Monday, March 7, 2011

Wendy Week Day 2: An Interview with Wendy (Plus another giveaway!)


Welcome to Day 2 of Wendy Week here at the Sew Beautiful blog! With the release of designer Wendy Schoen’s new book Mastering Shadow Work Embroidery, we’re honoring the renowned artist and teacher with a week of special promotions and giveaways. Join us on the blog every day this week for exclusive book previews, an interview with Wendy, and our awesome giveaway contests - a different one each day!

Today we are giving away 2 copies of Wendy Schoen's Machine Embroidery Collection I, the companion CD to Mastering Shadow Work Embroidery! Details follow the interview below.

So who exactly is Wendy? Allow us to introduce you! Wendy Schoen is a native New Orleanian who resides there with her husband, William, and their son, Evan who is in his 4th year of college. A regular contributor to Sew Beautiful Magazine, Wendy teaches at the Martha Pullen School of Art Fashion and hosts the hand embroidery segments on Martha’s Sewing Room. Through her company, Wendy Schoen Design, Wendy has published five books on the subject of fine embroidery and sewing. She has published over 30 patterns marketed under the name, Petite PochĂ©, of which she is the owner, and countless embroidery designs and kits. Her latest business venture in conjunction with MPC includes the production of three hand embroidery DVDs, Shadow Work Embroidery, Basic Embroidery and Embroidery II, and several machine embroidery disks, featuring Wendy’s original embroidery designs in digital format.

We're thrilled to bring you an exclusive interview with Wendy this week as we celebrate the release of her new book and machine embroidery CD. Enjoy!

SB: Wendy, we are proud and excited to be celebrating the release of your new book, Mastering Shadow Work Embroidery. Thanks so much for taking the time to answer some of our questions! Let's start out with the basics; tell us a little bit about yourself.
Wendy:
Thank you so much for this opportunity. I have been designing as long as I can remember. I dressed my dolls in custom made outfits when I was a small child and decorated my blue jeans when I was a teenager. I designed and painted backdrops for a school play in the 6th Grade. I became an art director for a weekly newspaper when I was just 17 and worked in the graphic industry until I began my sewing business in January 1994.


SB: How long have you been sewing? Teaching sewing?
Wendy: I taught myself to sew when I was 28 years old. One day I decided it was something I wanted to do, and loving clothes as I do, it came naturally. I remember phoning my mother to tell her my decision to learn to sew. I asked if there was anything I needed to know and her advice was to follow the pattern instructions verbatim without skipping any steps. That was terrific advice, don't you think? I then asked what a selvage was, which tells you how little I knew about the craft. I loved it instantly. I have been teaching since 1994 and one of my first jobs was at the Martha Pullen School of Art Fashion in Huntsville.

SB: Tell us how your business Wendy Schoen Design began and has grown to what it is today.
Wendy: I was a free lance graphic designer when I gave birth to my son, Evan in 1989. The schedule was killing me and taking precious time away from my baby. Because sewing was such a joy to me, I became disgruntled towards my job. When Evan turned 2, I attended the Martha Pullen School for the first time. I remember sitting in the lobby of the hotel thinking there must be a way for me to earn a living in the sewing industry. That's when I decided to write a book, which began my career in sewing. Five books, over 30 patterns, embroidery disks and dvds later, I managed to live my dream.

SB: You are an extremely busy woman, from running your own online store to designing patterns, managing an embroidery club, teaching classes all over, and of course, writing books and creating beautiful pieces! How do you stay on top of it all?
Wendy: Truthfully, I am a very motivated person and deadline oriented. I try to focus on the task at hand, and not think of all the other things going on until the task is completed. I attribute my success to my dear husband, Billy who literally bankrolled my business and my sister, Penny who continues to manage my business. Without them, I don't think I would be a success at all.

SB: From where would you say you get your inspiration for your sewing projects and designs?
Wendy: I never run out of ideas; everything inspires me. I can literally wake up in the morning with an idea or inspiration. I have always had a sixth sense of what color will be in vogue and the ability to envision a project to completion even before it has been started. Some of my best ideas come in the shower, when all I can do is think. I need complete quiet sometimes to rejuvenate and other times I can see beauty in the most humble objects.

SB: You have worked with Martha Pullen Company and Sew Beautiful magazine for many years. Tell us how that relationship formed and continues to develop.
Wendy: I think my marketing background helped me tremendously in promoting my business. I made an appointment with Amelia Johanson, who was editor of Sew Beautiful at the time, to show her my garment samples. She was interested in showing my designs in the magazine and scheduled articles immediately, which was quite lucky for me. It wasn't long after that I was teaching preday classes at the School of Art Fashion.

SB: Your new book Mastering Shadow Work Embroidery is now available. Not only are the projects and designs gorgeous, but your detailed instructions make this a must-have for any embroiderer. This book is the culmination of many years of planning and love; how did you make your way from inspiration to publication?
Wendy: This book has been long in coming. It probably would have been published a long time ago, but for the fact I was trying to make the transition from offset printing to digital and wasn't remotely familiar with the new design programs. The new technology intimidated me so much, I put off production for years. Luckily, Sew Beautiful approached me to publish and the project took off immediately.

SB: The book includes everything from an overview of shadow work embroidery to instruction for stitching different shapes, tips and techniques, a number of sweet designs, and two adorable patterns. What is your favorite part of your new book?
Wendy: Having the step-by-step directions for stitching the designs is invaluable. It has been my dream to finally have my original shadow work techniques in print. The techniques are uniquely mine and I was anxious to share the idea with everyone.

SB: Also available as companions to Mastering Shadow Work Embroidery are a machine embroidery CD, Wendy Schoen's Machine Embroidery Collection I, and an upcoming pattern. Tell us a little bit about these "extras".
Wendy: Not everyone has the time or inclination to hand embroider so it is my great pleasure to "introduce" my designs to machine embroidery enthusiasts. The machine stitch-outs have surpassed my expectations and look as lovely as the hand counterparts. The companion patterns are to be released next month and we are quite excited to offer them in a wide array of sizes. I'm very proud of them.


SB: What are some of your favorite go-to sewing tools?
Wendy: I am asked this question quite often, and I don't think I would want to be without a good quality embroidery hoop. Shadow work requires the fabric to be drum tight in the hoop. Those made by Clover and Susan Bates are the best on the market because of the inner rim which grips the fabric well and never slips. Of course, my embroidery needles are the best and I highly recommend them. Many say they are marvelous and I agree.

SB: What about some of your favorite sewing resources (publications, websites, etc.)?
Wendy: I don't really have a lot of time to view websites or blogs, but I do enjoy eBay every day. I love hunting for antique garments and patterns for inspiration or simply to collect. I also scour the boards for thimbles and stilettos, which I have been collecting for years and have too many to count. I actually use them, so I don't think it frivolous. I also keep my eye out for large lots of threads and trims to add to my ever growing collection. My antique books have been invaluable to my design business. I absolutely love reading and studying the old techniques to determine how they can be incorporated into my designs and lessons.

SB: You are a great inspiration for so many sewers. Who are YOUR sewing role models?
Wendy: Without hesitation, I would say Margaret Boyles, Judith Dobson, and Margaret Pierce are the embroiderers whom I admire most. And, of course, Wendy Lee Ragan, who was the best shadow work designer in the industry. Helen Poprick, my Aunt "Red" sewed beautifully and the summers of my childhood were spent watching her diligently at work. I'm certain she had a huge influence on my attention to detail. My mother sewed when we were babies, but her ability to make a silk purse from a sow's ear during my formative years was the catalyst of my creativity.

SB: What would your advice be for a true beginner of fine sewing or shadow work embroidery?
Wendy: Keep working on your embroidery, as it improves with each project. I can give you the tools to learn the techniques, but only you can put the miles on the fabric to further your skills.

SB: Any last words of advice for our readers?
Wendy: Handwork has been around for thousands of years. It has passed the test of time and is still as important an art form today as it was in ancient times. Let's keep it alive for many more generations to come.

SB: Wendy, thank you so much for sharing your stories, advice and talent with us. You are a true source of inspiration for all of us!
TODAY'S GIVEAWAY
Today we are giving away 2 copies of
Wendy Schoen's Machine Embroidery Collection I, the companion CD to Mastering Shadow Work Embroidery! To enter the contest, simply leave a comment on this blog post below. Be sure you include an email address or contact information so that we can contact you if you're a winner. Entries will remain open through the rest of Wendy Week and the winners will be drawn at random and announced next Monday, March 14, 2011.


If you are a Sew Beautiful fan, make sure you've "liked" our Facebook page and follow us on Twitter to keep up with Wendy Week events (and more). Don't forget that Martha Pullen Company is also on Facebook and Twitter – you definitely don't want to miss out on this week's special deals. While all Wendy Schoen merchandise is on sale in our webstore for 20% off all week, MPC will be featuring additional, deeper daily discounts on certain Wendy Schoen products!

99 comments:

  1. What a great give-a-way! I love it!
    the3salas@comcast.net

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  2. Ooh, I can't wait to own something by Wendy!
    Diayoung@sbcglobal.net

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  3. how wonderful; a dream come true for someone who is so gifted in creating. Really enjoyed reading the interview and brought back alot of my own memories of dreams when I was young and did not have the opportunity to follow thru. I am now in the process of fulfilling my dream years later, it is never too late; thank you, Wendy for sharing, it provides so much inspiration for others and enjoy so much your work of art! from faye (hughfaye10@msn.com)

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  4. I have truly enjoyed reading all about Wendy and her adventures.Keep the great work coming. I truly enjoy seeing all this beautiful handiwork and my mind is working on which ideas I can put into practice.(ctedwards@sympatico.ca)
    Cheryl Edwards
    29 clairmont St.,
    Thorld,Ontario
    Canada L2V1R4

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  5. Thank you so much for the inspiration!

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  6. I can truly say this is one talented lady....so many beautiful creations and a life full of adventures in embroidery.....
    Thanks for the chance to get to know just a bit of her background.....
    Deloris Edwards
    Success@hughes.net

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  7. Great giveaway! I enjoyed reading about Wendy and love the pictures. Very inspiring.
    Melinda
    zani_4@yahoo.com

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  8. I have four little nieces and this would be used for sure! =)
    katy . l . bloom (AT) gmail . com

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  9. Good info. Thanks.
    I love the gentle look of SE.

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  10. I'm loving these articles on Wendy's embroidery! And I'd love a book too...

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  11. Such beautiful work. I am in awe.
    senavista@yahoo.com

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  12. Enjoyed reading about Wendy's personal life. She is indeed a very talented woman, and I admire her.
    acarp [at] swbell [dot] net

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  13. Wendy, New Orleans is proud of you! And I'd love to win your book or designs. Happy Mardi Gras!
    kguillot@gmail.com

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  14. I agree. Let's keep hand work alive. jodychouinard@aol.com

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  15. Wonderful interview! Wendy is so inspiring!
    alicat314@yahoo.com

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  16. Great giveaway. Hope to win.
    janis85@bellsouth.net

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  17. Thanks for the opportunity! I would love to win this.
    simplydressedboutique@gmail.com

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  18. Oh I have two little granddaughters that I sew for and I can see so many possibilities for summer outfits using this program! These are beautiful designs and a talented mind that created them.

    drummers2@yahoo.com

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  19. Great Interview!

    Karen
    ka91955@aol.com

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  20. I love this stuff. Please put me in this wonderful drawing.
    Pam
    p_hodnett@yahoo.com

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  21. It took me back to Wendy's class at SOAF July 2009! I could hear her speaking and inspiring me! The new book is WONDERFUL!

    Myra
    chestnutstreetdesigns@verizon.net

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  22. This is a wonderful interview, and Wendy is so very talented. I'd love to have this collection.
    thomisonc1@cox.net

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  23. What I love most about Wendy's book is the color photos and layout of all the instructions. It makes it so easy to follow and learn the right way to do the stitch. thread47@hotmail.com

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  24. Thanks for the interview. You learn something new everytime. jbroyles01@earthlink.net

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  25. LOVE, LOVE THIS. ENJOY READING HER BOOKS. THE HANDIWORK IS BEAUTIFUL. GIVES MY MANY IDEAS.

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  26. The interview was great...Wendy makes learning fun.
    farmerbobswife@wildblue.net

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  27. Loved the interview and reading more about Wendy and her beautiful work.
    b.kensinger@hotmail.com

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  28. I loved reading your story. You are right about practice makes perfect. My first project took awhile, but my second went faster and looked so much neater. I am hooked. Sallie
    Sallienold@gmail.com

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  29. Sew Beautiful- I love this format of getting to know the designers. Good job! Sallie in SC
    Sallienold@gmail.com

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  30. I've been an admirer of Wendy's since my hand first held a needle and thread!

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  31. I made a bassinet/buggy cover from Sew Beautiful using Shadow Work and it turned out wonderful. Sharon H. monie_57@yahoo.com

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  32. Love, love, LOVE everything Wendy does!

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  33. What a great giveaway. I love all of Wendy's designs.Thank you.
    designsmck@gmail.com

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  34. Wendy, you nailed this one. What an inspirational book/video. I need this one for sewing reference library. Good job Wendy. Dianne - tinistitches@aol.com

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  35. Is there anyone but Wendy whose thoughts would leap from "There must be a way I could make a living in the sewing industry." to "I will write a book."?

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  36. Beautiful easy-to-follow patterns, wonderful hand embroidery designs, everything Wendy does is perfect for those of us with passion for sewing, embroidery and creativiy.

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  37. Everything Wendy does is perfection! This is great learning more about her.

    Karen
    sew mommy @windstream.net

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  38. Her handwork is beautiful! I must practice more!!!
    Nan Nanasewz@yahoo.com

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  39. these designs are just amazing, I look forward to finding out more about them and maybe getting to sew some out soon too.

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  40. I once sewed a baby bonnet made entirely of lace strips. The back was hand shadow work done on organza. I can't wait to order Wendy's new book or or see her shadow work designs. plfsews@gmail.com

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  41. What beautiful embroidery. I want to learn how to do this.
    Nancy L. spiceladyorg@sbcglobal.net

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  42. Wendy's work is truly an inspiration to all of us! She explains how to do hand embroidery step by step & certainly encourages us to give it a try! Beautiful work, Wendy; thanks for getting this new book into print
    sewsusan2001@yahoo.com

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  43. What a super talent - simply beautiful and inspiring! -- Martha / jimnems2@gmail.com

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  44. The machine embroidery sounds awesome! I already love the book, so I am sure I will love the machine embroidery designs!

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  45. Great interview!!! It was fun reading about Wendy's history!

    sewblessed at mchsi dot com

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  46. What a great giveaway!
    Thanks!
    ~Chelsea

    michal_c1984@hotmail.com

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  47. Wendy's attention to detail is what makes her stand out! I would love to have her book.
    k_ely@bellsouth.net

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  48. It's nice to hear of someone who has become so successful in their efforts but didn't start at 5 years old. Inspiration for those who are past their teen years!
    Betty Janney
    tripjanney@centurytel.net

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  49. I love everything Wendy does. I've been a fan for years. linda12452@yahoo.com

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  50. Such clear instructions! On YouTube, the TV show or in print, Wendy "Shines"!
    Denis Brock
    denisbrock@gmail.com

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  51. I love to watch Wendy on Martha's Sewing Room. Her work is beautiful. I would love to win this great package.
    jewagner01@yahoo.com

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  52. I LOVE shadow embroidery and have already made some of Wendy's designs from old Sew Beautifuls.Would love to win
    Susan VH gmasuz1215 at yahoo dot com

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  53. It is wonderful to ready Wendy's story!

    Laurie
    l@jandle.com

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  54. Thank you for sharing the close-ups of the embroidery. They are just beautiful. With eyesight that is not so good, the machine embroidery really appeals to me!

    Donna
    3dears at gmail dot com

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  55. Great blog article! Loved the pictures too!
    Wendy
    wendy@n7gtj.com

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  56. Love your work, and it was fun to hear how you learned. It's inspiring.

    Jennifer
    smith8two@msn.com

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  57. Would love to win one of these great giveaways!!!!!!!
    bmckay3tee@cableone.net

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  58. What a great giveaway! Wendy's new book has kind of renewed my interest in doing hand embroidery. Interestingly, my 26 yr. old daughter is much better at embroidery than I am, and I taught her! So I think I need to brush up my skills.

    Stephanie
    Sewin_Mom@verizon.net

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  59. Thank you for the interview with Wendy. She is "sew" talented and such a beautiful lady!!

    Michelle
    michelle@campnc.com

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  60. I'm lovin Wendy Schoen designs!
    lindakholder@yahoo.com

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  61. Thanks for sharing all of your wonderful information about yourself, how you got to be so 'famous' and especially the wonderful embroidery you do. You're so talented. I want to learn more about shadow embroidery but didn't have someone to ask or know who to show me. So instead of embroidering those flowers on the pretty 'Jane' dress I used my embroidery machine. Yes, I took the easy way out. But I finished the dress and it looks so pretty. I always wished I could do embroidery like you. You are right. The more embroidery you do the more experienced you'll get. I prefer to watch someone do the embroidery. That's where your book and DVD would come in so handy. To win that giveaway would just be soooo wonderful and generous. Even if I don't win I will consider buying it when I get a chance. Thanks Sandy. Mrss.bryan@yahoo.com

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  62. Me me! I want to win! This CD looks awesome!

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  63. Oops, forgot my email: giftsandoccupations at yahoo dot com

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  64. Love Wendy's work. Would love to win. dgbrock@bellsouth.net

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  65. This is fun!! Sure wish there was a way to hide our email address, though. Thanks for the give aways. midnightsewin@yahoo.com
    Kelly

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  66. awesome work can't wait to get my copy of the book.

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  67. Wendy is such a talented designer/embroiderer!
    niener987@comcast.net

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  68. Enjoyed reading the interview. What a talented person Wendy is. bharms@centurytel.net

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  69. I've done shadow embroidery by hand and I'd love to try it by machine. Diana dilarbo49@yahoo.com

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  70. Love Wendy's work!
    gasew7@gmail.com

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  71. awesome,Wendy is such a talented girl,it'll lovely to own something of hers,
    makteh59@gmail.com

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  72. Wendy is an inspiration to me. I've tried several times to do shadow work but it never looks like her's. john.armstrong@ns.sympatico.ca

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  73. Everything Wendy creates is beautiful! She's one very talented lady!

    Jackie
    3young@bellsouth.net

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  74. Wendy is very talented!

    cynypr-sews@yahoo.com

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  75. I'm just learning machine embroidery and like to make things for baby showers. This would be great.

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  76. Wonderful interview, thank you!
    tksimons@bellsouth.net

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  77. I love shadow work embroidery. What a great gift.

    daycdoo@bellsouth.net

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  78. I'm more of a a handwork kind of girl, but I bet I could put this giveaway to good use, lol!
    rcedson@embarqmail.com

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  79. What a treasure. Anyone would love to have this project book to inspire their creative children designs. Thank you for taking the time to have this published. A great give-away!
    (ginger.consford@gmail.com)

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  80. I would love to win this give-away. I am fairly new to the world of embroidery and heirloom sewing. I am still building my library of reference and this would be a wonderful addition.
    Laurie Guidry
    ljg923@msn.com

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  81. Wendy is such a patient teacher. She makes me believe I can learn this!

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  82. Thank you, Wendy, for sharing your talent and designs with all of us. Carol
    bobbygable@bellsouth.net

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  83. Love Wendy's work. Have taken several classes with her - great teacher. Thanks for a chance to win.
    ilvtoys(at)aol(dot)com

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  84. Wendy has an amazing gift. I am grateful that she shares her talent and passion. I have always loved hand embroidery.
    Sharon
    sjmailbox2009-disp@yahoo.com

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  85. I'm not sure how I have missed this all week. Just got through reading to get all caught up. Thank you so much for the great giveaways. I would love to win this. djuanahamner@yahoo.com

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  86. What a great giveaway!

    rmangerer@verizon.net

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  87. What a stunning collection! Wendy is great!

    rmangerer@verizon.net

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  88. Hand embroidery is fun but machine fits my lifestyle at the moment.
    rltejkl@msn.com

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  89. I love both--hand and machine!
    Kathryn
    kcashner@hotmail.com

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  90. I love any Wendy but have gotten a bit rusty. dkerbes@comcast.net

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  91. I love both machine and hand embroidery, sometimes combining the two.
    stevea3481 at aol dot com

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  92. Haven't done this in years. You have inspired me to try it again for my granddaughters.
    davidnsharon@juno.com

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  93. Great giveaway. WOuld love to win.
    susan.byerly@comcast.net

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  94. oh my goodness I LOVE IT lisa

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  95. I am a Wendy addict! I have nearly all of her patterns and am a devoted Embroidery Club member. I love hand embroidery, but these designs translate so well to machine embroidery. I would love to have the cd to use when I don't have the time to do the embroidery by hand.

    amgsvg@swbell.net

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  96. I hope I win this! Just have to use put these designs on my girls dresses.The little one would love it. .MRSS.BRYAN@YAHOO.COM

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  97. Wendy is amazing.
    carol-groebe@kc.rr.com

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