Monthly Archives: February 2015

Fine Art Doesn’t Belong in the Nursery

My for-sale quilts (mostly) are for two kinds of customers: lovers of heirlooms and fine art; and those shopping for baby. I also have arm warmers and table runners but I’m mostly in those two categories. I’m working hard on learning marketing and merchandising and came across this great article.

craft-fair-display

 

This article includes photographs of booths whose displays enhance their products. Landscape paintings are on easels made of tree limbs and natural soap is in an antique washing machine.

big megan with photo

 

This got me thinking my photographs in this blog and the etsy shop. A future craft booth would look different depending on the audience I’m looking to reach. How much better would it be if the products were displayed more relevantly? Art quilts like the portrait quilt above should be in a minimalist, gallery-like setting. Maybe they’re hung on a black curtain with spot-lighting. Balloons and brightly colored backdrops would not be appropriate. They could be photographed above a beautiful fireplace or fancy bed.

pink d9p finished

Baby quilts, on the other hand wouldn’t make sense in that setting. Maybe they’re draped over a crib or spilling out the drawers of a changing table. A kids’ picnic table and stuffed animals would be awesome. As for photographs, why not have a baby playing on the quilts?

duckie bibs double sided

I don’t have these props yet but some of them can be found cheaply at thrift stores and yard sales. We have no other use for a crib but I’ll be on the lookout for a rocking chair… and a local friend with a baby. 🙂

 

Linking up to Show Off Saturday.

Artist. Not just a quilt artist.

I remember my purple bedroom with the hollowed-out-closet turned art studio. It was AWESOME! At five, this was waaaay better than a trip to Disney. I sat in there for hours at my little desk coloring, drawing, stamping, creating. I had to get permission for messy stuff like glue, paint, and clay but my parents made sure that I got to use them sometimes too.

My husband and I are getting an art studio ready for me in this house. It’s a bedroom that was a storage room. The things that were in there have sorted, organized, and put in their proper places so now it’s empty and ready for sprucing up. Yes, the row of shelving stays. I get to fill it up with fabric!

studio before 1We got rid of the smelly carpet, threadbare curtains, and popcorn ceiling treatment. The weird shape on the window is from the brown packaging tape holding it together. It’ll need to be replaced. We got rid of the 7The first things accomplished getting rid of the carpet, tossing the curtains, and scraping the popcorn treatment off the ceiling.

my studio minus carpet curtains and popcorn ceilingI had a circus party in the closet studio house. The invitations were tickets I made. I painted our windows (half dish soap, and half paint) with balloons, clowns, and animals. We made a train down to the basement playroom. Hands on the shoulders of the kid in front of you. No pushing! There was a face-painting station and a cake with a train on it. Such fun!

At 31, I can still taste being five years old. So I’ve decided to play! I’m joining a meet-up for art journalling in my area. My first meeting is this Friday morning. I’m hoping to make friends and to play. Not to make anything specific or become a world-famous collage maker or painter, but to play with other artists.

cupcakes and lollipops journal pageHere’s the first page of my art journal. I stamped the background with bubble wrap, painted with cherry syrup, glued ribbon, brushed glitter nail polish on, and added the lettering. Who says you can’t create without art supplies? I knew what I wanted to say and made do with what I had. 🙂 I will be picking up a tray of kids’ watercolors from the dollar store before my meeting though. 🙂

 

Linking up to Val’s sewing room link party. Check it out if you want some ideas for your studio.

 

Guest Blogger Jim – I Was Never Alone

Today’s blog post is written by my brother Jim. Our Mom died a few days after he was born and my brother, sister, and I have all had to deal with abandonment issues in one form or another. Here’s part of Jim’s story in his own words.

*** Photo captions are available below Jim’s words. I didn’t want to interrupt.***


BabyJim1Hi, my name is Jim Masten. When I was born I did not know this, but my mother was sick until five days after I was born, when she died.

MomSunbonnetSueTo this day I do not remember any feelings of emotion towards my mother. For a while I had been really depressed and sad that I didn’t have a mother and I felt very alone and abandoned by God and my mother.

I feel that I’m being “abandoned” and I talk to my dad who also is very depressed about his loss of his wife (my mother). He always just says, “She was a wonderful woman” or “She would have loved you so much” and that really does not help me with the depression that I am dealing with.

MomTulipsSo, I turn to the Science and Health by Mary Baker Eddy and turn to the definition of Mother in the “Glossary.” The definition of Mother is something like, “Help” or “Caring” which, also does not help me. So, at this time I feel the most abandoned in my life.

Mom9PIn addition, when I met an important person in my life, Sheri Luster, I found out what motherhood was all about and what a mother is like. As I like to say, “Sheri is the mother I never had.” Even though it is kind of supposed to be the other way around.

jim and sheri spiffy at workAnyways, Sheri was caring, loving, and helpful. Which, did remind me of the definition of Mother in the Science and Health. So, I realized what a motherly figure in my life would do and it helped me.

JimSheriLastly, I saw my mother in Sheri and other women in my life.

silly faces with estey and jimI even saw my mother in my dad because he was a single parent and basically had all of the weight on his shoulders.

dad and baby jim professional photoThis led to me having a healing of realizing that I was never alone and that my mother and God were there right with me the whole time, I just did not see it. Also, recently when I was out of school sick for a week I visited a doctor’s office because of my sickness and I was nervous and scared and I felt really alone, like nobody was there for me. And then I realized that God was there, Sheri was literally there, and I saw someone walk by the door outside the room at the doctor’s office that looked quite like my mom.

proud mom after jimmys birthI suppose that could have been an angel or something but that was when my mental healing occurred for not feeling well physically and spiritually. So, that is how I overcame my feeling abandoned.

Jim's love from LA quilt

 

Want more? Jim has a Facebook Page. He posts daily insights and thought-provoking videos. It’s called Finding the Keys to Success.

 

  1. Here are some photos taken in the first few days after Jim (then Jimmy) was born. Mom’s looking at him with such love and appreciation.
  2. Mom, with a little creative consultation from teenage me, made this quilt while pregnant with Jimmy. She and Dad decided not to find out his gender until birth so most of his baby quilts have both pink and blue in them.
  3. Here’s another one of Jimmy’s baby quilts. This one is bright and cheerful, both of which it’s difficult to be while under the burden of depression.
  4. Here’s another pink and blue quilt Mom made. This one’s more simple and designed to be used, rather than displayed as wall art. There’s one more like this with kitties in the center. Maybe they’ll be used by children Jim loves someday.
  5. This is my favorite recent picture of Sheri and Jim. Don’t they look spiffy?!
  6. These two love their snuggles. Back scratches are often exchanged in church.
  7. Our sister Estey and Jim get the sillies when they’re together! Here they are making funny faces. She’s one of the women who mothers Jim.
  8. Here are Dad and Jimmy way back when he had peach fuzz for hair.
  9. Can you see how proud Mom is in this photo? She’s tired from the long labor too… but happiness shines through her eyes. If there’s ever a doubt that Jim was wanted all you have to do is look at this picture.
  10. I made this quilt for Jim’s 11th birthday.

 

I’m linking up to Thankful Thursday and Can I Get a Whoop Whoop.

Another Chopped Block and Crumb Star Pillow

I showed you guys a chopped four-patch in my last post. This month, in the Stash Bee, Bonnie asked for a chopped and resewn block called the intersection block. You can find a tutorial for it here
feb stash bee block cut upAdd two borders to your center square then cut it into fourths. feb stash bee block flippedFlip the sections around and you get this! The block was so fun and easy that I made two. feb stash bee blocks completedMy second project for the Stash Bee is a prize. Everyone in the entire Bee (not just my small group) who sent their blocks in on time got a chance to win. I volunteered to make the winner, Amanda, a 12″ crumbs pillow sham. Her favorite color is blue and she chose a star.

crumb star on blue templateI made the template and traced it onto the fabric, which is larger than needed and cut down to size after appliqueing.
stack of crumb blocksI have quite a large crumb-block stack to choose from! auditioning crumb blocks for blue star pillowI audition blocks with the star template. This one looks good.

crumb star on blue zigzagI pinned the crumb-block under the blue then zig-zagged twice around the star. The fabric inside is cut away revealing the crumbs. This method is called reverse applique. crumb star on blue finished pillow sham

Ta-Da! Isn’t it wonderful? You can buy these in my etsy shop and, as always, I love doing custom orders. Letters, symbols, numbers and even the shapes of states are available.

The next post will feature some cute baby quilts and a guest blogger!

 

 

Linking up to Main Crush Monday.

 

 

Chopping Up the Table-Runner

I cut up an incomplete table runner this week. I gave myself permission to wreck a project that wasn’t working and turn it into something new! Here’s what it used to look like.

ufo challenge beginning runner

What inspired such a bold move? It was last week’s Project Quilting Challenge on unfinished works. Several people took meh pieces and turned them into something amazing like this and this. Click on those links. You’ll be glad you did.

So here’s my work in progress. I started by cutting the four-patches out of the table-runner. I only seam-rip when it’s absolutely necessary. The blocks were framed in green fabric I was going to trim off anyway.

cut out four-patches

They’re all beautiful Asian prints. Why are fabrics like these called that? Asia’s a continent with a wide variety of cultures, styles, and looks. It’s a little weird that this category is so broad. There are Japanese prints out there, which is a little better, but these aren’t them.

ufo challenge four patches

Anyway, I cut each four-patch block in diagonal twice and sewed ’em back together.

ufo challenge disappearing four patch

Now they’re much cuter pinwheels.

ufo challenge block

 

I joined the pinwheel blocks for the center and added some borders.

asian fabrics quilt thus far

I like the skinny grey border near the edge and think there needs to be something similar between the pinwheels and first border. I’m not willing to rip three borders off to make it look right. Instead I’ll applique a skinny blue there. I’ll be sure to show you guys how it turns out in the end.

Project Quilting’s Voting is open through February 13th. My tiny heart is #44. Check out all of the awesome entries and choose your favorite six! The next challenge begins on Sunday the 15th.

 

 

I Tiny Heart You Too Paula

My friend Paula, who likes working in tiny pieces like me, made me this paper-pieced heart before she moved. The heart measures one inch square and has 12 pieces. So cool, right?!


Paula's pp heart

I made it into an ornament for this week’s Project Quilting Challenge which had the theme of finishing an incomplete project. So I made this cutie into a little ornament that will go on my idea board once my new studio (formerly a storage room/bedroom) is complete. That way I can look at it every day!

heart ornament

Like the many fabrics in this heart, my friend has encouraged me to reveal all the parts of myself not just to her but in my art as well. We weathered joint events and separate ones and always found something to smile about. She made me feel important and seen… and let me see her as well.

out of my head

Do you have a friend like that? It’s such a special relationship that I’m not mourning her moving across country like I thought I might. Instead I’m delighting in hearing about her adventures in snowy Boston and looking forward to seeing her again. Nope, I don’t know when that’ll happen. But with a bond like this I’ll be making it a priority.

Plus, I can’t find a single photograph of the two of us. How crazy is that?!?! Something to be remedied for sure. 🙂

 

 

 

I’m linking this post up to Show Off Saturday, Slow Sunday Stitching and Tuesday Archives.

Sometimes I Need a Bit of Quiet

Sometimes I need a bit of quiet. Do you ever get that way? Life’s just so go-go-go noisy and it’s good to take a break to breathe. So that’s what I’m doing today on my 31st birthday. Hubby and I went grocery shopping and that’s really the only thing I’ve checked off my to-do list…. which is totally okay. We’ll cook together tonight and watch a RedBox movie. I’ll quilt a bit and fold a load of laundry. Maybe have a nice long soak in the tub. I’ll return those phone calls and emails later.

have to put clothes on

I’m getting real quiet and listening and learning about myself and my business. I’ve noticed that I don’t have a real clear direction and want to remedy that. One thing I have planned is to participate in a group read and discussion of The Power of Unpopular by Erika Napoletano, a business book that many people have recommended to me.

This week’s Project Quilting Challenge is to finish a UFO (unfinished object) so I’ve been working on the Turtles Quilt for my childhood summer camp. I’m up to the final border on the top. I’ll post some updated photos of that in a few days. It almost definitely won’t be finished by Sunday so I may work on a smaller project to submit. There are some great prizes that are randomly drawn this year and it always feels good to have a finish. If I don’t this week, well, I’m not going to stress about it.

turtle sees who can get home first

We’ve been doing some gardening this past week. Living in Southern California does have benefits! We loved the potatoes so much last year that we’re planting three times as many. So far we’ve weeded, pulled up some stumps, laid a brick path, transplanted the bird of paradise plants, painted some pots, and planted seeds that’ll be flowers.

tatobucket

I’ve linked an older post up to the Tuesday Archives link party. This week’s theme is nine-patch quilts. The last nine-patch that I made is in my etsy shop. It’s a disappearing nine-patch baby quilt with kids’ prints on a pink and orange background. pink d9p finished