Unfinished Product/ Works in Progress

At this time, I have about 4 unfinished products.
Maybe it would be better to call them “works in progress”
Last week, I posted the photos of a pumpkin block.
My first plan was to use these blocks to make a tote bag.
Then, the plan was to make an apron.
But, the blocks ended up being made into a table runner.
So far, I just have the top.
I plan to use black and white polka-dot fabric for the backing;
and orange or black binding.
I need to learn how to back and quilt the runner, so it might take a while to finish.
The black border did not turn out like I wanted.
I thought it was too somber.
But, my sisters say it looks good.
I might just do simple line quilting if my practice with stippling doesn’t produce good results.
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I made this apron pattern and was trying to figure something out with the blocks.
Table Runner Top

Learning is Fun

For 42 years, my classroom always had a posted sign which read: Learning is Fun.
My students and I would discuss the different emotions we might feel when we are learning something new, or adding to our knowledge on a subject.
We discussed that even though there may be periods of frustration, exasperation, and other negative feelings in our learning process, we always need to remind ourselves that remaining positive will help us to reach the final goal.
We celebrated every time we learned something.

Well, I’m trying to practice what I preached.
I’m in the process of trying out new things.
It has not been fun, lately, because I realized my short comings.
Then I reminded myself that I have only been doing this for two years.
There is so much I want to learn.
I preached patience and positive attitude…now I need to practice!

New goals were set.
New goals call for new practices.

My two new goals…applique and stippling.
My third goal is to improve on binding, especially mitering the corners.
Using applique and stippling is something I have wanted to learn, but I had put it way down on my “things to learn” list.
Recently, I have made two table runner tops, and I realized that I need to learn these two skills right now.

I never really took lessons on using my sewing machine to the full extent,
Step 1
Read directions
Pull out the old sewing manual and get to know the machine
Not my cup of tea, but it was a start.

Step 2
Watch tutorials
There are some great ones on You Tube.
The results on my first applique attempts were less than stellar.
I’m a “see and must do right now” type of learner.
The tutorials give me the opportunity to see, but I get distracted with too much verbal direction.
I am definitely not a good listener.
Also, I have to do it as I attempt to learn it.

Step 3
Seek help from professionals
So I went to Joann’s and talked to my friend Marcia, who sells sewing machines.
She showed me what to do, with no verbal directions;
and then she made me do it on the spot.
She showed me the small tips that I was missing.

It’s still not perfect, but I am now feeling more positive.
So now I am working on the cats on my Halloween table runner.
Wednesday is the day I plan to start practicing some stippling.

Learning is fun.
I just have to be more patient. happyface

I celebrated this small learning step by treating myself to a Starbucks!
I found this pattern in Quilters World Magazine, November 2015, Quilting for Autumn.
The table runner in the magazine used brighter and pastel fabric.
I decided to use my Halloween stash.


Halloween stash cut into 5″ squares (30)

Backing-Pieced with remaining polka-dot fabric and Halloween stash
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Autumn Leaves

I know we are still sweating out 95 degree heat, but my mind is already on autumn…my favorite season.
September 22 will soon arrive.
When I was teaching, my classroom was always transformed into an Autumn Wonderland.
I integrated the theme of Autumn into all subjects.
Today, I was reorganizing my sewing/book room, and I spotted my stack of autumn books that I used with my students.
One of my favorite book of poems is Autumnblings , by Douglas Florian.
The poetry and the illustrations inspired the children to read, write, draw, and think all things autumn.

I reread one of the poems from this book, “Awe-tumn”, and I was inspired to dig into my fabric bin in search of an autumn fabric palette. I found plenty of oranges, scarlets, ambers, and burgandy.
Then I started looking for different autumn patterns for mug rugs, table mats, and whatever.
After looking at many free pattern ideas on Pinterest, I decided to see what I could design that might be a bit easier and less time consuming.
I decided to make my version of a leaf mug rug.

Draw a leaf on freezer paper.
I used a green fabric piece that I had since this was a practice leaf.
Sandwich batting between two fabrics.
The bottom fabric is right side down.
The top fabric is right side up.

Pin pattern on top of top fabric.
Sew on the outline of the pattern.
* I sewed the vein lines directly on the paper.
Next time, I will pull the paper off and free-stitch the leaf vein lines.
The paper easily peeled off.
I think it would be faster to just pull off the large leaf shaped paper after the outline is sewn, rather than have to pull the little pieces after the veins are stitched.

Cut close to the seam.
Zig-zag stitch around the leaf.
I know that the edges may not look as smooth as they would if I had sewn the leaf with the batting on top and the two fabrics right side together, then turned the leaf inside out.
I just don’t think I could have gotten the points on the leaf to be pointy if I had done with the turning inside out method.
One of my first grade students gave me this coffee mug a few years ago.
He must be in high school by now.
I’ll make a few more of these leave mug rugs and then I will be ready for fall.

The last line in the “Awe-tumn” poem is:
    And autumn leaves
   Leave me in awe.

I’m ready to be in “awe”.


Sister Day


What a great day!
My two sisters and I met for lunch at the Huisache Grill in New Braunfels.
We ended up ordering the same thing, turkey sandwich and tortilla soup.
Great Food, Great Conversation, Great Time!
Emma headed back to Austin, but Adri and I visited two quilt shops.
June, at Oak Leaf Quilts was very helpful.
She gave me a couple of mini lessons on the spot.
I found this beautiful Cardinal panel and I purchased it, even though I do not know what I plan to do with it just yet.

June demonstrated some applique techniques for a Patchwork Maple Leaf Table Runner by Shabby Fabrics. Autumn is my favorite season, so I will be trying to make one of these.
There was a book that had some cute birthday patterns for table mats, runners, and chair covers.
Table Please Art-To-Heart has other cute patterns for summer and spring table items.
June told us about the Grandmas’ Stocking Guild, a non-profit organization that has been providing at risk youth from central Texas stockings from “grandma” since 2009. Stockings are made for the children, and the stockings are stuffed with items for these children. June gave us the pattern and my sister and I will be making some.
Adri and I also visited the Quilt Haus. Beautiful Fabric!
We had to cut our visit short, but we will return.
Note to Nancy: The Quilt Haus has a large selection of Texas fabric.
They have two absolutely gorgeous Texas wildflower quilts on display.

Exploding Quilt Block

Today was annual luncheon of a group of retired teachers, The Silver Foxes.
We are the teachers who opened the school, Fox Run, back in the 1990’s.
Every year, we meet at Pompeii Italian Grill on the first day of school.
It has been three years since I retired.
I volunteer each year to greet the students and parents on the first day.
This school is and always will be so special to me.

At our luncheon today, a fellow quilter brought me a sample of an exploding quilt block and I loved it.
She is making an adorable quilt.
Here is the Missouri Star tutorial.
I just added this to my list of future projects.


Pumpkin Quilt Block

Crafsty has a cute pumpkin block pattern by Diane Knott .
This free pattern is a great way to use the scraps of Halloween fabric that I had stuffed away in a bin.
I don’t know what or if I will make anything with it.
Today, I was searching for apron patterns, and maybe this will be a pumpkin apron.
Or, another tote.
Or, a small quilt.
I need to see how many more I can make with the scraps.
No two squares will be alike since I just have different amounts of various Halloween fabric.
It will be fun to see what happens.

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Pencil Sleeve

There was some fusible foam in one of the bins.
I cut two 6″W x 10″ L pieces for the front and back of a pencil sleeve;
and one 4″W x 6 ” L piece for the flap.
I cut two 6″W x 10″ L pieces of school print fabric for the front and back ;
and two 6″W x 10″ L pieces of green and white polka dot for the lining.
I used a 1/2″ seam.

Her personalized pencils are tucked inside!

I sewed velcro for the flap.

Now I feel better.happyface

Pencil Pouch Gone Wrong

As a classroom teacher, I use to supply my students with new pencils every week.
I would arrive an hour early each day to prepare for my class, and this included sharpening pencils.
The children loved the sharpened pencils.
Some brought their own, and they were very proud of their own pencils.
I bought some personalized pencils for my granddaughter and I thought I would make a pencil pouch.
I found this pencil pattern on pinterest.
After a lot of work trying to get a zipper in, I finally had a finished product.
Too bad I didn’t compare the pattern measurements to the size of the pencils!
After sewing a half-inch seam all around, the bag is a bit short and the pencils do not fit.
Oh well, my granddaughter now has a coin purse instead.
I think I will try to make a sleeve for the pencils.

I pieced and quilted the front with her school and her name.


Off to Kinder

My granddaughter will be starting kinder in two weeks.
Of course, she needs a purse, so I made her one.
The eagle was embroidered by Jeana Kubik.
The bag is 12″L x 8″ W.
The front and back pockets are 8″ L x 8″ W.
I framed the eagle using the log cabin quilt style.
The front and back pieces are “cheater” quilted.
The fabric design had blocks that I just stitched.

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Halloween Purse for My Granddaughter

My granddaughter seems to like the small potato chip bag I made her.
I wanted to make her a purse for Halloween, but I didn’t want to make the same type.
Pinterest didn’t have anything new or different.
There was a small piece of fusible foam in my batting bin.
I started ironing and sewing different strips of Halloween fabric that were left over.
The results was a 6″ x 6″ shoulder bag.

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