All the lights are green once again, and we’re connected back up to the interweb. It was only mildly traumatic for my husband this time, having gone through it once before when we unexpectedly lost our DSL line. It was bitter, but he lived through it that time, so he knew he could do it again.

On another topic:

Retro Clean to the rescue again!

Somewhere in my journeys I picked up this cute vintage rooster towel. It had a stain on it, but I wasn’t worried about that.

I got out my trust Retro Clean!

Now I must admit that the spot didn’t come out completely the first time. Since it was not a pressing matter, I set the towel aside to give it another whirl next time I had some other things to soak.

This time I left it the whole two days, and voila!


Here’s the first post I did about Retro Clean.

Thanks you so much Mindy and Larry for inventing this product!

Until next time,
By Kay Mackenzie

September 11, 2014

Filed Under Product demo | 2 Comments 

Our interweb is down for a few days. My number one suspect… cat hair.

Even the Uverse can be brought down by cat hair.

The red light of doom.

See that red light? That’s not good.

Our winner from the drawing for Animal Parade is No. 9, Patricia! Congratulations, and enjoy all those adorable animals!

Until next time, when all the lights are green,


September 8, 2014

Filed Under Uncategorized | 2 Comments 

This month, with many thanks to Martingale, we have Cheri Leffler’s Animal Parade.

The subtitle of this charmer is “Adorable Appliqué Quilt Patterns for Babies.” I’d say, anyone young at heart would also qualify!

Cheri begins by presenting instructions for her favorite method of needle-turn appliqué using an overlay for placement. For those who prefer machine work, she also gives a quick overview of fusible appliqué. A little lexicon of embroidery stitches rounds out the method section.

Feeling Sheepy by Cheri Leffler, quilted by Vonnie Maglinte

In this book you’ll find quilts featuring cheerful frogs, floating duckies, happy monkeys, wise owls, rollicking foxes, playful penguins, swimming sea creatures, tree-hugging koala bears, long-necked giraffes, and fluffy lambs! A whole menagerie of cuteness! Each quilt design features the animals set against a sweet and simple pieced background.

Kits 'n Caboodle by Cheri Leffler, quilted by Vonnie Maglinte

You can see the koalas peeking out at the foxes.

The appliqué patterns are printed full size and… bonus… the book includes a pullout section for the designs that are too large to fit on a page. Excellent!

A Penguin Playdate by Cheri Leffler, quilted by Vonnie Maglinte

If you’d like a chance to win this delightful book of youthful quilts, please leave a comment here on this post by 7:00 p.m. California time on Friday, September 5.

Open to U.S. mailing addresses only, and please resist the temptation to click “reply” to your email feed. To enter the drawing, come to the blog on the internet and leave your comment at the bottom of the post.

Good luck everyone!
See you then,
By Kay Mackenzie

September 1, 2014

Filed Under Books, Prizes | 35 Comments 

Got a note from the Mancusos that pre-registration is open for three of their upcoming shows:

There are some fantastic appliqué classes offered at each of these. I’ll be at both Oasis and PIQF, in the merchant mall. Oasis is new this year, and we all have our fingers and toes crossed that it will be just as big and bustling and exciting as PIQF. Heavenly heaven for the quilter.

Until next time,

August 27, 2014

Filed Under Quilt shows | Leave a Comment 

Well I got back from a week in Portland and lordy was I tired. It was a very difficult trip all the way around, and the most discouraging part of it was that the new Quilt! Knit! Stitch! show was very lightly attended. Everyone was disappointed, including the organizers.

When I got to my front door after a 10-hour drive that day, I told my hubby, “If I thought I could get back up, I’d get down there and kiss the floor.”

Okay, shake it off, and focus on the comforts of one’s own home and much more fun things in the future. On the first of September we’ve got a fabulous featured book and giveaway. See you then if not before!

By Kay Mackenzie

August 21, 2014

Filed Under Quilt shows | 5 Comments 

The lucky reader who won Wild Blooms & Colorful Creatures was No. 32, Margaret! The book is on its way to you now, Margaret, have a wild and colorful time with it!!

And my thanks to all of you who follow this blog. When you enter these drawings, it lets me know you’re out there, and you’re a fellow appliqué enthusiast, and I appreciate it so much.

I’ve been having a fabulous time making more framed mini-quilts. Here are a couple of them.

It’s a whole lot o’ fun.

Until next time,
By Kay Mackenzie

August 7, 2014

Filed Under Framed mini-quilts, Prizes | 2 Comments 

Our featured book this month, courtesy of C&T Publishing, is Wendy Williams’ Wild Blooms & Colorful Creatures.

I’m wild about these colorful blooms and creatures!

This book is all about combining our traditional cotton prints with wool and linen, to add a new dimension. Wendy starts out with a section on appliqué basics that gives information on wool, wool felt, threads, templates, and her style of needle-turn that uses a running stitch close to the turned edge. There’s also a whole page of illustrated embroidery stitches for adding special touches.

Then on to the projects! There are wall quilts, runners, pillows, bags, and sewing notions galore. All of the appliqué templates are printed at full size, and there’s even a pull-out section for the larger designs. Always a bonus!

Aren’t the designs wonderful? Such a fearless sense of color and whimsy.

If you’d like to win this book in a random drawing, please leave a comment before 7:00 p.m. California time on Tuesday, August 5.

Notice how I said “leave a comment”…? This is not the same as replying to your email feed. You’ll need to get out of your email program by clicking on the title of the post, which will bring you to the blog itself on the internet, and leave your comment there.

Open to U.S. mailing addresses only. Good luck all!!

Until then,

August 1, 2014

Filed Under Books, Prizes, Wool | 45 Comments 

Normally my stash looks about like this.

It’s an inelegant stash, but it’s my inelegant stash.

The other morning I wandered into the studio with my mug o’ coffee, only to witness this scene.

Not even the large mug of coffee could counteract the early morning shock at the pillage and devastation.


Yes, it was these girls. Oh sure, they look all sweet and innocent now.

Mimi and Maddie are older than our usual fosters, at an age we call “kitteens.” They were staying at our house to get over kitty colds that they just couldn’t kick at the shelter. They improved a whole lot in just a week and a half, and have gone back to the shelter for adoption. They’re total love-machine sweethearts.

Now to pick up the stash. More coffee.

Until next time,
By Kay Mackenzie

July 28, 2014

Filed Under Kittens Off Topic | 8 Comments 

Materials organized. Make sure your design fits well within the frame. Heads up, when it says 4×6, that means the opening in the back. What shows in the front will be slightly smaller.

Fused and ready to stitch. Cut the background an inch or so larger than the finished size so you can trim later.

Stitched! I use a machine blanket stitch but you could finish by hand or with another machine stitch.

Quilted and trimmed to the finished size. I used a low-loft cotton batting, and I didn’t worry about whether any quilting would be cut off, in fact I kind of planned that it would be, just for the freedom of it all. After trimming, I stay-stitched all the way around, close to the edge.

I glued my business card to the back. That’s right people, I glued it. You can make a fabric label for yours. :)

All done! And might I add that it was done by 3:45 in the afternoon of a day that included taking kittens for boosters, running three other errands, playing with kittens, and having a leisurely lunch with my husband on the patio. Not bad!

These make great gifts. If you start now, you can have one finished for everybody on your holiday list. The design can be something very simple, and your kith and kin will appreciate that it’s something you made.

Until next time, on to the next frame,
By Kay Mackenzie

July 24, 2014

Filed Under Framed mini-quilts | 4 Comments 

Many thanks to all of you who gave my slightly distressed books a good home! The sale is ongoing until these copies are gone, so tell all your friends! The special ordering button is on the post entitled “Scratch & Dent Sale,” or, here’s a handy link:

Scratch & Dent Sale

I’m embarking on a new kind of project! That’s always pretty exciting. In the past, I’ve made some mini-quilts, put them in frames, and given them to dear friends as a gift. Here’s the one I made for Suzanne years ago.

I got the urge to play around with this idea some more, so I went to the thrift shop and found quite a few cute frames. I went to the cashier with my stack, and AGAIN I scored a half-price sale, with eight minutes to spare! I did not know, just got lucky.

Here’s my first project, all organized, with frame selected, fabrics pulled, pattern correctly sized, and reversed pattern printed and ready to trace some SoftFuse templates.

I’ll be working on this today, and I’ll let you know how it goes.

By Kay Mackenzie

July 22, 2014

Filed Under Books, Framed mini-quilts | Leave a Comment 

Now and then, some books fall off the back of the truck or there’s a minor flaw right out of the box from the printer. There might be a crunched corner, a few scuffs, or a spot of printer’s ink on the cover. Otherwise these copies are intact and completely useful.

It’s time for these darlings to go to good homes. I’m offering Scratch & Dent copies of select titles for the bargain price of $7 dollars each, shipping included! That represents a savings of up to 65%. Such a deal.

For more information about these titles, please visit my website
By Kay Mackenzie. But don’t use the buttons on the website unless you want regular copies… come back here to the blog to order your special
Scratch & Dent copies.

PayPal Logo


By Kay Mackenzie

July 17, 2014

Filed Under Books | 2 Comments 

This weekend I’ll be at the Piecemaker Quilt Guild’s biennial show held at the Newark campus of Ohlone College here in northern California. The guest artist is design genius and my pal Tracey Brookshier :) .

At a recent show, my booth was situated in front of a back hallway. The guild had a security person posted there, because it was not an entrance to the show. But it was the path to the hospitality room. Guild members congregated in that spot all weekend long, and I was treated to much information about their various medical histories.

At great length and detail, I heard about:

• High blood pressure.
• Allergies to medications.
• Rashes. Lots of rashes.
• Foot surgery.
• Cysts.
• Arthritis.
• Diabetes.
• Sciatica.
• Pain. A whole lot o’ pain.
• Asthma.
• Open heart surgery.
• And my favorite, the ruptured bra from the crutches.

Until next time,
By Kay Mackenzie

July 10, 2014

Filed Under Quilt shows | 7 Comments has determined that the reader who won Piece O’ Cake’s Backyard Birds is No. 39, Pat! Congratulations to Pat, who says that hand appliqué is her first love, so this will be right up her alley.

The show at the end of June in San Luis Obispo had some beautiful appliqué quilts.

Fragrant Memories by Margaret Taylor

I love how fearless Margaret was in creating this masterpiece not from a pattern.

Earth and Twig by Sally Inouye

I’m a big fan of the designs of Sue Spargo.

Empress Feathers by Janie Walker

We were just talking about how delightful everything is from Piece O’ Cake. :) Beautiful colors on this one.

Until next time,
By Kay Mackenzie

July 6, 2014

Filed Under Prizes, Quilt shows | 7 Comments 

I love everything from the Piece O’ Cake gals Becky Goldsmith and Linda Jenkins. This month, with many thanks to C&T Publishing, we have their cheery collection of 12 bird blocks presented in an expanded pattern format, Backyard Birds.

You can mix and match these blocks, sew four of them into a 39″ x 39″ project, or put them all together for a 52″ x 65″ quilt with appliqué borders. The packet includes full-size patterns and a 16-page booklet with complete instructions.

I myself employ a patched background on occasion, but these designers are fearless masters at it. Add their delightful sense of color, you’ve got winners every time IMO.

If you’d like to win this expanded pattern, please enter the drawing by leaving a comment here on this blog post before 7:00 p.m. California time on Saturday, July 5. Open to U.S. mailing addresses only, and replies to an email subscription won’t enter.

Good luck everyone!

By Kay Mackenzie

July 1, 2014

Filed Under Patterns, Prizes | 45 Comments 

Last year when the tents folded on International Quilt Festival-Long Beach, I wasn’t sure whether I would drive to Portland for the new, rebranded Quilt! Knit! Stitch! show. I decided to give it a whirl! Now I’m excited about this brand-new show from the folks at Quilts, Inc.

They sent me a very cool button!

The show is at the Oregon Convention Center, a location I’ve visited twice before to attend Quilt Market, so it’s nice to have a mental map in advance of the event. It’s a great venue and I hope you’ve thought about getting together with some quilting and/or stitching buddies to come enjoy the show.

In the category of other news:

I’ve got a couple new wall quilt patterns.

Hearts on a heart-shaped vine!

Over 20 years ago, when I signed up for my Beginning Quilting class, I got a look at the four-block sampler we were going to make. One of the blocks was Spice Pinks. But when the class began I found out that another block had been substituted, so I didn’t get to make it. I’ve never forgotten that beautiful block from all those years ago, and here it is re-engineered through the miracle of appliqué to avoid curved piecing.

Another project I just finished is something I’ve wanted to do for a long time… figure out a way to show the projects from the patterns more closely on the website. I do my own coding, and wasn’t quite sure how to do it, but I tried it the simplest way, and yippy skippy, it worked! You can now click on the pattern cover and a larger version of the quilt will come up in a separate window.

Patterns at

Lastly, I added my notecards to the website. They’re on the Notions page. They come four to a pack, with envelopes, and you can get all one style or an assortment. These notecards are great for dashing off a note to a quilty friend, or as a gift.

Thanks for listening to what I’ve been up to lately. I’m off to San Luis Obispo on Friday to set up for the annual Seven Sisters show. Hope to see you there this weekend!

By Kay Mackenzie

June 23, 2014

Filed Under Patterns | 1 Comment 

I don’t know about you, but from time to time I like to drop in on the thrift shop to peruse the shelves. You never know when you’re going to find something wonderful that makes you happy.

A couple days ago I was moseying through the store, when something caught my quilter’s eye.

It was in my hands in about a second flat, and I thought to myself, “I wonder if whoever made this knew what it was.”

I turned it over, and yes, they did.

It’s a Milky Way Baltimore Album Quilt Limited Edition Canister from 1997.

How very cool that I happened into the shop that day! Needless to say, it came home with me. I was prepared to pay the tagged price of $1.49, but discovered upon checking out that it was 50% off, so it was 75¢!

The back says, “This limited edition canister celebrates the making of classic appliquéd quilts during the mid-nineteenth century in America. The Baltimore Album appliquéd quilts were known for their decorative Victorian design style.

“Each pattern on the quilt was symbolic. The corner pattern on this canister is ‘fleur de lis,’ representing Light, Life, and Power.”


Until next time,
By Kay Mackenzie

June 14, 2014

Filed Under Baltimore Album | 12 Comments 

The first year I was at the Seven Sisters show in San Luis Obispo, I kept hearing the volunteers talking about the slow quilters. I filed this away in my brain as a curiosity. It took me awhile to figure out they were saying SLO quilters, as in San Luis Obispo LOL!

SLO is three hours drive down the coast from me, and I always look forward to rolling up on the beautiful and very pink Madonna Inn, with horses grazing in adjoining pastures. This year the show is June 28-29.

For the first time, they’ve added a workshop to the festivities!

Jan Krentz is well known for her books on star and diamond quilts. Jan will be giving a one-day class called Quick Starburst on both Saturday and Sunday, in two different locations.

In addition, Jan is giving the keynote address on Saturday evening, entitled “Design Inspiration from Everyday Life.”

You can register for these events at the show’s website,

If you’ve attended this show before, you’re used to finding me tucked away in the little side room, but this year I’ll be out on the main show floor. Hope to see you there!

By Kay Mackenzie

June 12, 2014

Filed Under Patterns, Quilt shows | 1 Comment 

Today I head north over the Golden Gate Bridge and into wine country for this weekend’s quilt show in Santa Rosa. It’s put on by the Moonlight Quilters of Sonoma County and last year it was great fun.

The Golden Gate Bridge has done away with toll booths and now you register your vehicle online and your license plate is scanned as you cross. It really speeds things up… but I still don’t know what they do with all the rental cars…

The reader who won Home Sweet Quilt is No. 4, Kathleen! Congratulations! She says she is really looking forward to this color-filled book with its combination of patchwork and appliqué. I agree, that’s the best combo platter!

Until next time,
By Kay Mackenzie

June 6, 2014

Filed Under Prizes, Quilt shows | Leave a Comment 

I’ve admired the Jillily booth many times at shows. Jill Finley has been designing quilt patterns for over 15 years and is known for her fresh style and beautiful color combinations.

This month, with many thanks to Martingale, we have Jill’s book Home Sweet Quilt.

Need a gift or something for yourself? The book includes a dozen patterns for the whole house, from table runners to dish towels to pillows to quilts of all sizes. They’re all so fresh and pretty! Jill says in the introduction, “… My goal was to create and share fresh quilt designs… They’re much more than blankets or bed coverings. They’re the pop of color, the unexpected texture, or the softening element of each room.”

Winding Down, great for the family room.

Patio Tiles, wool and cotton table runner

The book begins with a few basics, such as working with wool, attaching borders and bindings, and Jill’s favorite stitching supplies. There’s a whole chapter on “Appliqué the Jillily Way,” which involves starching the edges of the motifs over freezer-paper templates. You can stitch them in place either by hand or by machine.

Berry Patch, a cheerful table topper.

If you’d like to win this very appealing book, please leave a comment here on the blog post before 7:00 p.m. California time on Thursday, June 5. Open to U.S. mailing addresses only. Good luck!!

Until next time,
By Kay Mackenzie

June 1, 2014

Filed Under Books, Prizes | 36 Comments 

We are returned from our anniversary trip to the Big Island. Wherever we’ve gone in Hawaii we’ve loved the climate, culture, and natural beauty, and this trip was no exception.

We stayed in a vacation cottage about 10 miles north of Hilo. It was just about paradise, so calm, quiet, and peaceful. Below us was a spreading fruit orchard.

Avocado tree with baby-size avocadoes.


All around us were grazing horses, cows, and goats.

Our cottage.

BUT, for us, being the dog people that we are, one of the very best features was the frisbee-loving, sweet, affectionate, huggy border collie Lilly!

The green one is her favorite.

Just waitin’ on you!

Lilly came to greet us, give us hugs and kisses, and hang out with us throughout our stay. Dog love = bonus!

Nor far away were the beautiful Akaka Falls. On the way down we saw:

A banyan tree.

Pineapple ginger.

Fiddlehead ferns.

Akaka Falls.

As soon as we went into Hilo town, I sought out the quilt shop, Fabric Impressions.

Beautiful pa'u skirts in the window.

Inside were luscious batiks, island prints, Hawaiian patterns, kits, and quilts hung everywhere.

Dana liked the way they packaged their fat quarters… like stars!

I picked up a brochure for an upcoming summer camp, Quilting on the Beach. Oooh!!! It’s July 21-26 at the King Kamehaha Kona Beach Hotel. I can’t make it, but maybe you can!

One morning we signed up for a Segway tour at Botanical World Gardens. I had always wanted to ride a Segway, and this was my chance! OMG, I loved it! Our instructor told me I was a natural and I really did feel as though I took to it like a duck to water. It all depends on where you put your weight, and once you get the hang of it, it’s like you just think what you want to do and it does it. Very cool!

We toured the gardens and were given tastes of many fruits picked fresh off the trees. There was one that tasted like brown sugar, yum, one that was supposedly like chocolate pudding, not so sure about that one, and several that were too tart for me but that Dana liked. We zipped here and zipped there, learning about various plants and trees. We saw a rainbow eucalyptus, amazing!

Dana did very well also, but he did have one unscheduled dismount, and I did not, so I am the official Mackenzie Family Segway Champion!

One day we drove the two hours to the other side of the island to visit Kona-Kailua. We were sitting in a coffee house drinking cool libations and looking out over a street fair that was going on that day. Right across from us was SusunGallery Art School on the Beach. All of a sudden, Dana says, “I think I’m Facebook friends with her.”

Can you believe it? Susun used to live in Santa Cruz and studied hula with the same instructor as Dana! We went down to say hello and she recognized him immediately. Wow, universe, sometimes you really know what you are doing.

She told Dana about a drop-in hula class the next night that was in the kahiko (traditional) style. Even though it was our anniversary, I urged Dana to go, because it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and you should have seen the way his eyes lit up. I skipped the four hours in the car and stayed home with Lilly. :) After all, number one on my agenda for our trip was to relax. We each had a fantastic time.

Our last day, we visited the active volcano at Kilauea.

They say that at night you can see the glow from the molten lava, but we were flying out that evening so had to settle for a daytime visit.

I sought out the nearby quilt shop, Kilauea Kreations.

A quaint little shop that felt just like home to a quilter. Many gorgeous fabrics, quilts, kits, and patterns, and also a little bookshop that Dana enjoyed.

Check out Sunbonnet Sue and Overall Sam, Island Style.

And then it was aloha to Lilly and our other hosts, Bob and Cady, and off to the airport for the long trip home.

In case you’re interested, the Sun and Moon Orchard Suite is Listing #512344 on VRBO.

Aloha nui loa,
By Kay Mackenzie

May 24, 2014

Filed Under Hawaiian, Quilt shops | 3 Comments 

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