Making the Best of It

July has always been a month of celebrations in my family. There were so many plans to spend time with my three sons and their families. These plans had to be cancelled. This year, we have had to celebrate on Zoom.

Today, I should be sitting with my family on a deck of a cruise ship. Thanks to my son and DIL, we are making the best of a bad situation. We are not allowing ourselves to be bummed out by the cancellation. Instead, we are finding ways to make it fun. My DIL reminded me that it is all about how we choose to spend our time locked inside and away from each other. As she said, “life is good”.

What would I be doing on the first day of the cruise? I would probably be scoping out the ship and finding my way around. I would also be taking in the beautiful seascape and soaking in the sun and sea air.  To set the mood, I played Bahamian music in my sewing room. I drew a small seascape onto canvas. I used some of my new embroidery thread that arrived today. Then I added some water color. Tomorrow’s cruise itinerary includes listening to tango music. I was so looking forward to taking the lessons provided on the ship. I found some tango tutorials on YouTube. The heels might do me in. 🙂

In the video, I also included some of the embroidery projects from the week. Last week, I embroidered a selfie of my pandemic hairstyle. This week, I embroidered a selfie of my pandemic attire. Thank goodness for stretchy pants and leggings.

Since I am such a bird nerd, I have two more embroidery projects featuring birds. One is a tufted titmouse, and the other is a speckled fuschia.

This past Wednesday, I picked up my Lone Star Quilt from Linda, who did the longarm quilting for me. The quilt is now shipped and on its way to my niece.

The excitement for the week came when I went to pick up my two ailing sewing machines. They are now both working as if they are brand new. I am so impressed with Gromes Sewing Machine Company. They have set up excellent Covid safety measures. They allowed drive by drop off and pick up. It was good to see the place had their usual heavy traffic of business. When I told one of my sons that I had my machines back, he joked that he was going to have to clear out his cabinets to make more room for mug rugs. So, of course, I had to make him some!

A positive attitude has made this an absolutely fun day.

Stay positive.
Life is good.
Stay safe.

Keep Busy~Stay Positive

One of the things I learned the hard way was that it doesn’t pay to get discouraged. Keeping busy and making optimism a way of life can restore your faith in yourself. Lucille Ball

  • The Pandemic Shut-In continues
  • This was a week of three digit temperatures with bad air quality
  • Both my sewing machines are not working

This was the week I decided to focus on keeping busy and choosing to stay optimistic.
All I can do about the pandemic is try to help others, pray, and remain hopeful.
There is nothing I can do about Texas summer temperatures. As soon as the air is less dusty, I will resume outside activities early in the morning.
As for the sewing machines, I spent a few days contemplating how to resolve this issue. I made pro and con lists for ditching these two and getting a new sewing machine. I really want a Bernina, and there are some summer deals going on. This is not the time to go into a shop and try out new machines. Also, if I purchased a Bernina, I would not be able to take any classes to familiarize myself with all of the features of the machine. I finally decided to take both of the machines into the shop. There will be a two week turn around on this. In the meantime, I will have to find some other way to keep myself busy.
For now, I have been playing around with embroidery. I remember watching my mom and my aunt embroider beautiful projects. Both of them made such precise stitches. The back of their work was all neat and tidy. I am not there yet, but I am trying different techniques to add texture and detail.
I started by drawing a humming bird and a flower. I chose a humming bird because I thought it would be fun to try colorful and textured wings.
My next project was for my granddaughter. She has outgrown unicorns, and is now interested in dragons. She is reading a series of dragon books. A few years ago, I was dabbling with Zen art, and just drawing loops and lines. I drew a dragon and filled it with lines and curves. I then used my granddaughter’s favorite colors~ teal and purple. I had one remaining DIY pendent, so I drew a small dragon on canvas. The canvas was a bit thick, and I drew the dragon a bit too large for the size of the pendent. I ended up squeezing and gluing the embroidered piece onto the pendent. I hope it stays glued.
French knots have always been a challenge for me, so I like to practice making them. I used a blue line piece of fabric to stitch some daisies. The centers are filled with French knots.
My sister sent me a video of a cockatoo dancing to ringtones. I researched the bird and learned more about this intelligent and social creature. I drew a cockatoo onto blue linen fabric. I tried adding texture and dimension with white, grey, and yellow embroidery thread.
I have some strips of canvas that I just cannot throw away. I drew three birds on a small strip of canvas. My goal was to display action in my embroidery. I called this piece, “Joyful Song”.
The next project started when I went to organize my scrap bin. I found a fabric with different owls in the design. I fussy cut one of the owls and, also, some leaves from another fabric. After gluing the pieces onto a star fabric, I embroidered the owl, tree, and leaves. I left this one in the hoop, as a small wall hanging.
Because of the pandemic, I, like many others, have not had my hair cut since March. As I was pulling my out of control hair into a scrunchie, the idea for my next piece came to mind. I drew sort of a selfie onto a small piece of canvas. Then I embroidered the hair, face, and glasses. I cut fabric in the shape of a shirt to applique. Fabric crayons were used to color the face.
It is going to be a long two weeks without my machine. I had plans to start another scrappy quilt, but this will have to wait.
Maybe this week I will paint rocks. 🙂
Keep busy.
Stay positive.
Stay safe.

Summer

“In summer, the song sings itself.” – William Carlos Williams

The summer season has always been very special. As a child, there was nothing better than playing outside from morning until night. As a parent, I cherished the time spent with my sons at the coast, swim meets, and fun-filled and lazy days.
The temperature has been hitting 100+. I take my morning walk before the temperature gets too high. Then, I am inside keeping busy. Since our Covid cases continue to rise in my state, I am pretty much still home bound.
In January, I began what was supposed to be a year long embroidery project. Whenever I would find time to sit or watch TV, I would pull out this project and draw different animals and plants on linen. I practiced old stitches  and tried new embroidery stitches. 2020 feels like it is dragging on too long, so I already finished the project.
This week, I finally got started on the Lone Star quilt for my niece. I chose this pattern by Jordan Fabrics because my niece says her heart is still in Texas. Donna, from Jordan Fabrics, has an excellent tutorial for this pattern. My hesitation to start this quilt was my concern for matching the points and seams. I had pieced a star quilt before, but it was with made large half triangles. This star was made with jelly roll strips. I chose Moda, Texas Wildflower jelly roll strips with a white on white floral background. Donna demonstrates how to cut and piece in a manner that will keep the fabric laying flat. On my first attempts, there was quite a bit of rip and redo. I finally got the hang of it, so the second half of the star was a bit easier. I thought there would be no problem with the top and bottom borders made from the extra triangles…wrong! After struggling with the top border, the bottom border was a bit smoother.
Now that these projects are completed, I will continue with my summer morning walks and listen to the summer song. I am looking forward to starting other projects. Thanks to Mary, Zippy Quilts, I already have some plans. 🙂

Stay safe.

Post Script:
I have been working on my Viking sewing machine because my Juki was on the blink.
Now, my Viking won’t start up.
Yikes!

 

Staying Focused

One of my daily readings reminded me to focus on what I can control. This led to me focusing on making crafts, which is about the only thing I can control these days.

Sew Can She had a free pattern for making flat travel/storage bags. I won’t be traveling for a while, but I made three bags anyway.

I had some quilt squares left over from a Village House quilt that I made. I used the squares to make mug rugs.
Then I made some hexagon mug rugs/ coasters that open up. You can place the bottom of a wine glass inside the mug rug.

I had a Go Fish Pattern by Fishsticks to make potholders and oven mitts. I had just enough remnants and fat quarters to make three sets. The pattern calls for regular and thermal batting, which I happened to have.

My long arm quilter finished quilting the three Halloween quilts that I made. After binding the quilts, I decided to make a tote with the Halloween remnants and scraps. I made an envelope pillow, and placed a pocket in front. This tote can be used for carrying the quilt and a Halloween book in the front pocket.
I continue to make masks to have on hand, in case anyone needs one. Stitches Quilting has a tutorial on making a very easy pouch to store the pouch.

With some remnants, I was able to make a few buttoned coin purses. I made some in different sizes, lined and unlined.

After weeks of putting off starting a new quilt, I finally decided to get to it. I have studied the tutorial on the Lone Star quilt by Jordan Fabrics. Donna provides excellent instructions and demonstrations in her tutorials. Last year, I studied and followed Donna’s tutorial for making a strip tube Christmas quilt. This Lone Star quilt is quite a challenge for me, but Donna’s tutorial is very helpful. I cut the fabric on Saturday. I pieced half of the star diamonds yesterday, and the other half today. This quilt will be for my niece who now lives in New York. She loves everything Texas, so I used the Moda wildflower jelly roll to make the star.

Focusing on these crafts and starting a new quilt has made the days go by a bit easier. I hope everyone is well.
Stay safe.

Home Bound Again

Since my city and state are now experiencing a high rate of increase in Covid, I am  once again home bound. The only outings I had been allowing myself were with my Meemaws. We only met in the school parking lot, or in a park. We always wore masks and kept our distance. We took our last visit to a park this week. As long as our governor refuses to take the action needed, the situation will not improve.

That said, I am keeping myself busy. There are three quilt projects that I have in bins. The first quilt possibility is a modern quilt made of half log cabin squares that seems pretty interesting. It is a perfect pattern for using scraps.
There is also a curvy log cabin quilt that I had planned to make at retreat with friends. Since the retreat was cancelled, the quilt project was laid aside. The fabric I chose for this quilt is by Marcia Derse. I just love her design.
The third possible quilt is a Lone Star quilt for my niece. This pattern is a bit tricky for me, so I have been studying the tutorial by Jordan Fabrics. I have made a star quilt before, but I was not happy with how the seams laid out. The tutorial explains how to have flat seams.

In the meantime, I have made a few small things. Mary sent me the link to very cute block pattern by the Sewing Loft. The dragonfly block was made from tiny scraps. I did something wrong with each one.The heads of the dragonfly just didn’t work for me. I read, and reread the directions, but I could never figure out exactly where I went off course. I had to make it fit, so each one is different. I also made the butterfly quilt block from that same site. Thank you, Mary, for being so thoughtful. I enjoyed making these blocks. They will show up somewhere in a future project.

My DIL had told me about the site, Sew She Can. There was a tutorial for a lay flat storage bag that I found interesting. The patterns come in three sizes. I made three medium sized bags in one afternoon. I like these bags since they lay flat, but open wide. They hold quite a bit of stuff.

In the video, I have a picture of a very friendly dog who lives in the neighborhood. I have seen Luna grow up. She is now 10 years old now. Whenever I walk by her house, Luna wags her arthritic back side as she comes up for a hug. She makes my day.

There are also some pictures of ducks, a golden crown heron, and the vultures at Brackenridge Park. Apparently, the black vultures are uninvited guests in this park. They coexist with the animals in the zoo. I included a video clip of the vultures in the sky. There is also a tree filled with white egrets. There are so many, the tree looks white. I could not get a picture of the tree, since it is not a place you want to walk by or stand under. I don’t know when we will be able to enjoy our park outing again.

Stay Safe
Wear Your Masks

Donkey

This has been a very frustrating weekend. Our totally inept governor has shown no real leadership, and has in fact interfered with the true leadership of our mayor, and other Texas mayors. Now, Texas is in the top 5 ranking of states with increased covid. And San Antonio is #2 in hot spot cities.

It has been difficult staying focused, so I am still only working on small projects that I can finish quickly.
Last week, when I met with my friends, I gave them the vulture rocks that I had painted for them. We placed one at the base of our Meemaw tree. As usual, vultures came to visit as we sat under the tree.

One of my friends, Kaye, gave me some flat rocks, and asked if I could paint some donkeys on them. I read about donkeys and researched what they symbolize.  The donkey is a very interesting spirit animal. The donkey represents the following: tenacity, hard working attitude, true leadership, gentleness, and an awareness of oncoming danger. The donkey also likes to learn and he offers confidence, determination, and focus.  I drew and painted donkeys on three rocks. Then, I thought it would be fun to make an embroidery art piece. I drew and stitched a donkey onto linen and made a hoop plaque.

On one of our past Meemaw trips, Kaye showed me a double pouched eyeglasses case she had purchased at a craft show. The two pouches were facing in different directions, which makes it very handy to carry both your regular glasses and sunglasses. Since the pouch was old and worn, she wanted a new one. But she has not been able to find one. I looked online for patterns or tutorials, but did not find any. I forgot about this project until this weekend. There is a tutorial for single pouch eyeglasses cases by Owl Be Sewing. I followed the tutorial and made two quilted pouches. My original plan was to machine sew the two completed pouches together, but the layers were too thick. I laid one on top of the other, facing in different directions. Then I hand stitched them, using embroidery thread.

Another small project that I completed this weekend was for my grand baby. I had some leftover Dr. Seuss jelly roll strips, so I used them to make two fabric blocks. I wish I could give them to my grandson in person. 😦

While viewing classic movies, I stitched two small fabric art pieces. Thank you, Tierney, for sending a bag of scraps. I used small pieces of this fabric on these tiny art blocks. I have also used the scraps to make scrappy strips and patches. These will show up in some future quilt project.

It’s only Monday.
I have no idea what I’ll do or make tomorrow.
Hopefully, I will be inspired by the determination, confidence, and focus of the donkey! 🙂

Stay safe.

Keeping Busy

There are a few big projects I have planned, but I am not ready to start any of them. In the meantime, I am just keeping busy with little stuff.
I piddled around with five small projects.
My Meemaw friends wanted their own vulture rocks, so I made one for each of them.
I also made a couple of more rock socks. It is something I like doing when I am watching TV.
Another favorite thing to do while watching TV is stitching, or embroidering. I embroidered a few pieces and stitched them onto a fabric strip. This was made into a fabric snippet attached to a wooden spool.
The other day, I was digging through my purse, trying to get my phone. I realized that it was time to make a phone case that would make it easier to find. It also would add some protection. Crafty Gemini had a super easy pattern and tutorial. I made my case a bit larger to fit my phone. I also added a tab and clasp. This way, I can attach it to the loop in my purse. My DIL showed me the phone case that she made for when she goes walking. It has an elastic arm band. I am thinking of making one for me.
Because of the pandemic, I have not had my hair cut since March. My hair is out of control. I am pulling my hair into a small pony tail. I read that scrunchies are making a comeback…Ha! I found a YouTube tutorial on How To by Kristen. I made one for myself, and then made some more for my granddaughter.
Before I start on any of the bigger projects, my sewing room needs major reorganization and cleaning. Maybe I will get to that tomorrow.
Or, maybe I will make more scrunchies! 🙂

Stay Safe.

Something New

Back in April, I posted about an artist I follow on Instagram, #kitschychic. I love all of her fabric art that she posts, but I was particularly interested in the fabric rolls she makes. Since I never throw anything away, I have bins filled with tiny fabric scraps. I used these to make a couple of fabric snippet rolls. The process for these snippets was just to glue scraps on 2.5″ wide strips of fabric, then stitch them down. I embellished some with beads, buttons, fabric collage animals, and embroidery. There are so many beautiful examples of fabric snippet rolls online.
Upon further research on these snippets, I discovered journal fabric rolls. These journals tell a story. I guess the fabric snippets also tell a story. The journal fabric rolls I saw were usually a bit wider than the 2.5′ snippets.

Since I have been interested in learning how to Kantha stitch, I thought I would try something new. I thought I could use a journal fabric roll as a practice piece for Kantha stitching. I first became interested in Kantha stitching when I saw the beautiful art created by Mariss, of Fabrication. Mariss sent me a couple of links and answered some questions for me.
Let’s say that the fabric journal I created is Kantha-ish stitching, because it definitely isn’t an example of real Kantha stitching.
Thank you, Mariss, for the inspiration and the tips. The whole process was a fun learning experience. I plan to continue to practice and I hope to learn how to Kantha stitch correctly.

Here are a few of the problems I had with the stitching:
1. I had gelli-printed a 4″ X 41 ” strip of white fabric. I used fabric medium on the acrylic paint. This made the fabric a bit too stiff for smooth stitching.
2. My stitches are not even.
3. Since my stitches are not even, the patterns I tried did not come out.
4. I do not have good control of the thread and it keeps turning and twisting. I have to stop and adjust quite often.
5. Sometimes, I pull too much and the fabric puckers.
6. I used two layers of white fabric, and a satin fabric for the backing. Maybe this wasn’t the best use for the satin, but I thought it would make the backing look good. I was happy with the results.

The fabric journal roll is named, Morning Walk. I stitched some of the things I see on my walks. This morning, I was busy watching a dragonfly hover, dart, and buzz around. When it finally landed, I was able to get a great photo. Of course, I had to put this onto my journal roll.

My plan was to wrap the snippets around some dowels and wooden spools that I ordered. This didn’t quite work, since the ones I ordered were too small for the snippets.

The video also has a photo of the vulture rocks I painted. I mentioned that the vultures are the mascot for the Meemaws because they seem to be wherever we are. I was not able to join the Meemaws this week for a walk in the park, but they sent me a photo of the vultures that were waiting for them. I painted a rock with four vultures, and we plan to place it under the Meemaw tree. I also painted a rock with one vulture for me. The Meemaws said they would give me rocks so that I can paint one vulture for each of them.

So far, it has been a fun week.
Hope you are doing well.
Stay safe.

Family and Friends

With all that is going on in our country, I have hesitated to post about this special day I just experienced. After giving it some thought, I am posting about this emotional and great day. I would like to share my happiness with you, since we all could use a little happy these days.

My youngest son and his wife organized a surprise birthday celebration. My family and friends drove into town  with posters and goodies. We got time to visit outside, keeping our social distance. This is the first time I have seen my family since March. My heart was bursting. Seeing my grandchildren was the best gift ever. My sisters dropped by, along with my very special friend, Nancy. The Meemaws came in decorated cars and wearing vulture hats. The vulture is our mascot, since they seem to make an appearance almost every time we go somewhere. My friends and family have made this 70th birthday so very special. I hope this video makes you smile.

Stay Safe