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. : )

Pineapples and Dr. Seuss

Thank you, Mary, for telling me about the Pineapple Pieces Project. This sewing it forward project will result in quilts being made and donated to the Brenners Children Hospital. All I had to do was have fun making 10.5 blocks and making pineapple appliques.
I had a roll of Dr. Seuss fabric strips that I thought would be perfect for the pineapple. I had a few choices of fabric for the stem. I ended up choosing a white polka dot on yellow fabric. Luckily, I had just enough Heat n’Bond Lite to make 14 of the 16 pineapples. I was not able to find any Heat n Bond on any online shops such as Hobby Lobby, Joanns, or Amazon. I used to get this at Wal Mart, but they no longer have a sewing section in my neighborhood Wal Mart. I had some irregular pieces of Steam-a-Seam lite that I managed to piece and use for the remaining pineapples and all 16 stems. I’ll have to keep an eye out for either of these products. I like to have it on hand.

Fun Days

On Tuesday, I was rummaging through my fabric stash. I ran across four of the animal squares that were from a panel I had originally bought to make a baby quilt. Instead, I had previously made a rice bag tote for my grandson, using four of these animal squares. I thought Tuesday would be a good day for making a toy tote out of the four remaining blocks. I used the same process for making the cube for this tote that I used in making the rice bags. Instead of adding draw strings, I made two handles. This tote will be just right for storing the small toys that he is now enjoying. His sister can teach him the concept of “in” and “out” by demonstrating putting the toys in and out of the tote.
This past weekend, I read Mary’s post, Some Quarantine Fun. The toilet paper quilt reminded me of an outside uplifting message board that my DIL made to inspire and support her neighborhood. Mary also posted the link to making a paper pieced toilet paper wall hanging. I have only done paper piecing once, and it was not pretty. The toilet paper pattern for piecing is cute, but way too difficult for a non-paper piece-er like me. Mary suggested that I draw and applique one, so I gave it a try.
Process:
Toilet Paper
Draw toilet paper roll with ink pen
Trace TP drawing onto fusible interfacing
Place the interfacing onto the right side of the fabric, sticky side down
Sew on the outline of the TP
Cut out the TP, staying close to the stitches but being careful not to cut the stitches
Cut a slit on the fusible interfacing
Pull the front fabric through
Press and shape
Top stitch 1/8 inch around TP with white thread
Cut shape for TP roll from tan or different colored fabric
Quilt TP

Background
Cut a 10.5 ” square of main fabric
Cut a 10.5 ” square of batting
Cut a 10.5 ” square of muslin
Make a quilt sandwich and quilt

Backing
Cut a 10.5 ” square of main fabric
Cut a 2.5″ x 7.5″ strip for quilt block sleeve

Message Strip
I cut a 2″x 10″ strip of fabric for the lettering. I made it this long in case I messed up with the ink stamp.
I folded and pressed as in making a binding. I also folded in the sides. Then I used a letter stamping kit to print : Keep Rolling On

Assembly:
Center the TP onto the quilted main fabric
Free motion stitch around TP and TP roll with black thread
Hand stitch or machine sew message strip under the TP
Place quilt hanging strip and backing right side down on right side of quilted main fabric
Sew around four sides, leaving a 3″ opening on the bottom side
Trim corners
Pull the main fabric through the opening
Press and top stitch around all four sides

I used a ribbon and some lace to thread through the quilt block sleeve.

Correction on the video: Place the sticky side of the fusible interfacing face down (not up) on the right side of the fabric.

Thank you, Mary. Your blog post was an inspiration for a fun day.

Memorial Day

Thank you to Laura Bruno Lilly for her Memorial Day post. It is a loving tribute to our veterans and also to all of the souls we have lost to Covid-19. I read this post after I had seen TV coverage of people crowding on beaches, not practicing social distancing, and not caring for the welfare of others. Laura’s post reminded me that we are better than this. There are people who care for others. Thank you, Laura.

I would also like to thank everyone who responded to my post asking for ideas and ways to handle the creative block I was experiencing. Thanks for your support.

Most of last night was spent watching the weather radar, as we were under a tornado warning. My home is in the northeast part of town. Our neighborhood was included in the southern border of the tornado warning area. It got pretty rockin’ and rollin’ for about an hour. A tornado did hit the northwest part of town. This morning was spent cleaning debris off the lawns and street. We were lucky. Another storm is expected tonight, so I have my fingers crossed.

Yesterday was dry for most of the day, so I got to go for  a walk and then a drive. When I returned home, I made two mini messenger bike bags for my grandchildren. The pattern is from Sew She Can Sew . My DIL, Shenika, had told me about this website. The site offers many free patterns. It took about an hour and a half to make both of the bags.

Since everything is pretty much soggy and muddy, I stayed in today. I spent a few hours making another Halloween quilt. I had already made two Halloween quilts for my younger grandchildren. One was a Turning Twenty pattern, and the other was the Show Biz pattern by Villa Rosa Designs. The quilt I made today is Batty, from a Running Doe Pattern. I had seen the pattern at the Mesquite Bean back in January. My grandbaby’s room is decorated with the Batman theme, so I thought a Batty Halloween quilt would be perfect for him. Last week, I called Joy, my friend who works at the Mesquite Bean. Joy is absolutely fantastic. She pulled fabrics for me and sent photos so that I could choose what I wanted. She also worked the math in figuring out how to adapt the pattern. Instead of making it a 56″ X 70″ quilt, I made a 56″ X 56″ quilt.

Rain is in the forecast for the rest of the week, but it is mostly storms at night. Hopefully, I will be able to get out for a walk tomorrow.

Stay safe.

Creative Block

Have you ever experienced a creative block?
What technique or process do you go through to get back on track?
Usually, taking a walk gets me started. Sometimes, ideas come to my head in the wee hours of the morning. Other times, just thinking of family, events, or friends, can get me on the track of making something.

This week, I realized I was tired of making the same type of things. I was stuck…not motivated. Quilts, thread sketches, small art, fabric art…just didn’t set me on fire. I made one fabric collage that I embroidered instead of thread sketching, but it was not fun.

Ducks on the river in Brackenridge Park were cute, but not inspiring.
My sister sent a great photo of a praying mantis…but I did nothing with it.

I made more masks for friends, family, and myself. I tried new patterns for making these masks. Making masks may not be my favorite thing to do, but it is one way to help people. It was fun trying out new patterns. I plan to continue making masks and build up a stash to have ready for anyone who needs one.

I guess that having a creative block during this pandemic is not really a problem. But for me, it is this creative process that is keeping me healthy and helping me through this unstable and scary period.
I texted my sister, Emma, to see what she does when she hits a jag. She gave me a few starters that sounded challenging.
She suggested I try drawing something with my non-dominant hand to get the creativity going. She also suggested drawing with my eyes closed. Emma did say that she did not recommend me thread sketching with my eyes closed. 🙂

So, I drew a selfie, using my left hand. The results were a bit shaky, but it made me smile. Then I drew some birds, using my left hand. I found it to be challenging and fun. Then, I thought about trying to draw with my left hand, but this time on fabric. This was a bit more difficult, but I liked the results. I drew a Willow Tit bird. At first, I drew it with the tail up, but their tails extend straight back. So I covered up my mistake by adding a fabric tree limb and some leaves. I started embroidering with my right hand, but decided to switch to my left hand. Funny, but I had less needle pokes using my left hand than I usually have when I use my right hand. This exercise of using my left hand really helped me with my focus…which has been off lately.

After completing the bird embroidery, I called my friend at the Mesquite Bean to talk about a quilt that I want to make for my grandbaby. We talked design and fabric over the phone for a good part of the day. Then I went to pick up the fabric. It is such a fun fabric and design, and I hope to start on this quilt soon.

My son sent me a photo of some art from my granddaughter. I love seeing her art. I love to hear her talk about her process and I love watching her work. We spend time on Zoom, drawing together. We learned how to use the whiteboard on Zoom. Once again, I have been inspired by one of my grandchildren. I am also looking forward to seeing what my grandson creates this week. I think I might pull out my water colors or pastels again. I have not sketched or painted on paper for a while. It might be fun to dabble around again.

It seems like switching things around a bit helped me to reboot.
I would love to hear what you do whenever you have a lapse or hit a creative block.
Stay safe.

Friday, May 15, 2020

Each day brings a challenge to stay hopeful and positive.
My Mother’s Day flowers are still beautiful and make me smile.
Silver Sneaker exercise videos, walks, and other activities help get things in perspective, but there are days I just hit the wall. This was one of those days.
So, I turned off the news, got in my car, and went to visit my special tree. This oak tree is in the parking lot of my neighborhood school. This is the school where I spent the last 30 of my 42 years of teaching. The school is located at the base and in front of Comanche Lookout Park. The story about this tree is that the district was allowed to purchase this property with the stipulation that the tree would never be cut down. For many years, I would park my car under this tree. Now, it is the meeting place where my Meemaw friends and I social distance gather. The school is a special place for us, since we all worked there together.
I wanted to share the images of this tree and its burl. The burl presents an image of a split face. One side is dark, and the other is light. There is one “eye” that looks black, encircled by white. The other eye is almost shut. I made an attempt to capture this spiritual tree in fabric, but I was not happy with the preliminary results.
I also wanted to share photos of two Halloween quilt tops that I completed this week. The Turning 20 quilt pattern was pieced a few weeks ago. On Monday, I added two borders to complete the top. On Tuesday, I began another Halloween quilt, using the Show Biz pattern by Villa Rosa Design. I altered the pattern, both by choice and by accident. For the center, I used one fabric to make a 15″ block. The pattern calls for the center to pieced with different blocks. I was on the third round of blocks, when I realized that I had not read the directions carefully. Instead of ripping an redoing, I decided to follow the pattern that I had started.
I hope everyone is doing well.
Stay safe.

Monday,Monday

Ideas and inspiration for my daily art pieces can come at any time of the day. (Sometimes, inspiration doesn’t come at all.)This morning, at about 4:30 am, I started thinking about the trips my Meemaw friends and I have taken to the beach. We have gone birding at South Padre Island. We have also taken numerous trips to Rockport, Texas. Our last trip to Rockport was this past March. The fun times we had there were my inspiration for Today’s Art.
I pencil sketched a picture of us walking on the beach. Then, I traced the drawing onto white fabric that was backed with firm interfacing and muslin. I pulled fabric scraps to make our clothing. I then thread sketched around the figures in order to be able to cut them out as individual appliques. I used different embroidery linen fabric to make a beach collage. White tulle was placed over white burlap to add texture and form waves touching the sand. The appliques were glued in place and then thread sketched.
After a bit of online exercising, I watched a few movies. This totally mellowed me out. That’s when I decided to make a Mellow Monday selfie. I followed the same process listed above in the making of this quilt square.
I hope everyone had a Mellow Monday.
We are expecting rain this week.
Although the thought of not being able to go out is bothersome, we definitely could use the rain.
Maybe Tuesday would be a good day to dance in the rain.
Who knows?
I hope everyone is well.
Stay safe.