Friday, May 15, 2020

Each day brings a challenge to stay hopeful and positive.
My Mother’s Day flowers are still beautiful and make me smile.
Silver Sneaker exercise videos, walks, and other activities help get things in perspective, but there are days I just hit the wall. This was one of those days.
So, I turned off the news, got in my car, and went to visit my special tree. This oak tree is in the parking lot of my neighborhood school. This is the school where I spent the last 30 of my 42 years of teaching. The school is located at the base and in front of Comanche Lookout Park. The story about this tree is that the district was allowed to purchase this property with the stipulation that the tree would never be cut down. For many years, I would park my car under this tree. Now, it is the meeting place where my Meemaw friends and I social distance gather. The school is a special place for us, since we all worked there together.
I wanted to share the images of this tree and its burl. The burl presents an image of a split face. One side is dark, and the other is light. There is one “eye” that looks black, encircled by white. The other eye is almost shut. I made an attempt to capture this spiritual tree in fabric, but I was not happy with the preliminary results.
I also wanted to share photos of two Halloween quilt tops that I completed this week. The Turning 20 quilt pattern was pieced a few weeks ago. On Monday, I added two borders to complete the top. On Tuesday, I began another Halloween quilt, using the Show Biz pattern by Villa Rosa Design. I altered the pattern, both by choice and by accident. For the center, I used one fabric to make a 15″ block. The pattern calls for the center to pieced with different blocks. I was on the third round of blocks, when I realized that I had not read the directions carefully. Instead of ripping an redoing, I decided to follow the pattern that I had started.
I hope everyone is doing well.
Stay safe.

Friday…Finally!

Another week down.
Following the social distancing guidelines, I “met” with the Meemaws this week. We met in the parking lot of the elementary school where we all worked. It just so happened that the teachers were outside, giving out work packets to parents who drove by. Not every home has the wifi or technology for the online classes. Our district did issue lap tops to families in need, but there are still many children who do not have the access. I was so proud of the teachers. They stood outside all morning, greeting parents and  handing out packages and encouragement. We said our hellos from a distance and expressed our appreciation for all they do. Our plan is to drop off some goodie bags for the teachers next week.

Our Meemaw Socially Distant Fiesta was a huge success. Our Zoom chats have been fun, but there is nothing like seeing each other in person again. We each had our masks and watched our distance. Since it was Poem in Your Pocket Day, we each read a poem. We situated ourselves around the oak tree at the far end of the parking lot…opposite and distant from where the teacher/parent drive through was taking place. Comanche Lookout Park is right in front of the school. My students and I used to take many learning excursions to this park. On this particular morning, my friends and I saw the cutest brown rabbit running in and out of the bushes. That cute little bunny was the subject of my  art project for the day. I tried new stitches, and made up some of my own, in embroidering this piece.

Another project I made to end this week was a pentagon fabric ball. I saw a tutorial by Rob Appell and thought it would be cute for my youngest grandson. I used the remaining Dr. Seuss charm squares I had left in my bin.
In the video, I included a photo of a bird that has taken residence in one of the Meemaws birdhouses.

My son just sent me some sidewalk messaging that my granddaughter wrote. She wanted to help people by writing positive messages. My first reaction upon reading these messages was to cry. My heart goes out to all of the children whose lives have been so drastically changed. Then, I just felt so proud of my granddaughter. She left chalk on the sidewalk so people could write their own messages.
When I read her messages I couldn’t help but feel hope. I’m sharing my granddaughter’s messages of hope and positivity.

“I know we are going through hard times but we can and will get through this.”
“You can do whatever you put your mind to.”

I hope everyone is well.
Stay safe.

 

Spring

It was a beautiful spring morning…just perfect for visiting the Semmes Library and taking a walk in Comanche Lookout Park. I only checked out three books: joyful Daily Stitching by Valerie Bothell; Rule Breaking Quilts by Kathryn Schmidt; the Best-Ever Appplique Sampler by Becky Goldsmith and Linda Jenkins. Lots of good stuff in these books!
When I arrived at the library, this Mockingbird was waiting for me. He did not bother to fly away. Instead, he continued to sing and pose for me.

He inspired me to thread sketch this singing bird when I got home.

I was able to get a four mile walk in the park. It rained heavily last night, so everything looked green and fresh. The walk was so energizing and inspirational, the inner me wanted to break out in song. The real me did not want to scare the other walkers in the park with my singing. 😉 I captured this moment in a thread sketch selfie. I am singing, “Oh, what a beautiful morning…”.

I took a few photos along the way. One is a picture of Fox Run Elementary, where I spent 30 of my 42 years of teaching. The picture is taken from the view of the park, by the path where my students and I would take to enter the park. We would write poetry, complete science nature hike activities, and walk to the library. There is also a photo of the educational pavilion in the park near the library. It made me sad to think that the students were stuck inside the building on a beautiful day like today.

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Library Day

My home is located by Comanche Lookout. Fossils found in this historical area date back to 9,200 B.C.. It is the fourth highest point in Bexar County.  Comanche Lookout was part of the Camino Real that was established during the time of Spanish rule.
When I first moved into the area, the city was discussing how this land would be developed. Neighborhood groups were formed to provide input to help preserve this historical area.
The elementary school where I taught is located across the street from the back side of the park. In the early ’90’s, I was teaching fifth grade. I had my students invite the city council person for our district to come to our school and visit the Comanche Lookout. They greeted him with signs of “We Love Comanche Lookout”, and we presented our ideas. The city developed the 96 acre park. The Semmes Library is located adjacent to the park. My students and I would hike up the trails to the library. We also took many nature observation and science trips.
I live within walking distance to the park, and I used to include this route in my daily walks. This year, I have been opting for walking shorter distances. Today, I decided to once again enjoy the beautiful natural resources this park provides. Since I just finished two quilts, it was time to look around for some inspiration, so of course I wanted to go to the library. The park itself provided an atmosphere conducive to thinking. The weather is just perfect for a comfortable hike, and I need to take advantage of this while it lasts. Backpacks come in handy on these walks to the library. I came home with a good selection of books to get me started. One of the books was The New Bohemians, by Justina Blakeney. It was recommended by Tierney and I sure am happy that it was at the library. Thanks, Tierney!There is a small room that I will be decorating in the near future.

Fussy Cutters Club, by Angie Wilson, has some great tips for a project that my friends and I are planning for the summer. We plan to go to La Grange, Texas and meet up with another friend who lives near by. We are renting a B &B and having our own sewing retreat where we will be working on a house quilt pattern. We will be fussy cutting people, characters, and animal fabric to add to the house block.

Scandinavian Stitches, by Kajsa Wikman, has some cute ideas and tips for making small seasonal projects.
I continue to want to develop free-motion skills, so I checked out First Steps to free-motion quilting by Christina Cameli.
I am still reading through Sneaky Piecing by Beth Ferrier. It was recommended by Mary Puckett. I’m glad I purchased this one, because it is a good resource to have on hand.


Park Entry from the library.

My plan is to continue these walks to and through Comanche Lookout as long as we have this spring weather. More library days ahead.

Library Tuesday


The Semmes Library is in my neighborhood. It is located across a dry creek bed from Comanche Lookout Park. Comanche Lookout is the fourth highest point in Bexar County. It is right across the street from Fox Run, the school in which I taught since the 1990’s.
When I first moved into the area, the park had not yet been established. My husband would take our sons hiking up the unpaved trails.
Once the park was established, I would take my students to the park for on-site science lessons and nature scavenger hunts. We would also walk to the Semmes library for presentations and to sign up for summer reading.
Today, I walked the park and visited the Semmes Library. I could hear and see the children having recess.  I came home with some good reading.

The first book I chose to read was Art Quilt Workbook by Jane Davila and Elin Waterston. I like the way each chapter is set up with exercises, references, reflective queries, artist quotes, and homework
My favorite quote is in Chapter 5, Innovative Piecing.

“Artists who seek perfection in everything achieve it in nothing.”
Eugene Delacroix