Red

I would like to send a big “Thank you!” to Mariss, for reminding me about the #areyoubookenough challenge. Mariss’ post about her first book, Shelter from the Storm, got me interested in maybe trying this challenge once again. Then, when I saw her Instagram post about her “red” book in progress, I just knew I wanted to make a book. I have spent the day, reading poems and reliving special memories, during the process of making this book.

The challenge theme of “red”, made me think of two special poems. One is the poem, A Lady red-amid the Hill, by Emily Dickinson. The image of red tulips came to mind, and I found the perfect scrap for the hills. Crumb scraps and beads were used to dot the hills with tulips. The other poem is The Red Wheelbarrow, by William Carlos William. This short poem is one of my favorites. As part of my instruction in both fourth and fifth grade classrooms, I included the study of an excellent novel, Love that Dog, by Sharon Creech. This novel is the perfect way to teach students about self-expression and poetry. The novel is written in a diary format and the first line is quite the conversation starter for students:



“I don’t want to
Because boys
Don’t write poetry.

Girls do.”

The Red Wheelbarrow is one of the poems in the novel. I so enjoyed the class discussion of this poem, which resulted in inspiring and creative poems written by my students. And yes, the boys in my room ended up enjoying writing poetry. 😉

Red, of course, made me think of the cardinal. This bird was one of mom’s favorite birds. She embroidered a cardinal that I had framed for her to give to her great-granddaughter. It hangs in my granddaughter’s room.

Red also made me think of my childhood. There was a red wagon with origins unknown, that my cousins (who lived next door) and I used for playing, hauling, and transportation. My sons also had red wagons. I have a very special memory of decorating the wagons for a 4th of July parade in our neighborhood.

Another childhood memory inspired by this color, is that of a popsicle. My cousins and neighbors would drop everything as soon as we heard the cheerful melody of the Ice Cream Truck. We would line up on the street curb, with the coins my Tia Chicha would give us. The big decision was which flavor to choose…cherry red, banana, or root beer. Most times, the problem was solved by each of us ordering one of each and then breaking them in half to share.

Roses come to mind when thinking of red things. My Tia Chicha had a large rose bush by her porch. Mom also had beautiful rose bushes in her yards. My dad used to give mom red roses on their anniversary, and he would sign the card, Love, Chester. His name was Pepe, so this was a personal joke between them.

Red also reminded me of summer fun. My cousins and neighborhood friends and I would play outside all day. There was nothing more fun than to end the day with a cold slice of sandía. My dad would spread newspapers out on the backyard table and cut up huge, delicious watermelons. Dad was an expert when it came to picking sweet, just-right, watermelons. Of course, there were seed spitting contests to add to the fun.

You can’t think of red without including a red heart. The heart reminds me of a favorite Beatle tune, All You Need is Love.

Originally, I was thinking of hand-stitching the fabric book. Instead, I took the opportunity to finally use the extra stitches on my sewing machine to make fancy borders. The cardinal is machine thread-sketched. Fabric scraps were used to make the wagon, and other things. Beads and buttons were added as embellishments.

I have enjoyed this walk down memory lane with the color, red. Thank you, Mariss!

End of January

Inspiration is a guest that does not willingly visit the lazy. – Tchaikovsky

After I finished piecing the dinosaur quilt, I found myself in a quandary as to what to do next. I did a little bit of this and that, but just couldn’t get interested in anything in particular. I made some Valentine crafts for the grandkids, but that took only two days. I didn’t think I was being lazy, but inspiration just wasn’t coming my way. 😉
My granddaughter and I have frequent video conversations, and one day I started talking to her about zentangle art. A few years ago, I was really into this form of art, and I have quite a few art journals filled with zentangle. My granddaughter is a doodler like I am, so I thought she might like to try it. I shared some tutorials for kids just to get her started. A few days later, she showed me some of the zentangle art that she had done. This renewed my interest in zentangle, and finally, I was inspired to make something. Instead of using markers and pens to zentangle, I wanted to use thread. I had thread sketched some inchies and twinchies a couple of years ago. To prepare for this fabric book, I cut some 6″ x 12″ canvas, muslin, and batting to make quilt sandwiches. I folded the quilt sandwich in half, and thread-sketched a bird on each half. I drew a one- inch strip in the center for the spine. After thread sketching the birds, I got to practice on meandering. My meandering is still not perfect, but I am finding that my hand motion is much smoother and not as jaggy as before. To make the book signatures, I placed two thread-sketched sandwiches, wrong-sides -together, and zig-zagged from the lines I had drawn for the spine, all the way around. This formed a folded spine. I then sewed a seam along the open edge, completely sealing the signature. Each signature had four birds. There were two signatures with a total of 8 birds. I attached the two signatures by blanket stitching along the pinched spine. Two 9″ X 12″ pieces of fabric were quilted for the cover. The signatures were centered on the cover and opened to expose the center of the book. The cover was attached to the signatures with a machine- stitched seam down the center of the spine.
Every Friday, I look for the next tag theme for the 52 tag challenge. This week, the theme was “kisses”. I love watching the tutorials by Anne Brook. She makes beautiful things out of scraps and bits. I found some scraps and I added a butterfly charm to represent a butterfly kiss. The buttons represent the hugs. This OX tag was made with my grandchildren in mine.
On January 1st, I started piecing a temperature quilt. I am using the pattern by Canuck Quilter Designs. The January row is now complete, and it is a fun representation of our crazy Texas weather. There are lows of 28 and highs of 80.
My friend, Marti, sent me a very cute crow pin. Marti is the one who got me hooked on bird watching. Today, she called to ask if I was interested in wool felt pieces she was ready to donate. She said she no longer wanted to make pins with the felt and thought I might like them. She knows that I am never one to say no to free supplies. She then reminded me of the thread sketched pins I made her a few years ago, and hinted that she might like some more. I thread sketched some twinchies and small shapes for her. She said she would add the pin parts to them later.
This afternoon, UPS delivered a box of two fat quarter bundles that I ordered from the Fat Quarter Shop. One is Art Theory by Alison Glass for Andover Fabrics. The other bundle is Quotation by Moda. Marti and I had planned to have our own quilting retreat with another one of our friends. Since this is not possible at this time, Marti sent me the book, Sister Sampler Quilts, by Anne Marie Chany. We are going to have a Zoom retreat somehow, and make one of these samplers. I ordered two fat quarter bundles for the sampler, because I couldn’t decide which bundle I liked better. I still can’t. It all depends on which sampler we choose to make.
February will soon be here.
Hopefully, healthy and good times are around the corner.
Stay safe.


Morning Meditations

This past Sunday, I was drinking a cup of coffee from one of my favorite mugs. I should say that I have many “favorite” cups.  All of a sudden, the thought of creating fabric art pieces based on my coffee mugs came to mind.
I started collecting coffee cups and mugs years ago. My collection grew each year, because many of my students would gift me all sorts of mugs and cups. After 42 years of teaching, I have quite a collection. I add to my collection every time I visit shops or new places. Every morning, I choose a different cup. Each mug brings a special memory or thought to mind. Choosing just the right cup from which to drink coffee becomes part of my morning meditation.
For this past Sunday, I recreated my “All You Need is Love” coffee cup. This is one of my all time favorite songs, so I just had to make it be my first art piece for the week. It was my Singing Sunday.
On Monday, I was drinking from a cup that reflected my Manic Monday mood. I love flamingos, and the “I Don’t Give a Flock” cup was perfect for this Monday. I fussy cut a flamingo from a scrap, then I thread sketched the outline. The words were  hand-embroidered.
Tuesday’s cup is a philosophy of life, “Live Every Day like it’s Taco Tuesday”. Scraps were used for the top of the cup. I also used the tiniest of scraps to make the taco. I thread-sketched the outline of the cup, and hand-embroidered decorations and words. I used to dread making french-knots, but now I like to make them.
Wednesdays have always been a bit wacky. My students and I used Wacky Wednesdays as an excuse to have extra fun mid-week. My cup for the day had to be my Dr. Seuss cup. It holds the extra bit of coffee one might need on a Wednesday. I fussy cut a Dr. Seuss fabric and appliqued it onto the blue fabric that I had cut into the round shape of the cup.
I have been missing my trips to the quilting shops. I am doing some online and drive-by shopping at two of our local shops. My Thursday morning cup was about quilting. I found this cup on one of my trips to JoAnn’s last year. I fussy cut a spool of thread image, thread-sketched the outline, and hand-embroidered the wording.
After making these first fabric pieces, I decided I was going to use them to make a fabric book. One of my year long projects is making a fabric book for each month. My morning meditations have been so helpful in getting through this month of April so it made sense to me to make a Good Morning fabric book of meditations. I used two of my four remaining sheets of Kraft-Tex to make the book cover.
In order to make the book, I already chose and made my cup for this week’s Fun Friday. It will be my elephant cup. I also collect elephants, so, when I saw this cup in a shop, I just had to buy it. I drew the elephant on white fabric and thread-sketched the details. Water color pencils were used for the fabric rendition of this whimsical cup.
Saturday’s cup will be all about birds. This cup was a gift from one of my students. I used fabric scraps to form the top and the handle of the cup. The birds and tree limb were thread sketched. Water color pencils were used to color the birds and leaves.

The first page in the book is a selfie-thread-sketch. Whenever I have spent time with my granddaughter, we would choose one day to be a Pajama-Day. During this pandemic, I am trying not to have too many pajama days. I did have one this week, so it became part of my book.  I made a muslin cut-out of myself and made fabric paper doll style pajamas. The face, neck, hands, and ankles are thread-sketched. I fussy cut some owl fabric for my slippers. The coffee cup I am holding is made from a very tiny, fussy-cut Cat in a Hat.

Making these fabric art pieces about my cups has been a fun activity for me this week. This Sunday morning will begin with a different cup!
I hope all of you are doing well.
Stay safe.

Fabric Book for March

In a January post, I mentioned the #areyoubookenough challenge. I liked the idea of making a book a month, but I did not know if I would work entirely within the rules or themes of the challenge. I just liked the challenge of creating a book a month.
For the month of January, I made a book of small fabric meditations without following the theme for the month, which was “in-between”. The book was mostly collages of birds, buttons and hearts. It was a great way to use up scraps.
The theme for February was “healing”. I chose to make a book about love and healing based on the quote from Hubert Humphrey: “The greatest healing therapy is friendship and love.”
The theme for March is ‘hexagons”. I had some hexagon rulers and paper templates, so I used these to make my book for the month. I used the one inch paper templates to make flowers and a butterfly. I also had some hexagon buttons that I used in creating some flowers, a snail, a bird and a vase. For the first page, I thread-sketched some hexagons and used buttons to decorate the centers. The front and back covers are made from Kraft-Tex. The cute floral and bird selvage from the Deborah Curiel Viva Mexico line of fabric came in handy to use as ties for the book.
There is now a confirmed case of Covid-19 in San Antonio. Austin also has some cases. It seems it might be a good idea to stay home for a few weeks. It is not my favorite thing to do, but it is the responsible thing to do for now. I think I have enough fabric and things to keep busy.
Stay healthy!