Yellow Breasted Chat

San Antonio has many beautiful parks that are sanctuary for many species of birds.
One of my Meemaw friends is a Master Naturalist, who is well versed in identifying birds.
We frequently go in search for particular birds that may be in the area during a particular season.
Phil Hardberger Park Conservancy is one of the parks we visit.
The conservancy provides a list of birds that can be found in the park.
One of the birds listed, is a yellow breasted chat. I have never been fortunate to see one in the park, so I decided to paint one on fabric.

I used pastels to paint the bird on a beige, linen memo.
Fabric markers were also used to highlight areas.

After thread sketching the block, I pieced a frame and border.
The block is a 9″ square after adding the pieces.

These blocks that I am making are for practice and trying new things.
I am making a list of areas that show improvement and those requiring more practice.
At the Texas Quilt Museum, I saw a binder that contained blocks made by various quilters.
I am thinking of making my own quilt block binder.


Trying Something New

We have been having beautiful spring days…super green lawns and trees and gorgeous, blue skies.
In our area, we appreciate these spring days because our summer starts early and stays long.
Soon, everything will be yellow-brown, dry, and super hot.
Don’t get me wrong…I love summer. There is nothing like a hot, sweaty, Texas Summer day.
But, I am enjoying this cool, fresh bout of Spring.
As I was taking a neighborhood walk, I start thinking of doing something I have wanted to try for some time now…landscape quilting.
I returned home, looked at some tutorials, and just attacked my stash bins.
What a mess!
I decided to start small, keep it basic, and not realistic.
I have mounds of fabric on my cutting table, floor, and ironing board.

I started by laying out strips of hand cut fabric on a 10″ muslin square.

I added different greens for the tree tops.
I went for the bluest blue and greenest green to exaggerate the spring we are having.
I thread sketched the tree trunks and then used fabric crayons to color the leaves and the trunks.
Then, I used black marker to add some shading on the tree.
I attempted to do some stippling.
The batting I used was very thin. Next time, I will use batting that is a bit fuller.
The end result is an 8.5″ x 8.5″ square.

I think the piece needs some flowers, animals, and some movement…but I need to think about how to do this.
I might zig-zag stitch the edges or just leave it as it is, since this is just a practice piece.
Tomorrow, I might view more tutorials and try to learn different techniques.
Trying something new can sometimes be frustrating.
I found today’s project was challenging, but fun.

Viva Fiesta! Block #16 Friday, April 20

Every April, San Antonio celebrates the heroes of the Alamo and the different cultures of our city.
Fiesta began in 1891 with the Battle of Flowers Parade.
The festivities have grown to include numerous events: the day parade, the Battle of Flowers; the night parade, Fiesta Flambeau; Night in Old San Antonio;carnivals, art, music, and food galore.
As a child, my family would pack an ice chest with drinks and chicken salad sandwiches. We would carry our own folding chairs and enjoy the festivities. My mom, usually very quiet and proper, would whistle, yell, sing, and march. Marching bands are my favorite, especially the band from my Alma Mater,
the University of Texas …they always open the Flambeau.
In my classroom, we would study the history of our city and cultures throughout the month of April.We decorated our room, and ourselves, with bright and festive colors. The children would make papel picado to hang from the hallway ceilings. Tissue flowers were strung up across the room.We made our own badges and hats to wear all month.
And of course, for the entire month, I wore my Mexican dresses, flowers in my hair, and cascarones or chili pepper earrings. Our school would have a Fiesta festival, and our first grade and kinder classes would have a parade in the hallways. I would have the University of Texas CD blasting the
Eyes of Texas/Texas Fight songs, as we marched our way through the school.
This year, Fiesta is extra special, since the city is celebrating its Tricentennial.
So, the block for Friday, April 20, is inspired by Fiesta.
I do not make it a habit of taking selfies, but one of my goals in thread sketching is to improve on sketching cartoon people images. So, I decided to try to thread sketch my Fiesta Self. For this block, I did not draw myself with pencil on the fabric. I just thread sketched…that is why you will see that the hand and arms are not the best. I did draw in the eyes with ink pen. In the image, I am making the “Hook’em Horns” sign, and I am holding a raspa, snow cone. At the Texas Quilt Museum, I had seen a quilt that had some designs cut-out in the  fabric. I do not know what this technique is called, so I’ll just say “cut-out”. I decided to try to use this technique and make the papel picado from scraps.

Friday, April 20
Viva Fiesta!
Background: White Kona painted with acrylic
Technique: Thread sketch, cut-out, free motion quilting, fabric painting with acrylics, pastels, and pencil

Spring Studio Storm

After a day of working on the quilt for my grandson, my sewing studio looks like it has been hit by a storm. As I was digging into different bins, looking for scraps, I did not follow my rule of putting things back in their place as I go. Well, I will look at this as a positive thing. It will give me the opportunity to reorganize and weed out what I will not be using.
I added some applique bugs and birds to the sections that have the name already appliqued.

For some reason, this photo shows the denim a bit discolored, and it is not.

Since I am making blocks without really measuring, I am having to adjust the pieces as I go.
I made two side pieces to complete the middle section.
This piece is not attached yet, so the photo looks off.

Left Side

Right Side

These are the first three sections that I pieced today.
The top row of houses and the name strips were done a long time ago.
The houses were all done without a ruler.
This was my first attempt at some type of improv.
At that time, I was also just learning how to applique.
So, the letters are not as nice as I would like them to be.

I completed the applique on this middle section today. The stitches are better on this piece than on the letters.
This quilt is a learning process for me.
It has been fun finding fabric and creating pieces that tell little stories about my grandson.
I know he does not need another quilt…but…I am making one anyway.

Friday, the 13th

It’s Friday, and I have yet been able to start piecing some of the blocks for my grandson’s quilt.
There are too many things going on, and I need to prioritize.
I am happy to have planned and designed more pieces for this quilt, so time was not wasted.

Tomorrow, I will be going to Gruene, Texas to celebrate my sister’s birthday.
There will be a fabric shopping trip included in the day’s activities, since I know there are at least two quilt shops in the area. I want a few more bright pieces to add to my grandson’s quilt.
A few weeks ago, I made three black and white baskets for my sister.

Then this morning, I completed a wall hanging.
I added more thread sketching in an attempt to add texture and shading.
My thread sketching control is still a bit wobbly, so there are some oopsies.

I am in the process of painting some rocks for my sister.

The larger snail stone is painted on both sides.
When I found the stone, I thought it had the perfect shape for a snail.

I hope that you have had a safe and productive Friday, the 13th.

I’ve Still Got It!

Today was split into time for exercise, time to shop for sewing notions, and time to work on projects.
While at the store, I saw three children rough housing, yelling, and knocking things down.
A very hassled mother wearily said, “Look at mama. Is mama happy?”
The children responded in chorus with a resounding “No!”…and then kept on causing havoc.
Since I was standing in the midst of this chaos, I mustered up my best “teacher look” and directed it straight to the tumbling threesome of kids who were stomping on each other’s feet.
The kids caught my look and stopped on a dime.
They went and stood behind their mom.
The mom thanked me.
I guess I Still Got It!

I have been working on two projects today.
I am continuing with the design of my grandson’s quilt.
I sketched some new blocks and started pulling fabric.
Tomorrow, I hope to put some of the pieces together and top-stitch the applique on some of the blocks.
Then, I will have a better idea of where to go next with the design.
I know what needs to be added, but I am piecing this in a scrappy, uneven sized blocks. It is sort of like putting a puzzle together.

The other project I am working on is a thread sketch of a Golden Retriever.
This time, I sketched on a 3 layer block. Usually, I thread sketch on the fabric backed with stiff interfacing. Then, I add a layer to quilt the piece after I finish with the thread sketching. I need to thread sketch some grass and flowers, and maybe add a cloud applique. Then, I will use an embroidery hoop to frame the piece.
My older sister and I will be celebrating our youngest sister’s birthday this week-end, and I want to include this as part of her gift.

Block #15~Friday, April 13

Childhood means simplicity. Look at the world with the child’s eye – it is very beautiful.
Kailash Satyarthi

The inspiration for this block came from my youngest grandson. We had a beautiful, spring day together.
The weather was fresh, cool, and bright.
I had planned some very simple activities. I printed different outdoor scavenger hunts and let him choose the one he wanted. The weather was rather brisk, so I also printed some indoor scavenger hunts, just in case. I bought a plastic clipboard that also had storage for pencils and stickers. The hunt was a delightful experience. As we hunted for tree bark, dirt, lady bugs, grass, I got the chance to see nature through the eyes of my grandson. He studied and made observations about everything we saw. We stopped to use his nature adventure tools that I had given him for Christmas. This included a magnifying glass,  a tiny scoop shovel and other tools. Looking at tree bark through a magnifying glass is pretty awesome! He gently picked up a ladybug and talked about how we have to take care of nature.

 He placed a sticker on the checklist.

I had also taken some paint and brushes for a project after our hike. The plan was to paint a branch and make a walking stick. We found a large branch in his front yard. We also found a medium Y-shaped twig that he found interesting. He painted these for his dad, and decided that he wanted them to be displayed in their side garden.

Another simple activity I planned was to make sculptures out of cardboard. I cut a discarded cardboard box into squares and rectangles; and cut slits on the sides.

This simple activity turned into a work of art.

When I tell my grandson that he makes my heart happy, he just beams.
So, the center of the block has a puffy heart.
I added insect and flower buttons to represent the Scavenger Hunt.
The backing is a spring floral.

Happy Heart
Background: Turquoise cotton/linen memo
Technique: Free Motion Quilting, Applique, Embroidery Stitching
Embellishments: Insect and flower buttons


My goal for this  100 Day Project is to make a variety of quilt blocks.
With each block, I plan to try new things and practice old skills.
I am also in the process of designing a quilt using some of the ideas I got while visiting the Quilt Museum in La Grange. The different colored thread I ordered was delivered today. I have been acquiring fabric a bit at a time. Some of these 100 Day Project blocks may find their way into this quilt.  I hope to be starting on this soon.
In the meantime, this is the block I made for today.
It is the selfie block I thread sketched a few days ago.
I added some wonky strips to go with my wonky self.
I used acrylic paint, water color, and some fabric crayon and pencil.
As of yet, I have no plan for this block.
It might become a small wall hanging.
Or, it might be included in a quilt.
Who knows?
I will have a box of blocks when I am finished with this 100 Day Project…hopefully, I will have learned and have shown improvement.

(Yes, my wardrobe is reflected in this piece!)
Today, I was also working on the hexagon block for my quilt journal.
I had such a wonderful day with my grandson, I just had to record it in my journal.
This hexagon will be finished tomorrow, after I buy some ladybug buttons!



















Journals~Part of the Creative Process

Melanie, of Catbird Quilt Studio, started a conversation on creativity.
The comments and thoughts of other bloggers has been informative and thought provoking.
Tierney, of Tierney Creates, has also contributed to this topic; and she has even posted a peek into her creative journaling process. This encouraged me to share a look at my journal.
Keeping a journal is an internal communication for me. I am a visual learner, and I need to “see” my thoughts and designs. I use a graph paper composition book for my designs and ideas.
These journals have handmade covers.
I also keep a journal to post photos or actual pieces of my work. I add the story, inspiration, and process for each product.

So Much to Do!

Today has been spent playing catch-up, after being gone for three days.
My head is filled with ideas for quilt blocks and designs…but the projects are put on hold.
I am going to try to jot down some notes and sketches of some of these ideas.
I do not want to have a senior moment and forget.
I will be going to see my grandson tomorrow, and that is WAY more important.
In order to prepare for our day together, I have prepared some indoor and outdoor scavenger hunt activities. I am packing a box of paints and paint brushes, since we will be searching for a limb to paint for a walking stick. Last year, I had prepared a box of supplies for his Creative Box. I am planning to replenish his box.
I also painted two rocks for him.
One rock has a painting of a heart, because I always tell him that he makes my heart happy.
The other rock has a painting of a stegosaurus.

For the past few weeks, I have been going through my collectibles in order to see which ones I could live without.
Tierney (Tierney Creates ) had shared a quote about our space reflecting who we are now. I liked the quote and started clearing out stuff. I found that I like what I had done so far. I promised myself that I would stop buying little mementos and good luck charms in an attempt to improve and update my space.
Well, when I was in Shulenburg, we visited some shops.
There went my resolve not to buy any more lucky charms or mementos.

There was this metal bird that just sang my name…so I purchased it.
I named her Purl the Pretty Girl.
And of course, I had to have the ant.
I frequently get “antsy”; and this ant lets me know that it is okay to have ants in your pants.
In the classroom, whenever the kids or I had ants in our pants, we would stand up and shake the ants out  with our Ants in Our Pants dance.
The angel is called the Worry Angel. It is her job to take away your worries.
When I showed these charms to my sister, Emma, she gave me some great names for the ant and the angel.
The ant is called, Migas N. Pantalones.
Hormiga, is Spanish for ant.
Pantalones, is Spanish for pants.
Hence, Migas N. Pantalones is the perfect name.

The word, issues, in Spanish is pendientes.
My sister suggested that the worry/issue angel be named, Yanohay Pendientes…or Penny for short.
Ya no hay“, in English, is there are “no longer any”.

I did find time to make something for “The100DayProject”.
I originally wanted to paint or piece some fabric for this project, but I did not have enough time for that.
So, I did a simple thread sketched of Purl the Girl.
This is the first time I used an embroidery hoop for a frame.

I am looking forward to my day with my grandson tomorrow.
Then, I will probably come home and sleep for two days!