The Clown Car Returns

It has been a great three days!
My Meemaw friends and I went to Shulenburg, Texas for the Painted Churches Tour.
Shulenburg is known as being the “Gateway to the Rolling Hills”, and the country side is absolutely gorgeous right now.
The tour itself, was so informative.
We are nerds for history…well…maybe we are just nerds.
We had a great tour guide that provided us with plenty of facts and stories.
The last part of the trip was spent in La Grange, Texas.
I love to visit Texas town squares and court houses.
La Grange is also the home of the Texas Quilt Museum.
The museum is displaying quilts from the International Quilt Festival.
After viewing such inspirational quilts, I have so many things I want to try.
I was in quilt heaven, just studying and admiring the beautiful works of art.
Next to the museum is the Quilted Skein Shop.
Of course, I bought some fabric.
My meemaw job is to take photos and document our trip.
I only have a phone camera, so some of the photos in the video are not too sharp.
But, I hope you enjoy the video anyway.
* I added the corny music only because one of my friends finds the music I choose to be funny.

In Progress

Since I am already packed for my Meemaw trip to Shulenburg, Texas, I decided I had time to start one more thread sketch block. The piece is still in progress, but the major thread sketching is done.

The itinerary for this Meemaw trip includes: the Painted Churches tour, the
Texas Quilt Museum, The Shiner Brewery Tournature hikes and bird watching.
Of course, we will look for a cafe that serves pie.
To entertain ourselves at the hotel, we will be learning how to play Canasta.
Yes, I have gone full circle and turned into my mother.

Should I? …or… Shouldn’t I ?

Ever since I read Melanie’s post (Catbird Quilt Studio) about creativity and The 100 Day Project, I have been thinking of ways to be more productive and creative. It is so inspiring to see what my blogging friends are doing.
The thought of doing something for 100 days sounded intimidating and too structured.
Then I thought, maybe I need that structure.
The project gives permission to miss a few days.

Should I? …or…Shouldn’t I?

After mulling this over for a while, I decided to go ahead and do the 100 Day Project.
It starts today, and I will be out-of-town for the rest of the week.
I decided my project would be to work on small pieces or blocks each day.
These pieces could be thread sketching, improv blocks, regular blocks…just any type of block.
I am cutting a 10 inch block, and will be thread sketching in an 8 inch block area.
This block can be pieced to make a larger block, be the center of a pillow, or a tote…many possibilities.
Today’s entry is a selfie thread sketch.
I do not know if I will eventually paint the fabric or not.

I entitled this self-caricature, Enjoying Life.

Block # 14~ Friday, April 5

Easter was filled with family and fun.
My two youngest grandchildren were so happy to be with each other.
I had made them each a rope basket and filled them with sweet goodies.
Bad grandma!
We had a great lunch.
Then came the real fun part…the egg hunt!
Each grandchild was to find 16 eggs that were filled with little toys.
Some of the toys were the same, but some were specific to their interest.
The Golden Egg had money.
As the eggs were being hidden by one of my sons and my husband, the excitement inside the house was escalating.
My granddaughter asked: What is taking them SO long?
My grandson answered: Papa Bob is the Best egg hider!
I had to capture this moment for my quilt journal.

The background is painted with water color.
I appliqued the flowers and eggs.

Block #14 ~ April 5
Egg-ceptional Day!
Background: Water color on fabric
Technique: Applique, thread sketch, free motion

Block #13 Ode to Spring

The block for Friday, March 30, is a little bit late.
I had the design, but I was not able to work on it during the week.
The weather had been rainy, and rather stormy.
A very harsh late night thunderstorm was followed by a beautiful spring morning.
I awoke to birds chirping and enjoying the fresh weather.
This made me think of a quote by Robin Williams: Spring is Nature’s way of saying, “Let’s Party.”
So, I designed a fun block to represent spring.
Since I had been studying how to fabric paint, I decided to give painting a try.
I thread sketched the birds and flower.
Then I used pastels, colored pencils, and fabric markers to paint the fabric.

Block # 13~ Friday, March 30
Background: Painted fabric
Technique: Thread sketching, fabric painting, free motion
Batting: 100% cotton

I also wrote an Ode to Spring, since April is poetry month.
When I was teaching, my students and I wrote a poem every day in April.

Ode to Spring

Spring
Nature’s awakening
Such beauty!
Such bliss!
You energize the soul.
Airy, alive, abloom~
Freshen, frolic, and flourish~
Spring is life.
Spring is joy.

 

Family, Fun, and Fabric Painting

It has been a beautiful Easter weekend with family!
I got to spend time with two of my sons, my youngest grandchildren, and my sister and her partner.
(Oops…I forgot to mention my fabulous daughter-in-laws!)
I had phone time with my other son, and texts from my oldest grandson.
When I returned home, I got busy on my fabric painting projects.
I have been viewing tutorials on fabric painting and trying things out.
I purchased some acrylic paints, pastels, and textile medium.
I might regret my decision to be economical and buy Artist Loft pastels instead of Inktense.
My reasoning was to try the process of using pastel blocks before investing in the pricey Inktense blocks.
Since I used these paints to make my hexagon blocks for my quilt journal, I figured it would be okay to experiment. This quilt journal is for me; and it is more of an art piece than a functional quilt.

Supplies: Fabric markers, colored pencils, pastels, and textile medium

Water Colors

Fabric painting is so much fun!
My work is basic and simple…nothing fancy.
There are so many things that need improvement, but it is a learning process for me.

I decided to work on two quilt journal blocks.
The block for last week is Ode to Spring.
I also wrote my first poem for the month of April, since this is poetry month.
Since I will be out of town next week, I went ahead and made the block for the week.
This block was inspired by the fabulous Easter Egg hunt I had with my grandchildren.
Easter Egg Hunt

I started out by using water colors to paint the background for the Easter Egg Hunt block.

I ironed the water colored background. As it dried, I worked on the Ode to Spring block.
After the background dried, I appliqued some eggs and flowers.

My black thread outlining is a bit sketchy, but it will have to do.

Besides the fact that my free motion skill is limited, I was also having trouble with the tension on my sewing machine. I just need to sew the border.

Ode to Spring

I drew the picture for Ode to Spring using a black Micron marker.
Then, I coated a section with the textile medium. This was followed by a color with the pastel and then reapplying medium.
   
I worked a section at a time, applying the medium after each coat of paint.
I used pastels, markers, and colored pencils on this block…just trying things out.

The background is a bit streaky.
I added some colored thread sketching. (Not pictured here.)

There are so many possibilities with painting the fabric.
This is just the beginning, and I hope to improve and continue having fun.
I hope everyone had a fabulous holiday weekend!

Creativity

Creativity is a habit, and the best creativity is the result of good work habits.
Twyla Tharp

 

Thanks to the thought provoking posts of some of my favorite bloggers, I have been reading and thinking about creativity. One of the benefits of blogging is belonging to a community of people who share their thoughts, creative process, ideas, and support.

In the articles I have read, it seems there is a common thread throughout the different suggestions for developing creativity.
These are a few of the most common thoughts about creativity that I have chosen to practice:

  • devote a special space
  • find your most productive time of day
  • ask questions
  • create every day
  • persist
  • take breaks
  • take risks

Speaking of creativity…my son was asked to present a wood sculpture activity for my grandson’s class.
What a special father-son activity! And how special is it that other children got to experience this creative activity.
Below is photo of my grandson’s spring wood sculpture. You can see a bit of the other student’s art on the side.

Spring Craft Deadline

This morning, I met the  part of my deadline for the spring projects I will be gifting tomorrow.
I completed two sets of coiled rope plate mats and heart-shaped bowls; along with a small coiled bowl and a rock painting.
There is still one more coiled project to do for one of my three sons. I have an extension on the deadline, since he does not live close by and we will not be meeting this weekend.

Fiesta Coiled Plate Mats and Heart-Shaped Dish

Boho Coiled Plate Mats and Heart-Shaped Dish


Small Ring Dish 
Pig in a Wig painted rock
(Pig in a Wig is the character in my sister’s series of children’s books.)

Since I have working to meet this deadline, and meeting with daily life events, I have not been able to work on the hexagon block for my quilt journal. I have the design in my head, but I just have not had the time to work on it. I plan to try something new with this block.
Tierney posted some work she did with fabric painting. She also posted some great information on good habits that can change your life.
Also, my friend, Jeana, who does my long arm quilting, has been encouraging me to try some fabric painting.
I spent my non-coiled mat making minutes viewing fabric painting tutorials and trying things out.
I just played with the paint on different fabrics.
Hopefully, when I return from visiting with two of my sons, I will get started on painting the fabric for my hexagon block.

Melanine, of Catbird Quilt Studio, posted some great essays and thoughts on creativity.
Reading these posts gave me the encouragement I needed to persist on this new fabric painting venture.

I know it seems that I am going in many different directions…rope baskets, improv quilts, quilt journal, fabric painting…but that is the way I work. For better or for worse.
It would probably be better to focus on one thing at a time, but I have never been able to stay focused for too long.
But I am okay with this… I am having so much fun!

Heart-Shaped Coiled Fabric Basket

Wherever you go, go with all your heart.
Confucius

My projects sometimes include things made in the shape of the heart.
I am fond of this shape; and I have used it in place-mats, mug rugs, zentangle drawings, rock art, and other projects. I also included some heart shape blocks into quilts.
As I was perusing through Pinterest, I saw some coiled fabric bowls made in the shape of a  heart.
I could not find any free patterns or tutorials on  Youtube or anywhere else.
Susan Breier includes a heart-shaped coiled basket in her second book,
It’s a Wrap II.
I have the first book, but not the second.
In the first book, Susan Breier explains the different ways to build up the sides of the basket.
I re-read the different techniques, and decided to try to figure out how to make a heart-shaped basket.
I referred to the pictures on Pinterest as a guide.
I am pretty happy with the results.


Bottom View

New Table or Old Table

The day has been drizzly, so I took this as an opportunity to start rearranging my studio.
My plan is to get another sewing machine in here.
I have converted my computer desk and hutch to accommodate both office and partial sewing.
I now have three of the six hutch shelves cleared for sewing things.
My thread is now enclosed in a three drawer plastic shelf unit that fits nicely in the  hutch.
My cutting table has been cleared of all the extra shelving units I had on the end.
I have a portable table that is holding my small television and some sewing canvas units.
Two storage units holding more sewing notions and things fit under this table.
I am thinking I can use this table for a second sewing machine.
Will this table be suitable to hold a sewing machine?

This is the table in question. It has steel legs and a plastic top. I read the question section where a person had asked if it could be used as a sewing table.
The response given was that it had been used successfully as a wood working table.

I looked at some small sewing tables online, and there was a video demonstration of a sewing table that was made with steel legs and had a melamine top. There was a glass of water placed on the table to show that the table could withstand the movement of the sewing machine. The water was moving, so there is some vibration; but the glass was not moving. I tried the machine on my table, and I got the same results as on the video of the sewing table.
Do all sewing tables have some vibration?
I have my sewing machine on a wooden desk table.
I have never noticed any vibration while sewing on this table.
I can’t decide if a purchase of a table made for sewing is necessary.
I am just thinking out loud.
Any thoughts or comments are appreciated.