I spend a lot of time in my home office. I work four 10 hour days Monday to Thursday each week. I try to keep the walls of my home office visually appealing since occasionally during boring conference calls I might need to stare at them (smile).
I’ve enjoyed some amazing hikes in Colorado (see series of posts Outside Adventures! – the posts on my mountain hikes) and being near any sort of geologic rock formation is one of my favorite things in the world.
I love Mountains. One of my favorite memories while living in the Seattle area was a visit on my birthday to Mount Rainer/Mount Rainer National Park (which I beloved nicknamed “baby mountain” because it was my most dearly beloved mountain of the Cascade Mountain range).
So last year while visiting my Washington state based quilting friends Judy and Dana, I picked up a mountain scene themed panel to make a future wall hanging.
Finally, over a year later, I finished this wall hanging. See photos below.
I made a simple quilted wallhanging by adding in a thin and then larger border with some coordinating fabrics from the Stonehenge line, and used the outside border fabric to bind it.
Then I hung it on my home office wall (which is also the upstairs guest room):
Someday I need to make a queen-sized bed quilt for the upstairs guest room bed!
In case you’ve been following my blog for a while and you have a very detailed memory (filled with lots of random things you remember), you will notice my home office wall color has changed. It used to be green, as shown in this post from April 2020 – Home Office Tips and Tour.
We decided to paint it the same color as the rest of the house instead of the random green color it had on its walls. It was one of those projects we did during my guest blogger’s (Mike the Miniature Schnauzer) discussion of endless pandemic home remodeling projects in his post Guest Blog Post: A Whole Lot of Remodeling Going On.
In addition to the mountain quilt wallhanging, I also have B&W photos from hikes around Colorado as well as some other B&W photos I love.
The B&W photograph on the right in the second image is by Kirk Fry Photography (a local Colorado artist) and gifted to me by my friend Michele.
And here is the desk where I endure conference calls from all day – ha!
I also now have a built in shelved closet in my home office but I will talk more about that in a future post about another remodel of my studio (if you are on Instagram, there are some images on my IG page @tierneycreates).
First let me wish you all a “Good Morning”, even if your time zone is greatly different from mine (perhaps you are reading this post before you go to bed!).
Just like in the August 6, 2020 post Good Morning, I would like to give you a “Good Morning” greeting by sharing some photos from my partner John’s morning bike ride, this time from a couple days ago along a reservoir near our house.
Now for the second part of this post, I am going to continue my series of posts about the latest stack of my local library books I’ve borrowed (The Library Stack), and show you the sort of crazy huge stack of books I just got from the library:
I actually took a break from “library stacks” for a while as I was trying to catch up on my backlog of crafting magazines I have to read in my home library. But then my blogging buddy, author and podcaster* (and fellow Beastie owner) Tammie Painter shared her latest “library stack” in her post It’s Time for An Action-Packed Library Stack and it made me want to go to my library and get my “stacking” on! (I am easily influenced).
(*If you enjoying listening to podcasts check out Tammie’s wonderful The Book Owl Podcast available on the podcast platforms).
In addition to my standard home decorating books (so enjoyable to browse with a pot of tea), I have a couple books in the stack related to my latest obsession – making granny squares (see post Granny Square Madness).
Speaking of granny squares, the other day we stopped at a thrift store when wandering about and I found another cool granny square afghan that needed “rescuing”. Yes – it looked at me with big eyes that said “bring me home Tierney…please…”. (It is okay if you are now rolling your eyes…)
Here is Mike (my rescue dog) with my latest “rescued” afghan:
It’s quite cozy and I had a nice nap under it this weekend.
I can relate to all the work that goes into making granny squares (I’ve made 15 more this weekend of the 43 left to make to complete my first granny square afghan) and I sort of wince to think this ended up in a thrift shop but I guess it was time for me to be its guardian!
Oh and since this post seems filled with rather random things (sunrise photos from a morning bike ride, a library stack, “rescued” granny square afghan, etc.) I will add to the randomness by closing out this post with my new tablecloth and placemats I also picked up from a thrift shop.
The napkins are from World Market and my beloved sunflower center piece is from my friend Michele, but the table cloth and placemats were a couple of dollars investment for a nice new look to our kitchen table!
Okay that’s the end of this random item post, hope you all have a great day!
My friend Wendy Hill (yes Wendy of the Quarantine Quilts series of posts where she made a quilt with the 4 rambunctious boys next door ages 4 – 8 as a diversion for them during the height of the pandemic) has been “KonMari-ing” her house. Using Marie Kondo’s methods she’s been going through her home organizing and letting go of that which does not give her joy.
I’ve recently benefited from her “KonMari-fication” (totally made up word, not endorsed by Marie Kondo, ha) when I received in the mail a project challenge.
She sent me the pattern she wrote and all the material (pre-cut including bias tape) to make a quilt called Friendship Ringfrom her book Easy Bias-Covered Curves (Wendy Hill, 2006).
When I mean all the fabrics, I mean ALL THE FABRICS, to include pre-sewn blocks and examples of how to attached the bias tape…and the already created bias tape!
I was overwhelmed by her generosity. She decided she was not interested in making another one of these quilts (one had been made as a sample for the book), so it was just taking up space in her home (and not bringing her joy).
Here is what, in a perfect world (of me perfectly putting it together as instructed), the quilt will look like when done (thanks Wendy Hill for the photo):
I already have a copy of her book Easy Bias-Covered Curves to help me with the technical aspects of assembling this quilt and finishing up the bias covered curves with all the pre-made bias tape she sent me:
The fabrics are lovely, they are a collection of 1930s type of prints collected by Wendy and donated by her friends who collected these types of fabrics.
So I’ve excitedly added this project to my project queue! I will of course blog about its progress when I start working on it. Thanks so much to Wendy for her generosity and for trusting me with carrying this project forward!
Let me close this post with my favorite Marie Kondo quote which I’ve referenced in previous posts in my old life (before my husband passed) such as The Space in Which We Live; and now in current life in which I had to let go of a lot from my wonderful old life to make space for this new reality and existence.
The space in which we live should be for the person we are becoming now, not for the person we were in the past.
– Marie Kondo, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing
And now for something completely different…(and if you get the Monty Python reference then you are my people!)
Nothing can be loved or hated unless it is first understood.
– Leonardo da Vinci
I’ve always been fascinated by Leonardo da Vinci. I first learned about this Renaissance genius Italian polymath in my high school European History class; and I’ve remained fascinated by his works all my life.
The first Leonardo da Vinci exhibit I attended was when I lived in Houston, Texas at the Museum of Fine Arts. The second exhibit I attended was in British Columbia at the Royal British Columbia Museum, Victoria, Canada when I lived in Seattle, Washington (British Columbia is fairly close to the Pacific Northwestern part of the US and we took the Victoria Clipper ferry from Washington state to Victoria).
Here is one of my favorite posters of all time that I put up on the wall wherever I live since I purchased it in 1999 at the exhibit:
Last August I visited the exhibit Leonardo da Vinci: 500 Years of Genius at theDenver Museum of Nature and Science and I thought I would share some highlights of this exhibit with you (I meant to blog about it last year after I attended, and I forgot…)
Here is an excerpt of the description of the exhibit from the Denver Museum of Nature and Science
Although Leonardo da Vinci died in 1519, his influence has endured. His extraordinary legacy comes to life…through a variety of experiences that illustrate why the ultimate Renaissance man remains an inspiration for the ages.
See nearly 70 of Leonardo’s machine inventions, built using detailed concepts from his famous codices (notebooks), including a helicopter, airplane, automobile, submarine and military tank.
Explore the exclusive “The Secrets of Mona Lisa,” an analysis of the iconic painting conducted at the Louvre by scientific engineer and photographer Pascal Cotte.
Be immersed in Leonardo’s works through a multisensory cinematic experience using Grande Exhibitions’ SENSORY4 technology.
Test a Leonardo-inspired catapult, and encounter the Museum’s historical enactors, presenting characters who bring a personal perspective to the story of Leonardo.
What was most amazing about this exhibit (besides the whole room dedicated to the science and the mystery behind the Mona Lisa) was seeing life size models of da Vinci’s creations from his drawings in his famous notebooks.
By the way – throughout the exhibit they had enlarged reproductions of da Vinci’s famous backward writing on the walls of the exhibit:
Leonardo Machine Inventions Brought to Life From His Notebooks
Here are some of the machine models created from da Vinci’s drawings for this exhibit and reproductions of the original drawings.
Anatomic Drawings and Vitruvian Man
The exhibit also had a section on da Vinci’s anatomic drawings and his famous Virtuvian Man . Here are a couple images from that section:
The Mona Lisa
The exhibit also had an amazing section on the mysteries of the Mona Lisa. It was the most crowded section of the exhibit.
As I mentioned unfortunately it was very crowded in this part of the exhibit and I did not get to spend as much time as I’d like to.
The Denver Museum of Nature and Science is pretty awesome and we’ve attend several other awesome exhibits there in the past (see post The Art of the Brick).
Around the time I first learned about Leonardo da Vinci (in high school), I also discovered Monty Python.
There is no relation to the two, but I opened this post with a Monty Python reference and now I am going to close it with a clip of one of my favorite Monty Python skits:
Ministry of Silly Walks
I dare you not to laugh, John Cleese is so brilliant in it. I’ve seen this clip many times and it always brings a smile to my face (and most times a belly laugh!)
Recently I’ve took a little hiatus from blogging and social media as I was struggling with an intense bout of grief related to widowhood and things going on in the world (grief sucks as a hobby, I do not recommend it).
One thing I did to distract myself from spiraling into the pit of despair was to keep crafting, specifically working on making granny square blocks for an eventual granny square blanket.
I became a little obsessed with crocheting these blocks and my living room became “Granny Square Central”:
Note – the granny square blankets you see on my sofa above were “rescued” from thrift shops and are part of my “Rescued Granny Square Afghan” collection I mentioned in the previous post (see the Postscript section of this post for my exciting latest acquisition in my “rescue” activities…)
I also began taking a little kit with me when I left the home so I could work on granny squares while riding in the car (while someone else was driving), when waiting at an appointment, when traveling, etc. I did not want to be away from my yarn and crochet hook!
Working on granny squares has been a wonderful distraction and feels very peaceful and grounding. Thank goodness for handwork!
I used a stash of old Lion Brand Wool Ease yarn I’ve had for 20 years in grays, magenta and oatmeal, which is blended wool and acrylic yarns:
And with all this granny square crocheting my collection of completed squares began to build. In the image below I have my completed blocks in a large plastic bag:
At first I designed a block with 4 rows but then added a 5th row to make it bigger, which looked like this:
Then I decided to experiment with a variety of other combinations and below is a slide show of many of the different type of blocks I’ve made (47 to date):
I’ve completed 47 blocks and after laying them out I’ve decided to make the blanket 9 blocks by 10 blocks (90 blocks), so I have another 43 blocks to make.
Here is my latest version of laying out my completed blocks (I had 46 done at the time I took this image):
And here is an image from the first time I laid out the blocks to see what they looked like (I had 15 blocks completed). Mike my Miniature Schnauzer thought the blanket was ready for him to use!
I am currently making 43 centers for the next round of blocks and I decided to have less color changes (a lot of color changes means a lot of weaving in ends) so I am only doing three colors for the rest of the blocks.
Limiting the rest of the blocks to three color combinations works well as I am nearly out of the magenta and the oatmeal but I have lots of the light and dark gray (which will also be the lattice and border when I join the blocks together). So most of the remaining blocks will have a magenta or oatmeal center and then the light gray and dark gray for the remaining color combinations.
I think the centers are so cute, it always pleases me when I finish a center and get the ends weaved in:
I’ve begun working on other projects besides obsessively making granny squares but that is for another post. Now I have to find some YouTube videos on options for joining together my granny squares.
As I mentioned earlier in my post, recently I “rescued” another granny square afghan from the thrift store – a very lovely one. I cannot believe the amount of work that went into this blanket – it must have taken many months to finish. I know the cost of the yarn/materials and then time and effort were more than the $7 that it cost me to buy it from the thrift shop!
This new afghan has given me a lot of comfort. When I was feeling particularly sad I would wrap myself up in it as I knew a lot of love went into making it. I felt I could feel that love when I was snuggled in it and it comforted and calmed me.
I nicknamed it the “full of love afghan”. I do not know how it ended up in a thrift shop but I send a thank you out into the Universe to whoever made it whether they are still living or have passed.
Seattle is where I originally learned to quilt and it continues to be connected to my quilting journey (and not just because the awesome person, Judy D., who got me into quilting still lives there). I lived in Seattle, Washington from 1997 to 2005 before moving to Bend, Oregon in 2005 and then to Colorado (Denver Metro area) in 2019.
If you’ve been following my blog for a while you might remember that the City of Seattle’s Office of Arts and Culture invited me to have my first solo show in 2019 (see post Solo Show Seattle Municipal Tower (re-post) ), and ended up purchasing 3 pieces of the 12 pieces in my solo show for their permanent collection (see section on City of Seattle’s Portable Works Collection later in this post).
Surprisingly opportunities like the above keep happening for me tied to Seattle, WA. This year several amazing things have happened tied to Seattle and my (art) quilting journey and I am going to share them in the rest of this post.
Scream: 2020 CoCA Gala and Auction
A couple of months ago I was contacted by the Curator for the Center on Contemporary Art in downtown/Pioneer Square Seattle, and invited to submit work to be juried into an invitation participate in their annual Gala and Art Auction. I was juried into the show that opens Saturday September 19, 2020 and three of my pieces (Random Not So Random, Archaeological Dig – The Vessel, and The Loud Color Shift) are part of the event, which this year due to the pandemic, is being held virtually – SCREAM: COCA’S ANNUAL GALA & AUCTION).
Here are some images from the social media promotion of the show which is the annual fundraiser for the gallery (note the artist and gallery split the auction proceeds on the artist’s piece that sells in case you are curious):
So Saturday I will find out if my pieces get purchased in the auction and if so if they fetch a decent price (smile). If we were not in the midst of a pandemic, the event would have been live in person and I would have been invited to attend the Gala in person (and play dress up!) while visiting my friends in Seattle.
The crazy thing about this is that 1) I did not seek out this opportunity, it came to me; and 2) back when I lived in Seattle (and before I ever dreamed of “art quilting”) I used to visit this gallery during the First Thursday Gallery Walkin downtown/Pioneer Square. I never imagined I would make art that would be part of a show associated with this gallery!
If you’d like to see images of and read my Artist Statement on any of the art quilts mentioned above check out my page – Art Quilt Stories.
Request from Seattle Art Teacher
In December 2019 I received a request from Deborah Kapoor an artist and art teacher in Seattle, WA to use an image of my piece Random Not So Randomas inspiration for her art students.
Hi Tierney, I teach painting and drawing at South Seattle College, and wanted to share your beautiful work with students. If you are open to the idea, I would just need a high res image sent to me, and I plan to print on 11 x 17 inch paper and laminate, sort of like a mini-poster, for the art room. I think it would really inspire the students! The piece I am interested in is Color Story III: Random, Not so Random
I sent her a high resolution image which she printed into a poster and put on her “wall of fame” in her classroom.
Here is a partial image she sent me of that wall (other artists work edited out of image) in early 2020:
She said her students are inspired by my piece!
City of Seattle’s Ethnic Artist Roster
In November 2017 I was juried into the City of Seattle Office of Arts & Culture’s Ethnic Artist Roster (see postEthnic Artist Roster). The Office of Arts & Culture updated their Ethnic Artist Roster website and now each artist has their own page.
I was contacted in July 2020 by artist @salmakingstuff (Sally Lavengod) who was asked to create a mural in Capitol Hill, Seattle supporting the Black Lives Matters (BLM) movement. She asked if she could list my @tierneycreates Instagram handle in the part of the mural listing inspirational Artists of Color. I was honored and said yes.
She created a 4 sided mural of Colin Kaepernick, Fred Hampton, Malcom X, and Afeni Shakur on the corner of 12th and Spring in Capitol Hill in response to the BLM movement. To the mural she added Instagram handles of Black Artists who inspired her to include mine – @tierneycreates:
City of Seattle’s Portable Works Collection
According to the Seattle.gov, the City of Seattle’s Portable Works Collection is a rotating collection of over 3,200 artworks in all media, representing hundreds of artists collected by the city since 1973. The collection includes sculpture, painting, mixed media, prints, photography and textiles.
As I mentioned earlier in this post, 4 of my pieces are now part of the City of Seattle’s Portable Works collection. Recently I discovered the updated listing of my pieces on the Portable Works website.
I am so honored that several of my art quilts circulate around City of Seattle offices (of course during the pandemic they might be hanging out alone in offices with no one to view them right now!)
Although I haven’t lived in Seattle for 15 years but I continue to be connected to this city through my art quilting. It’s mysterious and magical to me.
I am learning how to use the new WordPress Editor and it is not intuitive (it is actually downright painful…). I think I am going to have to find a tutorial.
Recently I made a patriotic themed quilt for my partner John to go next to his framed U.S. flag from a mission in Iraq his adopted son Kyle, who serves in the U.S. Air Force, dedicated in his honor.
When I purchased the panel a month or so ago from Missouri Star Quilt Company I was feeling strangely patriotic. Now I have mixed feelings but I like the way the quilt came out and how it looks next to the mission flag, which I will show you later in this post.
Here is the panel with the piecing in progress:
I made a lot of “flying geese” using the quick method for flying geese and had a lot of little trimmings to throw out but it was better then the slower way to may flying geese!
Here is the finished quilt next to the framed mission flag:
As you can tell, I machine quilted it myself (smile).
I mentioned earlier in this post, when I purchased this panel (thanks to a lovely birthday Missouri Star Quilt Company gift certificate from my friend Michele) I was feeling strangely patriotic.
I think I am still feeling patriotic but I am also feeling fairly discouraged and a little sad about the state of my country. However, I am trying to focus on all the good people here and not the “less good” (and I am not talking politics as I am fairly disillusioned by both sides of the U.S. political parties).
My parents raised us to be patriotic, my father was even born on the 4th of July (Independence Day) and served his country is the U.S. Army.
Even though as people of African decent our ancestors were brought to the country against their will, I came from a family who tried to make the best they could of a not so good situation (Stories My Father Told Me). We focused on education (I come from a long line of teachers) and did not let racial discrimination hold us down. I was taught to keep moving forward and to focus on raising others up (for example my father worked as a social worker with gangs in New York City after finishing his Masters Degree in the early 1960s and then was the head of the Urban League in several major cities; and my mother worked as a Director of a Head Start Program).
The 4th of July used to be an important holiday for me, always celebrated (plus it was my father’s birthday!). I loved wearing red, white and blue in honor of the U.S. flag. As a kid I loved standing and reciting the Pledge of Allegianceeach morning at school; and I loved to sing the National Anthem at the top of my lungs.
But I’ve been struggling over the past 4 years and I’ve been embarrassed by this country’s leadership (both sides of the political spectrum) who seem to be overall very “self-serving”, intentionally polarizing this country, and spending most of their time “pointing fingers”. I feel like my heart is broken…at times actually shattered.
However, this is the only country I have, and to hate it just makes me even sadder and more heart broken. So I’ve decided despite all the strife and unhappy stuff going on in the U.S. to remain patriotic and still believe in my country.
I am just sharing my feelings and I am not making any particular political point. I respect that others may feel quite different and thanks for reading my musings.