It was a wonderful day ~

Yes, wonderful ...... spending the day in Shreveport with the quilters in the Red River Quilt Guild.   My early afternoon and night programs to them was all about improvisational quilt making .... where I get my inspiration, where I buy fabric, what fabric I put into those improv quilts, and then a trunk show and talk about each quilt in the trunk that I trucked over with me for the programs. 

I talked about my grandmother's influence on how I make quilts.

I talked about how, for years, I hid my quilts away, hiding myself from the inevitable not so enduring comments my quilts evoke in some critics of the not so ordinary.

I talked about my love for the utility style quilts  that can be made with wool and linen, rayon and silk mixed right in there with that quilters' cotton.

 I talked about how I don't use the color wheel as a color guide and how I had to shed all those preconceived ideas and learned knowledge about how a quilt should be constructed and how it should look. 

Green tree - an art quilt by Marty Mason

 A little sampler with pieced scraps, curves and triangles in colors that get me smiling.

So, there you have it - how I spent my day all rolled up in quilts.  It was a great day for me and oh, so fun to share my love of improv style quilts.  Thank you Red River Quilters for having me.

My vintage trailer.....A quilted collage

So much quilting love going on!  Lots of posting.  My vintage trailer - a Laura Heine collage quilt pattern. 

Butterfly love on polka dot trailer collage -

 Sunflower awning to give welcome shade to the trailer door. 

It's so cute.....looking like a little blue ladybug travel trailer.  So laden with flowers, there's no way it can be moved from this wonderful garden site. 

Front door and window - very inviting. 

House Bound and Loving It~

It's sleeting out so I'll be keeping myself off the streets today - and loving it.  Doesn't it feel good to know that you aren't expected at any particular place and aren't expecting anyone to pop in.  The feeling is good when I can sit in my sewing room.....sort and plan, without interruption, a course of action.   

green chair with only a ceiling support for company - marty mason

orange chair and a little trash for company - marty mason

two is company - three's a crowd - marty mason

I've got your back - marty mason

Against the Wall - marty mason
There's plenty of room.
  Come sit with me
 as I plan my course of action.
  Truly, I don't mind
 a little interruption
from time-to-time.
I'm not alone anymore !

We Wish You A Very Merry ~

We wish you A Very Merry Christmas............and The Happiest of New Years ~

Merry Christmas 2016 ~

From our house to yours.....Marty and the HUMaN

I"m not a busy person ~

Well, I'm not busy in the sense that many are busy.  I hear it often "I'M SO0000000  BUSY"  uttered in half-out-of-breath gushes.  I'm wondering if busy makes one more important than non-busy people.  I'm also wondering that perhaps I blogged about this topic recently.  If so, then here it is again.  Apparently self-important and very busy people have been on my mind.   

My spin on things -

You see, I've had a couple of things happen in the past few weeks that reminds me that while I'm not out-of-breath busy, I do keep myself busy and while I've no importance in the big scheme of things, I am a very important person.

So, here is my spin on things: 
I've been sooooooooo busy this week that I quite  forgot my hair cut and color appointment this week.  Now, really, that must be either super busy or just damn forgetful.  It's not so much the cut that I miss, but I definitely miss the color.  And, as I told my friends yesterday,

I miss very much that my eyebrows have virtually disappeared.....
you see, I also have the white/gray brows tinted at the same time I have my hair tinted, which naturally improves my looks. 
 Eye brows are significant when it comes to finishing the look of the face - don't you agree.  So, anyway, I called the hair salon yesterday with a huge apology and a promise of a significant Christmas tip.....and for that I got re-scheduled for mid-December.  Three weeks is a long time to wait for tinted brows.  

It isn't I who has disappeared....just the brows!  Keep looking. 
They'll re-appear in a few weeks. 
Flowers in the Vase of - Marty Mason
Some folks just put way too much importance on themselves.    It happened in my yoga class on Monday.  I arrived a few minutes early and settled my mat and gear on the floor ready to do some mood-altering, before class begins, stretches.   I'm a little hard of hearing, but I heard her coming.  Loud voice and all, she informed me that I had her place and could I move my mat.  Since moving over wasn't an option without crowding the other class participants, I bundled all my gear up, crawled and wallowed my body up from the floor,  moved to another open spot, re-spread my gear and then fumed the rest of the hour.   There is a lot to be gained by positive yoga vibes, but they just passed right on by me that day. 
Well, bless Pat (as Mom used to say)....the same thing happened again Wednesday....same important person.  I went in as always and spread my gear, getting into the zen frame of mind when again I heard her coming.  She just wondered if I could scoot just a bit so she could get into position.  Again, seeing there was not room, I collected my gear and moved.   I know smoke must have been blowing out my ears by this time I was so hot under the collar. 
You know, she's not really my is I who am my problem.  I'm so mad at myself, wondering why I allowed a total stranger to intimidate me?  I guess I thought her crass rudeness must be because she's a very important person, and one who probably has gotten away with that behavior in her past. 

When next we meet, I'm just going to ask her the who, what, when, where and why questions and will definitely be asking myself the HOW? question.
Who are you, rude person in my face?    
What makes you so important to justify your rudeness?
When are you going to apologize for being so demeaning?
Where were your manners on Monday and Wednesday?
Why do you think this space is your space?  The room is quite large and would accomodate all of us without crowding. 
Now, let's talk about HOW I  might be able to help you become a nicer who is very important, but with less self-importance attached. 

And finally, the HOW question to myself:  HOW did I ever allow this person to threaten my self-worth?    It will not happen again.  In my most polite voice with a huge smile on my face, I'm going to tell her that if she  wants a particular place on the floor, then she should arrive early because I'm not crawling or wallowing around on the floor again just because she wants the square footage that I occupy. 

Put on a happy face

At peace with self.....having a busy moment while being  a very important person. 



I've recovered from Glamp....thank you ~

It took me several  full days of nothing, but I've recovered from the whirlwind long weekend trip to Glamp Stitchalot - a wonderful fun-filled improv workshop weekend hosted by Pink Castle Fabrics in Ann Arbor.  

Fab teachers - Nydia Kehnle, Nicholas Ball, Luke Haynes, Latifah Saafir, Dan Rouse and Sherri Lynn Wood.    While I'm an improv quilter from way back, I learned so much form each of these teachers.  Each one was so comfortable in their diverse improv skills. 

Nydia was a whiz-kid at needle turn applique and demonstrated how to quickly free cut a design from a 2 1/2" square and applique it back onto a 2  1/2" square for a delightful mini- or larger if one chooses.  So simple, so purely inprov, so versatile to make each block my own....each quilt my own. 

my needle turn applique block made in the likeness of nydia kehnle after glamp workshot 2016

Nick Ball, oh so personable, travelling from Cardiff, South Wales, says he rarely sews from patterns or templates and we totally got his drift when he showed us his vegetable patch quilt (not pictured).  I'm still smiling. 

Nick had us gather fabric - four pieces approximately the same size - I had all prints...some in the class had all solids.....some had a pleasant mix.  Really didn't matter with this 'cause in the end anything could be added to balance the improv mix.  Here's what I came away with after an afternoon of play. 

my pieced improv block made in the likeness of nicholas ball after glamp workshot 2016
 The most versatile quilt blocks changed on a whim by adding those little corner black and white zigzag scraps. 
my pieced improv block made in the likeness of nicholas ball after glamp workshot 2016

Last teacher, first day was Luke Haynes.  Luke had us deconstruct two large shirts - cut and sew, cut and sew, then cut again until we had the most fun 4" x 4" blocks to use in designing and constructing our own improv quilt.   I found two thrift store shirts....puke green and red.  Love this combo.  Loved the freedom to cut 4" blocks  at will on almost free fabric. 

d improv block made in the likeness of luke haynes after glamp workshot 2016

Second day began with Latifah Saafir and what a great beginning that was.   With large paper template in hand, we pieced and patched to begin one of her quilt patterns, the molehill quilt.  Can hardly wait to have time to piece and patch more molehills.  Can you see that I included a snippit of Latifah's fabric with selvage intact....she signed for me. 

my improv molehill block made in the likeness of latifah saafir after glamp workshot 2016

Just before lunch, we had plenty of time for the fabulous self-taught improv quilt maker, Dan Rouse.  This is Dan's second trip to Glamp Camp, so you know he is good. 

I've had time since being home to finish this one....ready to quilt posted on my martymuses instagram. 

my take on Dan Rouse curved block after enjoying glamp 2016 workshop

Finished the day with the queen of improv, Sherri Lynn Wood.  It put some weight in my carry-on but I did take her Improv Handbook for Modern Quilters for her to sign.

my take on Sherry Lynn Wood string piecing after enjoying glamp 2016 workshop

Sherri Lynn had us pulling from a bag  filled with strips and without skipping  a heart beat, we had to gulp air and sew it to the next strip pulled whether we agreed with it or not.  What an interesting way to be filled with improv fun. 

my take on Sherry Lynn Wood string piecing after enjoying glamp 2016 workshop

Now that I've gotten a taste of each improv technique, I would love a full three-day workshop from each....starting with Nydia and ending, last, but certainly not least, Sherri Lynn. 

 Home and fully recovered, my newest mantra.....I can Improv ~


Quilt Festival moments and afterthoughts ~

Was it just a year ago that I blogged about Houston Quilt Festival 2015?  How quickly the year passed and now I've just returned from Festival 2016.  Oh, my, what fun this year visiting and shopping my favorites. 

I had a nice visit with Malka Dubrawsky and came away with some of her 'blues'.  I've been one of her stalkers for a number of years and normally purchase from her online shop,  A Stitch In Dye,  so it was a joy to buy and bring it all home with me.  I was so sorry that I had not taken her book "Fresh Quilting" to get her to sign it for me. 

Malka Dubrawsky hand dyed

Oh, and Hannah's.  Hannah has a quilt shop near me in Choudrant, Louisiana,  and I go there as often as I can because I CAN always find fabric.  She's loves to travel and vends her shop at many quilt shows throughout the country each year.   Her quilt show booths are always beautifully decorated with the Kaffe Fassett fabric along with other designers of the big and bold and floral and graphic from England, Australia and New Zealand. 

Two Kaffe Fassett wideback fabrics - drooling

If you haven't, then do so - purchase Kaffe Fassett's Bold Blooms (with Liza Prior Lucy) -
 it is beautifully filled with mouth-watering pictures  - quilts, needlepoint pillows and more.
  Patterns and templates are always included. 
  I lucked up on an autographed one which, by-the-way,  was no more expensive than those not personally signed by Kaffe.

Kaffe Fasset's Bold Blooms

I found this little wall hanging quilt in the show,  holding its own against all those large ones - a wool applique made by a quilter who had taken a workshop with Sue Spargo.  My apology for not noting the quilters name....I am shamed....but  just look at the border she selected for her very traditional folk art applique style - a Kaffe Fasset fabric.  Love this. 

I'm not a people stalker, but stalking quilt shop booths is another story.  I do search and usually can find Cherrywood Fabrics.  They'll also be at QuiltCon East, 2017 Savannah:  I asked.    I arrived too late to grab a grab bag filled with what they call the outtakes but I did come away with these fat quarter hand dyed jewels. 

Cherrywood Handdyes


My three favorite quilts in the entire show: 

Quilt by Junko Sugahara hanging in Houston Quilt Festival 2016
drunkards path, clam shells and orange peels - who knew improv with traditional could be so fun.  Made by a quilter out of Japan, Junko Sugahara.  This quilt's title is "My Mother, My Daughter & Myself" made from family kimonos. 

Millefiori hanging in Houston Quilt Festival - my favorite in the special display sponsored by QuiltMania
my favorite Millefiori - one of many Millefiori quilts in special exhibit sponsored by QuiltMania
It's a hot spot  - This lady kept telling me she didn't want in the picture - but she never moved!
She's in the picture with this hot quilt, like it or not. 

I especially enjoyed the special exhibits  this year....very artsy, very modern, very unique.   A favorite "Artful Improv" by Cindy Grisdela.   Her quilts were spectacular. 

Another favorite display "Inspired by Color:  Art Quilts by Kathy York.   There was a story behind each of Kathy's unique art quilts.   Visit  Kathy's blog - Art Quilts by Kathy York - and visit her quilt galleries for more color punch. 

There was so much to see and so little time to see it all
but I lingered for quite a while at the hanging display of
 Swiss Childrens' Wear. 
Swiss childrens wear hanging at quilt festival houston, 2016

Swiss childrens wear hanging at quilt festival houston, 2016

It's good to be home to enjoy my quiet time sorting and fondling and smiling over all my fabric purchases.....smiling as I flip page after page of  new books added to my library....getting inspired and planning for the next one.

Until next year, Quilt Festival was a blast. 


I hear it's your birthday

Singing happy birthday to the HuMAn this morning while making him a birthday card.  He was asleep when I started looking for just the right picture for the background.  Who?  came to visit a couple of years ago and this picture from my portfolio seemed to fit the occasion just perfectly...just right for the birthday boy. 

Owl in the oak tree.
By the time the card was finished and still hot off the printing press, he waltzed in......thinking I had -
 not knowing I hadn't -
made a card for his very important day ages ago. 

Happy Birthday Card with Who? For Who?

Who? I ask.   Who is having a birthday today? and what is on the agenda for his very special day?

I made loaves of banana nut bread last week so he'll get a slice of bread - not cake - for breakfast.  I like mine covered with Greek yogurt.....he likes his au natural.

Then we'll head up to the attic while the air is somewhat cool.  For the past several years, we've done less and less holiday decorating.  There are no more pumpkins and witches nor turkeys in the straw and this is the year that there will be a lot less decor come Christmas time. 

We continue to put fresh greenery with pine cones and red ribbon on the front door and on the den door for a bit of holiday festivity.   We continue to put the round artificial wreaths with big red holiday bows on each window across the front of the house just to  keep up appearances.   The size of the Christmas tree was downsized a couple of years ago to one that we placed on a table in the living room window.  We really aren't being humbug it's just that - well, it's a lot of work each year to do all this just for the two of the tree will not be installed this year.   Family doesn't come for the holidays.....we go to them.  We took mental stock this year and asked ourselves:  Why?

Together, the decision was made that we could just pile our meager gifts to each other in the center of the room on Christmas morning and enjoy our gift-giving then champagne brunch without all the hustle and fuss of years past. 

Anyway, we are heading up to the attic to sort out Christmas decor.   Some of my handmade ones will nostalgically go back into storage.   Some ornaments will be given to family.  Some not so treasured treasures will go our house-cleaning service and some will go to thrift store and will hopefully be a great bargain to make someones' family home a festive one.  

After the attic sorting and after his birthday lunch, he'll probably be ready for a nice sit down on the sofa, remote in hand while I'll be heading to my newest toy, the Martelli long arm sit down.

Martelli Bella Sedere - at home with Marty Mason

 Except I've not been sitting down....what fun to stand and free motion quilt.  I've made progress but I can assure you this machine has a learning curve - especially dealing with the thread tension when changing to different weights of thread.  There's a reason they tell you to use the same thread all the time.  HOWEVER, I challenged myself to learn and learn I will!  

I'm cooking tonight and there will be meatloaf and mashed potatoes and green beans for his birthday supper.  So all in all, he will probably have a great birthday.  I know I will be having a great day with him. 


Jockeying for floor space ~

Yes, I've gone and done it again! Now waiting for delivery of my latest purchase - a Martelli Bella Sedere (Italian for  sit down) long arm quilting machine -  and now must figure how to acquire the required floor space in my sewing studio without knocking out walls!  Yes, I've really done it now and my Martelli is seriously jockeying for floor space.

Since I'll be getting a new pressing board delivered with the quilting machine, I quickly sold my changing table pressing station. That gave me a few additional square feet.   And in its space, mounted on the wall,  the cannot-live-without 7' x 4' design wall. 

I'll miss seeing my M*A*S*H poster but had quite a surprise when we moved the design wall from its original place to find a long forgotten 2004 Jazz Festival poster featuring Harry Connick, Jr.  



I'll also be taking out the current cutting station and will be using the new cutting area that is a part of the Martelli table.  Did I mention that the table height can be adjusted up and down, tilts just the pressing of a button.  I can either sit or stand while quilting and can adjust the height while cutting and pressing.  Love this feature. 

I've dropped the leaf on my Horn sewing table for a few more feet.   I can always raise it on as-needed basis while piecing/sewing  on my Juki.  But for now, I'm loving the streamlined look of the studio. 

We moved my Grandmother's antique handmade cypress kitchen cupboard down a few feet to accommodate the Martelli.  Inch by inch.....jockeying for floor space. 


and here's the space, all ready for delivery.....

I'm so excited and can hardly wait. 


Reflections Unfurling: There is ALWAYS a choice:

Reflections Unfurling: There is ALWAYS a choice:: Always a choice.   But, one must first want other must then explore the possibilities.... mentally and physically  search...