A weekend filled with Beaches and Happy Villages ~

What a way to spend the day.....!  Karen Eckmeier dropped into town Thursday afternoon and spent the weekend with us quilt makers here in North Louisiana.  She is so fun and so talented, is a  Bernina Ambassador, national and international teacher and very modestly says her quilts have been well-received in Houston and other major quilt shows around the country.

Karen talks with her whole body....especially with her hands. 

Karen Eckmeier The Painted Lizard Art Studio

Her enthusiasm rubbed off on everyone in the Friday class.   Look at the (almost) completed art quilts.  All smiles at how much was accomplished in the full day workshop Accidental Landscapes:  Beaches.  Yep, the beaches stole the Friday show. 

Karen was there for everyone and gave each of us her undivided attention. Here she is talking shop with Marianne: 

And one of my favorites  from the Friday night presentation and trunk show where Karen has combined a couple of her construction techniques for this city scape:  rectangles and squares and curved layers and waves to get this accidental landscape.

Karen Eckmeier The Painted Lizard Art Studio

Saturday, a group of 25 met her early to begin another bountiful day putting on a happy face while making Happy Villages.   The construction of my village is not quite complete but certainly to the "I love it" stage! 


I was up at 4 a.m. to get Karen off to the airport for a 6 o'clock takeoff and since I was awake and feeling strong and energized, finished my landscape - a beach to enjoy sans heat and sand.

Accidental Landscape:  Beaches.  The quilted art of Marty Mason .   Layered curves, a workshop taught by Karen Eckmeier

Accidental Landscape:  Beaches.  The quilted art of Marty Mason .   Layered curves, a workshop taught by Karen Eckmeier

Accidental Landscape:  Beaches.  The quilted art of Marty Mason .   Layered curves, a workshop taught by Karen Eckmeier

Karen, we loved having you here.  Do come back.

Want a great show for FREE?

We are so excited here in North Louisiana to be having Karen Eckmeier, aka The Quilted Lizard,  come for a two-day, two-workshop weekend....

Karen is planning her trunk show and power point presentation for us Friday night and IT'S FREE TO THE PUBLIC.  Please come and welcome Karen to Louisiana.  The show will start at 6 p.m. at Bayou Oaks Baptist Church, 298 Joe White Road in Monroe. 

Karen will be teaching us how to start making landscapes accidentally:  Beaches,  on Friday, July 28.

Beaches....an accidental landscape by Karen Eckmeier

And if that's not enough, we'll learn how to make Happy Villages her way on Saturday, July 29. Here's a sampling....Karen calls this one her Seaside Village. 

Seaside Village by Karen Eckmeier

You'll be awed when you watch her demo of happy villages and accidental landscapes video posted on her home web page.  This should give you a taste of what's to come Friday and Saturday.  Even if you aren't signed up for one of her workshops, remember the Friday Night Presentation is free to you and everyone is welcome.

Hope to see you there. 

More about Orphan Quilt Blocks ~

Wasn't it just last week that I posted pictures of all those wonderful 'blocks with nowhere to go' that Christie had so generously gifted to me.  She, selfishly, was cleaning her sewing room and wanted to pawn them off on me while decluttering her space.  I'm sure she knew  I would take these blocks and run with them.  This little cutie is #3.  (I'll get back to #1 at a later date).  Orphan quilt block #2 is pictured here at Quilters' Guild Acadienne. 

Getting out early for pictures was easy - beating the Louisiana July heat wave.  From any direction, this toddler quilt top suits me perfectly.  Taking the 12 blocks on hand and adding alternate blocks in white, set on point, made a baby quilt size. 

A quilt for baby ~
Ready to be quilted ~
And donated ~

Becoming real.....takes a long time ~

I can read this conversation between  a toy horse and rabbit over and over and find something more real in the writing with each reading.  A beautifully written conversation.  One that may be heard in real time between a child and his grandmother,  if one listens. 

“Real isn't how you are made,' said the Skin Horse. 'It's a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real.'

'Does it hurt?' asked the Rabbit.

'Sometimes,' said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. 'When you are Real you don't mind being hurt.'

'Does it happen all at once, like being wound up,' he asked, 'or bit by bit?'

'It doesn't happen all at once,' said the Skin Horse. 'You become. It takes a long time. That's why it doesn't happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don't matter at all, because once you are Real you can't be ugly, except to people who don't understand.”
Margery Williams, The Velveteen Rabbit

Find Joy In The Ordinary ~

One of my very favorite thoughts....."find joy in the ordinary."  But how, I wonder, does one really go about enjoying the ordinary?

Stop and smell the roses -  breathe deeply and with eyes closed, let the fragrance do its job.
Pat a child on the back - remain long enough to feel the warmth and retain the emanating love.
Enjoy the quiet of the morning with coffee cup in hand and dew on your bare feet.

When peanut butter on toast is your morning treat, give him a smile.....he deserves it for serving up a most delicious breakfast. 

When you snip a thread:  Rejoice.  You have finished another seam.

Just a few thoughts on hoping to find and enjoy the ordinary all day and into tomorrow and the next.

Just when I think I know ~

We've all heard the question:  "What are friends for?"  I found a new reason to enjoy Christie's friendship today. 

Christie's been cleaning house (i.e. de-cluttering her sewing room) for the past few weeks and has asked me on several occasions if I wanted some object or the other.  I've respectfully declined - until yesterday when she asked if I wanted some of her 'orphan' quilt blocks.  WELL, of course, I do, thinking she would deliver 3 or 4.   To my amazement, when she arrived at my doorstep, it was with a bag full.   I could do nothing but gasp!  There were well over 100 blocks in different manners of unfinished. 

Huge pile of orphan blocks

I was dancing with joy.  And am still dancing as I sort and come to a reckoning on how to use some in my usual improvisational style.  There were many half-square triangles that I sorted through and digested to get a few pinwheels.  I think this is a good plan.....now I'll be off to add background in white to get this made into a quilt top. 

Improvisational pinwheels

Improvisational pinwheels

There were only 5 of theses snail's trail quilt blocks, but I'm not complaining.  They are fabulous and will be a wonderful start to something or other. 

Snail's Trails Quilt Blocks

There are so many ways to showcase 'orphan' quilt blocks.....I like to make bookmarks, notebook covers, potholders, mug rugs......just to name a few projects that can be made with diverse groups of fabrics and blocks.  
Oh, My!
Friends ~   Aren't they the greatest? 

Hello Sunday ~

My favorite quote of the day:

                    "I found I could say things with colour and shapes that I couldn't say any other way - things I had no words for."
                                                       -  Georgia O'Keeffe

class sampler for Improv To The Nines Workshop