It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas…

Well, sort of…
Even though today’s high was 80 degrees, I am in the Christmas frame of mind.
The morning was brisk and clear, so I took my husband out for a birthday brunch.
He bought me these James Avery earrings for HIS birthday!
When we returned from our celebration, I started a Christmas messenger bag for myself.
 I found a pattern posted by Larissa Holland.
The directions are easy to follow and there are great diagrams.
I added interfacing to make the bag sturdier.
I had purchased this black tree fabric a while back and I questioned why I bought it.
I love polka dots, and the little trees have polka dots.
After pulling out all of my Christmas fabric, I thought this combination would work.
All the pieces were cut and prepared.
The strap is double sided and made with the outer fabric and the lining fabric.
20161129_213426802_ios 20161129_214005097_ios
Double Small Pockets                                          Back Pocket

In order to brighten up the black, I pieced a red and white polka dot fabric.
I appliqued a tree with a green fabric.
Buttons…I just love buttons!

To my surprise, and dismay, the red and white polka dot fabric bled when I sprayed starch.
I tried covering the area with more buttons, but I don’t know if I just called more attention to the area.
Oh well, the buttons are cute.
The inner lining for the flap is the same green fabric I used on the tree.

Inner Lining

Now, I am ready to go downtown to the San Antonio River Walk and take in all the Christmas decorations.
My son and his wife will be in town for a conference, and I am so looking forward to spending time with them.

Messenger Bag

This morning, I was able to complete the Morning Sun quilt top and I took it to Jeana Kubik .
Every visit with Jeana is like getting a private lesson.
I shared my ideas about a future quilt project and she gave me some great pointers.
Then she gave me a tip about setting up an easy design board by buying a flannel backed table cloth from the Dollar Store…Wow! How easy is this?
I’ll be hitting the store tomorrow.

After I returned from the usual Monday grocery trip, I started making the Christmas purse for my granddaughter.
Last week, when she and I were at the quilt shop, I thought I would give her the choice of choosing the fabric.
She just smiled and said, “Surprise me!”
I searched different online patterns for making a messenger bag.
Most of these were too large for a 5 year old.
Luckily, I found this tutorial on Merriment Design.

I added some bulk to the bag by using fusible batting on both the lining and the outer bag.
I also decided to applique a tree and decorate it with buttons.
The green fabric was a fat quarter left over from last year.

20161129_003338411_ios Inner Bag
I added a pencil pocket and a small pocket.
20161129_003347292_ios Outer Bag
The underside of the flap is the same fabric as the lining and tree.
I found a package of Christmas buttons that had green and red owls, so I added them to the tree.
My granddaughter has a ballet performance this Saturday, so I will Surprise Her with her bag.

Next on the list?
I’ll decide tomorrow.


Moving On to the Next Project (s)

This morning, I was able to finish the Morning Sun quilt.
I am behind on projects I had planned, plus I added projects when I found great fabric!
I am getting a late start, but here is my To-Do list:

  • Christmas messenger bag for my granddaughter
  • Christmas purse for my sister’s December birthday
  • Christmas purse for me
  • Table runners
  • Burrito Pillow Cases (2)
  • Fabric storage canisters ( Big Maybe)

I better get started.


Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Sunday Sales

This weekend, I took advantage of all the fabric sales.
My Christmas button box needed replenishing.
The Christmas fabric was just too pretty to pass up…and it was 50% off!

The solar system fabric is for the two pillow cases I plan to make.
I found some tutorials on making burrito pillow cases.

My original plan was to find solar system bed sheets, but I could only find a set with rockets, and a set with stars.
The solar system sheets came with comforters as part of a set, and I did not need that.
So, the plan is to make the solar system pillow cases for my two youngest grandchildren.
This will compliment the space quilts and the rocket and star sheets that I purchased.
Because I was busy fabric shopping today, I only managed to finish the second border on the Morning Sun quilt.
I will finish the top tomorrow by adding the last border.

Present Project

It’s been two years since I started quilting.
So far, I have made 18 quilts.
Currently, I am working on #19.

Out of the eighteen quilts, 12 were my original design, 2 were kits ( plus the kit I am working on now ), and 4 were patterns I found online.
I really prefer to design my own quilts, and I plan to continue to learn about different quilt blocks and new techniques in order to improve my designs.
Maybe, ONE DAY, I will also learn how to quilt my own quilts…hopeful
In the meantime, I will concentrate on designing and piecing.

Recently, I discovered Pat Sloan online. She is a quilter, author, and designer.
I learned about Pat Sloan through a blog that I follow, Texas Quilting.
Thought I would share information about these quilters, since they have been very helpful in my efforts to learn and improve.

Recently, I found a kit that was just bright, cheery, and ready to make.
I purchased the  Morning Sun kit at the Mesquite Bean.
The quilt in this kit was designed for Northcott, using fabric created by Deborah Edwards.
The pattern was printed by Sew Little Time.
The fabric is beautiful and the directions are easy to follow.
This is all I have completed so far.
My back is still very “iffy” from when I twisted it last week, so I am moving rather slowly on this.


The last three rows are ready to attach as soon as I complete the sashing.
My goal for tomorrow will be to complete the sashing, and possibly add the first border.

Back to Work!

Last Thursday, I bent down and picked up my sewing machine to put it in the carrying case.
Ouch! My back went out on me.
Who knew sewing could be hazardous to one’s health?
It took me until Sunday before I could move.

Then, it was on to spend time with my granddaughter.
We had two days filled with craft making, hikes, a picnic, fun, and laughter.

Our first project was a Christmas embroidery hoop.
She loved going through the button boxes, and carefully chose what she wanted.
A tapestry needle was used for this activity.
At first, I drew the button dots for her on the spot where she wanted her buttons.
Then she said she wanted to learn how to do it without the dots…and she did!
20161121_151618032_ios 20161121_151622739_ios20161121_160614303_ios
I made her a bracelet by stringing some gingerbread buttons, and then she surprised me with a necklace.
The necklace was totally her design and idea.
She showed me some shape books that she had made in kindergarten, and we got the idea of making a Thanksgiving shape book. We chose to use felt.
I drew the turkey and feathers and she cut the felt.
She glued and then helped me sew the felt on.
She chose a red heart button for the turkey’s gobbler.
20161122_145247527_ios 20161122_145240368_ios20161122_153210036_ios
I sewed a paper booklet inside this cover.
She wrote her own “I am thankful for…” sentences with very little help with spelling.
We had nature walks and found these “treasures”.
We read books in the library, which is right next to a train track.
It was so much fun watching the trains pass by.

We went to the B & B Quilt Shop.
She is a quilter in the making!
We spent a long time looking at fabric.
She has such an artistic eye when it comes to combining fabric.
She chose some for me to make some totes.
For once, I had to convince someone it was time to leave,
instead of someone pulling me out of a fabric shop.
We ended the day with a Curious George picnic.
Now I have to get back to piecing this quilt.


“When we give cheerfully and accept gratefully, everyone is blessed.”
― Maya Angelou

In previous posts, I have written about the quality of people I have met in fabric stores.
My experience has been very positive.
The people in the shops I have visited have always been willing to give cheerfully.
They shared their expertise and demonstrated a genuine interest in helping me be successful in whatever project I shared with them.

Today was just another example.
Michelle, at Mesquite Bean, greeted me with a smile.
She had heard I was coming, since I had called ahead.
She knew my frustration with the process of applique.
Everyone had said that it is easy to learn how to applique.
I have studied many tutorials, and made many attempts.
But I had gotten no where.

Without hesitation, Michelle helped me set up my machine.
A good teacher lets the learner learn by doing.
She had me explain every part of my machine…something I did not really know.
I had never really taken the time to learn each part of the machine.
Michelle explained the tension, the length and width of stitches, and the different types of stitches.
We then figured out which setting would be best for satin stitching.
After different attempts, we found what would work best for my applique project.
I returned home and completed the first set of circles.

20161117_212043107_ios   20161117_231140050_ios

Michelle also gave me tips on how to use the Lite Steam-A-Seam 2 more effectively.
When working on the orange circles, I had found it difficult to spread the fusible smoothly across the length of the fabric.
Well, I followed Michelle’s tips on the blue circles.
It came out smoother, but I did it on the wrong side!

So, I will have to purchase some more tomorrow so I can complete the blue circles.

Thank you, Michelle.
I accept your help cheerfully.
I am blessed to meet so many wonderful people.

Taking a Break

It is difficult to feel fall with 80 degree weather.
The mornings are okay.
That’s why my walking buddies and I choose to schedule our walks in the morning.
Today was great.

We hiked the Crownridge Canyon Park Trails.
It is rocky and uphill in many areas; and absolutely beautiful.
The Common Mestra were everywhere.
A park ranger told us that the Evergreen Sumac were in high blume last week and the butterflies were having a field day.
The blossoms are now buds, but it is still a pretty native plant.
It was just nice to meet with friends.
Hiking is so relaxing.
We spent time trying to assure each other that things are going to be okay.

I took some photos with my phone.
Those white specs are the Common Mestra.
20161116_155454000_ios 20161116_161235435_ios 20161116_164027758_ios

When I returned home, I prepared for starting another quilt.
I hesitated when I purchased this kit, because I have never been successful with applique.
Well, I think I regret my choice of quilts.
I did some practice appliques and I am just not satisfied.
Cindy and Joy at the Mesquite Bean told me to come in tomorrow and they will walk me through.
Hopefully, I will be a quick learner.
If not, I think I will shelve this kit.
For now, I am taking a break.
Maybe stepping away and restarting tomorrow will help.

Next Project: Another Quilt

For some time now, I have trying to think of a quilt design for my oldest grandson.
After talking with my son, I started thinking of ways to make a Dragon Ball Z themed quilt, that didn’t look childish.
My grandson use to love to play this when he was younger.
My son gave me an idea of using the orange, yellow, and blue colors to make it an abstract version.
I did find some DBZ fabric on Spoonflower , but they would have been a bit too young.
Also, it would take 8-10 business days to get here, and I wanted to start sooner.

My friend and I found our way to the Mesquite Bean in search of a jellyroll in oranges, yellows, and blues.
We didn’t find jellyrolls, but we were finding great fabric designs that I could cut.
The problem with this was I needed to find at least 13 different fabrics to buy a quarter of a yard of each.
In the middle of piles of bolts of fabric, I looked up and voila…problem solved!
There was a beautiful quilt, in the right colors and designs, hanging on the wall.
Joy, who works at the Mesquite Bean, had made this quilt and there was a kit already to go!
The only problem with this quilt is that it requires some applique.
Joy promised it would be eezy peezy and that she would help me.
One more plus…I got a discount on the price!
I hope to get started tonight.