces, and  Japanese brocades. Next to those fabric pieces would be inexpensive fabric sample swatches layered next to Paris Couture House fabric swatches, gathered in France.  I piece blocks quickly. I assemble an assortment of fabrics, and reduce the stack by 50%.  From that stack, the fabrics are chosen for the entire tree skirt. I piece by hand or machine, but prefer hand-piecing. To select colors for a block, takes about 10 minutes.

 Where I gather the fabrics, adds to the history of the piece.  This skirt was created for my Mother and she selected the gold color-way.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

International Quilt Festival Dinner in Houston, Texas

After a day at the show, Kathleen Glynn hosted a dinner for a group of us.
We had a wonderful evening.
Left to right front row~ Allie Aller, Hollis Chatelain, Kathleen Glynn, Mary Fisher, Vickie Brown, JoAnn and Judith Baker Montano
Back Row ~ Shirley Williams, Penny Morgan, Willa Fuller

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Fabric Collage

This is one of the fabric collage pieces that will appear in an upcoming November juried art show. In this piece I've used RibbonSmyth vintage fusible images, bits of our hand-dyed rayon vintage tape, vintage Mennonite lace doilies and lace from a RibbonSmyth lace grab bag.

RibbonSmyth's Vintage Hand-dyed rayon tape

Doesn't this look like a bowl of "Creative Fun"? Since it is Fall, I dyed a few thousand yards of rayon tape and rococo lace yesterday in coordinated colorways. The dye lots are kept small and when a color selection is sold out, the dye lot is not repeated.

Ireland, Kylemore Abbey Victorian Gardens

Entry into the Victorian Gardens, Kylemore Abbey, Ireland

Ireland Kylemore Abbey Gardner's Cottage

Gardner's Cottage in the Victorian Gardens at Kylemore Abbey

Ireland Kyelmore Abbey Victorian Plant Stand

Ireland does not receive cold weather. Very mild in September and flowers still blooming. Isn't this simply the best Victorian Plant Stand?

Ireland Kylmore Abbey

Kylemore Abbey - Once operated by the Benedictine Nuns, the beauty of the property~

Irish Landscape

The Patchwork landscapes - could never take enough photos of their beauty. Most plots had borders due to the rocky nature of the land.

Ireland Castle Carriage House

The Castle included a large carriage house, where the rest of our group stayed.
This is the entry way to the second floor.

Ireland Castle Entry with miniature horses

The castle came complete with three very sweet miniature ponies.
One was carrying a foal. While we were there, they were very well-fed and consumed large quantities of carrots, apples, blueberries and strawberries.

Ireland Castle Dining Hall

This is the dining room in the castle. It originally was used as the horse stable. The windows are narrow slits. Made large enough to position an arrow through the slit or for pouring boiling oil onto intruders.

Irish Castle Spider Web

Isn't this the grandest of all spider webs? This spider web measures approximately four feet by 6 feet across.
The web is in a window at the top of the room in the Great Room. I took the photo while standing in the Minstrel Bay, on the opposite wall.

Ireland Castle Great Room Sitting Area

Another Sitting Area in the Great Room

Ireland Castle Great Room

This was the perfect spot for stitching during the day. Settee next to the fireplace in the Great Room

Ireland Castle

Castle stairwell leading into our bedroom. Steep and uneven and if it rained, puddles to navigate.

Ireland Window Seat in Our Castle Bedroom

Doesn't this make you want to curl up with a good book? This is a window seat in our bedroom in the castle. Each floor had one bedroom. The castle was known as a round tower. Above this bedroom was the great room and above that room was the dungeon.

Ireland, County Clare, Castle Fergus

Castle Fergus
Known as Castle Fegus by the locals, this 600 year-old Castle in County Clare, Ireland was our home for six lucky travelers, for a week in September. Renamed Ballyhannon Castle when renovated 30 years ago by a family in the oil business in Houston, Texas.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Embellished Cigar Boxes

Our Blogger Winner is Anne Flowers!
Anne we have been waiting to receive your address, so we can ship that gorgeous
 2011 ArtBra Calendar to you!

Featured below is a collection of cigar boxes I designed using  our Fusible Vintage Images, silk ribbon, beads and polymer cabs that I make here at the studio. I lightly pad the lid with batting and then place the finished design, which is created on silk doupioni on top of the batting. I use a matching trim around the lid of the box.

I glue Vellux inside the lid. This allows for beading with the lid open and the beads will stay in place. The cigar boxes are deep enough to hold beads, stitching supplies, etc.,  but mostly they are used as display pieces in my friends studios.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Free Freight at RibbonSmyth this week!

Any order of $25 or more ships this week with Free Freight for all US and International shipments at Pictured is the Victorian Rose Gold Ribbon Sampler. These fibers just came in from the dye house and I love the richness of the colors.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

FiberFusion Embellished Collage Film Canister

Another collection here at the studio, are vintage Hollywood film canisters. They are the perfect container to fill with fabric/paper/emphemera/ribbon gifts and I use them to display ribbons and trims at trade shows. I also use them as sewing cases. I have a magnet sheet on the inside of the lid to hold small scissors and needles. The canisters are deep enough to hold fabrics and embellishments.

This film canister is embellished with FiberFusion.
What an easy method for making wet-felted fabric. Making FiberFusion is a workshop that I  teach and everyone loves the fabrics they make in class.

 A complete kit is  $12.95. All the fibers are hand-dyed here at the studio. For this piece I used shades of rust, moss green, and mustard yellow. Spread the fibers onto freezer paper, glossy side up. Drizzle water and textile medium onto the fibers. Sprinkle in gold leaf, small pieces of fabrics, lace, paper bits. Place the freezer paper sheet in the sun and let dry. In 30 minutes peel off the fabric from the freezer paper. This fabric also has gold metallic paint spritzed onto the fabric surface. Use the ragged edges of the FiberFusion as a design element. A needle glides through the fabric; so I took a few tucks with a needle to add dimension; added in a gathered 2" strip of velvet from our Velvet Assortment Pack, tacked that into place and then using our hand-dyed rayon tape, made a small gathered ribbon spray and tacked that to the FiberFusion. In one corner, I added a small gathered piece of metallic lace from one of our fabric packs. Glue the embellished piece of FiberFusion to the canister. Using E6000, I glued in old bits of jewelry and a brass finding. 30 minutes to create an attractive collage!

Friday, July 2, 2010

English Cottage Crazy Quilt Block - Beginner Basics

This is a Beginner Basics Crazy Quilt Block that I offer as a workshop and will be teaching next week. Making 35 kits took longer than creating the block! 

It's a perfect little project  for beginner silk ribbon enthusiasts. And this block is a breeze to piece. I use silk doupioni from the RibbonSmyth doupioni assortment packs. Give a seasonal block a bit of contrast by using apricot and plum fabrics together. Always a great combination and I don't often see the colors used together.

 Once the block is pieced, fuse the vintage cottage image into place. That's what I love about the RibbonSmyth fusible vintage images. Never a pucker and no time wasted stitching the image to the fabric.

A great way to use up that floss in your stash, make a tree! I've been teaching the "tree" technique for years and it's an enhancement to the cottage image by continuing the landscape. Add silk ribbon French knots to the foreground for dimension.

 Add a bit of RibbonSmyth leaf garland and sprinkle Silk French knots and gold beads among the garland. Did you know in New York the garland sells for $7.50 at  a popular trim store? We sell it for $1.75 a yard. You can embellish quite a few pieces with a yard of leaf garland.

Add a few more simple silk ribbon blooms and a glass butterfly for added dimension. The Czech luster glass butterflys are 6 pieces for 99 cents.

Turn this piece into a block for a wall-hanging and use a different cottage image for each block. The 9"x9" block will be a small cushion complete with fringe. A great shabby chic statement for a guest bed or a small love seat. I will add the finished cushion once I can make up my mind on which fringe to use!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Celebrate Your Muchness Finished ArtBra

"Celebrate Your Muchness" Completed
I believe this little project is finished. I painted spools with gold metallic paint and then wrapped each spool with metallic threads. If you check out Johnny Depp's costume, he had a row of spools going across the front of his vest. I could not find the vintage hat pins, I had in mind, so made hat pins using polymer clay and then painted the clay with gold metallic paint. I am a huge fan of  Pebeo Gold Metallic paint. Thanks to all of you for checking out the pics!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Celebrate Your Muchness~ Cheshire Cat ~ We are all Mad Here!

Another Progress Shot of my Alice In Wonderland ArtBra. I've added the Cheshire Cat and tacked on a silk charmeuse ribbon hatband. The silk strips were taken from a white blouse I found at a thrift store. I dyed the strips using RibbonSmyth Rainbow Dyes. Poured dye into a small bowl and then wet the silk strips. Removed the water, so the silk was damp, and then submerged the strips into the bowl. Quickly removed the silk as I knew the tint I desired should match the gold leather crown, and silk instantly "grabs" dye. Placed the strips onto a piece of wax paper to air-dry. The Rainbow dyes are super for dyeing silk in vintage color-ways.

Now the search for a copy-right free Cheshire cat image.  I printed different sizes until I had the right size that the bra would support.  I printed the cat image onto cotton poplin. Made a cat pattern out of black velvet and stitched the two pieces together. Then I filled the cat with poly-fil. Using a spool of Kreinik metallic black and brown braid, I added a blanket stitch around the cat body. Then I tacked the cat to the bra using black Nymo thread. Once I get the tulle netting stitched to the bra strap, additional stitches will be taken into the strap to support the cat. I'm mindful of the treatment the bras receive while they travel.

I had made the cat one night and left him sitting on a table by the couch. The next day we found the cat a few rooms away, on the floor in the sun room. Our guess is that Pearl, our little Maine Coon, felt the cat was a toy for her and had carried it into another room.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Celebrate Your Muchness Progress

Another Progress shot of an ArtBra that is taking too long to assemble! I do all of my design work late at night. This is an Alice in Wonderland ArtBra that will be unveiled at the Houston Quilt Show in November.
As I add additional steps to the progress on this little jewel; this shot features toadstools. The toadstool caps are made with lime green scraps harvested from a dress purchased at a thrift store. The cap stems are foam gathered from foam shoulder pads and covered in the same French ribbon I'm using for the fiddlehead ferns.  Will dye silk charmeuse for the Mad Hatter's Hat and the silk will go around the hat band. The ribbon ties will flow to the side of the bra. The Cheshire Cat will sit above the gold crown, on the "shoulder" of the ArtBra. Now to find an image a cat that I like. Tim Burton's Cheshire Cat is a bit too "toothy" for this bra.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

"My Father's Ties" Finished ArtBra

This is the finished ArtBra. A fun piece to create using four men's ties and a spool of Nymo!

My Father's Ties Button Collage and Silk Leaves

  1. This is a button collage with silk leaves. Fold the 2"x4" silk strip to form the leaf and tie off the bottom at the base of the leaf and trim.
  2. Burn the silk edges and then stitch the leaves beneath the Tie Rosettes.
  3. Another button collage shown beneath the silk leaves.

My Father's Ties Button Collage

Button Collage on the Left Cup of the bra.

My Father's Ties Progress

 I've made "ruffles" out of 2 inch tie strips and have started to create tie "rosettes" with button centers. 

Celbrate your Muchness Progress

Another shot of my Alice in Wonderland Bra, slowly coming together and the photo shoot is soon! I've begun to add fiddlehead ferns behind the Mad Hatter's hat. I've started making gathered red wire-edge ribbon flowers with clock face centers. More fiddle head ferns and ribbon flowers surrounding the hat. A Cheshire Cat will be stitched beneath the Red Queen's Gold Leather Crown. Spool Garland will be added somewhere!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Celebrate Your Muchness

Added a bit of white tulle netting around one side of the bra. On top of the tulle netting, a strand of opalescent pearls. The tulle ruffle gives a bit of definition. I've painted wood spools in metallic gold paint and wrapped each spool with red metallic threads. There will be spool strands attached to the bra perhaps. The other side of the bra will have a red tulle ruffle with a red sequin strand. Pretty simple so far. Now where to put that Cheshire Cat?
Roses and Sage blooming around our farm bell. We now have emerald green and blue hummingbirds to add to the magic.
This is Sadie Rose, my little 15 year-old Papillon. What a marvel to still have her in my life. To get her to sit still for this photo was indeed a feat. She kept wanting to run towards me. She is sitting among newly planted azaleas and sage. She is in front of a little metal bicycle filled with pansies. Her reward was a ride in the car!

Roses at the Farm

I always thought an old farm house needed rose bushes. But we had been told roses were time-consuming to maintain, needed certain soil and lots of attention. So I never attempted to raise roses.  Last year, when landscaping around the new addition to our farm-house, I finally found a goof-proof rose, perfect for my limited skills at gardening.

In amazement, the roses began blooming this year. I assumed the brutal winter had left her mark on our simple plantings. Even last December, with our first snow, we had roses blooming as the snow flakes covered the bushes.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Ringbearer Pillow

This is a Ringbearer Pillow I created using the RibbonSmyth Victorian Monogram Initial Rubber Stamps.
The 6" M initial was stamped onto white doupioni silk. The back of the cushion is a deep red moire silk.
I added four 18" 15mm double-sided silk streamers. These were tacked to each corner and could be removed after the wedding. The bows were simply added to hold the wedding bands in place. The pillow is edged with a gathered white cotton eyelet lace and a 4mm white pearl strand was tacked over the edge of the white eyelet.  The bride's colors were red and black, the colors of her college alma mater.

I first met her mother, Anita Adams White, while teaching in London. Anita is one of the most creative women I have ever met. Years ago we introduced the red-liner tape ( that now has a million different names) and glass micro beads to the creative industry. We sold kilos of beads and thousands of meters of red-liner tape at a trade show in Sacramento. No one had ever seen this product and our booths were packed.  These two items are still popular among rubber stampers and scrapbookers.

Anita is the niece of Ansel Adams. She would often tell people that we were sisters. If I'm with Anita, we are laughing. Her life story should be a "made for TV movie". It was a pleasure to create this cushion for her daughter.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Post Card Class for Omaha Retreat July 9-11

I wll be teaching a  full-day post card class Sunday, July 11th, at the Omaha Crazy Quilt Retreat. This post card is similar to the class project but will feature silk ribbon embroidery, a small dyed motif and a Victorian Lady fusible image. We will piece the block using three colors of doupioni silk fabric. To register for the Class - please contact Holly at  Need additional info please contact me at
Beginner Level

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Silk Ribbon Embroidery transfer pattern

This is a design I created for a wearable with the intention of having a spray of ribbon "flow" onto the collar.
Even though this pattern is 12 years old and my silk ribbon skills were "young", this beginner pattern would look great on a jacket. In cleaning out my office, it was fun to discover a notebook filled with projects I have created for manufacturers and magazines.

Bucilla silk ribbon embroidery patterns by Vickie Brown

These are some designs I created for Bucilla Corp. The designs are beginner basics and timeless!

Hankie Angel

Here are beginner projects I designed 12 years ago!
This is a very simple silk ribbon design created for a project I designed for QVC. The angel is made with two hankies. Since we are selling so many hankies at RibbonSmyth, thought finding these old projects might inspire. We brought in a railroad car of hankies from China. That's allot of handkerchiefs!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Heart-shape pillow with butterfly garland detail

I love, love adding three-dimensional pieces to the surface. This is a close-up of the little heart cushion I made using the vintage hanky assortment pack from RibbonSmyth. Something great about working  with vintage hankies. They are the staple for Shabby Chic aren't they? I used 5 small quarter pieces for the cq heart. What is great about the butterfly garland is that the butterflies are attached to shear wire-edge organza ribbon. This allows the butterflies to "flutter" among the design. Simply twist and curl the ribbon and tack to the surface ground among the little gathered rosetess. Add velvet leaves to the collage for a 3-D cushion.
This pillow has been made for a friend as a birthday gift. She enjoys vintage as much as I do and will appreciate the 1950's hanky cushion.

Hanky Heart Cushion

This is a small heart cushion made with vintage Hankie Pieces. I added several small rosettes made with 4" of  pink 1/2" ombre ribbon. I added some pink butterfly organza ribbon and finished the collage with pink variegated velvet leaves. I then added 4mm silk ribbon stitches over the seams. Then stitched some pink leaf garland into place and added 4mm silk ribbon French knots among the leaves. I took the same 1/2" pink ombre ribbon and twisted it to create a the  trim couched on top of the eyelet lace. The lace is a piece from our  RibbonSmyth Assorted Lace  Packages. The back of the cushion is covered in vintage raspberry silk velvet.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

RibbonSmyth Workshops this Summer

On Friday, I will be teaching a class on how to create your own beaded cuff. What a fun way to create a wearable art statement! We will be using men's ties for the base. Once the cuff has been created, we will then begin to embellish the cuff with a focal bead, wire mesh and a variety of bras charms and beads. The cuff will be finished with a bead picot edge. The cuff will not be finished in class. Full day - 10 AM to 5 PM Kits will be available.

RibbonSmyth Workshops

Join us in June or August for a week-end filled with techniques and wonderfully embellished projects. We will add more photos and details shortly. Friday through Sunday, Stephanie Novatski, will be teaching an abundance of techniques. We will make faux dichroic cabs, beaded wool beads and a "casket" box purse embellished with hand-dyed lace, metallic stitching all on fused construction paper used for fabric!

Featured is a simple cab that has been embellished with beads and a bits of wire.

Workshops will be featured at the RibbonSmyth Studio in Bucks County, Pennsylvania.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Wire-edge Ribbon Posy PostCard Tutorial

To welcome Spring, finally, after 5 blizzards, a nor'easter and having snow on the ground since December; I created this card for my friend, Deb Whyte.
I will add a message on the back of the card using one of my French Fusible Post Card Backs. Enjoy!

Available at Sign up for our newsletter at www.ribbonsmyth to receive sale notices and News updates

Fast-to-Fuse Post Card Blank, French Post Card Back

Nymo Beading Thread, Ribbon Needle Pack

Wire Edge ribbon - One yard in Tiger Rusty Olive and Buttercup

Tropicana Rayon Tape One yard

Velvet Leaves in Olive Gold

Doupioni Silk Assortment Pack


Assorted beads and crystals, one mother of pearl tiny belt buckle, two cotton balls, White tacky glue, tooth pick

1. Using Nymo beading thread baste the silk doupioni to the fast-2-fuse card blank.
2. Using 5" of Tiger Rose wire-edge ribbon, tie a knot in one end of the ribbon and gather one side of the ribbon edge using nymo beading thread. Pull to gather and securely tie off thread and cut. Wrap the gathered ribbon around the ribbon knot and tack onto the post card with Nymo thread.
3. Make two small gathered roses with the Buttercup and Tiger Rose wire-edge ribbon using a 5" length of each. Tack to the post card.
4. Make three pods using the Buttercup ribbon. Cut three 3" pieces. Stitch the ends together.
Gather the top edge with Nymo thread and pull to gather. Tie off securely. Stuff the "pod" with part of a cotton ball or fiberfil. Gather the bottom edge of the ribbon using Nymo, leaving thread in the needle and attached to the ribbon edge. Insert several stamens inside the pod. Pull the thread to gather and tie off.
5. Fold in half, 12" of the Tropicana rayon tape and tack to the postcard. Twist each piece of ribbon tightly until it begins to "curl". Tack the ribbon into place. Take the bottom tail of the ribbon and tack to one of the pods. Take the pod to the postcard. Repeat for another pod.
6.Thread 12" of rayon tape into the belt buckle and tack into place with Nymo thread.
7. Tack the third pod into place beneath the belt buckle.
8. Tack velvet leaves into place with Nymo thread.
9. Twist and curl the rayon ribbon tails and tack into place. Add assorted beads among the design.
10. For extra glitz, brush a bit of diluted white glue mixed with water, onto the edges of the velvet leaves and the edges of the wire-edge ribbon flowers. Spinkle a bit of our German White Gold Glitter onto the leaves and ribbon. Tap off the excess glitter onto a piece of paper and pour glitter back into the container.
11. Trim the edges of the fabric to 4"x6". Write a message on the French postcard back using a permanent brown marker. Fuse the French post card back to the back of the fast-2-fuse. Zig zag with the machine around the card edge or blanket stitch around the card-edge.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Red Rocks, Boynton Canyon, Enchantment

I don't know anyone that is not mesmerized by the Red Rocks in Sedona. The rocks "change" through-out the day as the light shifts. There are not words to describe the beauty. As I edit my photographs, they will be loaded onto the website at in a section of contemporary images that have been scanned onto fabric waiting to be embellished with 3-D elements.

Sedona Film Festival Party

Off to the Sedona Film Festival Party! What a special group of women and how lucky was I to spend a bit of time with them. Each of them added extra magic to a fabulous trip.
Left to Right - VAB, Shirley Williams, Mary Fisher, Dawn Frantangelo and Anne Brawley-Emerson.
Please visit Mary's website at and her Etsy site ~ "Mary Fisher" to purchase Mary's books, her beautiful jewelry designs, her hand-made paper assortment packs, which will add joy to your life and to the women in Zambia. Mary reminds us, that we all are related.
Anne has created the most amazing collage card set. Each card offers meaning and is the perfect way to start your day with mindfulness. In another post I will show a collection of Anne's cards and her website. You will want a deck!

Boynton Canyon, Sedona, Arizona

Again using watercolor pencils and working quickly, no more than 30 minutes on a sketch, I tried to capture a dry rock bed in Boynton Canyon. Now I want to take this image, scan onto fabric and lay layers of fabric over the stones using dyed organza and adding fibers for the branches in the background; with attention being given to padding beneath fabric for the foreground.