Life is Nonfiction Revisited

(The featured photo is a beautiful sunset in Central Oregon, photographed while on my evening walk, listening to a nonfiction audiobook!)

Back in October 2014 I began a series of posts discussing my favorite non fiction audiobooks beginning with Life is Nonfiction. In the subsequent post: Life is Nonfiction: Part IILife is Nonfiction: Part IIILife is Nonfiction: Part IV, and Life is Nonfiction: Part V.

My sister is a Student Advisor for the Department of Social Work for a university. She contacted me yesterday to see if I had a list of inspirational books I recommended for their resource library for Social Work students (she knows about my addiction to self-improvement books).

I sent her the links to the above posts and then realized that since posting the original series, I have mentioned or discussed numerous other nonfiction audiobooks.

Somedays I cannot believe just how many nonfiction audiobooks (primarily in the “self-improvement” genre) I listened to over the past several years. Most of these audiobooks are from my local public library’s free digital downloads/audiobook loans; a couple of the books I purchased through audible.com.

I go on two walks each day for approximately 75 – 90 minutes of walking each day. This leaves a lot of time to listen to audiobooks. I also listen to them on the weekend while working on quilting projects.

If I am not listening to an audiobook, then I am listening to one of my favorite podcasts: The Miminalists, The TED Radio Hour, Freakonomics Radio, or The Moth Radio Hour. I am drawn to listening to material in which I learn something or I am inspired by someone’s personal story. Occasionally I do listen to a Science Fiction/Fantasy novel (I love Neil Gaiman!) or Young Adult Fiction (yes I have listened to the Hunger Game series, Twilight, etc.) but I continue to primarily seek out inspirational listens.

I put together the list below for my sister of my favorite inspirational nonfiction books and  I am sharing in this post as a summary of all my recommendations posted on this blog to date. (Disclaimer: In graduate school, we were required to use American Psychological Association (APA) format for citing references and bibliographies; this list is not in proper bibliography format and if you are a stickler for correct format – my apologies!):


Favorite Nonfiction Audiobooks Mentioned on the tierneycreates Blog:

  • Acuff, Jon – Do Over: Rescue Monday, Reinvent Your Work, and Never Get Stuck
  • Brown, Brené  – Daring greatly: how the courage to be vulnerable transforms the way we live, love, parent, and lead
  • Burroughs, Augusten –  This is how: proven aid in overcoming shyness, molestation, fatness, spinsterhood, grief, disease, lushery, decrepitude & more – for young and old alike
  • Cain, Susan – Quiet: the power of introverts in a world that can’t stop talking.
  • Dyer, Wayne – 101 Ways to Transform Your Life
  • Dyer, Wayne – Excuses Begone!: How to Change Lifelong, Self-Defeating Thinking Habits
  • Duhigg, Charles – The power of habit: why we do what we do in life and in business
  • Fey, Tina – Bossypants
  • Fiore, Neil – The Now Habit: A Strategic Program for Overcoming Procrastination and Enjoying Guilt-Free Play
  • Gilbert, Elizabeth – Committed: a skeptic makes peace with marriage
  • Gilbert, Elizabeth – Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear
  • Gladwell, Malcom – What the dog saw and other adventure stories
  • Gladwell, Malcom –  David and Goliath: underdog, misfits, and the art of battling giants
  • Gordon, John – The Energy Bus: 10 Rules to Fuel Your Life, Work, and Team with Positive Energy
  • Guillebeau, Chris – The art of nonconformity: Set your own rules, live the life you want, and change the world
  • Heath, Chip – Decisive: how to make better choices in life and work
  • Heath Chip & Health, Dan – Switch: how to change things when when is hard.
  • Huffington, Arianna – Thrive: the third metric to redefining success and creating a life of well-being, wisdom, and wonder
  • Huffington, Arianna – The Sleep Revolution: Transforming Your Life, One Night at a Time
  • Iyer, Pico – The Art of Stillness: Adventures in Going Nowhere
  • Jeffers, Susan – Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway
  • Kaplan, Janice – The Gratitude Diaries: How a Year Looking on the Bright Side Can Transform Your Life
  • Kelly, Matthew – Off balance: getting beyond the work-life balance mouth to personal and professional satisfaction
  • Kondo, Marie – The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing
  • Lamott, Anne – Small Victories: Spotting Improbable Moments of Grace
  • Levitin, Daniel – The Organized Mind: Thinking Straight in the Age of Information Overload
  • Levitt, Steven and Dubner, Stephen – Think Like a Freak
  • Loyd, Alexander- Beyond Willpower
  • McGonigal, Jane  – SuperBetter
  • Patchett, Ann – This is the Story of a Happy Marriage
  • Robinson, Ken  – Finding your element: how to discover your talents and passions and transform your life
  • Rubin, Gretchen – Better Than Before: Mastering the Habits of Our Everyday Lives
  • Singer, Michael – The untethered soul: the journey beyond yourself
  • Souza, Brian – Become Who You Were Born to Be
  • Stulz, Phil and Michels, Barry – The Tools: Transform Your Problems Into Courage, Confidence, and Creativity
  • Taleb, Nassim – Antifragile: things that gain from disorder
  • Tolle, Eckhart – A new earth: awakening to your life’s purpose
  • Tolle, Eckhart – The power of now: a guide to spiritual enlightenment
  • Weber, Lauren – In cheap we trust: the story of a misunderstood American virtue
  • White, Jennifer – Work less, make more

Monday, Again

I walked/climbed/hiked Pilot Butte (see previous post “Monday“) for the 3rd Monday in a row today.  I was fairly pleased with myself, as I again went up and back down Pilot Butte in 45 minutes.

However, on the way back to my car, I passed by the Pilot Butte Challenge board and noticed the records, by age group, of the fastest ascent/descent of Pilot Butte. I see in the 95 & up age range, someone walked up and down Pilot Butte in 26.51 minutes.

Yes, 95 & up. Now, my new goal is to be able to at least walk up and back down Pilot Butte in 26:51 minutes. Maybe I can even walk faster than that “95 & up” year old person someday and beat their record! Maybe someday I can even beat the time of the record holder in the “90 – 94” age group! (If I am going to dream, I might as well dream big! Ha!)

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Here are some photos from my Pilot Butte hike today to distract you from the fact that my time was nearly 20 minutes slower than someone “95 & up” (maybe they were a retired Olympian or something; or maybe a space alien…).

The Library Stack

This post continues my series on the “stack of books” I am currently borrowing from the library…


The Latest Stack

My latest stack of books from the library is HUGE. I am not sure where to start. Should I first work on having The Ageless Body, designing my day, or checking out some Scandinavian Stitches while I love the house that I am in? 

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Finally, Tierney takes a clear photo (considerable clearer than last time).

I will need a HUGE pot of tea to get through this stack!

What happened: I went a little crazy browsing the shelves during my recent trip to the library (we would not have guessed Tierney). Then I discovered I also had books I had reserved waiting in the Patron Holds section of the library in my name.

I could not put down any books from the huge stack in my hand (from browsing the shelves). I did not want any book to get its feelings hurt (books are very sensitive), so I checked both piles of books out from the library !


The Prior Stack

One of the tierneycreates readers had asked to hear more about the books from the previous stack I posted. Maybe I should not just share photos of the stacks but perhaps tell you a little about the books I liked?

Here is the link to the original post: The Library Stack; and  here are my thoughts on a couple of the books from my prior stack:

The Photographer’s iPad by Frank Gallaugher: I thought this book would help me take better photos with my iPad for my blog (I bet my readers were hoping the same). Paying closer attention to the title, it reads “The PHOTOGRAPHER’S iPad”. Yes, this was a book for actual, genuine, real photographers who want to use the iPad as a tool to edit their photography taken with their real cameras. I did learn a couple of tips but most of the book was way beyond my understanding of photography (basically because it involved using an actual real camera!).

Eat Well Be Well: Living Your Best Life through the Power of Anti-Inflammatory Food by Jan Tilley: This book had wonderful healthy recipe ideas and was loaded with information support why “food is medicine”.

The Complete Photo Guide to Cardmaking by Judy Wantanabe: This book made me want to return to a previous hobby of handmade card making. It was beautifully illustrated with easy to follow instructions and great design ideas!

Country Living: American Style by Country Living AND The Shopkeeper’s Home by Caroline Rowland: These two books were delightful to browse while tea-sipping. I have no immediate plans to redecorate my home but I enjoy looking at photos of well designed and comfortable interiors. My idea of a perfectly decorated home is one that you want to take a cozy nap in.

(The best compliment I ever received about my randomly decorated home was from a 3 year old who said: “Tierney your home is cozy!” as he dove into a stack of pillows he was making into some kind of fort in my living room.)


Postscript

I finished the wonderful audiobook Become Who You Were Born to Be by Brian Souza that I mentioned in previous posts.

I am now listening to an equally as wonderful audiobook The Sleep Revolution: Transforming Your Life, One Night at a Time by Arianna Huffington. Ms. Huffington is the author of Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-Being, Wisdom, and Wonder, one of my favorite “self-help” books of all time. She is of course the creator of the Huffington Post, one of my favorite online publications.

I accept I am fairly addicted to self-help/self-improvement audiobooks but I have no plans to stop listening to them in the near future!

Creative Inspiration: Stories My Father Told Me

This post continues my series on my sources of Creative Inspiration.


Friday Night at Barnes & Noble Bookstore: A Discovery

Life is filled with serendipitous events. Several Fridays ago such an event occurred.

A wild Friday night in Central Oregon involves hanging out at the local Barnes & Noble bookstore. I love browsing in bookstores. I love bookstores, period. They are nearly as magical as libraries (except the discoveries at bookstores are not free to take home!)

While browsing the magazine section of Barnes & Noble, I came across a magazine I had not seen before – American Craft Magazine (and I thought I knew all the magazines in the “crafting” magazine section). This magazine is published by the American Craft Council.

Flipping through this magazine I found an article on an exhibit by the WCQN (Women of Color Quilting Network). I did not know, as a woman of color, that there was a Women of Color Quilting Network! I made a mental note of the acronym and immediately upon returning home I googled the WCQN.

The WCQN , according to their website “is a non-profit organization founded in 1985 by Carolyn L. Mazloomi, a nationally-acclaimed quilt artist and lecturer, to foster and preserve the art of quilt making among women of color.”

Wow. What a discovery for me!

I contacted the Director of WCQN, Dr. Carolyn L. Mazloomi, to find out how I could join.


WCQN Inspiration

After several wonderful exchanges with Dr. Mazloomi, I am now a member of the WCQN. I had the opportunity to view her website, www.carolynlmazloomi.com and view her amazing art. I also spent a considerable amount of time looking at the the WCQN website, www.wcqn.org, and viewing their past exhibitions (www.wcqn.org/exhibit.html).

I was overwhelmed with inspiration to explore an additional direction in my art quilting – telling stories with my art quilt.

The WCQN art quilts poignantly share stories from a people of color’s perspective and shared experience.

Wanting to explore this theme in the future, I am inspired to create a future series of art quilts called Stories My Father Told Me.


Stories My Father Told Me

My father, Raoul A. Davis, Sr. was an amazing man. He passed in 2008, and left behind a legacy of stories and inspiration.

Born of the 4th of July, he was the son of two teachers and grew up the segregated South (Charleston, West Virginia) in the 1930s. He faced many hardships and challenges but always forged ahead to achieve his goals and dreams. He was the first black to attend Kiski School in Pennsylvania, received a bachelor’s degree from Central State University, and obtained his master’s degree from Columbia University. He also served his country in the US Army.

He served as a leader in the nonprofit sector for over 40 years. His service included working with gangs and underprivileged youth as a Social Worker in NYC; founding the Urban League of Long Island, NY; and creating the first Empire State Black Arts and Cultural Festival (today known as the African American Family Day Art Festival).

He retired as the Deputy Commissioner for the Office of General Services for the State of NY. In his retirement he volunteered and consulted for local nonprofits and community agencies.

His resume was impressive, but what I remember most about him is his stories.

Starting from my earliest memories as a child, I remember him telling me stories of his challenges growing up in the segregated South, stories of his athletic pursuits (he was an accomplished multi-sport athlete), stories about the intense hazing he received as the first black to attend Kiski Prep School, stories of overcoming shocking physical and psychological abuse in the US Army in the 1950 by his drill sergeant, and many other inspirational stories from his life.

A couple of years before he passed he decided to write his autobiography and I offered to help him by transcribing his handwritten notes and pulling them into a rough draft. It was so wonderful to read the stories I knew well from hearing in my youth; and I was honored to help him with this project.

Unfortunately my father passed before finishing his autobiography. I did take what I had and make it into a book for my sister and brother (two incredible individuals who continue my father’s legacy and inspire me daily); and for his grandchildren (one of which he did not get to meet before he passed).

I am still left with all his stories in my head and in my heart, and I think I want to share them in another medium beyond the verbal and written word: in my art quilts.


His Stories into My Quilts

I am in the early stages of thinking of how I want to translate some of my favorite stories into a textile story – will I do something abstract, or will I do a pictorial quilt (time to brush up my appliqué skills!).

An ongoing theme in all his stories is: Here is a challenge, it may seem impossible, but you can overcome it!

One of my favorite stories that my father told me, is a story from his growing up in the segregated South and a bus ride experience that embodied his outlook on dealing with racial prejudices:

As a teenage in the 1940s, I was riding on the bus and a white guy was forced to sit next to me because no other seats were available. He turned to me and growled – “I hate you, you  #%%$%%!”  

I calmly replied to him “Well, you would like me if you got to know me”.

We ended up having a great conversation and when we got to his bus stop, he exclaimed as he exited the bus: “Raoul, you are alright”.

My father likely did not change this man’s racist outlook on people of color, but he may have left an imprint in this man’s mind and heart to evaluate people based on their character not their color.

My father, who was also active in the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960s and fortunate to have met Martin Luther King, Jr., believed in focusing on getting to know each other as individuals and not judging an entire group or population.

He believed change came through dialogue not violence. He taught his three children to be brave, no matter what adversity life threw at them; and to as Mahatma Gandhi said “…be the change you wish to see in the world”.

He also taught us to be proud of who we are as individuals, as a people and of our heritage, and not to listen to those who tell you otherwise.

“I will not let anyone walk through my mind with their dirty feet.” – Gandhi

I would be honored to share his stories through my quilts.

Monday

As you can see, I am playing with my blog template again. Why does WordPress give me so many interesting options for my blog template? How can I ever be happy just sticking with the same template, ha! I welcome your feedback on the latest look to the tierneycreates blog: “Chalkboard” template.


Happy Monday to you all! A couple photos and updates to share with you as follow ups to various previous posts:


Creative Inspiration: The Scents of Spring

The flowering crabapple tree is in full bloom in front of my house and unbelievably, deliciously, inspirationally fragrant. When I step out from front door I am immediately enveloped with this incredible scent of Spring and the sounds of busy bees buzzing around the crabapple tree blooms!

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Update: Ohio

I appreciate all the feedback on this post. I did decide to orientate the piece vertically.

It is now with Betty Anne Guadalupe to work her quilt magic.


Twigs Gallery Show Photos

I recently learned that my piece, made from discards from another quilter’s project, We Will Not Be Discarded, has sold in the Twigs Gallery Collaboration show!

Very exciting – this is my first time selling my quilting art at a gallery show!

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If you would like to read more about the story behind this piece, please see the post What’s on the Design Wall: “We Will Not Be Discarded!”.


You Got to Start Somewhere

I walked Pilot Butte again today, this time it took me 46 minutes to go up to the summit and back down, 4 minutes off my time last Monday (when I returned hiking our “mini mountain” in town for the first time after an 8 month hiatus after my foot injury).

The 360 degree views of Bend, Oregon and Central, Oregon continue to be breathtaking on another impossibly blue sky day here (we have a lot of impossibly blue sky beautiful days).

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In the post You Got to Start Somewhere I shared that I listened to the audiobook Become Who You Were Born to Be by Brian Souza while hiking Pilot Butte. Today I continued my listen of this inspirational audiobook while hiking the Butte.

I wanted to share a wonderful quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson from this book which brought a smile to my face and a small tear to my eye from its beauty and truth.

What is Success?

“To laugh often and much;

To win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children;

To earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends;

To appreciate beauty, to find the best in others;

To leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition;

To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived.

This is to have succeeded.” 

– Ralph Waldo Emerson

Enjoy the rest of your week!

I am sure before the end of the week I will have more thoughts to share with you from all the thoughts that constantly swirl around in my head. Perhaps they will even have to do with quilting! (Smile).

Update: Ohio

This is a quick follow up to my post from earlier this week: In Progress: Ohio.

My new recycled silk garment scrap piece is done and ready to go to Betty Anne Guadalupe  to work her art quilting magic. It measures approximately 24″ x 14″.

I have not decide if I want the piece to orientate this way:

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Or this way:

 

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I welcome any thoughts and comments you have on the orientation – thanks!

You Got to Start Somewhere

Yesterday, 04/11/16, I hiked Pilot Butte, a cinder cone butte (extinct volcano) in Central Oregon. This was my first time hiking “the Butte” since issues with my foot last Fall.

It felt like a great accomplishment since at times during my recovery, I struggled with just returning to regular walks around my neighborhood, much less being able to hike again.

My History with the “Butte”

Prior to my foot injury last fall, I regularly hiked Pilot Butte. In addition to hiking Pilot Butte, I had started going to short runs around my neighborhood. I felt in really great shape.

Central Oregon is a volcanic region (no active volcanos) and its geography is peppered with remnants of its volcanic origins, such as Pilot Butte.

Pilot Butte, according to Wikipedia, has an elevation of 4142 feet  above sea level (rising 500 feet from Central Oregon which is 3500+ feet above sea level). From the top of Pilot Butte, the entire city of Bend, Oregon is visible, as are several of the major peaks of the Oregon Cascades Mountain range (Three Sisters, Broken Top, Mount Bachelor, etc).

When I moved from Seattle, WA to Central Oregon over 10 years ago, I had to adjust to the high altitude (Seattle is at sea level). Central Oregon’s climate is called the “high desert” and resembles areas of Colorado. In the late Spring, Summer, and early Fall it can be very dry and dusty. (Central Oregon averages about 12 inches of rainfall per year, the US average of rain is 37 inches according to Sperling’s Best Places).

When I lived in Seattle, I walked a lot and considered myself in fairly decent shape for long walks. I also went hiking and biking in Seattle. After moving to Central Oregon, I remember my first time to hike Pilot Butte – I was so thirsty (the very dry air) and was easily fatigued. I was not used to the altitude!

Persistence pays off and in time my body acclimated to the altitude and I got better at hiking Pilot Butte. Before my foot injury last fall, I could hike Pilot Butte without stopping for any breaks. The hike is only 1 mile up and 1 mile down but there is a gain of 500 feet of elevation, most of it fairly steeply uphill. Area athletes use Pilot Butte for training and there is even an annual competition of fast run up and down the Butte.

The views are amazing, you wind around a continually elevating 360 degree loop until you get to the summit.

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View of the city of Bend, Oregon while hiking the Butte

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Starting Somewhere

My right foot was a disaster last Fall, and my left foot was beginning to have difficulty. After several medical appointments (including an urgent care appointment as I thought I had a stress fracture when I work up one morning and could not walk on my right foot), I was diagnosed with Plantar fasciitis and a Morton’s neuroma.

Suddenly I could no longer hike, go on runs, or even walk my dogs. I ended up in a walking boot on my right foot for a couple weeks. After getting orthotics, home physical therapy exercises and starting on slow short walks, eventually I was able to return to walking my dogs.

I was even able to go on a long fairly flat hike with a friend. However I was scared to return to Pilot Butte.

I woke up on Monday morning 04/11/16 (I have Mondays off from work) and decided just to do it.

I was going to return to hiking Pilot Butte, even if I was the slowest, saddest looking hiker going up the Butte. I had to start somewhere. 

I am not sure if I was the slowest, but I was fairly slow, stopping as I needed for breaks. One guy on his second of third time looping past me (he was running the Butte), told me to “hang in there”.

I timed myself and it took 50 minutes, which is not bad as when I was in better shape, I could go the up and down hike in 35 – 40 minutes.

Postscript: Audiobook Inspiration

While hiking the Butte, I listened to the audiobook Become Who You Were Born to Be by Brian Souza.  This book is filled with wonderful, inspiring stories of individuals who overcame unbelievable obstacles to achieve their dreams.

One of the stories the author shares in the audiobook, is that of the polar explorer Ernest Shackleton and his team’s survival for over a year on the ice-bound Antarctic seas in the early 1990s. He and members of his team successfully hiked 32 miles over frozen mountainous terrain in 36 hours (if they stopped to rest they would die of hyperthermia) to make it to a whaling station to be rescued.

I figured I could hike a mile up and back down a “miniature mountain” on on a beautiful Spring day after listening to that story!

This audiobook was a very inspirational listen as I convinced myself to continue to the top of Pilot Butte!

“By endurance we conquer.” – Ernest Shackleton

In Progress: Ohio

Check out Sassy the Highly Opinionated Miniature Schnauzer’s page Schnauzer Snips for her latest musings (and a new homemade dog biscuit recipe!)

This is an update to my 04/07/16 post, What’s on the…Table. I am making progress with my piece “Ohio” and still using the table to design it rather than the design wall (the mini recycled silk log cabin blocks were not sticking well on the design wall).

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Ohio (2016), in progress

I have sewn all the 2.5″ x 2.5″ recycled silk blocks together. I decided to “float” them in a piece of taupe/tweed looking recycled silk (it has a beautiful texture, it is a tweed like woven silk).

I am still deciding what I want to do with the little 2″ x 2″  blocks I made; and how I want to float the blocks in the lovely tweed-like recycled silk.

It will be a small piece overall, it was meant to be a companion piece to Betty Anne Guadalupe’s piece, Ohio Star, part of our The Wardrobe Meets the Wall Collection.

I cannot wait to complete the piece and give it to Betty Anne to work her quilting magic/artistry!

I have some scraps left over, and we’ll see if Betty Anne is up to the challenge to try and make a third small piece from the tiny scraps! (My piece in progress, Ohio, is made from her scraps from Ohio Star, which was made from my original piecing disaster Ohio Star!)

The Library Stack

Continuing my series on the stack of books I am currently borrowing from the library…

If you have been following my blog, you know I am completely in love with the magical place known as the public library!

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Yes it is not the best photo (or even a remotely decent photo), but if you have been following my blog, you know about my less than stellar photography skills (smile).

Hopefully you are willing to look beyond the bad lighting and poorly centered photo and see some of the cool titles I am currently reading.

I consider my library card, one of my most prized possessions!

Now, have you noticed that the book on top of the stack (if you can see it through the graininess of the photo), is The Photographer’s iPad by Frank Gallagher. I take many of my photos for the blog with my iPad, so keep your fingers crossed that I learn a tip or two from this book!

Postscript

Glorious Spring continues in Central Oregon today:  here is a daffodil that fell over in the garden and made its way into my Studio to be enjoyed!

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Happy Spring!

 

What’s on the…Table

Congratulations to Beth T. who won the free copy of Creative Quilt Challenges from the random drawing of names from those who left comments on my Creative Quilt Challenges Blog Tour post – BLOG TOUR DAY 4: Unlikely Materials. Thank you to every who visited the tierneycreates blog for Day 4 of the tour and thank you to those who commented. I so enjoyed reading the comments and they got me inspired to keep experimenting with “unlikely materials”!

What’s on the…Table: “Ohio”

This post is a continuation of my ongoing series: What’s on the Design Wall.

However, this time I am going to share what is laid out on the table in my Studio, instead of up on my Design Wall. This post also demonstrates another example of using “Unlikely Materials” (recycled silk garment scraps) discussed in my Blog Tour post on 03/31/16.

Yesterday I posted about being inspired to create after a walk on a beautiful Spring day and inhaling the delightful fragrances of neighborhood Dogwood trees (Creative Inspiration: The Scents of Spring). Well later that day I pulled out the piece had I started a month or so ago (see post What’s on the Design Wall: Silk Squares) and got creating!

Here is the piece in progress, I am going to name it “Ohio“:

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What do a bunch of miniature log cabin style patches (2″x2″ and 2.5″ x 2.5″) have to do with the State of Ohio? Absolutely nothing, but they are part of a story. An ongoing story. Here is a visual summary of that story:


1) The piece started out as my attempt to create an Ohio Star (a traditional quilt block) from recycled silk

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Ohio Star, recycled silks (in progress)


2) I was very unhappy with the accuracy of the points on the star (although I interfaced the back of the silks, I had some challenges with accurately piecing the points). So I attempted to save the piece by reimagining the piece, slicing up the Ohio Star and sewing it into a new configuration. I was still not pleased with it.

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3) I gave the piece and the coordinated recycled silk pieces I have selected to a friend. She reimagined it into a completely new piece, while integrating all the elements from the original Ohio Star into the piece.

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Ohio Star (2016). Designed, pieced and quilted by Betty Anne Guadalupe.

 


4) My friend gave me the leftover scraps from this piece which included scraps from my original piecing and new scraps from additional recycled silks she used in the piece. She challenged me to make something from those scraps!

 

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5) So, I started working on this piece over a month ago, and I am calling it “Ohio”

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Right now I am just continuing to make tiny blocks (2″ x 2″ and 2.5″ x 2.5″) and enjoying the challenging of using up small pieces of recycled silk. I find it to be meditative to quietly work on small slow piecing.

Will post about this piece again when it is nearly complete.

Creative Inspiration: The Scents of Spring

Continuing my series on my sources of Creative Inspiration, I explore in this post how certain scents inspire my creativity.


In January I posted about the austere beauty of trees in winter in the post Winter Trees. It is now Spring in Central Oregon and today on my morning walk, I was overwhelmed with the beauty of trees blossoming in Spring, especially the Dogwood Trees.

Their fragrance enveloped me on my walk and I was filled with a sense of joy, peace and a desire to go home and create something.

This is what Spring is about – creating. Dormant bulbs will now grow and create beautiful blooms; trees will awaken their buds to create leaves, nuts and fruits; and creatures such as insects now rustle and fly and in creation of new life and pollination of the flowers.


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When I returned home from my walk, and opened all the windows in the house, the delicious scents of Spring wafted into the house through a soft sweet wind.

Spring is Nature’s way of saying “let’s party” – Robin Williams

Postscript

While on my walk today I listened to a wonderful audiobook – 101 Ways to Transform Your Life by Dr. Wayne W. Dyer. During his discussion of one of the “101 ways to transform your life”, Dr. Dyer shared this Robert Frost poem which gave me pause for thought on this beautiful Spring day:

We dance round in a ring and suppose,
But the Secret sits in the middle and knows.

– Robert Frost

Maybe the “Secret” is learning to be quiet, centered, and peaceful enough to be in the moment and enjoy the beauty that surrounds us in Nature.

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 Inspiration is in the air and in my heart, it is time to go create something!

 

The Hen and the Drake

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

Time to take a break from talking about quilting. I am actually on hiatus from sewing for a couple days as it feels like I have been been sewing like crazy for the past couple of weeks.

The Sweet Pair in the Neighborhood

I do not know a lot about ducks, especially Mallard ducks, but every year there is an adorable pair of Mallards – a hen and a drake, that wander our neighborhood and the surrounding area.

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The “love birds” (the photo is a little grainy as I did not want to get too close and scare them; and if you regularly follow my blog you know I am not the best photographer!)

I’ve lived in my neighborhood for over 10 years and at least twice a day I go for a walk around my neighborhood and the adjoining neighborhoods. Every spring (and sometimes in the fall) I see a pair of Mallard ducks wandering around – a drake (male) and a hen (female).  I like think they are the same pair each year, enjoying the Springtime.

Do ducks mates for life? I guess I could do some research and find out, or I could just decide the answer is “yes” (who needs “facts” when you can have my romantic imaginings?).

Here is the twist about this sweet pair, our neighborhood is not near any body of water, and it is my understanding the ducks like to be in water. There is a small body of water several miles away. Also there appears to be only one pair that wander the neighborhood. I am never clear exactly what they are doing, they just always seem to just be “chilling” in the middle of suburbia.

What About the Cats?

So what about the neighborhood cats? We already have the “natural selection convention” going on at our house with all the bird feeders that Terry-the-Quilting-Husband keeps stocked and my neighbors’ outside kitties lurking beneath the feeders. I have seen a cat or two, walking out of our yard with an unfortunate bird in it’s mouth.

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A neighborhood cat waiting in our yard under our bird feeders for an unfortunate bird…

When I first saw this pair (or perhaps a different pair, sigh),  8 – 9 years ago I thought: “Oh, no, the neighborhood cats are going to have a field day with them!”.

So far there appears to be no problems with this pair and the cats. Mallards are not small birds, these ducks are as tall or taller than most cats.

In regards to cats, my favorite memory of this pair is from around 7 years ago when I saw a neighborhood cat stalking this pair as they walked down the center of the street. The Mallards completely ignored the cat. The cat seemed to be intimidated by them and never got that close, but still keep stalking them for at least an 1/8th a mile.

I adore these fearless “love birds”, they make me smile every time I walk by them. I wish I could ask them – “So, are you the same pair I see every year, or have your parents passed onto their offspring that my neighborhood is the place where Mallards can quietly enjoy their love?”