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"'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!


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 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'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) 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 ...'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 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, 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 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 is one of the songs that helps me keep going... hope it blesses you too.

Until next time,