A simple little project ~

On such a cold, rain filled day, something to keep away the blues ~

In keeping with my quest to reduce plastic and paper waste, this little  goodie bag just fit my need to demonstrate the art of gift wrapping without waste.   This fabric gift bag for your Valentine's Day sweetheart is large enough to hold candy kisses, a tube of  the reddest red lip gloss or even diamond earrings.  Look -  no paper or plastic waste - using scraps of fabric instead.  The simplest things keep me smiling.   How fun to make these two goodie gift bags in under 20 minutes. 

Nuts and Bolts ~

improv patchwork  quilt in the making with silk and other remnants - marty mason

It's still on the improv design wall, but already this little gem is dubbed "Nuts and Bolts".  The nuts and bolts of it is because while happily practicing my curved piecing,  I'm loving the improvisational-ness of this piece with no rhyme nor reason to its progression.  Accepting each add-on that's fitting together like a nut to the bolt. 

improv patchwork  quilt in the making with silk and other remnants - marty mason

January ~

2020 - a new year, a new decade -  has arrived and January is well in progress.  Some snapshots just to prove the sewing  machine has been humming.

The joyous new year began with the completion of two quilt tops ready for quilting and donated to a child in need.  Just last week I heard a comment made that made my heart hurt.  A lovely quilter, she is, said that she was just about community serviced out.   But for the grace of God, that hurting child could have been me and so it is for that reason that I hope never to tire of giving away my quilting time and talent.

Simply sewed, an improv 4 patch using donated fabric....and the abundant joy in giving back continues.

improv 4 patch for community service quilt

Another improv 4-patch ready to be quilted and donated.

Improv 4-patch closeup....just filling in the gaps.

And what a year-ending treat it was to being an active participant in the Sherri Lynn Wood Patchwork Doodle workshop last month.   This project began by making several size rectangles in several colorways, then attaching one to the other.  When that began to bore me, I switched over to making triangles of any size  putting it all together to the improv finish line.  My goal of making with larger blocks was not a total failure.  I'll continue to think big when thinking of improv. 

And another improv top finished just yesterday.....improv to the log cabin constructed in a minimal number of fabrics and colorways.  

Happiness is sewing in the new year.

In a hurry.....gotta get on the road ~

I'm off first thing this morning for a weekend filled with Sherri Lynn Wood workshops.  It's going to be all about patchwork  doodling along with some courageous and outrageous curved piecing in two six hour whirlwind days in Lafayette, Louisiana.   My bags are packed and all the sewing gear is  ready to roll with me. 

But first a hint of what it's all about.   Here's my first 'floating square' block and finished improv patchwork quilt made several years ago using Sherri Lynn's book  The Improv Handbook for Modern Quilters as inspiration and guidance.    Get fabric, cut a square and let one thing lead itself into the next. 

Floating Squares improv patchwork quilt block inspired by Sherri Lynn Wood

Floating Squares improv patchwork quilt inspired by Sherri Lynn Wood

Sew, I'll see you on the other side of the weekend with more pictures of how  Sherri Lynn and I figure it out!  Improv patchwork, now that's a cat's meow. 

Thankful ~

I'm thankful for the season and wish you all a holiday filled with peaceful moments and safe travels.

Home with one ~

Arrived home exhausted from a fabulous 3-day quilting retreat with one finished quilt top and two more quilt tops in progress. 

A "Love" panel was purchased for no particular reason while last at Mama's Quilt Shop in Independence.  The shop had a quilt hanging on the wall so I asked if I could take a picture for reference to cut my panel, add logs around each block  and complete a likeness for myself.  Likeness now completed and ready for quilting and donating to community service.   Borders were not added simply because I couldn't find just the right fabric in my stash but the size is still a good lap size at 48" x 72"

With only three blocks started, I'm already loving The Avenue....a quilt pattern by Louise Papas for the Jen Kingwell designs collective. 

Each tree along the avenue will be made from my scrap fabric bin with no particular focus on color or design.  

And then the cat's paper pieced meow.....I've begun Leila Gardunia's free pattern downloads and am on a quest to complete all 52 scrappy triangles.  

16 and counting 

Until next quilting retreat with friends !

Life's Too Short ~

.....and so time moves on and thankfully I'm moving along with it. 

One thought on arising this morning is that life is too short to stitch straight lines ~

Big stitch hand quilting on linen tablecloth ~ Marty Mason

Another thought (and along the same quilting lines) is that life is too short to take small stitches ~

Big stitch hand quilting on linen tablecloth ~ Marty Mason

and life is way too short to bury all those knots!  

Big stitch hand quilting on linen tablecloth ~ Marty Mason

I've had this buttery yellow linen table cloth for such a long time (it's about bridge club meeting table size) and was just about ready to pass it on to the thrift store when (in)sanity prevailed.  Why not quilt it?  And, so it goes.  I didn't trim the hem....nor did I get around to removing the set in stains . ...a few larger holes were patched, but not every hole....it did get pen basted....quilting lines for guides were not drawn. In keeping with my mood, a large size Perle cotton was selected along with a large enough needle to get the big thread through the eye.

Life's too short not to enjoy it's imperfections.

Nothing ever stays the same ~

There truly are very few things in my life that I would want to remain constant.  Clean air or perhaps fresh water.   But to have the same food at the same eatery prepared by the same person...or to wear the same shoes day in and day out....the unthinkable.  There's a  reason the clothing industry thrives by changing styles every season.  Yes, the makers know we get bored and know that the masses thrive on change. 

Thinking of change:   If I were to start a quilt guild, the mission statement might go something like this: 

     " We are a visionary quilt guild with members who strive to combine beauty with the everyday.                   We are trendsetters with a vision who know that the process of designing and making is                             just as important as the finished product.  
  We embrace the imperfections while altering the idea  of what can be."  

My newly formed guild would be filled with visionaries who push their quilt making and designing to the limit.  

I remember when machine quilting was scorned.  Thankfully, those who continued quilting by machine saved the quilting industry from a quick death.   I remember when there were once strict rules on fabric for quilt backings and bindings and that every quilt must have a border.   I remember being able to find only fabric that I considered lifeless, with no spark,  no color, no movement, with minimum design elements.   I don't look back as these being 'the good ole days'. 

My newly formed guild members would be those  who are willing to contribute to the overall health and growth of the guild....paraphrased all members willingly contribute their time and talent.   There would be generosity in members wanting to hold office and  make meeting presentations and willingness to join in work teams.    There would be generosity in every member coming together to aid and assist. 

What if I incorporate this line of thinking into my personal quilting style.  What if I had made only one block:  

What if  I then added to that one,  more blocks....blocks in different colorways and different sizes? 

What if a block was changed by cutting and inserting? 

What if all the different sizes and colorways with and without insertions joined together in perfect  peace and harmony?  Interesting? 

Nothing ever stays the same - so this too will pass.    

Ready, Set....don't leave me behind ~

Have I been a drag on myself?   Or others?   It's time for me to re-group, re-focus with open eyes and clear head.  Time to get moving and get ready for upcoming events.    My prep work is done for the local guild gathering, the house is clean for holiday company, the yard work is done and the frost will help keep it that way!

It's been a while since my last quilting retreat so I'm excited to get away for a couple of nights and days to be with kindred spirits.   Most of the other participants are new to me so I'm really looking forward to connecting with other quilters in my area.  We'll be at Kings Place in Mer Rouge, Louisiana, just  so you'll know that I'm not venturing too far from home this time.

However, my next quilting adventure will be with Sherri Lynn Wood a little farther down the road.    Sherri Lynn is fabulous at taking an idea and with a scrap from here and a scrap from there,  making most intriguing quilts.  I'll be in the Lafayette area in south Louisiana for a few days in mid-December knee deep in Sherri Lynn's  Patchwork Doodles and Grid Busting Improv Curves workshops. 

Time passes so quickly when planning for fun things.  Before I know it, it will be the semi-annual Tangi House Retreat with friends after Christmas and into the New Year.  Here's  a finish of the little square quilt started when we were last together.  It's not yet quilted, but I'm wishfully thinking it will be soon enough. 

Quilting with buds.  How fun.

Even with all the quilt retreat planning and scheming, there's been some finishes around here.  These little Atkinson Design Cash and Carry pouches come together so quickly with minimum time and fabric.

Sew it goes.  Pass it forward. 

Oh, the value of value ~

I've been humbled in the past few weeks as the HuMaN and I  continue to downsize our stuff to become more and more the minimalist that our hearts crave.   Together we sorted through all those plastic records and album covers until we finally decided that we had finished with the sentiments and that the look of the barren closet shelf was most becoming.   It took a few hours as we shared where we were and what we were doing when that Jackson Browne or Sting or Beatles tune was a hit.   Oh, the value of sentiments?

Deliberation done, it was time to do some online research as to the "real" value.  This got me nowhere!    Surely Carole King's Tapestry was worth more than a buck or two.  It is a classic. Of course my album is worth more than that!!    Plugging along, I made a list to sum up what might  be expected from that very eager buyer I was destined to find.   

On that fateful day, with list and albums in hand off we went to the market place where reality smacked us in the forehead.  The man laughed when he saw the list and inflated values.   He did look  at our stuff and made an offer.  I scoffed.  I scorned.  I bickered.  He held steadfast.  We took his offer.  Looking back, we are thankful to have those records off the shelf. 

You see, the lesson learned was that sentimental value has nothing to do with material worth.    My sentiments naturally inflate the value because of my personal and emotional association but those sentiments cannot be brought into the picture when establishing a street value.

Hand painted by Marty Mason....a ceramic bookend pictured with a vintage book suitable for children.
Neither have  a significant street value but bring me beautiful memories of a day gone by. 

A fun day with family and dogs where everyone was important
enough to get in the picture.  

So that's your opinion...now, hear mine!  

How much is that birdie in the mirror?  

Cackle Cackle, Cluck Cluck 

So, having said all that.....I've been pricing donated stuff for the annual Council on Aging Christmas Bazaar coming up this weekend.  I first put like things in piles and considered the overall quality of material and construction  to come up with a  middle-of-the-road price, knowing that an average price  might be over-pricing or under-pricing.     My thoughts were that on sale day, there will be no time to explain that the construction or material of one tote bag over another is why one is priced substantially higher or lower.  Made sense to me!

Perhaps those who don't go along with my logic will gather and price all that stuff  next time.

Two heads together are often better than one.

I'm Fried