What’s On The Design Wall: Flannel “Log Jam” Blocks

Continuing my series of posts on what is on the design wall…

THE QUILTING HUSBAND IS BUSY AGAIN

I had some of my blocks up on the design wall and Terry “The Quilting Husband” was getting impatient. He kept giving me subtle hints (and not too subtle hints) about moving my stuff off the design wall so he can put his blocks up on the design wall (we have a small house and can only make 1 shared design wall work).

The Quilting Husband is working on a new “Log Jam” quilt (see my other posts on “Log Jamming” and “Log Jams” which are free form pieced log cabin style blocks) made with flannel scraps. I have a large box of flannel scraps from making flannel quilts and flannel quilt backs, and Terry came up with the idea of trying to use of the scraps making flannel log jam quilts.

As his confidence grows as a quilter, he gets comfortable with making his own design decisions. He found a stash of dog and cat themed flannel scraps and used them as the center so each block would feature a dog and/or cat face. Very creative!

“Ugly Sunflower Fabric Challenge” Part II

Check out Sassy-the-highly-opinionated-miniature-schnauzer’s blog Schnauzer Snips for her latest musings…

IT’S A KEEPER!

In my post Ugly Sunflower Fabric Challenge I shared how a friend had challenged me to make a quilt with fabric I was going to give away. I completed the quilt top and pieced a sunflower flannel back and sent it off to the long-arm machine quilter.

The plan was when I got it back, to either give it as gift to a friend or sell it on the tierneycreates Etsy shop. That was the plan, until I got it back from the long-arm quilter, and fell in love with it!

My long-arm quilter, Betty Anne Guadalupe of Guadalupe Designs, did a sweet all-over flower quilting pattern. I sat under the cozy quilt (with the sunflower flannel) while sewing down the binding (we did have the A/C on) and decided it needed to become part of my “quilt family”.

So it is staying in my home, and will be nested on the top of one of the overstuffed reading chairs for cozy winter tea and reading sessions. If we lose heat this summer, I can pile the quilts on top of me and stay warm!

POSTSCRIPT

This quilt was one of the 5 quilts I got back from the long-arm quilter that needed binding put on and sewn down to be completed as I shared in the post Progress and Fear. I have completed a second quilt and have 3 more to go. The remaining 4 quilts I will make myself list on the tierneycreates Etsy shop as originally planned. Maybe.

Creative Inspiration: Encouragement from Others

As John Donne said: “No man (or woman) is an island”. I guess one could live as a hermit somewhere, locked away, working on your art,  encouraging yourself creatively. That would not work for me. I appreciate and I am inspired by encouragement from others. 

Continuing my series on sources of Creative Inspiration, this post is actual inspired by a surprise I found that last evening.

We all have those precious items from our past that we keep tucked away somewhere. One of my most precious items was a book of William Shakespeare’s Sonnets from my 9th Grade English teacher. I have not seen it in many years and I thought that for some reason during a move it got lost; or I accidentally donated it to a thrift shop in a stack of books for donation.

I mourned its loss.

Last night I was checking the far recesses of my nightstand cabinet, which I store books I am going to “read someday in bed each night before I fall asleep”, but never get around to reading. I was curious what I had way in the back and found my old beloved book!!! I had not opened it in 8 or more years and forgot exactly my teacher had inscribed inside the cover.

My eyes flooded with tears when I read her inscription which included the words “in recognition of her excellent writing ability”. I have always loved writing (and have written a lot in my professional pay-the-bills RN career) and I forgot how much I loved it when I was in grade school through high school. (Disclaimer: I may not have mastered grammar or proofreading but I still love to write!)

Just reading these words again from my 9th grade English teacher made me feel as inspired in that moment as I did all those years ago. Her words of encouragement from the past resonate with me now, like she is right here with me saying: “Tierney, keep writing, I believe in you“.

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As far as quilting projects, I am so inspired creatively when I receive encouragement on a piece I am working on or one I have completed. I am encouraged creatively when I am uninspired to work on an art quilt and a friend encourages me to just start playing with the fabric and the inspiration with come in no time. One of my favorite silk art quilts I have made, Color Change, came out of sitting around with a friend having her throw fabric scraps at me for fun, saying “Here, why not try putting this combination together”, when I was feeling too intimidated to work on another silk scrap quilt.

Creative mentors who encourage you to do your art are important and wonderful to have in your life. See my old post Creative Inspiration: Quilting Mentors, for more on mentors.

So let’s all go out and encourage someone, you never know what lasting impression it will make.

“A word of encouragement during a failure is worth more than an hour of praise after success.”

– Author Unknown

Progress and Fear

Interesting combinations of words, huh? One sounds positive (Progress) and the other sounds, well…fearful (Fear)!

Actually the title is about two positive things!

PROGRESS

Making progress on the five (5) quilts that are back from the long-arm quilter and need bindings to be completed (refer to the posts “Some Progress Made” and “The Quilting Husband Saga Continues” for more info). Terry the Quilting Husband assembled the bindings and I have sewn them onto all 5 quilts. Now they are waiting in a nice pile to taken turns sitting on my lap and have their binding sewn down. Then they will be complete!

"Please complete us" (Pile-o-Quilts waiting for their bindings to be sewn down)

“Please complete us” (Pile-o-Quilts waiting for their bindings to be sewn down)

FEAR

My previous post was on Creative Inspiration: Words. Currently listening to Susan Jeffers’ fantastic audiobook Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway and feeling very inspired. I wanted to share her 5 Truths About Fear she has published on her website (susanjeffers.com):

  1. Fear will never go away as long as you continue to grow (this is a good thing)!
  2. The only way to get rid of the fear of doing something is to go out and do it!
  3. The only way to feel better about yourself it to go out and do it!
  4. Not only are you afraid when facing the unknown, so is everyone else!
  5. Pushing through the fear is less frightening than living with the bigger underlying fear that comes from a feeling of helplessness!

I am really enjoying this audiobook. Of course now you all expect that I will quickly complete the bindings on the stack-o-quilts as I should feel pretty fearless about them now…

Creative Inspiration: Words

Check out Sassy the Highly Opinionated Miniature Schnauzer’s blog on the Schnauzer Snips page for her latest insights from a 16 inch tall person’s point of view…

Words…

Time to continue my series on my sources of creative inspiration. In my last post on creative inspiration, Creative Inspiration: Organization?!?!?, I explored how getting organized makes me feel inspired creatively.

Recently I have been thinking about how written or spoken words inspire me creatively.

Not just any words. The “words” that inspire me are motivational words, inspirational sayings, words of truth, insights into the human struggle, words with meaning – words that matter.

The Spoken Word

In previous posts I discussed some of my favorite nonfiction audiobooks (see my series “Life is Nonfiction”) that I enjoy listening to while walking or working on a quilt. Most of these books are in the “self-help” or “self-improvement” genre and they inspire me to be bold and take chances creatively with my art or with my tierneycreates business.

Recently I listened to some very inspirational audiobook with lots of “great words” to inspire me:

  • Do Over: Rescue Monday, Reinvent Your Work, and Never Get Stuck by Jon Acuff
  •  The Tools: Transform Your Problems Into Courage, Confidence, and Creativity by Phil Stulz and Barry Michels

I continue to be addicted to self-improvement books and they inspire my creativity. When a book encourages me to be brave and take risks, I translate this into my work on art quilts or new ideas for tierneycreates. These books reinforce what I already know deep in my spirit but somehow do not implement in day to day life.

Quotes

There are some wonderful quotes that stick with me and encourage me to continue on my creative artistic journey:

 “Use what talents you possess; the woods would be very silent if no birds sang there except those that sang best.” – Henry Van Dyke

“Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished.” – Lao Tzu

“Life is a balance of holding on and letting go.” – Rumi

All these quotes I have posted in my house somewhere: in a frame, on a bulletin board, or in a piece of wall art. I feel like the words in these quotes are part of me. They make me feel safe to do my art and to go where I want to go creatively.

One of the quotes is by Rumi.  Jalāl ad-Dīn Muhammad Rūmī was a 13th century Persian poet and scholar. I am currently listening to an audiobook, Pure Water – Poetry of Rumi and I want to close this post about inspirational words with one of Rumi’s poems, The Guest House.

The Guest House
This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness
comes as an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.
Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.
On a walk, listening to inspirational audiobook, stopped to look at the sun through the trees

On a walk, listening to inspirational audiobook, stopped to look at the sun through the trees

Sweet Little Moment of Happiness

Today I had a “sweet little moment of happiness”.

That instant blissful feeling that brings a smile to your face and warmth to your heart.

I stopped at my local library to pick up some items I had on hold and decided to wander the craft book section in the their non fiction book collection. While scanning the shelves I found the book that 5 of my quilts are in – Sandra Sider’s 1000 Quilt Inspirations sitting on the shelf. 

I love my town library. I have loved libraries since I was a child (where I would spend most of my summers from ages to 9 – 12 in the library reading constantly). To be in a book that is in a library gave me this feeling of immortality that I cannot describe.

I am fortunate to know several incredible quilters who have nationally published books and I know this is not a book that I wrote myself, but still, can’t describe it, but it feels awesome.

(Or maybe I am just really weird…that is a more plausible explanation!)

At the local library!

At the local library!

Playing with a Theme

In case you have been wondering why recently each time you read one of my posts, my blog looks completely different…

“And Now for Something Completely Different.” – Monty Python’s Flying Circus, 1971

A couple weeks ago I had a late night “blog disaster” (note to self: never post late at night).

I use WordPress as my blogging platform and I use one of the lovely free blog theme templates they offer. I had done some nice customization when I set up my blog in 2013 and all was lost one night in the Great Blog Crisis of 2015.

I could return to my original WordPress blog theme template but it looks pretty stark and dull without the special customization. I do have the option of paying for my customization to return, but alas the word “free” is more appealing, ha!

So I have been experimenting over the last couple weeks on new blog theme templates. We’ll see which one sticks for me or maybe I will stop being so cheap and pay to have my previous customization back.

Maybe.

In Use!

DSCN3049In my February post, 2015 Goals, I shared a photo of the Little Love Note pillows I made for the tierneycreates Etsy shop. I packaged these pillows in sets of 3 with an organza ribbon and a little handmade heart card attached for gifting.

Unfortunately I posted the pillows to my shop too close to Valentine’s Day (3 days before!) for customers to purchase them as Valentine’s Day gifts.

I did however offer them for sale to some friends and neighbors if they were in need of a last minute Valentine’s Day gifts.  I sold a 4 – 5 sets of pillows this way, and figured they went as gifts to other people.

However, I recently discovered, a neighbor friend of mine happened to keep a set for herself. While I was over her house the other day I got to see, 6 months later, great examples of how they could be used as home decor.

Instead of displaying all 3 pillows together, she broke them up and put them in different areas of her home: guest room, guest bathroom, and hallway nook.

It is so fun to see something you made being enjoyed in someone’s home!

In the hallway/living room nook on a miniature rocker

In the hallway/living room nook on a miniature rocker

In the guest bathroom

In the guest bathroom

On the bedside table in the guest room

On the bedside table in the guest room

Some Progress Made…

Check out Sassy the highly opinionated miniature schnauzer’s latest happenings on her Schnauzer Snips page!

In an earlier post The Quilting Husband Saga Continues, I lament over the fact that I need to do the binding for three of the quilts that Terry, The Quilting Husband, got back from the professional long-arm quilter.

Here is an update – a wee bit of progress has been made. Terry did create folded 2 1/2 bindings strips for two of the quilts and is working on the binding strip for the third quilt. So here are two of the quilts waiting for their binding to magically be put on.

Yes I will go to bed tonight and in the am I will discover that the Binding Fairies, Gnomes, Elves, etc. appeared during my slumber and not only sewed on the bindings but also sewed the binding down! (I am very thoughtful and have left the binding strips draped over the quilts, all ready for the magical creatures to get to work!)

Okay, maybe no magical creatures are coming during the night to take care of the binding, sigh. My main issue is I would rather be designing and piecing a quilt than finishing one.

I think it might be a summer thing and I am just not in the mood to sit for a long spell and sew down binding will sitting under a quilt.

Alright – enough whining – I will get the three bindings done. Sometime soon…

By the way, our long-arm quilter has informed me she has two more of The Quilting Husband’s quilts quilted and will be delivering them soon (look of panic).

Grab A Cup of Tea and Your Cozy Spot!

It is time to settle in and read some quilting books and magazines!

Ok, ok, I know you are thinking: “Tierney, it is not Winter or a blustery Fall day, no one wants to get a cup of tea and settle in with a book in a cozy chair with a quilt and read.”  Alright, so you don’t have to sit inside, you can sit outside, with your iced tea and your sunblock. Inside or outside, I happen to have a recommendation for a publication that I think my fellow quilters will enjoy: Missouri Star Quilt Company’s publication Block.

A couple of months ago I was at a quilt retreat with my “quilt sisters” in the Vancouver, WA area, called Sew N Go: sewNgo Retreat. The retreat owner and host, Nancy, had a collection of these wonderful publications strewn around our retreat workroom area (aka the “Quilting Sweatshop” where quilters sew all day and night and pay to do so!).

Many of the retreat attendees were like: “where did you get these awesome books?”

A month after that I came across an online article on NPR’s website about the Missouri Start Quilt Company: “One Family Revitalizes A Small Town With, Yes Quilts“. After reading the article after looking through a couple issues of their quarterly publication Block while at the retreat, I knew I wanted to give my business to this organization.

As a belated birthday treat to myself, I bought all the past issues of the Block publication as well as a year subscription for future issues.

I have browsed the issues, and plan to really settle down into some serious “quilt publication bonding” when it gets more like hot tea weather!

Sitting my my cozy chair with a quilt on my lap, while drinking tea and reading quilting books and publications is definitely something I am looking forward to this fall and winter.

Collaborative “Jamming”

I taught “The Quilting Husband”, Terry a couple months ago how to make log jam blocks. If you would like to know more about log jam blocks and “log jamming”, see these posts:

Terry, loaded with a box of color coordinated scraps I pre-selected, made endless 6 1/2 inch log jam blocks (120+) and put a dent in my scraps (a small dent but any dent is appreciated!).

Then he took a 100 of the 6 1/2 inch block and created a 10 x 10 quilt. It was a collaborative process as he completed ten – 10 block rows, and I did the final sewing of the ten rows together to make the quilt top. Terry, The Quilting Husband, is not much for matching seams to sew rows together, but that is okay – look at how much he accomplished!

Now I am working on putting the back of the quilt together so it can go to the long-arm quilter!

Then comes the decision – keep it or list it on the Etsy site for sale. We will likely list it for sale…we’ll see…

Colorful Jam by tierneycreates and terrycreates!

Colorful Jam by tierneycreates and terrycreates!

A Gift is a *Gift*

Yesterday I received an amazing gift: finding out how much a simple handmade gift means to a recipient.

Many years ago (maybe 8 or 9), I made a flannel 12″ x 12″ quilt square into a quilted hot pad and gave it to my friend Cindy as a little hostess gift the first time I went to her house. Years later I had completely forgot about this little flannel quilted hot pad gift.

Last evening I visited her new home in the country, which is a scaled down version of her previous home in the city. She showed me the quilted square I had given her so many years ago. It turns out she has used it as a hot pad for her tea pot for many years, it has been washed countless times, and many friends and family over the years have said: “Wow, where did you get that?”

The best thing I found out last night: when she was scaling back her possessions to move to her new house, the hot pad I made her was at the top of the list of things she was definitely taking. It appears to be one of her favorite possessions.

Wow, I could feel the tears well up in my eyes, I was so deeply touched. Something I made, likely very quickly, to bring as a little thank you gift to someone’s house, turns out to be a constantly used and treasured gift.

Well..in that moment..my friend gave me an incredible GIFT.

Little square for Cindy

Little square for Cindy – washed many times and loved for many years…

POSTSCRIPT: For more thoughts on the rewards of crafting and giving handmade gifts from the heart, see my post Love Wears it Out.