Focus

Next week, I plan to be away from my sewing room. This made me determined to do as much piecing as possible on the Village quilt. My goal today was to piece 52 house blocks, so I had to work on focusing and staying on task.
The pattern calls for cutting four pieces for each of the houses, minus the roof. My friend, Diane, showed me a short cut. I cut a 5″square that would be for the two side panels. I chained stitched the door and door tops first. Then I chain stitched one side of the 5″ square to one side of the door/top piece. The next step involved folding the remaining side of the 5″ square to the first end side of the door/top piece that I had just sewn.  This forms a type of tunnel. Then I matched the two side door seams, held the house square fabric taunt, and cut. The end result is the 4.5″ x 5.5″ house… with a little less hassle.
I have three more houses to make. I plan to make a house with  story book characters my sister,
Emma Virjan, created. I need to get a new ink cartridge for my printer before I can make these.

I am having fun with this project again. I love the different characters in the doorway. This is quite a scrap buster project. My friends and I pooled our scraps and remnants and then chose what we needed. We also shared character fabric. Diane had a treasure trove of character fabric that she graciously shared.

The fabric for the triangle roof has already been cut. I just need to sub-cut the white fabric for the corners. I already have the fabric cut to the required measurement for the strips. I need to divide the 52 house blocks into two groups. One group will have chimneys, the other will not. Or, depending on how I feel at the time, they might all be without chimneys.

Nadine

I thought I had finished for the day, and I started to clean up the mess on my work table. I had scraps everywhere. When I picked up a grey polka-dot- on- grey scrap, I got a visual of some fluffy, layered hair.
Then I pulled out some white scraps and created a face to go along with this coiffure. More polka dots and Kaffe Fassett floral scraps, and voila! Nadine came to life. I sent a picture of Nadine to my sister, Emma. Of course, she immediately responded with a biography of Nadine.

Introducing: Nadine
Biography by Emma J. Virjan
Nadine
Bra-burner
Has three dogs
Loves Thich Nhat Hanh 
Makes Kick-ass cherry cobbler   
Zumbas on Wednesdays
Never turns down a glass of wine 
Bought Intel at a penny stock and is independently wealthy 

Fabric Journal

Since I have finished making rugs and bowls, I was looking for something to do. Then I remembered that I had not yet made the monthly block for my 2019 fabric journal.
This is what I have made for the journal so far:

This will be the title page.

January                                                              February
March

For the April quotation block, I used one of my orphan blocks that I made years ago. Instead of embroidering over the printed quote, as I did on the others, I embroidered over a handwritten quote. It did not come out as neatly as the printed quotes, so lesson learned.

My tendency is to save even the smallest of fabric scraps. I have tried to be more practical and  organized, but my two scrap bins are full. I also save thread scraps. 🙄 As I was getting ready to throw these scraps away, I decided to upcycle them and use them in the April block instead. I threw a small amount of fabric scraps onto 10″ X 10″ muslin block. I scattered and played with the fabric before I threw on some of the thread and ribbon scraps. Then I covered the block with Sulky Wash Away Stabilizer.
I was able to practice some free motion quilting over the stabilizer. Then I cut some larger brown scraps into a tree limb. My sister had shared some birds that she drew, and she gave me permission to print them on fabric. I have made some items for her with these birds, and today, I used one of the birds for this textile art piece. I appliqued the bird and leaves to complete the piece. This fun process just confirmed that I will not be throwing away tiny scraps of fabric or thread. 😉

Happy Birthday, Emma!

Yesterday was Sibling Day. I have the best siblings ever.
The last time all we were all together was at Christmas. My brother lives in another state, so I do not get to see  him as frequently as I would like.
Today, Adri, and I, went to Gruene, Texas to meet up with our sister, Emma. We celebrated her upcoming birthday with lunch at the Gristmill.

Emma is an author and illustrator. She is creative, inspirational, and way too funny.
I had previously made her some pouches for her pens and pencils. She mentioned that she needed some more, so I made two. One pouch is a bit of an odd shape because I was using the leftover fabric from the other pouch I made.

Front View                    Back View

My dad used to call Emma, his “Yellow Rose”. I made a yellow rose brooch for her.

Front View           Back View          Pinned on my wrinkled shirt.

We had the perfect day for sitting by the river for lunch. The food at the Gristmill was great, and being with my sisters was a blast.
I’m the one on the right.

As you can see in the photos, Emma kept us laughing.

Saturday Stuff

My friend, Nancy, makes some beautiful fabric, floral pins. On one of our Wabi Sabi sewing days, my Meemaw friends and tried our hand at making floral pins.
    
Today, my sister, Emma, sent me a photo of a fabric brooch that had thread sketching and embroidery. I just had to give it a try.

Now, I am looking online to see what others have done with fabric brooches.
It has been a drizzly, lazy Saturday, so I have not started on any big project. I did complete another thread sketch for the #100 Day Project. I am not a selfie-type person, but I find it easy to thread sketch caricatures of myself. This way, I do not offend anyone.😉
Since I was not able to go for a walk today, I thread sketched a selfie of me taking a walk.

Texas Treasure

One of the many reasons I love Austin, is the hidden treasures that can be found in the city.
The Texas Folklife Gallery is one such treasure. The stated mission for this gallery is :Texas Folklife is a statewide non-profit organization dedicated to preserving and presenting the diverse cultures and living heritage of the Lone Star State.

The gallery is located in this simple, modest house.
I have driven past this house before, not realizing the importance of this location.
Last week, I visited the gallery with my sister, Emma, and my friend, Nancy. We went to the gallery to see the Quilting the World’s Conscience Exhibit, where Tierney Hogan has one of her quilts on display. I had read the story and seen the quilt, Stories My Father Told Me, on Tierney’s blog. Walking into the gallery and seeing this piece hanging, front and center, was quite an inspirational experience.

All of the quilts on display present a powerful reminder of the importance of preserving and respecting our diverse cultures.
Tierney, thank you for your art and inspiration.

Home Again, Home Again, Jiggety Jig

For this past week, I have been living out of my travel bags. Celebrating birthdays,time with my grand kids, and visiting my sister…what a great week!
I am home until it is time to celebrate the last July birthday at the end of the month. I will have a craft day with my granddaughter on that day.
Needless to say, I have not produced anything lately. I have, however, done the next best thing. I have benefited by meeting with creative people. My sister, Emma, invited me to go to her Girllustrators meeting. What a treat! These women are a group of very talented, creative, and inspirational artists. I learned so much just by listening to their conversation and seeing the work they shared. They included me in their share time, and they gave me such positive feedback on my work. Be sure to check the Girllustrator site and learn more about each of these women.
Alicia Traveria was also present at the meeting. You can check out her flickr site.
Patrice Barton was the host for this month’s meeting. She shared a journal that she made when she attended a workshop. My sister and I went to Jerry’s Artarama the next day to get the supplies we needed to make our own journal.

We found these cute artist trading cards by Bristol. I cannot wait to start on these trading cards.
Today, I went out and purchased more supplies for my art projects.
My sister made a video to explain how she started her journal.

I also purchased some other goodies for my projects.

Emma told me about a group of poets, Typewriter Rodeo, who attend events and write custom poems about real people.
They use old typewriters to write their custom poems. They have published a book, Typewriter Rodeo.

On pages 154-155, there is a poem written about my sister. Emma had attended the Texas Book Festival, wearing her red wig. She was in total Pig in a Wig character. The poem is entitled, Spare Hair. I love the concept of traveling poets.
Since I am planning to try new things with paint and pen, I had to reorganize my work room and storage. I spent the morning emptying bins, rearranging furniture, and dumping old paint and pens that were no longer working.
I hope to get started on some projects soon.
It was hard leaving my sons, grand kids, and sister; but it sure felt good to sleep in my own bed again…without a cat sleeping at my feet.


P.S.
I miss these family pets.

Peace in the Kingdom…my youngest son’s pets.


Bella
Emma’s sweet dog.

Fabric Book Journal…Almost Done

The last two pages of the fabric book journal are complete and ready to be sewn together.
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My sister likes to take walks with her dog, so I chose one of my favorite quotes for this block:
An earlymorning walk is a blessing for the whole day.” – Henry David Thoreau
I made an applique of her dog. The tree has small yo-yos.
On the second block, I included words our mother always used to tell us: Use your God-given talents.
We would always joke about it, but I guess mom had some good advice after all.
I found a book charm and covered it with a fabric photo of one of my sister’s books from her Pig in a Wig series of five books.
My sister’s name is Emma, but we call her M.
I just noticed that the M charm is twisted in the photo.


Tomorrow, I will make a simple front and back cover.
Then, I will try to put it all together.

Inktober

I was about to shut down the sewing room for the day, when I noticed I had some good remnants from the owl bunting and the journals I had made.
Instead of stuffing them in the bin, I made a journal cover in preparation for Inktober.
In October of 2009, Jake Parker, an artist, started Inktober as a challenge to improve his own skills and drawing habits.
The site provides prompts for drawing, but I don’t stick to this list.
My sister introduced me to Inktober about three years ago, and I enjoy the challenge of drawing everyday.

September has just begun, but I took the opportunity to make the art journal cover today.
I  have always found it fun to draw and doodle, but I never considered myself an artist.
I would get drawing books and hesitate to start, in fear of making a mistake.
My sister, Emma, shared her artist trick.
She said to break in the new book and jump in by just doodling and drawing lines on the first page.
It worked!
I found that this Inktober challenge to draw every day does help to develop drawing habits.
Just another form of expression.
Lots of fun.
I usually get Moleskin books for my drawings, but this time I bought a small art notebook at Wal-mart.


Front Cover/ Same as the Back Cover


I found my set of Prismacolor Black Pens, but some are dry. They have lasted a long time.
It is time to replenish my pen pouch.

Maybe you might want to give Inktober  a try!

Pig in a Wig Book Tote

During my Round Rock weekend, I visited the fabric department in Hobby Lobby.
My attention was drawn to some purple and white polka dot and some multi-colored striped fabric.
Pig in a Wig, a delightful character in books written and illustrated by Emma J. Virjan,
immediately came to mind! #PigInaWigBooks

I made these two child-sized book totes the other day, but I did not post because I wanted to surprise my sister, Emma. She received them today.

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