Quilt Retreat Animals

Continuing my series of posts on the annual Sew N Go Quilt Retreat in Vancouver, WA I recently attended. If you are starting with this post, here are links to the previous posts:

I am not sure if Sassy the Highly Opinionated Miniature Schnauzer would approve of this post as there were on dogs at the quilt retreat, only horses and cats.

The Horses

Sew N Go Quilt Retreat is located in a very rural area of Vancouver, WA. The retreat center itself is on acreage and is surrounded by farms. Several times a day some of the quilt retreaters, including myself,  would go on walks around the area – up to 4+ miles per day walking!

While walking we would visit with several groups of horses we discovered hanging out in pastures in area farms. The first day we ran into the horses, we were surprised how the boldly they came over to the edge of their fence to see us. So the next day we were ready with apples!

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(Several of my fellow quilt retreaters were on Weight Watchers and watching their “points”. We joked as we fed the horses apples: “No worries horseys, zero points!”)

A horse from the pasture/farm next to the one above:

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Next thing we knew, we had two horses, from two different pastures side by side visiting with us and greeting each other through their fences:

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The long walks and the visits with the horses were are delightful break from our sewing marathons at the quilt retreat!

The Cats

On one of our walks, we were invited by owners of a local farm to come onto their farm and chat. It turned out that several of them were originally from NY like my quilting sister Kathy and myself.

On their farm we met “Heshe” (he-she) – a cat of unknown gender. I do not remember the entire story but when they adopted Heshe as a barn kitty, they could not determine if it was a “he” or a “she”! Heshe was a very sweet a friendly orange tabby:

But the cat star of the 4-day retreat weekend was my beloved “Abbey the Quilt Retreat Kitty” (she should have her own blog!)

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During the retreat, Nancy the quilt retreat host, needed to give Abbey some medications.

Cats, as explained by one of my quilting sisters who is a veterinarian, are difficult to get to swallow pills. Cats do not fall for the tricks dogs fall for (hiding pills in peanut butter, cheese, etc.) and so you have to find a way to get the pill to the back of the cats throat so they will automatically swallow it.

So Abbey was made into a “kitty burrito” to restrain her paws as she was given meds. She calmly and quietly accepted her kitty burrito status but still found a way to spit out her pill! It might have been because a group of quilters were standing around cracking up laughing at how adorable Abbey looked as a burrito!

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Each year at the retreat I look forward to hanging out with Abbey, and she knows it. She knows I am “one of her people”. I always find time to snuggle with her and give her lots of attention.

Abbey and I took a lovely nap together, with her sleeping behind my pillow and quietly purring against my head. I could not believe how soothing and meditative it was to listen to her purring.

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Okay there was a dog

There was one dog at the quilt retreat, but it was not a live dog. It was a dog quilt – an adorable pattern – “Dogs in Sweaters” by Elizabeth Hartman:

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Next post, how about some evidence that actual sewing occurred during the quilt retreat? Maybe (smile).


Postscript

In yesterday’s post I shared about my purchases of a vintage Singer sewing machine while at a fundraising garage sale in Sisters, Oregon. Check our Sassy the Highly Opinionated Miniature Schnauzer’s post Saturday Schnouting (Schnauzer Outing)! for information about our outing this past Saturday in Sisters, Oregon.

Quilting Sisters, Part II

This post continues yesterday’s post Quilting Sisters, Part I, sharing the story of how I ended up part of a group of quilters based out of California, Oregon and Washington.

We left off with Judy and I meeting Linda and Lisa at the Oasis Resort Quilt and Cast retreat. Linda lives in Oregon is one of those people you meet and immediately love. She is a retired 2nd grade teacher and she must have been the most wonderful teacher imaginable. A truly warm, kind and authentic person. Lisa lives in California and is a brilliant woman, a veterinarian and Renaissance woman of many talents besides quilting. We immediately connected and became friends.

A couple years later we met Donna from Sequim, WA, another wonderful teacher-person and her sisters (who attended once) and her lovely mother Shirley (who we all fell in love with as the social media/blogger and web savvy 80-something year old). In addition to Linda, Lisa, Donna, and Shirley I met other cool quilters including my friend Joan, however only Lisa, Linda, Donna and her mother Shirley became part of our regular quilt retreat group.

The retreat was also open to quilters who did not bring their husband for the “cast” part of the retreat. Judy and I attended the retreat without our husbands once or twice also (the cost of the quilting part of the retreat was significantly less than the guided fly fishing part of the retreat).

Beyond “Quilt and Cast”

Eventually we stopped going to the Quilt & Cast retreat due to significant increasing fees for the husbands to participate in the guided Deschutes river fishing. Also interest in the quilting retreat part of the Quilt and Cast retreat was waning.

Peggy, who ran the quilting retreat part of the Quilt & Cast retreat started her own retreat with Linda and for a couple of years we attended those retreats.

Eventually Peggy and Linda gave up their quilt retreat business and we began attending a quilting retreat in Vancouver, WA run by a lovely woman Cathy and her husband:

At some point Lisa, who attended the new Peggy & Linda retreats, invited her close California friends Debra and Kathy. Kathy is originally from NY like myself and actually grew up in a town next to the town I grew up! So there was an automatic connection.

Since I had moved to Bend, Judy felt it was time to lure another friend into quilting and convince our mutual Seattle friend, Barb to start quilting (Judy is very convincing!)

Birth of the Jelly Rollers

A jelly roll is a 42 piece collection of pre-cut 2.5 inch quilting fabric strips and are very popular among quilters (for the non quilters reading this). In the late 2000s to early 2010s jelly rolls were gaining huge popularity with quilters. Numerous jelly roll fabric collections and books with patterns on creating quilts made with jelly rolls were flooding the market.

Our gathering of quilters at the retreat hosted by Cathy in Vancouver, WA were obsessed with jelly rolls in the late 2000s. At one of the retreats at Cathy’s we decided to develop a core closed retreating group that would always attend an annual quilt retreat in May each year. Additional members could only be added by group approval (several of us had past experiences with attending quilt retreats with quilters with “challenging personalities”). We would call our group the Jelly Rollers!

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A “Jelly Roll” (photo credit: Missouri Star Quilt Co.)

Cathy stopped hosting retreats and referred our group of retreaters to another woman in the Vancouver area, Nancy. Nancy’s Sew N Go Retreat became the new permanent home for our annual May retreat.

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Sew N Go Retreat Classroom (Photo credit: Sew N Go)

After moving to Nancy’s Sew N Go retreat, Dana started attending and became a regular member of the Jelly Rollers. Dana was voted in as she grew up with Judy’s daughter and is an unofficially adopted daughter of Judy’s. Like Linda, she is one of those people you meet and immediately adore.

Dana is another person like Barb and myself that Judy convinced to start quilting. We tease Judy that she makes her friends start quilting whether they wanted to or not – ha!

My friend and Central Oregon quilting mentor, Betty Anne joined us for a couple retreats and is an honorary member of the Jelly Rollers.

Near the time of creating the Jelly Rollers, “Jelly Roll Races” (a way to make a quick quilt top with one jelly roll in an hour or so) were popular and we used to jokingly make that the initiation requirement for joining – complete a “Jelly Roll Race”.

Other Retreats

Some of the Jelly Rollers attend other retreats together during the year in California and in Washington. I used to attend another retreat with most of the other Jelly Rollers in Monroe, Washington but the sleeping accommodations are like dorm rooms with thin walls and I have trouble sleeping. When I do not sleep, I do not enjoy retreats.

Also this retreat had a lot of additional people I did not know and occasionally there were quilting retreat attendees with “challenging personalities“.

I seem to be a beacon for strange people to want to befriend, so this is not always the best environment for me. I ended up trying to courteous to needy and strange people and they stick to me like glue for the whole retreat!  My quilting sister Lisa is also a beacon for strange people and has shared interesting stories of “unique” individuals who have unsolicitedly attached themselves to her at quilt retreats.

I truly enjoy attending quilt retreats with people I know, it is a safer and more comfortable experience for me.

For those of you with experience with attending quilt retreats, I would be interested to hear in the Comments section your thoughts on quilting retreats – meeting strangers vs. quilting with established friends.

Friends for Life

We are at least in our 4th or 5th year as a formal group. Keeping our core group of annual quilt retreaters together has strengthened our bonds and we do many thoughtful things for one another.

A couple years ago, we put names in a hat and whichever name you picked, you had a year to make that person a lap quilt. Many of the quilters in the group never had anyone make a quilt for them. This exchange  was a way to further connect us and to ensure every quilter has the experience of having someone make a quilt for them rather than they just make quilts for others.

It was very awesome during the following year’s retreat when we surprised the person whose named we picked the previous year with their lap quilt!

In addition to that special quilt exchange a couple years ago, Judy made a special quilt for Lisa last year and at this year’s retreat, Lisa surprised Judy with a machine embroidered “crazy quilt”, the featured photo on this post:

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Embroidered quilt by Lisa M.

Although we do not see each other we have a strong connection to each other and stay frequently in touch. We are like a family sewn together special threads!


Postscript

Oh my what have I done?

My Impulse Buy

Perhaps I was influenced by Elena’s Vintage Sewing Machine blog or by the fact that sewing of my Quilting Sisters have antique featherweight sewing machines that they bring to retreats.

Saturday I went with my friend Susan to the Kiwanis Club’s fundraising garage sale in Sisters, Oregon and ended up impulse buying at vintage Singer sewing machine:

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The machine was listed for $25. One of the volunteers at the fundraiser sale saw me looking at it and said: “You can have it for $10”. How could I turn it down (I know, I know, I could have said “no thank you” and walked away…)

It is not a featherweight and it is quite heavy but it still works and runs quite smoothly. I called Betty Anne, who knows about vintage sewing machines and she gave me the name of someone in Central Oregon who can check out the machine for safety, clean and service it. It is also missing part of the footplate. You can still sew with the section missing but the bobbin is exposed.

Today I researched the serial number using the Singer Sewing Machine Serial Number Database website.  and it was assigned in 1910 so I think that sort of dates the machine. I am going to do some further research and see if it really is that old. Also I need to watch some YouTube videos and check out some websites on how to thread the machine and do basic maintenance.

It seems like it would be really fun to use on a sewing project or two and would make an interesting piece of art in my studio.

What I did not buy

Next to the Singer were these two vintage sewing machine which I am sure the volunteer would have sold to be also for $10:

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If I had a large sewing studio, they would have made for an interesting display on a shelf, but I had no excuse to buy them. I had of course no excuse to buy the Singer but I suspect it was meant to be…

Before Susan and I went to the fundraiser garage sale in Sisters, we stopped at the Stitchin’ Post quilt shop and I bought this fabric:

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Yup those are vintage Singer sewing machines, a very similar looking model to the one I bought. Was it kismet that an hour later I ended up with an actual vintage Singer sewing machine?

What I tried to convince my friend to buy

Here was something hysterical I did not buy at the fundraiser garage sale, though I tried to convince my friend Susan to buy it – a PUG PURSE!

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Susan was kind enough to model the Pug Purse

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I do not understand how she left the garage sale without it?!?!

Next post I will continue with more stories from the 2017 annual quilt retreat I attended.

Quilting Sisters, Part I

Yesterday’s post The Road to Retreat (via Bus!) began my series of posts on the 2017 annual quilt retreat I attended with my quilting sisters at Sew N Go retreat center in Vancouver, WA.

For the past 10+ years I have attend quilting retreats with at least some of my quilting sisters (even before they were formally my quilting sisters). Before continuing to share stories from this year’s annual quilt retreat, I thought I would share the story of how we formed our quilting retreat group consisting of quilters living in California, Oregon and Washington and became “quilting sisters”.

My beloved quilting sisters range in ages from late 40s to late 80s and their names are Judy, Barb, Dana, Linda, Lisa, Kathy, Debra, Donna, Shirley and Betty Anne. Honorary quilting sisters are Dana’s daughter Kaitlin, our current annual quilting retreat host Nancy and our previous annual quilting retreat host Cathy.

It all began with Judy

My friend Judy, who have I known for 20 years is my “Quilt Momma”. She convinced me to start quilting in the late 1990s when I lived in Seattle, WA. I mention her my story “The Tierney” and an April 2015 post “Creative Inspiration: Quilting Mentors“, in addition to references in other various posts.

I owe the start of my quilting journey to her encouragement to take the first step and mentorship through my first quilt.

I would love if the quilters reading this post, would share in the Comments section who got them started in quilting (or any other type of crafting). It is the kind of gift you can never repay, you can only just keep appreciating it!

A couple of years ago Judy made me this sweet wallhanging with Jody Houghton fabric:

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I keep it in my studio and I get a kick out of the quilting related details in the photo – note one of the quilters has thread spools for earrings:

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So Judy was my first “quilt sister” and from there the family grew, thanks to a little place called Maupin, Oregon.

Quilting and Casting

I moved from Seattle to Central Oregon in 2005. We rented a townhouse before buying our house and near our temporary townhouse was a quilt shop called BJ’s Quilt Basket (I will feature BJ’s Quilt Basket in a future blog post on Central Oregon Quilt shops). BJ’s was where I participated in my first “block of the month” club and where I found a flyer in 2006 about the Quilt & Cast Retreat at the Oasis Resort in Maupin Oregon, on the Deschutes River.

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Photo credit: Adventures in Rafting

Terry the Quilting Husband (TTQH), who was not TTQH in 2006, is a fly fisherman. The Quilt & Cast Retreat features for the husbands guided fly fishing with a professional Deschutes River tour guide. For the wives, a quilt retreat! The accommodations are historic fishing cabins and all meals are included.

I immediately contacted Judy, who still lived in Seattle. Her husband is a fisherman too and it seemed like the perfect retreat for the four of us.

And it was. They even let us bring our two miniature schnauzers at the time Fritz and Snickers. The cabins were definitely “historic” fishing cabins (years later they renovated) and included bathrooms that were a shared shower/toilet area, but they were cozy and comfortable.

Below is a montage of photos from several of our Oasis Quilt and Cast Retreats:

In addition to quilt retreat activities for the wives and guided fly fishing actives for the husbands, we went on outings and picnics to enjoy the beauty of Central Oregon. One of those outings was to White Falls in which I took photos of the abandoned White Falls water power plant, which lead to the art quilt, Abandoned Water Structure.

The wives would giggle to themselves in the mornings: at “o-dark-hundred”, when the husbands would get out of bed to go on a guided fly fishing trip on the Deschutes River, while the wives stayed in their cozy beds. Later in the morning we would mosey out of our beds for breakfast and then start out day of sewing.

Judy and I, along with our husbands, attended this retreat annually for 3 – 4 years. At the retreat we met our future quilting sisters – Linda, Lisa and Donna.

Tomorrow I will continue the rest of the Quilting Sisters story but let me close this post with images of friendship themed decor from the Sew N Go quilt retreat:

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A very nice plaque at a quilt retreat

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The cup I had my tea in each morning at the retreat

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A very good reminder

The Road to Retreat (via Bus!)

The next series of posts will be about the annual quilt retreat I attended May 18 – 21 at Sew N Go in Vancouver, WA.


Each May I attend an annual quilt retreat in Vancouver, WA (outside of Portland, OR) with my “Quilting Sisters” from Washington, Oregon and California. I have shared my quilt retreat adventures in my series of post in the category Retreats which include my annual road trip experience getting to the quilting retreat.

This year I decided to do something different – take the bus, the Central Oregon Breeze from Central Oregon to Portland – to get to the retreat. It is approximately a 4 – 4.5 hour trip and totally worth the $95 roundtrip price!

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Photo credit: cobreeze.com

Yes by not driving I missed out on having “car buddies” (see 04/20/15 post “Road Trip“), but I traded that experience for a relaxing and productive trip to my retreat!

Listening to audiobooks and music, I worked on my English Paper Piecing (see series of posts Adventures in English Paper Piecing) and watched a pre-downloaded video on my iPad.

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My lap – making EPP rosettes on the road!

All while enjoying the beautiful scenery (well through UV coated window) of the drive from Central Oregon to Portland:

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The Central Oregon Breeze makes several stops for bathroom breaks to include one stop at a deluxe gas station convenience store. I wear a wrist pincushion when working on hand sewing projects while traveling. I forgot to take my pincushion off during one of the breaks so I looked pretty weird heading into the bathroom stop with pins/needles coming out of my wrist! Just some crazy quilter on the bus!

The bus has several stops for passengers and I got off at the Portland Airport (aka PDX). One of my quilt sisters picked me up from the airport and drove me to Vancouver, WA for the retreat at Sew N Go.

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Where Abbey the Quilt Retreat Kitty awaited to manage me for a couple days in place of Sassy the Highly Opinionated Miniature Schnauzer who stayed at home with Terry the Quilting Husband.

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I will take over managing you for the next 4 days

More on Abbey in a later post. If you would like to see previous photos of the Sew N Go Quilt Retreat in Vancover, WA check out this post – Sew N Go Retreat in Pictures.

Lots of photos and stories to come, hope you have a wonderful Saturday (yay it is the weekend!)


Postscript

Melancholy

My original plan was to start blogging about this year’s retreat last Monday after I returned from the retreat last Sunday. While the stories and experience were fresh.

However I had some struggle with a bout of melancholy. Initially over the sudden suicide of the musician Chris Cornell and then over the terrible tragedy in Manchester, UK.

I get so overwhelmed thinking about it but my heart completely goes out to the parents who lost their children at a concert in Manchester due to an unthinkable event.

As far as Chris Cornell, I was a huge fan of his music with the band Soundgarden and as solo act. We lived in Seattle, Washington during the tail end of the 90s Grunge music era. My husband Terry ran into several members of Pearl Jam hanging out in front of a house in the late 90s and said hi.

I ran into Chris Cornell at Cafe Minnie’s in the downtown Seattle area one day. He said hello and gave me a warm smile. He seemed down-to-earth. Luckily I remained calm an said hi back! I think it took awhile for the Seattle Grunge scene musicians to get used to their national and then international fame, and some did not do too well with it (Kurt Cobain, etc.)

Here is a link to great post by the blogger Rich Larson, thefirsttenwords, that sums up my shock and feelings about his suicide and provides an insight on why his sudden death is so rattling to those of us in Chris Cornell’s generation: It’s not what you think

Some Happier News

I discovered earlier this week that my collaborative piece with Betty Anne Guadalupe, Abandoned Water Structure,  which was purchased by the City of Seattle for their Portable Works Collection, is on display in a show in downtown Seattle (Seattle Municipal Tower Gallery, 700 Fifth Ave) called Your Body of Water, Part II. 

Check out this link from our collaborative website/blog, Improvisational Textiles for more on this story: Your Body of Water Exhibit, Seattle Municipal Tower Gallery. As you will see in the post, the exhibit’s curator with the City of Seattle’s Office of Arts & Culture was kind enough to e-mail me some photos of my piece hanging in the show.

Returning to a Wonderful Surprise!

I just returned from the 4-day annual May quilt retreat with my Washington, Oregon and California Quilt Sisters. The next series of blog posts will be about that retreat. When I walked in the house yesterday, suitcase laden with partially completed projects and some new fabric picked up during the retreat (oops), I had a package waiting.

Inside the package was my birthday gift from my Danish brother Torben (see 04/15/17 post The Library Stack and Hygge) from a quilt shop in his current country of residence, Austria!

The goodies inside included a “layer cake” (collection of 10″ precut coordinated fabric squares), information about the fabric line, information about the quilt shop, and other treats!

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The fabric line is Véro´s World by Gütermann and my wonderful Danish brother, picked up the fabric (and other goodies) at a quilt shop, Quilted, in Vienna.

Check out the link for the Quilted Quilt Shop website for a peek inside a Viennese quilt shop! Note – everything is in German on the website, but you can get a general feel for the website’s navigation if you do not speak/read German.

I have visited Torben a couple times in Denmark, but not in Austria. I guess since they have quilt shop, I will have to visit – ha!

In addition to the treats from the Austrian quilt shop, there was a birthday card in Danish (just to mess with my mind). Most of the words I recognize from absorbing Danish from 20 years of friendship.

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Just wanted to share my wonderful surprise, it was a nice way to return home from a wonderful relaxing 4-day quilt retreat (my next series of posts).


Postscript

Here is a card someone sent me years ago that I framed and keep on my studio wall. It is a good reminder when I get discouraged about the slow progress of my art quilting journey:

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I am still working on finding my “song”.


Feature photo credit: www.quilted.at

The Flags Outside My Window

Every morning I look out my kitchen window at a set of Tibetan-Prayer-like flags as I put on the kettle for my pot of tea.

These six (6) flags have Kanji (Japanese Chinese-inspired characters) symbols and an English language inspirational quote.

This morning I thought I would share with you the text the “flags outside my windows”  that I read to start my day. (Kanji character images from kanji-symbol.net).


HAPPINESS

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When one’s spiritual needs are met by an untroubled inner life. Happiness comes when your work and words are of benefit to yourself and others.


LOVE

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An inspired form of giving, love breathes life into the heart and brings grace to the soul.


COURAGE

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Not the absence of fear or despair, but the strength to conquer them.


WISDOM

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Knowledge, intuition and experience combine to guide us in thought and deed.


PEACE

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To bring peace to the Earth, strive to make your own life peaceful.


TRANQUILITY

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The peace that comes when energies are in harmony, relationships are in balance.

 

 

 


Looking at these flags is a grounding way for me to start each day.

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Vegan Split Pea Soup

Tierney! You are not a food blogger and this is not a cooking blog, what are you thinking with this post?

Well I wanted to share one of my favorite food recipes (and what I am having for lunch today)  – Split Pea Soup with Cumin & Orange from the 01/19/11 online issue of Portland Monthly.

I am not vegan, though I do enjoy vegan cooking – it feels so “clean and pure“. I love a thick hearty traditional split pea soup simmered with a ham bone with tender ham meat simmering in the soup. I also love this vegan version and find the flavor equally as satisfying!

In the link above from Portland Monthly you can find the original recipe, but below I will share my version of the recipe and photos:

Split Pea Soup with Cumin & Orange

Adapted from Portland Monthly onlineSplit Pea Soup with Cumin & Orange

Serves 6

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tbsp cumin seeds
  • ½ tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 large carrots, diced
  • 3 celery stalks, diced
  • 2 jalapeños, seeded and minced
  • 3 cups split peas, divided in half
  • 8 cups water
  • 2 tbsp orange zest, minced
  • Salt to taste
  • Your favorite hot sauce

COOKING DIRECTIONS:

(1) HEAT olive oil in a heavy saucepan on medium and add garlic, cumin, and black pepper. I have burned the garlic in the past, so I always make sure I do not overheat the olive oil before putting the garlic. cumin and pepper and then I stir them constantly on medium heat. 

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(2) SAUTÉ until garlic just begins to brown (about 5 minutes).

(3) ADD onion, carrot, celery, and jalapeños—stir well and cook until onions begin to soften (5–7 minutes). I also add the celery leaves and I always put in a little extra carrots and celery than the recipe calls for.

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(4) ADD water and half of the split peas, and bring to a simmer.  I do not add the water first, I add the split peas (1 1/2 cups/half of them) to the sautéed vegetables and sauté the peas a little in the vegetable/spice mix to add a little extra flavor to the dried pea. Then I add the water.

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Stirring occasionally, cook until peas are tender (about 45 minutes).

(5) ADD remaining split peas and orange zest and cook on a low simmer, uncovered, until all of the peas are tender (30–40 minutes), and season to taste with salt and pepper. I use my microplane to zest the skin of one orange. Usually what I will do is have an orange at breakfast and save the skins for orange zest. If you do not have a microplane (or you are terrified of this very sharp cooking instrument in which you can also zest off your skin, been there…) then you can just use a grater and lightly grate off the orange skin/zest (I know the culinary purists are cringing right now).

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After I add in the orange zest and remaining split peas, I also add a dash of hot sauce instead of just adding it as a garnish is step #6.

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(6) GARNISH with toasted cumin seeds, orange zest, and hot sauce.  I only garnish with a little extra hot sauce after serving into my bowl.

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This soup freezes beautifully and I think it makes more than 6 servings. I am a telecommuter so I am always trying to plan my lunches out ahead of time. I love just pulling out a serving of this soup in the morning to thaw before starting my workday.


Postscript

Being Stealth

I am getting ready to leave for the annual quilt retreat in the Vancouver, Washington area I go on with my quilt sisters from Washington, Oregon and California. Sassy, the Highly Opinionated Miniature Schnauzer, gets very stressed when one of her humans is leaving her sight/management for a while.

She becomes very anxious when she sees suitcases, so I am having to do stealth packing for the retreat. I pack a couple days early and keep them hidden (behind the sari curtain in my studio):

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Why yes, that is all I am bringing to a 4-day quilt retreat. I decided to just bring hand quilting projects. I did bring a small project I could use a borrowed sewing machine on if I suddenly become overwhelmed with the need to sit at a sewing machine.

Also I packed minimal coordinating clothes and figure I can repeat an outfit (if I start to smell, oh well, I am at a quilt retreat – ha!)

A Couple of Cool Blogs

I follow several non-crafting blogs and I wanted to share a couple very cool blogs I thought some of you might enjoy:

  • The Tiny Potager: Self Sufficiency and Sustainable Living – with a family of six – tinypotager.com – this blogger is out of the UK and posts wonderful photos of farming, farmlands, hikes, road trips, etc. I feel like I am on a relaxing virtual mini-holiday when I look at this blog.
  • I’ve Read This: Looking for something good to read? – ivereadthis.com – this blog is for people who love to read and love cats! The blogger posts adorable cat photos and great book reviews. The latest post is on a book called The Lion in the Living Room by Abigail Tucker; and has a great video on why cats love boxes!

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    Example of “kitty in a box”, my friend Wendy’s darling cat

Rosettes! (Adventures in EPP Continued)

This blog is about a Quilter’s Life and there is more in my life than just quilting. I have so many non-quilting blog post ideas floating in my head, but today is another quilting related post. I so appreciate my non-quilter readers in addition to my quilter/crafter readers!

Making Rosettes

So is an activity equally or perhaps more addicting than making little English Paper Pieced (EPP) hexagons (hexies) – making rosettes with the hexies!

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But first let’s recap (full stories in the series of posts Adventures in English Paper Piecing):

Here is what I started with (a collection of free 1/8th quarters from the 2016 Central Oregon Quilt Shop Hop):

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Here is the book I used to teach myself EPP (All Points Patchwork by Diane Gilleland):

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I turned the fabric into 250+ hexies:

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In order to make something like this:

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Photo credit: Quiltfolk.com

And, so far I have made 18 of these – rosettes:

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But, now the (sort of) bad news

I counted and I only have enough hexies to make 36 rosettes and the quilt I want to make has 99 rosettes (9 x 11 row quilt). I used all the free fabric from the 2016 Central Oregon Quilt Shop Hop and I wanted the hexies to only be made from that coordinated fabric (I will have to use other fabric from my stash for the background/setting fabrics).

So either I change my rules, or I accept that I am making a 36 block (6 x 6 row) quilt with my rosettes. I think that is what I am going to do, as it would be a huge commitment to make a zillion more hexies to turn into 63 more blocks!

Sometimes you got to be flexible and change your original plan…

Closing this post with my favorite rosette so far (I have 18 more rosettes to make so we’ll see if this one wins the Rosette Beauty Contest (soon to be an annual event held in Atlantic City, ha!):

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But I love all of them!

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Finishing out the Challenge Bag of shot cottons

This post is a continuation of the recent posts – Basket of Challenges and Experimenting with Foundation Paper Piecing.

Mondays am I off from work so last night I decided to do a “Late Night Sewing Session”. I sent Terry the Quilting Husband, Sassy the Highly Opinionated Miniature Schnauzer, and her adopted brother Mike off to bed; put on a Nova documentary on YouTube; and settled in for a late night sewing marathon.

I decided to just finish out the “challenge bag” of shot cotton scraps from my friend Dana (see post Experimenting with Foundation Paper Piecing) and continue making little pillow tops that I plan to hand quilt.

Here is what I started with from the “challenge bag” of shot cotton scraps:

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So here was the first piece I had made the other day with the scraps, experimenting with foundation piecing:

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And here are the improvisational pieces I made with the rest of the scraps last night during my Late Night Sew:

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Here is all I have left from the “challenge bag”:

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These are fairly small scraps, so those that were larger than 2″ x 2″ I put into general circulation, by color, in my fabric scrap collection. The rest (not very many) had to unfortunately head for the landfill…sigh…can’t save them all!

So what am I going to do with the little pillows I make? Well I am thinking about participating in my first Craft Fair in late Fall 2017. My employer has an annual Holiday Craft Fair in the Portland, Oregon office. I am thinking about taking my leftover items from my former tierneycreates Etsy shop and new items I have made and selling them at the craft fair. More to come on that in the future, still mulling it over.


Postscript

I think Smart Cars/mini electric cars are adorable! I enjoyed looking at them when I was in Europe years ago and I have sighted several when visiting Portland, Oregon. Yesterday on our dog walk, we came across an adorable Smart Car in one of the neighborhoods next to ours. I was so cute I wanted to put it in my pocket – ha! (They are like toy cars!)

So I will close out this post with the photo of this darling eco-vehicle:

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A Chicken Named “Tierney”

Wishing you all a Happy Mothers Day whether you are raising/have raised little humans, or you care for furry creature! Check out my fur kid’s latest musings in her Schnauzer Snips blog.


How do you know you have really made it in life?

You know when a chicken has been named after you!

My friend Marla started raising hen chicks and she has named them after her close female friends and family members. She is raising several varieties and I have been honored with one of her Dominique Chickens being given my name.

Here is “Tierney” the Chicken:

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She and her husband began raising the chicks in their bathroom in a specially heated set up. Now the chickens are moved to a lovely outdoor coop her husband built (I hope to remember in the future to take a photo and share, maybe when little “Tierney” is all grown up). Here are a couple of photos of the chicks while they lived in the bathroom:

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So what do you feed chicks as snacks? Well you give them Happy Hen Treats: Mealworm Frenzy!

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It is both disgusting and hysterical. I think I will stick with dogs and dog biscuits, ha! I hope to remember to post another photo in the future when chick “Tierney” becomes full grown egg laying hen “Tierney”.


Postscript

One of the cool things about being a quilter is when many years later someone thanks you again for a quilt you made for them (that they have been enjoying for many years!).

Out of the blue I received a text from an old friend Colleen, thanking me for a quilt I made her 6 or so years ago after he husband passed. She sent me the photo below of the quilt, on her bed:

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What a wonderful treat it was to be reminded of this quilt and how much it meant to her!

Experimenting with Foundation Paper Piecing

A series of words I never thought I would write in a blog post: “Foundation Paper Piecing”.

If you are not a quilter, foundation piecing is using pre-printed paper/specialty papers to sew precise shapes using a sort of “flip and stitch” method. Foundation piecing allows you to work with tiny pieces of fabric to get precise shapes.

Yes that sounds kind of complicated and I have avoided it for years for this reason. Of course I never thought I would attempted English Paper Piecing (EPP) but as you can see from my series of posts – Adventures in English Paper Piecing – I am addicted to it.

I had one previous experience with foundation piecing and I keep it in a tiny frame in my studio.

My extremely talented quilter sister-in-law Sue attempted in the early 2000s to teach me to foundation piece while visiting us when we lived in Seattle, WA.

We made a little sailboat block:

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Tiny little sailboat block in a tiny frame in my studio

She was a very patient teacher and I keep the framed block as a special memory of our time together working on a project. However it is now 2017 and I am returning (like 15 years later?!??!) to trying foundation paper piecing again!

As a crafter, you learn through experimentation (sometimes it feels everything I work on is an experiment, ha!) and if you don’t push yourself to take risks you will not grow as a crafter. So experiment I did and here is the story.

Foundation Paper Piecing Experimentation

A couple blog posts ago (Basket of Challenges) I wrote about my “challenge bags” – collections of coordinate scraps given to me by other crafters. Since taking them out of closed storage containers and putting them into a large basket in my studio, I am inspired to open them up and do another “challenge” (see what I can make with them).

My friend and quilting-sister Dana made me the lovely bag for my yarn/portable knitting:

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Photo does not do it justice, it is lovely!

The picture does not do it justice. She reverse engineered a bag she saw on Pinterest (she is a crafting-goddess) to make this bag from a collection of shot cottons.

In addition to the bag, she also gave me her scraps from making the bag:

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Fresh out of the challenge bag

I had them of course sitting in a “challenge bag” and decided they would be perfect for my experimentation with foundation paper piecing.

Looking through my archives of patterns of “projects-I-am-really-going-to-make-someday”, I found this pattern with pre-printed pattern paper (sort of the texture of tissue paper but stronger, like used for clothing patterns):

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The copyright is 2001 on this pattern

You can tell how dated the pattern is  – how many of us read small paperback books anymore (you could convert this pattern into a cute kindle cover though)? I think I bought it in the very early 2000s. The pattern comes with enough tissue foundation paper to make twenty-four 3″ blocks.

I began with cutting a bunch of the little foundation papers from the pattern; and ironing the scraps:

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There are 6 different patterns: Odd Fellow’s Star, Mosaic, Pinwheel, Starry Path, Square on Square, and Dutchman’s Puzzle

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All nicely pressed and ready for experimentation!

The next step was to watch several foundation piecing videos I found on YouTube. My favorite, and the one that really made things click in my mind, was Paper Piecing Made Easy Tutorial by the CraftyGemini.

I decided to work on the “Square on Square” pattern, so it was time to start the experiment. I am happy to report it worked, though I struggled a little with removing the paper from the back of the piece when I was done foundation piecing:

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I used tiny stitches as the videos instructed in order to perforated the template paper to make it easier to remove, but still it took a while to get all those tiny pieces off the back

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The completed block – I added a little border to it as I was not too sure about the stability of the edges of the paper pieced block

You can see just how small this little block is in this photo, imagine trying to traditionally piece (via sewing very tiny little pieces together) this block:

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I bordered it with more of the scrap shot cottons from the challenge bag:

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With a 1.5″ border added

I plan to make a little pillow out of it, like the little pillows on this post – More Creating – More Art Pillows. I plan to hand quilt it and I am trying to decide between two quilting threads, but I am leaning towards the very light and thin DMC embroidery thread in brown:

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Likely going with the DMC thread on the left instead of the Aurifil

Am I going to do another one (I do have 23 more blocks I can foundation piece with this pattern set)?

Not right now, I need to emotionally recover as honestly it was kind of stressful to make the tiny little block via foundation piecing. Also shot cotton might not have been the best fabric to work with for foundation piecing as it is thin and friable. I might make the rest of the blocks with batik scraps.

I think foundation piecing will be a great skill to have in my “quilting toolbelt” but for now I am happy to have made just one!

The Beauty of Moss and Fungi

Scrolling though my digital photos yesterday, I came across a group of photos I took last year during a rainy Portland, Oregon trip of several fence posts and tree stumps covered with interesting moss and fungi.

I thought I would post a couple of those photos as part of my ongoing series of posts on sources of Creative Inspiration. I think these compositions could be inspiration for an interesting art quilt:

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Nature is beautiful and magical and an endless source of inspiration, eh?

I took several photos of fence posts in B&W and here is one of those photos:

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“Nature doth thus kindly heal every wound. By the mediation of a thousand little mosses and fungi, the most unsightly objects become radiant of beauty. There seem to be two sides of this world, presented us at different times, as we see things in growth or dissolution, in life or death. And seen with the eye of the poet, as God sees them, all things are alive and beautiful.” – Henry David Thoreau

Speaking of nature as inspiration, I am currently toying with the idea of creating an art quilt for a local nature-themed exhibit based on some photos of the Central Oregon. More to come on that project, along with more details.


Postscript

In yesterday’s post, Basket of Challenges, I shared that I was inspired by my art quilting mentor, Betty Anne, to appreciate fabric scraps and curate a collection of coordinated “challenge bags” of fabric scraps. (I also have a collection of uncoordinated fabric scraps, see post When all else fails, reorganize your fabric scraps). 

Betty Anne has been busy lately working through her own “challenge bags” of fabric scraps and if you check out the link to the post below from our collaborative art quilting website/blog, Improvisational Textiles, you can see one of her latest creations made from fabric scraps, saved from the landfill:

Improvisational Scrappy Explorations

Basket of Challenges

My friend and quilter mentor Betty Anne taught me to appreciate fabric scraps, especially coordinated fabrics scraps shared from other quilters’ projects.

Like her I have gathered a collection of coordinated fabric scraps donated by quilting friends such as herself, my original quilting mentor Judy, my quilting sister Barb or my friend Susan.

Each collection of scraps is organized in a plastic bag, which I call a “challenge bag“. Each bag is a challenge to create something from a fabric scrap collection otherwise destined for the trash.

I had these challenge bags stored in two storage containers:

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I decided to move them into a large basket in my studio where I could see them all the time and be reminded of the fun challenges to work on:

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While going through the challenge bags to move them from the storage containers to the open basket, I figured it was time to work on one of them.

My friend Susan gave me a collection of brown batik scraps and partial fat quarters that she had started making little wallets out of – she also gave me the pattern and the templates she had cut. I think she thought I would just use the fabrics/scraps as part of a scrappy quilt. Instead I used nearly all the fabric/scraps she gave me to make a collection of little wallets:

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Little Wallets, pattern by Valori Wells

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Perfect size to hold business cards

I am looking forward in the future playing with another “challenge bag”. We’ll see what I make next…


Postscript

Yesterday I hiked Pilot Butte (miniature mountain with 360 degree views of Central Oregon and surrounding region) and nearing the summit I took a photo of a controlled burn off in the distance. The US Department of Agriculture Forest Service has to do controlled burns in the Deschutes National Forest to control forest fires.

Prescribed Fire in Central Oregon

I used the zoom on my iPhone and although it is not the clearest photo it gives you a sense of the scope of the controlled burn:

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If you are new to my blog and wanted to read more about my Pilot Butte adventures, check out this link: Pilot Butte Adventures.

For those of you who have followed me for a while – yes, on my hike yesterday, another Senior Citizen dusted me on Pilot Butte. At least the 80+ year old (maybe even 90) was kind enough to wish me a “good day” as he effortlessly walked around me on the hike back down the Butte!

Adventures in English Paper Piecing (Part III)

A recent post in a blog I follow, Coloring Outside the Lines (quiltingismything. wordpress.com), on English Paper Piecing (EPP) – “EPP – my tips and what I use” by Kris R., reminded me I should post an update on my adventures in EPP.

You can read my prior post, Adventures in English Paper Piecing (Part II), or you can check out my category Adventures in English Paper Piecing, for all previous posts related to my adventures in EPP.

Not sure if I would use the word addiction…but..

I started making EPP hexagons (aka “hexies”) to have something to do with my hands, other than play games on my iPad, while I watched TV in the evening with Terry the Quilting Husband (TTQH). I seem to need to do something while watching TV, my mind is unable to just “veg-out” in front of a screen.

And EPP hexies I did make…and make…and make. I have made over 225 EPP hexies so far!

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So many hexies!

The fabrics are from the 2016 Central Oregon Shop Hop – a collection of fat 1/8th that TTQH and I got as gifts from each quilt shop we visited.

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The original collection of free fabrics

I used up all the fat 1/8ths (all 14 pieces) to make the 225+ hexies and then TTQH suggested I might need some white hexies in my grouping as some of the prints also have white in them. At first I was annoyed, as I wanted to be done with this collection of hexies and move onto making my next collection!

After a little grumbling, I realized he was right, and found this white fabric in my general fat quarter stash that I think will work:

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Making More Hexies

Now you might find this to be abusive, but I have trained TTQH to make my paper templates for my hexies. As mentioned in an earlier post on EPP, I found at a craft store, a paper punch that makes hexagons.

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TTQH making hexies with the paper punch

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A nice new pile of hexies!

TTQH likes a challenge and I caught him playing a game to see just how many hexies he could get out of a section of card stock. (I have a lot of card stock from my paper crafting days…I might return to make handmade cards someday…maybe…)

So what am I going to do with my first collection of hexies?

I fell in love with the EPP quilt on the cover of a new magazine, Quiltfolk:

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Photo credit: quiltfolk.com

I plan to make my EPP hexies into rosettes and make a quilt similar to the one on the cover.

The premiere issue of this advertisement-free publication features the state of Oregon and stories of quilters and quilt shops in Oregon.

The premiere issue of Quiltfolk magazine (01) goes on a road-trip around Oregon and when they get to Central Oregon, they feature a very talented art quilter, Shelia Finzer, who is in the SAQA art quilter group I belong.

Shelia and her art represented Central Oregon very well – this place (and Portland, Oregon) is a major nest of art quilters!

I know, I know, you are thinking: “Tierney, didn’t you post a while back about downsizing? Why are you buying more magazines?” I am not just downsizing my life to live as an extreme minimalist. I am CURATING my life to have only those things that truly make me happy. Quiltfolk magazine is one of those items.

The next issues (02) Quiltfolk magazine features quilter stories from the state of Iowa and I am looking forward to delving into that issue with a pot of tea!

The EPP Nest

I created a spot for my EPP activities (and any other portable crafting activities such as coloring or appliqué, etc.) in the living room in an old IKEA end table. Inside the end table are various crafting supplies for “crafting on demand” – ha!

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This is a continuation of my “whole house crafting” expansion that I discussed in the Jan 2016 post, Whole House Crafting,  when I realized that I did not have to confine my crafting activities to one room (3rd bedroom turned studio) in my house!

Well today is Monday, and I am going to try and get in another Pilot Butte walk, so I better stop blogging and go enjoy the sunshine and mountains.

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Thoughts on Solitude

Recently I finished an audiobook, The Stranger in the Woods: The Extraordinary Story of the Last True Hermit by Michael Finkel (2017). This book tells the story of the North Pond Hermit (Christopher Knight) who lived alone in the Maine woods for 27 years.

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Photo credit: Amazon.com

Christopher Knight walked away from his life with the rest of humanity shortly after high school. He lived in isolation, in a hidden camp deep in the North Pond area of the Maine woods, without human interaction for 27 years.

Unfortunately, for 27 years, he pilfered summer camps for food, which eventually led to his capture. Until his arrest he was only known as a mysterious (and mythical) legend – the “North Pond Hermit”.

The book was fascinating – I listened to it nearly non-stop (anytime I could find a moment for a listen). Most of the book is Christopher Knight’s story told through the author, a journalist, who gained access to Knight during his incarceration. The other parts of the book are interviews with law enforcement, Knight’s childhood neighbors, and summer residents of North Pond who were tormented and terrorized for years of endless thefts of their summer camps.

The author also delves into the psychological aspects and impacts of isolation; and why some humans crave isolation while others would do anything to avoid it. He discusses the beauty experienced and wisdom/insight that can be gained from selected solitude (think of Henry David Thoreau). I found many of the author’s musings very profound.

There was something intriguing about the idea of living alone in the woods (I know, I know, it would be hard to using my electric sewing machine, but I could get a treadle machine…) and I spent a lot of time thinking about what it would be like to live alone in the woods and the peaceful beauty of solitude as I read the book.

I do enjoy my time alone – on a walk or reading in a quiet spot. However I enjoy an occasional DAY alone, not 27 years (or 9850+ days!) alone.

A couple of quotes from the book:

“Solitude increased my perception. But here’s the tricky thing: when I applied my increased perception to myself, I lost my identity. There was no audience, no one to perform for. There was no need to define myself. I became irrelevant. (I)solation felt more like communion…To put it romantically, I was completely free.”

“Silence, it appears, is not the opposite of sound. It is another world altogether, literally offering a deeper level of thought, a journey to the bedrock of the self.”

“Modern life seems set up so that we can avoid loneliness at all costs, but maybe it’s worthwhile to face it occasionally. The further we push aloneness away, the less we are able to cope with it, and the more terrifying it gets. Some philosophers believe that loneliness is the only true feeling there is.”

― Michael Finkel, The Stranger in the Woods: The Extraordinary Story of the Last True Hermit

I was fascinated how Christopher Knight learned to survive in the Maine woods, especially during the long exceptionally brutal winters. It is amazing the price he was willing to pay each winter to continue to live in isolation. You can check out videos on YouTube (just search “North Pond Hermit” or “Christopher Knight Hermit”) of the camp he created as his hidden home in the Maine woods, taken when law enforcement seized his camp contents after his arrest.

His story of surviving in the woods, made me think of a recent post by one of my favorite bloggers, Dewey Hop: Feisty Froggy Reads Through the LibraryNatural Disasters. Feisty Froggy discusses/reviews several books on how to survive disasters and what emergency supplies to have on hand. Christoper Knight went into the Maine woods as a young man without a “bug-out bag” or any standard/basic survival supplies. He just parked his car at the edge of the woods, got out and headed in to live the next 27 years of his life in isolation.


Postscript

In the Postscript section of my 04/12/17 post A Happy Ending for “Happy Ending”, I shared that I overdid it reserving a bunch of audiobooks all at once from my beloved public library and five (5) books came available at once!

Well the next day, a 6th book came availableThe Stranger in the Woods: The Extraordinary Story of the Last True Hermit – the audiobook discusses in this post. Since the library only gives you 21 days to listen to the audiobooks and you cannot renew them if they have holds (and all the books had holds), I had to make some decisions.

The Stranger in the Woods: The Extraordinary Story of the Last True Hermit obviously got priority, because I finished it! Here is what happened to the other audiobooks mentioned in the 04/12/17 post:

  • Norse Mythology – Neil Gaiman – This audiobook is awesome, narrated by the author himself in his delightful British accent – my audiobook loan expired before I could finish it, so I have reserved it again…
  • For Women Only: What You Need to Know About the Inner Lives of Men
    – Shaunti Feldhahn – Very interesting book – I think it should be required reading before you get married (there is a companion book for men on the Inner Lives of Women); it is faith-based but not too heavy handed in regards to biblical tie-ins. I considered myself successfully married for eons but I gained some new insights.
  • We: A Manifesto for Women Everywhere – Gillian Anderson & Jennifer Nadel (yup, Gillian Anderson of The X-Files fame) – I wanted to like this book but struggled to finish it. It seemed very inspirational but it was read by the authors and for some reason they, especially Gillian Anderson (who I loved in The X-Files). I might try it again the future as a paper book instead of audiobook.
  • Good Omens – Neil Gaiman & Terry Pratchett – Oh my goodness – I love this book – absolutely hysterical with lots of British style snarky humor. Unfortunately my loan expired before I finished it, so I am anxiously awaiting notification that I can download it again (our library uses the Overdrive app and your download automatically expires when the 21 days are up)
  • Smoke and Mirrors: Short Fictions and Illusions – Neil Gaiman – Never got to it. Will try it again the the future.

Yes of course I reserved more audiobooks at the same time again. I do not want to be without an audiobook! I am currently listening to The Diet Fix: Why Diets Fail and How to Make Yours Work by Yoni Freedhoff. I will chat about that in the future and what became of the Fast Metabolism Diet I shared in posts from mid February to early March 2017.

Christopher Knight, the North Pond Hermit, survived and thrived in isolation by reading books (that he stole from summer camps). If I had to, I guess I could survive in isolation for a couple years, as long as I had audiobooks!


Featured image credit: Gabor Szakacs, freeimages.com

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