February Fabric Book

One of my goals for 2020 is to make this a Scrappy New Year. I am trying to make different projects with the purpose of using up my scraps. I have started a project made of 1.5″ squares. I do not exactly know what kind of project this will be, but I have started cutting and sewing strips of the 1.5″ squares. I have also used scraps to make postcards and greeting cards.
One of the main scrappy projects I am doing this year is making fabric books. As mentioned in an earlier post, I ran across a challenge for making books….#areyoubookenough. There is a theme for each month. I like the idea of a challenge to make books; but I am loosely following the “rules” of the challenge. I wanted to make this more of a personal project. However, I do want to share the #areyoubookenough website for anyone who is interested in accepting the challenge.
I have been sidelined for a week, now, so I had some extra time to get a head start on my book for February. The theme for February is Healing. I found this quote by Hubert H. Humphrey that I thought was suitable for the theme and perfect for a February book:
                           The greatest healing therapy is friendship and love.
The signatures for the book began with a 4″ x 12″ strip of muslin. Burlap, cheesecloth, satin, and cotton fabric were cut and embroidered onto the muslin. Keeping with the theme of love and healing, I made hearts and used buttons to decorate. I even used scraps of thread to make a heart. Of course, I had to have a bird in this book!
The book cover was made from Kraft-Tex. I have a bin that is filling up with blocks that I am making out of tiny scraps. I pulled one of these blocks from the bin, to sew onto the Kraft-Tex for the front of the book. There is a one inch book spine that I creased onto the Kraft-Tex. After I lined the book cover, I attached the signatures that I had sewn together. The spine was then reinforced with a two inch strip of Kraft-Tex.
I am finding these small scrappy art projects to be very enjoyable and relaxing. It will be nice to have twelve books at the end of the year.

What a day!

Have you ever had one of those days where everything just comes together? These types of days are rare for me, but today was ONE OF THOSE DAYS.
Last night, as I was trying to fall asleep, I kept getting ideas about making birds…then Valentine cards…then small books. Needless to say, I did not get enough sleep. But it was worth it.
I love making fabric books, and I had seen an interesting post on Instagram. It was a monthly challenge to make books, #areyoubookenough. I liked the idea of making a book for each month, but I was having difficulty thinking of a book based on the January theme of “in between”. I decided to just make a book with no particular theme.
A few weeks ago, Francine and I ( at Las Colchas ) had a conversation about making books. In fact, my interest in books began with a book-making class I took at her shop about four years ago. In our recent conversation, Francine suggested that I just dump my scraps on a table and start playing. That is exactly what I did.
The morning was spent making the fabric Valentine Cards, but I kept thinking of making a book. After supper, I picked up some of the small scrappy art I had started during the week. Then the idea of using some of these pieces in a book came to mind. I also found two very small bird fabric pieces I had made last year. Stitching, buttons, thread-sketching were all included. I made an applique of a bird to sew onto the cover which was made with a 5″ X 8″ piece of Kraft-Tex. The cover is lined and there is a Kraft-Tex piece to support the spine.
Now that the book is complete, I need to clean up my sewing room. Scraps of fabric are everywhere! Once I clean up, I am sure I will get a better night’s rest.

Birds and Valentine

My mother loved birds. She would talk to them as she placed seed and water for them in her backyard. The birds would come to her window and she would tell them they would have to wait, because she was busy. Mom had a bird collection of figurines set up all around her house. Her collection was distributed to her great-grandchildren. Whenever mom would make wreaths, you could bet a bird would be included. There were many shopping trips with the sole purpose of looking for more birds to decorate the house. I inherited mom’s clock that has birds for the numbers on the face of the clock. The birds chirp at the hour and half-hour. It used to drive me crazy to hear the loud ticking and chirping as we sat in Mom’s kitchen; but now it is a lovely memory.
As much as my sisters and I used to kid her about these birds, we are all three enamored by these beautiful creatures. My sewing room has birds everywhere. I often find myself including birds in my art. And, I am fortunate to have my Meemaw friends who love to go bird watching. One of the Meemaws is an expert at identifying birds, so I love to go with her and learn more.
When I was teaching, my students would spend the whole day making personalized Valentine cards for each of their classmates. We would play music all day, and write personal messages to each friend. Parents would donate all types of craft materials for us to use. I miss those days. So, I decided to make personal bird Valentine cards for my siblings. I also made Valentine love pillows for my sons and their wives. I had seen these 5 inch pillows in the Target bargain bin, and thought…”I can make these!”. The pillows can be used to tuck-in personal messages to each other and to hold gift cards.
The Valentine cards for my siblings are all about birds. I’ve been experimenting with fabric collage in making birds. I start by sketching the bird on drawing paper. Then I trace the bird onto muslin, followed by cutting the pieces of fabric to fill in the different parts. Next, I do some thread outlining and thread sketching. Then I cut the bird out as an applique and sew it onto a background fabric. Wonder Under is used on the backing and ironed onto the card. For my brother, I made a Western Bluebird. My older sister is receiving a robin. My sister-in-law is also receiving a robin. Since my younger sister likes sparrows, I made her a house sparrow. On the back of her sparrow card, I printed a poem by Paul Lawrence Dunbar.

The Sparrow

Paul Laurence Dunbar – 1872-1906

A little bird, with plumage brown,
Beside my window flutters down,
A moment chirps its little strain,
Ten taps upon my window–pane,
And chirps again, and hops along,
To call my notice to its song;
But I work on, nor heed its lay,
Till, in neglect, it flies away.
So birds of peace and hope and love
Come fluttering earthward from above,
To settle on life’s window–sills,
And ease our load of earthly ills;
But we, in traffic’s rush and din
Too deep engaged to let them in,
With deadened heart and sense plod on,
Nor know our loss till they are gone.

It has been a great day.
Just listening to music.
Making personalize Valentine cards.
I hope you are enjoying a great day, also.

Fabric Postcards

One of the things I loved as a child, was receiving letters and postcards in the mail. I had a friend who lived in Corpus Christi, and we would write each other every week. I loved to buy postcards to send and just add to my collection of pretty pictures.
A few years ago, I made a some fabric postcards for my grandchildren. I have been thinking of making some postcards for Valentine, but I decided to make some just for fun.
Recently, I purchased a rubber stamp to print the postcard side. Remnants of batting, card stock, and stiff fusible interfacing were used to make the card. The official size for a postcard is 4″ X 6″. The postcard side and the stiff fusible were cut to the correct size. The batting and fabric were not cut to size until after the quilting.
When I taught first grade, my students loved when I read Junie B. Jones books by Barabar Park. My grandson loves to read the Junie B. Jones books. His teacher reads them to his class. One evening, I had the pleasure of reading one of the books to my grandson. The teacher in me loved seeing his connection and reaction to the story as it was being read. He totally enjoys hearing the antics of this funny, independent character, so I chose to make a Junie B. Jones postcard. I looked up some images of Junie and drew them on paper. I then drew them onto muslin. I added fabric for the hair and the shirt. After thread sketching the applique, I quilted a remnant of fabric to use as the top piece. I then thread sketched the applique onto the top piece.
My granddaughter loves anything with owls. I have made her owl quilts, pillowcases, totes, etc. So, why not an owl postcard? I drew an owl on some linen fabric. Then I thread sketched and cut the owl out as an applique. I found a quilt block in my “This Will Come in Handy One Day” bin. I quilted the block and cut it to size.
I had forgotten how much fun it is to make these fabric postcards. I know my grandchildren will enjoy receiving them in the mail.

Never Say Never

One of the quilts I made in my first year of piecing quilts, was a Darth Vadar quilt. This quilt was made of over 200 squares that were 2.5″. I was happy with the results, but upon completion, I said, “Never again!” Piecing such small squares with accuracy, when it was only about the third or fourth quilt I ever pieced, was absolutely challenging. Well, how soon we forget!
Last November, I began piecing a Minecraft quilt. The free pattern is by Kelli Fannin. My hat is off to Kelli! She designed such intricate and true to character blocks. She captured the dimension quality of the Minecraft game. The blocks are designed to resemble the characters of the game. The 12.5″ blocks were easy enough to make. Kelli also designed a pattern for the Ender Dragon. She used this piece as part of the backing. I decided to give it a try. The sections for the dragon were made of pieces running the gamut of sizes from 1.5″ squares to 7.5″ x 24.5″ squares. Cutting, sorting, and organizing and keeping track of the pieces just about did me in. I cut and pieced only one section at a time. It took me three days, one for each of the sections. I just about called it quits today, when I realized I had sewn in a row in the wrong spot. After a coffee break, I got back to it. I am happy to say I finished the dragon.
Now, I have to figure out how to finish piecing the back. My original plan was to make more character blocks that Kelli provides. However, I thought that this might distract from the dragon being a focal point. Also, I am a bit tired of cutting the tiny pieces that are required in making more character blocks. I had purchased some Minecraft fabric that might be enough to use to frame the dragon. I have pieced a backing for some of my quilts, but usually, the pieces were all the same size. The dragon is about 5 inches shorter than the width of the quilt. Then, I have to account for the extra fabric for quilting. I have crunched some numbers, but I am still unsure as to what to do. My best bet is to visit my friends at the Mesquite Bean and ask for help. On Tuesdays, they have an open sewing room in the back. There will be plenty of quilters ready and willing to give advice.


This new year, I am finding that I am not as organized as I would like to be. I have a rough idea of projects and things I want to do; but nothing is set in stone. I still have not figured out what to do about the problem I am having with no more space for photos on my blog. Tierney sent me the link where she explains her photo management. Thanks, Tierney! The problem is how to change the situation as it stands now. I had already upgraded once, but I took up all the space with those unedited photos. I have to consult with my sons to see what, if anything, can be done.

One of my interests for this year is to learn embroidery stitches. Two of the local quilt shops I visit are each having Sue Spargo embroidery classes, but it seems I can never make it to any of the classes. I am trying out new stitches on my own and making small art pieces. One of the pieces I embroidered was a selfie for 2020. The other piece was a combination of techniques. I drew a bird on muslin, and used water color pencils to add color. I sewed some burlap onto a leftover floral charm fabric. Then I added a silk backing. I am also working on another piece where I embroidered the dove, tree, heart, and butterfly that I drew on some linen blend. I am liking this project better than the 365 Day Button and Embroidery project that I started. In this project, a button and or stitches is added on each day of the year.

My Meemaw friends and I had a Wabi-Sabi day, last Sunday. Three of us decided to use these Wabi-Sabi days to work on new quilts. The fourth buddy is helping with whatever needs to be done. Since I had just returned from out-of-town, I did not have anything ready for the quilt I was planning. Instead, I helped my friend cut and get ready to piece her first quilt. This past Monday, I visited Las Colchas to get the fabric for my next quilt. The shop has a great selection of Tex-Mex prints. I have been wanting to make a quilt to celebrate my family culture and heritage. I chose a pattern from the book, The Gentle Art of Quiltmaking by Jane Brocket. The book was loaned to me by one of the Meemaws. She recommended one of the quilt patterns that she had chosen from this book to make a quilt for herself. She thought that the pattern would showcase the vibrant color and design of the Tex-Mex fabric, and I totally agree. I pieced the backing for this quilt, using a fabric which features milagros.

I am also working on a Minecraft quilt. The free pattern is by Kelli Fannin. In November, I had pieced the top three rows, and the bottom two rows. When I went to attach the two parts, I realized I was off. The bottom piece was wider than the top. After fooling with it a bit, I threw it in the This-Is-Driving-Me-Crazy bin. I pulled it out this past Tuesday, and took it to the Mesquite Bean. The helpful people at this shop gave me some suggestions that would require minimal rip and sew. Thanks to these friends, I was able to piece the top together today. Kelli Fannin created a dragon block for the backing. I plan to try this out tomorrow.
Note: Phyllis, if you are reading this blog, this quilt is a secret!

Last week, while in Round Rock, I went on a birding walk around the lake where one of my sons lives. It was my first birding walk for the year. Then, this Wednesday, the Meemaws went on a birding walk by the river in the King William area of San Antonio. So far, I have seen 21 different species of birds this year. Bird watching is so exciting!

*In the video, the linen blend that I used for the embroidery projects, shows an exaggerated version of the fabric. The fabric is really not that grainy.

Kraft Tex

One of the things I love about blogging is getting to meet people who share ideas, and promote creativity. Mary, of Zippy Quilts, has a few posts on using Kraft Tex. After reading her posts and seeing the products she made with Kraft Tex, I was quite interested. Then, she graciously invited and encouraged me to give it a try.  My time in the sewing room has been unpredictable lately, but I managed to have some time to try out the Kraft Tex.
I realize that there is SO much that can be done using this fabric paper. I only touched the surface. I viewed many tutorials on the product. I decided to start with something simple, like a journal cover.
For the year 2019, I made two quilt blocks for each month. The blocks represent special people, places and events. I practiced and tried many different techniques in making the blocks. I also used blocks and pieces in my “What-Do-I Do-With This?” bin. I turned these blocks into signatures and ended up needing a spine that was 2.5″-3″.
Here is a brief summary of the process:
1. Cut the cover from Kraft Tex (Front 9″ + Back 9″+ Spine 2.5″ +Flap 2.5″) 23″ X 9″
2. Cut the lining from light cotton fabric at 23″X9″
3. Fold and crease the Kraft Tex to form the front, back, binding and flap.
4. Cut light fusible about 1/4 inch shorter than length and width of lining and fuse onto lining.
5. Sew lining and cover, wrong sides together, using a zigzag stitch.
6. I chose to use my AccuQuilt Go! to cut appliques from Kraft Tex. My plan was to glue them on, but apparently, I did not choose the right glue. I ended up having to sew the applique on, and I am not quite happy with the result. I know it can be done, but I need more practice.
7. Hand-sew signatures onto the spine.
8. Fasten flap to front cover using velcro circles.

I also had time to make a small lined, zipper pouch to help organize my purse. I followed the simple tutorial by Gourmet QuilterShe gives examples of different ways to make this pouch. My original plan was to Gelli-print and paint the Kraft Tex, but my time was limited. I needed the pouch right away. It was made in 30 minutes, and there are a few oopsies in it. This pouch is so handy for carrying and organizing the small essentials in my purse. The Kraft Tex is so durable. It has received many compliments whenever I take it out.

My plan is to play and discover more ways to utilize Kraft Tex. Thank you, Mary, for sharing this product.


Happy New Year!
It has been a busy start to this new year. I have been between here and there and everywhere since the holidays, so I have not been able to post.
At the end of 2019, I found myself making two journals. One journal was to house all the photos, cards, and memories I pin on two boards in my sewing room. These boards are my inspiration for the year.
I just used fabric and scrapbook paper to make this journal. The cover was made from a practice piece that I had stored in a bin. This piece was a combination of Gelli-plate printing, applique, and a whole mix of things I was trying. I ended up cutting and resewing the piece to make into a cover.

I am also experiencing a problem with my blog. Apparently, I have used up all my space by adding photos that are high in pixels. I thought that sizing them to thumbnail was all that was needed to save space.  I know enough about blogging to be stupid. My videos are not the problem because they are stored in YouTube.
I was given three options:
1. Spend an outrageous amount of time downloading all of the photos in my library, use a photo app to resize and then reload into my library
2. Delete the photos in my library
3. Upgrade at a cost

For now, the plan is just to make videos.

The second journal I made was a collection of blocks that I made for each month of the year. The cover was made using Kraft Tex. I will have another post about this great product.
In the meantime, I hope everyone has a peaceful and blessed New Year.

Handy Sewing Pouch

One of my goals for 2019 is to learn more and improve my embroidery stitching skills. For my 365 day project, I chose to make a Button and Stitches project, an idea from Ashley Hackshaw.  I have all of my thread, needles, beads, etc. that I use for small projects in a jewelry box that was gifted to me by my youngest son MANY years ago. The plastic box is like a tool box that has a top shelf as you open the lid. This works out great for my at home projects. But, I am on the road a bit at the moment, so I decided to make a traveling fabric book/pouch for my hand sewing notions. My friend, Francine, at Las Colchas, showed me one that she had made and I really liked the idea. I decided to use scraps and stitch the cover out of pieces, just like Francine did. The inside of the book was personalized to suit what I needed to take along with me and have on hand.
Have Sewing Pouch
Will Travel