I have been looking forward to this journey for months! This past week I had the honor of being a guest speaker at the Lonesome Valley Quilt Guild in Prescott Valley, Arizona and able to teach a workshop with my original pattern Illuminated Journey.
I have to say the hardest part of packing was deciding what quilts to bring for my trunk show! Every quilt has a story and this rambler does like to ramble on.
Bags are Packed
My friend Dianne accompanied me on this journey. Fortunately, she travels light so I was able to appropriate one of her allowed check in bags. As you can see, I don’t travel light!
Let the Journey Begin
We flew into Phoenix from Houston Hobby and had a rental car waiting on us. It’ s a good thing that Dianne is a little more up to date with vehicles than I am. I was really surprised when I couldn’t find a key hole in the ignition! She calmly explained to me “put your foot on the brake and press the start button”. But even Dianne was dumbfounded when we couldn’t find the stick shift – who knew it was a knob on the dash!
Our destination was Prescott Valley. I have to thank my friend Larry at church for teaching me the proper way to say this. As a Texan, I thought it was pronounced Press-Scott but he kindly corrected me that it was Pres-cut, the only way I could remember was it sounded like it rhymed with biscuits…
We had a little over an hour and a half drive UP the mountains to our destination. Coming from 10 feet above sea level to over 5000 feet above sea level was breathtaking in multiple ways. The scenery was glorious. Along the way, we saw an exit sign for a visitors center where they shared a location with us to enable us to safely take photos of the fabulously tall cactus we were viewing out the window. If you follow me on Facebook you can see my impromptu Facebook Live video from High Desert Trail. The scenery was truly breathtaking.
By late morning we were joining our hostess, Patsy and Karen (daughter/mother), for a fun tour of the two local quilt shops.
First stop was Quilt ‘N Sew Connection I enjoyed all the shop samples and beautiful display of fabrics. The ladies there were very welcoming. Dianne found her “next quilt” and I’ve been recruited to assist her with some of the teachable moments in the pattern. It’s going to be stunning.
Just down the road was Cloth Plus which offered both quilting fabric and home decoration fabric and supplies. This shop was equally friendly – that’s important in my book! I was pleased to see some Island Batik precuts – they actually had the fabric line that I used in my Illuminated Journey sample!
I’mnot confessing my purchases – but I will say it wasn’t easy to squeeze in more fabric in my already packed suitcases!
Time for Guild Meeting
After an enjoyable afternoon sight-seeing and a late lunch with the girls, it was time to prepare for my lecture and trunk show.
I had brought two little cameras and asked that photos be taken for me….well, low light and a camera that’s not familiar yielded a few shaky shots as well as grainy shots – but if you are a true quilt lover, and I know you are, you will forgive the photo quality and look at the quilts!
I have to say my favorite part of quilt guild meetings are the show and tell by members. I love seeing what others are making and hearing their stories. The Lonesome Valley Gals are extremely generous in the making and donating of charity quilts – so many were displayed during their community service show and tell. In addition, the members shared their own personal quilts. I was able to capture a few.
Time To Ramble
It doesn’t look like 100+ pounds when they are all folded up on the table, but I promise I had 3 suitcases weighing just under the 50-pound limit each full of quilted quilts, unquilted quilts as well as all the teaching supplies for Illuminated Journey. Here’s a small sampling of my trunk show…and yes, this Quilt Rambler did ramble on! I lost track of time and never made eye contact with my “timekeeper” Patsy to know when to stop….umm….yeah…how about an hour of rambling on! I really could have talked all night – quilting is such an inexhaustible subject! I got tickled when Patsy stated, “I don’t think she took a breath!”
Illuminated Journey Workshop
Tuesday morning 14 ladies were up bright and early, toting in their sewing machines and supplies for a full day of learning how to use Deb Tucker’s Studio 180 Design’s Rapid Fire Leymone Star Ruler with my pattern Illuminated Journey.
The ladies were delightful. I truly appreciated their kindness and loved getting to spend time quilting and visiting with them. Once again, thank you to Kim who provided a sewing machine for Dianne to be able to sew during class. Since Dianne had already made Illuminated Journey she worked on her first “Jelly Roll Race” quilt and was pleased to get it totally pieced during class.
The day went too quickly! Before I knew it everyone was packing up and we were headed out to dinner with Patsy and Karen, joined by their husbands. I neglected to mention that these ladies, who are actually from Prescott Valley, spent some years in my neck of the woods – the Texas gulf coast – and we were in the Mainland Morning Guild together (Texas City). This mother/daughter team is a joy to be around. Again, Dianne and I appreciated their hospitality.
All Roads Lead South
Well, maybe that’s not true, but it was time for these Texas gals to head south – but not without another stop on the road for our photo op. This time we stopped at an official rest stop called Sunset Peak, a mere 3000-foot elevation. We weren’t disappointed by the view that’s for sure!
Illuminated Journey in The Wild and On the Road
While taking this photo another rest-stop guest asked if we were going to a quilt show in Utah that weekend…Darn! We would just have to miss that one! Just not enough hours to see all the fabulous quilts in the world!
I truly appreciated the good fortune to share my pattern with the Arizona ladies. Thank you again for your hospitality and allowing me the opportunity to see your beautiful state!
Illuminated Journey was created in 2014 as a pattern to be taught on Cactus Quilt’s 2015 Quilting Cruise. The pattern is available for purchase as a PDF download, written as it was for the cruise. If this is something you are interested in please contact me.
In addition, if your guild would like a trunk show or workshop I would be more than happy to discuss details.
This is Karen Overton, The Quilt Rambler, Rambling On the Road, Telling My Story One Quilt At a Time!
Please leave a comment, I’d love to hear your thoughts about guest speakers at guilds and workshops you have enjoyed.
For over a week I’ve been humming that old song “I’m leaving, on a jet plane…” yep. Today is the day! According to Siri “as the crow flies” (or in my case, Southwest Airlines”) I’m a little over 1000 miles into a new adventure!
Several months ago a quilting friend of mine contacted me concerning being a guest speaker at her guild and teaching a workshop. I know Pasty as a fellow guild member of The Mainland Morning Guild in Texas City prior to her moving to Arizona.
I don’t think I’ve ever been to Arizona – unless as a toddler perhaps as my dad was military based in Nevada when I was born and I’m sure we drove home to Texas at some point to visit grandparents. But back to my current ramble…
So began the thought process of trying to decide which quilts to bring for my lecture – which in reality is just a long ramble – so I think I’ve got that covered.
I might add that I have over 200 personal quilts that are actually quilted. One hundred of those live in the built-in bookcase in the studio. That’s not counting the 30+ personal quilts waiting to be quilted and we aren’t even going to talk about the works in progress!
And sew it began! Going through the bookcase, taking quilts off the wall, off the bed, off the table and digging through the quilts in waiting drawer!
I did discover that you can pack more quilts if some are unquilted! Now I don’t feel so bad for not getting around to quilting my own quilts.
Next the decision of what to teach. Having taught in two quilting cruises (2015 and 2016 with Cactus Quilts of Texas City) I have written two different patterns based on Deb Tucker’s Studio 180 Design rulers. Patsy made the choice between the hunter’s star or the lemoyne star – and lemoyne star it is!
Bags are packed. We are waiting to board. Arizona here we come! Be sure and check social media the next couple of days to see the quilting adventures of Karen & Dianne!
This is Karen Overton, The Quilt Rambler, “on the road again”
Please forgive the formatting and layout – I wrote this on my phone at the airport
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
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!
Escaping the Vortex
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!
Stop the Cyclone
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!
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!
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…
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!
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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!
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!
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!
And for our cat lovers out there we have Carlee looking for a good home.
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.)
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.
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…
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…
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 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.
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:
Today we are celebrating National Quilting Day and what better way than to discuss the top three reasons why you should join a quilting guild if you haven’t already done so.
Reason #1 To Join a Quilting Guild: to Meet New Friends
It’s been my experience that quilters are some of the best people you could ever meet. Generally, they tend to be very unselfish and giving. Most quilters make quilts to give away. How many of you have a quilt made by a grandmother, mother or someone special? So, doesn’t that give you a hint of the kind of people you would find in a guild? Yep, a guild provides fun friendly folk that just happen to love quilting.
Reason # 2 To Join A Quilting Guild: to be Inspired
The members of my local quilt guild, The Island Quilters Guild from Galveston, hands down are a very inspiring group of ladies! I don’t even want to add up the years of combined experiences but I can tell you that each and every one in their own way is influencing my quilting journey.
I am always learning from my quilting guild friends by observing their fabric combinations, watch them exploring different styles, and observing new techniques. Not to mention seeing the latest notions, fabrics, designs and receiving shopping referrals! Being with my quilting friends is always infectious – in a good way – motiving me to go home and start a new project!
Reason # 3 to Join a Quilting Guild: to Share Your Quilting Passion
Quilt guilds offer a variety of activities from guest speakers, classes, show and share, community service projects, sew ins, retreats, seasonal parties, and for our island guild the annual bus ride from Galveston to the Houston International Quilt Festival for Preview Night each fall!
Each guild has its own flavor and unique personalities. It never ceases to amaze me the talent of numerous seasoned quilters gathered together encouraging each other to sharpen their skills and try something new. I find it refreshing to know that quilting is being shared with the next generation. Bottom line I think it’s just plain fun to gather with folk who enjoy talking about quilting as much as I do.
This is Karen Overton, The Quilt Rambler, Telling Your Story One Quilt at a Time
Are you a member of a local or national quilt guild? What do you enjoy most about your guild? Leave a comment below, I’d love to hear your thoughts.
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!
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.
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!
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!
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.
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!
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.
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
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!
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
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.
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.
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.
What’s Up for March in The Quilt Rambler Studio?
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!
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!
This is Karen Overton, The Quilt Rambler, Telling Your Story One Quilt At A Time
Please take time to leave a comment and if you haven’t already done so, be sure to subscribe to receive the blog regularly through email.
Galentine’s Day or Valentine’s Day? Projects for both were made at this weekend’s Sew In with the Island Quilters Guild of Galveston.
What is Galentine’s Day you say?
According to google search Galentine’s Day was “invented” by a fictional character on a program called Parks & Recreation to be celebrated each February 13th – it’s all about enjoying time with your lady friends, saving the romance for February 14th with your sweetheart.
February’s challenge for the Island Batik Ambassadors is to make Kennel Quilts but our bonus challenge is to make something for Galentine’s Day.
Knowing that I had an Island Quilters Guild Sew In over the weekend I began pulling fabric from my stash to go along with the Valentine fabric included in my ambassador box. My goal was to include my quilting friends in this project – after all, isn’t that the “true meaning” of Galentine’s Day! Girl time! Only thing better than girl time is girlfriend quilting time!!
Island Time – Island Quilters Guild Style
My Galveston Island girlfriends are the best, not only are they creative accomplished quilters, they are gracious and willing to set aside their own projects for a few hours to “play” in my Island Batik. fabrics.
Without further ramble, I’m going to let the pictures speak for themselves…sorta….
Sew Many Ideas!
I couldn’t come up with an idea for a mug rug – actually, I had too many ideas! I’d been saving ideas to my Pinterest board but couldn’t seem to narrow it down. When quilting gives you too many decisions just make a purse!
No pattern, just making do. I had a candy wrapper saved from last year – the 150 year anniversary of Sweethearts, which IS my favorite Valentine candy. To protect the candy wrapper I placed a piece of vinyl over it before sewing the sashing strips from my batik stash. On the back, I made patchwork from the fat quarters provided in my Island Batik Ambassador box.
Once again I’ve asked my friend Irma to share her story concerning one of the quilts that I’ve made for her through the years. This is about her brother Jesse who would have been 55 today, February 11. Among other things, Jesse served his country and for that I would like to say a personal thank you!
So pour that second cup of coffee, settle in with your favorite quilt, sit back & enjoy this heart felt story of a sister’s eternal love.
The Making of Jesse’s Memory Quilt
This is my story about the various quilts that my friend, Karen E. Overton, has made for me – this one is specifically about the quilt she made for me for my brother Jesse using some of his favorite old t-shirts.
First, some background information…
My name is Irma Cortez, and Jesse Cortez is one of my younger brothers. Sadly, Jesse passed away unexpectedly in June 2011. He was only 49 years old.
As printed in his obituary, Jesse lived his life his way and only his way. He had many passions in his short life, some of which were: family and friends; working hard; playing just as hard; always having a good time; the Dallas Cowboys; riding motorcycles; collecting classic muscle cars; hunting; camping; drag racing; and joking & kidding around and making others laugh every chance he got.
Jesse’s Career Path included the U.S. Marine Corp
Jesse quit high school and never actually graduated, but instead enlisted into the Marines at the age of 17. My parents had to sign papers for him to enlist, but they proudly did, and he eventually received his GED while he was in the service.
While serving his country from 1980 to 1983 as a Proud Marine, Jesse could travel the world to places like Japan and Okinawa. After four years, he was Honorably Discharged with the rank of Lance Corporal.
Jesse Finds His Second Career with The Light Company
Once he arrived back home, Jesse got a job as an Apprentice at HL&P (Houston Lighting & Power). He eventually completed his apprenticeship, and continued to work for HL&P for a total of 28 years. To better explain what Jesse did at The Light Company, he was one of those men that you would see up in a big bucket truck working on power lines. He loved climbing those power poles and working outside.
During his years at The Light Company, HL&P decided they would stop using paid models or actors for their company promotions and commercials.
In 1997, HL&P sent out notifications to all employees that they would be using company employees for the upcoming new print ads and commercials and that any employees who were interested could submit their names to be considered for the new marketing campaign. Of course, my brother submitted his name, and the rest is history as they say.
During those years, HL&P went through several management changes and a few name changes – at one time it became CenterPoint Energy, and then it eventually became Reliant Energy.
My brother was very well liked at work by his managers and supervisors, and he was known to be a very hard worker, always very supportive of his company. He represented HL&P in many BBQ cook-offs at the Houston Live Stock Show and Rodeo with his team oftentimes winning top prizes.
Jesse was a stubborn free spirit that cared for others with his whole heart and soul – he was always there when you needed him. To me, my brother’s greatest asset was his great zest for life and his kind and gentle soul. Although physically, Jesse was a large, stout man, he was really just a teddy bear at heart, and he loved children. Because of his love for children he participated in various fun-runs or toy-runs for local charities, like the Shriners. Since Jesse was never married, nor had children of his own, he always volunteered to work the various holidays so that his married co-workers could have time with their kids and families for the holidays.
Jesse’s Extra Career – Advertising!
The first photo in this story shows my brother in one of the original full-page ads that appeared in the Houston Chronicle for the new HL&P marketing ads using real employees of the company. This print ad first appeared in the paper on 11/12/1997, and it was later reprinted several more times throughout the following years. It was interesting to note that even after the company changed names, the HL&P logo on his hardhat in the original picture was also changed.
Of course, Jesse had told everyone that would listen, including our parents that he had volunteered, and that he had been chosen for some of the ads or commercials, but he wasn’t sure when any of them would come out. He also told us that he had signed a release, and that HL&P would be able to use his name and his pictures for all time.
On November 27, my parents started getting phone calls from friends and family from all over. They had all seen the signs and the newspaper, and had recognized Jesse and everyone was calling our parents to talk about it. My parents were always very proud all their children, but during this time, they were extra proud of Jesse and they sure enjoyed the extra attention they were getting because of Jesse being in the paper. (Note: there will be more about this photo later in this story.)
After Jesse’s Unexpected Death Decisions Had to Be Made
After his death, I helped my siblings to clean out his house and the shop next door to it. Since Jesse had gained a lot of weight in the few years before he died, he had lots of clothes of the Big & Tall variety; however, all his clothes were so large that none of my other brothers wanted any of them. During the cleanup, I asked the family if anyone wanted any of his clothing, otherwise I was going to donate it all to the Goodwill. All my brothers told me they didn’t want any of it, so I proceeded to separate all the jeans from the shirts, and jackets, etc. While I was doing this, I noticed that Jesse still had several of the shirts that I personally had gifted to him during his life (albeit it some of them were torn and tattered), so I decided that I’d keep all those shirts and any of the ones that I knew were some of his favorite shirts, or that he had worn most often.
This is how and when I decided to make a memory quilt with his old t-shirts, and this is how Karen Overton comes into this story.
Time to Visit The Quilter Again
Since Karen had already previously made me two other quilts – a queen-sized quilt using my son’s high school spirit shirts that seldom got used because it doesn’t get cold enough, and a “lap throw” using my Mom’s old clothes that gets used very frequently, I decided that I wanted another lap throw using Jesse’s most favorite t-shirts.
Once I knew the size of the quilt that I wanted, I decided that I wanted to include those shirts that conveyed what I considered to be the four great passions of my brother – those being: the U.S. Marines; his job; Chevy Camaros; and The Dallas Cowboys of course!
The quilt I decided to have made was another 3X4 quilt (also called a 12-square quilt), meaning it was 3-squares wide and 4-squares long. Approximately 53″ x 70″.
During the planning time of making this quilt, I knew that Karen would need to know what color scheme I would want, and it was too soon to tell yet, but I knew that she would be working on the t-shirts first, cutting them into squares, etc., and that I still had time to choose the colors for the sashing, the cornerstones, and the backing.
Once I had chosen the theme of the quilt, which was to use only those shirts that I felt would emphasize his passions in life, I could already envision the final product in my mind’s eye.
Below is a photo of the completed memory quilt that Karen made using my brother’s old t-shirts. The finished product speaks for itself.
Each Quilt Block Tells Jesse’s Story
Each t-shirt square used in this quilt tells a story about my brother by itself, but pieced together with all the other squares, I think it paints the perfect picture of who my brother was. I’m very happy and pleased with the way it came out and I have this quilt on display on a quilt rack in my living room.
Although I had several t-shirts to pick from, and because I wanted to use only those that most represented the things that I felt were most important to my brother, I felt the theme of the quilt coming to life. In the end, we used one t-shirt for the square with a reference to Chevy muscle cars; and we used other t-shirts for the various squares with a reference to the U.S. Marines, Harley Davidson, and the Dallas Cowboys, which would create four of the needed twelve squares.
Since Jesse had worked for HL&P for so long and because the company had changed names several times, and because he had acquired work shirts from each of the new companies, we were able to use a combination of smaller pieces of his various shirts for three more squares each representing the original HL&P, Reliant Energy and CenterPoint Energy to fully represent the entire 28 years he had with the company. This was important to me as I knew how proud he was for having had only one job his entire adult life.
Picking The Right Shirts Can Sometimes Be Challenging
As it turned out, this was not a simple project by any means. In fact, it turned out to be very complicated and tedious for both me and Karen. During the planning and preparation phases of this quilt, we encountered several obstacles that I feel the need to explain to fully appreciate Karen’s workmanship and the sentimental value I had already invested in this memory quilt.
One issue was that not all of his work shirts had large enough logos or artwork on them to be able to make one full square (this is important because all the squares must be the same size to make the finished product); however, because Karen is so experienced and knowledgeable in making custom quilts, and because she knows how to improvise so well, she was able to “piece together” the smaller logos from both the pockets and/or the sleeves of his various work shirts to “create” additional squares of the proper size.
Another issue was that I knew that we were going to need a total of twelve squares to finish the quilt, and at one point, we discovered that we only had eight full squares, which meant we were going to be short four squares to finish the quilt that I wanted. Luckily, as previously stated above, Karen could partially solve this issue by piecing together those smaller pieces from the same shirts to create two additional squares for a total of ten squares, which still left me short two more squares to finish the quilt.
By this point in time, I was at my wit’s end. I was frustrated with myself, and disappointed that may have to revise my theme and use other shirts that would not convey what I had imagined in my mind. Thankfully, Karen was not worried at all. She gave me time to mull it over, she told me to look around for more shirts – she told me that not all the shirts had to had specifically belonged to my brother, and not to stress too much about it – she was confident that it would all turn out.
This part is a little bit off-topic, but it serves as additional background. There is a local biker bar called, “Ronnie’s Hog Heaven” in town that is owned by some long-time friends of ours, and it was not unusual for Jesse to stop by there several nights a week to have a few drinks and visit with friends after work. As luck would have it, I had previously purchased a bright orange t-shirt from Ronnie’s bar that I thought could be used as one of the missing squares that I still needed for the quilt.
Persistance Pays Off
As one last ditch effort to find a t-shirt I could use for the last remaining square, I started going to local resale shops and several of the Goodwill stores around town looking for men’s t-shirts that might work.
It just so happened that on one of these trips, I came across a shirt that quite literally jumped out at me and I knew it was the exact shirt that I was looking for. My heart started pounding, and I was actually giddy as I was walking to the register to buy it, and I was grinning from ear to ear.
Finding this last shirt at a random Goodwill store is how and when I decided to use the Harley Davidson color scheme for my brother’s memory quilt.
Below is a picture of the artwork from that shirt that we needed and used for the last, center square to finish my brother’s quilt.
The Tasmanian Devil Utility Worker T-Shirt Reflects Jesse’s Life
To better understand and appreciate the significance of why I chose this shirt with this picture on it is to know the following things about my brother Jesse: 1) Jesse had a tattoo of the Tasmanian Devil on his back right shoulder and he wore a small gold Tasmanian Devil on a gold chain around his neck; 2) Jesse was a long time employee of HL&P and was therefore a “utility worker” for many years; 3) the photo that HL&P used of my brother in the newspaper in 1997 shows him wearing his hardhat and also with a roll of power lines resting on his shoulder; and 4) my brother used to carry his tools and wore a utility belt around his waist when he was working. Now, look at the Tasmanian Devil picture on the quilt again and then look at the first picture at the beginning of this story and tell me that you don’t recognize the uncanny resemblance!?
It was simply amazing to me that the Tasmanian Devil on this random shirt was posed and dressed as a utility worker, and it instantly reminded me of my brother, so that is why that very last square on this quilt means so much to me.
When I found that shirt, I immediately called Karen to inform her that I had the last two shirts that we needed for the quilt, and she let me come over to drop them off, and that was all she wrote… or in this case, that was all that Karen need to start stitching.
T-shirts and Clothing Are a Reminder of Those We Love
As with the other two quilts that Karen made for me, I was very pleased and thrilled with the finished product. The Harley Davidson color scheme came together after adding my orange t-shirt from Ronnie’s bar, and it was an easy choice to go with orange and black for the rest of the quilt.
Since my brother was also an avid supporter of the local football team, I used one of his Dickinson Football shirts as the last corner square on the quilt, and the photo below shows the monogram that I had put on it.
My brother was cremated, and in my house, I have a small urn engraved with his name containing a small amount of his ashes in a cubby hole that I keep as a small memorial for him. Inside that cubby hole is also a U.S. Flag and a copy of the photo that I took and used in his obituary. Coincidentally, the black Marines t-shirt that he is wearing in that picture is also on my quilt. I miss and think of my brother every day. This memory quilt is the final piece of the puzzle that I was missing, and it is proudly on display on a quilt rack in my living room for all to see and admire when they visit.
The photo below is an updated copy of the original picture published in the paper. Notice that the original “HL&P” logo on his hardhat was been changed to “CenterPoint Energy” in this copy. I found this copy one day at work on the back of an old Directory for the Hispanic Legal Association for 2013. When the new directory for 2014 arrived in the mail, and I was going to discard the 2013 directory until I noticed his face on the back of it. Wow!
This concludes my story of all the quilts that Karen Overton made for me. I have a sneaky suspicion that I will find a few other projects for us to work on in the not too distant future.
That’s all, folks! Irma Cortez
Once again, thank you Irma for sharing your stories with us, and for being such a faithful customer!
If you missed her other guest blog appearances click here to read of her mother’s memory quilt and click here to read of her son’s t-shirt quilt.
This is Karen Overton, The Quilt Rambler Telling YOUR story one quilt at a time.
As always, we appreciate your comments and feedback.
If you haven’t figured out yet, I’m a brand new ambassador for Island Batik Fabrics and I am still pinching myself for the privilege and opportunity to promote and represent this fine line of fabrics.
Have to admit I was getting over excited as I saw my fellow ambassadors posting photos of the opening of their boxes…..and I was still waiting on mine…oh the joys of shipping zones…
Here’s a sampling of the tantalizing photos popping up all over the internet this week.
Now can you see why I was drooling! I know you are going to want to see all the Ambassadors’ big reveals – just use the hashtag Island Batik Ambassadors on your social media and check often with Island Batik’s Blog to keep up with us.
Patience is a virtue
Needless to say, once Mr. FedEx rang my door bell I couldn’t wait to shout to the roof tops “De Box! De Box!”
Ah, but “the rest of the story” is that Mr. FedEX (who was a tad taken aback when asked to pose for a photo) had arrived precisely as I was walking out the door to head to church….. THE BOX had to wait….
If you want a good laugh visit my Facebook page to see a replay of my Facebook Live recording my dilemma concerning “opening THE box”…..okay, so I apologize in advance – I’m brand new to FB live…
What’s in My Box You Ask?
The wait is over! I hope you enjoy my big reveal – I can’t tell you how pleased I am with the fabric choices made for me! I look so forward to “being creative” each month as the Island Batik Ambassadors work hard to bring you inspiration within various themes and challenges on ideas for incorporating these beautiful fabrics into YOUR quilts!
As special thank you to Katie and Elizabeth, Marketing & Designer Relations at Island Batik, to Island Batik for their generosity, and to Superior Threads and Aurifil for the coordinating thread samples! It’s going to be a great 2017!
This is Karen Overton, The Quilt Rambler (and new Island Batik Ambassador) Telling YOUR story one quilt at a time.
As always I love to hear from my readers, please leave a comment and if you haven’t already done so, subscribe to my blog for lots of future quilting fun!