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!

02-20-2020

For the past nine days, I have been working on a rectangle scrappy quilt designed by Jo Parrott. Originally, the plan was to compile scraps with two of my quilting friends. We are still going to do this at a later date. We are planning our own spring retreat.
The pattern gives an option for using either scraps, or half-yards of 18 different fabrics. I had a bin with some fabric remnants, partial fat quarters, and less than half yard pieces. I thought the colors and designs in this bin would make a nice quilt for my nephew. I finished piecing the quilt top today, and dropped it off with my friend who will longarm it for me. I will post about this quilt when it is quilted. Thanks to Mary, from Zippy Quilts, I was able to be more successful with matching intersections. I read her post when I was about half-way into piecing this scrappy quilt. Her tips really paid off and made the second half of piecing less of an ordeal.
After dropping off the quilt, I started to clean and reorganize my work area. Then, I decided to just have fun instead. I backed some muslin with light fusible interfacing. Then I thread-sketched two birds. I used water color pencils to paint the birds. A textile medium was used to coat the water colored birds. I had a piece of cloudy fabric that I used for the background. This was hand-stitched. I used brown grunge fabric to collage tree limbs. I free motioned the stitches on the tree. After these steps were done, I backed the top with thin batting and a blue fabric. The birds were then quilted onto the block. I couldn’t decide if I wanted buttons or not. My daughter-in-law helped me with that decision.
It was a fun way to spend the afternoon on 02-20-2020. I hope you enjoyed your day also.

Embroidery Art

Since I am in my last week of being home bound, I have been trying to pass the time by trying out embroidery. My Tia Isidra used to embroider beautiful pieces. I especially liked the table cloths she embroidered for my mother. Her embroidery stitches were perfect, both on the front and the back of the piece. My mom also created some beautiful embroidery pieces.
I am thinking of embroidering and thread sketching small pieces and maybe eventually stitching them into a wall hanging or small art quilt. One of the pieces I stitched was inspired by a card that my daughter-in-law sent me. The card had a vase with dainty flowers. I used fabric to make the vase, and then embroidered the flowers.
The other piece I embroidered was that of a Lesser Goldfinch. My friends and I keep a list of birds that we see on our walks or birding trips. I am thinking of drawing and embroidering the different new birds that I see this year.
The third piece I embroidered was inspired by my mom. This week marks the fourth year of her passing.  My siblings and I shared some special memories that day. I drew a Robin and embroidered it. Mom used to sing the song, When the Red Red Robin Comes Bob Bob Bobbin’, so I thought it would be fun to try to make one. I used some of the buttons from mom’s button jar for the flowers.

One of the Meemaws shared a free scrappy rectangle pattern. We are planning to pool our scraps and make one for ourselves. I cut quite a few scraps from my bin, and we will start working on this in the spring. In the meantime, I started working on one of the suggestions provided in the pattern. Instead of using random scraps,this scrappy quilt can be made from 18 different fabrics of at least a half yard of each. I have a bin that has some half yard and fat quarter pieces leftover from other projects. I started cutting (1620 pieces) and piecing a quilt for one of my nephews. The color palette for these pieces is mainly blue, orange, brown, beige, and green. I thought it would be perfect for my nephew. I’ve pieced 8 out of 90 blocks, so I have some work to do.

Enough!

As of today, I am done with anything ending with -inchie. I had two piles of scraps on my table this morning. One was a pile of the tiniest left overs from the Inchies and Twinchies I made. The other pile was the remnants from cutting the straps on the fabric strip bag project. I read that a Rinchie is a one inch circle, so they can fit into bottle caps or pendants. I chose to make mine two inches. After finishing these Rinchies, I unceremoniously threw away the scraps that were left.

It was fun, but now…enough with the inchies.