A Crafter's Life, Books, Music, Podcasts

The Guest House

Happy Monday to you and I hope you have a wonderful week filled with Inspiration, Creativity and Joy.

As I mentioned in last’s post “Listening and Reading“, currently I am listening to the audiobook The Here and Now Habit by Hugh Byrne. This book focuses on using “mindfulness” to break unwanted habits.

During my walk on Sunday with this audiobook, I listened to the author discuss one of my favorite poems by Rumi (Jalāl ad-Dīn Muhammad Rūmī – a 13th century Persian poet and scholar) – The Guest House.  

The author discusses this poem in relation to finding peace in dealing with unwanted thoughts and feelings. What I love about the work of Rumi is that it can be interpreted in so many ways and the meaning can be personalized to what you needed to hear/read at that moment in your life.

I have shared this poem before in a previous post and wanted to share again.

The Guest House
This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness
comes as an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.
Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.
-Jalāl ad-Dīn Muhammad Rūmī


I am off for a bike ride and to enjoy this beautiful summer day!
Sassy captures my feeling when riding around empty streets on my bike!
Books, Music, Podcasts, Creative Inspiration

Creative Inspiration: Lying in Bed

It’s Sunday, a day (like Saturday) when many people have the opportunity to sleep in (or at least sleep in a little later than on a workday).

Continuing my series on sources of my creative inspiration, I realize that lying in bed and quietly thinking can be a source of much creative inspiration!

A very creative friend of mine told me a couple of years ago that she could will herself to dream quilt designs while she sleep; and when she needed it, inspiration would arrive while she slumbered.

I do not remember many of my dreams, and those I remember are not necessarily sources of creative inspiration, but I do have moments of intense inspiration when I am laying in bed preparing for sleep or lingering in bed upon waking.

Worrying and reviewing the day used to fill my mind before going to sleep until learning to  essentially “chill out” a couple of years ago. Now I can bring my mind into focus before going to sleep on a quilt design or other crafting project. It is amazing how what was a challenge to me in my studio during waking hours, now has a clear resolution as I quietly ponder it in bed.

My first experience with idea was at the end of 2014 while I was making a piece for our public library’s Novel Idea Book (all of Central Oregon is encouraged to read the same book and then the book’s author speaks at the annual Novel Idea book event). That year’s book was A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki. I loved the book so much I wanted to make a small art quilt inspired by this thought provoking novel.

I was stuck for weeks on the design of this piece until one night, while lying in bed and before falling asleep, I focused all my mental energy on the what I wanted for this piece. It is difficult to put into words – I did not force myself to think about the piece, rather I relaxed and asked for inspiration to come to me.

Hope I do not sound too “New Age” or mystical here, but it was like what the piece needed to be just flowed into my mind and through me. It was a wonderful feeling – as if the Universe was telling me how I could translate what moved me in this book into textile art. When I woke in the morning, I had a clear vision of what the piece would look like and felt tremendous relief and a sense of peace.

And it all happened lying there in bed. Since that experience I have used the time lying in bed before falling asleep or upon waking to explore options in creative design. Bed can be a good place – keep those worries out of your mind and invite the creativity in!

Jiko’s Secret Robe (2015) – inspiration for this piece arrived while lying in bed


For more on “clearing your mind of worry before you fall asleep” see my post Monday on the “Butte” in which I briefly discuss Arianna Huffington’s audiobook – The Sleep Revolution: Transforming Your Life, One Night at a Time and share this Ralph Waldo Emerson quote:

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

Studio, tierneycreates

Saved by the Internet

A friend of mine and I have an ongoing joke that we are going to write a book called “An Idiot’s Guide to Being an Idiot”. Over the years we have shared and collected humorous mistakes, miniature disasters and cosmic foibles.

Today I created a new chapter in our imaginary book. The chapter would be titled “How to screw up your iron when you really need it work”.

In addition to handmade items on my tierneycreates Etsy shop I also sell some carefully curated fabric (fabric I want to use but needed an excuse to buy the entire bolt…hey – I can share it with my customers!).

I created a fat quarter set from the collection of the solid color Peppered Cotton (“shot cotton”)  yardage that I sell.

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The fat quarter packs have been a great seller, and yesterday I sold another set and today I needed to prepare it to send to my customer. However, what I did not realize was that I was one set short and needed to cut new  fat quarter sets.

Luckily, I recently replaced some of the yardage/bolts I ran out of (the blue, grey, green and tan were very popular). So I needed to open new bolts wrapped in plastic and cut some yardage into fat quarters (18″ x 22″ sections of fabric).

Trying to work efficiently, I warmed up the iron and put it on the floor in the corner so it would be ready for me to nicely iron each fat quarter before packaging them into sets.

The new bolts were wrapped in plastic and here is where my complete “Idiot Moment” began – I accidentally threw the plastic covers for the new bolts on top of the hot iron on the floor.

Are you ready for a huge life lesson (this will be life changing, hold onto your seats):


So here I am needing to package up a fat quarter set to mail to an Etsy customer and my iron is now completely out of commission.

I yelled down the hall to “Terry the Quilting Husband”, and he immediately ran in (as he thought perhaps I had sewn through my hand or had rotary cut off several fingers by the way I screamed for help) and we began to troubleshoot the disaster.

I will not review the painfully ineffective steps we tried. Then I thought: it is likely that someone else has made such a silly mistake in the past and maybe there is something on the internet about how they fixed it.

Yes the internet came through for me. A brief search revealed many tips on how to remove plastic from irons (there must be whole communities of people accidentally melting plastic on their irons everyday!). We thought this one was the best resource on removing plastic from the doityourself.com website:

How to Remove Melted Plastic from a Clothes Iron

We are now at the step of placing the plate of iron in ice water (yes, of course we unplugged the iron first, we do not want to create an additional chapter to the “Idiot’s Guide”, ha!) after scraping off the plastic with a metal spatula. Wish me luck. I must now return to my disaster..



It worked! (HAPPY DANCE). I am now ironing the fat quarters and making them into bundles.

While working on these fat quarter sets/bundles I remembered I had posted about my adventures in starting to sell fabric in 2015 in this post: Adventures in Retail. If you read that post you will wonder why I am still making up these fat quarter sets. The answer is I love this fabric and I am happy to share it at a reasonable price with  my fellow crafters out there (so I can justify buying more bolts of it…).

Books, Music, Podcasts, The Library Stack

Listening and Reading

Hope your week has gone well.  It is nearly the weekend and time for “power crafting” or just relaxing. Thought I would share an update on audiobooks and physical books that I have mentioned in recent posts (all borrowed from my local library).


  • Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand In the Sun and Be Your Own Person by Shonda Rhimes – I first mentioned this audiobook in my post Embracing the “Yes”.  Last week, I finished this wonderful audiobook and I highly recommend it. It is read by the author which makes the book even more wonderful. Shonda Rhimes (writer/producer of shows like Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal) authentically shares her struggles to break from her extreme introversion and embrace life. She shares some exceptional stories, experiences, and life lessons with humor, humility and grace. The audiobook also includes the recording of the incredible commencement speech she gave at her alma mater, Dartmouth College as well as several other highly inspirational speeches. She also delves into some of the autobiographical stories weaved into the plot of her shows like Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal. Little did the TV viewers realize she was working on her own personal struggles through the storylines of the TV characters. Only problem with listening to this audiobook while on a walk is I had to stop a let out a belly laugh – her excellent television show writing skills are apparent in her book writing skills!
  • The Here and Now Habit by Hugh Byrne – this is my first time mentioning this audiobook as I started listening to it after finishing Year of Yes. It is not as exciting and engaging as the audiobook I just finished but so far is has wonderful tips on incorporating mindfulness into your life. More thoughts on the book after I finish it.

BOOKS (These books are from my 05/26/16 post The Library Stack)

  • The Quilter’s Practical Guide to Color by Becky Goldsmith – I have read several books that explore color and fabric selection for quilters, but I think this one of the best. Using many photo examples, the author discusses the color wheel, color schemes, value and contrast, clarity, texture and scale and other interesting and engaging topics related to quilt design. This book also includes several patterns to test out your color and design skills.
  • Modern Quilts from the Blogging Universe by The Patchwork Place – This book had one pattern that engaged me – Tree Quilt – which was made from scrappy free form tree shapes. The rest of the patterns did not interest me though I recognize and appreciate the efforts by the different pattern designer/bloggers that contributed to the book. What I did enjoy was reading the bio of each designer and the website addresses for their blogs! If I had my choice I would just read and look at other crafter blogs all day.


Sassy of Schnauzer Snips asked me to post this “public service announcement” for my human readers:

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Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show, Studio

“P” is for Persistence

This is a follow up to Sunday’s post Putting the “P” in Procrastination.

Instead of “P” being for “Procrastination” and “Panic” –  “P” is now for “Persistence” and “Progress”! All 10 labels are done, thanks everyone for the encouragement. Sunday to Monday (I am off work on Mondays) I was the focused, focused, focused quilt label sewing quilter. 

In case you are curious, and in case you happen to be attending the Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show, here are the names of the quilts we will have in the show and their measurements (I will take photos at the show and share):

Terry the Quilting Husband (he will be in the Special Exhibit “Made by Men“):

  1. Colorful Modern Squares – 53″ x 59″
  2. Squares Gone Wild – 48″ x 60″
  3. Charming You – 45″ x 61″
  4. Cozy Flannel Shirts – 53″ x 61″
  5. Cozy Flannel Snuggle – 58″ x 67″

Tierney (tierneycreates):

  1. Splendid Splendor – 74″ x 62″
  2. Modern Bedtime – 63″ x 72″
  3.  Scrappy Modern Delight – 53″ x 53″
  4. Cozy Sunflower Log Cabin – 64″ x 80″
  5. Desert Winds – 56″ x 64″

I will also have one more quilt, “Recycled Door” in a Special Exhibit – “Central Oregon SAQA: Doors Exhibit” which I have mentioned in previous posts.

So we are ready to drop our quilts off at the Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show Office on time!

Bag-o-Quilts ready to roll…
Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show, Studio

Putting the “P” in Procrastination

Once upon a time there was a quilter who was also married to a quilter. The quilter and her husband-the-quilter decided to each put five (5) quilts into the 2016 Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show, for a total of ten (10) quilts. They finished their 10 quilts and had them all back from the magical long-arm quilter by April 2016. The quilts needed to be labeled and ready for the show by June 24, 2016.

The quilter and her husband knew they had plenty of time to get those labels on the quilts…

I think this tale will have a happy ending, but right now I am in the “moral lesson” part of the tale. Like in the “Ant and the Grasshopper ” from Aesop’s Fables (the ant spent the summer planning for winter and the grasshopper spent the summer goofing off and we know how that ended…).

We have a stack of 10 quilts needing labels (see photo above!) and Terry the Quilting Husband does not hand sew (he actually hates needles and has no desire to hand stitch anything). So I need to get all the labels on by 06/23/16 to deliver the quilts on 06/24/16 to the Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show Office.

“P” is not just for Procrastination. “P” is for PANIC.


Breaking the Law! (Update on Recycled Door)

There is song from the 1980s by a British heavy metal rock band Judas Priest titled “Breaking the Law” where in the song, they repeatedly sing the chorus: “Breaking the law, breaking the law, breaking the law, breaking the law.”

When I lived in Seattle my friend Michele and I would enjoy singing choruses of this very campy 1980s song under our breath or at the top of lungs when we were not following standard rules of behavior or etiquette, etc.

This song was played my head when I made the decision to do a traditional quilt binding instead of a “facing”on the back of my art quilt Recycled Doors for the upcoming Central Oregon SAQA (Studio Art Quilt Art Quilt Associates) exhibit at the 2016 Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show. Please see my post Update: Recycled Door for more information on this piece.

(If you are unfamiliar with “facing a quilt”, here is a link to the Quilting Daily’s page on Finishing a Quilt with a Facing. Facing creates clean edges to the quilt with no edge binding.)

Facing the back of an art quilt to create a smooth edge appears to be the expected and acceptable standard and is what I have always done in the past on any quilt I want to be classified as an “art quilt”.

I feel feeling very rebellious after talking to my friend Wendy who suggested, as an option to finishing the quilt, a binding to bring out the orange in the center of the piece. I was reading to do some “law breaking” and did a traditional binding instead of facing the quilt.

“Breaking the law, breaking the law…”  Recycled Door (2016)  – designed and pieced by Tierney Davis Hogan; quilted by Betty Anne Guadalupe.

It felt good to be a rebel, ha!

Every act of rebellion expresses a nostalgia for innocence and an appeal to the essence of being. – Albert Camus


You may notice my new blog template – quite different from the previous one. I really enjoyed the Chalkboard Template, but after reading that article on making blog pages easy for all readers to read and the feedback you all provided, I am going to try this new format for a while.

Creative Inspiration

Advance your Art

Unlikely Artistic Inspiration in a Business Publication

There is a professional publication that arrives every month in my mailbox – Healthcare Business Monthly. It comes as part of a professional membership I have in the healthcare industry.

I appreciate all the work that goes into this publication but many times the articles are fairly dry and technical; however an article by Tara Cole in the June 2016 issue (page 58), really caught my attention.

The title of the article is “Advance to the Career You Want”. In this article the author provides tips on how to develop yourself professionally and move into the career you want.

I thought the author’s tips in this article could translate into how to “Advance to Where You Want to Go with Your Art”, “Artist Development”, “Advance Your Creative Journey” or something like that.

Here is a listing of the author’s eight (8) tips which I am going to apply to advancing my creative journey:

  1. Get comfortable with being uncomfortable
  2. Be open to change
  3. Be curious
  4. Stay connected
  5. Get technical
  6. Challenge yourself
  7. Be honest
  8. Use your time wisely

I embrace all these tips! Lately I have been working on #5 – Get technical: taking classes, talking to mentors, reading up on new quilting techniques, etc. I have definitely been challenging myself (the secret quilt I am finishing for the by invitation exhibit – I have been quilting this quilt myself – gasp!)

Time for a Random Photo

And now here is a random photo: Recently I returned from a long weekend visiting a friend in the Denver, CO area (see post Creative Inspiration: Travel). During on weekend together, we went on lovely walks on nature trails. One of the trails had many gopher or prairie dog holes along the path and I was fascinated looking at the prairie dogs popping up and talking to one another.

I was not fast enough with my smartphone camera to capture the adorable prairie dog that was popped up from its hole, but here is a photo of one of the holes, right after the prairie dog seeing my camera disappeared into:


But wait – I will connect this photo to this post:

  1. Sometimes on your creative journey you have to retreat into a metaphorical hole and focus alone on your art.
  2. Sometimes on your creative journey you have to venture into an unknown hole to move forward in your art.
  3. Sometimes on your creative journey, you have to follow someone into a hole and see where it leads (but I was too big to follow after the prairie dog!)

Please share any thoughts you have on how this photo could relate to an artist’s creative journey (or how you are concerned that I obviously need my “special medication” adjusted! Ha!)


Request for Feedback on My Blog Template

06/17/16 – I updated my blog template to the format you see now, thanks everyone for your input!

The blog template I use is called Chalkboard and it is sort of a tribute to my family of teachers.

Beginning with my great grandfather, I come from a line of teachers. I even got my trainer certification and used to be a trainer/teach for many years in my profession.

However,  recently I was reading a publication on blogging tips and it said to NEVER use white text on a dark background – this is difficult on your readers.

I would appreciate your honest feedback on my blog format and if you would prefer dark text on a white background as is standard with most blogs.

Thanks for your input and readership!

Tierney 🙂


Whole House Crafting

Not a Tiny House, but a Smallish House

Terry “the Quilting Husband” and I live in a relatively small house. Not as small as the houses I looked at during my “tiny-house obsession” period (oh you should have seen my Pinterest board followings) but our house is around 1300 square feet.

A small house, means a small quilting studio space. I have in previous posts, such as “I will not be discarded” & studio refresh shared photos of my quilting studio.

I do not mind the small quilting studio but I do struggle occasionally with having a small design wall. It it not really a traditional “design wall” but more of a “design wall closet door” (see post Inside the Studio to see my mini design wall mounted on a sliding closet door).

Wait a Minute, I Have Options

Last year, I moved my paper crafting supplies to our sunroom, to make my studio less cluttered. (Oh yes there are many other crafts in my life besides quilting: knitting, crochet, paper crafting, beading, etc.):

Inside the Sunroom – paper crafting table, equipment and supplies.

My rationale on this move was “why not” – why would anyone care that I have my paper crafting supplies in another room besides my studio?

Recently, the paper crafting supplies in the sunroom gave me an idea: why do I have to keep my quilting related activities confined to JUST ONE ROOM?

Whole House Crafting

We have a long hallway. In the past I have hung quilts on both side of the hallway but recently one side was empty (I burned out on all those quilts hanging everywhere in the house). Why couldn’t that become a MEGA DESIGN WALL?

I may be the only blogger in the history of blogging to post a photo of a blank hallway wall!

We have occasions in the past where Terry “the Quilting Husband” and I were battling for design wall space when working on separate quilts, and this would give us a very large space to work on quilt designs. (See the Postscript section below for the trial run I had on using this space to design a quilt).

A challenge might be that anyone coming over the house will think we are weird as we are designing quilts on our hallway wall, but then who cares – it is our house and if it disturbs them, well they can go back to their house – ha!

Ultimately I would like to have a professional made design wall/design wall sections (like my friend Betty Anne has in her lovely studio) but I need to save up for that to happen. So for now I have purchased a queen size Warm & Natural piece of pre-cut batting to mount on the wall myself.

Purchased on sale!

I did not stop there with my ideas on using the whole house for crafting. I would like a bigger cutting area for working on large projects – what about using my dining room table?

So I did, I used my dining table this past weekend for a large scale quilt trimming project (see the Postscript section) and for other cutting projects such as trimming my Recycled Door quilt and creating the binding (I will discuss my finishing decisions on this piece in a future post) for the upcoming Central Oregon SAQA Doors Exhibit at the Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show July 2016 (see post Update: Recycled Door).

Cutting binding on the dining room table!

Note, I would not use my dining room table for everyday cutting as it is not ergonomically correct for cutting (not waist height). Also it is not convenient for when you are working on a piece and doing small batches of cutting as you progress on a piece.

I am not sure why I did not think of expanding my crafting areas before. I guess I was brainwashed by all those beautifully illustrated organizing your art studio magazines and books. These publications seem to insist that all your crafting items be confined to one highly organized space!

Now I am a rebel (or now I am just behaving like normal people who do not impose so many rules on them).


You may have noticed, if you have been following my blog for a while, that I had not post anything related to my What’s On the Design Wall Series. So it may look like I am not doing very much actual crafting these days.

Actually I have been doing MAJOR crafting. For the past couple months I have been working on a by invitation only exhibit I was honored to be invited to participate in. I cannot reveal any specifics the exhibit curator is ready to unveil the show. I am nearly done with the piece (putting on my label) and will send it off to the exhibit soon.

The parameters of this exhibit/show were very precise and I was required to create a quilt a specific size. Also I wanted this quilt to be a story quilt. In order to accomplish these two things I needed a bigger space than my little closet door design wall. So that was my first experience in using the hallway as a design wall. It worked very well!

Also I had to trim the quilt to a specific size and my cutting table in my studio would not work, so this was my first trial run as the dining table as a large cutting table.

Here is a little peek of the piece, and as soon as I am able to reveal the details and the full piece I will:

Just a little hint, it is technically the first piece in my series “Stories My Father Told Me” (see related blog post: Creative Inspiration: Stories My Father Told Me)


A Crafter's Life, Outside Adventures!

At the Corner of Joy (and some other street)

Yesterday I was at the corner of Joy, literally and metaphorically.

A reader asked “so what happened to your Pilot Butte hikes?” Well it has been very hot in Central Oregon and I had no desire to hike in the heat. Also my knee was bothering me a bit so I thought perhaps I should try something else besides the Monday hikes for a while.

So I decided instead to start riding my bike, on a daily basis, in the early morning, instead of a Monday hike. It has been a year since I have been on my bike and I forgot the joy of bike riding!

I am riding a couple miles each morning up to 7 or more miles. Some days I can only fit in a couple miles but that is still wonderful!

Bike riding is great for my knees and I am feeling a tremendous sense of JOY when I ride my bike.

I am riding in the surrounding neighborhoods and in low traffic areas. Many times, it is like I have the road completely to myself.

A sense of peace washes over me and I would be in a complete meditative state if not needing to carefully watch for cars (as you never know when a car will come out of no where and many drivers do not seem to see cyclists – it is like we are invisible!)

The other morning I was having a glorious bike ride in a newer neighborhood area I had not noticed before and I came across a street called JOY WAY. This street name perfectly described what I was feeling biking on a beautiful morning!

I had to take photo (yes I did dismount from my bike to take the photo) as it made me smile even wider than I was already smiling!


I hope you all find yourself at “the corner of Joy…”, metaphorically that is!

“One of the most important days of my life, was when I learned to ride a bicycle.”
– Michael Palin (English comedian of Monty Python fame)

“I’ll tell you what I think of bicycling. I think it has done more to emancipate women than any one thing in the world. I rejoice every time I see a woman ride by on a bike. It gives her a feeling of self-reliance and independence the moment she takes her seat; and away she goes, the picture of untrammelled womanhood.”
– Susan B. Anthony, 1896

“Cycle tracks will abound in Utopia.”
– H.G. Wells


One of my favorite bicycling memories biking for miles and miles around the rural outskirts of Copenhagen when visiting a friend in Denmark. It was magical!

Creative Inspiration

Creative Inspiration: Travel

Continuing my series on my sources of Creative Inspiration, I share in this post photos from a recent trip that inspire my creativity.

Let’s Begin with a Disclaimer

If you have followed my blog for a while or if you are new to my blog, it is apparent I am not a very good photographer. Reading books on improving my photographic skills has not helped. So I thank you in advance, for accepting me as I am, bad quality photos and all.

Traveling, and photos taken while traveling are sources of creative inspiration for me. They may not inspire a specific piece, but they do inspire to me to create – especially when they are photos of the works of other artists (if I dare refer to myself as an “artist”) that stimulate my creativity!

Recently I returned from a long weekend visiting a friend in Denver, Colorado. I took many photos, primarily with my smartphone camera. Below are photos from the Denver Chalk Festival, the Seattle Airport’s Ship in a Bottle Exhibit, and the Redmond-Bend Airport’s Chris Cole kinetic fish art exhibit.

Denver Chalk Festival

We attending on Saturday 06/04/16 and the sidewalk chalk art pieces were still in progress (my apologies to all the talented chalk artists who I am not individually crediting in the photos):

Here was my favorite piece: a canine interpretation of the famous painting American Gothic (which I once got to see in person at the Art Institute of Chicago). Poop scooper instead of pitch fork!


Although the one above was my favorite, the most impressive piece was the one below (imagine what it looked like completed!):


Seattle-Tacoma (SeaTac) Airport Ship in a Bottle Exhibit

As a kid I was fascinated with ship-in-a-bottles. I thought they were magical. Seeing the exhibit at SeaTac airport (a layover on my way back to Central Oregon) really inspired my imagination and creativity:

Redmond-Bend Airport’s Chris Cole Kinetic Fish Art Exhibit

Awaiting my flight to head to Denver, Colorado (via a connection at SeaTac), I enjoyed looking at Chris Cole’s Kinetic Fish Exhibit. The Redmond, Oregon City News website has information on this exhibit: Redmond Municipal Airport Adds New Art.

The two fish sculptures had motors and various parts of the fish moved inside the glass exhibit enclosure. Very cool!


Now it is time for an example of higher quality inspirational photography. You guess it – it is not by me, and it is not from my trip. My friend Miles quit his job and is traveling the world, going to all kinds of awesome exotic and historic locales.

He is a skilled photographer and here is one of his photos, from his travels to Dubrovnik, Croatia:

Photo Credit: Miles G.

Now that is a truly beautiful photograph and the colors and composition may inspire a future quilt!

Books, Music, Podcasts

Embracing the “Yes”

I just returned from a four day weekend visiting a friend in Denver, CO. Later this week I will share some photos I took during the trip which creatively inspired me.

I just wanted to share in this quick post the latest nonfiction audiobook I have started – Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand In the Sun and Be Your Own Person by Shonda Rhimes.


As you probably know, Shonda Rhimes is the creator and producer of TV shows such as Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal.  A couple months ago I watched her TED Talk: My year of saying yes to everything, and I found it deeply inspirational.

I am early in the audiobook and I am enjoying it; and it is read by the author (I love when audiobooks are read by the author!).

So far 2016 has been a year of serendipitous opportunities for me artistically and I am glad I keep going against my natural instinct to say “no, thank you” and instead say “yes, thank you”!

The book opens with a quote from Maya Angelou:

“The need for change bulldozed a road down the center of my mind.”


My Minimalism Journey

Dark Cabinet of Mystery (re-post)

I just reached 200 posts (the tierneycreates blog began in October 2013). I thought I would share one of my favorite posts – “Dark Cabinet of Mystery” (October 2015). I figure with 200 blog posts under my belt, I can now start occasionally sharing some “re-runs” – ha! 

(And as TV viewers might say: “oh no, it’s a re-run, when will the new season start?!?!”)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

All the things discovered inside the cabinet of mystery

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

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

A Crafter's Life

The Case for Modern Quilt Design (from the 1970s)

Contemporary quilt design, innovative quilt design, improvisational quilting, modern quilting, and intuitive quilt design are not recent ideas. You probably already know this but sometimes when reading quilting publications over the past couple of years it appears like these ideas are portrayed as new ideas in quilting.

My friend and quilting mentor, Betty Anne, studies the history of quilting. She loaned me a book from her quilting history book collection, Quilts & Coverlets: A Contemporary Approach by Jean Ray Laury.


This book was originally published in 1971. Here is an except from the book that makes a case for intuitive, innovative, contemporary, modern design (in 1971):

…for many years, quilt making was unaffected by contemporary art. In early America, the sources for quilt designs came from nature and from all articles of everyday use – the patterns on dishes, the designs from cast-iron stoves, political symbols such as the eagle and the star, wild flowers and other natural forms. In the twentieth century, however, none of the new influences of the time seem to have permeated quilt design. Even the strong influence of Art Nouveau, which was apparent in other crafts, had almost no effect on quilt making.

Perhaps women lost confidence in their ability to design. We saw watered-down versions of old designs, used over and over, with few of the revitalizing changes essential in any “lively” art. Only recently is the influence of contemporary art once again seen in our quilts. Modern designers of quilts are not concerned with reiterating statements made years ago. They have their own comments to make, comments which are relevant to our own times.

…Quilt makers today are recapturing the spirt and essence of early American quilts, At last we can look forward to exciting designs. Gone, thank goodness, are the rows upon rows of obese, sunbonnet girls in pale green and lavender. Traditional designs no longer meet our needs. Creativity and inventiveness make it possible to modifier and rejuvenate the old approaches and techniques…If we can retain the structural integrity of the traditional quilt, and add to it a contemporary approach in color and design, we achieve a quilt which merges past and present.

New ideas, are rarely new ideas. They seem like “new ideas” when they get popular!

I was fascinated by this book and all the “modern” quilting ideas discussed in a book published in 1971.

What are you thoughts?