Merry Christmas to all!!

Usual Disclaimer: What you are about to see contains images of cute fluffy kitties. It has nothing to do with appliqué, so be warned if you must. Welcome to the Fourth Annual Cavalcade of Kittens!

In the spring, the Mackenzie Finishing School for Felines opened its doors for the season. Dana and I had the joy and privilege of taking care of 24 little balls of fur for the Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter.

The kitties we take in are big enough to eat on their own, generally five to six weeks old, and we keep them until they’re at least eight weeks, two pounds, and in good body condition. It’s so much fun, and so rewarding to watch them grow from teensy little klutzes with short stubby legs to sturdy pre-teens who sprout legs and run thumping and banging around the house.

When Stormy came into the shelter as a stray kitten in a cardboard carrier, everyone knew about it! This tiny kid had a set of lungs on him! Two visitors who were there to look at kittens took a liking to his spirit right away. I was able to follow up with them throughout Stormy’s foster period, and they adopted him just as soon as he was ready.

Stormy, complete with ring-around-the nose from enthusiastic Fancy Feast eating.

His first trip up the stairs.

A little more grown up, and with a cleaner nose.

Max is very sensitive about his magnificent tail, but allowed Stormy to use it for a pillow.

Normally three at a time is our limit, but once in awhile it bears breaking the rules when there’s an irresistible batch of three that can come home to join the one that you’ve already got. (Plus the giant.)


Kiki, checking out the tomatoes and parsley with Max.

Stormy (left) and Nick (right).

Kitty Dreamland.

Next we had a batch of three, one girl and two boys. They came from behind a tire shop so they were a little greasy. I had to give them baths with a drop of Dawn.

Trixie, enduring well.

All recovered and feeling clean and happy.

Baxter, the orange boy.

Moxie with his one gray toe.

Trixie thinks Baxter makes the best pillow.

That’s a lot of legs.

Our next batch of three were what we call “cow cats.” Three darling black and white kitties just home from the shelter. In the front are Pickles and Scooter Bug. Shy guy Blake holds up the rear.

I put on a bird video to see how they would like it.

After all that excitement, everyone was ready for a nap.

Blake was Pet of the Week at the shelter. What a handsome guy he grew into!

After that we had three torties. Now torties are sometimes known for having “tortietude,” but these three girls were sweet as sugar.

Genevieve, Georgie, and Gingersnap.

Dana called them the “pod kitties” because they moved as a group, whatever they did.

They inducted Max into their pod.

Georgie, with her little-old-man eyebrows.

Bootsie makes a good chin rest.

Gingersnap, the pastel tortie of the group.

Max gives Gingersnap a lesson in herbology.

Then came two of the funniest little cats we’ve ever had. Austin and Andrew were two orange medium-hair boys.

See that dove there that got knocked over? We didn’t do that.

Austin, on toy overload. They liked to sleep upside down.

These guys were on the shy side. In fact, they could be downright reclusive. They went to ground probably more than any other kitties we’ve had. After three years of doing this, I know all the hiding places, but I was still stumped! Finally we found them tucked away in a partially open drawer.

Did I mention that they liked to sleep upside down?

Then one day, we couldn’t find them, again! At last Dana heard rustling. They had gone behind that drawer, down to the drawer underneath, and were sleeping peacefully on Dana’s magazine archive.

Dana posted photos of them on Facebook, and a friend of his who was in the market for kittens fell in love with them. As soon as they were ready, they were adopted together into a loving family that dotes on them. They named them Thor and Loki.

Happy in their new home, still upside down, dreaming of soaring through the air with Thor’s hammer.

The next three that we had all came as singles, but overlapped one another.

Cindy Lou was a beyond-adorable torbie, that is, combination tortie and tabby. This little cutie had something strange going on in that she ate clay litter and licked concrete. She was transferred to a wonderful rescue organization who took on her issues, resolved them, and successfully adopted her out within a day of making her available. Thank you, AFRP!

Our next little guy was a brown tiger who charmed the entire staff at the shelter with his antics. I could hardly get to his kennel to take him home for all the people crowded around cooing over him! He certainly was a gem, full of personality and a joy to have around.

Jeffty in a patch of sunlight.

We do try to instill table manners in our kittens, but Jeffty considered any etiquette he had learned to be irrelevant where Gizdich Ranch pie was concerned.

Next came Jeremy, a little black fellow with a white locket on his throat. He was a bit nervous, totally people-friendly but not at all sure about “that other kitten.”

Within a day, affable Jeffty had won him over and they were BFF.

We named Jeffty after a famous short story by Harlan Ellison. I was at the shelter when he was adopted, and I could hardly believe it when the family not only recognized the name, but turned out to be personal friends of the author!

At that point, there were exactly two weeks before our U.K. trip, so I let the staff know that I had a short window. I didn’t even make it home that day before Dana took a call that some kittens had come back when another foster family had to go out of town, and needed two weeks! Lucky me!

Fuzz and Casanova.

Casanova so named because he was a lover boy, a champion snuggler.

After we got back from Scotland, I thought we were pretty much done for the season. However, winter kittens, though rare, are not unheard of, so I kept my radar up. Sure enough, I was able to pick up a brother and sister last week, so we’ve got kittens for Christmas!

Meet Sparrow and Squidge.

Some kittens just name themselves. Squidge, with his milk-chocolate rabbit fur, roly-poly shape, and short little legs, reminds me alternatively of a hedgehog, a dusty snowball, and a Cocoa Puff. Before I could even think of a good name, “Squidgy” came out of my mouth.

Sparrow is a self-assured little mighty mite with a big voice. She weighs in at just over a pound, but makes up for lack of size with heart and spunk as big as Texas. These guys are so fun, so easy, I feel like they’re a holiday gift.

All settled in, with little halos around their heads.

The very best to you and yours, including all your furry friends! I leave you with this final video showcasing Kitten Mixed Martial Arts.

Until next year,
By Kay Mackenzie

Thank you so much for all of the birthday wishes!!! That was fun, and it was really fun to pull three winners this time. The readers who will receive a copy of my Teapots 2 to Appliqué are #56, Lee; #2, JuliaP; and #15, Debra. I appreciate you all so much for joining me on this blog, throughout the year.

Regular reader Beverly Schueneman made my Plum Pudding pattern to hang on her kitchen door!

So cute! I love the fabrics that she chose for the patched backgrounds, and the hard-to-find mottled browns for the puddings.

Until next time,
By Kay Mackenzie

Greetings fellow appliqué enthusiasts! I have one of those birthdays that’s close to Christmas. When I was a kid it meant “combination” presents, which to someone of a tender age can be very thick. (I’ve gotten over that now.) (Pretty much.)

To help celebrate the day, I’m putting up a copy of one of my most popular books, Teapots 2 to Appliqué.

It’s in its fourth printing and still going strong. Quilters love teapots!

The book has designs for 16 different teapots, plus cups and saucers and milk and sugar, and instructions for back-basting hand appliqué. (Of course you can use whatever method you like.)

To enter the drawing, please leave a comment here on the blog by 7:00 p.m. California time on Sunday Saturday, December 21. Hey, one copy doesn’t seem enough. How about three winners! Open to U.S. and Canada mailing addresses only. Good luck in the draw!

Happy holidays,
By Kay Mackenzie

Linda Franz is one of my most revered associates in the quilting world. When I first stuck a toe into publishing, I saw that she had produced the fabulous Quilted Diamonds on her own, and I contacted her with questions. Linda immediately became a mentor to me, answering at length and providing the most wonderful encouragement.

I’ve watched over the years as Linda has continued trail-blazing. She is the inventor of Inklingo, a system of printing on fabric that provides a myriad of benefits for both patchwork and appliqué. Recently Linda posted a tutorial on Quilting Hub about back-basting with Inklingo that you’ll just have to go and see. Among Linda’s many skills is photography, and the quality of her photo tutorials is unsurpassed. You’ll also meet Linda’s friend Monkey, who helps demonstrate during the tutorials.

Coming up: Tuesday is my birthday. I have a date with the hubby for dinner-and-a-movie, but I’m also feeling inclined to do some sort of something here on the blog to help celebrate. And, on Christmas day I post my annual Cavalcade of Kittens, so be warned if you are averse to fluffy baby felines. :)

By Kay Mackenzie

Here’s some very cool news: The delightful Laura Wasilowski will be an instructor at the upcoming World Quilt Show Florida!

I interviewed Laura awhile back for the blog, If you haven’t seen it, be sure to check out the Spotlight on LW. Laura’s a proud fuser, in fact she’s Dean of Corrections of the famous Chicago School of Fusing.

The Mancuso team, who put on this Florida show as well as PIQF here in California and many others, have also arranged a special hotel and show package for your winter getaway enjoyment.

Here’s more info on Laura’s luncheon talk.

Hope you get a chance to snow-bird it to Florida for the show.

Until next time,
By Kay Mackenzie

Winner, and, great eBook sale
at Martingale

Filed Under Books, Prizes | Comments Off on Winner, and, great eBook sale
at Martingale

The reader who won the set of three AQS Love to Quilt booklets is…
No. 42, Beverly S. Have fun with the blooms and veggies, Beverly!

In other news, Martingale is having a fabulous sale on eBooks, only $6 each until midnight on December 8. The selection includes my Easy Appliqué Blocks!

Hope you are enjoying yourself as the season gets into full swing.

Until next time,
By Kay Mackenzie

It’s December! For our feature this month, I have three darling booklets from the American Quilter’s Society “Love to Quilt” series. Thank you, AQS!

Wildflower Appliqué & Embroidery
by Bea Oglesby

The Quilter’s Veggie Garden
by Bea Oglesby

Appliqué Garden
by Eula Mae Long

These 30-page booklets each feature a variety of mix-and-match designs that can be stitched using your favorite method, or, follow the author’s tips. Very cool!

From Birdfoot Violets to Baskets of Clematis to Kohlrabi and Peppers, if it grows from the earth you just might find it here!

If you’d like to enter the drawing to win these three booklets, please leave a comment here on the post before 7:00 p.m. California time on Thursday, December 5.

Open to U.S. and Canada mailing addresses only (and remember that replies to an email feed do not enter the drawing).

Best of luck to you!
By Kay Mackenzie