Home Bound Again

Since my city and state are now experiencing a high rate of increase in Covid, I am  once again home bound. The only outings I had been allowing myself were with my Meemaws. We only met in the school parking lot, or in a park. We always wore masks and kept our distance. We took our last visit to a park this week. As long as our governor refuses to take the action needed, the situation will not improve.

That said, I am keeping myself busy. There are three quilt projects that I have in bins. The first quilt possibility is a modern quilt made of half log cabin squares that seems pretty interesting. It is a perfect pattern for using scraps.
There is also a curvy log cabin quilt that I had planned to make at retreat with friends. Since the retreat was cancelled, the quilt project was laid aside. The fabric I chose for this quilt is by Marcia Derse. I just love her design.
The third possible quilt is a Lone Star quilt for my niece. This pattern is a bit tricky for me, so I have been studying the tutorial by Jordan Fabrics. I have made a star quilt before, but I was not happy with how the seams laid out. The tutorial explains how to have flat seams.

In the meantime, I have made a few small things. Mary sent me the link to very cute block pattern by the Sewing Loft. The dragonfly block was made from tiny scraps. I did something wrong with each one.The heads of the dragonfly just didn’t work for me. I read, and reread the directions, but I could never figure out exactly where I went off course. I had to make it fit, so each one is different. I also made the butterfly quilt block from that same site. Thank you, Mary, for being so thoughtful. I enjoyed making these blocks. They will show up somewhere in a future project.

My DIL had told me about the site, Sew She Can. There was a tutorial for a lay flat storage bag that I found interesting. The patterns come in three sizes. I made three medium sized bags in one afternoon. I like these bags since they lay flat, but open wide. They hold quite a bit of stuff.

In the video, I have a picture of a very friendly dog who lives in the neighborhood. I have seen Luna grow up. She is now 10 years old now. Whenever I walk by her house, Luna wags her arthritic back side as she comes up for a hug. She makes my day.

There are also some pictures of ducks, a golden crown heron, and the vultures at Brackenridge Park. Apparently, the black vultures are uninvited guests in this park. They coexist with the animals in the zoo. I included a video clip of the vultures in the sky. There is also a tree filled with white egrets. There are so many, the tree looks white. I could not get a picture of the tree, since it is not a place you want to walk by or stand under. I don’t know when we will be able to enjoy our park outing again.

Stay Safe
Wear Your Masks

Pineapples and Dr. Seuss

Thank you, Mary, for telling me about the Pineapple Pieces Project. This sewing it forward project will result in quilts being made and donated to the Brenners Children Hospital. All I had to do was have fun making 10.5 blocks and making pineapple appliques.
I had a roll of Dr. Seuss fabric strips that I thought would be perfect for the pineapple. I had a few choices of fabric for the stem. I ended up choosing a white polka dot on yellow fabric. Luckily, I had just enough Heat n’Bond Lite to make 14 of the 16 pineapples. I was not able to find any Heat n Bond on any online shops such as Hobby Lobby, Joanns, or Amazon. I used to get this at Wal Mart, but they no longer have a sewing section in my neighborhood Wal Mart. I had some irregular pieces of Steam-a-Seam lite that I managed to piece and use for the remaining pineapples and all 16 stems. I’ll have to keep an eye out for either of these products. I like to have it on hand.

Fun Days

On Tuesday, I was rummaging through my fabric stash. I ran across four of the animal squares that were from a panel I had originally bought to make a baby quilt. Instead, I had previously made a rice bag tote for my grandson, using four of these animal squares. I thought Tuesday would be a good day for making a toy tote out of the four remaining blocks. I used the same process for making the cube for this tote that I used in making the rice bags. Instead of adding draw strings, I made two handles. This tote will be just right for storing the small toys that he is now enjoying. His sister can teach him the concept of “in” and “out” by demonstrating putting the toys in and out of the tote.
This past weekend, I read Mary’s post, Some Quarantine Fun. The toilet paper quilt reminded me of an outside uplifting message board that my DIL made to inspire and support her neighborhood. Mary also posted the link to making a paper pieced toilet paper wall hanging. I have only done paper piecing once, and it was not pretty. The toilet paper pattern for piecing is cute, but way too difficult for a non-paper piece-er like me. Mary suggested that I draw and applique one, so I gave it a try.
Process:
Toilet Paper
Draw toilet paper roll with ink pen
Trace TP drawing onto fusible interfacing
Place the interfacing onto the right side of the fabric, sticky side down
Sew on the outline of the TP
Cut out the TP, staying close to the stitches but being careful not to cut the stitches
Cut a slit on the fusible interfacing
Pull the front fabric through
Press and shape
Top stitch 1/8 inch around TP with white thread
Cut shape for TP roll from tan or different colored fabric
Quilt TP

Background
Cut a 10.5 ” square of main fabric
Cut a 10.5 ” square of batting
Cut a 10.5 ” square of muslin
Make a quilt sandwich and quilt

Backing
Cut a 10.5 ” square of main fabric
Cut a 2.5″ x 7.5″ strip for quilt block sleeve

Message Strip
I cut a 2″x 10″ strip of fabric for the lettering. I made it this long in case I messed up with the ink stamp.
I folded and pressed as in making a binding. I also folded in the sides. Then I used a letter stamping kit to print : Keep Rolling On

Assembly:
Center the TP onto the quilted main fabric
Free motion stitch around TP and TP roll with black thread
Hand stitch or machine sew message strip under the TP
Place quilt hanging strip and backing right side down on right side of quilted main fabric
Sew around four sides, leaving a 3″ opening on the bottom side
Trim corners
Pull the main fabric through the opening
Press and top stitch around all four sides

I used a ribbon and some lace to thread through the quilt block sleeve.

Correction on the video: Place the sticky side of the fusible interfacing face down (not up) on the right side of the fabric.

Thank you, Mary. Your blog post was an inspiration for a fun day.

Kraft Tex

One of the things I love about blogging is getting to meet people who share ideas, and promote creativity. Mary, of Zippy Quilts, has a few posts on using Kraft Tex. After reading her posts and seeing the products she made with Kraft Tex, I was quite interested. Then, she graciously invited and encouraged me to give it a try.  My time in the sewing room has been unpredictable lately, but I managed to have some time to try out the Kraft Tex.
I realize that there is SO much that can be done using this fabric paper. I only touched the surface. I viewed many tutorials on the product. I decided to start with something simple, like a journal cover.
For the year 2019, I made two quilt blocks for each month. The blocks represent special people, places and events. I practiced and tried many different techniques in making the blocks. I also used blocks and pieces in my “What-Do-I Do-With This?” bin. I turned these blocks into signatures and ended up needing a spine that was 2.5″-3″.
Here is a brief summary of the process:
1. Cut the cover from Kraft Tex (Front 9″ + Back 9″+ Spine 2.5″ +Flap 2.5″) 23″ X 9″
2. Cut the lining from light cotton fabric at 23″X9″
3. Fold and crease the Kraft Tex to form the front, back, binding and flap.
4. Cut light fusible about 1/4 inch shorter than length and width of lining and fuse onto lining.
5. Sew lining and cover, wrong sides together, using a zigzag stitch.
6. I chose to use my AccuQuilt Go! to cut appliques from Kraft Tex. My plan was to glue them on, but apparently, I did not choose the right glue. I ended up having to sew the applique on, and I am not quite happy with the result. I know it can be done, but I need more practice.
7. Hand-sew signatures onto the spine.
8. Fasten flap to front cover using velcro circles.

I also had time to make a small lined, zipper pouch to help organize my purse. I followed the simple tutorial by Gourmet QuilterShe gives examples of different ways to make this pouch. My original plan was to Gelli-print and paint the Kraft Tex, but my time was limited. I needed the pouch right away. It was made in 30 minutes, and there are a few oopsies in it. This pouch is so handy for carrying and organizing the small essentials in my purse. The Kraft Tex is so durable. It has received many compliments whenever I take it out.

My plan is to play and discover more ways to utilize Kraft Tex. Thank you, Mary, for sharing this product.

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.

Sewing Tote Bag

The other day, I read a post on Zippy Quilts. Mary posted a bag she made using a Kraft-Tex base. She provided the bag tutorial link from Bijou Lovely. I liked the bag pattern, and the bird fabric Mary used was beautiful. I also liked the Alexander Henry fabric, Sewing Woes. The fabric reminded me of the romance comics that my older sister used to read…and hide from me.
I decided to make the bag a bit larger than the pattern, mainly because I wanted to showcase more of the fabric. This size will also come in handy for carrying my stuff whenever I attend craft days with my friends. I added pockets to the inside lining.
I wanted the bag to stand on its own, so I used Bosal one-sided fusible foam. I have enough scraps to make other small projects.


Pockets

Pyramid Pouch

Thanks to Mary,  at Zippy Quilts, for posting the pattern for a pyramid pouch by Susie.
I had just finished piecing 20 log cabin blocks and I could not go purchase the fabric needed for the borders since we are in the midst of thunderstorms.
To pass the time, I attempted making one of these pyramid pouches.
There are some small boo-boos on my first attempt at making this pouch, but I see where I made the mistake. These pouches are so cute. Thanks, Mary and Susie!

 

Fabric and Rope Bowl

About a year ago, I saw some fabric rope bowls/baskets, on Pinterest.
I placed the idea of this project on my Someday List.
Then, Tierney posted pictures and the process of making these bowls.
Later, she sent me a link for tutorials and for the Bali Bowl pattern.
This is what I love about blogs. I learn so much just by reading and connecting with other bloggers.
I had prepped the fabric and had a roll of strips all ready to sew.

Then yesterday, I started sewing the strips.
What a disaster!
I thought the hard part would be zig-zagging and forming the bowl; but sewing the strips gave me more trouble. I kept having gaps where I didn’t catch both the top and bottom.
This is what it looked like after one hour, when I dumped everything on the table and left.
I may have said a few choice words as I left the room.
Maybe more than a few.

I then returned and started to rip and redo the strip.
Patience is not one of my virtues, and I almost dumped the whole thing in a Forget This box, but I did not want to admit defeat.
So, I decided to start sewing another strip.
This time, I stopped and checked as I went.
I also used bigger stitches, which is recommended in the pattern. I had forgotten to change the stitch size for the first one.
This time, I was having more luck folding the right side down, and the left side on top, and holding it tightly.
I still had to fix mistakes, but at least this time, it was “fix-as-you-go”.
When it came to zig-zagging and making the coil, I experienced some co-ordination problems.
I found it difficult to hold the rope perpendicular AND make sure that the zig-zag was catching both sides. Once I got the swing of it, and once the sides starting getting larger, it was much easier.
The results are not the best, but I am happy that I did not give up.
This may be the one and only bowl I make…at least for now.

It is a bit wonky, but it is finished!



Thank you, Tierney.
Your support and encouragement got me to try something new and challenging.
Mary, you said you wanted to make one of these.
I am sure you will have no problem.

January 3…

Look what was waiting for me when I got home today…my rotating cutting mat!
One of my sons gave me an Amazon gift card, and I knew just what to get.
I found this Skyhawk mat for only $25.49.
I made this short video clip to show my son, so he could understand my excitement.

This mat will come in so hand, especially when I am working on my hexagon quilt journal blocks.
Thank you, Mary, for posting information about this handy tool!

So far, I am running a bit slow on starting any of my projects.
Basically it is because I am not so fired up about anything I had planned.
I am excited about the 52 Fridays Quilt Journal, but that is a year long project.
I guess one of my problems is there is no recipient in mind for most of the quilts I had planned.
There is no reason or story behind the quilts, so I just can’t get motivated.
I thought  focusing on the art of the quilt, in itself, would be fun, but something is missing.

I have been working on improv quilt blocks.
There is some motivation there.
I just don’t know where I am going with this.

All my old blocks have been pulled out and I have been cutting, piecing, and cutting and piecing.
I enjoy the process, but so far, I do not see what can be done with these new blocks.
Also, can there be such a thing as being tired of fabric that is in one’s stash?
It seems like the same old-same old.
The improvised pieces come out looking better, but they are still the same fabric I have used and reused.
All my fabric seems to be bright, sweet, and almost sugary.
I think I need a change.
Instead of giving my fabric stash away, I will put it on hold until I think about it some more.

I am also practicing FM and thread sketching.
It is still far from perfect, but I am feeling a bit more relaxed about the process.
I am actually enjoying it.

Maybe if I got more involved in the quilt guilds to which I belong, I could find some motivation.
I guess I started the year with a mental block when it comes to creating.
Maybe it is just the cold weather…
I finally went out for a walk yesterday.
Today I was busy with appointments and errands.

My 2018 Mascot, Joy, just does not seem to be singing to me right now.
Hopefully, I was still hearing some tunes soon.

Pinwheel Ornaments

After finishing the fabric journal, I officially closed down the sewing room.
Then, today, I got a delivery that had me running to my sewing room.

A few days ago, I read Mary’s post about using pinking shears to make pinwheels.
Mary posted Jayne’s blog, Twiggy and Opal, where Jayne has a tutorial on the pinwheels.
My old pinking sheers never really worked.
They were heavy and dull.
I asked Mary for some information about pinking shears.
Mary told me about Havel scissors.

Santa must have known I needed pinking shears!
He had Amazon deliver my new pinking shears this morning, and I just had to try them out.

Thank you, Mary. These pinwheels make cute ornaments and gift wrap decorations.
I just sent the tutorial to my daughter-in-law.
She thought it would be a good activity for her nieces.

I made the three inch square pinwheels. I have some more ready to cut and sew.
It will be fun afternoon.

The other day, I went to Michael’s to see if I could find a cute package/bag for my granddaughter’s Christmas Eve present.  I found a cute Christmas suitcase box that was perfect for giving a gift of clothes and toys.  All Christmas storage boxes were 60% off.
The price was right, so I also bought one for myself!
I have stored my Christmas fabric in this suitcase.