Making the Best of It

July has always been a month of celebrations in my family. There were so many plans to spend time with my three sons and their families. These plans had to be cancelled. This year, we have had to celebrate on Zoom.

Today, I should be sitting with my family on a deck of a cruise ship. Thanks to my son and DIL, we are making the best of a bad situation. We are not allowing ourselves to be bummed out by the cancellation. Instead, we are finding ways to make it fun. My DIL reminded me that it is all about how we choose to spend our time locked inside and away from each other. As she said, “life is good”.

What would I be doing on the first day of the cruise? I would probably be scoping out the ship and finding my way around. I would also be taking in the beautiful seascape and soaking in the sun and sea air.  To set the mood, I played Bahamian music in my sewing room. I drew a small seascape onto canvas. I used some of my new embroidery thread that arrived today. Then I added some water color. Tomorrow’s cruise itinerary includes listening to tango music. I was so looking forward to taking the lessons provided on the ship. I found some tango tutorials on YouTube. The heels might do me in. 🙂

In the video, I also included some of the embroidery projects from the week. Last week, I embroidered a selfie of my pandemic hairstyle. This week, I embroidered a selfie of my pandemic attire. Thank goodness for stretchy pants and leggings.

Since I am such a bird nerd, I have two more embroidery projects featuring birds. One is a tufted titmouse, and the other is a speckled fuschia.

This past Wednesday, I picked up my Lone Star Quilt from Linda, who did the longarm quilting for me. The quilt is now shipped and on its way to my niece.

The excitement for the week came when I went to pick up my two ailing sewing machines. They are now both working as if they are brand new. I am so impressed with Gromes Sewing Machine Company. They have set up excellent Covid safety measures. They allowed drive by drop off and pick up. It was good to see the place had their usual heavy traffic of business. When I told one of my sons that I had my machines back, he joked that he was going to have to clear out his cabinets to make more room for mug rugs. So, of course, I had to make him some!

A positive attitude has made this an absolutely fun day.

Stay positive.
Life is good.
Stay safe.

Keep Busy~Stay Positive

One of the things I learned the hard way was that it doesn’t pay to get discouraged. Keeping busy and making optimism a way of life can restore your faith in yourself. Lucille Ball

  • The Pandemic Shut-In continues
  • This was a week of three digit temperatures with bad air quality
  • Both my sewing machines are not working

This was the week I decided to focus on keeping busy and choosing to stay optimistic.
All I can do about the pandemic is try to help others, pray, and remain hopeful.
There is nothing I can do about Texas summer temperatures. As soon as the air is less dusty, I will resume outside activities early in the morning.
As for the sewing machines, I spent a few days contemplating how to resolve this issue. I made pro and con lists for ditching these two and getting a new sewing machine. I really want a Bernina, and there are some summer deals going on. This is not the time to go into a shop and try out new machines. Also, if I purchased a Bernina, I would not be able to take any classes to familiarize myself with all of the features of the machine. I finally decided to take both of the machines into the shop. There will be a two week turn around on this. In the meantime, I will have to find some other way to keep myself busy.
For now, I have been playing around with embroidery. I remember watching my mom and my aunt embroider beautiful projects. Both of them made such precise stitches. The back of their work was all neat and tidy. I am not there yet, but I am trying different techniques to add texture and detail.
I started by drawing a humming bird and a flower. I chose a humming bird because I thought it would be fun to try colorful and textured wings.
My next project was for my granddaughter. She has outgrown unicorns, and is now interested in dragons. She is reading a series of dragon books. A few years ago, I was dabbling with Zen art, and just drawing loops and lines. I drew a dragon and filled it with lines and curves. I then used my granddaughter’s favorite colors~ teal and purple. I had one remaining DIY pendent, so I drew a small dragon on canvas. The canvas was a bit thick, and I drew the dragon a bit too large for the size of the pendent. I ended up squeezing and gluing the embroidered piece onto the pendent. I hope it stays glued.
French knots have always been a challenge for me, so I like to practice making them. I used a blue line piece of fabric to stitch some daisies. The centers are filled with French knots.
My sister sent me a video of a cockatoo dancing to ringtones. I researched the bird and learned more about this intelligent and social creature. I drew a cockatoo onto blue linen fabric. I tried adding texture and dimension with white, grey, and yellow embroidery thread.
I have some strips of canvas that I just cannot throw away. I drew three birds on a small strip of canvas. My goal was to display action in my embroidery. I called this piece, “Joyful Song”.
The next project started when I went to organize my scrap bin. I found a fabric with different owls in the design. I fussy cut one of the owls and, also, some leaves from another fabric. After gluing the pieces onto a star fabric, I embroidered the owl, tree, and leaves. I left this one in the hoop, as a small wall hanging.
Because of the pandemic, I, like many others, have not had my hair cut since March. As I was pulling my out of control hair into a scrunchie, the idea for my next piece came to mind. I drew sort of a selfie onto a small piece of canvas. Then I embroidered the hair, face, and glasses. I cut fabric in the shape of a shirt to applique. Fabric crayons were used to color the face.
It is going to be a long two weeks without my machine. I had plans to start another scrappy quilt, but this will have to wait.
Maybe this week I will paint rocks. 🙂
Keep busy.
Stay positive.
Stay safe.

Summer

“In summer, the song sings itself.” – William Carlos Williams

The summer season has always been very special. As a child, there was nothing better than playing outside from morning until night. As a parent, I cherished the time spent with my sons at the coast, swim meets, and fun-filled and lazy days.
The temperature has been hitting 100+. I take my morning walk before the temperature gets too high. Then, I am inside keeping busy. Since our Covid cases continue to rise in my state, I am pretty much still home bound.
In January, I began what was supposed to be a year long embroidery project. Whenever I would find time to sit or watch TV, I would pull out this project and draw different animals and plants on linen. I practiced old stitches  and tried new embroidery stitches. 2020 feels like it is dragging on too long, so I already finished the project.
This week, I finally got started on the Lone Star quilt for my niece. I chose this pattern by Jordan Fabrics because my niece says her heart is still in Texas. Donna, from Jordan Fabrics, has an excellent tutorial for this pattern. My hesitation to start this quilt was my concern for matching the points and seams. I had pieced a star quilt before, but it was with made large half triangles. This star was made with jelly roll strips. I chose Moda, Texas Wildflower jelly roll strips with a white on white floral background. Donna demonstrates how to cut and piece in a manner that will keep the fabric laying flat. On my first attempts, there was quite a bit of rip and redo. I finally got the hang of it, so the second half of the star was a bit easier. I thought there would be no problem with the top and bottom borders made from the extra triangles…wrong! After struggling with the top border, the bottom border was a bit smoother.
Now that these projects are completed, I will continue with my summer morning walks and listen to the summer song. I am looking forward to starting other projects. Thanks to Mary, Zippy Quilts, I already have some plans. 🙂

Stay safe.

Post Script:
I have been working on my Viking sewing machine because my Juki was on the blink.
Now, my Viking won’t start up.
Yikes!

 

Staying Focused

One of my daily readings reminded me to focus on what I can control. This led to me focusing on making crafts, which is about the only thing I can control these days.

Sew Can She had a free pattern for making flat travel/storage bags. I won’t be traveling for a while, but I made three bags anyway.

I had some quilt squares left over from a Village House quilt that I made. I used the squares to make mug rugs.
Then I made some hexagon mug rugs/ coasters that open up. You can place the bottom of a wine glass inside the mug rug.

I had a Go Fish Pattern by Fishsticks to make potholders and oven mitts. I had just enough remnants and fat quarters to make three sets. The pattern calls for regular and thermal batting, which I happened to have.

My long arm quilter finished quilting the three Halloween quilts that I made. After binding the quilts, I decided to make a tote with the Halloween remnants and scraps. I made an envelope pillow, and placed a pocket in front. This tote can be used for carrying the quilt and a Halloween book in the front pocket.
I continue to make masks to have on hand, in case anyone needs one. Stitches Quilting has a tutorial on making a very easy pouch to store the pouch.

With some remnants, I was able to make a few buttoned coin purses. I made some in different sizes, lined and unlined.

After weeks of putting off starting a new quilt, I finally decided to get to it. I have studied the tutorial on the Lone Star quilt by Jordan Fabrics. Donna provides excellent instructions and demonstrations in her tutorials. Last year, I studied and followed Donna’s tutorial for making a strip tube Christmas quilt. This Lone Star quilt is quite a challenge for me, but Donna’s tutorial is very helpful. I cut the fabric on Saturday. I pieced half of the star diamonds yesterday, and the other half today. This quilt will be for my niece who now lives in New York. She loves everything Texas, so I used the Moda wildflower jelly roll to make the star.

Focusing on these crafts and starting a new quilt has made the days go by a bit easier. I hope everyone is well.
Stay safe.