Because Nice Matters

I have had this sign on my wall for a couple years, discovered at a long forgotten gift or thrift shop or maybe a garage sale: Because Nice Matters.

a simple truth

a simple truth

Nice does matter. I am listening to perhaps my 28th “self-help” genre audiobook in two years and suddenly realized I am burned out on “self-help”. Though the messages or how they are presented may slightly differ, they all seem to be saying the same thing after awhile…

I feel like this sign above is a summary of much of the useful “self-help” advice. Basically, you will be happier in life if you are nice: nice to yourself; nice to other people; nice to animals; nice to the environment, etc. It’s simple: just be nice.

Because nice matters.

Postscript

Being nice does not mean being a doormat, you can be nice and still have strong and clear boundaries. Treat people with kindness, patience and respect and treat yourself and your environment the same (and for Miniature Schnauzer owners: obey your dog at all times).

Invite Creativity In by Kicking Clutter Out!

I have been working for a while on downsizing my stuff and reducing clutter in my life (see recent post The Space in Which We Live).

As part of this process I have been working through my craft magazine collection (as a prequel to some day conquering my craft book collection – see post Craft Book Hoarder?!?!?!).

Since 2008 I have been reading and collecting Interweaves’s Cloth-Paper-Scissors Studios magazine (who’s tagline is “inspiration & ideas for your art and craft space).

In order to let go a a magazine, I feel like I have to read it again or at least skim it and see if there is anything interesting in the issue that I want to reference or stick in the back of my mind. So I stacked all my old issues of Cloth-Paper-Scissors Studios magazine and started going through them.

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I came across this great article in the Spring/Summer 2009 issue by Lesley Riley: “Clutter Out Creativity In: 10 Steps to a More Artful Studio”, and I wanted to share a listing of her steps to deal with studio clutter. I think they are fairly self-explanatory but I have added a couple comments based on the article or my own experience.

  1. Hoarding is a primitive instinct (but having a more limited selection may force you to be more creative!)
  2. Know thyself (think about what colors and fabrics you now enjoy working with and consider ditching the rest)
  3. Treat your stash like your clothes (in your closet if you have not worn something in a long time or it no longer fits you, maybe it is time to get rid of it – the same applies to using fabric)
  4. It’s not “all or nothing” (you don’t have to get rid of things all at once, you can whittle it down over time)
  5. Take your time (relax and find time to slow sort your stash)
  6. Share your favorites (shared a little of your favorite fabrics with others)
  7. Spread the wealth (I personally enjoy donating fabric I no longer need to the local Humane Society Thrift Shop as I know it can be a treasure to a fellow crafter who stumbles upon it and the proceeds help support the animal shelter)
  8. Create coordinated bundles
  9. The artist, not the fabric, makes the art
  10. You control the fabric (it does not control you!)

After I finishing letting go of my already read (twice) Cloth-Paper-Scissors Studios magazine, I can’t promise I will never buy an issue again. This is truly a wonderful magazine with glimpses into artists’ studios and their inspiration.

“Food Saving” for Less Time in Kitchen, More Time in Studio

(Check out Sassy’s Schnauzer Snips page for her latest musings)

Food Saving? Tierney, what do you mean by food saving? Are you gathering random food you find about town to save to eat later?

No, I am talking about my beloved FoodSaver®Vacuum Sealing System, which I affectionately call the “Suck and Freeze”!

I live in a two human household and most recipes make at least 4 – 6 servings. So I will spend a weekend day or weeknight evening “power cooking” and making up several large dishes (such as a large lasagne). When the food has cooled, I will break it up it two serving size portions and vacuum seal them and then put them in the freezer (aka “Suck and Freeze”).

So after a long day at my pay-the-bills-healthcare-work (hint: not nearly as fun as crafting), I don’t have to think about dinner – I can just pull something out the freezer and head to the studio to work on a quilt or other craft project!

More time in the studio, less time in the kitchen!

I usually keep about a week’s worth of meals in the freezer to use whenever I do not feel like cooking. Plus if I am off at a quilt retreat, I know the husband has a stash of semi-healthy meals to eat (as opposed to be being lured to fast food and frozen pizzas while I am out of town!)

My beloved "Suck & Freeze" with some lasagne servings I just prepared for freezing

My beloved “Suck & Freeze” with some lasagne servings I just prepared for freezing

What’s no longer on the Design Wall: The Tree Outside My Window

This is a follow up to the post: What’s on the Design Wall: The Tree Outside My Window.

I found an organic branch-like/wood grain-like tone on tone fabric from my collection of Marcia Derse fabrics and placed it between the columns and then as the border.

So now the quilt top is done!

I am looking forward to seeing what it looks like once the machine quilter works her magic!

Some photos below…

NOTE: In the last photo, the quilt top looks a little askew, that is just because The Quilting Husband is trying to hold it still for the photo while the wind is blowing. 

A close up of one of the blocks with the setting fabric

A close up of one of the blocks with the setting fabric

The Tree Outside My Window under a tree outside my window!

The Tree Outside My Window under a tree outside my window!

Quilt Top completed on The Tree Outside My Window

Quilt Top completed on The Tree Outside My Window

The Empty Drawer

Sometimes love is shown in small sweet ways…

This post is an addendum to the post The Space in Which We Live in which I share how Marie Kondo’s book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing inspired me to downsize my unused and unneeded clothes and get rid of our second dresser in the bedroom.

Since I got rid of the dresser I used, I needed somewhere to store my socks and undies. I convinced my husband to give me one drawer of his tightly packed dresser. He groaned a little at first but realized how much space it would free up in the bedroom to only have one dresser. So he reluctantly cleared out a bottom drawer in his dresser for me.

I jokingly said: “Might I have a top drawer?”  A day later I discovered my stuff had been moved to a top drawer, all neatly organized by my husband.

Surprisingly, it did not take me long to get used to living with one drawer. Then the other day, I got quite a surprise: I was opening my top drawer quickly and not paying attention and accidentally opened the drawer below it.

AND IT WAS EMPTY!

My husband, without saying anything, had somehow cleared a second drawer for me, right below my newly beloved solitary top drawer. I now have TWO DRAWERS!

The Empty Drawer

The Empty Drawer

Recently I have been listening to a wonderful book on CD from the library called The Empowering Women Gift Collection (1997) which is a collection of lectures by the motivational and inspirational speakers Louise Hay, Christiane Northrup, Caroline Myss, and Susan Jeffers. Although this CD is from 1997 most of the inspirational information is still pertinent. One of the speakers discusses in her lecture that men may show their love differently than women. Basically they might show their love by fixing the faucet for you rather than getting all sweet and mushy, etc.

I definitely consider this unexpected and unrequested (second) EMPTY DRAWER an act of love!

What’s on the Design Wall: The Tree Outside My Window

Continuing my series “What’s On The Design Wall” with an update on where I am in my design and piecing of a new piece that I first introduced in the post: “What’s on the Design Wall: Rescued Blocks II“.

I provided an update on my progress in the post “What’s on the Design Wall: Making Progress?“.

Recently, the name for this piece came to me – “The Tree Outside My Window” as I completed 15 blocks to create this art quilt.

As you will see in the photos below, this piece has FIVE images of trees in it (the post “What’s on the Design Wall: Fabric Surface Design Experimentation” discusses how these trees were created) but “The Trees Outside My Window” did not sound right on my tongue. I believe when naming a piece, it has to sound right to you when you say the name aloud.

After creating fifteen 12.5 inch by 12.5 inch blocks from: 1) 4 inch – 10 inch blocks originally pieced by a friend (“Rescued Blocks”): 2) scraps from my friend; and 3) five printed trees from a surface design workshop, I decided to piece the blocks into 3 columns of 5 blocks each.

Now I am deciding what I want to do next with my design. I am leaning towards putting a strip of solid (or solid like) fabric in between each row and then floating it in the same color as a border. Originally I was going to use a cream batik but it did not look right. Next I thought: “Ah a brown batik with texture would work”, but alas, I only had brown batik scraps in my stash.

Then my fabric stash spoke to me (which is good because I did not want to go out and buy more fabric as I am trying to use my stash)! I spotted the perfect fabric – mono color textured design yardage from my collection of Marcia Derse Riverwoods Collection from Troy Corporation. (At one point I was addicted to this amazing collection and tried to be a sample of all fabrics in this line from The Stitchin’ Post in Central Oregon.)

I am going to leave it a mystery for now which fabric from this beautiful collection I selected for the strips between the three rows and the border. You have to wait until the next post on this piece!

Here are photos from my design wall to include some close-ups:

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The Tree Outside My Window (in progress)

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The Space in Which We Live

Sometimes a statement really resonates with you…

I am currently listening to the audiobook of The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing (Kondo, 2014).

The author, Marie Kondo makes a very powerful statement when she discusses letting go of mementos from our past:

The space in which we live should be for the person we are becoming now, not for the person we were in the past.

This book is not your average “here is how you organize your stuff type of book”. It takes a very different and profound approach on dealing with clutter, permanently. Getting rid of physical clutter helps free your mental clutter. I have already experienced this through starting to work through this book.

Marie Kondo approaches dealing with “your stuff” in a very beautiful way. In a way that honors your stuff and the happiness or the function it may have brought you in the past.

Her process requires that you physically touch every single thing you own and decide honestly: “does this bring me joy?”

Her process also involves thanking those things that you give up for what role they played in your life and then letting them go. (This all may sound strange but it is not, it feels very right and very peaceful).

Completed “Phase One”

I have made it through the first phase – letting go of clothing I do not need (she has a specific method and order in which you deal with different categories of your stuff). Two big things happened yesterday: 1) I took a huge carload of clothing and other random stuff to the Humane Society Thrift Store; and 2) I got rid of MY DRESSER!

Our bedroom always felt kind of cluttered with two dressers (my dresser and my husband’s dresser). My 25 year-old dresser blocked part of the area I use to get out of bed. My husband was able to make space for my undies and socks in his dresser. Everything else (including old socks and undergarments not in the best condition) was either discarded, donated or folded/hung up in the closet.

I did touch each item, determine if it brought be joy, and thanked those that did not (bring me joy) for their service before discarding them. We placed my dresser outside on the curb and 5 minutes later it was gone (I believe the Universe gave it to the person who needed next)! Suddenly with the dresser gone, the bedroom appeared to have better flow and energy. I now have room next to the bed to put out my yoga mat in the morning!

Unbelievably freeing experience, so far

You must read or listen to this wonderful book for this all to make sense, and it will. I highly recommend this book and the “Eastern Philosophy” influenced perspective of letting go of the stuff that clutters our lives and our minds.

I continue to work on letting the space that I live be for the person I am becoming now, not for the person I was in the past.

Random pretty sunflower which you will have time to enjoy once you declutter your life ;-)

Random pretty sunflower which you will have time to enjoy once you declutter your life 😉

Completion!

An update to my post Progress and Fear about the 5 quilts awaiting completion:

Finally, I finished binding all 5 quilts back from the long-arm quilter! I  have listed 4 of them for sale on the tierneycreates Etsy shop.

I still need to master photographing quilts as they are much prettier in person than my photos seem to reveal.

The 5th one, the “Ugly Sunflower Fabric Quilt” I wavered on and was going to keep, then was going to sell on Etsy, and now I am completely undecided.

I might just hold onto it until the Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show entry time next year to decide.

Perhaps I will put the sunflower quilt in the Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show as I am guessing bed size quilts are easier to sell at the show than lap size quilts (of the 5 quilts I had in the 2015 Sisters Outdoor Show, only the bed size quilt sold).

The plan is for next year’s Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show, I put in 5 quilts again and Terry “The Quilting Husband” put in 5 of his quilts!

Creativity Before Consumption

I see a red door and I want it painted black

– The Rolling Stones, Paint it Black

Bohemian Modern by Emily Henson, photo credit: amazon.com

Bohemian Modern by Emily Henson, photo credit: amazon.com

 One of my favorite things to do on a Saturday morning it to sit with a cup of tea and look through decorating books (and crafting books of course).

I usually have a large stack of decorating/interior design books from the public library right next to my chair where I sit by the window with my tea.

I recently finished an awesome interior design book called Bohemian Modern by Emily Henson.

Contained in its pages was a wonderful title to one of the book’s chapters: “Creativity Before Consumption”.

This quote has resonated with me and I want it incorporate it into my general philosophy of life.

I think I do already with how much I enjoy working with recycled materials and fabric scraps.

I did recently implement this concept in regards to my front door. I have disliked my plain white front door for a long, long time. I priced at the home improvement stores what it would cost to replace it and the cost has discouraged me from changing it out.

The white door was just not aesthetically pleasing and I have been looking at it everyday for the 10 years we have been in the house and it does not make me happy.

A radical (but simple idea) fell upon me – what about painting it another color?!?! (and why did I not think of this years ago?!!?). So I bought a can of black paint and painted it today! Below are the before and after photos. I hope you agree the black looks better. I am very pleased with my “new” front door!

A $8.95 can of paint was a much lower expense than a new front door (whose costs would have included the door plus professional installation!).

Yes, I think this is my new motto: Creativity Before Consumption!

(Be sure to check out Sassy the Highly Opinionated Miniature Schnauzer’s Schnauzer Snips page for her latest adventures and musing)