Lollygagging vs. Dilly Dallying

So far, this whole week and week-end have been days of dilly dallying.
I should be making a hanging sleeve for the Wild About Texas quilt, but since I have never done one, I just keep finding other things to do.
The hanging-sleeve process looks simple enough, but I’m still putting it on the bottom of my list.
Instead, today I decided to remove the button from the purse I made for my granddaughter.
I replaced it with an applique I made from one of the dog circles on the fabric.
Yesterday                                                   Today  
Then I fooled around with making two dog magnets.
Now what?

Messenger Bag

This morning, I was able to complete the Morning Sun quilt top and I took it to Jeana Kubik .
Every visit with Jeana is like getting a private lesson.
I shared my ideas about a future quilt project and she gave me some great pointers.
Then she gave me a tip about setting up an easy design board by buying a flannel backed table cloth from the Dollar Store…Wow! How easy is this?
I’ll be hitting the store tomorrow.

After I returned from the usual Monday grocery trip, I started making the Christmas purse for my granddaughter.
Last week, when she and I were at the quilt shop, I thought I would give her the choice of choosing the fabric.
She just smiled and said, “Surprise me!”
I searched different online patterns for making a messenger bag.
Most of these were too large for a 5 year old.
Luckily, I found this tutorial on Merriment Design.

I added some bulk to the bag by using fusible batting on both the lining and the outer bag.
I also decided to applique a tree and decorate it with buttons.
The green fabric was a fat quarter left over from last year.

20161129_003338411_ios Inner Bag
I added a pencil pocket and a small pocket.
20161129_003347292_ios Outer Bag
The underside of the flap is the same fabric as the lining and tree.
I found a package of Christmas buttons that had green and red owls, so I added them to the tree.
My granddaughter has a ballet performance this Saturday, so I will Surprise Her with her bag.

Next on the list?
I’ll decide tomorrow.



“When we give cheerfully and accept gratefully, everyone is blessed.”
― Maya Angelou

In previous posts, I have written about the quality of people I have met in fabric stores.
My experience has been very positive.
The people in the shops I have visited have always been willing to give cheerfully.
They shared their expertise and demonstrated a genuine interest in helping me be successful in whatever project I shared with them.

Today was just another example.
Michelle, at Mesquite Bean, greeted me with a smile.
She had heard I was coming, since I had called ahead.
She knew my frustration with the process of applique.
Everyone had said that it is easy to learn how to applique.
I have studied many tutorials, and made many attempts.
But I had gotten no where.

Without hesitation, Michelle helped me set up my machine.
A good teacher lets the learner learn by doing.
She had me explain every part of my machine…something I did not really know.
I had never really taken the time to learn each part of the machine.
Michelle explained the tension, the length and width of stitches, and the different types of stitches.
We then figured out which setting would be best for satin stitching.
After different attempts, we found what would work best for my applique project.
I returned home and completed the first set of circles.

20161117_212043107_ios   20161117_231140050_ios

Michelle also gave me tips on how to use the Lite Steam-A-Seam 2 more effectively.
When working on the orange circles, I had found it difficult to spread the fusible smoothly across the length of the fabric.
Well, I followed Michelle’s tips on the blue circles.
It came out smoother, but I did it on the wrong side!

So, I will have to purchase some more tomorrow so I can complete the blue circles.

Thank you, Michelle.
I accept your help cheerfully.
I am blessed to meet so many wonderful people.

Learning is Fun

For 42 years, my classroom always had a posted sign which read: Learning is Fun.
My students and I would discuss the different emotions we might feel when we are learning something new, or adding to our knowledge on a subject.
We discussed that even though there may be periods of frustration, exasperation, and other negative feelings in our learning process, we always need to remind ourselves that remaining positive will help us to reach the final goal.
We celebrated every time we learned something.

Well, I’m trying to practice what I preached.
I’m in the process of trying out new things.
It has not been fun, lately, because I realized my short comings.
Then I reminded myself that I have only been doing this for two years.
There is so much I want to learn.
I preached patience and positive attitude…now I need to practice!

New goals were set.
New goals call for new practices.

My two new goals…applique and stippling.
My third goal is to improve on binding, especially mitering the corners.
Using applique and stippling is something I have wanted to learn, but I had put it way down on my “things to learn” list.
Recently, I have made two table runner tops, and I realized that I need to learn these two skills right now.

I never really took lessons on using my sewing machine to the full extent,
Step 1
Read directions
Pull out the old sewing manual and get to know the machine
Not my cup of tea, but it was a start.

Step 2
Watch tutorials
There are some great ones on You Tube.
The results on my first applique attempts were less than stellar.
I’m a “see and must do right now” type of learner.
The tutorials give me the opportunity to see, but I get distracted with too much verbal direction.
I am definitely not a good listener.
Also, I have to do it as I attempt to learn it.

Step 3
Seek help from professionals
So I went to Joann’s and talked to my friend Marcia, who sells sewing machines.
She showed me what to do, with no verbal directions;
and then she made me do it on the spot.
She showed me the small tips that I was missing.

It’s still not perfect, but I am now feeling more positive.
So now I am working on the cats on my Halloween table runner.
Wednesday is the day I plan to start practicing some stippling.

Learning is fun.
I just have to be more patient. happyface

I celebrated this small learning step by treating myself to a Starbucks!
I found this pattern in Quilters World Magazine, November 2015, Quilting for Autumn.
The table runner in the magazine used brighter and pastel fabric.
I decided to use my Halloween stash.


Halloween stash cut into 5″ squares (30)

Backing-Pieced with remaining polka-dot fabric and Halloween stash
20160828_005028131_iOS 20160828_015321285_iOS
20160828_021117892_iOS  20160828_022322503_iOS

Pig in a Wig


It is my honor to be the sister of a great author and illustrator, Emma Virjan.
Young readers are delighted with the adventures of Pig in a Wig.
The rhythm, rhyme, and word patterns make it easy and fun to read.
I’m also proud to say that my son, Sean Cunningham, is the creator of the trailers for Pig in a Wig.

BookPeople, in Austin, hosted the book launch for  Emma’s first book in this series, What This Story Needs is a Pig in a Wig. I wanted to make something special to celebrate, so I decided to make my first tote bag. I purchased a pattern, but found the instructions were confusing. Even people with experience confirmed that the pattern was not user friendly. This became a real learning experience for me.
I used one of Emma’s images of Pig in a Wig (with permission) and made an applique to add onto the center of the tote.
Cindy, at Las Colchas, demonstrated the bullion stitch, and I thought it would be great to add dimension to Pig’s bouffant. By the time I got home, I had already forgotten how to do the stitch, so I researched and found a tutorial for the bullion embroidery stitch.
I wanted my two youngest grandchildren to participate in the celebration, Pig- in- a- Wig- style, so I added and applique of Pig onto a dress and a t-shirt.
It was a great day, celebrating my sister!

Pig jan4_aug312pigdress jan4_aug312pig shirt

Acquired /Improved Skills: Reading and adjusting a pattern, making a large tote, boxing the corners of a tote, bullion embroidery stitch, applique techniques