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.

Home Bound Again

Since my city and state are now experiencing a high rate of increase in Covid, I am  once again home bound. The only outings I had been allowing myself were with my Meemaws. We only met in the school parking lot, or in a park. We always wore masks and kept our distance. We took our last visit to a park this week. As long as our governor refuses to take the action needed, the situation will not improve.

That said, I am keeping myself busy. There are three quilt projects that I have in bins. The first quilt possibility is a modern quilt made of half log cabin squares that seems pretty interesting. It is a perfect pattern for using scraps.
There is also a curvy log cabin quilt that I had planned to make at retreat with friends. Since the retreat was cancelled, the quilt project was laid aside. The fabric I chose for this quilt is by Marcia Derse. I just love her design.
The third possible quilt is a Lone Star quilt for my niece. This pattern is a bit tricky for me, so I have been studying the tutorial by Jordan Fabrics. I have made a star quilt before, but I was not happy with how the seams laid out. The tutorial explains how to have flat seams.

In the meantime, I have made a few small things. Mary sent me the link to very cute block pattern by the Sewing Loft. The dragonfly block was made from tiny scraps. I did something wrong with each one.The heads of the dragonfly just didn’t work for me. I read, and reread the directions, but I could never figure out exactly where I went off course. I had to make it fit, so each one is different. I also made the butterfly quilt block from that same site. Thank you, Mary, for being so thoughtful. I enjoyed making these blocks. They will show up somewhere in a future project.

My DIL had told me about the site, Sew She Can. There was a tutorial for a lay flat storage bag that I found interesting. The patterns come in three sizes. I made three medium sized bags in one afternoon. I like these bags since they lay flat, but open wide. They hold quite a bit of stuff.

In the video, I have a picture of a very friendly dog who lives in the neighborhood. I have seen Luna grow up. She is now 10 years old now. Whenever I walk by her house, Luna wags her arthritic back side as she comes up for a hug. She makes my day.

There are also some pictures of ducks, a golden crown heron, and the vultures at Brackenridge Park. Apparently, the black vultures are uninvited guests in this park. They coexist with the animals in the zoo. I included a video clip of the vultures in the sky. There is also a tree filled with white egrets. There are so many, the tree looks white. I could not get a picture of the tree, since it is not a place you want to walk by or stand under. I don’t know when we will be able to enjoy our park outing again.

Stay Safe
Wear Your Masks

Donkey

This has been a very frustrating weekend. Our totally inept governor has shown no real leadership, and has in fact interfered with the true leadership of our mayor, and other Texas mayors. Now, Texas is in the top 5 ranking of states with increased covid. And San Antonio is #2 in hot spot cities.

It has been difficult staying focused, so I am still only working on small projects that I can finish quickly.
Last week, when I met with my friends, I gave them the vulture rocks that I had painted for them. We placed one at the base of our Meemaw tree. As usual, vultures came to visit as we sat under the tree.

One of my friends, Kaye, gave me some flat rocks, and asked if I could paint some donkeys on them. I read about donkeys and researched what they symbolize.  The donkey is a very interesting spirit animal. The donkey represents the following: tenacity, hard working attitude, true leadership, gentleness, and an awareness of oncoming danger. The donkey also likes to learn and he offers confidence, determination, and focus.  I drew and painted donkeys on three rocks. Then, I thought it would be fun to make an embroidery art piece. I drew and stitched a donkey onto linen and made a hoop plaque.

On one of our past Meemaw trips, Kaye showed me a double pouched eyeglasses case she had purchased at a craft show. The two pouches were facing in different directions, which makes it very handy to carry both your regular glasses and sunglasses. Since the pouch was old and worn, she wanted a new one. But she has not been able to find one. I looked online for patterns or tutorials, but did not find any. I forgot about this project until this weekend. There is a tutorial for single pouch eyeglasses cases by Owl Be Sewing. I followed the tutorial and made two quilted pouches. My original plan was to machine sew the two completed pouches together, but the layers were too thick. I laid one on top of the other, facing in different directions. Then I hand stitched them, using embroidery thread.

Another small project that I completed this weekend was for my grand baby. I had some leftover Dr. Seuss jelly roll strips, so I used them to make two fabric blocks. I wish I could give them to my grandson in person. 😦

While viewing classic movies, I stitched two small fabric art pieces. Thank you, Tierney, for sending a bag of scraps. I used small pieces of this fabric on these tiny art blocks. I have also used the scraps to make scrappy strips and patches. These will show up in some future quilt project.

It’s only Monday.
I have no idea what I’ll do or make tomorrow.
Hopefully, I will be inspired by the determination, confidence, and focus of the donkey! 🙂

Stay safe.

Keeping Busy

There are a few big projects I have planned, but I am not ready to start any of them. In the meantime, I am just keeping busy with little stuff.
I piddled around with five small projects.
My Meemaw friends wanted their own vulture rocks, so I made one for each of them.
I also made a couple of more rock socks. It is something I like doing when I am watching TV.
Another favorite thing to do while watching TV is stitching, or embroidering. I embroidered a few pieces and stitched them onto a fabric strip. This was made into a fabric snippet attached to a wooden spool.
The other day, I was digging through my purse, trying to get my phone. I realized that it was time to make a phone case that would make it easier to find. It also would add some protection. Crafty Gemini had a super easy pattern and tutorial. I made my case a bit larger to fit my phone. I also added a tab and clasp. This way, I can attach it to the loop in my purse. My DIL showed me the phone case that she made for when she goes walking. It has an elastic arm band. I am thinking of making one for me.
Because of the pandemic, I have not had my hair cut since March. My hair is out of control. I am pulling my hair into a small pony tail. I read that scrunchies are making a comeback…Ha! I found a YouTube tutorial on How To by Kristen. I made one for myself, and then made some more for my granddaughter.
Before I start on any of the bigger projects, my sewing room needs major reorganization and cleaning. Maybe I will get to that tomorrow.
Or, maybe I will make more scrunchies! 🙂

Stay Safe.

Something New

Back in April, I posted about an artist I follow on Instagram, #kitschychic. I love all of her fabric art that she posts, but I was particularly interested in the fabric rolls she makes. Since I never throw anything away, I have bins filled with tiny fabric scraps. I used these to make a couple of fabric snippet rolls. The process for these snippets was just to glue scraps on 2.5″ wide strips of fabric, then stitch them down. I embellished some with beads, buttons, fabric collage animals, and embroidery. There are so many beautiful examples of fabric snippet rolls online.
Upon further research on these snippets, I discovered journal fabric rolls. These journals tell a story. I guess the fabric snippets also tell a story. The journal fabric rolls I saw were usually a bit wider than the 2.5′ snippets.

Since I have been interested in learning how to Kantha stitch, I thought I would try something new. I thought I could use a journal fabric roll as a practice piece for Kantha stitching. I first became interested in Kantha stitching when I saw the beautiful art created by Mariss, of Fabrication. Mariss sent me a couple of links and answered some questions for me.
Let’s say that the fabric journal I created is Kantha-ish stitching, because it definitely isn’t an example of real Kantha stitching.
Thank you, Mariss, for the inspiration and the tips. The whole process was a fun learning experience. I plan to continue to practice and I hope to learn how to Kantha stitch correctly.

Here are a few of the problems I had with the stitching:
1. I had gelli-printed a 4″ X 41 ” strip of white fabric. I used fabric medium on the acrylic paint. This made the fabric a bit too stiff for smooth stitching.
2. My stitches are not even.
3. Since my stitches are not even, the patterns I tried did not come out.
4. I do not have good control of the thread and it keeps turning and twisting. I have to stop and adjust quite often.
5. Sometimes, I pull too much and the fabric puckers.
6. I used two layers of white fabric, and a satin fabric for the backing. Maybe this wasn’t the best use for the satin, but I thought it would make the backing look good. I was happy with the results.

The fabric journal roll is named, Morning Walk. I stitched some of the things I see on my walks. This morning, I was busy watching a dragonfly hover, dart, and buzz around. When it finally landed, I was able to get a great photo. Of course, I had to put this onto my journal roll.

My plan was to wrap the snippets around some dowels and wooden spools that I ordered. This didn’t quite work, since the ones I ordered were too small for the snippets.

The video also has a photo of the vulture rocks I painted. I mentioned that the vultures are the mascot for the Meemaws because they seem to be wherever we are. I was not able to join the Meemaws this week for a walk in the park, but they sent me a photo of the vultures that were waiting for them. I painted a rock with four vultures, and we plan to place it under the Meemaw tree. I also painted a rock with one vulture for me. The Meemaws said they would give me rocks so that I can paint one vulture for each of them.

So far, it has been a fun week.
Hope you are doing well.
Stay safe.

Family and Friends

With all that is going on in our country, I have hesitated to post about this special day I just experienced. After giving it some thought, I am posting about this emotional and great day. I would like to share my happiness with you, since we all could use a little happy these days.

My youngest son and his wife organized a surprise birthday celebration. My family and friends drove into town  with posters and goodies. We got time to visit outside, keeping our social distance. This is the first time I have seen my family since March. My heart was bursting. Seeing my grandchildren was the best gift ever. My sisters dropped by, along with my very special friend, Nancy. The Meemaws came in decorated cars and wearing vulture hats. The vulture is our mascot, since they seem to make an appearance almost every time we go somewhere. My friends and family have made this 70th birthday so very special. I hope this video makes you smile.

Stay Safe

Fabric Art and Doilies

Today’s Thought: No hay mal que por bien no venga.

When I was little, I used to watch my Tia Lupe crochet doilies with cotton thread and a small hook. I thought it was something cool for an old lady to do. Well, it’s official. I am an old lady who makes doilies! However, this is probably the only one I am going to make. I can’t believe that my Tia even crocheted table cloths with these tiny hooks. So much work!

After crocheting rock socks out of the cotton thread, I thought I would try making doilies. The tutorial by Kristines Crochet is excellent for beginners. I was able to make a doily in an afternoon, with breaks in between.

I spent the morning social distance celebrating with my friends at the Meemaw tree. I wore my special shirt to give them a laugh. The shirt says: I am 70 years old and flocking fabulous. One has to find humor in getting older.

What makes my birthday special for me is that I was born on my Mother’s birthday. I celebrated every birthday with her. I wanted to celebrate her in some way this week, so I made two quilt blocks. One block is inspired by the begonias in my mother’s garden. I could not enter her house without her asking if I had noticed her begonias. The second block is a fabric collage of a sparrow. Mom used to talk to the sparrows from her kitchen window. On my Sunday visits with mom, we would sit out on her patio so we could see the sparrows in her yard. Making these blocks was my way of celebrating with mom once more.

Today’s Thought is something my mother frequently said: No hay mal que por bien no venga.
It means that even if something may be bad, something good will come out of it.
That’s my hope.

Persevere and Endure

Perseverance, secret of all triumphs.
Victor Hugo 

In the midst of the struggle that our country is experiencing, I am striving to remain hopeful. I am reading and looking for inspiration and motivation. Many of you have expressed similar feelings. I would like to share my thoughts for today.
In my reading, two words stood out…perseverance and endurance. Perseverance, as in the action of doing something despite hardships or delay in achieving goals and success.  And endurance, as in the power of sticking with something, no matter how difficult.
I grew up in the 50’s and 60’s and experienced the turmoil of the times. Laws may have been changed, but many hearts were not. It seems that we must continue to endure and persevere to triumph in our goal of fairness and equality.
With this in mind, I started thinking of something I could make that would be a reminder to stay strong. I went to my basket that held three Sea Heart beans. Last year, my friends and I went bird watching in South Padre Island. While there, I purchased these Sea Heart beans. These beans, or drift seeds, are from trees and vines that grow along the tropical shores and rain forest. They are carried by the Caribbean currents to the Gulf of Mexico. The beans are a symbol of perseverance and endurance, since they survive the long journey. They are also considered to be a symbol of good luck.
I follow Amy C. Wheeler on Instagram. (wheelacw32). She describes herself as a “writer, photographer, and intuitive art maker.” Her photos and art are amazing. I look forward to her instagram posts. I was particularly interested in the rock socks that she crochets. It has been a long time since I have crocheted with yarn. I found a few tutorials on crocheting rocks…who knew there was such a thing? Patrica Fentie has a tutorial on how to use cotton crochet thread to make a rock sock. I have never used this type of thread, but her directions and visual instructions were easy to follow. I decided to try and make a rock sock for the Sea Heart beans. I told my granddaughter that I thought a rock sock was a bit weird but I was going to try to make one. She told me that she agreed that it might be weird, but in “a good way”. She added that she would like one. 🙂 So, I definitely had to make one. I also made one for my grandson. These will be reminders for them to stay strong.
Since I was able to crochet the medium-sized beans, I wanted to try crocheting something smaller. Whenever I take care of my grandson, we usually end up taking walks. On a few occasions, he has picked up rocks and gifted them to me. I made a rock sock for one of the smaller rocks that he gave me. I can now carry it in a pocket quilt that I made. It will be my motivation to persevere.
Thank you for reading my thoughts for the day.
Stay safe.
Stay hopeful.

 

Celebración,

A year ago, as I was approaching my 69th year, I made a decision to be positive and celebrate the last year of my 60’s. I declared June, 2019 to June, 2020, to be a year of Chelabration. I made up a list of things I wanted to learn; people and places I wanted to see; and a variety of things I wanted to do. Learning how to play the ukulele was tops on my list. That was going well, until I sliced off a portion of my finger with a rotary blade. My wish to learn how to tap dance went as far as two lessons. My tap dancing teacher, one of my Meemaw friends, had knee surgery and that was the end of tap dancing. I enjoyed a trip with my DIL to visit my brother. I spent many days visiting with my grandchildren. I was pretty much checking off the items on my list, and then the pandemic arrived and everything hit the wall.
Instead of letting this pandemic ruin my 70th year, I plan to continue with the Chelabration. My new list will be adjusted to fit the new norms, but I will have a list. As part of this continued celebration, I made a a special quilt for me. I chose beautiful fabric with Mexican design and color, to honor my culture and heritage. The center of the quilt is a black and white Mexican village. It reminds me of the time I spent in Saltillo, Mexico as an exchange student. The University of Texas in Austin, sent four of us to Saltillo to work with the teachers and study the early childhood system in Mexico. We would be with the school children all day, and spend our nights in the town square. This center fabric brings back sweet memories. The borders around the square are made with colorful, bright fabrics of flowers, birds, and animals. I chose a red fabric with Milagros. Milagros are charms that are symbols of miracles and prayer. My friend, Linda Jennings, long armed the quilt for me. I picked it up last week and just finished binding it. I made a quilt tote/pillowcase with some of the leftover Milagro fabric. Now it is all ready for my continue celebration/celebración,/ Chelabration. My brother was sweet enough to remind me that 70 is just a number. : )