Thanks for visiting my blog and I look forward to your comments and thoughts on my posts.
I am interested all things related to handmade textile crafts: sources of creative inspiration, what to enjoy while crafting (food and audiobooks), connecting with other crafters, ideas on organizing craft area/studio organization, and so much more!
I have a guest blogger, Sassy the highly opinionated miniature schnauzer. Check out her page Schnauzer Snips. If you would like to see some of my quilting and other textile projects see my Gallerypage.
I offer thoughtfully handmade items infused with smiles through my Etsy shop tierneycreates.
I am feeling pleased as there is something on the design wall to talk about.
In my 09/23/2016 post, The Library Stack (and a little EPP), I mentioned that I was feeling a little stuck and had not done any creating lately (“tierneycreates” without the “creates” part…).
Well Monday I was feeling inspired and continued working on the piece I first shared in my post Make Do Quilt Challenge. Continuing my ongoing series: What’s on the Design Wall, I present where I am at on my piece, tentatively titled: Making-Do:
It’s not the best photo as I took it with low light. It is also still very much “in progress”.
I was feeling frustrated it at one point, not knowing where it was going. Then I remembered something one of my mentors, Jean Wells Keenan, said during one of her classes (paraphrased): – Even though you may not be happy with an art quilt and want to give up, you have to keep on pushing through and see where it takes you.
This is very true. The collaborative piece, Abandoned Water Structure, that was recently purchased by the City of Seattle (see post Seattle Public Utilities’ Portable Works Collection) was an art quilt that I actually gave up on and tossed aside. I later picked it back up and kept working on it starting with a late night marathon design and piecing session.
So I am hoping Making-Do turns out to be something interesting! Next time I share an update, I might even take a better photo…
Monday I went for another hike up Pilot Butte (see my Category “Pilot Butte Adventures” for previous posts on my adventures) and I started laughing as soon as I arrived at the start. They had this sign posted:
If you remember my post Monday, Again, my current time up Pilot Butte is not as good as the time for the record in the ages 95 & up category! So no I am not entering this year’s challenge…perhaps next year…
While walking up Pilot Butte, I took this panoramic photo of Bend Oregon and the surrounding area. If you are ever in Central Oregon, driving or hiking to the top of Pilot Butte for the 360 degree view of Central Oregon is a must!
I hope you do not mind that I frequently link to previous posts. I consider my blog an ongoing conversation.
In my previous post, The Library Stack (and a little EPP), I mentioned sneaking KALE into Terry the Quilting Husband’s diet, something years ago he would have never eaten. This reminded me an old post I did about my favorite recipes, one of which is a Bean & Sausage Stew which is loaded with kale.
Since Fall is upon us and the weather is starting to cool down so it is stew and soup time, I thought I would share this post again.
A Girl’s Gotta Eat! (originally posted 10/10/14)
Recently my friend Ali, a writer for the At Home section of our local paper, asked if I would agree to be interviewed and photographed for an article she was working on about Favorite Recipes (those recipes you nearly have memorized and make over and over again). After she interviewed me for the article and we discussed one of my favorite recipes (Real Simple’s Bean and Chicken Sausage Stew), I got to thinking about all my favorite recipes. I love cooking nearly as much as I enjoy crafting. It is pretty nice after a Saturday afternoon of crafting in the fall to settle down to a nice stew and some crusty bread (and some delicious cookies for desert).
I have a HUGE binder of all my “clipped” recipes from the past 25 years (hey maybe I started collecting recipes when I was 4 years old, you never know…). My friend Kelvin who is a chef once said “hey can you put that binder in your Will to go to me if something happens to you?” This binder contains numerous torn/clipped recipes from magazines, from friends on notecards and scraps of paper, from old cookbooks that were so worn out I could only try to rescue my favorite recipe, all placed in plastic sheet protectors.
Below are many of my most favorite recipes that I make all the time. Thank you so much to the wonderful publications and blogs that have published these recipes online. Please click on the hyperlinked recipe name below to open the web page with the recipe.
I love Real Simple magazine. They offer wonderful tips on cooking, decorating, dressing, cleaning, stress free living, friendship, life, family, etc. My favorite part of the magazine are their excellent easy to prepare recipes. I make this stew all spring, fall and winter long and it is a great way to get the husband to eat kale. I like to use black beans instead of the cannellini beans listed in the recipe. Using spicy chicken cajun Andouille sausage is fun in the recipe or sometimes I just tone it down with a smoked turkey or beef kielbasa.
This recipe is fromMartha Stewart’s Living. I clipped the original recipe from one of my magazines and it is one of my favorite winter soups. The acorn squash trick a couple friends taught me was to bake the acorn squash in the oven before you use it in the soup. I usually split the acorn squash in half, scoop out the middle/seeds and bake for 30-40 min. at 350 degrees. Once it cools it is easier to slice then trying to saw through a raw acorn squash (which can lead to you saying bad words out loud!)
I enjoy the recipes of Ree Drummond, the Pioneer Woman and her The Pioneer Woman Cooks publications and I have at least 3 of her cookbooks – wonderfully illustrated, great stories and delicious recipes. She is very generous to share many of her recipes online. This recipe is from one of her cookbooks I own but also available online. I love to make this recipe with our beloved local Deschutes Brewery beer Jubelale. I have made it with other beers but Jubelale adds a wonderful distinct yummy flavor to the stew. I also add in some frozen peas to make it more like an Irish Stew.
Okay I think these are the best cookies ever and so do many friends who have tasted them! This recipe is from one of my favorite cookbooks Where Women Cook: Celebrate by Jo Packham (who also created the amazing publications Where Women Create, Where Women Cook, and Where Women Create Business). I was lucky to find a blogger (astillmagnolia) who had this wonderful recipe online for me to share.
Feature photo credit: Jean Scheijen, free images.com
The “tierney” in tierneycreates, has not done a lot of creating lately. I wonder if I am stuck. I have been reading about creating and I have been preparing to create (does that count?) but more about that later in this post.
The (Sort of) Current Library Stack
I am continuing my series of posts on the latest stack of books borrowed from my local library. At the time of writing this post, my stack has dwindled and I only have a couple books left – primarily the Vegan cookbooks and the book Why Write by Mark Edmundson.
I have enjoyed all the book except for the interior decorating book, Dreaming Small: Intimate Interiors by Douglas Woods. The book has a five-star rating on Amazon.com but I thought it was a snoozer (and yes I literally fell into a sweet little nap in my chair while reading/browsing through it).
The problem may not be the book, the problem may be that I am just completely burned out on home decorating books. They used to be a wonderful source of daydream but now many of them irritate me (except for the home decorating book The Nesting Place by Myquillyn Smith, which I discussed in my previous Library Stack post).
Terry the Quilting Husband, does not usually comment on my Library Stack sitting on the table next to my reading chair in the front window. He just accepts that his wife goes kind of wild on borrowing books from the library (there are worse habits to have in life). He did however tease me endlessly about a book called Mason Jar Nation(by JoAnn Moser).
Terry picked up the book and said: “Wow! A WHOLE BOOK about Mason Jars – WOW! Can I read it after you are done – it sounds SO exciting!” Through my laughter I heard him say something like: “No, no don’t tell me how it ends, I don’t want you to ruin it for me. I can’t wait to find out what the Mason Jars have been up to!”
I guess he does not fully appreciate all the options for craft related books and that yes, there are many people who enjoy making crafts with Mason Jars. The book was moderately interesting and did provide a nice history of Mason Jars. It did not inspire me to run out and buy some Mason jars and start crafting with them but it was fun to read while sipping my tea.
You might ask – why all the Vegan cookbooks? Are you Vegan or are you going Vegan? No to both questions. I love the idea of being Vegan, but there is one thing that keeps me from being Vegan, a little thing called B-A-C-O-N. Why live if you can never have bacon again? (Apologies to any Vegetarian or Vegan readers).
I work from home as a telecommuter for my pay-the-bills-job and so I eat lunch at home most days. Although I might be having meat and dairy with my dinner, I want to explore eating Vegan for lunch. I like the idea of “eating clean” for my mid-day meal. Terry the Quilting Husband has no interest in Vegan but you never know what I can slip into his diet (I have been very successful with slipping things years ago he said he would never eat like broccoli, spinach and kale! Oh wait, he reads my blog, now he will know what I am up to…)
Getting Ready to Create
Speaking of “library stacks”, I really enjoyed a book from my previous library stack (my August 23rd Library Stackposting) titled All Points Patchwork by Diane Gilleland. I enjoyed this book so much that I bought it.
This book covers the fundamentals of English Paper Piecing (EPP) as well as options for creating cool pieces using EPP. I have been getting ready to EPP and will have a future post on my Adventures in EPP.
There is a reason why I wanted to pick up EPP and I will discuss that later when I do my post on EPP (it has to do with trying to break an evening addiction to playing iPad games).
In addition to the book from the library, I was also influenced/inspired by one of the blogs I follow – Alice Samuel Quilt Company and a post the blogger did on recycling her old wedding invitations into EPP templates – A Box Full of Junk. I love the idea of using unwanted paper for something creative!
So here is what I have put together so far – a whole lot of hexagon templates using my new punch:
But more in a future post, first i need to make sure I do not completely embarrass myself trying to do EPP (if you never hear me mention those three words/three letters again you’ll know it did not work out…or I could post about “Misadventures in English Paper Piecing”!)
Someday I will follow up on all the other projects I have discussed and shared my start on. Right now I seem to just be building up my stash of “UFOs” (if you are not a quilter, refer to my post Lexicon of Quilters’ Acronyms).
Check of Sassy the Highly Opinionated Miniature Schnauzer’s latest musing on her SchnauzerSnips page. She shares her recent experience going on vacation with her adopted brother Mike for the first time.
I am fortunate to have been nominated for two different blogging awards – recently the Black Cat Blue Sea Award by the blogger of Of Tales & Dreams; and earlier this summer for a One Lovely Blog Award by the blogger of Dewey Hop. I will share more about these awards in a future post. I am very honored and appreciative that my blog was recognized!
“Downsizing” vs. “Rightsizing”
You may be familiar with the euphemism “right-sizing” related to corporate lay-offs or the dreaded term – “downsizing”. As I continue on my discussion of my Minimalism Journey, I think of these two terms and I think what I have been working on over the past 15 years is not “downsizing” my life but “rightsizing” it.
So far in my posts on my Minimalism Journey (see posts My Minimalism Journey: Part Iand My Minimalism Journey: Part II) I have shared how 9/11 shook me up and led me to desiring a change in my life, leading to our move to Central Oregon; and discovering I did not need all the “stuff” I had in my life.
Our move to Central Oregon also involved a decision to move from a 2800 square foot house to a 1340 square foot house. It is amazing how full we had our 2800 square foot house (including every closet stuffed). Now I live in a home where I know where everything is (believe me this is a big accomplishment to me) and when something new comes into the house, something old gets donated (and our closets and garage are actually relatively empty).
Speaking of closets – we went from a home of 6+ huge closets and an entire storage room, to a couple small closets including a small walk in closet that our clothes share with some storage. Below is a photo of our closet today.
It seems like this smaller house was the “rightsizing” we needed in our lives. I can clean it in a couple of hours (or if I put on really good and loud music I can have the whole house sparkling clean in 60 to 90 minutes!)
After moving to Central Oregon, becoming a full-time telecommuter (which impacted my clothing and travel expenses), and donating likely thousands of dollars of stuff to charity , it was time to move onto more than just “rightsizing” the space I lived in and the amount of stuff I had. It was time to begin truly improving the quality of my life.
Quality over Quantity
I noticed the less clutter I had in my life the more room I had to live and to think. I eventually realized some brutal truths that I was using the accumulation stuff to avoid dealing with the life issues I needed to deal with. Some of these issues were overeating, not taking care of my health, not having good boundaries in my friendships, and being too much a “people pleaser” (which also tied into my work-a-holic-ism).
So I began working on improving my overall health and quality of life through listening to self-help audiobooks and podcasts. I wonder if I hold some sort of world record for listening to the most self-help/self-improvement audiobooks. If you check out my post Life is Nonfiction Revisitedyou will see a listing of many of the books I listened to.
Everyone has a different learning style, for me listening to the experience and wisdom of others helps me learn and grow.
And what did I learn? I learned to meditate, to slow down and appreciate life, to believe in myself, that I am enough, that I am stronger than I can imagine, to be in the present moment, not to be afraid to take risks and chances, and what I think is most important – to live life filled with gratitude to all the wonders I experience daily in life.
Speaking of gratitude, there is a wonderful short animated video – Be Grateful for What You Have(by Igor Kalashnikov) – that I watched a couple months ago that really reinforced this to me.
It seemed the more I focused on appreciating and being present in each moment of my life, the less I desired to go buy stuff to make me happy. I also decided to just “be happy” and not look outside myself for happiness. Not all this happened overnight, it was a process but I feel it was part of my journey.
A Real Minimalist?
A couple of years ago learned about the Minimalism movement. My friend Torben introduced me the website of The Minimalists and I started reading books like The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo.
I also for a while became obsessed with Tiny Houses; and for a while the idea of selling everything and traveling around the country in a RV or even a van. I still occasionally on the weekend watch “Living in a Van” videos on YouTube and daydream. It seems so freeing to live with just what you need, have little responsibilities and to feel free just to go on adventures and experience the simple uncomplicated life.
But I write this as I sit in a cozy chair in my living room with a quilt on my lap and Sassy the Highly Opinionated Miniature Schnauzer curled up at my feet (and a nice cup of tea); and I having stayed in a tiny house (when we stayed at the Tiny House Caravan Hotel in Portland once) I can confirm that it does not compare in coziness to my huge (comparatively) 1300 sq. ft. home! (I refer to my house as “the mansion” after binge watching Tiny House and RV or Van Living videos).
Occasionally I have “incidents” (true confession time) – late night on Amazon.com purchases of MORE craft books (ok, they do bring me joy!) and impulse fabric purchases…and then more “stuff” sneaks into my life.
I watch videos of people living what I would consider true or even extreme Minimalism lifestyles. I am not truly a full textbook Minimalist. I am however, someone who has learned (through a many year journey and process) what is truly important in life and what makes me feel peace, happy, centered and joyful.
Now to close this series of post with a disclaimer. I’ve shared the story of MyMinimalism Journey. There is no judgement implied on anyone who is not on the same journey or who has with a lot of “stuff” in their lives (and no interest in living with less).
I am wanted to share my journey and the path that worked for me. Everyone must find their own path to what brings them joy in life. For me, it it is living with less and appreciating each moment of life more.
Sharing my story makes me think of my favorite quote of all time. It is a quote I have written on the white board on the door to the garage so that I always see it when existing my house this way (to go on a bike ride or a drive):
Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished. ~Lao Tzu
I used to be hurry, hurry, hurry – got to get it all done. I realized many of the things I am trying to get done are either not that important or not as important as taking the time to take my dogs on walk.
Speaking of dog walking, writing about my transition from busy life in Seattle to quiet life in Central Oregon, reminds me of my transition from working in an office to becoming a telecommuter. While I was in an office, I was very focused but I had other people around who would like to talk and go to lunch, etc. and I wanted to be social so I played along.
When I first became a telecommuter I was in a more “production” type of job than I am now. Without the distractions of other people I had laser-focus on my work and doubled my production. The only problem was that I was sort of making my co-workers who were not telecommuters (and perhaps not as focused) look bad in their production numbers. My boss gently suggested that I might want to take it a little easier on my numbers/production.
The old Tierney would have ignored this and have kept cranking out the production. The new me asked myself: “what are you trying to prove?” I knew because of the way I work and think I could not just slow down so I came up with another solution: I continued to work at my normal pace BUT I took 2 – 2.5 hours in the middle of my workday, nearly each day, to take my dogs on very long walks around Central Oregon and explore my new beautiful surroundings. This was the beginning of my taste of a deeper happiness and new found sense of peace.
Recently I told my current boss this story – of how 11 years ago when I first began telecommuting and in order not to be too much an overachiever I would take these long walks each day for hours with my dogs. She laughed and said: “Those days are certainly gone!” She is partially right – for the past 8 years my job has been too busy for 2 hour walks, however I still find time in my day to go on a dog walk or even occasionally a bike ride during the workday.
Bear with me. I am doing a little clean up on my blog and posting a couple old stories that I had in my Textiles Adventures page that I would prefer to have as blog posts. When I first began blogging in October 2013 I was not sure what to write about in my blog or how to organize it. Three years later I am not sure how much expertise I have gained, but I know that I appreciate my blog as a journal/record of my journey. So I want to make this story a blog post instead of sitting at the bottom of my Textiles Adventures page (keep in mind this story is from January 2014 and I had only been blogging a couple of months…)
FLANNEL YUM-YUM QUILTS! January 2014
Although I am making table runner size quilts for the tierneycreates Etsy shop I kept feeling that I should make some traditional quilts for the shop – something that someone could snuggle under. I noticed in my stash I have a lot of flannel. A lot of flannel. I sometimes suspect the flannel has been secretly breeding and making more flannel when I am not watching. I do not even know when I bought some of the flannel in my stash.
A couple years ago I donated a bunch of early-in-my-quilting-career-flannel that was not purchased at a quilt shop but was purchased at a chain store (side note: when I first started quilting, despite the excellent advice from my original quilting mentor Judy, I insisted on buying as inexpensive fabric as possible from chain stores; later I learned that if you are going to spend all that time to make a quilt, you want to use good quality fabric…).
However even after the donation, I still had plenty of 1, 2, and 3 yard pieces of flannel. In addition I had quite a stash of flannel fat quarters (from my “fat quarter addiction” period in the early-mid 2000’s). In a plastic tub next to the “tub-o-flannel-fat-quarters” I also had large stash of flannel scraps from various flannel quilts.
That’s a lot of flannel! An idea came to me – why not (okay here is a radical idea) – USE IT? Why not use it to make a series of cozy and cuddly quilts for my Etsy shop? So the Flannel Yum-Yum Quilt line was born!
What are Flannel Yum-Yum Quilts? Have you ever snuggled under a flannel quilt made with a flannel pieced top and flannel backing? Have you ever snuggled under such a quilt after it has been washed a couple times and has gotten softer and cozier? Only two words describe that feeling: YUM YUM!
The first Flannel Yum-Yum quilt I made for the etsy shop is made from a stack of flannel triangles I had in my stash and several fat quarters. I was able to use up some smaller flannel yardage for the back. I washed and dried the quilt after it was quilted and the binding sewn down to make it even softer. The second Flannel Yum-Yum quilt I will post on the shop will be one made from the flannel scraps a friend gave to me.
The next series of YUM-YUM quilts will be made from a stash of 2.5 inch strips I have cut up from ALL my flannel fat quarters and tub of flannel scraps and will be in the log cabin pattern style. I figure whenever I get time for crafting I can kick out a couple log cabin blocks here and there since the strips a already cut.
In case you wondered, I already have my own Flannel Yum-Yum quilts around the house – here is one that is my favorite that I nap under all the time:
This is post is actually a “re-sharing” of a story from December 2013, I had in my Textile Adventures page. I am moving it out of that page and into this post.
Attending the Trends Show today and listening to the keynote speaker, the wonderful Mary Fons (www.maryfons.com), speak about “The Great American Quilt Revival”, made me think of a special memory related an antique quilt: when I got to be part of something special related to an antique quilt top.
I facilitated the completion of a quilt started in the 1930s and given as a gift to someone 80 years later (who was alive when the quilt was first started!!!)
THE LADIES FRIENDSHIP CIRCLE (1931)
82 years ago (in 1931) my friend’s Marla’s grandmother and her group of friends made a quilt top for Marla’s mother (the new baby in 1931). The quilt was never finished. Marla wanted to finish this quilt for her 82 year old mother who had kept it packed away in a chest for 80+ years and surprise her for Christmas.
After searching several quilt shops, Marla and I found the perfect backing and binding fabric at Quilt Works, one of our wonderful Central Oregon quilt shops. Then we had my friend and long-arm quilter Betty Anne Guadalupe of Guadalupe Designs, professionally quilt it.
Marla and I spent an evening sewing down the quilt binding to finish it. Now Marla plans to surprise her 82 year Mother with the mind blowing Christmas gift of a lifetime – a quilt top put away since 1931 that has been turned into a quilt!
Something very special about this quilt: Marla’s mom is the only person living from this time period of this dear group of family and family friends – so when she gets the surprise quilt for Christmas she will see the names of the long-passed very dear people she grew up with.
As I told Marla – when you hand your Mom the quilt at Christmas, it is going to be a “blow out the tear ducts moment”!
UPDATE: Marla presented her mother with the quilt for Christmas in December 2013 and yes there were many tears of joy.
Imagine receiving a completed quilt that was started and nearly finished when you were a child, by people who loved you and are now are long gone.
Quilts are love (as most quilters know) and this quilt contained the “spirits” of the departed loved ones entwined in the quilt’s hand embroidered stitches.
I liked to imagine these “spirits” being very pleased that their quilt was finally finished and given to the intended…even if it took 82 years…
More on the Trends show I attended in Portland, Oregon today:
In addition to spending time with one of my wonderful Washington State based Quilt Sister, Joan, I got to visit with Mary Fons (yes the very talented offspring of the “Fons” of Fons & Porter) and Marie Bostwick, NY Times bestselling author of quilting related fiction such as the Cobbled Court Series (A Single Thread, Threading the Needle, Apart at the Seams).
In addition to a wonderful Keynote presentation on “The Great American Quilt Revival”, I also attended a mini workshop with Mary Fons on “A Lesson in Contrast”. This workshop focused on an excellent way to select fabrics for a quilt and was an alternative to getting hung up on looking for “light”, “medium” and “dark” fabrics in a vacuum.
In addition to Mary Fons and Marie Bostwick, I also got to visit with Violet Craft (www.violetcraft.com) who is a fantastic pattern designer; and Annie Unrein of ByAnnie.com who is also a fantastic pattern designer (see my post iCase on a piece I made with one of her patterns) focusing on bags, cases and carryalls.
It was an amazing day meeting extremely talented individuals!
I will continue my series on my Minimalism Journey in my next post, but today I am at a show called Trends and I get to hear Mary Fons (of Fons & Porter…the daughter of the original Fons) speak; and take a class from Annie Unrein of byAnnie.com (maker of those adorable purse and bag patterns and creator of ByAnnie’s Soft and Stable). I am very excited!
So I am going to focus on quilting in this brief post today – words related to quilting as a matter of fact.
Whistler Studio has a new line of fabric called Sew Hope Full(I came across it while looking at “fabric porn” online). It is filled with humorous acronyms related to quilting, many of which I have never heard of before and I thought you might enjoy (though you might have heard these before…):
PhD – Project half Done
WOMBAT – Waste of Money, Batting and Time
SABLE – Stash Accumulation Beyond Life Expectancy
UFO – Un Finished Objects
WHIMM – Works Hidden in My Mind
PIGS – Projects in Grocery Sacks
WISP – Works in Slow Progress
TGIF – Thank God It’s Finished
HIPS – Hundreds of Ideas Piling Skyward
STASH – Secret Treasures all Secretly Hidden
These crack me up and I can completely relate to “WHIMM”!
Do you have anymore to add to this list to share? Feel free to make some new ones up and share with us!
Check out Sassy the Highly Opinionated Miniature Schnauzer’s blog on the SchnauzerSnipspage for her musings and recent experience with “The Herd”!
The Sudden Decision for a Life Change
So where did I leave off in my first post about my Minimalism Journey? Ah yes, we visited Central Oregon in October 2005 for the first time and a month later we had sold our house in Seattle, WA and had moved to temporary housing in Central Oregon.
It sounds like it all went very fast and smoothly. It did sort of, but then it was also a crazy whirlwind.
On the drive home back to Seattle, WA from visiting Central Oregon for the first time, it was amazing how we both had the same crazy thought: let’s just shake up our lives and do something different.
Perhaps it was the “Big Sky Country” we experienced when driving home through “Northern” Central Oregon. There is something magical about the high desert landscape: endless fields of dry grasses (sort of prairie-like) with the background of the Cascade Mountains and a huge, endless, cloudless blue sky.
It was as if those wide open spaces, mountains and sky were speaking to my soul, saying “Tierney, come be with us, come be here”. I just had to listen even if it meant adding a bit of complication to our lives.
Complications came in the way of Terry (the someday-to-be-quilting-husband) quitting his job (he worked as a Medical Technologist) and me convincing my employer to let me telecommute (telecommuting was very new in our organization, not widespread like it is now). We had to find Terry a new job in Central Oregon (luckily my employer said yes to telecommuting).
It also involved packing up and selling our house, saying goodbye to our friends and huge social network, and going to a place that we did not really know that much about.
I shared in My Minimalism Journey: Part Ithat our house sold in three (3) days. To clarify it did not sell in three days after returning to Seattle with our decision, but rather three days after putting on the market (it was a hot housing market in the Seattle area in 2005).
When we returned from our visit to Central Oregon, we started packing up our lives in preparation to put the house on the market.
The Packing, The Stuff, The Decisions (or lack of)
If I could go back in time, I would leave at least 50% of the stuff we packed up and brought with us from Seattle to Central Oregon. To our credit, we did do major packing up of our lives in a short period of time to keep the momentum going on our decision to change our life. We did not spend much time thinking about whether we needed all the stuff we packed.
We rented a medium size U-Haul truck and spent every weekend driving from Seattle to Central Oregon to drop off a load of our boxes up stuff into a storage unit we rented in Central Oregon. So many trips back and forth (6+ hours each way) just to haul our stuff its temporary location.
I cannot believe the stuff I packed. Even though I worked for an employer with a business casual dress code and I was becoming a telecommuter (so my business casual could become an old T-shirt and PJ bottoms if I wanted) I still packed up my huge collection of business suits/dresses (none of which I would ever wear again). Many of these suits were from the mid to late 1990s when I worked in an office in management, and some were outdated. A year or two later, while living in Central Oregon, I donated every single suit to a charity organization.
We packed up furniture that we would later give away. We packed up knick knacks, kitsch, and crap, etc. that we would never use after the move and later give away.
The funny thing is we could only fit so much furniture in the U-Haul during the final load after we sold the house. We ended up leaving behind some furniture that we should have kept (like a nice breakfast bar) because we did not have room for it because of all the “stuff” we had shoved into the truck that we thought we needed, and later gave away.
Of course as the saying goes “Hindsight is 20/20”.
Moving to Central Oregon was step one in our move towards a more Minimalistic lifestyle. Step two came a year or two later when we learned that we did not need 50% of the stuff in our lives. Over a 3 – 5 year process we purged our lives of the bulk of the stuff that did not bring us joy. Over the following 5 years we fine tuned what we want in our lives.
I will continue the story of our Minimalism Journey in a future post.
As I have mentioned in a previous post, I like to write reviews on Amazon.com (and now Goodreads.com) if I borrow a book from a library and enjoy it. It is my way to give a thank you to the author (since I did not purchase the book). As a result I have written a bit of reviews on Amazon.com; and over the past year publishers and authors have contacted me and asked me if I would provide an honest review of their book in exchange for a complimentary copy of the book.
I say no to many of these offers because either I have no interest in the book or because of time (I have other books I am wanting to read/listen to). Recently however I have read several great books through this process – Sunborn Rising: Beneath the Fall by Aaron Safronoff; and most recently Bonds of Love & Blood by Marylee MacDonald.
You can read my review in Goodreads on Bonds of Love & Blood – a collection of short stories focusing on poignant human experiences while traveling. I agreed to read and review this book because I have recently grown fond of reading short story collections/anthologies. Over the past year I read/listened on audiobook, two exceptional short story collections: Trigger Warning by Neil Gaiman and Stone Mattress: Nine Tales by Margaret Atwood. So I was open to trying another collection.
What impressed me about Bonds of Love & Blood was the author’s ability to immediately plop you into the story and get your engaged without having to develop the beginning or necessarily provide the ending to the story. I did not feel dissatisfied by not knowing the full ending of a story, I just appreciated being there in the moment, experiencing a travel experience from the perspective of the main character. Another thing that impressed me is that the author appears to be really into supporting Book Groups and provides book group questions at the end of the book. She will also herself make herself available to join a book group discussion on her book (she has her contact info with the book group discussion questions).
I do not currently belong to a book group, but I think that would be very cool to have the author call into your book group! The author, a world traveler, also sent me an e-mail with the background on what inspired each story and a pdf of photos related to each story. Very cool!
Well I was going to chat about another book I have just started, but I continue to try to keep my posts length reasonable, so more rambling next time!
Yes, this blog is called “tierneycreates” and Tierney should probably discuss…well…doing some creating…instead of her random rambles about her Minimalism Journey (Part II of her ramble will continue in the next post).
I am participating in Sherri Lynn Wood’s (author of The Improv Handbook for Modern Quilters) recycled quilt challenge: Make Do Quilt Challenge – #makedoquilt. You can read about this challenge on Sherri Lynn’s blog – dainty time.net; or you can read a wonderful post by Kris R. about this challenge and “the skinny on trashing textiles” on one of the wonderful blogs I follow, Coloring Outside the Lines:
The Made Do Quilt Challenge asks you make a quilt out of recycled textiles using one of the “Scores” that Sherri Lynn Wood discusses in her book The Improv Handbook for Modern Quilters (for more about this book, see my postCreative Inspiration: Books I Own).
In her book, she helps guide the quilter, new to improvisational piecing, by providing “scores” to suggest the creation of an improv quilt. Ms. Wood likens these score to “musical scores” and shares the following:
In creating a musical score, a composer is making a record of how the music is to be performed. Yet each performance of the score will be unique. – Sherri Lynn Wood
For my challenge quilt, I am using the “Score” called Floating Squares. The score suggests to limit yourself to three fabrics (two used in small amounts and one used to “float” the improv squares). I am using 5 fabrics but treating four of the fabrics as pairs as they are loosely (very loosely) in the sort of same color way.
My fabrics are:
A recycled table runner from a thrift shop that is in stripped orange, greens, reds and purples.
Recycled orange corduroy pants (I only have a tiny bit left and it is the companion fabric to the #1 fabric above)
A recycled tweed jumper
Gold-ish recycled home decor fabric scraps (this is the companion fabric paired with the tweed in #3 – yes of course brown tweed and deep gold lame-ish fabric are in the same color way – ha!)
I began with cutting up squares with scissors (Sherri Lynn Wood is all about ruler free design) and ended up with these squares on my design wall:
Here is my “pile-o-denim” scraps on the floor to float my squares in:
And here is where I am with the piece so far:
I am very interested to see how it comes out. I am just making sections and when I feel I am ready, I will figure out the layout (the initial layout you see above may have nothing to do with the final piece).
So that is my current Tierney-creating!
Sassy the Highly Opinionated Miniature Schnauzer has taken a short hiatus from her SchnauzerSnips blog page but she will return soon with her story of “The Herd” (recently we babysat two other schnauzers for 5 days).
In my post,Seattle Public Utilities’ Portable Works Collection, I shared my elation of the piece Abandoned Water Structure (designed and pieced by myself and quilted by Betty Anne Guadalupe) being purchased by the City of Seattle for its Seattle Public Utilities Portable Art Collection. Yesterday I mailed it off the framer in Seattle and I wanted to share the custom label I made for the back of the piece – I included the photo of the structure that inspired my creation of the piece and Betty Anne’s quilting:
I of course have more random rambles, but I am trying not to make my posts too long (so you do not fall asleep while reading!). More next time!
Feature image photo credit: Charles Novaes, free images.com
For me, embracing Minimalism is more than decluttering my life and living with less stuff. It is a deep set of personal values that I started to internalize post 9/11, I just did not have a name for it at the time.
The Start of the Journey
I grew up in New York State and NYC has a special place in my heart. I traveled there as a child, as a teenager and as an adult.
Some of my fond pre 9/11 NYC memories include:
Going as a child going to Rockefeller Center to see the Christmas tree and to see the Rockettes perform at Radio City Music Hall.
A day trip in NYC via bus, sponsored by my nursing school in Upstate NY. The trip included going to the Museum of Natural History (as an adult this time) and realizing just how incredible and magical a museum it is. I was dating Terry (future “Quilting Husband”) at the time and I have a humorous memory of him walking around the Museum of Modern Art (the MOMA) and sharing his head at what he thought was “terrible art” (he did not appreciate “modern” art).
When 9/11 happened, my husband and I lived in Seattle, Washington. We had moved in Seattle in 1997 and it was a welcome change from our crazy life in Houston, Texas. We were extreme workaholics in Houston as young professionals trying to get established in our careers. We knew it was time for a change when we forgot to go to a special rock concert that we had waited years for this particular band to tour and come to Houston (and we had purchased very expensive tickets for!). Work consumed our life and distracted us from enjoying life.
Seattle was a wonderful place when we moved there in 1997 and I met many wonderful friends and had an incredible social network. We used to have a lot of dinner parties/game nights and attend endless social events. My husband still teases me about the time, in order to keep everyone happy, we attended 3-4 (he swears it was 5) Thanksgiving dinners/events in one day. We were always very busy on holidays going from friend’s house to friend’s house to “make an appearance”.
Post 9/11 in addition to a terrible sadness and hurt for my beloved NYC (I have a friend in NYC who had a friend who called in sick on 9/11 and is alive because she happened to be ill that day), I felt this tremendous uneasiness and anxiety. There was not anything I could put my finger on but I knew that I felt unsettled in my life.
I had been a manager for many years and I realized I did not want to “manage” people any longer. I wanted to only be responsible for myself.
One of the great pleasures in my life was time spent walking my dogs, however the neighborhood we lived in was starting to decline and became less safe. Seattle as it grew and expanded became more expensive. The neighborhood we lived in was more still an affordable area but attracted less desirable and questionable characters (we suspected there was a “Meth lab” near our house).
We lived in a large house in Seattle (2800 square feet) and we had a lot of stuff. We had a mother-in-law style apartment in the daylight basement that we rented for awhile and when our tenants moved out we filled it with more stuff. I realize now that a lot of the stuff I bought (as a friend of mine pointed out – I was a “collector”) was related to seeking happiness, comfort, or a temporary purchase “high”.
Around 2001 we adopted our rescued miniature schnauzers Fritz and Snickers from a place I never heard of before – Central, Oregon. They were found as strays in a place called Maupin, Oregon and then were first rescued by a couple who lived in Sisters, Oregon but could not keep them. We adopted them through Miniature Schnauzer Rescue out of Portland, Oregon.
A year or so before I had started quilting, a friend took me to the annual Sew Expo in Pullayup, WA for the first time and I visited the booth of this magical quilt shop called the Stitchin’ Post which was from Sisters, Oregon.
In 2005 close friends of ours moved to Central, Oregon. We went to visit them a couple months after they moved…
This was it, this was the place. Central Oregon was where I needed to be to feel safe and peaceful again and to continue on a journey I did not even realize I had begun.
We returned from our first visit to Central Oregon in October 2005, put our Seattle house on the market. It sold in 3 days and by November 2005 (yes one month later) we were living in temporary housing in Central Oregon.
This is the place I can walk my dogs at 10 pm at night, alone, and feel safe. Speaking of dogs, my husband would joke when we first moved to town that: “we had to bring the schnauzers back to their native land”.
I will continue the story of this journey in a future post. For now let me leave you with a quote I came across that embraces the idea of the start of a journey (which can begin right outside your front door):
Go outside. Don’t tell anyone and don’t bring your phone. Start walking and keep walking until you no longer know the road like the palm of your hand, because we walk the same roads day in and day out, to the bus and back home and we cease to see. We walk in our sleep and teach our muscles to work without thinking and I dare you to walk where you have not yet walked and I dare you to notice. Don’t try to get anything out of it, because you won’t. Don’t try to make use of it, because you can’t. And that’s the point. Just walk, see, sit down if you like. And be. Just be, whatever you are with whatever you have, and realise that that is enough to be happy.
There’s a whole world out there, right outside your window. You’d be a fool to miss it.