Creativity is a habit, and the best creativity is the result of good work habits.
Twyla Tharp


Thanks to the thought provoking posts of some of my favorite bloggers, I have been reading and thinking about creativity. One of the benefits of blogging is belonging to a community of people who share their thoughts, creative process, ideas, and support.

In the articles I have read, it seems there is a common thread throughout the different suggestions for developing creativity.
These are a few of the most common thoughts about creativity that I have chosen to practice:

  • devote a special space
  • find your most productive time of day
  • ask questions
  • create every day
  • persist
  • take breaks
  • take risks

Speaking of creativity…my son was asked to present a wood sculpture activity for my grandson’s class.
What a special father-son activity! And how special is it that other children got to experience this creative activity.
Below is photo of my grandson’s spring wood sculpture. You can see a bit of the other student’s art on the side.

Spring Craft Deadline

This morning, I met the  part of my deadline for the spring projects I will be gifting tomorrow.
I completed two sets of coiled rope plate mats and heart-shaped bowls; along with a small coiled bowl and a rock painting.
There is still one more coiled project to do for one of my three sons. I have an extension on the deadline, since he does not live close by and we will not be meeting this weekend.

Fiesta Coiled Plate Mats and Heart-Shaped Dish

Boho Coiled Plate Mats and Heart-Shaped Dish

Small Ring Dish 
Pig in a Wig painted rock
(Pig in a Wig is the character in my sister’s series of children’s books.)

Since I have working to meet this deadline, and meeting with daily life events, I have not been able to work on the hexagon block for my quilt journal. I have the design in my head, but I just have not had the time to work on it. I plan to try something new with this block.
Tierney posted some work she did with fabric painting. She also posted some great information on good habits that can change your life.
Also, my friend, Jeana, who does my long arm quilting, has been encouraging me to try some fabric painting.
I spent my non-coiled mat making minutes viewing fabric painting tutorials and trying things out.
I just played with the paint on different fabrics.
Hopefully, when I return from visiting with two of my sons, I will get started on painting the fabric for my hexagon block.

Melanine, of Catbird Quilt Studio, posted some great essays and thoughts on creativity.
Reading these posts gave me the encouragement I needed to persist on this new fabric painting venture.

I know it seems that I am going in many different directions…rope baskets, improv quilts, quilt journal, fabric painting…but that is the way I work. For better or for worse.
It would probably be better to focus on one thing at a time, but I have never been able to stay focused for too long.
But I am okay with this… I am having so much fun!

Heart-Shaped Coiled Fabric Basket

Wherever you go, go with all your heart.

My projects sometimes include things made in the shape of the heart.
I am fond of this shape; and I have used it in place-mats, mug rugs, zentangle drawings, rock art, and other projects. I also included some heart shape blocks into quilts.
As I was perusing through Pinterest, I saw some coiled fabric bowls made in the shape of a  heart.
I could not find any free patterns or tutorials on  Youtube or anywhere else.
Susan Breier includes a heart-shaped coiled basket in her second book,
It’s a Wrap II.
I have the first book, but not the second.
In the first book, Susan Breier explains the different ways to build up the sides of the basket.
I re-read the different techniques, and decided to try to figure out how to make a heart-shaped basket.
I referred to the pictures on Pinterest as a guide.
I am pretty happy with the results.

Bottom View

New Table or Old Table

The day has been drizzly, so I took this as an opportunity to start rearranging my studio.
My plan is to get another sewing machine in here.
I have converted my computer desk and hutch to accommodate both office and partial sewing.
I now have three of the six hutch shelves cleared for sewing things.
My thread is now enclosed in a three drawer plastic shelf unit that fits nicely in the  hutch.
My cutting table has been cleared of all the extra shelving units I had on the end.
I have a portable table that is holding my small television and some sewing canvas units.
Two storage units holding more sewing notions and things fit under this table.
I am thinking I can use this table for a second sewing machine.
Will this table be suitable to hold a sewing machine?

This is the table in question. It has steel legs and a plastic top. I read the question section where a person had asked if it could be used as a sewing table.
The response given was that it had been used successfully as a wood working table.

I looked at some small sewing tables online, and there was a video demonstration of a sewing table that was made with steel legs and had a melamine top. There was a glass of water placed on the table to show that the table could withstand the movement of the sewing machine. The water was moving, so there is some vibration; but the glass was not moving. I tried the machine on my table, and I got the same results as on the video of the sewing table.
Do all sewing tables have some vibration?
I have my sewing machine on a wooden desk table.
I have never noticed any vibration while sewing on this table.
I can’t decide if a purchase of a table made for sewing is necessary.
I am just thinking out loud.
Any thoughts or comments are appreciated.

Block # 12 ~Friday, March 23

As mentioned in an earlier post, March 22 would have been my dad’s 98th birthday.
My siblings and I spent time this past Thursday texting funny stories about our childhood and our dad.
My father, Jose Leon Virjan, was known as Pepe.
He would never miss a Wednesday bowling night, and neither would I.
I never really bowled much…I just ate candy and drank sodas…all night long.
There was a heavy price to pay at school the next day.
But that didn’t stop me from going with my dad.
Dad was a very good bowler.
I can still see his graceful and powerful stance as he rolled the ball down the lane.
For this Friday’s journal entry block, I tried to capture the craziness of some of his bowling shirts with the yellow gingham memo.
Soon after my father died, my family chose to celebrate him with a family bowling night.
Having all of his children and their spouses; and his grandchildren there, was a great way to honor my dad.
This block was created to honor my dad; and to capture the memory of our family bowling night.

Block #12~ Friday, March 23

Background: Yellow gingham memo 100% cotton
Technique: Applique, Free Motion
Batting: 100% cotton
Writing: Pepe


Finally! It has taken four days to complete four coiled fabric plates.
Wrapping 15 yards of clothesline is tedious and time consuming.
I was wondering if it was worth the effort, since I did not see how fabric coiled plates could be functional. But, I visited a friend who has rattan plate chargers and she says that she loves these fabric coiled plates that I made.
My sister also loves them and would like some made in gray and blue. 

I plan to make a bowl to go with these plates, but it will have to wait.
Another reason it took me so long to make these is that I have been out of the studio a bit more this week. It has been fun enjoying the spring weather, and I had non-sewing business that also took up time.
Today would have been my dad’s 98th birthday.
My siblings and I spent some time today sharing funny stories.

My dad, in one of his many plaid shirts.
This is just one of the shirts I used in making a memory quilt out of all of my dad’s plaid shirts.

My dad never missed Wednesday night bowling. As a child, I would make sure that I went with him. Thursday mornings at school were SO difficult after a late night of running around, and drinking and eating as much sugar as possible.
I have been designing my hexagon block for this week in honor of my dad.
I am also preparing to purge fabric and things in an attempt to update my studio.
This will be a large task, so I am taking it a step at a time.


It has been a beautiful first day of spring.
After enjoying the morning outdoors, I met my former teaching partner at school for lunch.
It felt so good seeing her and the children again.
The last students I taught are now fifth graders.
I got to visit with them, and I promised to return for their graduation.
I spent the rest of the afternoon making rope products.

I had just enough black and white strips and rope remaining to make this ring dish.
It takes a bit over 2 yards of rope for this size bowl.
Then I started a project that is more time consuming than I thought.
It’s a Wrap by Susan Breier has directions for making a coiled plate.
There are two versions.
The first is a fabric covered coiled plate.
The second is a whole-fabric coiled plate. This plate is just the coiled rope, covered by a top fabric that is quilted.
I chose to do a fabric covered coiled plate, because I am using up my stash.
It takes 15 yards of rope, and 3/4 yards of fabric or stash.
I like the end result, but it takes up time. The thought of making a set of 4 is making me wish I had not started this.

I self-imposed some timelines and rope projects.
I want to get through these projects so I can continue working on the quilt for my grandson.
I also want to get back to some more thread sketching.
When I finish the quilt for my grandson, I will start on an improv quilt.

Now I wish I had two sewing machines.
If I had two, I could have one set up for the rope products, and one for the quilts.
It is too much hassle changing needles, type of thread, and the presser foot when switching projects.
If I had two machines, I could split my time and work on both types of products.
I have a running list of the pros and cons for getting another sewing machine.
Right now, the pro list is winning.

Easter Cookies

The last time I baked cookies must have been around  the year my youngest son left for college…in 2000.
I am in no way a cook or a baker.
So, when my Meemaw friend arranged to have her daughter-in-law’s friend have a cookie decorating lesson, I almost said no.
However, I cannot pass up a chance to have fun with the Meemaws, so I went.
To save time, the cookies were already made. She gave us her recipe for the shortbread cookies.
We learned how to make the icing.
I spent from 5:00 pm -8:45 decorating the cookies with homemade icing.
The results are not grand, but the cookies are delicious.
It was also a lot of fun trying something new.
The last three in the bottom row are supposed to be tulips.
I think I will stick to quilting and making rope baskets.

Happy National Quilting Day

To celebrate this day, I pulled out the quilt I started some months ago.
This quilt tells the story of my grandson’s first 5 years.
He proudly tells you that he is 4 1/2 and that he will be 5 soon.
I had put the quilt aside because I needed to think some more on what to do.
This is a design on-the-go type project, so there are issues that come up that wouldn’t necessarily come up with a well-planned quilt.
I showed what I had to my grandson and started sharing some of the stories. He asked me to add dinosaurs and space, so that is what I will work on next.
I also need to zig-zag stitch the appliques I made. This requires more thread.
More fabric is also needed, so I think I will celebrate part of this Quilt Day shopping at a quilt store.
There is a quilt store near one of my Meemaw friend’s house, so I’ll stop there first.
The Meemaws are making and decorating cookies today.
I have been studying the quilt so far.
I might change the top strip. I need to coordinate the fabric that will be used for sashing.
I thought I liked the denim, but now, I am thinking it looks rather drab.
This is why I put it away…I am sort of stuck.
There is one more long strip with his last name that will go under the last last three blocks pictured.
Then, I have about four more blocks to make to place under the last name.

What better way to celebrate National Quilt Day than to be working on a quilt?

Block #11~ Let’s Go Fly a Kite

The events of this Spring Break have provided so many ideas for this week’s quilt journal entry.
It was difficult to choose just one, but I finally decided to make a kite block.

One reason for my choice is that I love flying kites.
Every year, I would write a two week kite unit of study for my students.
The unit included the study of the history and science of kites.
For math, we would measure the different aspects of the kite. We would also write poems and stories about kites. Of course, there were kite art projects. We also learned the song, “Let’s Go Fly a Kite.”
On the Friday before Spring Break, the parents and kids and I would fly kites for the last two hours of the school day. It was a blast. The children were always so amazed that I could fly the highest kite.
The main reason I chose to make this kite block was because of a special moment with my granddaughter this past week. Our Spring Break adventure began with a trip to Wal-Mart to buy a kite.
She chose a beautiful kite with a mama turtle and her baby turtles on the tail.

It wasn’t the best day for flying kites, but there was just enough wind for me to get the kite up.
My granddaughter started jumping for joy, singing : “Look at my Granny! My Granny is flying a kite!”
This was another heart melting moment for me.
I gave her the kite and she ran around with the kite flying behind her.
It was such a joy to see her having fun.
So, here is Block #11.
I cannot decide if I should try to add a string to the kite or not.
I used some batik remnants that were perfect for the turtle.
Without a string                                                              With a string

Block #11~ Friday, March 16
Let’s Go Fly a Kite

Background: 100% Cotton/Linen memo
Technique: Applique
Batting: 100% cotton
Embellishment: Ribbon for a tail; possibly a string for the kite string