Fabric and Yarn International Shop Hop – Madrid

It started in Madrid.

My husband and I are realising our life-long dream to travel to Europe.

Since we knew some Spanish, we flew to Madrid.  One night, during the week we were there, I looked up fabric shops and we found our way to the fabric district.  We managed to make it to three fabric shops before they closed at eight o-clock.

  I found European fat-quarters.  The smallest amount they were willing to cut was one-half meter at Ribes & Castel.  

European Fat-Quarters

I was prepared to ask in Spanish for one-quarter meter, twenty-five centimetres when we go to Julian Lopez.  They had to get special permission to cater to this crazy American woman quilter (or patchwork, as it is called in Europe), but I found three fabrics I loved (more really, but this was the beginning of my fabric adventure) which they cut for me.  

Julian Lopez Fabric, Madrid

Inside Julian Lopez Fabric

 The third shop that night had lots of fabric and lace doilies, so I got almost a dozen.  (I counted and there are nine, actually.)

Lace and fabric doilies in Madrid

On another day, I began cutting the fabric into smaller pieces for my international fabric travel journal.  I used the scissors with one-inch blades which met airline requirements for carrying inside the airplane.  While we were at the laundromat, I hand-stitched them into blocks.

I mailed some fabric samples to quilting friends at Heavenly Notions Quilt Shop in Granby, MO.

Then, we flew to Lisbon.  At that point I was still able to fit my fabric into my backpack, so we could still travel light.

Here are my blocks made out of fabrics which I bought in Spain.

© 2019 Kathryn Hardage


Committing to What I Love To Do

I am a city girl who always wanted to grow up in the country.  The soonest I could do that was after my adult work life in a performing and teaching career as a symphony cellist, raising a family and retiring.

I love the idea of homesteading.  The first skill I learned was quilting.  I took a quilt sampler class and made a quilt with twelve different blocks.

A friend taught me how to can fruits.  After that, I got the Blue Book of Canning book published by the maker of Ball Canning Jars.  I began going through the recipes.  I took a pressure canning class to learn to preserve soups and stews.  I built up a pantry for three to six months in various years.

I took Master Gardener and Master Naturalist Certification classes.  I took workshops in organic  gardening, water catchment, and backyard chickens. I took Permaculture Design Certification.

Then, when my husband retired, we really did move to the country, in an off-grid 12’ x 20’ cabin.  It felt so wonderful to be surrounded by Nature.  I was able to calm down from my pressured city life over the three years we lived there.

I began making “Meditation Drawings” a series of lines and small repetitious figures surrounding a particular word.  I wrote meditations to go with the topic.

The work load on my husband was intense, since we were behind the curve on getting water catchment and off-grid energy systems going.  So we moved into a nearby town of 12,000.

Because I still had some lurking emotional issues even in our beautiful woodsy setting, I explored the possibilities of working with a therapist.  After almost two years of work, I was able to understand the sources of my panic attacks and to manage them.

I continued to explore more homesteading skills and became a beginning weaver, learned to knit from a pattern, and took workshops on spinning.  The local quilt shop became a regular Friday night gathering with deep friendships.

One day, I realized that I was surrounded by things I love to do.  I am so glad I made the commitment to discover that.  My life is so fulfilling.  Everything I have done has contributed to realizing my desire.  I am so very grateful.

© 2018 Kathryn Hardage

“the power of my heart’s desire”

Creating with fabric is my passion.

I like to work with small pieces of fabric and combine them in a pleasing way along with a message.

This is message #275 from my collection “Angel Messages Come to You”.

“I feel the power of my heart’s desire spreading into everything I do.”

Here is how I did the layout.



I saw the blue coyote trickster/flute player fabric in my collection and wanted to bring out the orange highlights.



I placed a small rectangle of textured orange fabric  behind a small piece of orange southwest fabric.



I placed some more orange southwest fabric over a dark blue craft fabric for a tiny square  “button”.





The texture of colorful design is expressed in another small fabric “button”.





My statement reads: “I feel the power of my heart’s desire spreading into everything I do”.



Here is my sewing sequence.


I sewed around the statement, which I had printed onto orange card stock.

Then I anchored the orange southwest fabric over the textured orange fabric.




I sewed around the outside of the textured orange fabric.






I anchored the dark blue craft paper by sewing the color textured fabric “button” onto it, while keeping the tiny “button” of orange southwest fabric pinned in place.






Then I sewed the orange southwest “button” in place.




I sewed around the dark blue rectangle of craft fabric.








I trimmed the threads.





I can sew this to the top of a journal cover for a spiral notebook.

I may use it along with other quotes to create a wall-hanging.

It may become part of an installation about color.

It could be sewn on a bag.

I enjoy creating for the possibilities.

© 2018 Kathryn Hardage

Playing With My Food

On the way home from a conference, I decided to make food choices that would make it easy to eat while on the road.

Since my husband was driving, I was able to create spinach wraps around cheeses and pre-sliced summer sausage.

We sliced up a pie I had baked (not homemade) before we left.

Of course, we had the usual assortment of crackers, granola bars, and chips.

My favorite construction was a stalk of celery, filled with cream cheese, and topped with a green onion embedded in the cream cheese.

Here is a short version, created after I cut and revived the celery in jars of water in the refrigerator.

I enjoyed the play with food shapes, and, of course, it is a delicious combination to our taste.


© 2018 Kathryn Hardage


Garden Freedom

(written August 23, 2018)

Today, I went out early and added a tomato cage to support a beginning grapevine.

Now, I will be able to plant a hyssop plant next to it to help deter insects.

While I was outside, I cleared the tall grasses from a raised bed which has two large herb plants in it.

I also brought cuttings from some young trees and bushes to break down in it as a hugelkulture bed.

Each of these steps is filling in my yard to become a tiny food forest.

This is a freedom I am literally cultivating, so I have a very local food source.

I am grateful to take these steps as I fill in the outline of my desire.

As a city person with no knowledge outside of what I have read, putting these steps into actual physical form is a challenge to me.

I am finding my freedom step-by-step as I try out the next idea.

So far, I have about twenty berry bushes and grapevines combined, and now, I am adding the herbs around them to deter insects.

I have asked the city to stop spraying my yard, and a few more birds have returned.

It is important to me to practice a more conscious life-style to reduce my carbon footprint and to steward the little part of the earth where I live.

This will also result in better health as I gain more freedom in cultivating perennial vegetables organically and plant fruit trees.

I am also discovering a style of planting that works for me, small raised beds with a variety of plants in them.

This way, they will all protect each other from insects which favor groups of the same plant.

There is a long list of things which I desire to do, and they are happening step-by-step.

© 2018 Kathryn Hardage


More Planting

(written August 20, 2018)

Even in this late August date, there is time for more planting.

I have just received two more blackberry plants, a daisy, several irises, and Thai basil.

In addition there is a ground cover which will bloom with little yellow flowers.

I am delighted to receive such bounty.

My current berries and grapes have made it almost through the whole summer.

They have shown the first little grapes and berries and figs with great future promise.

I have new herbs and perennials which I have purchased at the end of the season.

I will intersperse these as pest deterrents.

I am loving the opportunity to see my yard grow through its first steps toward becoming a tiny food forest.

I will match up the map for my area with the list of perennial vegetables as I learn to cultivate the seeds from Baker’s Creek Heirloom Seed Catalog.

I will continue to enjoy planting for very local abundance from my very own yard.

© 2018 Kathryn Hardage


Practical Sewing – Tool Belts

It is fun to take a simple sewing idea and enhance it with your own creativity.

I chose a nail apron from Lowe’s Hardware for inspiration for my tool belts.

I used fabric designs with mathematical measurements and angles and formulas plus wood grain patterns for pockets over a heavy canvas back.




A friend suggested I add a loop for a hammer at the side. 

Some are on the right and some are on the left.

I had fun playing with the different fabric combinations to create pockets, pencil holders and loops.

The heavy canvas is from a bolt which my husband bought at an auction.



I wash each section as I am ready to use it.  That is what gives it the frayed look.



The straps are folded over twice and stitched twice with a zigzag stitch.

I chose mesh for a contrast in texture for one tool belt, along with a celebration of the Texas origins of one of the recipients.

I had a lot of fun playing with the various fabrics and creating new sets of pockets where I could.

© 2018 Kathryn Hardage