Welcome!

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Me and my fellow blogger and quilting companion, Sassy.

Me and my fellow blogger Sassy the Highly Opinionated Miniature Schnauzer

Thanks for visiting my blog and I look forward to your comments and thoughts on my posts.

My blog is focuses on the aspects of “A Quilter’s Life” and discusses topics such as sources of creative inspiration, what’s on my design wall, quality of life, quilting adventures, artistic growth, books that inspire me and all things related to handmade textile crafts!

The “Tierney” page shares my story and the Textile Adventures section  has links to my Exhibits and Shows, Art for Sale, and Gallery of my work.

My rescue miniature schnauzer, Sassy, the Highly Opinionated Miniature Schnauzer now has her own blog Schnauzer Snips at schnauzersnips.wordpress.com 

If you have questions or want to contact me, please use the form on the Questions page, thanks!

I also manage the blog for Improvisational Textiles a collaborative collection of art quilts.

Fusing Textiles & Smiles!

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Returning to a Wonderful Surprise!

I just returned from the 4-day annual May quilt retreat with my Washington, Oregon and California Quilt Sisters. The next series of blog posts will be about that retreat. When I walked in the house yesterday, suitcase laden with partially completed projects and some new fabric picked up during the retreat (oops), I had a package waiting.

Inside the package was my birthday gift from my Danish brother Torben (see 04/15/17 post The Library Stack and Hygge) from a quilt shop in his current country of residence, Austria!

The goodies inside included a “layer cake” (collection of 10″ precut coordinated fabric squares), information about the fabric line, information about the quilt shop, and other treats!

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The fabric line is Véro´s World by Gütermann and my wonderful Danish brother, picked up the fabric (and other goodies) at a quilt shop, Quilted, in Vienna.

Check out the link for the Quilted Quilt Shop website for a peek inside a Viennese quilt shop! Note – everything is in German on the website, but you can get a general feel for the website’s navigation if you do not speak/read German.

I have visited Torben a couple times in Denmark, but not in Austria. I guess since they have quilt shop, I will have to visit – ha!

In addition to the treats from the Austrian quilt shop, there was a birthday card in Danish (just to mess with my mind). Most of the words I recognize from absorbing Danish from 20 years of friendship.

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Just wanted to share my wonderful surprise, it was a nice way to return home from a wonderful relaxing 4-day quilt retreat (my next series of posts).


Postscript

Here is a card someone sent me years ago that I framed and keep on my studio wall. It is a good reminder when I get discouraged about the slow progress of my art quilting journey:

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I am still working on finding my “song”.


Feature photo credit: www.quilted.at

The Flags Outside My Window

Every morning I look out my kitchen window at a set of Tibetan-Prayer-like flags as I put on the kettle for my pot of tea.

These six (6) flags have Kanji (Japanese Chinese-inspired characters) symbols and an English language inspirational quote.

This morning I thought I would share with you the text the “flags outside my windows”  that I read to start my day. (Kanji character images from kanji-symbol.net).


HAPPINESS

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When one’s spiritual needs are met by an untroubled inner life. Happiness comes when your work and words are of benefit to yourself and others.


LOVE

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An inspired form of giving, love breathes life into the heart and brings grace to the soul.


COURAGE

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Not the absence of fear or despair, but the strength to conquer them.


WISDOM

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Knowledge, intuition and experience combine to guide us in thought and deed.


PEACE

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To bring peace to the Earth, strive to make your own life peaceful.


TRANQUILITY

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The peace that comes when energies are in harmony, relationships are in balance.

 

 

 


Looking at these flags is a grounding way for me to start each day.

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Vegan Split Pea Soup

Tierney! You are not a food blogger and this is not a cooking blog, what are you thinking with this post?

Well I wanted to share one of my favorite food recipes (and what I am having for lunch today)  – Split Pea Soup with Cumin & Orange from the 01/19/11 online issue of Portland Monthly.

I am not vegan, though I do enjoy vegan cooking – it feels so “clean and pure“. I love a thick hearty traditional split pea soup simmered with a ham bone with tender ham meat simmering in the soup. I also love this vegan version and find the flavor equally as satisfying!

In the link above from Portland Monthly you can find the original recipe, but below I will share my version of the recipe and photos:

Split Pea Soup with Cumin & Orange

Adapted from Portland Monthly onlineSplit Pea Soup with Cumin & Orange

Serves 6

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tbsp cumin seeds
  • ½ tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 large carrots, diced
  • 3 celery stalks, diced
  • 2 jalapeños, seeded and minced
  • 3 cups split peas, divided in half
  • 8 cups water
  • 2 tbsp orange zest, minced
  • Salt to taste
  • Your favorite hot sauce

COOKING DIRECTIONS:

(1) HEAT olive oil in a heavy saucepan on medium and add garlic, cumin, and black pepper. I have burned the garlic in the past, so I always make sure I do not overheat the olive oil before putting the garlic. cumin and pepper and then I stir them constantly on medium heat. 

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(2) SAUTÉ until garlic just begins to brown (about 5 minutes).

(3) ADD onion, carrot, celery, and jalapeños—stir well and cook until onions begin to soften (5–7 minutes). I also add the celery leaves and I always put in a little extra carrots and celery than the recipe calls for.

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(4) ADD water and half of the split peas, and bring to a simmer.  I do not add the water first, I add the split peas (1 1/2 cups/half of them) to the sautéed vegetables and sauté the peas a little in the vegetable/spice mix to add a little extra flavor to the dried pea. Then I add the water.

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Stirring occasionally, cook until peas are tender (about 45 minutes).

(5) ADD remaining split peas and orange zest and cook on a low simmer, uncovered, until all of the peas are tender (30–40 minutes), and season to taste with salt and pepper. I use my microplane to zest the skin of one orange. Usually what I will do is have an orange at breakfast and save the skins for orange zest. If you do not have a microplane (or you are terrified of this very sharp cooking instrument in which you can also zest off your skin, been there…) then you can just use a grater and lightly grate off the orange skin/zest (I know the culinary purists are cringing right now).

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After I add in the orange zest and remaining split peas, I also add a dash of hot sauce instead of just adding it as a garnish is step #6.

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(6) GARNISH with toasted cumin seeds, orange zest, and hot sauce.  I only garnish with a little extra hot sauce after serving into my bowl.

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This soup freezes beautifully and I think it makes more than 6 servings. I am a telecommuter so I am always trying to plan my lunches out ahead of time. I love just pulling out a serving of this soup in the morning to thaw before starting my workday.


Postscript

Being Stealth

I am getting ready to leave for the annual quilt retreat in the Vancouver, Washington area I go on with my quilt sisters from Washington, Oregon and California. Sassy, the Highly Opinionated Miniature Schnauzer, gets very stressed when one of her humans is leaving her sight/management for a while.

She becomes very anxious when she sees suitcases, so I am having to do stealth packing for the retreat. I pack a couple days early and keep them hidden (behind the sari curtain in my studio):

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Why yes, that is all I am bringing to a 4-day quilt retreat. I decided to just bring hand quilting projects. I did bring a small project I could use a borrowed sewing machine on if I suddenly become overwhelmed with the need to sit at a sewing machine.

Also I packed minimal coordinating clothes and figure I can repeat an outfit (if I start to smell, oh well, I am at a quilt retreat – ha!)

A Couple of Cool Blogs

I follow several non-crafting blogs and I wanted to share a couple very cool blogs I thought some of you might enjoy:

  • The Tiny Potager: Self Sufficiency and Sustainable Living – with a family of six – tinypotager.com – this blogger is out of the UK and posts wonderful photos of farming, farmlands, hikes, road trips, etc. I feel like I am on a relaxing virtual mini-holiday when I look at this blog.
  • I’ve Read This: Looking for something good to read? – ivereadthis.com – this blog is for people who love to read and love cats! The blogger posts adorable cat photos and great book reviews. The latest post is on a book called The Lion in the Living Room by Abigail Tucker; and has a great video on why cats love boxes!

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    Example of “kitty in a box”, my friend Wendy’s darling cat

Rosettes! (Adventures in EPP Continued)

This blog is about a Quilter’s Life and there is more in my life than just quilting. I have so many non-quilting blog post ideas floating in my head, but today is another quilting related post. I so appreciate my non-quilter readers in addition to my quilter/crafter readers!

Making Rosettes

So is an activity equally or perhaps more addicting than making little English Paper Pieced (EPP) hexagons (hexies) – making rosettes with the hexies!

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But first let’s recap (full stories in the series of posts Adventures in English Paper Piecing):

Here is what I started with (a collection of free 1/8th quarters from the 2016 Central Oregon Quilt Shop Hop):

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Here is the book I used to teach myself EPP (All Points Patchwork by Diane Gilleland):

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I turned the fabric into 250+ hexies:

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In order to make something like this:

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Photo credit: Quiltfolk.com

And, so far I have made 18 of these – rosettes:

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But, now the (sort of) bad news

I counted and I only have enough hexies to make 36 rosettes and the quilt I want to make has 99 rosettes (9 x 11 row quilt). I used all the free fabric from the 2016 Central Oregon Quilt Shop Hop and I wanted the hexies to only be made from that coordinated fabric (I will have to use other fabric from my stash for the background/setting fabrics).

So either I change my rules, or I accept that I am making a 36 block (6 x 6 row) quilt with my rosettes. I think that is what I am going to do, as it would be a huge commitment to make a zillion more hexies to turn into 63 more blocks!

Sometimes you got to be flexible and change your original plan…

Closing this post with my favorite rosette so far (I have 18 more rosettes to make so we’ll see if this one wins the Rosette Beauty Contest (soon to be an annual event held in Atlantic City, ha!):

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But I love all of them!

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Finishing out the Challenge Bag of shot cottons

This post is a continuation of the recent posts – Basket of Challenges and Experimenting with Foundation Paper Piecing.

Mondays am I off from work so last night I decided to do a “Late Night Sewing Session”. I sent Terry the Quilting Husband, Sassy the Highly Opinionated Miniature Schnauzer, and her adopted brother Mike off to bed; put on a Nova documentary on YouTube; and settled in for a late night sewing marathon.

I decided to just finish out the “challenge bag” of shot cotton scraps from my friend Dana (see post Experimenting with Foundation Paper Piecing) and continue making little pillow tops that I plan to hand quilt.

Here is what I started with from the “challenge bag” of shot cotton scraps:

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So here was the first piece I had made the other day with the scraps, experimenting with foundation piecing:

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And here are the improvisational pieces I made with the rest of the scraps last night during my Late Night Sew:

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Here is all I have left from the “challenge bag”:

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These are fairly small scraps, so those that were larger than 2″ x 2″ I put into general circulation, by color, in my fabric scrap collection. The rest (not very many) had to unfortunately head for the landfill…sigh…can’t save them all!

So what am I going to do with the little pillows I make? Well I am thinking about participating in my first Craft Fair in late Fall 2017. My employer has an annual Holiday Craft Fair in the Portland, Oregon office. I am thinking about taking my leftover items from my former tierneycreates Etsy shop and new items I have made and selling them at the craft fair. More to come on that in the future, still mulling it over.


Postscript

I think Smart Cars/mini electric cars are adorable! I enjoyed looking at them when I was in Europe years ago and I have sighted several when visiting Portland, Oregon. Yesterday on our dog walk, we came across an adorable Smart Car in one of the neighborhoods next to ours. I was so cute I wanted to put it in my pocket – ha! (They are like toy cars!)

So I will close out this post with the photo of this darling eco-vehicle:

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A Chicken Named “Tierney”

Wishing you all a Happy Mothers Day whether you are raising/have raised little humans, or you care for furry creature! Check out my fur kid’s latest musings in her Schnauzer Snips blog.


How do you know you have really made it in life?

You know when a chicken has been named after you!

My friend Marla started raising hen chicks and she has named them after her close female friends and family members. She is raising several varieties and I have been honored with one of her Dominique Chickens being given my name.

Here is “Tierney” the Chicken:

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She and her husband began raising the chicks in their bathroom in a specially heated set up. Now the chickens are moved to a lovely outdoor coop her husband built (I hope to remember in the future to take a photo and share, maybe when little “Tierney” is all grown up). Here are a couple of photos of the chicks while they lived in the bathroom:

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So what do you feed chicks as snacks? Well you give them Happy Hen Treats: Mealworm Frenzy!

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It is both disgusting and hysterical. I think I will stick with dogs and dog biscuits, ha! I hope to remember to post another photo in the future when chick “Tierney” becomes full grown egg laying hen “Tierney”.


Postscript

One of the cool things about being a quilter is when many years later someone thanks you again for a quilt you made for them (that they have been enjoying for many years!).

Out of the blue I received a text from an old friend Colleen, thanking me for a quilt I made her 6 or so years ago after he husband passed. She sent me the photo below of the quilt, on her bed:

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What a wonderful treat it was to be reminded of this quilt and how much it meant to her!

Experimenting with Foundation Paper Piecing

A series of words I never thought I would write in a blog post: “Foundation Paper Piecing”.

If you are not a quilter, foundation piecing is using pre-printed paper/specialty papers to sew precise shapes using a sort of “flip and stitch” method. Foundation piecing allows you to work with tiny pieces of fabric to get precise shapes.

Yes that sounds kind of complicated and I have avoided it for years for this reason. Of course I never thought I would attempted English Paper Piecing (EPP) but as you can see from my series of posts – Adventures in English Paper Piecing – I am addicted to it.

I had one previous experience with foundation piecing and I keep it in a tiny frame in my studio.

My extremely talented quilter sister-in-law Sue attempted in the early 2000s to teach me to foundation piece while visiting us when we lived in Seattle, WA.

We made a little sailboat block:

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Tiny little sailboat block in a tiny frame in my studio

She was a very patient teacher and I keep the framed block as a special memory of our time together working on a project. However it is now 2017 and I am returning (like 15 years later?!??!) to trying foundation paper piecing again!

As a crafter, you learn through experimentation (sometimes it feels everything I work on is an experiment, ha!) and if you don’t push yourself to take risks you will not grow as a crafter. So experiment I did and here is the story.

Foundation Paper Piecing Experimentation

A couple blog posts ago (Basket of Challenges) I wrote about my “challenge bags” – collections of coordinate scraps given to me by other crafters. Since taking them out of closed storage containers and putting them into a large basket in my studio, I am inspired to open them up and do another “challenge” (see what I can make with them).

My friend and quilting-sister Dana made me the lovely bag for my yarn/portable knitting:

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Photo does not do it justice, it is lovely!

The picture does not do it justice. She reverse engineered a bag she saw on Pinterest (she is a crafting-goddess) to make this bag from a collection of shot cottons.

In addition to the bag, she also gave me her scraps from making the bag:

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Fresh out of the challenge bag

I had them of course sitting in a “challenge bag” and decided they would be perfect for my experimentation with foundation paper piecing.

Looking through my archives of patterns of “projects-I-am-really-going-to-make-someday”, I found this pattern with pre-printed pattern paper (sort of the texture of tissue paper but stronger, like used for clothing patterns):

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The copyright is 2001 on this pattern

You can tell how dated the pattern is  – how many of us read small paperback books anymore (you could convert this pattern into a cute kindle cover though)? I think I bought it in the very early 2000s. The pattern comes with enough tissue foundation paper to make twenty-four 3″ blocks.

I began with cutting a bunch of the little foundation papers from the pattern; and ironing the scraps:

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There are 6 different patterns: Odd Fellow’s Star, Mosaic, Pinwheel, Starry Path, Square on Square, and Dutchman’s Puzzle

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All nicely pressed and ready for experimentation!

The next step was to watch several foundation piecing videos I found on YouTube. My favorite, and the one that really made things click in my mind, was Paper Piecing Made Easy Tutorial by the CraftyGemini.

I decided to work on the “Square on Square” pattern, so it was time to start the experiment. I am happy to report it worked, though I struggled a little with removing the paper from the back of the piece when I was done foundation piecing:

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I used tiny stitches as the videos instructed in order to perforated the template paper to make it easier to remove, but still it took a while to get all those tiny pieces off the back

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The completed block – I added a little border to it as I was not too sure about the stability of the edges of the paper pieced block

You can see just how small this little block is in this photo, imagine trying to traditionally piece (via sewing very tiny little pieces together) this block:

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I bordered it with more of the scrap shot cottons from the challenge bag:

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With a 1.5″ border added

I plan to make a little pillow out of it, like the little pillows on this post – More Creating – More Art Pillows. I plan to hand quilt it and I am trying to decide between two quilting threads, but I am leaning towards the very light and thin DMC embroidery thread in brown:

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Likely going with the DMC thread on the left instead of the Aurifil

Am I going to do another one (I do have 23 more blocks I can foundation piece with this pattern set)?

Not right now, I need to emotionally recover as honestly it was kind of stressful to make the tiny little block via foundation piecing. Also shot cotton might not have been the best fabric to work with for foundation piecing as it is thin and friable. I might make the rest of the blocks with batik scraps.

I think foundation piecing will be a great skill to have in my “quilting toolbelt” but for now I am happy to have made just one!

The Beauty of Moss and Fungi

Scrolling though my digital photos yesterday, I came across a group of photos I took last year during a rainy Portland, Oregon trip of several fence posts and tree stumps covered with interesting moss and fungi.

I thought I would post a couple of those photos as part of my ongoing series of posts on sources of Creative Inspiration. I think these compositions could be inspiration for an interesting art quilt:

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Nature is beautiful and magical and an endless source of inspiration, eh?

I took several photos of fence posts in B&W and here is one of those photos:

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“Nature doth thus kindly heal every wound. By the mediation of a thousand little mosses and fungi, the most unsightly objects become radiant of beauty. There seem to be two sides of this world, presented us at different times, as we see things in growth or dissolution, in life or death. And seen with the eye of the poet, as God sees them, all things are alive and beautiful.” – Henry David Thoreau

Speaking of nature as inspiration, I am currently toying with the idea of creating an art quilt for a local nature-themed exhibit based on some photos of the Central Oregon. More to come on that project, along with more details.


Postscript

In yesterday’s post, Basket of Challenges, I shared that I was inspired by my art quilting mentor, Betty Anne, to appreciate fabric scraps and curate a collection of coordinated “challenge bags” of fabric scraps. (I also have a collection of uncoordinated fabric scraps, see post When all else fails, reorganize your fabric scraps). 

Betty Anne has been busy lately working through her own “challenge bags” of fabric scraps and if you check out the link to the post below from our collaborative art quilting website/blog, Improvisational Textiles, you can see one of her latest creations made from fabric scraps, saved from the landfill:

Improvisational Scrappy Explorations

Basket of Challenges

My friend and quilter mentor Betty Anne taught me to appreciate fabric scraps, especially coordinated fabrics scraps shared from other quilters’ projects.

Like her I have gathered a collection of coordinated fabric scraps donated by quilting friends such as herself, my original quilting mentor Judy, my quilting sister Barb or my friend Susan.

Each collection of scraps is organized in a plastic bag, which I call a “challenge bag“. Each bag is a challenge to create something from a fabric scrap collection otherwise destined for the trash.

I had these challenge bags stored in two storage containers:

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I decided to move them into a large basket in my studio where I could see them all the time and be reminded of the fun challenges to work on:

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While going through the challenge bags to move them from the storage containers to the open basket, I figured it was time to work on one of them.

My friend Susan gave me a collection of brown batik scraps and partial fat quarters that she had started making little wallets out of – she also gave me the pattern and the templates she had cut. I think she thought I would just use the fabrics/scraps as part of a scrappy quilt. Instead I used nearly all the fabric/scraps she gave me to make a collection of little wallets:

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Little Wallets, pattern by Valori Wells

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Perfect size to hold business cards

I am looking forward in the future playing with another “challenge bag”. We’ll see what I make next…


Postscript

Yesterday I hiked Pilot Butte (miniature mountain with 360 degree views of Central Oregon and surrounding region) and nearing the summit I took a photo of a controlled burn off in the distance. The US Department of Agriculture Forest Service has to do controlled burns in the Deschutes National Forest to control forest fires.

Prescribed Fire in Central Oregon

I used the zoom on my iPhone and although it is not the clearest photo it gives you a sense of the scope of the controlled burn:

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If you are new to my blog and wanted to read more about my Pilot Butte adventures, check out this link: Pilot Butte Adventures.

For those of you who have followed me for a while – yes, on my hike yesterday, another Senior Citizen dusted me on Pilot Butte. At least the 80+ year old (maybe even 90) was kind enough to wish me a “good day” as he effortlessly walked around me on the hike back down the Butte!

Adventures in English Paper Piecing (Part III)

A recent post in a blog I follow, Coloring Outside the Lines (quiltingismything. wordpress.com), on English Paper Piecing (EPP) – “EPP – my tips and what I use” by Kris R., reminded me I should post an update on my adventures in EPP.

You can read my prior post, Adventures in English Paper Piecing (Part II), or you can check out my category Adventures in English Paper Piecing, for all previous posts related to my adventures in EPP.

Not sure if I would use the word addiction…but..

I started making EPP hexagons (aka “hexies”) to have something to do with my hands, other than play games on my iPad, while I watched TV in the evening with Terry the Quilting Husband (TTQH). I seem to need to do something while watching TV, my mind is unable to just “veg-out” in front of a screen.

And EPP hexies I did make…and make…and make. I have made over 225 EPP hexies so far!

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So many hexies!

The fabrics are from the 2016 Central Oregon Shop Hop – a collection of fat 1/8th that TTQH and I got as gifts from each quilt shop we visited.

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The original collection of free fabrics

I used up all the fat 1/8ths (all 14 pieces) to make the 225+ hexies and then TTQH suggested I might need some white hexies in my grouping as some of the prints also have white in them. At first I was annoyed, as I wanted to be done with this collection of hexies and move onto making my next collection!

After a little grumbling, I realized he was right, and found this white fabric in my general fat quarter stash that I think will work:

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Making More Hexies

Now you might find this to be abusive, but I have trained TTQH to make my paper templates for my hexies. As mentioned in an earlier post on EPP, I found at a craft store, a paper punch that makes hexagons.

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TTQH making hexies with the paper punch

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A nice new pile of hexies!

TTQH likes a challenge and I caught him playing a game to see just how many hexies he could get out of a section of card stock. (I have a lot of card stock from my paper crafting days…I might return to make handmade cards someday…maybe…)

So what am I going to do with my first collection of hexies?

I fell in love with the EPP quilt on the cover of a new magazine, Quiltfolk:

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Photo credit: quiltfolk.com

I plan to make my EPP hexies into rosettes and make a quilt similar to the one on the cover.

The premiere issue of this advertisement-free publication features the state of Oregon and stories of quilters and quilt shops in Oregon.

The premiere issue of Quiltfolk magazine (01) goes on a road-trip around Oregon and when they get to Central Oregon, they feature a very talented art quilter, Shelia Finzer, who is in the SAQA art quilter group I belong.

Shelia and her art represented Central Oregon very well – this place (and Portland, Oregon) is a major nest of art quilters!

I know, I know, you are thinking: “Tierney, didn’t you post a while back about downsizing? Why are you buying more magazines?” I am not just downsizing my life to live as an extreme minimalist. I am CURATING my life to have only those things that truly make me happy. Quiltfolk magazine is one of those items.

The next issues (02) Quiltfolk magazine features quilter stories from the state of Iowa and I am looking forward to delving into that issue with a pot of tea!

The EPP Nest

I created a spot for my EPP activities (and any other portable crafting activities such as coloring or appliqué, etc.) in the living room in an old IKEA end table. Inside the end table are various crafting supplies for “crafting on demand” – ha!

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This is a continuation of my “whole house crafting” expansion that I discussed in the Jan 2016 post, Whole House Crafting,  when I realized that I did not have to confine my crafting activities to one room (3rd bedroom turned studio) in my house!

Well today is Monday, and I am going to try and get in another Pilot Butte walk, so I better stop blogging and go enjoy the sunshine and mountains.

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Thoughts on Solitude

Recently I finished an audiobook, The Stranger in the Woods: The Extraordinary Story of the Last True Hermit by Michael Finkel (2017). This book tells the story of the North Pond Hermit (Christopher Knight) who lived alone in the Maine woods for 27 years.

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Photo credit: Amazon.com

Christopher Knight walked away from his life with the rest of humanity shortly after high school. He lived in isolation, in a hidden camp deep in the North Pond area of the Maine woods, without human interaction for 27 years.

Unfortunately, for 27 years, he pilfered summer camps for food, which eventually led to his capture. Until his arrest he was only known as a mysterious (and mythical) legend – the “North Pond Hermit”.

The book was fascinating – I listened to it nearly non-stop (anytime I could find a moment for a listen). Most of the book is Christopher Knight’s story told through the author, a journalist, who gained access to Knight during his incarceration. The other parts of the book are interviews with law enforcement, Knight’s childhood neighbors, and summer residents of North Pond who were tormented and terrorized for years of endless thefts of their summer camps.

The author also delves into the psychological aspects and impacts of isolation; and why some humans crave isolation while others would do anything to avoid it. He discusses the beauty experienced and wisdom/insight that can be gained from selected solitude (think of Henry David Thoreau). I found many of the author’s musings very profound.

There was something intriguing about the idea of living alone in the woods (I know, I know, it would be hard to using my electric sewing machine, but I could get a treadle machine…) and I spent a lot of time thinking about what it would be like to live alone in the woods and the peaceful beauty of solitude as I read the book.

I do enjoy my time alone – on a walk or reading in a quiet spot. However I enjoy an occasional DAY alone, not 27 years (or 9850+ days!) alone.

A couple of quotes from the book:

“Solitude increased my perception. But here’s the tricky thing: when I applied my increased perception to myself, I lost my identity. There was no audience, no one to perform for. There was no need to define myself. I became irrelevant. (I)solation felt more like communion…To put it romantically, I was completely free.”

“Silence, it appears, is not the opposite of sound. It is another world altogether, literally offering a deeper level of thought, a journey to the bedrock of the self.”

“Modern life seems set up so that we can avoid loneliness at all costs, but maybe it’s worthwhile to face it occasionally. The further we push aloneness away, the less we are able to cope with it, and the more terrifying it gets. Some philosophers believe that loneliness is the only true feeling there is.”

― Michael Finkel, The Stranger in the Woods: The Extraordinary Story of the Last True Hermit

I was fascinated how Christopher Knight learned to survive in the Maine woods, especially during the long exceptionally brutal winters. It is amazing the price he was willing to pay each winter to continue to live in isolation. You can check out videos on YouTube (just search “North Pond Hermit” or “Christopher Knight Hermit”) of the camp he created as his hidden home in the Maine woods, taken when law enforcement seized his camp contents after his arrest.

His story of surviving in the woods, made me think of a recent post by one of my favorite bloggers, Dewey Hop: Feisty Froggy Reads Through the LibraryNatural Disasters. Feisty Froggy discusses/reviews several books on how to survive disasters and what emergency supplies to have on hand. Christoper Knight went into the Maine woods as a young man without a “bug-out bag” or any standard/basic survival supplies. He just parked his car at the edge of the woods, got out and headed in to live the next 27 years of his life in isolation.


Postscript

In the Postscript section of my 04/12/17 post A Happy Ending for “Happy Ending”, I shared that I overdid it reserving a bunch of audiobooks all at once from my beloved public library and five (5) books came available at once!

Well the next day, a 6th book came availableThe Stranger in the Woods: The Extraordinary Story of the Last True Hermit – the audiobook discusses in this post. Since the library only gives you 21 days to listen to the audiobooks and you cannot renew them if they have holds (and all the books had holds), I had to make some decisions.

The Stranger in the Woods: The Extraordinary Story of the Last True Hermit obviously got priority, because I finished it! Here is what happened to the other audiobooks mentioned in the 04/12/17 post:

  • Norse Mythology – Neil Gaiman – This audiobook is awesome, narrated by the author himself in his delightful British accent – my audiobook loan expired before I could finish it, so I have reserved it again…
  • For Women Only: What You Need to Know About the Inner Lives of Men
    – Shaunti Feldhahn – Very interesting book – I think it should be required reading before you get married (there is a companion book for men on the Inner Lives of Women); it is faith-based but not too heavy handed in regards to biblical tie-ins. I considered myself successfully married for eons but I gained some new insights.
  • We: A Manifesto for Women Everywhere – Gillian Anderson & Jennifer Nadel (yup, Gillian Anderson of The X-Files fame) – I wanted to like this book but struggled to finish it. It seemed very inspirational but it was read by the authors and for some reason they, especially Gillian Anderson (who I loved in The X-Files). I might try it again the future as a paper book instead of audiobook.
  • Good Omens – Neil Gaiman & Terry Pratchett – Oh my goodness – I love this book – absolutely hysterical with lots of British style snarky humor. Unfortunately my loan expired before I finished it, so I am anxiously awaiting notification that I can download it again (our library uses the Overdrive app and your download automatically expires when the 21 days are up)
  • Smoke and Mirrors: Short Fictions and Illusions – Neil Gaiman – Never got to it. Will try it again the the future.

Yes of course I reserved more audiobooks at the same time again. I do not want to be without an audiobook! I am currently listening to The Diet Fix: Why Diets Fail and How to Make Yours Work by Yoni Freedhoff. I will chat about that in the future and what became of the Fast Metabolism Diet I shared in posts from mid February to early March 2017.

Christopher Knight, the North Pond Hermit, survived and thrived in isolation by reading books (that he stole from summer camps). If I had to, I guess I could survive in isolation for a couple years, as long as I had audiobooks!


Featured image credit: Gabor Szakacs, freeimages.com

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Central Oregon Quilt Shop Hop 2017

Friday, a day after returning from our Oregon Roadtrip, Terry the Quilting Husband (TTQH) and I hit the road again – this time for the annual Central Oregon Quilt Shop Hop.

We visited all seven (7) Central Oregon quilt shops in order to fill out our shop-hop passcards for a chance to win a dream Bernina sewing machine (and gift certificates to the local shops).

As much as I enjoy the annual quilt shop hop, I did offer to pass on it this year as TTQH had just done all that driving. But he insisted – he wanted to go and wanted to complete our shop-hop passcards (he likes a challenge).

Here are the seven (7) shops we visited:

Several of these shops were featured on previous posts. I have added a new Category for my posts – “Quilt Shop Tours” in case you want to find quilt shop photo tours I have posted (check out “My Topics” Menu).

Quilt Shop Hop is always fun: you run into the same people shop-hopping in the same order as you are; the quilt shops have tasty treats and one even served lunch; and you get to look at the wonderful displays and fabrics at each shop.

In addition, each shop you visit gives you a free fat 1/8th of fabric. Between TTQH and myself, we collected 14 fat 1/8ths. Here is the haul (note, I let TTQH select his own fat 1/8th and he went rogue and selected a black & grey one that did not match the rest of the brights palette!):

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Several fabrics are duplicates because we accidentally selected the same fat 1/8ths!

Last year I took our collection of fat 1/8th from the 2016 Central Oregon Quilt Shop Hop and turned them into English Paper Piecing (EPP) hexagons (see post Adventures in English Paper Piecing, Part II). I plan to use the collection of fat 1/8ths from the 2017 shop hop for a project, this time I am thinking a standard paper piecing project.

I would like to use these free fabrics in a challenge project each year. I was intimidated by the thought of doing of EPP and now I absolutely love it!

I am completely aghast at the idea of traditional paper piecing (my sister-in-law Sue, the master quilter, once showed me how to do it as did my first quilting instructor Roxanne Carter, but it still fills my heart with terror), so why not challenge myself again?

So I nicely pressed and organized the 2017 free fat 1/8th in preparation for a future project:

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I did not buy anything at shop hop, but TTQH did! He decided he wanted to make a flannel fishing themed quilt (he is into fly fishing). Also he could not resist a couple animal themed prints. Here is his haul:

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For the fishing themed flannel quilt

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For his “stash” I guess…

Sassy the Highly Opinionated Miniature Schnauzer and her adopted brother Mike went on the road with us during Central Oregon Quilt Shop Hop. We stopped for a nice lunch and lots of dog walks. Material Girl Fabrics in Redmond, Oregon is in a house in a quaint old neighborhood so we had a really nice long dog walk before heading into that quilt shop.

Here is Sassy on the road:

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Sassy has to sit on my lap in the front seat for the best views

Here is a sampling of the lovely Central Oregon views as we traveled around the area shop hopping!

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I would guess we did about a 100+ miles of driving on Friday; for example the distance between some of the farthest quilt shops (from my house) – Homestead Quilts in LaPine, Oregon and the Quilt Shack in Prineville, Oregon is 65 miles.


Postscript

In a future post I will feature more Central Oregon quilt shop photo tours.

If you enjoy quilt shop virtual tours, I highly recommend Anna of Woolie Mammoth’s YouTube channel – Quilt Roadies. She, her husband and their adorable dog, travel in their RV to quilt shops around the country as well as other interesting sights!

Oregon Roadtrip

Terry the Quilting Husband (TTQH) and I just returned from an “Oregon Roadtrip”. I took this week off from work for a part “staycation” and a part explore a little more of the state of Oregon. We did a quick jaunt to Portland, Oregon and then went to the Wooden Shoe Tulip Fest  in Woodburn, Oregon.

On the Road

TTQH did the driving and I got to sightsee on the road trip and work on my English Paper Piecing (EPP). I am still working on my first series/stash of hexagons (hexies) last discussed in my 02/05/17 post, Adventures in English Paper Piecing (Part II).

I am so glad I got into EPP, it is a great traveling project and very addicting. In a future post I will reveal just how many little hexies I have completed. Here is my lap during the road trip:

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I have my coat on my lap. Why? Because of what you will see in the two images below: driving through the mountain passes (Mt. Hood area and Santiam Pass) there was snow. The photos below are from our drive back to Central Oregon, encountering snow in the Santiam Pass:

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This is the price you pay when you live in the Cascade Mountain range region. Central Oregon itself is at 3500 – 3600+ feet, and when you drive through the mountain range areas to get out of Central Oregon, you are going to see some snow in the higher elevations even into late May and possibly June (Santiam Pass is at 4800 feet elevation). In the late Fall and Winter there is major snow and I will not drive to Portland from November to March. But if you like Winter sports, this place is a dream.

When we got out of the mountain passes, the weather was fine.

An interesting fact: According to Wikipedia, there are 318 mountain passes in the state of Oregon (List of mountain passes in Oregon). Some passes are above 7000 feet elevation! When you drive around Central Oregon, all you can see is mountains, mountains, mountains!

Craft Book Heaven (and Overload)

While in Portland, Oregon we spent an afternoon in Powell’s Books: The World’s Largest Independent Bookstore. Their book inventory exceeds 2 million volumes and I cannot begin to describe how large a bookstore it is – there are many levels and sections, assigned different colors. There is a map to the store and you can definitely lose someone in the store if you are not browsing together (thank goodness for cellphones!)

Their craft book section is mind-blowing and I spent an hour in there browsing while TTQH spent who knows how long in the Military History book section.

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I could have spent days in this section, ha!

After my browsing, I took at stack of books to the coffee shop inside the bookstore and nested there with my cup of tea until TTQH joined me. I did not buy the all the books in my stack (because I did not need them, but they were fun to look at).

I did buy one book, used (Powell’s sells new and used books) as I thought I owned it but actually I had borrowed it from my friend Betty Anne:

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Photo credit: Amazon.com

TTQH left Powell’s with a military history book that had been on his radar for a while.

Tulip Festival & Tasty Meal

After our Portland visit, we headed to Woodburn, Oregon to stop at an outlet shopping area that TTQH likes to buy his favorite sneakers (Converse). While at the outlet mall, someone handed us a flyer on the Wooden Shoe Tulip Fest  in Woodburn, Oregon. We decided, spur of the moment, to head there next.

This was my first tulip festival. I took a ridiculous amount of photos and here are some of my favorites:

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The photo above, which I also used as a feature photo for this post, is my absolute favorite. This tulip variety was also my favorite of all the spectacular tulips we saw at the fest. I have many photos of individual tulips – I went a little overboard in taking photos, caught up in the moment of visual splendor overload!

While at the Tulip Fest, we went on a hayride around the festival and walked all the tulip fields (to be honest, after a couple hours we were burned out on tulips – ha!)

After the tulip festival, we went to eat at the Glockenspiel Restaurant in Mt. Angel, Oregon. It was mentioned in the Tulip Fest flyer and I had recently heard of it in the latest edition of Via Magazine (the AAA Travel Magazine for auto club members).

The Glockenspiel Restaurant is a German food eatery, which has a working glockenspiel mounted on it’s exterior which performs at various times during the day. We missed the most recent performance but I did find a YouTube video of what it looks like:

The Glockenspiel Restaurant 

The person who filmed the video has a narrative of the story/history behind what you are seeing in the Glockenspiel.

Here is our delicious lunch:

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I look forward to more exploration of our wonderful state of Oregon in the future!

For the Yarn Lovers

Or should the post title be: “For Lovers of Yarn”? Either way, here is a post for people who love yarn and/or knit, crochet, spin, weave or other fiber arts involving yarn.

Last Thursday I was at the Stitchin’ Post in Sisters Oregon for our monthly art quilter group meeting. Before the meeting, I wandered around the shop “ooh-ing and ahh-ing” at all the treats for purchases (fabric, yarn, notions, art, books, etc.). The yarn department/section seemed exceptionally lovely this visit (I think they re-organized the shop), so I took photos to share with my yarn-loving readers!

Yarn Department, Stitchin’ Post

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My friend Pat was kind enough to be the hand model in several of the photos.

If you are every in Central Oregon and you are a quilter, knitter, crocheter, or any type of fiber arts crafter I highly recommended a visit to this shop!

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Slogging through the binding…oh wait, I am finally finished!

Before I get to the update on my quilt, Happy Ending, I wanted to recommend a blog if you are an antique sewing machine aficionado: Vintage Sewing Machines

Elena, a couture tailor, shares photos and stories about her incredible vintage sewing machine collection; and a lot of educational information about the workings of sewing machines. Reading her blog I have gained a huge appreciation for the beauty and mystery of vintage sewing machines!


This post is a follow up to a quilt discussed in my What’s on the Design Wall series of posts, Happy Ending.

In my post A Happy Ending for “Happy Ending”, I shared that I received my Happy Ending quilt in the mail from the long-arm quilter, Cindy Anderson, of A Quilter’s Corner with Cindy Anderson (inastitchquilting.com), and it was time to put on the binding and finish up the quilt.

Slogging through the binding

How do you feel about binding a quilt? I am torn. On one hand, it is exciting because the quilt is nearly done; and I enjoy snuggling under the quilt as I sew down the binding. On the other hand, I find it tedious and irritating and want it to be quickly done.

My desire to have my binding quickly done was evidenced in my early quilts which had sloppily sewn binding. If these quilts were still in my possession, over the years I have either replaced the binding completely or unstitched the hand sewing on the binding and restitched the bindings.

It seems like there are so many steps to binding a quilt:

  • Creating the binding
  • Sewing the binding strips to the quilt
  • Selecting the thread to hand stitch the binding down
  • Stitching the binding down

After stitching enough 2.5 ” strips together to encompass the entire perimeter of the quilt, it all begins with sewing down the binding:

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Here is the quilt with the binding sewn onto it, waiting to be hand stitched down (now comes the opportunity for major procrastination to set in):

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The thread I selected for hand stitching the binding to the back of the quilt (I usually select a lighter thread that will blend):

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Finally the hand stitching is done and the quilt is complete:

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It’s done, it’s finally done! (The Reveal)

Terry the Quilting Husband holding up the quilt for its quick photo shoot:

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I want to put it on the bed, but our miniature schnauzer Mike thinks there are “snakes in the bed” and has to scratch and spin before laying down. So for now I will keep it on the back of the sofa and put it on the bed on special occasions:

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Check out Sassy the Highly Opinionated Miniature Schnauzer‘s blog Schnauzer Snips for her latest musings.

Artist Statements, Part II

In my 08/25/16 post, Artist Statements, I shared my struggle with writing Artist Statements for art quilts. In my more recent (03/30/17) post, What’s on My Lap, I again mentioned my struggle with writing Artist Statements, and  Mary of Zippy Quilts shared the following:

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I could not turn down a suggestion for a blog post!

In my first post in August 2016 on Artist Statements I only whined about having to write an Artist Statement and then shared my completed statement for a piece that was being shown at the 2016 Pacific International Quilt Festival (PIQF).

This time I thought I would do something more than whining!

So I spent time researching information about writing Artist Statements and used that information to write the Artist Statement for this piece below – The Recycled Road:

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The Recycled Road (2017) by Tierney Davis Hogan

Here are the basic details on The Recycled Road, I will use these later in the post to write my Artist Statement for this piece:

  • It is made from recycled materials: denim jeans, corduroy pants, corduroy shirt, curtains, sweat pants, home decor fabric scraps, and a tweed jumper
  • The art quilt is the second in quilt in my series The Recyclings (yesterday I decided the name of my series)
  • I hand quilted this quilt to give it an organic feel
  • This quilt was inspired by the Central Oregon SAQA (Studio Art Quilt Associates) group annual exhibit theme “Pathways”.
  • The piece measures 18″ x 40″
  • I hand quilted the quilt to give it an organic feel

General Artist Statement vs. Artist Statement About A Work

A bit of research reinforced what I heard in the art quilting community  – that there are basically two types of Artist Statements: 1) A general statement about you as an Artist; or 2) a statement about a specific piece of artwork.

General Artist Statement

A couple of years ago at one of our Central Oregon SAQA group meetings, we broke into small groups to do an exercise to work on our (General) Artist Statements, the about our art and ourselves as an artist.

I was overwhelmed by this exercise for several reasons: 1) Our Central Oregon SAQA group contains many real textile artists and art quilters – I mean nationally and internationally known artists – I was completely intimidated; 2) I was a new art quilter, recently transitioned from traditional quilting to dabbling in improvisational art; and 3) I was not sure if I could really consider myself an “Artist”.

Several experienced art quilters in the group shared with me examples of their professional artist Artist Statements, which I politely accepted and graciously thanked them for sharing, but it only intimidated me more (it was a “deer in headlights” experience).

A couple months later, I realized I was just not ready to write my General Artist Statement, and that was okay. I had not established what I feel is a solid and cohesive body of textile art. Currently I am working towards this and in the near future I hope to write my General Artist Statement.

I found some great resources online for writing General Artist Statements that I will use in the future, here are the links:

ArtStudy.org Sample Artist Statement

Creativity in Action Art League Blog – 8 Artist Statement We Love

ArtBusiness.com – Your Artist Statement: Explaining the Unexplainable

Agora Gallery – How to Write An Artist Statement: Tips From The Art Experts

“How To Write An Artist’s Statement”, Contemporary Quilt Art Association

10 tips for writing your artist statement, TextileArtist.org

One of my favorite discoveries on advice on writing General Artist Statements was the article “The Artist Statement & Why They Mostly Suck” on the website bmoreart.com. I loved this quote:

“A good artist statement should enhance what a viewer sees in your work and provide a concise handle to approach a visual piece. It should be accurate, well-written, and correctly punctuated. It also should be specific to your work and offer unique insight into your process.”

Jean Wells Keenan, textile artist, has a wonderful example of a General Artist Statement on her website jeanwellsquilts.com:

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Artist Statement About A Specific Work

It is my goal/dream someday to write a well-crafted General Statement about my body of work and how I approach my art, someday. For now I am just trying to write an Artist Statement about a specific art quilt.

So I searched online for inspiration on writing Artist Statements specific to a piece of work. At ArtsyShark.com I found these helpful tips in the article: “How to Write an Amazing Artist Statement” that could be applied to either General Artist Statements or an Artist Statement on a specific piece of art:

Here are some tips to keep in mind when writing your artist statement:

  • The ideal length is one to three paragraphs.
  • It should be in first-person.
  • You should not tell your audience how to feel or what to look at.
  • You want to inform your viewer but not overly explain things – leave room for the viewer to make his or her own connections.
  • Ask yourself: Is this writing specific to my work or can it be about anyone’s?
  • Don’t use phrases like: I hope, My work aspires to, My goal is, The Viewer will, These paintings (do something).

Remember: The key to an amazing statement is to write A LOT, then edit, edit, edit. You should go through at least 3 drafts. This is not something you can do in an evening – it’s going to take time, so find the best time of day that works for you to write, such as over morning coffee. Write in a way that feels comfortable – type or write long hand.

My favorite guideline I discovered online for writing an artist statement for a specific piece of art, was from the website hysterically named – Getting Your Sh*t Together: making life better for artists (gyst-ink.com). Here are highlights from this websites had the following Artist Statement Guidelines:

  • An Artist Statement is a general introduction to your work, a body of work, or a specific project.
  • It should open with the work’s basic ideas in an overview of two or three sentences or a short paragraph and then go into detail about how these issues or ideas are presented in the work.
  • You can include some of the following points:
    • Why you have created the work and its history.
    • Your overall vision.
    • What you expect from your audience and how they will react.
    • How your current work relates to your previous work.
    • Where your work fits in with current contemporary art.
    • How your work fits in with the history of art practice.
    • How your work fits into a group exhibition, or a series of projects you have done.
    • Sources and inspiration for your images.
    • Artists you have been influenced by or how your work relates to other artists’ work. Other influences.
    • How this work fits into a series or longer body of work.
    • How a certain technique is important to the work.
    • Your philosophy of art making or of the work’s origin.
  • The final paragraph should recapitulate the most important points in the statement.
  • Ask yourself “What are you trying to say in the work?” “What influences my work?” “How do my methods of working (techniques, style, formal decisions) support the content of my work?” “What are specific examples of this in my work” “Does this statement conjure up any images?”
  • Consider – Who is your audience? What level are you writing for? What will your statement be used for? What does your statement say about you as an artist and a professional?

Okay, Ready, Write (The Draft)

I could have spent all day online looking at examples of Artist Statements, but now it is time to write my draft statement for the piece The Recycled Road:

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The Recycled Road (2017)

18″ W x 40″ L

Recycled denim, corduroy, cotton jersey, wool and rayon.

Designed, pieced and hand quilted by Tierney Davis Hogan

Artist Statement (draft)

The Recycled Road is the second piece in my series The Recyclings, small art quilts from recycled materials.

Inspired by the theme of “Pathways” for the 2017 Central Oregon SAQA group annual art quilt exhibit, this “pathway” begins at the orange corduroy boundary between the multicolor “road” and the plain gray “road”. This “road” continues beyond the top edge of the quilt; as it has no boundaries beyond the limits we set on our own imagination.  The pathway in this quilt represents one of many roads traveled by our creative spirit.

Using improvisational piecing techniques, I created this piece from all recycled materials (denim jeans, corduroy shirt, corduroy pants, tweed jumper, sweat pants, curtains and home decor fabric scraps. Seeking a bit of adventure in working with recycled clothing, I used an old pair of faded and threadbare gray sweat pants to create the edges of the road. I hand quilted the piece to give it an organic feel. Hand quilting the recycled fabrics was an unique multilayered and meditative tactile experience.

Most of the fabrics were not reusable as clothing or home decor and were destined to end up in a landfill. Reimagining recycled clothing and other materials into art quilts satisfies my desire to honor the environment and make art that is eco-conscious. Ending up in an art quilt is a better outcome than ending up in a landfill.

Okay, so now that I have written my draft Artist Statement for The Recycled Road, I am going to let it simmer overnight and see how I feel about it in the morning.


Feature image credit: BSK, free images.com 

A Tiny Bit More on Hygge

A little follow up from yesterday’s post, The Library Stack and Hygge, on the Nordic concept of hygge (pronounced ‘hoo-ga’).

While continuing to read How to Hygge: The Nordic Secrets to a Happy Life by Signe Johansen, I came across this quote this morning that made me smile:

But just to keep alive is not enough. To live you must have sunshine and freedom, and a little flower to love.

– Hans Christian Andersen

The tulips are popping up in my garden and I thought I was share a “little flower” with you I have “to love”.

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Wishing you a glorious day of sunshine, freedom and flowers.

The Library Stack and Hygge

So…

My next post was to be about writing Artist Statements (since I have one I really, really, really need to complete), but if you have followed me for a while you know my mind works like the golden retriever Dug in the Pixar movie, Up – “Squirrel”!

Instead I am going to continue my ongoing series, The Library Stack,  sharing my latest stack of borrowed books from my beloved local public library and talk about something dear to my heart: the Danish concept of Hygge (pronounced “hoo-ga”).

Here is the latest stack of library books:

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This stack currently contains the book – The Little Book of Hygge: Danish Secrets to Happy Living by Meik Wiking

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and How to Hygge: The Nordic Secrets to a Happy Life by Signe Johansen.

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The latter book is not in the library stack photo which was taken a couple days ago; I recently picked it up from the library. 

You may already be familiar with the concept of “hygge”, however bear with me as I share some of the cool things I learned.

Hygge 101

Meik Wiking (The Little Book of Hygge) refers to hygge as “coziness of the soul”. It is “about atmosphere and am experience, rather than about things…it is about being with people we love…a feeling of home…a feeling that we are safe…shielded from the world and allow ourselves to let our guard down…”

Signe Johansen (How to Hygge) defines hygge as: “a Danish/Norwegian word that translates as a feeling of cosiness…it can also mean kinship and conviviality…hygge is about being sociable and look outward; it’s about taking pleasure in the simple things in life…”

Meik Wiking (The Little Book of Hygge) states that the hygge experience has ten components (The Hygge Manifesto):

  1. Atmosphere (candles!)
  2. Presence
  3. Pleasure
  4. Equality
  5. Gratitude
  6. Harmony
  7. Comfort
  8. Truce
  9. Togetherness
  10. Shelter

No wonder, based on international surveys, Denmark is one of the happiest countries on earth! (Norway is #1 and Denmark is #2 – Where are the world’s happiest countries? CNN.com)

In his book, Meik Wiking provides wonderful examples and details in achieving these hygge related experiences. His book includes tips, recipes, and suggested activities and experiences to bring a feeling of hygge into your life.

Signe Johansen’s book (How to Hygge) takes a similar approach but presents the material in the different format. She shares many essays about hygge experiences and strategies to incorporate a sense of hygge in your life by creating a feeling of coziness in your home, using candles, board game nights with family and friends, making delicious healthy satisfying foods and spending plenty of time outdoors.

I am still reading through both of these books, there are so many gems of wisdom and wonderful ideas in these two books. There is also a lot of reinforcement and affirmation of the choices I have made on how I live my life. Basically my life has a lot of hygge in it!

One of my new favorite words (I would slaughter the pronunciation if attempted) is “hyggekrog” which Meik Wiking describes as “a nook…a place in the room where you love to snuggle up with a blanket”. For me that would be a quilt and here is my “hyggekrog”:

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Postscript

I love Denmark, it is one of my most favorite places I have ever visited.

I first visited Denmark in the summer of 1998 and stayed with my friend Torben (my “Danish brother”) and his parents in their lovely home outside of Copenhagen. I returned to Denmark for a visit in 2004, this time bringing Terry the Quilting Husband to experience this wonderful country and we stayed with Torben and his future wife.

I definitely had a hygge immersion experience visiting Denmark. Although it was August, during my first trip to Denmark, Torben’s mother made Christmas dinner so I could experience Danish Christmas! The Danish-Christmas-in-August experience included board games after dinner and lots and lots of family fun (even a family “floor show”)!

During my first trip I of course had the required tourist experiences such as seeing The Viking Museum, Tivoli and Nyhavn. I also got to rollerblade for the first time, tour the country on an exceptional road trip, bike ride to a castle (only in Europe would you have a castle outside your suburban neighborhood) and many other wonderful experiences. The Danish people were so friendly and I felt so welcome. I sort of felt like I was “home”.

One of my most memorable Danish experiences was going sailing with Torben and his brother in a handmade wooden sailboat in August 1998!

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My Danish brothers getting ready for us to sail

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Tierney sailing in Denmark!

These photos were before the days of smart phone photos so these images are scans of the original hard copy photos I have scrapbooked (as part of my minimalism journey I got rid of all loose photos – they are either scrapbooked, in a frame on display or discarded – no more boxes of photos!)


A random bit of info to close out this post – Meik Wiking (The Little Book of Hygge) lists the items that Danes associate with hygge, here are the top 10:

  1. Hot drinks
  2. Candles
  3. Fireplaces
  4. Christmas
  5. Board Games
  6. Music
  7. Holiday (vacation)
  8. Sweets and cake
  9. Cooking
  10. Books

I think the fact that Torben’s family had Christmas for me in August while I visited confirms just how much Danes enjoy Christmas!

A Happy Ending for “Happy Ending”

“The Quilt is in the Mail”

A package arrived in the mail yesterday. A very exciting package. A quilted quilt!

I could not wait to open the package and see Cindy Anderson’s, of A Quilter’s Corner with Cindy Anderson (inastitchquilting.com), long-arm quilting magic!

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How fast can I get the box open?

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Oh the anticipation, now I have to unwrap it from the enclosed bag!

Before we get to the reveal (don’t scroll down and peek yet!) here is a little background on this quilt.

I found the pattern for this quilt, Happy Ending, in a book I borrowed from my public library – Perfect Quilts for Precut Fabrics by That Patchwork Place. The pattern was designed by Lesley Chaisson. I used a couple packages of pre-cut 5 inch squares (charm packs) and deep blue (Ink) Peppered Cotton, shot cotton to make the quilt.

If interested, you can read these previous posts about the evolution of this quilt: Diving into a quilt (and other stuff) and What’s on the Design Wall and What’s on the Design Wall.

After  removing the quilt from the box, Terry the Quilting Husband (TTQH) and I opened it up and laid it out on our bed to get the full effect of the completed:

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Draped on a king-size bed

My quilt top traveled from Oregon to Wisconsin and returned from Wisconsin as a quilted quilt!

I wish it was completely done and ready for use, but first I have to make and then sew the binding to the edge of the quilt to finish it.

Originally my plan was to use the deep blue shot cotton (main fabric of the quilt) for the binding. TTQH suggested a contrasting color for the binding instead of the dark blue, like an orange or a red fabric.

I like that idea! I found in my stash a reddish-orange Moda fabric that coordinates with the Moda fabric charm squares. I will post more photos when I get the binding put on the Happy Ending quilt. Photos do not do it justice, the geometric designs of Cindy’s long-arm quilting are lovely on my quilt!

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Waiting for the binding to be added

How Do You Trim?

I have a question for the quilters reading: How do you trim the excess batting and fabric off the edges of a quilt that has been long-arm quilted (or domestic machine quilted by you)?

When I began having quilts professionally long-arm quilted, I would use scissors to trim down the quilt. Eventually I moved to using a rotary cutter and a ruler to get a sharp straight edge. This takes a bit of time to complete trimming on a large quilt and I long for the day when I would just use scissors.

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Trimming my quilt after long-arm quilting completed

Rotary cutter and ruler or scissors? How do you trim?

Bonus Content

Inside the box with my quilt from Cindy were a couple extra items that made me smile:

A handmade card (not by Cindy but by another artist) from recycled fabric scraps:2017-04-11_13-30-49_944.jpeg

Scraps left over from the quilt including some fairly thin scraps that I think Cindy was challenging to make something with! (ok true confession – my quilt back was little bit short on one side and Cindy had to do some “remodeling” on my quilt back to make it work):

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And finally – a challenge piece – an embroidered napkin:

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When I saw the napkin, I misunderstood why Cindy sent it. I thought she sent it in support of my post The Napkin Story. However, after chatting with Cindy I discovered she sent it to me as a recycled fabric quilt challenge! She wants to see what I can do with it! (I took it out of my cloth napkin drawer and put it in my studio).


Postscript

I love listening to audiobooks and most of the audiobooks I listen to are borrowed from my public library’s digital download system. You reserve audiobooks just like you would hard copy books (the library is given a limited number of licenses of copies of a digital book they can loan out at one time) and the library e-mails you when the audiobook is available for download. On popular audiobooks, you can wait anywhere from a week to a couple months to get that e-mail.

So I went crazy reserving a bunch of audiobooks a couple of weeks ago when I suddenly ran out of audiobooks to listen – PANIC! Then, yesterday in addition to getting the quilt in the mail, I got an e-mail from my library notifying me that FIVE of the audiobooks I had on hold were available for download:

  • Norse Mythology – Neil Gaiman
  • For Women Only: What You Need to Know About the Inner Lives of Men
    – Shaunti Feldhahn
  • We: A Manifesto for Women Everywhere – Gillian Anderson & Jennifer Nadel (yup, Gillian Anderson of The X-Files fame)
  • Good Omens – Neil Gaiman & Terry Pratchett
  • Smoke and Mirrors: Short Fictions and Illusions – Neil Gaiman

The loan period is 21 days, so I need to listen to all books in 21 days or have to go back into the reserve book queue – yikes!

I went ahead and started listening to For Women Only: What You Need to Know About the Inner Lives of Men as I was in the mood to begin with my nonfiction options. Also I previously read Good Omens and several of the short stories in the anthology Smoke and Mirrors are in the Neil Gaiman book I read last year, Trigger Warning. 

The audiobook is very interesting so far! I might share some insights from this book in a future post.

(Shaunti Feldhahn did also write with her husband Jeff Feldhahn the companion book – For Men Only, Revised and Updated Edition: A Straightforward Guide to the Inner Lives of Women. According to Ms. Feldhahn these books are used as reading requirements in some church-based premarital counseling programs.)

The Recycled Road

Hi there! Here is a quick update on the 03/30/17 post What’s on My Lap.

This weekend I completed the hand quilting on The Recycled Road, an 18″ x 40″ improvisational art quilt for our annual Central Oregon SAQA Art Quilting Group’s themed exhibit. Our 2017 theme is “Pathways”.

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The Recycled Road (2017) by Tierney Davis Hogan

For more background on this piece, please see the posts What’s on My LapSlow Stitching, and What’s on the Design Wall. Someday, this art quilt is going to be part of a series of 18″ x 40″ art quilts from recycled materials using the same materials/adding in additional recycled materials as needed for the design.

Here is the other quilt in this series so far – Recycled Door (the 2016 theme was “Doors”):

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Recycled Door (2016). Designed and pieced by Tierney Davis Hogan; quilted by Betty Anne Guadalupe. Photograph by Marion Shimoda.

The Recycled Road quilt was made completely with recycled materials: old jeans, sweat pants, corduroy pants, corduroy shirt, tweed jumper, curtains, and home decor fabric scraps.  The jeans, shirt, pants, jumper and home decor fabric were reused from the first piece in the series, Recycled Door shown above (which is a much better photo).

All of the clothing or home decorating items used in this art quilt were destined for the landfill. There were all in poor condition, or scraps and not donate-able for reuse as their original purpose.

Currently I am working on the Artist Statement, and in a future post I will share the Artist Statement explaining the piece and share my research on writing an Artist Statement (one of the tierneycreates readers asked for more info on writing Artist Statements, something many of us struggle with!).

This art quilt will debut at the 2017 Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show as part of the special exhibit for Central Oregon SAQA. Eventually become part of the Improvisational Textiles Collection – improvisationaltextiles.com.

I hope to share a better photo in the future of this piece.

The Library Stack

Continuing my ongoing series, The Library Stack,  sharing my latest stack of borrowed books from my beloved local public library.

This time it is a mix of crafting, craft business, healthy living and home decorating books:

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I just finished The Living Clearly Method by Hilaria Baldwin and now I am reading How to Make It by Erin Austen Abbott.

This is my second time borrowing The Living Clearly Method. The first time I borrowed it I made a delicious lentil soup with cinnamon recipe from the book. I took the book out again to make the soup again. I realized the first time I only skimmed the book, this time I spent longer with the book and appreciated many insights in the book (though you would never catch me doing yoga poses in NYC in high heels!).

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Photo credit: Amazon.com

Chapter 7 of this book is about Balance and the chapter opens with a great Rumi quote that resonated with me:

Your hand opens and closes. If it were always a fist or always stretched open, you would be paralyzed.Your deepest presence is in every small contracting and expanding, the two as beautifully balanced and coordinated as birds’ wings.

– Rumi


Postscript

Today I picked up a new stack of library books that I had on reserve and all became available at once! So now I have a super stack. I will save those for a future post.

Creative Inspiration: Pilot Butte Hike

This post is a continuation of two series of posts:

Monday, I went on my first 2017 Pilot Butte hike! Nearly a year ago, last Spring, I started back hiking our local “mini mountain”, Pilot Butte.

Every Pilot Butte hike I take photos, it is like I cannot control myself, even if I am taking the same photos over and over again!

Monday’s hike I experimented with taking both color and B&W photos of the same scenes. I shared one of my B&W photos with some friends, and my friend Lisa mentioned the photo below would be a great inspiration for a quilt:

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The steps to the viewpoint at the summit of Pilot Butte.

A light bulb appeared above my head: my Pilot Butte photos could serve as inspiration for a future art quilt.

So I thought I would share some of the photos from Monday’s hike that I would consider “creative inspiration”:

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You likely noticed, except for the photos of the steps, the photos above feature trees.

Hiking up Pilot Butte affords 360 degrees views of Central Oregon; and I took many photos that looked like this featuring the wonderful Cascade Mountain Range:

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However I am not attracted to mountain landscape scenes for art quilting inspiration as I am to structures such as trees. I think trees are among the most magical organic structures on earth! (Check out previous posts featuring trees such as Creative Inspiration: Winter Trees and Creative Inspiration: Fall Foliage).

As much as I love the trees, I will likely give the steps photo priority as creative inspiration for a future art quilt, I love the composition:

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To see more photos of the Pilot Butte hike in B&W check out my post from 09/04/16 – Friday at the ‘Butte’ in B&W.

Postscript

Listen While I Walk

I always listen to an audiobook or podcast while I hike Pilot Butte.

On Monday I finished the last two episodes of a six-episode podcast – Missing Richard Simmons. This podcast explores the story behind the fitness guru and eccentric celebrity Richard Simmons’ disappearance in 2014. It is very interesting, I was completely drawn into the story by the middle of the first podcast.

Richard Simmons, whether you loved or hated him, helped and inspired a lot of people. This podcast gives you insight into his world from interviews from clients and friends.

“No tricks, gimmicks, special pills, special potions, special equipment. All it takes is desire and will.”  — Richard Simmons

I love podcasts, I cannot believe how many free podcasts there are to download off of iTunes – on so many topics!

Watch for the Wildlife

One more photo to close out this post – I love this sign at the base of Pilot Butte:

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I have hiked Pilot Butte for nearly 12 years and luckily no cougar sightings for me. I hope my record of 0 cougar sightings stands.

I wonder if any new hiker to Pilot Butte sees this sign, turns around and gets back in the car!

Marie Bostwick Book Tour/Book Signing

I met NY Times Bestselling Author, Marie Bostwick, through a mutual friend when I attend last Fall’s Trends Show (see the “Postscript” section of the 09/18/16 post The Ladies Friendship Circle (1931)). I had a great time hanging out with her and learned she was moving to my beloved Central Oregon! She is currently on a book tour and Terry the Quilting Husband and I went to see her speak on Saturday.

Marie is a quilter and her first major series of books, Cobbled Court Quilt Series, was strongly quilting/life of a quilter related. The series begins with the book A Single Thread.

In case you have read her books, I thought I would share photos from her Book Tour stop on Saturday April 1, 2017 in Bend, Oregon.

During this tour she is promoting her latest book, The Promise Girls, released at the end of March.

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Photo credit: mariebostwick.com

On Saturday Marie discussed her new book as well as some of the history on her other books and how she became a writer. She also did a little “trunk show” and showed us several quilts, many of which were based on quilts/themes in her books:

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Even the table she did her book signing featured one of her quilts!

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If you would like to see her on her US tour, here is a link with tour dates:

www.mariebostwick.com/calendar

The Love Ducks are Back!

No this post is not about our Oregon Ducks (University of Oregon) men’s basketball team who happens to be in the NCAA Tournament’s “Final Four: playoff today (the last time they won the tournament was 1939!). It is about the annual pair of a hen and drake ducks that wander around our neighborhood and seem to herald the start of Spring.

I do not know a lot about ducks and let’s assume it is not the same pair year after year (but maybe…), however, around this time every year (see my post from 04/02/16 – The Hen and the Drake) while walking the dogs, we come upon a “duck couple” hanging out or just walking about the neighborhood together:

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They seem oblivious to the goings on in the neighborhood and even ignore our slightly snarling miniature schnauzers as we walked by the pair. I remember the first time I saw them in the neighborhood, about 11 years ago, and saw my next door neighbor’s cat slowly stalk them down the middle of the street.

The ducks kept walking at their normal pace, despite there was a cat obviously lurking/stalking them 20 – 30 feet away. It was video worthy but I did not think about that at the time.

Ultimately the kitty turned around and went back home. I guess he figured if the duck couple was not afraid of him, maybe he should be afraid of them!

I love my neighborhood. It is just a regular working class neighborhood with primarily older single story houses and kind and friendly neighbors who look out for each other. I feel very safe and peaceful when I walk around my neighborhood.

I guess the ducks feel safe here too.

What’s on My Lap

This is a follow up to my post Slow Stitching and a part of my continuing series: What’s on the Design Wall, featuring my latest projects in progress. 

I titled this post “What’s on My Lap” for two reasons: 1) The obvious: I am hand stitching the quilt,  so it is on my lap of course; and 2) As a follow up to the hilarious comment from Sandy (or Cindy?) of Gray Barn Designs, (one of my favorite quilting blogs to follow) on my 03/21/17 Slow Stitching post:

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Oh yes, I might do a future post titled “What’s in My Head” if Gray Barn Designs does not beat me to it! Of course that would be a very long post. Way too many design ideas going on in my head.

Update on ‘Recycled Road’

I decided to name to piece Recycled Road, even though I have not written the Artist Statement for it yet. I am having so much fun slow stitching it! (Notice in the photo below I included my shoe so you could see it really is on my lap!)

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I am not looking to win any “hand quilting technique competitions” but I have fallen in love with the whole experience of hand quilting. All the fabrics in this art quilt, for our local SAQA group annual themed show, are recycled (jeans, corduroy pants, corduroy shirt, tweed jumper, curtains, home decor fabric sample, and sweat pants!) and they have a wonderful texture.

I especially love stitching through the sweat pants material. It is so soft and supple and I like to brush my hands along the fabric after stitching a section (ok Tierney are you getting weird now with your hand quilting?!?!?). Was that “oversharing”?

Interestingly, Terry the Quilting Husband’s two sisters and mother are quilters and one of his sisters is really into hand quilting. My sister-in-law Sue is a serious quilter. Like a paper piecing and hand quilting quilter. She is an expert hand quilter. I remember years ago watching her hand quilt while she was visiting us and thinking “yikes, why would anyone want to do that?”

Now I get it. I was teasing Terry the other evening as we sat in front of the TV and I hand stitched: “Terry, I have become your sister!” (In reality, the only thing I have in common with Terry’s very talented quilter sister, is that we both hand quilt now. My skills are light years from hers!)

I feel like I am on this cool ongoing journey related to my quilting, even after 17+ years of being a quilter.

(I will unveil a photo of the entire piece once I have it completed. I have to keep up the suspense…or at least the imaginary suspense…)

Postscript

I do plan to return to more Farm Girl Vintage blocks in the future. Hopefully!