Give Thanks With A Grateful Heart

Thanksgiving gives us pause to stop and count our blessings, to express gratitude for the things in our lives, for the people in our lives, and for life itself.

These past three months have been a whirlwind of activity, emotions, joys, frustrations, tears, fears, isolation, determination, resolve…. On tonight, this eve of Thanksgiving I am reminded that I have so much to be grateful for!

As I reflect, my heart is full of the memories and thoughts of people, places, and events of just these past few months – not even taking into account the past year or my lifetime!

I have been a little isolated lately…AWOL if you please…admittedly at times overwhelmed due to the business of taking care of business – trying to deal with the aftermath of being a part of a natural disaster while trying to catch up and keep commitments made to my customers …sometimes isolation is a good thing to help you focus, fine tune, even repent and make things right with others, with God.

I have neglected to be grateful publicly for the blessings that have come from Hurricane Harvey, thus far, because we are far from this being a thing of the past as we are still living through the changes Harvey has forced upon us, still living without insulation or walls, still waiting on insurance claims to be able to hire a contractor….but that’s not the focus tonight…the thoughts in my busy brain are wanting to acknowledge the blessings, which reminded me of this old hymn I sang as a child in church….

When upon life’s billows you are tempest-tossed,
When you are discouraged, thinking all is lost,
Count your many blessings, name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord has done.

Count your blessings, name them one by one,
Count your blessings, see what God has done! 
Count your blessings, name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord has done.

Are you ever burdened with a load of care?
Does the cross seem heavy you are called to bear?
Count your many blessings, every doubt will fly,
And you will keep singing as the days go by.

When you look at others with their lands and gold,
Think that Christ has promised you His wealth untold;
Count your many blessings—money cannot buy 
Your reward in heaven, nor your home on high.

So, amid the conflict whether great or small,
Do not be discouraged, God is over all;
Count your many blessings, angels will attend,
Help and comfort give you to your journey’s end.

Blessings Come In Many Forms

In reviewing my phone photos for the past three months I had to smile at the fun times – beginning with becoming a part of the Studio 180 Design Certified Instructor family….If you’ve been following my journey you know that I was in Iowa with this crazy group of quilters who shared the experience of a solar eclipse while learning to teach and share Deb Tucker’s tools and techniques. I belong to a great class of 17 from THE Class of 2017, thus joining a total of 80 “CI’s”.  Instead of being stranded in Iowa I became a Harvey refugee and got stranded in Indy on my way to Tuckerland (grin.)

So I guess in chronological order this is my first area of gratitude – that I did not have to go through the emotions of watching water rise in my house, that I was surrounded by my new S180 family who were praying for me and taking care of me….and who generously donated monies to our recovery which leads to more gratitude as part of these funds were invested in the new shelving and organization in my studio. These amazing men and women have shown me much more love than I could ever deserve or repay! I was so pleased to be able to meet several of the CI’s at Quilt Market and Quilt Festival this year.

Other blessings came in the form of local friends and family who helped us with the cleanup. Many thanks especially to my quilt angels who made sure all my quilts and fabrics got a fresh cleaning after sitting in a studio with 5 inches of water for 5 days. So many more thanks go to my church family for physical and financial help and especially for prayers and a listening ear.

Blessings Come In Large Sizes Too

Sometimes I neglect to brag on God for making things possible. He uses people to bless other people as well as He allows blessings to enter in other ways too…Its been amazing to see the hand of God as He is providing for our needs…first the blessing of an RV that will be our temporary home once construction begins, next came a “container” we will be filling with items salvaged from the storm that will need to be stored during reconstrucion…and amazingly enough we found ourselves replacing those hard to sit in lawn chairs with a new couch for the tv room – never mind that the walls had to come down to get it in (grin) it felt sooo good to sit on something soft! And as if that weren’t enough we were also blessed with a new-to-us truck so we can later pull that RV when I begin traveling next year teaching and speaking at guilds and quilt shows!

Indeed my heart is overwhelmed tonight as I reflect upon these past few months…and this doesn’t even touch the tip of the iceberg as there are so many other blessings this year too (such as being an Island Batik Ambassador, having my quilts in their fall catalog, and working on a quilt for the upcoming spring catalog).

Thanks for hanging on until the end…here’s a fun little photo collage of these recent events that sparked tonight’s ramble.

 

May you be blessed with a wonderful Thanksgiving with friends and family. My hope for you is to not focus on the turkey, the decorations, or even the joy of being with people you care about – but that you too would stop to “count your many blessings” and may we always realize that even when things get tough there is always something to be grateful for!

This is Karen Overton, The Quilt Rambler – may your bobbin never run out and your cup always be overflowing with gratitude

 

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Quilt Market – Where Friends Meet

What’s better than Disneyland? Why Quilt Market and Quilt Festival of course!

Today was the first day of the vendor mall at the Fall International Quilt Market held annually in my “hometown” of Houston Texas. Yesterday was a sneak preview fondly called Schoolhouse – where attendees have hundreds of “classes” to visit and see the newest products and fabrics being introduced into our industry. In case you missed #thequiltramblerontheroad photo reporting of schoolhouse then you just need to visit my facebook page as it was well documented (grin).

Sew-lebrity Sightings:

Today was my socializing day….okay, so perhaps every day for me could be considered “social day” but today was well planned…and some of it not so planned…

What’s a Sew-lebrity you ask? Well, I borrowed the term from a gal I met today – I shared that I was taking photos of my “celebrity friends and she said, “you mean SEWlebrities don’t you?”  Of course I do!  So let me introduce you to a few folks I visited with today!

Longarm Sewlebrities and Local Sewlebrity:

As soon as I walked into the exhibit hall who would I see but Jodi Robinson! If you don’t know her you might know her quilts! Jodi has been quilting for many years but in recent years “found herself” in the Modern Quilting world – and is she ever rocking that world!  It’s been my privilege to taken longarm classes with her. Jodi, thank you for your continued inspiration!

Jodi Robinson of Jodi Robinson Designs

A few steps later I ran into Cynthia England, who I’m sure if you are a quilter you will know as last year’s Best of Show winner (3rd-time winner actually!). Cynthia happens to be “local” and one of my hometown friends. Not only is she a fabulous designer and teacher she is a total hoot as a guild speaker! It’s always so much fun when Cynthia is visiting the Island Quilters Guild. By the way, Cynthia lives in my in-laws’ hometown of Dickinson Texas – the same Dickinson that was all over the news with Hurricane Harvey, and yes, Cynthia’s studio and home took on water. She’s #TexasStrong and it is so good to see her at market – she will be here next week for festival too.

Cynthia England needs no introduction – her quilts are simply amazing

A little later in the day, I stopped by to visit with my friend Helen Stubbings. Helen is neither a longarm quilter or local (grin) as she is from Australia! But I’ve known Helen for a number of years as I met her online through her sister Tracey Browning who is an A1 Quilting Machine Dealer (one of my previous adventures was being the Texas rep from 2008  – 2014) and a few fall markets where we really got to know each other. Helen does amazing handwork and makes it look so inviting and easy. She has some really cool paper piecing items for my friends who find this their passion.  I highly recommend her just because she is so sweet – and it goes without saying she’s gifted in her area of expertise! Always good to get an Aussie hug from Helen!

Helen Stubbings of Hugs ‘N Kisses from “down under”

I also ran into Gina Perkes, whom I’ve known and followed since my early days as a longarm quilter and have had the privilege of taking a class with her. Gina has to be the most photogenic woman I know. Her smile radiates in her eyes and I believe it’s because it resonates from deep within. She’s always so happy and so encouraging. Gina, I wish you much-continued success with your longarm quilting and design tools. It’s always good to see you at shows!

Gina Perkes, visit her booth for longarm inspiration and tools

Island Batik Sewlebrities:

I have been counting down to Quilt Market for months! It is truly a magical time of year for me, but more so this year as I couldn’t wait to visit with my friends from Island Batik!  If you are a regular reader of my ramblings you will know that since January of this year I have been blessed to be counted among the Island Batik Ambassadors, quilters who share the same passion for Island Batik fabrics and who participate in a monthly challenge and blog about our creations using this fabulous fabric line! Well! Several of the gals were coming to market and some to festival – we just had to make arrangements to meet up!

First of all, there’s Nan Baker. Not only is she the keeper of the birthdays for our group but I find that she’s an encourager and a very talented lady. She has a passion for critters and keeps us all involved in Kennel Quilts – in fact, she taught a class to shop owners this weekend to spread the word on how others can get involved.  Nan also had a signature collection of fabric with Island Batik called Northern Woods, of which I was privileged to create a quilt to add to the collection, Mint Chocolate Chip.

Nan Baker and her fabulous fabric collection and patterns!

Another one of the Island Batik Ambassadors whom I spent time with today is Tina Dillard, her quilt is the “cover girl” of the Island Batik Fall Catalog! And she has a fabulous new block of the month called Rambin’ Star. We had a lot of fun visiting together, sharing ideas, and now will have a stronger Facebook friendship due to meeting in person! So sad that you have to fly home so early. Safe journey my friend!

Tina Dillard – Block of the Month – Ramblin’ Star
Yep, Tina made that Funky Friend!

I might as well throw in the photos Tina took of me with my quilts….

The Quilt Rambler with Mint Chocolate Chip made with Nan’s collection Northern Woods
The Quilt Rambler and Illuminated Journey – made with Paisley Dot Precut Strips

Just a few more Island Batik photos and Sewlebrities…

Caleb Willis, company president, and all around good guy! Can you see Tina’s cover quilt on the catalog!
Kathy Engle, VP and Design Specialist – she pulls together all the designer collections – such talent!

Among the designers, I was able to meet Tammy Silvers and Jackie Kunkel both of whom I’ve been following on social media. I am amazed and inspired by their collective creativity and design. Their new lines with Island Batik are Elementz and Blue Moon. 

Tammy Silvers of Tamarinis
Jackie Kunkel of Canton Village Quilt Works

Studio 180 Design Sewlebrities:

Oh my, the day just kept getting better! It was a huge reunion to get to visit with Deb Tucker, Sue Tucker, Sarah, and Hailey! I’ve missed Tuckerland. The only thing that would have made this better was getting to visit with Jeff Tucker, but someone had to stay home and take care of the cats….er…warehouse!

Sue Tucker, Sarah Furrer, Karen Overton, Deb Tucker, Hailey Tucker – Studio 180 Design!

Becoming a Certified Instruction (CI) with Deb has been the best career decision I have ever made!  Not only did I get adopted by this fabulous family, but I’ve been adopted by 79 other CI’s, many of whom I was able to meet today (and a few I neglected to get photos with – but hopefully there will be another opportunity!). Here are just a few of my Sewlebrity CI friends!

Phyllis Fay and Beth Sidley, with Tucker University
Running With Scissors gals: Ellen Cicak, Kathy Webb, and Heidi Chase
Shanena Fredricks, Linda Wirtz, Deb Tucker (photobombed us), Karen Overton, and Brian McCoy

These guys and gals are ready, willing, and able to come teach workshops or lead Tucker Universities in your local quilt shop – of course, it goes without saying that yours truly can do that too. Here’s the listing of all the CI’s 

But wait, there’s more!

As my day was wrapping up having  juggled between the Island Batik booth and Studio 180 Design (I seriously didn’t go anywhere else today besides the food court and to see my friends at FiberCo, but that’s another day’s story) I was walking along when a lady stopped me and said “oh, I hoped I run into you!” Well, low and behold it’s my text editor Leslie Meltzer whom I’ve only talked to once via email! Leslie was recommended to me by my graphic designer Lindsie Bergevin and we will all be working together to get my patterns into print before the fabric ships to quilt shops the first of the year. For fun I thought our photo should be black and white, kinda reminded me of typeset years ago in the newspaper (dates me I know). Well…it’s late so what can I say…

Leslie is going to make sure my pattern directions are free of typos and easy to follow, Can’t wait!

Thanks for hanging out all the way to the end…there’s so much more I wanted to say, especially about my CI friends but the clock just struck 11 PM and I do need my beauty rest so I can drive back downtown tomorrow for more Quilt Market adventures. And yes, to all my Island Batik Ambassador friends I will do my best to go around the booth and a get really good close-ups of all the quilts. It’s an honor to be counted among you! Your designs are inspiring. To my S180 CI family – what can I say but I love you ALL – you have been so overwhelming good to me and supported me through all the “Harvey mess” that I can’t truly voice my feelings because I tear up, and it’s too late in the evening for that!

This is Karen Overton, The Quilt Rambler, reporting in from Fall Quilt Market! More Hugs and Photos Tomorrow!

Like and follow me on social media ~ there’s photos and such all across the internet ….this rambler loves to be #TheQuiltRamblerOnTheRoad

October Announcements: Part 2

Oh my, the month seems to have escaped me! I apologize, dear readers, as I did plan on making this announcement much sooner…but no time like the present!

Introducing Mint Chocolate Chip!

Original Pattern by Karen E Overton, The Quilt Rambler - Mint Chocolate Chip
Mint Chocolate Chip designed, pieced and quilted by Karen E Overton, The Quilt Rambler

This is my second pattern that will be introduced at Quilt Market this upcoming weekend here in Houston. I can hardly wait!!

Mint Chocolate Chip was created as part of the #sweettreats Signature Collection by Nan Baker, Purrfect Spots Designs,  called Northern Woods by Island Batik.

Facebook post from Nan Baker, Purrfect Spots Designs featuring Mint Chocolate Chip
As seen on Facebook 10/24/17

The colors are so delicious! Doesn’t it remind you of minty chocolates? The border reminds me of the twisted ends of the candy wrapper. I think it has an earthy feel to it too,  kinda like a path in the woods on a crisp fall day. It will make a nice couch throw measuring at 48″ x 58″.

If you are following the link to the online catalog I’m on page 103

Island Batik Fall Market 2017 Catalog page featuring Mint Chocolate Chip
Page out of the catalog – I plan on getting a copy for my mother!

The fabrics will be available for shops to place their order for kits and patterns beginning this weekend and will ship in the spring. I will be offering this as a precut kit also in the spring of 2018.

The Story Behind The Quilt

I just thought I was going to make this short and sweet…but then I wouldn’t be The Quilt Rambler now would I?

You may recall that our Island Batik Ambassador challenge for June was to make a quilt with curves…well…this was the fabric I was given to do so.

Beautiful stack of 10 inch precut Island Batik fabrics
Island Batik’s Pressed Petal Collection

I had a quilt all designed months ahead of time, using these precuts and my Go cutter…Even had a little “help” from Oscar in the layout department….

Kitten scattering fabric
Not used to kittens in the house. Oscar lives “next door” but has visiting rights. He didn’t seem to like my layout

About the time I’m getting ready to sew the project I receive an email with a call out to designers for patterns for upcoming lines of Island Batik fabrics. I answered the call…and….this pattern was chosen.

collage of quilt layouts prior to finalizing Mint Chocolate Chip pattern
Several layouts, color changes, and multiple design changes later – Mint Chocolate Chip was born!
The pattern will work with lots of color choices

My original design for the June project was called Jump Ball as the bright colors of Pressed Petals reminded me of a basketball court and the players jumping for the ball as the game began. Later when the pattern was submitted to Island Batik using the Northern Woods collection I renamed it to Path in the Woods. Later still upon learning that the fabric line was Nan’s signature collection and she was naming her quilts with a #sweettreat theme she and I together decided to call it Mint Chocolate Chip.

Photo by Eric Overton, Overton Photography Mint Chocolate Chip Quilt by The Quilt Rambler
Mint Chocolate Chip Pattern by Karen E Overton, The Quilt Rambler

Doesn’t the fabric line truly remind you of fall? I will remind you that this was my secret sewing project back in JUNE!!!

After the design and piecing came the fun part – putting it on my longarm!

Auditioning design elements

Don’t you just love the “kissie candy look” in the design element?

Sometimes I have to frog out a few stitches (rip it rip it) but that’s reality and I don’t mind admitting it

I really liked the way the border reminded me of the crinkled end of a candy wrapper. Makes me want chocolate just looking at it!

Its all in the details when it comes to quilting Mint Chocolate Chip
Close up quilting on Mint Chocolate Chip
Patterns by Karen E Overton, The Quilt Rambler. Mint Chocolate Chip and Illuminated Journey
Mint Chocolate Chip and Illuminated Journey

I will be attending Quilt Market later this weekend and will be “visiting” both of my quilts in the Island Batik booth – can’t wait to share photos of the experience! Be sure and follow me on all social media – Facebook and Instagram, even a little on Twitter!

This is short and sweet (less than a thousand words, is that a record?) as I’m working on my next secret quilt project for Island Batik’s Spring 2018 catalog… Stay tuned, there’s so much to talk about!

This is Karen Overton, The Quilt Rambler, excited to finally share the big reveal!

Are you going to Quilt Market or Quilt Festival? If you see me please introduce. yourself! If you are unable to go – you need to follow my #thequiltramblerontheroad reports on social media!

October Announcements: Part 1

October has just begun and I couldn’t be more excited! So many wonderful things are coming together this month, I can’t wait to share with you…but one thing at a time!

I have been sitting on this news for a very very long time! Normally I’m not very good at keeping secrets, (except the ones that are just too special to share)…but this secret’s time has come and I can now share!!!!

The Big News

My pattern Illuminated Journey will be included in the Fall-Winter 2017 Island Batik Catalog focusing on the new fabric line Paisley Dot  

Pg 52 in the Island Batik FW17 Catalog is Illuminated Journey by The Quilt Rambler

Yes, not only can you see my quilt in Fall-Winter 2017 Island Batik Catalog but I also have my mug shot in the catalog! And yes, I’m excited to be on the same page as my favorite designer, Deb Tucker of Studio 180 Design. I’m so excited to be a new Certified Instructor with her…that’s a ramble for another time.

This is the third page of designers – I’m so excited to be counted among this group of my peers

Illuminated Journey’s Quilt Story

Briefly, before I show you highlights of the current quilt in Paisley Dots I wanted to share the history of this design…

Illuminated Journey Class Quilt Cruise 2015

Back in 2014, Carla from Cactus Quilts in Texas City asked if I would be interested in teaching on her 2nd annual quilting cruise! Of course, I said YES! It goes without saying how much I love Deb’s method of constructing Lemoyne Star units so I asked if she’d mind if I designed the cruise quilt around her ruler and technique sheet and she said YES!

Karen Overton holding her quilt Illuminated Journey outside near a breathtaking view of Arizona
Illuminated Journey and The Quilt Rambler journey to Arizona

I’ve enjoyed teaching this project – in case you missed it, Illuminated Journey traveled to Arizona for a quilt lecture and workshop. You can read about it here.

AND! While we are talking about teaching, traveling, and such….I am now taking bookings for the  2018 season – I’d love to come to your quilt shop, guild or retreat and share my pattern and other fun topics and techniques…

Okay, back to the current ramble…

 

Illuminated Journey – Paisley Dot version

EQ7 version was submitted to Island Batik.

This journey began earlier this year due to my involvement as an Island Batik Ambassador. Requests were sent out for pattern submissions to feature the upcoming Fall Winter 2017 line of fabrics….and Illuminated Journey was chosen!

Before too long the fabrics were sent to me to construct the quilt. I found it very interesting how many months in advance things must be completed to have a fabulous presentation at Fall Market coming up at the end of October here in Houston. As a side note, “Market” is the weekend before “Festival” – it is a trade show where buyers come to see the newest items in the quilt industry, including new fabrics and new patterns!

This version was made for my son Jake using precuts from Island Batik

I love using pre-cuts. The original pattern used Island Batik precuts.  I’ve made Illuminated Journey multiple times. Island Batik never disappoints! The collection is curated so well that you look like a fabric color coordinating pro with the end results. I’ve found it amazing that even when my students use the same line no two quilts are ever the same.  I love it!

Illuminated Journey – Let the Quilting Begin

In no time I had the quilt top pieced and began the process of quilting. I wanted to do something unique and different for this version. Coming up with the design was so much fun and I had the opportunity to audition some new longarm specialty rulers. Can’t ask for anything better!

On the longarm…dots and more dots
I don’t know what I enjoy the most, designing and making the quilt top or designing and quilting the quilt. Both! Enjoying the process!
Hot off the frame – this is one of my favorite parts – seeing how the light bounces off the texture of the quilting highlighting the fabrics

Illuminated Journey -Pattern and Fabric Coming Soon

My quilt was shipped to Island Batik to be photographed for the catalog and to be made available this upcoming year for travel and trunk shows. There’s a possibility that Illuminated Journey will be on display at the upcoming Fall Market in the Paisley Dot display with Island Batik. If so, you know I’ll be sharing those photos!

Illuminated Journey, designed, pieced, and quilted by Karen E Overton, The Quilt Rambler

Here’s the cool thing – you can tell your local quilt shop that new fabrics are being released at Fall Market (well, actually your local quilt shop knows that already)…anyway…you can share this sneak peek of a new line and new pattern that will be available soon AND you can suggest a workshop with this traveling rambler!

By the way, the pattern will be available either at the end of 2017 or the start of 2018. Stay tuned for that big reveal! Quilt shops will be placing their orders for these new fabrics that will also ship the first of the year.

But Wait – There’s More!

Did ya’ notice that this post said “Part 1” – observant aren’t you! Yes, this is just one happy announcement for this the first day of October…there’s soooo many good things coming this month and beyond…but that’s all for today.

This is Karen Overton, The Quilt Rambler, finally able to celebrate the inclusion of Illuminated Journey in Island Batik’s Fall-Winter fabric lineup! Cheers!

Taking an informal poll – how important is it to you to have a kit to make “just like the pattern” or do you like to choose your own fabrics? Inquiring minds want to know. Leave a comment, please!

 

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Still Kickin’ After Harvey

Quilts are starting to come back home!

Just wanted to touch base and let you know I’m still kickin’ and diggin’ out over here!

The walls have been down for a few weeks – don’t you love the country look of my shiplap! I feel like a log cabin quilter!

The new shelves are filling up…All that is left to organize is the clutter you see on table tops!

This first shelf is “finished” but there’s still a table full of items to sort and find a home in the new tote/shelf system

 

This is my favorite area so far, my newest quilt covers a cutting station and my longarm rulers and threads are all sorted and ready to get back to work
As soon as this area is cleared I can unveil my longarm table – it’s been too long since I’ve heard it’s purr

Who knew it would take so long to unpack and reorganized after a hurricane! Truth be told, there’s a lot to do and it’s not all studio related. I keep thinking I should be further along but there’s so many things on the to do list that “aren’t normal” – like trying to recreate the value of furniture and such that was lost in the flood. It’s amazing to me how much we were able to save, but there’s still a lot of loss.

Can you see my sewing machine under this pile? Unfortunately my beautiful sewing cabinet sat in water for 5 days and is ruined.  I purchased it last year at Quilt Festivial and will replace it at this year’s Quilt Festival coming up soon

Hopefully soon I can show you the cleared space and that I’m able to function somewhat in the studio.  Today’s milstone was actually doing some meal planning and going to the grocery store! We’ve been fast fooding it for way too long now. Kitchen isn’t fully operational but I’ve rediscovered my Instant Pot and am eager to use it! Most days it’s been to exhausting to even think about food….trying to put that in the past! Wish me luck!

Still getting ready for the remodeling – the entire house has to be (re)packed and moved out. Seems kinda strange that I’d focus so much on reorganizing the studio but the plan is it will be easier to put back after the remodel. I’m loving these clear totes!

Sneak peak of my beautiful Island Batiks and Studio 180 Design patterns…good things are in store for the future!

It’s a lot of work but it’s going to be so worth it in the end! One thing that keeps me going is the fabulous quilts I have planned and all the upcoming classes! Can’t wait to put my Certified Instructor status to work! So many good things coming due to my association with Studio 180 Designs. So many good things have already come!

Next on today’s agenda is to find my camera – I have one on my phone of course, but the “real” camera has been MIA for several weeks. Need to download photos for insurance purposes. Have asked for specific prayers concerning locating it…can’t wait for those prayers to be answered!

We keep moving forward, one step at a time.

So that’s my short ramble for today… Short? Was that short?

This is Karen Overton, The Quilt Rambler, being distracted at the computer when I should be diggin’ out!

PS! I almost forgot – there’s a giveaway going on – checkout the recent Back to School Blog Hop – you can’t win if you don’t register!

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Studio Without Walls

 

The Quilt Rambler Studio January 2017 (see the home page for a virtual tour)

Many of you are aware of Hurricane Harvey, at least if not personally then because of the news. If you have been following The Quilt Rambler on social media (and a few blog posts) then you will know that I was “out of state” when the hurricane flooded our home and my studio. In addition, it was a full week after the first wave of flood waters entered our home before the airports were opened and I could get home to help with the cleanup.

I thought I’d do a quick recap of the studio redo – what I’m calling my Studio Without Walls as the walls all had to be removed due to flooding.

First Viewing “After Harvey”

So many things piled high in the center of the studio to avoid the waters of Hurricane Harvey 9.4.17

I am still amazed at how much my husband did without me to move customer quilts to a safer place then move furniture and personal belongings. So many things were piled high to avoid the flood waters.

If you remember, Harvey gave Texas more than a one-two punch, I remember getting daily reports of how high the water got each night over the four-night downpour. I know God spared me from having to watch the waters rise, then drain then rise again over the course of the storm. Unfortunately, my studio was the hardest hit as it didn’t drain for 4 or 5 days and had to actually be wet-vacuumed after the storm moved on to other parts of the country. There were 6 inches of standing water in the studio.

9.7.17 These were my thread cabinets behind the longarm Bottom drawers were moved to higher locations to save the thread, however, the cabinets were ruined.
This was my fabric stash again bottom drawers were moved higher but the cabinets have since rusted and are totaled

The Call for Quilt Angels

9.5.17 All the quilts and fabrics were moved to the front porch

One of the first things I did was to remove the over 200 personal quilts and all my fabric stash to the front porch and put out a plea on social media for “quilt angels” to help me wash things. Even though they did not sit in water, just the fact that they sat in a room which sat in water…..well….bottom line, there was moisture and it was best to be safe than sorry and have everything washed.

Countless friends came and took home laundry baskets full of quilts and or fabric and have been taking care of my items until I can bring them back home.  Kinda like sending your kids off to camp – a few friends actually posted photos on social media of my “quilt children” as they knew they were missed.

I can’t say thank you enough to all my quilt angels. You know who you are, and I hope you know how special you are to me!

Tear Down Those Walls!

9.6.17 trying to move things to the center of the room prior to wall removal

I’ve been told that one inch of water is the same as several feet of water when it comes to the structure of the home. Generally, sheetrock is removed in proportion to the amount of flood water – this is why you see photos of half walls. That is not the case with paneling. Sigh. The entire wall has to be removed as well as the insulation. What a mess!

The bigger mess was trying to get things out of the way of the demolition crew! Things were quickly thrown into boxes and moved to the center of the room so the wall could be removed.

9.6.17 Once things were taken off the higher cabinets the cabinet then had to be emptied and removed. Flood waters do nasty things to cabinets.
9.6.17 All damaged cabinets from the studio found themselves curbside – not to mention damaged items including carpeting and walls from the rest of the house.
Probably the most emotional part was my son helping the crew tear down the mural he had painted for my studio. So hard to lose art.
9.7.17 The studio walls made a colorful addition to our curbside debris from Hurricane Harvey

Time to Regroup

Lots of new storage ideas for the studio!

As the old saying goes, when life gives you lemons make lemonade!

Time to regroup, redesign, rebuild….well, the rebuild part is on hold until we hear from Insurance but the rethinking of the studio layout didn’t take long to redesign.

I am replacing all those white cabinets that held longarm threads, longarm rulers, longarm books with a shelf system and storage totes from The Container Store.

In addition, all the items that were in the wire basket drawers are also going to be contained in the same shelving and similar storage totes.

But wait, there’s more! The office area will be included in this shelving system as will the customer quilts, t-shirt quilt fabric, sewing supplies and rotary cutting rulers.

It’s a work in progress and the progress is slow – I’m having to dig through all the boxes where things were “dumped” in haste of getting the walls removed. But I’m excited about the potential and hope to have things sorted out soon so I can get back to work!

Entrance to the studio, on the left, has two shelves. The first with t-shirt quilt fabric and totes with customer quilts.
The top of the second shelf system will be housing all my “class in a box” teaching materials for upcoming workshops using Deb Tucker’s Studio 180 Design tools and techniques.
The next two shelves are a work in progress, the one on the far right is the longarm tools with the bottom two rows nothing but thread! The area covered by my latest quilt, Sugar and Spice (see previous blog) will be my cutting station
Backdoor shelf will house sewing supplies and projects

Change is Inevitable, Joy is How I Choose to Embrace It

As you can see, there’s a lot of work to be done to place items in the shelving – only to be undone again when construction begins and the entire household has to move out…

The “log cabin” look of the shiplap will be covered with brand new sheetrock. My beautiful lime green door will be replaced as will my hot pink flooring. Kinda sad in a way, yet exciting in another way!

I choose joy in these changes that were obviously beyond our control. Looking at this as an opportunity to rearrange and rethink how my studio is laid out to best serve my business needs. I’m excited that the new layout that will allow me once again to have classroom space – and boy do I have some fabulous classes planned with all the wonderful tools and techniques from Deb Tucker’s Studio 180 Design! I can’t wait to tell you all about it!

There’s Always Hope

If you follow me on social media or know me personally, then you will know that I place my hope, peace, and faith in Jesus. I believe that He makes all things good for those who love Him. Life is hard, but God is good. We continue to trust that He is making all things new and look forward to what the future will bring.

Clean up crew is starting to come through the neighborhood!!! 9.19.17 maybe we are next!!!

Thanks for taking time to read this personal post….I am hopeful to be back to quilting soon and posting beautiful quilt related photos and telling stories about quilting….but as I’ve discovered first hand, quilting isn’t my life but it sure makes my life more colorful!  Thanks for sharing the journey.

This is Karen Overton, The Quilt Rambler, eager to get back to “Let’s Talk Quilts” instead of talking Harvey recovery!

*PS Update: original post said 2 weeks before coming back….well, I was gone two weeks but one week was my certified instructor training, it was only a 1-week delay after that to get home. I  left 8/20, Harvey hit 8/26, suppose to fly home 8/27 but I flew home 9/3 – you can read about my adventures on previous blog posts!

Still the queen of typos (grin)

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Back to School – Island Batik Blog Hop And Giveaway!

Beautiful Diner Days collection by Island Batik
Island Batik Ambassadors

September is back to school month and for a lot of us, back to quilting after a fun-filled action packed summer!

Welcome to The Quilt Rambler, I’m sew happy you have joined me in the Island Batik Ambassador Blog Hop. The Ambassadors have been diligently working to showcase the newest fabric lines from Island Batik to assist you in your fabric shopping list while inspiring you for those fall projects!

So grab that cup of coffee, sit back and enjoy….they don’t call me The Quilt Rambler for nothin’.  Be sure and read to the end for a special giveaway!

Diner Days Collection By Island Batik

Days gone by, Diner Days Fabric collection
So many beautiful designs in a soft sweet color range

The collection I was given to work with is Diner Days. The hues are so soft that they almost reminded me of pastel Easter eggs. Indeed among some of the designs, there were eggs…and kitchen gadgets…and apples with apple cores!  Such imagination and potential!

Blog hop Back To School With Island Batik
A few of my favorite things – fabric, composition notebook, pens and pencils, and a fabulous quilt pattern

I love back to school time. I’m always ready to replenish my school supplies. Elmer’s Glue for glue basting, composition notebooks for jotting down quilt designs or fabric shopping lists. Pencil boxes make great containers to store bobbins, rotary cutters with extra blades or small sewing supplies. And what about file folders or binders to store quilt patterns! There’s plenty of things for quilters when it comes to back to school shopping!

The Perfect Pattern to Showcase Diner Days

One of my favorite block design is the Lemoyne Star, and my all time favorite method to make the block is using Deb Tucker’s Rapid Fire Lemoyne Star Ruler and technique.  I recently returned from Certified Instructor training with Deb, but that’s a ramble for another time….PS I did graduate and am available for workshops, lectures, and demos at quilt shows….

Beautiful Diner Days collection by Island Batik
Back to School Blog Hop

Back to Diner Days….I quickly decided I wanted to use Deb’s pattern Sugar and Spice with this collection. Not only did it mimic her color pallet on the original pattern but it would be perfect to use the majority of fabrics in the Diner Days collection therefore truly showcasing the fabric. Not to mention I would be making my favorite stars!

Back to School Project – Sugar and Spice

Deb’s method calls for strip piecing the background fabric to the “star” fabric and is quickly done with chain piecing.

Colorful Fabric from Diner Days Collection
Strip piecing method for constructing Lemoyne Stars is fast and fun
Units come together quickly with Studio 180 Design method
I prefer to press my seams open – I like the way it makes my blocks lay flater

Before long I had the star point units together and was ready to assemble the 8 pointed star blocks.

As simple as sewing together a four patch! Look ma’ no Y seams!
Using my Tucker Trimmer from Studio 180 Design I then square up my Lemoyne Star blocks
27-star blocks later….the layout is coming together on my design wall

Next Technique

Also using the Tucker Trimmer tool by Studio 180 Design I made the half square triangles and the quarter square triangles to use in the setting solution. I love Deb’s techniques of oversizing the cuts, sewing together, then trimming to perfection. Makes me look good when my blocks all come together!

Studio 180 Design tools
More favorite tools, The Quilter’s Magic Wand and Sewline marking pencil to help mark the quarter inch seams for making the half square triangles and quarter square triangles
The lines on the Tucker Trimmer aid in the squaring up of the quarter square unit

Once all the units were made I played around with switching the scrappy star blocks to make them pleasing to my eye. I am so loving these fabrics!

The interior blocks are all completed, next up add the narrow border and scrappy border

On To The Longarm

As the old saying goes, it’s not a quilt until it’s quilted! It’s hard to say what I enjoy the most, making the quilt tops or quilting the quilt tops. My husband is always telling me “enjoy the process” so I guess in reality I do just that, enjoying each step that I’m on, from the planning stages to the binding. It’s all a joy for me.

Such a happy little quilt under the needle of my longarm
Little by little the fabrics are being covered with hand guided stitches
Sneak peak close up of the quilting and the beautiful fabric collection
Don’t you just love these fabrics!

Presenting Sugar and Spice Showcasing The Diner Days Fabric Line From Island Batik

Admittedly I am pleased with the way this quilt turned out. I’ve had the pattern on my bucket list for a couple of years – ever since I quilted the original one on the pattern cover for Deb Tucker.  At one time my thought was to make it in more tropical colors since that’s my usual color preference, but the moment I saw Diner Days I was smitten. This is a beautiful collection that is currently in stores now – so please ask for it by name! So many design possibilities!

Back to School Blog Hop
Perfect Back to School project

But Wait! There’s More!

In case you have missed the beginnings of the Back To School Blog Hop here’s the schedule. There are lots of giveaways so be sure and visit each of the Ambassadors blogs. We all love to have comments on our blogs so don’t be shy!

WEEK 1

Monday, September 4 – Beaujolais
Quilting Affection DesignsFunThreads Designs

Tuesday, September 5 – Country Dozen
Cheryl Lynch QuiltsInspired Layers

Wednesday, September 6 – Bonsai
Little Bunny Quilts

Thursday, September 7 – Sakura
Masterpiece Quilting

Friday, September 8 – Empress Garden
Dessert Bloom QuiltingSlice of Pi Quilts

WEEK 2

Monday, September 11 – Fresh Pick’ins
KISSed Quilts

Tuesday, September 12 – Lotus Blooms
Kathys Kwilts and More

Wednesday, September 13 – Olivera
Moose Stash QuiltingVicki’s Crafts and Quilting

Thursday, September 14 – Rise & Shine
Den Syende HimmelSally’s Quilting Corner

Friday, September 15 – Diner Days
Ark Angel CreationsThe Quilt Rambler (you are here! Thank you!)

WEEK 3

Monday, September 18 – Seas the Day
KISSed QuiltsWhispers of Yore

Tuesday, September 19 – Vineyard
The Inquiring QuilterInchworm Fabrics

Wednesday, September 20 – Abalone
PamelaQuiltsYellow Cat Quilts

Thursday, September 21 – Batiks Go Retro
Adventures in Applique and Quilting

Friday, September 22 – Captain’s Anchor
Purrfect Spots DesignsBeaquilter

WEEK 4

Monday, September 25 – Cherry Berry
Freemotion by the RiverMary Mack Made Mine

Tuesday, September 26 – Lobster Bake
Seams to be Sew

Wednesday, September 27 – Solstice
Bejeweled QuiltsheARTs Creations

Thursday, September 28 – Sour Apple
Seams Like a DreamKauffman Designs

Friday, September 29 – Zen
Lizard Creek QuiltingQuilt’n Party

Good Things Come To Those Who Read Until The End!

Use the link below to register to win this autographed copy of Sugar and Spice by Deb Tucker

As promised – I have my own special giveaway and it’s not limited to just those in the United States! During my recent visit with Deb Tucker and the gang at Studio 180 Design, Deb was gracious enough to offer the “blog prize” for my post. An autographed copy of her Sugar and Spice pattern so you can make this beautiful 45″ x 62″ for yourself.  The pattern calls for 12 fat quarters plus background, but I didn’t limit myself to just 12! The more color the merrier! I highly recommend fabrics from Island Batik! In fact, I’m going to include a few samples of Island Batik fabrics as a bonus…

To register to win:

Click on the link below to register to win. There are multiple ways to have chances of winning – from commenting to following on social media – but you must click on the link to do so. Random drawing on Sept 30th. I will contact you via email to get your shipping address!

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a Rafflecopter giveaway

News Flash:

Here’s the giveaway sponsored by Island Batik for more fabulous fabrics!

a
Rafflecopter giveaway

 

This is Karen Overton, The Quilt Rambler, sew happy to have you join me in this quilting journey!

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We Interrupt All The Major Disasters to Bring You a Blog Hop!

While many here in my home town are recovering from Hurricane Harvey and others in our nation are battling fires or preparing for Hurricane Irma I just wanted to remind you that there’s a little relief from all the disasters – please take time to refresh yourselves and be inspired by the new fabric lineup of Island Batik. The Ambassadors are working hard to showcase fabulous fabrics with their individual creativity. Here’s the schedule! Check out all the giveaways and stay tuned for Sept 15th when it’s my turn to share in the Blog Hop

Below is taken from Island Batik’s blog post

Here’s the schedule for the hop, beginning September 4th. Reference this post anytime, or follow us on Facebook for links to the post (or posts) of the day throughout the hop!

 

WEEK 1

Monday, September 4 – Beaujolais
Quilting Affection DesignsFunThreads Designs

Tuesday, September 5 – Country Dozen
Cheryl Lynch QuiltsInspired Layers

Wednesday, September 6 – Bonsai
Little Bunny Quilts

Thursday, September 7 – Sakura
Masterpiece Quilting

Friday, September 8 – Empress Garden
Dessert Bloom QuiltingSlice of Pi Quilts

WEEK 2

Monday, September 11 – Fresh Pick’ins
KISSed Quilts

Tuesday, September 12 – Lotus Blooms
Kathys Kwilts and More

Wednesday, September 13 – Olivera
Moose Stash QuiltingVicki’s Crafts and Quilting

Thursday, September 14 – Rise & Shine
Den Syende HimmelSally’s Quilting Corner

Friday, September 15 – Diner Days
Ark Angel CreationsThe Quilt Rambler

WEEK 3

Monday, September 18 – Seas the Day
KISSed QuiltsWhispers of Yore

Tuesday, September 19 – Vineyard
The Inquiring QuilterInchworm Fabrics

Wednesday, September 20 – Abalone
PamelaQuiltsYellow Cat Quilts

Thursday, September 21 – Batiks Go Retro
Adventures in Applique and Quilting

Friday, September 22 – Captain’s Anchor
Purrfect Spots DesignsBeaquilter

WEEK 4

Monday, September 25 – Cherry Berry
Freemotion by the RiverMary Mack Made Mine

Tuesday, September 26 – Lobster Bake
Seams to be Sew

Wednesday, September 27 – Solstice
Bejeweled QuiltsheARTs Creations

Thursday, September 28 – Sour Apple
Seams Like a DreamKauffman Designs

Friday, September 29 – Zen
Lizard Creek QuiltingQuilt’n Party

 

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Leaving TuckerLand

TuckerLand is a magical place, it’s best described as a cross between Disneyland and Willie Wonka’s Chocolate Factory…it’s a place of love, laughter and fabulous food, and refuge. Lest everyone try to relocate to TuckerLand, (Brian), they bring you in after dark and you leave before dawn – therefore it’s a secret wonderland 😏 I feel privileged to have been allowed into the interworkings of TuckerLand .

Secret path to TuckerLand – the birds ate my bread crumbs 😔

TuckerLand is home to Deb Tucker’s Studio 180 Design. If you’ve followed #TheQuiltRambler on Facebook or Instagram (if not you should! There’s little buttons somewhere on this site that will connect us – I love to be connected don’t you?) IF you follow then you will know that several months ago I was accepted into Deb’s Certified Instructor Training in Iowa, where I am pleased to say “I graduated!!” Thank you very much. I’m now a new “CI” 👩‍🎓


Class of 2017 Certified Instructors- wonder if subconsciously I was in the top step for a reason 🤔

However, during  CI training Hurricane Harvey hit Houston and had the nerve to close the airports…preventing me from returning home. How rude! …enter the extremely generous offer of the Tucker’s to take me in like a little lost wet kitten …


Can I hitch a ride? 🙃

Traveling to TuckerLand was an adventure in and of itself- you can read about it on my previous posts – or Facebook- it’s okay,  take a minute to get connected. I’ll take a breath and come up for air while you take care of important business . Ok, back to the ramble…Upon arrival I was welcomed into the family and promptly put to work 😏 There are no slackers in TuckerLand. Truthfully being busy kept me distracted from the ongoing storm at home!


Introducing Studio 180 Design

At the head of the table is Dad Tucker, he stays busy monitoring the cats, doing dishes, odd jobs, etc – with his primary focus being that of inspection and quality control concerning the fish population in TuckerLand pond. He is very faithful in his duties, not only that, he let me call him dad.


To his left at the table is Jeff Tucker, aka Mr. Deb Tucker 😏 Jeff is the expert in logistics and shipping. I’m so thankful he was able to help me take off 20 pounds – just wish it were a magic diet instead of shipping the excess weight from my Tucker Tools, CI notebook and various other heavy things saving me an overweight baggage fee. Truth be told he probably contributed to my physical weight as Jeff is also a master chief at grilling on his Green Egg.  Not to metion he laughs at my corny jokes and my tall Texan tales – what more can I say!


Warehouse after a recent shipment of tools

A little hotel hand-sewing 😉

Next at the dinner table is Deb Tucker herself. Don’t faint, Cindy, I know you hyperventilate when you see her at shows (“Look!!! it’s DEB TUCKER“). After two weeks with this wonderful lady, I can attest that she indeed is the energizer bunny – only pausing from her many tasks of designing, teaching, packing for the next road trip to switching hats as a fabulous cook! (it’s in the Tucker DNA as they all cook – I’m simply amazed and hopeful that the cooking gene rubbed off on me) If one ever gets the opportunity to visit TuckerLand one will never lack for good food! But as the Bible says “if you don’t work you don’t eat“. Remember my mentioning no slackers 🤗Good thing binding and longarm quilting kept me well feed 😏

Next to Deb in the group photo is Bernadette, she’s the girl Friday whom I only met on Friday. Bernadette has a wonderful Australian accent and is a Jack of all trades hopping around all over the place from helping Jeff in the warehouse to assisting Deb with various tasks. Secretly I think she wants to learn to quilt on the longarm – so I gave her a lesson on “frogging” out bad tension areas. If you’ve ever taken a class from me you know one of my sayings – I make all the mistakes so you don’t have too– I think she would enjoy adding longarm quilter to her resume – but then they would need her more than parttime as this group of gals makes a lot of fabulous quilts that need to be quilted.


Talk about a tension headache – rip it, rip it


If I showed you more I’d be in trouble 😳 secret quilting for Fall Market/Houston International Quilt Festival 

Continuing clockwise around the table we have Sarah – it’s hard to define Sarah’s role with Studio 180 Design…pretty much Deb’s personal assistant, show companion, pattern designer, and whatever else needs to be done. If you are familiar with the Blockbuster series – that’s her brain child (look for a future quilt along with The Quilt Rambler using the Blockbuster designs). I can attest to her being a good traveling companion as we shared the backseat and a one night stay on the road.


On the road or in the office these are two hard working gals


And then there’s Sue – sweet Sue – who opened her home to me and shared her cats.🐱 I can’t properly express the comfort that Naz Tucker and Nino Tucker gave me as they loved on me and let me love on them. Nothing more soothing that an adoring pet.

Naz Tucker who woke me up with kitty kisses


Nino Tucker who liked to curl up and sleep with me

Sue and Jeff are twins and seriously can finish each other’s sentences when telling funny stories around the dinner table. She is the Office Manager arranging everything from accommodations for the road warriors, booking venues (such as our wonderful CI training that is also a future blog) to handling customer services to doing all the bookkeeping as well as keeping up with all the legal aspects of running a thriving business. Plus she knows how to pack a suitcase and never ever has a weight problem!

That’s the Public Tucker’s of Studio 180 Design – the family empire built of a unique blend of talent and skill. The Private Tucker’s of TuckerLand are equally amazing.


In her “spare” time Deb makes beautiful rag rugs from her 35+ years of fabric acquisition

Many times you see your “quilting heroes” at shows or YouTube and you can’t help but wonder what they are like on a personal level. And more times than not their public “face” of when they are “on” isn’t the same as when they let their hair down. Not the case with the Tucker’s. They are genuine in and out of public view, despite exhaustion after an event, getting slide-lined with car problems, working to get ready for the next show, doing laundry ( yes they do laundry like the rest of us and are generous in sharing their machines), to making fabulous meals, to whooping it up with a Penn State football game on TV (and boy oh boy do they really get into the game – homemade Chex mix and all) – they are the real deal. Loving, kind to a fault, and loyal to their tribe – family and CI’s (Certified Instructors of which there are now 80 including me!)


Girls night in – Tucker initiation “My Cousin Vinny”

I have been blessed above measure to now belong to that tribe! Tucker’s and their CI’s take care of their own. Words cannot express the gratitude I have towards my Studio 180 Design family who have encouraged me, loved me and cared for me above and beyond measure and given to me beyond my wildest dreams. I am truly speechless and in awe of their generosity.

So before I start crying again (I am writing this on my phone from the plane) I will say that indeed TuckerLand is a magical place and 🎶 I got the Golden Ticket!! 🎶

This is Karen Overton, The Quilt Rambler – looking forward to coming off the road to be 🎶home where I belong 🎶 but equally eager to return again some day to TuckerLand

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Quick update on Hurricane Harvey’s Messing Up My Studio 

9/1 I’m still a refugee at the Tucker’s in NC. But I’m not living like a refugee!!! Oh my goodness – beautiful accommodations, fun to be able to work a little in the studio – funner still to watch the amazing organization and work ethic of the Studio 180 Design team! And the food!! Oh my goodness can these Tucker women lay out a spread! Not just once but twice a day! I’ve always teased “feed me I’m yours” and it’s about time someone took me up on it! 🙃

Seriously – I am so grateful to have been adopted by the entire Tucker clan. I could ramble on and on but I do need to finish this update so I can “clock in” with the longarm.  Working on a secret Fall Market quilt that will also be in the booth at Festival 


Disclaimer – pardon my typos. I am blogging from my phone trying to work around two kitties that love me and keep hovering around my face and phone while I try to type. Nino and Nazz will be missed as will all the Tucker’s (and Sarah) when I leave. 

🎶 I’m leaving on a jet plane 🎶

Hopeful for a Sunday departure. Unconfirmed yet that the airport will be open. If so it means that I have been away from home 2 full weeks.

Studio update 

Water remained in the studio the entire round 1,2,3, and 4 of Harvey. The rest of the house drained between rounds. NO FABRIC WAS HARMED by Harvey due to the heroics of my hardworking sweet husband. Do not send stash  I’ve got more than I can handle 😏

Here’s a few studio photos without comment cuz it’s breakfast time and I have a full agenda. Will blog more as time goes by – right now between phone calls to hubby, insurance claims and trying to rebook flights that constantly change my rambling blog is on the back burner. I know ya understand 

More later!


This is Karen Overton, The Quilt Rambler on the Road ready to roll my sleeves and help my community  🤠 #texasstrong