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.
Check out Sassy the Highly Opinionated Miniature Schnauzer’s blog page Schnauzer Snips, for her later musings.
My neighbor Carole is a very talented decorator and crafter. Her home interior looks like a photo shoot from Country Living magazine (my home interior looks like a photo shoot from Psychology Today).
I follow the blog a very talented crafty person – Linda @ kelleysdiy.com. Her holiday craft related posts inspired me to share a couple of photos of my neighbor’s latest holiday centerpiece-masterpiece.
My neighbor was inspired by a pin on Pinterest. She showed me the original pin and I have to say she way outdid her source of inspiration.
Here is the front:
Here is the side/back:
It is even cuter in person. She bought the three tied pan online and most of the stuff she already had in her huge stash of holiday decorations.
Her home is filled with lovely holiday vignettes everywhere, here is one to close out this post:
We went for a wander around Barnes & Nobles Bookstore earlier this afternoon and I spent an extended time browsing the magazine/periodical section. While browsing, I located a publication a friend of mine was looking for – the Nov/Dec 2016 issue of Poet & Writers magazine. Upon returning home I decided to flip through this magazine before setting it aside to give to my friend.
On page 25 I discovered a feature called “The Time Is Now: Writing Prompts and Exercises“. This section had writing prompts for Poetry, Fiction and Nonfiction.
The “Nonfiction” prompt was “A Great Act of Generosity” and it encouraged the reader to “write a personal essay about a time when you have been the giver or receiver of a great act of generosity.” This was proceeded be a discussion on how the holiday season is often associated with generosity and giving.
I am not going to share a whole personal essay on an act of generosity but I do want to share how today I was overwhelmed with a feeling, let’s say “from the Universe”, that I needed to be generous:
After leaving our extended browsing through Barnes & Nobles bookstore, Terry the Quilting Husband suggested that we have lunch at our local Whole Foods Market as a treat. Whole Foods was packed with Sunday shoppers and Sunday diners in the food court section. We grabbed a couple slices of pizza and searched for an open place to sit. The only available seating was a shared table with a homeless-looking man sitting at one end.
I started to hesitate and find another place to sit, but I thought “no, we need to sit here”. We sat at one end and the homeless-looking gentleman, who appeared to have all his worldly possession stuffed into an very old and falling apart backpack, sat at the other end of the table.
But he did not appear to be just sitting, he appeared to be cowering at the other end and was eating from a small can of beans. He was up against a window and he appeared to be trying to making himself appear to be as small as possible and a feeling a great sadness was emanating from him. Around us tables of other shoppers were chatting and laughing as they enjoyed their Whole Foods culinary delights.
I tried to ignore the homeless-looking gentleman at first, I wanted to just eat my pizza and leave as quickly as possible. His sadness was palpable and ruining in my mind my good feelings from my recent fun browsing at the bookstore. Then I was overcome with a feeling that I needed to be generous and give this man some money. It was a very strong feeling as if I could not even leave Whole Foods without showing this man some generosity. (Usually we do not give money directly to homeless individuals but we donate to locate homeless shelters so that we know that the money is used for food and lodging and not “recreational uses”.)
So upon finishing my pizza, I stood up, gave the gentleman sitting in the corner $10 and wished him “Happy Holidays” and that I hoped he could get something else to eat beside the beans. He looked at me in complete surprise, and then the most incredible smile came upon his face. It was one of those smiles that emanates from someone’s soul – what I call a “deep smile”. It was as if I had given him $1000.
As we left the store and went to our car, we had to pass by the window in which he was sitting and I turned to see him profusely waving to me through the window, still with that huge and “deep smile” on his face.
To me it was only $10, but I suspect to him it was a lot more.
Thank you for reading my about my experience with generosity today.
I now invite you to share a brief story if you like of an experience where you were a giver or receiver of an act of generosity.
You have not lived today until you have done something for someone who can never repay you. ― John Bunyan
We finished both quilt tops and they are now with the long-arm quilter! Next time I post on them, it will be to show you the finished quilts. Yay! (The feeling of actually finishing something is so wonderful, ha!)
I am excited to announce that the collaborative art quilting project I have with Betty Anne Guadalupe, The Wardrobe Meets the Wall, has been reimagined into our new name: Improvisational Textiles: A Collaborative Art Quilting Journey.
I invite you to visit our new site and follow the blog if you like:
Check out Sassy the Highly Opinionated Miniature Schnauzer’s blog page Schnauzer Snips, for her later musings.
It’s Thanksgiving, so a post about a “harvest” is very appropriate, right?
But Tierney, have you lost your mind? How can you harvest glasses? Are you growing glasses in your garden? Do you have a Glass Farm!??!?! (Yes I know that would be both physically and chemically impossible!)
No, this post is about recycling the glass from nice candles into drinking glasses.
I LOVE nice candles. High quality candles. As they can be rather expensive, I only purchased them occasionally as a special treat. In addition to the scent, I select a high quality scented candle based on the “reusability” of the candle’s glass holder.
My love of high quality candles started 8 years ago when I happened upon a garage sale in which someone was selling brand new Votivo candle for $1. All I knew was that the candle smelled wonderful and I paid the $1 and left the garage sale with my find. Little did I know these “designer” candles retail for $25!
When the candle was burned down I realized I did not want to part with the high quality glass that it came with. The glass had a nice weight and would make a lovely juice glass.
So I figured out a way to “harvest” the glass and get rid of the wax and wick inside.
Here is collection of harvested ex-candle glasses that we use as our daily glasses:
Here is the “harvesting” process I have refined over the years (recently I harvested a new ex-candle glass):
First, I let the candle burn all the way to the bottom:
Next, I boil water and then place the candle in a metal bowl with boiled water, to soften the wax and the glued/anchored wick at the bottom:
Then, when the wax is soft, I use an old spoon and scoop out the wax and the wick and it’s based (with many high quality candles the wick in anchored to the bottom of the glass):
Once the wax is removed (or as much as I can remove it), I use hot soapy water (dish soap) and an old sponge and scrub out the glass; I also remove any labels by scrubbing/peeling them off:
Finally, I run it through the dishwasher and Voila – a new glass:
My newly “harvested” glass and a couple other former candle glasses (note my new glass is filled with my favorite beverage – Blood Orange Organic Soda):
Sure I could recycle these glasses via the Glass Recycling service provided by our municipal garbage company, but this way I get to keep on enjoying them after the candle is gone!
Terry the Quilting Husband has been helping with setting up my hexagons for EPP. I cut the fabric into 3 inch x 3 inch squares, he lightly glues (with glue stick) the hexagons to the fabric and I trim them down a bit before doing the EPP.
He also now helps punch the holes into the paper punched hexagons that will make it easy to remove the paper templates once the hexagons are sewn together.
He seems to enjoy these type of projects while he watches football (or he is just one very nice and helpful husband!)
I’ve made a lot of EPP hexagons (aka “hexies”) so far, but that is another post….
I like one of my blogging buddies, Claire of knitNkwilt, I had to use the “Design Bed”, and lay out my latest quilt on our bed.
I admit, I am spoiled. I am friends with an incredible inspirational textile artist and generous person, Betty Anne. When we got together for a sew day (see postPinwheel Piecing Party), she was cleaning out her UFOs (if you are not a quilter, please see the post Lexicon of Quilters’ Acronyms) and she gave me 12 – 12.5 x 12.5 inch blocks she pieced with beautiful Kaffe Fassett fabrics. They were from a “Block-of-the-Month” club she belonged to and she was not interested in making them into a quilt.
At first I put these block in my “UFO” pile but yesterday I felt suddenly motivated to just make them into a quilt.
I used one of the sampler quilt layouts in the book The Quilt Block Cookbookby Amy Gibson (yep, this was one of the books from my posting The Library (Mega) Stack, I returned the book to the library but borrowed it again…when I can justify another book purchase, I am probably going to buy it…)
Here are the 12 blocks on the “Design Bed” waiting for me to sew the rows together. Then I will bring the quilt to Betty Anne on our next Sew Day for her to do the long-arm quilting on the quilt (hope she does not get any ideas and suddenly want her blocks back, ha!).
I used to sell 8 beautiful fabric selections from this line in my tierneycreates Etsy shop. However, a couple of weeks ago, I decided to stop selling fabric and pulled the yardage, fat quarter sets and jelly rolls from my Etsy shop.
My decision was based on that I did not enjoy cutting yardage for people (I will never own a quilt shop) and I do not want to compete with quilt shops. (You can read from the tierneycreates archives, my first attempt to cut “fat quarter sets” – Adventures in Retail).
So, no judgement on people who sell fabric online, it was just not something I wanted to do any longer.
My plan is to focus my Etsy shop on handmade items. It is called “tierneycreates” after all. Recently, however, Tierney has not been doing any creating for the Etsy shop but has some ideas for 2017 and beyond.
For now Tierney will keep working through her personal UFO backlog (and obviously accept donations from other quilters’ UFO backlogs, ha!).
This update could be part of my ongoing series – What’s on the Design Wall, but it is more like “Guess Who is Hogging the Design Wall?!?!”
The answer is – Terry the Quilting Husband!
I have not posted an update in a long time on what Terry has been working on. He took a little break from quilting projects to work on house projects.
Last time I posted on his project, it was back in July in the 07/26/16 post What’s on the Design Wall. In this post, Terry was working on a “stacked coins” type quilt.
If you are wondering what became of that quilt..well..it is “on hold” right now. It was not working design wise and Terry discovered some technical errors in his sewing that made the quilt “wavy” when it was assembled. Something went awry in the piece of the denim setting strips.
So we decided that I would take it apart (and down from the design wall) and work on reimagining it at a future date. Terry was fine with that and knew the quilt was just not working. Even as a new quilter, he realizes that sometimes you have to just put something aside for later, and maybe take it apart and start over.
But he did not give up on quilting and has a new piece up on the design wall now (hogging the large design wall in our hallway!).
It’s a Flannel “Half-Square Triangle” Party!
I think Terry really enjoys making “half-square” triangles. I think he finds it mediative.
Terry selected the fabric for this quilt from a collection of Woolies flannel fat quarters we purchased during a road trip.
He promises to work on sewing the quilt together Thanksgiving week so I can have the design wall back!
If you would like to read more about Terry the Quilting Husband and his adventures, check out the other posts in the Category – Terry the Quilting Husband.
Check out Sassy the Highly Opinionated Miniature Schnauzer’s blog page Schnauzer Snips, for her later musings.
A Day of Fun!
I took yesterday (Thursday) off from work as I wanted to attend a class that our SAQA (Studio Art Quilt Associates) group was having at a local gallery that started at 2:30 pm (I normally work until 4:30 pm or later at my healthcare industry pay-the-bills-job).
I have a couple of friends who are retired or self-employed and have a lot more freedom in their day, so I invited them to meet me for lunch and then wander around downtown Bend, Oregon until our class at 2:30 pm.
So began my lovely Thursday of crafting, thrifting and laughing.
Our art quilting group, met up at A6 Studio & Gallery in Bend. The A6 Studio & Gallery hosted a private Bookmaking Class and Tour in honor of their OPENING JAPAN: THREE CENTURIES OF JAPANESE PRINTS exhibit.
The class, held in the back of the studio/gallery, was taught by a professional bookmaking artist. We made an origami folded little booklet called the “Blizzard Book”. A renown origami artist had created the book and the pattern during a blizzard when she needed a paper folding project to distract her from the weather outside.
Here are photos from my first origami mini book making experience:
During the class I learned the importance of the “bone folder” tool to get crisp folds and markings during origami paper folding.
After the class, before heading home, I thought it would be fun to take a peek at a couple local thrift stores near the gallery. As discussed in previous posts, I’ve found some wonderful fabric treasures at my local thrift stores. (My all time greatest find was a couple of years ago at the Brightside Animal Shelter Thrift Store. I found several yards of brand new Maywood Woolies Flannel, in brown check, for $1. Yes one dollar for like $30 + in new flannel. I ended up giving an extra donation to the animal shelter as it felt like pure stealing to only pay $1, so I paid $5!).
So here was my treasure I found on this thrifting trip – nearly a yard and a half of Amy Butler Midwest Modern fabric – for $1.50!
The day filled with laughter began around 11:30 am when I met my friends for lunch, walked around downtown Bend and through the origami bookmaking class. We have a fun SAQA group of extremely talented art quilters (some of them super famous…but I finally learned to stop being intimidated) who were completely new to origami and were very able to laugh at themselves as they completely bungled paper folding.
When I returned home, the laughter continued, as I took the dogs on a walk and I continued to listen my my latest audiobook from the library: The Girl with the Lower Back Tattooby Amy Schumer.
Now this book is not for everyone. It is very irreverent and it is filled with profanity and some graphic stories from her love life. But, Amy is brilliant in it.
She narrates her own audiobook and her comic delivery is flawless. She shares (and maybe overshares) her vulnerabilities, mistakes and accomplishments in life is a warm-hearted, extremely humorous manner.
I love the relationship has with her younger sister; and I love the sections where she shares excerpts from her teenage journals with footnotes/comments from her current views on life.
In this book, Amy shares her flaws and her genuine desire that young women learn from some of the errors in judgement she has made related to relationships.
She also has a brutally honest story about her scary experience with domestic violence.
After listening to Tina Fey’s wonderful audiobook Bossypants and Jesse Klein’s nearly brilliant audiobook, You’ll Grow Out of It, I thought I was done with female comic’s memoirs.
I am so glad I borrowed this one from the library – numerous times on walks I stopped for a moment because I was laughing so hard. I was also glad my bladder was empty before listening!
Well the weekend is upon us. I hope you have some crafting (if you are a crafter), perhaps a little thrifting, and of course bountiful laughter!
This post is actually a continuation of my series “What’s on the Design Wall” in addition to Part III (well actually Part IV) of my series of posts about taking a break from improvisational quilt design and piecing, and returning to make meditative traditional blocks.
Here are the other posts in this series to bring you up to date. I decided to make a “sampler” quilt by making blocks from the Ladies’ Art Company Block Tool:
In the previous post in this series, I had only 4 more blocks to go into order to have 20 blocks to create a 4 x 5 type of layout.
I completed four additional blocks, of two different block patterns in different color ways:
So here is what all 20 blocks look like on the design wall in our hallway (disclaimer – I do not have the best lighting in my hallway and it is narrow so I can only take photos from an angle or by standing in the laundry room!):
My plan is to set them in a light fabric from the same line (Stonehenge) and then do a cool border (well in my mind it will be cool) with the fabric scraps from the fat quarter set I used to piece these blocks.
The next time I post on this series about revisiting traditional piecing, I will show you the completed quilt.
But…for now…I have to put it aside (No! Please Don’t Go To the “UFO” pile!!!) and immediately work on a baby quilt for an upcoming baby shower.
I am re-posting a blog post from April 2016 from my ongoing series on on my sources of Creative Inspiration. I am dealing with the “strife” that fills the television news and social media by remembering the inspirational stories my father told me as a child.
His stories, words and lessons keep me centered and focused.
Friday Night at Barnes & Noble Bookstore: A Discovery (April 2016)
Life is filled with serendipitous events. Several Fridays ago such an event occurred.
A wild Friday night in Central Oregon involves hanging out at the local Barnes & Noble bookstore. I love browsing in bookstores. I love bookstores, period. They are nearly as magical as libraries (except the discoveries at bookstores are not free to take home!)
While browsing the magazine section of Barnes & Noble, I came across a magazine I had not seen before – American Craft Magazine (and I thought I knew all the magazines in the “crafting” magazine section). This magazine is published by the American Craft Council.
Flipping through this magazine I found an article on an exhibit by the WCQN (Women of Color Quilting Network). I did not know, as a woman of color, that there was a Women of Color Quilting Network! I made a mental note of the acronym and immediately upon returning home I googled the WCQN.
The WCQN, according to their website “is a non-profit organization founded in 1985 by Carolyn L. Mazloomi, a nationally-acclaimed quilt artist and lecturer, to foster and preserve the art of quilt making among women of color.”
Wow. What a discovery for me!
I contacted the Director of WCQN, Dr. Carolyn L. Mazloomi, to find out how I could join.
After several wonderful exchanges with Dr. Mazloomi, I am now a member of the WCQN. I had the opportunity to view her website, www.carolynlmazloomi.comand view her amazing art. I also spent a considerable amount of time looking at the the WCQN website, www.wcqn.org, and viewing their past exhibitions (www.wcqn.org/exhibit.html).
I was overwhelmed with inspiration to explore an additional direction in my art quilting – telling stories with my art quilt.
The WCQN art quilts poignantly share stories from a people of color’s perspective and shared experience.
Wanting to explore this theme in the future, I am inspired to create a future series of art quilts called Stories My Father Told Me.
Stories My Father Told Me
My father, Raoul A. Davis, Sr. was an amazing man. He passed in 2008, and left behind a legacy of stories and inspiration.
Born of the 4th of July, he was the son of two teachers and grew up the segregated South (Charleston, West Virginia) in the 1930s. He faced many hardships and challenges but always forged ahead to achieve his goals and dreams. He was the first black to attend Kiski School in Pennsylvania, received a bachelor’s degree from Central State University, and obtained his master’s degree from Columbia University. He also served his country in the US Army.
He served as a leader in the nonprofit sector for over 40 years. His service included working with gangs and underprivileged youth as a Social Worker in NYC; founding the Urban League of Long Island, NY; and creating the first Empire State Black Arts and Cultural Festival (today known as the African American Family Day Art Festival).
He retired as the Deputy Commissioner for the Office of General Services for the State of NY. In his retirement he volunteered and consulted for local nonprofits and community agencies.
His resume was impressive, but what I remember most about him is his stories.
Starting from my earliest memories as a child, I remember him telling me stories of his challenges growing up in the segregated South, stories of his athletic pursuits (he was an accomplished multi-sport athlete), stories about the intense hazing he received as the first black to attend Kiski Prep School, stories of overcoming shocking physical and psychological abuse in the US Army in the 1950 by his drill sergeant, and many other inspirational stories from his life.
A couple of years before he passed he decided to write his autobiography and I offered to help him by transcribing his handwritten notes and pulling them into a rough draft. It was so wonderful to read the stories I knew well from hearing in my youth; and I was honored to help him with this project.
Unfortunately my father passed before finishing his autobiography. I did take what I had and make it into a book for my sister and brother (two incredible individuals who continue my father’s legacy and inspire me daily); and for his grandchildren (one of which he did not get to meet before he passed).
I am still left with all his stories in my head and in my heart, and I think I want to share them in another medium beyond the verbal and written word: in my art quilts.
His Stories into My Quilts
I am in the early stages of thinking of how I want to translate some of my favorite stories into a textile story – will I do something abstract, or will I do a pictorial quilt (time to brush up my appliqué skills!).
An ongoing theme in all his stories is: Here is a challenge, it may seem impossible, but you can overcome it!
One of my favorite stories that my father told me, is a story from his growing up in the segregated South and a bus ride experience that embodied his outlook on dealing with racial prejudices:
As a teenage in the 1940s, I was riding on the bus and a white guy was forced to sit next to me because no other seats were available. He turned to me and growled – “I hate you, you #%%$%%!”
I calmly replied to him “Well, you would like me if you got to know me”.
We ended up having a great conversation and when we got to his bus stop, he exclaimed as he exited the bus: “Raoul, you are alright”.
My father likely did not change this man’s racist outlook on people of color, but he may have left an imprint in this man’s mind and heart to evaluate people based on their character not their color.
My father, who was also active in the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960s and fortunate to have met Martin Luther King, Jr., believed in focusing on getting to know each other as individuals and not judging an entire group or population.
He believed change came through dialogue not violence. He taught his three children to be brave, no matter what adversity life threw at them; and to as Mahatma Gandhi said “…be the change you wish to see in the world”.
He also taught us to be proud of who we are as individuals, as a people and of our heritage, and not to listen to those who tell you otherwise.
“I will not let anyone walk through my mind with their dirty feet.” – Gandhi
I would be honored to share his stories through my quilts.
In my 11/6/16 post Pinwheel Piecing Party, I shared how I started making small pinwheels from a friend’s collection of trimmed triangles, that have otherwise been destined for the trash.
Here was my first load of pinwheels:
For the past week, as a way to escape from all the hate and unhappiness that seems to be seeping out of every corner of my country, I have been focusing on, during any spare moments, making more scrappy pinwheels.
In order to distract myself for awhile, I created a goal that I had to empty out the bag of pieced triangle scraps my friend gave me.
So I was busy at work “chain” sewing, or “chaining” little half square triangle blocks together. I was quite meditative.
As a result, I now have approximately (I counted quickly) – 72 pinwheel blocks, each measuring approximately 2.5 inches x 2.5 inches!
Also have two “oops” blocks, which I guess you might call – pieced “square within a square” blocks. My “pinwheeling” went awry during my piecing of these blocks!
So what am I going to do with 72 (or more) 2.5 inch x 2.5 inch pinwheel blocks? Well your guess is as good as mine!
For now I am going to put them into my new “Parts Department” I created in my stash after seeing a trunk show and presentation by the Australian quilt designer, Jen Kingwell (see my post Revisiting Traditional Piecing). During her trunk show presentation she talked about using blocks from her “Parts Department” (leftover blocks from other projects, etc.). I was also inspired by the huge “Parts Department” my friend Betty Anne has in her scrap collection.
Another project I worked on this past week was to go through my stash of fabric scraps and pull out all the scrap triangles and scrap small squares. I put them in separate bags to use for future improvisational quilting projects.
The quilt below, by Betty Anne Guadalupe, is made from her “Parts Department” (collection of already pieced blocks, discards from other quilters, fabric scraps, and new pieced blocks from scraps):
As I mentioned in the original post related to this piece, Pinwheel Piecing Party, several of my leftover pieced blocks from a quilt project that I gave to Betty Anne, are in this quilt! It is very fun to see your unwanted blocks put to good use!