It’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.
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!
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
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!
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.
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.
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)
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!
This is Karen Overton, The Quilt Rambler – may you remember to choose joy while keeping your eye out for those rainbows!
Yesterday didn’t go exactly according to plan..you 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.
Sunday 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.
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.
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!
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!
Sundays 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!
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….
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!
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!
Yep, call me crazy, but I just accepted Cheryl Sleboa’s challenge to write on my blog for each of the 31 days OF DECEMBER! Once a day! In the busiest month of the year! What was I thinking! Grin – this is going to be good!
I met Cheryl at Fall Quilt Market 2016 as one of her students, taking multiple classes like re-branding, social media marketing, and a lighthearted class where we drew a cartoon of ourselves and then made it out of fabric. Cheryl is a gracious, knowledgeable and giving person in the quilt industry so when she posted a blog about an hour or so ago to join her on this journey I said YES!
This is the 3rd year for this challenge (my first) and you will be able to keep up with all the participants if you will check back to her blog post where she will be updating with all the fun blogs out there in cyperland. Many of the bloggers you may already know, several you may stumble upon due to this challenge and discover you’ve found your crafting soul mate or at least an entertaining one! I think it’s going to be fun and I am eager to read and learn from others!
Trying to keep this short and sweet. If you are new to The Quilt Rambler, welcome…there’s a lot of “Let’s Talk Quilts” on previous blog posts and I hope you will look around and find that you want to stay.
My name is Karen Overton, I’ve been a longarm quilter for hire since 2003, represented a longarm machine company from 2008 to my retirement in 2014, switching gears this past couple of years to focus more on t-shirt quilts, teaching and designing patterns. The one in the photo above is Illuminated Journey and it is made using Studio 180 Design’s Lemoyne Star ruler featuring the beautiful Island Batik fabrics…you will hear a lot about these two companies over the next 31 days!
I’ve always loved to ‘talk quilts’ and dearly love to ramble….so let’s get this party rolling!
Today: The First Day of the 31 Day Blog Writing Challenge
Yippee! I am actually starting on time as the challenge begins TODAY! December 1st.
Okay, so here’s a quick look around the (messy) studio just moments ago. #thequiltramblerstudio
This is my busy season as I am making a lot of t-shirt quilts for customers with the fast-approaching deadline of Christmas. On any “normal” year my studio looks like Santa’s Elves have come in at night and thrown things around ( I call it creative clutter) but this year it is compounded with the whirlwind of Hurricane Harvey dumping flood waters into our home and my home studio. If you want to read all about it you can search through my older posts. We are at the stage of everything is a mess (no walls, the “wood” you see is my exterior shiplap walls). And soon it will be very messier!
And here’s the business side of my studio – just imagine me sitting here every day blogging to you about The Quilt Rambler’s current worldview.
Stay Tuned: More tomorrow on the 31 Day Blog Writing Challenge
Wow – that was fast! The goal is to be able to make this a habit to blog more frequently. I’d love to hear what you think and what sort of things draw you to a blog – photos, stories, too short/too long. Inquiring minds want to know (grin). #31dayblogchallenge #2017blogwritingchallenge
Island Batik posted their application for the 2018 season of Island Batik Ambassadors just a few days ago and there are only a few days left to apply online.
Part of the application process is to complete and mail an unquilted block, which I just finished up this morning.
This block represents my gratefulness for this past year as an Island Batik Ambassador. Not only have I been challenged to create a project each month featuring fabrics from my ambassador fabric box, I have also learned a lot from the other ambassadors and enjoyed getting to meet several at Fall Quilt Market and Houston Quilt Festival.
It was natural for me to choose a block based a Studio 180 Design. You can’t go wrong with Deb’s techniques and tools! This block is from her technique sheet Birds of Paradise using the Large Square Squared Ruler.
I have truly enjoyed being an Island Batik Ambassador this past year – and it’s not over yet! I’ve got to catch up on my October project (I’m blaming it on Harvey) and work on my December and January projects. I can hardly wait to share these creations with you showcasing fabulous fabric lines from Island Batik. January will be a blog hop similar to the one we did in September. There will be giveaways too! So if you haven’t subscribed to The Quilt Rambler blog you should do so now as to not miss out on a single thing!
It goes without saying that a lot of my projects will be made using the Studio 180 Design tools – I am so grateful to be a Certified Instructor and to be associated with such wonderful people!
I’m thinking I really like this block – I can see it in future projects!
So if you are wondering what it’s like to be an Island Batik Ambassador then check out the information and application. Fingers crossed that I will be able to be one again for 2018! Hope you will consider joining me on this journey!
This is Karen Overton, The Quilt Rambler, with a grateful heart
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!
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.
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!
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!
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”
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.
The Call for Quilt Angels
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!
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.
Time to Regroup
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!
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.
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!
I should be packing. My plane leaves in a day for my Certified Instructor Training with Studio 180 Design and what am I doing? Not packing that’s for sure!
Sometimes I lose focus. Especially where there’s too much to do, instead of just shutting down I find myself wandering in areas that I shouldn’t be, non-productive areas, sometimes involving my addictions – addictions to fabric that is <grin>
Such has been the case of late. I found myself thinking how nice it would be to have a new covered composition notebook for my trip, after all, I did find an orphan block, a lemoyne star to be exact, that just needed to belong….and having just finished up the August challenge of Quilt As You Go….well…here’s what happened Thursday afternoon.
But Wait – There’s More (The Distraction is Strong!)
I’ve been doing a lot of online “wishful” shopping concerning travel accessories. I found this really nifty three zippered pouch that is supposed to fit in the seat-back-in-front-of-you-pocket…Wouldn’t that be great to have things within reach after I put up my carry-on bag? I figured it wouldn’t take much to whip one of those puppies right out, just quick as you please…only I got a little carried away…it was that Quilt As You Go thing again….
I think I would like to try this again, only this time not use the soft and stable, well, maybe just on one side to give it body. I also wouldn’t do the “tube” with my lining – made things too thick to sew the side seams. Bottom line, I’ve proved I’m not a bag expert and will leave the designing up to Patterns By Annie (love love love her patterns). But I’m not too proud to use my little dorky homemade look seat-back-in-front-of-you-pocket holder! And who knows, I might even rework it at some point and actually improve upon it before my next trip….
This is Karen Overton, The Midnight Quilt Rambler, who seriously needs to go pack for my trip!