Adventures in Appliqué

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

It was about more than just improving my appliqué skills

Yesterday I took at wonderful appliqué class at the Stitchin’ Post in Sister, Oregon. The class was more than an appliqué skills building class, the class was about creating stories with quilts. It was a day long class from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm (with flexible time for lunch whenever we wanted).

The class was titled: Historic Story Quilt and was taught by the wonderful Janet Storton. The focus of the class was to work on blocks for story quilt (bible story blocks were used as an example) using various appliqué techniques for appliqué skill building.

I signed up for this class to build my appliqué skills for a future of series of quilts I want to make based on stories my father told us growing up (see post Creative Inspiration: Stories My Father Told Me). However I got way more out of the class than just improved appliqué techniques!

At the Stitchin’ Post we don’t attend our classes in a regular classroom – we study in a Textile Education Center!

The teacher, Janet Storten is the Director of Sisters of the Heart Foundation .

Sisters of the Heart Foundation‘s mission is bring hope, build a future, and empower a community in impoverished areas of the world such as Uganda. Janet spends part of the year teaching women in Uganda to create quilts and other crafts to sell in order to economically improve their lives and the lives of their communities.

You can read more about this incredible foundation at They greatly appreciate fabric donations from quilters purging their stashes!

Here is Janet with a heart quilt (Sisters of the Heart) where each one of her students in Uganda made a different heart. She just got it back from long-arm quilting by Barbara of the Stitchin’ Post and trimmed off the extra batting before I took the photo:


Two other quilts made by her students in the community in Uganda, these quilts are sold or raffled to raise money for the quilters’ community in Uganda:



Here is the Bible Stories appliquéd quilt made by her students in Uganda:


My Adventure in Appliqué (what I actually did in class)

Here is what I worked on as I brushed up on my needle-turn appliqué technique and learned buttonhole appliqué techniques:

Our teacher instructed us to create folk-art looking elements, so “imagine” on the left is an acorn!

So you now thinking: “Whaaaat?!?!?” You spent 7 hours in an appliqué class and made two elements on a beige piece of fabric? Well…yes!

It is actually a story quilt I am working on that has to do with an acorn and a tree. Janet helped me perfect my needle-turn appliqué on creating the acorn (and help me select the scrap fabrics I used); and she taught me how to do buttonhole appliqué for the beginning of the tree.  I also learned how to stitch words onto fabric so when I am ready I can add the words that go with my piece.

For now it will be a UFO (Unfinished Object for the non quilters reading) until I finish some of my pending urgent projects (due dates zooming closer!)

The class was a joyous way to spend a Saturday and in addition to the teacher, I got to meet some other wonderful people – the fellow students. They had incredible stories to share during class too.


One other thing I learned in the appliqué class was just how meditative working on an appliqué project can be – I think I might fall in love with hand stitching.

I needed good light to do the needle-turn appliqué on the acorn section and found that sunlight worked best. I spent quiet meditative time sitting in the window of the classroom (it was a glorious sunny day in Sisters, Oregon) and just hand stitching.

Wow. Now I get it.

I plan to take more “techniques” classes. I have been quilting since 1999 or so but I am ready to spend more time “studying” quilting.


“I will not be discarded” & studio refresh

Do Not Discard Me!

Have you ever just randomly cracked yourself up laughing? Maybe it is a joke no one would understand but you?

Well I was cleaning up my quilt studio and rearranging it to make it more cozy and less cluttered feeling, and I found this in a corner under a table:


What is this? Well if you refer to my post, We Will Not Be Discarded’s Debut, you will see it is a leftover scrap from another quilters project (their discard, headed for the trash) that I trimmed into a triangle. It’s other “friends” became the piece We Will Not Be Discarded! (that I sold at the Twigs Gallery Show in March – April 2016).

I began laughing at this sly piece hidden away that did not make it into the art quilt. I now have to make a tiny art quilt called – I Will Not Be Discarded! – or maybe just a potholder with it. I cannot bring myself to throw it away.

Studio Refresh

I got rid of one of the tables in my studio, even though I will have to now iron and cut on the same table (I have a removable wide ironing top). It felt like the room was way too clutter.

Instead of the table, I moved a comfy old chair into the room and I can sit and watch TV in the room while sewing down binding if I like. My TV is both a computer monitor and TV (so I can also watch “Tiny House Living” videos – my secret obsession).


The table covered with the quilt in the back is the one I got rid of, and I moved the work table to the back of the room.


Minus the table that was in the back of the room; moved the worktable to the back of the room and added a comfy chair!
I can sit in a comfy chair and think about my huge backlog of projects
The dogs are really enjoying “THE AFTER”



I am headed off to the Stitchin’ Post in Sisters, Oregon this am for a day long class on appliqué.

In my post, Creative Inspiration: Stories My Father Told Me, I share how I would like to do a series of art quilts based on stories my father told me growing up. Well I want to brush up my appliqué skills (okay I want to obtain some decent appliqué skills) so that I have more options in creating these quilts which would lend themselves to appliqué.

Books, Music, Podcasts, The Library Stack

The Library Stack

This morning I continue my ongoing series of posts on books I have borrowed from my local public library.

Here is the latest stack:


I have already begun nesting with a pot of tea in my favorite chair with some of these books! I usually start with the lighter “picture” book first, and I have already finished Cabins: The New Style by James Grayson Trulove. It is a book of obviously very wealthy people living in very beautiful large cabin like homes, in very picturesque settings!

The second book I am delving into, The Art of Good Habits by Nathalie W. Herrman, is rather thought provoking. Here is a passage from early in the book that really captured my attention:

The trouble with not accepting responsibility for ourselves is that we feel helpless, and that makes us grabby and greedy. It empowers the “more” mentality. We don’t realize our ability to be patient and trusting, so we push to the front and demand our share first, or demand more than our share. And the people we meet on this path are doing the same thing. We are all pushing and grabbing and trying to get there first, wherever ‘there’ might be.

I think she is spot on about human behavior.

After this book, I will move to something lighter like Materially Crafted: A DIY Primer for the Design-Obsessed by Victoria Hudgins.

Books, Music, Podcasts, Studio

Update: Recycled Door

In the March 2016 post BLOG TOUR DAY 4: Unlikely Materials I shared a work in progress called Recycled Door. This art quilt is part of the Central Oregon SAQA (Studio Art Quilt Associates) group exhibit “Doors” that will debut at the 2016 Sisters Outdoor Quilt show.

We were challenged with making an 18″ x 40″ art quilt/wallhanging that represented our interpretation of a door. I found a door image I liked on Australian door and window manufacturer’s website Brisbane Timber . I created my interpretation of one of their doors, using recycled materials: jeans, corduroy shirts, a tweed jumper, and home decor fabric.

I just got this piece back from Betty Anne Guadalupe, my long-arm quilter and collaborative partner in The Wardrobe Meets the Wall Collection.  She quilted it to represent the texture/grain of an wooden door.


Now I need put finish the facing for the back (finishing off an art quilt with a smooth edge instead of binding the edge) and it is ready for the July 2016 Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show!

As it was made with recycled materials, it will become part of The Wardrobe Meets the Wall Collection.


I am listening to a new non-fiction audiobook, The Examined Life: How We Lose and Find Ourselves by Grosz, Stephen.

It is pretty DEEP. The author is a British psychoanalyst who shares 25 years of his client’s stories (confidentiality maintained of course!) in relation to baffling behavior based on hidden feelings.


The narrator also is British and I am enjoying the British English pronunciation of words such as “schedule” and “garage”!

One of the most interesting parts of the book so far, besides all the interesting stories, is the author sharing a very profound interpretation of Charles Dickens’ famous story, A Christmas Carol. He delves deep into what actually made Ebenezer Scrooge change his ways!

Books, Music, Podcasts, Creative Inspiration

Creative Inspiration: A Pot of Tea

Continuing my ongoing series of posts on sources of my creative inspiration, I would like to share how a simple pot of tea inspires me creatively.

Above is a pot a green tea being poured into my favorite mug. One side of the mug reads: “live in wellness” and the other side reads “the universe knows”. This mug reminds me to take care of myself and to trust my intuition and the flow of the universe. (Hope that did not sound too “new age” and scare away some readers, ha!)

Behind the mug in the photo is a teapot warmer I found 9 years ago at a Tea Shop in Sisters, Oregon (the shop is now closed/out of business).

Every morning, I make a pot of green tea, place it on the warmer and sit in the front window each morning before work, and on the weekends (when I can really linger) and daydream about current and future creative projects.

I keep my journal nearby to jot down any notes, thoughts, drawings, or other inspirations. (and yes, I have spilled tea on my journal…)

Sitting quietly with a pot a tea, even if for 10 – 15 minutes, really centers me and inspires me creatively. Many new ideas for fiber art pieces or blog posts have come from my time with the pot of tea.

In one of my profiles on a social media site, I describe myself as “an obsessive tea drinker”. I suspect there are worse things in life to be obsessive about, so I am happy with this obsession!


A reader asked me to share what I thought of the audiobook The Path: What Chinese Philosophers Can Teach Us About the Good Life by Michael Puett and Christine Gross-Loh (I mentioned this book in the post Tuesday…an update).

Overall, I thought the audiobook is worth a listen and many sections inspired deep contemplation as I walked and listened.

As shared in the previous post, the author is a Harvard professor and the book is filled with “scholarly” like discussions that are at times rather esoteric (but not tedious); however the wisdom and insights into human nature by the ancient Chinese philosophers are highly accessible and timeless.

In addition to addressing the key teachings of several seminal ancient Chinese philosophers, the authors discuss the cultural, social, economic and political climates during the time in which the different philosophers lived, which influenced their writings and teaching. 

Words for thought from ancient Chinese philosophers:

The effect of life in society is to complicate and confuse our existence, making us forget who we really are by causing us to become obsessed with what we are not.

– Zhuangzi (Zhuang Zhou)

The person attempting to travel two roads at once will get nowhere.

– Xunzi

Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.

– Confucius

He who knows that enough is enough will always have enough.

– Laozi (Lao Tzu)

The sole concern of learning is to seek one’s original heart.

– Mencius

Monday 5/23/16 was an overcast day, but I found time for a walk around the base of Pilot Butte. I hope to return to hiking up the Butte next Monday!

Upcoming Show: Mott Gallery

Off to the post office today to mail 4 silk art quilt pieces to the Mott Gallery in Richmond, VA. 

Here is the post from The Wardrobe Meets the Wall about that show. (I cannot wait to see photos by my wonderful sister of our exhibit/opening night of the show!)

Quilt Retreats

Quilt Retreat May 2016: The Tools & The Stories

In my 4th and final post in the series of posts on the 4-day quilt retreat I attended at Sew N Go Quilt Retreats in Vancouver, WA, I want to share some of the new tools I got while at the retreat and a couple of the stories.

Naturally –  “what happens in quilt retreat, stays in quilt retreat” – but I think my Quilt Sisters would be okay if I publicly shared a couple stories (maybe, ha!).


During quilt retreat I picked up a Martelli Round-a-Bout 17″ rotating cutting mat. Another quilter friend has one and I saw how wonderful it worked!

Screen Shot 2016-05-21 at 7.54.01 PM

In addition to the Martelli spinning cutting mat, I got a set of Bloc Loc Flying Geese rulers. I saw these demonstrated and one of my quilting sister had access to a wholesale set (they are usually fairly “spendy”if you buy them individually. If you would like to read more about Bloc Loc Rulers, check out their website: Flying Geese Square Up Rulers.


A very neat device I picked up during quilt retreat was the Electric Seam Ripper. Another quilter demonstrated this device and makes seam ripper a breeze (not that I would ever need any seam ripping, I never make sewing mistakes, ha!). A couple other quilt retreat attendees also purchased them and there was no stealth seam ripping at the retreat: we could hear the whir of the battery powered seam ripper motor whenever seam ripping was occurring!

Screen Shot 2016-05-21 at 7.54.26 PM

I thought a sewing light, was a sewing light, until a quilting friend introduced me to the Slimline Table Lamp. It provides full spectrum light for a daylight effect. I picked one up the day of the retreat and used it for the entire retreat. It is a pretty darn awesome light to have over your sewing machine! It also doubles as an imaginary device (see THE STORIES).

Screen Shot 2016-05-21 at 7.55.02 PM



“I’ve Had the Time of My Life”

When quilters are quilting late into the evening, and “special beverages” have been involved throughout the evening, and the quilters are long-time friends, occasionally very silly things can happen.

Such a very silly thing happened on the Saturday night of the quilting retreat.

Another quilter, who had also purchased a Slimline Table Lamp for the retreat and I thought these lamps looked like microphones. We thought it would be fun to put on a “floor show” for the other quilters and the quilt retreat host.

My floor show partner located the main song from the movie Dirty Dancing – “(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life” and put it on her smart phone speaker. We stood up at our tables and began singing into our imaginary microphones, at the top of our lungs, a poorly ad libbed (but fairly hysterical) version of the song “(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life”.

We even threw in a little dance during the instrumental interlude to the song. We nearly kept “straight faces” during our performance…nearly.

Our silliness was rewarded with laughter and applause. (Perhaps the other retreat attendees and hosts were just being polite and hoped we get “our meds adjusted” as soon as possible!).

Yes, to answer your question, photos were taken. They will not be shared. I do not even want to see them (smile).

“Adventures in Spanx”

Are you familiar with Spanx, the body shaping wear (shapewear) that squishes any “jiggling bits” into a smooth format (like a modern girdle)?

Well one of the quilters was preparing to attend an upcoming family wedding and wanted to find a special dress to wear. She told us the story of her first time putting on Spanx and proceeded to pantomime the whole experience.

She shared her story of going  to a department store, finding the perfect dress and while trying on the dress, the sales clerk suggesting she enhance the look of the dress by wearing a full Spanx bodysuit underneath to flatten any “jiggling bits”.

My dear Quilt Sister, then proceeded to pantomime and explain the whole experience of slowly putting on full body Spanx for the first time and how the Spanx moves the “jiggling bits” around to places you never imagined them moving on your body, especially on a middle-aged body (placing the jiggling bits in odd places at first as you slowly wriggle into the bodysuit).

It was like a brilliant stand-up comedy show performance. I have not laughed that hard in a long time and worried that my bladder control might fail me at any moment. The whole room was filled with laughter and at least one quilter had tears in her eyes from laughing so hard!

Well that is it for posts on this quilt retreat. I am looking forward to the next time I reunite with all my Quilting Sisters! 

Quilt Retreats

Quilt Retreat Weekend: The Projects

This is post #3 about my recent 4-day quilt retreat long weekend at Sew N Go Retreat in Vancouver WA. See posts The Road to the Retreat and Sew N Go Quilt Retreat, in Pictures for more on this retreat.

Why do quilters go to quilt retreats? Yes of course to spend time with quilting friends or meeting new quilting friends. Quilters also attend retreat to relax; to see what others are working on and get new ideas; and to work on our BACKLOG of projects!

At a quilt retreat you have the opportunity to focus on getting those quilting projects D-O-N-E! (While not having to cook, clean, or even get dressed out of your PJs.)

Here is what some of the “busy bees” were working on during this year’s annual Sew N Go Retreat:

Tula Pink Would be Proud

Tula Pink is a very talented fabric designer and I had the opportunity to meet her at the Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show 40th Anniversary celebration last summer (she is absolutely lovely in person). She has several publications but one of her most popular publication is Tula Pink’s City Sampler: 100 Modern Quilt Blocks.

Tula Pink.jpg
Photo credit:

One of my Quilt Sisters at the retreat has been working (for many months) on a sampler of all 100 blocks! Below is a photo of initial block layout on the design wall at the quilt retreat (she is still deciding the final layout):



Here are a couple of my favorite blocks on the design wall:


What patience to complete 100 blocks for a sampler!  I own this book, but I have not completed one block to date from this book (but I am now inspired to consider completing a block – ha!).

Study in Black and Gray

Another amazing quilt different Quilt Sister worked on quilt retreat weekend was a star block in black and gray flannels that had a 3-D effect due to the placement of the colors.

Here it is in progress:


Completed with the borders added (she is going to put beautiful special gray and black Minky fabric on back!):


The Mother of All Embroidery Machines

One quilter and her daughter worked on a major embroidery project with their fancy embroidery machine – an embroidered doll house for their great granddaughter/granddaughter! They had to make each panel separately and then assemble it into a house. They got 3 – 4 panels finished but unfortunately I only took a photo of one of the panels, darn!

The Machine!


One of the doll house sections (the courtyard):


Pretty amazing!

Other Wonderful Projects

I did not capture a photo of all the projects, but here are some of the other wonderful projects in progress or completed by other Quilt Sisters during quilt retreat weekend:

Tierney, Where are Your Projects?


I had good intentions. I brought 5 – 6 projects to quilt retreat including some vintage style beer label fabric coasters to work on for my tierneycreates Etsy shop. My stock of offerings in the tierneycreates Etsy shop is dwindling due to sales (which is good); due to being busy and stressed at my pay-the-bills healthcare job (and not wanting to face a sewing machine after a long day of work); and due to focusing my extra time on art quilting projects.

So I brought several projects related to items I wanted to make for the tierneycreates Etsy shop. I ended up making nine (9) sets of vintage style fabric beer coasters during the quilt retreat weekend.

What happened to those coasters? Well they never made it to the Etsy shop, all 9 sets were purchased by quilt retreat attendees and the quilt retreat owner to give as gifts or keep for their own home. I cannot complain – I made stuff and sold it at the retreat.

I call it “fleecing my friends”!

Here is a photo taken by a Quilt Sister’s husband after he got his coasters she brought back from the retreat:


Next post: Tools & Stories from Quilt Retreat

Quilt Retreats

Sew N Go Quilt Retreat, in Pictures

This week I am sharing experiences and photos from the 4-day quilt retreat I attended this past Thursday to Sunday at Sew N Go Quilt Retreat.

Yesterday in post #1 I focused on The Road to the Retreat. Today I am sharing photos from outside and inside the retreat.

The rest of the week I will share quilts and projects (in progress and completed) during the retreat; new tools from the retreat; and stories from the retreat (although “What happens at retreat, stays in retreat”, ha!).

Sew N Go Retreat: From the Outside

The Sew N Go Retreat, in Vancouver, WA (outside of Portland, OR) is located in a private and serene setting on a couple acres of land. There is a main house,  a barn, and several cool outbuildings from the main house to include the Retreat Center.

The main house has many comfortable bedrooms for quilters (some are dormitory style with up to 4 beds in a room), several bathrooms, a large dining room area, and a cozy living room for hanging out and reading with a kitty to cuddle  (optional) if you like.

The Retreat Center which has plenty of room for sewing; its own bathroom and kitchenette; and additional sleeping areas (in case you get sleepy while sewing, ha!).

The first two days of the retreat it was sunny and in the 70s in the Portland area. Of course I did not think of taking photos while it was sunny. I waited until it was a normal Portland rainy day to take photos on the 3rd day of retreat!

The main house where quilters sleep, shower, lounge in the cozy living room, and where meals are served
The property and the barn in the distance
Some of the outside seating areas (it was overcast when I took these photos)
A shed decorated with flowers
The Retreat Center, Photo credit: Sew N Go Facebook page

Sew N Go Retreat: From the Inside

THE MAIN HOUSE (What a quilt retreat really looks like while quilters are staying there):




Abby the Quilt Retreat Kitty 

I am ready to snuggle with any quilters that are interested. Come read your book on the sofa with me and these quilts!

THE RETREAT CENTER (What a quilt retreat center really looks like while quilters are making a mess working on projects in there!):

And…as I discussed in the post My New Quilt Retreat Gadget – the battle for power strip/surge protector outlet spots:

Look there are still some empty spots (but not for long…my table mate pulled out her other numerous electronic devices and that was it for the outlets!)


One of the tierneycreates readers asked more about xeriscaping related to the post Tuesday…an update, in which I share photos of my xeriscaped (low water, native plant, no grass) front yard landscape.

I wanted to share a photo of a house I came across during my walk in my neighborhood which recently engaged in EXTREME XERISCAPING. They removed their front yard grass and all plants and replaced them with rocks.

No water required!

Perhaps the correct term is “NON-SCAPING”!

Quilt Retreats, tierneytravels

The Road to the Retreat

Last Thursday 5/12/16 I “hit the road” to Vancouver, Washington for a four-day annual quilt retreat with my ” Quilting Sisters” from California, Oregon and Washington. We gather at least once a year for a retreat, at Nancy’s Sew N Go Retreat.

This is post #1 of a series of posts about my quilt retreating experience!


Car loaded up with sewing machine, quilting paraphernalia, fabric and various projects, I got on the road early in the am on 5/16/16. Driving from Central Oregon to Vancouver Washington I found many “car buddies” along the way (see my post Repost: Road Trip for an explanation of “car buddies”).

My favorite “car buddies” were a brown Mercedes wagon and a gray Subaru that I followed for many miles on my road trip to the quilt retreat. If only they knew they had been my “car buddies” (they would have been very frightened by a wacky woman following them and making them her imaginary friends?!?!).

Music Time!

Solo road tripping is an opportunity to listen to wonderful music, rather loudly, and sing along at the top of your lungs! I had my iPhone with the “Tierney Mix” playlist loaded and hooked up to a FM transmitter that sent the music to my car radio. (Yes the classic 2001 Saturn 4-door sedans do not come with a jack for your iPhone or any modern amenities…).

The “Tierney Mix” is a very eclectic mix of music. Here is a sampling of 20 songs that played in order while I drove:

  1. Third World Man – Steely Dan
  2. Lovesick Blues – Hank Williams
  3. Your Love is King – Sade
  4. Annie’s Song – John Denver
  5. How Soon is Now – The Smiths
  6. Black is the Color – Nina Simone
  7. How Deep is Your Love – The Bee Gees
  8. Tom Sawyer – Rush
  9. Tennessee Waltz – Patti Page
  10. Don’t Break My Heart – UB40
  11. Gravity – Jon Mayer
  12. Heartbreaker – Pat Benatar
  13. Okan Bale – Angelique Kidjo
  14. Dancing Nancies – Dave Matthews Band
  15. Chan Chan – Buena Vista Social Club
  16. Nights in White Satin – The Moody Blues
  17. Like a Star – Corinne Bailey Rae
  18. Cozza Frenzy – Bassnectar
  19. Sultans of Swing – Dire Straits
  20. That’s the Way of the World – Earth Wind & Fire

As you can see my musical tastes are all over the place!

I am glad my “car buddies” and other vehicles could not hear me singing along!

The Road Trip Scenery

I know you are not supposed to be engaging in DWP (driving while photographing) but I assure you I only took photos while it was safe. Also there was some construction on Highway 26 (the road from Central Oregon to the Portland Oregon area) and I was stopped for awhile and took photos.







The landscape is filled with the Cascade Mountains, especially Mount Hood; lots of high desert brush; and endless farms. There is quite a climb in elevation from Central Oregon to the Portland Oregon area through the Mount Hood pass.

Mount Hood itself rises to 11,240 feet (Wikipedia) at its summit. The elevation from Central Oregon to the Mount Hood/Timberline Lodge region climbs from 3500+ feet above sea level to 6000+. Occasionally my ears “pop” on the drive from the change in elevation (but that does not stop me from continuing to sing at the top of my lungs).

It is a winding mountain road and in the winter some times it is not passable. I never drive from Central Oregon to the Portland area in the winter, though many Central Oregonians have family in Portland (and are originally from the Portland area) and drive to Portland for Thanksgiving or other “winter holidays”. Winter begins at the end of October or early November in the Mount Hood pass area due to the elevation!

Finally I arrived at Sew N Go Quilt Retreat!

Photo credit: Sew N Go Facebook page

NEXT POST: Sew N Go Retreating! 

A Crafter's Life, Books, Music, Podcasts

Tuesday…an update

The past five Mondays I hiked up or walked around Pilot Butte and shared my tale.

Sunday evening, 5/15/16,  I returned from a four-day quilt retreat at Sew-N-Go Quilt Retreat with my longtime “Quilt Sisters” from Oregon, Washington and California. Monday I spent recovering from my drive and unpacking (unpacking did involve trying to figure out what to do with the new fabric and quilting tools I acquired while at the quilt retreat…other quilters are bad influences!).

So I skipped Pilot Butte on Monday. I am not sure if the 2 mile walk with Terry “the Quilting Husband” and the dogs made up for it, but at least I did something besides fondling my new fabric purchases.

I will share my adventures related to quilt retreating in my posts the rest of this week, but I wanted to follow up on last week’s post The Monday, Post “Yard Bark Mulching” in which I discussed “xeriscaping” (low water landscaping with native plants) and laying down endless bark mulch.

One of the tierneycreates blog readers asked to see photos and here they are:

Xeriscaped Front Yard (with fresh hemlock bark mulch)

Another example of a Central Oregon xeriscaped yard from my neighborhood (they used rocks instead of bark mulch):


Gratuitous flower photo: My lovely irises in bloom


If you want to read more about xeriscaping check out the online publication Introduction to Xeriscaping in the High Desert.


As I mentioned, the rest of the week I will share stories and photos from the quilt retreat I attended.

Currently I listening to the audiobook – The Path: What Chinese Philosophers Can Teach Us About the Good Life by Michael Puett and Christine Gross-Loh.

Parts of this book seem fairly esoteric, while other parts are deeply profound and very accessible. If you can be patient through some of the more scholarly sections (the author is a Harvard professor) you will be rewarded with timeless insights into human nature from ancient Chinese philosophers.

I feel I grow more enlightened by listening to this excellent audiobook.

The disease of men is that they neglect their own fields and go to weed the fields of others. – Mencius

Photo credit:
Quilt Retreats, tierneytravels

Repost: Road Trip


As I prepare to head out to my annual quilting retreat with my “quilting sisters” tomorrow, I thought I would repost a story from May 2015 about my road trip to my quilt retreat and finding “car buddies”.

ROAD TRIP (May 2015)

Last May I attend the Sew N Go Retreat in Vancouver, WA (outside of Portland, OR) for the first time. I live about 3.5 + hours from Vancouver, WA and  last year, I drove to the retreat with a friend who was also attending. Last Thursday I returned to the retreat, and this time I drove alone.

I was bummed, at first, to drive alone this year to the retreat. All I could think was: “3.5 + hours in the car, not fun”.  I was wrong. Road trips with friends are great, however it can be quite fun to go  on a solo road trip!

My husband and I both have older cars (we are all about having paid off cars) and I borrowed my husband’s car, the newer car (which is only 10 years old instead of 14+ years old like my car). My husband teases me that soon my car can be registered as an “antique”, however I do not think there is much of an automobile collector’s market for classic 2001 Saturns (perhaps there is one person in Uruguay who dreams of owning a non luxury old Saturn).

One of the drawbacks with older cars is you do not have the cool technology you have with newer cars – like a built in jack for your iPhone to allow you play tunes through the car radio. I did have an old FM transmitter powered by the car jack (formerly known in the old days as “the cigarette lighter”) and once I found a FM radio channel not used by any station, I was able to transmit my tunes through the car radio!

Armed with a package of roasted almonds, a container of blueberries, water, a turkey sandwich (I was eating healthy on the way to the quilting retreat as I planned to make naughty food choices the next 4 days) and my iTunes mixes on my iPhone, I was ready for my road trip! There is something very relaxing about listening to music alone on a long drive.

Most of my drive was pretty scenic, even if it was overcast, as I journeyed through part of the Cascade Mountain range with little traffic on a Thursday morning. There were a couple moments of what I would call “pure bliss” where it was just me, the road and my tunes. I felt light and carefree and at peace with all around me. I promised myself on the drive not to think about any life worries or concerns; not think about work; and not try to plan my life (I tend to be an over-planner). I had decided to just be in the moment on my drive.

Car Buddies

Along the highway on my trip I would find “Car Buddies“. For more years then I remember I have always been into finding imaginary “Car Buddies” when on long drives.

What are “Car Buddies”? Car Buddies are other cars that you follow for a long period of time. If you are on a one lane highway and a passing lane appears, you do not pass them, They are your buddy and you stay behind them maintaining a reasonable speed. The most appealing car buddies of course, are those who are going an acceptable speed!

Sometimes if I have been with a car buddy for a long time on the road I get kind of sad for a moment when they take an exit that I am not taking. I always say aloud: “bye-bye car buddy, thanks and take care!”  Yes I am weird. I have imaginary friendships and connections with other cars on the road.

Hey you never know when you are driving long distance, if I am behind you, making you my imaginary Car Buddy!

A bonus to the peaceful and relaxing road trip was that I was headed to a fun weekend. However I did not want the road trip to end – as I got closer, I wished I had a further to drive!

A Crafter's Life, Outside Adventures!

The Monday, Post “Yard Bark Mulching”

This morning I read in a WordPress blogging forum, that you should always have an engaging title to your  blogpost. An engaging title will entice existing readers and potential new readers to click on the link and read the post.

What could be more exciting and engaging to read about than yard bark mulch? I am bristling with excitement just typing these thrilling words:

Y-A-R-D  B-A-R-K  M-U-L-C-H.

No. There is nothing even remotely exciting about putting mulch in your yard.

No worries, this post is not about yard bark mulch; it an update on what happened with this week’s visit to Pilot Butte for my weekly hike (see my previous post Monday on the “Butte”). Okay I do provide a little background on the yard bark mulch situation just so you can understand why I chose a different Pilot Butte experience today.


We had 6 yards of hemlock bark mulch delivered on Thursday. We were convinced (or deluded) that we could,  by Saturday, get all that mulch spread around the front and back yards of our house (and still be able to walk). I guess we thought our bodies had suddenly become the bodies of athletic 18 year olds with extensive recent manual labor experience…

Several years ago we “xeriscaped” – removed our front lawn and planted native plants and grasses.

In the Central Oregon’s high desert, if you want to grow anything, you have to use irrigation. Xeriscaping allows you to use less water/irrigation to keep up your yard. We receive little rainfall in Central Oregon (hence the beautiful blue skies). This limits what will grow in Central Oregon without irrigation/watering.

Bark mulching our xeriscaped yard helps it to maintain moisture (and look more aesthetically pleasing). Every couple of years we have to refresh the mulch.

If you would like to learn more about xeriscaping and creating a low water consuming landscape you can check out’s online publication: Introduction to Xeriscaping in the High Desert. (Central Oregon is known as the “high desert” as we are at 3600+ ft above sea level elevation and we have a low average yearly rainfall).

When we lived in Seattle, Washington, where there is plenty of rainfall, I never appreciated gardening. Now I live in a land where growing anything is challenging and I am fascinated with gardening and landscaping.

As a bonus to the challenge of growing plants in Central Oregon, we are a geologic volcanic landscape (No, no, no – NO live volcanos – my blogging won’t suddenly be cut off by lava flow…but we do have many extinct volcanos here).

Our soil is coarse, has a sandy texture and tends to be very sterile with minimal organic matter (OSU “Central Oregon Climate”). Central Oregon is not for “gardening sissies”!

So where am I going with all this information? Well this is all relates to what happened today during my weekly hike on Pilot Butte. I was extremely sore from laying down bark mulch over the past 3 days, that my knees told me I may not hike up Pilot Butte today.

With some tedious negotiation I was about to convince my knees (and my sore back) that they could WALK AROUND Pilot Butte.

I didn’t want to just abandon my weekly Pilot Butte experience (every Monday for the past 4 weeks) so I thought “as long as I walk around the base of Pilot Butte that would still count as doing the Butte”!

Here are photos from the ground level of Pilot Butte as I walked approximately 2.5 miles in a loop at the base of Pilot Butte. My knees are not speaking to me right now but I think by tomorrow we will make up with each other.

The Loop – I did 8+ laps around the path while listening of course to an audiobook! Nearly 2.5 miles.


The Day – another beautiful blue sky day with a couple solitary clouds here and there.


The Walk – photos from walking around the loop to give you a feel of the view from the base of Pilot Butte.




BONUS – some of our beautiful volcanic rocky and pumice soil that I get to try and grow things in!


Enjoy your week!


Books, Music, Podcasts, Quilt Retreats

My New Quilt Retreat Gadget

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

Getting excited – less than a week until I join my long-time quilting friends group, The Jelly Rollers, at our Annual Quilt Retreat!

This time I am bringing a new gadget to the quilt retreat. No it is not a new rotary cutter, or special quilting ruler. It is a 4-Port USB charger!

At a quilt retreat it can be “battle for the outlets” and/or “battle for the surge protectors”.

You have a group of quilters with their sewing machines, their special sewing lights, their portable irons, and various other quilting related devices requiring electrical power. In addition to the sewing paraphernalia that requires a power source, quilters have their laptops, tablets, and smart phone all in need of charging.

Imagine a group of people, sitting in a pod (two or four tables connected) sharing just a couple surge protectors (also imagine me saying this in my best Rod Serling, Twilight Zone host voice…) – yes, you guessed it: Battle for the Outlets!  

(Live on Pay-Per-View: See quilters viciously battle for power outlets – oh the carnage!)

What I have done in the past is alternate between charging my iPhone or iPad (you need your iPad of course at a Quilt Retreat for easy access to your online patterns, sharing photos, and of course having a moment of distraction from quilting with those addictive iPad games!).

Now with my new 4-Port USB charger – no more switching out. I also have a 2-port charger (I discovered this first before learning there was a 4-port USB charger option).


These nifty devices are available from various manufacturers but my 2-port and 4-port USB chargers are by iClever (I love the name)/Hisgadget, Inc. and you can find them reasonably priced online (I got mine through

You can see on the 2-port charger I have already written my name (so there is no confusion at the quilt retreat in case another quilter has also discovered this wonderful device).

Bring on the quilt retreat fun!


I finished Arianna Huffington’s wonderful audiobook – The Sleep Revolution: Transforming Your Life, One Night at a Time. I am now inspired to get lots of healing sleep!

I did have a brief moment of panic on finishing the audiobook as I did not have another audiobook to start. However when I returned from my walk I had an e-mail from my local public library notifying me that the audiobook I have on hold, Smarter Faster Better: The Secrets of Being Productive in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg was now available for download!

Yes! Loading up the iPhone with my next listen!

(I think my heart skips a beat in anticipation and happiness when I receive an e-mail from the library with title “Library Item Now Available”)

Outside Adventures!

Monday on the “Butte”

If you are new to my blog, for the past three Mondays I have hiked Pilot Butte after an 8 month hiatus (see posts You Got to Start SomewhereMonday, and Monday, Again for more background).

Today I returned for the 4th Monday in a row (I am off work on Mondays).

The Route Up and Back Down

On my previous hikes, I timed myself to see if I could return to my previous time (prior to my foot injury last fall); and as I discovered last week – eventually beat the record of a “95 & up” year old posted on the Pilot Butte Challenge board.

Today I took another approach: I did not time myself but leisurely hiked up the Butte and then back down via a different way.

Pilot Butte has in general three (3) standards routes up the Butte to the summit:

1) The Nature Trail – a groomed dirt path



2) Summit Road – a road that is open part of the year (late Spring to early Fall) for cars to drive up to the summit


3) The Summit Drive Trail – the trail alongside Summit Road


On the previous 3 Mondays, Summit Road was closed to cars. So I hiked up the Nature Trail and then walked back down via Summit Drive Trail. When it is closed to cars, you can walk in the center of Summit Drive Road or stay on the trail at the edge.

Today, Pilot Butte was reopened to cars so I tried something different: I hiked up the Nature Trail and then back down the Nature Trail.

I enjoyed, as usual saying “hello” to and smiling at other hikers as they passed. I notice a difference in “hiker friendliness” depending on what route they take up the Butte. Those coming down the Nature Trail while you are hiking up it are very friendly. Those coming up the Summit Drive Trail/Summit Road as you are going down the Butte via this route, are not as friendly. They do not make eye contact as much as they seemed more focused (or perhaps exhausted).

Both were equally rough on my knees, but I am going to adopt the Nature Trail as my new standard way down the Butte!

Lucky to Live Here!

As I was approaching the summit of the Butte, I met a women who was taking photos with professional looking photography equipment. I stopped and chatted a while with her – she was visiting from out of town and she was amazed at how beautiful it was hiking up Pilot Butte and how beautiful it is in Central Oregon. She said she could not stop taking endless photos!

I was overcome with a feeling of how lucky I am to live in Central Oregon!

I also walked into (I am not running up the Butte yet…) another “person of color” like myself. There are not a lot of “people of color” in Central Oregon, so it is always a treat for me to see Central Oregon getting more “colorful”!

My family who lives on the East Coast (I am originally from New York) asked me, when I had decided to move to Central Oregon over 10 years ago, why I wanted to move to a place so “culturally isolated”like Central Oregon.

I replied I was moving here to “integrate it”!

My perspective is: We are all earthlings and I enjoy living with my fellow earthlings in this beautiful place!

Another impossibly blue Central Oregon sky (with a couple fluffy clouds) as I hiked up the Butte.


I listened to Arianna Huffington’s book – The Sleep Revolution: Transforming Your Life, One Night at a Time – while hiking the Butte. I am enjoying it is as much I enjoyed her previous book: Thrive: the third metric to redefining success and creating a life of well-being, wisdom, and wonder.

The author shares a wonderful Ralph Waldo Emerson quote while discussing dealing with the worries that plague us as we lie in bed at night:

“Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day and you shall begin it well and serenely.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

I love this quote! I am going to keep it in mind when I go to bed each night!

A Crafter's Life

The “Downsized” Quilt

Today a thought popped into my head: “tierneycreates is a quilter’s blog, perhaps I should post something about quilting!”

The Original Plan

I completed the binding on a “log jam” (free form log cabin block piecing) quilt I am putting the in the July 2016 Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show (SOQS) called Modern Bedtime.


It measures 63″ x 72″ which is short of a Twin size quilt and more like a large Lap size quilt.

This quilt was meant to be a King size quilt. I originally made its dimensions 98″ x 100″. I worked within the limit of the dimensions of acceptable quilts for entry into the SOQS (a maximum of 104″ on any side).

Last year the quilt I sold at the 2015 SOQS was a large Queen size quilt and I thought I would have a better chance of selling another quilt in the show this year if it were also bed size. I thought: “Maybe there won’t be a lot of large Queen/King size quilts in the show; so if someone attending the show was looking for a large bed size quilt my quilt would be available for consideration!”

Below is a photo of how the quilt started out. The original design had the log jam pieced center floating in a large khaki border. It is draped over a King size bed and you can see there is a nice drape (which I trimmed down to meet the less than 104″ on each side limit for SOQS).


The Universe however did not want this quilt to be King size (or Queen size, or Full size, or Twin size…).

Disaster Strikes!

Something very bad occurred when I pieced the border, I am not sure what exactly as I have been piecing/sewing borders on quilts for many years.

The long-arm quilter discovered that the borders where extremely uneven when she loaded it on her professional quilting machine. Not just uneven, they were “majorly wonky”! She tried to fix it but the borders were so strangely pieced she could not fix it without disassembling a large amount of the quilt.

Additionally, there were several other strange and embarrassing quilt piecing errors (I am too embarrassed to mention these).

What the heck happened? I do not make mistakes like this! I do remember that I was in a hurry to finish up the quilt to get it to her to put it in her queue of customer quilts for the SOQS (she gets very backlogged with customer quilts prior to the SOQS). I was always working long hours on a challenging work project and very tired at the end of the workday.

Perhaps I should not have engaged in “Piecing While Tired” (PWT).


I had a painful phone conversation with the very kind and patient long-arm quilter as we tried to figure out what could be done about this quilt. She had tried removing one of my borders and trying to fix it for me. I kept thinking: “I am so disappointed in myself, I so wanted to sell this quilt at SOQS as a King size quilt”. I wanted so badly for this quilt to work out as I had planned.

Then suddenly I decided to just let it go. I asked the long-arm quilter to just cut off the offending borders and finish quilting the quilt.

Modern Bedtime (2016) by Tierney Davis Hogan, quilted by Betty Anne Guadalupe

I trimmed off the left over borders, put on the binding and have embraced the quilt as it. I am still showing it/listing it for sale at the SOQS.

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

Warning: Never work on a quilt while tired and stressed from work! Lesson learned!


I am working on something exciting right now but it is a secret. It is a piece for an invitation only special juried exhibit. More to come!