www.meganjoychapman.com

Author of Lion Heart & Alessio: The Victory Ride Series

Hawaiian Sunset Crazy Quilt

Those who live at the ends of the earth stand in awe of your wonders. From where the sun rises to where it sets, you inspire shouts of joy. -Psalm 65:8

megan joy chapman

Hawaiian Crazy Quilt design by Megan Joy Chapman. Peruvian Walnut Custom Frame by Ray Strauss. Finished Piece measures 48″ square.

Last year I discovered two things. I love creating mixed media art, and I love creating mixed media art! Fabric, acrylic, bottle caps, bottles! I’ve become obsessed with texture and the infinite ways I can express an idea through media.

With my fashion and costume background, fabrics are a natural go-to for me. I have a ton of leftover scraps from previous projects and also from my days working at Seaside Music Theater in Daytona Beach. We produced countless costumes for many musicals and plays and the fabrics were often glitzy and fun. My sewing supervisor, Kim, was an avid quilter and saved discarded pieces for her quilts. She said she particularly liked crazy quilting “Cause it’s fast.”

One day Kim showed me how she crazy quilted and I loved that there was no measuring or patterning involved. She just delved into her project and started piecing together colorful shapes. “See,” Kim said, “Instant gratification.” But it sounded better when she said it because she was from Long Island with a definitive accent. She also wore cat-eye glasses, was about 5’11, blonde, and all legs. But more about Kim later.

Fast-forward to 2015 living in Hawaii (about twenty years later). I’m finally ready to decorate the walls of my newly remodeled home. I want something extravagant to set the tone throughout the house–something central, colorful, big. And something that reflects God’s majestic creation. So I decide to make my first crazy quilt using leftover remnants. You’d think for my first one I’d start small. But ohhh no. Not me. I went for it. The finished piece turned out to be a 48″ square!  I know. Crazy right? But I did it, and it makes me smile when I look at it.

The whole process of stitching together a bunch of frayed uneven scraps and then creating something vibrant and beautiful with them, to me, is profoundly inspiring. As I saw the odd-shaped pieces begin to transform and then finally develop into a finished work, I had an epiphany of how God works in us. He takes the broken pieces of our lives, transforms them with His perfect love, and makes us completely whole in Him.

And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns. – Philippians 1:6

Remember Kim? She became a dear friend, mentor, and also led me to the Lord. She even crafted parts of my wedding gown in intricate crazy quilt designs. Looking back (if I know my Kim) she probably prayed over every piece.

But how masterful is God in all this? All those moons ago, when Kim was teaching me to crazy quilt, praying for me, God already knew the revelation I’d have when I made my first quilt many sunsets later! Now that’s something to shout about!

Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end. Ecclesiastes 3:11

Crazy Quilt Wedding Dress Pics

My boss at the costume shop patterned the bodice and long skirt. Kim did all the crazy quilting and constructed most of the separates. I designed everything, patterned the cape along with my husbands vest, and constructed some of the pieces in the collection.

Megan Joy Chapman, Crazy Quilt Art

Side-front of gown with side train. I made the veil from lightweight embroidered net.

 

Megan Joy Chapman, Crazy Quilt Art

The back had a piece that fanned out and then cascaded down the right side.

 

Megan Joy Chapman, Crazy Quilt Art

I have the gown, vest, and accessories displayed in a large cabinet in our bedroom.

 

Megan Joy Chapman, Crazy Quilt Art

My Husbands Vest

 

Megan Joy Chapman, Crazy Quilt Art

There was a cape with a crazy quilted collar.

 

Megan Joy Chapman, Crazy Quilt Art

For the reception I had a mini. It was the 90’s!

How to Crazy Quilt

For more info on crazy quilting go to: What are Crazy Quilts on Craftsy.  The Craftsy website offers online classes with optional feedback from instructors. Or you can google Crazy Quilting and find many different websites and free video tutorials.

Goût de France: Thanks, Mom!

Gout de France

Goût de France (Taste of France) is a series of recipe remakes inspired by my first time traveling to Provence and Paris—a lifelong dream. The recipes are all tried and tested by Mom. But first, let me explain how I became interested in France. . .

Thanks, Mom!

Most of us know the famous quote credited to Julia Child: “Every woman should have a blowtorch.” But my mother always taught me: “Every cook needs a good food processor.” and I agree. It’s my favorite tool in the kitchen. Well, that and my Vitamix.

My mother learned to cook by watching Julia Child on The French Chef and reading Gourmet and Bon Appetit. I couldn’t tell you what our coffee tables looked like, because they were always covered with stacks and stacks of cooking magazines. Mom’s clutter drove everyone crazy, but when she served up her ocean fresh Oysters Rockefeller, savory stuffed crêpes, or on special occasions—Caviar Pie, we let it slide.

gout de france inspiration-Mom

1986 Mom hosting a Christmas Party

Food Shopping in China Town

One of my favorite things to do as a young girl was go to China Town in Boston with Mom. She liked to shop there for special ingredients. I’ll never forget looking through the butcher’s window for the first time and seeing rows of duck and pigs feet hanging from the ceiling. “C’mon,” Mom had said to me as she walked into the shop. “I want some pork buns.” Of course we didn’t leave without a couple of feet either. Mom was always up for trying different foods, and we kids and Dad never stuck our nose up at anything. The more unusual, the better.

Shopping Bloomingdales

After a lot of begging and coercing from me, we’d usually hit Bloomies on the way home— another favorite thing to do as a kid. Mom always said that I looked possessed whenever I entered that store. I was obsessed with Bloomingdales’ upbeat style and tried on everything I could get my hands on. It didn’t matter if it was my size or not. If I liked it, I wanted it. But I’d be in the dressing room so long; Mom would think I’d been kidnapped. On one or more occasions she had to notify customer service to find me. I had a bad habit of wandering off to get more clothes to try on. This usually meant an embarrassing announcement on the overhead speaker.

dreaming France-Megan age 7

Me, age 7, with my infamous
clip-on earrings, shades, and hat.
I’m probably heading to the
grocery store with Mom.

Fashion and Costume Design

My passion for fashion later developed into designing my own clothing. I’d have an idea for an outfit but was never able to find anything comparable in stores. That’s when Mom taught me to sew and helped me alter patterns to fit my unique, sometimes bizarre, designs. I eventually attended Fashion Design School where my dream of visiting Paris and Milan grew stronger –a dream which started as a young girl, ravaging the racks at Bloomingdales and eating duck feet for dinner.

gout de France-Fashion

1991 school project
inspired by a peacock.
I eventually pursued a career
in Costume, as well as,
Freelance Fashion Design.

After thirty years of dreaming about France and longing to experience the food and fashion they’re known for, I recently had the opportunity to visit last spring 2012. My post How I Scored a Free Dinner and Castle in France explains how it all happened.

So thanks, Mom, for teaching me to appreciate fine cuisine, enduring the dressing room dramas, and never stifling my creativity—no matter how embarrassing or bizarre. It was the trips into China Town and Bloomies, sewing classes, and watching you toil away in the kitchen that sparked the first flames, making me the artist I am today.

gout de France duck wonton recipe

The first inspired recipe I’ll be
sharing is my Duck Wontons with
Orange Lime Marmalade. It’s a wink
and nudge to China Town
with a sophisticated French flair.
This one’s for you, Mom!

Related Link

Duck Wontons with Orange Lime Marmalade Recipe

Click here to check out Megan’s educational adventure book for kids ages 8-12!

How I Scored a Free Dinner and a Castle in France

France-Eiffel Tower

Ever since sixth grade geography class, I’ve dreamed about going to France—maybe because I’m a diehard romantic-foodie-art-lover that has always been fascinated by the avant-garde Parisian fashion. Even the language intrigues me—everything always sounds plus chic in French.

Over the past twenty years that I’ve known my husband and within our fourteen years of marriage, he’s endured my French fetish and endless whining about how I must experience a steamy latte and fresh baked croissant in a quaint café, strolling down the Champs-Elysées.  And shop in a real boutique. And marvel at the Mona Lisa in the Louvre. And strike a pose in front of the Eiffel Tower.

Knowing I’d never let my dream die, Chap promised that he’d get me to Paris before I turned forty. Well— I turn forty this year, so his plan looks glib. But then a miracle happened on the day my book, Lion Heart and Alessio: The Victory Ride, arrived at my front door. It was the first time I’d held my book in my hands and seen it in print.

megan joy chapman's book-lion heart and alessio

To celebrate, we had dinner plans with another couple at La Bourgogne restaurant—yep— French.

France inspiration-French restaurant

As we’re digging into our Chevre and Tomato Galette, our friends tell us that they’ve booked a castle in Provence, expenses paid, and would like us to join them.

France- Provence Villa

Could this day get any better? Yes, it can. And it does. After we’ve indulged in our five-course succulent meals, and have planned and gushed over the infinite possibilities of our trip, we realize we’re the last ones in the restaurant. As the hostess approaches the table, our husbands pull out their wallets to pay. But she says, “The bill has already been paid.” Ends up, it was paid for by “Anonymous.” True story.

France-villa pool

The Castles Private Pool

So, pretty much a no-brainer. WE’RE GOING TO FRANCE! We spend two weeks in our expenses paid castle in Provence and will spend the last week in Paris. To prepare for our trip we’ve been taking French lessons. So far, I’ve learned to say with big eyes, chin down, “Desole. Je ne parle pas Francais (Sorry, I don’t speak French). But I’m still plugging away at it.

France-villa garden

Our Private Garden!

France-villa tennis court

Tennis anyone?

I’m beside myself cheerleader-kick-EXCITED! My hubby’s stoked, too, because he’s finally off the hook. He keeps saying to me, “See. I told you I’d get you to France before you turned forty.”

Paris France apartment

This is our Paris apartment living area with a view! So we can people watch. Only a 5 minute walk to the Louvre Museum!

Paris France apartment

Our Paris Apartment Dining Room. 

I could go on forever on how God has exceeded my expectations for this trip. Instead, I’ll just say this. Keep dreaming big and don’t give up! Your greatest desire may happen when you least expect it . . . and better than you ever imagined!

May he grant your heart’s desires and make all your plans succeed. PSALM 20:4

Click here to check out Megan’s educational adventure book for kids ages 8-12!

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