What’s on the Design Wall…Thread?

Continuing my series of posts about what is on my design wall with a visit to the studio of quilt & fiber artist, designer, teacher, book author, and all around “Renaissance Woman”, Wendy Hill (and the piece of fiber art that came from that visit).


Thread-a-Bowls

I spent Monday 8/29/16 with Wendy Hill (wendyhill.net) , textile artist and author of quilting and fiber art books such as Creative Quilt Challenges (with Pat Pease), Easy Biased Curves, Two-for-One Foundation Piecing, On the Surface, and Fast Fun & Easy Incredible Thread-A-Bowls.

Wendy is a wonderful teacher and while I was visiting, she gave me an impromptu class on making a thread web/thread bowl from her book Fast Fun & Easy Incredible Thread-A-Bowls (2005).

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Photo credit: Amazon.com

The amazing thing about the thread-a-bowls (and thread-a-vases, etc.) are that they use scraps of thread and snippets of fabric scraps. I never thought about recycling thread snips! A lot of thread as made it into my trash over the years of sewing that could have become – FIBER ART!

Here are photos from creating my first “thread web” and shaping it into a bowl:

I took the bowl home with me while it was still wet from rinsing out the Solvy (Sulky brand) water-soluble stabilizer; and draped over a form to dry into a bowl shape.


Thread-a-Future Art Piece

After the bowl dried, I was not pleased with how I had shaped it. It was too shallow and misshapen. I did however like the concept and the look of all those fibers interlaced (I had scraps of thread, tiny snips of scrap shot cotton, and scraps of yarn), so I re-wet the piece and flattened it to dry again.

I ended up with this version of the piece, which I have on my design wall and I am playing with floating it in some type of orange background and making a small art quilt that I will likely put in some type of frame.

Here it is with a Moda Grunge fabric line, deep-reddish orange:

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and here is it with a deep orange batik:

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I cannot wait to play with making my next “thread web”. I have a little Solvy thanks to Wendy to play with at home as well as I have copy of her book Fast Fun & Easy Incredible Thread-A-Bowls to read through and learn more about making these webs.


POSTSCRIPT

Wendy Hill’s home was the home of a true artist – even her light switch covers were artistic and handmade! I was fascinated by them and I wish I had photographed every one (every light switch and outlet cover was artistically covered), but here is a sampling:

Of course every cozy artist’s home needs a furry creature or two to keep the creative person company!

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Kitty in a box!


POST POSTSCRIPT

Here is a little visual treat if I have not made you tired of photos from the 2016 Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show (SOQS):

A very talented Central Oregon art quilter, Kristen Shields (kristinshieldsart.com), has a wonderful blog (she is a very good photographer!). A recent post on her blog has great photos from this year’s show; and includes additional photos from the show (of incredible quilts) that were not in the links in my July 2016 series of posts about SOQS – Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show 2016

Shameless “Thrifting”

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


MY HISTORY WITH THRIFTING

I titled this post “Shameless ‘Thrifting'” as I used to be ashamed to go into thrift stores. I would avoid them at all costs and despite hearing stories from friends about the cool items they discovered for a very low cost at thrift shops.

My shame did not come from fear that people would think I was poor and needed to shop in a thrift shop, it came from once being quite poor and a thrift shop being the only option for clothes, household items, etc.

I put myself through pre-med and then nursing school (when I decided to become a nurse instead of a physician as I had originally planned) when I was in my late teens to my early 20s and I had no disposable income. At one point I was working 40 hours a week (at night as a Home Health Aide) and going to school full-time. It is a long story (related to why my family did not have resources to help me with school) but I obviously made it through (and met Terry, the future “Quilting Husband” while I was in nursing school).

Although we have likely donated thousands of dollars’ worth of no longer used items to charity thrift stores, I refused to shop at thrift stores. To me they represented the poverty I once experienced (and never wanted to experience again), so I stayed away from them. I was all about being able to buy the new things I wanted to buy, when I wanted to buy them (before embracing the Minimalism movement).

A couple of years ago, my a friend introduced me to the fun of discovering cool cheap high quality fabric and antique fabric finds at thrift shops! My sister, who has an excellent sense of style and is a wonderful dresser, also encouraged me to explore thrift shops (She has discovered many incredible inexpensive clothing finds, including “designer” brands).  Inspired by my friend and my sister, finally I realized that shopping at thrift stores not only makes good financial sense, but it is very “green”. Instead of items going into a landfill they can be reused by someone else (and the purchase benefits charity organizations – it is a “win-win”).

Concurrently with my sister’s and friend’s influence, over the years my consumerism fueled drive to purchase “new shiny things” has ended. I started to choose experiences over things and realizes new shiny things only bring temporary and fleeting joy. Real joy comes from say a quiet walk in nature or cup of tea with a friend. This is one of the reasons why we have donated likely 30 – 50% of our stuff now to charity organizations.


THRIFT STORE SATURDAY!

So this past Saturday I decided I wanted to go wander around our local thrift store and hunt for fun deals. I had a desire for “Retail Therapy” but in an inexpensive and “green” way. Here is what I found during my Saturday adventure visiting Goodwill, Humane Society Thrift Shop, and the Hospice Thrift Shop (benefiting Central Oregon Hospice).

Goodwill

I know there is some controversy about the Goodwill Industries organization but their mission seems on the surface to be pretty darn wonderful. I spent the first part of the my “Shameless Thrifting” Adventure, wandering around Goodwill.

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Shoes! I could not believe how many nice pairs of shoes were at Goodwill at very cheap prices. I am not that into fashion, being a telecommuter and outdoorsy kind of person (I prefer a comfortable outfit and pair of shoes) but if I were I would know where to get lovely designer shoes very cheaply!

After I was done entertaining myself with looking at shoes, I went to visit the fabric section (especially after the find from my last visit – see the post Mysterious Thrift Store Fabric Find).

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I did not find anything interesting in the linens and fabric section. However I did return again to the shoe section just browse it for fun; and to think about how much money women spend on new shoes that they only wear for a short period of time. I bet most of the shoes sitting on the shelves of the Women Shoe Section of Goodwill at one time gave some woman a fleeting sense of happiness and temporary “new purchase high”. And now they were sitting on the shelf for $6.99 a pair (note – this Goodwill store appeared to only sell used shoes which were in very good condition).

Humane Society Thrift Store

I left Goodwill empty handed and ventured onto the Humane Society Thrift Store where I entertained myself browsing their used vinyl record collection. While browsing, I stumbled upon this record which brought back some major memories from my childhood:

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Yes when I was a pre-teen I was a HUGE Barry Manilow fan. I cannot believe I am admitting this (and putting it in writing), but while some pre-teens were crazy for Michael Jackson or Donny Osmond, I was all about Barry Manilow! I remember the joy of getting a new Barry Manilow record as a kid. (Are you so shocked you have to unfollow my blog now?!?! Can I ever regain your respect?!?!)

A young couple who was browsing in the same section, looked at me with curiosity as I was photographing this record. I can only imagine what they were thinking, ha!

Now, I did not buy the Barry Manilow record. However I did leave the Humane Society Thrift Store with 3 used SAQA Journal Magazines (from 2011 and 2012 before I was a SAQA member) and 5 buttons (for future miniature kimonos). A purchase that totaled $1.

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Hospice Thrift Shop

I ended my thrifting adventure at the Hospice Thrift Shop. I did not purchase anything this thrift shop, but I was very entertained looking at their used craft supply section. My favorite item: not only did someone donate their yarn but they must have said “screw it, I am done with this knitting thing” and they donated the piece in progress still on the knitting needles!

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Summarizing My Saturday Shameless Thrifting Adventure:

  • Time spent browsing = 2.5 hours
  • Money spent = $1
  • Fun (the thrill of the hunt), giggles, and insight = priceless!

POSTSCRIPT

I do not regret the time in my life when I had little financial resources. It was during this time that I learned to cook as I could make my own food from scratch (much cheaper than purchasing pre-made food). For example, I learned to bake my own bread from discounted flour I bought at wholesale from a food coop I volunteered at (to get wholesale prices on food).

Also I learned at an early age how to budget and manage resources; and also how to stay away from the pitfalls of credit card debt.  My life could have been easier by taking out a large school loan but I worked my way through school instead (there was no partying or goofing off during my time in college) so I had a minimal student loan to pay when I graduated (yes and sigh, no wild college parties memories but that is okay).

But most important though, is I learned to appreciate everything I have, as everything I have was earned through my effort and hard work.

I do believe through struggle comes growth.

Taking Chances: The Mike Hogan Chronicles (re-post)

In honor of Friday August 26 being “National Dog Day” and in celebration of Mike’s 2  year anniversary with us, here is a re-posting of a post from 11/27/15:


Making a decision whether to “take a chance” on something or someone, is part of life. We all face  decisions on whether to take chances related to work, family, relationships, finances, environment, career, artistic endeavors and so forth.  Most of the time there is no guarantee that the chance we are taking is the right one to take.

Even the most evaluated, considered and researched “chance” requires an element of risk and an element of faith that it will work out. Otherwise it would not be “a chance”, it would be “a certain”.

In September 2014 I took a chance that required a very large element of risk and faith, and that chance’s name is Mike Hogan. 

(Usually any posts about the miniature schnauzers are done on Sassy the Highly Opinionated Schnauzer’s page Schnauzer Snips, but she gave me permission to post on this topic.)

Meeting “Cujo”

For nearly 24 years we have adopted miniature schnauzers from rescue organizations. Our first miniature schnauzer, Kerie, was from a rescue organization in Houston Texas, where we volunteered as Caring Critters Animal Assisted Therapy Volunteers, visiting health care facilities, residential homes, and shelters with animals to foster the human-animal bond.

After our first rescued miniature schnauzer, we were addicted to the breed. Kerie passed away after we had moved to the Pacific NW, and we adopted our next rescued miniatures schnauzers (two brothers, Fritz and Snickers) through Miniature Schnauzer Rescue, Inc. and all future rescued miniature schnauzers.

In July 2014, after losing the second of the two miniature schnauzer brothers we had adopted from Miniature Schnauzer Rescue, and applying for another rescued dog from the organization, we were contacted about a miniature schnauzer “Michael” that needed a new home.

Michael was a troubled rescue – surrendered by his family due to excessive nuisance barking and aggression. We first met Michael at the end of July 2014 at his foster parents’ home. After meeting him, I nicknamed him “Cujo” (yes, after the terrifying rabid dog from the Stephen King book and movie), I  gave an apologetic but firm “NO” on adopting Michael.

To summarize his behavior when I first me him: He was insane.  My husband Terry however saw something in Michael and was willing to give him a chance but I quickly talked him out of it.

Alright, You Can Come Home with Us

In September 2014, we were contacted by the rescue organization asking us if we would reconsider adopting Michael (they were persistent!). He had been living between two foster homes (Michael needed to be shared!) and the rescue organization had brought in an animal behaviorist to work with him. I am not sure what convinced me to say yes to meeting with Michael (aka “Cujo”) again but I did.

When we met Michael again in September 2014, he was a bit calmer and we could see the good work his foster parents, in two different homes, had done with him. He was still territorial and moderately insane. I had a lot of hesitancy but my husband Terry felt strongly that Michael needed to come home with us, and I agreed to give Michael a chance. (My primary fear was that Michael, with all his territorial issues, would not fit into our very social lifestyle).

When we loaded Michael into our car, he became very quiet and calm on the ride home to our house. He seemed like a different dog once he got into our car. He got along well with our other rescue dog Sassy on the ride home.

The first couple of months with Michael were challenging – he had anxiety issues, engaged in plenty of nuisance barking, had leash aggression and was very territorial to anyone trying to come into our house. He even chewed on one of my quilts (it was an old quilt and I was able to repair it but it was very upsetting and I was worried for the other quilts around the house).

My husband Terry was very patient with him. We spent a lot of time working with him and renamed him “Mike Hogan”. (He appears to love his new name “Mike Hogan” and his tail goes wild whenever we say it.)

One of the Great Loves of My Life

It is now 14 months later and Mike Hogan is now one of the great loves of my life (as are all my dogs). He is still territorial at times (though we are now able to have friends over without him being too insane as well as bring him over friends’ houses); he still has a bit of leash aggression and he still likes to bark.

These things do not matter as he is the most loving, cuddly, sweet dog I have had in my entire life. Every night I go to sleep snuggled to him and every morning I wake up to him nestled against me. He insists on sharing my pillow with me. He is obsessed with my husband Terry, and I refer to Mike as “Terry’s Fan Club President”. He is also very sweet to his adopted miniature schnauzer sister, Sassy, who we got a year before Mike.

Mike Hogan now knows quilts are for napping and snuggling in, not chewing. He appeared to sense how upset I was when he chewed on my quilt when we had first adopted him. He is attuned with our moods and seems to want to make us or keep us happy. He continues to struggle with wanting to protect his home and his people versus being open to meeting strangers and giving them a chance. He has learned to trust us: if we act like someone is okay, then they just might be okay!

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One of the things I did with Mike Hogan during the early days of adopting him is continually tell him “you are safe” and “we are your forever home”. You can debate whether or not you believe dogs understand human language but in my heart I feel he heard me.

He obviously suffered from anxiety, as confirmed by a veterinarian friend of mine, and by continually making him feel safe and loved, he settled down. I cannot imagine not having adopted Mike Hogan, he was a chance well taken! (I am forever grateful to the volunteers at Miniature Schnauzer Rescue who encouraged us to revisit giving him a chance).

Living with fear stops us from taking risks, and if you don’t go out on the branch, you’re never going to get the best fruit. – Sarah Parish

By the way, I now lovingly call Mike Hogan my “sweet little Cujo”…

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Mike and his beloved adopted sister Sassy (who manages him)

Artist Statements


THE STRUGGLE

I always struggle with writing an “Artist Statement”, the written description of my piece, for an art quilt for a show. It feels awkward and uncomfortable.

Even more daunting – someday I need to write an overall Artist Statement – a written description of my body of work. Once I participated in an exercise at our Central Oregon Studio Art Quilt Associates (SAQA) where we worked on our overall Artist Statements. We worked on this exercise in small groups, with more experienced art quilters sharing their Artist Statements (which were quite impressive and rather intimidating) with the mere mortals like myself.

This was a very uncomfortable exercise and I could not wait for it to be over. My draft Artist Statement to me read like an essay on “What I did during my summer vacation” from 7th grade.

I think I need to first develop my “body of work” and where I want to go as an “Artist” before I can write my overall Artist Statement.


A RECENT ATTEMPT

Here is the Artist Statement I wrote today for the piece Ohio Shifted (2016) which will be in a show-within-a-show at the Pacific International Quilt Festival in October (see post Creative Quilt Challenges: Shape Shifting):

Ohio Shifted (2016)    Tierney Davis Hogan  18” W x 14.25” L    Recycled Silks

Ohio Shifted (2016) embraces the Creative Quilt Challenges, CHALLENGE #3: “Unlikely Materials”. It also and embraces the name of this exhibit-within-an-exhibit, “Shape Shifting”.

Made from recycled silk samples and scraps from garment manufacturing (“unlikely materials”), Ohio Shifted began its art quilt life as a very different piece.

It was originally created as part of a challenge with a friend to use up the scraps from her piece, a reinvented Ohio Star block, and was titled “Ohio”. The borders on the piece were dull brown garment silk and muddied the overall look.

I decided to “Shape Shift” it, and rework the piece and its borders. Instead of a dull brown silk border, I used bright fuchsia raw silk found at a thrift store (another “unlikely material”).

Shifting the dimensions and overall shape of the of the miniature square-within-a-square log cabin blocks in the center; and floating them brightly colored raw silk, I created a new version of the original piece “Ohio”. It is now “Shifted”.

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I did find resources online on writing Artist Statements just by googling “Artist Statement” that I plan on reviewing and studying further.

Do any of you have insights to share on writing Artist Statements? 


Featured image photo credit: Joseph Hart, free images.com

Becoming Wise

On my walk this morning, I plucked a ripe peach from the neighborhood tree (to snack on during my stroll) and listened to the following passage from the audiobook Becoming Wise: An Inquiry into the Mystery and Art of Living by Krista Tippet:

There is a reason why, when my son, who is 6 and is crying…needs a hug: It’s not just that he needs my love, he needs boundary around his experience. He needs to know that the pain is contained and can be housed, and won’t be limiting his whole being…that he can get a hug – and he drops (back) into his body…

This passage is from an interview with Matthew Sanford, a renown yoga teacher and inspirational speaker (who is paralyzed from the chest down), discussing the mind-body connection.

I had to pause for a moment during during my walk (and wipe the peach juice from my mouth) and reflect on the true purpose of a comforting hug. This audiobook is filled with opportunities for deep reflection.

At times a little esoteric but always profound, Krista Tippet in this audiobook, interviews over 40 great thinkers of our time on what it means to be human and the “human experience”. You can find a wonderful synopsis of this book on audible.com: Becoming Wise: An Inquiry into the Mystery and Art of Living

I cannot promise that I will be wiser after listening to this audiobook but I appreciate the opportunity to listen to so many wonderful perspective and to ponder many aspects of the human experience.


POSTSCRIPT

Reviews

I finished another wonderful audiobook, mentioned in an earlier post – Trespassing Across America: One Man’s Epic, Never-Done-Before (and Sort of Illegal) Hike Across the Heartland by Ken Ilgunas. I posted my review of the book on amazon.com and on Goodreads.

Most of the books I read and audiobooks I listen to come from the public library and so they are for free. My way of thanking the author for the opportunity to read of listen to  their book, since I did not purchase the book, is to write a review.

If I did not like the book, and I got it from the library, I do not write a review. I consider my good review a “thank you gift” to the author that hopefully will help gain them new readers (and perhaps lead to an actual book purchase).

I am slowly getting the book reviews I have posted on my blog over the past 3 years on to Goodreads, so they can be in one place. Some of the books already have a review posted to amazon.com.

More Fruit!

I took a different turn on my walk this morning and discovered yet another neglected fruit tree – this time another green apple tree. I am starting to get overwhelmed with fruit!

I am also keep an eye on this tree, wondering what the fruit will taste like when it ripens (and wondering if it is plum or something else..):

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Still Waiting…

Oh (the sound of a random thought popping into my head) – if you remember my 07/21/16 post  Waiting for the Sunflowers – well I am still waiting for the sunflowers! At least the huge sunflowers in my backyard.

In the post I shared a photo of the hopefully-soon-to-be large sunflower plants coming up in my backyard, just outside of my sunroom window. Here is an updated photo – still no blooms, just growing stalks! All the other sunflowers around the neighborhood have bloomed except mine…I am still waiting…

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(Featured Image photo credit – “Owl Eyes” by Danny de Bruyne, free images.com)

The Library Stack

Just a short post this morning, after yesterday’s long post about fruit liberation (smile).

I am continuing my ongoing series of sharing the stack of books I am currently borrowing from my public library. As you can see by the photo below, I went a little crazy on quilting books this time:

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Normally I will have a self-improvement book, perhaps a home decorating book and maybe even a cookbook mixed in the pile. Not this time!  My most recent “power browse” at the public library ended with an arm full (I could barely make it to self check out without dropping any) of quilting books.

My favorite 746 section of the library was full of books clamoring for my attention (“pick me”, “pick me”, “no, pick me”!)

The first one I read/browsed was the Sue Spargo book – Stitches to Savor. Sue Spargo is very popular in Central Oregon and has a “cult-following”. I did not know very much about her work. After reading/browsing this book, all I can say is WOW. She is the queen of stitching and appliqué. I highly recommend this book for a browse (or purchase if you follow the work of Sue Spargo).

As far as the other books, several of them I have borrowed before from the library but want to revisit.


POSTSCRIPT

I finished quilting the recycled silk art quilt, Ohio Shifted, I discussed in the post Creative Quilt Challenges: Shape Shifting.

A photo of the completed piece is on my tierneycreates Instagram feed and here is the link: https://www.instagram.com/p/BJY-SCaB7HW/?taken-by=tierneycreates

The Fruits of My Neighborhood, Part III

P E A C H E S !

We have peaches in the neighborhood! Okay, well in the neighborhood next to my neighborhood.

This post a follow up to the posts:

I am not sure where to begin – should I start with the crabapple harvest, the additional apple tree, the pears, or the peach tree? Okay, I know where I will start: with a little update from the previous posts on the fruit I have “liberated” from neglected trees in neighborhood I ride my bike and walk around.

Sour Cherries

In the post The Fruits of My Neighborhood, Part II, I share my discovery of a sour cherry tree in the neighborhood I walk and bike in. The lovely blogger from Zippy Quilts advised that I should confirm these are actually cherries and not ornamental berries from a similar looking tree.

We took at sample of one of the cherries to our local nursery which specializes in native plants and they verified that the fruit was indeed a sour cherry. As mentioned in the same post, I have them bagged and frozen for future use.

A friend gave me a great recipe for individual cherry pies;  so that plan is to make up little pies in dough and freeze them, then bake a couple at a time. I am also thinking of making little hand pies: Mmmmm – cherry hand pies!

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Pears

In the same post I mentioned there are pear trees in the neighborhood that I am waiting for their fruit to ripen. My friend Michele posted that pears ripen off the tree and shared this informative link:  http://www.oregonfresh.net/education/commodities/pears.php

I used this link to determine when to pull the pears of the tree (I had pulled some tester pears off too soon; they never ripened off the tree and I had to compost them) and I am hoping the latest batch of pears will ripen soon on my dining room table!

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More Apples!

In addition to pears in the photo above, you will see some apples (and some peaches which I will discuss a little later).

In my post The Fruits of My NeighborhoodI share my discovery of a green apple tree and the subsequent delicious apple pie I made from my haul (I picked enough neglected green apples for my neighbor, who loves to bake, to also make a pie).

Well I discovered another neglected apple tree (at a very neglected looking and perhaps vacant house). I am not sure what variety of apple but they taste quite delicious with my morning oatmeal! I was only able to liberate a couple apples as most were rotted on the ground or had worms. Too bad, there were some beautiful apples on the ground.

Here is the current fruit bowl on my dining table filled with “liberated” pears, apples and peaches (yes I took this photo with my new Instagram app now that I have embraced Instagram…”welcome to the 21st century Tierney”):

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Crabapples

I was on a bike ride last week, and came upon this sign attached to a tree:

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Oh my – Someone wants help liberating their fruit!!! How could I refuse?!?!

Luckily I had my “fruit liberating sack” (copyright pending, ha!) with me and I proceeded to fill up it up with delicious ripe crabapples. While I was filling up my bag, the homeowner came out and chatted with me for a while.

She was so happy I was taking the fruit and I shared with her my adventures of “liberating” other fruit in the neighborhood and pie making. She told me of the delicious crabapple butter she and her Mom made last year with the crabapples; but she could not keep up with them this year and was hoping they would not just go to waste.

I told her – “I am here for you!” which got quite the laugh from the homeowner.

Below is my bike filled with crabapples in my “fruit liberating sack”:

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I got enough for myself and my neighbor who likes to bake/cook. I researched online how to freeze them (Crabapples: University of Alaska Extension); and froze two (2) large bags of crabapples for our Fall cooking adventures (you can freeze for up to 3 months).

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And Finally, Peaches

Imagine going on a walk with your dogs in the morning and you can pluck a ripe peach from a tree and munch on it as you walk. Is this a scene from the State of Georgia? No this was my morning walk in Central Oregon!

I did not know we could even grow peaches in Central Oregon. Our high desert hot and dry climate does not remotely seem like the correct climate for peaches. But then what do I know of horticulture?

Here is the lovely peach tree, with peaches falling from the tree as they ripen:

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And here is my haul of peaches – not sure if I want to make a peach cobbler or just enjoy them each day as they get riper and riper (and juicier and juicier). Funny thing as I was never really interested in store bought peaches. But peaches right off the tree – fruit heaven!

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What’s next in my “Fruit Liberation” quests? Well I have spotted some plums and possibly some nectarine like fruit that will be coming into season in the upcoming weeks.

The interesting thing is that before embracing simpler living I would never have been interested in “liberating” fruit from neglected fruit trees. Truthfully, in the past I did not eat that much fruit in my daily diet. Terry the Quilting Husband and I live a much healthier existence since changing our lifestyle a couple years ago (though it was a process that began with moving to Central Oregon in 2005). But that is another future post on our “Minimalism Journey”


POSTSCRIPT

Instead of a “Monday at the Butte” (see my previous posts on hiking Pilot Butte), yesterday I did a “Sunday at the Butte” with my friend Jenny. We hiked Pilot Butte and then went for coffee and pastries! We figured we had earned our pastries!

Here are a couple photos – the summit of Pilot Butte (I never tire of this view); the selection of pastries at the local bakery/coffee shop; and a beautiful color combination on the table we sat:

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Enjoy your week and here is a sign I came across at a tea shop a couple of weeks ago as a closing “food for thought”:

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Stories My Father Told Me: Quilt #1

 


Stories My Father Told Me: The First Quilt in the Series

In my 04/23/16 post Creative Inspiration: Stories My Father Told Me, I shared how I want to translate some of the inspirational stories my father, Raoul Davis, Sr. told me as a child, that inspire who I am as a person, into textile stories.

Two things happened since this post: 1) I was invited to participate in a special exhibit where I could draw from my the inspirational stories and words I listened to from my father as a child; and 2) I watched an excellent presentation on “Working in a Series” through the art quilting organization I belong – Studio Art Quilt Associates (SAQA) that further inspired me to work on this series.

I created my first quilt in my Stories My Father Told Me Series, and it is titled “The Lesson & The Equation“. At this time I cannot share details on the show that it will be a part of as the exhibit has not been announced yet. However, I did receive permission from the show’s curator to share a photo of the quilt on my tierneycreates blog.

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The Lesson & The Equation (2016). Designed, pieced and quilted by Tierney Davis Hogan

Below are excerpts from my Artist Statement for this piece to provide some understanding of the inspiration for this piece:

My father grew up in the segregated South in the 1940s and embraced at an early age that change comes from respectful dialogue, not violence. He taught us that regardless of what adversity we faced in life, we must face it with grace; and treat others with respect, dignity, and brotherhood….  (THE LESSON).

In this quilt, a father (modeled after my own father in the 1970s) is teaching his children, on the main blackboard, THE EQUATION to achieving a world in which people are Free and Equal…I am from a family of educators, beginning with my great-grandfather. The blackboards in the quilt honor that legacy.


POSTSCRIPT: The Instagram Experiment

I have decided to experiment with the mysterious social networking app Instagram (yes, it is only mysterious to me). I mentioned in the “POSTSCRIPT” section of the post Back to the Butte how clueless I am about Instagram. Experimenting with it might be the only way to become less clueless!

I have added an Instagram “widget” to my blog page and now you will see my Instagram feed on my Home page. (Of course ow I need to add more than the 4 or so photos I had in Instagram when I first signed up a year or two ago,  got very confused and stopped using it).

We have magnetic erasable board on our refrigerator. I write menu plans and grocery shopping lists on this board. I have a habit of taking a photo of my grocery list on my smartphone to take shopping (I figure that is “greener” than using paper to write it down). I was laughing to myself: wouldn’t that make a terribly dull Instagram feed – just photos of my messily scrawled food shopping lists?!?!

I promise to try to keep the feed a wee bit more interesting than that!

Creative Quilt Challenges: Shape Shifting

I was invited by Wendy Hill and Pat Pease, authors of  Creative Quilt Challenges (C&T Publishing, 2016) to participate in their invitational exhibit: Shape Shifting.

Creative Quilt Challenges is a Special Exhibit at the Pacific International Quilt Festival (PIQF) , October 13-16, in Santa Clara, California. Shape Shifting will be an exhibit within their Creative Challenges exhibit. Please be sure to stop by Pat Pease and Wendy Hill’s exhibit at PIQF if you are attending and tell my friends “hello”!

For my piece in this invitational exhibit, I had decided to actually do some “shape shifting” and transform an existing art quilt piece that I was not too sure about, into something that actually made me smile.


SHAPE SHIFTING

I began with this existing piece, Ohio, which I last discussed in the post Update: Ohio

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Something about the piece was displeasing to me and the piece felt kind of “blah”. So I removed the borders using with some very careful seam ripping (the piece is made of recycled silks; and then sliced apart a couple sections of the piece.

Then I played around with a border of BRIGHT fuchsia-pink raw silk that a friend picked up from a thrift shop and shared with me:

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The selvage of the bright fuchsia raw silk had the name “FOUWAH, HONG KONG”. Some “googling” revealed this piece was likely a vintage fabric from Fou Wah Fabrics of Hong Kong:

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Here is the final design of the piece, which I am tentatively naming: Ohio Shifted (I will have to create quite the Artist Statement on this piece to explain to the viewer where I got the name from…I might rethink the name…we’ll see…)

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I selected this fabric for the back of the piece:

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The piece is now ready for quilting. I am going to “put my big girl panties on” and quilt this art quilt myself. I need to be able to give it to Wendy and Pat by September 15th and I need to keep challenging myself to go to places (my own art quilting) that I do not want to go, so I can grow.

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Initially I was going to go buy some bright fuchsia thread to quilt it with but I have selected a soft gold thread (the one on the left) that mirrors the colors in some of the blocks. I might also another another thread color, still deciding.

(Note – I did do a 1/8 an inch stitch around the edge of the piece using a 2.0 stitch length to stop the raw silk from fraying any further than the edges).

I am going to practice what I want to do as far as quilting on the quilt on a scrap silk “quilt sandwich” before I quilt on my actual piece.  A couple of months ago I did quilt an entire art quilt myself for a piece for another invitational exhibit that I will post about in the future.


POSTSCRIPT

In March, I did participate in a Blog Tour to celebrate the release of the art quilting book, Creative Quilt Challenges by Pat Pease and Wendy Hill.

If you would like to read my post for my part of the blog tour, where I discuss working with “unlikely materials” (recycled silks, denim, wool) in making quilts please see the link below:

BLOG TOUR DAY 4: Unlikely Materials

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Photo credit: Amazon.com

Seattle Public Utilities’ Portable Works Collection

I have some great news to share: My collaborative art quilt,  Abandoned Water Structure has been selected for purchase by the City of Seattle for the Seattle Public Utilities’ Portable Works Collection. This collection is part of the City of Seattle’s Public Art Collection.

Abandoned Water Structure was designed and pieced by myself using recycled silk and linen garment manufacturing scraps and samples; then it was brilliantly quilted by Betty Anne Guadalupe.

The story behind the development of this piece can be found on the post: What’s on the Design Wall: Working Through A New Art Quilt Piece. There is also a post on The Wardrobe Meets the Wall’s website about this piece: New Piece Added to Collection: Abandoned Water Structure (2015)

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Abandoned Water Structure (2015). Designed and pieced by Tierney Davis Hogan, quilted by Betty Anne Guadalupe


THE CALL FOR ENTRY

I subscribe to CAFE for Artistscallforentry.org, an online resource for locating “calls for entry” for juried shows; a portal for entering shows; and a platform to store your and art portfolio.

After entering a couple shows over the past year and being rejected (after previous success of being selected), I had stopped entering shows due to the costs. Entering juried shows can run $25 – $45 or more per show (I did have a limit of no more than $35 to enter a show).

After deciding to take a hiatus from entering shows, I continued to read the Call for Entries e-mail that came from CAFE every couple of weeks, just for fun (and daydreaming).

A couple of months ago I saw a Call for Entry from the City of Seattle for the Seattle Public Utilities’ Portable Works Collection. They wanted submissions (for consideration for purchase) of art related to water. If you read the post about the creation of Abandoned Water Structure (which was originally titled “Abandoned Structure”) you will see the piece is all about water!

Also the entry fee was only $10. I figured for $10 I could take a chance.

I had to complete quite the entry/application and basically write an essay. Of course I like writing, so that was okay.


SELECTED!

I was notified a couple of weeks ago but needed to wait until their Public Art Advisory Committee met to finalize the decision. (I have been sitting on this exciting news!)

Their selection panel included three arts professionals from Washington State, and an advisor from Seattle Public Utilities.  The panel reviewed the artworks from 307 applicants and selected 36 artworks by 34 artists. I am very honored that Abandoned Water Structure was selected.

Here is a link to the City of Seattle Portable Works Collection, which includes works by many renown artists such as Jacob Lawrence, Mary Iverson, Gwendolyn Knight, George Tsutakawa, and Dale Chihuly.

Although I doubt Abandoned Water Structure would ever be featured on the main page, I am honored to know it is part of a collection with the works of these real artists! Additionally, as a former Seattle, Washington resident, this honor gives me a special connection to the city I used to call home!

I will be sharing part of the proceeds from the sale with my collaborative partner on the piece, Betty Anne. Her spectacular quilting helped bring this piece to life. She  intuitively quilted the piece based on the actual photograph of the decaying structure and the water flowing around it.


NEXT STEPS

I will post further updates if I find out where the piece will be displayed in Seattle.

Currently I am waiting for the purchase order from the City of Seattle and then I have many, many, many forms to complete (including one on how they need to care and maintain the piece) before the purchase is finalized.

I am living the fantasy, just for a moment, of being a “Professional Artist” (smile)!


UPDATE 09/28/16

The process is complete and I sent the piece to the City of Seattle’s framer. I hope someday I can see a photo of it framed.

In my final communication with the City of Seattle’s Public Art Project Manager I received a formal synopsis of the program and what will happen to the artwork:

The artworks will be exhibitioned throughout the public spaces of Seattle Public Utilities in Seattle. These public spaces include lobbies, entry hallways, reception areas and conference rooms. In order to encourage involvement and understanding of the diversity of artwork in the collection, employees participate in the selection of artwork for their own areas. The artwork moves throughout the offices on a rotation basis, thereby increasing viewing opportunities of the art by employees and the general public. The collection is also occasionally borrowed by museums and galleries for exhibitions. 

Back to the Butte

Central Oregon is a geological wonderland and one of its marvels is Pilot Butte. It is like having a “mini mountain” to hike in the middle of Bend, Oregon. At its summit is a splendid 360-degree view of nearly the entire Central Oregon region.

I have a series of posts on my Pilot Butte adventures:

Monday on the “Butte”

The Monday, Post “Yard Bark Mulching”

Monday, Again

You Got to Start Somewhere

Monday 8/15/16, I returned to my Monday hikes on Pilot Butte. I took a hiatus and started going on long bike rides instead as my knees were growing unhappy with the steep vertical ascent and decent on Pilot Butte. I missed Pilot Butte terribly and finally returned.

My current audiobook inspired to return to hiking Pilot Butte – Trespassing Across America: One Man’s Epic, Never-Done-Before (and Sort of Illegal) Hike Across the Heartland (2016) by Ken Ilgunas. Please see the Postscript section of this post for more on this book.

It was not my best hike up the Butte as I needed to take a break during the climb. Luckily Pilot Butte has awesome benches with breathtaking views along the path.

Here is today’s hike in photos:

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I am back!

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Two options: the paved road up or the dirt/nature trail

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I chose the “Nature Trail” which was quite dusty with the hot dry weather

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As you make your ascent you enjoy sweeping views of the region

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And views of Cascade Mountain peaks

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My first bench rest area

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I skipped this bench near the summit, I had my momentum going

At the summit, I discovered these new educational/informational panels:IMG_4463

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I took the road down

My knees are a tiny bit sore, but I am feeling quite pleased that I was able to return to hiking Pilot Butte!


POSTSCRIPT

My current read/listen

I had committed to trying to read/listen to some fiction. I borrowed a “beach read” from the library. That was not a good idea – I became very impatient with the predictable storyline. I gave up on the book.

While trying to figure out what to listen to/read next the audiobook Trespassing Across America: One Man’s Epic, Never-Done-Before (and Sort of Illegal) Hike Across the Heartland (2016) by Ken Ilgunas, became available.

So far this synopsis on amazon.com summarizes the book well:

Told with sincerity, humor, and wit, Trespassing Across America is both a fascinating account of one man’s remarkable journey along the Keystone XL pipeline and a meditation on climate change, the beauty of the natural world, and the extremes to which we can push ourselves—both physically and mentally.
 

This book seems like to perfect book for a long walk or a hike. I loved listening to his hiking adventures and challenges while climbing and descending Pilot Butte.

The book reminds me of a Bill Bryson novel (A Walk in the Woods, Notes from a Small Island): in that addition to sharing his adventures trekking across the Canadian and US plains, he shares the geologic and cultural issues of the regions he travels through as well as its history.

Goodreads

A couple of years ago my friend Michele introduced me to Goodreads, the social network for avid book readers. At the time I was still “social networking” skittish (it took awhile for friends to convince me to join Facebook) so I signed up but never really did anything with it.

Recently my blogging buddy Laura has gotten me interested in rediscovering Goodreads. My public profile name is tierneycreates on Goodreads and I am going to start posting all the book reviews I have posted in my blog over the past 3+ years onto my Goodreads profile.

So feel free to connect with tierneycreates on Goodreads if you like to see my reviews. I will also post reviews of my favorite fiction books before I started on my non-fiction obsession.

A Few Random Thoughts on Social Networking

Even though I am a blogger, I still have not fully embraced social networking.

I am signed up on Twitter as tierneycreates, but I am not really into tweeting (I have it set up that my tierneycreates blog posts are automatically tweeted onto Twitter in case anyone wants to follow me there).

I am signed up with Instagram but I have yet to figure out its purpose. I do enjoy Pinterest and someday I will put more effort into organizing my Pinterest boards!

I like to connect, but I do not want to be over-connected…

Little Miss Muffet, Made Her Own Tuffet

Feature photo: one of the chalkboard wall art decorations in my room at the Over the Rainbow Retreat Lodge.


TUFFETS!

You remember that nursery rhyme:

Little Miss Muffet sat on a tuffet, eating her curds and whey…

I never really knew what the “tuffet” was in the nursery rhyme other than something to sit upon. That was until the recent tuffet making craze that seems to have taken the crafting world by storm (at least in the Pacific NW).

While attending a four-day quilt retreat at the beginning of August, I sat in the same room as a Tuffet Making Class by the very talented professional long-arm quilter and teacher, Krista the Kwilt Queen.

Several of my quilting friends (both old and new) were taking this class and I wanted to share some photos of their completed tuffets!

Here is Krista, the teacher, with nearly all the tuffets made in class:

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Here are the various beautiful tuffets made by the students. They used a variety of fabrics – from Kaffe Fasset and Hoffman Batik pre-cuts to RECYCLED DENIM JEANS!

One quilter, my friend Joan, made a tuffet from her husband’s old jeans as a gift to her husband for their RV!

It was very fun watching them assemble the tuffets (sewing the tuffets onto the the special template looked very tedious) and seeing their joy with the final project. Krista was a wonderful teacher and I wished I was taking the class (except how would I gotten the tuffet home on the plane ride?!?!)


OTHER PROJECTS

Several of us attending the retreat did not take the Tuffet Class, instead we worked on our own projects. You saw my project from the retreat in my post What’s on the Design Wall (Need Your Help)Here is a sampling of the other projects “retreaters” worked on during the retreat:

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Intuitive log cabin square-in-a-square art quilt by Dana

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Sasquatch themed flannel quilt by Judy – very Pacific NW!

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Tiny paper pieced block by Diana – it was amazing!


THE RETREAT

The retreat itself was held at Over the Rainbow Lodge Retreat in Camano Island, Washington. I first heard about this retreat during our annual May, Jelly Rollers Quilt Group Retreat. I was not going to attend as I would have to fly to the retreat and I was watching my budget.

However, as I mentioned in my post Distracted, I was feeling a little out of sorts with all the sad stuff going on in the world and needed something fun to lighten my mood. I discovered I had enough airline miles to purchase a discounted Alaska Airlines ticket (Alaska Airlines lets you combine miles and money to buy tickets if you do not have enough miles).

In addition to sewing, I made time to go on twice daily walks on the beautiful property and neighborhood where the retreat is located (it is a former private home in a private neighborhood). Sometimes I went on a solitary walks listening to an audiobook and other walks were spent with my fellow retreat attendees – both old and new friends. It is so fun to go on a long walk with a new or old friend during a retreat and “discuss life”.

Here are photos of the retreat center, the view of the water from the lounge area of the retreat and the road I walked on.

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Photo credit: Over the Rainbow Lodge

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Beautiful views of the water from the porch/deck of the retreat center

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Exquisite walks

The beds at the lodge were premium/high quality and I had great delicious sleep in the cool Pacific NW nights. I struggle occasionally with not sleeping well at quilt retreats due to uncomfortable beds and unfamiliar sounds. I sleep really well in a nice double bed to myself and had a great roommate Dana!

The Over the Rainbow Retreat Lodge is filled with art with inspirational messages. One of them is shown as the feature photo for this post.

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I will close this post with one of the inspirational messages stenciled onto the stair risers leading connecting the downstairs sewing area and the upstairs lounge and dining areas at the retreat.

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What’s on Design Wall: Your Ideas

My next post was going to be about the cool projects other quilters were working on at the retreat (tuffets!) I attended last weekend. However, I do not want to lose the momentum from the project discussed in my Thursday 08/11/16 post –What’s on the Design Wall (Need Your Help).

I so appreciate all the enthusiastic responses, votes, and ideas. I have to tell those of you who commented: You made a MESS of my studio (smile)!

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You should have seen my little studio – various fabrics pulled out from my stash in many different colors, from your suggestions, strewn about everywhere. It was like a tornado of fabric options had blown through.

Reading all the comments was very fun – it was like you all were crammed into my tiny studio (where would I fit you all?!??!) and we were looking through my stash together and throwing around ideas (and fabric).

Of course, I would have to plan a snack and beverage for all my studio guests crammed into the tiny room…but where would I set out the plates and cups? (Maybe I could go scavenge some more fruit from my neighborhood to serve as snacks…but that is an upcoming post: Fruits of My Neighborhood Part III!)


THE RECAP

  • This project began with a bag of colorful Batik scraps (that I embarrassingly actually purchased…in a moment of weakness from the Stitchin’ Post quilt shop’s basket of scrap bags for sale..that shop is loaded with temptation!)

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  • I turned many of those scraps into 24 6′ x 6″ blocks:
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(BTW – I moved these blocks to my new hallway design wall which we created this weekend – but that is another post…)

  • I presented four (4) options for the layout on the blocks and here are the votes by Option:
    • OPTION 1A – Float the blocks individually in a neutral background: 2 Votes
    • OPTION 1B – Group the blocks together and then float the whole grouping in a neutral background: 0 Votes
    • OPTION 2A – Float the blocks individually in a gray background: 4 Votes
    • OPTION 2B – Group the blocks together and then float the whole grouping in a gray background: 2 Votes
  • In addition to voting on options I presented, many of you in your comments suggested different options (I hope I captured the essence of all the comments to date, my apologies if I left a summary of your comment out below):
    • Group them together on a neutral background not trying to make them perfectly square, use Misty Fuse to attach them
    • Stitch the blocks together, use a pieced binding to enclose them, they speak so well on their own!
    • Group them together on the grey but make sure all blue sides are facing opposite of the grey fabric and placed up against another block rather than up against the grey fabric not allowing a blue side to but up against another blue.
    • Float each block individually, with a PURPLE or RED background- keep the color going! And maybe put a yellow square at each “intersection”
    • Golden brown would be nice also (to float blocks).
    • I agree with some others are dark brown, plum, dark red, I’d be inclined to try them on different ones and see which calls loudest.I start to wonder if it’s be even better on the dark brown.
    • I think a chocolate brown would be so cool.
    • I would make more blocks, group them without sashing or a border, and bind with a pieced binding (NOTE: I did make more blocks, see below!)
    •  If you do want separation, don’t set them straight, in rows and columns. Use your separator in more random sizing — perhaps framing each one with the same fabric but in wonky widths. It might be easiest to pull off with a fabric that has some pattern so the seams between newly framed blocks disappear a bit.
    • If you really want to set them apart on a different background, what about looking at either a gold dupioni or a deep purple dupioni?
    • (from a text to my phone, not posted to the blog) What came to mind was floating blocks in a round of neutral logs then a round of gray logs – maybe alternate with the reverse – round of gray first then neutral – then you float and have blocks side by side – and I’m thinking of a neutral acid yellow or lime green or maybe an acid yellow orange – a crisp bright marigold color – all would look good with the blocks and gray.
    • Option Z: I love love love the blocks, but am partial to flashy colors mounted on a white background. I also like sashing between the blocks because it makes each one pop.
    • While I like both versions of placing all the blocks together and placing with sashing, I would need to try the sashing version using a variety of sizes and different shades of either the light or the grey.
  • One fellow blogger, Melanie @ Catbird Quilt Studio  was kind enough to e-mail me a photo of one of her lovely scrappy log cabin quilts, “Broken Pains” as an example of a layout she used:
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Photo courtesy of Melanie McNeil, Catbird Quilt Studio. Used with permission; all rights reserved.

  • In addition to showing you the scraps I started with, in the previous post I shared the pile of scraps I had left over from trimming the original set of blocks down to a 6″ x 6″ size:

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  • In the evening on Friday and Saturday, I turned the trimmings from those scraps and some of the remaining scraps into 23 more 6″ x 6″ blocks:
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(Now why didn’t I make 24 more instead of 23 more? I guess I lost count while piecing!) As you can see, these blocks are somewhat darker and have more piecing. I tried to use all the scraps from the trimmings which had piecing within the scraps.

  • I now have scraps left over from trimming the latest blocks and the remaining original scraps that started it all…and yes, I am going to make more blocks out of them!  (Besides 47,  24 + 23, is an usual odd number of blocks. )

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THE EXPERIMENTS

I tried out many of your color suggestions. To save time, I had a “pocket full of scrappy blocks” as I experimented. I never imagined walking around my house with a pocket full of quilt blocks!

Now, try and use your imagination as you look at my experiments. Although I tried to put strong lighting on the design wall, if you have been following my blog for a while, you know I am not the best photographer (if I tried to make photography a career I would be very hungry).

I provide two layouts on each test background fabric: 1) floated and 2) grouped together with a border.

More disclaimers (soon you will be frightened to even scroll down and look…): I did not iron the fabric I used as the test background and I randomly selected the blocks to go onto the test fabric. (If this were a real quilt layout, I would have given more thought to the block placement and order.)

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RED – I loved this!

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Brown – sort of a “milk chocolate” brown – could take it or leave it…

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Dark Brown – I guess the “dark chocolate” brown – I liked it!

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Gold – this is a new Moda fabric I picked up – I love it!

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Different shades of gray using an ombre fabric – could take it or leave it

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Purple – lovely!

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White – in concept sounded nice put I do not use large amounts of white in my pieces

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Blue-gray – sort of denim like – I liked it! This is one of the Peppered Cottons I have on my Etsy shop

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MARIGOLD! Well as close as I could get to marigold – this is a Moda Grunge line fabric and this is my favorite!

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Looked for an “acid green” in my stash but this bright lime green was the best I could find. I like it!


THE DECISION

Thank you so much for all the great ideas. I also appreciated all the layout and general design ideas.

My decision is as follows:

  1. Make more blocks, trying to use up nearly all the remaining scraps.
  2. Do not make a quilt with these blocks, instead make a SERIES of artsy table runners for my tierneycreates Etsy shop using various combinations and layouts of these blocks and my favorites of the backgrounds above (red, marigold, gold, purple, dark brown, and lime/acid green).

Thanks for coming with me on this color and design adventure! I will update you all as I complete the table runners!


POSTSCRIPT

Here is a follow up on the post Mysterious Thrift Store Fabric Find: One of my blogger buddies, Claire @ knitnkwilt.wordpress.com, tapped into her resources and got a translation for the words on the selvage of my mysterious Asian fabric thrift store find:

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ll the characters on the left say is ‘manufacturer/maker’.  I’m guessing the ones just to the right of Watex are the company’s Japanese name. The handwritten characters say ‘Golden Age’

Thanks so much Claire for helping solve the mystery.

I had more ramblings for this Postscript, but you are likely exhausted after reading this very long post!

What’s on the Design Wall (Need Your Help)

Check out Sassy the Highly Opinionated Miniature Schnauzer’s blog on SchnauzerSnips, for her latest musings…


BRIGHT COLOR!!!

One of my blogging-buddies, Laura @ Create Art Every Day, recently asked me in response to my comment on one of her post:

Have you ever done a quilt with lots of white or neutral (back)ground mixed with really bright brights?

Her timing on this question is amazing as I just returned from a four-day quilt retreat with some of my Quilting Sisters and some new quilting friends I met at the retreat. While at the retreat I worked on free-form piecing of log cabin blocks (“log jamming”).

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First round of scrappy log-jam batik blocks

These blocks started as bag of colorful batik fabric scraps:

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The bag of batik scraps that started it all

I trimmed each block to a 6″ x 6″ block and I have scraps left over from trimming the blocks and I am going to use those “trimming scraps” and the rest of the scrap back to make more blocks.

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The leftovers from trimming the blocks

Now here is where I need your help – I am trying to decide what background color to set the blocks into and what layout. I would appreciate input from crafters and non crafters – I want to know what you find most aesthetically pleasing:

OPTION 1A – Float the blocks individually in a neutral background:

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OPTION 1BGroup the blocks together and then float the whole grouping in a neutral background:

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OPTION 2A – Float the blocks individually in a gray background:

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OPTION 2B Group the blocks together and then float the whole grouping in a gray background:

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This dilemma is actually the fault of Laura @ Create Art Every Day (ha!) as originally I had purchased the gray fabric during the quilt retreat to float the blocks. Then I was inspired by Laura’s comment to float the blocks in a neutral background!

I am stuck and would appreciate your vote and any comments you want to make regarding your rationale. THANK YOU!

In my next post I will share what the other quilters were working on at the quilt retreat I recently attended and some cool fabric finds (in addition to the one mentioned in “Postscript”). 


POSTSCRIPT

Frivolous Purchase

Speaking of “Bright Color“, while at the retreat, I bought a frivolous but cool piece of fabric – a panel by Hoffman Fabrics of their entire Hand-Dyed Batik Watercolor Palette:

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It is now hanging in my studio.

I do love bright colors and here are the quilts I keep on the chair in my studio. The two on the left are made by my Quilting Sisters (Judy D. and Kathy R.) and I was rotating them as wallhangings in my studio prior to getting the Hoffman Batik panel. The one on the right is my first experiment with creating Half-Square Triangles with charm squares using a Batik charm back I bought in the early 2000s (I made this quilt around 2003).

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A Blog Recommendation

I follow many wonderful blogs by other crafters, quilters, painters and other artists. I also follow inspirational blogs by non-crafters. Please see my “Blogs of Follow” list section of my Home page.

I was fortunate to discover (I think by a comment on one of my blog posts) a blog by a Nigerian quilter – Sola, called Alice Samuel’s Quilt Co. Her blog is very interesting to read from a quilter’s perspective outside the US. I have also come across various wonderful Australian and UK quilter blogs.

I love how quilting connects us across the globe!

In Sola’s latest post, she has a wonderfully researched (with lots of links to resources) post on:

The Quilting Process: Basting your Quilt

Thanks to my fellow bloggers for their engaging blogs I love following; and thanks to the tierneycreates readers/followers (extra thanks to those who take the time to comment on posts). I feel very blessed! (huge smile).

The Empty Drawer (re-post)

I am getting caught up from being out of town and I wanted to share a re-posting of one of my favorite tierneycreates blog posts – The Empty Drawer (09/30/15).  The sweet memory it evokes, makes it one of my favorite posts.

At some point I would like to update with you all where I am on my “minimalism” journey that I have discussed in many older posts including this post. 

For now, here is “re-run” (smile).


Sometimes love is shown in small sweet ways…

This post is an addendum to the post The Space in Which We Live in which I share how Marie Kondo’s book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing inspired me to downsize my unused and unneeded clothes and get rid of our second dresser in the bedroom.

Since I got rid of the dresser I used, I needed somewhere to store my socks and undies. I convinced my husband to give me one drawer of his tightly packed dresser. He groaned a little at first but realized how much space it would free up in the bedroom to only have one dresser. So he reluctantly cleared out a bottom drawer in his dresser for me.

I jokingly said: “Might I have a top drawer?”  A day later I discovered my stuff had been moved to a top drawer, all neatly organized by my husband.

Surprisingly, it did not take me long to get used to living with one drawer.

Then the other day, I got quite a surprise: I was opening my top drawer quickly and not paying attention and accidentally opened the drawer below it.

AND IT WAS EMPTY!

My husband, without saying anything, had somehow cleared a second drawer for me, right below my newly beloved solitary top drawer. I now have TWO DRAWERS!

The Empty Drawer
The Empty Drawer

Recently I have been listening to a wonderful book on CD from the library called The Empowering Women Gift Collection (1997) which is a collection of lectures by the motivational and inspirational speakers Louise Hay, Christiane Northrup, Caroline Myss, and Susan Jeffers. Although this CD is from 1997 most of the inspirational information is still pertinent.

One of the speakers discusses in her lecture that men may show their love differently than women. Basically they might show their love by fixing the faucet for you rather than getting all sweet and mushy, etc.

I definitely consider this unexpected and “unrequested” second EMPTY DRAWER an act of love!

Distracted

Thursday, while flying to a quilt retreat, I realized what a “distracted” culture I live in.


The “Flight of Distraction”

I am joining some quilting friends this weekend on a retreat they are attending.

Originally I had planned not to attend this retreat (I was trying to “watch my pennies”) however  after writing the post Live. Love. Laugh. I started thinking that given all the craziness in the world, it is important to keep fun time with friends in my life.

This retreat is located in a place I fondly call “South Canada” (northern Washington State) so to save 8+ hours of driving each way, I treated myself and booked a flight to the retreat. On the flight, I had an intense realization how distracted in general we are from the world around us. At least in my little part of the world.

As I boarded the plane and walked down the aisle to find my seat, I noticed how most of the passengers were entranced by their smartphones – some talking on their phones, but most of them texting or playing games on their phones.

If it was not a smartphone, then they had an iPad on and were staring at and interacting with the screen. Few people were talking to their companions or introducing themselves to the passenger next to them.

I found my aisle seat and greeted the gentleman who was in the window seat, as we would be flying together for the next hour. He barely mumbled hello to me and went back to watching a movie on his iPad.

As the aircraft doors closed and the plane began to taxi, the flight attendants began their flight safety instructions. They asked the passengers to turn their attention to the flight attendant giving the instructions, and it seems NO ONE but myself looked up at the flight attendant.

My fellow passenger was deep in his movie. The children seated in front of me were playing iPad games. Their father to the aisle seat right of them, had a movie on his iPad AND was playing solitaire on his smartphone!

(Side note: I remember when you had to put away your phone and your tablet for take off until the plane reached a certain altitude. However those rules were lifted and now you can keep these devices out during taxing and take off as long as you have them in “airplane mode”. I think having to put away the devices for a while used to encourage people to just lay back and relax or read for a while.)

As everyone on the plane appeared to have headphones on, it was unlikely that they could hear the flight attendant’s instructions. The flight attendant on the PA system giving the flight safety instructions could have said:

“You will experience some initial nausea during interdimensional time travel as your molecules quickly separate and then reassemble”.

I had brought a library book to read on the flight. I remember the day when most people had a book. magazine or newspaper they were reading on a flight. I love reading a book on a plane and then nodding off into a delicious little nap. The best “flight naps” are when you wake up and you are nearly at your destination.

While reading my book, Crafting the Personal Essay : A Guide to Writing and Publishing Creative Nonfiction (Dinty W. Moore, 2010) I came across this statement that seemed very appropriate to my current experience on the “Flight of Distraction”:

In our highly visual culture – television, movies, videos on iPad – it is important to remember just how magical good writing can be. – Dinty W. Moore

Note this publication date of the book was 2010. We are even more distracted in 2016!


An Important Reminder

The room I am staying in at the quilting retreat is decorated in modern decor and has “chalkboard” style art. One of the chalkboard-style wall decorations has a saying that really resonated with me given my “Flight of Distraction” experience:

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I have people in my life, who I adore, but when I am with them, I am also with their phone. Their phone is always the other person in the room with us, they are listening for and checking their texts. It seems as if my company is not enough for them.

I try to make an effort that my phone is not an extra person in the room. When I am hanging out with you, I am with you, not with my phone. If I am expecting an important phone call, I might let my companion know but I do not check (or listen for texts) when hanging out with friends.

There is more going on in life then on the smartphone or tablet. (Now do not get me started on how I feel about people walking around and texting without looking up at their surroundings…)

Mysterious Thrift Store Fabric Find

Earlier in the week I went to drop off a donation of no longer needed items to one of our local thrift stores.

There was a long line at the “drive thru” drop off donation area (good to see so many people in town making their lives lighter of stuff!),  so I decided to park at walk in my donation. After dropping off my donation, since I had already parked, I figured it would not hurt to go into the thrift shop and look around…

Naturally I went directly to the donated fabric section of the thrift shop and after a bit of rummaging discovered a yard of a lovely Asian print I thought would make great kimonos.

I am careful on thrift store fabrics of quilting weight material and always check the manufacturer name on the selvage (end/label area) of the fabric. This print had a name I had never heard of – Watex – but it the fabric felt like a high quality Hoffman Fabrics style Asian print, so I bought it (yes my huge $1.99 investment).

Returning home, I tried to google “Watex” and could not find anything of use other than it appears to be a Japanese fabric and several people were selling “Vintage Watex” on eBay and Etsy. The word “Watex” on the selvage was surrounded by Asian language characters, so I guessed the fabric was manufactured somewhere in Asia.

Below are photos of my fabric find, let me know if you have ever heard of Watex fabrics!

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If the fabric’s origins/manufacturer remains a mystery, it will still be great fabric for a future miniature kimono or other project.

The Fruits of My Neighborhood, Part II

In the post The Fruits of My Neighborhood I shared my adventures of discovering a neglected green apple tree in a nearby neighborhood during a bike ride; “liberating” the fruit; and making an apple pie.

Since discovering a neglected, unused apple tree, I have kept an eye out for other fruit tree in my neighborhood or surrounding neighborhoods that are neglected, apparently unloved, and unused. I think of it as my “Fruit Tree Love Intervention” or “Fruit Tree Appreciation Harvest Rescue” program.

The other day I discovered a neglected tree (the house is on the market and empty) that appeared to have “cherry-like” fruit but the fruit did not look like traditional cherries.

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I thought – “what the heck, I will try one of the suspicious cherries and see if they are edible” (or if they will cause me to fall to ground convulsing as the poison of the toxic berry races through my body).

I lived, but you probably guessed that as I am writing this post.

The sample cherry was VERY tart, especially the skin. It did not taste like a traditional “sweet cherry”. I went home and researched what type of cherry I had sampled, searching through many photos of cherry fruit and cherry fruit trees; and it appeared to be a Prunus cerasus cherry or “sour cherry” according to Wikipedia.

After reviewing several sources on sour cherries, I decided free sour cherries sounded like a good idea for a future pie. I thought “future pie” as it has been very warm in Central Oregon lately and I was not in the mood for baking.

The challenge: the sour cherries on the tree appeared were fairly ripe and many had fallen to the ground already (poor unloved fruit tree!)  If I put off making the pie, the cherries would be done for the season (lying on the ground, sad that they did not get into a pie, tart, or jam…)

So I researched freezing cherries and it turns out that sour cherries are very good to freeze – they keep their nutritional value when frozen. Also sour cherries have considerably more nutritional value (according to my “googling”) than sweet cherries.

I returned yesterday and gathered a huge load of unloved sour cherries from the neglected tree, rinsed and froze them for use in a future pie or tart!

I froze them individually at first and then bagged them together for freezing, so they would not stick to one another:

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Postscript

I am still keeping an eye on two neglected pear trees in the neighborhood.

Their fruit is not getting ripe, it is still very hard. I keep testing pears and they they are hard and not very tasty. I did take one home to see if it would ripen off the tree, but I think they pears are just not ready yet.

So they will have to wait to be “liberated” from their neglected tree!

The Library Stack

Continuing my ongoing series of my latest stack of books from my beloved public library…


Art Business, Writing, Quilting, and Decorating 

My latest stack of books from the library center around making of living from selling your art, decorating your home, writing, and a random new quilting book on scrap quilts.

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This is a staged photo to make you think I have decorating skills…

I have already finished Farrow & Ball’s How to Decorate (2016). Basically I looked at the beautiful photos while I sipped my tea and eating my morning granola and yogurt while a very manipulative and bossy miniature schnauzer stared at me (Sassy the Highly Opinionated Miniature Schnauzer thinks what I am eating is also hers).

The book, How to Decorate (2016), is a lovely book on ideas for paint colors (Farrow & Ball paints of course) and room arrangements. After flipping through this book I did however realize I am burned out on decorating books. My decorating style is “Random Cozy”. My house look either “cozy enough to take a nap in” or the “stylings of someone with no style” depending how you look at it.

I have an ongoing fantasy that I am going to get an actual “style” and redecorate my house to look like something out of an interior design magazine. Then I realize: “Why?”  Who am I trying to impress?

I plan to repaint the interior someday to freshen it up; but I think I need to embrace my tendency towards comfort and what visually pleases me (like seeing quilts everywhere) over having “style”.

I remember someone coming over my house and saying: “Whoa, you have a lot of quilts on the wall” in a tone that meant “I think you overdid it”. However, Terry the “Quilting Husband” always says, when I express my concerns over too many quilts on the wall, “we are insulating our home with quilts – you don’t want the walls to feel cold!”

Best compliment about my house ever came from a visiting 3 year old, who remarked after diving into a pile of pillows on the floor: “Tierney, your house is COZY!”

If a 3 year old thinks your house is cool, then I think you are doing well with your decorating (smile).

I have also started reading the books Crafting the Personal Essay: Writing and Publishing Creative Nonfiction (Dinty W. Moore, 2010) and Art Inc. (Lisa Condon, 2014). Perhaps when I finish reading Crafting the Personal Essay: Writing and Publishing Creative Nonfiction, you all can look forward to well written tierneycreates posts, but I am not promising anything!

Art Inc. by Lisa Condon, was a book recommended in the latest issue of the SAQA Journal, the publication of the group I belong to Studio Art Quilt Associates (SAQA). Reading it plays into my fantasy of someday becoming a professional artist. (It seems like a lot of nonfiction books I borrow from the library  just feed into my “someday fantasies”!

One of the best things I have read so far in this book is that you need to give yourself permission to call yourself an Artist. Accept that you are an artist, do not shy away from this label!


Postscript

I am going to start borrowing fiction books out of the library and add some fiction to my life. I think also reading fiction will balance me creatively. I already received a magical e-mail from my public library that a couple fiction books I have put on hold are ready for pick-up!