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!

Furry Fridays With Island Batik Ambassadors

Furry Fridays With Island Batik Ambassadors

Piece for Shelter Pets  and the Island Batik Ambassadors have been publishing Furry Friday posts featuring adoptable pets via the PetFinder Foundation for a number of weeks now as an encouragement to bring attention to animals needing to be adopted. You may recall that our Island Batik Ambassador project for February was the making of Kennel Quilts and we encouraged your participation – to which we say thank you!

This week’s sponsor of Furry Friday is Hancock of Paducah.

Before I share the pets of the week I wanted to say a word about our sponsor – I can remember when I was first seriously bitten by the quilting bug (around the turn of the century!)  and discovered the beautiful full-color Hancock of Paducah mail order catalog, truly a quilter’s fabric version of the Sear’s Christmas Catalog! It was through their catalog that I fell in love with batik fabrics…I would literally circle fabrics and dog-ear pages to create my wish list and place my order. In today’s digital age we don’t have to patiently wait on the mail carrier to bring our catalog but can “shop in our PJ’s” anytime we want! Ah! Progress! Be sure and check them out!

This Week’s Featured Fur Friends

Speaking of dog-ears (don’t you love that cleaver transition) Here’s this week’s featured pup, Bristol,  who looks like she’d love a scratch behind her ears!

Bristol is an adorable 13-week-old female Shepherd mix. She is a typical sweet and playful puppy. Bristol is good with other dogs.

And for our cat lovers out there we have Carlee looking for a good home.

Carlee is a sweet shy steel gray and white bobtail cat. She’s three years old and she is looking for a loving home where she can get lots of snuggles and cuddles.

It is our goal of spotlighting these precious critters to bring attention to the needs of our local shelters to find forever homes for these pets.

As part of our sharing, the Island Batik Ambassadors have also been encouraged to share our own personal pet stories so sit back while I ramble about mine….

Life Without Pets is No Life at All

I’ve always had a pet. Growing up we had a beautiful  medium sized “heinz 57” mix dog we called Blackie. She was the runt of a litter from my great aunt’s country home and in my life from 1st grade to my senior year in high school. A few years later my husband and I adopted Bonnie from the local shelter, another “heinz 57” whom we dearly loved and who lived in our fenced backyard during our time in Tennessee. We had her for nearly 10 years with her later years having the addition of Annie, a fun loving “yellow dog” whom was later adopted by my brother-in-law when we moved into an RV full time. (another story for another time). You can see a photo of Annie here as she was much loved by Bill and his family and lived to be a good age, a well cared for outside dog.

Then along came Pixxie. She was actually purchased by our then 12 year old son Jake in 2000 while we were working on the road full-time in our RV – the only critter that I/we had ever had as an indoor pet, and the only pet with papers! Pixxie was a full-blooded registered Chihuahua, weighting in at only 6 pounds 6 ounces full grown! (same size as our sons at a birth – they turned out to be over 6 feet grown – but again, another story for another time.)

Pixie was known as The Professional Quilt Model as she always posed with my quilts. 2000-2016

Then Along Came Oscar

Pixie was nearing the end of a wonderful life, it was sad to see her losing her sight and mobility – but she still had her sweet gentle personality and had a lot of “life” in her spirt. She was our “one and only” and didn’t really care to be around other animals…that is, until Oscar showed up.

We weren’t looking for another pet, even though we had been feeding stray cats in the front yard for years. Then around the end of September 2016 this precious little orange tabby showed up across the street by our mailbox…a busy high traffic street.

Despite my attempts to coax the kitten to the safety of our yard with tempting treats, it wasn’t until Jake called him that the kitten came to the porch for food.

Found: One stray orange kitty

We weren’t going to adopt him, but we weren’t going to let him starve either. When we discovered that he was getting under the car we all decided he needed to be moved to the fenced in backyard. I will add that Jake has an apartment in the backyard…

Oscar discovered he liked the shelter under our tiki hut and made himself a home

We still weren’t claiming him as a pet, just a cuddly friendly stray we were feeding. After all, we didn’t know how Pixxie would react, and she certainly didn’t need a bouncy kitten knocking her over or blind-siding her! As it turned out, they actually got a long….and it wasn’t long before Oscar wanted to come inside…

Pixxie wasn’t so sure about Oscar – he didn’t have any manners – Pixxie was the queen of beggars but she was patient – this kitten was bold in his begging!
Oscar kept wanting to be with us and tried out the doggie door a few times. Or he would sit outside Jake’s apartment waiting for him to come home from work. Thanksgiving found Oscar sharing a meal with Pixxie.

Yes, Oscar won his way into our hearts in a few short weeks and we made the commitment to “adopt him” by taking him to the local animal shelter that offered neutering and first kitten shots. And Jake put in a litter box in his apartment so Oscar could sleep inside on those winter nights. Welcome to the family Oscar!

Oscar certainly is a playful kitten

Oscar was with us just 2 short months before we lost our precious Pixxie. God answered my prayers and I was able to hold Pixxie until the very end. She died a peaceful natural death and was buried in our backyard with Oscar being a part of our little ceremony early December 2016. To this day I sometimes see Oscar laying over Pixxie’s grave spot under the palm trees in the backyard.

We weren’t looking for a pet but God knew we would need comfort and He gave us Oscar.

Oscar is home where he belongs

Officially Oscar is Jake’s kitten and bunks with him in the backyard apartment. Oscar prefers to be outdoors but has full use of the “doggie dog” and comes to visit in the studio at his leisure. He loves my quilts, and he loves to snuggle when we watch TV in the evenings as he is awaiting Jake’s arrival home from work. I’ve never been a “cat-person” but Oscar lets us treat him like a dog, I find myself calling him “puppy” as that was my pet name for Pixxie. He is a very social kitten and we love him for that.

No, Oscar doesn’t replace Pixxie, but he joins the other pets of my life in his own special place of my heart. Isn’t God good to create such marvelous creatures to love and be loved by!

Won’t You Consider Adopting a Pet

If you don’t have a critter to call your own I would highly encourage you to visit your local shelters – I can almost guarantee that some sweet kitten or precious pup will steal your heart.

Thank you Island Batik and Hancock of Paducah for bringing the awareness to the forefront that there are so many animals that need good homes. And thank you for this opportunity to share my story of how Oscar came into our lives at just the right time, as well as to honor my beloved Pixxie with a small tale of how she touched our lives.

But Wait! There’s More!

Visit the other Island Batik Ambassadors to read about their Furry Friday posts. This week’s bloggers are:

Mary Mack’s Blog

Hearts Creations

Kissed Quilts

The Quilt Rambler (you are here)

Seams to be Sew

 

This is Karen Overton, The Quilt Rambler

 

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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