A guest post from Master Categorizor: Karl Kramer

Dear Blogging World,


My name is Karl Kramer, and I am Jo’s son. I like Pina Coladas, long walks on the beach, and getting caught in the rain, amongst many other activities such as playing the guitar, Xbox, studying Spanish, and absorbing as much Spanish culture as I can, although ‘absorbing’ is really just a fancy way of saying that I eat a lot of Mexican food and enjoy a good Margarita every now and then. I’m single (take note) and so I’m not usually written about in this blog, given the fact that EVERYONE IS GETTING MARRIED, but my extraordinary conquests are usually written about in song, legend, and blog posts like  this one.

I know, blog reader and quilt master extraordinaire, it may seem odd that I’m posting here, but I promise, there is a reason. Every time that I have more than three days without work, school, or adventure, I’m usually at home, helping out and doing whatever because my mom is so awesome and I have to repay said awesomeness by doing lots of house cleaning, manual labor, and menial blog work.

For example, over the past two years, I have went through all 2,401 blog posts and categorized them into various things, for the convenience of you, quilt master extraordinaire. Let’s say you want to know everything there is to know about the new house Mom bought. All you have to do is search for the category, “New House” and its all there. Do you love that barking ball of awesomeness Roobers Doobers? Search, “Our Beagle Ruby.” Pretty awesome and convenient right? You’re welcome.

This break, I’ve added several new categories, including, Fantastic Food Finds, Feeding a Farmer, Ask Jo, New House, Dogs Dogs Dogs, UFO Quilting, Weddings Weddings Weddings, and Where We’re Published. I added the Fantastic Food Finds and Feeding a Farmer under the Cooking category, so that it is all nice and accessible-like for you, as well.

So, after you’re done saving the world or quilting (HA! they say, one is NEVER done quilting!) then log on, and check out the categories feature of this blog.

Also, be ready, because tomorrow, we’ll have the new ‘Quilts of 2013’ page up and ready, featuring ALL of the quilts that Mom has made in the past year (although, you could filter a search to just include the ‘Finished Projects’ category, too!)

Stay Beautiful,

Karl Kramer



Taking Care of Me: Growing Old Gracefully

As some of you know, I teach continuing education classes for child care providers through Child Care Resource and Referral.  My favorite classes are a series called Child Net – a 10 week series that focuses on how to deal with parents and kids, how to layout your home for better usage, activities for kids, health for kids and food for kids.  The last night is all about taking care of you.  I love this night.  It is my favorite of the whole bunch. The premise of the class is to point out to the participants that if we don’t take care of ourselves it really doesn’t matter what we’ve learned because we won’t be able to put what we’ve learned into action.  This is a very hard concept for childcare providers.  They are givers and will give and give and give until their well is empty and are actually hurting themselves by giving too much.  This is true of many community worker jobs as well. Living my day-to-day life, I try to remember that for myself…”If I don’t take care of myself, I can’t put what I learn or want to do into action”.  I want to grow old in a healthy way, be that of mind, body, or spirit.  I have found myself saying this many times to my husband: I’ve been trying to be more conscious of growing old gracefully, but with life’s ups and downs it can be hard sometimes, so I am celebrating little things that I am doing. Celebration #1- I had my annual mammogram.  Yep-annual for me is sometimes 15 months apart rather than yearly but I got it done. Celebration #2- I have gotten back into the habit of eating breakfast. Ruby Celebration #3- I am spending more time with Ruby.  When I was so busy a couple of months ago, my Ruby time got nipped a bit.  Now I am working on getting out with walking with her or even just playing fetch with her.  Being outdoors is good for me and watching her run, play, and romp just makes my heart happy. Ruby-2 Celebration #4- I’ve developed an “attitude of gratitude”.  All month long on the blog, I’ve taken the time to write one thing each day that I am thankful for.  WOW..that has really been good for me.  I’ve bypassed lots of the yuck and just found the good.  I hope to continue that…not on the blog but for me personally. Featherweight-2 Celebration #5- I am taking time to do a few crafty things for me.  Purchasing the cross stitching kit the other day was just what I needed…something for me.  Working on the Bonnie Challenge and sewing my UFO’s. That’s me time sewing and I need that to keep me charged up and wanting to do the deadline quilting.  Often times it’s just for 20 minutes a day but 20 minutes is good. Too often we humans think that to be healthy we need to lose weight, have perfect cholesterol, run marathons, eat perfectly and go to the gym regularly.  Although those things are grand and great for some people, most of us don’t or can’t do them.  I have bad cholesterol in my family and while I manage it with my doctor, there’s little I can do it to change it completely.  I can, however, do small things to improve my health:  Get my mammogram, eat breakfast, hang out with Ruby, keep my “attitude of gratitude” and do some craft things for me.  All of that will help me feel more relaxed and happy… that’s taking care of me. What are you doing in your life to take care of you so you can grow old gracefully??  What small things are you celebrating??

  • Get Old is an initiative developed by Pfizer  to challenge people of all ages to rethink what it means to Get Old and take a more active role in their health and quality of life at every age.  Whether it’s through watching what you eat, physical exercise, spending time with family and friends or participating in an activity you’re passionate about — each of us has the power to decide for ourselves how we want to Get Old. It’s not just about living longer, but living better.



I am participating in a sponsored campaign hosted by Pfizer and Get Old. I received compensation for this post. All opinions stated are my own. 


Charity Quilts: Practicing with New Toys

I love working on charity quilts for so many reasons.  I like helping others who want to clean up UFO quilt tops.  I like helping people who are disaster victims.  I like helping people who are organizing relief.  BUT…I’ll admit.  I like machine quilting on my long arm and I like practicing on quilts  I always figure that someone who is truly in need doesn’t mind if I experiment with a different batting-or thread-or new quilting design.  The quilts are still fine when I am done with them but definitely not show quilts.

My newest toy that I am experimenting with is a little template to make a clam shell (and other) designs.


I have to put my base plate on the machine when I use the tool.  Then I just position it which is easy to do and run the machine along the arch.  It has taken a bit of practice to hole the template in place yet not hold it down too hard so that the machine can still move.


Then I just reposition the template and go over the arch again.  It isn’t hard but of course harder than a simple stipple.


It wasn’t the ideal design for this quilt but it’s allowed me to practice and I am sure the recipient will be happy with it.  If I can get this bound in time, this quilt is heading out to an elderly shut in the area.

Although it’s wonderful to help out others, sometimes it’s nice to know a charity quilt is staying here close to home.

Check out the Kaplan sponsored post here.

What I’m Reading: Fly Away

I just finished up the book Fly Away by Kristin Hannah.

I’ve read a couple other books by her and have enjoyed all of them.  This was no different…I enjoyed this book too.

The author is great at weaving the story lines of several different characters all together to create one unified story.  There are honestly about four stories going on all at once.  I typically am not a fan of books that talk about after life but this one did a good job.

Here’s what Amazon had to say, “Tully Hart has always been larger than life, a woman fueled by big dreams and driven by memories of a painful past. She thinks she can overcome anything until her best friend, Kate Ryan, dies. Tully tries to fulfill her deathbed promise to Kate—to be there for Kate’s children—but Tully knows nothing about family or motherhood or taking care of people.

Sixteen-year-old Marah Ryan is devastated by her mother’s death. Her father, Johnny, strives to hold the family together, but even with his best efforts, Marah becomes unreachable in her grief. Nothing and no one seems to matter to her . . . until she falls in love with a young man who makes her smile again and leads her into his dangerous, shadowy world.

Dorothy Hart—the woman who once called herself Cloud—is at the center of Tully’s tragic past. She repeatedly abandoned her daughter, Tully, as a child, but now she comes back, drawn to her daughter’s side at a time when Tully is most alone. At long last, Dorothy must face her darkest fear: Only by revealing the ugly secrets of her past can she hope to become the mother her daughter needs.

A single, tragic choice and a middle-of-the-night phone call will bring these women together and set them on a poignant, powerful journey of redemption. Each has lost her way, and they will need each one another—and maybe a miracle—to transform their lives.

An emotionally complex, heart-wrenching novel about love, motherhood, loss, and new beginnings, Fly Away reminds us that where there is life, there is hope, and where there is love, there is forgiveness. Told with her trademark powerful storytelling and illuminating prose, Kristin Hannah reveals why she is one of the most beloved writers of our day.”

After getting that quote from Amazon I found out that this book is actually a sequel.  I had no idea when I read it that it was a continuation of a story.  I do know one thing…I am heading over to the online library to see if they have the audio book.

Check out the Kaplan sponsored post here.

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