Monday, September 19, 2016

Proceed With Caution

It started off  with a sunrise bike ride on Wednesday morning, Sept 14th. And from there I honesty can't remember what I did until 1:30 PM - but after that moment in time I have a very vivid memory....

Proceed with caution  - this is a safety reminder .... Sewing machines are power tools with thread and should be treated with respect..
My Janome is red but looks  just like this

Pixxie, my Professional Quilt Model, approves 
I was piecing a customer t-shirt quilt, a king-size with 42 blocks! I like to assemble my quilt by sewing columns instead of rows, doing two columns at a time. I had made progress the night before having pieced the first double column and posting my accomplishment on social media. On Weds I was back at the machine having  had just completed the next set of columns  and starting to join the blocks on the final two when things got a little out of whack....

As a back story I have had problems with my foot pedal sliding around on the vinyl tile flooring....so recently I bought a foot pedal anti-slide do-hickey at a local Quilt Show...well, the thing-a-ma-jaggy was staying put in one place on the floor but my foot pedal was still sliding on top of it....

I was talking to my youngest son (28) while piecing....that in and of it's self was not a distraction - I'm not know to be silent very often and I do go on a lot of retreats and sew while talking....if fact, I'm rather a smokin' needle as I sew really fast and accomplish a lot when sewing with friends AND TALKING....No, the problem came when I reached down to adjust that run away foot pedal!

Its like texting when driving, or reaching over to retrieve something that has fallen out of the passenger seat...you take your eyes off the road for a split second and I can guarantee you will swerve.....apparently when I reached down to adjust the foot pedal I must have "accelerated" and I ran over my finger! Honestly I don't remember any pain, maybe just a tad like knocking your shin against a cabinet - you know you hit something but you don't know what or how.

I look over at my finger and said "@%*! I think I just sewed my finger!" As I looked at it there was a broken part of the needle sticking out of the top of my finger. I reached to pull it out and found that it was actually broken at the top of where it entered...

We interrupt this tale for a very important announcement. There was no blood on the quilt - I'm a professional ya'know!

Actually, there was no blood at all - it was a puncture wound going straight through my nail and into my finger. Not near as nauseating as it sounds, trust me. And not even painful at that time. I turned my finger over and saw a little "hill-rise" where the end of the needle was trying to come out the other end. My first thoughts was to squeeze my skin and hope it would pop out like a splinter perhaps needing to use a pair of pliers to pull it out....then I came to my senses, figuring I'd probably die from an infection or something tragic like that, so I asked my son to drive me to an ER...

This is the photo taken during that ride - you can see where I didn't bleed at all. Amazing isn't it?

On the way to the ER

So we head towards one of those urgent care ER places....had been there back in 2013 when I had a run in with a mandolin and lost part of my right hand pinkie

Side story - this is why they call me the Quilt Rambler because I do tend to ramble on with back stories...and yes, I'm hard on my hands - my family doesn't trust me with sharp objects - previously  in 2004 I had  a serious accident with a rotary blade -  if you look closely in the photo you will see where part of my index finger on the right is missing - but hey, I'm only at 30% of damaging my fingers ....

Back to my story ....we pulled up to the strip center where the ER USED TO BE!!!! Where was it?!

I think that was my first panic...smart phone  to the rescue - they had moved about a mile away! Onward!

Do you know how embarrassing it is to admit that you are a "professional" sewer/quilter with a sewing machine needle lodged in your finger? I had to actually explain the anatomy of a needle and draw out what part was stuck...as well as explain that it was a titanium coated needle with two parts left at home and the sharp pointed part inside my finger. I was surprised they didn't take x-rays. I told them of my idea of just pulling it out from the other side and that seemed to make sense to them so my finger was numb and they started digging...with permission to make a cut in my flesh...this was the first I had bleed...and they couldn't seem to dislodge the needle...apparently it was in the bone...so the decision was made to send me to a hand surgeon...my info was faxed to an office near by but those doctors were in surgery and the ER then tried to find another doctor that would see me...by then hours had gone by...

I have to interject that during this entire time I had people praying for me and God was answering those prayers, as I was calm, clear headed, and without pain.

God was also "going before me" and preparing the way, and blessing me along the way.

The ER informed me that they weren't going to charge me since they could do nothing to help me. What a blessing!

I neglected to mention that my son and husband had traded places with each other at the ER so my husband was able to drive me to see the hand surgeon. I was so grateful that he worked me in near the close of business.  He examined my finger and sent me for x-rays...after viewing them  he said that he could probably clean it up in the office but would rather do surgery to make sure everything was done properly so I wouldn't end up with a bone infection...I figured he was the professional so I would let him decide how he wanted to do his job. I was sent home with antibiotics and pain medicine with an early appointment the next morning at the hospital.


When I got home I wanted to see the leftover parts of the needle.

I don't know if Superior Threads would consider this a positive endorsement or not - but this is a testimony on how strong their needles are. Had this not be titanium coated it's very likely that it would have shattered or splintered into small parts potentially causing more damage....as I didn't get to see the x-ray I didn't know if the tip was intact but I knew it was lodged in my bone.

Again, I have to give God the glory as I was not experiencing any pain! However, I didn't sleep well awaiting surgery the next morning. It had been about 35 years since I'd had my one and only surgery of having my wisdom teeth removed.  I honestly didn't know what to expect.

God minsters to me a lot through music and of course reminders of verses I've committed to memory. Thursday morning we had to be there at 0600 knowing that surgery would be after 1000 as the doctor was squeezing me in after two previously schedule major hand surgeries. It would be a long wait, but again I was grateful that he had agreed to take me on as a patient.  After lots of paperwork I found myself getting a little nervous in the waiting room. I had brought my iPod and this song ministered to me.


"Strong Enough" by Matthew West

You must
You must think I'm strong
To give me what I'm going through
Well, forgive me
Forgive me if I'm wrong
But this looks like more than I can do
On my own
I know I'm not strong enough to be
everything that I'm supposed to be
I give up
I'm not strong enough
Hands of mercy won't you cover me
Lord right now I'm asking you to be
Strong enough
Strong enough
For the both of us
Well, maybe
Maybe that's the point
To reach the point of giving up
Cause when I'm finally
Finally at rock bottom
Well, that's when I start looking up
And reaching out
I know I'm not strong enough to be
Everything that I'm supposed to be
I give up
I'm not strong enough
Hands of mercy won't you cover me
Lord right now I'm asking you to be
Strong enough
Strong enough
Cause I'm broken
Down to nothing
But I'm still holding on to the one thing
You are God
and you are strong
When I am weak
I can do all things
Through Christ who gives me strength
And I don't have to be
Strong enough
Strong enough
I can do all things
Through Christ who gives me strength
And I don't have to be
Strong enough


While listening to this song the nervous twitch in my leg calmed as did my soul. I was in God's hands, He had provided a hand surgeon to take care of my hand! I could breath again.

Moments later I was transferred to pre-op, so much better to wait there stretched out in a bed in those oh-so-fashionable hospital gowns than in a crowded waiting room! I was visited often by nurses and the anthologists telling me what would be happening. It was then that I learned my bone was fractured...and I learned that instead of general  anaesthesia they were going to use a Bier Block (pronounced beer) which would shorten my recovery time and allow me to go home sooner! You should google this - I found it very interesting!

The worst part about this whole ordeal was the IV's. I have very small veins and it is a  minimum of two pricks to find the vein. Thankfully they numb the area before attempting...needless to say 4 days post surgery these are the only areas of discomfort. Did make it hard to grip the steering wheel driving myself to church on Sunday...Sigh...

So I'm told the surgery was only about 10 minutes long...he did remove a bone fragment....I'm still waiting to see the actual x-rays and hope to be able to view it on my follow-up visit next week. In the meantime I've got a splint and a honkin' bandage that I'm tempted to draw a smily face on or at least a quilting feather design (grin). I have continued to be pain free and am praising God for that! So many have said they were praying for me and believe me, I like the way that makes me feel!


I've also done a little research on others who have sewn through their fingers - most are on the fleshy side and it passes straight through or they are able to remove with pliers...and from their descriptions it must have been excruciating. I don't know why mine hasn't hurt - maybe because it hit bone? I don't know. But I looked up the anatomy of a finger and found it fascinating. I am so hopeful that I will get to see my x-rays of "what used to be there".

Some would assume that this is a common occurrence among sewing machine operators, but I beg to differ! It was an accident, if it had been done on purpose it would be sad indeed, but accidents do happen no matter what your profession.

OH! I almost forgot...when I was joking around prior to surgery with my nurses and doctors I told them to watch for the thread and tell me if it was still in the eye of the needle (grin).  After surgery they presented me with the needle point in a little jar as a souvenir and confirmed there was thread!


All parts of the needle are accounted for

I came home and decided it was TV and bon bons for me...actually TV and dark chocolate (grin). I don't remember much of Friday...did manage to get a little quilting in on Saturday by finishing the piecing of the t-shirt quilt and now have it on the longarm frame to quilt...after quilting a little baby quilt too..I think I was an over achiever and found myself napping on the couch after worship on Sunday and finishing off the evening with more TV  - not my usual that's for sure - I really don't like just laying around...



So the moral of this story dear friends is  don't forget that your sewing machine is a power tool not a toy! We get so comfortable with things that seem routine and forget to respect the seriousness of what we are doing - whether it be driving, sewing, or even preparing meals. One friend at church liken my story to sin - that we get numb to the sin around us and forget to be cautious, don't always flee temptation and then end up hurt! But isn't it a wondrous thing that God is always there to rescue and restore us!

I'm thinking I need to get back to the basics!
...this is a sewing machine...it uses very very sharp needles....

Thanks for listening! karen

























Sunday, June 5, 2016

Sunday Sewing - Move over Vera!

Time to update
I have a passion for organizer bags - some would say an obsession.  Years ago I broke down and purchased several bags from Vera Bradley. I have always loved and admired her design and quality construction, but there really wasn't a print that called my name...until Sierra Sunset...I don't even remember what year that was, but man oh man did I have an obsession! I had Sierra Sunset purses (yes plural) Sierra Sunset tote bags, Sierra Sunset insulated lunch bag, Sierra Sunset travel bag, Sierra Sunset duffle bag, Sierra Sunset Hanging Cosmetic bag, Sierra Sunset wallet, Sierra Sunset little bags to go inside bags....Need I go on... I loved/love the Sierra Sunset pattern. I even purchased the napkins and make a pillow out of them, and I have the apron, and the plastic cups....when I say obsession I do mean obsession. 

I also have this deep down desire to make my own bags....I have been "collecting" bag patterns for several years...have attempted a few purses and such, some were definitely "homemade" vs "handmade" but I am getting better. I'm not making them to sell (don't worry your pretty little head Miss Vera I will never be a competitor) I just make them for my own pleasure. A few I might give a way...a few get donated to the thrift shop (I figure a sweet young girl would be thrilled with them and not be hypercritical with the construction or the fabric choice).  But mainly I just like the challenge of making them and using them.

Recently one of my favorite designers, ByAnnie.com  released a brand new design called Zip It Up! and I was chomping a the bit to get my hands on this pattern.  It arrived in my mailbox yesterday!!!

I didn't take "in process" photos because Annie does a great job of having clear and precise directions, not to mention tutorials and fabulous Craftsy classes...Instead I'm going to share with you my photos and give you a little behind the scenes commentary of "what was she thinking?"....

Small Zip It Up Case to fit iPad Mini


I love my Mini - I loved it so much during my obsession year with Vera and Sierra Sunset I was thrilled to purchase a sleeve to house my iPad when I traveled. I have a nice "store-bought" cover that folds over to cover the screen when not in use. Annie's pattern has two sizes, a small and a large, the small is for the iPad Mini and the larger one is designed to fit the regular size iPad.  Well, I like to cram a lot into my bags and I had this one spiral notebook with a cute little owl on it that I wanted to go into the interior pockets but alas, it's measurements were the same as the product description's finished measurements...Design change - or I think as they call it these days, a design hack...so I took it upon myself to increase the overall cutting instructions by one inch to hopefully accommodate my needs.

Interior of Small Zip It Up Case

I neglected to mention that the fabric was previously quilted on Soft and Stable for another project I did a few weeks ago....a hanging thread holder that I changed up just a bit from ByAnnie's Bling It On! pattern. Today's bag was made from the leftovers...and I still have some quilted Soft and Stable leftovers with these fabrics for a future bag...or two...

Double Sided Thread Holder

Okay...enough distraction - back to today's project.  As you can see the interior is bright and colorful and I love it that ByAnnie.com now offers a bright yellow mesh to complement this project. I have a collection of all her mesh as well as a collection of her wonderful handbag zippers. You can never have enough supplies on hand - never know when the urge to create will hit ya!

Interior filled with fun

As you can see, my increase in dimensions worked in my favor - my cute little spiral notebook fit into my mesh pocket. In my vinyl pocket I have my graph paper tablet, pens, and ruler for my next inspiration for the next quilt. And of course my lip stuff - a girl has to have priorities after all.

I must say that the construction (minus  the quilting  done previously) took less than 3 hours. The pattern instructions, as I said earlier, are simply wonderful.  I still struggle a bit with making a pretty machine binding but I am getting much better at it, especially since I started using the ByAnnie Pressing Tool and Wonder Clips.

By the way, did ya notice the zipper pulls are a different color than the zipper? I think that just adds to the fun! 

Everything came together, the case zipped up just fantastic - my iPad Mini with it's cover case fit into the front pocket and I thought I was good to go, calling it a day...and then I remembered...In my Vera iPad sleeve I kept my charger and ear buds...oh my...that's an important ingredient!

Leftovers are a wonderful thing - and not just for dinner...yep, there were  quilted leftovers and of course I have extra vinyl and smaller zippers on stand by.... it's not the best workmanship but it serves its purpose...

Small Vinyl Zippered Pocket
Holds iPod Charger and Ear Buds

The zipper looks wavy because I actually created some fullness in the zipper facing (think darts) to accommodate for that huge square thing that plugs in the wall (grin). The ear bud base is made from two layers of my quilted Soft and Stable leftover cuttings stitched together. The ear buds were then wrapped around and held in place by a small pony-tail thingie.  (See I told you Vera had nothing to worry about - her creations are much more professional but mine accomplish the same goal.)

Now to fit it all in....

Techie things added to the case

There's still room in the mesh bag...so I added a flash drive and then decided I could fit in a small note pad to make up for the spiral notebook I removed earlier...

Mesh stretches - you can get a lot in mesh pockets!

Next it was time to see if by adding my covered iPad Mini to the outside front pocket if I could get the entire case to close.

It all fits!

But wait, there's more! I kinda wondered just how much I could stuff this cute little case so I added my spiral notebook "loose" just laying on top of the pockets instead of in one....

This case is stuffable!

And here's the side view with my Zip It Up! small case totally FULL! I'm sure the contents will change as the needs change but I am soooo thrilled to have made this today!

Zip It Up!

I've had another wonderful Sunday Sew In. I can't begin to count how many projects I have dancing as colorful visions in my busy brain. A month of Sundays wouldn't be the tip of the iceberg. I am so thankful that I have a passion that is inexhaustible - a never ending supply of beautiful fabrics, patterns, (zippers), inspiration! A big thank you to the designers of all things crafty! You guys rock my quilting world!

Until next show and tell - may your days be pieceful and may your true peace be found in the Lord Jesus, my Creator and true inspiration for all things, not just quilts and crafts!

Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Hebrews 12:1-2


















Sunday, May 29, 2016

Sunday Sewing - Pinterest Inspired


 Sometimes I just get lost on Pinterest, don't you?

 I love looking at purse/bag patterns. I love making bags and I have my favorite designers (as evidenced by my current home page).  While I do own almost every pattern by my favorite bag lady and several others by my other favorite bag ladies I sometimes like to venture out and try to make something on my own or with a tutorial found online. Sometimes it works out, sometimes its a fail but it's always entertaining!

Prior to my quilting cruise I created a board for travel organizers. I found several really cool places that sold travel accessories that I really found inspiring...but I didn't purchase any as I do have an abundance of all sorts of bags, organizers, containers, etc. And I don't travel as much as I used to...But ya' never know - that's the beauty of "pinning" - later on I might remember "I saw that somewhere now where was it?" and low and behold it's on Pinterest.

Fast forward to today...it's been a very busy month since coming back from the cruise - been busy with graduation t-shirt quilts and customer quilts....and today I just wanted to chill out. I have several things cut out and ready to work on, but I didn't have the time to devote to a full fledged project today so I decided to clean out my zipper box...

One thing lead to another...In making a list for replacement colors I found a "short" orange zipper leftover from another project...well....the rest as they say is history...my Sunday Sewing Distraction.

What to do with leftovers...

My first thought was to find some fabric scraps to go with the orange zipper. I found this fun butterfly print that had been cut into squares. I don't remember purchasing this, I think I inherited  scraps from someone else - but they are "so me" - my colors and I love butterflies.  

I remembered seeing some simple vinyl bags on Pinterest and pulled out my vinyl scraps and attached the zipper to the fabric facing and then to the vinyl...and then I changed my mind. I didn't really want a small clear bag, at least not today. So I dug around in my Soft and Stable scraps and found a piece almost the size of my squares. Good enough.

That's when I remembered a pin on my travel board....it was for a cellphone wristlet that you carry when traveling - a design that allowed you to use the phone while inside the bag and wrapped securely around your wrist to prevent a snatch and grab. Even though I don't travel that much (especially airports) I thought WHY NOT! Besides, what else was I going to work on this afternoon!

So I dove right in. Okay, so I didn't really have the right size zipper, foam, or fabric  - but I'm a quilter and I know how to make do!

In reviewing the "store bought" photo online I discovered that the ad boasted of a "hidden pocket" - didn't I have an extra yellow zipper scrap in the clean up pile? Yep, sure did - it was a cut off without it's zipper pull, but have no fear! I'm a quilter and I know how to make do! Actually I have learned from some of my favorite designers how to change out zipper pulls to make things more colorful and fun...good thing I keep a stash of extra zipper pulls for both my regular size zippers and my handbag size zippers....

Long story short, about an hour or so later I had my own little cellphone wristlet and low and behold I could actually operate my phone through the vinyl! who knew! The only negative was trying to take the photos with my phone inside the bag. Grin.  The iPad photos aren't nearly as crisp as the new iPhone's camera but I documented it!

My Cell Phone Wristlet
Notice the yellow zipper pull on the orange zipper
And the orange zipper pull on the yellow interior pocket zipper


If I were to make this again I would make it a tad bigger, and if I really wanted to make it more functional I would add a zippered pocket on the back to hold my car keys. They could fit in the interior hidden pocket but this is a flat design and I think an exterior pocket would have more give. IDEA - maybe a mesh pocket??!!  Always room for a design change. But then again - there are soooo many other bags I want to make.....

Cell Phone Wristlet Closed
The interior pocket is indeed hidden!


Ya'never know where floating around on the internet will land ya' - especially in Pinterest - but today I think I landed on something fun. Not sure I really needed this item but making it for myself accomplished two things - I saved money from buying the original and I had fun using up my scraps!

Sunday Sewing - Pinterest Inspired

I think this will make a fun little runaround bag - especially when walking on the seawall in Galveston or along the shore - no sand blowing on my phone! I can't wait to try this out on my next walk on the beach! Which I hope will be soon!

karen














Sunday, April 17, 2016

Deadlines, designs and of course distractions

Details of Quilting Design
It's the little details of life that either stress you out or make you smile. These past few weeks have been a combination of both. C'est la vie

such is life...and such were my thoughts before departure on the 2016 Quilting Cruise April 10-17 hosted by Cactus Quilts of Texas City

My original intent was to blog about the craziness of trying to get out of town  and to share a bit about the quilts I have been working on (more on that coming up)...but there just wasn't time...too many deadlines. 




Life aboard the Carnival Magic




Those distractions and stresses seem so far away today (Saturday) as I sit on my balcony enjoying the remainder of this week's beautiful journey .....

Rewriting the title of this blog it would now read



Destinations and Divine Appointments


I believe in prayer. Sometimes I forget that prayer is my direct link to ask for God for His strength - I don't have to carry the weight of all the stresses - in prayer I can leave those burdens at His feet. And prayer is the key to finding rest for my weary soul. Jesus gives me peace amidst my circumstances.

I know someone has been praying for me this week - I truly think it has been several someones as the depth of my very soul has been renewed and refreshed on so many levels.

God blessed us with this week's cruise. Not just because it was an opportunity to get away but the story is deeper. We love to cruise but cruising wasn't anywhere in the budget this year. God provided the way - it was a "working cruise."  When my husband shared with a co-worker that I would be working on this cruise he was met with a strange look and the question "you mean your wife will be cleaning rooms or something!" Grin.

Nope, Quilting. My passion of quilting was the ticket to this week's blessings. Last year I was privileged to be one of three quilting teachers on Cactus Quilts 2nd Annual Quilting Cruise and I was thrilled to be asked back to teach on this the 3rd  Annual Quilting Cruise! So began this journey!




Orignial Pattern Layout Designed for 2016 Quilting Cruise (pattern available)
The deadlines and stress of designing a pattern to teach and making the class samples have been replaced with the enthusiastic response of my students! My pattern is based off of Deb Tucker's Hunter Star ruler and piecing technique. My design twist was using precut fabrics - namely 2.5" strips and 10" squares. I discovered by adding background fabric with these precut packages that two quilt tops could be made - hence "Double Occupancy" was conceived. How cool would it be for roommates to share the precut fabric packages and each make their own lap size quilt - and what if...what IF there were different layouts so everyone's quilt would look unique and different...what if indeed! My busy little overachieving brain came up with 13 layouts (I had to stop there!) so I set out to produce them for class samples.

Sometimes things don't go as planned. I cut out 13 kits for my various layouts  and began working on them at retreats and sew-ins this past year. 


Alas, only 8 out of the 13 were pieced by the time of departure and of those, only two were totally complete all the way to their label. What I thought was failure in not meeting my goal of at least having all of the pieced tops quilted turned into a blessing as I discovered that unquilted tops are easier to pack and they can be hang from the classroom walls with painters tape!  More on my students accomplishments later as I do want to journal in chronological order...my class was Friday... 


Classroom aboard the Carnival Magic 4.15.16

As mentioned, things were rather stressful prior to departure (like not getting the suitcases packed until 30 minutes before leaving).But once the baggage handler takes your overweight bags onto his cart and wheels them away towards the loading dock the stresses seem to begin to slowly fade - we are going on a cruise! Well, at least at this point my luggage and all my quits are!!!  



Enjoying the peacefulness

Sunday and Monday we aquatinted ourselves with our new floating home - we learned that even though this was our first time on the Carnival Magic that this was the ship's last cruise  to call Galveston their home port as they will be relocating to Florida next week. 


This is a beautiful ship with so much to offer for so many different tastes and needs. We have enjoyed our cruise mates this week - especially watching the brave ones not minding being silly when called upon for the entertainment of fellow guests - from the over eager kid assisting in a shore excursion talk by being the one to draw out names for door prizes, to the older preacher who won the hairy chest contest, to the crowd laughing and working together in the hoola hoop pass. 

Everyone is happy here. Everyone is friendly. A black man struck up a conversation with my husband one evening towards the end of the cruise and commented that he had noticed that there was no "racism" here aboard the ship and wonder why - to which my husband replied "lack of media". Their combined conclusion was that we are all people and the color of our skin isn't what makes the difference but the way people choose to act or react. There are people you like and people you don't, doesn't matter skin color, we are all just people. The gentleman said that  this was the way he was raising his daughters - to not care about color of skin to which my hubby replied that too was the way we raised our sons. Indeed we are all created by the same Creator God and in His creativity He made different cultures, nationalities and skin color. In reflecting upon this together later I came to the conclusion that the friendliness aboard our ship this week stems from the underlying sense of community. We are all on the boat together for better or worse and we have chosen to be respectful and kind to each other no matter our backgrounds or skin color. Oh that this would be the way of the world. I believe that is what heaven will be like - only on a grander scale - no sin! We will love because of His love.


Daily Necessities 
Devotions, Water, Sign & Sail Card and of course Towel Critters  

Tuesday was our 36th anniversary and we celebrated in Key West. As mentioned previously this was our "cheap date" cruise so we did not have any planned excursions, we were just going to enjoy the ship and being together. We did however take a trolley tour around Key West and learned a bit of the history of the island. In passing through all the sights and sounds we saw a lighthouse and decided that was to be our destination for further exploration later in the day. 


After our guided tour we indeed found the lighthouse and to my joy discovered that we could climb up into it for a small fee! There was a docent in the museum area and we were able to question him to learn more about the history of this particular light house. He asked if I were a teacher (grin) I guess my curious mind was the give away. While I didn't formerly teach in a school system I did homeschool our boys and of course I'm a quilting teacher ... 


Key West Lighthouse

Anyway, the climb up the light house was 88 steps. Piece of cake for my husband as he climbs 98 steps at work to get into the cab of the crane he opperates ... For me, well....about the time I wanted to give up because of fatigue in climbing God blessed me with a small landing to catch my breath. Just enough strength to push forward. Think about that for a moment - isn't that just like God to give you just enough light for the step you are on - the encouragement to press on!  And the reward was breathtaking! 


We were able to climb to the service room where the keeper would clean the lamp chimneys and prepare the lantern for the coming night. We learned earlier that whale oil was the original fuel source. 


From the cat walk surrounding the service room we were able to have a birds eye view  of the island. As our gaze went towards the southern most point my thoughts went to Cuba a mere 90 miles away. Only the day before,   Monday 4/11/16,  a team from our church Calvary Chapel Houston arrived in Cuba for an evangelist campaign. We have been praying for their mission trip and eagerly await their return next week (4/21/16) along with the accompanying  praise report.


Looking out towards the Southernmost Point
and Cuba
 Access to the lantern room, which contained the actual lens, was chained off from the public. After several "tourists" began their decent the docent quietly asked if we would like to go up - a resounding yes please!! Upon descending I hugged him in gratitude and then shared that I really have a fear of ladders and am clostaphopic - to which I was met with a shocked look as in a silent questioning of "why on earth did you attempt to go up!"... I shared that with prayer I was an overcomer - God indeed carried me to the top and safely back down again.That brought a smile and a hardy acknowledgement!



Lighthouse lens


Our afternoon "shopping experience" walking down Duval Street back to the ship was a grand total of $1 for a sticker of the Southernmost Point. Traditionally on previous trips we have had our photo made there but this year didn't want to wait in line - but we were there!!




The above narration was written 4/16/16 aboard the ship and edited 4/17/16 upon arrival home... As this is getting rather lengthy I will continue Part Two in the next blog - stay tuned for Blessings in the Bahamas and more Miracles aboard the Magic....


Karen


Nothing like an anniversary cruise to rekindle the romance
April 12, 2016
36 years together



Sunday, March 27, 2016

Spring is in the air

Have to admit I've had a little spring fever lately...kinda hard to stay focused on that to do list if ya'know what I mean....Can't say I've felt like spring cleaning...although I certainly need to! Nope, just been distracted by lots of fun stuff - from day dreaming to quilt deadlines to taking time for just me...and yes, one day I actually broke down and got donut holes and a kalache. Don't know if I deserved it or not, but it certainly made me smile!

I wish I had time to truly "document" things...it's fun to look back later and recall special memories or special events. Photos never forget, but neither does the mind if a memory is truly something special. Sometimes all it takes is a special song or someone to remind you of a particular time and place and the mind rushes ahead and says "I remember that!"  Life is certainly special and I hope to never take for granted the things I have experienced and the people I have shared the journey with.




 I'm hoping that my mind remembers what I learned last Monday when I had the opportunity to take a thread painting class with Nancy Prince. I have wanted to learn how to "thread paint" for years! There just never seemed to be the right time or opportunity to take a class.

I wish I could say that the beautiful barn and tree was the result of my class - instead my duplication of her project is a WIP - work in progress, and with spring time deadlines it's going to have to be on the back burner for a while.

Nancy is a fantastic teacher, explained things well, helped when she was needed and just a boat load of inspiration. I will say this - I totally enjoyed my class with her and felt like this time I really learned something! I have so many ideas of incorporating this into future quilts!


In between day dreams, donuts and learning something new I worked on a stunning customer quilt. The photo doesn't really do this king-size beauty justice. The colors were so striking- so perfect for spring time and dreaming of my upcoming cruise.  The blue and teals made me long for the ocean. One thing that is always rewarding to me is seeing the texture that the quilting creates, especially on the back. I love the movement created with the flowing of the design elements. This was certainly a fun quilt to work on all week. The customer is an excellent piecer, and that added to the joy. And I think she was pleased.

 






Speaking of the ocean and of my upcoming CRUISE!! It's only two weeks away! I'm so excited to be invited back as one of the teachers on this quilting cruise. Last year I taught an original layout using Deb Tucker's Rapid Fire (tm) LeMoyne Star Ruler and this year I will be teaching an original layout using her Rapid Fire (tm) Hunter's Star Ruler.

It was so much fun picking out the fabrics at Fall Quilt Market - naturally I gravitated over to the Island Batik booth and found the perfect collection, Caribbean Splash.  

The quilt sample is made with precuts and I have had a blast making little extras with the scraps...I shared with you earlier my cellphone wristlet...and the other night I stayed up until the wee hours being inspired to a matching ID holder from the scraps of the cellphone wristlet  for my "ship and sail" card along with a matching lanyard to keep everything hands free as I enjoy ship life. There's even room inside for my iPod and a pocket for my earbuds!  And by the way, I "documented" the process so perhaps when things settle back down I can sketch out a tutorial in case anyone is interested in making one (leave a comment if you would like to see these tutorials in the near future).

My my my...There's always deadlines and dilemmas...

While the precut strips and squares were readily available soon after market the coordinating fabric on the bolt didn't ship until last week! Oh my! So tonight after scrambling to get the borders on I've loaded the quilt  sample  on the longarm with hopes of  some serious quilting to do tonight before it's time to "clock back in" on Monday morning....tis the season of graduation t-shirt quilts and I'm trying to get several done before we sail.

Actually I have several more samples to piece before the cruise --  but that's a tale  and show and tell for another time... 

In the meantime, I am just loving the large open spaces for custom quilting - and I am soo thankful that the pretty bolt of backing fabric arrived "just in time"

This is short and sweet - gotta get back to my feathered wreaths!



o



Monday, March 14, 2016

Quilting is Awesome!

Another awesome t-shirt quilt by Quilts 'N Kaboodle

Yes, I should be quilting instead of blogging this fine Monday morning....but I really wanted to take a moment to do my "week in review". They say it's good to know where you've been so you know where you are going... Those "they sayers" must be the smartest people in the world, don't you think?

Awesome - that word gets used so much but it's really a cool expression. I couldn't help but smile when this t-shirt was "up next" during the quilting process of yet another graduation t-shirt quilt. Tis the season  I love making t-shirt quilts - it's so neat to have a small glimpse into someone's life representative by their collection of t-shirts.




What will we do today? In my own little corner in my own little room!

 Meanwhile, in my own little corner in my own little room I was deciding what to work on this week as a personal project.  When I get creative I get really messy ~ I call it creative clutter. I am blessed to have accumulated a vast collection of patterns, fabrics, notions over the past thirteen years of being in business as Quilts 'N Kaboodle. Prior to moving to our current home with a fabulous studio for creativity I quilted in an RV ~ will never forget storing my machine and little shoe boxes full of fabrics and notions under the dining room built in table and under the built in couch, AND under the lift up bed. RV's have the best storage hiding places! Yep, those they sayers again remind us to never forget our roots!




Did someone say Sew In?!!
One thing I learned back in the day was how to be portable! That comes in handy when it's time for the Island Quilters Guild monthly (or almost monthly) Sew Ins. Yep! I can pack up in a hurry when I hear the words SEW IN!! Several of us gals have gotten really snazzy by investing in the "little red wagon" ~ a really cool fold up transportation mode.  It's so much easier to pull all the gear than to make so many trips to and from the car.  And yes, I bring my own chair.  I've learned through the years that the fold up tables and folding chairs don't offer (a) comfort or (b) proper height for ergonomics. A bungee cord keeps it all together and many times I can make it all in one trip! Well, maybe two


I can chain piece for miles and miles


The thing I enjoy about sew-ins is that I can focus on sewing...no distractions of letting the dog out, or remembering that you need to do something in the house, or trying to multi-task the day with quilting, laundry, etc.  Just sew sew sew.


Galveston Island Quilters Guild Sew In

We have a fun place to gather - well lit, tables provided, a nice kitchen and facilities. We are a small guild and sometimes have just a handful of ladies sewing and other times we have to double up and share the tables. It's all good. Lots of chatting, show and tell and sometimes little mini schoolhouses - where a member "teaches" us something new. Always a good time with these ladies!

Double Occupancy - Square Surrounded Layout

I've been working on a series of Hunter Star quilts this past year. In just 4 short weeks I will be teaching Deb Tucker's Technique using her Rapid Fire Hunter's Star Ruler on Cactus Quilt's 3rd Annual Quilting Cruise leaving out of Galveston. I can hardly believe it (I'm pinching myself) for the second year I have to go on a 7 day cruise to teach...ain't that a shame

I've come up with a pattern I have called Double Occupancy - since cruise goers have to share a room I thought wouldn't it be kinda cool if they shared their fabric ..... the pattern uses half of a jelly roll precut pack (2.5" strips)  and half of a layer cake precut package (10" squares) plus background. Then I got to thinking that since the roomies were sharing fabric and taking the same class wouldn't it be neat if their quilts had the opportunity to look totally different...of course fabric placement in a scrappy quilt would be different but I mean REALLY DIFFERENT...

So the over achiever that I am I came up with 13 layouts using the same blocks and I am working my way through making the class samples...The one above is number 7 and this is made from the "kit fabric" for the cruise.

Why thirteen? A baker's dozen perhaps? Nah.... Thirteen has a special place in my family history....here's a few examples...2016 marks 13 years of Quilts 'N Kaboodle being "a business". 13 is our youngest son's favorite number. He's an artist and hides the number in many if not all of his paintings....but the root of 13 goes back to my grandfather, my mom's dad. He was born in 1913 on Friday the 13th. Not only that he was the 11th (and final) child of the family making his family 13 members. On top of that a his full name had 13 letters...  okay, so maybe we are a little silly, but 13 is a fun number so I'm making 13 Hunter Star quilts for my cruise....oh my, did I mention that it's 4 weeks away!!

By the way, it's really an easy easy block to make. I've gotten pretty fast at it - I made the one at the sew-in in only two days!  Could have made it faster if I wasn't talking I think my average without borders is 6 hours. Not too shabby if I do say so myself.

Trimming down the Hunter's Star block

I can't remember when I pieced these blocks but they were just waiting to be trimmed so Sunday after church I came home to my own little "Sunday Sewing", trimmed up the blocks and pieced the top.

Double Occupancy - Ocean Waves layout

It's almost hard to see from the photo because it kinda blends in with my orange walls in the background. and the other quilt hanging next to it...I've ordered the border fabric and hope it comes in before the cruise.   I call this layout "Ocean Waves" and yes, it's a Hunter's Star!  I think it reminds me of confetti on the water yep, kinda festive don't you think? I'm so looking forward to my upcoming cruise. Can't wait for sunny skies, deep blue waters and sharing the patterns with my students.

In the meantime, I think I hear a quilt calling my name...I have a beautiful customer quilt to be custom quilted this week...

Until next time....

His Mercy is new EVERY morning!

PS  Happy birthday to our oldest son...those "they sayers" will tell you that time passes quickly, and yes, they are more than right when it comes to children. How did that tiny 6 pound baby turn into such a wonderful 6+ foot adult!  Happy birthday Eric.