Donkey

This has been a very frustrating weekend. Our totally inept governor has shown no real leadership, and has in fact interfered with the true leadership of our mayor, and other Texas mayors. Now, Texas is in the top 5 ranking of states with increased covid. And San Antonio is #2 in hot spot cities.

It has been difficult staying focused, so I am still only working on small projects that I can finish quickly.
Last week, when I met with my friends, I gave them the vulture rocks that I had painted for them. We placed one at the base of our Meemaw tree. As usual, vultures came to visit as we sat under the tree.

One of my friends, Kaye, gave me some flat rocks, and asked if I could paint some donkeys on them. I read about donkeys and researched what they symbolize.  The donkey is a very interesting spirit animal. The donkey represents the following: tenacity, hard working attitude, true leadership, gentleness, and an awareness of oncoming danger. The donkey also likes to learn and he offers confidence, determination, and focus.  I drew and painted donkeys on three rocks. Then, I thought it would be fun to make an embroidery art piece. I drew and stitched a donkey onto linen and made a hoop plaque.

On one of our past Meemaw trips, Kaye showed me a double pouched eyeglasses case she had purchased at a craft show. The two pouches were facing in different directions, which makes it very handy to carry both your regular glasses and sunglasses. Since the pouch was old and worn, she wanted a new one. But she has not been able to find one. I looked online for patterns or tutorials, but did not find any. I forgot about this project until this weekend. There is a tutorial for single pouch eyeglasses cases by Owl Be Sewing. I followed the tutorial and made two quilted pouches. My original plan was to machine sew the two completed pouches together, but the layers were too thick. I laid one on top of the other, facing in different directions. Then I hand stitched them, using embroidery thread.

Another small project that I completed this weekend was for my grand baby. I had some leftover Dr. Seuss jelly roll strips, so I used them to make two fabric blocks. I wish I could give them to my grandson in person. 😦

While viewing classic movies, I stitched two small fabric art pieces. Thank you, Tierney, for sending a bag of scraps. I used small pieces of this fabric on these tiny art blocks. I have also used the scraps to make scrappy strips and patches. These will show up in some future quilt project.

It’s only Monday.
I have no idea what I’ll do or make tomorrow.
Hopefully, I will be inspired by the determination, confidence, and focus of the donkey! 🙂

Stay safe.

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.

Spread the Word

The recent somber and disturbing events, have caused me to feel a bit helpless and  useless. I entered my sewing room, my happy place, and just could not get back to finishing my Christmas quilt.
What can one do to stop this rise of hate and intolerance of diversity?
I decided to just spread the word…in my own small way.
Quilt Message Blocks
Spread the word.

Thank you, Tierney, for your upbeat post. You are so right…”it is good to post a reminder about the good people in the world we meet in our daily lives…”.

I will get back to making happy things. I just made a tote bag and zipper pouch for my grandson.
A Pokemon tote bag filled with school supplies.
Zippered Pokemon Pouch

The Christmas quilt will have to wait until tomorrow. Apparently, I miscalculated the fabric needed for the two borders. I am off by one strip on each border. 🙄 I might be able to adjust if I add a corner piece to each border. But, that is too much figuring for now. So, it will hang on the design wall until inspiration strikes…or I just head out to Mesquite Bean tomorrow.
In the meantime, hug your loved ones.

The first border is off-white on white with a candy cane design.
The second border is a peppermint print fabric.

Library Day

My home is located by Comanche Lookout. Fossils found in this historical area date back to 9,200 B.C.. It is the fourth highest point in Bexar County.  Comanche Lookout was part of the Camino Real that was established during the time of Spanish rule.
When I first moved into the area, the city was discussing how this land would be developed. Neighborhood groups were formed to provide input to help preserve this historical area.
The elementary school where I taught is located across the street from the back side of the park. In the early ’90’s, I was teaching fifth grade. I had my students invite the city council person for our district to come to our school and visit the Comanche Lookout. They greeted him with signs of “We Love Comanche Lookout”, and we presented our ideas. The city developed the 96 acre park. The Semmes Library is located adjacent to the park. My students and I would hike up the trails to the library. We also took many nature observation and science trips.
I live within walking distance to the park, and I used to include this route in my daily walks. This year, I have been opting for walking shorter distances. Today, I decided to once again enjoy the beautiful natural resources this park provides. Since I just finished two quilts, it was time to look around for some inspiration, so of course I wanted to go to the library. The park itself provided an atmosphere conducive to thinking. The weather is just perfect for a comfortable hike, and I need to take advantage of this while it lasts. Backpacks come in handy on these walks to the library. I came home with a good selection of books to get me started. One of the books was The New Bohemians, by Justina Blakeney. It was recommended by Tierney and I sure am happy that it was at the library. Thanks, Tierney!There is a small room that I will be decorating in the near future.

Fussy Cutters Club, by Angie Wilson, has some great tips for a project that my friends and I are planning for the summer. We plan to go to La Grange, Texas and meet up with another friend who lives near by. We are renting a B &B and having our own sewing retreat where we will be working on a house quilt pattern. We will be fussy cutting people, characters, and animal fabric to add to the house block.

Scandinavian Stitches, by Kajsa Wikman, has some cute ideas and tips for making small seasonal projects.
I continue to want to develop free-motion skills, so I checked out First Steps to free-motion quilting by Christina Cameli.
I am still reading through Sneaky Piecing by Beth Ferrier. It was recommended by Mary Puckett. I’m glad I purchased this one, because it is a good resource to have on hand.


Park Entry from the library.

My plan is to continue these walks to and through Comanche Lookout as long as we have this spring weather. More library days ahead.

Quilted Fabric Bowl

My plan for today was to wake up late, vote, and then rest. It was a busy weekend with the wedding and I wanted to just relax in my recliner. After voting, I got my lap top and returned to my recliner to read through my email and blogs that I follow. I ran across another great post from Tierney. She posted some information about art quilts made with upholstery fabric. She also posted a link to a blog by Dianne Browning . I was interested, since my brother often sends me great swatches of upholstery fabric. I have made a few things with this fabric, but nothing that really showcases the beauty of the fabric. Dianne Browning has some amazing work. I liked the quilted bowls that she has on her blog, and I started looking for tutorials on how to make quilted bowls. There was one tutorial in particular, that looked fairly easy. It was on Geta’s Quilting Studio.
The bowl in this tutorial is more functional than artistic, but I thought I would give it a try.
I used a fat quarter of some inspirational word fabric, along with some black and white polka dot fabric.
I did not download the pattern from the blog. Instead, I used my hexagon ruler for the center piece. Then I made the template for the side pieces.
I free motioned a simple heart on each section.
It is a bit soft and floppy since I did not have any stiff interfacing. I just used batting.
It is a reversible quilted bowl.
 
Thanks, Tierney.
You always inspire me to try something new.

*On a sad note, one of my granddaughter’s beautiful Rottweilers died today. He has been sick for some time and living on love.

Vandal taking a nap.
Beautiful dog.

Happy Day, Scrappy Day

Thanks to Cindy and Tierney for their responses to my question about scraps.
I had decided to keep fabric no smaller than 2.5″ x 2.5″, as Tierney suggested.
Cindy listed some names of people who have ideas about using scraps. I plan to look into these ideas.

Just as I was organizing the smallest of scraps into bags for donation, I remembered that a friend had given me a bag with pounds of jean scraps. I started playing around with the denim and the scraps that I was organizing. I even used the strip of scraps that I had sewn onto an adding machine tape.
I ended up having a happy, scrappy day.
There is no plan in sight for how or if I will use these blocks I made today.
The blocks are 5.5″ x 5.5 “, which are a bit too small for me. But, they could be incorporated somehow into a larger piece, I am sure.
It was just fun piecing.
I might embellish with embroidery and beads. Since there is no plan in sight, I will hold off on any kind of embellishment.

This is the first block I pieced, before I remembered I had a bag of jean scraps.


As you might have guessed, the bag of scraps will not be donated.
One of my Meemaw friends suggested we swamp scrap bags, so I think I might do this.

Journals~Part of the Creative Process

Melanie, of Catbird Quilt Studio, started a conversation on creativity.
The comments and thoughts of other bloggers has been informative and thought provoking.
Tierney, of Tierney Creates, has also contributed to this topic; and she has even posted a peek into her creative journaling process. This encouraged me to share a look at my journal.
Keeping a journal is an internal communication for me. I am a visual learner, and I need to “see” my thoughts and designs. I use a graph paper composition book for my designs and ideas.
These journals have handmade covers.
 
 
I also keep a journal to post photos or actual pieces of my work. I add the story, inspiration, and process for each product.

So Much to Do!

Today has been spent playing catch-up, after being gone for three days.
My head is filled with ideas for quilt blocks and designs…but the projects are put on hold.
I am going to try to jot down some notes and sketches of some of these ideas.
I do not want to have a senior moment and forget.
I will be going to see my grandson tomorrow, and that is WAY more important.
In order to prepare for our day together, I have prepared some indoor and outdoor scavenger hunt activities. I am packing a box of paints and paint brushes, since we will be searching for a limb to paint for a walking stick. Last year, I had prepared a box of supplies for his Creative Box. I am planning to replenish his box.
I also painted two rocks for him.
One rock has a painting of a heart, because I always tell him that he makes my heart happy.
The other rock has a painting of a stegosaurus.

For the past few weeks, I have been going through my collectibles in order to see which ones I could live without.
Tierney (Tierney Creates ) had shared a quote about our space reflecting who we are now. I liked the quote and started clearing out stuff. I found that I like what I had done so far. I promised myself that I would stop buying little mementos and good luck charms in an attempt to improve and update my space.
Well, when I was in Shulenburg, we visited some shops.
There went my resolve not to buy any more lucky charms or mementos.

There was this metal bird that just sang my name…so I purchased it.
I named her Purl the Pretty Girl.
And of course, I had to have the ant.
I frequently get “antsy”; and this ant lets me know that it is okay to have ants in your pants.
In the classroom, whenever the kids or I had ants in our pants, we would stand up and shake the ants out  with our Ants in Our Pants dance.
The angel is called the Worry Angel. It is her job to take away your worries.
When I showed these charms to my sister, Emma, she gave me some great names for the ant and the angel.
The ant is called, Migas N. Pantalones.
Hormiga, is Spanish for ant.
Pantalones, is Spanish for pants.
Hence, Migas N. Pantalones is the perfect name.

The word, issues, in Spanish is pendientes.
My sister suggested that the worry/issue angel be named, Yanohay Pendientes…or Penny for short.
Ya no hay“, in English, is there are “no longer any”.

I did find time to make something for “The100DayProject”.
I originally wanted to paint or piece some fabric for this project, but I did not have enough time for that.
So, I did a simple thread sketched of Purl the Girl.
This is the first time I used an embroidery hoop for a frame.


I am looking forward to my day with my grandson tomorrow.
Then, I will probably come home and sleep for two days!

Spring Craft Deadline

This morning, I met the  part of my deadline for the spring projects I will be gifting tomorrow.
I completed two sets of coiled rope plate mats and heart-shaped bowls; along with a small coiled bowl and a rock painting.
There is still one more coiled project to do for one of my three sons. I have an extension on the deadline, since he does not live close by and we will not be meeting this weekend.

Fiesta Coiled Plate Mats and Heart-Shaped Dish

Boho Coiled Plate Mats and Heart-Shaped Dish


Small Ring Dish 
Pig in a Wig painted rock
(Pig in a Wig is the character in my sister’s series of children’s books.)

Since I have working to meet this deadline, and meeting with daily life events, I have not been able to work on the hexagon block for my quilt journal. I have the design in my head, but I just have not had the time to work on it. I plan to try something new with this block.
Tierney posted some work she did with fabric painting. She also posted some great information on good habits that can change your life.
Also, my friend, Jeana, who does my long arm quilting, has been encouraging me to try some fabric painting.
I spent my non-coiled mat making minutes viewing fabric painting tutorials and trying things out.
I just played with the paint on different fabrics.
Hopefully, when I return from visiting with two of my sons, I will get started on painting the fabric for my hexagon block.

Melanine, of Catbird Quilt Studio, posted some great essays and thoughts on creativity.
Reading these posts gave me the encouragement I needed to persist on this new fabric painting venture.

I know it seems that I am going in many different directions…rope baskets, improv quilts, quilt journal, fabric painting…but that is the way I work. For better or for worse.
It would probably be better to focus on one thing at a time, but I have never been able to stay focused for too long.
But I am okay with this… I am having so much fun!

Studio Closed

This morning, I went shopping for the last minute things I needed for our trip to Lake Buchanan for the Vanishing River Cruise.
My Meemaw friends and I leave tomorrow.
As I mentioned in a previous post, the forecast for the rest of the week is thunderstorms.
Our hopes for seeing eagles on this cruise are diminishing, but not totally gone.
Oh, well, we heard about the Bluebonnet Cafe in Marble Falls, Texas.
It has 16 flavors of pie. (Check out the cafe link and you will see the Texas-sized pies.)
We have not been to this cafe yet.
The cafe has a Pie Happy Hour.
As my friend said, “When it rains, let them eat pie”.
So, the trip will be worth while…eagles or no eagles.
As I was shopping, I saw many St. Patrick’s Day, Easter, and Spring items on display.
I started thinking of what I could make.
Then, I saw this package of colorful 2.5 inch strips.
I decided to go home and make a rainbow fabric rope bowl.
The package had 14 strips that were each 42 inches long; and 2.5 inches wide.
I made the base of the bowl about 5.5 inches wide.
I wanted to make a deeper bowl.

This bowl makes me smile.

Bottom
I want to buy some variegated thread before I make a second rainbow bowl.

I thought I could fill it with these lucky shamrock coins to celebrate the Irish side of the family.
Maybe, I can paint some shamrocks on stones.
Then, for Easter, this basket can be filled with eggs and springtime goodies.
Tierney, thanks again for introducing me to fabric rope bowls.
I am having so much fun making these bowls.
I also decided to try and thread sketch an eagle.
I will complete this hexagon block when I return. It will be this week’s entry in my fabric journal.

I viewed and studied different pictures of eagles.
Then, I very lightly drew the outside outline with a fabric pencil.
I decided to thread sketch in black thread and color with fabric crayons and markers.
I do not have enough pretty blue fabric to use for the backing, so I will purchase some when I return.
The studio is now officially closed for the week.
I will be taking hand crafts and paints for what we are now calling our Craft Retreat.
There is no room in my friend’s car to lug around a sewing machine.
Besides, we are still hoping that we get enough of a break in the weather to go on the cruise.