March 30, 2020

Beginning another week of isolation. My Meemaw friends and I are trying to set up some type of chat time, probably with Zoom.
This morning, I made an interactive lesson board for my grandson using Thinglink . This is an online tool that allows you to post interactive activities on one board. I used this when I was teaching and I thought it might be helpful to make one for my grandson. I based it on the curriculum calendar that his teacher provided. I found reading, math, science, and creative activities on Youtube and added the links to the Thinglink board I set up. Thinglink is a very easy tool to use, and the link above is a short tutorial on how to make one. I thought sharing this information might help some of you who want to connect with your grandchildren or others.

I also worked on today’s art. I pulled out more tiny scraps to play with and collage a piece. I already had leftover fabric and batting from a quilt, so I used that for the main block. The birdie came out a bit hefty in this piece.

Today’s Art March 28-29

Thanks to technology, I have had a great day. I was able to have a Zoom chat with my three siblings. My brother in Seattle, younger sister in Austin, and my older sister here in San Antonio. Lots of laughing.
This past Friday, my calendar reminded me that I was supposed to be in Round Rock for Grammy time starting this weekend and throughout all next week. Since that cannot be, the next best thing was being able to Zoom chat with my granddaughter. We challenged each other to learn a new fact to share each time we chat. We also get to draw together. Then, I was able to Facetime with my grandson.
After some morning exercise, I find myself looking through scraps to see what I can make. Yesterday, I made a fabric collage art piece that was inspired by a photo my sister, Emma, sent me. It was a photo of a butterfly in the midst of Emma’s lantana. I have a box of tiny scraps that were just perfect for this. I just cut, pasted, and basted the fabric onto a quilt sandwich block. I added embroidery stitches for some texture.
For today’s art, I made a simple heart with stitching.
Just doing my best to stay positive.
Hope all of you are doing well.

Today’s Art

These are difficult times for all of us. In an attempt to stay hopeful and keep anxiety levels down, I start my day with a walk. There is something about the sound of birds and the beauty of trees that make me feel like everything will be okay. One of my daughter-in-laws sent me a picture of two birds that were perched on the fence in her backyard. My sister sent me a photo of a butterfly landing in her lantana. My friend, Nancy, posts beautiful photos of the flowers in her garden. I appreciate receiving and seeing such beautiful thoughts and photos.
On this morning’s walk, a little black bird flew to the ground right in front of me. It had a blackish top and back, with a reddish throat and grayish belly. I shared the description with my friend, Marti, who is an expert on birds. I did not have enough information to give her, so she made some guesses. I also looked on some bird identification sites. The bird that mostly fit the description of what I saw was a juvenile barn swallow. I really don’t know for sure what it was. All I know is that it was pretty and it lifted my spirits.
I drew the shape of the bird on muslin. Then I cut pieces from my fabric scrap box to make a collage.  The gray and white scrap I used was actually part of the selvage. I glued on the fabric pieces and then sewed the outline of the bird. Then, I cut the bird and glued it onto a green fabric that was backed by batting and muslin. Stitching was done to add details to the bird. I placed another piece of fabric, front sides together and sewed around the sides, leaving an opening to turn inside out.
I hope all of you are doing well.
Stay healthy.
Stay hopeful.

02-20-2020

For the past nine days, I have been working on a rectangle scrappy quilt designed by Jo Parrott. Originally, the plan was to compile scraps with two of my quilting friends. We are still going to do this at a later date. We are planning our own spring retreat.
The pattern gives an option for using either scraps, or half-yards of 18 different fabrics. I had a bin with some fabric remnants, partial fat quarters, and less than half yard pieces. I thought the colors and designs in this bin would make a nice quilt for my nephew. I finished piecing the quilt top today, and dropped it off with my friend who will longarm it for me. I will post about this quilt when it is quilted. Thanks to Mary, from Zippy Quilts, I was able to be more successful with matching intersections. I read her post when I was about half-way into piecing this scrappy quilt. Her tips really paid off and made the second half of piecing less of an ordeal.
After dropping off the quilt, I started to clean and reorganize my work area. Then, I decided to just have fun instead. I backed some muslin with light fusible interfacing. Then I thread-sketched two birds. I used water color pencils to paint the birds. A textile medium was used to coat the water colored birds. I had a piece of cloudy fabric that I used for the background. This was hand-stitched. I used brown grunge fabric to collage tree limbs. I free motioned the stitches on the tree. After these steps were done, I backed the top with thin batting and a blue fabric. The birds were then quilted onto the block. I couldn’t decide if I wanted buttons or not. My daughter-in-law helped me with that decision.
It was a fun way to spend the afternoon on 02-20-2020. I hope you enjoyed your day also.

Fabric Bird Journal

This past week was spent with one of my son’s and his family. I also got to spend a day with a friend and her grandson. Needless to say, it was a busy, fun, happy, non-stop action week.
When I returned home, I decided to unwind a few days before I got back to the projects I left in progress. I like to relax by hand stitching while I watch classic movies. It just so happened that it was Irene Dunne Day on Turner Classics, so this was perfect. 👵
My Process

  • I have a bin with muslin and batting already cut in different sizes for making small-to-medium sized signatures for journals.
  • My threads, beads, scissors, and all necessary items for a small hand stitching project are in a pink box, that was formerly a jewelry box. This box was a gift my youngest son gave me back in the ’80’s, so it has a lot of sentimental value.
  • I began the fabric collage process by looking through the scraps trying to find particular designs that I could shape into a bird body or wing
  • I free-cut the bird shape and wings by following the designs on the fabric.
  • Then, I use an Elmer’s Glue Stick to secure the bird to the fabric.
  • This makes it easier to hand stitch the birds.

Fabric Journal

  • The muslin signatures for this project are about 8″x 12″. The measurements are not exact, since I prefer the unfinished, uneven look. The bird fabric journal I made is very simple compared to the beautiful, elaborate fabric journals on Pinterest.
  • I used the sewing machine to zig-zag the edges of the signatures.
  • The wrap cover was made with strips sewn onto canvas.

This journal project was a great way to relax and unwind. The unfinished projects are calling me, so I will get to them this week.

Playing With Fabric

Ever since I completed the 100 Day Project, I have been trying to find another form of small art to start my mornings. I like playing with fabric scraps, so I thought a few fabric collages might be fun. I found some practice quilt blocks that I made when I first started piecing quilts. I pulled one out to use as a background for a bird collage. First, I stitched-in-the ditch. Then I drew a bird outline on muslin. I used fabric glue to add six different fabric scraps to form the bird.  I used my Karen Kay Buckley scissors to cut the bird. These are the best scissors ever. I purchased them with a gift certificate my granddaughter gave me for my birthday. I used Aurofil variegated thread to thread sketch the bird.

Something New

This morning, I was able to complete The Tannebaum strip tube quilt top. I delivered the top to my friend, Jeana, for long-arming. After cleaning up my work space, I revisited a small project I started yesterday.
One of my goals is to make a collage quilt. I have been interested in doing this ever since I saw some art pieces by Shannon Brinkley. I discovered another fabric collage artist, Laura Heine, on one of my visits to the Mesquite Bean. The quilt shop is having collage classes taught by Vicky, who is certified to teach the Laura Heine method. Unfortunately, I can only make the introduction class, and not the class where the actual quilt is to be made. Vicky is the person who helped me make my first quilt.
In the meantime, since I cannot make the classes, I viewed some videos and thought I would give it a try on a very small scale. I fussy cut pieces from 5 different fabrics for the hummingbird. Then, I fussy cut some Kaffe Fassette flowers. I used fabric glue instead of backing the fabric with Steam-a-Seam 2 double sided fusible web. If I were to make a larger project, I would use the fusible web.
I am still having difficulty with free motion quilting. I can never seem to get the right tension. I have more control when I am FMQ, but I still do not know what I am doing. I thread-sketched the fabric I used for the bird and the flowers. I thought I had enough flowers tucked into the corner, but apparently not. The flowers look like they are suspended in the air along with the bird. Maybe I can add some more flowers tomorrow. The bee was fussy cut from a remnant.
The inspiration for the hummingbird came from the time I spent at my friend’s house. Marti’s backyard is bird heaven. There were blue jays, cardinals, sparrows, doves, and hummingbirds happily visiting and co-exiting in her yard. This was a fun learning piece.

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.

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 

Texas Hill Country

Yesterday was a beautiful day to be out in the Texas Hill Country. Absolutely gorgeous landscape. I tried to capture it in this small quilt collage. I was delighted to find small scraps of floral fabric that I had bought in a bag of scraps from a thrift shop in Georgetown, Texas last year. Not only do I hoard scraps that remain from my projects, I also buy other people’s scraps. 😀