about me


email me here: karen@easypatchwork.de

My parents named me Karen, and along the way, I picked up the additional name of Ackva. Even though I have a hyphenated last name, I generally refer to myself as Karen Ackva to make things easier. I have always battled with people misspelling my last name. I thought it would get better, but it didn't. ;-)

I was born and raised in Michigan, USA and moved around quite a lot WITH AND WITHOUT my parents in the US. I have seen a lot of different States and have travelled within Europe too. I am a bit of a vagabond some would say...always on the move, never quite settling down. It is true, it is really hard for me to dig my feet into the ground; it is a big world out there. There is plenty to see, learn and do.


When I was little, I was always curious about other countries and cultures. I loved to watch foreign films that were dubbed and subtitled. (My favorite movie were La Boum, the French Lesson, Summer Lovers, My American Cousin!) I thrived and yearned for more. In 1995, the door to the international world started to open for me. I got my first passport and visited Germany.

At the time I was putting myself through college. I worked the night shift, went to college in the morning, in the evening - whenever I could fit it in. When I approached the end of my degree, I decided to take one year off from my full time job (where I had already worked eight years) and study overseas through two different "Freshman Year Abroad" programs - one semester in Heidelberg and one in Freiburg.

After my year abroad, I returned home to work for the same company. It was hard to give up the thought of never returning to Europe. I started searching for possibilities to return to Germany.

I found a job in southern Bavaria in a technical job and took another great leap. At the time, I wasn't scared. I didn't really know I would encounter even harder bouts of culture shock and reverse culture shock. In the beginning you are really just homesick for what you "know." Over the years, you come to accept both cultures for what they have to offer both good and bad - the cultures are just different.

In 20004 I married my German sweetheart. I gave up my career-life in southern Germany to move in with my husband who lived five hours away in Trier. I became a housewife and looked for work to no avail. Here it is very hard for a woman to get a job, because, as a woman your rights as a mom are protected. Once you become pregnant, you are allowed to stay at home the last several weeks on paid leave as well as paid leave for one year after the child is born. This puts a new wife under critical suspicion. So, we went to work and our son came along the next year. It wasn't always easy staying at home not working, but I truly think my children have benefited from a stay-at-home-mom.

When I am not busy with my full time job of being a Family Manager aka wife, mother, nurse, teacher, housekeeper, errand boy, taxi driver, event planner, etc. etc., I revive my vitals (brain) with a little time out of sewing or crafting. Once and a while I even exercise.

I am very privileged and thankful to be living where I am and to have been truly blessed throughout my life. I am so very lucky in life it almost scares me.

how I got started

I made my very first patchwork blanket back in 2003 when my German nephew was born. I asked my sister to send me some fabric from the United States since I had NO CLUE where to find it here in Germany. It was a very simple Winnie the Pooh "Krabbeldecke" or baby blanket with a coordinating pillow in bright colors. I still like the bright colors and am still making "Krabbeldecken." There always seems to be a baby in the works. I have also found that new mothers really appreciate the work that goes into these little treasures.

Since that very first blanket, I have found some really nice patchwork and quilting groups. They are almost like a secret society here, hidden deep in the woods. When I find a good one, I stick with it. It is such a great outlet to exchange experiences and designs with each other. We are all struggling artists. The ladies are so relaxed, friendly and giving. I feel right at home when I am around them.

Although I would classify myself as a traditional quilter, I am excited about so many new fabric lines coming to the market with brighter, fresher designs which give traditional block-making interesting again. Just like a special quilting pattern can give a quilt a whole new look, the fabrics put a new spin on patchwork. When it comes to sewing, I prefer simple-looking designs, but I take the time to sew it right. It is something I learned from my mother that stuck, "if you can't do it right the first time, don't do it." Thank you, Mom! I do love you very much!

Thanks for stopping by. Next time, the coffee is on the house.

Hugs,
Karen

P.S. Please excuse my writing if a German word pops in every now and then. It isn't always easy to write in English when most of my day is spent in German -  except for those really long conversations with myself; sometimes they are in German too.

I look forward to hearing from you and seeing some of your projects. Please leave a little comment, bit of advice or even criticism behind. I am a big girl; I can take it. 

4 comments:

  1. I just came over from the Moda Bakeshop to see who was behind that wonderful featured quilt. I love the quilt and enjoyed reading your story here. What a fascinating life you have. Many blessings for you and future quilts.
    Warmly...Christa

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  2. Hi Karen from Australia, yu have had a very interesting life and I love your quilts.
    Jenny

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  3. Hi Karen! I just found your blog, although I've been following you on Flickr for a while. Lucky you, to live in Germany! I lived there for 2 years, compliments of my Uncle Sam, and now my son has lived there for 11 years- thanks to the same uncle! He married a girl from there, and they now have a 6 1/2 year old son. I hope to get over there this summer for a visit. They live approx 1/2 hour from Nurnberg- any good fabric / quilt/ craft shops near there? Thanks!

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  4. It is uncanny the similarities. I too suffer from the too well protected mother syndrome. And I too am trying to make the best of it. Life has funny ways of turning out.

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Thank you so much for dropping by and leaving comments! You make my day! - Karen

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