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.



Sunday, March 6, 2016

Friends, Family, Fun and of course FABRIC

Love seeing the piecing when the back is
rolled up on the A1 quilting frame

It's been a busy week! Perhaps I should retitle this as "Karen's Week in Pictures"or "Nine Days of Nothing But Endless Fun"

So grab that second cup of coffee, put your feet up, settle in, make yourself at home and get ready for a fast paced ramble, quilt style!

The quilt on the frame is called Scrappy Bargello adapted from Bonnie Hunter's pattern (I changed the border). I pieced it last summer and decided it had waited long enough in the endless personal "quilts in waiting" drawer - I wanted something fast and fun to quilt last Saturday afternoon after a busy week in the Quilts 'N Kaboolde studio.
Quilts 'N Kaboodle "logo" - my butterfly

I decided on an all over design (pantograph) but also wanted to add a personal touch, my handquided butterfly. Before you knew it the quilt was finished and it was lights out in the studio. Another "finished is good" personal project quilted!

I enjoy taking Sunday afternoons "off" to either sew for myself or take a much needed nap. Last Sunday I was energetic and when I came into the studio after church to unload the scrappy bargello off the frame I noticed that I had really a lot of fabric on the sides of the quilt due to piecing the back much bigger than needed.  Hum... Never never let a backing already loaded go to waste! I quickly found a project that a would utilize that space! 

Yep, the pattern Just in Case had a small version that would just fit in the "leftover" backing.
Did someone take a bite out of my backing?
So I quickly cut the  soft and stable to the correct size, found a piece of fabric scrap that I liked and did a few freestyle swirls to make my bag (details below). Later after I finished the bag I decided that I really should take advantage of the other side of the backing before I took the quilt off the frame...(I stopped at a two, I could have quilted up and down that backing but enough is enough - or is it?

Again I found my soft and stable - this time a black placemat size that I trimmed to fit the spot and layered it with a fun flip flop print. I decided that this time I would quilt a squiggly wiggly crosshatch. I have absolutely no plan for this quilted future bag - but I'm thinking that it may be the correct size for a small Open Wide Pouch... time will tell..but I can tell you, it didn't happen during the days I'm rambling about now  
Layering Soft and Stable with fabric on quilt backing

Pouncing grid markings

Wiggle Crosshatching on my A1 Quilting Machine 
By the way, it has been several years since I truly rambled on Blogger and I'm finding that the photos don't want to go where I tell them too...guess things updated while I was playing Quilt Rambler Rip Van Winkle... so please bare with me - it drives me crazy that photos aren't  in line where I want them - goes back to those high school and college days of journalism I guess - but back then we did the mock up by hand and with a typewriter! Oh my...I'm seriously a dinosaur, but who wants to talk about aging when we can talk about quilts!!

Ta-da- Here's the quilt off the frame and bound. I think I will call it Scrappy Memories Bargello as when I look at the fabrics in the quilt the majority of them have a story...some from other quilts that I remember fondly (and still have) others from quilts that have been gifted. A few fabrics I remember were a part of my fat quarter collection...I can honestly say some of the fabrics date back to 2001! So maybe I should call this 15 years of scrappy memories  Regardless, it's done. A fun little quilt meant for picnics or watching TV or walking down memory lane...or whatever!


Scrappy Bargello - fabric memories
So are you eager to see the bag I made last Sunday? The black and white hibiscus was the backing from the bargello quilt... This is the interior of the Just in Case bag - it has a vinyl pocket with a zipper, a mesh pocket on the spine and then a zippered mesh pocket. It went together really quickly - Patterns By Annie are so much fun. I want to collect and make them all!

Just In Case (small) interior

Made with Love Zipper Charm

Side view of small Just in Case

Front View of Just in Case



How did you like the little zipper charm I found at JoAnn's - "made with love"  I think the package had about 80 charms so you will be seeing them on all my future bags (and my past bags - grin - once I take time to put them on).

So in case you didn't know, or you forgot cuz it's been a long week for you too, Monday was Leap Day 2016. Yep, a free day! An extra day this year to either do whatever you want or if you have to punch the clock it was an extra day of pay! (well, we can pretend can't we?!?) I believe in celebrating the small stuff, why not? Life is short, make it as special as you can right?

Well, my day was rather special, thank you for asking.  I enjoyed a day with my friend Anne from Tennessee. Reader's Digest version - we lived in the Tri-City area of Upper East Tennessee from 1980 to 1998, wandered around the country living and working in our RV (with pre-teens and a puppy) until setting back in the Houston/Galveston area in 2001 (Texas is the family homestead)....Anne and I met when our oldest were babies, both boys were born in 1985 so we've known each other a good long time. Hadn't seen each other in a little over a year and a half so it was good to have a full day together to catch up, share family stories/photos and of course I just had to show her around the studio (and all the little bags I've made recently). By the way, Anne is the one who introduced me to a rotary cutter, ruler and mat...and the rest they say IS HISTORY!

Happy Leap Day With Anne
It was a beautiful day to sit outside under the tiki hut for morning tea and then again after lunch. The day past too quickly as time always does with friends. I sure did enjoy my "free day" though! And hope we don't have to wait until another leap year to have a day together again.

Tuesday it was back to work...thought I'd show you one of my customer quilts that graced the frame this week...She makes a lot of these from Texan "game towels". Kinda like a t-shirt quilt in the construction of the top...only she backs it with licensed Texan fleece and skips the batting...hum...guess I'm quilting a throw instead of a quilt (for those quilt police out there - of course everyone knows a quilt is three layers!) This is going to auction for Sunshine Kids...she donates a quilt/throw every year.

Customer Quilt on the Frame
Also took some time this week to get back to juicing...I think I've only missed one or two days this week of making some sort of fresh juice. I always feel better when I juice.  This was a carrot apple ginger - delicious! I make "green" juices also that are equally good....don't worry, I'm not going to post every drink I make (been there done that, they didn't give me a shirt so I stopped).

Time to juice - carrot apple ginger
In case you are wondering, while I've been MIA on blogger I also totally gave up Facebook but picked up Instagram. I really like that social media --  fun and fast scrolling through photos. I'm one of those people who enjoys others show and tell or vacation photos. I've learned my way around the "hashtag" thing....gee...when I was growing up it was the "pound sign" or represented "number"....anyway....its still a self-gratifying medium cuz you want people to "like" your photos or comment....Its kinda fun to follow the popular folks - for me that's not movie stars but quilt stars! Pattern designers, fabric designers, big shops, manufacturers, other longarm quilters, or just folks I come across when searching a hashtag. (I also like to look at juice photos, nutritional stuff, Christian sayings, even vape shops - but that's a story for another time)....anyway...it was really a treat to see that one of my posts was "reposted"....

Last summer I made a quilt from Missouri Star Quilt Company's tutorial called the Binding Tool Quilt and had a sew in with friends and they made one too. One of the gals asked  me to  quilt hers on the longarm and then just recently brought me pillow sham tops she had pieced to match .... and I posted...and ... well...it's okay to brag a little among friends, isn't it? however please note that I am doing so humbly of course. My husband reminds me that I'm really proud of my humility....(grin)

Instagram Repost - Customer Quilt

Have you had to go back for thirds? or stop for other nourishment?  I told you this would be a long ramble...it was a long busy week and my iPhone camera was busy!

I know most folks really look forward to Friday and this week I was extra looking forward to Friday! I had plans to go to Winter Jam - a night of Christian bands and fabulous worship. One of my friends from church joined me along with her 10 yr old twins (boy/girl). We went early for the "Street Party" and yep - I brought my new quilt! You can see it peaking out under us as we were gazing up at the wondrously blue spring sky. It was a great afternoon waiting for the doors to open. When they did we were blessed to be some of the first in line and was able to get a great seat looking straight at the stage where we were joined by another young couple from my church.

There were 10 bands and the place was rocking from 6 to almost midnight. I can't express how much I enjoyed the evening. So many of the songs I know from Christian Radio and they truly seem to be the right words/song for the right time. So uplifting, edifying, convicting, and a good reminder that I am loved by The Creator God...This is the second year my girlfriend and I have gone...I think we are going to make it a tradition!
Winter Jam 2016
Okay, we've rambled about friends, fun, fabric...now for a quick family report...The photos were dark because of the angle of the sun on yet another beautiful spring day....we were celebrating my oldest son's birthdday with extended family at the new Top Golf driving range thingie/place. I'm not a golfer - couldn't really do putt putt in my day,  but I gave it a go...the best part was just taking time to enjoy the day with my son. Funny how you never never forget giving birth...You do really have your children for such a short time. Raise them to be independent and then are kinda sad when they are...but that's how its suppose to be!
Family Celebrations at Top Golf


Wow, told you it was a busy week! And here we are back to a Sunday Sewing day after church. I had previously planned on working on my Hunter's Star quilts....but another copy-cat bag was calling my name....


Sunday Sewing Inspiration

Remember me telling you I have a vast collection of Vera Bradly bags? Well, I had this perfect bag that held my cellphone, I clipped it to my bike handle when riding so my MapMyRide app could work to keep up with my miles and such....well....a month ago I traded in my phone for a "plus size" - no I'm ignoring the thoughts of weight gain, I'm talking about a bigger phone so I can see the numbers better (oh goodness, that aging things just creeps in so unexpectantly and so unwelcome) ANYWAY...a bigger phone calls for a bigger bag....and of course I just happen to have a few hours on a Sunday afternoon.....

In keeping with #sewmystash2016 I was a good girl and used strips of Island Batik's Caribbean Splash collection - actually leftovers from my Hunter's Star quilt I should have been working on today for the April Cruise .... remind me to tell you more about that another time - or hop over to my website for a link with details  ... So I used the strips with ByAnnie's Soft and Stable and did a quick "quilt as you go" construction. Then I broke out the Zippers by the Yard that I purchased at Festival last fall and cut off "just what I needed" to go around the future little pouch.
Measuring Zipper Length
By the way, did you notice the little swivel hook on the back - the original Vera had one and I really liked it...so copy cat...

Swivel Lobster Hook on back

After a couple of "do overs" concerning the placement of the inside mesh pockets I finally had my "Karen Original"  (You do realize that the wisest man in the world, King Solomon, said there was nothing new under the sun).  I used the One-Zip Technique that I learned from Lazy Girl Designs with her online tutorials and patterns - I like the way it opens wide. I also used her Fobio pattern to turn the pouch into a wristlet. I can't get enough of these key fobs - who says you can't have them in every color imaginable!
Cellphone Wristlet and Fobio Key Fob
The inside pocket is perfect for my cell phone (although that one isn't mine and I couldn't take a photo with my phone if my phone was in the bag silly!) with another little pocket to keep my lip stuff...I'm thinking I can also fit a small coin purse/ID in the middle...that's going to be a project for another day.
Inside Cellphone Wristlet 

So all in all it's been a fun week plus. What else do you expect when you combine friends, family, fabric with time for faith....

I will leave you with my reminder from Instagram....and a video from one of the bands Friday night...it is one of the songs that helps me keep going... hope it blesses you too.

Until next time,
karen