You are currently browsing the monthly archive for February 2008.

perfect for a cold, rainy day


Who knew that a few ounces of milk, some steam , some coffee, the right grind and pressure could make a perfect pick-me-up. . .

 Did I mention I LOVE my espresso machine?

Back to work


It is raining again, so it is gloomy outside.

Only one way to fight the gloom outside, work on my new quilt design. Inside, the sun shines. . .

 Quilt by Karen Combs

After I had the blocks on the design wall, I started on the background. I played with different ideas for the side corner pieces. Nothing seemed right until I got out the color wheel.


Since my blocks are blue and yellow, I looked at several options.  I could use analogous colors or I could use color compliments. I decided to use the compliment of Yellow, which is purple.

My Shade Cascade™ fabric line has a beautiful purple, PANSY.

BTR-4850 Shade Cascade by Karen Combs

I decided to try it. Perfect!

To increase interest in outer edges of the quilt and extend the gradated theme of the quilt, I decided to gradate the border. I used the light, medium, medium-dark and dark around the edges of the quilt.

Next step, decide whether to extend the border with more Pansy fabric. . .after that write and illustrate the pattern.

Each step, an adventure. . .

Most mornings that I am not traveling,  I walk our dog, Cocoa. This morning, I grabbed my new camera and shot some photos on our walk.

It is cold, but the sun was out and the little bit of snow we got yesterday has melted. I did spot some ice on the yard.


 Our winters in middle Tennessee are usually mild, with a few weeks of very cold weather in February and March. The past few days have been gloomy, cold and wet, it was good to see the sun this morning.

At the end of our street overlooks a valley. With the leaves off the trees, I spotted a new house on a near-by hill. It must have been built since last winter.


On Tuesday, I posted the view from our hillside on a gray winter day. This morning, the photo looks in a different direction with the sun shining.

 Tennessee in winter

The hills in the distance are 15-20 miles away. On a clear day, I can see some of the houses on the distance hills. As I got to our back porch, I found the cold weather had done a number on my potted herbs. First of all, I’m shocked the rosemary has wintered over. It is beautiful and green. However, the pot is shot. As soon as we get some warm weather, I’ll re-pot it.


I love the design that has been revealed under the glaze.  .  .hmmm, I need to remember that for future quilting designs.

I’ve had the same digital camera for years. It does a good job, but it is big, bulky and I have to share it with my husband. It is time to get a new camera, so I headed over to Electrics Express to look over the selection.

I’m easy to please, I just wanted a digital camera that was small, easy to use, lots of features and didn’t cost an arm and a leg. After lookingthem over, I decided on the Casio Exilim Ex-Z75. It fit the bill, is pink(!) and had a case.

Casio EX-Z75Why is pink important? First of all, and most importantly, it helps support Breast Cancer research. Secondly, it is pink and Rick took one look at it and said, “I won’t be borrowing that.”  Nuff said. . .

I brought it home and opened the box. Lots of cords and manuals. After laying everything out, the next thing I did was to rid out all the other languages from the manual.

Wow, after removing the French, Spanish, Dutch, Italian, Japanese, etc from the manual, it only has 14 pages! That makes it easier to read and take with me, if I need to.


Now, forget the manual, on to the “quick start” manual. Yup, had to get out my reading glasses.  HATE IT!  Have to find these blasted glasses whenever I read now.  Getting older isn’t for wimps!


Walk through each step, (I feel so accomplished!) and learn the camera. It looks pretty easy. .  .  .

We moved to Tennessee from Michigan 18 years ago. While I love Michigan summers, the winters can be brutal!

 Here in Tennessee, we do have winter, but we seldom have snow. Mostly we have cold, gloomy, rainy days with a few “teaser” warm days thrown in for good measure.

The past few weeks have been cold and gloomy. We live on a hill and have a beautiful view of the rolling hills, farms and countryside. Today, I decided to walk up the hill and take a photo of the landscape. Even gray and gloomy can be beautiful. . .

Gray winter day in Tennessee



I long for the sun. I know spring is around the corner for us, BUT I really want some sun!

Several days ago, I decided to bring the sun to me. One of my new fabric collections called Shade Cascade™. I love this fabric! It has a light, two mediums and a dark all on one fabric. I have 4 values of each color all within one fabric. Did I mention, I love it!



Shade Cascade - Glow


I decided to play with two colors, the blue (SKY) and the golden yellow (GLOW.) These colors are exactly the colors I saw on my visits to sunnier places. Glow looks like a beam of sunshine. I decided, if I can’t have them outside, I’ll create them myself.

I fired up EQ6 and started playing with a Log Cabin block. By shading each block from light to dark, it creates a movement, an inner light and a suggestion of depth.  After playing with different settings and color combinations, I came up with one I loved.

These blocks are fast and it only took a few days to cut them out and sew them into blocks. I have most of them on my design wall and love what I see.



I’m still playing with it, but I feel better already.  .  .with the sun shining in my sewing studio!


Okay, I admit. I’m in love with my Roomba!  This little guy lifts an amazing amount of dirt, dust, pet hair, crumbs and other stuff from carpet and hard wood floors.

Why do I love him? (Notice it is a HE??  No name, but it is a he.  Don’t ask why!)  While I am setting up this blog, he is in my kitchen cleaning the floor. Got to love it!


Alright, I confess! I’ve had a blog for almost a year, but have finally taken the plunge – this is my first post!

I’m still learning how to upload photos, change fonts and make this blog my own. I know it will get easier and I look forward to sharing my quilts, designs, thoughts and adventures with you.

 Here goes – my first baby step!

Karen Combs is a internationally known quilt teacher, author and fabric designer. Visit her web site at

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