Block #26~ Friday, June 29

Ah, summer, what power you have to make us suffer and like it.
Russell Baker

Summer IS HERE!
I was taking morning walks, when we were starting the day with temperatures in the lower 70’s.
We are now starting the day with temperatures in the 80’s; ending near, or at 98. The forecast for next week is filled with temperatures of 100 and over.
So, there will be no more morning walks, unless I go to walk in the air conditioned mall.
There are three reasons I do not like walking in the mall.
1. Malls do not provide the peace and quiet that a nature or neighborhood walk provides.
2. Walking a circuit four times is boring.
3. I end up stopping at Starbucks for a treat.

As much as I complain about the heat, I actually do like summer. As a kid, summer was always a great time for me. I also tried to make summers a fun time for my sons, when they were younger.
It is just a matter of dressing correctly and always carrying an insulated water jug. My grandchildren have portable hand fans that spritz water. I need to get me one of those. A hat, sunglasses, and light cotton clothes are a must for summer. In fact, June 27 was National Sunglasses Day. Yes, there is such a day.
Since I once had skin cancer removed from my face, I never leave the house without a hat of some kind.
My latest favorite is a purple straw hat.

Block #26 Friday, June 29
Summer Selfie

First, I thread sketched the selfie…without the wrinkles and double chin.

Background: Muslin; rainbow fabric for backing
Technique: Thread sketching; fabric painting; FMQ

Pause for Pillowcases

Today, I hit pause on arranging the fat quarter quilt blocks. A new month will be here soon, so I stopped working on the quilt so I could make the pillowcases for my two youngest grandchildren.
July is big birthday month for my family.
All three of my sons and my granddaughter have a birthday this month. My one and only niece has a birthday this month.
I tried a new pattern that was given to me by my friend and owner of Las Colchas.
She had run out of the birthday fabric, so I had to go to JoAnn’s.
I didn’t particularly care for the black and multi-colored birthday fabric, but it was the only birthday fabric available.
The pattern calls for gathering and this is a first for me. I tried gathering to make the ruffle three times. Each time the thread would break on me.  Then I looked up some tutorials on gathering fabric. I should have done this first!
There were so many tutorials, each with a bit of difference in instructions. I chose to follow the instructions given by Leslie , The Seasoned Homemaker. She connects the two parallel lines at one end. This made a big difference. No thread breakage!

The photo does not show how the ruffle poofs up.

This month’s fabric theme for my grandson is Paw Patrol. These were made using the burrito pillowcase technique.

Now, it is time to pause for a Popsicle!

Cooling Off with a Popsicle

I spent the afternoon trying to assemble the blocks in my quilt. This part of the process began as fun, and ended up with me retreating to my chair to unfrazzle.
This is the first result of many rearrangements.

It seemed off to me, so I asked my sister to make a black and white for me. I don’t know how to do this with my camera or computer.

I could see the dark clustering on the left side, so I started rearranging again. Flipping the blocks around was driving me crazy, so I stopped to make some birds. I wanted to see if the appliques would fit well onto the blocks.

I returned to rearranging blocks. After many more changes, I came up with this arrangement.

This is not the best photo since it cuts off the top and bottom.
At this point, I decided to give it a rest and enjoy a Popsicle. 
I’ll start again tomorrow.

The name for this quilt that has come to mind so far, is Pájaritos en el Parque. ( Little Birds in the Park ).

Back in the Groove

For the past few months, I have been trying different techniques and styles, hoping to one day make an artistic quilt. I have no real idea of what I am doing in this area, and I was becoming overwhelmed by what I “can’t do”. I think I was trying out too many things, instead of just focusing on one. This is my usual attention deficit MO.

As a teacher, I always told my students to feel good about what they “could do”. This would help them get a jump start to move on and learn more. So, I decided to follow my own advice and jump start with something I “can do”. I know I can piece simple quilts, so I decided it was time to make another one. The last one I pieced was back in March.

Donating my fabric stash was a great start. This was followed by a trip to the Mesquite Bean, where I purchased some Moda fat quarters.
I cut and pieced the blocks yesterday.

I started with cutting 6.5″x 21″; and 3.5″ x 21″ strips.

I made three different versions of 9.5″ x 9.5″ blocks.
This afternoon, I plan to arrange the blocks on the design wall. I am thinking of trying to applique something on some of the blocks. The fabric may be too busy for applique of any kind, but I will try some things out to see if I like it.
One big plus from piecing this quilt, is that I now have a new batch of different sized and shape fabric pieces. This new stash has some promise of making an interesting art piece.
Another benefit…it felt good to be back in the groove.

Block #25~June 22

It was difficult to find something fun and positive to document in my quilt journal this week.
The images of children being abused and the inhumane treatment of families has taken a toll on the hope that I have for our country. The many phone calls and emails I made did not do much to ease the feeling of hopelessness and the feeling of uselessness in not being able to help.
I decided to make this week’s block a prayer for America.
I am not being political.
Just praying.
Trying to be hopeful.

Stand up.
Have a heart.
May we show compassion to each other 
and to those who are less fortunate.
May we accept each other’s differences.
May we respect each other.
May we stand on moral ground once again.
Stand up.
Have a heart.


Block #25 Friday, June 22
Have a Heart

Background: white cotton. I found a bag of patriotic fabric that was not included in my stash clearance this past week. I used a blue with red star print for the backing.
Technique: applique, FMQ

Christmas in June ~I Wish You A Merry QAL

Last July, I joined my first quilt along. Thanks to Abbie at Sparkle On!,for the invitation and encouragement to join the I Wish You a Merry QAL. I learned quite a bit of different techniques with this quilt. As I made each block, I experienced a lot of special childhood memories of Christmas. I entitled this quilt, Traditional Christmas. Mom use to have different sets of Christmas decorations. My favorite was her traditional Christmas, which included many of the ornaments from my childhood.
There are two blocks that I chose to make instead of two from the QAL. The Christmas cocoa mug is from a block pattern in Block a Day by Lucinda Ganderton. The stocking block is one that I designed myself.

Front

Back
The center Christmas lights block is one of the QAL blocks.

Bad Grandma

Last March, I took care of my granddaughter during spring break. I dropped her off at her ballet practice at Central Texas Ballet Studio in Dripping Springs. Just a few blocks down from the studio is Valli and Kim’s Fabric Shop . The ballet class was two hours, with a lunch break after the first hour. After dropping my granddaughter off at class and seeing her settled, I took off for a quick trip to the quilt shop. Big mistake! I got lost in the fabulous fabric selection, and was in the middle of choosing
Kaffe Fassett fabric for a quilt, when I realized that my granddaughter’s lunch break had already started! It was a Bad Grandma Moment that we laugh about today.
I picked up the quilt from my friend, Jeana Kubik, who quilted it for me. I finished the binding today.
I plan to give this quilt to my daughter-in-law. She, my granddaughter, and son, will soon be losing one of their precious dogs due to the dog’s age and illness. I think they need a comfortable quilt to help them through this.

Front

Back
I did an oopsie on the the quilt label, by putting it on the wrong side and in the wrong direction.

Fresh Start

My sister, Emma, belongs to the Girlustrators, a group of illustrators who share and support each other. I depend on my blogging friends for artistic support. I also heavily depend on Emma. She frequently checks in with me to see how I am doing when it comes to art and creating…and other family things, also. We share our successes, doubts, failures, and thoughts about our art work. Emma intuitively knew that I was going through a bit of a rut, and she called me today to see what was happening. She was not surprised about my decision to empty my bins and donate all of the fabric stash. She agreed that it was a good move for me. She told me that an empty bin is a sign of hope…that it will be filled up again.

It just so happens, when Emma called, I had just returned from a fabric shopping spree with our sister, Adri. I love shopping with Adri. She is always telling me to “go ahead and buy it”! So, I did!
We spent a lot of time at the Mesquite Bean. I walked away with a bag of gorgeous fabric. I have not pieced an entire quilt for a few months now.  I still have a long term goal to make an improv quilt one day, and I will continue to practice improv pieces. But right now, I will reboot by piecing a simple fat quarter quilt.

My new marvelous Moda fabric!
Valley by Sherri and Chelsi

I am happily clearing my table, cleaning my machine, and changing my rotary blade.
Hopefully, I can get a fresh start tomorrow.

Note: I was so eager to get some fabric, that I showed up to the Mesquite Bean before opening time. The store owner let my sister and I in because they saw our faces pressed against the window! The store has a row by row with a three Mariachi applique design. They have decided to include this block into a quilt that reflects San Antonio. They are in the midst of designing the whole quilt, and they had the paper layout on the table.They allowed us to see the paper layout of the San Antonio quilt and I LOVE IT! This is a definite next quilt project for me. They are going to sell it by blocks, and the blocks should all be ready in another month. One of the blocks is a taco!

uh-oh

Yesterday was a Pitch and Ditch day.
What started out as a reorganization of my stash bins, ended up being a fabric give away. I called a local thrift shop, and was told they accept fabric. Usually, when I reorganize, I look at each stash bin and sort by “keep or pitch”. This time, I just emptied bins into bags without looking. The thrift store got some good fabric pieces. Some bins had small pieces, while others had good sized remnants. Some of the fabric was quilt shop quality and some were Jo Ann’s fabric. I even emptied my bin that I had prepared for stitch meditations.
This morning, I went to assess what I had done…yikes!

All of my bins look like the bin on the left. I only have one bin with autumn fabric.
What was I thinking?
Oh well, it helps to know that my fabric give away will benefit some other person (s).
It was time to get rid of this stash. I was tired of using the same prints and colors in different projects. Someone else can appreciate this fabric.
Before I purchase any more fabric, I think I will spend some time reading some of my quilt books and studying tutorials. I also still have to make the baskets for my brother. He sent me the great fabric that he wants me to use for the baskets.
Give me a call if you want to reorganize your stash bins!