Creative Inspiration

Creative inspiration is everywhere. A few months ago, I checked out a book from the library by Freddy Moran and Gwen Marston. This book is a great resource for ideas, techniques, and inspiration.
The book, Collaborative Quilting, is out of print, and the price is outrageously high on Amazon. Luckily, it is in my local library, and it is usually there when I want to check it out for a refresher.
In the first book, Freddy Moran points out that red is a neutral color for her. I think my neutral color is purple. I recently purchased a second book by these two artists, Collaborate Again.
I love the way the authors modernize traditional blocks, use vibrant colors, and use a design-as-you-go method.I also like how they use a pieced style of borders that just adds pizzazz to the quilts. Tierney has a post about a Sew Day she had with a friend who had taken a class taught by Gwen Marston. I would love to take a class taught by these quilters.
This week-end, I attended the QuiltFest in Austin, another source of inspiration. Then, I went to spend some  days with my granddaughter and daughter-in-law.
My granddaughter is a great source of creative inspiration for me. I was sharing the Collaborate Again book with her, and she totally loved the designs and colors. Then my granddaughter showed me an art piece she had done in class. I have always found art done by children to be so true and inspirational. My granddaughter thought that the heart piece she had painted looked like something I could use in a quilt with lots of color and shapes like the ones in Freddy Moran’s book. I totally agree.

My granddaughter told me that she would like another quilt…one with owls. We looked online for ideas, but then she showed me one of the owls she painted and asked if I could use it on a quilt.

I love the colors she used on this owl. She also designed a layout for the owls and types of blocks she thought would look good. She drew some other owls for me to use.  It is still a work in progress. She wants to give it more thought. And I need to give it a lot of thought!
My granddaughter said she didn’t need to draw the details in these owls, since we will be looking for “good” fabric that will add the detail.

Block # 39~ Friday, September 28

This week’s block is about the Capital of Texas QuiltFest that I attended with my friend, Nancy.
It is always so inspirational to see the creativity of others. And, it is always fun to spend time with Nancy.
She has the best sewing room ever!

Block #39~ September 28 
Background: Blue 100% cotton; backing-black
Technique: Applique


My friend, Nancy, and I attended the Capital of Texas Quiltfest today. There were many inspirational quilts. I saw quite a few quilts with bright colors on black fabric. They were stunning.

One Batik quilt really caught my attention. It was titled, The Backyard. Valerie Willians made this for her parents. Each block has an animal that has been in her parents backyard. I felt like I was sitting in the backyard, enjoying the sights and sounds.


Another favorite of mine was a two-sided quilt based on Maurice Sendak’s book, Where the Wild Things Are. This book was always a classroom favorite. The quilt was by Kathe Williams.


After viewing, Rescued Scraps, by Sherri Lipman McCaukey, I will never throw away scraps.🙃


After the Quiltfest, I drove to spend the weekend with my granddaughter and daughter-in-law. While we were waiting outside for a table at a restaurant, the clouds turned very gray and stormy. We were entertained by a flock of birds in formation. It was quite a sight.


Its been a great weekend and it’s only Friday. Storms are predicted for the next two days, so we’ll just have to have indoor fun.

Pumpkin Spice…Oh, So Nice!

Just knowing that October will soon be here has me smiling. October has always been a favorite month of mine. We will be celebrating a special five year old’s birthday, our 45th wedding anniversary, and my youngest son’s wedding.
The weather is getting “fall-ish” and I celebrated by having delicious pumpkin spice cake and hot tea.
I also spent the afternoon making seasonal place mats. The other day, I was in a store and this fabric just shouted, “Boo!”. I bought a half yard of the 6 different designs and two yards of backing fabric to make reversible place mats.



This is one side of the second set of place mats.

Block #38~ Friday, September 21

The block for my journal is all about special memories about sewing, friends, and my Tia Isidra.
This past week, my friend, Francine, set up a special sewing class for me and two of my friends.
Francine is the owner of Las Colchas. My friends and I were given special attention and guidance, as we attempted to make clothes for ourselves. As we were sewing, we shared stories about how we got interested in making our own clothes. One of my friends had a mother who made all of her clothes for her. Another friend, weaves her own fabric, and is now interested in making clothing. We had so much fun learning, sewing, laughing, and remembering.
My interest in making clothes comes from my Tia Isidra. Tia made fabulous clothes for all of my Madame Alexander Dolls. I had the best dressed dolls! Every summer,Tia made me a fancy birthday dress for my birthday. She let me choose the fabric, which usually included organza. Tia would make the petticoat attached to the dresses. I always felt so pretty in those full, poofy, fancy dresses.
In high school, I took a Home Economics class. Tia helped me with my sewing project. From her, I learned that the finish on the inside had to be as good as the outer outfit.
The block entry for this week was made with the fabric I chose for making a tunic. It represents more than the outfit I made for myself. It represents memories of a very special aunt, and a time with friends.

Block #38~ Friday, September 21
Sew Special
Yellow 100% cotton
Technique: Applique

Don’t Give Up

A failure is not always a mistake, it may simply be the best one can do under the circumstances. The real mistake is to stop trying.
B.F. Skinner


One of my goals for this year is to make my own clothes. I gave it my best shot this week, starting with a personalized sewing class at Las Colchas. I purchased the pattern, Easy Top and Tunic by Amy Barickman -Indygo Essentials at Las Colchas.

The butterfly fabric I purchased at Las Colchas is beautiful, but maybe not the best choice for a tunic. I look like a moving mass of butterflies in migration.

I received great instruction and guidance during the class. I was able to get most of the tunic finished there. The pattern has great directions.  All I had to do when I left the class was set the interfacing for the collar and hem the rounded bottom of the tunic.
Well… I am not calling my tunic a total failure, but I am not happy with the finish I gave to the seams and hem. Also, this was a lot of work for one “easy” garment. I might rethink my goal of making my own clothes. But, I will not give up just yet. I plan to make at least one more attempt at making a garment of some kind.

Celebration Time

Today has been a busy, rainy day. While out on an appointment this morning, I received a call from Robert, at Grome’s Sewing Machine Company, informing me that my machine was fixed.
Robert had told me it would take up to two weeks, so I was happily surprised. Yesterday, Robert witnessed how upset I was with myself for messing up my machine. He kept trying to assure me that it was fixable and that I need not worry. Robert said they found a piece of the needle jamming the mechanism. Apparently, it took a few days for it to jam up. I am so happy with this shop.
I dropped off my Viking for a maintenance check when I went to pick up my Juki. I have not been able to sew this afternoon, because the storms keep messing with our electricity.
But, it is time for a celebration…more  apple pie and wine, perhaps?

Back Home and Ready to Go


Three days ago, I accidentally went over a very thick corner when I was sewing. The needle broke.
I looked everywhere for the missing tip, but I could not find it. I even took out the bobbin, the plate, and still found nothing.
For the next few days, my new machine kept on sewing perfectly. I even took it to my sewing class and had no problems with it. When I attempted to sew again later that evening, I noticed the top of a pin sticking through the plastic next to the plate. When I turned on the sewing machine, the symbol for “problem” popped up. I cannot believe that my new sewing machine that I have had for only 19 days already has a problem…and it is my fault.
I took it to the shop today, and they assured me that it looked like it was a  minor problem and it could be fixed. They said it looks like the timing is off, and that it could have been caused by the tip of the needle jamming. They will look to see what, if any, other damage has been done. I was just about in tears, but the service person was very kind.
I will not have my new machine for two weeks, since the shop has a back log of repairs. They repair and maintain Janomes, Juki’s, Vikings, and Pfaff machines. The store was busy with people dropping off and picking up machines. My old Viking is struggling, since I have not been good about taking it for maintenance…it is four years old. I think I will take my Viking in for maintenance when my Juki is ready.
The store, Gromes, also sells fabric. So, I tried to cheer myself up by buying some pretty fabric.
That helped a bit.
Maybe a slice of apple pie will help me a bit more.

Fun Day

Last summer, I tried making myself a dress. I had not sewn anything for myself since the ’70’s. The disastrous results were proof that I either needed lessons; or I needed to give up the idea of making my own clothes.
I asked my friend, Francine, the owner of Las Colchas, if she would provide a class in making a clothing item from a pattern. Two of my friends wanted to be included in this class.
Francine went out of her way to make this a very valuable and productive class. First, the store is closed on Monday, but she opened it just for us. Being in a fabric shop on a day it is closed is like being a kid in the candy store. I had to make myself stop looking and get to business. Francine arranged for another instructor, Jeanne, to be there for us. We learned little tips that only someone with experience can share. Both Francine and Jeanne made us feel relaxed. They gave us the push we needed to feel confident about the task ahead. Francine even provided lunch. We took this lunch time as a chance to discuss what we had learned so far, how we felt about our product, and any other questions we may have had.
We were supposed to work from 10-2, but we extended it to 3. I have only the finishing touches to add to the tunic that I chose as my product. One of my friends went to learn tips, but did not start on a product. It was a fun day!

This was our sewing work space in the back of the house.

Francine stayed close by to answer any questions and guide us when we got stuck. She is always working on a project herself.

Jeanne would go back and forth from cutting room to sewing room to assist each one of us at whatever stage on which we were working.

Francine and I go way back. I was a bridesmaid at her wedding.
A big shout out and thanks to Francine and Jeanne.
Hopefully, I will be able to finish the tunic soon. Depending on the results, I am thinking of making my outfit for the upcoming wedding.