Up, Down, and Up Again

First of my mini kimonos to sell.

First of my mini kimonos to sell.

Last Friday I got some thrilling news: a local shop enthusiastically agreed to carry my kimonos on commission in their shop. We even talked about them being displayed on a Christmas tree in the shop. I was overwhelmed with excitement and shared this wonderful news with family and friends. I spent the next week after work, some times late into the evening, getting my kimonos ready to deliver to the shop the following Friday (today). In my fervor of excitement, I made a couple new kimonos using beautiful holiday fabrics and a couple kimonos with new Asian fabric I just purchased, to add to those to be displayed at the shop. I was feeling very UP – I was flying with anticipation of my first opportunity to market to the public and sell my kimonos- they  would be on display and for sale during the holiday shopping season!

This morning I called the shop to set up a time to deliver them and the shop owner abruptly informed me that it would not work out, the shop would not be able to carry my kimonos. The shop owner’s reasons were not clear and I was not sure what went wrong. CRASH! I was now feeling very DOWN, so much that my eyes filled with tears. I also felt an overwhelming sense of embarrassment from sharing prematurely with friends and family my news of a local shop carrying my kimonos.

Now an hour later, after talking with my husband and then a close friend, I am feeling UP again. Not only did their support help, I realized that whenever you venture out there in life, whenever you take a risk – there is bound to be some disappointment and some “failure”. That is just the way life works. I realized that what I have done this past week is get the kimonos fully ready for sale…and this now means they are ready for listing on Etsy (and getting my Etsy shop up and running!).  I bear no ill will towards the shop owner and respect that it just did not work for them. I actually thank them for giving me an impetus to get the kimonos sale ready and tagged!

I love quotes, and here is a quote that keeps inspiring me:

“You have to accept whatever comes and the only important thing is that you meet it with courage and with the best that you have to give.”
– Eleanor Roosevelt 

The Tao of Quilting

Are you familiar with the Tao Te Ching? This ancient Chinese text, was according to legend, was written by Lao Tzu in the 6th century BC. It it a philosophical text which provides instructions on the way to live a virtuous life of harmony. There have been many versions of this text written and reinterpreted over the years to include The Tao of Pooh by Benjamin Hoff which share practical life lessons from the perspective of Winnie the Pooh.

Many years ago, in a special publication quilting magazine Quilts with Style, I came across “The Tao of Quilting” by Stephen Seifert – a one page take on the Tao Te Ching. I have kept this page in the front of my binder of patterns-clipped-from-quilting-magazines to continually inspire me.

THE TAO OF QUILTING by Stephen Seifert

Our lives are full of obstacles causing stress and discontent.

But a quilt can be a bridge to overcome diversions and chaos.

Water ripples in the wind, never considering who is in control.

Yet its fluid nature gives it strength to serve as a foundation to life.

Soft fabric stitched together in a quilt fills the hardest heart with love and beauty.

The simplicity of love can penetrate all, including the the most cynical mind.

Rigid stone shores appear impenetrable, but their yielding surface gives rise to life.

Evergreens soar triumphantly above the lake shore, reflecting the paradox of life.

Problems emerge and seem pressing

But over time our thoughts evolve into understanding.

Nature’s silent teachings are taught without words

Instilling integrity into every quilt.

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Holding On and Letting Go

Check out new posts to Sassy’s Schnauzer Snips page and the new tierneycreates logo posted in the Textiles Adventures page! I also added a couple more quilts to the Gallery page.

Saturday 11/9/13 I roused myself out of bed at 5:30 am, changed into my “good pajamas” and headed with friends to the the Stitchin’ Post quilt shop’s annual PJ sale. If you get there by some crazy hour, dressed in your pajamas (and it is crazy cold outside), you get a crazy discount on nearly everything in the store. Naturally this is something for my hard-core-quilting-friends not to miss. After wandering around a packed quilt shop in the wee hours of the morning, with a sea of women (and an occasional son or husband that tagged along), with bolts of fabric stacked in your arms, it is time to go to breakfast. That is when the real fun begins – flocks of quilters in their pajamas wander the streets of Sisters, Oregon looking for the best place for post-shopping-frenzy breakfast. There is something so pleasurable about sitting around in a local diner, having breakfast with your friends, in your PJs …with the occasional stare from an out-of-towner who is likely thinking “wow they are really casual in Central Oregon, they don’t even bother to get dressed to go out!”

1395805_10200809179371429_2062904821_nWhile at the annual Pajama sale, I wandered over to the gift shop connected to the Stitchin’ Post – Twigs. Nested among artsy kitchen and home decor items, I found a small plaque that really spoke to me. I contained a quote by the 13th century Persian poet, Rumi: “life is a balance of holding and letting go”. This quote was very timely to me as I am struggling with creating pieces for my Etsy store that I end up wanting to keep for own home! I am fairly sure that the poet Rumi meant something much  deeper than struggling to let go of your hand made items, but this quote is helping me work through the process of let go to achieve my dream of selling to the public…maybe.

I just finished my first Modern Quilt Table Runner for my upcoming Etsy store and I wanted to keep it! The idea of doing table runners for my store came from my friend Marla Jo. I was struggling with the idea of making quilts to sell as they take a tremendous amount of work and you never know how they will sell online. Instead I can make modern and unique art quilt table runners that can be used as either table runners or hung as small narrow art quilts in someone’s home.

Not sure if I am going to sell the first “prototype” Modern Quilt Table Runner or only future iterations (still working through the “letting go” part). Below are a couple photos of it. It is my original design using a single piece of beautiful cream fabric with color variations from light to dark and inserting bands of pieced fabrics. I used an original quilting design.

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Let me end this post with a couple more Rumi quotes – they are always food for thought whether you apply them to quilting or to life in general:

“You were born with wings, why prefer to crawl through life?” ― Rumi

“When you do things from your soul, you feel a river moving in you, a joy.”  – Rumi

“I want to sing like the birds sing, not worrying about who hears or what they think.” – Rumi

“Wherever you are, and whatever you do, be in love.” – Rumi

“Let the beauty of what you love be what you do.” – Rumi

The “Nurture” of Words (and quilts)

Last night I attended The Nature of Words (www.thenatureofwords.org) annual literary festival’s evening of “Guest Author Readings”. This local literary festival’s guest author evening included readings by two poets: an Oregon Poet Laureate, Professor Lawson Inada and a National Slam Poet, Karen Finneyfrock.

While listening to these wonderful poets and the other guest authors perform their poetry or read excerpts from their novels, I began to think about the “nurture of words”. Reading poetry and literature nurtures our souls and stimulates our creative spirits whether they explore complex painful emotions or humorous and joyous experiences.

Eventually my thoughts turned to quilting and creating handmade items (as my thoughts always do). Quilts are nurturing – they keep you warm, they make you smile, they say ‘someone cares about you so much that they took hours and hours (and hours and hours) of their time to make you a substantial gift’.

Quilts and quilting can be also thought of as poems. We carefully select a pattern for our quilts (as a poet might select the Haiku poetic form) or we create our own unique design (a free-form poetic structure). As we make our quilts, each section of the quilt we piece is essentially a stanza of our poem. The final product is something that we choose to share with the world, a private individual or just keep for ourselves (as poets do).  My friend who is a talented long-arm quilter essentially creates beautiful poems on her customers quilts with thread as her poetry composition medium. The process of creating a quilt,  quilting a quilt, and/or giving someone a quilt as a gift, can be as nurturing as beautifully crafted poignant words on a page of prose or poetry.

I wanted to end this post with a short poem about creating a quilt, but I am not a “written word poet”. Instead I will leave you with several images of one of my textile poems: Central Oregon is Central to Me.

Love wears it out…

**Check out the Schnauzer Snips and Textile Adventures pages for new posts: Sassy the Miniature Schnauzer’s musing on the art of happy and my preparation for my first handmade offering on Etsy.**

How do you know a quilt has been loved?

It is worn, frayed, maybe even threadbare. In my early days of quilting this would make me cringe – I put all that work into a quilt and now it is all worn out?  Now the thought of one my quilts being so loved (just think of that glorious book The Velveteen Rabbit) brings a huge smile to my face.

While talking to my sister the other day (she has many quilts from me) she mentioned that most of the quilts I have made her are very worn out, some are just “hanging on by thread” about to fall apart. I take quilt construction seriously and for a second I thought “wow shoddy workmanship on my part” and “why did they not take better care of the quilts”? I came to my senses several seconds later and realized: Wow! Those quilts have been truly loved – I am so lucky and so honored!

I think of what my first quilting mentor and dear friend, Judy D said “if a quilt is falling apart, all worn out, then it has been truly loved…I never mind repairing a quilt that has been loved”.

Excerpt from The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams

“Real isn’t how you are made, it’s a thing that happens to you… When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real.”

“Does it hurt?” asked the Rabbit.

“Sometimes…When you are Real you don’t mind being hurt.”

“Does it happen all at once, like being wound up..or bit by bit?”

“It doesn’t happen all at once..You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.”

Thank you to all the people I have made quilts for over the years, who have truly loved them, and made them REAL.

my old beloved bear Felix and his

my old beloved bear Felix and his “doll quilt”.

How can you focus on crafting without a proper snack?

When say “proper”, I am not talking about a healthy snack. Most of the time, I try to make good nutritional choices and eat healthy snacks during the week. But on the weekend when you are “power crafting” and trying to get your projects done – you need a naughty snack or two. One of my favorite semi-naughty snacks are peanut butter cookies! A house filled with the smell of home baked cookies is a very inspiring thing! Occasionally I play a game with myself: get ________ more done on a quilt and you can go have (another) cookie.  I just have to remember to power walk all those cookies off from my power crafting!

Here is my favorite Peanut Butter Cookie recipe (it came with my beloved KitchenAid stand mixer)

  • 1⁄2 cup peanut butter
  • 1⁄2 cup butter or margarine, softened
  • 1⁄2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1⁄2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1⁄4 cups all-purpose flour
  1. Place peanut butter and butter in mixer bowl. Attach bowl and flat beater to mixer. Turn to Speed 6 and beat until mixture is smooth, about 1 minute. Stop and scrape bowl. Add sugars, egg and vanilla. Turn to Speed 4 and beat about 1 minute. Stop and scrape bowl.
  2. Turn to Stir Speed. Gradually add all remaining ingredients to sugar mixture and mix about 30 seconds. Turn to Speed 2 and mix about 30 seconds.
  3. Roll dough into 1-inch balls. Place about 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheets. Press fl at with fork in a criss-cross pattern to 1⁄4-inch thickness.
  4. Bake at 375°F until golden brown, about 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from baking sheets immediately and cool on wire racks.

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Happy “power crafting”,

Tierney