Good News/Bad News

Good News
One of my sons just moved and I wanted to make a special house warming present.They use the fabric coiled rope plates that I had made them last year, so I made them a new set. I used the leftover fabric to make rug mugs. Originally, I had planned to make a basket to store the plates, but I found a nice round table basket at Target.

Bad News
As I was adding the orange binding to one of the fabric plates, my sewing machine started making an awful noise. I followed the trouble shooting suggestions in the manual, but the machine just kept making a sharp noise. I called the dealer and was given more trouble shooting suggestions, but nothing worked. I am hoping that this is not as major as the loud sound leads me to believe. I will not be able to take the machine in for another two weeks. I was planning to take it to a quilt retreat that my friend had planned for us. I guess I will have to take my Viking machine. I pulled out my trusty Viking to finish the fabric mats. The Viking is a good machine, but the Juki runs so much smoother. I have been very satisfied with the Juki, except for the mechanism for winding the bobbin. The spool pin bobs up and down and eventually falls off, especially when the spool of thread is not full. I have taken it back to the dealer to see if I am doing something wrong, and it is just the design of the machine. I was given a smaller insert to use instead of the cap, but it still does not work. I end up having to hold down the shaft, which makes it a start and stop operation.
When I return in two weeks, I hope to get my Juki to the shop and get it running again. I have drawn up some plans and purchased fabric for another quilt.

Done!

As mentioned in an earlier post, the fabric for the Peanut quilt I was making for my sister to give to her son, had sat on my shelf for some time. I just didn’t know where to go with it. My friend Francine, owner of Las Colchas, told me to just “start cutting” and “have fun.” I took her advice, and it turned out to be a fun learning process for me. I designed it as I went along. No plan. Color and measurement drove my piecing.  I decided to make it bright, colorful, and happy. The splash of orange added the missing pizzazz. It started out to be a lap quilt, but it ended up a bit large…60″W x 80″ L. This will be perfect for my nephew, since he is a tall man. I used the licensed fabric to piece the background fabric.
Please excuse the poor photos.

The outer border is the same charcoal-black fabric that was used around the panel. There was just enough of the blue licensed fabric to add a top and bottom strip. It looks like there is a white strip, but it is really white with red polka-dots. I added four more hearts to the corners to complete the strip length needed and to balance out the hearts in the center.
There were about 8 different licensed fabrics that I cut into 12.5″ squares. I interspersed some of the black and white, red, and solid orange fabric with the licensed fabric.
My sister loved it. She is known for making a great strawberry cake, and she has promised to make me one. 😉

After Tai Chi class this morning, my friend, Marti and I went to Ann Pierce Jewelry Designs and Bead Shop. Making jewelry is something on my Things-to-Learn list. Marti has made jewelry before. She has such an artistic eye and it is reflected in the jewelry she creates. Another friend of mine, Nancy, also makes beautiful jewelry. I admire her work, and have been the lucky recipient of some of her creations. Marti and I bought the same type of beads for our next project. She will be making a bracelet, and I will be making a bracelet and a necklace. I am adding some bird stones onto the necklace, and an elephant onto the bracelet.
The bead shop is fantastic. I had a difficult time selecting what I wanted, since I wanted EVERYTHING. The owner of the shop, Ann, is super helpful. She has a table set up in the back of the shop for people to drop by and make jewelry. Marti and I plan to get started in about two weeks.

Peanuts

My nephew will be celebrating a big birthday this year. He is and has always been a fan of Charles Shulz and the Peanuts characters. Even now, he decorates his home with Peanuts seasonal decorations. My sister, Adri, had a bag of licensed Peanut fabric that she had purchased over the years. Some were remnants from projects she made when her son was a child. There were also half yards of many different seasonal Peanuts characters.
My sister is very crafty and can sew really well. She has made many children’s blankets, but she has never pieced a quilt. She told me that she wanted to use this fabric to make a special quilt for her son’s birthday. I volunteered to make it for her, before I knew what I was getting into. 😀
When I saw the fabric, I did not know where to start. There were so many colors, different seasons, and different sizes of fabric. Also, the fabric is old and not quilt shop quality. I let the fabric sit on my table for a few months, before I decided to tackle it.
Originally, I thought I would make a nine patch type of quilt, or a big block quilt. There were a lot of fall and Christmas fabrics, and a few spring fabrics. This made it difficult for me to figure out how to make a balanced quilt.
I ordered a panel with three different possibilities to use as a focus point. The problem with the panel was the rectangular and odd measurement of each piece. I went to the Mesquite Bean and purchased some red, yellow, black, and orange fabric. I had some red-on-white polka-dot fabric in my bin. I looked through quilt magazines for ideas, but nothing jumped out at me. I finally decided to just start cutting, hoping the quilt would begin to take shape. I started on the main panel on Sunday and was able to make a center and ended with the heart corners. Today, I cut some of the licensed fabric to make a keyboard side border. I need to add more length than width. I am at a “What’s next?” point, so I hung it up so I can think about it. I did cut 12.5″ blocks out of the licensed fabric to make the backing.
This is what I have so far:


I have not shared this with my sister, yet.

Dancing Zebra

These past five days have been absolutely the best. Nothing can top spending time with my grandson. We packed our days with lots of fun. One day included a visit to the Thinkery, thanks to my friend, Nancy, and her grandson.
One of the activities I had planned for my grandson was drawing. Drawing was a big component in my my lesson plans when I was an educator. I believe that drawing is one of the best ways to harmonize the brain, eyes, and hands. As part of my professional studies, I once read a book by Mona Brooks, Drawing With Children. In her book, the author encourages the reader to follow the exercises. After reading and working through this book, I incorporated more of the techniques into my teaching. Besides being a way to boost learning, drawing is just plain fun.
One of my grandson’s drawing was a zebra. We had checked out a how-to-draw book at the library. He thought his zebra looked like it was dancing…and I agree. It made me feel like dancing. So, I traced the photo of the zebra as closely as I could. Then I thread sketched it so I could keep a memento of the great time I had with my grandson.

Hawaii on My Mind

A few years ago, I flew to Hawaii to attend the wedding of my one and only niece. The ceremony was beautiful, and Hawaii is a paradise. My son is in Hawaii on business, and he called and sent some photos. We talked about the roosters and chickens that run free on the island. On one of the videos he sent me, you can hear a rooster crowing.
Our conversation and his photos inspired me to do a thread sketch of a rooster for today’s post on the 100 Day Project.

Then, I tried my hand at doing a water color of a view from above. I had purchased a semi-expensive small water color set. Then, yesterday, I found a kit that was reduced from $10 to $1.50. I thought it was a no-lose situation, so I bought it. Since I am a novice at water color, I really do not see the difference between the first paint set that I bought, and the reduced price set. In fact, I like the reduced price set better, since the paint blocks are larger.
Photo taken by S.Cunningham

I will be out of my sewing/art room for a few days. I am sure to find inspiration as I spend time with my family and friends.

Chelabrating with My Sisters

My sisters Chelabrated with me today. We had breakfast at Buttermilk Cafe in New Braunfels. It was a great place to chat and laugh with my sisters. I thread sketched a Silly Sister Selfie to capture this moment. It is the 67th entry of the 100th Day Project. This is the second time I sketch the three of us, but it is different from the first one. I am the one in the center.

After a relaxing a bit upon returning home, I thought it would be a good time to finish a project I started two days ago. This project is the result of me trying to organize my closet. I ran across a pair of jeans that were 3 sizes ago. My ego told me that I would fit into them again soon, since health and wellness is on my Chelabration list. Common sense told me that losing 3 sizes might be a bit unrealistic. I also realized that this was a very old pair of jeans that were a bit worn. Too worn for donation. So, I decided to upcyle the jeans into a small tote. Needless to say, the closet remains disorganized.
Sometimes, I just want a small bag to carry the essentials and nothing else. I also wanted a small essentials tote that could be placed into my larger sling messenger bag. I thought the denim would make a good small tote.
I started by cutting around the two back pockets. I cut it at 6.5″ X 7.5″ . I added a 2.5″ strip to the top in order to give me enough space to add the button. My original plan was to use both pockets, one for the front piece and one for the back. I decided to just use one jean pocket for the front. I made a lining with two pockets instead.
I cut the bottom portion of one jean leg to make the back piece of the tote. It was enough to match the size of the front piece without adding anything to it. I boro stitched the whole back piece. For the front pocket, I just boro stitched a heart.
I cut along the seam of the jean legs to use the seam as the purse strap. I had to sew two seams together to make it a cross shoulder length strap. I cut out the button, leaving an inch on each side. I also cut the button hole waist band to use for the flap. I used the jean loops for the tabs to hold the strap. I had to use key rings because I forgot to insert the jean loops into a D ring before I sewed in the loops. 🙄 Oops!
I have enough jean left over to make another tote. Plus, there are many denim pieces that can be used for stitching projects.
Now, I have a small bag to hold my essentials. I can also put this small tote in my sling messenger bag when I need to carry other things. This way, I can always find my keys, phone, glasses, and other stuff that usually get lost in a big bag.
 

Chelabration

Today is my 69th birthday. I have told my friends and family that I am declaring June 5, 2019 to June 5, 2020 to be a year of Chelabration. Rather than wallowing in negativity in this, the last year of my 60th decade, I want to celebrate ALL YEAR.  I have made a list of things I want to see, do, and learn this year. The list is a growing and changeable document. My blogging friends are on my list. I want to continue to communicate with all of you. I love to read your posts and learn new things. I’d like to share my Chelabration with you.
There are a few things on my list that I got an early start on learning. One of them is playing a ukulele. One of my sons told me that he heard that ukuleles only sound good when they are played at home. 😁
Right now, I am learning some chords. I can play a mean Twinkle, Twinkle.
I also got started on some water coloring. There are so many great tutorials on YouTube. Eventually, I would like to take a class, but my summer schedule does not jive with what is being offered in town.
Yesterday was my first Tai Chi class. One of my Meemaw friends and I decided this might be a good experience for us. The classes are taught in the San Antonio Botanical Gardens, so we get the bonus of a beautiful environment.
My sister, Emma, set me this new logo that she created for my 69th birthday.
So, here is to a new year!

Summer is Here

It’s been a busy, and fun, end of May and beginning of June. I have not been in my sewing room much. Just enough to make my small fabric trading cards for the 100 Day project. The gypsy quilt blocks have been put away in a “Maybe-Someday” bin. As I was piecing the blocks together, I just was not happy with the results. I needed to take a break.
I did take the time to make two notebook pouches. One was for me, and another was a gift for my daughter-in-law who has a birthday this month. She loves to sew and create things with fabric, so I used sewing themed fabric for her pouch.

Back                         Front
In the meantime, I am learning how to play the ukulele 😁 Why? Just because. It has been difficult but fun. I almost have the tune Twinkle, Twinkle down. I am spending more time just learning the chords. It is such a happy sounding instrument.
I also started trying to water color. This is something I have always wanted to do. There were no classes that fit into my schedule, so I started studying different tutorials on YouTube. After a few days of watching these tutorials, I thought I would give it a try. The subject for my first water color is a Carolina Chickadee. I saw one as I took my morning walk. It was perched on a tree near the neighborhood clubhouse…just singing away.
There is so much for me to learn about water color, and I am looking forward to continuing with my study. Hopefully, I can take a formal class at some time. Right now, my summer calendar is booking up and I just can’t commit to a scheduled class.

A Flamingo-Kind-of-Day

This morning, I started making a block for my 2019-2020 fabric journal. When I finished with the piece, I decided to make it a quilted block to hang on the door to my studio.
I started out by painting some canvas with fabric paint, markers, and crayons. I cut a flamingo from pink fabric. Then, I thread sketched, using different threads. I am having trouble with the stitches when I thread sketch. I have adjusted the tension, but I think the trouble stems from how I stitch. I find myself pulling the cloth, instead of gently gliding it along. This is an area where I need to consult with someone who knows what they are doing. Any suggestions, hints, and feedback is welcomed. Even with the uneven stitching, I am happy with the results.

For my May entry of the fabric journal, I found a denim block that I had pieced and started embroidering a few months ago. I cut out some flamingos and outlined stitched them onto the denim. I need to add some more embroidery and label it for the month of May.

It has definitely been a Flamingo-Kind-of-Day.

Botanical Gardens

This morning, I took a morning walk at the San Antonio Botanical Gardens. It is one of my favorite places to visit. I do not have a green thumb, so I need to go to the gardens to see beautiful flowers. The weather is still spring-like, with a lot of humidity. The summer heat has not hit yet.  Birds were every where. A Blue Jay posed for me ; and I captured a photo of a cardinal just before he took off.
I made a short video with the photos I took with my phone.

The color, design, and textures in the garden were inspirational. I think these flowers are named Brown-eyed Susan.

I used fabric paint and crayons on canvas for the background. Then I cut fabric to form the stems, leaves, and flowers. I thread sketched a bit to give it texture. Then I machine stitched a black outline.