“How did it get so late so soon? It’s night before it’s afternoon. December is here before it’s June. My goodness how the time has flewn. How did it get so late so soon? Dr. Seuss
Even though this pandemic has made it seem like the Groundhog Day movie, it is hard to believe we have made it to December. With hope and a little prayer, maybe we can finally see our way through this. In the meantime, we celebrate in new and different ways. A Thanksgiving Zoom with siblings did my heart a world of good. Planning and isolation since Halloween, made it possible for me to spend some days with one son and his family. An added bonus for this holiday was the social distanced visits with each of my other two sons and their families. Being able to see all five of my grandchildren was a perfect ending for November.
During my visit with my granddaughter, we were able to craft, play games, and make a gingerbread house. With each piece of candy that went on the house, one piece found its way into our mouths. The back side of the house is plastered with flattened Starbursts. 🙂 My granddaughter did an excellent job of hand stitching a Christmas book. After looking at all the buttons and fabric pieces I had taken, she designed and stitched a beautiful little book. My favorite page is the melted, Texas Snowman. My DIL lives in a neighborhood where items are swapped or given away for free. She had picked up two bags for me. One had some craft and quilting books. The other had fabric remnants and scraps. I have already put some of that fabric to good use. She said if I was interested in more, she could have some bags ready for our next visit. I think this may be a new gold mine for me.
Some of my small projects I’ve completed so far include placemats, fabric napkins, fabric nesting baskets, and tea towels. There were remnants from a superhero quilt I made for one of my grandsons. I used these pieces to make three nesting storage baskets for my baby grandson. Last month, I had purchased some fabric to make my brother some placemats. There was just enough fabric left to make two small nesting baskets.
As I was looking through my stash, I realized that my supply of yardage and larger remnants is running low. I have bins filled with scraps, but I have plans for these. Some fabric has already been cut and organized by size. I was encouraged by what I saw as I assessed my craft/fabric storage room. I think organization is doable.
Today, I started looking for fabric for my 2021 year long project. Mary gave me information about a temperature quilt. The free pattern by Canuck Quilter Designs looks like it is going to be a fun project. Since I live in Texas, most of the quilt is going to be in the yellow to red range, but I think it will still be a nice quilt to make. I love looking at Zippy Quilts…so many ideas. Check out Mary’s Little Jewels post. I think this quilt would be perfect for using up my scraps. I also like her post, A Quilt for a Man (or anyone).
Before we know it, 2021 will be here. Let’s hope it is a better, more just, peaceful, healthy, and a safe year for everyone.
Well, you see its like this. Monday morning was spent working on a project that is taking longer than I expected. After taking a break from this project, and fueled with another cup of coffee, Plan B was put into action. Plan B was to pull a bin with the intention of organizing it. Since it is a small bin, I thought I could take care of this in a short amount of time. When I discovered this bin was filled with sewing- themed fabric, left over from another project, I started to think of different ways to put the fabric to good use. Plan B was set aside, and a new project began. In preparing for 2021, I have the Quilter’s Project Planner, sketchbooks, my daily planner, and a bullet journal. I ordered new pens and markers. There are also library cards and other items to use in making bullet journals. All of these items need to be in one spot. Time was spent viewing many tutorials on making zippered or buttoned pouches; but I realized that these pouches would not hold everything I want to organize. Then I got the idea of making a small tote with four outer pockets. There was not enough of any one fabric to make the tote, so I used the mixed selection of fabrics. The quilt planner is the largest of the books I want to include, so I added 2 inches to the width and length. Pockets were made from four different fabric pieces. Two different fabrics were used in making the lining. The straps are also made from two different fabrics. The front and back pieces were cut a bit larger than the lining because I wanted to quilt them. After cutting the quilting to size, I had a quilted strip that was perfect for making a pen pouch. Maybe Plan B did work, because now I have an empty bin. The problem is that now I have fabric crumbs to add to my overflowing fabric crumb bin. The bonus is I now have an organizational tote. Not bad for a Monday.
If Plan A didn’t work, the alphabet has 25 more letters. Claire Cooke
There are still a few more small projects I plan to make this month. However, yesterday, my plan was to at least start with my end of the year organization. Plan A was to start small. So, I pulled out my Button Bin, thinking this would be easy-peasy and super quick. Instead, I found myself marveling at my collection of buttons. Then, I ran across a tiny box of Christmas buttons. Plan A went out the window, as I thought of ways I could use these cute Christmas buttons. Last week, I had already dumped out my Christmas fabric bin, and discovered fat quarters and scraps just waiting to be used. The fat quarters were used to make Scandinavian Star ornaments. Stitch With Rick has a good tutorial for making these fabric ornaments. The scraps were then used to make the pages for a Christmas mini book for my grandson. I made a mini-book kit containing all the materials and buttons needed for making another mini-book. I think my granddaughter might enjoy making one. It just so happened that there was a headband in the button bin. I had decorated some headbands for my granddaughter a year ago, and this headband, for some reason, was stuffed in the button bin. This led to searching the internet for headband ideas. There is a tutorial by Anjurisa for making a scrunchie headband. She gives excellent directions for this minimal-sew project. In my stash, there was a half yard of plaid-ish fabric with the colors that my granddaughter likes. It was perfect for the headband. As I was folding the fabric to return to my stash, I thought the fabric would make a cute stuffed animal for my youngest grandson. After spending way too much time looking at Youtube videos, I finally settled on a super simple tutorial by I Think Sew. The pattern calls for using felt, but I used the plaid-ish fabric. In another bin that is stuffed with left-over fabric pieces backed by Steam -A-Seam, I found some cute colors for the muzzle, the eyes, and the bum. Note to self: This bin with leftover Steam-A-Seam backed fabric pieces is valuable, so do not purge it when organizing. It might be that I get to Plan Z before I am totally reorganized, but just thinking of all the possible new discoveries and things I can make along the way just makes me smile.
Thank You Section I would like to thank Kyla from Sleepy Beagle. She introduced me to organizational tutorials by Karen Brown, Just Get It Done Quilts. Wow! I am going through all of her tutorials, and learning something new each time. Her tutorials cover a wide range of topics. I would like to thank Mary from Zippy Quilts. She posted about the Quilter’s Project Planner. I purchased it, and I can see where it will be very useful. Mary also has a book review post on Love Your Creative Space, by Lilo Bowman. Also, I cannot remember where I saw this organizing suggestion, but I think it was on Pinterest. Three simple words: Prioritize, Purge, Protect. I know I will have trouble with the Purge part, but I will give it a try.
“One of the advantages of being disorganized is that one is always having surprising discoveries.” – Winnie the Pooh
Every November, I spend time trying to look ahead to the next year. The year 2020 cannot end soon enough for me, a sentiment I am sure we all feel. This past week was spent on little projects and on binding quilts. My brother asked for some red coiled fabric mats. Since I had some remaining rope, I also made him some small bowls. My quilter did a fabulous job on the dragon quilt for my granddaughter. She used a swirly dragon fire breath design. After binding this quilt, I moved onto binding the Carnival of Color quilt I pieced, using Marcia Derse fabric. Thanks to Mary, I finally found the perfect pattern to showcase this beautiful fabric. I am lucky to have a new granddog in the family. Sammy is an absolute Love Bug. He needed to have a stocking for his first Christmas in his new home. I followed the tutorial by So Sew Easy to make a scrappy quilted stocking. As for UFO’s, I now have 9 blocks for the one inch stamp quilt. I also found some blocks I had made out of 3″ X 2″ blocks. I might revisit these blocks and see what I can do with them. There are a few more crafty things I need to make to end this year, but as I mentioned, I am looking ahead. First, I do need to reorganize my sewing area once again. Bins are overflowing and in no particular order. I love having the “surprising discoveries” in my disorganization, but a little organization is definitely needed. Also, I am ready for new fabric. Who isn’t? Right? 😉 I am also looking for new things and projects for next year. If we can make it through this Covid, I hope to be able to sign up for the fabric weaving class taught by my friend. She makes beautiful scarves and shawls from fabric that she weaves. Plans for taking a class with her were cancelled at the onset of this pandemic. I am also looking for a 365 Day project of some kind. In the past, I have made a 52 Friday quilt, and also monthly fabric books. This year, I had an embroidery project that really only took up half the year. I also made some quilted blocks that I made weekly, since the beginning of this pandemic. They are stored in a Pandemic Block Box. Each block is different. Some are appliqued, thread sketched, painted, collaged, or pieced. I am looking for ideas for next year, so any suggestions are appreciated. Stay safe.
“The beginning is always today.” —Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley
To say that this has been an exhausting week is an understatement. We can now take a deep breath and prepare for the healing work ahead. During these stressful past weeks, I have been researching and studying tutorials on many different topics and art forms. I have also been looking through quilt books for ideas on making different types of blocks. A circular block is something I had tried before, but was not too happy with the results. I found some interesting tutorials on the drunkard path quilt block. I do not like the name , but I love the possibilities of what can be made with this circular block. One of the tutorials byQuilter’s Paradise. gave pretty good directions. I did not have the Slit ‘N Sew templates used in the tutorial. I had ordered some templates from Backporch Designs. The design I chose to make with these templates was that of a bird. There are different patterns for making bird quilts with the drunkard path templates. Originally, I had thought that I could use the different scraps in my bin to make these birds. I do not know if I have enough of the larger scraps that are needed. I do have enough white fabric. Also, after making one, I realized that this is more tedious than I thought. Maybe it would get easier as I made more, but for now, this block will sit in my One-of-a Kind block bin. The rest of this past week, I have been busy hand-stitching and crocheting. I was also able to bind the Halloween hexagon quilt. It will soon be mailed to my DIL who loves Halloween. She makes her own beautiful quilts, but I still wanted to make one especially for her. She and I had been sharing online Halloween and autumn fabrics that we liked. When I showed her the kit, she commented on how much she liked the fabric in this Moda Midnight Magic kit. This is the first quilt where I was able to use my new label. Laura, from Slice of Pi Quilts had posted about quilt labels by EverEmblem. I sent a sketch of what I wanted on my label, and my sister, Emma, did her magic and made the label for me. This Halloween quilt is the first quilt to have my label. Stay safe.
Only when you can be extremely pliable and soft can you be extremely hard and strong. – Zen Proverb
With the few days remaining until election, I am doing everything I can to just breathe, have hope, and stay sane. It is so true, that the littlest of things can make one happy. Running across the amigurumi tutorials has save the day for me. This Japanese art form of knitting or crocheting small animals provides the outlet and positive energy I need at this time. Forming soft and pliable yarn into hand-sized animals makes me smile. There are so many tutorials, and I do appreciate how people are so generous in sharing their art. I found an easy-to-follow tutorial for making a ratóncito, little mouse. My sister, Emma, created a cute ratóncito as a character in one of her Pig in A Wig book series. I think little mice are cute…although not in a house. I rummaged through some of my craft bins, and some crochet rounds that my mother had made. There are over 90 of these tightly crafted circles. I am trying to think of how to make something with these rounds. The bin also contained a few balls of yarn that belonged to my mom. I pulled out a ball of mixed blue yarn, and started looking for some tutorials on how to make a bird. Stella’s Yarn Universe has a three part tutorial on making the cutest bird ever. The directions are clear and slow. I was doing pretty good with the bird until I got towards the end. The bird is supposed to be facing forward with a tail in the back. I realized that my bird no longer looked like the one in the tutorial. Once again, I had miscounted on the crochet stitches. Some of the yarn is very dark blue and it is difficult to see the stitches. I think that is where I counted incorrectly. My choices were to unravel all my work and start over; or revise the pattern by making up the rest of the pattern. I noticed that it would work out if I made the tail to go to the side, instead of the back. The tutorial gave directions for using crafting wire for making the legs. I did not have wire, so I made a nest instead. I had a fabric rope shallow bowl I had made for practice. I filled it up with yarn and thread pieces. There will be another attempt at making this bird as it is in the pattern. There is also a tutorial on making a tiny bird that I would like to try out. Just for practice, I made a daisy granny square. Granny squares can be made while I am watching TV or visiting with the Meemaws. As for the amigurumi, I have to crochet along with the video tutorial. Some people list a written free pattern. However, reading a pattern is not something I do well. If you are looking for something relaxing to do, I totally recommend crocheting amigurumi.
“If having a soul means being able to feel love and loyalty and gratitude, then animals are better off than a lot of humans.”―James Herriot
I just had to turn off tonight’s debate. Animals are better off. In order to stay positive amidst all this turmoil, I have been working on fun stuff in my sewing room. Thanks to Tierney, my interest in crocheting has been reawakened. My mother is the one who taught me how to crochet. Back in the ’70’s, she and I would sit together and work on our own projects. She was my Youtube. Mom would start me off by showing me the stitches. Then, she would periodically check my rows and count the stitches. I made booties for an aunt in a nursing home, shawls for my MIL, mini Christmas stockings for my students, and oodles of afghans. My crocheting career ended when I got carpal tunnel. Since it has been quite a few years since I picked up a hook, I have been watching quite a few tutorials. I thought it best to start small, so I began by making an animurumi owl. These crocheted animals are made with all single crochets, along with increase stitches. The tutorial by Bianca’s Crochet Place was very informative. The instructor had the right pace, and she explained each step. I have trouble counting my stitches, so the owl had one wing larger than the other. A little surgery was performed, and the owl now has two wings of the same size. I then tried to make an elephant amigurumi. This did not turn out well. My stitch counting was so bad, I had made a body twice the size of the model on the tutorial. Rather than start over on another elephant, I decided to make a bee! The tutorial, Hooked by Robin, is well paced and clear in instructions. This turned out much better than I expected. I messed up on the count at the end, but it turned out with a better stinger on the bee. I also learned about how to make a decrease stitch. Since I still wanted to make an elephant, I started looking for tutorials on making fabric toys. I found a great tutorial and free pattern from Birch Organice Fabric. There was enough fabric left over from my dragon quilt for me to use in making this elephant Making these animals sure helped to get my mind off this pandemic and election. Stay safe. Vote.
I believe in everything until it’s disproved. So I believe in fairies, the myths, dragons. It all exists, even if it’s in your mind. Who’s to say that dreams and nightmares aren’t as real as the here and now?John Lennon
A few weeks ago, I was looking for fabric and pattern ideas to make a dragon quilt for my granddaughter. In my opinion, the fabric was either too dark and fierce, or too juvenile. Thanks to my friend, Nancy, who suggested I try making a fabric collage dragon. Making a fabric collage quilt was on my Something to Try list. I sketched quite a few dragons in my art journal thinking that I could then draw into on a larger scale. After a few disappointing attemps, I thought of looking on Etsy. Bam! Jackie Cooper had a pattern for machine applique that was just perfect! The “Drago” pattern had great instructions. I added a second border to make this into a lap quilt size. It is perfect for my granddaughter to use in the book nook she has in her room. Joy, from Mesquite Bean, helped me choose the fabric online. She is absolutely the best and is so helpful. I consulted with my granddaughter to make sure I had her favorite colors included. (The quilt is a surprise for Christmas.) The fabric included some batik and Kaffe Fassett. I also threw in some of my Marcia Derse scraps. Choosing the right color and designs to fussy cut was the most fun part of this project. I spent one day playing with the fabric and making the different parts of the dragon. They were all fused and ready to sew on the second day. I think I have enough fabric to piece a colorful backing. Whenever I Zoom with my granddaughter, she shares the latest adventure of the dragons in the book series she is reading. I love hearing the excitement as she tells the stories. She has me believing in dragons.
Last year, a friend arranged for three of us to have our own quilt retreat in Fayetteville, Texas. All along the way to our destination, we visited and shopped for fabric in the small towns. Holly Dee Quilts is a shop in Luling, Texas, owned by Denise Green. Her shop had a big selection of Marcia Derse fabric. I previously had purchased yardage of Derse’s Art History fabric and tucked it away until I could think of what I wanted to do with it. Denise had a curved log cabin quilt pattern made from Derse fabric on display. I loaded up on fat quarters, and went above my quilt retreat budget before I even got to a Fayetteville. The fabric came with the pattern for the log cabin quilt. The fabric was so beautiful, that I hesitated to start a project with it. I thought the log cabin was too traditional for the fabric. Since I had no clear plan, the fabric was placed in a bin. Recently, I was very interested in a quilt pattern that Mary posted on her blog. She had two beautiful finishes, using Kaffe Fassett, and a pattern by Free Spirit Fabrics, Carnival of Colors Pattern . This pattern is perfect for the Derse fabric. I followed the instructions for piecing the fabric, but I did not follow any sort of plan for placement of color or design. It was such a fun week, playing with the colors and designs of the fabric. P.S. Mary, thanks for sharing your two beautiful quilts and this pattern.
The San Antonio Botanical Gardens is one of my favorite places in town. Before Covid, I would frequently visit this beautiful place. At that time, the garden was undergoing major renovations. One of my Meemaw friends recently visited the gardens, and recommended that we meet there once again. Covid precautions are in place at the Gardens. It is a bit difficult talking and walking at a distance, while wearing masks, but we did it. And it was well worth it. The renovations are complete, and the gardens are more beautiful than ever. We were surrounded by autumn colors and natural designs. We saw the reddest, chubbiest Cardinals we have ever seen. I was able to capture two photos of Monarchs. At this time, the garden is having an exhibition of origami sculptures by Keven and Jennifer Box, and Robert J. Lang. The lifecycle of a butterfly sculpture was amazing. There was also one of a buffalo with a bird on it’s back. I could not get close enough for a photo on this one because the gardeners were working in the area. Hearing the “earth laugh in flowers” gave me a little more hope about getting through this seemingly never-ending pandemic and this troubled political time.
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