Dana MackenzieMy husband of 20 years, Dana Mackenzie.

Willie MackenzieOur dog of 15 years, Bertram Wilberforce Woofster Mackenzie III, aka Willie.

Pixel MackenzieThe Last of the Mohicans, Pixel, 19 years old and sleeping snugly in the closet with my old Bernina.

Chutney & Maikai MackenzieChutney and Maikai, our two kitty friends of 18 years, to whom we bid a furry farewell this year.

Kay's handsMy hands. I was thinking about this after the quilt show in Sacramento last weekend. Sometimes ladies come into my booth, look around, and say, “I used to appliqué but my hands don’t work any more.” That’s a sadness to me. So I’m thankful that I have my hands. Not many people know this, but I’m what I call a ‘closet arthritic.’ Two major bouts earlier in my life stiffened my joints and crimped up my toes but, very thankfully, spared my hands. I can appliqué.

Illustration from Easy Appliqué BlocksThe above photo is a staging shot that I sent to Martingale for their reference in creating an illustration. Here’s the corresponding figure from Easy Appliqué Blocks, showing how I pinch the turning allowance under ahead of my stitching.

Those are the really big things. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.

Until next time,
Kay
By Kay Mackenzie

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 quiltpuppy.com 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,
Kay
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.

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Your fellow quilter,
Kay
Quilt Puppy Publications & Designs

And here’s my quilt of the same name.

Tis the Season by Kay Mackenzie

I made this little 18 x 18 wall quilt last year, just putting together some motifs from A Merry Little Christmas to Appliqué and filling in the white space with some cute red and green buttons. I used different prints and widths for side and top and bottom borders, something I’ve become fond of doing. The Christmas cracker is tied with embroidery thread. This one’s machine appliquéd and machine quilted.

If you’d like to see more Christmassy quilts, click on the ‘Holiday’ category in the left sidebar and that’ll bring up the ones I posted last year.

A very happy holiday time to you all! See you next year.

Kay
By Kay Mackenzie

Kim Jamieson-Hirst of Chatterbox Quilts in Calgary, Alberta, has posted a very nice article on her website giving lots of tips and information about fusible-web appliqué. Visit Chatterbox Quilts and click on the Tips and Techniques page.

Bundle Up pattern from Chatterbox Quilts
You can use Kim’s information to make her brand-new, exceedingly cute table runner pattern, Bundle Up. It’s on the Patterns page at Chatterbox, or go directly to
Kim’s Etsy shop.

Happy holidays, and bundle up!
Kay
Quilt Puppy Publications & Designs

The past few years, I’ve really been trying to avoid that horrible credit card bill that comes in January. So I’ve been putting my thinking cap on to figure out ways to make gifts instead of buying them. After all, I’m a creative, crafty person, right? Last year I unearthed some small stained-glass quilts that I’d made umpteen years ago, added some more quilting to them, wrapped them up, and sent them to all the relatives. This year I hit upon the idea of making some quilty note cards.

I had fused fabric to paper once before, when we moved to California and I decorated moving announcements that way. And, although I haven’t read it, I knew that Elly Sienkiewicz had done a whole book about it called Appliqué Paper Greetings. Elly Sienkiewicz Applique Paper Greetings: A Quilt Approach to Scrapbooking

blanks.gifA quick Google search found me CardBlanks.com, and I immediately knew what I wanted. A flecked line of blank note cards came in coffee, cream, and sugar LOL! I ordered the sugar.

A rummage through my stash turned up a set of pieced borders that had never made it onto a quilt. There were my fabrics, all color-coordinated! I drew some very simple appliqué motifs that would fit on the cards and printed them out in reverse for fusible appliqué.

I wasn’t sure whether I needed to use regular-weight or heavy-duty fusible for this, so I started with the regular. Worked fine. My favorite is Soft Fuse; your mileage may vary.

For fusing on paper, I didn’t bother with cutting out the interior of each motif (although that does make it easier to get the paper backing off) and I didn’t worry about precise placement either. I just eyeballed it, and used a dry iron throughout.

cards.gifHow simple, yet cute. A creative, crafty, handmade gift.

back.gifI even signed the back of each card. The relatives like that.

package.gifI slipped four with matching envelopes into some flat cellophane bags that I had had kicking around forever, and voila! Ready to put in with the holiday card, shipping cost an extra Nutcracker stamp.

When we were kids we used to ask my Scottish grandmother, “Grandma, what do you want for Christmas?” Or, “What do you want for your birthday?” She just would shrug and reply in her thick brogue, “I don’t need all that I’ve got.” Really, most of the people on my gift list have all that they need and want, for that matter. I think they really appreciate receiving something original and unique, even if it’s just a little something.

Now admittedly this isn’t going to fly for the teenaged nephews, but I think it’ll work for just about everybody else on my list. What’s your creative, crafty solution?

Until next time,
Kay
By Kay Mackenzie

Here are some great “little something” suggestions for your dear quilting friends this year.

Magnetic Needle Minders

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pink-lady.gifhibiscus.gif

These Needle Minders look just like beautiful cameo brooches. A magnet in the back keeps them in place so you can wear it on your clothing, or you can set it down beside you. No more needles in the arm of the sofa or stuck through your shirt! You’ll always know where your needle is.

Makes a great gift for someone who likes to sew, or for yourself. Available in a range of colors and styles, these may just be the ultimate stocking stuffer. They’re on my website at kaymackenzie.com.

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Quilting books and patterns

Also on my website, you’ll find the books and patterns that I publish. They’re all economically priced, with low shipping, because that’s what I believe in. You might find the perfect stocking stuffer for your quilting friend there.

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Etsy

pretty.jpgHave you discovered Etsy yet? It’s a crafter’s paradise. You’ll find a bazillion things to drool over and gift your friends with (and probably keep some for yourself). I have an Etsy store where you’ll see my books and patterns listed, plus a bunch of stuff that I make with buttons.

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Okay, that’s my roundup of gift-giving suggestions this holiday season. Now I better get started on my own list!

Happy holidays,
Kay
By Kay Mackenzie
Kay’s Etsy Shop

… just barely. The DH had a hectic day and got to the flower shop 20 minutes after its official closing time. But there was still a trail of men going out the door with bouquets, so though they were sweeping the floors, Dana was able to pick up the beautiful flower arrangement he had ordered. His record stands.

flowers.jpg

seedlings.jpg

“Seedlings” — for next year!

Until next time,
Kay
Quilt Puppy Publications & Designs

Happy Valentine’s Day! The chocolate has been bestowed, and now I’m anticipating the bouquet. This has been a tradition throughout our 18 years of marriage, chocolate for him, flowers for her, and he hasn’t missed one yet. So although there aren’t any flowers yet, the day is young :).

Here’s another of my favorite blocks from Growing Heart to Appliqué.
I call it “Fly Away.”

fly-away.jpg

Freezer paper on top, hand appliquéd, hand-embroidered stems.

Until next time,
Kay
Quilt Puppy Publications & Designs

Here’s another block from Growing Hearts to Appliqué. A fun one, yes?

seed-packet.jpgWhen brainstorming on a theme,”growing hearts” or whatever, it’s so wonderful to let your imagination roam free and think up all sorts of notions about how to portray your ideas.

For this crazy design, I used freezer-paper templates on top, and I hand-embroidered the letters. The little black heart seeds are inked on with a permanent fabric marker.

And don’t faint, but maybe you can see that this quilt is hand-quilted. It still happens now and again.

Until next time,
Kay
Quilt Puppy Publications & Designs

Valentine’s Day is coming up. I’ve already got the heart-shaped box of chocolates for the DH stashed away. Like many quilters, hearts are a favorite motif of mine. I love them so much that I published a whole collection of heart designs, Growing Hearts to Appliqué. Here’s one of my favorite blocks, which I call “Cutwork.”

cutwork.gifTo make this, I used freezer-paper templates on top. In this method, you trace the shapes onto the paper side of the freezer paper, cut them out on the drawn line, then iron the templates to the right side of the fabrics. Cut out the shapes, adding a 3/16″margin all the way around. Then you can baste them in place using a tracing-paper overlay as a placement guide, either leaving the templates on as stitching guides or taking them off for good old-fashioned needleturn. There’s been a lot of appliqué under the bridge since I made this, but I think I probably left the templates on for the straighter parts and removed them to work on the intricate parts.

I’ll put up some more of my growing hearts blocks as the month goes along.

Until next time,
Kay
Quilt Puppy Publications & Designs

When my husband, Dana, was a kid, his mother fixed plum pudding every year at holiday time, steaming it endlessly in a pan on the stove and topping it with gobs of homemade hard sauce. Young Dana did not care for that hard sauce at all, so just mention “plum pudding” to him and see the trials of childhood in his eyes.

Later in life, when Dana found out that “hard sauce” was “frosting,” plum pudding became much more tolerable. One year I wanted to make soft hanging ornaments for my friends, so I asked him to draw me some holiday-like shapes. Guess what issued from his pencil… a fat plum pudding, replete with dripping hard sauce!


When I pulled together my book of holiday designs, I made sure to include that plum pudding! Here’s my version, hand appliquéd on a patched background.

Until next time,
Kay

I have a book of designs called A Merry Little Christmas to Appliqué that’s filled with festive designs in incremental sizes that play nicely together. Since it’s now a week until Merry Merry Day, I’ve decided to post a bunch of those Christmassy appliqué quilts between now and then.

Pam Crooks made a beautiful repeating poinsettias quilt using rich batiks. When she was planning this project, she emailed and asked how I felt about fuchsia. I replied, “Gotta love the fuchsia!” so this elegant wall quilt was born.

Karen Garret made an apron to wear at holiday time and decorated it with the same poinsettia pattern. She did a neat stylizing thing with it, and added sew-on decors. There wasn’t room in the book to show the whole apron, so we just showed the poinsettia.

Until next time,
Kay

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