Saturday

Since today was Small Business Saturday, I visited my two favorite quilt shops in San Antonio. My friend, Francine, is the owner of Las Colchas. She and Toni opened the shop in 1981. The shop is filled with gorgeous fabric, sewing notions, and patterns. The best part of visiting with Francine is the inspiration and encouragement that she offers. Many times, I have gone into the shop with nothing more than a simple idea. Francine helps to grow, visualize, and develop my ideas. Her main advice is to just play and have fun. As I was selecting fabric, I ran across a sample table runner they had on display. It is a very simple pattern, In the Meadow, by Creek Side Stitches. What caught my eye about this cute snowman table runner, was that Toni had hand quilted it. One of my goals is to some day hand quilt a lap sized quilt. I have done a bit of hand quilting, but only on small art projects. Toni gave me some helpful hints and encouragement to try hand quilting. I was able to piece the table runner this afternoon. I plan to start hand quilting it tomorrow.

I also visited the Mesquite Bean, where I was able to find more fabric for some future projects. The shop was super busy, so I was not able to touch base with one of the many helpful employees there. I will be returning there soon, since I need advice on one of the quilts that I have in progress.

Before Thanksgiving, I made some pouches for my Meemaw friends. The Clown Car is getting ready for a trip to Round Rock, Georgetown, and Salado, Texas. We plan to attend the Christmas Strolls and visit the downtown shops in all three of these cities. The pouches will be used for our travel snacks. I used the pattern and tutorial by Marcela’s Purse.


I also painted a rock for our trip. It needs some touch up painting because the black marker smeared when I brushed on the Modge Podge.

The temperature today hit 76. I set the mood with Christmas music so I could finish binding my Christmas quilt. I’ll just drape it over the sofa to add to the Christmas decor.

I hope you enjoyed your Saturday.

Done!

As mentioned in an earlier post, the fabric for the Peanut quilt I was making for my sister to give to her son, had sat on my shelf for some time. I just didn’t know where to go with it. My friend Francine, owner of Las Colchas, told me to just “start cutting” and “have fun.” I took her advice, and it turned out to be a fun learning process for me. I designed it as I went along. No plan. Color and measurement drove my piecing.  I decided to make it bright, colorful, and happy. The splash of orange added the missing pizzazz. It started out to be a lap quilt, but it ended up a bit large…60″W x 80″ L. This will be perfect for my nephew, since he is a tall man. I used the licensed fabric to piece the background fabric.
Please excuse the poor photos.

The outer border is the same charcoal-black fabric that was used around the panel. There was just enough of the blue licensed fabric to add a top and bottom strip. It looks like there is a white strip, but it is really white with red polka-dots. I added four more hearts to the corners to complete the strip length needed and to balance out the hearts in the center.
There were about 8 different licensed fabrics that I cut into 12.5″ squares. I interspersed some of the black and white, red, and solid orange fabric with the licensed fabric.
My sister loved it. She is known for making a great strawberry cake, and she has promised to make me one. 😉

After Tai Chi class this morning, my friend, Marti and I went to Ann Pierce Jewelry Designs and Bead Shop. Making jewelry is something on my Things-to-Learn list. Marti has made jewelry before. She has such an artistic eye and it is reflected in the jewelry she creates. Another friend of mine, Nancy, also makes beautiful jewelry. I admire her work, and have been the lucky recipient of some of her creations. Marti and I bought the same type of beads for our next project. She will be making a bracelet, and I will be making a bracelet and a necklace. I am adding some bird stones onto the necklace, and an elephant onto the bracelet.
The bead shop is fantastic. I had a difficult time selecting what I wanted, since I wanted EVERYTHING. The owner of the shop, Ann, is super helpful. She has a table set up in the back of the shop for people to drop by and make jewelry. Marti and I plan to get started in about two weeks.

Boro Stitching

Recently, I have become interested in boro and sashiko stitching. I had been viewing different tutorials and talking to my friends at the quilt shops. Francine, at Las Colchas, offers classes in sashiko. Joy, at Mesquite Bean, got me started on boro stitching. They have a free Tuesday where people can come work on projects in the back room of the store. I had purchased a Moda , boro findings, flax woven messenger bag at the Mesquite Bean. Joy and I discussed how I could boro stitch to decorate the bag. Boro actually means “tattered”, and the original purpose for boro stitching was for mending. However, for the messenger bag, I wanted to use some boro fat quarters by Moda. This was my first attempt, and I totally enjoyed the process. There is something so relaxing in making the simple stitches.
Since the messenger bag is lined, I decided to place the boro fat quarters on muslin and stitch onto the muslin. I then was able to attach the stitched muslin to the bag with an outlining stitch. It started out as a blanket stitch and ended up in some sort of stitch of my own creation, since I didn’t know what I was doing. 😁 I also tacked in with some simple stitches throughout the muslin square.

I made some fabric flowers and now I am trying to figure out how to attach them to the bag.

I am also working on a different piece. This time, I added up-cycled denim pieces to the boro Moda fabric. I do not know how or if this piece will be used.

Exciting News

Last month, I received the exciting news that our family will be welcoming a baby boy in October. After celebrating the news with my son and his wife and daughter, I started planning some quilts and baby things to make.
I started off making bibs and burping cloths. The bibs seem so small, but I measured them against store bought bibs and they seem to be the standard size. I made some with baby themed fabric, and also some Batman fabric.

Burp Cloths                   Matching Bibs                 Bib

At Las Colchas, I found a book, Nap and Nod, by Myra Harder. There are some cute ideas for quick and simple quilts. A few weeks ago, I began on the first quilt, the Gummy Bear. I read that babies prefer black and white because of the contrast. That is why you can find first books for babies that are in black and white. The quilt book shows a white background for the Gummy Bear quilt, but I purchased a black and white fabric. The bears are just enough bright colors…not too much. Francine, at Las Colchas, showed me this alphabet fabric and I decided to use it for the backing. The blanket is pieced but not yet quilted. I added  hearts to the quilt top with the left over gummy bear fabric. I plan to use the black and white polka dot for the binding. I made the mistake of folding the top and as you can see it is wrinkled. I am going to let it hang and give it a press tomorrow.

Today, I started piecing the Swimming Lessons quilt. I do not have the fabric for the borders or the backing so, I had to stop for now. The pattern had a totally white background, but I had purchased these blue fabrics the last time I was in Round Rock where Austin Sewing Machine and Quilting is located. In one of my stash bins, I found a multi-colored polka-dot on white fabric that I used for the circle. I made this a little more difficult for myself by choosing a wavy blue fabric for the water. I had to make sure the waves were all in the same direction when I made the half-square triangles. For somebody who is challenged by directions, this took some time. Instead of being able to chain stitch the HST, I had to make them one by one.

I have some other projects planned, but they are on hold while I get other things done.
Another baby…this is truly a blessing for our family.

Floral Pets~Day 3

So, I am already into March on spending my fabric budget. I was never good with budgets.
But I found some beautiful elephant fabric. I collect anything elephant. I also inherited my mom’s collection of elephants. I do not have a plan for this fabric yet, but I bought it and will let the ideas come later.

The clay elephant I made two weeks ago, survived the kiln, so I will be glazing it next week.

In pottery class this morning, I made a fat cat and a bird bowl. The bird looks more like an elephant right now. My instructor told me we may be able to add feathers on the head. In the photo, the bird is drying with his legs up. (It looks like he is dying…not drying.) I also had to repair the bunny I made last week. I did not attach one of the feet securely enough, so I had to do some bunny surgery.

Everyone else in class is making some beautiful, artistic bowls. I think I need to sign up for a second class and maybe I can move on from these animal bowls and sculptures.
My trip to Las Colchas was productive. In my project process, I noted that I would consult with my friend, Francine, who owns the quilt shop. She makes beautiful quilts and other things. I showed her my three ideas for finishing this quilt. She gave me some tips that helped me make my choice of the three. I also purchased three fat quarters to finish framing the cats. One of the cats is framed with a “fish” Kaffe Fassett fabric…a hidden quilt treasure.

My friend, Christine, suggested I frame the pet blocks in white polka-dot fabric that would bring the blocks together. Sandy, at Graybarn Designs agreed with Christine. It just so happened that I had white with black polk-dot fabric in my stash. So I will work on framing the blocks tomorrow. Thanks to Christine and Sandy!

Fabric Flower Pins

My friend, Nancy, makes beautiful fabric pins. I am happy to be a recipient of some of the beautiful pins she has made. She lent me a book by Amy Barickman, Indygo Junctions Fabric Flowers. I need to get the book back to her, since I have had it for some time. Before I do, I am planning on sharing it with my Meemaw friends for the next project we will be making on our Wabi-Sabi Sunday. I hope to make one of the yo-yo  or the coiled flowers that are in the book. In the meantime, I had some scraps and decided to fool around with some ideas.
I had pieced Valentine fabric scraps to make a square. I backed it with light fusible batting. Then I cut the square into different sizes of hearts.  I stacked them and sewed right through the middle, adding a bead to stabilize the center. I backed it with flannel and sewed on the clasp in the same manner as Nancy does her pins. For the second flower, I followed the tutorial by Red Ted Art. This was not as simple as the tutorial made it out to be. I think I used a thread that was too thin for making the running stitch, so gathering the flower petals together did not go so smoothly. The last floral pin I made today was based on some fabric flower kits that I saw at Michaels.
The fabric flowers in this kit were already cut. I thought I could do the same with some scraps. So, I pulled out some Kaffe polka-dot scraps that I had and cut out some circles. I decided to use pinking shears to cut the circles out. I added one layer of felt in the mix, in order to add some body to the fabric.


My friend, Francine, from Las Colchas, shared her idea of  having little projects at hand. I liked the idea of having things ready to work on while I am watching TV or listening to audio books. I prepared some embroidery projects and have all the materials for the projects in separate pouches. I took one of these to South Padre last week, so I would have something to relax with at night. I think I am going to make some Pin Pouches prepared for Wabi-Sabi Sunday. I will be seeing Nancy this month, and I hope to get some more ideas and tips on making fabric flowers.

Impulse Buy

The only cameras I own are my iPhone and a Go-Pro. I have limited experience with the Go-Pro. I have viewed tutorials on how to use the camera and I have used it a few times. I need to learn what to do with the footage I take with the camera.
I am happy with the camera on my phone, and it is my go-to camera. The other day, I gave into an impulse and bought an instax mini 9. It was also a type of nostalgic buy. I used to have one of those old instant cameras. I know the film on that instant camera was not the best, but I enjoyed using it in the classroom back in the day.
I thought the instax might be fun to take on outings with my Meemaw friends and my grandchildren. I read some positive reviews on this mini camera. I plan to try it out soon.
I made a tote that has enough room for the camera, extra film, my phone and wallet.
 
Another impulse buy for today was at Las Colchas. I went for the purpose of buying fabric for the backing of my quilt. I also ended up buying some yardage and fat quarters that caught my eye. So, I have already used up my January and February budget for fabric. Oops!

Wonderful Wednesday

So much for my resolution for a low fabric buy month. I just spent a very Wonderful Wednesday morning with my friends, Francine and Toni. They are the owners of Las Colchas. Francine and I have been friends since 1967… I was a bridesmaid at her wedding. Las Colchas offers a varied selection of fabric that will catch the eye of anyone who likes to play with fabric. They also have wool, felt, threads, etc… just about anything you need to create. The bonus at this store, is the help, guidance, and support that Francine, Toni, and all of the gracious people who work in the shop.
I have been wanting to branch out and try something different, original, colorful, and artistic. At my library, I ran across books by Freddy Moran and Gwen Marston. Collaborative Quilting Talking It Over, and Collaborate Again, are books that I just had to order for myself. I have been pouring through these books for some time, and I have been purchasing colorful and different fabric …just because…no real plan. Over the holidays, I started designing my own quilt based on suggestions and ideas from the books. Yesterday, I started pulling out some of my fabric. I realized that even though the fabric was beautiful, it was all still real “safe”. Not “matchy-matchy”, but just not free enough for what I had in my head. I decided to consult with Francine… and I am so glad I did. We spent the morning talking about my ideas. Both Francine and Toni encouraged me to have fun and just pick out different fabric. I picked some out, still a little conservative, and then Francine helped me out. She threw in fat quarters and talked to me about looking at the fabric as pieces, not as a whole. Each piece in one of the fat quarters added a different splash of color or design that would make blocks stand out. This was so much fun!
 This may not look like much, all stacked together. But I think this fabric, along with the fabric I already bought, will make some great blocks.
So, thank you, Francine and Toni! I am cleaning up my work space and plan to start tomorrow. Wonderful Wednesday was a bit too much for me and I need to put my feet up for a bit!

 

Last Quilt

A few months ago, my friends and I were visiting one of our favorite quilt shops, Las Colchas. They had a Christmas quilt hanging on the wall that just caught my attention. It was different. Seasonal, but not Christmas-y. I had no intention of buying the kit, but I did.
My first response to the fabric was that it was lively and told a story. The fabric is A Winter’s Tail, by Elizabeth Grubough. The bear and rabbit featured in these fabrics are very cute. I just thought there were a lot of stories going on in the fabric. I thought it should be named, A Winters TALE.
I have never made an X block, so this was a learning experience for me. Once I pieced the top, I thought maybe it was a bit too busy. I ended up adding a neutral beige with small polka-dot border to give a place for the eye to rest. There is a bright green binding that is not seen in this photo. There are tinges of this green in the blocks, and the binding really picks it up. Jeana Kubik quilted it for me and I love the end product. It is still a bit busy for my comfort zone, but it is growing on me. I hope the recipient of this quilt feels the same. 😉


Jeana sells 118″ wide backing, and I chose this beige/gold star and snowflake fabric.

Winter’s Tale

On one of my shopping trips to Las Colchas, a display quilt caught my eye. It was made from the fabric collection of Elizabeth Grubaugh, which I found to be so “active” and different. One of the fabrics is called Bear’s Holiday…my favorite. Another print, that has very cute rabbits, is called Marshmallow Morning. Then there is the Deer Santa print. The animal prints just tell a story. The quilt is called A Winter’s Tail, but I think it should be called a Winter’s Tale. It is a holiday quilt, but it does not look like the typical seasonal quilt. I bought the fabric and pattern on impulse, and I’m glad I did.
I managed to get everything cut today. I also pieced thirteen of the blocks. I hope to finish piecing the other blocks tomorrow. Then I can assemble the quilt when I return from Rockport.

A Bear’s Holiday

I love the color combinations.