Pepe’s Plaids

This has been a great week.
Every time I picked up my dad’s shirts to work on this quilt, I felt like I was getting
a big hug.
It felt so good.
Thanks to those of you who gave suggestions.
I am still thinking of how to quilt this.
I might try tying, as suggested.
My next step is to see if I have enough shirt remnants to make a center panel for the backing.
I have enough pockets to make some mats or more totes.
I was thinking of using the pockets, sleeves, and yokes to make a market bag for my brother who lives in Seattle.

Poem in Your Pocket Day

When I was teaching, Poem in Your Pocket Day was one of our favorite Days!
We would spend the month of April reading and writing poems.
Parents would be invited to a Poem Party, and asked to recite or read their favorite poem.
The children would make a poetry book of all the poems they had written.
So, the teacher and poet in me (everyone is a poet) has to honor today with a Poem in My Pocket.


I will carry my poem in my new pocket!

Travel Tote

My friend, Nancy, responded to my request for ideas for the quilt I am making out of my dad’s shirts.
She suggested making something other than a quilt, such as table runners or mats.
The pockets could hold the utensils.
Nancy is a great resource for ideas.
This got me thinking…
I have extra pockets from the shirts that I cut.
I decided to make a travel tote.
This tote is small enough and just right for essentials.
The end measurements are 8″ X 8″.
I used two of the pockets from one of my dad’s shirts.
There is one pocket on each side of the tote.
Inside, I made a small pocket out of the sleeves.
I used the remaining fabric from the shirt pocket panels to make the lining.
In my stash, I found some black linen from a messenger bag that I had made for my sister.
This traveling tote is perfect for my walks, and for a plane trip I am planning in May.

This is the tag from the cleaners where my dad had his shirts pressed!
This is the inside pocket I made from the sleeve.

Front and Back…Shirt Pockets will be functional

The shirt pockets had the original buttons.
I used the other buttons to decorate the top.

When I shared the photos of the quilt top and this purse with my sister,
she said that all that was missing was dad’s can of beer.
I think I will have a brew in his honor.


Memory Quilt

The memory quilt I started making out of my dad’s shirts has been quite a challenge.
The mixed polyester and cotton fabric is very stretchy, which makes it difficult to cut accurately.
Since I have a limited number of shirts, there is not much room for error in cutting.
Also, the fabric is very old and thin.
I keep questioning if it is worth continuing.
My answer is still yes, however, I think I may just piece it and not quilt it.
If I quilt it, the simplest way would be stitch in the ditch.
Maybe I should have reinforced the fabric somehow, but I did not think of this beforehand.
If I had, I would have had to research different methods of reinforcing the fabric.

This is what I have so far:

I do have enough fabric to make a keyboard border.
My original plan was to also use the larger pieces for backing.
But, if I do quilt this, I think it would need a sturdier fabric for the backing.
Making this quilt has been a good experience, no matter what I decide to do with it.
I would certainly appreciate any input or ideas.

Pen in His Pocket

My dad, Pepe, was the youngest of 13 children.
He was a bookkeeper for a large, international construction company in San Antonio.
Dad had perfect penmanship.
He would only write with a Flair pen.
This pen was always in his pocket.
He would let you borrow other pens and pencils, but not his Flair pen!

Dad was very artistic. He was great at graphic design and carpentry.
This is one of the boxes he carved for my mother.

This shield, with the initials of my mom and dad, is carved on the underside of the box lid.

The memory of that pen in my dad’s pocket came to mind as I cut the pockets from dad’s shirts.
I made a block that included the pocket.
I also made two blocks with the shirt label.
There were only two shirts that had the label section large enough for a 3.5″ x 6/5″ rectangle.
There was one shirt that had two pockets with a button.

Here’s my dad…with the pen in his pocket!
These shirt pockets in the middle square had no buttons.

This is what I have so far.
I have had to make some changes to the original design layout.

Memories of math homework came to mind.
As a child, I did not like math.
Dad would patiently sit with me, pull his pen out of his pocket, and try to teach me math.
He must be smiling now, as he sees all the math I do when quilting.
He probably has his pen pulled out of his pocket so he can check the measurements and calculations!



A family is a place where minds come in contact with one another.

It is my good fortune to have the best siblings ever.
This morning, I met my sister, Emma, for breakfast.
We met at mom’s favorite restaurant, Jim’s.

Emma is a talented, creative author and illustrator.
Her fourth book in the Pig in a Wig series will be out soon.
She was invited to attend the TLA Conference in San Antonio,
and it was so nice spending time with her.

Emma is the youngest of the siblings, and I do believe the wisest.
It was a morning of great conversation and much inspiration.
After such a great morning, I returned home and started making the quilt in memory of my dad.
His full name was Jose Leon Virjan, but everyone called him Pepe.

Last night, I designed a lap quilt.
When I opened the bag where I had stored my dad’s shirts, I couldn’t help but smile.
The bag had a faint smell of my parent’s home, and it was so comforting.
The shirts are a bit more frail than I thought, and I was thinking of not making the quilt.
Then I thought that the quality of the fabric isn’t what matters.
The quilt is for me.
The memories, the process of making this quilt, is what matters.
I spent the afternoon cutting the shirts and thinking of my dad.
Today was definitely a family day, where minds contacted with one another.

Dad and his plaids! I can just see him…
wearing these shirts and his bermuda shorts !

This is the center block for the quilt.

To Quilt or Not to Quilt

That is the question.
Ever since I finished piecing the Texas Wildflower quilt, I have been searching for something else to do.
My river quilt is on hold until the three other members of the team are ready.
We will meet next week.
This river quilt is a group project, and I still want to be working on personal projects.

I’ve spent the last few days practicing stippling and meandering.
I quilted a sleeve for my new iPhone.
I also have tried my hand at making New York Beauty quilt blocks.
Even though I was able to make one NY block, I decided it would be best to take lessons somewhere.

So, then, I spent time making scrappy blocks.
I got tired of this, so I started cutting fabric scraps and making 3.5″ blocks for another type of scrappy quilt.

Then last night, I read a post from Texas Quilting about a shirt quilt.
Back, in the corner of my closet, is a tub filled with shirts that belonged to my dad.
Even before I ever started quilting, I wanted to make a quilt out of my dad’s shirts.

So, I asked for more information from Texas Quilting and she posted a great tutorial.
I always learn so much from her blog.

I also found a few other good  resources on Pinterest.
Life is a Stitch, posted a Seven Shirts + Seven Steps = One Thrifty Quilt.
I liked the design of this quilt.

After reviewing more sites, I now have a better idea as to how many blocks I can get from a shirt.
My dad’s taste in shirts was limited…blue, beige, brown, plaid.
They are also not all 100% cotton.
Most are a blend of polyester and cotton.
All but two are in good condition and not worn or thin.
I think I will spend some time playing with possible designs.
I would love to have a quilt, but maybe it might be best to just donate the shirts.



A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new.”
Albert Einstein

Yesterday, I made a mistake by skipping a step from a tutorial on how to make a phone sleeve.
Crafty Gemini has a phone sleeve tutorial that is very easy to follow.
(There are so many good ideas and  tutorials on Crafty Gemini blog and youtube.)
However, I was too busy trying to add a step to the phone sleeve tutorial, that I totally forgot to add the closing tab.
I wanted to add a wrist holder, and I just missed the tutorial step on adding a closing tab.
This mistake had me thinking all night as to how I could attach a tab without having to rip and redo.
It may be super easy for others to do this, but it took some time for me to figure something new.

The results are okay since this phone sleeve is for me.
The tab is functional.
And, I did not have to start over.

This is the original phone sleeve without a closing tab.

I covered up a zig- zag hem with a button.
Then I added a button to cover up the hem and give the tab the weight to close.

I tucked in the end seam on the back and reinforced the strip.

This fabric reminds me of a “Groovy” dress I wore back in the ’60’s! 


Reconnected to the World

After a beautiful Easter weekend, my iPhone went totally out.
It was a repeat problem of what had happened a year ago.
At that time, I got the phone fixed at the Apple Store.
That was my intention yesterday… to get it fixed.
But, as soon as I walked in, I decided to get a new phone.

The phone I chose was larger than my last phone, so I decided to make a new carrying sleeve.
I found a very bright fat quarter and some white and pink polka dot material in my fabric bins.
Crafty Gemini has great tutorials on so many topics, so I checked You Tube and found what I needed.
The tutorial is for a smaller phone, so I adjusted the measurements to
5.5″W x 14.5″ L.

The one step from the tutorial that I forgot to do was to add elastic and a button for a closing tab.
I wanted to be able to carry this easily, so I added a step to the pattern.
I used  a store bought strap with a clip and a hoop to place in a fabric loop.
I might make another one, if I can’t figure out how to add a tab onto this one.
Either way, it is good to be reconnected!