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!

Trial and Error

Everything Stinks Till It’s Finished

Dr. Seuss

My friends and I decided to try to embed the photo into the River Quilt.
I spent last night and this morning trying to figure out how to do this.
Everything Stinks!
But, one does learn from trial and error…I hope.
River Run Quilt 
The problem with embedding the photos is fitting standard-size, small to medium photos within these strips.

I embedded a 5″ X 7″ rectangle/drawing. It would have a 1/4 ” white frame.

(My stash boxes are out of control…I know.) 
The photo looks too rigid and I think it breaks the flow of the river look.
We are going to look into ways to applique the photos in a rustic or folksy style.

I need to do more thinking and trial and error. 
Any suggestions are welcomed.


Brackenridge Quilt

River Run Pattern by Esch House Quilts
My friends and I have formed a quilting group, the Brack Pack, for this Brackenridge Park Conservancy project.
We met last week to start our planning; and today, Marti and I met with Jeana.
Jeana is so helpful with ideas and suggestions.
She has also volunteered to long arm the quilt for us. Yay!
Today, the three of us decided that Batiks would be best for this quilt.
We will be quilting photos of the park onto this quilt.
At first, we had thought of applique, but now we will piece them into the quilt.
How we are going to do this has been left up to me…yikes!
Jeana gave me some suggestions, so I am going to make a practice piece to see if I can do it.
I couldn’t make it to the meeting Marti scheduled with Lynn Osborne Bobbitt, the executive director of the conservancy.
Marti reported that Lynn and her staff are all excited about this quilt.
So are we!
Usually, my friends just run the other way when I come up with an idea.
But this time, we are all on board.
We will go to Creations, a fabric shop in Kerrville, Texas,  on April 28th.
We heard they have a good selection of Batiks.
We also just want to go have lunch in Kerrville!
Tomorrow is a sister day in Kyle, Texas.
I am picking up my older sister and driving to Kyle to meet our youngest sister for her birthday lunch.
We will be eating at Garcia’s Restaurant…yummy!


Rainy Day + Classical Music = Great Day for Creating
It has been the perfect day for playing with fabric.
I completed the New York Block.
I love these blocks, but I am learning this on my own and it is real challenging.
Hopefully, I can talk to someone at the guild and see about taking lessons.

After I completed this NY block, I went back to making more scrappy quilt blocks.
I find it very relaxing to just piece without a plan.
My technique is to pull out strips and pieces and just sew them without any measuring or planning.
Sometimes, I cut a 6.5″ x 6.5″ wonky square.
Then, I add more strips to this square and cut a 8.5″ x 8.5″ square.
Or, I just piece and cut a wonky 8.5″ x 8.5″ square.
This is what I have so far:
After I completed these blocks, I realized that I had emptied the two stash drawers where I had mostly misfit remnants.
I sorted a few other drawers and cut some strips, and now the stash drawers are a bit more manageable.

I spent some time looking at paper piecing tutorials.
It was also a Pinterest kinda day.
Bird house quilt blocks caught my attention.
Since I am not ready to paper piece, I decided to create a bird house block without a pattern.
I started with a 4.5″ X 4.5″ square in the middle, and then I made the roof.
I just pieced what was needed as I went along.

I don’t know if I want to applique a bird on this or not.
Here are some possibilities:
Tomorrow, my friend and I will be going to visit Jeana.
She sells great fabric to use for quilt backing, and we want to know what is available before we go fabric shopping for the Brackenridge Park quilt.


New Challenge

The past few days have been sort of “iffy” for me.
I think my allergies got the best of me.
A family fun Sunday made me feel better.

This afternoon, I decided to try paper piecing.
I have always wanted to try this, and I have been studying tutorials online.
The New York quilt block has always been one of my favorites.
I love the Art Deco look of the block.

It was an afternoon of rip and redo, but I finally have part one.