Tuesday, April 29, 2014

AHHHHH, my BLOG! ...Shades of Macaulay Culkin

Picture when Macaulay Culkin was that cute little boy in the first "Home Alone" movie...hands on cheeks, screaming, "AHHHHH!" That was me this morning when I realized I hadn't blogged in a little over a week. Did you hear me?..."AHHHHH, my BLOG!"

It's been a wild week plus-a-few-days. I'll  post in reverse chronological order with a fast-rewind twist so as not to bore anyone while we catch up.
  • This Friday, May 2, I'll be at Top Shelf Quilts in Frankfort, Illinois. 
If you have recently been to the AQS show in Paducah and aren't ready to give up the glow, or if you're like me and have "Paducah Envy" because you put off going for yet another year (or two or three), come on out to Top Shelf Quilts in Frankfort, for a fun evening at a great quilt shop. Both of the books in The Bunco Club Series will be available, and I'll be talking, signing, and doing a mini-trunk show of my quilts.

Here's a copy of the flyer Top Shelf Quilts sent out. I hope to see you Friday at 6:30 pm.
  •  Exciting news for my patterns: I FOUND A PATTERN WRITER! 
Sandy from Cedar Rapids, Iowa, connected with me after I posted on a quilting page that I was looking for someone who could write pattern instructions. We have been head-over-heals (or as my dear Mom would have said, Ass-over-Appetite) intensely busy for the past week, and my first pattern is close to being finished. The four samples that will be on the front of the pattern are moments from being mailed to my long-arm quilting genius, Heather, for her superior (and, yes, I mean she is phenomenal) custom quilting. When I get the quilts back, I then need to bind them and photograph them. It's been a WAY bigger project than I ever expected, but thank goodness I haven't scared Sandy away, and we are gearing up to start the next design. Holy Moly...this past week has been fun and sew exciting!
  • Yesterday, Monday, I was interviewed in Rockford, by Lolita Ditzler for In Print Radio. Thanks Lolita, Bob Francis (technician), and In Print Radio.

Reading from The Bunco Club. The readings and interview will be part of future episodes of In Print Radio.
  • We (hubby and I) shot pics of more of my artwork on Sunday, and are adding new spools to my "Quilters Spool Art" line.
  • The ROC Book Club in Homewood, Illinois, invited me to visit last Wednesday for a book talk after they all read The Bunco Club. Great discussion and wonderful ladies! Thank you for having me.
  • Bunco at my house: Fun. Food. More fun. A lot more food.
The tables are ready early in the day.
Preparations for the Bunco night feast are underway.
  • Extended Easter weekend at my sister's home:  Fun. Food. More fun, and a daily visit to The DQ =)
  • Short and sweet as promised. I'd love to see you in Frankfort this Friday, May 2. Thank you for looking and have a wonderful day.    Karen

Friday, April 18, 2014

Greetings Galore & More...

I received some wonderful note-cards in the mail from Deb Williams, a reader and new friend. Deb and I sat near each other at a recent quilt retreat and hit it off.

Part of what makes these note-cards meaningful are the people who made them. They are hand-made by Greetings Galore and More, a transitional business program developed for students with disabilities. The business-oriented transition program of Greetings Galore and More was developed to provide an opportunity for high school students with and without disabilities to “experience the work world” in the security of their high school environment.

My friend Deb is passionate about this program, and shared her passion by generously sending me a packet of quilting related note-cards and a very cute Easter card.
With Easter only days away it seemed like a good time to help bring some awareness to this fabulous business and the students at Lincoln-Way Central and Lincoln-Way West in Frankfort, Illinois, who work so hard to make this transitional business happen. Check out the website of Greetings Galore and More to learn about and order items from this remarkable high school program.

Thanks Deb for sharing the gifts of these talented students with me!
...And a very happy Easter to all.

Monday, April 14, 2014

A Weekend Visit to Marshall, Illinois

The Bunco Club Series brought me three hours south of my Chicagoland home this past weekend when I had two events scheduled in Marshall, Illinois. Marshall is mid-state and just west of Terre Haute, Indiana. It was the perfect spring day for a road trip!

On Saturday I presented a book talk at the Marshall Public Library. Marshall reminded me of my hometown when I was young...before it was swallowed up by the ever-growing suburbs of Chicago.
The Marshall Public Library was wonderful inside an out!
With Sue Guillemette in front of the library. Sue spent a lot of time and had a lot of faith in me when she set up the events of the weekend!
With Edie, library personnel extraordinaire, who saw that everything ran smoothly on Saturday.
Signing and chatting with some of the attendees at the library talk.

Sunday afternoon The National Road Quilters Guild of Marshall hosted me for a guild talk and trunk show of my quilts. I've got a lot of pictures, so I'll just get started.....

The Guild had a "blue jean challenge" and the women brought anything they had made from old blue jeans. I think I loved each item displayed on the tables--but I'll limit the pics to these two pieces.
This tote is unbelievable! The body was made from woven jean strips. Not sure if the quilter made this up or if there is an actual pattern, but I would LOVE to know the name of the pattern if there is one.
Jeans pocket potholder!! (back)
Jeans pocket potholder!! (front)

I didn't get a picture of this, but someone even took a long side seam from a pair of jeans, rolled it up tight, and made a trivet! There are Clever Clever Quilters in Marshall =)

All set up and wetting my whistle before the talk begins.
Telling the guild about my creative journey .... Look at that pile of quilts!
The Trunk Show Begins ... 26 Quilts in All
Fat Quarter Fun
The Thread That Binds -- named after and featured in the one person show of my artwork and quilts at the Christopher Art Gallery.
Feedsack Patches
Thimbleberries, Lazy Crazy Quilt. The one on the left is a friend's quilt that started on fire when a candle in a glass holder exploded (kind of hard to see in this pic). Even though my book is completely made up, I added this little tidbit as a warning to quilters to be careful with candles around their quilts.
Orange Peel Quilt

Bear Down Chicago Bears

Kitchen Tiles
Garden Gate, by Edyta Sitar
Daybreak by Edyta Sitar.
Roman Stripes
Bull's Eye
Grandma's Scrap Bag
Grandmother's Flower Garden
Wind Farm
Lessons from Mama
Monterrey Medallions
Pinwheels and Ribbons
Dutch Treat
Egg Money Quilt, by Eleanor Burns
OMG Quilt
Gathering Basket
60's Quilt (shown sideways because it's so darn long)
Aunt Grace Circle of Friends
I feel I am just about the luckiest person in the world to be able to spend so much time with so many quilters. I just doesn't get any better!
Thank you Sue Guillemette and the National Road Quilters Guild of Marshall, Illinois, for inviting me to share my story with you. It was a memorable experience and I am blessed to have met you.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Fun Night at the Bunco Party Book Signing

The Evergreen Park Public Library knows how to throw a Bunco Party / Book Signing! Thanks to everyone involved for a memorable evening.

Greeting the Bunco Players as they arrive
Signing Books

Happy Readers. Happy Author.

Snacks at every table.

Before the players arrive.

It was a full house!

What the heck was I looking at?!

Good friend Sandy showed up to support me and to join in the fun.
Winner Judi and loser Marty left with a haul!

With EP Library Board Member.
What a wild and fun evening! Thanks to the Evergreen Park Library and everyone who attended the Bunco / Signing event.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Preparing for the Next Few Days

In the next five days I have two library talks (one where we'll also be playing Bunco--how fun is that?!) and a quilt guild talk with trunk show. The sewing room, my office, heck my whole house reflects the frenzied scurry-mode in which I find myself this week.

The first item on the docket is 6:30 pm on Wednesday, April 9, at the Evergreen Park Library in Evergreen Park, Illinois. I'm going to talk just a little, sign books and play Bunco with everyone! If you live in the Chicagoland area and want to join in, I'd love to see you. Go to the Evergreen Park Library website and register for the event--it's free.

On Saturday, April  12, the Marshall Public Library in Marshall, Illinois, will host me at 1 pm CDT for a talk and book signing. The Marshall Public Library is located at 612 Archer Avenue, Marshall, Illinois. See the article in the TribStar.

Author Karen DeWitt to Visit Marshall 

Join us Saturday, April 12th at 1:00 pm for a book talk and signing by author Karen DeWitt. Karen will be visiting the library that afternoon, before speaking to the the National Road Quilt Guild at their meeting on Sunday, April 13th.  Karen will present her first book, The Bunco Club, which follows the lives of eight quilters as they gather once a month to play the popular no-skills dice game called Bunco. Eight women, eight months, eight individual tales merge into one compelling story of friendship.
Karen’s career as a professional artist became challenged when Multiple Sclerosis minimized the use of her right hand. As she struggled to stay creative, she not only trained her left-hand to produce artwork, but also began work on her first novel. “I’ve always loved to write, so when one door closed to me, I jumped at the chance to open a new one.”  Karen's own bunco club has met monthly for more than 20 years! She is also a life-long quilter, holds an MFA in studio art and has attended workshops at the renowned Iowa Summer Writing Festival. DeWitt lives in the Chicago suburbs with her husband, Bob Barber, and they have one adult son.
Copies of The Bunco Club will be available for purchase after the program.  Please register to attend by calling or emailing the library.

The National Road Quilters Guild of Marshall, Illinois,has graciously invited me to talk at their guild meeting, present a trunk show of my quilts, and sell and sign my novels about quilters. The guild talk starts at 1:30 pm on Sunday, April 13.

So here we go with a few pictures showing the preparation of categorizing, folding, and preparing to transport the 26 quilts in my trunk show.
All Stacked Up

Organizing the Packing

Categorizing the Order
36 inches tall. One more tub ought to do it. Marshall, Illinois, here I come!
Sometime next week, after the events are but a memory and I've had time to unpack and reorganize, I'll post some photos for all to see and enjoy.

OH! OH! One more thing. I've got a page on Quilting Hub as a service provider to try to get my name out there to do guild talks. Anyone who could do me the favor of LIKING my page on Quilting Hub would be helping me a lot. If I get ten or more likes, I am "considered a sponsor" and move directly to the top of the list instead of being buried on page five or six! So PLEASE (yes, I'm begging) go on the Quilting Hub site and LIKE my page OR click the little Quilting Hub Icon (on the right hand side of this blog) under my book trailer.
BTW: it's a great site for guilds, and guild events, and and has this real cool feature where you can plug in the driving route of a trip you're taking and it will show you all the quilt shops along that route. The whole site is pretty cool for quilters. Anyway, thanks in advance for any help you can give me, I really appreciate it.

How to Find Me on Quilting Hub:
From the HOME Page click the RESOURCES button,
then click on LISTINGS,
then click on SPEAKER or GUILD SPEAKER,
put in a LOCATION (anyplace will do),
you can scroll through them all or just go to page 5 - 6 and look for me...click on my happy FACE,
and finally click the LIKE button.
If you do all that...you are my hero!!