A Crafter's Life

Stories from the Road, Part II

This post is a continuation of my post Stories from the Road, Part I, about my recent road trip across 4 states in the Eastern Coast of the United States as well as the new journey/road I am on as a widow after the recent loss of Terry the Quilting Husband (TTQH) my partner of many years.

Thanks for all your comments on my previous post and here is a continuation of the story.

Stories from the Road Continued

If you remember from the previous post, my awesome sister drove me across 4 states on the Eastern Coast of the U.S. to visit family. In Upstate NY, we hung out with Terry’s family including his two sisters who are quilters.

It was heart-warming seeing the quilts that Terry and I have made his sisters and mother (who passed last year) over the years. Here is an example of one on the back of a recliner in the their living room:

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Sunday 12/16, one of Terry’s older brother (TTQH was the youngest of 7 children) and his wife had a wonderful get together at their home to celebrate Terry’s life. It was an evening filled with much memories and laughter. It was a bittersweet family reunion and I kept thinking how much Terry would have enjoyed it but my sister kept reminding me he was there in spirit.

Always Time for a Quilt Shop Visit

On Monday 12/17/18 my sister and I went with Terry’s sisters, who are quilters, to lunch and then to their favorite quilt shop – the Joyful Quilter in Glenville, NY.

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Image credit: joyful quilter.com

My sister, who is not a quilter, was a good sport and hung out in the quilt shop, sitting in front of one of the gorgeous high-end Baby Lock sewing machines on display and working on her graduate school coursework.

The Inspirational Airbnb

My sister loves Airbnb and found us a delightful place to stay in Troy, NY while we were in Upstate NY. It was near downtown Troy which is actually quite charming and each morning we went to this wonderful little coffee shop for breakfast (and I had avocado toast for the first time which is actually quite delightful!).

All about the 2 bedroom Airbnb apartment we rented were inspirational quotes and signs. Here are a few examples:

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It was a perfect place to stay, very comforting, cozy and charming. It was fun to be sharing an apartment with my sister for a couple of days and just hanging out in the evening chatting about life over tea.

And speaking of tea, the apartment also had a little humor we discovered as we looked through the cupboards for our tea cups:

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Exploring Tarrytown

On the way back to Baltimore (I was flying back home out of BWI Airport), my sister and I stopped for the day in Tarrytown, NY.

Tarrytown is a charming town on the Hudson River and was ranked by Forbes as Among To 10 Prettiest Towns in America.

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We had a fun wander around Tarrytown and when I needed to go to the bathroom a local shopkeeper recommended I walk over to the library.

The library! If you’ve followed my blog for a while, you know how I feel about libraries – I love them! My sister was enjoying chatting with a shopkeeper and she encouraged me to take my time and wander about the local library.

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Tarrytown NY is a historic area and the library was filled with historical art and sculptures. It had an amazing main room where patrons were sitting and reading. If you look closely in the photo below you will see one of the library patrons so comfortable he is napping!

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I wanted to go hang out with a book (and maybe sneak in a little nap) at this delightful library!

My family and TTQH’s family would love me to move back to the East Coast to be closer to them and if it was not so expensive, Tarrytown might be an option. Once I get further down the road in my new journey as a widow and dealing with my grief, I will evaluate where I want to live my new life.

The Flight Home

The flight home was sad at first as I left the comfort of time with my families (my biological and my adopted Hogan family) and knew what waited for me back home was the reality of my loss and my new life as a grieving widow.

However about half way into the flight I gazed out my window seat and really looked at the beautiful landscapes of the earth below and somehow felt hopeful and peaceful and that I could make it through this.

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Postscript

For those of you who celebrate Christmas, I hope you had a Merry Christmas (or Happy Christmas as some countries say) with family and friends. I have a dear old friend staying with me right now for 5 days and she, I and Mike the Miniature Schnauzer spent a wonderful Christmas evening at a mutual friend’s house. We had a wonderful board game playing night with her children and Mike got to be worn around in his backpack by my friend’s 12 year old daughter.

Mike loves to be in his backpack, here is a photo from my May 2018 post, The Road to Retreat (Via Cannon Beach)  , with Mike riding around on TTQH’s back, happy as can be!

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Feature Photo by Jaromír Kavan on Unsplash

A Crafter's Life

Stories from the Road, Part I

I’ve titled this post “Stories from the Road” because it is about my recent road trip across 4 states in the Eastern Coast of the United States as well as the new journey/road I am on as a widow after the recent loss of Terry the Quilting Husband (TTQH) my partner of many years.

First I want to thank everyone who left thoughtful comments on my previous post when I shared I would be taking a break from blogging. Please know I read and appreciate all the comments, I am not up to responding to them. I really appreciate my blogging community and I was feeling the love, thank you.  Originally I planned to take an extended break from blogging (or perhaps stop blogging complete) but I really enjoy writing and the amazement that people actually read my musings!

No matter how terrible my grief is, I continually work on remembering two things: 1) how lucky I was to be married to my best friend for over half my life; and 2) that TTQH would want me to go forward in life and be happy.

Every day I also work on smiling through my tears such as in this recent photo taken from my brother-in-law’s kitchen in Upstate NY during the get together we had honoring Terry:

2018-12-16_13-25-19_877.jpegSo Much Support

I am blessed to have a large supportive network of family, friends, and colleagues. My sister has been exceptionally supportive and I will talk more about that in the next section. My friends Marla Jo, Jason, Laurie, Michele, Judy, Kelly, Diane, Kathy, Dana and Lisa have also been exceptionally supportive.

Marla Jo and Jason were there on the worst day of my life, finding Terry after an aneurysm took his life. They took my dog Mike the Miniature Schnauzer and kept him for a week.

My friend Laurie was there on the second worse day of my life – going to the funeral home to make arrangements. I’ve mentioned outings with Laurie and her dog Luna in previous blog posts and on the second worse day of my life, Laurie took me to visit a horse property with horses she works with to give me a little equestrian therapy (see post Horsing Around).

My friends Michele, Judy, Kelly, and Lisa have continually checked on me as well as many other friends and coworkers who have reached out.

Terry’s family has been awesome and very supportive, especially his two amazing sisters, to include helping me with his end of life expenses. Friends have also reached out with financial support to help with travel and end of life expenses and I greatly appreciate that support. I learned how to set up a PayPal Me account so people could send money if they chose to support me in that way.

I received two creative ways of support that made me smile – a Whole Foods gift certificate from my boss (I love Whole Foods but it is usually too expensive to shop there regularly); and a huge gift card to my favorite restaurant in Central Oregon from some colleagues. I’ve already used them both as I have not been up to cooking.

Stories from the Road

My sister insisted that I immediately come to the East Coast of the U.S. to be with family when she learned of Terry’s passing. I was initially concerned about the huge cost of last minutes cross country flights; and that it was basically deep Winter in Upstate NY.

My wonderful brother bought me a roundtrip plane ticket to Baltimore after my sister found the best flight option. My incredible sister, who lives in Richmond, Virginia, picked me up from Baltimore-Washington International Airport (BWI) and drove me across four states.

We stopped in Delaware to see my brother, his wife and their son (my adorable 6 year old nephew) and then headed to Tarrytown, NY to stay the night before going on to Upstate NY in the morning. My brother also covered our hotel reservation at a very nice Courtyard by Marriott using his frequent stay points (he travels a lot for business).

I am not sure how many miles my sister drove but I am pretty sure it was at least 800 – 900 miles roundtrip including her trip back home to Richmond. We crossed the following states: Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, and New York. Part of our trip we had semi-scary inclement weather but my sister was an amazing driver. She insisted on doing all the driving.

We drove to the home of Terry’s sisters, Sue and Diane. You might remember their names from my blog posts about their visits this summer to attend the Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show (see post Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show 2018, Part II: Visiting Crafters).

They are both quilters and while we visited I got to see and play with their new long-arm quilting machine:

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That is a practice panel on the machine as they want to do a lot of practice before they work on an actual important quilt.

Speaking of important quilts, they have a beautiful quilt in progress on their design wall as a belated wedding gift for a family member:

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The live in the original family home and I got a kick out of seeing Terry’s old room turned into their quilt studio (still a work in progress):

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He would most definitely approve!

Terry’s sisters have rescued a couple Shih Tzu dogs from a puppy mill and have a golden doodle, Tucker. My sister and I were treated one evening to a “floor show” put on by one of the Shih Tzus and Tucker as they played tug-a-war while he dragged her across the floor as she held fast on the edge of her dog bed:

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All I could think during the show was how much Terry would have enjoyed this as he was a huge dog person (he actually liked dogs more than people).

More to Come

I will end this post here and continue the story in the next post. My energy is low as would be expected with profound grief. Please know I appreciate and read your comments but I may not be up to responding.

I am keeping the words of this old Chinese proverb in my mind:

You cannot prevent the birds of sorrow from flying over your head, but you can prevent them from building nests in your hair. – Old Chinese proverb


Feature Photo by Vidar Nordli-Mathisen on Unsplash

A Crafter's Life, Quality of Life

Consider These

A bonus post for today. I wanted to share these tips that Amy W., a Wellness Coordinator at my employer shared today. 


Some things you might want to consider, or not…. Don’t overthink it

  1. Floss. You know this one already.
  2. Sell or donate your microwave. You’d be shocked how much healthier you eat when you must clean a pan after every meal.
  3. Apologize if you were wrong.
  4. Read books.
  5. Drink chamomile tea. It’s good for nearly every part of your body. Drink some calming, honey-laden tea and think for a second.
  6. Check your credit score. If you have a credit card or student loans, you need to check your credit score. I know it’s scary, but unlike your Netflix membership, it’s free and important.
  7. Meet your neighbors. That way you won’t have to feel awkward when you are both out front avoiding eye contact.
  8. Stop pretending you’re not on your cell phone that much. We all look at them way too much. Look up, you might like what you see.
  9. Leave 15 minutes early for everything.
  10. Get a physical and go to the dentist. Stop using Listerine/Neosporin/Cranberry Juice etc. to cure that infection.
  11. Go to bed at a p.m. hour. Watch both a sunset and a sunrise.
  12. Listen to a whole album. The digital sales market has returned music to the singles-centric model that worked in the 50s and 60s, but even then, the best work was the full vision of an artist.
  13. Write something every day. Doesn’t matter if it’s a rant against your roommate or the philosophical ponderings brought on by an episode of  your favorite television show.
  14. Learn this: They’re over there in their English class.
  15. Finally, remember we all have 24 hours every day to do with what we will.

 

A Crafter's Life, tierneycreates

Artistic Delights in the Mail

One of the best thing about having the tierneycreates blog for the past 5 years is connecting with other crafters, makers, artists around the world.

One of those people is Pennsylvania based artist extraordinaire, Claudia McGill. She is one of those “Renaissance Women” whose dabbles successfully in many arts – writing, painting, drawing, illustrations, poetry, ceramics/pottery and collage.

She has two blogs (that I know of, maybe she has more, ha!) – one for her art and one for her poetry:

Claudia McGill and Her Art World

Claudia McGill Writes Poetry, Did You Know That?

A couple days ago, I was surprised in the mail with a lovely holiday card and some some little pieces of her art!

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Lucky me!

I know there are new bloggers now following my blog that might be looking for other maker blogs to follow and blogging communities to connect with, so I plan in the future to share more about the blogs I follow to help connect anyone interested.

Over the years, I’ve met so many other bloggers through following and commenting on blogs that capture my interest.

 


Postscript

I’ve always fantasized about writing poetry and had dabbled but never had the confidence to share any of my writings.

In addition to Claudia’s blogs, I also follow other “artist poets” such as South African based artist and poet, Mariss Stevens. She shares her beautiful art quilts with accompanying poems!

You can check out her amazing art quilts and poetry on her blog:

FABRICATIONS

 

 

WCQN

Secret Quilt Revealed, Part I

If you’ve followed my blog for a while, you might remember that Spring to Summer 2018 I was working on a secret quilt for an unannounced exhibit.

Well the curator, Dr. Carolyn Mazloomi, has recently announced the show and now I can share my secret quilt with you; and I will share the story behind it in a series of posts.


Yours for Race and Country

The Women of Color Quilting Network (WCQN) exhibit, curated by Dr. Carolyn Mazloomi, is called Yours For Race and Country: Reflections on the Life of Colonel Charles Young. The exhibit will run from March 16, 2019 through August 17, 2019 at the National Afro-American Museum in historic Wilberforce, Ohio.

Colonel Charles Young was the first African-American to reach the rank of Colonel is the United States Army (the first African American officer to command a Regular Army regiment, and the highest-ranking black officer in the Regular Army until his death). He was also the first African-American Superintendent of a U.S. National Park – Sequoia National Park.

Here is a wonderful overview of some of his accomplishment I found on The Trust for Public Land website (tpl.org):

charles young.jpgTo read more about Colonel Charles Young and his historic accomplishments, check out the Arlington National Cemetery website – Charles Young, Colonel, United States Army.


The Art Quilt Assignment

I was extremely honored and excited to be invited to participate in this art quilt exhibit.

For the exhibit, Dr. Mazloomi gave us options to select from of pivotal moments and accomplishments in Colonel Young’s life as inspiration for a 40″ x 40″ quilt.

I selected his time as Superintendent of Sequoia National Park.

Then it was history time! I wanted to learn more about Colonel Young’s life than was available online, so I ordered this book and read it – Black Officer in a Buffalo Soldier Regiment: The Military Career of Charles Young by Brian G. Shellum:

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image credit: amazon.com

After reading the book and studying images I found online of Sequoia National Park, I was ready to get to work on my quilt.

In the next post in the series, I will share the evolution of the quilt and my challenges to create something I felt honored the legacy of Colonel Young (oh the pressure!).


Postscript

Here are more details on the exhibit, as posted on facebook by the show’s curator, Dr. Carolyn Mazloomi:

My latest curated exhibition opens March 16, 2019 at the National Afro-American Museum and Cultural Center in historic Wilberforce, Ohio. The exhibition, Yours for Race and Country: Reflections on the Life of Colonel Charles Young, is a visual history of the life of Charles Young. Young’s life is triumph over tragedy. Charles Young was born in 1864 to former slaves, but went on to attend and graduate West Point. He mastered several languages, played and composed music for piano, violin and guitar, wrote poetry, was a master cartographer, military strategist, the first African American Colonel in the U.S. Army and first superintendent of Sequoia National Park. Young’s home in Wilberforce was designated by President Barack Obama as a National Monument of the United States Parks Service. The Charles Young Buffalo Soldiers National Monument is a testament to Young’s perseverance.

The international exhibition visually explores, using the medium of quilts, the life of Col. Charles Young from his birth, life at West Point, military career, experiences in Foreign Service and his time as a Superintendent for the National Park Service.The opening reception is March 16th from 11:00am to 2:00pm. Copies of the catalogue will be made available to the public at that time.

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National Park Service website, courtesy of Library of Congress

In case you are wondering, I would like to attend the opening of the exhibit, I am just looking into if I can make it work with traveling in Winter and my job commitments. There is also going to be a private tour for the artists in the show of Colonel Young’s home in Wilberforce, OH. That would be a wonderful added bonus to getting to attend.

I will know more in 2019.


Feature photo credit – Change.org

Tula Time!, What's on the Design Wall

Tula in a Box

Follow up on my post earlier this week on the quilt, I am working on Tula in a Box – What’s On the Design Wall: Tula in a Box. This quilt is my own design and it is inspired by the colorful fabrics in Tula Pink’s All Stars fabric collection.

After completing thirty-six (36) 12.5″ x 12.5″ blocks, and having Terry the Quilting Husband (TTQH) lay them out on my large design wall in my hallway, it was time to cut the fat quarter collection of stripes from the Tula Pink All Stars fabric collection for the 2 inch lattice between the blocks:

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It was a lot of cutting (like endless cutting), but finally I got a “pile-o-stripes” cut:

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Then it was time to abuse…um, I mean enlist the help of TTQH again and ask him to lay out the lattice on the design wall:

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He is a very nice and patient husband!

As I mentioned in the post earlier this week, my hallway is narrow and I can only take photos at an angle, but here is what the design wall looked like after TTQH laid out the stripes for the lattice:

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After TTQH laid out the lattice, I cut 2″ x 2″ squares from the feature fabrics for the cornerstones between the lattice. For now I have them set on the edge of the design wall (TTQH’s idea) to pull them as I sew the lattice and blocks together:

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It is certainly going to be a colorful quilt!

As I get it sewn together, I will probably move it from the “design wall” to the “design bed” so I can share better photos of it.

I have a lot of scraps leftover from the Tula Pink All Stars fabric fat quarters collection I made the quilt from. I organized the scraps in smaller bags into dots, stripes, solid and feature fabrics (the Tula Pink animal prints) and then into a large bag.

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Some I of the scraps might use for the binding but I have enough to make at least a small lap quilt!


Postscript

It has been very cold in Central Oregon. TTQH took Mike the miniature schnauzer coat shopping the other day and TTQH thought I should share with you all Mike in his new coat to close out this post:

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After TTQH and Mike returned home from coat shopping, I realized I could have made Mike a coat myself as it was a simple design. But then Mike would have likely had to wait until Winter was fully here by the time I got the coat made…

 

A Crafter's Life, Special Events

A Presidential Artistic Journey (Re-post)

Today is a national day of mourning in the U.S. to honor the legacy of the recently deceased 41st President, George H.W. Bush, Sr.

No matter how you might feel politically about him, let’s agree that it takes a lot to live a life of public service, something few of us would take on. He was also a World War II Veteran. 

So in honor of George H.W. Bush, Sr.’s legacy, I thought I would repost this post from June 2018 about the opportunity I had in May 2018 to hear his son, former U.S. President George W. Bush, Jr. speak in person and talk about his artistic journey. 


A Presidential Artistic Journey

This is not a political post, but this post is about a former political figure, now a private citizen – former U.S. President George W. Bush, Jr.

Suspend for a moment any political leanings you hold and let me share a very special opportunity I had to see a former U.S. President speak in person in early May and to learn of his artistic journey.

A Once-In-A-Lifetime Opportunity

April 30 – May 4th, I attended a national conference for the industry that I am employed , in Orlando, Florida. One of the keynote presentations at the conference was a conversation with former President George W. Bush, Jr. and the president of a national organization hosting the conference.

No photos were allowed and there was strict security so unfortunately I have no photos from the experience to share (when I first discovered that President Bush would be speaking I had hopes of a “selfie” with a former U.S. President!). I’ve never seen a U.S. President in person so just the experience to see a historical figure in person was very exciting to me.

To be honest, I was not a huge fan of President Bush during his Presidency, but I put those thoughts aside and approached the presentation with an open mind.

He was absolutely amazing and spoke with much wonderful humor, insight, inspiration and Texas twang! He shared the experience of recently losing his mother, Barbara Bush (who I always greatly respected). He also spoke candidly about 9/11 (September 11, 2001/World Trade Center bombings) and other challenges and his Presidency; and about what’s going on in the world and in the U.S. today.

As I do not want this to be a political post I will not share all the specifics of what he said but let’s just say he might not fully support the current choices and political environment of the current U.S. Presidential Administration. He said that the U.S. cannot become isolationists, we have to stay connected to the world and shared specific reasons, in his opinion, why it is important that the U.S. stay engaged.

He did encourage those of us who might feel currently discouraged not to give up on democracy; and that the office of U.S. President is greater than the behavior of any one individual.

He also talked about what he has seen in the world and that those that live in the U.S. should remember just how blessed we are to live in this country (in regards to all the freedoms and opportunities we have available to us that are not available in all parts of the world).

Interestingly during his talk I learned that he is  close friends the Dalai Llama and Bono (lead singer of the band U2 who is heavily involved in humanitarian causes) – who would have known?

Overall his talk was very inspirational, spiritual (he is a man of strong faith) and hopeful – he brought many of us to tears several times during his talk.

A Former U.S. President’s Artistic Journey

For me the best part of his talk was when he shared how he became a painter and his evolution as an artist/his artistic journey. He talked about the fear he had to overcome to start painting and bouts with self doubt of his painting ability.

He also talked about the moment when he realized he was not too bad at painting. I wish I could have taken notes as there were many gems in his discussion of his artistic journey and I could relate to many of those experiences in my journey.

He eventually combined his love of painting with his post-presidency humanitarian efforts, which include working with Veterans especially those dealing with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). He painted Veterans for his book Portraits of Courage: A Commander in Chief’s Tribute to America’s Warriors (if you click on the link you will see an image of former President Bush painting a portrait) and proceeds from book sales, according to the website, “helps post-9/11 veterans and their families make a successful transition to civilian life and addresses issues of veteran wellness, including post-traumatic stress and traumatic brain injury”.

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image credit: bushcenter.org

He shared a couple of amazing stories about the friendships he developed with several Veterans dealing with PTSD while working on their portraits. He tried to capture in their portrait painting not only their physical features but what the individual was dealing with internally at the time, he made an effort to get to know each Veteran he was painting.

I’m so thankful to my employer for the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity they gave me in sending me to the conference in Orlando. I also appreciate the opportunity to share this experience with you all and ask for you to be moderate and thoughtful in your comments on this post as fellow readers have differing political views, thanks.

A Crafter's Life, Tula Time!, What's on the Design Wall

What’s On the Design Wall: Tula in a Box

First I’d like to apologize for any less than stellar photography. My design wall is in a narrow hallway in my home and I can only photograph it from an angle.

Now that you have that disclaimer and you have lowered your expectations on the quality of the photography on this post, I can continue my series of posts “What’s on the Design Wall”, featuring my latest project up on either one of the small design walls in my studio or the large design wall my hallway.

Up on my large design wall are thirty-six (36) 12.5 inch x 12.5 inch blocks for my quilt I am calling Tula in a Box

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I have Terry the Quilting Husband (TTQH) to thank for arranging the blocks on the design wall. I had looked at them so many times I did not know where to start in laying out the quilt blocks on the design wall!

There is a bit of story behind this quilt if you are new to my blog. You can check out my series of posts Tula Time! if you want to check out the back story.

The quilt did begin as an impulse purchase of Tula Pink Allstar fabric fat quarter packs (feature fabrics, stripes, solids, and dots) after seeing my friend Dana’s collection at a quilt retreat:

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I’ve now made quite a dent in that stack above while piecing the 36 blocks.

My  next step is to create the lattice and cornerstones from this pile (fat quarter collection of the stripes, and scraps from the feature fabric);

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I am going to “fussy cut” the scraps of the feature fabric (the 6 different animal prints in 3 different color ways) for the cornerstone between the lattice.

More to come as it progresses, for now I am just so happy to have finished the 36 blocks!


Postscript

My friend Dana who started my Tula Pink fabric obsession, has made great progress on her quilt which is made of pieced stars with the same collection of fat quarters from the Tula Pink All Stars line.

Here quilt got too big for the design wall so she has it laid out on a bed in her studio (every maker/crafter needs a bed in their studio in case they suddenly need a nap while creating, right?).

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She is working on figuring out what to do for a border around the blocks.

Our friend Judy who is also making a Tula Pink quilt, is still working on piecing her 36 blocks.

As I mentioned earlier, if you are new to this blog and would like to know the story behind our quilts, check out the series of posts – Tula Time! (this link contains all the posts tagged as related to Tula Pink fabrics, you will have to scroll through the posts to see the other posts).