Steve’s Sewing and Vacuums and Book Review

January 30th, 2017

Recently, I had the great, good fortune to teach at Steve’s Sewing and Vacuums in King of Prussia, PA.  If you have never been to the store, it is worth your time to make the trip.


One of the employees I spent time with was Lou.  She is the marketing director.  As I have mentioned in previous blog posts, I really like working with organized people and Lou is one of those.  She helped to make my trip easy and relaxed.


I also did a lot of correspondence with Liz.  Another bright smiling face in the store.  And, check out all the sewing machine accessories behind Liz.  One very well stocked store.


In addition to selling sewing machines, and so much more, Steve’s carries some appliances.  This actually benefits the students, teachers and employees as Steve had lunch brought in for everyone.  Very nice.


Then you see Karen’s bright smiling face as she stands in my favorite part of the store….the fabric.  The shop has a very nice selection of fabric and notions for quilters. Good news for me….fabric was on sale while I was there.  Guess what?  I did make some purchases…..


And then, of course, there is Steve.  Apparently crowned king/queen/princess of the day, he demonstrates at the machine while wearing his tiara. Love people who have a sense of humor.

It would appear that they are all having a fun time in the store.



As I’m preparing a lot of applique edges for a new block, I listened to the Lisa Scottoline book, “Most Wanted”.  It was great to keep my mind occupied while I was preparing edges, as this is a very mindless job.  But, preparing the edge…….worth every minute.  The book is about a young couple, Christine and Marcus who cannot get pregnant and decide to use a donor.  The donor’s name is unknown but they have seen his picture and know some background.  During Christine’s baby shower, the TV is on in the background and Christine sees someone who looks like their donor and he is accused of being a serial murderer.  I was intrigued as I listened to the story unfold.

Best Dog Ever, Students’ Work and Book Review

January 24th, 2017

Our dear Sasha passed away this week.  She was three weeks shy of her 18th birthday. Almost 18 years ago, when we went to pick a puppy at the breeder, our Vet advised us not to pick the feistiest puppy or the shiest puppy in the group.  But, when we visited and saw the five puppies , one little girl sat shaking in the corner of the sofa. I picked the shiest and we named her Sasha.  Best decision ever!  So glad I did not take the advice of the vet. Below is a photo of  Joe the day we brought her home.  Who could resist that face….Joe’s and Sasha’s.


She was the BEST:  Whether fishing with Joe…



or helping me pick fabric!



Congratulating me on finishing my first marathon….



and putting up with her little sister. What a great puppy.



Sasha had a wonderful life. RIP sweet girl.  You will be missed terribly.



On to good news.  Many of you hear me talk about my friend, Frank Senft.  He turned 98 this week.  Happy Birthday, Frank.





I just got back from teaching at Steve’s Sewing, Quilting and Vacuum in King of Prussia….more on Steve’s later….  Fay Ann Grider brought a project she made in class with me a long time ago.  Fay Ann and I are not talking about how long ago.  Here is a photo of Fay Ann with her finished, “Pineapple Log Cabin”.  Great job, Fay Ann.


And, in my email I received a note from Anne King.  She took my Fiesta Mexico-Block Three class with the York Quilters Guild in the spring.  She finished her border very differently than mine.  I really like your border Anne.  And the addition of the covered cording is very nice.  Thanks so much for sharing your photo.




Stephanie Plum and her side kick, Lulu, are at it again: bounty hunting and undercover work. People are being murdered at a local ice cream factory and the girls need to go undercover. And, free ice cream for all. Grandma Mazer is in love again. This time to an octogenarian biker who likes to take her for rides on and off his motorcycle. Could not stop laughing through the entire book. Bravo Janet Evanovich and thanks for the memories.

Sayre/Athens, PA, Students’ Work and Book Review

January 15th, 2017

The first week of 2017 was a wonderful driving trip from Carlisle PA to the Endless Mountain Quilt Guild in Sayre, PA. I was a little worried because driving north in Pennsylvania in January usually means cold, snow and ice, but we were lucky and the temperatures soared into the 50s.

The Endless Mountain Quilt Guild is very active and my contact person Linda was great. Here is a shot of the group.  To learn more visit their website at

Two ladies from the guild brought finished projects from classes they had taken prior to this visit.

Here is Charlotte Stevens with her finished Garden Medley, very nice!



And here is Mary Ann Cleary with here finished Kansas Rose project. Wonderful.



While I was teaching Joe drove out into the countryside and came upon this open field. He said there were four cars stopped and taking photos. See the white dot in the center upper left.


A close-up


It was an arctic owl which came to freezing cold Pennsylvania for the winter. Joe had seen an article in the local paper and drove an hour through the back-roads of Bradford County until he found it.

On our drive home we came upon Stonestown Covered Bridge. It was built in 1850 by Sadler S. Rodgers, and was magical.



Shrouded in mist.



A front view.



And of course we had to drive through it.





I am a Nicholas Sparks fan.  I think I have read every book that he has written.  I know I’ve said this before when writing reviews on his books…..I really like that he takes a limited number of characters and really develops those characters.

Russel Green is in his early thirties, lives in Charlotte, NC with his beautiful wife and 6 year old daughter.  He’s working as a very successful advertising executive.  He decides to start his own business and his life drastically changes.  Because his business is very slow to start his wife goes back to work and he takes on the “stay at home” dad role.  He’s lucky to have his parents and only sister also living in the Charlotte area.  As always with Nicholas Sparks, you might need a tissue or two……

Until next week



The Beach, New Year, Book Review and Students’ Work

January 3rd, 2017

The  Outer Banks for Christmas

The hustle and bustle of the holiday season is placed on hold at the Outer Banks of North Carolina.

We left the ice storm which hit the east coast the week before Christmas and arrived in Corolla to 72 degrees and sunny. Ahh, life is good.

Great sun rises



and sunsets all week.



And……… lots of relaxing! I spent the week sewing and reading. I did not have to do my hair or makeup for an entire week.  Awesome.

We returned home on Christmas Day to a wonderful gift: The Pittsburgh Steelers making it to the playoffs!




Book Review

On our drive to and from the beach, we listened to Lee Childs’ newest “Jack Reacher” book, Night School.


This prequel is set in late 1990s and Reacher is a major in the Army. He has just been awarded a Legion of Merit Medal and receives orders to attend an advanced training school but is given no time limit. When he arrives for his classes, he finds an FBI agent and a CIA operative, both who had recently received special recognition, his only “classmates.” The instructor turns out to be the President’s National Security Advisor and his deputy.  The class is advised that a terrorist group is about to pay 100 million dollars for something from an unknown American. Class assignment: find out who is selling what for 100 million and why. Jack Reacher is up to the task and if he has to kick a little butt to find answers, let’s just say he opens a few cans of whoop-ass. Thank you Lee Childs for another great book.

Students’ Work

Estelle Frederick and her mother, Olivia Wiley, took my “Garden Medley” workshop in November with Everybody’s Quilt Guild in Westminster, Md. Here is Estelle’s finished project. Good Job!


And, here is Olivia, her mother’s, finished project. Like mother like daughter! Good job, Olivia!



Cheers to a great year of health, happiness, prosperity and quilting to all!!!

A How-to on my Knife Edge Finish and Book Review

December 16th, 2016


I have been working on some wall quilt projects. I started playing with a knife edge finish and really like the results.  This is great for projects that don’t get a lot of wear.  As I was putting the knife edge finish on this little class sample, “Ornaments”, I decided to take some photos along the way.

(You can also find a printable version of these instructions on the website by clicking on the “Free Tutorials” Tab at the top of the page.)

Start by squaring your project so the backing, batting and top are all trimmed to the same size. I use my Karen Kay Buckley’s Perfect Adjustable Square(TM). I build the acrylic pieces to the finished size plus seam allowance so trimming is accurate and a breeze. And, don’t let the name fool you, it can be built to rectangular sizes, too.

All layers (batting, backing and top) trimmed around the outside.

  1.  Cut two strips 2″ wide and a little longer than the top and bottom measurement of your quilt. Press 1/4″ seam allowance along one side of each strip. Press this to the back of the fabric.

TIP: For an accurate 1/4″, mark a line 1/2″ from the raw edge and fold the raw edge to the 1/2″ line and press.


2″ wide strip with 1/4″ seam pressed to the back.

2. Place these strips right sides together along the raw edge, pin and sew a 1/4″ seam allowance. The pressed edge, from the step above, will be in towards the quilt.


3. First, press these strips, using steam. Press them flat and trip any excess along the outside edges.

Excess trimmed after pressing

4.  For the second pressing step, pull the strip towards the back and steam iron so the strip is not visible on the right side of your project. Ideally, I like the seam right on the edge or just slightly towards the back.

Strip Steam pressed over back.

5.   This might sound crazy, but, your next step is to fold those strips back to where you started, on the right side of the quilt. Pin them in place so they are nice and flat. (No pressing at this step.)

Strip pulled onto the front and pinned.


Make sure the ends are pinned flat and even with the top.

View from the front with both strips pinned.

6.  Now, we are ready for the side strips. Cut two strips 2″ wide by about 1″ shorter than the side. (This might sound odd but…keep reading.) Press 1/4″ seam along one side, following the previous directions in step #1 above. Center and pin these strips, even with the raw edge of your project. They will be shorter than your finished project.

Arrows indicate where strips end.


A close-up of this step.


7.  Sew these strips all the way to the raw edge. Then, sew across the corner and trim the corner.



8.  Press these strips the same as in steps #3 and #4 above. First, press flat and then fold and steam press over the edge.

View from the back with side strips steamed in place.


View from the side.

Pin the two side strips and applique along your 1/4″ pressed seam.

9.  After the side strips are appliqued, fold the top and bottom strips to the back. I used a tool called a “point turner” to push the corners out. I’m sure you can find something in your sewing box for this purpose.  After the points are pushed out, pin and applique the folded edge. Give it a good steam press around the outside after the applique is finished.

And, here it is pressed and ready to hang.

I hope you enjoy the process as much as I do!

Copyright 2016 Karen Kay Buckley


I just finished reading Jodi Picoult’s new book called “Small Great Things”.  I loved it.  It held my interest from beginning to end.  I have read every one of Jodi Picoult’s books and I was happy this one did not let me down. (Laura, thanks for reminding me to read this.)

The main character in the book, Ruth Jefferson, is a labor and delivery nurse.  She’s been employed at the same hospital in Connecticut for 20 years.  Ruth loves her job.  During a shift, she’s checking on a newborn while the parents are watching.  Ruth senses something is wrong because of the way the parents are looking at her.  She soon finds out they have requested she not touch their child….they are white supremacists and Ruth is a women of color.  The story takes some interesting turns.  This is a must read.

Until next week……


First Snow and Book Review

December 13th, 2016

We are so lucky to be home for the next few months with our aging puppies – Tillie 16 and Sasha soon to be 18. Yesterday, we had our first snow of the season.

Sasha was not impressed.


But Joe and I were, so we took off for a hike along the LeTort stream which flows behind our home.


Here are a few things we saw:

Look, there goes a big brown trout into the water cress.


The head waters are so pretty where the spring bubbles up from the ground.



The abandoned spring house is always a photo op no matter the season.



Jenny Wren was singing….



As were the Blues Brothers, get it?



Today the snow is gone, the temperatures are up and I am going to spend the next four weeks sewing on a new project. Best Christmas present ever. Happy Holidays to all my friends and quilting buddies.



I am a Tim Tebow fan.  I love people that have such conviction in their lives and don’t allow the bad stuff to define them.  His dedication to everything he does is impressive.  He was a high school football star, Heisman trophy winner and then went on to play with the Broncos, Jets and Patriots.  His parents must be so proud of him and his accomplishments.  His parents were missionaries and he was raised with a very strong Christian upbringing and it has served him well.  Keep paying it forward Tim Tebow.  Love you, your spirit and your book.



And Even More From the IQA Show and Student’s Work

December 5th, 2016

There were so many incredible quilts in Houston and I took tons of photos.  Here are a few more for you to enjoy.

“A Time for Lime” was made by Karen Grover from Rockford, Ill.  To find out more about Karen visit her website

I liked the combination of piecing and applique.



I am a sucker for a quilt using lime green.  I love lime green.



And who doesn’t like a quilt with a lot of perfect circles!



“Lifetime Partners” was made by Barbara McKie from Lyme, Conn.  To see more of Barbara’s work visit her site at



“’57’ Chevy” was made by Victoria Rondeau from Ormand Beach, Florida



“Spot On” was made by Karen K. Stone from Southlake, Texas.  Another great combination of piecing and applique.



“Splash” was made by Susan Ennis and Ginny Eckley of Humble, Texas.  Oh, this quilt just made me happy.











I just received an email from Bonnie Fowler from the guild where I taught this fall in Kerrville, Texas.  Bonnie is sharing her finished project from our “Kansas Rose” workshop.  This is the most prolific guild I have ever worked with.  I have never had this many students send me photos of their finished blocks.  I love this.  Good job, Bonnie.



Until next week.

More Houston IQA Show, Tampa and Book Review

November 26th, 2016

I hope everyone had a relaxing Thanksgiving. We had a wonderful time with friends and ate way too much!

I had a quick trip to Tampa last week and taught for two guilds, Cypress Creek Quilt Guild and Quilter’s  Workshop of Tampa Bay. One of my comments….It’s always good to be  asked back to a guild because I know I did a good job the first time.  In this case I was back to both guilds….Cypress Creek for the third time!  Both guilds had fantastic members but I forgot to take photos. While I was teaching Joe did take a picture of our hotel restaurant. Ahhh! I did not want to leave.  It was my last day to wear sandals for a while….too cold here in Pennsylvania for sandals.



More quilts from the Houston Show:

“After the Storm” by Ruth Powers of Cabondale, Kansas won first place in the Art-Naturescape category. To learn more about Ruth and her work visit her website at


a close-up




“Spring of the Watery Palace” was a ribbon winner in the Art-Pictorial Category.  This wonderful piece by Jin Dong of Qingdao, Shandong, China may have been the largest quilts in the judged show.



a close-up



I enjoy every quilt made by husband and wife team, Hiroko Miyama and Masanobu Miyama,  of Chofu City, Tokyo, Japan. “Lazy Afternoon” was no exception. It was also a ribbon winner in the Art-Pictorial category. To see more of their work visit their website



Look at their masterful use of thread and fabric.



“Mayan Journey” by Judith Roderick from Placitas, New Mexico was another large and beautifully embellished quilt. Read more about Judith and her methods at



Look at all the great buttons.



“Esperanza” by Jennifer Day of Santa Fe, New Mexico is magnificent. This digital imagery piece had 86 different colors of thread. Wow.


a close-up



To see more of her work and a list of her classes visit Jennifer’s website


As many of you know, last year I had an artificial value placed in my heart and a cow gave its life so mine would continue. Thus, I feel a kindred spirit with cows.

“GMO?” by Suzan Engler of Panorama Village, Texas won first place in the Digital Imagery category. This piece was for sale and I so wanted it to be hanging in my home but waited too long. Find out more about Suzan and her work by visiting





“Little by Little”  by Ximo Navarro Sierra of Canals, Valencia, Spain was a ribbon winner in the Merit Quilting Machine-Stationary category. This Spanish quilter had two great quilts in the show and both were awarded ribbons. Fantastic! All the light color is not fabric, but the quilting on a dark, solid piece of fabric!





The work of Susan Bleiweiss of Peperell, Massachusetts brings a smile to my face. Here is one of her newest works “Tutti Frutti Whimsy Way.”


blog-9aTo see more great quilts from Susan visit her site at


“Jacobean Duet” by Paula Doyle of Staines-upon-Thames, England, United Kingdom was inspired by an 1810 piece exhibited in the Metropolitan Museum of Art.









The Houston Show is truly an International Show by quilters from all reaches of the globe. I am so happy to be part of such a great group of ladies and gentlemen.



18722887Thank you to the person who highly recommended I read “Little Mercies” by Heather Gudenkauf.  It was a really good read.  Ellen Moore is one of the main characters.  She is a long time social worker with a very active family which includes her husband and three children.    A distraction one day changes everything.  The other main character is Jenny Braird who lives with her irresponsible father.  Very good book.  I would give it five stars*****


International Quilt Festival Houston

November 13th, 2016

I spent last week teaching at the International Quilt Festival in Houston and attending one of the best quilt shows ever! I was so happy that Cynthia England and her quilt “Reflections of Cape Town” won BEST OF SHOW.



This masterpiece had over 8,000 pieces of fabric. You rock Cynthia!!



This is not painted.  A gazillion little pieces of fabric were used to create this masterpiece.  To find out more about Cynthia and her techniques visit her site



Kathy McNeil’s quilt is entitled “You and Me”.  Another beautiful quilt from Kathy.


To find out more about Kathy visit her site



Lenore Crawford’s wonderful piece “Spanish Arches” made me think I was traveling in Europe. Her depth perspective and use of fabric painting and applique are spot on.  To find out more about Lenore visit her site



Debbie Lohman and Donna Lohman of Mechanicsburg, PA (members of my local quilt guild) had two quilts in the show. Way to represent ladies!!

Here is their work “The Doctor’s Wife”.  It is based on an antique quilt.



A close-up of Debbie’s quilting.



And a close-up of Donna and Debbie.

blog-4bDonna and Debbie assisted me at Festival and were a tremendous help. Thanks you, thank you!


Hollis Chatelain won second place in the  “Art-Painted Surface” category for ” Compassion.” When it was announced that this piece had won a second place ribbon, Joe said he was calling the Houston Police Department and reporting that Hollis had been robbed.


Wow!  To find out more about Hollis visit her site



The “King on His Throne” was created by Nancy Sterett Martin.


To find out more about Nancy visit her site



The work of Aki Sakai of  Japan always brings a smile to my face and her work is incredible! This miniature piece “Merry Christmas” was in a special exhibit of holiday themed quilts.


The attention to detail is so impressive.







During last year’s Houston Quilt Festival, Melissa Labella of the show’s education department was a student in my class “Circular Garden”. Her finished project hung in the education/teacher’s room all week for us to enjoy. Great job!



Two students from my Kansas Rose Workshop sent me photos of their blocks.  Both of these students attended my very recent classes in Kerrville, Texas.   Nice work ladies. And, quick turn around!

Debbie Fetech sent this one.


And, this was sent by Donna Scofield.


Until next week.

More From Texas, Students Work and Book Review

October 31st, 2016

I missed a photo that I intended to share in my previous blog.  This was taken on our early morning walk across the river from Baylor University in Waco, Texas.



We left Waco and headed to Fredericksburg in the Hill country to teach and lecture for the Vereins Quilt Guild.  To find out more about the guild go to



What a great town with some fantastic shops and restaurants.  As we were driving around, we saw a field with thousands of butterflies. We, of course, stopped for a few photos.





We headed to Kerrville and the Hill Country Quilt Guild. Sue, my contact, was a blessing. What a great guild. Here are some of the ladies busy in class.



The Kerrville area  is another great place for restaurants. And, maybe, one of the nicest quilt shops in the world!



When I die, I want to go to Creations. The shop and the quilting retreat next door are amazing. Their displays, products, fabric selection and employees are simply the BEST.






I think some of the greatest quilt shops are in Texas!


We were driving down a dirt road, yes, Joe does loves to explore and came upon some longhorns.



What magnificent animals.


New York may be for Lovers, or is it Virginia??? Not sure,  but Texas is for Quilters and I’ll be headed to Houston tomorrow for another week in the Lone Star State. Yippee!!!


Students’ Work

Karen Ishii from the Faithful Circles Quilt Guild in Downers Grove, IL sent me these pictures.  After taking my Fiesta Mexico-Block Three workshop, Karen finished her block and then adapted Block Eleven from the Fiesta Mexico pattern, as well.  Way to go Karen.  I love it when students share photos.





Great job Karen!



On audio, I recently finished Daniel Silva’s book “The English Girl”.  This is book #13 in the Gabriel Allon series.  I don’t think you have to read the previous books to enjoy this one.  Allon, a former Massad agent, is enlisted by MI6 to find a missing British girl. The girl is the Prime Minister’s mistress.  Allon has an interesting background as an art restorer and a spy.  He convinces an old friend/enemy to assist him in finding the young lady and also bring justice to an ever changing series of twists and turns.  Love Daniel Silva’s writing style and his ability to keep you guessing until the very end.

Until next week…..