You are currently browsing the monthly archive for December 2008.

Several months again,  Lisa Swenson Ruble, managing editor of QUILT magazine contacted me. She wanted to feature me in an upcoming issue as their SPOTLIGHT ON DESIGNERS.

Needless to say, I was honored and could not wait to be interviewed by her.  We had a wonderful interview and I was able to thank her in person at Fall Quilt Market.

The feature is out now, in the February/March 2009 issue of QUILT magazine!

  QUILT magazine


Just back from Panama, where it was beautiful weather.  .  . hot, sunny days, with balmy nights. . .

Back to reality! The weather in Tennessee has been a mixed bag! Two days of solid rain, a lovely 37 degrees. Don’t you just love the combination of cold and rain?? 

Well, by nightfall, the rain turned to ice, sleet and snow.


By morning, we had 6″ of snow, very unusual for our part of Tennessee.



Since our subdivision is build on a hillside, many of the neighbors parked their cars at the bottom of their driveways.


The design of the snow on our birch trees was gorgeous!


By afternoon, the clouds disappeared, the colors of the blue sky, white snow and black tree trunks was inspiring. I love the sense of perspective with the trees, as they disappear into the distance.


We have returned from Panama. It was a good trip!

After flying all day, we arrived after 1am and needed to meet the next morning at 7am. Needless to say, the sleep was quick and we did not take any photos until the next morning.

Up early to get some breakfast and meet our team. The hotel has a beautiful pool/garden area.

Panama hotel

Panama is a lush country. Everywhere you look is vegetation.  If we look carefully, we will see banana and other fruit trees. While in Panama, we enjoyed fresh fruit unlike anything we have ever tasted. It was wonderful!

Panama garden

While meeting our team in the lobby, I noticed a beautiful Christmas tree. The decorations were gorgeous.








 The tree was covered in lights, ribbons and huge flowers.
















Once our team was together, we went to the Bible School of the Americas to pick up all the children and their families for a Christmas Shopping Spree. Money had been collected by the Forest Park church of Christ and everyone at the school was treated. All the children were allowed to select their own gift and a give to exchange. We went along to help with the 50+ children.

Here is part of the group, getting on the bus.








 We followed the bus to a large store, similar to an American Wal-Mart Super Center.  “We aren’t in Kansas anymore Toto” Outside the store is an armed guard.









The childrend were so excited and so well behaved. All of them were very thoughtful as they selected their gift and the gift for their gift exchange.





After spending several hours selecting their gifts, we all waited outside the store for the bus. Everyone is a little worn out from the morning!


Back on the bus and back to the Bible School of the America’s compound. Everyone at the school has worked so hard to make the school and it’s grounds look beautiful.




From the grounds of the school, I could see the skyline of Panama City.


Once at the school, one of the children wanted to show me their pet rabbit.


The rabbit was being a bit shy, but we did manage to get a good photo.


They also had some beautiful chickens. . . however, these are not pets, but for food.



Panama is a beautiful country, with lush jungles and mountains. It is also a country of contrasts; the contrast of “have” and have-not”.



Back at the hotel, we saw some people in traditional Panamanian costume. Simply beautiful!


The embroidery looked similar to 16th Century Black work.


All our days in Panama were very busy. While there, we attended the graduation of the Bible School of Americas. 10 students from across Central and South America graduated. Many of their family members attended.


Some of the people attend the graduation were from the School of the America’s in the San Blas island. The Kuna indians live on the San Blas island and the women always dress in Mola’s, batik type skirt and beads on their calves and arms.



After enjoying the graduation, we were back to the hotel for a quick night’s sleep before an early morning flight back to the U.S.A.

This morning, Rick and I join several other couples for a trip to Panama.


We will be attending the graduation of the Bible School of the Americas. This is a work our church congregation has supported for years. We have been privileged to attend many times in the past 10 years.

While I’m gone, I’ll record my visit and post when I return home.

Off to the airport!

I love to travel, but I also love my time at home. I especially enjoy decorating our house for Christmas.

This weekend, I’ve been decorating with the help of our son Josh and my husband Rick. Each year we put a huge Christmas tree on our front porch. I move the furniture from the sitting area of the porch and we put the Christmas tree in that space.

porch - summer

Our front porch in the summer

It is quite a production! Rick and Josh have to wrestle the tree from the attic, downstairs, out the front door and onto the porch. One year we did not put up the tree and got lots of complaints from the neighbors! They love to see the tree on the porch and missed it. Okay, that settles it, we have to put it out every year. Wonder if we can get their help?

 Porch @ Christmas

Porch at Christmas

Some of the furniture gets moved out of the way and some of it is used. I like to make use of the love seat, decorated with a seasonal pillow, throw, rug and presents. Since our porch is open to the weather, I opt for a throw that I can wash, rather than a quilt!

Love seat

The “presents” are made of metal!


The mailbox is another fun place to decorate.

Mailbox @ Christmas

This year, I decorated it with fresh greens, bells, large Christmas ornaments and ribbons.

I like to put several small Christmas trees around the house and I also like to keep the decorations simple, yet elegant.


On the mantle, I used large glass vases filled with red and gold ornaments with a simple garland. A small tree sits next to the fire place.


The decroating does not have to be expensive. The ornaments, the tree and the garland are from Hobby Lobby. I watch for a sale and buy them at half price.


I didn’t neglect decorating the kitchen. A cookin’ Santa and tree decorate part of the counter.

christmas santa

I placed another small lit tree on the counter. I used one of my decorative pots from the porch and used it for the small tree. It brings some Christmas cheer to the kitchen.


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

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