Book-A-Round ~ Day 5

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It’s Day 5 of the Easy Appliqué Blocks Book-A-Round. Today we hop back to the continental USA and visit Kathy Mack on Bainbridge Island, Washington, in the middle of Puget Sound.

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Kathy Mack’s Pink Chalk Fabrics has a gorgeous array of contemporary fabrics for quilting and creative sewing, plus unique patterns for purses, accessories, toys, and more. Kathy writes a beautiful, inspirational, and informative blog at Pink Chalk Studio. Click on over to read an interview with ‘moi’ and see what Kathy has done with a block from the book!

Quilt Puppy Publications & Designs

It’s Day 4 of the Easy Appliqué Blocks Book-A-Round. North to Alaska! We leave Canada, head north and west, and land in Seward, Alaska. Marguerita McManus hosts us today.

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Seward is famous for three things… the Kenai Fjords National Park with its calving glaciers and whales, the race to the top of Mt. Marathon on the 4th of July, and the Silver Salmon Derby in August. Marguerita says, “In the winter it’s as dead as a doornail, but the summer fishing, fun and daylight make it a great place to visit or live.”

Marguerita is an Alaskan quilter, teacher, and co-author of the book Crazy Shortcut Quilts. She shares her quilting studio with a pet rabbit. Let’s go visit her blog Crazy Shortcut Quilts!

Quilt Puppy Publications & Designs

It’s Day 3 of our Easy Appliqué Blocks Book-A-Round. Today we head north once again, leaving the U.S. behind and entering a whole ‘nother country!

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Mississauga, Ontario, the sixth largest city in Canada, is home to Maria Michaels Designs. Maria is a quilter, quilt designer, online quilt teacher at and a web designer. Maria recently started blogging after publishing a fabulous newsletter for many years. If you never got her newsletter, you’re in for a treat, because she’s pulling a lot of her fantastic archived articles over to the blog.

So click on up to Mississauga, just across the border from Buffalo and Niagara Falls, for a visit to Maria’s Quilt Scraps, where Maria talks about the appliqué instructions in Easy Appliqué Blocks – three different kinds!

No passport required!
Quilt Puppy Publications & Designs

Book-A-Round ~ Day 2

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It’s Day 2 of the Easy Appliqué Blocks Book-A-Round. Today we’re hopping north from Georgia up to Mooresville, North Carolina, a little town north of Charlotte.

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(I couldn’t resist putting in an additional place marker for my hometown, Chapel Hill.)

susan-bk.gifSusan Brubaker Knapp is a quilt artist, designer, and teacher who lives in Mooresville with her husband, Rob, and two daughters. Susan teaches quilting classes at local quilt shops and online through

Susan loves traditional hand quilting and needleturn appliqué, but has also embraced innovative machine techniques and makes “art quilts” — works of art executed in fabrics and fibers. Her award-winning quilts have been exhibited at national and international venues.

Today Susan tells us more about Easy Appliqué Blocks and shows some of the blocks that she’s stitched up. I can’t wait to see what she’s done with them! Here we go, off to Susan’s blog Blue Moon River!

Quilt Puppy Publications & Designs

It’s a party!! Today’s the kickoff of the Easy Appliqué Blocks Book-A-Round. For the next ten days, visit a different blog, find out tons of great information about my new book, and have a chance to win a copy. Start here each day and I’ll send you off on your virtual trip to far-flung places!

Check the Book-A-Round page for the tour schedule.

Today we’re flying through cyberspace to the hills of Jasper, Georgia.

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Maria Peagler, author of Color Mastery: 10 Principles for Creating Stunning Quilts, is graciously hosting the Official Launch Party. She’s got all sorts of fun (and delicious) things in store, so go visit her blog Quilts and Creativity for a quilty good time!

See you at the party!

The Easy Appliqué Blocks Blog Book-A-Round starts tomorrow! Pack your virtual bags for a trip to the official Launch Party. It’s going to be quite a bash!

Then, for nine more days, start here and follow the clicks to visit another fabulous blog stop on the virtual tour. We’ll be giving away a copy of my brand-new book Easy Appliqué Blocks: 50 Designs in 5 Sizes from That Patchwork Place at each stop, so come on along!

See you tomorrow, bright and early!
Quilt Puppy Publications & Designs

P.S. Here’s where I am… Santa Cruz, California, on the Pacific coast between Monterey and San Francisco.

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Ruth B’s the winner! Ruth, your comment is the same as what I would say about why I love quilting. It allows me to be a creative person. I never found ‘it’ until I found quilting.

Ruth, send me your name and mailing address to topdog at and your beautiful blue fabric will be on its way.

Thank you all for sharing what quilting means to you. It’s good to stop and think about it every now and then.

Until next time,
Quilt Puppy Publications & Designs

Today we give extra-special thoughts toward celebrating quilting in all of its forms.

Let’s talk about it. Leave a comment telling everyone why you love quilting.

At 7:00 p.m. California time I’ll draw randomly from among all the comments posted, and I’ll send the winner a yard of this gorgeous Michael Miller fabric “Lotus Blossoms” designed by M.E. Hordyszynski.


Your fellow quilter,
Quilt Puppy Publications & Designs

Book-A-Round starts next week

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Starting next Friday, we’re going on a virtual book tour! No ticket required… we’re zooming through the blogosphere to tour ten blogs in ten days from the comfort of your own home. Don’t dress up… these tour stops are suitable for pajama attire!

The first day of the tour is Friday, March 27. Start here and I’ll send you off to the Easy Appliqué Blocks launch party! Maria Peagler is throwing the party and everyone’s invited! Loads of fun things at the party, and we’ll give away a copy of the book, so don’t miss it.

Come back here every day through April 5 and I’ll shoot you through cyberspace to the next stop on the tour. We’re traveling from the southern U.S. up the east coast and across Canada to Alaska, down the west coast, and ending up our tour in the Heartland. Check out my Book-A-Round page for more information and a really cool Google map.

Each one of these quilty blogs is fantastic to visit, and there will be chances for a prize at each stop, so strap yourself in for a fantastic tour!

See you then!
Quilt Puppy Publications & Designs

Sometimes I do a little hand embroidery on my appliqué blocks when some really fine details are needed, like whiskers or tendrils. It’s not truly a part of my skill set, and I just kinda sorta go for it.

birdbath.jpgI was so grateful when Anne Sutton of Bunny Hill put up Embroidery 101 Part One and Part Two on her Bunny Tales blog. I had had a block stuck up on my wall for awhile, waiting for some embroidery that I was putting off. Anne’s post inspired me to get to work on it… my stem stitch is now so much improved!

Appliqué patterns can often be used as embroidery patterns as well, so go read Anne’s fantastic primer and then you’ll have a whole new use for them!

Until next time,
Quilt Puppy Publications & Designs

I’m just a little excited. Today’s the day that my book from That Patchwork Place, Easy Appliqué Blocks: 50 Designs in 5 Sizes, ships to quilt shops!

Easy Applique Blocks by Kay MackenzieI can hardly believe this day is finally here. It’s been three long years since I started working up the concept, and a year and a half since I got the contract. The future is now!

Just as the title says, there’s a library of 50 fun, fresh appliqué blocks. There are flowers, baskets, birds, animals, fruits, teapots, hearts, and a whole variety of what can only be described as offbeat and unique designs. Some of the blocks recall traditional appliqué motifs, while others are modern, fun, or whimsical in nature. All of the blocks were designed with easy sewing in mind.

There are illustrated instructions for three kinds of appliqué in the book, a lot of detail on freezer-paper-on-top and back-basting preparation for hand appliqué, plus stitching smooth curves, pointy points, and sharp notches. There’s also an overview of raw-edge fusible machine appliqué.

A really cool thing is that a CD is included! Enjoy browsing through the book, then use the CD with your computer to print out the blocks you’ve chosen in the size you want. The CD includes all 50 designs in five sizes each, plus reversed versions for back-basting or machine appliqué.

Can I let you in on a little secret? The three blocks in my All About Appliqué logo are three of the blocks from the book! I’ve been smiling about that for a year and a half.

Easy Appliqué Blocks will be at your favorite quilt shop soon. Ask for it there! It’s also available on Amazon and from the Martingale & Company website.

Copies signed by moi are available at my website, Quilt Puppy Publications & Designs.

Get up and do the happy dance with me! Thank you so much! Up with appliqué!

Quilt Puppy Publications & Designs

Easy Appliqué Blocks: 50 Designs in 5 Sizes officially comes out tomorrow!!!

This is the twenty-first in a series of posts about a book proposal, from concept to print. We’re almost there!

Click on the category ‘A journey to a book’ in the left sidebar to bring up all of the posts in the series.

10-21-8. Nope… not quite the last round of edits yet. I had lobbied to be able to test the CD, so I was glad to have the opportunity to try out the CD, edit the text on it, and cross-reference the text on the CD with the text in the book.

eab-cd.gifAnd OMG, may I just say that the CD is equally as gorgeous as the book. Even though you’re running off the CD and not connected to the internet (unless you hit one of the links that takes you there) you’d swear you were on a lovely website! All of the pages are colorful and beautifully decorated, and it’s easy-peasy to navigate. Adrienne, the book’s illustrator and CD developer, did a fantastic job. The CD works on either PC or Mac.

There began a series of emails back and forth and back and forth on CD operation, CD text, book text, and book illustrations. I had to stay organized… where was I looking to answer this question/evaluate that revised illustration/ consider a final text edit? It might have been the first pages or an earlier email. Personally I have curse of the detail-oriented. Your mileage may vary, and your publisher/editor may not work this way. Lucky for me I enjoy the small stuff, and I managed to stay on top of it. This workflow suits me.

My advice to all you fellow book authors-to-be: Stay organized, keep everything, and have a solid backup system in place. You do not want to lose any emails or files during this process. If you don’t have an external hard drive and an automated backup in place, get it before you start a book!!

Nov 20, 2008. Got an email from Robin crossing the t’s and dotting the i’s… last-minute checks are all done!

November 21, 2008. I heard the book went to press… today!!! OMG. Gulp, gulp. And so the concept that came to me two and a half years ago is now being set in ink and on its way to becoming something real that you can hold in your hand, and use. It’s a monumental thought.

Until tomorrow,
Quilt Puppy Publications & Designs
Easy Appliqué Blocks available for order now!

P.S. if you’ve been following this series, you may be interested in a little more information… stuff that happens after a book has gone to press and before it comes out. I’ll put up a few more posts for those who are curious about that.

Being the twentieth in a series of posts about a book proposal, from concept to print.

Click on the category ‘A journey to a book’ in the left sidebar to bring up all of the posts in the series.

After my tech editor Robin had a chance to go through my marked-up ‘first pages’ in depth, she emailed me with a list of questions. I had photographed all of the spreads before I sent them back (cheaper than making color copies, eh what) so I was able to pull up the pages and zoom in to the particular areas she had questions about, and give her my answers and suggestions. She assured me that everything was in great shape.

teddybear.gifHere’s a funny thing that emerged at that point. What do you call the part of a cut-out appliqué motif that is going to be turned under? You see it called ‘seam allowance’ a lot. I don’t care for that, because it’s not a seam like in patchwork, and I feel like quilters just call it that for lack of a better term. I’d been using the word ‘margin.’ One of the editors felt that ‘margin’ may be confusing, so I was given the task of choosing another term.

A couple of suggestions that came back were ‘turning allowance’ or ‘turned-under edge.’ I mulled this over, and decided on ‘turning allowance.’ After all… it makes perfect sense! It calls it what it is, and it falls in with ‘seam allowance’ in quilting parlance.

I then commenced a ‘margin hunt’ in the manuscript to find all of the instances of margin in this context, and changed them to turning allowance. Can we coin this as a new convention in quilting terminology please???

A couple days after that, I sent back the text for the CD and the answers to another round of editing questions (that’s right, another round, polishing the fruit at this point). Was this the last round of edits for me?? The book was getting close to going to print! I heard that everyone at Martingale was very excited about the CD.

Karen, the acquisitions editor, had indicated a long time ago that my acknowledgments should have my signature at the bottom. I took a blank piece of paper, signed my first name a bunch of times, picked my favorite one, scanned it, and sent it to Robin to forward to the book designer. How fun! [It came out perfect, looking for all the world as if I had signed that page.]

Here it is. Until next time,


Quilt Puppy Publications & Designs

A journey to a book ~ Part 19

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Being the nineteenth in a series of posts about a book proposal, from concept to print.

Click on the category ‘A journey to a book’ in the left sidebar to bring up all of the posts in the series.

August 29, 2008, 7:53 a.m. The DH is out of town. I’m in bed asleep and wake up to the vague notion that a doorbell has been rung. Groggily I get up, grope my way downstairs, and open the door in my pajamas to find the package lying on the doorstep. I climb back into bed with it. Did you know that UPS tyvek envelopes are sealed with some kind of super-gum-glue that cannot be torn asunder by the human hand?

I’m almooost into the package when the dog needs to go out. That taken care of, and now armed with a pair of scissors, I open the package, take out the pages, unfold, them, and take my first look at the cover.

Hallelujah! I can just about hear the heavenly choir. All is right with the world… I love it! As I turn page after page, I marvel at what the book designer has done. All of my hard work has been stylishly elevated into a thing of colorful beauty. These are mighty exciting times.

When I turned in the manuscript, one of the additional things that I was invited to send were some suggestions for how I envisioned the book, including likes and dislikes regarding book design. I really appreciated this opportunity for personal input, while keeping in mind that final design approval would rest with the publishing company. This is what I wrote:

“Some words that depict how I would love to see the book turn out: friendly, warm, cute (or beautiful), colorful, appealing, a feast for the eyes. In general, my style is sort-of curvy and organic.

I’m a fan of decorative typefaces for headings, and white space is my friend. I love floral colors, and a decorated page.

Regarding the text typeface, something elegant and refined… Garamond is nice!”


I could hardly believe my good fortune when I laid eyes upon the cover. A very cool art-deco typeface, my blocks dancing about, and one of my very favorite colors in the background… orangey-red! (Witness my Pat Sloan Orange Pile post :).

And look at this darling Table of Contents!


I’m composing an excited email to Robin when I get one from her entitled
“I can’t stand the suspense!”

Did I get it? What did I think? I relate to her the story of how I was left bereft on Thursday afternoon, hollering across the parking lot “Where’s my manuscriiiiiiipt!??” My gentle, mild-mannered tech editor replies, “I would have strangled the driver and then tore apart his truck.” Fortunately the driver has earned his reprieve.

Now for more of the nuts and bolts…. back to the editing work.

These are only the first pages… there will be more rounds of pages and editing in-house, but this is my last chance to see the whole thing before it goes to press. Fortunately they’ve given me a couple weeks so that I can take the processing time that I need to work through it all.

I’m spread across three counties as I work off the marked-up copy-edited manuscript, the illustration plan, the photo plan, and various emails I’ve exchanged with Robin, to check and double-check absolutely everything.

I gave those first pages my best shot. I used those really cool official proofreading marks, I wrote notes in the margins, I struck things out, I drew arrows hither and thither. I also composed a side note to the designer and a side note to Robin. These side notes were like “punch lists,” pointing out this, that, and the other. My angel editor Robin is going to coordinate everything for me. I’m feeling really good about the shape that things are in at this point. Robin tells me that it’s normal for us all to see things that we didn’t see before, once it looks like a book. It’s all part of the process.

Robin emailed me the day the pages arrived back on her desk to reassure me that she did not consider this a heavily marked manuscript. Whew! Also wow, is this ever a learning experience. If I ever get to do this again (and I sure hope I do), I will know so much more what to expect.

Now waiting to hear back from Robin after she has a chance to go through the pages in depth.

Stay tuned,
Quilt Pppy Publications & Designs