End of January

Inspiration is a guest that does not willingly visit the lazy. – Tchaikovsky

After I finished piecing the dinosaur quilt, I found myself in a quandary as to what to do next. I did a little bit of this and that, but just couldn’t get interested in anything in particular. I made some Valentine crafts for the grandkids, but that took only two days. I didn’t think I was being lazy, but inspiration just wasn’t coming my way. 😉
My granddaughter and I have frequent video conversations, and one day I started talking to her about zentangle art. A few years ago, I was really into this form of art, and I have quite a few art journals filled with zentangle. My granddaughter is a doodler like I am, so I thought she might like to try it. I shared some tutorials for kids just to get her started. A few days later, she showed me some of the zentangle art that she had done. This renewed my interest in zentangle, and finally, I was inspired to make something. Instead of using markers and pens to zentangle, I wanted to use thread. I had thread sketched some inchies and twinchies a couple of years ago. To prepare for this fabric book, I cut some 6″ x 12″ canvas, muslin, and batting to make quilt sandwiches. I folded the quilt sandwich in half, and thread-sketched a bird on each half. I drew a one- inch strip in the center for the spine. After thread sketching the birds, I got to practice on meandering. My meandering is still not perfect, but I am finding that my hand motion is much smoother and not as jaggy as before. To make the book signatures, I placed two thread-sketched sandwiches, wrong-sides -together, and zig-zagged from the lines I had drawn for the spine, all the way around. This formed a folded spine. I then sewed a seam along the open edge, completely sealing the signature. Each signature had four birds. There were two signatures with a total of 8 birds. I attached the two signatures by blanket stitching along the pinched spine. Two 9″ X 12″ pieces of fabric were quilted for the cover. The signatures were centered on the cover and opened to expose the center of the book. The cover was attached to the signatures with a machine- stitched seam down the center of the spine.
Every Friday, I look for the next tag theme for the 52 tag challenge. This week, the theme was “kisses”. I love watching the tutorials by Anne Brook. She makes beautiful things out of scraps and bits. I found some scraps and I added a butterfly charm to represent a butterfly kiss. The buttons represent the hugs. This OX tag was made with my grandchildren in mine.
On January 1st, I started piecing a temperature quilt. I am using the pattern by Canuck Quilter Designs. The January row is now complete, and it is a fun representation of our crazy Texas weather. There are lows of 28 and highs of 80.
My friend, Marti, sent me a very cute crow pin. Marti is the one who got me hooked on bird watching. Today, she called to ask if I was interested in wool felt pieces she was ready to donate. She said she no longer wanted to make pins with the felt and thought I might like them. She knows that I am never one to say no to free supplies. She then reminded me of the thread sketched pins I made her a few years ago, and hinted that she might like some more. I thread sketched some twinchies and small shapes for her. She said she would add the pin parts to them later.
This afternoon, UPS delivered a box of two fat quarter bundles that I ordered from the Fat Quarter Shop. One is Art Theory by Alison Glass for Andover Fabrics. The other bundle is Quotation by Moda. Marti and I had planned to have our own quilting retreat with another one of our friends. Since this is not possible at this time, Marti sent me the book, Sister Sampler Quilts, by Anne Marie Chany. We are going to have a Zoom retreat somehow, and make one of these samplers. I ordered two fat quarter bundles for the sampler, because I couldn’t decide which bundle I liked better. I still can’t. It all depends on which sampler we choose to make.
February will soon be here.
Hopefully, healthy and good times are around the corner.
Stay safe.


Mother’s Day

My sister, Emma, sent me a photo of her and her dog. They were relaxing on the backyard deck. Instead of attempting to make a fabric art piece exactly like the image, I took a little liberty with the models. In the photo, my sister and her dog were laying on a outdoor sofa. I decided to make a back view of them sitting in her backyard. My sister has a gorgeous garden and yard to enjoy with her pal, Bella. I sketched Bella and Emma on paper. Then I used this as a template to trace onto muslin. The muslin was backed with firm interfacing.The next step was to collage the images with fabric. This was followed by thread sketching the image. I cut close to the thread sketching to make an applique. I made a quilt square using green and blue fabric for the top. I used a muslin backing. Then I glued the applique onto the center of the block and thread sketched once again.
The flowers that my son and DIL sent me are in my sewing room. As I was admiring the arrangement, I realized that this will be a Mother’s Day where I will not be with my sons. I have a photo taken of us the last time the four of us were together this year. These guys are the best! They are my pride and joy.
I made a quilt block based on the image of the photo. It is an abstract, thread sketch outline of our photo.
Happy Mother’s Day.
Stay safe.

My Happy Place

And so, it is Saturday. Or, is it? Who knows anymore?

My video today begins with a selfie of my unruly, uncut hair. When I see myself in the mirror in the morning, I get a very rude awakening. My hair looks a bit like a combination of Einstein and Beethoven. I sure miss my hair stylist!

I was able to deliver the quilts I made for my two nephews. I had dropped one off last week. This week, I picked up the second quilt from my friend who longarms for me. After binding the quilt, I was able to have a socially distant visit with my sister and nephews. It was good to see them.

Our mornings have been cool and breezy, so I have been taking advantage of this pleasure. I sit on my outside rocking chair to drink my coffee and hopefully get inspired. One morning, the blackbirds roosting in the trees were being particularly raucous. I found myself listening to the different sounds they made as they flew in and out of the trees. The blackbirds seemed pretty territorial and there were some mad dash attacks on the mourning doves and sparrows that happened to get too close. The next morning, I took my stitching bag outside with me to drink my coffee and make something. I created a fabric piece about the blackbirds. The blackbirds were pretty active again and I just totally enjoyed watching and listening. I had researched the different types of sounds they make and found it very interesting.

Today, I received an email from one of the condominiums in Port Aransas, Texas. The email stated that the beaches at Port A are closed to visitors, but Port A will be ready to welcome us back as soon as they can. At first, a feeling of sadness washed over me. Port A has been the host of many family outings. There are so many precious memories of time spent there with my sons and grandchildren. I have always thought of Port A as My Happy Place. So, I decided to make a fabric art piece of this very special place.

To make the piece, I cut a 10″ square of muslin and backed it with firm interfacing. I then used fabric with a cloud design and glued it to the top part of the square. I had some leftover “wavy” blue fabric from a yellow ducky quilt I made for my grandson. I cut it with a scalloped bottom and a curvy, horizon top. I had some textured beige linen type fabric that I used for the sand. I covered the sand with a white tulle piece. I added some layers of the sand on top of the tulle, then thread sketched the sand. I also thread sketched the waves and quilted the clouds. I took a separate piece of muslin and drew a back-view selfie. I then added fabric to create the hair, a hat, and a beach dress. I thread sketched and outlined the selfie and cut it out as an applique. I also drew two seagulls and prepared them to applique. I decided to quilt this block and bind it.
I now have My Happy Place hanging in my sewing room. Hopefully, my family and I can visit Port A once again.

Stay safe.

Morning Meditations

This past Sunday, I was drinking a cup of coffee from one of my favorite mugs. I should say that I have many “favorite” cups.  All of a sudden, the thought of creating fabric art pieces based on my coffee mugs came to mind.
I started collecting coffee cups and mugs years ago. My collection grew each year, because many of my students would gift me all sorts of mugs and cups. After 42 years of teaching, I have quite a collection. I add to my collection every time I visit shops or new places. Every morning, I choose a different cup. Each mug brings a special memory or thought to mind. Choosing just the right cup from which to drink coffee becomes part of my morning meditation.
For this past Sunday, I recreated my “All You Need is Love” coffee cup. This is one of my all time favorite songs, so I just had to make it be my first art piece for the week. It was my Singing Sunday.
On Monday, I was drinking from a cup that reflected my Manic Monday mood. I love flamingos, and the “I Don’t Give a Flock” cup was perfect for this Monday. I fussy cut a flamingo from a scrap, then I thread sketched the outline. The words were  hand-embroidered.
Tuesday’s cup is a philosophy of life, “Live Every Day like it’s Taco Tuesday”. Scraps were used for the top of the cup. I also used the tiniest of scraps to make the taco. I thread-sketched the outline of the cup, and hand-embroidered decorations and words. I used to dread making french-knots, but now I like to make them.
Wednesdays have always been a bit wacky. My students and I used Wacky Wednesdays as an excuse to have extra fun mid-week. My cup for the day had to be my Dr. Seuss cup. It holds the extra bit of coffee one might need on a Wednesday. I fussy cut a Dr. Seuss fabric and appliqued it onto the blue fabric that I had cut into the round shape of the cup.
I have been missing my trips to the quilting shops. I am doing some online and drive-by shopping at two of our local shops. My Thursday morning cup was about quilting. I found this cup on one of my trips to JoAnn’s last year. I fussy cut a spool of thread image, thread-sketched the outline, and hand-embroidered the wording.
After making these first fabric pieces, I decided I was going to use them to make a fabric book. One of my year long projects is making a fabric book for each month. My morning meditations have been so helpful in getting through this month of April so it made sense to me to make a Good Morning fabric book of meditations. I used two of my four remaining sheets of Kraft-Tex to make the book cover.
In order to make the book, I already chose and made my cup for this week’s Fun Friday. It will be my elephant cup. I also collect elephants, so, when I saw this cup in a shop, I just had to buy it. I drew the elephant on white fabric and thread-sketched the details. Water color pencils were used for the fabric rendition of this whimsical cup.
Saturday’s cup will be all about birds. This cup was a gift from one of my students. I used fabric scraps to form the top and the handle of the cup. The birds and tree limb were thread sketched. Water color pencils were used to color the birds and leaves.

The first page in the book is a selfie-thread-sketch. Whenever I have spent time with my granddaughter, we would choose one day to be a Pajama-Day. During this pandemic, I am trying not to have too many pajama days. I did have one this week, so it became part of my book.  I made a muslin cut-out of myself and made fabric paper doll style pajamas. The face, neck, hands, and ankles are thread-sketched. I fussy cut some owl fabric for my slippers. The coffee cup I am holding is made from a very tiny, fussy-cut Cat in a Hat.

Making these fabric art pieces about my cups has been a fun activity for me this week. This Sunday morning will begin with a different cup!
I hope all of you are doing well.
Stay safe.

Another Week

My day began with communicating with my sons. We all related to Bill Murray in the Groundhog movie. I always feel better after I get in touch with my sons. They make me laugh.

The video for this week includes different types of projects. The first photo is that of a yellow rose. My younger sister had a birthday this week. My dad used to call my sister his Yellow Rose, so I made one out of fabric scraps. I had mailed her a rice bag tote and a set of magnetic Spanish words to write poetry. Our original plan was to meet in Gruene, Texas to have lunch by the river. Instead of having a scenic lunch with my sisters, I had a peanut butter sandwich in my sewing room. Not complaining…just missing my sisters.

The second photo in the video is that of a bookmark. My daughter-in-law sent me a photo of a bookmark that she made out of fabric. I liked the idea, so I made one for myself. I plan to make some more.

I follow kitschychic on Instagram. She creates very interesting and beautiful textile art. She posted a piece about a roll of fabric collage that she was making out of scraps. She plans to use these rolls to make fabric for other projects. In her post, she asked for ideas of how these fabric collage rolls could be used. The responses from different people were so creative. I decided to make my own fabric collage roll. I cut a 2.5″ X 36″ strip of muslin. Each day, I dump my bin of small scraps on the table. I glue the scraps onto the roll, and then plant myself in front of the television to watch old movies and stitch. This is such a great way to wind down at the end of these LONG days. I am almost finished with my first roll. My plan is to make more rolls. I do not know how I will use them yet, but there are so many possibilities.

The next photo in the video is that of a sparrow. I used the smallest of scraps to make a collage of a bird and cloud.

After the sparrow on the video, I have a photo of a thread sketch I made of my grandson. My son sent me a photo of another great father-son activity. He and his son made a shield out of wood, to go with the wooden sword they made last week. These two guys love to upcycle materials. They used wood from an old futon, and the remains of an old belt, to make the shield. My son’s message with the photo was #neverthrowanythingaway. I sent him a photo of all my tiny fabric scraps on the table and asked him if he was talking to me!

Today’s art project is next in the video. I was thinking of one of the last times I went up to take care of my grandson. It was such a fun time, just the two of us. On one of the days, I went to pick him up from school. I surprised him with a special treat. I had a juice pack and his favorite cookie. There is a Mexican restaurant by his house that has a bakery. My grandson loves the cookie with “bajillion” sprinkles. The name of the cookie is Polvorne con Chochitos (sprinkles). The smile on his face when he saw that cookie is such a happy memory for me. To make the cookie, I made a circle fabric sandwich. I placed the cookie fabric and the muslin right side together. The batting was at the bottom, behind the top fabric. I sewed around the edges. Then, I cut a slit in the muslin and turned the fabric inside out. The result was something that actually looked like a cookie. Then, I made french knots of different colors to make the sprinkles. I sewed the cookie onto a Mexican design fabric I had used to make a quilt.

The last photo in the video is artwork from my grandson. All week, his online reading assignments have been books illustrated with collages and mixed media. His assignment for today was to make his own paper collage. He cut and created a dinosaur drinking water. I was very impressed with his creativity.

My afternoon ended with a zoom session with my granddaughter. I was able to participate in one of her school assignments. She was to have and write a conversation with someone on a topic of choice. She chose to ask me about what I plan to do for my next project. It was so much fun to have her ask me questions. She was interested in knowing the details of what I planned to do next.

We are in for a rainy weekend.
I hope that you are doing well.

Hopeful

It was heartwarming to see the new found ways to celebrate special days. Neighborhood drive-arounds, virtual musical and church celebrations, and technological communications…all help to keep our spirits up and hopeful.
A few weeks ago, I sent an Easter package to my grandchildren in order to do my part in keeping things as normal as possible for them. I know their parents made it a special day for them.
My Meemaw friends and I shared photos of Easters past. It was so much fun seeing photos taken when we were children back in the ’50’s and ’60’s. We shared the stories that went along with the photos, and had some good laughs.
The photo of me from Easter, 1956, became the inspiration for my Today’s Art piece. I hadn’t planned on making an art piece on Easter Sunday, but it just happened. In the photo, I was wearing my Easter finery, with hat and a house-shaped straw purse. I loved the way my petticoat made my dress so fluffy and poofy. My gloves must have been in my purse. We always wore gloves to church.
I met with one of my sons  and DILs to give them the masks I had made. They were going to disperse them to family who live in their area. We kept our social distance, which was very difficult. But it was so good to see them. Later that day, they sent me a photo of them wearing the masks.  The fact that we are now wearing masks can be depressing, but I am viewing it as the positive action that it is. We are doing what we need to do, along with social distancing. Today’s Art is a thread sketch of the photo my son sent. It is the last thread sketch of mask wearing that I intend to make. I just wanted to capture the loving spirit of these two adorable people, who said they were “smiling” behind the masks. They give me hope.

Busy

It has been a busy two days. Some Texas mayors are requesting that masks be worn. Our mayor has taken great measures to protect the people in our area. Thank goodness for our local government’s scientific approach to handling this pandemic. The San Antonio mayor has been ahead of the situation from the onset. I wish I could have the same confidence in the other branches of government. Even our Texas grocery chain, HEB, was prepared for this. The Texas Monthly has a great article about the preparations.
On April 7, I spent some time looking at the pink moon. I took a photo with my camera. The next day, I made a fabric piece to commemorate this moment. Maybe this will be a repeat post about the pink moon. Sorry, if I am repeating myself. These past few weeks is so much like the Groundhog Day movie.
Yesterday I began making masks for my family and friends. I finished them today. It is a task that I am glad I could do, but not one that I particularly enjoyed. I do not have the patience for this type of task.
I am not a seamstress. Also, I was beginning to feel depressed with each one I made. To think that the world my grandchildren live in requires them to wear a mask if they go out. Even though they do not go out, the masks were made for emergency purposes.
Thanks to Tierney, who shared the pattern by Made Everyday. Since elastic is nowhere to be found, I used my stash of binding strips to make the ties.
After two days of working on masks, I got back to my Daily Art project. I thread sketched my eyes and neck. Then I did a fabric collage for my hair and face mask. The hand-stitching added some texture to the piece.
Now, I think I will indulge in a Movie Marathon.
Wishing all of you a blessed weekend.

Thank You

Mariss, of Fabrications, posted the question I have been asking myself…Should I be writing about the fun I am having with fabric and thread during these sombre and scary times?”
Thank you, Mariss. I agree that writing nothing at all is not a good alternative. I believe we need to continue with our art and crafts in order to stay emotionally healthy during these times. Reading posts and viewing the work of others is something I look forward to doing each day. We need to take care of ourselves, in order to take care of others. Thanks to everyone who continues to post and share.

I am sharing Today’s Art for April 2 and 3. For April 2, I used scraps to make a fabric collage of a house. The text fabric had some words I thought fitting for these times: Home Sweet Home; Hello Life! ; Create. Making this piece was a form of a Gratitude prayer for me.
On April 2, I had Zoom time with my granddaughter. I recently read about the hacking problems with this online tool, so I do not know if I will be having other Zoom sessions. I will be talking to my sons about this. On our chats, we include drawing activities. This time, we also wrote an acrostic poem. When we draw, we take turns giving directions on drawing something. Sometimes, we start with the same basic shape and each draw something based around this shape. On this  particular day, she was wearing her owl robe. I could see her head bobbing up and down as she was drawing. I could not help but chuckle every time I saw her owl head. I pen sketched it and showed it to her. Then, today, I decided to thread sketch it and make a square. I wanted to capture this precious memory on fabric.
Last spring, my friends and I went on a bluebonnet outing. The bluebonnets in Texas are a beautiful site.  My second project for today was embroidering some bluebonnets.
I also spent some time working on my 1 1/2 inch square quilt. I cut more fabric, and completed one block.
Take care, everyone.

International Women’s Day 2020

March 8, 2020 is International Women’s Day. This is a day to celebrate the accomplishment of women. I wanted to start by celebrating women close to home…my three daughter-in-laws. I am very lucky to have these three women in my life. All three of my DILs are strong, loving, and dedicated women who are a positive force in our family and wherever they go. They are each accomplished in their own field.
For Angela, I thread sketched an image from one of my favorite photos of her doing a handstand. She does handstands wherever she goes…just for fun.
For Shenika, I thread sketched a Sugar Skull. I appliqued the thread sketch onto the top of a sewing notion pouch.
For Phyllis, I thread sketched an image of the two of us dancing to a song we both like…Feelin’ Alright, written by Dave Mason and sung by Joe Cocker.
I enjoyed giving these gifts to them this weekend, as I let them know how much they mean to me.

https://flic.kr/s/aHsmLQVRtW