Bloom Where You Are Planted

bloom where you are planted, a hibiscus in a vaseI remember, as a newlywed, moving a 1000+ miles from our home state of Texas to upper East Tennessee. Someone at church gave me a little refrigerator magnet with the words “bloom where you are planted,” we were planted there almost 20 years!

Those words still ring true as I was reminded of that yesterday, when to my amazement, a fallen twig rescued from my Hibiscus plant had burst into full bloom in my kitchen!

Bloom Where You Are Planted

Soon I will be “planted” into our RV next door. I’ve been both excited and apprehensive- mainly because my longarm won’t fit ūüôÉ – I hope to be able to report in that I’m “blooming!”

My future ¬†“repotting into the RV”¬†¬†plans are to catch up on a lot of piecing. I have class samples to make, patterns to write, Island Batik challenges to fullfill and even some secret sewing.

Speaking of secret sewing….I can actually share the fabric with you but I can’t show you the design just yet. Look what arrived yesterday in the mail and truly encouraged me in my thoughts of “bloom where you are planted” in regards to my near future living arrangement – yep, one of many RV sewing projects that are calling my name!

Beautiful Island Batik fabrics are so inspiring
Island Batik’s “Basics” are anything but basic! So inpiring! I can hardly wait for the new year to play in this beautiful fabrics

This is Karen Overton, The Quilt Rambler, still dreaming of warmer days while being reminded to be content where I’m planted at the moment!


 Day 12 of the #31dayblogchallenge #2017blogwritingchallenge hosted by


Which house? Or Perhaps We Should Say “Plan B”

It’s day 11 of the #31dayblogchallenge

It’s two weeks until Christmas! It’s also getting closer to our moving from “house to house” to begin reconstruction after Harvey…. A funny thing happened a few days ago – a little TMI actually – but I thought I’d share anyway concerning “which house?” After reading this you will probably think I belong in the funny house!! But don’t worry, there will be quilts in this post too…

Do I Really Have to Move Out?

We have been waiting for an insurance settlement to begin reconstruction, as well as time for me to finish my Christmas customer quilts before having to give up the studio and move everything out of the house….

Speaking of the studio…I am so thankful that five customer t-shirt quilts were picked up this weekend. I think I have 5 or 6 more to go… Here’s just a couple of them…

T-shirt quilt made by The Quilt Rambler from a collection of Harley Davidson shirts
Harley Davidson shirts always make a fabulous t-shirt quilt
A mom just picked this up for her son who is a new dad – “he’s going to be so pleased” when he gets this for Christmas!

And yes, we really have to move out from our “house without walls” to our newly acquired¬†RV parked in the yard….everything will move into storage as our home will gain new walls, new floors, new kitchen cabinets, new new new! It’s so exciting.

Which House Is Currently Most Functional?

Hum….here’s the TMI (too much information) one regard it’s kinda like a comedy scene from I Love Lucy! Well, maybe not that funny, especially at the time, but I’ve figured out that it’s better to laugh than cry…besides, crying just messes up my makeup!

This photo was actually taken 12/1 – didn’t realize it had been so long….broken handle can be overcome by removing the lid and yanking the chain!

A little over a week ago I posted on facebook that our one potty wasn’t flushing properly…well, basically it needed new “guts” – but since we were so close to moving out I told my husband that I’d rather him spend the money on taking me out to eat than paying for the part to fix the handle…so I figured out a way to just “yank the chain” and had a great meal out! ¬†(no one ever said I was dumb!)

That’s been working pretty well, a little embarrassing when a guest comes over, but hey, the whole place is a mess so I’ve learned to swallow¬†my pride.

All was fine and good until Thursday 12/9 ¬†last week when hubby said the tub wasn’t draining…then we discovered that the yanking of the chain, in addition to the tub not draining, produced an “overflow” under said potty….hum….not a good sign…after hours of liquid Drano, doing something called “snaking” and other things beyond my area of expertise, it was determined that it was time to call a plumber. Who can be here on Tuesday!!! What part of the only¬†bathroom didn’t that lady on the other end of the phone understand?

Plan B

Outhouse in the snow
Not quite as rustic, but actually quite as cold!

For those who know me well, know that I always always like to have a Plan B. ¬†Sometimes that’s a Plan C, D, E and F too…Whatever it takes and however many it takes! I’ve got a plan.

Yep! We have an RV…never mind that we haven’t moved into it yet. Okay, we’ve had a few lunches over there, have it hooked up to a power source, the AC works! The lights work….it is equipped with a bathroom! Problem solved, right?

Okay, it’s not that simple. First of all, it hasn’t been hooked up to a water source, that wasn’t too difficult, hubby did that in the dark! But there’s this little thing called heat….you may recall that we woke up to snow on Friday morning! Yep, yep yep.

Long story short, ¬†the entire day Friday was spent getting the propane heater working – which comes to find out is a major task and you have to do umpteen different steps to even get it to turn on…so Saturday I bought a small electric space heater! Told you I was a woman with a plan!

Plan C

which house
Since this side of the yard floods easily with a normal rain a sidewalk made from pallets and plywood was added to make our trip to the “outhouse” a little less messy

Our contractor is sending his plumber sometime today so I can cancel the oh-so-helpful plumber scheduled for Tuesday! Hey, a day in the life of “which house” will seriously make a difference! So will warmer temperatures! ¬†Trust me!

And by the way, please understand that I realize that there’s a lot of call for plumbers due to all the construction and I’m not upset that they were so overbooked. Okay, maybe Thursday night I was upset, but I’ve repented since then (grin).

In a few short weeks, it won’t matter anyway! The old one will be removed and the bathroom will be updated with a new potty and a new tub! There are even hopes of adding a second half-bath (time will tell).

In the meantime, it’s back to the studio to keep working away on those customer quilts! The sooner they are completed the sooner we can pack things into storage and move into the RV.

I’m sure all will be well that ends well (grin).

This is Karen Overton, The Quilt Rambler, the Queen Bee of Plan B!

  Day 11 Teaming up with for the #31dayblogchallenge #2017blogwritingchallenge







Island Quilters Holiday Party

The Island Quilter’s Guild of Galveston sure know how to throw a good holiday party!

We are a small group, about 90+ members. We call this our “holiday” party, not to be politically correct but out of mutual respect – we have members that celebrate Hanukkah, members who celebrate the birth of Christ, and members who wrap it all up and simply call it Christmas. ¬†And we just love any excuse to get together for fun, food, fellowship and of course quilts!

Show and Tell

One of my favorite parts of going to a quilt guild meeting is most certainly the show and tell! Without further discussion here’s a little eye candy from our gathering Thursday night.

Shirley’s scrappy quilt
Pat takes the guild members’ scraps and makes charity quilts. She also made the delicious “extreme garlic” HST (half square triangles)!
Katy’s daughter works with a lactation organization called Babe
Peggy is known for her bright colorful creations – this was part of a challenge called The Kid Within Me
Marie finished her quilt from my Double Occupancy workshop earlier this year.


 Island Gals Get a Little Wild With Strip Poker

We love saying that ~ sounds so naughty when you are supposed to be nice this time of year. Our party always includes our annual “strip poker” which is not at all what it sounds like!

First of all, it’s not really poker – it’s more like a big game of battle – highest card wins….and we play with “strips” of 2.5-inch fabric…yep, that’s about as wild as we get! We each bring 25 strips to play with. This year’s theme was brights – past themes have been black & whites, blues, holiday theme, etc. ¬†Quilters just love trading fabrics and adding to their stash! Fabrics collected at the end of the night are a good start to a “jelly roll” quilt – in fact, we have a jelly roll sew-in scheduled¬†in January so stay tuned for that!

Debbie took her role as dealer quite seriously, while Pat looks on to make sure she’s not double-dealing (grin)
Winner takes all

We have several tables with “dealers” and we play 5 games at each table. Everyone anties up and places a strip in the center pile…cards are dealt and the high card picks first. In the event there is a tie, then we “battle” with an additional card to see who goes next. ¬†This process is done for four out of the five games with the final game being winner take all. We rotate tables to mix up the fabric and play four sets. Everyone goes home with at least 20 strips,¬†potentially more if they won the winner takes all. ¬†I actually won that twice!


This is Karen Overton, The Quilt Rambler, happy to celebrate the holidays with my island girlfriends!





Houston – We’ve Got Snow!

To our northern neighbors, you must think us crazy – but when it goes from 80 degrees on Monday to 30 degrees on Friday, and there’s a slight dusting of snow flurries, well…Houston gets excited! We’ve got snow!


Winter Wonderland

Well, not exactly. At least not at our house. But there is snow from Brownsville up to East Tennessee this morning! We live less than a mile from Galveston Bay so our area tends to be warmer than the rest of the gulf coast. We ran outside at first light to grab some photos before the sun comes up and melts away all the evidence!

Houston We've Got Snow
A little dusting of snow
We've got snow
It shows up in the truck bed
Houston We've Got Snow
A light snow in the front yard


 It Always Snows After a Hurricane


Houston We've Got SnowI don’t begin to understand it, but it’s been a proven fact during my lifetime of living in the Houston/Galveston area – it always “snows” after a major hurricane. ¬†Again, I realize that we use this term loosely but for many growing up in this area, this is about as good as it gets. It’s been fun to watch some of the other areas in Texas that received enough snow to actually cover the ground enough to make a snowman. Here, we’ve got enough to freeze the overpasses and lend itself to a dangerous Friday morning commute.

This photo won’t be making headline news, but its news to us! We’ve got snow!

Continue to Pray for Those Affected by Hurricane Harvey

Snow on the side of an RV in Houston
Our soon to be home

We are still living inside our “house without walls” – aka no insulation – and will be moving into the RV once reconstruction begins after the holidays. I for one am not looking forward to winter….but it dawned on me this morning – I do have a solid roof over my head, and will even when we “move out”. I am seriously brought to tears this morning as I remember the images I saw on TV a few days ago of people north of us in Conroe living in tents and make-shift tarp homes as a result of the hurricane. I can’t imagine the chill of the night. I’m considering if this rare phenomenon of snow was a welcomed wonder or a continual reminder of what they are living without. ¬†I can’t even imagine. Compared to others we weren’t “affected” by the storm, merely inconvenienced.¬†For me, it’s a reminder to count my blessings.

This is Karen Overton, The Quilt Rambler, hearing children outside squealing in delight – Houston, We’ve Got Snow!

 Day 8 Teaming up with for the #31dayblogchallenge







Tropical Dreaming

While others are dreaming of a white Christmas I’m tropical dreaming!



Last night was a “three quilt night”. Burr!

Five Hundred Twenty Seven Day Countdown!

I am sooo excited to announce publicly that I will be teaching on a Stitchin Heaven Quilting Cruise in¬†2019! The website just went live a few hours ago and I couldn’t wait to blog about this!

Tropical Dreaming of a Quilting Cruise
I couldn’t be more thrilled – hope you will join me!

Perfect Christmas Present For The Quilter in Your Life – YOU!

Imagine yourself on a relaxing cruise surrounded by the beautiful blue sea

The details are all on the website Stitchin Heaven Travel    They offer travel certificates that would make perfect stocking stuffers.

I dearly love cruising. ¬†And it’s so much fun to combine that with quilting! This will be the third opportunity to teach on a quilting cruise and I couldn’t be more excited! Once again I will be teaching an original pattern using Studio 180 Design tools!

The ports of call are familiar to this seasoned cruiser – Cozumel, Jamacia, and Grand Cayman.

Tropical Dreaming with Beautiful Tropical Flowers of Roatan
We visited Roatan this past October and I loved all the tropical flowers!

Quilting Cruises Are The Best Tropical Dreaming!

I’d love to tell you more, and don’t worry! I will – but I need to head out to the Island Quilter’s Guild Holiday Party! More later!

This is Karen Overton, The Quilt Rambler, dreaming of that Tropical Vacation! Hope you will make plans to join me!



Christmas Quilt Countdown

Countdown to Christmas Let's Talk Quilts With The Quilt RamblerIt’s a Christmas quilt countdown in The Quilt Rambler studio today!

Seeing The Count from Sesame Street brings back fond memories. I thought he was perfect for the Day 6 countdown for this 31 Day Blog Writing Challenge – hope memories of him made you smile!

Christmas Quilt Countdown

Today I am working on three, count them, three T-shirt quilts in various stages of completion.

Harley Davison T-Shirt quilt has been quilted, needs to be trimmed and bound
T-shirt quilt loaded on the longarm ready to be quilted
This t-shirt quilt blocks ready for layout and piecing into a top

Carpe Deim

I normally don’t work on multiple customer quilts at a time, but with the Christmas rush, it kinda makes me feel more productive to have several going at once – besides it keeps me moving around to stay warm – still a studio without walls (as in a house with no insulation awaiting Harvey reconstruction).

This is Karen Overton, The Quilt Rambler, wishing you a warm and productive day as you “count” down to Christmas!

Rough Roads and Rainbows

Rainbow over Galveston Bay, Bacliff TX Photo by The Quilt Rambler

Life is full of ups and downs, disappointments and times of joy – what I like to call “rough roads and rainbows.”¬†Some days you feel on top of the world, other days you just want to go back to bed and start over.

Yesterday was like a rollercoaster – not bad, or scary, but full of lots of twists and turns. But then again – who wants a dull life, right?!?

Into Every Life, a Little Rain Must Fall

This is NOT what my brother-in-law wanted to see on a Monday morning Post-Harvey

Today marks 102 days post-Harvey for ourselves and our extended family. Yesterday we had our first rain or at least first big storm since Harvey. ¬†Two inches before mid-morning may not sound like much (with more during the day) but when you see things like this posted on Facebook it was a grim reminder of what we’d all been through back in August. Having lost everything and trying to move back in it wasn’t fun when this leak was discovered by my sister in law – fortunately, they hadn’t laid the floors yet!

Let There Be Rainbows!

Rainbow over Galveston Bay
Rainbows are God’s promise that He hasn’t forgotten us!

On a personal note, we finally received a settlement check yesterday from our insurance company for our content loss (amazing how much they depreciate things then take out the deductible), and another check to begin reconstruction. The rumors are true, 28% of the homes flooded did not have flood insurance. We did, however! At the present time, the settlement won’t cover 60% of our rebuild, so the battle continues. But this is a battle for another day. Today I’m reminded that the battle is the Lord’s and I need to trust – He will provide…remembering, this is a journey, not a destination! Rough roads sometimes come before rainbows.

Rainbow over Galveston Bay, Bacliff TX Photo by The Quilt Rambler
Nothing breaks up a storm better than a rainbow, more so if it’s over Galveston Bay!

Let’s Talk Quilts!

So in between all the post-Harvey distraction and the rain, I managed to piece a beautiful Harley-Davidson t-shirt quilt for a customer. By evening I had it on the longarm.

Harley Davidson t-shirts make a great t-shirt quilt pieced and quilted by The Quilt Rambler
A beautiful collection of Harley Davidson shirts will make a wonderful surprise Christmas gift!

Almost got it quilted when all of a sudden my needle bar jammed in the hook assembly! Fortunately, I could remove the bobbin but the hand-wheel crank wasn’t ¬†budging this baby…I called it a night and am determined that I will deal with it after breakfast this morning….hopefully! There’s always Plan B (grin)

Unknown reason for a needle to be jammed in a quilt on the longarm
At the bottom of the quilt, all went wrong! Unknown reason for this needle jam

Rain Rain Go Away – Bring More Rainbows!

The forecast is 70% rain today….that’s okay – it’s always sunny in The Quilt Rambler studio – I couldn’t be happier surrounded by beautiful fabrics and lots of quilts!

And who doesn’t love it when the delivery guy rings your doorbell! Look what came yesterday!!! ¬†Talk about a rainbow of color! And yes, these are available for purchase – use the contact form for inquiries! Our online shopping is scheduled to begin the first of the year – something to look forward too!

A rainbow of color from Island Batik Fabrics, Paisley Dots and Blue Moon precuts
It’s always a sunny day when a shipment of Island Batik fabrics arrives in The Quilt Rambler Studio

 This is Karen Overton, The Quilt Rambler Рmay you remember to choose joy while keeping your eye out for those rainbows!

Raindrops on Hibiscus
I will say, the raindrops do make for pretty pictures of my Hibiscus.






Best Laid Plans

Day four 31 day blog writing challengeYesterday didn’t go exactly according to know what they say about best-laid plans…my word is “be flexible.”

The afternoon sewing plans were interrupted by an unexpected visit from our son and daughter-in-law.  No problem. Family first. So it was evening before I was able to begin my table runner project.


cutting diamonds with the Diamond Rects tool by Studio 180 designSunday Sewing Recap

All was going according to plan…Pieces cut out very quickly using the Diamond Rects tool by Studio 180 Design…read the instructions…even the disclaimer of making a few units first before chain piecing…hum…

Looks like this project will have to wait a little longer.

When all else fails, read instructions – time to frog….

The quilting term frogging means to rip out seams

Plan B

Switching gears in the evening I had a phone appointment with The Redneck Quilter, a fellow Certified Instructor with Studio 180 Design. We are collaborating on a pattern that will be yet another secret sewing project over the next few months before the big reveal. I will share more about this later, but here are the beginnings of a color palette based on my twilight moon shot (above) taken going to dinner the other night near Galveston Bay.

Island Batik Basics – great inspiration for the next secret sewing project.

Best Laid Plans for Today

Today’s a new day! Excited to begin putting together this Harley Davison T-shirt quilt for a customer. It’s a surprise Christmas gift for his wife!

Harley Davidson T-shirts to make a quilt by The Quilt Rambler

For those curious as to how I construct my t-shirt quilts here’s a quick little video our son produced earlier this year for me.


This is Karen Overton, The Quilt Rambler, wishing you a happy Monday!

 Teaming up with for the #31dayblogchallenge




Sunday Sewing – Christmas Style

Red Aurifil thread matches the fabric perfectly for hand sewing a hanging sleeve on the back of a quilt

Day 3 of the #31dayblogchallengeSundays are my day of worship. The afternoons I consider my “day off” and I generally spend it in the studio with a little Sunday sewing. As much as possible I try to do relaxing projects, usually personal vs business. That’s my plans for today…

Side note: ¬†if you follow me on social media you will recognize my hibiscus from the front yard. This is the first one I have “picked” ¬†– I thought it would look cheery in the studio!

Studio Update

Last night I finished the binding on the 2nd customer T-shirt quilt. She will be picking these up later in the week for her Christmas gift giving.

Monday morning I ¬†will work¬†on the next quilt in line. I’ve got several more to go before the holiday. ¬†It’s always fun to see what other people collect as far as t-shirt memories go….

A&M t-shirts turned into a t-shirt quilt by The Quilt Rambler
College shirts make a great Texas A & M T-shirt quilt
Rush Concert T-shirts made into a T-shirt quilt by The Quilt Rambler
A collection of concert T-shirts comes out of the bottom clothing drawer to become a nice lap quilt

 Sunday Sewing Plans:

After finishing with the customer quilts I pulled fabric for my December Island Batik Ambassador challenge. ¬†The challenge is to make a scrappy table runner. Well, scrappy is my middle name so I’ve been looking forward to this all year!

For those of you¬†new to The Quilt Rambler I invite you to scroll through some of my earlier blogs to view the other projects I’ve made with the 2017¬†Island Batik Ambassador program. I am enjoying this journey working with beautiful batiks!

I chose a Studio 180 Design pattern and can’t wait to get the parts and pieces all cut out and sewn together – the perfect small project for the afternoon and the season! Check back with me tomorrow when I report in on my progress!

Christmas Island Batik 2.5" strips will be perfect for the Refraction table runner from Studio 180 Design
Looking forward to combining my love of Island Batik fabrics with my love of Studio 180 Design tools and patterns.

What are your Sunday afternoon plans? Are you still working on Christmas or Hanukkah projects? Please leave a comment below, I’d love to hear about your handmade items.

This is Karen Overton, The Quilt Rambler keeping the blog short today so I can get a lot of sewing accomplished! See you tomorrow!


 Teaming up with for the #31dayblogchallenge





Shortcut Binding Tool – Product Review

Shortcut Binding Tool Review

Day 2 of the 31 Day Blog Writing Challenge

Today’s blog is brought to you in black and white because it is also a blog containing secret sewing!


Secret Sewing

Wish I could show you the beautiful colors – but it’s a secret

I have been working secretly for the past few weeks, in between customer quilts, to meet a fast-approaching deadline (12/15) with Island Batik for a quilt that will be a part of their Spring/Summer 2018 Catalog (SS18). ¬†The fabrics arrived the end of October, but I really didn’t get started with making the quilt until the middle of November. ¬†It’s a secret because the fabrics won’t be introduced until Spring…so…black and white and little tiny hints are all I can share. Oh! And it’s an original pattern that will be released about the same time so I can’t even show the quilt top….but it will be worth the wait I promise!

Shortcut Binding Tool

Shortcut Binding Tool ReviewThe mystery quilt has been quilted and today it was time to add the binding. I wanted to make this a little special so I decided to make a binding with a flange. This is not a new concept to my quilting but I did simplify it today with a tool I picked up at Festival last year. Disclaimer Рthis is an honest product review, I was not asked to do this nor paid or gifted any product for my thoughts.

What I like about the Shortcut Binding Tool ¬†is the sizes for cutting both the flange and the binding are printed right on the tool so I don’t have to think..that’s always more fun, no thinking just sewing! In addition, there are detailed written instructions with pictures – and guess what! They are in color!

Here’ are the highlights of the process in photos taken today.

Shortcut Binding Tool
The Shortcut Binding Tool tells you the width to cut your binding strip. I could cut it with a regular ruler but it was so much easier to just follow the line on the tool
Shortcut Binding Tool
Again, cutting the width of the flange fabric was made easy with the lines on the Shortcut Binding Tool

The next step was to simply join the two fabrics together to make the long strip needed for binding the quilt. I thought I’d give you a hint of the colors in this quilt – you’re welcome.

MasterPiece Thread #142
Superior Threads MasterPiece #142 Aquarius is the perfect piecing thread for this secret sewing project

To continue with the step by step:

Shortcut Binding Tool Pressing Instructions


Shortcut Binding Tool Sewing Instructions

As Ben & Jerry’s always said: “if it’s not fun why do it!”

I loved the instructions for joining the seams – don’t want to spoil the details – you need this Shortcut Binding Tool!


Shortcut Binding Tool Flange
Time to flip over and sew from the front leaving the flange free.

Was that fast? Yep, that was fast!

Shortcut Binding Tool Summary

Bottom line, I would recommend the Shortcut Binding Tool. As I mentioned I have done this process of making a binding and flange as one unit before but having this tool make the process faster with the marked measurements for cutting and the added bonus of joining the strips together. I love the end result! It’s my firm belief you can never have too many tools in your quilting toolbox! Ask for it at your local quilt shop!

Stay tuned until the spring when the quilt pattern & fabric line will be unveiled

The binding was completed just in time prior to the arrival of my professional photographer! I can’t wait to share this quilt with you!¬†Note: This will also be taught in 2019 on a quilting cruise with Stitchin Heaven that I am over the moon excited about.

This is Karen Overton, The Quilt Rambler, wrapping up Day 2 #31dayblogchallenge #2017blogwritingchallenge. Until tomorrow – Press on!