Diversions

Diversion: an activity that diverts the mind from tedious or serious concerns
(Definition by Oxford Languages)
So far, 2021 is not looking much better than 2020. Diversion is the name of the game for me right now, so I have been keeping busy making things. I will follow Tierney’s example and just post about things I am making, and not the endangered country we live in today.
Inchies
My interest in making inchies has been renewed ever since I came across a book my friend had given me.
Also, on Pinterest, I had seen some inchie books made from paper. I thought it would be fun to make one using fabric. With a bit of embroidery and fussy cutting, I made an inchie booklet.
Embroidery
I continue to draw and embroider things that come to mind. I made a 2021 Guide fabric book using the embroidered peacock, snail, and bee. I am also working on a Stitch a Day project. So far, I have embroidered a bird…shocking, right?
Felting
It is believed that the art of felting dates back to pre-historic times in Central Asia. Felting is something I have been wanting to learn, and I finally took the plunge. The feeling of shaping a wad of wool into little creatures such as a bird or elephant is so gratifying. After making the first bird, I thought I could work better without the leather finger tips for protection. I wanted to feel the wool in order to facilitate shaping. Wrong. While making the robin without the finger protection, I jabbed my index finger pretty badly. Those little barbs on the needle are a bit vicious. It took about two days for my finger to stop hurting. When I made the elephant, I focused a bit more than before. I used the finger tips about 50% of the time. My felt creatures are not as tight as they can be, but with a bit more practice, I think they will improve.
Crochet
On a blog site, Crocht, I found a free pattern for crocheting a basket. I liked the pattern, but I changed it just a bit. There was enough yarn for me to make two baskets. These baskets are firm, yet flexible. I use them to hold the materials and tools needed for ongoing projects. These small project baskets are placed next to my recliner and I work on projects as I watch TV.
Snow Day
On January 10, Central Texas had a Snow Day! It was the reprieve we needed during these dark days. I was so happy to see the photos of my grandchildren having fun playing in the snow. My sister, Emma, sent a photo of a snowman that she built. I did an interpretive Snow Dance, but was told to come in before I slipped on the ice. 🙂 To commemorate this special day, I made a Snowman tag. It was to be the first entry in the
52 Tags Challenge that I am doing. For the snowman, I had made my own tag. I realized that this would be a bit much, and make the challenge feel like work and not fun. So, I ordered some ready-made tags, as recommended. This tag challenge is a fun way to use up scraps, and a great way to celebrate the weeks in the year.
Quilting
I have two weeks of my temperature quilt sewn together. I did not include a photo of this in the video. So far, I like the way the January row is taking shape.
Every baby needs a dinosaur quilt, so I purchased the Elizabeth Hartman Dinosaur Sampler pattern. I have been studying the pattern for days now, and my puzzler hurts. My friend, Joy, from Mesquite Bean, helped me choose the online fabrics for the quilt. Today, I was questioning if I would even start. But speaking with Joy, gave me the confidence to cut as I go, and not all at once…as suggested in the pattern. It would be an organizational disaster to cut it all at once.
Journaling
One of my journals is an art journal, where I just doodle or sketch simple things. The drawing in the video tells the story of something that happened as I was on my morning walk. I was enjoying my usual walk, just thinking, enjoying the outside, and listening to the music in my head. Suddenly, a squirrel dashed out from behind a garbage can that was on the street for pick-up. I shouted, the squirrel squealed, and we both dashed away. I do not know who was more startled, me or the squirrel. This might end up being something I thread sketch.

Oops!

My math has been totally off on these last two projects. I was short on fabric for finishing the border on my quilt. Now, I am short on fabric to make 4 fabric rope plates. Each plate takes 3/4 of a yard. Instead of using scraps, I purchased 4 different blue fabrics. Alas, I only purchased enough to make two plates. I finished one yesterday, and today I went back to the Mesquite Bean to purchase what I needed. I think my car is beginning to just automatically drive to this quilt shop. I need to take a crash refresher course in math measurements. 😁
I am making these fabric rope plates for my brother who will celebrate a birthday next month. He is a fantastic cook, and he always sets a great table.

Today’s Spread the Word:

Christmas Quilt ~ in July

As summers go, we have had a relatively mild summer. That’s to say we have not had weeks of continuous temperatures above 100. When I was teaching, this part of July was when I was already busy preparing for a new school year. This July, I have decided to prepare for Christmas. Today, I started on a Christmas quilt. I am making the Cozy Quilt Strip Tube Tannenbaum from the pattern design of Daniela Stout. I chose this pattern because I have never made a strip tube quilt, and I thought it would be interesting to try out. I found a great tutorial by Donna Jordan of Jordan Fabrics. I am such a visual learner, and the video tutorial provided the help I needed to understand the pattern. Since I did not use a jelly roll, I needed help in double checking my fabric calculations. Nancy, at Mesquite Bean, helped me with figuring this out.
This morning, I cut the background fabric and the strips.

This afternoon, it took just about thirty minutes to make the three sets of tubes.

Maybe after I finish running errands tomorrow, I might be able to use my new strip tube ruler to cut the blocks. I might even play some Christmas music for motivation. 🎄

Free Friday

Free Friday was a fun way I used to end the week with my first grade students. Students were able to choose from a variety of integrated curriculum activities that were based on what we had been learning all week. They worked in groups to create a technology product that included reading, writing, science, math, and social studies. I would spend 15 minutes explaining the activities and expectations, and then they were “free” to work on their own for the whole day. The last 30 minutes of the day were spent presenting their product to the class. Free Friday gave me the opportunity to work with individuals who needed reteaching or support. It gave the students a sense of independence and a chance to show what they know. It gave me a chance to evaluate and plan for the next week. Music was playing all day, and everyone was busy and happy.

Today was my Free Friday. I only made a few things, but I accomplished quite a bit. A good chunk of the morning was spent learning more about my sewing machine. I practiced different stitches and also how to get a perfect 1/4 inch seam on this machine.
Time was also spent planning and designing my next quilt. I am making a quilt for my future daughter-in-law. We discussed color and pattern ideas, and she ended up saying it is up to me…she would like anything.
The afternoon was spent at the Mesquite Bean. They have a great selection of fabric, and there is an associate there who is absolutely the best. Tracy was super helpful in guiding my selection of fabric. He would pull out all the bolts I wanted and then watch me as I narrowed down the 24 fabrics that I needed. After I would make a combination, I would ask his opinion. He has a great sense of color and fabric design.  We mostly agreed on the fabric, but he pointed out things that I did not see right off. We would discuss and make minor changes here and there. I totally enjoyed the afternoon selecting fabric with Tracy.


This is the origami fabric butterfly I made while practicing on my sewing machine.

Last night, my son sent me a video of my grandson reading.
Music to my ears!!!!!
Of course, he is getting a reading pouch with three new books.

Reading is Out-of-This-World!
I decided not to add a lace zipper to this pouch. It shuts just fine and it is easier to open and close.
Free Friday never fails to be a fun and productive day.
I hope you enjoyed your Friday.

Back in the Groove

For the past few months, I have been trying different techniques and styles, hoping to one day make an artistic quilt. I have no real idea of what I am doing in this area, and I was becoming overwhelmed by what I “can’t do”. I think I was trying out too many things, instead of just focusing on one. This is my usual attention deficit MO.

As a teacher, I always told my students to feel good about what they “could do”. This would help them get a jump start to move on and learn more. So, I decided to follow my own advice and jump start with something I “can do”. I know I can piece simple quilts, so I decided it was time to make another one. The last one I pieced was back in March.

Donating my fabric stash was a great start. This was followed by a trip to the Mesquite Bean, where I purchased some Moda fat quarters.
I cut and pieced the blocks yesterday.

I started with cutting 6.5″x 21″; and 3.5″ x 21″ strips.

I made three different versions of 9.5″ x 9.5″ blocks.
This afternoon, I plan to arrange the blocks on the design wall. I am thinking of trying to applique something on some of the blocks. The fabric may be too busy for applique of any kind, but I will try some things out to see if I like it.
One big plus from piecing this quilt, is that I now have a new batch of different sized and shape fabric pieces. This new stash has some promise of making an interesting art piece.
Another benefit…it felt good to be back in the groove.

Fresh Start

My sister, Emma, belongs to the Girlustrators, a group of illustrators who share and support each other. I depend on my blogging friends for artistic support. I also heavily depend on Emma. She frequently checks in with me to see how I am doing when it comes to art and creating…and other family things, also. We share our successes, doubts, failures, and thoughts about our art work. Emma intuitively knew that I was going through a bit of a rut, and she called me today to see what was happening. She was not surprised about my decision to empty my bins and donate all of the fabric stash. She agreed that it was a good move for me. She told me that an empty bin is a sign of hope…that it will be filled up again.

It just so happens, when Emma called, I had just returned from a fabric shopping spree with our sister, Adri. I love shopping with Adri. She is always telling me to “go ahead and buy it”! So, I did!
We spent a lot of time at the Mesquite Bean. I walked away with a bag of gorgeous fabric. I have not pieced an entire quilt for a few months now.  I still have a long term goal to make an improv quilt one day, and I will continue to practice improv pieces. But right now, I will reboot by piecing a simple fat quarter quilt.

My new marvelous Moda fabric!
Valley by Sherri and Chelsi

I am happily clearing my table, cleaning my machine, and changing my rotary blade.
Hopefully, I can get a fresh start tomorrow.

Note: I was so eager to get some fabric, that I showed up to the Mesquite Bean before opening time. The store owner let my sister and I in because they saw our faces pressed against the window! The store has a row by row with a three Mariachi applique design. They have decided to include this block into a quilt that reflects San Antonio. They are in the midst of designing the whole quilt, and they had the paper layout on the table.They allowed us to see the paper layout of the San Antonio quilt and I LOVE IT! This is a definite next quilt project for me. They are going to sell it by blocks, and the blocks should all be ready in another month. One of the blocks is a taco!

Wednesday Walk

An early-morning walk is a blessing for the whole day.
Henry David Thoreau

My friends and I started our walking group today.
We were scheduled to begin last week, but we were rained out.
Today was just a gorgeous day for a walk through part of the downtown area.
My childhood home was a bit south of downtown San Antonio.
My elementary and high school years were in downtown schools.
Today’s walk brought back so many memories of my childhood in downtown San Antonio.
Our group started off at the Pearl Brewery.
The parents of one of my childhood friend worked at the Pearl when it was a brewery.
Now, the buildings and area house retail stores, eateries, and the Culinary Institute of America.
We traveled down the river walk to the Southwest School of Art.
This was once a convent and academy for girls, founded in 1851.

This is one of the courtyards.

This is the Fountain of Peace. It gave me some ideas for a project.

I have taken art courses at this center, and today, we went to visit a friend who is taking a weaving class at the center.
She introduced us to other weavers and we were able to see their beautiful work.
Our friend has just begun a project. I love the way she works…no plan.
She chooses the yarn and creates as she goes.

Her thread design board is sitting on the window.

We confirmed her choice of thread to add to the weave she has in progress.

This  school of fish suspended beneath the interstate overpass, is the work of artist, Donald Lipski.

This is one of the water fountains near the brewery, but I did not catch the name or the artist.

Throughout the morning walk, I kept pointing out things that I thought would be a great quilt.
My friends were kind enough to put up with me.

This early morning walk was truly a blessing for the whole day.
I visited the Mesquite Bean Fabric Shop on my way home.
Yes, I bought some fabric.
I had to use my 20% discount.
I needed a bit more fabric for my I Wish You a Merry  QAL.
Block 8 has two gift boxes.
At first, I thought this block was too difficult, and I was going to make a different type of gift block.
But then, I decided to take the challenge.
One of the reasons I chose to do the QAL was to learn new things.
This is as far as I have gotten.
It entailed about three rip and redos, and the seams for the ribbon piece are still a bit off.
I am letting it sit for awhile, before I get back to it.
Ribbons on gift boxes aren’t perfect…right?

October

 


Source

On a day when our country is once again hit by tragedy, I needed to get away and do something for someone else, no matter how small.
Luckily, my friends and I had planned to meet and work on a project.
My friend Marti is involved in many community projects.
One of her favorites, is the Headwaters at Incarnate Word.
The mission for this group is “to preserve, restore, and celebrate the rich natural, cultural, historical, spiritual, and educational values of the headwaters of the San Antonio River, especially within the 53-acre Headwaters Sanctuary. “
They sponsor many free educational events, that include bird observation walks, landscaping lessons, and films on environmental issues. October Calendar

This Sunday, the Headwaters Sanctuary will be sponsoring a Native Wildlife and Habitat Celebration.
Marti called us together to make bird seed feeders.  These will be available for all of the celebrants on Sunday.
Last year, we made 121 of these cookie cutter bird feeders as part of our nature classes for which we volunteered to teach at an elementary school. At that time, we said we would never make these feeders again.
Well, we made some today. It is a messy production, but we have fun together.
We were outside picking acorns to decorate these feeders.
Nothing like having NERD written on our foreheads.
After the feeders dry, Marti and her sweet husband will pull out the straws and loop strings through the holes.
I know children like receiving these bird feeders and placing them out for the birds.
Little things make children happy.
 
       
As usual, we took a nice lunch break. We talked about our upcoming trip to visit the Crystal Bridges Museum in Arkansas. We are excited about seeing the work of artist, Dale Chihuly.

It was raining on my way home, so I decided not to stop in at the Mesquite Bean Fabric Shop.
Instead, I came home and made a fall tote.
I used some of the orange fabric swatches that my brother sent me for the pumpkin.
I cut three pieces from two types of orange fabric, and pieced them to form a pumpkin.
For the first time, I used the needle turn method of applique.
I ended up hand-stitching  the segments of the pumpkin and the outside edges.
My first thought was to stuff the pumpkin, but the way I pieced the three segments , along with the thickness of the fabric, gave it enough  dimension.
Wool felt was used for the leaves and stem.
  
I used beige polka-dot fabric for the lining.  I made three pockets out of one long pocket on each side of the lining.
I like to keep my phone, keys, and wallet in the inner pockets and leave room in the tote for other things.
The back has one large pocket.

My new quilting books came in today, so I plan to enjoy studying and reading tomorrow.
Also, my son and daughter-in-law are driving in and I can’t wait to see them!

Shopping Day…Lucky Day

 

This morning, I decided that I had been house-bound long enough.
Since the sun decided to shine this morning, I thought it would be a good day to visit with my sister and take her for lunch.
We had a great lunch at Twin Sisters…delicious quiche.
I chose this eatery since it is right around the corner from the Mesquite Bean Fabric Shop.
We got to the store as they were shelving new fabric…oh my…what goodies!
There was a sale on Christmas fabric, so I picked out a few for
the I Wish You a Merry Quilt Along.
I am sticking to red, green, off-white, beige, and a tinge of gold.
After I dropped my sister back at her house, I made my way to JoAnn’s Fabrics.
As I entered the store, a rainstorm hit.
Just my luck to be stuck at a fabric store, waiting out the rain!
There was a great sale on Christmas fabrics at JoAnn’s also, so this was my lucky day.



I love the white on white polka-dot.
If these don’t work out for the QAL, they can always be used for something else.
While at JoAnn’s, I visited with some of the salespeople that have come to know me from my frequent visits. I shared the information about the QAL and they seemed very interested.

Shopping Day was fun.
It’s back to working on the Texas quilt tomorrow.