End of a Very Long April

The month of April is finally coming to an end.
May will be even longer…but, I will be positive.
Most of my Today’s Art projects are still a combination of embroidery, thread sketch, fabric collage, and water color pencil. I never know when or where I will find inspiration for the project.
The first slide in the video is a selfie of my younger years. I drew an outline of myself, then made the paper doll clothes. I added the background by using water color pencils.
The second slide is about my favorite source of inspiration… birds. I had some scraps of a fun red fabric that I thought would be perfect for birds.

My Meemaw friends and I used to attend Zumba Gold classes twice a week. I do so miss these fun workouts. These days, Zumba takes place in my living room, all by myself. I try to get my husband to Zumba with me, but he does a disappearing act whenever I start. The background for this piece is a quilt block I made a long time ago.

My Meemaw friends and I had big plans for the Fiesta celebration that takes place in San Antonio every April. Marti decided we should have our own social distancing Fiesta tomorrow in the parking lot of the library. We will not stay very long…and we will be wearing our masks. The city allows these brief drive by meetings. I thread sketched the Meemaws with Fiesta flowers in our hair and masks on our faces.We have been having Zoom chats every week, but it will be good to see them again.

Sometimes, inspiration comes from the craziest of sources. One morning, I was pulling a cinnamon roll out of the package, and I thought it would make a fun piece. I thread sketched and embroidered this piece.

Many times, the source of inspiration comes from my grandchildren. One of my grandson’s kindergarten assignments was to read the book, Hey, Little Ant by Phillip Moore. It is a thought provoking book where a child needs to make a decision about squishing the ant or not. The reading assignment was followed by a writing assignment. My grandson had to write a persuasive letter. He did a fabulous job of convincing me to NEVER SQUISH an ANT! Of course, I had to capture this moment in fabric. I am so proud of my grandson! I made a fabric thread sketch of an ant.

The next project came about while I was cleaning out my thread tail bag. As I pulled out the thread, I started to shape and play with the thread. I drew a shape of a bird on muslin. Then I shaped the thread to fit into the drawing. I covered it with black tulle and sewed it with my machine. I had fun with this one.

Each morning, I make it a point to tell myself the day and the date. These days are becoming so blurred and I do not want to be confused. When I realized it was Wednesday, I thought of the Hump Day commercial of the camel walking around the office asking if the people knew what day it was. I made a fabric camel.

Tomorrow is Poem in Your Pocket Day. When I was teaching, this was a very special and fun day for my students. We had been reading and writing poems during the previous weeks. Then on this special day, we would carry a copy of a favorite poem in our pockets that we crafted out of paper. We would randomly choose a partner and share a poem with our friend. This year, I made a fabric pocket. I wrote a poem about the Meemaws that I plan to read to them when we meet tomorrow.

I hope everyone is staying safe.

My Happy Place

And so, it is Saturday. Or, is it? Who knows anymore?

My video today begins with a selfie of my unruly, uncut hair. When I see myself in the mirror in the morning, I get a very rude awakening. My hair looks a bit like a combination of Einstein and Beethoven. I sure miss my hair stylist!

I was able to deliver the quilts I made for my two nephews. I had dropped one off last week. This week, I picked up the second quilt from my friend who longarms for me. After binding the quilt, I was able to have a socially distant visit with my sister and nephews. It was good to see them.

Our mornings have been cool and breezy, so I have been taking advantage of this pleasure. I sit on my outside rocking chair to drink my coffee and hopefully get inspired. One morning, the blackbirds roosting in the trees were being particularly raucous. I found myself listening to the different sounds they made as they flew in and out of the trees. The blackbirds seemed pretty territorial and there were some mad dash attacks on the mourning doves and sparrows that happened to get too close. The next morning, I took my stitching bag outside with me to drink my coffee and make something. I created a fabric piece about the blackbirds. The blackbirds were pretty active again and I just totally enjoyed watching and listening. I had researched the different types of sounds they make and found it very interesting.

Today, I received an email from one of the condominiums in Port Aransas, Texas. The email stated that the beaches at Port A are closed to visitors, but Port A will be ready to welcome us back as soon as they can. At first, a feeling of sadness washed over me. Port A has been the host of many family outings. There are so many precious memories of time spent there with my sons and grandchildren. I have always thought of Port A as My Happy Place. So, I decided to make a fabric art piece of this very special place.

To make the piece, I cut a 10″ square of muslin and backed it with firm interfacing. I then used fabric with a cloud design and glued it to the top part of the square. I had some leftover “wavy” blue fabric from a yellow ducky quilt I made for my grandson. I cut it with a scalloped bottom and a curvy, horizon top. I had some textured beige linen type fabric that I used for the sand. I covered the sand with a white tulle piece. I added some layers of the sand on top of the tulle, then thread sketched the sand. I also thread sketched the waves and quilted the clouds. I took a separate piece of muslin and drew a back-view selfie. I then added fabric to create the hair, a hat, and a beach dress. I thread sketched and outlined the selfie and cut it out as an applique. I also drew two seagulls and prepared them to applique. I decided to quilt this block and bind it.
I now have My Happy Place hanging in my sewing room. Hopefully, my family and I can visit Port A once again.

Stay safe.

Morning Meditations

This past Sunday, I was drinking a cup of coffee from one of my favorite mugs. I should say that I have many “favorite” cups.  All of a sudden, the thought of creating fabric art pieces based on my coffee mugs came to mind.
I started collecting coffee cups and mugs years ago. My collection grew each year, because many of my students would gift me all sorts of mugs and cups. After 42 years of teaching, I have quite a collection. I add to my collection every time I visit shops or new places. Every morning, I choose a different cup. Each mug brings a special memory or thought to mind. Choosing just the right cup from which to drink coffee becomes part of my morning meditation.
For this past Sunday, I recreated my “All You Need is Love” coffee cup. This is one of my all time favorite songs, so I just had to make it be my first art piece for the week. It was my Singing Sunday.
On Monday, I was drinking from a cup that reflected my Manic Monday mood. I love flamingos, and the “I Don’t Give a Flock” cup was perfect for this Monday. I fussy cut a flamingo from a scrap, then I thread sketched the outline. The words were  hand-embroidered.
Tuesday’s cup is a philosophy of life, “Live Every Day like it’s Taco Tuesday”. Scraps were used for the top of the cup. I also used the tiniest of scraps to make the taco. I thread-sketched the outline of the cup, and hand-embroidered decorations and words. I used to dread making french-knots, but now I like to make them.
Wednesdays have always been a bit wacky. My students and I used Wacky Wednesdays as an excuse to have extra fun mid-week. My cup for the day had to be my Dr. Seuss cup. It holds the extra bit of coffee one might need on a Wednesday. I fussy cut a Dr. Seuss fabric and appliqued it onto the blue fabric that I had cut into the round shape of the cup.
I have been missing my trips to the quilting shops. I am doing some online and drive-by shopping at two of our local shops. My Thursday morning cup was about quilting. I found this cup on one of my trips to JoAnn’s last year. I fussy cut a spool of thread image, thread-sketched the outline, and hand-embroidered the wording.
After making these first fabric pieces, I decided I was going to use them to make a fabric book. One of my year long projects is making a fabric book for each month. My morning meditations have been so helpful in getting through this month of April so it made sense to me to make a Good Morning fabric book of meditations. I used two of my four remaining sheets of Kraft-Tex to make the book cover.
In order to make the book, I already chose and made my cup for this week’s Fun Friday. It will be my elephant cup. I also collect elephants, so, when I saw this cup in a shop, I just had to buy it. I drew the elephant on white fabric and thread-sketched the details. Water color pencils were used for the fabric rendition of this whimsical cup.
Saturday’s cup will be all about birds. This cup was a gift from one of my students. I used fabric scraps to form the top and the handle of the cup. The birds and tree limb were thread sketched. Water color pencils were used to color the birds and leaves.

The first page in the book is a selfie-thread-sketch. Whenever I have spent time with my granddaughter, we would choose one day to be a Pajama-Day. During this pandemic, I am trying not to have too many pajama days. I did have one this week, so it became part of my book.  I made a muslin cut-out of myself and made fabric paper doll style pajamas. The face, neck, hands, and ankles are thread-sketched. I fussy cut some owl fabric for my slippers. The coffee cup I am holding is made from a very tiny, fussy-cut Cat in a Hat.

Making these fabric art pieces about my cups has been a fun activity for me this week. This Sunday morning will begin with a different cup!
I hope all of you are doing well.
Stay safe.

Another Week

My day began with communicating with my sons. We all related to Bill Murray in the Groundhog movie. I always feel better after I get in touch with my sons. They make me laugh.

The video for this week includes different types of projects. The first photo is that of a yellow rose. My younger sister had a birthday this week. My dad used to call my sister his Yellow Rose, so I made one out of fabric scraps. I had mailed her a rice bag tote and a set of magnetic Spanish words to write poetry. Our original plan was to meet in Gruene, Texas to have lunch by the river. Instead of having a scenic lunch with my sisters, I had a peanut butter sandwich in my sewing room. Not complaining…just missing my sisters.

The second photo in the video is that of a bookmark. My daughter-in-law sent me a photo of a bookmark that she made out of fabric. I liked the idea, so I made one for myself. I plan to make some more.

I follow kitschychic on Instagram. She creates very interesting and beautiful textile art. She posted a piece about a roll of fabric collage that she was making out of scraps. She plans to use these rolls to make fabric for other projects. In her post, she asked for ideas of how these fabric collage rolls could be used. The responses from different people were so creative. I decided to make my own fabric collage roll. I cut a 2.5″ X 36″ strip of muslin. Each day, I dump my bin of small scraps on the table. I glue the scraps onto the roll, and then plant myself in front of the television to watch old movies and stitch. This is such a great way to wind down at the end of these LONG days. I am almost finished with my first roll. My plan is to make more rolls. I do not know how I will use them yet, but there are so many possibilities.

The next photo in the video is that of a sparrow. I used the smallest of scraps to make a collage of a bird and cloud.

After the sparrow on the video, I have a photo of a thread sketch I made of my grandson. My son sent me a photo of another great father-son activity. He and his son made a shield out of wood, to go with the wooden sword they made last week. These two guys love to upcycle materials. They used wood from an old futon, and the remains of an old belt, to make the shield. My son’s message with the photo was #neverthrowanythingaway. I sent him a photo of all my tiny fabric scraps on the table and asked him if he was talking to me!

Today’s art project is next in the video. I was thinking of one of the last times I went up to take care of my grandson. It was such a fun time, just the two of us. On one of the days, I went to pick him up from school. I surprised him with a special treat. I had a juice pack and his favorite cookie. There is a Mexican restaurant by his house that has a bakery. My grandson loves the cookie with “bajillion” sprinkles. The name of the cookie is Polvorne con Chochitos (sprinkles). The smile on his face when he saw that cookie is such a happy memory for me. To make the cookie, I made a circle fabric sandwich. I placed the cookie fabric and the muslin right side together. The batting was at the bottom, behind the top fabric. I sewed around the edges. Then, I cut a slit in the muslin and turned the fabric inside out. The result was something that actually looked like a cookie. Then, I made french knots of different colors to make the sprinkles. I sewed the cookie onto a Mexican design fabric I had used to make a quilt.

The last photo in the video is artwork from my grandson. All week, his online reading assignments have been books illustrated with collages and mixed media. His assignment for today was to make his own paper collage. He cut and created a dinosaur drinking water. I was very impressed with his creativity.

My afternoon ended with a zoom session with my granddaughter. I was able to participate in one of her school assignments. She was to have and write a conversation with someone on a topic of choice. She chose to ask me about what I plan to do for my next project. It was so much fun to have her ask me questions. She was interested in knowing the details of what I planned to do next.

We are in for a rainy weekend.
I hope that you are doing well.

Hopeful

It was heartwarming to see the new found ways to celebrate special days. Neighborhood drive-arounds, virtual musical and church celebrations, and technological communications…all help to keep our spirits up and hopeful.
A few weeks ago, I sent an Easter package to my grandchildren in order to do my part in keeping things as normal as possible for them. I know their parents made it a special day for them.
My Meemaw friends and I shared photos of Easters past. It was so much fun seeing photos taken when we were children back in the ’50’s and ’60’s. We shared the stories that went along with the photos, and had some good laughs.
The photo of me from Easter, 1956, became the inspiration for my Today’s Art piece. I hadn’t planned on making an art piece on Easter Sunday, but it just happened. In the photo, I was wearing my Easter finery, with hat and a house-shaped straw purse. I loved the way my petticoat made my dress so fluffy and poofy. My gloves must have been in my purse. We always wore gloves to church.
I met with one of my sons  and DILs to give them the masks I had made. They were going to disperse them to family who live in their area. We kept our social distance, which was very difficult. But it was so good to see them. Later that day, they sent me a photo of them wearing the masks.  The fact that we are now wearing masks can be depressing, but I am viewing it as the positive action that it is. We are doing what we need to do, along with social distancing. Today’s Art is a thread sketch of the photo my son sent. It is the last thread sketch of mask wearing that I intend to make. I just wanted to capture the loving spirit of these two adorable people, who said they were “smiling” behind the masks. They give me hope.

Busy

It has been a busy two days. Some Texas mayors are requesting that masks be worn. Our mayor has taken great measures to protect the people in our area. Thank goodness for our local government’s scientific approach to handling this pandemic. The San Antonio mayor has been ahead of the situation from the onset. I wish I could have the same confidence in the other branches of government. Even our Texas grocery chain, HEB, was prepared for this. The Texas Monthly has a great article about the preparations.
On April 7, I spent some time looking at the pink moon. I took a photo with my camera. The next day, I made a fabric piece to commemorate this moment. Maybe this will be a repeat post about the pink moon. Sorry, if I am repeating myself. These past few weeks is so much like the Groundhog Day movie.
Yesterday I began making masks for my family and friends. I finished them today. It is a task that I am glad I could do, but not one that I particularly enjoyed. I do not have the patience for this type of task.
I am not a seamstress. Also, I was beginning to feel depressed with each one I made. To think that the world my grandchildren live in requires them to wear a mask if they go out. Even though they do not go out, the masks were made for emergency purposes.
Thanks to Tierney, who shared the pattern by Made Everyday. Since elastic is nowhere to be found, I used my stash of binding strips to make the ties.
After two days of working on masks, I got back to my Daily Art project. I thread sketched my eyes and neck. Then I did a fabric collage for my hair and face mask. The hand-stitching added some texture to the piece.
Now, I think I will indulge in a Movie Marathon.
Wishing all of you a blessed weekend.

Art

Art is the only way to run away without leaving home.
Twyla Tharp

So true!
Creating a bit of art each day allows me to escape and feel free.
I hope all of you are being safe and doing well.
Thanks to all who offered suggestions for me to make something out of the Halloween fat quarters that I had in my stash. Mary, (Zippy Quilts) suggested a Turning Twenty quilt like the one she made for her grandson. Since I only had 9 fat quarters, I had to find a variation of the Turning Twenty quilt. I was able to find one that allowed me to have enough fabric to make three 9″ blocks out of each fat quarter. This will make a smaller quilt that could be used as a lap quilt. I plan to make the blocks and then see how I can build around what I have.
My box of daily art products is growing. On Monday, I made a fabric art piece using a scrap of owl fabric. I fussy cut the owl and used it as an applique. I cut and used scraps to make a moon and tree branch. Embroidery thread was used for stitching.
This morning, I saw a Ladder-backed woodpecker in our front tree. I was able to watch him for quite some time before he flew away. I referred to my bird book to help me draw a picture of the bird on paper. I then used the drawing as a pattern to cut the body out of muslin. Choosing from my scrap bin, I covered the bird body with different fabrics that I cut to shape. For the background, I had a fabric with clouds. Then, I built a tree from three brown scraps. Embroidery stitching added texture.
I am looking forward to tomorrow’s art project.
Reminder: Tonight is the Pink Moon…the largest full moon.

Do You Need a Laugh?

Today, I spent some time viewing a tutorial by Deborah Wirsu. She is a fantastic textile artist. Her tutorial on adding texture to a piece is outstanding. She provides excellent directions. I have tried some of her techniques but I definitely have a long learning journey ahead of me when it comes to this type of thread sketching.
As I was working at my computer desk, I reached over to a cup that was given to me by my youngest son…many years ago. I keep pens and pencils in this cup. It is a cup in shape of Michigan J. Frog…my FAVORITE cartoon. Of course, I had to find the cartoon on Youtube. And, yes, it still makes me laugh. A snorting, body-shaking, kind-of-laugh. Once, my sons and I were in line waiting to board an amusement ride at Six Flags. They had a television in the line area to entertain the people waiting in the long lines. I remember totally embarrassing my sons as I laughed at the Michigan J. Frog cartoon playing on the television monitor.
Naturally, today’s art had to be about Michigan J. Frog. I drew the frog on green fabric. Then I added a muslin backing, and glued and hand stitched the frog in place. Regular thread was used for securing the frog. Then, I cut the figure and pasted it onto a blue backing. I did some preliminary stitching with embroidery thread. If and when I make something with all of the today’s art pieces, I will add more embroidery or possibly thread sketching.
If you need a laugh, make sure to look up Michigan J. Frog on Youtube.

Idea Request

This morning, as I was looking through my fabric stash, I ran across two fat quarter bundles of Halloween/Autumn fabric. One bundle is more Halloween with cats, spiders, and pumpkins. The other has some spiders and skulls, and autumn foliage and design fabric. At first, I thought I could combine the two bundles, but on second thought, I don’t think they would fit. One is in brighter, cartoon-ish colors. The other is muted in color and more artistic than cartoon-ish. I do have some black and also orange grunge that could possibly go with the more muted bundle. I also have some black and white polka dot that would go with the other bundle.
I have been looking through my books and online for some ideas to make a throw quilt using one of these bundles. I have found some cute free patterns for making spiders or pumpkin blocks that could be incorporated with either of these bundles. I would appreciate any ideas or suggestions you may have in how to utilize these fat quarters.
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Bird Spirit

It has been a day of steady rain. At first, I thought the weather might make it harder to get through the day. But it turns out that the rain had a very calming effect.
Also, today was great because I got to communicate with my all three of my sons. My granddaughter and I had a great Zoom chat. We shared facts, jokes, and conversation. We did some fun word games together. My baby grandson made a visit on this chat, along with his parents. One of the best parts of this chat was the drawing activities. My granddaughter and I do different types of art activities each time we chat. Today, we decided to just each draw what we wanted as we talked. Then we shared. I was very impressed with my granddaughter’s piece. She drew a bird rising up into the sky. She entitled this piece, Bird Spirit. I asked if she could send me a photo of her drawing. I was so inspired by it and I wanted to try to create it with fabric. Since she drew it in pencil, I asked what colors she would want me to use. Teal is one of her favorite colors, and that is what she wanted for the bird. She asked for a green landscape and an orange and yellow sun. The background was supposed to be black on the top and getting lighter towards the sun. When I showed her my fabric piece, I thanked her for the inspiration. I also told her that it was my interpretation of her art, so it would not be exactly like hers. She responded by saying that it was almost exactly how she saw her drawing.
The art for today is very simple, but very special.