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 problem....it 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 person...one 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 from 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.  Hannah 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 Houston....it 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 us.....so 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 too....by 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 choices....one must then explore the possibilities.... mentally and physically  search...

Adjunct ~


Adjunct:  (noun)

A thing added to something else as a supplementary rather than an essential part. 

A collage drawn and altered, stamped, painted and pasted.....in Photoshop, having a little bit of nothing to do with my ordinary day of quilt making.  I say!


Sharing a good time ~

I am all about things and thoughts and sharing a good time today ~

My day started....simply enough.  The housekeeper is stopping by this morning to sweep away the dust and grime and threads and lint from the week past so I had to get out of pajamas, get a shower and do the preliminary cleaning before her arrival. 

 Sharing my thoughts on two vintage chairs on the streets of LaGrange.  How neat is that - all fluffed and ready for the next passerby

Our housekeeper is a sweetheart so I hate that she might think we live like slobs.  I feel compelled to stuff stuff into drawers and hide other stuff in the closet.  Why, really, should I care what others think?  Well, just 'cause my mama made me make the bed every morning and clear the dresser top and for sure lower the lid to the commode before I left for school.  Neat was a family tradition that I continue to uphold.


Twin doors fronting a side street in New Orleans where there is no space for clutter. 

The front porch of The Queen Ann Bed and Breakfast
Natchitoches.  Even though open-air sitting, there's not a speck of dust in sight.

Loving the color selections for this vintage modern cottage
Austin, Wow! Clean as a whistle. 

Seattle garden shed ~
and then there is my hometown - a tour of the 'hood
And so, my day has started - simply enough. 

Contained - er

Just a few minutes in left-over time.   A study:  contained.  My wool vase with flowers on wool. Yet to be completed but still worthy of a picture in its 'as-is' place on the shelf. 

VASE:  A decorative container typically made of glass and used as an ornament or for displaying cut flowers.

Reading this morning about tapestry weaving in an issue of Fiber Art Now magazine  ".....it starts at the beginning and moves on until you
reach the end.  You can't go back and fix something you did at the beginning without unweaving."   A quote from Dr. Jessica Hemmings, head of the faculty of visual culture, National College of Art and Design, Dublin. 
So it could be said about life from beginning to end....except we can't unweave. 
  Continuing to quote Dr. Hemmings, " Tapestry creates an unforgiving record of our inattention." 
Have a wonderful day and weave it well.

Moving On ~

It's Monday, already,  and I'm still mulling over my feelings of yesterday.  I had a wonderful nights' rest and am ready to make the most of my day.  Except I need to review my feelings of yesterday for just one more minute.  

garden angel

When I'm focused, I'm the one who can work for hours on a project.  The flying geese project held my attention for a time yesterday,  but then not.

I sat down to some hand quilting for a while, but again my attention span was short.

 So I grabbed my book and read until my hands started to cramp.

 It was then that I dug out some fabric and covered it with a thin layer of gesso.  Of course, that took forever to dry with our humid air so the cycle started over again:

flying geese, hand quilting, reading, painting.  It was as though all the kings' horses just couldn't put me back together. 

                                              We had frozen pizza for dinner last night and the grass continues to grow

Not sure what was causing my anxiety....not even sure it was anxiety.  I just couldn't stay focused on any one project.

Here's to you, Monday morning......You are feeling good. 


As time lets me ~

Ginger came by yesterday with the newest Jen Kingwell fabric line - a fat quarter bundle of Moving On Lawn - that she picked up from Brenda's shop.  We split each of the 34 fat quarters right down the middle and I've been moving on with it.   Oh, heart! Stop racing ~


It fits beautifully with a Jen Kingwell's Gardenvale line from a couple of years past.  And it all fits in beautifully with my flying geese on the design wall. 

Improv Flying Geese - a work-in-progress quilt on the design wall

As time lets me, this quilt top is growing, but not in the direction I originally thought it might go.  You see, I wanted to get this quilt top done quickly so decided that six vertical rows of flying geese with big wide white sashing strips in between with big white borders surrounding would just do the trick.  This one needs to be at least 80" by 90" which is a little larger than I've been making, so this design layout immediately began to bore me.  Imagine that!

I pulled a few mixers Thursday night, but when Ginger got here yesterday and started pulling even more, I began to see the light.  This one needed to be in my usual style, not something in a picture I found on Pinterest. 

Improv Flying Geese - a work-in-progress quilt on the design wall

As time lets me, this one will grow to the needed size. 

Improv Flying Geese - a work-in-progress quilt on the design wall
I'll keep you updated - as time lets me.  TaTa for now and have a beautiful weekend.