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Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Too Much Fun in a Nutshell


The NSQBQ girls,
Linda, Sheila, Lesley, and myself,
gave a quilt show at
the 10th Annual Fibre Arts Festival 
in Amherst, NS
this past weekend.


Our venue was the town hall lobby, 
so space was at a premium,
but we made the best of it!



A special thank you to the Town Hall personnel
for tolerating us on such short notice.
We didn't make it easy!
Can you just imagine the four of us buzzing around
trying to set this up right under their noses?
It was quite the flurry of activity.
~
In the meantime,
I've been doing some secret sewing,
and now I can show and tell!

Linda has a very significant birthday coming up,
so I invited some friends and her modern quilt guild
to, as Lesley so aptly phrased it,
"give her a birthday hug by making a block"
for a special birthday signature quilt.

The other Karen, from Sugarfree Quilts, drove down to Amherst
to see our show, and, as prearranged, 
lured Linda away for a little while.

I pinned her quilt over another quilt, 
so it would be the first thing she saw when she came back in.


Upon reentering Town Hall,
she spotted this quilt right away and said,
"What's that quilt?  Where's my wedding quilt?"

"Oh," said Sheila, "we sold that and put this one up in it's place."

Half believing her, Linda approached the quilt with trepidation,


and started looking it all over


.

and then the light dawned


at which point I lost it,
started to cry,
rushed in for a hug,
and missed any more photo opportunities.

Linda did email a photo of the wonderful back,
the paper pieced panel contributed by Karen Chase.


I added the right hand column
which consisted of the label and a special block signed by Karen
before I brought it up to size.

That was our weekend in a nut shell!
I'm sure when you visit the other NSQBQ members,
you'll learn more about it.
I know we all agree 
that too much fun equals exhaustion!

Hope you had a wonderful, funderful weekend, too,
and are looking forward to a great week!

XO,
karen


Thursday, October 5, 2017

"Sew" Much Gratitude


I am truly blessed
with some pawsitively awesome quilty friends,
worldwide!

As I visit one blog, and then another,
or take an extra minute to check out Instagram,
I'm seeing Dog Gone Cute blocks
popping up everywhere.




Here is a very poor,
and I apologize for that,
picture of the blocks I've rec'd from 
my Canadian blogger friends,
with a few smaller blocks thrown in by me.

Thank you all!

I will be basking in the afterglow of my birthday
for months to come, when I return to TX,
unite with the rest of them,
and get to work.

I couldn't ask so much of you without giving back.


I've made, and sent, two blocks

"...this blog, written by Kat, sponsors an ongoing project called Covered in Love. Kat is a nurse in a med-surgical unit at East Texas Medical Center. She supports the dying process for some of her patients. Knowing the comfort it provides the patient, and the family of that patient, she tries to provide a quilt for patients nearing the end of their life in the hospital. As the family transitions and grieves the loss of their loved one, they are able to keep the quilt as a treasure to bring them comfort."


                                One more thing before I go:


simple peanut butter cookies, best peanut butter cookies, easy peanut butter cookies, quick peanut butter cookies, how to make peanut butter cookies from scratch


for peanut butter cookies that I've ever made.
You'll want to double the batch!


So, again, thank you all 'sew' very much.
Now, I'm off to research a photo editor to replace PicMonkey!
Any suggetions?

Making a difference, one block at a time, with your help,
~Karen





Monday, September 11, 2017

Disaster Relief Comes in Many Forms

Oh, boy, Mother Nature's wrath shows no mercy.  As I write, I'm worried about the southeastern population of the US and concerned about those already affected by Hurricane Irma.  I can't watch the news because I find it so upsetting.

I know we all want to help, somehow, and it's frustrating to know how.  The needs are overwhelming.

As many of you know, my daughter and SIL reside in Texas.  Although affected by Hurricane Harvey, their home was on the northern fringes of the storm and escaped any devastating damage.  I'd like to thank everyone who reached out with concern for their safety!  It meant a lot to me.

They found a unique way to help by adopting a family in ravished Rockport, TX who lost everything. They made phone contact with them to assess their immediate needs, reached out to their community for donations, then loaded a box trailer full, and personally delivered the goods.  Because of the proximity of her location, only a 2.45 hour drive, this was possible, as will returning to assist with the rebuild of the home.  Genius.  I thought it was a TX initiative, but discovered that they did it on her own.  If more localized families and groups did the same, it would make an incredible difference in any area affected by catastrophic weather.  And we seem to have lots of that.  Florida, you are in my thoughts at this very moment.

My birthday is next week.  I have but one wish.  I want blocks.  Dog Gone Cute blocks.  Lorna had a quilt along awhile back, and offered each of the 8 different dog blocks for free.  They can be stitched up in two sizes.  I'll take either size, any colors.

Here's the link to block one and two,  three and four,  five and six, and blocks 7 and  8.
             
Why, you ask?  Well, after a lot of searching, Crafty Daughter was able to hook up with this family through the nonprofit agency that traveled the 350 miles from Granbury, TX to take on the pets and keep them safe until they could be returned to their families.  I have been asked to make a doggie themed wall hanging for this agency to auction off to help fund their efforts.  Their job isn't over yet.

A wall hanging.  One wall hanging.  While I was showering, where I do my best brainstorming, I thought, "I can do better than that!"  So, here I am, asking for your help.

I would love for you to send me blocks, and will provide a mailing address upon request, but.....this isn't the only pet rescue agency that stepped up to the plate, and if you want to make a few blocks into something for your own pet rescue agency, or any other that you have been made aware of, go for it! And share with me!

I would like to make up sets of placemats, wallhangings, and who knows, maybe even a quilt or two for them to auction off!  These blocks have so much potential and like all of Lorna's blocks, are easy and addictive to make, like eating potato chips.  Thanks, Lorna, for always sharing!

Okay, that's all for today.  
Thank you for reading through this.  
Every little bit helps along the way!

Stay sweet!
~karen






  

Friday, August 11, 2017

Ma'm, Put Your Hands in the Air...

"Good Morning!  It's Sunday, July 9th.  My name is Jane Pauley, and this is Good Morning America!"

What?!?  July 9th?  How did that happen?  The quilt show is only one month away!  I'd better start finishing some quilts!



And so it began.  Quilt Central.  One month of focusing and no playing allowed.  If I wandered from my goal, I was afraid I'd hear heavy footsteps, and then:  "Ma'm, put your hands in the air and step away from that machine."  "But officer, I just wanted to try this one block...."

Well, the quilt show launched yesterday, 

Photo courtesy The Cuddle Quilter
To see more, go HERE!

and I'm pleased to say, I made it. I walked in on Wednesday morning with a laundry basket chuck-a-lucka-full.  Never thought to stop and document this in photographs.  Even my blogging instincts were quelled while I quilted.  And quilted.  And quilted.  If you know me, you'll understand that I am a very pokey quilter.  If it takes you a week, it takes me a month!

I brought ten pieces, but 6 of them were baby to crib size quilts.  Only four were of any substantial size.  Three were UFOs, only one was new this summer.




This is my new quilt, Preppy the Whale.  My goal was to make 72 whales.  When I reached 36, I said, "Enough is enough."  I sewed them together, then waited for weeks to find just the right backing.  The whales are all Free Spirit Solids, but the back is Cotton and Steel.



A winning combination!

Now, I hate to admit this, but by the time I had this all together, I was  d-o-n-e! So I called my local long armer, arranged to have it edge to edged (which I'd have done, anyway), and practically threw it at her when I dropped it off!  "Take this!  I'm sick of working on it!"  Lucky for me, her machine was free at that moment and it was returned to me just a few days later!  Thanks ever so much, Colleen!

Also included in my laundry basket full of goodies were these two quilts, both UFOs.



This quilt was a 'to go' project 8 years ago.  Thought it was time to finish it up!  The back is a black batik with yellow to red dots.  Very pretty.




Sometimes, what we see in our mind's eye isn't what we get.  Such is the case with this quilt.  But it still came out okay.  Different.





A little tip:
I was cleaning up threads from the back of a finished top....and remembered a suggestion that a quilter had written into a magazine.  I cut a little piece of a batting scrap and pinned it to the end of my ironing board.  It was a great way to collect all my little thread pieces in one place, eliminating a messy clean up when I was finished!

And last but certainly not least, another scrumptious recipe to share.  Sheila made this for our Round Robin Exchange, and I couldn't get enough of it.  She was kind enough to send me a link to the recipe.

Butternut Squash and Cranberry Quinoa Salad

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Retractable Scissor Keeps


Three posts in as many weeks!  Can you believe it?  Not like me at all, but I got mail today and I'm pretty excited.  My Janome (have I mentioned lately how much I love, love, love my Janome?) came with it's own table, but there isn't anyplace to put 'things', so I started wearing my scissors on a lanyard.  Well, it works great, except whenever I get up, or lean over to manhandle manipulate the quilt through the machine throat, it bangs and clangs, and every once in a while catches on things. But that has been better than leaning over and picking them up off the floor over and over again.

I was watching a video by Amy Johnson and she was wearing a retractable badge reel for her scissors.  Hmmm, I said to myself, Crafty Daughter makes those for her friends and colleagues, and even has a few for sale in her Etsy shop.  She offers free shipping to US residents!


So, I had her send me one.  Ummmm, it's ingenious!


Her Etsy shop is located at GardeniaDrive, and I know she has more!  You should pop over and take a peek.  She started selling bra strap wraps for FitBits a couple of years ago and has expanded a little. She had asked me to come up with something for her because she hated wearing them in that plastic band on her wrist.  She loved what I did so much, she said, "We should sell these!"  They've sold themselves, and I struggle to keep them in stock.

She has also made up some vinyl decals for me, which I love, because one of my favorite things to do is send random happy mail.



However, the cost of postage is sometimes prohibitive. These decals can be slipped into the mail for only the cost of a postage stamp!  (ooh, ooh, ooh, the FitBit Strap Wraps only take one postage stamp, too! I'm going to declare myself the Queen of Low Postage!)



She's offering a 10% discount on these decals if you use the coupon code:  FYF10, and shipping is free in the US.

Linda (Scrapmaster) giving a class.

While there is a shipping cost for international orders, you can buy more than one for the same shipping as one, so that's not too bad a deal.

~

I've already confessed to not being a domestic diva. Truth be told, I'm pretty pathetic in the kitchen, too.  ~sigh~  So, when I find a recipe that even I can make, even I find very versatile, I have to share.  Creamy Spinach and Sausage Pasta is a one skillet meal that we really enjoy, and I don't even mind excusing myself from my sewing machine to prepare.  I think I shared this recipe before, but it's worth repeating!



It doesn't take very long, at all, and I know I'm not the only one who would rather be sewing than preparing meals!

~

Last but not least, on the quilty front, I have one share.  It has winged it's way across the continent and has been received, so I can show it now.


It's just a little zippered pouch using a stitchery from Red Brolly. I combined the instructions from a couple of different pouch tutorials that I found on Pinterest and made it to my own dimensions.  It was fun and easy, and I see a few more in my future!  Makes a great gifty, is flat and inexpensive to slip into the mail.  My favorite thing!

Well, that's all for today, but that was quite a lot for me!  I hope you can enjoy your day doing whatever makes you happiest!  I have to go grocery shopping.  :(

~karen

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Domestic Diva? Hardly!


At some point during my early morning sewing binge, 
it occurred to me that sewing on a domestic machine isn't exactly 
'being domestic', 
so I decided to bite the bullet and threw not one, 
but two, loads of laundry into the washing machine.  
Then I felt smug because I could sew while the washer did all the work!  
I don't have a dryer, though, so I did have to stop long enough 
to hang everything out on the clothesline to dry.
And yes, to bring them in to fold and put away.
(Truthfully?  I piled them onto a chair 
in the corner of my bedroom for later.)


I have spent the better part 
of my spring/summer playing, 
whipping up blocks and patterns
that I've wanted to try
but haven't taken the time.
When a former student announced
her wedding date,
I took the opportunity to try
the pineapple block
that's been circulating.
It made a great wedding gift.


This is the only picture I took
before I slipped it into the mail,
but while it was (quite literally) hanging around
waiting to be finished,
I couldn't stop looking at it!
Depending on the time of day,
it never looked the same.
I love it.

I always like to have a "to go" project,
and in 2015, I was inspired by
Julie's Quilts and Costume's RSC Challenge project.
She was inspired by
a quilt called "True Colors"  in Nancy Mahoney's book,
Simple Curves and Quick Curves.





I collected several B/W, W/B print fat quarters,
hit up my scrap basket,
and got to work.

When it was time to return to the states for the winter,
I packed mine up and stored it away.
Fast forward to the following spring.
I had lost my mojo for this project,
declared my pile of appliqued circles as finished,
worked up a layout,
sewed it into rows,
and stored it away for another winter.

When I sewed the rows together this past spring,
I wanted it just a little larger,
so a quilting blogger friend suggested I use a white border
and quilt ghost blocks in black,
then bind it in black.




Thinking this was a grand idea,
I got to work.
Thankfully, I was trying out a new-to-me marking pen,
one that fades with time,




because quilting circles with black thread on white fabric
isn't for the faint of heart.
Having a nice bold line to follow surely helps.

I can highly recommend this pen,
but don't mark ahead of time, then leave it for later.
It fades more quickly than the directions 
lead you to believe.

Hope you are enjoying your summer days
as much as I have been!

~karen

PS - If you visited my previous post about our NSQBQ Round Robin adventure,
but you didn't have time to check in with the other girls (I didn't post pictures of their quilts), here's a quick snapshot of us all together!









Monday, July 10, 2017

Round Robin Exchange


Five years ago, 
4 Nova Scotia quilt bloggers' worlds collided
(try to say THAT 3 times fast!)
and a very special bond was formed.

Last fall, when this small but mighty group met 
for the last time before winter, 
we discussed our third annual challenge, 
and decided that a round robin might be fun.  
So, we set up a schedule that wouldn't be stressful and got to work.


Sheila certainly doesn't look like she spent the morning
preparing the most amazing and delicious luncheon!

We chose to keep each quilty piece a secret
from the original contributor, 
and after a very long, 
too long wait,
due to unforeseen circumstances, 
we finally met up and made our exchange.


Lesley and Linda can't get over the detail on Lesley's quilt.

Sheila, of Sheila's Quilt World, hosted us in her lovely home, 
since she is located half way between 
Lesley (The Cuddle Quilter) and me
(or is it 'I'?  I'm never sure),
and Linda, Scrapmaster.
Linda's daughter, Niki, joined the party
and was such a big help behind the camera.


Linda's all excited and she hasn't even opened her quilt up, yet!

Last but not least,
mine!

Upside down, right side up, it all looks beautiful to me!

Inspiration for my 12" sq. center block
came from designer Sharon Tucker


American Patchwork and Quilting, June 2015

Round 2 was cleverly constructed by Sheila,
who also took her inspiration from this photo,
but substituted hexie flowers for the appliqued flowers shown,
embroidered a vine, and appliqued leaves.
She does such lovely handwork.




Round 3, by Lesley,
captures the whole essence of the quilt top,
don't you think?  It's up on my design wall, now,
and I just can't stop looking at it!




and Linda's Round 4
ingeniously links back to the center block
and pulls it all together.
She didn't repeat any fabrics in these Raspberry Kiss Blocks.
I think it's the perfect final round, and so Linda!




Here's one more look at the whole quilt.




The four of us, dubbed the Nova Scotia Quilt Bloggers Quartet,
(NSQBQ)
will be presenting a quilt show
in Amherst, Nova Scotia
from October 10th - 14th.
Our goal is to have them quilted up and ready for display by then.
I can't wait to see them all completely finished!

Now, I just know you are chomping at the bit
to see the other three quilts.
I hope the few pictures I shared were just enough of a tease
to encourage you to pop over to their blogs for more!
They have written up such delightful posts.

Here are their links again to make it easy:

Linda
Sheila
& Lesley

Thanks for popping in!
It's a beautiful morning here in Cape Breton.
Hope you're enjoying much of the same!

~karen

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Slow and Easy Wins the Race


When summer rolls around,
there often isn't a lot of sewing time on the docket.
I know, for me, grabbing snippets of sewing time
has to satisfy that innate passion.

Sew a strip together here, pin blocks together there,
press those seams quickly before you head out the door;
and it amazes me how much I can accomplish.

First things first.
I finally finished my green Paper Lanterns quilt.


It was a very windy picture day,
so over the wood pile it went.
It blew off as soon as I snapped this picture,
so I didn't even attempt to photograph the back.
But it's cute!  You'll just have to believe me.

I chose to quilt it with white Aurifil 50 wt. thread
using the Serpentine Stitch and it was the perfect choice.
Thank you, Stephanie, of Loft Creations, for another fun pattern!!

When an elderly quilter in N. Tx went into an assisted care facility,
her fabrics were offered to her quilting guild.
There was so much fabric, it filled one stall of a two stall garage.
While I was visiting, I was invited to "shop"
and here is one result of that booty:


by Missouri Star Quilt Co.




 Except, I worked with an assortment of fat quarters,
scaled down the size of the blocks,
and ended up with a 40"x 50" top.
I used my walking foot and multicolored thread for the quilting.

It will be winging its way to Massachusetts on Monday
as a new baby (gender yet unknown) quilt 
for a very special young couple.

I will share one more thing, 
and then I'll save the rest for another post.
I think one of the reasons I'm getting a lot accomplished
even though I'm not marathon sewing,
is because I've made these trays for traveling 
from one station to another.


My sewing machine still lives in the kitchen
but my cutting station and the ironing board are in a different room.
I picked up a couple of plastic trays from the 
not-a-dollar-store-anymore,
and glued a layer of batting to the bottom.
It measures 10" x 14".
I can load them up and go from the cutting table,
to the sewing machine,
back to the ironing board,


and even into the living room
to work off my lap
while I watch a show in the evening!

Plus, they can be stacked on top of each other
even with projects laid out on them,
and tucked away when it's time to tidy up.

Okay, one more thing, since these blocks have shown up.
Here are some on my design wall.
already constructed.


I believe it was Adrienne of Chezzetcook Modern Quilts
that was destashing one summer,
and I was the lucky recipient of all her unwanted fabric.
The other day I was rifling through my fabrics,
which are still packed up for the winter,
and my hand pulled out this fabric that she must have used
to back a quilt.
There was enough leftover for me to construct 20 - 9" blocks.
With a coordinating border or two,
it should work up into a fun crib size quilt!
Quick, easy, cute, AND so far, free!

Had enough?
Okay, I won't tell you about cleaning the oven yesterday.
It was quite the experience.
I think I remember doing it before.
Once.

Hope you're doing well
and having as much quilty fun as me!

~karen




Friday, June 9, 2017

Secret Sewing Revealed


It is my delight and extreme pleasure 
to finally be able to reveal
the 2017 Atlantic Canada Row X Row Experience
designed by Linda Coolen Smith
in collaboration with Karen Chase,
the best little fabric shop in Halifax, NS.




I was very honored when Linda asked me to test her pattern
for her Halifax Row X Row On The Go,
"To and Fro".

I'm not the best pattern tester, 
because I usually just look at the picture,
refer to the cutting requirements,
and take off sewing without looking back.




I had to concentrate very hard 
to make sure I followed 
the very well written instructions 
to the letter.




These photos were all taken at the same place
at the same time.
Guess where you stand determines how saturated the colors are.
Just so you know, the blue is the same throughout!




Anyway, picture quality aside,
job well done, Linda and Karen!
I enjoyed paper piecing the smokestacks in Tufts Cove 
on the Dartmouth side of the Halifax Harbor,
and appliqueing the office towers at Purdy's Wharf.
The most fun was appliqueing the
(one of five)
and the accompanying seagulls.
Well, that, and machine quilting it!

You can visit 
the Atlantic Canada Row by Row Experience 
Facebook page to see more rows, if you'd like,
by clicking right HERE.
There's quite a variety!
It's always interesting to me to see how
each year's theme is interpreted!

Thanks for stopping by!
~Karen