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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What Does The Quilt Rambler and Studio 180 Design Have In Common?

Upcoming Event with Studio 180 Design

Besides the fact that I love love love Deb Tucker’s Rulers and Techniques…

How about a future trip to include a full week of Certified Instructor Training!

Yes, I love Deb’s Rulers

Studio 180 Design And The Quilt Rambler
My all time favorite ruler is the Rapid Fire Leymone Star Ruler

Those of you who know me know that I believe that you can never have too many rulers! That said when it comes to specialty rulers that truly make my piecing life easier I turn to Studio 180 Design. Deb’s techniques make me look like a champ in the piecing department.  I know, I fired the quilt police years ago, but I’m not afraid of them when I piece using these rulers.

Call for Applicants – Studio 180 Design Certified Instructor

I was soooo excited when I saw the facebook post concerning this year’s Certificated Instructor Training offered by Studio 180 Design. It’s been something I have wanted to do for well over 5 years.

Studio 180 Design Certified Instructor
As seen on Facebook

Application Process to Train as a Certified Instructor

Studio 180 DesignBy the time I saw the post it had been “out there” for well over a month – how in the world did I miss it??  I quickly downloaded the application and found that it was pretty detailed.

Quilting Biography – The Quilt Rambler, Who Am I?

Certified Instructor This was time-consuming….I needed to rack my brain for some of the public “accomplishments” that I’ve achieved – teaching piecing classes, a little about my longarm accomplishments, publications, etc.

Quilting References – I Get By With A Little Help From My Friends!

Studio 180 Design Certified InstructorWhile I was working on the biography I asked a few folks to consider being a reference for me, a local shop owner/friend (location of past classes) and three quilting friends who have attended classes and/or workshops with me (one was a past guild president)…I later learned that my gals had their reference forms emailed long before I completed my application! Such sweet friends!

Block Submissions Needed to Apply for Certified Instructor

This part of the application was where the needle met the fabric! Deb has several rulers in her lineup – or as she puts it “Tools for the Realist, Not the Idealist“. It’s not surprising that I own every one of them! I’ve used a few of them more than others like the Rapid Fire Leymone Star Ruler, Rapid Fire Hunters Star Ruler, and Corner Beam.

The application had 6 line drawings for blocks that needed to be pieced and submitted. There wasn’t a size restriction, suggested color/value, nor instructions! Truly this was THE TEST! How well do you know how to use Deb’s Rulers?

My Blocks To Be Juried Into Acceptance For Training

Of course, I pulled fabric from my Island Batik stash. I just happened to have a 10″ square stack of Coastal Mist and redrafted the blocks to the sizes that would accommodate my fabric limitation to 10″ (except the background, I had yards of that!)

These blocks do not have an official name that I’m aware of….

Block made using Deb Tucker Rulers for Certified Instructor Training
Rulers Used: Rapid Fire Leymone Star, Corner Pop
Block made for Certified Instructor Training Application
Rulers used: Corner Beam, Tucker Trimmer, Square 2
Block made by Karen Overton Using Studio 180 Design Rulers for Certified Instructor Application
Rulers used V -Block, Tucker Trimmer
Karen Overton made this block using Deb Tucker Rulers for her Certified Instructor Application
Rulers used: Wing Clipper, Tucker Trimmer
The Quilt Rambler made this block using Deb Tucker Rulers for Certification Application
Rulers Used: Split Rects, Diamond Rects, Tucker Trimmer

 

Karen Overton's block submitted for Studio 180 Design Certified Instructor Training
Ruler used: Rapid Fire Hunter’s Star: Petite Star

Happy Mail – My Application for Certified Instructor Training

Since I was “a day late and a dollar short,” or felt that way due to learning of the application process in a very untimely manner, I took a whole weekend off to focus on the piecing of my blocks. As Deb said, “take your time, but hurry up.”

In the mail Karen Overton's Application for Certified Instructor training
My blocks and application are (almost) “in the mail!”  You may remember this photo from an earlier blog post.

The Wait

If you’ve ever waited expectantly, and who hasn’t, then you know I was on pins and needles awaiting a verdict.

Email from Studio 180 Design for Certified Instructor Training
Good news! I’ve been accepted!!!

Let The Countdown Begin!

Countdown until Deb Tucker's Certified Instructor Training
Even though I’ve known about my acceptance for several weeks, I just started my “countdown” today. By the way, 23 is my favorite number! Quilt in the background is Morning Glory, a new pattern by Studio 180 Design quilted by The Quilt Rambler

I’m sew excited to be going to this training. I have learned from others that it is very intense and equally very rewarding!  I hope I can pass the test at the end and be counted among a prestigious group of quilters known fondly as “CI’s”

With certification, my goal is to be able to offer more classes and workshops both locally and wherever the call may lead me. Can’t wait until I can say “Coming to a location near YOU!”

This is Karen Overton, The Quilt Rambler,  giddy with delight to announce my acceptance to Deb’s Certification Instructor Training (I’m still pinching myself!!)

 

Modern Quilt Island Batik Challenge Part 1

colorful Island Batik fabrics will make a beautiful modern quilt

Modern Quilt In The Making

Island Batik Ambassador Modern Batik ChallengeMay’s Island Batik challenge is to make a modern quilt. Well….that’s a challenge! I’ve never made a modern quilt before.  I’ve been thinking about it since given the full year’s agenda back in February. Hum…

I’ve found that inspiration comes when you least expect it. For example, I love to take photos of my feet propped up somewhere calling it “my current world view” – most of the times it’s of me relaxing in my hammock, once or twice it was with my feet on a poolside lounger overlooking the water while on a cruise…recently, while on a women’s retreat with my church, I found myself waiting outside a restaurant for my girlfriends and snapped this photo…then the more I looked at it, the more it dawned on me…this was my inspiration to design something modern, and totally outside of my normal quilting!

feet propped up overlooking a window advertisement became an inspiration for a quilt design
My “current world view” became my inspiration for a modern quilt design

The Design Process of My Modern Quilt

EQ7 computer quilt design
From inspiration to design

I’m still learning EQ7 but I managed to flesh out the design in my head as a rough draft on the computer. Knowing that most modern quilts have solid colors and lots of negative space I decided to follow the minimalist mindset. I decided that I wanted to make the colors really pop so I changed the background to a darker fabric.

EQ7 design by Karen Overton
With the click of a button the background was filled in with a darker fabric
colorful Island Batik fabrics will make a beautiful modern quilt
Closing from a fabulous stash of Island Batik fabrics for my first Modern Quilt

Since I am more of a graph paper pencil gal I redrew my design and started mapping out the piecing process. I chose fabrics from my Island Batik Ambassador box, picking out the primary colors from the “stash builder” bundles. They were perfect because they were 5″ strips and I could cut them down to 2.5″ strips to make my finished 2″ squares. For the background, I pulled an Island Batik basic from my stash called Storm. I just love this fabric, it’s a midnight blue instead of black and has some really wonderful coloration that gives it lots of movement.

Paper never forgets, making a piecing map for my modern quilt
I printed the outline view from EQ7 and started figuring out my piecing map
Cutting the 5" strips to 2.5" strips
The 5″ strips from my Island Batik Ambassador box held the perfect color combinations for this design

You Can Never Have Too Many Rulers

I’ve shared several times on Facebook and social media that “you can never have too many rulers” to which this project proved to be true! For accuracy, I do prefer to make my half square triangles (HST) and quarter square triangles (QST) with Studio 180 Design rulers, which allow me to over-cut my pieces then trim to perfection, but I was limited in my fabric and had to take the risk of cutting actual size units hoping for accurate sewing. I was close. Pretty darn close if I do say so myself! For the HST I used Omnigrid 96 ruler and for the QST I used Omingrid 98 ruler.

using Ominigrid 96 and 98 rulers to make triangle units
The right tools for the right job – making half square and quarter square triangles
Colorful Island Batik fabric makes beautiful half square triangles for this modern quilt
Chain piecing made the process quick and easy. Don’t you just love the beautiful Island Batik colors? I pieced using Aurfil 50 wt # 2692 black
Following a graph paper design pieced units are combined to make blocks for the modern quilt
Half square and quarter square triangle units are combined into four patch blocks

My Modern Quilt Construction

After all my pieced blocks were made it was time to figure out how to do the large negative space background.  Back to my graph paper to combine the units into sections – and to figure out the cutting of the background into larger chunks vs the 2″ squares as drawn on EQ7 – one day I will learn how to do this on the computer, but for now…I enjoyed the process of all the figuring!

Modern Quilt Pattern design in the process
Working through the process on how to form blocks into sections for my modern quilt

To make the sections into manageable blocks to join together I found that I would have a single 2″ block to be able to join things together. Really?!? Well, I guess that’s what makes this a challenge – figuring things out and having fun in the process. I have to admit, I was totally in my element! I love a good problem-solving session, especially when it leads to a quilt that I can be proud of!

sections pieced and laid out for modern quilt
Current world view – Modern Quilt in the making – sometimes the design wall is busy so I have a “design floor” for the layout of my quilts

It’s been a while since I did a partial seam, but it worked!

Marking a partial seam
Sewing just a partial seam, as marked with the chalk pencil, allowed me to sew the four sections together
Modern Quilt partial seam construction
Keeping that partial seam open made it easy to sew sections together

My Modern Journey Sew Far, So Good

I’m very pleased with how this little project has turned out so far. I call it “This is the Way, Walk in It” based on a Bible verse that came to mind when I first saw that window advertisement during the April Retreat.

Modern Quilt design by Karen Overton
Original design by Karen Overton, The Quilt Rambler. “This is the Way, Walk in It”

Isaiah 30:21 “Your ears will hear a word behind you, ‘This is the way, walk in it,’ whenever you turn to the right or to the left”

More to Learn on This Modern Batik Challenge Quilt

Now my next challenge is to learn a few “modern” quilt design elements. The quilt is on the longarm today so stay tuned for part 2!

In the meantime, check out my fellow ambassadors’ blogs to see their progress with the May Modern Batik Challenge. Here’s a link to each of them.

This is Karen Overton, The Quilt Rambler, enjoying the journey into Modern Quilting!

Do you make modern quilts? Designing your own or enjoying designer patterns? Leave me a comment with your thoughts and experiences.

Can You Relate to My Whirlwind?

cartoon version of The Quilt Rambler studio with the appearance of the after effects of a whirlwind due to the creative clutter

 The Past Few Weeks Have Been a Whirlwind

cartoon version of The Quilt Rambler studio with the appearance of the after effects of a whirlwind due to the creative clutter
Looks like a whirlwind hit the studio – time for a little comic relief
At times do you feel like you are in a whirlwind? Not necessarily the devastation kind, but the kind where things just keep swirling with lots of commotion and activity. I think if my life story were to be written focusing on the past month it would almost be a comic book. At least I think I tried to take a little comic relief amidst the mayhem and not let the tidal waves of busyness drown me.

 Tax Tornado or Turbo Tax

Two Mac computers side by side, different screen sizes showing out with the old in with the new
Silver lining to the storm of computer issues,  a new bigger computer
When I think of April I think of tax time….and that’s about all I want to say on the subject (grin) except that this season seemed to go on forever, especially with my computer issues. Ah, but every good storm has a silver lining. I was blessed with a new computer and after all the transferring of data, I actually filed my taxes on April 15th – even knowing the deadline this year was April 18th. And it’s behind me! Hallelujah!!

Yep, lest life gets too serious – enter Oscar! He’s my son’s adopted stray kitten that has stolen all our hearts. I love that he is an outdoor kitty with indoor privileges who takes advantage of the doggie door to pop in and say hello when he comes to visit me in the studio. It’s nice that they live next door!

Cute orange kitten peaks out from under an Apple computer monitor
Oscar wants to help with the taxes OR perhaps just play peak a boo

Escaping the Vortex

A pair of tennis shoes peaking out under a quilt showing a relaxing moment
After a long day at the computer, it’s wonderful to put my feet up to relax – and enjoy the comfort of a quilt on a breezy afternoon
Sometimes you just have to kick back and put your feet up! It’s amazing what a little fresh air can do to revive your mind so you can change gears and get back to work.

After the cyclone of taxes, I totally enjoyed making a baby quilt for one of my customers. We have been working off and on for over a year making memory quilts from her deceased father’s plaid shirts to share with her siblings, children and now her future grandchildren… this precious memory quilt was made for her daughter’s baby shower this weekend. Yes, they are eagerly awaiting the beginning of a 4th generation that will be wrapped up in “daddy’s shirts.” What a legacy!

Scrappy quilt made from men's plaid shirts and quilted with hearts will welcome a new baby soon
Made from great grandpa’s shirts, soon a new baby be will be wrapped in 4 generations of love

Stop the Cyclone

Young man stirring a pot on the stove with a bowl of Rice Krispie cereal in a large bowl next to it
Remembering when the boys were young and we made lots of cookies and treats in the kitchen
When life gets full of activity sometimes it’s just best to stop the spin and do something fun. Like making Rice Krispie marshmallow treats with your son! Granted, we had planned on making these a week ago to share at the family Easter lunch, but making them a week late means we had more for ourselves! Unintentional selfishness I promise!

Lady sampling the sticky sides of a bowl after making Rice Krispies treats
Proving that you are never too old to lick the bowl! Not to mention Rice Krispie Treats are more fun in spring colors!

Lady's jeans and shoes laying on a quilt in a hammock
My happy place – relaxing for a few minutes under the tiki hut in my hammock, always with a quilt!
If you follow me on Facebook or Instagram you are already familiar with my habit of posting my “current world view” showing my feet propped up somewhere – if you don’t follow me, well, why aren’t you? (grin). Anyway, one of my favorite ways to relax at home is to put up my hammock in the backyard and take a short afternoon nap.  Nothing clears my mind better than being outdoors, even if for just a moment. Seems I have needed to steal away for several of these moments lately.  Especially following the recent big rains!

Whirlwind Activity

One definition of whirlwind is “something that is done very quickly and without a lot of thought as in a whirlwind courtship”. Well, nothing along those lines but sometimes I do get crazy ideas in my head and just “gotta sew something” and it’s usually done quickly and without a lot of thought. It generally adds “one more thing” to that already busy to-do list…but for me it is the calming in the mists of the typhoon. Nothing more relaxing than the hum of my sewing machine as I create something…

Colorful fabric book cover surrounds a cookbook
Never judge a book by its cover.
That said, I was looking forward to a retreat with the women of my church this past weekend and knowing I would be arriving early I planned a little downtime to sit by the pool to do some planning and perhaps design…A long overlooked goal has been to seek new recipes for a healthier lifestyle …. well….I didn’t want to be caught “reading” a cookbook beside the pool because those who know me know I don’t cook – so I came up with the idea of covering said cookbook!

 

Majestic purple fabric covers a well read Bible
Purple represents royalty and spirituality. It’s also my favorite color so it was a perfect choice for a simple Bible cover
And then I decided that my Bible could use a quick cover change too.

Quick as lightening these were done and I was packed and on my way looking forward to a little personal time before joining with my friends for a time of fellowship and fun.

Calming the Windstorm

Lady's jean clad legs stretched out in relaxation overlooking a pool area on top of a Houston motel showing beautiful clouds and building in the distance
Current world view – blue skies and serenity overlooking Houston skyline
The antonyms for all the commotion of strong weather words like whirlwind, cyclone, hurricane, or tornado are calm, peace, quiet, relaxation, even laziness. (don’t you just love a good thesaurus!).

Restfulness and refreshing describe this past weekend of the Women’s retreat. I arrived early to take advantage of that rooftop pool and did do a little “reading” in my cookbook.

 

My husband texted me the following photo, a gentle reminder not to take life too seriously.

cute orange kitten peaking out from a talavera bathroom sink
When mom’s away the kitten does play
A  time of worship and Bible study was just what I needed to tame that dust devil of a busy life into a refocused life  of choosing joy. A revival of the heart.

Clear Skies on the Horizon – Looking Ahead to May

Taking time to relax, refresh and reflect can be very inspiring. My busy brain is constantly in motion thinking ahead, looking for new opportunities, new ideas….even in the restfulness there is always inspiration if you look for it.

Lady's jean clad legs stretched out in relaxation looking at a window in an outdoor mall
When we relax and open our eyes to the world around us even simple things can be inspiring
I’ve already got an idea for the Island Batik Ambassador May challenge “modern batik” inspired by my “current worldview” waiting on my friends for dinner prior to retreat…you will just have to wait to see where this leads! It is a little off the wall, so to speak, as I am planning a wall hanging! We’re finishing up the April challenge of Adventurous Applique so why not visit the other Island Batik Ambassadors’ blogs to see how they completed the challenge. You can find their links here. 

 

 

 

Two smiling friends taking a selfie with the skyline of Houston behind them
Couldn’t resist a selfie with the beautiful skyline of Houston behind us – Dianne and I will soon be in the friendly skies headed to Arizona!
And speaking of friends. I’m happy to say that Dianne, my church and quilting friend, will be joining me the first week of May as we fly to Arizona to be with the Lonesome Valley Quilt Guild where I will be speaking at their guild meeting on Monday, May 1st, then teaching a workshop on Tuesday, May 2nd.

Island Batik fabric strips made into leymone star blocks in preparation for an upcoming workshop making the pattern Illuminated Journey by Karen Overton
Working on class sample for upcoming workshop, Illuminated Journey, with beautiful Island Batik fabrics
So much to look forward to in May – but wait! We still have a week to navigate before we take flight! Can’t wait to see what is just around the horizon and in the studio!

Encouragement for Your Whirlwind

This song came on while I was writing my blog and I wanted to share some encouragement with you. We all go through whirlwinds, some whirlwinds of activity are good, some whirlwinds of emotions can be crippling. It is my hope the words of this song will help you not to feel alone in your hurricane.

Hurricane by Natalie Grant

You’re spinning out of control again
Your life feels like a sinking ship
You’re wondering how it came to this

Is it too late?
Is it too far?
For Him to reach you
And come to where you are

Step out on the edge
Don’t be afraid of it
And when you feel the rain
Call His name
He’ll find you in the hurricane

You’re in the wreckage underneath
Your hope is buried somewhere deep
You’re wondering how long it will keep?

It’s never too late
Never too far
For you to reach out
And take a hold of love

Step out on the edge
Don’t be afraid of it
And when you feel the rain
Call His name
He’ll find you in the hurricane

Don’t back down from the fight
He’ll shelter you tonight
Just hold on for the change
Call His name
He’ll find you in the hurricane

There’s a place, there’s a place you can run
When you fall, and it’s all come undone
You’ll be safe in the raging storm
So just let go
‘Cause you are held in His arms

Step out on the edge
Don’t be afraid of it
And when you feel the rain
Call His name
He’ll find you in the hurricane

Ooh ooh…

And when you feel the rain
Call His name
He’ll find you in a hurricane

This is Karen Overton, The Quilt Rambler, sharing the journey reminding all of us to chose joy even during the storms of life

 

Can you relate? Does your to-do list get crazy and you feel like all you can do is laugh to keep from crying? Do you ever feel like you just “gotta sew” even if it’s a whirlwind of a little project? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

MIA: Behind the Scenes Creative Explosion

Oh my goodness! Where have the days gone! March Madness indeed! It’s been 2 weeks since I’ve last blogged.

I promise I haven’t been on a world cruise and forgot to tell you about it. Actually I wish I HAD been on a cruise!

Things have been hopping over here in The Quilt Rambler studio – and just to prove it I’m going to share a few unedited photos of the creative explosions to account for being MIA.

No bears were harmed in the studio creative explosion!

You may recall that the first of the year I totally redid my studio – with several things being moved into the living areas of the house waiting to be sorted. It’s been a slow process to get everything where I want it. So many wonderful things to go through, to get distracted by, to find a new place to store…sigh….One of the recent goals was to remove a large cabinet  from the studio….

 

Blots begging for a new location in the studio
Fabrics are being folded in storage drawers
Large cabinet needs to be relocated
But first contents of the large cabinet must find a new home
Large cabinet is finding a new home

And that was just one adventure of the past two weeks!  However, our motto has always been “we work hard, so we play hard”  There wasn’t much time to play however I did manage a bike ride to the bay with my youngest son as well as a date night in Galveston with my hubby…

So blessed to live near the water – beautiful day for a bike ride
Nothing better than a day off in Galveston on The Strand!

In addition to all this rearranging of the studio, which is a slow work in progress, there was some serious sewing and quilting going on in the studio! AND videoing!!

Currently in production is a tutorial/workshop on How to Make a Quilted Composition Notebook Cover – the project inspired by the March Challenge of the Island Batik Ambassadors – read about it here.

Quilting my demo for the quilted notebook cover video workshop
Text message from my “film director” eldest son showing a couple of scenes from the future YouTube workshop. And yes, as a rambler you shouldn’t be surprised that my mouth is always open!

That said I had high hopes of having this video online by now, but alas, and with a mournful sigh, I am struggling with computer issues….yep…had to restore everything to factory settings and it’s taking way too long (and my patience is thinning) to try to get things back to normal….

What is normal anyway! It’s just a setting on the dryer!

So in between all the fun clean up, the video, the computer mess and trying to get the taxes done (let’s don’t even go there!) I have managed to do just a little personal sewing in prep for an upcoming workshop next month in Arizona…more details on that to come but here’s a sneak peak of the beautiful Island Batik fabrics I’m using in said project.

Future project in the works….made spectacular with Island Batik fabrics

So there you have it, a brief accountability of the past few weeks! Short and sweet, with unedited photos and unedited ramblings! I’ve got so much scheduled for the month of April I don’t even have time to tell you about it as I do need to crack the whip and get busy!! All I can say is it’s going to be a fast, furious and an incredibly fun month full of fabulous fabric!  I can hardly wait to experience it and share it with you!

On to a new month!
April’s Island Batik Challenge is Adventurous Appliqué

Thanks for checking in with me! Stay tuned for more, and more often!

This is Karen Overton, The Quilt Rambler, coming out of MIA to Tell Your Story One Quilt At A Time!

Please leave a comment and share about your busy spring cleaning, or spring project, or a suggestion for future tutorials!

Hello March – Fun Challenges Ahead

Hello March, In Like a Lamb, weather is perfect to kick back in the hammock

Hello March

Hello March, In Like a Lamb, weather is perfect to kick back in the hammock
March 2017 In Like A Lamb

Just a quick hello to say that March entered like a lamb in the Houston/Galveston area today. It was a little overcast but still the high was around 80 degrees with 100% humidity. Gotta love it!

Instagram Challenges

Instagram challenge for quilters to post daily in March
A fun challenge to post daily on Instagram during the Month of March

So, while taking a quick break in my hammock under the tiki hut after lunch I was scrolling through Instagram and found two fun challenges that started today.  First #IGQuiltFest by Amy Ellis .  This one is going to be fun to see what other quilters will have to share. Here’s the schedule for posting each day.

Instagram challenge for small business owners to post daily
Another fun Instagram challenge to post daily

 

The second one I discovered is #marchmeetthemakers by Joanne Hawker. The purpose of this is for small businesses to tell the story behind their brand…this one is going to be more of a challenge because I don’t have an Etsy shop as I think most participants will.  Who knows, maybe later I will!

 

Challenging to wear so many hats, longarm quilter, island batik ambassador, quilt teacher, bike rider
According to the challenges we were to introduce ourselves on the March 1st post

I introduced myself on Instagram as a longarm quilter, quilter, quilting teacher, the maker of t-shirt and memory quilts, Island Batik Ambassador  as well as mentioning my love of riding my bike near the Galveston Bay.

Anyone can join in – whether following or participating! You can find me on Instagram as The Quilt Rambler.

Island Batik Ambassador Challenge

This is the real exciting news!

colorful island batik fabrics at the sewing machine waiting to be turned into a quilt project for the March challenge
Coming up in March – another Island Batik Ambassador Project

The March challenge for the Island Batik Ambassadors is “March Mini Madness” and it involves “Foundation or English Paper Piecing, 24 x 24 or smaller.”

Tall order for this traditional piecer who loves rulers and such…. I’ve been working on my project off and on for a few weeks and can’t wait to show you – hopefully by the weekend.

March Challenges

Do you have challenges ahead for yourself in March? Maybe fun quilt related things, maybe family adventures – will you share with me in the comment section below?

Or perhaps you are facing true challenges of the difficult sort? Just wanted to share a word of encouragement – I believe in prayer and if I can pray for you please leave a comment or feel free to email me.

March In Like a Lamb…. I hope not out like a Lion!

This is Karen Overton, The Quilt Rambler, rambling on, Telling Your Story One Quilt at a Time!

What’s Up in The Quilt Rambler Studio – Weekly Review

Two palm trees at waters edge of Galveston Bay in Bacliff TX on a warm sunny February day

Sometimes a rambler just has to ramble….and what better way than a weekly review of what’s been happening professionally and personally…put your feet up with me and relax a bit as I share this week’s happenings in and around the studio.

Current Worldview:

Viewpoint of author looking at her feet while laying in a hammock
My favorite current world view – kicking back in my hammock enjoying the unseasonably warm February day

I don’t do winters well, and have been more than thankful that our area has been shattering all sorts of weather records for February.  Apologies to those of you with snow, but I say “yes please” to sunny days in the high 70’s and 80’s!

So what does the weather have to do with quilting you say? Probably nothing, except I find I’m more inspired when the weather is nice. Something about relaxing for just a few minutes in my hammock helps the creativity flow….

 

Quilts in the Studio This Past Week

Starburst quilt pattern with three coordinating colors for a baby quilt
Lindsey pieced her first quilt for her sister’s baby shower

I love it when someone in the younger generation starts quilting. This is Lindsey’s very first quilt! She pieced it for her sister’s baby shower this weekend. I heard it was a big hit, and why wouldn’t it be? It’s gorgeous!

Quilters are so generous – Lindsey’s first quilt was certainly stitched with love and will always have a story to tell!

Not only is a new baby coming soon, but “hello world – there’s a new quilter born!”  Welcome to the quilting family Lindsey! Can’t wait to see what you create next!

Wilderness applique quilt being quilted on the longarm
On the frame in The Quilt Rambler Studio – beautiful McKenna Ryan Out & About Quilt

On the opposite end of the quilting family is my 90-year-old friend Lila. She is simply amazing. I have known her a dozen years and her quilting never ceases to astound me from complex piecing to beautiful applique – we all agree that Lila is a master quilter! She is very well respected and loved in our Island Quilters Guild in Galveston…she will be our featured quilter in this summer’s quilt show so stay tuned for that!

 

Nothing Like a Good Quilting Challenge

Jake is sketching out a quilting design with fabric swatches next to him
Planning day for mother/son quilt challenge

A few weeks ago, my son Jake challenged me to a mother/son quilt off. Seems it’s been 10 years since we last made a quilt together. Challenge accepted.

We have set aside Monday’s to work together in the studio. Jake’s favorite number is 13 and we both thought it very fitting that Monday, Feb 13th was our first meeting of the minds.

We agreed to work with the same fabric line, Pressed Petals from Island Batik which is shipping now to a quilt shop near you! Jake is an artist and pulled his fabric choices and had a sketch done in no time.

Quilt block with high and low points to make a wonky star block
Working with scrap fabric from the studio Jake pieced a “wonky star” block

This past Monday, Feb 20 we set up the extra sewing machine for his refresher course on the basics of sewing. Kinda like riding a bike, in no time he had his practice block completed.

I look forward to working with him in the studio each week.

 

 

Cuteness Alert

playful kitten on top of hanging chair playing with Karen sitting below
Oscar loves to play atop my hanging chair under the backyard tiki hut

Jake lives next door and his kitten Oscar has in and out privileges when the studio screen door is left open so he can use the “doggie door.” Without too much detail here, Oscar was a stray that showed up a few months before our precious Pixxie passed. For those who have followed me for years on my former blog location, you know that Pixxie was my constant companion and known as my “professional quilt model”.  Click here to see my Pinterest tribute or here to read about her passing.

Anyway….We are all so thankful that God sent Oscar to us. I’m not really a cat person but this little fellow has certainly warmed my heart. Here’s some photos from this past week.

Cute kitten asleep on colorful quilt
Oscar enjoys napping on the studio couch
cute kitten asleep on colorful quilts covering a couch
Oscar is at home in The Quilt Rambler studio

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

cute kitten in a basket on outdoor furniture
Oscar enjoys the warm spring day under the backyard tiki hut

 

 

Cute kitten covered up with a quilt
Oscar enjoys watching TV in the evenings waiting for Jake to come home from work.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What’s Up for March in The Quilt Rambler Studio?

A pile of baby clothes waiting to be made into a childhood memory quilt by The Quilt Rambler
A collection of clothing from two sisters to be made into a childhood memory quilt

Glad you asked! I am in the beginning stage of a childhood memory quilt. Seems two precious little girls were born close to each other and shared a lot of the same clothing.

Mom has saved her favorite outfits from the girls  to have made into a quilt!. What a fabulous way to hold on to those precious infant year memories!

bright fabrics chosen for a new quilt project
Fabrics chosen for a special Island Batik Ambassador Project

In addition, I will be working on my Island Batik Ambassador project for March.

I’m going to wait a few days to share just what the project theme is, but I can tell you that I chose to use my 5″ squares from the Sweet Nectar collection, which is also a current fabric now shipping to your local quilt shop.

With colors like these, every day is a sunny spring day in the studio!

colorful island batik fabrics at the sewing machine waiting to be turned into a quilt project
Coming up in March – another Island Batik Ambassador Project

This is Karen Overton, The Quilt Rambler, Telling Your Story One Quilt At A Time

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