La Celebración

As part of my Chelabration year, I wanted to make a festive quilt that reflected my family and culture. Las Colchas is known for it’s Tex-Mex lines of fabric. I was out of town when I saw the Deborah Curiel Viva Mexico fabric posted on the Las Colchas Facebook. As soon as I returned home, I went directly to the quilt shop to purchase this gorgeous fabric. My friend, Marti, had lent me her book, The Gentle Art of Quiltmaking. One of the quilt patterns in this book is a large Log Cabin quilt. I thought the Log Cabin pattern would be a good way to show case the bold prints and colors of the fabric.
The center block is 18″ x18″. I chose a black and white Mexican village scene fabric. The center fabric is filled with action. The 2.5″ borders are black and white polka-dot, a pink print, and a turquoise solid. The 5.5″ borders are all floral, with birds and animals. The second-to-the last border has toucans. My plan was to add an extra border to make it a larger quilt. However, I miscalculated on one of the pink, floral and bird fabrics. I only had enough fabric for three sides. So, the quilt ended up being a 78″ X 78″ quilt. I pieced the backing for the fabric about two weeks ago, so it will be a bit larger than needed. That will teach me to never start with the backing. As I was piecing the top, I questioned if I had too much color and print going on. I set it aside for a bit to think about it, before deciding the more color and print the better! I could not decide if the binding should be the same black and white polka dot fabric or the pink fabric. I asked my sister, Emma, and she confirmed my preference of using the pink fabric.
In April, the city of San Antonio celebrates with two weeks of partying, called Fiesta. My friends and I were planning on making our hats and badges and attending the Battle of the Bands event. It looks like our Fiesta may be postponed or cancelled this year, because of the Covid19. Hopefully, I can get my Celebración quilt long armed and ready by April, so I can decorate and have my own Fiesta at home.

What a day!

Have you ever had one of those days where everything just comes together? These types of days are rare for me, but today was ONE OF THOSE DAYS.
Last night, as I was trying to fall asleep, I kept getting ideas about making birds…then Valentine cards…then small books. Needless to say, I did not get enough sleep. But it was worth it.
I love making fabric books, and I had seen an interesting post on Instagram. It was a monthly challenge to make books, #areyoubookenough. I liked the idea of making a book for each month, but I was having difficulty thinking of a book based on the January theme of “in between”. I decided to just make a book with no particular theme.
A few weeks ago, Francine and I ( at Las Colchas ) had a conversation about making books. In fact, my interest in books began with a book-making class I took at her shop about four years ago. In our recent conversation, Francine suggested that I just dump my scraps on a table and start playing. That is exactly what I did.
The morning was spent making the fabric Valentine Cards, but I kept thinking of making a book. After supper, I picked up some of the small scrappy art I had started during the week. Then the idea of using some of these pieces in a book came to mind. I also found two very small bird fabric pieces I had made last year. Stitching, buttons, thread-sketching were all included. I made an applique of a bird to sew onto the cover which was made with a 5″ X 8″ piece of Kraft-Tex. The cover is lined and there is a Kraft-Tex piece to support the spine.
Now that the book is complete, I need to clean up my sewing room. Scraps of fabric are everywhere! Once I clean up, I am sure I will get a better night’s rest.

Friday

This new year, I am finding that I am not as organized as I would like to be. I have a rough idea of projects and things I want to do; but nothing is set in stone. I still have not figured out what to do about the problem I am having with no more space for photos on my blog. Tierney sent me the link where she explains her photo management. Thanks, Tierney! The problem is how to change the situation as it stands now. I had already upgraded once, but I took up all the space with those unedited photos. I have to consult with my sons to see what, if anything, can be done.

One of my interests for this year is to learn embroidery stitches. Two of the local quilt shops I visit are each having Sue Spargo embroidery classes, but it seems I can never make it to any of the classes. I am trying out new stitches on my own and making small art pieces. One of the pieces I embroidered was a selfie for 2020. The other piece was a combination of techniques. I drew a bird on muslin, and used water color pencils to add color. I sewed some burlap onto a leftover floral charm fabric. Then I added a silk backing. I am also working on another piece where I embroidered the dove, tree, heart, and butterfly that I drew on some linen blend. I am liking this project better than the 365 Day Button and Embroidery project that I started. In this project, a button and or stitches is added on each day of the year.

My Meemaw friends and I had a Wabi-Sabi day, last Sunday. Three of us decided to use these Wabi-Sabi days to work on new quilts. The fourth buddy is helping with whatever needs to be done. Since I had just returned from out-of-town, I did not have anything ready for the quilt I was planning. Instead, I helped my friend cut and get ready to piece her first quilt. This past Monday, I visited Las Colchas to get the fabric for my next quilt. The shop has a great selection of Tex-Mex prints. I have been wanting to make a quilt to celebrate my family culture and heritage. I chose a pattern from the book, The Gentle Art of Quiltmaking by Jane Brocket. The book was loaned to me by one of the Meemaws. She recommended one of the quilt patterns that she had chosen from this book to make a quilt for herself. She thought that the pattern would showcase the vibrant color and design of the Tex-Mex fabric, and I totally agree. I pieced the backing for this quilt, using a fabric which features milagros.

I am also working on a Minecraft quilt. The free pattern is by Kelli Fannin. In November, I had pieced the top three rows, and the bottom two rows. When I went to attach the two parts, I realized I was off. The bottom piece was wider than the top. After fooling with it a bit, I threw it in the This-Is-Driving-Me-Crazy bin. I pulled it out this past Tuesday, and took it to the Mesquite Bean. The helpful people at this shop gave me some suggestions that would require minimal rip and sew. Thanks to these friends, I was able to piece the top together today. Kelli Fannin created a dragon block for the backing. I plan to try this out tomorrow.
Note: Phyllis, if you are reading this blog, this quilt is a secret!

Last week, while in Round Rock, I went on a birding walk around the lake where one of my sons lives. It was my first birding walk for the year. Then, this Wednesday, the Meemaws went on a birding walk by the river in the King William area of San Antonio. So far, I have seen 21 different species of birds this year. Bird watching is so exciting!

*In the video, the linen blend that I used for the embroidery projects, shows an exaggerated version of the fabric. The fabric is really not that grainy.

Handy Sewing Pouch

One of my goals for 2019 is to learn more and improve my embroidery stitching skills. For my 365 day project, I chose to make a Button and Stitches project, an idea from Ashley Hackshaw.  I have all of my thread, needles, beads, etc. that I use for small projects in a jewelry box that was gifted to me by my youngest son MANY years ago. The plastic box is like a tool box that has a top shelf as you open the lid. This works out great for my at home projects. But, I am on the road a bit at the moment, so I decided to make a traveling fabric book/pouch for my hand sewing notions. My friend, Francine, at Las Colchas, showed me one that she had made and I really liked the idea. I decided to use scraps and stitch the cover out of pieces, just like Francine did. The inside of the book was personalized to suit what I needed to take along with me and have on hand.
Have Sewing Pouch
Will Travel

 

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.