Friday, June 28, 2019

Desire to Inspire - June Challenger - Meet Kara Benavides

Meet Kara Benavides- She took on the challenge of using "Snow Days” by Barb Tourtillotte in the month of June 2019.
My name is Kara Benavides and I accepted the June Desire to Inspire Challenge.  I had great fun working with these fabrics and hope you enjoy seeing what I came up with.  But first I am supposed to talk about me. 

I was born in Orlando, Florida; back when I-436 was still a 2-lane with sandy pull-offs.  We lived in an orange grove, next to a lake with alligators that came up on the lawn, occasionally.  My very active parents would water ski off the dock and then return by skiing up onto the sandy beach so that the gators wouldn’t bite.  I learned to ski the same way. 

Florida was fun, but my roots are back in Strawberry Plains, Tennessee and Griffin, Georgia.  My “Grandmommy” was an avid quilter.  None of us know when she found time though, as she worked as a sewer in a men’s suit factory, raised 3 kids and a huge vegetable garden every year, chickens and cows. And going through the fabric up in the attic with Grandmommy; that was the best of all. I got the bug from her. When Grandmommy and I went upstairs to “go pick out a few things”, the others soon learned that we might be gone a while.  I had Grandmommy all to myself with all that fabric that, really, only she and I wanted.  She gave me oodles of fabric pieces.  These scraggily bits were what enabled me to learn on my own how to sew.  My parents bought me an old sewing machine and a few tools.  Set me up in the basement and let me go.  And they encouraged me. 

I started by learning to sew a little doll quilt by hand.  I can still see the pink, blue, and flowered squares of polyester.  (Hey!  This is a waste not, want not family.)  That was when I was about 7-9 years old.  Once we moved to the polar north, (from tropical Florida to the middle of Michigan in December!  What were my parents thinking?) I started making my own clothes.  I remember the first tailored jacket I made.  My mom and I fought with those inset shoulders but could not get them smooth.  My grandmother was visiting (and bringing us warm blankets if I remember correctly) and helped get that black baby corduroy to behave.  I wore that for a long time.

My other grandmother knew how to sew also.  I can still remember her “turning the collar” on my dad’s dress shirts.  I have a “start” of a crazy quilt from her mother.  It is precious to me.

Skip ahead a few years.  While my friends were watching boys at the ball field, I was making huge stuffed bears out of faux fur and wrap around skirts and shirts with ruffles (the 80’s).  I wasn’t the only one who brought their sewing machine with them when I had to spend one semester of college at a hospital in Florida.  There was one other collegiate.  Then came the dark years – sarcasm, kind of.  I worked as an RN for several decades before all that outdoor activity (getting various diseases from tick bites and jammed vertebra and wobbly knees from other adventures) caught up with me.  Not much sewing time.  But I have proof, from all the scraps, of all the outfits I made for my kids.
Now is important.  I am kind of/not really getting used to the label of “disabled”.  I have hung up my stethoscope.  I put away my cougar mapping (almost a Biology major – that Organic Chemistry!).  And I have rediscovered my love for sewing.  And what I have discovered, is that it is the fabric that I love the most.  I love the feel, the way it is made, the colors, the designs, the SKUs.  I feel like I am going to die if I can’t find every SKU in a line.  And I love it.   I am “sewing up a storm,”  trying to get a bunch of quilts and other stuff made so that I can supplement our income and help pay back school loans. 

My grandmother knew how to use pieces from old clothes to make gorgeous quilts.  She also knew how to take new ideas and apply them.  She made me a quilt that was “done on the machine” back in the early 80’s.  It took me decades to realize that she wouldn’t mind if I did the same.  But I do like to quilt by hand too.  My last project, the log cabin quilt, is not complete yet.  I plan to do some “long stitch” quilting around the edges and do some emphasis quilting around the panel characters when my thumb decides to behave.
My mother helped me make the wall/door hanging. She says the “sewing gene” skipped a generation. But crafting together is something almost everyone in my family loves to do.  We take turns choosing what we Nothing is off the books.  There are some really interesting knitted cats out there.  And those crinkle paper angels, hmmm.  Hope you enjoy seeing the bowl cozies, the tray (my favorite, and easiest), the two-sided table topper, the wall/door hanger (needs some bells yet, and the stars and snow glitter glow in the dark), and the quilt with a high pile dusky blue fleece backing.  I have no idea when or why I bought that fleece.  But it looks great now.

Did I mention my grandmother?  She died from Alzheimer’s dx a number of years back.  It feels like yesterday.  Before she was no longer safe to stay at her beloved home, she made one more blouse.  It was out of polyester, but you rarely see such workmanship.  I thought the inside was prettier than the outside, the way she finished the seams, the darts, the interfacing.  Her fingers were very deformed by this time and she told me that this blouse would be the last thing she made.  She wasn’t being dramatic.  She just wanted me to take her “stash” because she knew I was the only one who would want it.  That blouse hangs on a wall in my sewing room now.  It reminds me daily how much a person can do if they just go ahead and try. My grandmother inspires me.   Who do you inspire?

Snow Days Quilt #1

Snow Days Quilt #2

Monday, June 24, 2019

Desire to Inspire July - Looking for a Challenger!

"Winter Whimsy 2-Ply Flannel" by Shelly Comiskey of Simply Shelly Designs is a 10-SKU collection featuring tossed gnomes, snowflakes, stripes, plaid, and a 24" inch gnome-panel. Also included, is a FREE quilt project. Ships in July 2019.⁣

In this month's Desire to Inspire Challenge, the winner will receive this collection to make something great. The caveat is... it MUST BE made in the month of July, and pictures of your finished project(s) must be provided to us by the end of the month. Along with your picture and bio, too, of course. 

Are you ready to take on this challenge? 

Send an email to to put your name in the hat!

Get Quilting- Hocus Pocus Bundle Giveaway

"Hocus Pocus" by City Art Studio will surely put a spell on you with its touches of silver metallic. Get a head start on your Halloween decor with this 13-SKU collection featuring a 24" x 44" panel. This line includes two FREE projects, a wall hanging, and a table set of placemats. IN QUILT SHOPS NOW!

Monday, June 17, 2019

Get Quilting - Puppy & Pals 2-Ply Flannel Bundle Giveaway

Puppy & Pals 2-Ply Flannel by Henry Glass Fabrics is a 12-SKU collection featuring allover characters, geometric lattice,  bees, puppies, giraffes, stars, and so much more! Additionally, there is a FREE quilt project. IN QUILT SHOPS NOW!

Puppy & Pals

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Get Quilting - Indigo Cottage Bundle Giveaway

The “Indigo Cottage” collection by Mary Jane Carey of Holly Hill Quilt Designs is like a leisurely stroll through the English countryside. Designs in the collection provide a variety of size and spacing. The panel evokes a sense of romance. The artistry includes thatched roof cottages and flowered hearts. Perfect for a little embroidery in your project. They mix, match and blend to create beautiful quilted creations. The Palette blends together with hues of indigo, royal, chambray, and white. Additionally, there are two FREE quilt projects (Quilt #1 and Quilt # 2). IN QUILT SHOPS NOW!

Indigo Cottage Quilt #1

Indigo Cottage Quilt #2

Monday, June 10, 2019

Kim Diehl's Simple Friendships II - Stitch A-Long Mystery Sampler Week 5

Week 5 of the Simple Friendships II stitch along has arrived, and it’s time to gather your blocks together and stitch them into a sweet little mini!

For this final week, stitchers can use this link to access free downloadable instructions for stitching the last bits of patchwork (shown in the photos below) and for assembling everything into the quilt.
Please be sure to share your finished mystery sampler this coming week using the hashtag #SimpleFriendships2QAL, which will also enter you in an AWESOME drawing at the end of this stitch along - some amazing goodies are awaiting four lucky participants!

Kim chose to hand quilt her project with an edge-to-edge clamshell design in the big-stitch style, which was fun and easy for this mini. If you’d like to give this method of finishing a try, please check Kim's May 31st post to see how she prepares her projects for hand quilting. And here’s a great tip for auditioning your thread colors: use scissors to snip the choices you’re considering into small lengths and place them on the mini to view the effect (Kim ultimately chose Valdani’s no. 12 variegated Perle cotton in brown color H212). Unlike laying a solid strand of thread on the quilt top, which would look heavy by comparison to a stitched line, this little trick duplicates the look of hand quilting and makes it easy to choose your best option!

Monday, June 3, 2019

Kim Diehl's Simple Friendships II Stitch-Along Mystery Sampler - Week 4

Week 4 of the Simple Friendships II Stitch-Along is here, and the finish line is in sight! The blocks Kim has been seeing are crazy gorgeous, we all thank you so much for joining in.
Homework for Week 4 is to stitch four over-the-top-adorable Churn Dash blocks measuring 3 1/2” square (beginning at Kindle location 86). This is the week that Kim's been extra excited to share because she loves these blocks! You can see by looking at her's that she had a grand time choosing print combinations, even reversing the light and dark values. Kim encourages you to do the same and just have fun.
To access this week’s instructions go to

Please continue sharing your weekly progress using the #SimpleFriendships2QAL label to enter yourself in the drawing at the end of this stitch along, and also to sprinkle a little eye candy around. 

Here’s a great finishing tip for this week’s patchwork: Lay a pieced block WRONG side up on a clean pressing surface and give it a light misting of Best Press (plain water in a spray bottle will also work nicely); while the cloth is still damp, press the seams from the BACK of the block, ensuring they’re resting in the intended direction. Repeat with the remaining blocks. This step will set the seams firmly in place for blocks that look crisp and lay beautifully flat, without adding shine to the cloth from the front.

For General Information Visit:

Get Quilting - Berries and Blossoms Bundle Giveaway

"Berries and Blossoms" by Janet Rae Nesbitt of One Sister Designs is a 19-SKU collection featuring florals, stars, polka dots, the alphabet, and more, tossed across hues of reds and whites. Features two FREE quilt projects (Quilt #1 and Quilt #2) This collection is IN QUILT SHOPS NOW!