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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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Meet Dazzling Kate

Add sparkling borders to turn beautiful Kate into…Dazzling Kate!

First, a short history of how Dazzling Kate came to be: A short four years ago, I began designing quilts using both sides of fabric. Many of the new patterns were based on a 36-inch size wall hanging. The first phase were of a bee, butterfly and dragonfly. The next series of three were bouquets and vases. All of the first six patterns were made using a combination of fusible applique and broderie perse. Click here to learn more about Broderie Perse.

Basically, you take one focus fabric and use both sides of it to gain a difference in value. Sometimes that difference is subtle; sometimes it is stark. It all depends on the style of your quilt and what you are trying to achieve.

For instance, take a look at both sides of this fabric. While the front is very bright, the reverse also has movement and interest. It has a lighter value than the front but still catches your eye.

Image of Front for Dazzling Kate
Front of Kaffe Fassett Collective Japanese Chrysanthemum by Philip Jacobs
Image of Reverse of Fabric
Reverse of Kaffe Fassett Collective Japanese Chrysanthemum by Philip Jacobs

What makes Dazzling Kate sparkle is the use of both sides of this one focus fabric!

While the center section remains the same as the original Kate, the borders sparkle around the center with half-square triangles.

Add a “stop” flange to surround the center section using the RIGHT side of the focus fabric. Connect the borders with cornerstones. Even the binding is made with the focus fabric!

Overall, this makes planning this large quilt so easy! Just add interesting “neutrals” and fun accent strips. There’s even a tiny flange attached to the outer edge of the quilt. Dazzling Kate finishes at 60 x 60 inches.

Image of Dazzling Kate Quilt

Click HERE to SHOP for Dazzling Kate

Subscribe to The BUZZ below for weekly blog posts! Like my Etsy Shop to get notifications for new products! Stay tuned – more coming soon!

Have yourself a happy, wonderful week and ENJOY your quilting journey!

Karla

Mr. Snowman Punch-Needle

Meet Mr. Snowman!

Mr. Snowman is a fun, little punch-needle design. He’s hitting the slopes of trees and swirls in colors to match the quilt you see in the background.

Image of Mr. Snowman with quilt

This design is fast and easy. It’s slightly less than four inches square. The cute size fits perfectly on a mini art canvas. Add the little easel to display your mini stitched artwork.

Since punch-needle is a compact, hand-held craft, Mr. Snowman is easy to pack for travel. You can even work it while you ride. If you aren’t familiar with punch-needle, check out the many tutorials on Pinterest and Youtube. Click HERE for an introductory tutorial on Pinterest. There are also numerous books and patterns on the subject.

Image of Mr. Snowman

Generally, punch needle requires a good hoop that tightens well. You’ll want your surface tight like a drum at all times. That makes it easy for your needle to punch into the cloth.

Next, when you make a punch-needle stitch, the need head is punched downward through the back side (top) of your hooped cloth. When you pull your needle back up, it leaves a tiny loop on the front (underneath) side of your hoop. The size of the loop depends on the size of your needle punching length and thread.

You’ll work Mr. Snowman punch needle from the back side of your hoop. You can turn the hoop over periodically to see your progress.

You might want to practice getting your punches evenly spaced, but the learning curve for learning punch needle is quite easy to achieve.

See Love Notes Punch Needle

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Coastal Christmas Decor

You can enjoy the beach throughout the holidays by adding beautiful coastal decorations to your Christmas theme!

Yeah, we live smack dab in the middle of the country. So why do I want to have Coastal Christmas decorations? There’s just something about summer, sunshine, warmth, water and the beach that makes me happy.

The colors, smells, and sparkle of the ocean are part of it. In fact five or six years ago, when turquoise was first introduced as a Christmas color made me realize I never really like traditional green and red. Many people love the traditional hues. They just never really worked for me.

We lived in Pensacola twice (see Quilts at the Beach). Add in that my husband flew F/A-18 fighter jets, so our love for the Blue Angels is part of the beach experience for us. Therefore, over the years of vacationing near our previous home, we’ve collected Pensacola specific coastal decor over the years. Our family room has slowly evolved into a coastal retreat.

Now, this Christmas, it has become a full-blown Coastal Christmas decorations feast for the eyes!

Image of Coastal Christmas Decorations

Can you see the stingrays circling the tree? Sparkling sea shells, jellyfish, turtles, fishes, and pearls decorate this country tree.

Image of coastal christmas ornaments
Image of quilt
Image of Mermaid stocking holder

See how Treasures fits right in? The fabrics features seahorses, shells, and coral. This quilt kit uses both beautiful sides of three fabrics on a soft white background. It’s easy, too. There’s only one block: Contrary Wife. This quilt adds it’s own sparkle to our room and I just love it.

Image of Treasures
Coastal Christmas Decorations

While the rest of the house has a more traditional feel, I just love entering the family room and feeling like we are back home again, in Pensacola.

Christmas blessings to you all!

Add a Little Joy

Use both sides of Christmas scraps to add a Little Joy to your gifts!

I think every stitcher has a Christmas stash. You might have leftover fabric from a quilt, stockings, or napkins. Personally, I don’t keep a lot of Christmas stash, just two cubbies (!). However, you don’t need much to add a little joy to your gift decorating.

About a year ago today, I was part of my local quilt shop’s Christmas Open House. See the sample gift bag with Little Joy. Download the free pdf (further below) on gift bags using your Christmas scraps. Consider adding Little Joy to craft paper covered boxes as well.

Image of Little Joy at the quilt shop

This mini pattern mimics the JOY and Joyful quilt patterns which both use the large template of JOY.

You can see that the tree is made with the front side of a Christmas motif and the gifts under the tree are made from the reverse.

Like all my patterns, it requires auditioning BOTH sides of fabric to test their values. You’ll want to see the tree first, then notice the gifts under the branches. In the quilt patterns, you’ll also audition your background fabrics and try to pull a fun variety of fabric styles together to give the quilt an added interest.

Of course, for your gifts, just choose a surface with the contrast you desire. If you choose blue bags and have blue fabric, your design will be subtle. Use white bags for a high contrast.

It’s just a simple and fun way to use up some fabric scraps and get a little playtime in!

Image of Joy
Joy Quilt Pattern
Image of Joyful Quilt Pattern
Joyful Quilt Pattern

Shop #usebothsides quilt patterns in my Etsy Shop: CreativeBeeStudios

Image of Red Truck Quilt
MERRY Quilt Kit

See the new products on Red Bubble by clicking the button above! Read A Christmas Passed HERE and Christmas (Quilts) in July HERE.

Wishing you JOY and MERRYiment this Christmas season and God’s blessing throughout the New Year!

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