Putting on a happy face: lost and found

With new computer
lost in the system

or, so I thought. 

I'm laughing out loud
today at finding all those lost pictures in

right where I left

Lady in Italy beach combing with man's best friend - Marty Mason
Lady with man's best friend beach-combing in blue water on the shores in Italy - 2012

 Blue door under the hill in Natchitoches

On the Street in New Orleans - Marty Mason Photography
 I found this perfectly manicured blue building on the streets of New Orleans.  I could make this building my quilting shed! 

So, what do all these pictures have in common?  They are all about blue 'cause that's how I was feeling about having lost them .   All pulled from different folders where they were safely stored, just waiting for my next visit. 

blue bottle collection at Oak Point - photographed by Marty Mason

Boy in blue with father in blue taking a lunch break at outdoor restaurant

happy clown figurine - photographed by Marty Mason

Putting on a Happy Face

Are bow ties history?

3-dimensional bow tie quilt - Marty Mason

This bow tie quilt was almost history.....one I started at a quilting retreat several years ago after my friend Dorothy did a demonstration of the 3-dimensional bow tie.  I completed a few blocks just to reinforce the technique in my brain, then put the project aside for a year or more.  Being the A-type personality that I am, I do like to start what I finish....aka controlling the ufo's. 

When my Martelli was delivered in late October last year, I began searching for quilts to practice on that had no real value to me. 

 So, here you have it:  one of my first finishes quilted in the simple stipple design.  All quilted and washed and ready to donate to a child in need. 


3-dimensional bow tie quilt - Marty Mason

Bow ties always look so nice and neat.....I do hope they aren't something of my past that I see only in pictures. 

3-dimensional bow tie quilt - Marty Mason


Slow Stitching ~

Hand stitching is slow.  It's a time for relaxing, for thinking, for watching a long movie or listening to good music.  It's my time to let go of preconceived ideas that all quilt stitches must be small and that they must be equal in size and in distance apart or that the quilting thread must be small.   Hand stitching is personal. 

hand quilting, Jogakbo stitching and layering - slow stitching on thrift store linen  by Marty Mason

It was in a QuiltCon 2017, Heidi Parkes workshop that I learned about layering.   Just another interesting dimension - a buried  snippit of perle cotton thread between the quilt top and batting.  Quilting through the layers holds the buried  thread in place. 

hand quilting, Jogakbo stitching and layering - slow stitching on thrift store linen  by Marty Mason

This picture shows layering, big stitch quilting and the Korean Jogakbo stitch (in pink).  Yes, Jogakbo is meant to be a visible stitch.  It might take me a bit more practice to achieve sameness in each stitch. 

You can also see where the quilting threads were attached and tied off on top of the quilt.   Interesting idea I picked up on at QuiltCon 2017.  There was more than one quilt in the show that didn't have buried threads!!!  and you can bet the police were getting ready to make a few arrests. 


Improv quiltmaking and slow stitching are addictive. 

hand quilting, Jogakbo stitching and layering - slow stitching on thrift store linen  by Marty Mason

Life doesn't have to speed by.  Mine now includes some slow stitching.

softly ~

Enjoying the Spring  garden ~  The potted chives always enjoy the cool Spring temperature.

chive in the Mason's garden

The gnarled old Hackberry tree continues to amaze us each year with it spectacular greenery.  It's a delightful bright spot shaming the dullness of the neighboring pine limbs.  The Hackberry is one of those three-personality trees.  It shines in the Spring,  blends in to an almost diminishing view until Autumn, then it shines again with golden leaves until the Winter wind bares the branches.   

 Bird bath and blue flowers.  The pine tree bark reflection was a happy surprise in the bath water. 

Rocking:  From the back ~
White rocker on the carriage house porch
Enjoy your day

Positive Energy ~

Something I read this morning - "look not down and back , but up and out."  From the book Listen To Me. 

When I was a kid, my sisters and I would sit on the front step and play guessing games.  How many cars would pass before the next red one came by?  Or, how many blue cars would be in the next 15 cars that passed.  Or how many kids could we see in cars that passed?  It was a game, but it kept us looking forward to what was yet to come.

I still love the positive energy I get  from playing the guessing games.....what's around the next corner or what might tomorrow have in store for me?    What new word will  I learn today and what new quilt design is going to pop into my head?  I hope to always be eager and ready for the surprise I know is out there when I don't jump to conclusions. 

In improvisational quilt-making you absolutely cannot/do not know the conclusion until you've put in the very last stitch.  I love that surprise element in my work.  Often tiring, never boring. 

And so, I continue to splatter paint this morning.....it has no value, except to me.  I can see for miles.....the sand, the sea, the sky and sunshine. 

Spring Break-Through

Yes, I've been in a long winter hibernation and just broke through into my spring revival.  Lots of quilt-making has been going on in the studio during those cold days. 

One of my favorite finishes is this improvisational log cabin made from thrift store linen blouses and skirts and cotton jersey t-shirts.  It's heavy since I had to back the linen for stabilization, but it looks just right for a spring night on the back porch rocker. 

improv log cabin using thrift store linen - marty mason
Quilted on my Martelli:  Life can't be any better than being able to get up, bounce into the sewing studio and finish a quilt in no time. 

improv log cabin using thrift store linen....quilted on Martelli sit down - marty mason

Lots of ideas have been flowing in and out of my head.  More checkbook covers for craft fair.  A fun little something to make for  the guild's fun money fund raiser. 

fabric checkbook cover - marty mason

Oh, and more munchkin pillows made from machine felted wool scraps.  They are only 6" - 8" square (more or less) and are  just the right thing for any little munchkin. 
machine felted wool scraps made into small pillows - marty mason

machine felted wool scraps made into small pillows - marty mason

machine felted wool scraps made into small pillows - marty mason

When there's just one more minute in the day, I love making simple note cards.  This was a coneflower from my garden last year.....manipulated in photoshop and printed on card stock.

note card ~ original to marty mason

It goes without saying that while in Savannah,  there was a whole lot of fabric purchases made.

loved the Victoria Findley Wolfe booth in Savannah Quilt Con East

And best yet, a free half-yard fabric bundle of Art Gallery Fabric.....5 free yards.  What a deal !

I've been doing lots of planning and preparing for a 2018 workshop.  I think I'll call it "Improvisational to the Nines."  You see, we'll be starting out with a nine-patch.  The workshop will probably be filled with very traditional quilters and I want to draw them into my love of improv.  I'm hoping this very simple, very easy-to-make traditional block will get their traditional attention.  My first thought was to have each participant have a completed drunkard's path or churn dash block on workshop day and bring along with large scraps from their scrap pile.  Then I decided for ease of easing into improv, we best start out with a nine-patch.  I'm excited. 

9-patch with improvisational use of fabric placement - marty mason

Improvisational use of fabric in  a simple 12" 9-patch is all this one took to get this quilt started. 

See how easy improv quilt making is!  A 9-patch surrounded by borders finished at 40" x 46" for an
"Improv to the Nines" workshop sampler.   
improv 9-patch in progress in preparation for workshop - Marty Mason

TaTa for now..... I'm off to enjoy a beautiful day filled with sunshine.  May your day also be filled with hugs and sunshine and all things that warm your heart. 


Just A Block Before I Go ~

Just a Gypsy Wife block or two before I head out to QuiltCon East 2017 - Savannah USA ~

Puss In The Corner quilt block for my Gypsy Wife quilt - marty mason
Puss In The Corner quilt block with border.

Puss In The Corner quilt block for my Gypsy Wife quilt - marty mason
Puss In The Corner block -
so different with just a change up of fabric....and no border !

I am so excited.....been waiting for two years to get back to QuiltCon where I'll be meeting up with old friends and no doubt, making new ones along the way. 

half-square triangle quilt block for my Gipsy Wife quilt- marty mason
Very simply - half-square triangles.  Always one of my favorite quilt blocks.  Always with personality, plus. 

Hope From Hartford:  Quilt block completed to add to my Gypsy Wife quilt - a Jen Kingwell quilt pattern I purchased a couple of years ago.  It's never too late to get started. 

Hope from Hartford quilt block for my Gypsy Wife quilt  - marty mason

It will be a whirlwind trip.....See you on the return.

OH, NO !

Just when I start thinking how smart I am ~

You know the call, the one where Jessica (name changed to protect the guilty), the call where she asks "can you hear me okay?"  Well, I got the call yesterday and decided to smartly say "Yes" just to hear what she had to say.  You see, Jessica has been trying to get us to renew the extended warranty on a vehicle we no longer own.  After I told Jessica that I was hearing her just fine, she responded by saying that this was our final call to renew our extended warranty.  She then asked me to answer some questions to be sure the vehicle continued to qualify for the EW.  Her first question to qualify was, "does your vehicle have less than 150,000 miles on it?" 

I tried to answer the question as honestly as I could, not knowing who bought that vehicle or how they used it or how many miles it might now have, but since it has been several years with a new owner, I assumed they drove it a lot and the vehicle probably had more than 150,000 miles, so my response to Jessica was "NO."  Well, hallelujah.  She hung up on me.  I'm thinking how smart I am.  Perhaps that took care of one more nuisance phone call! 

Yea! Right! Who am I kidding?

But wait......this morning I'm reading about the telephone scam where they want you to say "YES" so they can record your voice and use it later to prove that you did okay a credit card transaction.  Oh, my! What have I gotten myself into.

I'll turn all this over to the HuMAN, stop answering the phone and go back to  quilting.  Problem solved.  How smart is that? 

On the plus side - page 124 book of MOdern Blocks
"On The Plus Side" page 124 in Modern Blocks book compiled by Susanne Woods

Strings and Scraps ~

In all the years, I've never made a string quilt - until now !

String Quilt - MartyMason Made

You see, I've been energized to make do with what's on the fabric shelf or in the scrap bin so have spent the better part of 2017 making scrap quilts.  Oh, what fun getting all those strings and scraps stitched into this quilt top. 

Using paper as my block guide, I sewed strip after strip until I had an 8 1/2" square.  It took a few days to get these 48 blocks made for my 48" x 64" lap quilt.

Pieced back for string quilt - Marty Mason made
And then I added another day of sewing to piece the back of this one.  I'm  rapidly using fabric to get my fabric shelves ready for the new that will certainly be purchased at QuiltCon 2017, Savannah. 

String Quilt - MartyMason Made

String quilt.....you are the best! 

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.