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.

UFO or WIP

When my friends and I last met to work on the Brackenridge River Quilt, we had finished preparing the photo appliques. We were supposed to meet today, but plans were changed.
It seems we are all going in different directions for the next two months.
I was going to be the one to applique the photos, so I picked up the quilt today in order to finish the top.
My friend lives near the Mesquite Bean, and I stopped by just to see what is new.
Big mistake.
I have two designs in my quilt design sketch book.
One is a dinosaur quilt.
The other is an All You Need is Love Quilt.
I found great fabric at the Mesquite Bean that would be perfect for these two designs.
I did some major talking to myself, and decided it would be best to shelve these designs for now.
It was difficult, but I walked out of the store without fabric.

When I got home, I knew I had made the right decision.
This is what I saw when I took the river quilt to my sewing table.

Question: Do I scoop up these 2.5 inch squares and throw them in the UFO bin?
Or do I finish piecing the top for the 9-square patch quilt and then throw that into the WIP bin?

I knew if I placed those 2.5 inch squares in the UFO bin this quilt would never be finished.
I have grown fond of this design, so I decided to work on completing the top.
It really won’t take too much time.
I feel better about finishing the top and placing this in the WIP bin.


I set the blocks up into 4 columns.


Then I tried laying the blocks out into 3 columns.

I made some more blocks and decided that I prefer 4 columns.
Tomorrow, I will work on finishing the blocks.
I might have 5 rows of 4 or 4 rows of 4.

There will be time to work on the river quilt this weekend.
Problem solved…for now.

Next Project

Today, I completed putting the borders on the Transformer quilt.
There are three borders: red, blue, and black.
I was short ONE black strip, so I had to go to the Mesquite Bean to get what I needed.

Yesterday, I went on a tour of Brackenridge Park.
I have lived in San Antonio since I was two, and the park has always been a special place for me.
The tour was sponsored by the Brackenridge Conservancy.
Three of us were invited to this tour by a very special friend of ours.
The tour was so informative and enjoyable.
We were also able to see so many beautiful ducks and birds.
The morning ended with a picnic lunch.

While enjoying the day with my friends, I suggested we make a quilt to donate to the Conservancy.
The Conservancy  is just setting up a new office, and the quilt can be part of the decorations;
or they can choose to raffle it at one of the many events that they sponsor.

We would include photos that tell the history of this beautiful park.
But first things first.
We need to ask if they would like a quilt.
If so, we will set up our sewing days again.
We had stopped meeting for sewing.
This is on the list of possible projects.

My friends and I love to go birding.
So, it was an added treat to be able to see these beautiful creatures while on our tour.

  Black Bellied Whistling Duck

  Yellow Crested Night Heron

 Egyptian Geese Family

Next Project:
Today, I have spent some time designing a Texas Wildflower quilt.
I am planning on using the Wildflower VIII fabric by Moda.
My friend, Nancy, showed me some of this fabric that she purchased, and I think it would be perfect.
She and I are still working on a design.
 Moda Wildflower VIII