My Own Sunshine

Wherever you go, no matter what the weather,
always bring your own sunshine.

Anthony J. D’Angelo

The Clown Car will be departing this coming week, in spite of weather predictions of thunderstorms.
We will just take our own sunshine…and some craft stuff!
One of my friends asked if I would take my stone painting supplies so we can keep busy during the down time on our trip to Lake Buchanan. I am also taking my hexagon baggie with me. I started cutting fabric and making some hexagons out of my scraps. Maybe, I can talk my buddies into helping me increase my stack of hexagons! I am planning to make either some place mats, a table runner, or just some mug rugs with these hexagons. I found a real cool tutorial on how to make a table runner.
Making these tiny hexagons is a bit tedious, but I like using up my fabric. I can make these as I watch TV.


My husband does not think we will be seeing any eagles on the Vanishing Texas River Cruise, so he gave me a tiny eagle for my display case.

I am getting the snacks for the trip with the Meemaws, so, I decided to make four snack drawstring bags.

All I need to do now, is fill these bags up with small snacks.
I also used sealant on the rocks I painted. I want to get my brother’s rock in the mail before I leave this week. The rocks are all shiny and protected now.

I am happy to report that I had more success today as I made my third fabric rope basket.
Thanks to Tierney, who pointed out that my zig-zags were too far apart, I made the adjustment today.
I also found the preparation of the strips to be easier and faster.
My sister had told me that she wanted a basket to hold her remotes. I cut some strips from some remnants that I had. I also started cutting up more strips so that I can make some scrappy fabric baskets when I return from my trip.

It is still a bit wonky, but the stitches are much better now.

This has been yet another cloudy, grey, and wet day.
Not really rain…just yuck.
I brought my own sunshine by making some fun things.

Tomorrow’s To -Do List

  • Shop for snacks
  • Pack

Bluey Did It

As a child, my brother had an imaginary friend named Bluey.
Bluey was always the one who told my brother to get into mischief.
Two years ago, I made a blue quilt for my brother.
Today, I painted Bluey on a flat stone.

I have run out of flat stones, so I need to go on a hike to search for more.
I checked out some stores today, but the selection of stones was not quite what I need.
Besides, it will be more fun to go on a rock searching walk.

Stone Painting

My collection of stone paintings is growing.
I painted three more today.
Once I have a bit more, I will seal them with some coats of varnish.

All You Need is Love


Sunshine Bird

Now, I need to make more fabric rope bowls!

I think I will do a few more stone paintings before I get back to quilting.
In a conversation with Cindy, we talked about all the options for quilting projects.
I remarked that I was stuck in deciding what project to do next.
Cindy suggested writing my options on pieces of paper and choosing one.
I did just that, and I picked up the paper with English paper piecing hexagons!
This will actually come in handy next week when I am on the road with my Meemaw friends.
We will be going on the Vanishing River Cruise in hopes of spotting some eagles.
The weather forecast is rainy, so I do not know how much we will get to see.
We will have fun, no matter the weather, but I might have some down time during the trip.
I can work on the hexagons if we get stuck in the condo we rented.
It will also give me the opportunity to use up some of my fabric stash.

Stone Painting

Jeanne was the best teaching partner ever!
She could understand my rambling ideas and helped me organize.
Jeanne is so creative and can do just about anything.
When she retired, she moved to another city.
We do not get to see each other much, but we do keep in contact.

I spent some time with her last week, and it was like the old days.
We stayed up past midnight,  talking, laughing, and creating.
Jeanne started stone painting just a few months ago.
She paints some great mandalas, and she encouraged me to try one.
I practiced on a black square of tag board.

My design was a bit more spread out compared to Jeanne’s precise design.
On the second day of my visit, we went shopping for the supplies I would need to paint stones.
I usually collect stones, wherever I go, but I bought a bag of stones to use for my practice pieces.
When I returned home, I tried painting my first mandala on a stone.
I ended up washing it all off and putting the supplies away.
I ordered The Art of Stone Painting by F. Sehnaz Bac and it arrived yesterday.
I thought I might have more success painting birds, using a little of the mandala technique.
I will try some mandala painting when I find round stones.

Ollie Owl

Bluebird

This stone painting is a great form of therapy…and it is relatively cheap.
I will be looking for more stones as I go on walks and trips.
Now, I need to make fabric rope baskets to hold my decorated rocks!

Block # 7-Friday, February 16

One of my goals as an educator was to teach and celebrate the diversity of our country.
My team and I created lessons to expose the students to the contributions made by the different cultures represented in our school, community, state, and nation.
We did this through all subjects.
We were fortunate to have music teachers and P.E. teachers who contributed to our units.
One of our teachers had adopted a child from China, and she was well- informed about the culture.
Each year, we had so much fun learning about China, through music, reading, writing, and dance.
We had a big Chinese New Year parade.
Since Friday is the Chinese New Year, I thought it would be fun to celebrate by making a block for my quilt journal. 2018 is the Year of the Dog.
I did a little research and decided to include the following information on my block:
Lucky Colors-Green, Red, Purple
Lucky Numbers-3,4,9
Lucky Flowers-Rose and Cymbidium Orchid (I chose the orchid)
Lucky Directions- East, Southeast, South
The writing in the center of the dog paw is the word for dog.

Year of the Dog

Background: Red Linen Memo
Technique: Thread sketching, free motion quilting, crayons and markers, applique
Batting: 100% Cotton
Embellishment: None

Postcards

It’s been a few days since I’ve worked in my studio.
I have been with my grandson, and visiting a friend.
When I returned, there were things I needed to do before I could start up again.
I also got a pneumonia shot that left me with a very sore and heavy arm.
It took two days to get the use of my arm back.

Today, I thread sketched two postcards.
One is for my grandson, to let him know I enjoyed our time together.
He has a new cat that he was very proud to introduce to me.
And, I couldn’t leave out his dog.
So, I drew both of them on his card.

I just booked a B&B in Georgetown, Texas for a few days during Spring Break.
My granddaughter and I will enjoy the sites of Georgetown.
So, I made her a postcard to let her know we have a date.
She loves unicorns.

Both of these cards are thread sketched and colored with fabric crayons and markers.
I ran out of Wonder-Under, so I will have to complete these tomorrow.

I am reading the book , Art and Fear by David Bayles and Ted Orland.
I sort of need a boost.
Thanks for recommending the book, Tierney.

Block #6: Friday, February 9, Valentine Roses

Nobody knows this little Rose —
It might a pilgrim be
Did I not take it from the ways
And lift it up to thee.
Only a Bee will miss it —
Only a Butterfly,
Hastening from far journey —
On its breast to lie —
Only a Bird will wonder —
Only a Breeze will sigh —
Ah Little Rose — how easy
For such as thee to die!
 by Emily Dickinson
Emily Dickinson is my favorite poet.
After reading her poem about a rose, I decided to try to thread sketch some roses.
I recently subscribed to Debra Wirsu‘s website.
She is a textile artist from Australia who creates amazing works of art.
Debra is very generous in sharing ideas and tips.
I decided to try out some of her suggestions.
Using a gray quilter’s pencil, I lightly sketched the outline of roses and leaves.
Debra does not pencil sketch, but I needed at least an outline.
This was just for practice, so I deliberately tried different movements.
You will see that each rose is different because of this experimenting.
I used Pentel fabric crayons and Tulip fabric markers to fill in the empty spaces.
At first, I was just planning to set this aside as a practice sample.
But then, I decided to include it in my 52 Fridays Quilt Journal.
The journal is to reflect my year, and this thread sketching learning journey should be included…mistakes and all. I won’t list all the flaws. Mistakes are part of the learning process.

 Valentine Roses

Background: White on white polka-dot fabric
Technique: Thread sketching, free motion quilting, crayons and markers
Batting: 100% Cotton
Embellishment: Red beads
Post Script
I had a near miss today, as I was thread sketching these roses.
The machine needle broke. The needle point flew out and hit my cheek right under my glasses.
I am so glad I was wearing glasses!
Maybe I need to get some safety glasses.

Fabric Bowl-Take 3

Encouraged by my second attempt at making a fabric bowl; and by the support from all my blogging friends, I decided to make another fabric bowl.
I just couldn’t start on a new project when I had this mess of rope and fabric strips on my table.

This time around, the process went a bit smoother. I was aware of my previous mistakes and was able to avoid some of yesterday’s errors. I decided to play around with a different shape, so I made the center a bit smaller. This made the walls a bit taller. It is more of a bowl, than a basket.
My husband thought I made a hat.


It is still a bit wonky, but not as much as the first one.
I have some strips remaining, but they are in a nice round ball that I can store in a bin until I am ready to do this again.

Fabric and Rope Bowl

About a year ago, I saw some fabric rope bowls/baskets, on Pinterest.
I placed the idea of this project on my Someday List.
Then, Tierney posted pictures and the process of making these bowls.
Later, she sent me a link for tutorials and for the Bali Bowl pattern.
This is what I love about blogs. I learn so much just by reading and connecting with other bloggers.
I had prepped the fabric and had a roll of strips all ready to sew.

Then yesterday, I started sewing the strips.
What a disaster!
I thought the hard part would be zig-zagging and forming the bowl; but sewing the strips gave me more trouble. I kept having gaps where I didn’t catch both the top and bottom.
This is what it looked like after one hour, when I dumped everything on the table and left.
I may have said a few choice words as I left the room.
Maybe more than a few.

I then returned and started to rip and redo the strip.
Patience is not one of my virtues, and I almost dumped the whole thing in a Forget This box, but I did not want to admit defeat.
So, I decided to start sewing another strip.
This time, I stopped and checked as I went.
I also used bigger stitches, which is recommended in the pattern. I had forgotten to change the stitch size for the first one.
This time, I was having more luck folding the right side down, and the left side on top, and holding it tightly.
I still had to fix mistakes, but at least this time, it was “fix-as-you-go”.
When it came to zig-zagging and making the coil, I experienced some co-ordination problems.
I found it difficult to hold the rope perpendicular AND make sure that the zig-zag was catching both sides. Once I got the swing of it, and once the sides starting getting larger, it was much easier.
The results are not the best, but I am happy that I did not give up.
This may be the one and only bowl I make…at least for now.

It is a bit wonky, but it is finished!



Thank you, Tierney.
Your support and encouragement got me to try something new and challenging.
Mary, you said you wanted to make one of these.
I am sure you will have no problem.

52 Fridays, February 2, Block #5

Friday, February 2
Block # 5

Tulips for Tonie

Background: 100% Cotton Memo, Champagne
Technique: Applique hand drawn flowers and stem; thread sketching, free motion quilting
Batting: 100% Cotton
Embellishment: None

The inspiration for today’s journal entry is my mother,
Maria Antonietta Martinez Virjan.
February 11 will mark two years since my mother passed, and February, for me, will always be a month dedicated in her honor.
I chose tulips for this entry, since they were one of mom’s favorite flowers.
She had tulips in her garden that surround a tree in the front yard.
There is one Sunday, that I remember taking fresh tulips to mom.
She was so happy to receive them and she placed them in a vase on her dining room table.
So, these Tulips are for Tonie.