Studio

In the Studio, additional

Just a quick(ish) post as I try to catch up on reading all my dear blogging buddies’ posts that happened while I was away from blogging for a little while.

This is an unexpected continuation of my previous post – In the Studio.

“Mr. Woodworker” (my new nickname for my partner John) is a little obsessed with getting my sewing studio in shape for maximum-creativity-efficiency (or he is just looking for more pandemic projects and we continue to primarily be stuck at home).

He and I came up with the idea of adding some shelving on each end of my new floating shelf he just installed:

Before the additional shelves

Here are the new shelves (just installed yesterday) – one on each side of the window in my sewing studio!

I cannot begin to tell you how pleased I am with my two new bookcases/shelving on each end of the new floating shelf. These bookcases are things I did not even realize I needed until we spontaneously came up with the idea and Mr. Woodworker whipped them up!

I now feel really organized!

What does Mr. Woodworker have planned next for my sewing studio? Well he wants to build me a matching cutting table, a sewing table and one additional bookshelf area. I asked him to hold off for now as I need to focus on using my studio to keep making stuff for my tierneycreates Etsy shop I hope to reopen in January 2021.


Postscript

Mr. Woodworker has been working on his own studio too, which is located in the basement. He built himself a clamp stand for his woodworking clamps:

Functional – yes. As cute as my sewing studio area – no – ha!

Studio

In the Studio

It seems like it’s been a bit of a while since I posted.

To get myself through December (see Postscript section of the post Pillow for a Kitty) I’ve been spending a lot of time in my sewing studio working on various projects. I will share these projects over the next several posts.

Some of the projects have to do with preparing to re-open my tierneycreates Etsy shop after taking a hiatus for 4 (?) years (it appears I last sold something in my shop in 2016).

I’ll talk more about my decision to re-open my shop and the offerings I am working in some future post, but my studio currently shows evidence of my progress to eventually stock my shop.

2020-12-16_15-41-17_582

My sewing studio has really been an oasis and making things has made me feel centered and peaceful. My partner John has been supporting my studio time and progressing with his new hobby woodworking by sprucing up my studio with some new handmade furniture.

New Bookcase

He made a bookcase for my studio (his first bookcase). The first image is of the bookcase being built in his studio in the basement:

2020-12-06_18-21-25_1082020-12-08_18-23-31_2062020-12-16_15-40-55_554

New Floating Shelf

He also built a floating shelf across the wall of windows in my studio to add extra storage:

2020-12-11_15-35-05_5852020-12-11_15-55-09_3612020-12-16_15-40-36_146

(By the way, my studio is a mess because I’ve been busy making things and not always tidying up between projects…)

In addition to making many things over the past several weeks, I’ve also added in some additional organizational touches to include re-organized my fabric scraps into baskets in my sewing studio’s closet and getting additional wine crates to organize fat quarters.

Re-organizing Fabric Scraps

Here is what I did with the fabric scraps:

2020-12-16_15-41-03_6542020-12-16_20-50-27_603

It looks messy but it is a much better way for me to access my fabric scraps which are organized by color groups:

  • Black, white and gray
  • Cream and yellow
  • Orange and brown
  • Red and purple
  • Green, blue, and all the blue-greens

I have batik scraps in their own separate bucket and I have speciality fabric scraps in their own basket.

The plastic bags are scraps for special projects.

While organizing my scraps I purged a lot of small pieces. I decided to finally let go of the small/tiny pieces as well as any scraps that “did not bring me joy”.

Fat Quarter Wrangling

I’ve collected a lot of fat quarters over the years and it feels like I am always searching for the best way to store them. A couple months ago I came up with the idea to organize them in wine crates that I got from local liquor stores. Some stores will give you 1 or 2 for free while others charge $5 a wine crate.

Using an old bookshelf (that I’ve had for like 20 years), I organized the fat quarters by color groups into crates, which I keep next to my cutting table:

2020-12-17_18-50-20_2712020-12-16_15-40-48_945

A week ago I added one more crate – the prettiest crate I’ve picked up to date and it was given to me for free by a local liquor store. It even came with a lid:

2020-12-12_17-19-27_5082020-12-12_17-20-33_0692020-12-12_17-19-42_194

I keep my beloved collection of Asian and Japanese woven fat quarters as well as a couple other special fat quarter fabric sets (like my Marcia Derse fat quarter collection, see post Fabric Fangirl Frenzy for the story of when I met Marcia and went a little “fabric designer fan girl” on her… ) on the top of the bookshelf with the wine crates:

2020-12-19_21-46-03_333

I love the sign I found at a thrift shop: “Happiness is homemade”. It feels like a lot of my recent happiness (or at least breaks from grief) is tied to working on handmade items!

As I mentioned earlier in the post, my next group of posts will be what I’ve been working on in my studio over the past couple of weeks.


Postscript

In case you are wandering what Mike the Miniature Schnauzer has been up to – he is back riding the aisles of home improvement stories and his continues to provide emotional support to his male human working on woodworking projects!

2020-12-07_17-21-59_8202020-12-19_12-00-12_8872020-12-19_12-01-07_672

He actually loves going to home improvement stores and does not like John to leave the house without him!

A Crafter's Life, Audiobooks and Podcasts

Virtual Book Clubs

I am not usually one for book clubs, at least not currently. I like to read what I want to read. I am however in two virtual “book clubs” with two friends right now on two different books: 1) a fiction physical book; and a 2) non fiction audiobook.

City of Brass by S.A. Chakraborty 

I am reading this first book in the Daevabad Trilogy with my friend Michele. 

city-of-brass

Here is the Kirkus Review on the book if you are curious:

A rich Middle Eastern fantasy, the first of a trilogy: Chakraborty’s intriguing debut.

On the streets of 18th-century Cairo, young Nahri—she has a real talent for medicine but lacks the wherewithal to acquire proper training—makes a living swindling Ottoman nobles by pretending to wield supernatural powers she doesn’t believe in. Then, during a supposed exorcism, she somehow summons a mysterious djinn warrior named Dara, whose magic is both real and incomprehensibly powerful. Dara insists that Nahri is no longer safe—evil djinn threaten her life, so he must convey her to Daevabad, a legendary eastern city protected by impervious magical brass walls. During the hair-raising journey by flying carpet, Nahri meets spirits and monsters and develops feelings for Dara, a deeply conflicted being with a long, tangled past. At Daevabad she’s astonished to learn that she’s the daughter of a legendary healer of the Nahid family. All the more surprising, then, that King Ghassan, whose ancestor overthrew the ruling Nahid Council and stole Suleiman’s seal, which nullifies magic, welcomes her.

With Ghassan’s younger son, Prince Ali, Nahri becomes immersed in the city’s deeply divisive (and not infrequently confusing) religious, political, and racial tensions. Meanwhile, Dara’s emerging history and personality grow more and more bewildering and ambiguous. Against this syncretic yet non-derivative and totally credible backdrop, Chakraborty has constructed a compelling yarn of personal ambition, power politics, racial and religious tensions, strange magics, and terrifying creatures, culminating in a cataclysmic showdown that few readers will anticipate. The expected first-novel flaws—a few character inconsistencies, plot swirls that peter out, the odd patch where the author assumes facts not in evidence—matter little. Best of all, the narrative feels rounded and complete yet poised to deliver still more.

Highly impressive and exceptionally promising.

This book is one of the first books (purchased new from an Independent Bookstore mentioned in the post – A Friday Frolicking Adventure) added to my new home library discussed in the post Curating a Home Library.

I am enjoying the book so far and look forward to discussing with my friend Michele. 

Untamed by Glennon Doyle 

Not only is this a non-fiction book in the “self-improvement genre” but I am listening to it as an audiobook with my friend Jenny from Central, Oregon where I used to live before I moved to the Denver Metro area in April 2019.

In my February 2020 post Musings on Self-Improvement, I swore off self-help/self-improvement audiobooks after sudden series burnout on listening to them. I’ve also been trying to stick to podcasts or music for the listening during my walks/hikes and save reading fiction or non-fiction in physical book form. During the pandemic I’ve rediscovered the pleasures of curling up with a book like in this photo below (and Mike the Miniature Schnauzer prefers it also_:

2020-10-11_12-03-29_897

But I heard a lot about this book and it really appealed to me as an exception to my “no more self-improvement audiobook rule”.

It also appealed to my friend Jenny who is dealing with some major life changes ahead; and who likes to go on long walks in Central Oregon and listen to audiobooks.

When we both finish the book, we are going to do a “Virtual Book Group” meeting and discuss via Facetime over a pot of tea (we have to each make our own because virtual tea gets complicated – ha!).

Oh and here is the Kirkus Review on the book (which I’ve actually finished and thought was spectacular and inspiring!):

More life reflections from the bestselling author on themes of societal captivity and the catharsis of personal freedom.

In her third book, Doyle (Love Warrior, 2016, etc.) begins with a life-changing event. “Four years ago,” she writes, “married to the father of my three children, I fell in love with a woman.” That woman, Abby Wambach, would become her wife. Emblematically arranged into three sections—“Caged,” “Keys,” “Freedom”—the narrative offers, among other elements, vignettes about the soulful author’s girlhood, when she was bulimic and felt like a zoo animal, a “caged girl made for wide-open skies.” She followed the path that seemed right and appropriate based on her Catholic upbringing and adolescent conditioning. After a downward spiral into “drinking, drugging, and purging,” Doyle found sobriety and the authentic self she’d been suppressing. Still, there was trouble: Straining an already troubled marriage was her husband’s infidelity, which eventually led to life-altering choices and the discovery of a love she’d never experienced before. Throughout the book, Doyle remains open and candid, whether she’s admitting to rigging a high school homecoming court election or denouncing the doting perfectionism of “cream cheese parenting,” which is about “giving your children the best of everything.” The author’s fears and concerns are often mirrored by real-world issues: gender roles and bias, white privilege, racism, and religion-fueled homophobia and hypocrisy. Some stories merely skim the surface of larger issues, but Doyle revisits them in later sections and digs deeper, using friends and familial references to personify their impact on her life, both past and present. Shorter pieces, some only a page in length, manage to effectively translate an emotional gut punch, as when Doyle’s therapist called her blooming extramarital lesbian love a “dangerous distraction.” Ultimately, the narrative is an in-depth look at a courageous woman eager to share the wealth of her experiences by embracing vulnerability and reclaiming her inner strength and resiliency.Doyle offers another lucid, inspiring chronicle of female empowerment and the rewards of self-awareness and renewal.

Here are a couple quotes from this book that seemed to be the right thing I needed to hear at the right time.

When a woman finally learns that pleasing the world is impossible, she becomes free to learn how to please herself.

Being human is not hard because you’re doing it wrong, it’s hard because you’re doing it right.

The only thing that was ever wrong with me was my belief that there was something wrong with me.

Be careful with the stories you tell about yourself.

Every life is an unprecedented experiment. This life is mine alone…So I have stopped asking people for directions to places they’ve never been. There is no map. We are all pioneers.

Privilege is being born on third base. Ignorant privilege is thinking you’re there because you hit a triple. Malicious privilege is complaining that those starving outside the ballpark aren’t waiting patiently enough.

I have learned that if I want to rise, I have to sink first.  


Postscript

Speaking of my friend Michele (the one I am reading City of Brass with) she sent me an image of her with the hat I made her last year and the matching scarf I made her recently that I shared in the post Scarf for a Friend.

2020-12-03_15-31-35_992

I think she looks lovely and coordinated (the hat and scarf match her winter jacket).

Oh and at the beginning of this post I mentioned I am not one for book clubs, at least not presently. I’ve tried several book clubs over the years and most of them was not a fit for me after a while. I did however belong to a spectacular book club, started by my friend Michele and I, when I lived in Seattle, Washington.

One of the cool things about this book club was it was a mix of male and female and had a wide age range. It was also quite diverse in culture and life experiences. It made for an excellent mix for a book club. It was called The Good Book Club and went on for many years. Several of our members were single and even met their future partners in book club. 


Feature Photo by hannah grace on Unsplash

Knit and Crochet Away!

Scarf for a Friend

Last year I knitted a hat for my friend Michele with a variegated turquoise yarn (see 11/11/19 post The Ball of Yarn (which eventually became a hat)):

2019-11-06_11-35-43_749

I had another skein of the yarn remaining so I thought Michele might need a scarf to match her hat.

At first I knitted a partial scarf but I was not enjoying the process for some reason. I had it as WIP at the same time I began my first granny square blanket, rediscovering the joy of crocheting. I decided to rip out the knit stitches and start over and crochet the scarf instead.

Here I am working on the scarf with Mike the Miniature Schnauzer supervising:

Is he supervising or is he trying to get pet? I suspect he wants the project out of my hands so I can lay my hands on him!

And here is the scarf completed – I added fringe to the edges to jazz it up a bit:

2020-11-28_08-58-38_4752020-11-28_08-58-51_206

Michele loves to read and since this scarf was also her birthday gift I decided to wrap it in a stack of used books I gathered for her while thrifting and building my home library (see post Curating a Home Library):

2020-11-28_09-16-46_8472020-11-28_09-16-26_453

She’s already received her gift in the mail so I can now share this project in a post (smile).

A Crafter's Life, tierneycreates

Pillow for a Kitty

The title of this post might confuse you and lead you to wonder: “Is Tierney now focusing on making pillows for cats and how does Mike the Miniature Schnauzer feel about this?!?!?”

What is post is actually about it how as a crafter we make a lot of crafts and give a lot as gifts; and sometimes we forget what happens to those gifts over the years. It is a sweet and special blessing to hear how a gift is still being used years later.

Such in the case of an unexpected “kitty pillow“.

I have a post from February 2015, 2015 Goals, in which I shared that I had made Little Love Note Pillows for my then open Etsy Shop (aptly named tierneycreates). Around the same time as selling these pillows on my tierneycreates shop, I gave some as gifts to family and friends. Here are some images of these pillow sets I sold and gifted:

dscn3049littleheart

I sort of forgot about these pillows made 5 years ago, especially with all that has transpired in my life the past 5 years (and especially the past nearly 2 years…).

Well a couple days ago, I received a text and images from my brother-in-law Sean (my late husband Terry’s brother), sharing some photos of how his cat is enjoying the little pillows I sent him so many years ago. His kitty thought they were the perfect “cat sized pillows”!

He meant to tell me long time ago but kept forgetting.

2020-11-18_23-31-53_9452020-11-18_23-32-35_638

What a huge smile his text and photos put on my face! It was a nice pick me up as I’ve been feeling quite blue of late (see the Postscript section below).


Postscript

Today is December 1st and I think I’ve come to accept that December is a very rough month for me.

December used to be my favorite month with my late husband Terry’s birthday (Dec 2), Christmas (Dec 25) and my wedding anniversary (Dec 29).

Now December also holds the anniversary of Terry’s (known to this blog as “Terry the Quilting Husband”) sudden passing (12/13) who had been my partner since I was 20 years old.

December also holds the anniversaries of the passing of my beloved mother-in-law “Mimi” that I had in my life longer than my biological mother; and Sassy the Highly Opinionated Miniature Schnauzer the greatest canine love of my life. The passed within a week of each other in December 2017.

I was numb during Christmas 2018; I made it through Christmas 2019 but I am thinking that this year I probably won’t do a Christmas tree as it is makes me even sadder. Unfortunately, on 12/13/18, a couple days after decorating our tree together, I discovered the love of my life deceased next to the Christmas tree.

I will get through December; and appreciate all the love and support from friends and family and I am so thankful for my partner John and our dog Mike.

Also I am always trying to remember this wonderful quote I stumbled upon early in my grief journey:

Some days it seems like every moment of the day is a battle to keep the nests out of my hair at least during the month of December…

(okay Tierney you just won the “Most Depressing Blog Post” award…I promise future posts will not be as glum)