2013.....It was a very good year, as have been most of my years passed.   While we took time to travel a bit this year and made improvements in the house and out in the garden and got some time in for (light) exercise,  my main focus, of course, was where else but my sewing studio.  I call it my studio when it's all neat and tidy.  It becomes my sweat shop when it appears to be all ruffled and rough around the edges with multiple projects in progress strewn in and around the sewing machine(s) and pressing surface and cutting table. 

I  put together a couple of mosaics this morning of a few of my favorite projects this year.   There were more, but who's counting!
2013 End of Year Mosaic....Quilt projects by Marty Mason

Let's see, there was some improv quilts, some block-of-the-month online finishes, a few art quilts, table runners, thread sketching,  art quilt challenges and zippered pouches.  There was traditional with a touch of modern,   and a lot of sewing outside the lines

2013 End of Year Mosaic....Quilt projects by Marty Mason

When I wasn't sewing quilt blocks in the studio, I was painting them....the watercolor backdrop:  a square-in-a-square and more! 

 streak of lighting quilt,
modern nine-patch in almost neutrals! 
improv quilt made after taking Jacquie Gering's Craftsy class
and wonky crosses made with hand dyes and Zen Chic "Comma" fabric collection
Oh, yes, from start to finish 2013 was a very good year,
 but the best is yet to come.
 Happy New Year
Here's looking at you, 2014

I've been working on a chain: Gang!

wide mouth zippered pouch with Diane Springer fabric

More times than not, I find it is easier to make more than one at a time!  And making open mouth zippered pouches is no exception.  First, I cut all the fabric and fusible for these four pouches.  Then, I selected the zippers and pinned the layers and started sewing, chain style.....that means I didn't break the thread between each pouch, I just grabbed the second pouch, then the third and fourth until the first set of stitching was done.  Went to the pressing board, pressed one, two, three, four and started with Step No. 2 and the chaining began all over again.  I chained and chained until all four were completed.  Whew!  I've been working on a chain:  Gang!

wide mouth zippered pouch with Diane Springer fabric

wide mouth zippered pouch with Diane Springer fabric

Pouch No. 4....same exterior fabric, different lining and zipper.  These bags are so whimsical, the zipper color really doesn't matter.  I just went with what was on hand.  And with this zipper installation, if one is too long, the zipper can be trimmed to size.  The tab on the end keeps everything connected. 

wide mouth zippered pouch with Diane Springer fabric

It's a feel-good feeling when I have something ready for the next quilt guild fund raiser.
The Dubach Chicken Festival will be here before we know it and
the Piney Hills Quilt Guild (Ruston, Louisiana) always has a booth filled with handmade articles. 


On the 3rd Day of Christmas

I couldn't resist revisiting a day in December, 2012.  Is he not the most huggable boy tyke?

This isn't a posed's the real kid!
He knew he wasn't suppose to be climbing those steps by himself
and turned around to see if he was in trouble yet.
And he only got cuter and more huggable in the year just past.

Merry Christmas from the two of us ~

Just the two of us, home together, enjoying the quietness of the morning. 
Christmas music fills the house as we get ready for our traditional  champagne brunch. 
Just the two of us opening our gifts to each other.  Just the two of us holding hands, smiling, with thankful hearts, on a most beautiful Christmas day.  


~from our house to yours~

My frozen yew branch from a couple of years ago....warmed up with a Kim Klassen brush

The Winter Solstice is still a day away, but I couldn't resist warming up this frozen yew branch pictured in my garden a couple of years back.  Kim Klassen has a knack for putting together the most heart-warming brush sets and her warm winter wishes was just the touch to warm my spirits. 

~From our house to yours ~
  Happy Holidays

miscellaneous musings and other fodder ~


There's Always A Plan"  quilt top by Marty Mason

"ALL MEN CAN BENEFIT":  that's the title of Chapter nine!  And, it gets better as the chapter progresses.  One of my favorite authors,  Alexander McCall Smith, has a most enlightening series,  No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency, and I'm now reading novel No. 14 in the series, The Minor Adjustment Beauty Salon.  Should you choose to read the series, I would start with number 1 as each subsequent novel is layered upon the last. 

Alexander McCall of No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency novels

a page out of Alexander McCall Smith's No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency Novel, The Minor Adjustment Beauty Salon
The chapter begins when Mma Ramotswe, the owner of No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency, is reflecting on times in her life when nothing very much had happened.   Such as when the detective agency was first founded and she and her secretary, Mma Makutsi had very little, but busy work, to do.  Mma Makutsi  set up a filing system for the agency during her spare time and one of the filing categories was entitled MEN.
  The category was further subdivided into
Now, how would one know if a client was not likely to pay their bills?  According to Mma Makutsi, the secretary, dishonest people look dishonest and their dishonesty can be ascertained by either close set eyes.....or eyes that are set too far apart!
In either case, the person is going to be trouble.  They will be up to no good.
It's such a simple theory, I've asked myself, "Why didn't I think of that?"
This totally changes the way I will begin looking at people.
Oh, My!
Is this a time in my life when nothing very much is happening?
If so, I'll  continue to count my blessings and give thanks for quiet times -
times in which I can read and reflect
and enjoy a time when nothing very much is happening.
Oh, by the way, I completed the "There's Always A Plan" quilt top!
I'm not sure how I digressed from a finished quilt top to musing on nothing very much happening....except that my friends ponder on how I have so much time and energy to take scraps and sew them together for an improv quilt block.

Let there always be a plan ~

Just yesterday, I told my quilting friends that the one on the design wall was coming together beautifully, while deep in the back of my mind, I just wasn't sure.  I was really bored with it....already, and I had barely started.  Oh, it's not that I didn't like my 9" squares made from miscellaneous fabric scraps....I did.  But, however, and so forth:  I needed to enlarge my original plan. 

boosting the improv flavor....marty mason

Okay, there's always an alternate plan.  When I got home, I burrowed deep into the Malka Dubrawsky fabric stash and came up with three fabric choices from her Simple Marks collection for borders and sashing that pleased the eye.    Since I couldn't weed out any of the three, I just decided to put all three in.  What?  It's a modern improv quilt:  I can do with it what my imagination and fabric limitations will allow.  I've gotten started sewing the cypress sashing in and will continue to tweak the placement of the solid acid green and acid green circles.  Can you see where this plan is taking me? 

boosting the improv flavor....marty mason

You see, I'm not afraid to eat yogurt or hummus or do a lot of modern and improv quilting.   Some folks shy away from all three just because the words seem strange.   I just can't imagine!


thoughts for tuesday

the day started out with a thoughtful plan

original watercolor/sketch by Marty Mason

 then, I  scrapped the original plan

20- 9" scrap blocks on the design wall....what's the plan?

perhaps the other two-thirds of my day will go as planned

but then again, perhaps I'll re-arrange my entire day to suit me


Wouldn't want to be tied up by the plans others have made for my day!
Now, would I?

Lyrics to Live By: Give A Little

My upgrade to photoshop elements 12 tested my strength!

I finally made the jump - and what a jump it was.  More like a giant leap  backward.  I had become so familiar with my tried and true version of Photoshop....elements 7, that I didn't want to upgrade.  But, upgrade we must....times they are constantly a changin'.  So this afternoon, when I should have been addressing Christmas cards, I played around in my newest version....Photoshop Elements 12.  I had to start in kindergarten but did finally pass on into first grade.  I'm a slow learner! 

While it was quite by accident that I chose this picture taken in Italy last year to edit, as it turns out, it is quite fitting to my mood just now.  After two hours, I could use a sip....just a little bit, mind you, just a little bit!   Some lyrics are fun to live by.    Supertramp, one of my all-time favorite groups. 


He just smiled.....

when he entered the sewing room this morning.  You see, I awoke early and after the first cup, decided it was time to make hot pads.  But first, I had to make the yardage!

I throw all my scraps into a bin, then pull and play when I'm ready to make yardage.  On the cutting board, I cut larger pieces into smaller ones, then mix and match, then it's off to the sewing machine

Gather scraps to make yardage

 where I chain piece all the sets I've put together over at the cutting station.

and then I give those seams a good press, using starch...lots of starch! Continue adding layers around until I have the size needed.   Square up, then layer the elements for the hot pad.  I trimmed to 9" square which gave me a finished 8"-8 1/2" hot pad. 

making yardage from scraps

Hot Pad Layer Order:
  • Top of hot pad, Right Side Up
  • Bottom of hot pad, Right Side Down
  • Heat resistant fabric, Right Side Down
  • Batting
  • Heat resistant fabric, Right Side Up
I like to use two layers of the heat resistant fabric so regardless of which side of my hot pad goes next to the hot pot, I am  protected.

If  adding a hanging loop as I did on this one,  cut a 5" length of 1/2" twill.  Make the loop and insert in a corner between the top and bottom layer, making sure the loop is inside the sandwich.....NOT OUTSIDE the seam allowance.

Now, all my layers are nestled and pinned and ready to be sewn together with 1/2" seam allowance, leaving a 3" opening to turn.  Trim excess off corners.  I also trim excess batting.  Turn, press and top stitch around the hot pad perimeter.  Quilt as desired.  

And here is the first one hot out from under the sewing needle.  When there's only a minute to sit and sew, making yardage and putting it into hot pads will make the day glow.  Not only did it put a smile on my face but on his too when he walked in and saw scraps strewn on every available surface. 

What?   There was a method to my morning madness! 

It's a scrap-happy hot pad...out of the sewing room and into the kitchen of Marty Mason


It's cold outside, soup is on and the sun is out!

Life is good.  I've had these quilts finished and ready for pictures for two weeks!!!!! but there's been no good weather to get pictures taken. 

I'm so excited to have been a part of the Sisters' Ten Modern BOM, 2013.  I love my finished quilt....all quilted up by Theresa in one of her newly found long-arm modern quilting designs.  She called the design  'modern curves.' 

Sisters' Ten Modern BOM 2013 by Marty Mason

And, I'm as equally excited to have finished this modern nine-patch in shades of gray and cream and a touch of orange.   No quilt pattern required!

modern 9-patch by marty mason
Happiness is a finished quilt
sunshine in the day
soup on the stove
on a cold winter's day! 

Christmas Blasts From The Past

I make art quilts in minimal style
I like trees
  I like trees in real life and  I like them abstract
 I like raw edges that fray
I like to quilt my art

trees on batik with swarovski crystals - a marty mason original fabric art card
Christmas time's a comin'

trees on plaid - a marty mason original fabric art card
Tis the season when all is merry and bright
trees on green and lavender - a marty mason original fabric art card

and good cheer abounds

trees on green and lavender - a marty mason original fabric art card

as family and friends gather in celebration

trees on red wool....a marty mason minimal

Trees to you ~

I didn't sew this week......but !

I've been giving it a lot of thought:

Alison Glass has a new fabric collection, "Clover Sunshine."  But I don't have that collection in my sewing cupboard!  What's a girl to do?

I found her free pattern on Andover Fabrics yesterday and immediately set about selecting just the right mix of fabrics for my cobblestones.  A great design for a remix of scraps left over from other projects.  All that is needed for this quilt top is 72-  9" x 10 1/2" rectangles.  Or something there about.  The way this one is cut and then sewn together, as long as the width of each rectangle is the same, just about any length would work well....4" all the way up to 10 1/2".  Can't wait to play with this one.

fabric for Andover free quilt pattern "Tiles"

It costs a little bit more for shipping, but this bundle was well worth the cost.  It's Anna Maria Horner's "True Colors" fat quarter bundle.  Sometimes, you just can't find the newer lines locally so when I find them online, I don't think twice about adding to my shopping cart.

Just couldn't resist ordering Anna Maria Horner's "True Colors" fat quarter bundle

A friend stopped by yesterday and gifted me with two of the newer modern quilting magazines.  AND, on the cover of  Issue #1 of Love Patchwork & Quilting  was Holly DeGroot's "The Plus Side."  I think my Anna Maria Horner fat quarter bundle will work beautifully.  Don't you? 

Issue No. 1 Patchwork and Quilting



and, while I didn't sew at all this week, it's been so much fun just planning out a few more projects. 
 Here is a picture of  a Valorie Wells quilt made with her Novella fabric collection....found at Free Spirit.  I picked this little card up last February while at Quilt Con and have been looking  for a way to put this quilt top together.     Well, here we go! 
Not Valorie Wells fabric, but just as wonderful is Tula Pink's Acacia .  Now, if I can figure out how!!!
and still browsing through Make It Modern.  The day isn't over. 

Oh, I'm wishing for a jolly, merry Christmas ~

A December calendar for your desktop and mine!  I'm finding myself going more and more
minimal these days
and am lovin' the look
December, 2013 calendar by Marty Mason

Minimal is good when time is of the essence.  I found this picture in my "I made this paper" folder
and decided it would make the perfect minimal December calendar background.  Just a hint of color and bangles and streamers (all paint, of course). 


The challenge was met!

Art Quilts Around The World....The Macro Marty Mason

In going through the inspiration motions for the Macro Challenge for Art Quilts Around The World, I had to first check out the definition of macro:
  •  Large scale; overall
  • Very large in scale, scope, or capability
  • A macro is a symbol, name, or key that represents a list of commands, actions, or keystrokes
  • and my own definition:  up close and personal
There is macro as in photography, or environment, computer, economics and this macro and that macro and on and on! 

With these thoughts (and by this time, other thoughts) in mind, I finally decided very simply, very minimalistic PERIOD as in large scale PERIOD.  My PERIOD is thread-painted in black on a white fabric which represents a sheet of writing paper.  The exaggerated lines on my 'paper' are hand-quilted with pearl cotton embroidery floss.
Art Quilts Around The World....The Macro Marty Mason

 I was in luck when I found the white script on black for the binding.  Just the cat's meow for the finishing touch on such a fun art quilt project.   PERIOD


Skill Builder BOM year-end review ~

I did it!  While I didn't get every block made this year, and still have one to finish, I so enjoyed participating in Alyssa's  Pile O' Fabrics Skill Builder 2013 BOM.  Oh, and how I increased my quilting skills.  At times, I thought I was way out of my element.

In all of my quilting years, I've never done English paper piecing so,  I am sew much enjoying the quiet time on the sofa.  Whip stitch by whip stitch, these little hexagons are coming together to form my pyramid.  Soon, very soon, it will be done.

English Paper Piecing....Hexagons WIP

Did I mention that I didn't get all twenty Skill Builder blocks completed this year.  Twelve out of twenty isn't all bad and  I'm loving the size my twelve block quilt will make.  I'm also loving the way these quilted blocks are joined:  the quilt-as-you-go way.  This lesson was worth sticking with this Skill Builder BOM 2013. 


Skill Builder Quilt

Just a sampling of my honed free-motion quilting skills. 

Skill Builder Woven motion quilted by Marty Mason


Happy Thanksgiving

Photography:  From the garden of Marty Mason

I'll take a walk outside today
I'll look around me
I'll look up
And give thanks for it all
For every single ray of sunshine and every breath of air
For the flora and the fauna
On the ground and in the air. 

I'll take a walk outside today and give thanks
For the beauty and bounty  that surrounds me. 's everywhere ~

See what thinking outside the box can lead to.  How many more people did this orchestra reach than when in an auditorium?  Perhaps not as many, but, oh, what a beautiful group they inspired. 


Flowers Squared - A quilt

It's been raining here for the last few days....not complaining.  Well, not much.  I've gotten lots of sewing done but no pictures taken. 

At first glimpse of the sun's rays this morning I bundled up against the wind and cold and headed out for a couple of pictures of my newest quilt that I've dubbed 'Flowers Squared.'

Flowers Squared......Marty Mason
Flowers Squared......Marty Mason

Hannah's Quilts had one similar in her shop and I snapped a picture of her quilt for inspiration.  In my usual fashion, not being sure what I was doing, I botched the third layer...the layer surrounding the center floral square should be heading out to each of the four corners....not side to side, nor up and down, but out!  Oh, well!

Alas, the big floral dahlia border would be so pretty if the seams had been mitered.  But, woebegone, I didn't have enough fabric.  Oh, well! 

Not complaining, just saying!

What I really love about this quilt top is that it is finished and perfectly pleases me.  I used Kaffe Fassett and Brandon Mably and probably some Philip Jacob fabrics, all from Hannah's Quilts,  and for sure Cherrywood hand dyed....yes, that's the lush turquoise outer borders.  Did I mention the Bali shot cotton too. 



Name Dropping
Jennifer Paganelli
Vanessa Christenson AKA V and Co.

name-dropping:  Amy Butler
AMY butler
Okay.....I'm doing a little name-dropping today:  Just because I needed to share some of my favorite fabric finds (some on sale, some not) from my recent trip to Lafayette. 
 My hostess made sure we had time to drop in to two quilt shops while I was visiting:
The Borne Quilter on Kaliste Saloom Road
 and Lola Pink Fabrics on Arnould Blvd. 
A fabric from Lotta Jansdotter's Bella Collection
and a most delightful part of Anna Maria Horner's Field Study 

name-dropping:  Brandon Mably

,Name-dropping is the practice of mentioning important people or institutions within a conversation
[1] story,[2] song, online identity,[3] or other communication. The term often connotes an attempt to impress others; it is usually regarded negatively,[1] and under certain circumstances may constitute a breach of professional ethics.[4] When used as part of a logical argument it can be an example of the false authority fallacy.[5]

A shout-out is a type of name-dropping where a list of names is spoken out expressly to direct attention at these groups or individuals, often as a means of expressing kudos or making a referral.
Name-dropping....what's not to love about these names.

Quilt As You Go......easy little doll quilt ~

I needed a quick and easy project this afternoon.....and I wanted to figure out how to do the quilt-as-you-go....adding one strip at a time. 

quilt as you go.....a doll quilt project
A Quilt-As-You-Go Doll Quilt

quilt as you go.....a doll quilt project
I gathered material for the backing the size of the doll quilt I needed to make, cut the batting large enough to cover the backing, then gathered strips of fabric.  My strips were anywhere from 1" to 4".

Layer backing right side down and place batting on top, then begin by laying one of your top strips  face up on the batting.  Add another strip, right side down on top of the first strip and sew through all layers using a 1/4" seam allowance.  Continue adding until the entire doll quilt is covered with your strips. 

quilt as you go.....a doll quilt project

TaDa...learning experience over.  I trimmed excess, added binding (by machine) and this little doll jewel is ready to gift to my housekeeper's baby girl in the morning. 

Now that I know I can, I think this will be a great way to make larger community service quilts.  All that will be needed is a variety of strips cut width of fabric and batting and backing about 42" x 50" or so.  How easy can that be.