Today

Today is Song

(To the tune of “Frere Jacques”)
Today is _______.
Today is _______.
All day long, all day long.
Yesterday was ______.
Tomorrow will be _______.
Oh what fun!
Oh what fun!

This will be my new morning song. I spent all of today thinking it was Saturday. Oh, well, it was a productive day, either way.
A friend of mine told me about how she was making seasonal and special masks for her granddaughters. I thought it was a cute idea. I had ordered some Halloween fabric from Studio Stitch to make some other projects. One of these fun fabrics was a print of “Trick or Treat, Smell My Feet.” The fabric made me feel like a kid again.

This past week was spent trying out different embroidery stitches and designs. I purchased the book, Embroidery A Step-by-Step Stitching Guide by Lucinda Ganderton.  When I first started quilting, I bought Ganderton’s book about quilting, A Block a Day.  I found the quilting book to be very helpful, with clear cut instructions. I thought her book on embroidery might be just as good of a resource for embroidery, and I was right. I was able to try out new stitches on the projects I completed this week.

One of the pieces I embroidered was the result of a Zoom-ing session with my granddaughter, I asked her if she had any ideas for another fall scene I could embroider. She quickly talked me through some different ideas. She did not want to draw the  actual scenes, because she wanted me to use my imagination. 🙂 She did however, use arrows, labels, and scribbles to design what she wanted. The one I chose to do was the scarecrow scene. My granddaughter said it needed two cornstalks, a crow, and a “cute” snake. She also asked if I could make sure to include the posts on which the scarecrow was hanging. I decided to make somewhat of a dimensional scarecrow by stuffing the face with batting. I used a scrap of jeans for the overall, some fall fabric scraps for the shirt, and some burlap for the hat. The crow was fussy cut from the fabric I used to make my autumn quilt. I had to think a bit about how to make a “cute” snake, because I do not think there is such a thing. The snake is hiding in the grass by the scarecrow’s foot. I included everything my granddaughter said should be in the piece, however, I did move the crow and the snake to a different location than she had designed. We will talk about artist license the next time we Zoom. This piece was a lot of fun to make because it was a collaborative effort. I so enjoy these art sessions on Zoom, although I would much prefer it to be in person.

This pandemic and the issues facing our country, make it so difficult to stay positive and hopeful. There is no telling what the holidays will look like this year. I started thinking of Christmas designs to embroider, and this definitely helped to put a smile on my face. I found Christmas tree tutorial by Artesd’Olga. I loved the stitches she used for making the pine tree. She offers a free pattern to download. I used my  light box to trace the tree onto linen. However, I changed the pattern just a bit. Instead of embroidering gifts under the tree, I used Christmas fabric to make a tree skirt.
The next Christmas design was a poinsettia. I drew the flower on sketching paper, just for practice. Then I used a Micron 05 to draw the poinsettia onto the linen. Making the French Knot for the center was my favorite part.
My mother used to love cardinals. Once again, I practice sketched a cardinal on a pine tree limb with a pine cone, before drawing it onto the linen. The bullion stitch was used to make the cone.

Since I thought today was Saturday, I was planning to just read, and watch TV on Sunday. Now, I have to find something else to do for tomorrow because…

Today is Friday.
Today is Friday.
All day long, all day long.
Yesterday was Thursday.
Tomorrow will be Saturday.
Oh what fun!
Oh what fun!

 

 

 

Hello, September!

September’s Baccalaureate
A combination is
Of Crickets – Crows – and Retrospects
And a dissembling Breeze
That hints without assuming –
An Innuendo sear
That makes the Heart put up its Fun
And turn Philosopher
Emily Dickinson

Even though the days seem to be endless, September has arrived. We are expecting a “cool front” this week, which means our temperature high will only be 89. It is better than the 100 degree temperatures we were having.

September does bring many happy memories, and some very special birthdays. My grandson already received the quilt I made for his birthday. This past week, I got busy making the birthday gifts for one of my DIL’s. Next, I need to make something for my brother.

For my DIL, I chose pink roses as my theme. According to FTD by Design, pink roses symbolize joy. The different shades of pink have different meanings. Giving pink roses as a gift is a token of admiration or gratitude. I have been drawing my own patterns for embroidery, but I wanted to find a new way to embroider a flower. I found a free pattern by embroideryloversteffi that was simple and easy to transfer and embroider. I chose three different shades of pink to embroider the roses. A few weeks ago, I ordered some decorative embroidery hoops that were just perfect for this project.
In my stash, I had some beautiful pink rose fabric, and a coordinating green print. Jordan Fabrics has a super easy tutorial for making place mats and cloth napkins. I used a coordinating gold and pink rose print for making double-sided cloth napkins. Since I only had a yard, I could only make the smaller size cloth napkin. There was just enough leftover fabric to make a drawstring pouch for the embroidery hoop roses. As for the place mats for my brother, I will be picking up some fabric tomorrow.

In April, Mary Puckett had posted about a Quarantine Quilt pattern that she designed. She used a Figures Zen Chi fabric from Studio Stitch, in Greensboro, NC. The fabric caught my eye, and I took up the offer of a free pattern and contacted Studio Stitch for some fabric shopping. The people in the this shop are so friendly and helpful. It is now one of my favorite fabric shops. Mary gives excellent directions and tips on her pattern. I was able to finish the quilt in two days; one for cutting, one for piecing. My friend, Linda Jennings did the quilting for me. This lap quilt is now on my recliner, waiting for cooler weather.

Studio Stitch has such an amazing selection of fabric. I found this super fun autumn fabric with crows, and squirrels, and everything fun. It reminded me of the poem by Emily Dickinson. I ordered six fat quarters and the backing fabric from the online site. Then, Carrie, helped me pick the remaining 7 fat quarters that I needed for my fall quilt. Sometimes, it is difficult to get the true color from their online site, and that is where Carrie stepped in and helped me make the right choices.  This was another two-day quilt to cut and piece. I dropped off the quilt top at Linda’s, and I am looking forward to having it back just in time for fall latte’s and pumpkin scones.

In between these projects, daily walks, and other tasks, I am continuing to work on a one inch stamp quilt. After making one 12″ block, I stored it in a UFO box, asking myself why I would even think of starting a quilt like this. Since then, my interest in this quilt has grown. It is now out of the UFO box, and I work on it every now and then.  All the pieces had been cut already. I began using an assembly line approach. Now, I have enough strips to make a total of 16 blocks. In order to keep myself motivated, I completed 6 blocks. I am thinking of making five rows of four blocks, plus some borders.  Still thinking about the final design.
In the meantime, I plan to enjoy these September days.
Hope you enjoy your September days.

 

 

Summer

“In summer, the song sings itself.” – William Carlos Williams

The summer season has always been very special. As a child, there was nothing better than playing outside from morning until night. As a parent, I cherished the time spent with my sons at the coast, swim meets, and fun-filled and lazy days.
The temperature has been hitting 100+. I take my morning walk before the temperature gets too high. Then, I am inside keeping busy. Since our Covid cases continue to rise in my state, I am pretty much still home bound.
In January, I began what was supposed to be a year long embroidery project. Whenever I would find time to sit or watch TV, I would pull out this project and draw different animals and plants on linen. I practiced old stitches  and tried new embroidery stitches. 2020 feels like it is dragging on too long, so I already finished the project.
This week, I finally got started on the Lone Star quilt for my niece. I chose this pattern by Jordan Fabrics because my niece says her heart is still in Texas. Donna, from Jordan Fabrics, has an excellent tutorial for this pattern. My hesitation to start this quilt was my concern for matching the points and seams. I had pieced a star quilt before, but it was with made large half triangles. This star was made with jelly roll strips. I chose Moda, Texas Wildflower jelly roll strips with a white on white floral background. Donna demonstrates how to cut and piece in a manner that will keep the fabric laying flat. On my first attempts, there was quite a bit of rip and redo. I finally got the hang of it, so the second half of the star was a bit easier. I thought there would be no problem with the top and bottom borders made from the extra triangles…wrong! After struggling with the top border, the bottom border was a bit smoother.
Now that these projects are completed, I will continue with my summer morning walks and listen to the summer song. I am looking forward to starting other projects. Thanks to Mary, Zippy Quilts, I already have some plans. 🙂

Stay safe.

Post Script:
I have been working on my Viking sewing machine because my Juki was on the blink.
Now, my Viking won’t start up.
Yikes!

 

Donkey

This has been a very frustrating weekend. Our totally inept governor has shown no real leadership, and has in fact interfered with the true leadership of our mayor, and other Texas mayors. Now, Texas is in the top 5 ranking of states with increased covid. And San Antonio is #2 in hot spot cities.

It has been difficult staying focused, so I am still only working on small projects that I can finish quickly.
Last week, when I met with my friends, I gave them the vulture rocks that I had painted for them. We placed one at the base of our Meemaw tree. As usual, vultures came to visit as we sat under the tree.

One of my friends, Kaye, gave me some flat rocks, and asked if I could paint some donkeys on them. I read about donkeys and researched what they symbolize.  The donkey is a very interesting spirit animal. The donkey represents the following: tenacity, hard working attitude, true leadership, gentleness, and an awareness of oncoming danger. The donkey also likes to learn and he offers confidence, determination, and focus.  I drew and painted donkeys on three rocks. Then, I thought it would be fun to make an embroidery art piece. I drew and stitched a donkey onto linen and made a hoop plaque.

On one of our past Meemaw trips, Kaye showed me a double pouched eyeglasses case she had purchased at a craft show. The two pouches were facing in different directions, which makes it very handy to carry both your regular glasses and sunglasses. Since the pouch was old and worn, she wanted a new one. But she has not been able to find one. I looked online for patterns or tutorials, but did not find any. I forgot about this project until this weekend. There is a tutorial for single pouch eyeglasses cases by Owl Be Sewing. I followed the tutorial and made two quilted pouches. My original plan was to machine sew the two completed pouches together, but the layers were too thick. I laid one on top of the other, facing in different directions. Then I hand stitched them, using embroidery thread.

Another small project that I completed this weekend was for my grand baby. I had some leftover Dr. Seuss jelly roll strips, so I used them to make two fabric blocks. I wish I could give them to my grandson in person. 😦

While viewing classic movies, I stitched two small fabric art pieces. Thank you, Tierney, for sending a bag of scraps. I used small pieces of this fabric on these tiny art blocks. I have also used the scraps to make scrappy strips and patches. These will show up in some future quilt project.

It’s only Monday.
I have no idea what I’ll do or make tomorrow.
Hopefully, I will be inspired by the determination, confidence, and focus of the donkey! 🙂

Stay safe.

Friday

This new year, I am finding that I am not as organized as I would like to be. I have a rough idea of projects and things I want to do; but nothing is set in stone. I still have not figured out what to do about the problem I am having with no more space for photos on my blog. Tierney sent me the link where she explains her photo management. Thanks, Tierney! The problem is how to change the situation as it stands now. I had already upgraded once, but I took up all the space with those unedited photos. I have to consult with my sons to see what, if anything, can be done.

One of my interests for this year is to learn embroidery stitches. Two of the local quilt shops I visit are each having Sue Spargo embroidery classes, but it seems I can never make it to any of the classes. I am trying out new stitches on my own and making small art pieces. One of the pieces I embroidered was a selfie for 2020. The other piece was a combination of techniques. I drew a bird on muslin, and used water color pencils to add color. I sewed some burlap onto a leftover floral charm fabric. Then I added a silk backing. I am also working on another piece where I embroidered the dove, tree, heart, and butterfly that I drew on some linen blend. I am liking this project better than the 365 Day Button and Embroidery project that I started. In this project, a button and or stitches is added on each day of the year.

My Meemaw friends and I had a Wabi-Sabi day, last Sunday. Three of us decided to use these Wabi-Sabi days to work on new quilts. The fourth buddy is helping with whatever needs to be done. Since I had just returned from out-of-town, I did not have anything ready for the quilt I was planning. Instead, I helped my friend cut and get ready to piece her first quilt. This past Monday, I visited Las Colchas to get the fabric for my next quilt. The shop has a great selection of Tex-Mex prints. I have been wanting to make a quilt to celebrate my family culture and heritage. I chose a pattern from the book, The Gentle Art of Quiltmaking by Jane Brocket. The book was loaned to me by one of the Meemaws. She recommended one of the quilt patterns that she had chosen from this book to make a quilt for herself. She thought that the pattern would showcase the vibrant color and design of the Tex-Mex fabric, and I totally agree. I pieced the backing for this quilt, using a fabric which features milagros.

I am also working on a Minecraft quilt. The free pattern is by Kelli Fannin. In November, I had pieced the top three rows, and the bottom two rows. When I went to attach the two parts, I realized I was off. The bottom piece was wider than the top. After fooling with it a bit, I threw it in the This-Is-Driving-Me-Crazy bin. I pulled it out this past Tuesday, and took it to the Mesquite Bean. The helpful people at this shop gave me some suggestions that would require minimal rip and sew. Thanks to these friends, I was able to piece the top together today. Kelli Fannin created a dragon block for the backing. I plan to try this out tomorrow.
Note: Phyllis, if you are reading this blog, this quilt is a secret!

Last week, while in Round Rock, I went on a birding walk around the lake where one of my sons lives. It was my first birding walk for the year. Then, this Wednesday, the Meemaws went on a birding walk by the river in the King William area of San Antonio. So far, I have seen 21 different species of birds this year. Bird watching is so exciting!

*In the video, the linen blend that I used for the embroidery projects, shows an exaggerated version of the fabric. The fabric is really not that grainy.

Friday, the 13th

It’s Friday, and I have yet been able to start piecing some of the blocks for my grandson’s quilt.
There are too many things going on, and I need to prioritize.
I am happy to have planned and designed more pieces for this quilt, so time was not wasted.

Tomorrow, I will be going to Gruene, Texas to celebrate my sister’s birthday.
There will be a fabric shopping trip included in the day’s activities, since I know there are at least two quilt shops in the area. I want a few more bright pieces to add to my grandson’s quilt.
A few weeks ago, I made three black and white baskets for my sister.

Then this morning, I completed a wall hanging.
I added more thread sketching in an attempt to add texture and shading.
My thread sketching control is still a bit wobbly, so there are some oopsies.

I am in the process of painting some rocks for my sister.

The larger snail stone is painted on both sides.
When I found the stone, I thought it had the perfect shape for a snail.


I hope that you have had a safe and productive Friday, the 13th.

So Much to Do!

Today has been spent playing catch-up, after being gone for three days.
My head is filled with ideas for quilt blocks and designs…but the projects are put on hold.
I am going to try to jot down some notes and sketches of some of these ideas.
I do not want to have a senior moment and forget.
I will be going to see my grandson tomorrow, and that is WAY more important.
In order to prepare for our day together, I have prepared some indoor and outdoor scavenger hunt activities. I am packing a box of paints and paint brushes, since we will be searching for a limb to paint for a walking stick. Last year, I had prepared a box of supplies for his Creative Box. I am planning to replenish his box.
I also painted two rocks for him.
One rock has a painting of a heart, because I always tell him that he makes my heart happy.
The other rock has a painting of a stegosaurus.

For the past few weeks, I have been going through my collectibles in order to see which ones I could live without.
Tierney (Tierney Creates ) had shared a quote about our space reflecting who we are now. I liked the quote and started clearing out stuff. I found that I like what I had done so far. I promised myself that I would stop buying little mementos and good luck charms in an attempt to improve and update my space.
Well, when I was in Shulenburg, we visited some shops.
There went my resolve not to buy any more lucky charms or mementos.

There was this metal bird that just sang my name…so I purchased it.
I named her Purl the Pretty Girl.
And of course, I had to have the ant.
I frequently get “antsy”; and this ant lets me know that it is okay to have ants in your pants.
In the classroom, whenever the kids or I had ants in our pants, we would stand up and shake the ants out  with our Ants in Our Pants dance.
The angel is called the Worry Angel. It is her job to take away your worries.
When I showed these charms to my sister, Emma, she gave me some great names for the ant and the angel.
The ant is called, Migas N. Pantalones.
Hormiga, is Spanish for ant.
Pantalones, is Spanish for pants.
Hence, Migas N. Pantalones is the perfect name.

The word, issues, in Spanish is pendientes.
My sister suggested that the worry/issue angel be named, Yanohay Pendientes…or Penny for short.
Ya no hay“, in English, is there are “no longer any”.

I did find time to make something for “The100DayProject”.
I originally wanted to paint or piece some fabric for this project, but I did not have enough time for that.
So, I did a simple thread sketched of Purl the Girl.
This is the first time I used an embroidery hoop for a frame.


I am looking forward to my day with my grandson tomorrow.
Then, I will probably come home and sleep for two days!