A Crafter's Life

Winter Trees

After my recent post on the completion of the quilt Tree Outside My Window (see Update on “The Tree Outside My Window”), I started noticing the beauty of “Winter Trees”.

These bare (or nearly bare) trees are such a thing of understated beauty. I do not think I fully appreciated their austere structure and simple elegance.

There they stand, naked, and exposed to the winter sky.

Last week and today on my walk with the dogs (or “the fur kids” as we like to call them) I photographed several “Winter Trees” whose beauty made me pause.

Below are my photos to share with you:






Of winter’s lifeless world each tree
Now seems a perfect part;
Yet each one holds summer’s secret
Deep down within its heart.
~Charles G. Stater


These photos were taken with my iPhone camera and are not copyrighted. Please feel free to download them if you find them inspirational in your artistic endeavors! 


Update on “The Tree Outside My Window”

This is a quick follow up to the post What’s no longer on the Design Wall: The Tree Outside My Window – the quilt has been quilted by the talented long-arm quilter, Betty Anne Guadalupe!



Close up details:








A Crafter's Life

Terry the Quilting Husband Hard at Work

Check out Sassy the Highly Opinionated Miniature Schnauzer’s blog page Schnauzer Snips for her latest musings.

Quilt in Progress

Terry the Quilting Husband has been hard at work finishing another quilt for the Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show in July 2016, hoping to get into the Male Quilter exhibit (in the upcoming weeks he will submit his entries to the selection committee).

Over the past couple of months he made 82 9.5 inch blocks from my flannel scraps using the log jam method (see previous posts on “log jamming”) and sewed them into 9 rows of 9 blocks each:

Rows of flannel scrap log jam blocks waiting to be sewn together

If you do the math – 9 rows with 9 block each equals a 81 block quilt. So what became of the 82nd block? I was wondering about that also and went into Terry’s “studio” (he uses the guest bedroom as his sewing studio) to discover the fate of the extra block.

Here is what I found: he kept one of the blocks that had a schnauzer in the center (from a flannel dog fabric scrap with different breeds) and displayed it in his sewing area:


Note: our guest room is extremely dog themed. You would not want to stay at our house if you do not like dogs – ha!

The Pillow

The one block displayed made me smile and I wanted to make it into something more permanent for him, so I made a quick little throw pillow for him with the block.


Now he is focused on sewing the rows together so we can get it to the long-arm quilter.

I suspect when the quilt is quilted, we are going to struggle with wanting to part with it if we decided to put it for sale at the Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show!

Studio, What's on the Design Wall

What’s on the Design Wall: Making Progress

This post is an update on the post What’s on the Design Wall: “We Will Not Be Discarded!”.

I have been working on assembling the blocks designed from discards, from another quilter’s block piecing, and a solid coppery-rust fabric, into a piece called “We Will Not Be Discarded”.

I am playing with the block arrangements and looking at two different arrangement options for the 15 blocks in progress:

OPTION #1 – All blocks pointing the same way:


OPTION #2 – Blocks pointing opposite ways:


I am leaning towards Option #2 as it makes the piece appear to have more “movement”. Once I finish all 15 blocks, I will play again with the final arrangement.

We Still Will Not Be Discarded!

I am playing with the idea of making a second piece (“We Still Will Not Be Discarded!”) from the discards/trimming of the original discards! (And the scraps from the solid fabric they are set in)

That would be taking recycling to the extreme, right? The challenge does seems interesting…

Trimmed discards from the “trimmed discards” in my little trash basket – tempting!


Books, Music, Podcasts, Creative Inspiration

Creative Inspiration: My Journals

This continues my series of posts on my sources of creative inspiration

Two Journals, Two Different Purposes

I keep two journals. One journal for art quilting ideas and inspirations; and another journal for tierneycreates business, blogging and life in general ideas and inspirations.

The journal on the left, used for art quilting ideas and inspiration, has a handmade cover that I made during an intuitive design piecing class homework assignment. The lime green “sketchbook” on the right is what I use for tierneycreates, blogging ideas and life inspiration.


I got the idea of keep an art quilt ideas/inspiration journal from Jean Wells Keenan‘s brilliant books Intuitive Color and Design: Adventures in Art Quilting and Journey to Inspired Art Quilting. I was also fortunate enough to take her series of classes, Journey to Art Inspired Quilting, twice and see in person her wonderful inspirational art quilting journal.

In my art quilting journal I keep clippings from magazines and photos from my travels and nature that are future inspirations for art quilts. At first I had planned to use my art quilting journal for blogging ideas and tierneycreates business ideas. I discovered I wanted to keep the art quilting journal for quilt ideas and development. So I started a second journal.

I love both my journals, but I use the second journal (which I will refer to as the “tierneycreates journal”) more frequently.

The “tierneycreates journal” is where I write down ideas I get from listening to home-based business related audiobooks; books from the library on small business development and growth; quotes I find in magazines, books or hear on the media (radio, TED Talks, television, etc.); and any notes from searches on the internet (for example:  What are the standard sizes for table runners that I should use for my tierneycreates Etsy shop table runners?).

I also use the”tierneycreates journal” to map out my future blog posts or blog post ideas. Sometimes I will spontaneously write a blog post, and sometimes I will write a post about a topic I have been thinking about for a couple of weeks and already fleshed out in my journal what I want to write about that topic.

I find it challenging to keep sudden ideas and inspiration stored in my mind. It seems that inspiration and ideas can come to you at any time. My journals provide a way to record them, even if they are only a skeleton of an idea that will need its internal organs and flesh added at a later date!


As mentioned in my series of posts on Nonfiction Audiobooks, I continue to enjoy listening to audiobooks while I work on quilting projects.

I recently finished a wonderful and inspirational audiobook by Anne Lamott – Small Victories: Spotting Improbable Moment of Grace (Riverhead Books, 2014). The audiobook was read by the author which is always a treat for me – you get to experience what the author feels should be emphasized in the reading of a book based on their vocal inflections.

This book is basically a collection of personal biographical essays on the author’s experiences. Anne Lamott tells these stories  with raw, relatable, and passionate language from a deeply spiritual yet deeply irreverent perspective! So far one of my favorite nonfiction audiobooks of all time.

Fabric Scraps Obsession, Studio, What's on the Design Wall

What’s on the Design Wall: “We Will Not Be Discarded!”

My collaborative partner on The Wardrobe Meets the Wall, Betty Anne Guadalupe and I have been fascinated with the idea of “Rescuing Blocks” that other quilters have discarded and we have an ongoing obsession with fabric scraps given to us by other quilters.

A quilting friend of ours (we think it was our friend Judy?) gave Betty Anne “Trimmed Block Discards” a while back (a couple years ago at a quilt retreat?).

What do I mean by by “Trimmed Block Discards”? I mean the ends of sections or blocks pieced for a quilt that trimmed off to make the quilt fit together. These are usually tossed in the trash by quilters (except those pathologically obsessed with scraps).

Betty Anne recently gave me these discards and challenged me to make an art quilt piece out of them. I could not turn down such a challenge: The ends of someone else’s blocks meant for the trash – recycled into a quilt!

I have already named the piece: “We Will Not Be Discarded!”

I started with figuring out a uniform way to make the discards work. I decided to float them in a  coordinating solid:


Trimming the discards into triangle shapes:


The discards all trimmed into various sizes triangles and ready for the design wall:


On the Design Wall – waiting for what happens next…


To be continued…



Here are several other posts on playing with rescued blocks and discards from other quilters:

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

What Was On the Design Wall: Rescued Blocks




A Crafter's Life, Studio, tierneycreates

Various Updates!


In the post The “Basted” Quilt, Dilemma, and Temptation I bemoaned about my dilemma of wanting to just let the large basting stitches on a quilt suffice as the quilting. Well I put on my “big girl panties” and made it through quilting it myself, using just straight stitches, 1/4 inch apart. So glad it is done! (BTW the whole I time I quilted it I was groaning “why didn’t I just let the long-arm quilter quilt this for me?!?!)



In my recent post Inside the Studio I shared photos of my tierneycreates studio layout. This weekend I added another item to the studio – I pulled the sad ironing board out of the room and added a workbench table from Harbor Freight Tools. This table was on sale this past weekend for an excellent price. One of my Quilt Sisters gave me a heads up on this wonderful find. Terry “The Quilting Husband” got it assembled and we made a removable wide ironing board top for the table.  I love it!


My younger brother surprised me with a new cutting mat for Christmas and I discovered the cutting mat fits nicely on top of the removable ironing board. I can cut and press small pieces on the same surface area. My brother has been very supportive of my quilting adventure (and he and his family has benefited from various quilts I have made them!)  Past Christmases he has surprised me with quilting books I do not have! (I suspect he has a secret inside quilting connection, ha!)



Handmade at Amazon

I shared in several prior posts how I was looking at listing items on Amazon’s new platform for crafters to sell their handmade items  –Handmade at Amazon. I was accepted to become an “artisan” on this platform but I have decided to just stick with Etsy. I love the experience of working with Etsy customers and I think I would be stretching myself too thin with my full-time healthcare job, my tierneycreates Etsy shop, and the Amazon shop.

Terry the Quilting Husband’s Future Exhibit

Terry, the Quilting Husband, is going to submit 5 quilts to the Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show for consideration to be in the show. They will be having a special Male Quilter Exhibit. More details later this year!

Also Terry is looking at working on Quilts of Valor quilts to be donated to local Veterans, in the future. A Veteran himself and a military history hobbyist, this would be a wonderful was to combine quilting and his deep respect/wanting to honor those who served. There is currently a local project trying to get red, white and blue quilts to the oldest of the local Veterans, primarily WWII Veterans.

Upcoming Show

My The Wardrobe Meets the Wall collaborator and beloved long-arm quilter and friend, Betty Anne, and I are having an upcoming show at Twigs Gallery in Sisters, Oregon, opening the end of March. More details in the future.



Inside the Closet

This is technically Part II of yesterday’s post “Inside the Studio“. A friend suggested I share what is inside the closet in my studio.

Here are photos of the left and right side of the closet, which has  sliding doors so I cannot fully open the closet to expose both sides at once.

The Left Side


The Right Side


I like to think I am organized. I know I am more organized than I used to be and I can find things fairly quickly. I bought a label maker a couple of years ago and have fully embraced its use!


A friend shared a wonderful quote with me today that I have been mulling it over the entire day:

Photo credit: letslassothemoon.com

Inside the Studio

(Check out Sassy the Highly Opinionated Miniature Schnauzer’s latest musing on her Schnauzer Snips page)

The title of this post makes it sound like a thrilling exposé of what really goes on behind the scenes at tierneycreates: drama, intrigue, maybe even a little scandal…

No not that exciting – just recent photos of my studio where I do my tierney-creating!

The back wall where I keep my fabric scraps by color, and my cutting table where I  hide underneath those things that-are-not-finished (that brightly colored batik quilt it meant to distract the viewer from what is beneath…).

To the lower right of the photo you will see my mini design wall. I learned from a quilting friend that it is handy to have a smaller portable design wall.


My sewing machine and ironing board (two very essential items!) I got the idea from another quilter to cover my ironing board with a towel to make ironing smoother and easier. Sometimes I also use a cotton dishtowel to iron small pieces on.

My wonderful brother gave me the sewing table for my birthday last year and the leaf folds down and the table becomes a small cabinet if I need more room).


My IKEA Billy Bookcase of fabric! This organization came out of my massive fabric purge in 2015 (see post The Fabric Purge!). The curtains in the room are made from a sari my friend Jenny brought back from her trip to India for me.


My storage closet with custom made sliding doors which I first discussed in the post Rethinking a Closet. One door has sheet metal mounted to serve as a magnetic idea board. The other has batting attached to serve as a design wall (refer to all my posts on “What’s on the Design Wall). 


I am not sure why I selected the color yellow when I painted this room 8 or so years ago. Somedays I think: “I am going to paint it white or some other neutral color”. Yellow can be overstimulating, but I simply embrace the over stimulation and decorate the room with brightly colored things – like this lovely quilt my friend Judy made me and several silk screen prints from an artist friend in my youth (the other silk screen is in the first photo).

I like to watch “quilting movies” (movies you don’t really have to pay close attention to) and documentaries while I am quilting on the screen below.


Another brightly colored piece of art in my studio – a wallhanging from my friend Betty Anne. 


Well back to creating in the tierneycreates Studio – I better not keep that Design Wall empty for too long!

A Crafter's Life

Quotable Quotes

Happy New Year to you all! I love the idea of the “New Year” being a clean and blank slate to fill with new adventures, experiences, insights, evolutions and accomplishments.

I also love quotes and thought for my first post of the New Year, I would share some of my favorite quotes I collected in 2015 in my journal of inspiration.


If you are depressed, you are living in the past. If you are anxious you living in the future. If you are at peace, you are living in the present.


Forgiveness means giving up all hope for a better past.


Love yourself with a Kung Fu grip.


You use up everything you got trying to to give everyone what they wanted.


Guard well your spare moments. They are like uncut diamonds. Discard them and their value will never be known. Improve them and they will become the brightest gems in a useful life.


And still, after all this time, the Sun has never said to the Earth, “you owe me”. Look what happens with love like that. It lights up the sky.

A flower from my Summer Garden to brighten your Winter (especially if you are currently living in a snow covered frozen tundra like me…)