End of January

Inspiration is a guest that does not willingly visit the lazy. – Tchaikovsky

After I finished piecing the dinosaur quilt, I found myself in a quandary as to what to do next. I did a little bit of this and that, but just couldn’t get interested in anything in particular. I made some Valentine crafts for the grandkids, but that took only two days. I didn’t think I was being lazy, but inspiration just wasn’t coming my way. πŸ˜‰
My granddaughter and I have frequent video conversations, and one day I started talking to her about zentangle art. A few years ago, I was really into this form of art, and I have quite a few art journals filled with zentangle. My granddaughter is a doodler like I am, so I thought she might like to try it. I shared some tutorials for kids just to get her started. A few days later, she showed me some of the zentangle art that she had done. This renewed my interest in zentangle, and finally, I was inspired to make something. Instead of using markers and pens to zentangle, I wanted to use thread. I had thread sketched some inchies and twinchies a couple of years ago. To prepare for this fabric book, I cut some 6″ x 12″ canvas, muslin, and batting to make quilt sandwiches. I folded the quilt sandwich in half, and thread-sketched a bird on each half. I drew a one- inch strip in the center for the spine. After thread sketching the birds, I got to practice on meandering. My meandering is still not perfect, but I am finding that my hand motion is much smoother and not as jaggy as before. To make the book signatures, I placed two thread-sketched sandwiches, wrong-sides -together, and zig-zagged from the lines I had drawn for the spine, all the way around. This formed a folded spine. I then sewed a seam along the open edge, completely sealing the signature. Each signature had four birds. There were two signatures with a total of 8 birds. I attached the two signatures by blanket stitching along the pinched spine. Two 9″ X 12″ pieces of fabric were quilted for the cover. The signatures were centered on the cover and opened to expose the center of the book. The cover was attached to the signatures with a machine- stitched seam down the center of the spine.
Every Friday, I look for the next tag theme for the 52 tag challenge. This week, the theme was “kisses”. I love watching the tutorials by Anne Brook. She makes beautiful things out of scraps and bits. I found some scraps and I added a butterfly charm to represent a butterfly kiss. The buttons represent the hugs. This OX tag was made with my grandchildren in mine.
On January 1st, I started piecing a temperature quilt. I am using the pattern by Canuck Quilter Designs. The January row is now complete, and it is a fun representation of our crazy Texas weather. There are lows of 28 and highs of 80.
My friend, Marti, sent me a very cute crow pin. Marti is the one who got me hooked on bird watching. Today, she called to ask if I was interested in wool felt pieces she was ready to donate. She said she no longer wanted to make pins with the felt and thought I might like them. She knows that I am never one to say no to free supplies. She then reminded me of the thread sketched pins I made her a few years ago, and hinted that she might like some more. I thread sketched some twinchies and small shapes for her. She said she would add the pin parts to them later.
This afternoon, UPS delivered a box of two fat quarter bundles that I ordered from the Fat Quarter Shop. One is Art Theory by Alison Glass for Andover Fabrics. The other bundle is Quotation by Moda. Marti and I had planned to have our own quilting retreat with another one of our friends. Since this is not possible at this time, Marti sent me the book, Sister Sampler Quilts, by Anne Marie Chany. We are going to have a Zoom retreat somehow, and make one of these samplers. I ordered two fat quarter bundles for the sampler, because I couldn’t decide which bundle I liked better. I still can’t. It all depends on which sampler we choose to make.
February will soon be here.
Hopefully, healthy and good times are around the corner.
Stay safe.


Dinosaur Quilt

β€œFor every minute spent organizing, an hour is earned.”
Anonymous

A few years ago, I made a quilted dinosaur large pillow for my grandson . He was a dinosaur enthusiast who could rattle off names and facts about dinosaurs. I made dinosaur stencils to trace on batiks; and then appliqued them. Every baby needs a dinosaur quilt, and since there is now a one year old grandson in the family, I needed to get started on a new dinosaur project.
I was looking at different possibilities, when I ran across a dinosaur pattern by Elizabeth Hartman. It seemed like a fun idea to try making this sampler quilt, so I purchased the pattern. My friend, Joy, at the Mesquite Bean helped me choose the fabric online. I chose light and dark primary colors with designs. When I finally opened the pattern booklet of 34 detailed pages, I suddenly thought I may have made a mistake.πŸ™„ The directions are excellent, and complete with photos; however, I was totally overwhelmed. Organization is not exactly my specialty. There are so many pieces for each dinosaur and plant, some as small as 1″x 1″. There are quite a few diagonal seams, but basically all simple techniques. The organizational suggestion in the book is to cut and prepare all of the pieces and place them in labeled bags. This may work for some people, but not for me. I knew organization would be the key, but I had to make it fit my working style.
I started out by cutting and making the plants first. The large trays I had purchased at the Dollar Tree for crafting, came in handy for organizing the pieces. I then went on to make two of the same dinosaurs at one time. This organization saved me so much time and made the process fun and easy.
I added another appliance to facilitate my piecing. Tierney had posted about buying a cordless iron, so I looked into buying one for myself. I purchased a Martisan cordless iron, and it works beautifully. Not only is it convenient, it also presses seams very nicely. I now have a quilting ironing board that my DIL made me. It is located near my sewing machine, so I am able to stitch and press just by turning around. It made it so easy to press the bajillion seams for each dinosaur.
For the backing, I decided to purchase some dinosaur print Minky fabric. I hope it arrives soon.
With all the hours I earned because of my organization, I am ready to tackle new projects. πŸ˜‰

Diversions

Diversion: an activity that diverts the mind from tedious or serious concerns
(Definition by Oxford Languages)
So far, 2021 is not looking much better than 2020. Diversion is the name of the game for me right now, so I have been keeping busy making things. I will follow Tierney’s example and just post about things I am making, and not the endangered country we live in today.
Inchies
My interest in making inchies has been renewed ever since I came across a book my friend had given me.
Also, on Pinterest, I had seen some inchie books made from paper. I thought it would be fun to make one using fabric. With a bit of embroidery and fussy cutting, I made an inchie booklet.
Embroidery
I continue to draw and embroider things that come to mind. I made a 2021 Guide fabric book using the embroidered peacock, snail, and bee. I am also working on a Stitch a Day project. So far, I have embroidered a bird…shocking, right?
Felting
It is believed that the art of felting dates back to pre-historic times in Central Asia. Felting is something I have been wanting to learn, and I finally took the plunge. The feeling of shaping a wad of wool into little creatures such as a bird or elephant is so gratifying. After making the first bird, I thought I could work better without the leather finger tips for protection. I wanted to feel the wool in order to facilitate shaping. Wrong. While making the robin without the finger protection, I jabbed my index finger pretty badly. Those little barbs on the needle are a bit vicious. It took about two days for my finger to stop hurting. When I made the elephant, I focused a bit more than before. I used the finger tips about 50% of the time. My felt creatures are not as tight as they can be, but with a bit more practice, I think they will improve.
Crochet
On a blog site, Crocht, I found a free pattern for crocheting a basket. I liked the pattern, but I changed it just a bit. There was enough yarn for me to make two baskets. These baskets are firm, yet flexible. I use them to hold the materials and tools needed for ongoing projects. These small project baskets are placed next to my recliner and I work on projects as I watch TV.
Snow Day
On January 10, Central Texas had a Snow Day! It was the reprieve we needed during these dark days. I was so happy to see the photos of my grandchildren having fun playing in the snow. My sister, Emma, sent a photo of a snowman that she built. I did an interpretive Snow Dance, but was told to come in before I slipped on the ice. πŸ™‚ To commemorate this special day, I made a Snowman tag. It was to be the first entry in the
52 Tags Challenge that I am doing. For the snowman, I had made my own tag. I realized that this would be a bit much, and make the challenge feel like work and not fun. So, I ordered some ready-made tags, as recommended. This tag challenge is a fun way to use up scraps, and a great way to celebrate the weeks in the year.
Quilting
I have two weeks of my temperature quilt sewn together. I did not include a photo of this in the video. So far, I like the way the January row is taking shape.
Every baby needs a dinosaur quilt, so I purchased the Elizabeth Hartman Dinosaur Sampler pattern. I have been studying the pattern for days now, and my puzzler hurts. My friend, Joy, from Mesquite Bean, helped me choose the online fabrics for the quilt. Today, I was questioning if I would even start. But speaking with Joy, gave me the confidence to cut as I go, and not all at once…as suggested in the pattern. It would be an organizational disaster to cut it all at once.
Journaling
One of my journals is an art journal, where I just doodle or sketch simple things. The drawing in the video tells the story of something that happened as I was on my morning walk. I was enjoying my usual walk, just thinking, enjoying the outside, and listening to the music in my head. Suddenly, a squirrel dashed out from behind a garbage can that was on the street for pick-up. I shouted, the squirrel squealed, and we both dashed away. I do not know who was more startled, me or the squirrel. This might end up being something I thread sketch.

Welcome, 2021!

Β “I love beginnings. If I were in charge of calendars, every day would be January 1.” ―Jerry Spinelli

With every illegal firecracker that was popped in my neighborhood on New Year’s Eve, I felt a sense of release. 2020 is finally over. Here’s to a new beginning, every day.
Christmas was different, but I still had special time with my three sons and their families. It was just what I needed to re-energize for the new year.
If anyone walked into my sewing room today, they would not believe the time I had spent cleaning and organizing. πŸ™‚ It has been a fun three days, starting new projects and just playing with fabric. The first thing I made was a simple little bookmark made from fabric crumbs. I just couldn’t throw out the bin of crumbs just yet.
My sister, Emma, gave me the book, Birds, by Carme Lemniscates. The illustrations are lovely, and the author’s message is inspirational. I started thinking of making something with birds, and then I remembered a post by Mary, (Zippy Quilts). Mary is a great source of inspiration and information. She posted about making a refrigerator quilt, and I thought this would be a perfect year long project. For the introductory block of the year, I appliqued a selfie of me dancing with birds. It will serve as a reminder to enjoy the moments each day brings. I chose to make my blocks 9 inch square. For the January block, I appliqued a bluebird, as a symbol of joy and happiness. Making these blocks will hopefully provide me the opportunity to try new things, and practice skills such as free motion quilting.
Mary also gave me the idea about making a temperature quilt. The pattern is by Canuck Quilter. I cut and organized the fabric in December, and I started making the January strip on the first of the month. We are having some cold mornings and mild afternoons. Hopefully, we will have enough of a winter, and a cool spring, before the quilt becomes solid red and orange with our Texas heat.
Another year long project I started is Stitch-a-Day embroidery. I did something similar last year, and I found it very relaxing. Sara Barnes has a post about this activity. I also stitched a cat in a four inch hoop.
When I was cleaning out bins, I found a book on inchies that my friend had given me. It is entitled, Inchies, edited by Peggy Donda-Kobert. There were directions for making an inchie cube that I thought was cute. I had some swatches of silk that I used for making the inchies.
When I was with my youngest grandson, I was delighted to see how he loves books. He points to the pictures as we read to him. I made him a fabric book using a panel by Henry Glass. My grandson loves to dance to music, so I was listening to Raffi as I was making the book. As a mother, grandmother, and teacher, I highly recommend Raffi!
I love looking through craft books and viewing tutorials. I saw an embroidered messenger pigeon, that had a ribbon tied to its neck to hold messages. I liked the idea, but decided to make a fabric pigeon instead. My friend, Nancy, had made me a fabric bird and I used it as a reference. I drew a picture of a pigeon and used batting to stuff it. The messenger bag was made from scraps of felt. I thought this would be a cute way to send a message to my grandchildren.
A project I have not started yet is one that involves felting. I ordered a felting beginners kit. The needles look scary. I need to see some more tutorials before I start.
Oh, I have something awesome in my sewing room that is going to improve my ironing capabilities. My DIL made me a quilter’s ironing board. She followed the tutorial by Matt Jordan. It is the best thing ever! I don’t mean to brag, but I am blessed to have the best DIL’s ever. One gave me the cutest inspirational bird set. The Guide Birds are a reminder of renewal and celebration. I also got a Women Power coffee cup. My other DIL crocheted a super soft blankie that I use to get comfy on my recliner. It is more than these thoughtful gifts that make them so special. They are loving and strong women.
2021 is only three days young. I am hopeful that this will be a year of renewal, health, peace, and love.
Take care.