Fabric Art and Doilies

Today’s Thought: No hay mal que por bien no venga.

When I was little, I used to watch my Tia Lupe crochet doilies with cotton thread and a small hook. I thought it was something cool for an old lady to do. Well, it’s official. I am an old lady who makes doilies! However, this is probably the only one I am going to make. I can’t believe that my Tia even crocheted table cloths with these tiny hooks. So much work!

After crocheting rock socks out of the cotton thread, I thought I would try making doilies. The tutorial by Kristines Crochet is excellent for beginners. I was able to make a doily in an afternoon, with breaks in between.

I spent the morning social distance celebrating with my friends at the Meemaw tree. I wore my special shirt to give them a laugh. The shirt says: I am 70 years old and flocking fabulous. One has to find humor in getting older.

What makes my birthday special for me is that I was born on my Mother’s birthday. I celebrated every birthday with her. I wanted to celebrate her in some way this week, so I made two quilt blocks. One block is inspired by the begonias in my mother’s garden. I could not enter her house without her asking if I had noticed her begonias. The second block is a fabric collage of a sparrow. Mom used to talk to the sparrows from her kitchen window. On my Sunday visits with mom, we would sit out on her patio so we could see the sparrows in her yard. Making these blocks was my way of celebrating with mom once more.

Today’s Thought is something my mother frequently said: No hay mal que por bien no venga.
It means that even if something may be bad, something good will come out of it.
That’s my hope.

Monday,Monday

Ideas and inspiration for my daily art pieces can come at any time of the day. (Sometimes, inspiration doesn’t come at all.)This morning, at about 4:30 am, I started thinking about the trips my Meemaw friends and I have taken to the beach. We have gone birding at South Padre Island. We have also taken numerous trips to Rockport, Texas. Our last trip to Rockport was this past March. The fun times we had there were my inspiration for Today’s Art.
I pencil sketched a picture of us walking on the beach. Then, I traced the drawing onto white fabric that was backed with firm interfacing and muslin. I pulled fabric scraps to make our clothing. I then thread sketched around the figures in order to be able to cut them out as individual appliques. I used different embroidery linen fabric to make a beach collage. White tulle was placed over white burlap to add texture and form waves touching the sand. The appliques were glued in place and then thread sketched.
After a bit of online exercising, I watched a few movies. This totally mellowed me out. That’s when I decided to make a Mellow Monday selfie. I followed the same process listed above in the making of this quilt square.
I hope everyone had a Mellow Monday.
We are expecting rain this week.
Although the thought of not being able to go out is bothersome, we definitely could use the rain.
Maybe Tuesday would be a good day to dance in the rain.
Who knows?
I hope everyone is 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.

 

End of a Very Long April

The month of April is finally coming to an end.
May will be even longer…but, I will be positive.
Most of my Today’s Art projects are still a combination of embroidery, thread sketch, fabric collage, and water color pencil. I never know when or where I will find inspiration for the project.
The first slide in the video is a selfie of my younger years. I drew an outline of myself, then made the paper doll clothes. I added the background by using water color pencils.
The second slide is about my favorite source of inspiration… birds. I had some scraps of a fun red fabric that I thought would be perfect for birds.

My Meemaw friends and I used to attend Zumba Gold classes twice a week. I do so miss these fun workouts. These days, Zumba takes place in my living room, all by myself. I try to get my husband to Zumba with me, but he does a disappearing act whenever I start. The background for this piece is a quilt block I made a long time ago.

My Meemaw friends and I had big plans for the Fiesta celebration that takes place in San Antonio every April. Marti decided we should have our own social distancing Fiesta tomorrow in the parking lot of the library. We will not stay very long…and we will be wearing our masks. The city allows these brief drive by meetings. I thread sketched the Meemaws with Fiesta flowers in our hair and masks on our faces.We have been having Zoom chats every week, but it will be good to see them again.

Sometimes, inspiration comes from the craziest of sources. One morning, I was pulling a cinnamon roll out of the package, and I thought it would make a fun piece. I thread sketched and embroidered this piece.

Many times, the source of inspiration comes from my grandchildren. One of my grandson’s kindergarten assignments was to read the book, Hey, Little Ant by Phillip Moore. It is a thought provoking book where a child needs to make a decision about squishing the ant or not. The reading assignment was followed by a writing assignment. My grandson had to write a persuasive letter. He did a fabulous job of convincing me to NEVER SQUISH an ANT! Of course, I had to capture this moment in fabric. I am so proud of my grandson! I made a fabric thread sketch of an ant.

The next project came about while I was cleaning out my thread tail bag. As I pulled out the thread, I started to shape and play with the thread. I drew a shape of a bird on muslin. Then I shaped the thread to fit into the drawing. I covered it with black tulle and sewed it with my machine. I had fun with this one.

Each morning, I make it a point to tell myself the day and the date. These days are becoming so blurred and I do not want to be confused. When I realized it was Wednesday, I thought of the Hump Day commercial of the camel walking around the office asking if the people knew what day it was. I made a fabric camel.

Tomorrow is Poem in Your Pocket Day. When I was teaching, this was a very special and fun day for my students. We had been reading and writing poems during the previous weeks. Then on this special day, we would carry a copy of a favorite poem in our pockets that we crafted out of paper. We would randomly choose a partner and share a poem with our friend. This year, I made a fabric pocket. I wrote a poem about the Meemaws that I plan to read to them when we meet tomorrow.

I hope everyone is staying safe.

My Happy Place

And so, it is Saturday. Or, is it? Who knows anymore?

My video today begins with a selfie of my unruly, uncut hair. When I see myself in the mirror in the morning, I get a very rude awakening. My hair looks a bit like a combination of Einstein and Beethoven. I sure miss my hair stylist!

I was able to deliver the quilts I made for my two nephews. I had dropped one off last week. This week, I picked up the second quilt from my friend who longarms for me. After binding the quilt, I was able to have a socially distant visit with my sister and nephews. It was good to see them.

Our mornings have been cool and breezy, so I have been taking advantage of this pleasure. I sit on my outside rocking chair to drink my coffee and hopefully get inspired. One morning, the blackbirds roosting in the trees were being particularly raucous. I found myself listening to the different sounds they made as they flew in and out of the trees. The blackbirds seemed pretty territorial and there were some mad dash attacks on the mourning doves and sparrows that happened to get too close. The next morning, I took my stitching bag outside with me to drink my coffee and make something. I created a fabric piece about the blackbirds. The blackbirds were pretty active again and I just totally enjoyed watching and listening. I had researched the different types of sounds they make and found it very interesting.

Today, I received an email from one of the condominiums in Port Aransas, Texas. The email stated that the beaches at Port A are closed to visitors, but Port A will be ready to welcome us back as soon as they can. At first, a feeling of sadness washed over me. Port A has been the host of many family outings. There are so many precious memories of time spent there with my sons and grandchildren. I have always thought of Port A as My Happy Place. So, I decided to make a fabric art piece of this very special place.

To make the piece, I cut a 10″ square of muslin and backed it with firm interfacing. I then used fabric with a cloud design and glued it to the top part of the square. I had some leftover “wavy” blue fabric from a yellow ducky quilt I made for my grandson. I cut it with a scalloped bottom and a curvy, horizon top. I had some textured beige linen type fabric that I used for the sand. I covered the sand with a white tulle piece. I added some layers of the sand on top of the tulle, then thread sketched the sand. I also thread sketched the waves and quilted the clouds. I took a separate piece of muslin and drew a back-view selfie. I then added fabric to create the hair, a hat, and a beach dress. I thread sketched and outlined the selfie and cut it out as an applique. I also drew two seagulls and prepared them to applique. I decided to quilt this block and bind it.
I now have My Happy Place hanging in my sewing room. Hopefully, my family and I can visit Port A once again.

Stay safe.

Do You Need a Laugh?

Today, I spent some time viewing a tutorial by Deborah Wirsu. She is a fantastic textile artist. Her tutorial on adding texture to a piece is outstanding. She provides excellent directions. I have tried some of her techniques but I definitely have a long learning journey ahead of me when it comes to this type of thread sketching.
As I was working at my computer desk, I reached over to a cup that was given to me by my youngest son…many years ago. I keep pens and pencils in this cup. It is a cup in shape of Michigan J. Frog…my FAVORITE cartoon. Of course, I had to find the cartoon on Youtube. And, yes, it still makes me laugh. A snorting, body-shaking, kind-of-laugh. Once, my sons and I were in line waiting to board an amusement ride at Six Flags. They had a television in the line area to entertain the people waiting in the long lines. I remember totally embarrassing my sons as I laughed at the Michigan J. Frog cartoon playing on the television monitor.
Naturally, today’s art had to be about Michigan J. Frog. I drew the frog on green fabric. Then I added a muslin backing, and glued and hand stitched the frog in place. Regular thread was used for securing the frog. Then, I cut the figure and pasted it onto a blue backing. I did some preliminary stitching with embroidery thread. If and when I make something with all of the today’s art pieces, I will add more embroidery or possibly thread sketching.
If you need a laugh, make sure to look up Michigan J. Frog on Youtube.

Dia de Los Muertos

Dia de los Muertos, Day of the Dead, has been celebrated throughout Mexico and Latin American countries, since pre-Columbian times. It is a time to celebrate our deceased loved ones. There are many traditions on ways to celebrate with food, altars, family gatherings, visiting cemeteries and much more. For the first time, San Antonio is having a Dia de los Muertos River parade. One of my friends and her granddaughter set up a beautiful altar with photos of family, friends, and even pets that have died.
This year, I have made some fabric art for this special day. I made a fabric journal for two family members who recently experienced the death of two loved ones. I printed some poems on fabric, made some puffy quilt blocks for the cover and some of the pages, and added buttons and milagros. Milagros are small charms that are like prayers, petitions to saints.

Our local HEB grocery store has an array of Day of the Dead clothing, items, food, and decor. I purchased a crow that was the inspiration for a quilted art piece.
Process:

  • Iron fusible stabilizer to the back of muslin fabric
  • Draw bird on the stabilizer
  • Collage and hand-sew different pieces of fabric to form the bird
  • Use white fabric paint to paint skeleton
  • Prepare 12.5″ x 12.5″ block for quilting, using a muslin backing
  • Iron bird onto quilting block
  • Hand quilt and use embroidery thread for stitching
  • Embellish with milagros and buttons
  • Cut quilted block to 9.5″ x 9.5″
  • Prepare backing, cut at one inch more than block. Fold and form the binding.

A Flamingo-Kind-of-Day

This morning, I started making a block for my 2019-2020 fabric journal. When I finished with the piece, I decided to make it a quilted block to hang on the door to my studio.
I started out by painting some canvas with fabric paint, markers, and crayons. I cut a flamingo from pink fabric. Then, I thread sketched, using different threads. I am having trouble with the stitches when I thread sketch. I have adjusted the tension, but I think the trouble stems from how I stitch. I find myself pulling the cloth, instead of gently gliding it along. This is an area where I need to consult with someone who knows what they are doing. Any suggestions, hints, and feedback is welcomed. Even with the uneven stitching, I am happy with the results.

For my May entry of the fabric journal, I found a denim block that I had pieced and started embroidering a few months ago. I cut out some flamingos and outlined stitched them onto the denim. I need to add some more embroidery and label it for the month of May.

It has definitely been a Flamingo-Kind-of-Day.

Botanical Gardens

This morning, I took a morning walk at the San Antonio Botanical Gardens. It is one of my favorite places to visit. I do not have a green thumb, so I need to go to the gardens to see beautiful flowers. The weather is still spring-like, with a lot of humidity. The summer heat has not hit yet.  Birds were every where. A Blue Jay posed for me ; and I captured a photo of a cardinal just before he took off.
I made a short video with the photos I took with my phone.

The color, design, and textures in the garden were inspirational. I think these flowers are named Brown-eyed Susan.

I used fabric paint and crayons on canvas for the background. Then I cut fabric to form the stems, leaves, and flowers. I thread sketched a bit to give it texture. Then I machine stitched a black outline.