A Crafter Needs to Eat, A Crafter's Life

A Quilter’s Life

A while back a dear friend, who is not a quilter, whom I was trying convince to follow my blog, said: “But your blog is about quilting, and I am not a quilter…”

I replied: “My blog is about a Quilter’s Life” (which is of course more than just quilting).

So on this blustery autumn Saturday afternoon I have decided to just share some random happenings in my Quilter’s Life!  (Hope you are not too shocked over the wild life I lead, wink, wink).

Fabric Scraps, Well, Um, Yes Thank You

I hope I do not lose credibility with my readers, but in my very recent post A “Humane” Way to Eliminate Fabric Scraps, I pretty much vowed not to accept any more fabric scraps from friends. I have broken this vow, but if you are a quilter you will understand. I had lunch today with a couple of friends at our favorite Thai restaurant downtown and my friend Susan had beautifully packaged up some batik fabric scraps for me – how could I refuse them?

How could I turn these beautiful batik fabric scraps down?
How could I turn these beautiful batik fabric scraps down?

Junk Drawer Under Control!

I am still working through the lessons learned from reading Marie Kondo’s The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing (2014)  which I discussed in the post The Space in Which We Live. Recently I took on the infamous “Junk Drawer” (I know you all have one) and now have it under control. I was going to do a post just on organizing my “junk drawer” but I was pretty sure that would put you all to sleep as “organizing a junk drawer” is likely one of the most boring topics imaginable to devote an entire post. Thought I would share a photo and that is the end of talking about my “junk drawer”!

Ta Da - a semi organized
Ta Da – a semi organized “junk drawer” (I am actually able to find stuff without rifling through it too much).

Let’s Pretend this is a Culinary Blog (Just for a Moment)

Since I began blogging two years ago I have become addicted to reading other blogs. I never knew what I was missing – there are so many wonderful posts, ideas, stories, life experiences, and photos that my fellow bloggers share.

However, there is one type of blog I am completely intimidated by: Culinary/Cooking Blogs. Their photos are so beautiful, their blogs are so organized and well-written, and the recipes and cooking tips – sigh, I shudder with envy and intimidation.

For fun, I will pretend for a moment this is Culinary Blog and I will share a wonderful tip I learned from my friend Ali (who is a wonderful Home & Garden writer) who learned it from a chef she interviewed for an article:

A QUICK WAY TO DEAL WITH GARLIC CLOVES (eliminate the tedious peeling of garlic skin)

  1. Separate the cloves
  2. Take a medium-large stone (like one from the beach or your garden) that has been scrubbed clean, and firmly press down on the garlic to break it open.
  3. This will make removal of the garlic skin very easy – remove the garlic and chop, grate or mince it for your recipe!
No worries, I am not going to start a blog
No worries, I am not going to start a blog “tierneycooks”!

Parsley, Sage, Rosemary, and….

(By the way, did you notice that the photo above, from the section on a quick way to deal with garlic cloves, is not a very good photo? In culinary blogs their knives in photos are always very clean and very shiny while mine looks like it was smeared in mysterious goo. This is why you do not have to worry about a future “tierneycooks” culinary blog).

In my post Shared Bounty, I discussed how a friend had shared the “fruits of her labor” in her garden this past growing season. Today she gave me the last of her parsley, purple sage, and rosemary and suddenly I have the traditional English ballad “Scarborough Fair” (made famous by Simon & Garfunkel) stuck in my head. The only thing missing is “thyme”.

“Are you going to Scarborough Fair? Parley, sage, rosemary, and thyme; Remember me to one who lives there, For once she was a true love of mine.”

I love cooking and I am pretty excited by this last batch for the season of fresh from the garden herbs and plan to make them part of several stews and soups!

Parley, Sage, Rosemary...but no Thyme (but we could still head to the imaginary Scarborough Fair!)
Parley, Sage, Rosemary…but no Thyme (but we could still head to the imaginary Scarborough Fair!)

Well I know you all are exhausted from reading about my wild Quilter’s Life, so I will close here, as I now need to find something else to organize or a new project to start and not finish!

Fabric Scraps Obsession, Studio, Thrift Shop Adventures

A “Humane” Way to Eliminate Fabric Scraps

If you have followed my blog for awhile, then you know about my addiction to fabric scraps. This addiction seems to be incompatible with my desire to downsize and minimize my possessions.

The fabric scrap addiction began innocently enough – friends would give me their fabric scraps at quilting retreats. I would go for a “sew day” at a fellow quilter’s house and leave with some of her fabric scraps. As if that was not enough, I began to actually BUY scraps.

Yes, BUY FABRIC SCRAPS, you read correctly. There is a wonderful quilt shop in Central Oregon called The Stitchin’ Post and occasionally they would sell scraps bags of their beautiful high-end quilting fabrics.  I bought numerous bags from them.

Beautiful scraps or not, still I was buying fabric scraps.

In my post “Creative Inspiration: Organization???” I shared my new organization of my favorite fabric scraps by color. Although I had organized scraps by color I still had a GIANT box of remaining fabric scraps.

I knew I had to do something. I needed to let go of the fabric scraps I did not completely and absolutely love. However, I did not want to throw them away or try to convince another quilter to adopt them.

So I packaged them up into 30 bags and organized them into two baskets and DONATED them to our local Humane Society Thrift Store to sell! (How do I know that the Humane Society Thrift Store sells fabric scraps? Do you want to take a guess? Yes, because I have bought fabric scraps also from several thrift stores include the Humane Society Thrift Store in the past).

The Humane Society Thrift Store Volunteer accepting my donation seemed pleased that I had packaged them up for sale. I like to imagine if they sell each bag for a couple dollars or more each that could be over $90 – $150+ profit for a wonderful local animal shelter! Some of the bags are packaged by color and some are random – so many options for the Humane Society Thrift Shops’ customers!

A “Humane” way to let go of excess fabric scraps!

When I buy fabric from quilt shops in the future, it will be actual whole fabric (fat quarters or yardage). I still have plenty of fabric scraps and my fabric scrap collection contains only scraps I truly love and plan to use…eventually.


I am still working through the lessons from the book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo that I discussed in the post “The Space in Which We Live“. 

Books, Music, Podcasts, Quality of Life

The Thorn Bushes Have Roses…

Abraham Lincoln said:

We can complain because the rose bushes have thorns, or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses

I have just finished a wonderful audiobook, The Gratitude Diaries: How a Year Looking on the Bright Side Can Transform Your Life by Janice Kaplan (2015).

In her book, Janice Kaplan shares plenty of meaningful quotes, like the one above, as well as wonderful stories (personal and of others) about living each day filled with gratitude. The author also provides lots of social science/research (aka “Malcolm Gladwell” style) that supports why true happiness and peace comes from living an existence soaked in gratitude.

A very inspirational and very joyous audiobook listen.

Photo Credit: Amazon.com
Photo Credit: Amazon.com

One of my favorite quotes in the book is one by the Greek Philosopher Epicurus:

Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for.

Photo Credit: Pixabay

Blogging for Quilters

The Invitation to Speak

I was invited to speak on Blogging for Art Quilters at our October SAQA (Studio Art Quilt Associates) meeting, as the featured presenter.

In my “pay the bills” career in the health care industry, for the past 20+ years I have done numerous training and workshops for those in staff and in leadership positions. So my first thought when accepting the invitation to speak was: “No problem, I have done like a zillion presentations and I can give any group ‘Death by PowerPoint'”. 

I once even did a presentation for “the dead”. Or people I thought were dead (I mean a long time dead, they just hadn’t started to smell yet). I was the head of Medical Management for a Worker’s Compensation carrier and I had to do a presentation for the management group of a large retail organization.

When I got up to the podium and saw a sea of very blank and disengaged faces (basically they all looked “dead inside”), instead of having stage fright,  I thought “Screw it, I am going to have fun”!

I removed the microphone from the podium, walked into the glassy-eyed audience and began to work the crowd with my presentation like I was a nightclub act.  They suddenly came back to life and I had a blast (and maybe they did too) giving the presentation!

So I have little fear of public speaking as I have overcome some challenging audiences…that is, little fear in the health care industry

Fear Creeps In…

So our local SAQA group contains nationally and internationally known quilters, teachers, published book authors, and some seriously talented (like mind blowing-ly talented) art quilters. This was my first time ever presenting/speaking in the art quilting industry (I am usually thinking at each SAQA meeting “so what I am doing here with these people?”).

One of my friends in the health care industry said to me when I told her about the upcoming presentation: “Well Tierney, if you lose them you during your talk on blogging for art quilters, you could always start wowing them with your knowledge of medical cost management!”

Additionally I am no expert on blogging. I started in 2013 and I have been learning as I go and continually reading tips from other bloggers. My only saving grace was I knew I could put together a nice “Death by PowerPoint” for the group!

The Actual Speaking Engagement

The SAQA group was wonderful and it was easy to engage them, I had no need to be worried.

Highlights from my presentation “Blogging for Art Quilters”:

WHY BLOG? To have an online presence; to showcase your art; to connect with other quilters & artists; to connect with potential customers.

COMMON BLOGGING PLATFORMS: WordPress.com; Blogger.com; and Typepad.com

Kristin Shields (kristinshieldsart.com) introduced the group to an incredible website and blog option for art quilters: Square Space, This platform also allows artists to directly sell their art to customers (www.squarespace.com).

WRTING BLOGGING CONTENT: Engage your readers and get them coming back with interesting posts, “cliff-hangers”, and ongoing series; learn the blog hosting platform’s tips to make navigate your site easy for readers; brainstorm on ideas for posts and keep a journal of ideas; find your own voice and be true to yourself.

BLOGGING ETIQUETTE: (adapted from Idiot’s Guide Blogging Rules & Etiquette): Respond to and appreciate your readers they took the time to read your posts and comment; stay away from “hard sales” and controversial topics (religion, politics, etc.) unless that is the purpose of your blog; respect copyright laws.

SPELL CHECKING IS IMPORTANT (okay so sometimes I fail at this…but it is still important…): A tip I use (or try to use) is to read aloud my posts before posting to see if they are close to resembling standard English usage!  (So Tierney, are you actually a “native English speaker” or did you just recently learn via online instruction?)

PUBLICATIONS: Before I started blogging or starting my tierneycreates Etsy shop I did a lot of reading. Here are some of my favorites and I thank all the wonderful authors who wrote either the books or articles I enjoyed!

•  Artful Blogging Magazine, Stampington

  • Blogging for Creatives: How Designers, Artists, Crafters and Writers Can Blog to Make Contacts, Win Business, and Build Success (Robin Houghton, 2012)
  • Writers Can Blog to Make Contacts, Win Business, and Build Success (Robin Houghton, 2012)
  • Blogging for Dummies (Susannah Gardner, 2011)
  • How to Sell Your Crafts Online(Derrick Sutton, 2011)
  • The Handmade Marketplace (Kari Chapin, 2010)
  • Grow Your Handmade Business (Kari Chapin, 2012)

The Real Reason I Blog

At the end of my presentation, I shared why personally I blog: Connection.

At first my blog was to be a vehicle to gain potential customers for my Etsy shop, but then it became more than that – it became a vehicle to connect with other individuals with shared interests and discover other blogger and their blogs.

I so appreciate my readers and I now follow many blogs myself (trying to keep up with them all as best I can).  I love reading the life adventures of other individuals and the experiences and lessons their share!

“Death by PowerPoint” – only 23 slides, I did not torture the audience too badly…
Studio, What's on the Design Wall

What’s On the Design Wall: A Homecoming

Yesterday the long-arm quilter, Guadalupe Designs, unveiled the quilting done on my piece Abandoned Structure, which is based on an abandoned power plant in Central Oregon that I photographed many years ago.

For more on the development of this piece, the story behind it, and the original photo that inspired it, please see the post What’s On the Design Wall: Working Through a New Art Quilt Piece.

Once I got it home I stuck it up on the Design Wall (a sort of homecoming from where it originally was born).  I have not yet trimmed the batting from the edges or put the finish  on the edges, but I am enjoying just looking at the piece as it came off the long-arm quilting machine.

I am excited to add it to my collection of art quilts made from recycled clothing and garment manufacturing scraps.

Abandoned Structure (2015, in progress). Designed and pieced by Tierney Davis Hogan, Quilted by Betty Anne Guadalupe.
Abandoned Structure (2015, in progress). Designed and pieced by Tierney Davis Hogan, Quilted by Guadalupe Designs
A Crafter's Life

Shared Bounty

I started gardening a couple of years ago. Funny thing I used to live in Seattle, Washington which has a great climate and soil for gardening (you could practically throw something towards the ground and it would grow), and I was not into gardening.

Then I moved to Central Oregon where the soil is volcanic pumice lava rock of death or something like that, the growing season is short, and we have little rainfall (as a gardening bonus, ha!). Suddenly, now living in a challenging climate, I decided to start growing a vegetable garden.

Four years in, my raised beds finally had a decent harvest (for my expectations) – I had plenty of kale for many months (my $2.99 kale starts turned into like $80 in kale) and a decent harvest of cherry tomatoes…

HOWEVER, today I went over a friend’s house and saw her garden (she is a magical gardener) and left her house with large shared bounty from her harvest: giant squash, celery (I never knew someone who grew celery!), Yukon gold potatoes, tomatoes (heirloom and cherry), basil, Thai basil, rosemary, and lots of parsley.

It helps to have a friend who is an excellent gardener and generous!
It helps to have a friend who is an excellent gardener and generous!

My friend has really inspired me to keep on gardening, to learn more about gardening, and to try to expand the areas of my yard that I dedicate to my vegetable garden each year. I hope to be able to share this kind of bounty someday!

Quality of Life

Dark Cabinet of Mystery

There is nothing on the Design Wall and the sewing machine is cold…

We all have those stretches on “non-creatvity” and I am hopefully on the tail end of one of those stretches right now. I have however continued with my side project of decluttering and scaling back my life as discussed in previous posts.  I decided to take on THE DARK CABINET OF MYSTERY

Don’t be afraid to peek in (and then reach inside)…

Mysterious Dark Cabinet in my kitchen
I know I am not alone – many people have those drawers or cabinets “of mystery” in which you never peek unless you really, really, really need to find something (and you strongly suspect, unfortunately, it is in THERE).

Most of the time you just throw something in there and quickly close the door without looking too hard to see what has gathered inside.

I have started working on what I call my Dark Cabinet of Mystery in the corner of my kitchen. It is an oddly shaped cabinet and has angle that reaches into…another dimension? A break in the “space-time continuum”? A wormhole?  I actually asked my husband to just reach into the cabinet and pull everything out.

(I figured if something grabbed him when he reached in, I could retrieve the dogs quickly and run out of the house)

Well everything got pulled out, and my husband survived emptying the cabinet. Below is what was inside and it is obvious that I kept thinking: “oh I need to save this glass jar”, “I probably really need to save this glass jar”, “not sure if I have enough glass jars”…

In addition to a large supply of empty glass jars I discovered I had a springform (aka cheesecake pan) which I have never used since buying it like 20 years ago; and I have an electric carving knife used once or twice in the 15+ years I have owned. I also have an entire extra set of flatware.

All the things discovered inside the cabinet of mystery
All the things discovered inside the cabinet of mystery
Now I have to decide what to keep and what to recycle (hint the numerous glass jars) or donate. I also need to decide the future of the Dark Cabinet of Mystery…

Maybe I should just have the Dark Cabinet of Mystery professionally sealed up…especially if creatures from other dimensions find a way to slip in through a portal likely in one of its dark corners..

Books, Music, Podcasts, Quality of Life

The Four Cardinal Virtues

I just finished the audiobook CD Excuses Begone!: How to Change Lifelong, Self-Defeating Thinking Habits by Dr. Wayne Dyer, positive thinking guru. I did not realize until doing a little “googling” for this post that Dr. Dyer passed on August 30, 2015. What a legacy he left behind.

I loved this audiobook and his writing appears to be heavily influenced by Eastern Philosophy. In the book he discusses Lao-tsu’s Four Cardinal Virtues. They really resonated with me and I wanted to share them with you:

Four Cardinal Virtues

  1. Reverence for all life
  2. Natural Sincerity
  3. Gentleness
  4. Supportiveness

What a beautiful and peaceful world we would live in if all humans lived these virtues.


Fabric Scraps Obsession

It’s a Keeper!

Check out Sassy the Highly Opinionated Miniature Schnauzer’s latest musings on the Schnauzer Snips page; and check out the latest updates on the Textile Adventures page. 


A little update to the post What’s on the Design Wall: “Log Jamming”:

Terry, the “Quilting Husband” really got into making “log jam” style free form log cabin blocks. He ended up making over 100+ 6.5 inch x 6.5 inch blocks. We set them in 10 x 10 rows to create a quilt top. Betty Anne Guadalupe of Guadalupe Designs professionally quilted the top.

Log Jam by Terry (2015). Quilted by Betty Anne Guadalupe.
Log Jam by Terry (2015). Quilted by Betty Anne Guadalupe.

The plan was to list it on the tierneycreates Etsy Shop but I fell in love with it and decided – IT’S A KEEPER!  So now it is displayed on our dining room wall.

I have pieced many 6.5 inch by 6.5 inch log jam blocks myself (they are a fun and meditative way to use up fabric scraps) and I am thinking of making a Queen size (yikes) quilt with them for sale at the 2016 Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show.  First I will have to see how many I have done and then do some math (yikes, again) to figure out how many I will need (hint: 100 blocks only made a lap size quilt…).


I am not sure how it happened, but my previous post Because Nice Matters, was my 100th blog post! I remember when I started the tierneycreates blog in October 2013, I did not imagine getting to my 100th post (I was just happy to be at 5 posts!). It has been so fun so far connecting with other bloggers and I so appreciate my readers and followers!