Block #21~ May 25

Most smiles are started by another smile.
Frank A. Clark

This past Monday, I couldn’t resist buying this adorable sheet metal patio sculpture.
Franny Frog
The slightest breeze or passing movement results in Franny’s head nodding a sweet hello.
Every time I pass by Franny, I find myself smiling.
I had to enter Franny into my fabric quilt journal.

Block 21~May 25th
Friendly Franny

Background: The floral print was purchased a few months ago at Mesquite Bean; the backing is some green with white polka dot fabric that I had in my stash.
Technique: I drew Franny onto Steam-Lite 2 and made an applique. I outlined stitched in black. The FMQ is based on the floral print design of the background fabric.
Embellishment: Buttons for eyes; embroidery stitched smile

Viva Fiesta! Block #16 Friday, April 20

Every April, San Antonio celebrates the heroes of the Alamo and the different cultures of our city.
Fiesta began in 1891 with the Battle of Flowers Parade.
The festivities have grown to include numerous events: the day parade, the Battle of Flowers; the night parade, Fiesta Flambeau; Night in Old San Antonio;carnivals, art, music, and food galore.
As a child, my family would pack an ice chest with drinks and chicken salad sandwiches. We would carry our own folding chairs and enjoy the festivities. My mom, usually very quiet and proper, would whistle, yell, sing, and march. Marching bands are my favorite, especially the band from my Alma Mater,
the University of Texas …they always open the Flambeau.
In my classroom, we would study the history of our city and cultures throughout the month of April.We decorated our room, and ourselves, with bright and festive colors. The children would make papel picado to hang from the hallway ceilings. Tissue flowers were strung up across the room.We made our own badges and hats to wear all month.
And of course, for the entire month, I wore my Mexican dresses, flowers in my hair, and cascarones or chili pepper earrings. Our school would have a Fiesta festival, and our first grade and kinder classes would have a parade in the hallways. I would have the University of Texas CD blasting the
Eyes of Texas/Texas Fight songs, as we marched our way through the school.
This year, Fiesta is extra special, since the city is celebrating its Tricentennial.
So, the block for Friday, April 20, is inspired by Fiesta.
I do not make it a habit of taking selfies, but one of my goals in thread sketching is to improve on sketching cartoon people images. So, I decided to try to thread sketch my Fiesta Self. For this block, I did not draw myself with pencil on the fabric. I just thread sketched…that is why you will see that the hand and arms are not the best. I did draw in the eyes with ink pen. In the image, I am making the “Hook’em Horns” sign, and I am holding a raspa, snow cone. At the Texas Quilt Museum, I had seen a quilt that had some designs cut-out in the  fabric. I do not know what this technique is called, so I’ll just say “cut-out”. I decided to try to use this technique and make the papel picado from scraps.

Friday, April 20
Viva Fiesta!
Background: White Kona painted with acrylic
Technique: Thread sketch, cut-out, free motion quilting, fabric painting with acrylics, pastels, and pencil

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

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


Block # 12 ~Friday, March 23

As mentioned in an earlier post, March 22 would have been my dad’s 98th birthday.
My siblings and I spent time this past Thursday texting funny stories about our childhood and our dad.
My father, Jose Leon Virjan, was known as Pepe.
He would never miss a Wednesday bowling night, and neither would I.
I never really bowled much…I just ate candy and drank sodas…all night long.
There was a heavy price to pay at school the next day.
But that didn’t stop me from going with my dad.
Dad was a very good bowler.
I can still see his graceful and powerful stance as he rolled the ball down the lane.
For this Friday’s journal entry block, I tried to capture the craziness of some of his bowling shirts with the yellow gingham memo.
Soon after my father died, my family chose to celebrate him with a family bowling night.
Having all of his children and their spouses; and his grandchildren there, was a great way to honor my dad.
This block was created to honor my dad; and to capture the memory of our family bowling night.

Block #12~ Friday, March 23

Background: Yellow gingham memo 100% cotton
Technique: Applique, Free Motion
Batting: 100% cotton
Writing: Pepe

Block #11~ Let’s Go Fly a Kite

The events of this Spring Break have provided so many ideas for this week’s quilt journal entry.
It was difficult to choose just one, but I finally decided to make a kite block.

One reason for my choice is that I love flying kites.
Every year, I would write a two week kite unit of study for my students.
The unit included the study of the history and science of kites.
For math, we would measure the different aspects of the kite. We would also write poems and stories about kites. Of course, there were kite art projects. We also learned the song, “Let’s Go Fly a Kite.”
On the Friday before Spring Break, the parents and kids and I would fly kites for the last two hours of the school day. It was a blast. The children were always so amazed that I could fly the highest kite.
The main reason I chose to make this kite block was because of a special moment with my granddaughter this past week. Our Spring Break adventure began with a trip to Wal-Mart to buy a kite.
She chose a beautiful kite with a mama turtle and her baby turtles on the tail.

It wasn’t the best day for flying kites, but there was just enough wind for me to get the kite up.
My granddaughter started jumping for joy, singing : “Look at my Granny! My Granny is flying a kite!”
This was another heart melting moment for me.
I gave her the kite and she ran around with the kite flying behind her.
It was such a joy to see her having fun.
So, here is Block #11.
I cannot decide if I should try to add a string to the kite or not.
I used some batik remnants that were perfect for the turtle.
Without a string                                                              With a string

Block #11~ Friday, March 16
Let’s Go Fly a Kite

Background: 100% Cotton/Linen memo
Technique: Applique
Batting: 100% cotton
Embellishment: Ribbon for a tail; possibly a string for the kite string

Block #10~Friday, March 9

Previously, I posted a video of a snail who was “moving mountains” at his own pace.
This little snail inspired me to thread sketch a snail.

Since my grandson loves snails, I was originally going to turn this sketch into a block for a quilt that is in progress. I had placed the snail in one of my containers for later use.
This week, I made my grandson a spring basket that I embellished with snail buttons.

As I sewed on the snail buttons, I was thinking of a special time I had with my grandson.
That day, we spent a lot of time outside, looking for snails.
He loved telling me all about snails as we were enjoying the site of snails in his yard.
So, I decided to commemorate this special moment in my quilt journal.
This Friday’s block is called Moving Mountains.

Block #10, Friday March 9
Moving Mountains
Background: Snow Kona fabric
Technique: Thread sketching, free motion
Batting: 100% cotton
Embellishment: I will add buttons for the eyes after the quilting is done.

Block #9~Friday, March 2

  • Sometimes, when I see my granddaughters make small discoveries of their own, I wish I were a child.
  • I like nonsense; it wakes up the brain cells.
  • A person’s a person, no matter how small.
  • Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.
  • Only you can control your future
  • Step with care and great tact, and remember that Life’s a Great Balancing Act.
  • Fun is good.
  • You’re in pretty good shape for the shape you are in.
  • Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened.
  • Today was good. Today was fun. Tomorrow is another one.
    Dr. Seuss

These are my top favorite quotes from Dr. Seuss.
I love watching my grandchildren and seeing the world through their eyes.
I believe and appreciate the wisdom and insight in these quotes.
Theodor Seuss Geisel is the inspiration for my quilt journal block entry this week.
I have been celebrating Dr. Seuss for many years.
I had thread sketched the Cat in a Hat earlier this week.
Today, I added the colorful backing.

Block #9, Friday March 2
Cat in a Hat
Background: Snow Kona fabric
Technique: Thread sketching, free motion, fabric crayons and markers
Batting: 100% cotton
Embellishment: None

Block #8: Friday, February 23

My Meemaw friends and I were a bit disappointed that our river cruise was cancelled due to inclement weather. We did not get to see any eagles, but we did have a very enjoyable time.
Before I left for the trip, I thread sketched an eagle for block #8. Today, I was able to add the backing and quilt the hexagon. I sort of messed up on the free motion and had to rip and redo. This journal is for recording my special thoughts, events, and experiences. So, I am including this mess-up as my learning experience.
This eagle represents the fun days I spent with my Meemaw friends.
Background: Kona Snow White
Technique: Thread sketching, fabric crayons and markers, free motion
Batting: 100% Cotton
Embellishments: None

Block # 7-Friday, February 16

One of my goals as an educator was to teach and celebrate the diversity of our country.
My team and I created lessons to expose the students to the contributions made by the different cultures represented in our school, community, state, and nation.
We did this through all subjects.
We were fortunate to have music teachers and P.E. teachers who contributed to our units.
One of our teachers had adopted a child from China, and she was well- informed about the culture.
Each year, we had so much fun learning about China, through music, reading, writing, and dance.
We had a big Chinese New Year parade.
Since Friday is the Chinese New Year, I thought it would be fun to celebrate by making a block for my quilt journal. 2018 is the Year of the Dog.
I did a little research and decided to include the following information on my block:
Lucky Colors-Green, Red, Purple
Lucky Numbers-3,4,9
Lucky Flowers-Rose and Cymbidium Orchid (I chose the orchid)
Lucky Directions- East, Southeast, South
The writing in the center of the dog paw is the word for dog.

Year of the Dog

Background: Red Linen Memo
Technique: Thread sketching, free motion quilting, crayons and markers, applique
Batting: 100% Cotton
Embellishment: None