Saturday, June 25, 2011

Tour My Studio!

Welcome to Quilts 'N Kaboodle, my name is Karen and I'm going to be your friendly tour guide (grin)

It's been a little over two months since my remodeling began...and finally, tonight I can see the light at the end of the tunnel, and honey, it's NOT a train!

I may be a little premature in showing off, as there are still items that need to be done...but as with most things it's a work in progress...and I just need to share the progress!

So take a little trip, take a little trip, take a little trip with me...(did ya' sing that with the Low Rider voice? - if not, go back and do that, we'll wait)

I'm starting this tour at the entrance to my studio instead of meeting you at the front door of my home. If you were a customer coming to drop off a quilt top to be quilted I would have met you at the front door, holding a wiggling Pixxie as she gets so excited when we have guests....she just thinks everyone comes to see her... But since the other areas of the house are still impassable I'm going to begin this tour at this location, the entrance to the studio off my living area.

OH! Interruption. A big thank you to my sister-in-law who came over to help me today. She certainly helped keep me on track and encouraged me. Interesting side note, she's a teacher, has been for a long time. Longer than she's been my as we were working together and I'd go from one side of the room to the other jumping from one thing to another I asked you think I'm ADD? .... I think I've just got a busy brain (grin) and get easily distracted. Anyway...walk with me through my studio and enjoy the ramble...

As you enter the studio and look to your left you will see the longarm side of the room (to the right is the sewing side, but hold on, that's later). Above is the view of my 10 foot A1 Quilting Machine - this is my new baby, the one I received just days before the remodeling began...

The white cabinets are pretty much full of thread, except the first one with doors - that's full of prepackaged batting. How do you like my wall cabinet? I've always wanted an antique pie safe, the kind with the pretty glass doors. I have thought that would be way cool to house my quilts all neatly folded up showing off their colors....well, that dream has never materialized, besides I really don't have the floor space - so this cabinet is my reality, and I love it!

It was so much fun folding my quilts and adding little fun things to the shelves. The top shelf in the bottom picture has a big Polly and Ester quilt my grandmother made. Sitting next to it is a stuffed bear that I made her, and he's sitting on a little quilt I made for her with the same fabric - the label says " To the best quilter in the world, this is my first machine quilted quilt" I did it on my domestic in 1997.

Part of the reasoning for enlarging the studio was my desire to have two longarms. The one on the left is the new 10 foot one and the one on the right is old faithful, my 12 foot table. In the middle is Pixxie (grin) asleep on my sleeper sofa.

These photos were taken about 10 PM, Pixxie is so sleepy she can barely keep her eyes open. She worked really hard decorating too ya'know.

Okay, back to the tour...

I've shared this little corner before...

Here's a view of some things that cheer me...including the most fabulous tree frog in the rain screensaver...I want my very own tree frog, right here in the studio...the thoughts of simple things like this bring a smile to my face.

This is the sewing side of the room. I just love my new island - so much room for sew many creative fun stuff!.
Here's another view...the fun end piece on the island is actually a bulletin board of sorts - if I wanted to I could stick pins in it..had thought of using it for my schedule and cards perhaps, but then I decided I liked the lime bubbles too much to cover them up. Yes, this is a happy room and I am going to love sharing it.

Just another view....I can already tell that this area will probably stay cluttered with many creative projects...ah! but that's why I have it, room to work!

And yes, those are giant M&M's...they are tins that hold only dark chocolate M&M's - I'm on a strict diet.

Eventually I will have my sewing machine inserted in the cabinet .... or not... I might like it this way. I do love my A1 saddle stool, it will go high enough for me to sit at this 36" table and it's so comfortable to sew with as well as quilt at the longarm...

The ironing station is 3' x 4' - I covered a board with padding and a fun stripe fabric. Below is an inside peak of one of the cabinets - this is where I keep my Go!Cutter dies and my two Go Cutters (the original and the Go!Baby). Behind them are plastic shoe boxes with fabric shapes cut with the Go - instant scrap quilt waiting to happen.

Eventually there will be a storage unit added so I can move my freezer out as well as have a place for all my extra batting...right now things are a tad crowded, but I'm not complaining! I've gone from a 20 x 20 room to a 20 x 30 room and am loving it!

This Faith banner has been around a long time, like a faithful friend. It's only right that it continue to have a place in my life.

And here's the lime green door and the lime green laundry room. Again, a work in progress. The doors will eventually be covered to make a design wall and the surrounding wall will be covered in a tropical mural.

Here' a close up of my son's future masterpiece...

And if you look real close at the bottom you can see his sketches for the next phase... I can hardly wait!

Right next to the laundry room is this section that is actually to the right of the entrance door. This little area packs a big punch. The rod is for hanging completed quilts for photographing. Behind it I will have my TV mounted so I can watch all those cool quilting DVD's I've been collecting. Did I mention that I plan on having fun in this studio!

I played around with my camera and took a video with my rambles as the view changed around the room. It's totally unscripted and I have no way of editing. But if you've made it this far then perhaps you'd like to see a full 360 tour of my studio.

For grins you might want to check out views of how the studio has changed through the years. Visit my webshots and look for My Ever Changing Studio Album

Thanks for stopping by...ya'll come back now, ya'hear?

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Taking A Break From Remodeling

Nope, this isn't my studio. And it's not outside my studio. This has absolutely nothing to do with my studio.

In fact, I'm taking a break from my studio. I'm several hundred miles from my studio.

If I'd of had these sort of deer in my studio instead of the deer on the paneling in my studio I think I would have liked the way my studio was before the remodel... NOT!

I'm just messin with ya' ... are you curious yet? Wonderin where this Quilt Rambler is...well, I think you've figured out I'm not in my studio!

Yep, taking a much needed break from the about a road trip? One that is shared with friends....

When Quilter's Gather:

Ever wonder what longarm quilters do when they get together?

Yep, we show off our newest panto patterns and then pull out the show and tell!

I just loved the way the embroidery was incorporated into the quilting on this quilt...I really hoped Ellen would have donated this to my new studio, the colors were certainly perfect don't you think?

Vonnie has been mastering feathers! When I saw this posted on her facebook I commented that I just had to see it in person! The photo just doesn't do it justice. It is fabulous!

Yep, girls just wanta have fun! Again, I though perhaps Vonnie had made this one just for me, it's my colors!

I hope she doesn't mind a sneak preview of an upcoming quilt that will be in one of the guild shows....the quilting is stunning.

Both ladies have done an excellent job with their quilting....but the party wasn't all about show and tell - it was about sharing among quilting friends... friends who are welcoming another friend into the A1 family!

That's right, we were all gathered to set up Janie's new A1. A story that started with quilting friends who decided they needed longarms....Vonnie got her's first in March 2010, Ellen welcomed her A1 October 2010 and now Janie has hers. These ladies are going to have sew much fun together with many many more quilting show and tells in the future!

Thanks for a fun filled day Janie, Vonnie, and Ellen. I look forward to you "heading south" in a few weeks to visit my studio and can't wait to see more show and tell! you've figured out that I'm not in my studio, I'm not even in my neck of the where have I been this week?

Enjoying friends and family that's where!

And playing games! While out of town we stayed with cousins Jimmy & Linda and enjoyed several intriguing games of Jenga along with the lots of good food and the joys of deer in the driveway every morning. It was truly a thrill to have one eat out of my hand!

So, how about a little Where's Karen ....can you tell anything from this photo that would give you a clue...yep, I'm enjoying the sunshine....

Probably a better hint with this one... Don't you just love the beautiful trees? Hum... deer, old twisted trees...any idea yet?

Perhaps a little checking up on mom by my son on his cell phone will give you a hint...

We truly enjoyed a little time away from the gulf coast with our fast and furious trip to the hill country. Wishing there were more days to play, but the laughter and fun was larger than life and we welcomed the much needed break from the remodeling of the studio.

But there's no place like home....and the welcome committee is outa this world!

And what a welcome that was! Including a surprise in my studio! My youngest son has begun my mural and I couldn't be more excited about it!
Stay tuned, there's more fun planned for the studio....

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

In my own little corner in my own little world...

Can't you just hear Cinderella, in Rodgers and Hammerstein's musical version, singing "In my own little corner, in my own little chair"... as you see my colorful new pink broom and orange dust mop next to my A1 Quilter's apron so beautifully hiding the obvious (a roll of batting!) Guess I sorta feel like Cinderella - just looked it up on google to find out how to spell R&H and wikipedia says "the title character is a young woman living in unfortunate circumstances that are suddenly changed into a remarkable fortune"

Well, that's a tad drastic, even for me...but I can relate to her sweeping up (grin) as I've been trying to dig out from all the remodeling. And I can relate to circumstances being changed .... but certainly not suddenly (as remodeling has taken its tole) but remarkable none the less.

So here's my progress thus far...and it really is just one little corner in my own little world...the other corners of the room haven't come together yet (grin).

This is the longarm side of the newly remodeled studio. Bare in mind, I do have two longarms now, but only my faithful original A1 has it's corner all nice and neat and ready to get back to work.

The above view is to the left as you look into my room. The couch at the far left of the photo is located in front of my exterior window and separates my two longarms. As fore-mentioned, the area housing the new A1 isn't ready for public viewing just yet... nor the view if you were looking right as you darkened the door to the studio - that's the sewing side and it's in despairing need of organization...a story waiting to be told. Sigh.

In the meantime, wanna take a look behind my longarm?

How do you like my shocking pink floor? Can you see the raspberry trim peaking out? Unfortunately there's not enough of it showing in my room after all the hard labor of painting it... I just have so much stuff lining the walls. Ah, but I know it's there and I like it. Matches my inspiration for my wild coloring.

And behind the curtain (quilt)?

Some of my fabric stash as well as drawers holding customer quilts. My original intent was to just drape a quilt across the top to make a counter area for my things, then decided that it was a good way to show off another shop sample - this one is called The Goose Flew East and was made after we sold our goose-neck trailer years ago after coming off the road as national special events operators (we sold Ben & Jerry's, Nestle, Dove, and Lemon Chill at places like Kentucky Derby, Indy 500, Oshkosh Airshow, Houston Rodeo, NASCAR and such) good memories....but the real reason it was chosen was (1) because it fit and (2) because it shows an example of all over/edge to edge quilting proving once again that not every quilt needs to be custom quilted.

So, is the remodeling over you ask? Yes and no. The contractors have finished their part, now we are doing the final painting of cabinets and the tedious task of moving things back in. Never in my born days did I realize just how much my passion of quilting had accumulated so many much needed items! Fabric here, books there, various tools, batting (oh my the batting! and it comes in so many varieties! 80/20, 100%, wool, bamboo, poly, soy...) There's a lot of sorting and putting up to be done and it's not a quick task. But yes, the hired help has completed their portion...

This project hasn't been without some calamity. In previous posts I've shared about the accidental unplugging of the freezer, or should I say the accidental I forgot to REplug the freezer event....well, add to our version of the Hee-haw song "if it weren't for bad luck I'd have no luck at all"...

On Saturday a week ago the workers finished installing the flooring in the newly enclosed laundry room....on Sunday I washed a load of clothes, noting that the hot water didn't work, so just simply switched to cold until hubby could take a look at it...with all the things going on it slipped my forward to Wednesday a week ago today....what's that smell in the man cave? No one else seemed to smell forward again to Friday night trying to have dinner and a movie in the man cave...yep, now it was no question about it. Something stunk...and it wasn't Pixxie's bed (which had been moved in there due to the living room being taken over by all the POD items)....poor Pixxie, being so displaced for so long.

Long story short, we discovered the carpet under the couch was wet. Yep, the man cave shares the same wall with the laundry room and seems the hot water that wasn't working was indeed leaking, a slow steady leak for almost a week...

Fortunately, it's only a small area, but it did require removing the padding and drying out. It's still waiting its turn to be replaced...oh so many things to do! We've started calling this the Money Pit....will we ever have all the rooms back to normal again? Sigh.

In my own little corner in my own little room... One corner at a time. It will get there. And it's going to be great!

But I have trusted in Thy mercy;
my heart shall rejoice in Thy salvation.
I will SING unto the Lord,
because He has dealt bountifully with me.
Psalm 13:5-6

Sunday, June 5, 2011

May I Have Some Swiss Cheese With My Whine?

It's been almost a month since I've reported in. I remember the old saying if you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all. That pretty much sums up my month. My family and close friends have heard me whine (and I'm publicly apologizing)...but I truly didn't want to whine all over blogville so at least I've held my tongue, somewhat.

My world has been turned upside down. But in light of recent world events (earthquakes, tornadoes, flooding, etc) and considering several quilting friends have lost loved ones and others are facing serious issues in their lives, I am ashamed that I've whined at all.

For you see, my little disaster was by choice...big difference.... Okay, I've repented (thanks to today's sermon actually) and I'm ready now to share the good of the past month and gloss over the trials. For as I was reminded this morning "In this world you WILL have trouble."

To all began with Hurricane Ike, Sept 2008....we had roof damage that wasn't resolved completely. Fast forward to August 2010 when we were introduced to a contractor who negotiated with the insurance company. As a result this past April 2011 construction began on a new roof as well as a new ceiling for the living room/kitchen/studio area that was damaged due to the leaking roof....

This began the spark of doing a little remodeling along with the repairs....Some of you may remember my Jericho wall that I wanted to come tumbling down....this wall separated my studio from a rather large laundry room which lead to the back door...

The end of April that wall came down! Take a good look at that lovely paneling. I've lived with these deer, hunters, and flying geese since we moved in October 2005 (this room must have been a man cave in it's previous life). Little by little some of the walls got painted...three outa four's not bad...oh how I won't miss that paneling!

So began the ceiling re-do, and if you are positively pumped to ponder on my past events you can go back and read Two P's in a POD....otherwise, trust me, it was a puzzling month...who knew it would take soooo long to do these repairs....sigh...excuse me, I feel a whine coming on...

I have to say that I was truly spared from some of the "down time" by my adventures with A1 Quilting Machine's A Team at MQS in Kansas the first part of May...I promise, I will recap that adventure in the future...but for now, it's all about trying not to whine as I share about my studio redo...(grin)

I've learned that the root word for construction is one part delays and the other part patience. I haven't done well with either of those new vocabulary words, but I'm getting more used to having them as part of my life. Rather familiar actually.

For clarification, I have two different contractors, one doing insurance repairs and one doing remodeling. As a refresher, we had to remove items in the rooms that were getting the new ceiling installed with Contractor #1 (the POD story again with the overflow being the other two rooms in the house, bedroom and man cave - I told folks the only place that wasn't messed up and had a place to sit was the bathroom, but that didn't count) In the interim we asked Contractor #2 to tear down the wall so the ceiling would be nice and purdy (that's Texas slang for pretty) across both the studio and the new expansion. Did I mention that POD's come with a one month rental? Hum...

Don't you think it makes sense that while everything is removed and stored safely in the POD that it would be a good time to make the newly expanded studio floor look all nice and purdy too? After all, the old studio had this old carpet and the annex (former laundry room) had old chipping painted concrete.....shouldn't there be some sort of continuity? And shouldn't we take advantage of the full month rental on that POD? I mean, seriously? Would we ever want to move all this stuff again?

Re-enter Contractor #2...yeah! Remove that old carpet!! Time for something new! I had big plans for a special floor!

During the "wait" time between Contractor #1 finishing up the ceiling and Contractor #2 ordering the flooring it was time to finally paint ALL the walls the same color. Good bye flying geese paneling, good bye ugly white paneling behind the washer and dryer....hello Purple Mist...finally, all walls the same color!

Only Purple Mist didn't look so purple any more. It actually looked like a pale pink. Hum. I'm not a pale-pink-person. Really not a pale-pastel-of-any color sort of person. Sigh....

Did I mention my few days away from the construction dust? I came home from MQS with some very yummy Sew Batik flannels...seems I'm just drawn to tropical island type colors...and ya' see that basket above...I have several of those sprinkled about the studio (or rather I did before they all ended up in the POD). Seems these are pretty colors together....


Yep, I have the most wonderful husband...he'd no sooner finished painting all the walls Purple Mdist when I asked him to repaint in Tiggerific. And he did!

In the meantime I learned from Contractor #2 that the mat flooring I had dreamed of for the studio was on back order and the manufacturer didn't recommend it for my intended use. Another design change.... (and that delay word again)

Pixxie is just so helpful. Here we are trying to pick out VCT tiling... I'll spare you the story of coming up with a quilt block design for the entire floor...that was a painful design process as the color palette was limited (not bright enough for my taste) and then the colors that I thought would work were back ordered and then I changed the quilt design and things still weren't working out....remember that vocabulary word's kissin' cousins to disappointment .... well, that's one of the whines I'm trying to gloss over...

So in the meantime....what goes with orange walls?

How about Lime Pop and Bright Black Raspberry?

I know, I know... some of you are thinking that all this down time from quilting has totally thrown me off my rocker...well, there have been days that my family threatened to have me committed....but it wasn't over the paint colors!

Who else do you know that has a lime green laundry room?!?!?! And I painted that room myself - only because it's going to be behind closed doors! This was my first attempt at painting and hands down, hubby is much better than I am! By the way, eventually those accordion doors will become my design wall....stay tuned! (at the rate we're going, it may be awhile).

Delays continued and I was getting antsy. I'd been away from the longarm and sewing machine way too long. My niece's graduation was fast approaching (and her birthday came and went) - it was past time for my promised Autograph Quilt...

Oh, did I mention that the POD rental had expired? Yep, all that STUFF had to go somewhere... The living room is impassable, trust me. There's just a path to a small cleared off area for Pixxie to reclaim "her spot" on the couch. (Now technically there is another place to sit besides the throne in the bathroom).

So back to the quilt...I found it almost impossible to work in chaos...the pressure was on, the following day was her last day at school...kinda hard to get autographs AFTER school is over...and did I mention this was the same day I discovered we'd unplugged the freezer while painting trim four days before and neglected to replug it at the end of the day...oh, I'm sorry...pass the cheese will go well with all the frozen fruit that is no longer frozen. Sorry about that favorite bag of "Sonic ice"and all the smoked turkey and chicken... who's cooking these days anyway? Did I mention that I can't find the kitchen cabinets either... Okay...sorry, got distracted...I did get the quilt top pieced and she picked it up on her way to her last day of day I'll get it back and quilt it (and post photos).

This too shall pass...or melt as the case may be...on to happier things! What else can a quilter do who is displaced? Hang quilts of course! Or at least some of them. Yep, it was time to trick my mind into recognizing that this will one day be a studio again....and that there WILL BE a floor to go with it....

By the way, this is hubby's favorite quilt. I made it in 2004 around my birthday, it's called Somewhere in Time, Past Meets Present...It has always hung behind my longarm, so it's tradition...(did you say that like Fiddler on the Roof? if not, go back and re-read that line with the proper enunciation). Tra-di-tion! Or in my case, some sense of much needed normality!

Okay, with all the design change and delays something unique happened. I found a hum-dinger of a deal on Shocking pink floor tiles. Yep, no pastel for this gal, hot pink or bust! Can you see the stack of tile on the end of the longarm? Better yet, click on Shocking and you'll see it up close and personal! And those folks at Home Depot just thought they'd never find someone crazy enough to take that return off their hands....I've gone back several times since purchasing this for other items and they all know me at the lady who bought all THAT pink flooring....

Those cabinets were another fire-sale-deal-buster. Gotta love those Memorial Day sales! Technically, they were free or almost...from the money I saved on the's that higher form of math that only women understand (but honey, I saved this much so I spent it on this other thing...)

Okay, so they were unfinished, no problem, I've learned to paint!...White Fur is a perfect blend to the other furniture that will go back into the studio. And I wear it so well ... I'm an overly messy painter, my new shorts are now my painting-only-shorts-never-again-to-be seen-in-public-shorts. I must say there's a nice mixture of Lime Pop, Bright Black Raspberry AND White Fur that shall serve as my future fond memories of this experience one of a kind outfit. (I didn't do any Tiggerific painting, left that to the expert!)
Finally, the much awaited day arrived! They were coming to lay my floor! All the remaining Big Stuff that could be moved outside had to go...did I mention that we hit 100 degrees that day? Broke all sorts of records...

What wasn't easily removable was put on the "top level" that used to be the large laundry room behind that deer/flying geese paneled wall. Notice my precious pup, she's once again taking her modeling role seriously by showing how these two areas are not level (honestly, she stood that way on her own) ...indeed, there's a upper level and a lower issue due to the fact this used to be a garage (prior to our purchasing of the house, as mentioned, the room claimed as my studio was wall to wall flying geese and deer paneling back in October 2005). This "step up" is an unresolved issue at the time of this writing - stay tuned for a creative solution....which I hope will come soon...I know what I want to do, but am having a hard time finding the right materials...sigh...I'm beginning to spell delay in my sleep, that and design change....

Let the flooring begin!!!
Doesn't Pixxie look fabulous surrounded by Shocking Pink and Tiggerific Orange?

And that's all she wrote. On that day at least...another delay....sigh...that was 6/2, Thursday ( 4 days ago) and this is as far as they got. But it's a start and I can visualize it, can't you?

Life does go on, and I realize this blog has too. Bless your heart for sticking with me this long! The above photo was last night...The lower level was laid on Friday and the upper level and newly enclosed laundry room was laid Saturday -- see my Bright Black Raspberry trim on the floor to the left of the longarm? Sigh...that's all that's separating me from moving back into my studio....did I mention that I painted that? Outside...on the day we hit 100 degrees.

So while I'm waiting I've finished painting the cabinets - that's where they are going to wind up (above photo), as an island, one side on the lower level and one side on the upper level, helping to camouflage that "step up". This will be added storage as well as my sewing and cutting center. I can hardly wait! More photos on that progression to come too.

And yes, I'm a little stir crazy...I painted the breaker box Bright Black Raspberry to match my trim and the outlet covers...yep, probably the only gal in town with a colorful breaker box!

So, that's my edited whine. It's been a difficult month (or more) having workers in and out of our home. Crippling almost, there were times I felt like I was held captive. I don't function well in chaos, so most of my time was spent under the tiki hut reading magazines or on facebook. Not real productive to say the least. A forced vacation that wasn't as relaxing as it should have been...only because of my attitude and lack of gratefulness....something I seriously repented of today.

Yes, life is full of struggles. Some we bring on ourselves, some we have no control over, all can be handled if we remember Who is in charge...something my pastor once said "what is over your head is under His feet. He will deliver and respond at the perfect time."

Tonight I am reflecting on being grateful. Grateful that an insurance problem was resolved and we now have a roof over our heads that has passed windstorm inspection. Grateful that these repairs included the ceiling which gave me the opportunity to enlarge my studio. Grateful that the original flooring I wanted wasn't available and that the floor that was provided was not only more "me" (hot pink) but also at a fraction of the cost of the original design. And yes, I'm Grateful to my friends who have put up with "the rest of the story" and "behind the scenes" whines and frustrations. Soon I will be grateful to be moving back in my studio. I hope you will continue to share the journey with me--- there's oh so much more!

And it's all good. Ultimately it's all good.

...for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. Philippians 4:11 (for me, personally, I'm learning...)

Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace.