Tu-Na Tells All: Well Almost All

Hi! Since this is my intro post I thought I’d share a bit of who I am, what I do, and how I manage to function between two houses. Yes, that’s right; read on.

My name is Karen and sometimes I comment on your blogs as Tu-Na Quilts, Karen, or Tu-Na Quilts, Travels, and Eats (that is the full title of my blog) depending on what blog reader I’m using at the moment. I know I should be consistent and I will work on that. If you don’t know why I’m Tu-Na, check out this blog post. If after reading all of this, you still want to know more About Me or want to read my intro post for the New Quilt Bloggers Hop last June because you might have missed it, just click on those highlighted areas.


We’re taking new family pics this year. It’s time to update the old model.

I am a mom of five grown children and four young grandchildren. I spent the first 23 or so years being a mom-at-home and then went back to work in Early Childhood Education when my youngest was in second grade—I even earned a Master’s degree at age 53. After working for a few more years, I decided to retire early and do what I really enjoy doing the most: quilting, traveling, and eating (cooking and baking). In April of 2016, I decided to document my journey doing those things and created my blog. I made my first quilt when I was 16. It was an unusual quilt resulting in a marriage proposal—which I turned down. I have no pics of that quilt. You’ll have to read my bl0g post here to find out what happened to it.

Once my husband (whom is often referred to as Tu-Na Helper on my blog) retired, we made a decision to escape the cold winter.


This pic was taken several years ago but ND has had an abundance of snow again this year; they had three blizzards in two weeks dumping over 36 inches of snow. My son said he’s shoveled a 5 foot snowdrift from in front of our door. He’s getting the house ready for our return trip for the holiday. Yeah, it seemed like a good idea when we booked our tickets in July. Now I’m wondering what were we thinking. We’ll be in for over a hundred degree difference in weather.

Now when the weather turns cold and snow is in the forecast, we head to our house in the Phoenix, Arizona metro area. We made it there just in time this year as we encountered snow in Denver on our way through. Luckily it was swirling in the air and not accumulating on the ground yet. We stay in Arizona until the weather turns warm up north and then head back to North Dakota. (You may have heard about the oil protest stuff going on here. My house is only 50 miles from their encampment.) We left Arizona last year when the Saguaro Cacti were blooming and it was 106° the day before.

I can hear many of you asking why my husband is called Tu-Na Helper. He guest wrote a post explaining it here. This past summer we spent 9 days driving around the state of Minnesota on their annual Quilt Minnesota Shop Hop and I put him in charge of photographing the interior and exterior of shops while I interviewed (for a daily post on the blog) and shopped.


Finally, a bit about how I manage working/quilting between two houses. It’s not easy as what I need, be it a tool or piece of fabric, is usually at the other house. Since I’ve only been traveling between two houses for three winters now, I’m still in the acquiring-stash-and-a-second-set-of-tools-in-the-Arizona-house stage.

I’ve been using my 50% and 60% off coupons from JoAnn’s Fabrics to help with buying tools for either house. So how’s that working for me? Last winter I took my big 15″ square ruler to AZ. I purchased another one there to bring back to ND as I couldn’t pass up that great coupon. You guessed it; when I left in the spring, I forgot that ruler in AZ so that meant I had to buy another one in ND as I needed it to square up some 14.5″ blocks. I still have both of those two large square rulers in AZ and one in ND.

As for fabric, after the MN Shop Hop this summer, I have a nice selection (stash) in ND. I’m working on acquiring more stash in AZ. Besides that, can one ever have too much? Being in a scrap bee will be interesting in AZ as I hardly have any scraps at that house yet. I guess that’s just an excuse to go out to visit some new quilt shops and raid their clearance section. I’ve taken all my 1930s repro fabrics to AZ as any of those projects will be done there.

I am a big thrift shopper and enjoy looking for bargains. We live within a 10 mile radius of over a hundred Goodwill, thrift, and antique shops (the Phoenix metro area has 75 Goodwill stores alone). Only once so far, and that was recently, have I ever found some quality quilting fabric at them.

Each year I’ve been dragging my beloved 20 year old Pfaff Creative 1475CD sewing machine back and forth between houses. This year, to lighten our load as we drive a Prius and we want to get to the stage to be able to fly back and forth, I decided to leave my Pfaff in ND and look for a good used machine. After all, I figured I’d have a better chance of finding a good sewing machine in AZ due to all the people selling out and moving out or moving on.


I often sew with my mom. Here we’re working on a project in my kitchen/dining room. People often say we look alike.

Needless to say, I looked for a couple of weeks and finally decided I had to buy new. I’ll be posting about that sometime after the New Year on my blog. In the meantime, I’ve scheduled a bunch of great pics of how Arizona decorates for the holidays so pop on over to my blog to check them out. And then look for some interesting Happy New Year from North Dakota pics to come.


Here’s one of my favorites found in my housing development. His nose looks like it’s a little bent out of shape though.

Enough about me, now it’s your turn.

What I Learned Today:

  1. Posting pics from my site’s media library onto this site isn’t easy even though both are WordPress.com but I think I’ve got it figured out.
  2. I probably wrote way more than I needed for an intro. Sometimes it’s hard to stop when one is on a roll.
  3. I’m probably the only one who finds my life fascinating and that’s probably how it should be.
  4. At times, I can be so full of it….

16 thoughts on “Tu-Na Tells All: Well Almost All

  1. It is great to read more about you. I think your life sounds like a great adventure! I would love to be able to escape the temperatures and experience more than one different community.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Karen, I always enjoy your posts! You do have a way with words, and they are fun to read. I have enjoyed seeing the Arizona style Christmas decorating! Your series of shop interviews was wonderful too. I have SERIOUS stash envy! Ha! Ha!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Karen, it is so nice to meet you! I enjoyed hearing about sewing out of two households…it can be done, right! I look forward to sewing with you in our bee and now I am off to check out your blog! Merry Christmas!


  4. Great post – really enjoyed it. I too struggle with the going between two houses thing – we have a place in Pagosa Springs, Colorado where we spend a lot of weekends. It is true, you always get to one place and realize you’ve left what you needed at the other place.


    • Hi, Kate! This winter has been especially lovely to be in AZ while the winds are howling and snow swirling around ND. We spent two weeks over the holidays in ND but got out just in time as the snow started falling as we were driving to the airport. They got 10 more inches of snow after we took off. It was kind of pretty looking at all that snow thru the windows of my nice warm house. I did venture outside a couple of times to get some pics.


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