The Free Motion Quilting Project: Flower Mask and Death to the Deck

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Flower Mask and Death to the Deck

It's Wednesday and I've been thinking lately that I should be writing more. I love to write, but I often don't take the time unless I have a video to go with a post and that's just silly. We can do photos too!

I'm in a strange mood today as I'm under a deadline (due tomorrow) to get this flower mask finished and ready to drop off at my local art's council. I have a lot more little flowers to glue on between now and then:

I admit I let my negative voices get a hold of this project and start a nasty chat in my head about how it's not good enough. I keep imagining some snooty art person looking at it and saying "That's just plastic craft junk. That's not art." 

I think everyone struggles with feeling like an impostor sometimes (that's why it's called Impostor Syndrome) and I think the trick is just saying it out loud. That's the stuff I'm hearing in my head and now I have to deal with it!

Despite the junk my brain is saying about it, I've loved building this mask. I saw these jumbo flowers at Hobby Lobby and my first thought was "I want that on my head" and so I've built a mask to have three massive flowers on my head, plus lots of pretty ferns and silk flowers. It's mostly being held together with hot glue and staples, but I've screwed the largest flowers in place with 3 inch long drywall screws so they are not going anywhere.

What is this for you ask? A wearable art fashion show! My local arts council is putting on the show as a fundraiser for the council and a local kidney foundation. It will be fun to see how this stacks up against other more traditional wearable art. 

But then again, is there such thing as traditional wearable art? Maybe I'm overthinking this whole ART thing. It's not like someone is going to be wearing a watercolor canvas and turn their nose up at my hot glued flowers. Bleh.

Death to the Rotted Deck

In other news, we have a renovation starting next week to finally remove this horrible deck. This was built in the 1970's when code enforcement in this area clearly wasn't up to snuff.

See the extra support beams on the front? Dad and Josh added those a few years ago just to stop the deck from falling off the back of the house!

I've priced out replacing this masterpiece of craftsmanship and came up with a ball park figure of $20,000. For a DECK? Ridiculous!

The reason it would be so expensive to replace is because there's an upstairs and downstairs door stacked right on top of one another with very little space between. In order to span the distance and to actually be built properly (ahem, actually to code), it would need to be built either with steel or a lot of extra support beams.

Rather than shell out all that cash, we've decided instead to remove the deck entirely and replace the upstairs back door with a big picture window. 

It will be one less door to our door-happy house and one less thing to keep me up at night imaging someone falling off this deck, the stairs crashing to the ground, or the whole thing collapsing under a heavy wind. 

So today I'm going to clean up the living room and clear out as much furniture as I can. I love renovating because things change and look prettier than they did the day before. Progress!

What are you up to today? Any big projects in the works? Any nasty voices in your head giving you problems? Give em' a one-two punch from me!

Let's go quilt (or hot glue more flowers),

Leah Day


  1. I tell myself I can't quilt. What if it's not good enough. On and on...

  2. I think the flower mask is AMAZING. I'm betting it would be a huge hit at Mardi Gras, not to mention the wearable art fashion show!

    My negative voices have roped and tied me for the last few months while working (or trying to work) on a landscape quilt (in between easier and safer bed quilts). Never has a landscape quilt stymied me like this, and for various reasons (not enough different fall fabrics and light tones, how and where to place shadows, with no photo for reference, how to make the water look more like water than green woodgrain, and so on and so on, ad infinitum. FINALLY I said to myself, "Hey, let's make this an experimental quilt and not even worry about whether it sells or not, and try some methods of stitching and piecing I haven't tried before." That was all it took. It's been full speed ahead since then. Sometimes I forget to be playful and just go with the flow. It always pays off when you do, and your beautiful mask proves it.

  3. I think your flower mask is beautiful art and certainly creates a joyful feeling everytime I see it. And I'm sure many others feel the same. Don't feel it is not worthy of being labeled as "art". Your deck estimates about caused me to go to the emergency room. We replaced a similar deck, a few years back. Ours was smaller, outside of a bedroom. We rarely used the deck, so I always felt the replacement was a waste of money. I like your idea of changing the window. Probably a much better decision.


  4. I love your artwork! It is original and innovative!!! Don't let the negativity in!!!

  5. Leah - I love the mask and I imagine it will be very well received. And I know what you mean about renovations. It always feels so great afterwards.

  6. Leah, I am glad you are back to just writing. I have missed that. Yes, I learn lots from your tutorial, but your "chats" are like hanging out with a friend. Don't worry too much about people's opinions, it is their problem. Do what makes you happy with whatever form of art you choose to do. Thanks for your blogging and teaching. Liz

  7. Lea, I read youf post yesterday and I have never posted a comment on any blog or web site, but I feel compelled to do it now. I am 70 years young and very active but also grieving the death of mh husband of 45 years in mid 2015. I sold our home in Texas within 3 months and moved to Tn. With my daughter and her famiy, husband and 6 children. Over the years I have done just about every kind of craft imagineable. I made a quilt about 18 years ago completely by hand and never made another one. I loved to sew and but wasn't sure what I wanted to do to help fill my time. I was on YouTube about 5 months ago and saw a link to your Free Motion Quilting Project. You honestly restored some joy into my life and gave me back my creative spark. I watched your review on the Janome MC7700 and found locally very gently used for an amazing price. I love the machine and felt very confident making the purchase after watching your video. I now own 5 sewing machines, 4 Janome and 1 Brother embroidery machine. A little b I t of overkill but I want to teach my teenage granddaughters to quilt and to have their own machine. Now the point of this rambling post. I have read a lot of your writing about your internal struggles and the voices in your head. I want you to know the impact you had on and I am sure many more people that like me don't post things when we probably should. Please know I have watched many, many tutorials and if you have one listed with other quilters I always go to yours first. You have a wonderful ability to make free motion quilting look so easy and fun. I have made 5 quilt tops in as many months and I am going to quilt them myself. I am actually making them 2 sided so will have 2 completed and 1 UFO. I stopped by Hobby Lobby today and there were your huge flowers as soon as you walked in. I LOVE your mask and if I could attend the art show I would!!

    So my quilting friend please know you are more than good enough, have a beautiful spirit and are making a difference. My next quest is to come to a class of yours.
    Good luck with your Deck project. I always loved to make major changes to our home. Keeps life interesting.
    Memphis Tn

    1. Hi Darlene! Thank you so much for taking the time to share your story with me! I'm so honored to be apart of your quilting journey and so thankful to have helped you through this difficult time. I cannot imagine what the last few years have been like for you, but I know how healing and wonderful quilting is and I'm so happy to hear you have so many machines to play with and granddaughters to teach. I wish my grandmother and I had spent more time creating together so they are very lucky to have you. Please enjoy the videos and let me know if there's ever a video you'd like me to make for you!


      Leah Day


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