A Crafter Needs to Eat, A Crafter's Life, Audiobooks and Podcasts, Bags Bags Bags

What I Did During My Blogging Vacation

I’ve been on hiatus from blogging for a couple weeks to temporarily remove any “artificial” obligations in my life in order to have some time to “reset”.

Now feeling “reset”, I thought I would jump back into blogging with a little essay “primary/elementary” school style like the infamous “What I Did on My Summer Vacation“.

By the way I was not hanging out with the fabulous looking women at the beach during my hiatus, like those in the feature photo of this post (photo by Vitae London on Unsplash), I just thought it was a fun beach photo to use in the middle of semi-freezing winter in Denver!

Okay so now it is time to imagine me standing in front of our 4th grade class presenting this essay below (and perhaps my parents helped me make a slide deck for my images/photos)…

READING

Listening to audiobooks and turning the pages of actual physical books, I’ve done a lot of reading during the past several weeks.

I’ve finished the book City of Brass by S.A. Chakraborty, that I read for my virtual book club with my friend Michele (see post Virtual Book Clubs):

city-of-brass
image credit – Kirkus Review

Last Friday Michele and I had another card-making playdate like the one I shared in the post Card Making Playdate from last October and discussed City of Brass. In tomorrow’s post (why yes, I am going to now post frequently…hope you don’t grow tired of me) I will share what we made.

I recently finished the next book in our “Virtual Book Group” (but wait is it “virtual” if we are meeting in person, socially distancing of course, to discuss the book?) and it was quite the awesome page turnerThe Guest List by Lucy Foley:

The Guest List
image credit – Publishers Weekly

It’s been a long time since I’ve read (actually I listened to the audiobook) the kind of book I absolutely could not put down. If you’d like to read a synopsis of the book – here is the link to the one on Publishers Weekly (no worries, there are no spoilers) – The Guest List.

Currently I am listening to an excellent (so far) Science Fiction/space novel – To Sleep Under a Sea of Stars by Christoper Paolini. I love it so much I’ve already bought the hard copy of the book as my library loan of the audiobook is about to expire and there are a zillion other library patrons waiting in line to listen to it next.

Image result for to sleep in a sea of stars
image credit – Paolini.net

It not just fiction books I’ve been inhaling, I’ve also read several new crafting books I picked up over the past couple of months.

I’ve been obsessed lately with making non-quilt items such as tote bags (see post Tote, Tote, Tote Bags) and pincushions (a future post); and love my new book by Ayumi Takahashi – Patchwork Please which features lots of fun things to make:

Patchwork Please!: Colorful Zakka Projects to Stitch and Give - Takahashi, Ayumi
image credit – amazon.com

I am sort of obsessed with “zakka” and Japanese author craft patterns. I love the aesthetics of their designs as well as the function. Here are many of the books in my home library collection of Japanese author craft patterns:

COOKING

For a while in the Denver metro area, our restaurants closed down again to inside dining during the pandemic. Finally they opened to 25% capacity and now I think they are starting to reopen to even 50% capacity (or perhaps I am hallucinating at this point as I have complete pandemic fatigue at this point).

While they were closed again, like in the early days of the pandemic, we tried to make fun meals at home and not get home cooking fatigue. Here are a couple photos of the delicious meals my partner John (a very good cook who used to actually cook professionally) and I made.

Delicious Irish Stew and Homemade Biscuits

Salmon Fried Rice

Nachos!

Pizza (with dough made from “scratch”)

Orzo Pasta Salad

Are you hungry yet?

One of my favorites that I could not locate easily locate a photo for was the handmade gnocchi with gorgonzola sauce and scallops that John made one night. I thought I was at a high-end restaurant!

Yes, I will not lie, I had packed on a couple “pandemic pounds” from all this good eating, but we do not eat like this every night. We do try and have salads for dinner a couple nights a week.

WALKING

To combat the effects of all those delicious home cooked meals, I’ve been going on a lot of very long walks. It is always a great way to listening to my audiobooks. Most of the times I take Mike my Miniature Schnauzer with me but many times I just go walking alone (then I do not have to stop for the “frequent signing in on bushes” that Mike loves to do on his walk).

Here are a couple Black & White images I took on a wintry walk, in which someone had left a found glove on a branch for its owner to hopefully someday find. I got a kick out of the “composition” in the stark landscape created by the glove.

If you enjoy B&W images, I do have a series of posts where I feature B&W images – Life in B&W.

In case you are wondering – either the glove blew away or was reunited with its partner by the owner as the next day it was gone.

REFLECTING

During my break from blogging, I spent a lot of time reflecting and trying to figure out my life. As many of you know, I am in my second year of widowhood caused by the very sudden and very expected death of my life partner, Terry the Quilting Husband (see post Remembering Terry the Quilting Husband (TTQH)).

I’d been with Terry since I was in my early 20s and I am now on a journey to “reinvent” myself in my middle years of life as “Tierney minus Terry”, after what seems like a lifetime of “Tierney +Terry”.

In previous posts, I’ve discussed re-opening my tierneycreates Etsy shop and my original plan when I took a hiatus from blogging was to start blogging again in about a month when I was ready to re-open my Etsy shop.

Over the past several months, I’ve made a lot of items in preparation to re-open the shop but still could not move forward with re-opening the shop. I was struggling to figure out what the big block was for me.

Then while looking at some old photos on my Google Photos account which I rarely use, I found an old image of the joint tierneycreates business card Terry and I had together when he was helping me with my Etsy shop. He was listed as a “Maker” on my Etsy shop as he helped me with many of the items I produced by cutting out patterns and doing preliminary sewing, especially on items like Miniature Kimonos, which were very popular on my shop.

I realized that my tierneycreates Etsy shop is just too closely tied to memories of crafting with Terry and I am just not ready.

Part of my “widowhood journey” is trying to figure out what to do with what is basically a lifetime’s worth of memories with someone who is now gone.

After losing your spouse you are expected to go on with your life but what do you do with all those memories (and mementos) of a life previously lived? I think that is the $64,000 Question which I have yet to answer for myself (I’ve done a lot of reading on grief and the answers of other people’s journey but I still have to find my own answer).

But I have figured out that unless it is something critical, not push myself to do anything I am not ready to do, even if it seems like a good thing to do (like re-opening my Etsy shop).

(The above images are of Terry, Sassy, who passed in Dec 2017 a year before Terry, and I vacationing in Cannon Beach, Oregon; and of Terry modeling a quilt he helped me make)

CRAFTING

There’s been a whole lot of crafting over the past couple of weeks. I’ve found a lot of peace in making things. I feel very lucky to be a “Maker”.

Many of the items I’ve shared on my tierneycreates Instagram account but many I have not. I am going to save a discussion of what I’ve been working on for future blogs posts but I will share that I’ve been making more tote bags like I discussed in the post Tote, Tote, Tote Bags.

Here are some of my latest tote bags:

I look forward to diving into more about what I’ve been making in my future posts!

WAKE UP, THE ESSAY IS FINALLY OVER!

So that concludes my essay and I can safely assume the whole class is asleep now at their desks!

Oh wait, I see the teacher is also asleep at their desk! Maybe I won’t get a “A” on this presentation…

Photo by Matheus Farias on Unsplash

Postscript

Just a quick follow up to my post Redesigning my logo. I decided not to change my logo at this time and just figure it out at a later date.

53 thoughts on “What I Did During My Blogging Vacation”

  1. A++
    And I am awake and inspired!
    You amaze me. I hope you keep on pushing through your journey. Thank you for sharing. Sending love 💘

    Liked by 1 person

  2. So glad to hear from you again, I don’t think grief ever really goes away, you just find a way of finding the positive things of your memories and coping with them, grief can sneak up on us when we least expect it. Just take your time and look after yourself, think of number one….love the sunflower bag too 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m so glad you are back! Try to move forward, day by day, Tierney! Sometimes… inch by inch. Embrace the wonderful parts of your new life. Memories are a part of that wonder as well, you know. They all go hand in hand to create your future.
    -Jean

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Welcome back. One thing (of many) you and I agree on is the notion of taking a break when you want a break. No one is going to fire you from this gig!

    I read many books last year and actually haven’t settled into a one yet this year. However, cooking and I, well, we’re like THIS. I loved the food photos. 🙂 The stew and biscuits look fantastic. I made a darn fine stew myself this winter! And a very good loaf of oatmeal bread just today. Fortunately Jim is a good eater, so anything I make (which usually turns out pretty well, if I say so myself) he will eat.

    hugs and good wishes. Just keep going.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I love it – your are so correct – no one will fire me from this gig! The stew was delicious but the biscuits were nearly a spiritual experience. I was going to add a third image of the biscuits with butter melting on them but then I was headed into “biscuit porn” – ha! I am glad Jim is a good eater but I suspect as artistic as you are you are probably a good cook! Hugs to you and what a treat to discover that you were back from hiatus! You make the blogosphere are more interesting place!

      Like

  5. Taking time off is very good for the soul, but I´m glad you´re back I really enjoy your blog. Thanks for sharing, I´m actually going online shopping today for books so the Guest list will be on my list.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. 10/10 for the presntation which kept my attention throughout. Grief is a strange thing, and I imagine your memories are still very fresh and the loss great. You must allow time to grieve. I’m impressed with all you have done not on the beach. I love the sunflower tote bag too, so cheerful.
    I was wondering why you just don’t start a new etsy shop, for the new begining? Forgive me if I speak out of turn. Stay safe and enjoy some more yummy food this weekend.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I SO enjoy your posts – and that they include all the things I love – crafting, cooking, books & book reviews, exercise, photography…. Thank you. This really helps during these pandemic times.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Yaaaayy, Tierney! It is so nice to see you in the blogosphere again. How wonderful that you’ve been ‘inhaling’ (ha!) books and cooking up a storm — there is no sweeter way to spend the days, I think. I’m glad to know that the cold weather hasn’t deterred taking long walks. Courageous. And the tote bags are gorgeous; I’m inspired by the self-compassion that guides your creative process, Tierney. Everything in its own time. ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Good to see you blogging again, and glad you had some time to rest and recharge 🙂 You have been so buys producing lovely things! Beautiful photos and tote bags, and I’m sure many other beautiful items! Also, those all look like really interesting books 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  10. It is so nice to hear from you again. I know this time of year must be difficult for you. I do hope the time ‘away’ was restorative and healing for your soul. Your post was chock full of all kinds of awesome! The altitude on those biscuits is enviable. I love that Christopher Paolini is still writing. My boys read his first book, Eragon, that he wrote while in his teens (?) maybe? Very cool. I totally get your hesitation on reopening the Etsy shop. It really hasn’t been long, Tierney. My daddy passed away 7 yrs ago this week and I still have trouble getting by. Thank you for sharing photos of Terry, I know it can’t be easy. Sending you lots of love from a very chilly upstate NY!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you and I included two images of the biscuits as they were so exquisite! I will make the stew again only so my partner can make more of those biscuits (I wanted to grab the tray of them and run off into a private area while shoving them into my mouth – ha!). I have Eragon and the subsequent books. So sorry for your loss on your Dad, mine passed in like 2008 and I still feel that loss also. I grew up in NY – Long Island and Albany so I know chilly Upstate NY were well!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh! Where on Long Island? We still have an apt in Levittown and my husband’s primary office is in Jericho. He goes down for a few days each month; longer for deadlines during tax season. Where I live now is just about an hour south of Albany, right on the Hudson. Small world.

        Liked by 1 person

  11. Tierney, I’m so excited to see all the incredible things you have been up to. It’s wonderful to see all of your projects, your adventures, and the exciting things you are exploring.

    I also wanted to tell you how inspired I am by you and your continued journey. While I never had the opportunity to meet Terry the Quilting Husband, I feel like I’ve gotten to know parts of him through you, your stories, photos, and the beautiful quilt work you have shared with me and Cici. In no way does it compare to meeting and knowing Terry personally, but he very much lives on through you and all that you share with this world. Your journey has not been an easy one, but you have handled it with incredible grace, poise, and thoughtfulness. Though it may not feel like it at times, know that it shines through.

    Sending our best from the Pacific Northwest, hope you all are staying warm in CO!

    Best, Cody

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Welcome back. I’ve missed you, but I also totally agree that there are times when one needs to withdraw and regroup.
    One of the things i have liked about being retired is shucking off most obligations and deadlines.
    As soon as i learn how to beam up and appear in CO, I’ll be by for dinner. 😉

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