Old Friends Fare Well

Old friends might not be those you’ve known the longest.

Old friends might be those you connect with instantly. Or maybe its someone you haven’t seen in a while but you pick up right where you left off, not missing a beat or…a word!

That’s what I mean by “old friends”. Not age. Not how long you’ve known them. It’s those people who connect with your soul. Who KNOW you. Really KNOW you!

Actually, old creations can be old friends, too.

When you’ve work on something so long that it becomes a part of you, it becomes a friend. It’s like when you know every inch of a quilt, or a drawing or a garden or whatever it is into which you pour your heart and hands and time.

You might not always like your this creation of yours. But a good thing rarely comes without hard work, glitches, and maybe the need for a seam ripper…right?

In the end, when you have accomplished what you set out to create, you can take stock in that process and friendship. Like when you see an old friend in passing and you both talk “a mile a minute”. When you turn to walk away, you are smiling. Old friends truly are the best!

All of this talk leads me to announce the culmination of a long creative process for one simple thing: this guy.

image of whale quilt
BUBBLES the Baby Whale Quilt Pattern

I know you’ve seen BUBBLES before…but now he’s sporting his very OWN fabric!

It’s called Bubbles Geometric and it’s part of my Seashore Friends Collection!

If you want to take a look at the original guy, made with Kaffe Fassett’s Paint Pots, click HERE at “Uncork the Bubbles”.

To review, the whale and binding are made from the RIGHT side of the fabric. His under-belly, blowhole, and the floating bubbles are made from the REVERSE.

The real fun was choosing fabrics from the collection to help make the background for BUBBLES. In addition to seven fabrics from Seashore Friends, you’ll find batiks, ombre, and white on white stash fabrics.

AND…(drum roll)…how fun will it be for quilter moms and grandmoms to be able to choose little extras to go with their quilts?

image of quilt and onesie
A BUBBLES Onesie!
image of wallpaper
Peel and Stick Wallpaper
image of pillow
A pre-made pillow – because you just made a quilt!

These are just a few of the BUBBLES items available – I hope you’ll take a look! Start HERE, and use the easy-link blue SHOP buttons!

I’ve been waiting for the day when I could share this with you all – my “old friends”. (Even if you don’t know me in person, I think you KNOW me by now.)

BUBBLES is an old friend of mine. I hope he’ll be yours, too.

Seashore Friends Collection One

Delight in the happy colors of summer as we take a first look at Seashore Friends Pattern Collection One.

Firstly, you’ve seen the main character of this show (the Seashore Friends Pattern Collection), Bubbles. (See Uncork the Bubbles for more Bubbles fun!)

Image of Baby Whale Quilt
Bubbles is made with both sides of “Paint Pots” by Kaffe Fassett.

Secondly, you know he’s got some beach-loving “supporting characters”, Pinky and Sally.

To begin, each character started from a focus fabric and an idea. This is a case of the fabric driving the quilt!

Each quilt was made using both beautiful sides of the focus fabric. For each character, the fabric sparked the idea for the quilt design.

Pinky Quilt Pattern
Pinky is made with both sides of fish bones on pink.
Image of Sally Quilt Pattern
Sally is made with both beautiful sides of a seashell bouquet motif.

Now, you’ll see how these friends take center stage in this new pattern collection.

So, how do you combine these very different characters into one pattern collection?

Seashore Friends Pattern Collection One
Seashore Friends Pattern Collection One

With colors, motifs, happiness and love!

Granted, that might sound corny, but it’s very true! When you put in lots of hours on an idea (or many ideas), you get connected, right? It happens when making quilts, for sure. Some quilts are hard to give away because of the “soul” we’ve invested in them! (Not to mention time.)

Therefore, it’s the same with pattern collections. Here’s the headline fabric:

Look for the colors and elements that connect each fabric in Seashore Friends Pattern Collection One.

Image of Stripe
Whale Tail Stripe fabric coming soon to Spoonflower!
Image of Dancing starfish
Dancing Starfish & Seaweed Fabric at Spoonflower

Finally, from bubbles that can make Bubbles, dancing starfish, whale tails, sand dollars, and seashells, these designs perform together!

Watch for encore productions of Seashore Friends – New collections premiering soon!

More Quilt Guild Fun

Two quilt guilds in one week makes for a lot of quilting fun!

I believe quilt guilds are a natural breeding ground for fun and creative people. Last week, I was the fortunate gal that got to visit two quilt guild meetings!

To start, let’s head to DeSoto, Missouri. The delightful and clever, Merle Deneke, accompanied me on this trip. (More about Merle in a bit.)

We arrived on Main Street of this quaint town about and hour and a half before my program was to start. Delightfully, the meeting of the Grace Way Quilters Guild meeting is held in a quilt shop!

Cottage Grove Quilt Company is a treasure inside this adorable town. Visit their website HERE. Better yet, take a trip to DeSoto, Missouri and meet the owner, Christy Zawodniak!

Check out Christy’s Facebook Live each Thursday night at 7 p.m. Central Time!

Image of Quilt Guilds
Grace Way Quilters Guild (See Merle’s vintage watering can?)

After setting up (and a bit of shopping), the program began. Now if any of you know Merle, you know she can read an audience and she can be, well, I don’t know, a ham? (Love you, Merle!) In addition to sporting her vintage watering can as a purse, she modeled merchandise like a pro! See Merle’s Bouquet below (see her watering can?).

Merle's Bouquet Quilt as shown at quilt guilds
Merle’s Bouquet is made with both beautiful sides of one focus fabric!

In all seriousness, thank you for your help, Merle!

After the presentation and a short break (so they could shop), the guild meeting continued. Meanwhile, Merle and I began the task of rolling almost 50 quilts and packing the patterns and merchandise. During this time, it’s fun to listen and observe the guild. This group was chatty and enthusiastic. They seem to have lots of activities within their guild. Also, if their Show and Tell is an indication, they are a prolific group!

A hearty thank you to the Grace Way Quilters Guild and to Patty for getting me there!

Read about the Twilight Stitchers Quilt Guild HERE!

Next stop is in Farmington, Missouri at the Threads of Friendship Quilt Guild.

Threads of Friendship is a larger guild in a larger town. Like their name, they are very friendly! My friend, Linda, invited and arranged for me to speak. Between her and the friends I’d met in Desoto (also members of this guild), I felt like I knew them from the start.

Image of quilt guilds members
image of threads of friendship

For this presentation, I had the privilege of introducing my eldest daughter, Paige, as my assistant. This was her first-ever guild meeting.

Image of Paige and Karla

Later, Paige told me she loved watching the quilters interacting with one another, all coming together with a common passion. Once again, we could hear the interaction during Show and Tell and the business meeting to know this guild is very supportive both within the guild and in their community. Many of these wonderful quilters visited with me and Paige throughout the evening.

A hearty thank you to Linda and the Threads of Friendship Quilters!

If you’ve never attended a guild meeting, I suggest you seek one out. Find the meeting the suits you and that you can embrace! Guild members have a special connection in this wonderful world of quilting!

Embrace your quilting journey!

Salty Marine Saves Quilt

Bubbles the baby whale quilt is quite photogenic, most of the time!

This goofy (or is it mischievous) little smile reveals the character of Bubbles the baby whale quilt, made with both beautiful sides of fabric.

Bubbles the baby whale at the beach.
Bubbles Quilt Pattern is made with both beautiful sides of “Paint Pots” by Kaffe Fassett.

So how does this Marine hide behind these 36 inch square quilts for photo sessions? Very strategically.

First, he starts with a very low, very small, foldable beach chair and positions himself as follows. He tucks his toes into the sand, as close to the chair as possible. Next, he removes the camo boonie cover (i.e. floppy hat) from his head and secures it on his knee.

Then, my husband positions his fingers in the two outermost prairie points on the back of the quilt. (See Prairie Point Hanging Method HERE .)

After a nod to the photographer (me), he simultaneously drops his head and lifts the quilt, holding it taut and level. Mind you, he can only lift the quilt high enough to avoid the sand, but not reveal his toes, legs or anything else!

Before I share the outtake of Bubbles the baby whale, take a look at some of these great shots he allowed me to take:

Image of Fiona at the beach
Fiona Quilt Pattern made with both beautiful sides of a Kaffe Fassett floral on a scrappy background.
Image of Sally the seahorse quilt.
Sally Quilt Pattern is made with both beautiful sides of Philip Jacobs fabric for Kaffe Fassett Collective.

The big save comes with a big wave rushing in.

Image of marine saving Bubbles the baby whale quilt at the beach.
Salty Marine saves Bubbles!

Read more about my very helpful husband in The Marine Behind the Quilts HERE.

Image of Matt in USMC Blues

Bubbles is now on fabric and home decor at Spoonflower HERE!

Choose from more than 20 kinds of fabrics, wallpapers, and home decor.

Find Bubbles on Redbubble merchandise HERE!

Explore a variety of products to go with your quilts! Add Bubbles (and friends) to tech items, clothing, home decor and more at RedBubble.

Image of baby whale fabric

Follow Creative Bee Studios on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest!

Watercolor on a Whim

About a month ago the idea of paint brush to fabric wasn’t even a thought in my head.

It all started as a spring break trip with my daughter, Paige. As often happens with Paige, our trip soon became packed with more things to do than hours in the day (unless there is no sleeping allowed). Therefore, Paige is actually responsible for the “paint brush to fabric” idea – completely. It’s ALL her fault! Blame it all on her.

That said, I’m so glad she made me do it! Here’s how paint brush to fabric happened:

We traveled to Pawhuska, Oklahoma to visit the hometown of Ree Drummond, known as The Pioneer Woman. Now, Paige and I might not know the “in’s” and “out’s” of Ree”s cooking shows and cookbooks, but we are HUGE fans and experts (it is known) of her merchandise! We love everything about it…and it’s kinda, sorta dangerous, in a MUST HAVE ALL PIONEER WOMAN way!

For instance, Paige and I love Ree’s flowers, the graphic design, and the colors. We love the way everything goes together and NOTHING is matchy-matchy. It’s also cool that we can afford at least one piece of most of her merchandise. We cherish that there are no apologies for All Things Pretty when it comes to The Pioneer Woman! (Kinda like “life’s too short for ugly fabric”. Right, sweet quilters?)

Above all, thanks to Ree, there’s always a bright spot in going to Walmart!

Most importantly, we have learned that if you see something you like, grab it immediately. It’s sure to be gone the next time you’re there. Not a bad thing for the bottom line, either – theirs’s…not mine.

Moreover, we love Ree’s business model (what we’ve observed, anyway), her style, her writing, her, well…everything! Especially after reading her two FANTASTIC books which provide a “best friend” look into her life, we are certain that we are “forever friends”! Ree actually states this in her book (and I’m pretty sure she was talking about Paige and me- just kidding – you can be one, too, if you read her book!).

Therefore, considering our shared love of three-tiered white prairie skirts from The Limited (me), ballet (Paige), West Side Story (Paige WAS Maria), and Gone with the Wind (me), Paige and I think Ree loves us, too! She just doesn’t know it yet. (Again, just kidding – not stalkers.)

Image of Maria (played by Paige)
image of Paige as Maria

Back to Pawhuska. The Mercantile is fabulous. The food (of course) is, too. The people are friendly. Overall, it’s a wonderful place to visit. The Tall Grass Prairie Preserve is definitely worth the drive just outside of town. I highly recommend a visit! I do recommend checking the lodge tour schedule before you go.

Below, the quilt made with BOTH beautiful sides of Ree’s fabric using my Dazzling Kate pattern is pictured in front of the Merc (short for Mercantile by us “besties”). See my blog post HERE about the quilt pattern. However, this quilt resides in my own kitchen!

dazzling kate merch
Windy (but cute) outtake below:
Image of flying quilt

But what does one do “after hours” in Pawhuska? To summarize, when you’re with Paige, you create!

Firstly, we took acrylics, oils, and watercolors and all the supplies we could think up. The darling “Pioneer Woman meets Joanna Gains” cottage where we stayed had great lighting. We covered their beautiful table with a protective table cloth. So we laughed and painted each night until well past our bedtimes.

image of paige painting
Paige painting at the cottage.
Image of Paige and Karla
Our messy table! (She made me post this.)

In addition, during our creative sessions, my opera singer/computer coder girl and I brainstormed as we painted about how she would “fix” my website. Until now, the WordPress site was solely “designed” by me (which is my own “code” for “hey, it’s running, don’t touch anything!”).

For instance, it was Paige’s idea that a) my water color flowers were any good and b) that we should use them on my new website. This is a sample of what we had to work with.

image of paint brush to fabric flowers

In addition, these steps were taken: scan the paintings on the printer, vectorize them in Adobe Illustrator, make a repeat pattern design (continues seamlessly in all directions), and export assets so Paige could add them to my website. Therefore, you now know how these flowers came to be here- quite on a whim.

image of paint brush to fabric

In conclusion, the paint brush to fabric idea “blossomed” when this Watercolor Whimsy design became available on Spoonflower as fabric, wallpaper and more! Click on the photos to go to my Spoonflower shop:

image of paint brush to fabric
image of wallpaper

Thank you for taking this trip with me through the process of Watercolor Whimsy and a trip to Pawhuska!

Image of Paige at the Merc
Mini Palette Painting at the Merc!

Please share this and future posts, my blog, and website with your friends and on your social media. Until next time, Enjoy your journey, Karla

Uncork The Bubbles

Tapping into the adorable smile of Bubbles the baby whale, Bubbles is now featured on fabric and merchandise!

Celebrate summer and vacations and beaches and babies! BUBBLES is a happy fellow with an irresistible smile. Now this popular baby whale is popping up everywhere!

Image of Baby Whale Sticker
Bubbles Sticker on Redbubble

You might even call this a Bubblesfest!

Your next celebration might call for more than making a Bubbles the baby whale quilt with your own two hands (gasp)! Shower that new baby or grandbaby with Bubbles on a pillow! Or splurge with curtains or removable wallpaper!

Find Bubbles the baby whale on clothing, phone cases, shower curtains, tablecloths, and more!

Indulge your senses with Bubbles fabric printed by Spoonflower.

BUBBLES the baby whale quilt is created using a fantastic fabric by Kaffe Fassett: Paint Pots. The Paint Pots fabric is a gala of bright layered circles on a muted gray background. The front side makes the shape of the whale. The reverse side of the same fabric makes his under-belly, blow-hole, and (actual) bubbles. It’s a spree of fun when you use BOTH beautiful sides of fabric!

Shop Redbubble HERE

You learn how to audition both sides of fabric with each of my #usebothsides patterns. In other words, it’s all about VALUE. SHOP more than 45 quilt patterns that use both sides of fabric.

image of textile
Starfish and seaweed dance across a bubblegum pink background while Bubbles swims to and fro.

In other words, there’s almost a theme for every occasion. Try a broderie perse applique. Or pick up a large, pieced quilt pattern. There’s a bison, deer, several bouquet’s, a bee, a butterfly and much more!

Bubbles Quilt Pattern

In conclusion, Bubbles the baby whale is happy to be part of your next party!

Now that I have exhausted all the synonms of celebration words, I will leave you with this thought:

Cheers to your next festivity!

New Textile Designs

Here’s a sneak peek at my latest new venture – textile designs!

You might call it “repeat pattern design” or “tiling”, but whatever you call it, it’s a lot of fun! What “new textile designs” means for me and you is future FABRIC!

Last post I shared my “fails” in past textile design and why I decided to pull them out of hiding and frame them on my work wall in embroidery hoops. Most seasoned quilters know that “fails” are just mediocre ideas that lead to better ideas! Click here to read the “Embrace the Journey” blog post.

My learning curve progress in repeat pattern design is MAYBE at about 50%, but I am super excited to keep designing! It’s odd to be this excited about a mousepad, but here’s my first repeat pattern on a product:

Image of Mouse Pad with New Textile Designs
Sand dollars with line-work of coral in the background is part of my new Seaside Friends collection!

This product is from ZAZZLE, but there are all kinds of companies that can print your designs on their products. And, what’s fun is, other people can order those designs, too!

You’re likely familiar with Spoonflower, a print-on-demand fabric company. Here you can see a few more of the newest designs I’ve been working on.

Image of Garden Tea Party New Textile Designs
Four designs from the Garden Tea Party collection.

Click here to visit Spoonflower.

Image of bedding
You can choose more that fabric at Spoonflower! Here’s how my Butterfly Stripe would look on bedding! Too much fun.

Of course, designing quilt patterns that use both beautiful sides of fabric is still going strong! With more than 45 current designs, I just shipped a new one for Hoffman California Fabrics for use in their future catalog! See all the current patterns in my Etsy Shop:CreativeBeeStudios

Remember to enjoy your quilting journey!

All the best, Karla

Sketches to Patterns

Tropical Sunset fabric is available!

Quilt shops everywhere are opening boxes of Hoffman California’s beautiful “Meet Me in Paradise” fabric used to make the Tropical Sunset quilt pattern!

Before I started designing patterns, I had no idea how short the window is for designing and making quilts for fabric companies. To get the fabric produced and shipped takes much longer!

Sometimes I’ve had less than a week to open a box of fabric, design and make a quilt, write the pattern, photograph the quilt and ship the quilt from Missouri to California. Whew!

Image of Tropical Sunset Quilt

Of course, many quilt designers use digital software to “build” their quilts. Fabric companies have digital swatches to download for designing. They can plan the quilt and insert the fabric without taking a stitch. However, fabric companies don’t make swatches of the REVERSE side. Enter the need for real fabric!

For this design, I used my Ipad and the app called Procreate. This is a great drawing and painting app that’s easy to learn and fun to use. In Procreate, you can also make clippings masks of objects (in this case, the photo of the fabric). That’s how I “drew” the bouquet. Here’s the sketch I send to my representative to “pitch” my quilt idea:

SHOP Tropical Sunset Quilt Pattern HERE.

Image of Sketch of Tropical Sunset

As you can see, there’s quite a difference from the sketch to the actual quilt. Things don’t always work like you picture them in your head, right? Sometimes, they are much better in real life and real fabric!

I love that the “wallpaper” border made from the reverse of one coordinating fabric. If you’ve made a #usebothsides quilt pattern before, you know it’s important to audition both sides of fabric with itself (focus) and with surrounding (background, border) fabrics to know if they will actually have enough contrast. That “wildcard” is what makes getting a box of fabric a whole lot exciting and a little bit scary! This is one line that is PERFECT for using both sides!

See more about Tropical Sunset Quilt Pattern HERE.

As orders for patterns come in, I’ll be sharing links to the shops so you can do some online paradise shopping!

Until next time, enjoy YOUR quilting journey!

Embracing the Journey

In all things life, embrace the journey.

It’s not just about quilting skills, but the older I get the more I cherish my past experiences and embrace the journey I’ve been on. Do you keep proof of where you began?

Many of us, I’m sure, miss our days of guild meetings and live programs. One of the main messages of my programs to quilters was for them to reflect on their past and recognize how far they’ve come – to truly enjoy their quilting journey. In addition to experience and maturity, there are lots of influences in our lives that change our outcomes.

I bet you know someone who said they could NEVER quilt, right? My answer (sometimes silently in my head): all you need is a willingness to fail.

For me, to embrace the journey, I try to look at the good, bad, and…yes, ugly! I definitely have those in my collection of quilts! Some great ideas that just don’t quite make the cut. Do you look back at quilts you thought were just grand and laugh as you hide them away? I do. Wow.

But you know what? It’s this way for all things in life, I think. The older I get the more I realize that I could do what I’m doing if I didn’t start somewhere with the desire to learn and a willingness to mess things up!

Recently, I took a bit of my own advice. I pulled out some sample fabrics that I had printed on Spoonflower, framed them in embroidery hoops and hung them on my work wall right over my computer desk. It’s a little painful. These fabrics are absolute rejects. Colors are off, design are just…bad. White lines show the “repeat” was off. They are what they are!

I’m hoping with determination and lots of hard work, I’ll soon have hoops filled with successful designs.

Now I’m in the middle of a fabulous repeat pattern design course and I’m learning to fix all of those things. If you’ve ever been interested in repeat pattern design, I highly recommend following Oksana at Okscania HERE in Spoonflower or also on Pinterest.

Here I share my fails with you my friends. I hope soon I can share some beautiful fabric designs. We will see!

Image of fabric in hoops
My work wall includes a Spoonflower swatch guide, about 10 clipboards for keeping up with sales, inventory and quilt patterns, clues for Adobe Illustrator, UPC codes for more than 45 patterns and much more! Now the fabric hoops add history and perspective, if not beauty!
Image of magnetic pouches made to embrace the journey
These are a couple of ruler pouches made with the fabrics shown above.

See the Merry fabric above? She’s from the red truck quilt pattern. See more about her HERE.

Watch for new swatches, hopefully coming soon!

As always, you can shop Creative Bee Studios Quilt Patterns HERE! New patterns being added all the time.

AQ Magazine Review

AQ Magazine, also known as American Quilter, features a stunning black and white quilt with a splash of mint green on it’s cover. Get a review of this issue right here.

As you read on the cover of AQ Magazine, their motto is: Discover, Inspire, Create.

You’ll likely enjoy the first article in this issue is called, “Give Your Quilt a Bath”! It gives you step by step guidance on how to bathe a quilt that just can’t go into a washing machine. I found the specific instructions (with illustrations) from how to submerse to how to remove the quilt very helpful.

Inside AQ Magazine, you’ll also find seven “irresistible” quilt patterns, some “how-to” articles, and features by contributors. The seven quilt patterns include three “easy”, three “intermediate”, and one “challenging”.

American Quilter is a perk of membership with AQS (American Quilter Society), but is also available on the newsstand. This March 2021 newsstand issue is $6.99.

You’ll find a feature display of MJ Kinman’s “Bourbon Diamonds” which is as interesting as the quilts are beautiful. You might recall the exhibit featured at The National Quilt Museum in Paducah, Kentucky in 2020.

One regular contributor, Gail Garber, discusses the use of color versus contrast with many photo examples.

I hope you find this review of AQ Magazine helpful. Because I’ve found American Quilter to be a high-quality publication, I started with this issue. I can say from a personal standpoint, the company is delightful to work with. I’ll leave a few pics of Merle’s Bouquet here. It was a lot of fun to have her featured in this quality magazine!

Image of AQ Magazine Cover
Image of Quilt in AQ Magazine
Image of Quilt and Focus Fabric
Merle’s Bouquet Pattern and Focus Fabric Kit

Look for more reviews and new patterns coming soon!

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