ACrafty Interview with Linda Martin

Welcome to today’s ACrafty Interview with Linda Martin, quilter and pursemaker!

acrafty interview - linda martin bargello quiltWhen did you start crafting? LM: I think I have always worked on craft type projects. I remember as a child getting craft kits as gifts. Making collages, animals, painting, knitting, sewing, and crochet were always something I did. My Mom and Grandma always worked with me on them and taught me many useful skills along the way.

acrafty interview - linda martin painting of son jasonWhat crafts have you tried and what’s your favorite now? LM: I probably have tried most every kind of craft. In addition to those I already mentioned I have made many clothes, curtains, tablecloths and pillows. For many years I painted with oils and acrylics. I made many landscapes, portraits and animal paintings. Working with color and design was always part of my life. My favorite now is quilting. It’s been a natural progression of my interest in color and design projects.



acrafty interview - linda martin musical quiltWhat project are you most proud of? LM: Right now I’m very proud of a project I created this summer. I was asked by a friend to make a “music” quilt. I thought a lot about it and came up with a very free form kind of create as you go project. Of course I had the help of a friend as we brainstormed ideas back and forth. The quilt took me outside my normal comfort zone of making quilt blocks and putting them together.

acrafty interview - linda martin purse 2Have you ever started a project without a pattern or a plan? LM: I can’t think of a time when I didn’t have some kind of a plan, pattern or design in my head. Sometimes things change along the way, but I have a picture in my head.






acrafty interview - linda martin seaside quiltHas a project ever challenged you in an unexpected way? LM: Some projects have challenged me for sure, but I have always found a way to complete them. Sometimes I will put a quilt away for a while and let it rest! Really my head usually needs a “vacation” from it while I figure out a way to make it work.


How has crafting affected your character? LM: Since I have been making some kind of creative projects most of my life, it’s hard to tell if my character has developed because of my life experiences or creative experiences. I suspect it’s both.

acrafty interview - linda martin purse 1Since I was an elementary school teacher for over 30 years my organizational skills from teaching have certainly help me be better at my creative projects. When I began teaching we had to create our own classroom environment. That gave me a lot of confidence in my ability to draw and paint. I had always been too reticent to to take art classes because of fear of criticism. But as I got compliments and “oh wows” on my work from fellow teachers, my confidence grew. I gradually began painting. This taught me lots of perseverance because painting is very much a developmental process. Observing details is also important to a successful product. (whether it’s painting or quilting). Color and patterns in nature transfer to the finished painting or quilt.

acrafty interview - linda martin regatta quiltEven though I’m no longer painting, many of these skills apply to my sewing and quilting. The balance of color and design elements are also very important. This is often the most important part of the quilt. Without the right balance the quilt will not work. When I finish a project whether it’s a purse or a quilt I’m really proud of it. Sometimes I look at the result and say wow, I did it!

As I’ve gained confidence in my work, I’ve definitely become more adventurous to try new things. This summer I made a landscape and a portrait quilt (wall hangings really)! I guess I was brave to try those things.

acrafty interview - linda martin quiltCan you share a story about how your crafting has affected others? LM: Some of my friends who are not quilters have been curious about what I do. I have shared my skills with them as well as the process of creating a quilt. I helped and encouraged one to make a purse and a pillow! I have also given many quilts and purses as gifts.

acrafty interview - linda martin purse 3What crafty goodness do you have coming up in the future? Why is it appealing to you? LM: I’d like to continue with making purses and quilts, trying to expand my horizons with new kinds of projects. Another goal of mine is to do more free hand quilting on my long arm quilting machine. That’s a whole other learning curve!





Thanks to Linda for taking the time to participate in this ACrafty interview series, and thanks to previous interviewee, jeweler Ron Buhler, for recommending her for the series! Best of luck with the free hand quilting…

Would you like to be a part of the ACrafty interview series? Just contact me! You might also be interested in reading some more ACrafty Interviews with multi-crafter Diane from CraftyPodembroiderer Ellen of Schindermania!, needlepointer Haruhi Okubo of Cresus-Parpitatter and chainmailler Jeff Hamilton, stone artist Jerry Locke, potter Nancy Germond, and Tina Puckett of Tina’s Baskets.

Blog Every Day in May 26 – 31

This is the last set of topics for Rosalilium’s Blog Every Day in May Project. Today I’m covering a fantasy dinner party, my secret talent, the worst advice I’ve ever received, my morning ritual, who inspires me, and reflections on this BEDM project.

Fantasy Dinner Party

I’m going to modify the question as big dinner parties are not really my style. I do better with individuals rather than groups. That way I can really talk to someone and get to know them without worrying about how everyone will get along together.

With that in mind, who would I like to meet and have dinner with? About a million people: actors, civil rights workers, the writers of the US Constitution, the Gee’s Bend quilters, comedians, scholars, fictional characters, my ancestors, ancient religious figures, architects, engineers, writers, athletes, notable people in history, scientists… the list is endless. And the meals would be at the beautiful Cuq en Terrasses hotel near Toulouse, France so I know it’s a beautiful, relaxing setting and I don’t have to worry about cleaning up the damn dishes.
Photo au coeur

Secret Talent

Most of my secret talent isn’t much of a secret – I have a large capacity for memorizing trivial knowledge. Here’s a couple of good examples…

First, I memorized the alphabet backward one day when I was walking home from high school (it was a long walk). I even sing it to the tune of the alphabet song.

The Button-Down Mind Strikes BackSecond, my Dad memorized this list years ago when he was watching The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson and Bob Newhart was the guest. Dad taught it to me when I was young and it has stuck with me ever since.

  • One hen
  • Two ducks
  • Three squawking geese
  • Four limerick oysters
  • Five corpulent porpoises
  • Six pairs of Don Alvairso’s tweezers
  • Seven thousand Macedonians in full battle display
  • Eight brass monkeys from the sacred crypts of Egypt
  • Nine apathetic, sympathetic old men on roller skates with a marked propensity toward procrastination and sloth
  • And ten lyrical, spherical denizens of the deep who hang around the corner of the query and the quay all at the same time.

Worst Advice I’ve Ever Received

“Should” is my least favorite word. Any sentence that starts with “You should…” is automatically the worst advice I’ve ever received.

Look at these three sentences:

  • “You might want to read this book.”
  • “You could read this book.”
  • “You should read this book.”

Using “might” and “could” give you the option of reading the book or not without judgment. To my ear and brain, using “should” implies that you will be judged negatively if you don’t read the book.

Think about the following scenario. Your Mom comes to your house and, without you asking for decorating advice, she says “Honey, I think you should move this chair over here.” Grrr, right? Now, if you ask her opinion, and she says “Well, you could move the chair over here,” that’s a totally different story!

Like most people, I’m not too keen on being judged, so I tend to shy away from people who say “should” a lot. At the same time, I try very hard not to give advice. The only advice I do give is to use sunscreen and to use earplugs. Those are two things you will always appreciate.

Morning Ritual

I really do enjoy a bowl of cereal with cold milk every morning. Yes, please.

Who Inspires Me

  • Maude as played by Ruth Gordon in Harold and Maude.  I want to be like her when I’m 79 years old. A confident, funny, creative, independent survivor.
  • People who discover new places – explorers, pioneers.
  • People who create new information – scientists, scholars, musicians, writers, artists, designers, craftspeople.
  • People who are funny – comedians, movie and TV writers.
  • People who are always learning.

A Whole Month of Blogging

I’m really happy that I participated in this Blog Every Day in May project! I’m pleasantly surprised that I tackled every subject, as I was a bit doubtful that I would make it at first. I’m very glad that I combined many of the topics into one post. For example – my “Morning Ritual” response would be pretty dull as its own post.

Would I do another Blog Every Day in ____ project? Sure! Not for a while, though. I’m looking forward to posting more on my own topic: about how we can improve ourselves through crafts.

Blog Every Day in May 20 – 25

Further topics for Rosalilium’s Blog Every Day in May Project. Today I’m covering the news, my dream job, a message to my 13-year-old self, compliments, the fridge, and my favorite albums.


I’m not sure what to say about the tornado in Oklahoma City other than the fact that it is profoundly sad. I worked in Oklahoma for about 8 months helping to manage the construction of a power plant south of Oklahoma City, about 7 miles from Plaza Towers Elementary. While I was there we did have a tornado warning – the tornado sirens sounded, and that was scary. I’ve been so lucky to not been directly affected by a tornado. The people of Oklahoma, like most Americans, are tough and they will recover. But my heart just goes out to everyone who lost a loved one in Oklahoma on Monday, especially the parents of the children who passed away.

This video of a woman and her pooch put a very happy tear in my eye this morning.

Dream Job

MORE sample booksI’m pretty sure that if there was a dream job for me it would be Interior Designer. The creative side of it really appeals to me – pulling together colors, textures, and shapes to make a cohesive whole would be gloriously fun. However, that is one small part of the job. There’s dealing with clients, budgets, and deadlines, expediting all the materials, trying to coordinate with the construction manager and the trades to get what you want done, sales and marketing, managing staff, and some other things I’m sure I haven’t considered yet.

I think most “dream jobs” are like this – it sounds great on the surface, but once you dive in you’ll see there’s a lot more to it.

To my 13-Year-Old Self:

Fist BumpFirst, it gets better. Life is pretty dire now, but it will start getting better soon. Second, learn how to throw a good punch. They might say that you shouldn’t fight but no one will really get mad at you for defending yourself. Third, cut off those damn long nails. They’re just silly, and they keep you from being able to make a good fist.

Best Compliment I’ve Ever Received

My husband and I are supremely happy together. We are extraordinarily lucky to be together and we tell each other this on a regular basis. He’s a smart man of the world, and knowing that he’s very happy being married to me is the best compliment I could ever ask for.

What’s in the Fridge

Halibut and Shrimp with Minted Broth RecipeIn the fridge? Lots of fruit and veggies – zucchini, carrots, cabbage, watermelon, honeydew melon. Leftover halibut and shrimp with minted broth (easy and very yummy), brown rice, green beans. Milk, eggs, cottage cheese, ricotta, pickles, peanut butter, jam, condiments, lots of dark chocolate, cooking wine. Beer – Harp, Guinness, Smithwicks.

In the freezer we have baking supplies – chocolate chips, instant espresso, pecans, walnuts, cranberries. A few remaining Girl Scout Thin Mint cookies, Alaskan beef and reindeer sausage, edamame, peas, ice packs.

Favorite Albums

I just can’t limit myself to five.

Smashing Pumpkins Siamese Dream – Etherial, kick-ass, cohesive. I couldn’t tell you the names of most of the songs, I just press play and drift away. One of those albums that grabbed my attention as I had never heard anything like it before.



Dire Straits On Every Street – Sexy and bluesy with a hint of old country music. Mark Knopfler is a guitar auteur – you always know when he’s playing.

The Beatles The White Album – it spans from orchestral (“Good Night”) to hard rock (“Helter Skelter”) and everything in between. Quite a phase in the evolution of rock and roll.

Product DetailsThe Rolling Stones Sticky Fingers/Let it Bleed (tie) – I heard “Can’t You Hear me Knocking” on a classic rock station back when I was in high school and instantly loved the song. They didn’t play it very often as it’s over seven minutes long. In the pre-internet days it took me years to figure out the lyrics and which album it was on. Once I got my mitts on it, wow! The whole album is great. Let it Bleed is just as amazing with personal faves “Gimme Shelter” and “You Can’t Always Get What You Want.”

Soundgarden Superunknown – A cohesive whole. The album just flows. Another one where I couldn’t tell you the name of many of the songs.

The White Stripes White Blood Cells – Jack White is a genius. When I first heard “Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground” I was hooked. You won’t find anything that sounds quite like The White Stripes.

FM & AM [Explicit]George Carlin FM & AM – I’ve been listening to this comedy album since I was about six years old (thanks, Dad!).




Bill Hicks Rant in E-minor – Bitter, biting comedy and so true with a glimmer of hope.

Runners Up:

Nothing's Shocking

Wow, my musical taste is pretty dated, doyathink? Well that may be, but you have to admit that I’ve got quite a variety of genres in the mix. I’m not too worried about it!

Full disclosure: I am an Amazon Associate and any purchases you make from the links above will help support

Linky Goodness – Fine Cell Work, Crochet x 2, Quilting, and Scrapbooking

I re-directed this blog less than two weeks ago, and since then I’ve found some extraordinary articles and posts that clearly demonstrate how crafts can make us better people. I realize that I’ve just started to scratch the surface on the topic, and so on a regular basis I will make it a point to share the linky goodness I’ve found on these here interwebs.

Fine Cell Work

fine-cell-work-logoOne of my first inspirations is the amazing program in the U.K. prison system called Fine Cell Work. Prisoners are given training and guidance by volunteers, and they learn job skills and make a bit of extra money by creating some amazing pieces of needlework. Beyond that, their testimonials speak of learning patience, gaining focus and calmness, acquiring a sense of accomplishment and pride, and enjoying the “freedom of creativity.” In a most remarkable story by a man named Andy, he writes that “being able to stitch was a great way to take my mind off what was going on inside my head.”

Crochet Concupiscence

Kathryn Vercillo has a compelling story about how crochet saved her life. Her story is now a published book that also contains the story of two dozen women who crochet to heal. Her blog, Crochet Concupiscence, is a great mix of crochet inspiration, news, fashion, projects, interviews, and more. I’m certain I will feature more posts from her blog in the future. [Note: I’ve purchased her book and it’s being shipped to me as I write this. Stay tuned for a possible review…]


Quilter Sherri Lynn Wood has a very refreshing take “On Being Judged” on her Daintytime blog. Instead of accepting judgment on a piece either by others or by herself, she instead asks herself “…questions as a way to evaluate my work rather than judge it.” Simply brilliant. This is applicable to all areas of our lives, not just our crafts. I think her quilt RGB Modern (shown at right) is beautiful and vibrant (despite the judges comments)!


This post by Geekgirlcrochet describes how she uses, among other things, crochet to help her cope with anxiety and OCD issues. She shares her story not to garner sympathy, but instead as a genuine way to explain her situation and to help “…anyone out there who might be suffering in silence and not know how to help themselves or someone they love.”

She says: “Not only is creativity a means to release and express a lot of what you’re going through, it also is a great tool for getting out of your head. Simply making my mind focus on a challenge really redirects a lot of my anxiety.”


Scrapbook page #4My last linky goodness for today, this “Never be afraid to scrapbook yourself” post by Shimelle really resonates with me. I have never felt very photogenic – and she gives the best reasons I have ever encountered to just GET OVER IT. In a nutshell, we need to appreciate where we are and how we look NOW. You’ll just have to read her well-written post – it’s absolutely spot on.


Do you know of any inspirational craft blogs or posts that you would like to see in a future edition of linky goodness?