Diversions

Diversion: an activity that diverts the mind from tedious or serious concerns
(Definition by Oxford Languages)
So far, 2021 is not looking much better than 2020. Diversion is the name of the game for me right now, so I have been keeping busy making things. I will follow Tierney’s example and just post about things I am making, and not the endangered country we live in today.
Inchies
My interest in making inchies has been renewed ever since I came across a book my friend had given me.
Also, on Pinterest, I had seen some inchie books made from paper. I thought it would be fun to make one using fabric. With a bit of embroidery and fussy cutting, I made an inchie booklet.
Embroidery
I continue to draw and embroider things that come to mind. I made a 2021 Guide fabric book using the embroidered peacock, snail, and bee. I am also working on a Stitch a Day project. So far, I have embroidered a bird…shocking, right?
Felting
It is believed that the art of felting dates back to pre-historic times in Central Asia. Felting is something I have been wanting to learn, and I finally took the plunge. The feeling of shaping a wad of wool into little creatures such as a bird or elephant is so gratifying. After making the first bird, I thought I could work better without the leather finger tips for protection. I wanted to feel the wool in order to facilitate shaping. Wrong. While making the robin without the finger protection, I jabbed my index finger pretty badly. Those little barbs on the needle are a bit vicious. It took about two days for my finger to stop hurting. When I made the elephant, I focused a bit more than before. I used the finger tips about 50% of the time. My felt creatures are not as tight as they can be, but with a bit more practice, I think they will improve.
Crochet
On a blog site, Crocht, I found a free pattern for crocheting a basket. I liked the pattern, but I changed it just a bit. There was enough yarn for me to make two baskets. These baskets are firm, yet flexible. I use them to hold the materials and tools needed for ongoing projects. These small project baskets are placed next to my recliner and I work on projects as I watch TV.
Snow Day
On January 10, Central Texas had a Snow Day! It was the reprieve we needed during these dark days. I was so happy to see the photos of my grandchildren having fun playing in the snow. My sister, Emma, sent a photo of a snowman that she built. I did an interpretive Snow Dance, but was told to come in before I slipped on the ice. 🙂 To commemorate this special day, I made a Snowman tag. It was to be the first entry in the
52 Tags Challenge that I am doing. For the snowman, I had made my own tag. I realized that this would be a bit much, and make the challenge feel like work and not fun. So, I ordered some ready-made tags, as recommended. This tag challenge is a fun way to use up scraps, and a great way to celebrate the weeks in the year.
Quilting
I have two weeks of my temperature quilt sewn together. I did not include a photo of this in the video. So far, I like the way the January row is taking shape.
Every baby needs a dinosaur quilt, so I purchased the Elizabeth Hartman Dinosaur Sampler pattern. I have been studying the pattern for days now, and my puzzler hurts. My friend, Joy, from Mesquite Bean, helped me choose the online fabrics for the quilt. Today, I was questioning if I would even start. But speaking with Joy, gave me the confidence to cut as I go, and not all at once…as suggested in the pattern. It would be an organizational disaster to cut it all at once.
Journaling
One of my journals is an art journal, where I just doodle or sketch simple things. The drawing in the video tells the story of something that happened as I was on my morning walk. I was enjoying my usual walk, just thinking, enjoying the outside, and listening to the music in my head. Suddenly, a squirrel dashed out from behind a garbage can that was on the street for pick-up. I shouted, the squirrel squealed, and we both dashed away. I do not know who was more startled, me or the squirrel. This might end up being something I thread sketch.

Welcome, 2021!

 “I love beginnings. If I were in charge of calendars, every day would be January 1.” ―Jerry Spinelli

With every illegal firecracker that was popped in my neighborhood on New Year’s Eve, I felt a sense of release. 2020 is finally over. Here’s to a new beginning, every day.
Christmas was different, but I still had special time with my three sons and their families. It was just what I needed to re-energize for the new year.
If anyone walked into my sewing room today, they would not believe the time I had spent cleaning and organizing. 🙂 It has been a fun three days, starting new projects and just playing with fabric. The first thing I made was a simple little bookmark made from fabric crumbs. I just couldn’t throw out the bin of crumbs just yet.
My sister, Emma, gave me the book, Birds, by Carme Lemniscates. The illustrations are lovely, and the author’s message is inspirational. I started thinking of making something with birds, and then I remembered a post by Mary, (Zippy Quilts). Mary is a great source of inspiration and information. She posted about making a refrigerator quilt, and I thought this would be a perfect year long project. For the introductory block of the year, I appliqued a selfie of me dancing with birds. It will serve as a reminder to enjoy the moments each day brings. I chose to make my blocks 9 inch square. For the January block, I appliqued a bluebird, as a symbol of joy and happiness. Making these blocks will hopefully provide me the opportunity to try new things, and practice skills such as free motion quilting.
Mary also gave me the idea about making a temperature quilt. The pattern is by Canuck Quilter. I cut and organized the fabric in December, and I started making the January strip on the first of the month. We are having some cold mornings and mild afternoons. Hopefully, we will have enough of a winter, and a cool spring, before the quilt becomes solid red and orange with our Texas heat.
Another year long project I started is Stitch-a-Day embroidery. I did something similar last year, and I found it very relaxing. Sara Barnes has a post about this activity. I also stitched a cat in a four inch hoop.
When I was cleaning out bins, I found a book on inchies that my friend had given me. It is entitled, Inchies, edited by Peggy Donda-Kobert. There were directions for making an inchie cube that I thought was cute. I had some swatches of silk that I used for making the inchies.
When I was with my youngest grandson, I was delighted to see how he loves books. He points to the pictures as we read to him. I made him a fabric book using a panel by Henry Glass. My grandson loves to dance to music, so I was listening to Raffi as I was making the book. As a mother, grandmother, and teacher, I highly recommend Raffi!
I love looking through craft books and viewing tutorials. I saw an embroidered messenger pigeon, that had a ribbon tied to its neck to hold messages. I liked the idea, but decided to make a fabric pigeon instead. My friend, Nancy, had made me a fabric bird and I used it as a reference. I drew a picture of a pigeon and used batting to stuff it. The messenger bag was made from scraps of felt. I thought this would be a cute way to send a message to my grandchildren.
A project I have not started yet is one that involves felting. I ordered a felting beginners kit. The needles look scary. I need to see some more tutorials before I start.
Oh, I have something awesome in my sewing room that is going to improve my ironing capabilities. My DIL made me a quilter’s ironing board. She followed the tutorial by Matt Jordan. It is the best thing ever! I don’t mean to brag, but I am blessed to have the best DIL’s ever. One gave me the cutest inspirational bird set. The Guide Birds are a reminder of renewal and celebration. I also got a Women Power coffee cup. My other DIL crocheted a super soft blankie that I use to get comfy on my recliner. It is more than these thoughtful gifts that make them so special. They are loving and strong women.
2021 is only three days young. I am hopeful that this will be a year of renewal, health, peace, and love.
Take care.


December, 2021

The way you spend Christmas is far more important than how much.
– Henry David Thoreau

The impact of 2020 has caused so many changes in our lives; however, I have not allowed 2020 to keep me from enjoying December. Time with family and friends will look different this year, but we will still enjoy each other’s company online and socially distanced.
This month, I have been busy crocheting projects, making gifts, embroidering, and just having fun making stuff. I closed down shop last week, and started concentrating on cleaning up and reorganizing my workroom for next year. So far, I have purged three bins of fabric scraps and crumbs. It was a three step process for purging the contents of these bins. I emptied into donation bags. Then I dumped the contents of these bags on a table to view and access if I still wanted to keep any. The fabrics that caught my eye were put in another bag, for me to review more closely. I realized that even though these fabric pieces were still good, I just didn’t find any inspiration or joy in making anything with them. I replaced all the fabric in the bags and donated them to a thrift shop, where hopefully someone else can enjoy using them.
As part of my organizational plan, I have made some fabric nesting baskets and notebook journal pouches. I have also been crocheting amigurumi birds. I found tutorials by Meetang &Co.. She makes the cutest, small sized amigurumi. She provides English translations, and demonstrates step by step procedures. It was so much fun following her directions for making tiny birds. I made some red birds, blue birds, and a sparrow. I also made an elephant using the tutorial by Kittens and Crochet.
Some scraps and embroidery stitching were used in making some bird gift tags. In pulling out some of my bins, I rediscovered my supply of rubber stamps. These were used in decorating brown mailing paper to use as gift wrapping. I had forgotten how much I like to use rubber stamps, so I have added rubber stamping to my 2021 Projects List. I don’t yet know how or what I plan to do with the rubber stamps, but it will be fun finding out.
With some of my good-sized remnants, I made a few pouches. One was a zippered pouch to hold art supplies. This one is a gift. The other two were notebook pouches for my journals. I love the side-zipper that opens the back pouch. And there are three front pockets. The free pattern is by Debbie Shore. She has so many great tutorials. I adjusted the pattern to fit the size of my journals.
The last thing I did, before closing shop, was to prepare my materials and supplies for the Temperature Quilt I am planning to make in 2021. The idea came after I read a post by Mary, on Zippy Quilts. My friend, Joy, who works at the Mesquite Bean, helped me pull out fabric. I chose some fabric from their website, and Joy pulled other fabrics and sent me photos from which to choose. She is so good about helping me out. The pattern, by Canuck Quilter Design, recommends using solid colors. I chose to use a mixture of solid and patterned fabric. Since I live in Texas, the fabric will mostly be in the hot colors, so I wanted to add some patterns. Instead of using fabric swatches, I took photos and added them to a color key based on the template provided in the pattern package. It took two days to cut and organize the fabric. I also made a fabric bin to hold the background fabric that I cut for the quilt. I am looking forward to this year long project.

This will be my last post for the year.
In closing, I want to thank and share my appreciation to all my blogging friends. You are a valuable source of support and inspiration.
Have a safe and blessed holiday.



“Time Has Flewn”


“How did it get so late so soon? It’s night before it’s afternoon. December is here before it’s June. My goodness how the time has flewn. How did it get so late so soon?
Dr. Seuss

Even though this pandemic has made it seem like the Groundhog Day movie, it is hard to believe we have made it to December. With hope and a little prayer, maybe we can finally see our way through this.
In the meantime, we celebrate in new and different ways. A Thanksgiving Zoom with siblings did my heart a world of good. Planning and isolation since Halloween, made it possible for me to spend some days with one son and his family. An added bonus for this holiday was the social distanced visits with each of my other two sons and their families. Being able to see all five of my grandchildren was a perfect ending for November.

During my visit with my granddaughter, we were able to craft, play games, and make a gingerbread house. With each piece of candy that went on the house, one piece found its way into our mouths. The back side of the house is plastered with flattened Starbursts. 🙂
My granddaughter did an excellent job of hand stitching a Christmas book. After looking at all the buttons and fabric pieces I had taken, she designed and stitched a beautiful little book. My favorite page is the melted, Texas Snowman.
My DIL lives in a neighborhood where items are swapped or given away for free. She had picked up two bags for me. One had some craft and quilting books. The other had fabric remnants and scraps. I have already put some of that fabric to good use. She said if I was interested in more, she could have some bags ready for our next visit. I think this may be a new gold mine for me.

Some of my small projects I’ve completed so far include placemats, fabric napkins, fabric nesting baskets, and tea towels. There were remnants from a superhero quilt I made for one of my grandsons. I used these pieces to make three nesting storage baskets for my baby grandson. Last month, I had purchased some fabric to make my brother some placemats. There was just enough fabric left to make two small nesting baskets.

As I was looking through my stash, I realized that my supply of yardage and larger remnants is running low. I have bins filled with scraps, but I have plans for these. Some fabric has already been cut and organized by size. I was encouraged by what I saw as I assessed my craft/fabric storage room. I think organization is doable.

Today, I started looking for fabric for my 2021 year long project. Mary gave me information about a temperature quilt. The free pattern by Canuck Quilter Designs looks like it is going to be a fun project. Since I live in Texas, most of the quilt is going to be in the yellow to red range, but I think it will still be a nice quilt to make. I love looking at Zippy Quilts…so many ideas. Check out Mary’s Little Jewels post. I think this quilt would be perfect for using up my scraps. I also like her post, A Quilt for a Man (or anyone).

Before we know it, 2021 will be here.
Let’s hope it is a better, more just, peaceful, healthy, and a safe year for everyone.

Plan B

Well, you see its like this.
Monday morning was spent working on a project that is taking longer than I expected.
After taking a break from this project, and fueled with another cup of coffee, Plan B was put into action.
Plan B was to pull a bin with the intention of organizing it. Since it is a small bin, I thought I could take care of this in a short amount of time.
When I discovered this bin was filled with sewing- themed fabric, left over from another project, I started to think of different ways to put the fabric to good use. Plan B was set aside, and a new project began.
In preparing for 2021, I have the Quilter’s Project Planner, sketchbooks, my daily planner, and a bullet journal. I ordered new pens and markers. There are also library cards and other items to use in making bullet journals. All of these items need to be in one spot. Time was spent viewing many tutorials on making zippered or buttoned pouches; but I realized that these pouches would not hold everything I want to organize. Then I got the idea of making a small tote with four outer pockets.
There was not enough of any one fabric to make the tote, so I used the mixed selection of fabrics. The quilt planner is the largest of the books I want to include, so I added 2 inches to the width and length. Pockets were made from four different fabric pieces. Two different fabrics were used in making the lining. The straps are also made from two different fabrics. The front and back pieces were cut a bit larger than the lining because I wanted to quilt them. After cutting the quilting to size, I had a quilted strip that was perfect for making a pen pouch.
Maybe Plan B did work, because now I have an empty bin.
The problem is that now I have fabric crumbs to add to my overflowing fabric crumb bin.
The bonus is I now have an organizational tote.
Not bad for a Monday.

Plan A

If Plan A didn’t work, the alphabet has 25 more letters.
Claire Cooke

There are still a few more small projects I plan to make this month. However, yesterday, my plan was to at least start with my end of the year organization. Plan A was to start small. So, I pulled out my Button Bin, thinking this would be easy-peasy and super quick. Instead, I found myself marveling at my collection of buttons. Then, I ran across a tiny box of Christmas buttons.
Plan A went out the window, as I thought of ways I could use these cute Christmas buttons. Last week, I had already dumped out my Christmas fabric bin, and discovered fat quarters and scraps just waiting to be used. The fat quarters were used to make Scandinavian Star ornaments. Stitch With Rick has a good tutorial for making these fabric ornaments.
The scraps were then used to make the pages for a Christmas mini book for my grandson. I made a mini-book kit containing all the materials and buttons needed for making another mini-book. I think my granddaughter might enjoy making one.
It just so happened that there was a headband in the button bin. I had decorated some headbands for my granddaughter a year ago, and this headband, for some reason, was stuffed in the button bin. This led to searching the internet for headband ideas. There is a tutorial by Anjurisa for making a scrunchie headband. She gives excellent directions for this minimal-sew project. In my stash, there was a half yard of plaid-ish fabric with the colors that my granddaughter likes. It was perfect for the headband. As I was folding the fabric to return to my stash, I thought the fabric would make a cute stuffed animal for my youngest grandson. After spending way too much time looking at Youtube videos, I finally settled on a super simple tutorial by I Think Sew. The pattern calls for using felt, but I used the plaid-ish fabric. In another bin that is stuffed with left-over fabric pieces backed by Steam -A-Seam, I found some cute colors for the muzzle, the eyes, and the bum.
Note to self: This bin with leftover Steam-A-Seam backed fabric pieces is valuable, so do not purge it when organizing.
It might be that I get to Plan Z before I am totally reorganized, but just thinking of all the possible new discoveries and things I can make along the way just makes me smile.

Thank You Section
I would like to thank Kyla from Sleepy Beagle. She introduced me to organizational tutorials by Karen Brown, Just Get It Done Quilts. Wow! I am going through all of her tutorials, and learning something new each time. Her tutorials cover a wide range of topics.
I would like to thank Mary from Zippy Quilts. She posted about the Quilter’s Project Planner. I purchased it, and I can see where it will be very useful. Mary also has a book review post on Love Your Creative Space, by Lilo Bowman.
Also, I cannot remember where I saw this organizing suggestion, but I think it was on Pinterest. Three simple words: Prioritize, Purge, Protect.
I know I will have trouble with the Purge part, but I will give it a try.

Looking Ahead

 “One of the advantages of being disorganized is that one is always having surprising discoveries.”  – Winnie the Pooh

Every November, I spend time trying to look ahead to the next year. The year 2020 cannot end soon enough for me, a sentiment I am sure we all feel. This past week was spent on little projects and on binding quilts. My brother asked for some red coiled fabric mats. Since I had some remaining rope, I also made him some small bowls.
My quilter did a fabulous job on the dragon quilt for my granddaughter. She used a swirly dragon fire breath design. After binding this quilt, I moved onto binding the Carnival of Color quilt I pieced, using Marcia Derse fabric. Thanks to Mary, I finally found the perfect pattern to showcase this beautiful fabric.
I am lucky to have a new granddog in the family. Sammy is an absolute Love Bug. He needed to have a stocking for his first Christmas in his new home. I followed the tutorial by So Sew Easy to make a scrappy quilted stocking.
As for UFO’s, I now have 9 blocks for the one inch stamp quilt. I also found some blocks I had made out of 3″ X 2″ blocks. I might revisit these blocks and see what I can do with them.
There are a few more crafty things I need to make to end this year, but as I mentioned, I am looking ahead. First, I do need to reorganize my sewing area once again. Bins are overflowing and in no particular order. I love having the “surprising discoveries” in my disorganization, but a little organization is definitely needed. Also, I am ready for new fabric. Who isn’t? Right? 😉
I am also looking for new things and projects for next year. If we can make it through this Covid, I hope to be able to sign up for the fabric weaving class taught by my friend. She makes beautiful scarves and shawls from fabric that she weaves. Plans for taking a class with her were cancelled at the onset of this pandemic.
I am also looking for a 365 Day project of some kind. In the past, I have made a 52 Friday quilt, and also monthly fabric books. This year, I had an embroidery project that really only took up half the year. I also made some quilted blocks that I made weekly, since the beginning of this pandemic. They are stored in a Pandemic Block Box. Each block is different. Some are appliqued, thread sketched, painted, collaged, or pieced.
I am looking for ideas for next year, so any suggestions are appreciated.
Stay safe.

Whew!

“The beginning is always today.” —Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley

To say that this has been an exhausting week is an understatement. We can now take a deep breath and prepare for the healing work ahead.
During these stressful past weeks, I have been researching and studying tutorials on many different topics and art forms. I have also been looking through quilt books for ideas on making different types of blocks. A circular block is something I had tried before, but was not too happy with the results. I found some interesting tutorials on the drunkard path quilt block. I do not like the name , but I love the possibilities of what can be made with this circular block. One of the tutorials by Quilter’s Paradise. gave pretty good directions. I did not have the Slit ‘N Sew templates used in the tutorial. I had ordered some templates from Backporch Designs.
The design I chose to make with these templates was that of a bird. There are different patterns for making bird quilts with the drunkard path templates. Originally, I had thought that I could use the different scraps in my bin to make these birds. I do not know if I have enough of the larger scraps that are needed. I do have enough white fabric. Also, after making one, I realized that this is more tedious than I thought. Maybe it would get easier as I made more, but for now, this block will sit in my One-of-a Kind block bin.
The rest of this past week, I have been busy hand-stitching and crocheting. I was also able to bind the Halloween hexagon quilt. It will soon be mailed to my DIL who loves Halloween. She makes her own beautiful quilts, but I still wanted to make one especially for her. She and I had been sharing online Halloween and autumn fabrics that we liked. When I showed her the kit, she commented on how much she liked the fabric in this Moda Midnight Magic kit.
This is the first quilt where I was able to use my new label. Laura, from Slice of Pi Quilts had posted about quilt labels by EverEmblem. I sent a sketch of what I wanted on my label, and my sister, Emma, did her magic and made the label for me. This Halloween quilt is the first quilt to have my label.
Stay safe.

More Amigurumi

Only when you can be extremely pliable and soft can you be extremely hard and strong. – Zen Proverb

With the few days remaining until election, I am doing everything I can to just breathe, have hope, and stay sane.
It is so true, that the littlest of things can make one happy. Running across the amigurumi tutorials has save the day for me. This Japanese art form of knitting or crocheting small animals provides the outlet and positive energy I need at this time. Forming soft and pliable yarn into hand-sized animals makes me smile. There are so many tutorials, and I do appreciate how people are so generous in sharing their art.
I found an easy-to-follow tutorial for making a ratóncito, little mouse. My sister, Emma, created a cute ratóncito as a character in one of her Pig in A Wig book series. I think little mice are cute…although not in a house.
I rummaged through some of my craft bins, and some crochet rounds that my mother had made. There are over 90 of these tightly crafted circles. I am trying to think of how to make something with these rounds. The bin also contained a few balls of yarn that belonged to my mom. I pulled out a ball of mixed blue yarn, and started looking for some tutorials on how to make a bird. Stella’s Yarn Universe has a three part tutorial on making the cutest bird ever. The directions are clear and slow. I was doing pretty good with the bird until I got towards the end. The bird is supposed to be facing forward with a tail in the back. I realized that my bird no longer looked like the one in the tutorial. Once again, I had miscounted on the crochet stitches. Some of the yarn is very dark blue and it is difficult to see the stitches. I think that is where I counted incorrectly. My choices were to unravel all my work and start over; or revise the pattern by making up the rest of the pattern. I noticed that it would work out if I made the tail to go to the side, instead of the back. The tutorial gave directions for using crafting wire for making the legs. I did not have wire, so I made a nest instead. I had a fabric rope shallow bowl I had made for practice. I filled it up with yarn and thread pieces. There will be another attempt at making this bird as it is in the pattern. There is also a tutorial on making a tiny bird that I would like to try out.
Just for practice, I made a daisy granny square. Granny squares can be made while I am watching TV or visiting with the Meemaws. As for the amigurumi, I have to crochet along with the video tutorial. Some people list a written free pattern. However, reading a pattern is not something I do well.
If you are looking for something relaxing to do, I totally recommend crocheting amigurumi.


Crochet and Sew

“If having a soul means being able to feel love and loyalty and gratitude, then animals are better off than a lot of humans.”―James Herriot

I just had to turn off tonight’s debate.
Animals are better off.
In order to stay positive amidst all this turmoil, I have been working on fun stuff in my sewing room. Thanks to Tierney, my interest in crocheting has been reawakened. My mother is the one who taught me how to crochet. Back in the ’70’s, she and I would sit together and work on our own projects. She was my Youtube. Mom would start me off by showing me the stitches. Then, she would periodically check my rows and count the stitches. I made booties for an aunt in a nursing home, shawls for my MIL, mini Christmas stockings for my students, and oodles of afghans. My crocheting career ended when I got carpal tunnel.
Since it has been quite a few years since I picked up a hook, I have been watching quite a few tutorials. I thought it best to start small, so I began by making an animurumi owl. These crocheted animals are made with all single crochets, along with increase stitches. The tutorial by Bianca’s Crochet Place was very informative. The instructor had the right pace, and she explained each step. I have trouble counting my stitches, so the owl had one wing larger than the other. A little surgery was performed, and the owl now has two wings of the same size.
I then tried to make an elephant amigurumi. This did not turn out well. My stitch counting was so bad, I had made a body twice the size of the model on the tutorial.
Rather than start over on another elephant, I decided to make a bee! The tutorial, Hooked by Robin, is well paced and clear in instructions. This turned out much better than I expected. I messed up on the count at the end, but it turned out with a better stinger on the bee. I also learned about how to make a decrease stitch.
Since I still wanted to make an elephant, I started looking for tutorials on making fabric toys. I found a great tutorial and free pattern from Birch Organice Fabric. There was enough fabric left over from my dragon quilt for me to use in making this elephant
Making these animals sure helped to get my mind off this pandemic and election.
Stay safe.
Vote.