North Star

My friend, Linda Jennings, has a working relationship with the Mesquite Bean for picking up and dropping off quilts that she longarms for clients. I went to pick up one of my quilts today and was brought to tears.
The shop, which is usually bustling with people on a Thursday, was dark. Only the owner and one staff person were inside. The shop has cancelled all classes. For now, they are open for two hours and offer a drive-through service for picking up fabric. They don’t know how long they will continue with this schedule.
I have been listening to the news and practicing social distancing. I order curb-side groceries, of which there is limited supply. Yet, the site of this beautiful shop, in the dark, with none of the usual happy faces, was a hard-hitting dose of reality. Cindy, the owner, said I could shop if I wanted to do so. So, I took one last fabric shopping trip, all by myself. We left the shop assuring ourselves we would get through this.
It is not just the fact that a quilt shop is closed.
It is the reality of what is happening to our lives as we know it.
My concern is for the future of my grandchildren.
We will get through this if we get smart. We need to all be accountable for our actions and hold our government officials accountable.
I have gone the gamut of emotions from sadness, to anger, to hope.
My sons remind me that worrying is not helpful.
I read from Martha Karelius’s book, You, Improved ; A Daily Dose of Inspiration.
Today’s reading is about finding your North Star. Your North Star is your fixed purpose. The passage reminds us to not give up. “ The storm will pass, the clouds will clear, and  you will find your guiding light. Keep it in your sights everyday.”

I hope all of you stay safe, positive, and  healthy.

Social Distancing

Instead of going birding with my friends today, I spent the day practicing social distancing. I listened to the latest updates of the Coronavirus.  The city of San Antonio has been proactive and on target since the onset of this situation. I have confidence in our city leaders.
I checked in on the CDC website and found an image of the Coronavirus. I was struck by the color, design, and dimensions of the virus. In order for me to get a handle on how this situation makes me feel,  I decided to embroider the image of the virus based on the photo from the CDC website. The site even has a download of a sticker or button of the virus image. I found the process of planning, embroidering and making a simple quilted block helped me to put things in perspective. Embroidery is very soothing for me. It also gave me the chance to practice making French Knots and Bullion stitches.

We will get through this.
Take care.

Fabric Book for March

In a January post, I mentioned the #areyoubookenough challenge. I liked the idea of making a book a month, but I did not know if I would work entirely within the rules or themes of the challenge. I just liked the challenge of creating a book a month.
For the month of January, I made a book of small fabric meditations without following the theme for the month, which was “in-between”. The book was mostly collages of birds, buttons and hearts. It was a great way to use up scraps.
The theme for February was “healing”. I chose to make a book about love and healing based on the quote from Hubert Humphrey: “The greatest healing therapy is friendship and love.”
The theme for March is ‘hexagons”. I had some hexagon rulers and paper templates, so I used these to make my book for the month. I used the one inch paper templates to make flowers and a butterfly. I also had some hexagon buttons that I used in creating some flowers, a snail, a bird and a vase. For the first page, I thread-sketched some hexagons and used buttons to decorate the centers. The front and back covers are made from Kraft-Tex. The cute floral and bird selvage from the Deborah Curiel Viva Mexico line of fabric came in handy to use as ties for the book.
There is now a confirmed case of Covid-19 in San Antonio. Austin also has some cases. It seems it might be a good idea to stay home for a few weeks. It is not my favorite thing to do, but it is the responsible thing to do for now. I think I have enough fabric and things to keep busy.
Stay healthy!

La Celebración

As part of my Chelabration year, I wanted to make a festive quilt that reflected my family and culture. Las Colchas is known for it’s Tex-Mex lines of fabric. I was out of town when I saw the Deborah Curiel Viva Mexico fabric posted on the Las Colchas Facebook. As soon as I returned home, I went directly to the quilt shop to purchase this gorgeous fabric. My friend, Marti, had lent me her book, The Gentle Art of Quiltmaking. One of the quilt patterns in this book is a large Log Cabin quilt. I thought the Log Cabin pattern would be a good way to show case the bold prints and colors of the fabric.
The center block is 18″ x18″. I chose a black and white Mexican village scene fabric. The center fabric is filled with action. The 2.5″ borders are black and white polka-dot, a pink print, and a turquoise solid. The 5.5″ borders are all floral, with birds and animals. The second-to-the last border has toucans. My plan was to add an extra border to make it a larger quilt. However, I miscalculated on one of the pink, floral and bird fabrics. I only had enough fabric for three sides. So, the quilt ended up being a 78″ X 78″ quilt. I pieced the backing for the fabric about two weeks ago, so it will be a bit larger than needed. That will teach me to never start with the backing. As I was piecing the top, I questioned if I had too much color and print going on. I set it aside for a bit to think about it, before deciding the more color and print the better! I could not decide if the binding should be the same black and white polka dot fabric or the pink fabric. I asked my sister, Emma, and she confirmed my preference of using the pink fabric.
In April, the city of San Antonio celebrates with two weeks of partying, called Fiesta. My friends and I were planning on making our hats and badges and attending the Battle of the Bands event. It looks like our Fiesta may be postponed or cancelled this year, because of the Covid19. Hopefully, I can get my Celebración quilt long armed and ready by April, so I can decorate and have my own Fiesta at home.

Family Time

I just returned from four fabulous days with my sons, daughter-in-laws, and grandchildren. It all started with some Grammy time with my 5 month old grandson and his mom. He is all giggles, smiles, and love. I was in heaven. I was able to spend time with his big sister when I picked her up from school. Conversations with this eight year old always amaze me.
On one of these days, I was guest reader at my kinder grandson’s school. Being back in a classroom was the highlight of my day. His classmates read to me and showed me their work. I was able to see my grandson having fun learning. I also experienced the joy of reading, eating lunch with kinder students, and going out to recess. One of the fun things we did at recess was create images with leaves, nuts, and schoolyard items. My grandson created a face with two small pom poms he found on the playground. He also used leaves and acorns and sticks.
I am also posting a photo of some backyard hidden treasure that my son and grandson found in their backyard while using a metal detector. My grandson was so proud of his find.
One afternoon was spent with my other daughter-in-law in her fabulous sewing room. She quilts, crafts, sews, and makes things with a Cricut. She and my son designed a shirt for me. It has quilt blocks and the words “Block Star”. My DIL said that after she saw the Minecraft quilt I made, she just had to design this shirt for me. She and my son demonstrated how to use the Cricut for designing t-shirts. My DIL chose a beautiful image of a strong woman to cut and press onto a t-shirt. The process was so detailed, but she made it look so easy. She showed me a shirt of Baby Yoda that she had made for my son.
One afternoon was spent shopping with the wife of my youngest son. She makes a great shopping buddy! I have been looking at a flamingo sculpture every time I went into a Hobby Lobby. The flamingo was on sale today and I just had to have it! We had a full basket of goodies when we checked out.
These were four busy and fun-filled days. I am looking forward to more family fun days.

Photo Slideshow

 

International Women’s Day 2020

March 8, 2020 is International Women’s Day. This is a day to celebrate the accomplishment of women. I wanted to start by celebrating women close to home…my three daughter-in-laws. I am very lucky to have these three women in my life. All three of my DILs are strong, loving, and dedicated women who are a positive force in our family and wherever they go. They are each accomplished in their own field.
For Angela, I thread sketched an image from one of my favorite photos of her doing a handstand. She does handstands wherever she goes…just for fun.
For Shenika, I thread sketched a Sugar Skull. I appliqued the thread sketch onto the top of a sewing notion pouch.
For Phyllis, I thread sketched an image of the two of us dancing to a song we both like…Feelin’ Alright, written by Dave Mason and sung by Joe Cocker.
I enjoyed giving these gifts to them this weekend, as I let them know how much they mean to me.

https://flic.kr/s/aHsmLQVRtW

The Clown Car Returns

There is nothing more energizing than spending four days with friends. My three Meemaw friends and I piled into our clown car this past Thursday and headed to Rockport, Texas. Rockport is one of our favorite places to visit for birding adventures and just plain fun.
Our trip included a visit to the USS Lexington, in Corpus Christi. We were fortunate to be there on a day that a veteran, who was on this ship during WWII, was on site.
This was a very successful birding trip. We were able to see 20 different species of birds at the different locations in the area. These include the Aransas Natural Wildlife Refuge, Goose Island, Tule Marsh, Memorial Park, Pond, and Wetland, and the Linda S. Castro Nature Sanctuary. We were lucky to spot Sandhill Cranes, Whooping, Cranes, and Roseate Spoonbills all in one location as we were on the road at Goose Island. At the  Natural Wildlife Refuge, we saw two whooping cranes fly in and land…What an exciting sight to see! At the Rockport Beach, a Great Blue Heron landed on the sidewalk by our car, as we were parking. We were able to capture three pictures of this beautiful bird with my iphone camera.
We would spend most of our days birding, with eating and shopping in-between. We were disappointed to discover that the Rockport quilt shop was no longer in business.
On our last Meemaw trip in December, to Salado, Texas, we ran across a group of interesting women. They were Sisters on the Fly, women who travel in RVs and meet at different locations and events. This time, in Rockport, we met Sisters of the Dance. These women perform at community events, nursing homes, senior centers, and parades. Meeting interesting people is definitely a perk when traveling.
There was no wi-fi where we stayed and it was the best time ever. We spent the evenings watching classic movies and playing games.
The Clown Car returned home today.
I thread sketched and water colored the Great Blue Heron as soon as I got home.
Now, I am ready to crash for a few days.

Happy Birthday, Dr. Seuss

Every March, my students and I would celebrate Dr. Seuss and Read Across America Day. The week was filled with fun reading, writing, math, and art activities. I miss my teaching days.
This March, I will be one of the guest readers for my grandson’s class. I am so excited about this. Of course, I think a guest reader should walk in with a Seuss bag full of books and goodies. So, I got busy making a Japanese rice bag.
About four years ago, I bought a charm pack and a jelly roll with the Dr. Seuss characters. My plan was to make a quilt, but the fabric just got packed away. I unpacked them and used four of the charm squares and some jelly roll strips to make a Japanese rice bag. Since the bag will have three books and some favors in it, I made the blocks a bit larger. I framed the 6 inch blocks with 2 inch borders, making a 10 inch block.
I am looking forward to this big reading event!

Busy and Fun Week

One of my go-to people for creative ideas is my friend, Nancy. Recently, she introduced me to Japanese rice bags. I found a great tutorial, by Stuart Hillard. I had some fabric that I was going to use to make a pillow, but decided to use it to make the rice bag. The tutorial suggests not making the squares for the bag larger than 10″. I made the first bag with 9.5″ squares. Stuart gave a great tip for turning out strip tubes. It just so happened I had a chop stick to use for this process.
After making the first bag, I thought it might be fun to make bags for the Meemaws. My job is to take the treats for the trip. I have made tote bags and pouches before for previous trip treat bags. I wanted something different for this trip, and the Japanese rice bags are perfect for carrying treats.
I did not want to buy new fabric for these, so I pulled out the scrap bins. I found some leftover panels from a floral pet quilt that I made.  The panel remnants measured 8.5″ across and 6″in length. I had just enough to piece these into six 8.5″ blocks. Polka dot fabric remnants were used to make the remaining sides of the bag. Each bag requires 5 blocks for the outer bag, 5 blocks for the lining, and 5 blocks of batting. The linings are made from different fabrics that I had available. The pull strings and loops are made from 2.5 X 40″ strips, and I just happened to have some leftover jellyroll strips that I was able to use for this part of the bag. I made the first bag on Monday. On Tuesday morning, I cut the fabric for three more bags. I also made the loops and pull strings to get that out of the way. This made it possible to complete the bags all in one evening session. The bags are now filled with treats for our trip.
I also found the bling that I had put in a safe place. I added the bling to our Merit Badge Sashes.
My son informed me that my grandson would be celebrating Dr. Seuss all next week. I am trying to sign up to be a guest reader at the school. I thread sketched a Cat in a Hat badge and bookmark for my grandson. I did not take a photo of the finished products, but I do have one of the bookmark in the process of being thread sketched.
Thank you, Nancy, for the idea of making these fun bags.

Just for Fun

When I retired five years ago, I joined the retired group of teachers and school personnel that worked at Fox Run Elementary. This group meets for lunch once a month. Three of these retirees and myself started hanging together because of our mutual interests and crazy spirit. We are the 4 Meemaws. We meet quite often to craft, sew, bird watch, travel, zumba,…and just because. Every now and then, we pack our Clown Car and take a trip…which always includes eating pie. Soon, we will be heading towards Rockport to see the whooping cranes.
The Meemaws tend to tell me that my some of my ideas are far off the normal path.  A while back, I got into teacher mode and came up with the idea of having merit badges to document the fun stuff we do. I was just kidding, and they just laughed it off as another one of my crazy ideas. Since I have been thread sketching inchies, twinchies, and rinches, I thought these would make great badges. I got the idea of making the merit badges for our upcoming trip. I ordered black satin sashes to showcase our badges. I had also bought some bling to stick on the sashes, but I have misplaced them… so the sashes will be bling-less.
I personalized one of the badges for each of us. The No-Boss is for Marti, who always says she is not the boss and then proceeds to be the boss. The check is for Terri, who keeps us organized and in-check. The peace sign is for Kaye, who is the one who keeps us calm and peaceful. The lightbulb is for my ideas.
I tried sketching a whooping crane as the merit badge for this trip. The crane came out looking more like ostriches…but, oh, well.
The next badge I made was the Japanese symbol for Wabi-Sabi. We meet monthly to work on different projects. I also thread sketched a Clown Car. Of course, I had to make a badge for pie. We have driven out of town just to eat pie.
My sister asked if we would actually wear these on our trip to Rockport. Of course, we will. On our Christmas trip this past December, we went to visit small towns that had parades. We wore Christmas glasses. The frames were shaped like Christmas trees, wreaths, bells, and holly. It’s all just for fun.
So, Rockport, here we come!