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Easy Applique Blocks Book Launch Party

Welcome to the launch party for Kay Mackenzie’s terrific new book, Easy Applique Blocks: 50 Designs in 5 Sizes from Martingale & Company / That Patchwork Place!

Easy Applique Blocks: 50 Designs in 5 Sizes

I’m pleased to host Kay here at Quilts and Creativity, and to be the first stop on her Book-A-Round blog tour. You’ll get to meet Kay, hear the first-hand dish on her new book on appliqué, enjoy quiltini cocktails and tasty treats (recipes follow), and everyone gets a gift from Kay and a chance to win a copy of Easy Applique Blocks. Wow – what a party!

Let’s Meet Kay

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Kay Mackenzie and I first met through our mutual friend and photographer, Gregory Case (The Photo Man for The Quilt Show). He introduced us and then we ran into each other at 2008 Spring Quilt Market twice!

Maria: Kay, please tell us a little about yourself, what drew you to appliqué, and your previous authoring/publishing work.

Kay: I grew up in North Carolina, went to school in Colorado, then lived in Los Angeles for a number of years. During all that time I had not one stitch of quilting heritage. I started in a beginning quilting class about 17 years ago after I got married and we were living in central Ohio. When I told my instructor that I enjoyed the Dresden Plate the most out of all the blocks in the sampler, she told me, “You just might be an appliqué person.” I still wonder whether that observation shaped my destiny, because it turned out to be so true!

A peculiar combination of interests in my strange brain led me to become an appliqué designer and a publisher of books for quilters… quilting, computer illustration, writing, editing, typography, and page layout all combined!

My company is Quilt Puppy Publications & Designs with six titles in print. Up until now my most famous books have been Teapots to Appliqué (now out of print) and Teapots 2 to Appliqué. Quilter love teapots (of course I had to put a couple of them in Easy Appliqué Blocks too).

You might ask, who’s the Quilt Puppy? He’s Willie, my little papillon dog! He’s been my boon companion in the sewing room for 14 years now.

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Willie thinks that boxes of scraps are very comfy.

Ever since I started designing and publishing, I had it as a goal to be traditionally published also. I’m so very excited that my flip-side goal has come true with Easy Appliqué Blocks!

Maria: What I love about your new book is it gives quilters an EZ Button for applique. So many of my friends and students are hesitant to try the “A” word (as they like to call appliqué), and you’ve given them a no-excuses guide. You offer 50 designs for people who don’t feel confident about drawing their own, each design is in 5 sizes so you don’t have to enlarge or reduce, and you even offer different methods for applique, understanding that no one method works for everyone.

Kay: I love that! An EZ button! It’s so true! Easy Appliqué Blocks has a whole library of fresh new appliqué block designs, easy to sew, in a variety of styles ranging from traditional-looking to modern, fun, and whimsical. Something for everyone.

Appliqué fans can use their own favorite method, or learn about a new one, because the book includes detailed, illustrated instructions for three kinds of appliqué. For hand stitchers, there’s freezer-paper-on-top and back-basting (aka no-template) preparation, plus information on hand-stitching smooth curves, pointy points, and sharp notches. There’s also an overview of raw-edge fusible machine appliqué.

The bonus CD makes it a breeze! It works with PC or Mac. No more more trips to the copy shop, figuring of percentages, distortion, crooked enlarging, or tracing reversed patterns. The patterns print out ‘like butter.’ Stick the CD into your computer and print out the blocks you’ve chosen in the size you want, from 6″ up to 12″. Larger sizes will automatically print in sections that will tape back together perfectly. Reversed versions are also included.

Maria: What do you find is the biggest obstacle quilters have with applique, and how have you addressed it with your book?

Kay: Yes, the infamous “A” word thing :). I think the biggest obstacle that quilters have with appliqué is when they haven’t been shown the little things that can make a big difference. They spend a lot of time on their appliqué but aren’t happy with the results. That can lead to frustration. In this new book, I share every single thing I know about appliqué, with lots of details and illustrations that will help with smooth curves, pointy points, and sharp notches.

The second biggest obstacle is thinking they need to appliqué a certain way, or that one way is better than another. If they prefer handwork, good! If they’d rather appliqué by machine, also good! It’s all good.

Maria: How is Easy Appliqué Blocks different from other applique books?

Kay: It’s like a block library or resource center for appliqué fans. The variety of designs is right there at their fingertips whenever they need one block or many. I can’t wait to see quilters unleash their creativity and go to town with the blocks! Besides the 50 blocks, the instructions for three kinds of appliqué are great… I’m especially excited about the section on back-basting, because I think that method has been flying along under the radar. And, the bonus CD is such an added value. It was my concept and I’m so happy that Martingale went with it. They did a fantastic job.

Party Refreshments

Quiltini Cocktail

  • martini glass
  • Ocean Spray cranberry cocktail juice
  • Lemon-lime soda or club soda

Mix half cranberry cocktail juice with half lemon-lime or club soda. Stir. Enjoy.

Cheese Puffs

Crispy/airy/chewy, delicious and savory bites of flavor!

  • 2 sticks butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 lb. sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cayenne pepper (if you like spicy, use 1/2 tsp.)
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, not sifted
  • 1/2 tsp. salt

Grate cheese. (For best results, do not use pre-grated cheese.) Cream cheese together with butter. Mix dry ingredients together and add in 3 parts to cheese mixture. Roll into little marbles and place on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake about 12 minutes at 350 degrees. They should not get too brown. Cool slightly on cookie sheet, then transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling.

Brownie Pizza

  • 1 package devil’s food cake mix w/pudding
  • 5 tablespoons melted butter
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 3/4 cup finely chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 12-round pizza pan with vegetable oil. Place cake mix, melted butter, milk, egg, and vanilla in a large mixing bowl. Blend on low speed for 30 seconds. Stop, scrape down the sides, and beat 1-2 minutes more on medium speed. Pour brownie batter into pan. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Immediately top with chocolate chips, walnuts, and any other delicious toppings you desire.

What’s a Party without Gifts?

Kay is offering everyone at the party this gift: a downloadable Table of Contents plus the Introduction and How to Use the CD. You get the first look at Kay’s great new book! Here’s the link:


Easy Applique Blocks Table of Contents/Introduction/How to Use The CD

Win a Copy of Easy Appliqué Blocks

Kay is giving away an autographed copy of her brand new book to one lucky winner here at Quilts and Creativity. You must comment today by 6:30 p.m. EST to win, and I’ll select the winner at 7:00p.m. Leave a comment telling Kay what sounds most interesting about her book, and the name of your local quilt guild. Good luck!

Host your own Easy Appliqué Blocks party at your quilt guild or bee: members bring a completed block from the book, serve the quiltinis, cheese puffs, and brownie pizza, put all the blocks together in a top, and draw names for the winner! What a fun girls’ nite out!

Here’s where to find the book: Ask for Easy Appliqué Blocks at your favorite quilt shop. It’s also available from the Martingale website, Amazon, and Kay’s website.

Kay: Thank you so much Maria for throwing a terrific party! Readers, thanks for coming along on this first stop in the Book-A-Round. There are 9 more stops to go, so start off at All About Appliqué through April 5 and I’ll shoot you off through the blogosphere to the next location. See you there!

Maria: Thanks Kay for stopping by and joining us. Wishing you and your readers much fun and success with appliqué in Easy Appliqué Blocks: 50 Designs in 5 Sizes.