Guest Blogger, Shows and Exhibits

Guest Blog Post: Craft and Vendor Show Beginner’s Survival Kit

So I began February 2022 with the plan of daily blogging and I kept it up until 02/17/22 where I promptly “fell off the wagon”, ha! Life has been kind of busy and I recently returned from a nearly week long quilting retreat at the Missouri Star Quilt Company in Hamilton, MO (oh yes there will be posts about that adventure in the future!).

I have a lot of catch up reading on my blogging buddies blogs; and today I am going to share a guest blog post written by Carrie Spencer of The Spencer Adventures (see the bottom of this post for more info on Carrie). I have this fantasy that someday I will sell my handmade creations at a craft fair so this article is perfect for my daydreaming!

Craft and Vendor Show Beginner’s Survival Kit

by Carrie Spencer, The Spencers Adventures

Turning any crafting hobby into a true business takes a lot of work. If you have been honing your craft, you may wonder whether you’re ready for fairs and vendor shows. If you have a fair amount of inventory and an established brand, a craft or vendor show could be a great next step, but bear in mind that it requires more than setting up a table and taking money.

To make sure your first foray into a market goes well, here is a quick beginner’s survival guide for the show circuit.

Forming a Business

Having a side hustle is one thing, but relying on your craft as a main income requires a different approach. You need to consider taxes and liability. Some shows even require that you have a tax identification number for your application. If you haven’t formed a business yet and plan to do this full-time, this is your first step.

There are a variety of formation options, but you might consider the advantage of LLCs. Limited liability companies can protect your personal assets in case of a lawsuit or other legal situation. They also offer tax benefits and less paperwork than other formations. You can even use a formation service if you are unsure about what is needed to start an LLC in your state and don’t want to deal with the paperwork details.

Creating a Display

With a formed business and accepted show applications, you can next focus on your booth display. A standard booth size is about 10 feet by 10 feet, and you need to make every inch count. Tangleweeds notes that your display is vital to drawing in potential customers and getting your products recognized. 

image from post Sewing & Stitchery Expo, tierneycreates 03/05/2018

For these reasons, you need to be strategic about your setup. Make sure there is enough space for customers to walk around and see your offerings. Use attractive signage to stand out from surrounding vendors. When customers do come in, try to engage them personally. Make your booth and brand memorable.

You can make your brand more noticeable by designing a memorable and appealing logo. Fortunately, you can create a logo for free when you use an online logo design tool. This tool allows you to browse logo templates and then customize them by adding your own images, font, and text. 

Prepping Products

According to AmeriCommerce, one of the best strategies you can use at a craft show or fair is to research your competition. Knowing who the other vendors are and what they provide can help ensure you offer a unique, high-quality and competitively priced product. 

You also want to make sure that you bring enough products to sell so that you can earn back your vendor fees and meet your sales goal. It’s wise to bring enough product to sell two or three times what your goal is. So, if you plan on selling $300 of your product, bring enough to actually sell $600 or $900 of your product.

image from post Sewing & Stitchery Expo, tierneycreates 03/05/2018

Processing Payments

The types of payments you accept can determine which customers make a purchase and which walk away empty-handed. For professional appearances, you should have a cash box on hand to accept cash payments. With the accessibility of Wi-FI, however, you should also prepare for mobile purchases.

You can use a card reader or cash app to accept payments. Make sure your customers know if you accept payment methods other than cash. If using an app, have a sign with your business’ QR code ready to scan and any relevant information. If you charge extra for credit card purchases, make sure your customers know about this in advance as well.

image from ZDnet.com

While their preparation can take a lot of effort, craft shows and markets can be successful for sellers and customers alike. With a little bit of prep work, you’ll not only survive but thrive in your first craft market experience. 

About the guest blogger author:

Carrie Spencer created The Spencers Adventures to share her family’s homesteading adventures. On the site, she shares tips on living self-sufficiently, fruit and vegetable gardening, parenting, conservation, and more. She and her wife have 3 kids, 2 dogs, 4 cats, 3 goats, 32 chickens, and a whole bunch of bees. Their goal is to live as self-sufficiently and environmentally-consciously as possible. 

Carrie has guest blogged on the tierneycreates blog in the past – see the post Fun and Educational Activities to Drive the Indoor Blues Away (Guest Blogger Post).

Creative Inspiration

Stories My Father Told Me (re-posting)

In honor of February being Black History Month (see my post Black History Month) I thought I would re-post a section of the post from April 2016 – Creative Inspiration: Stories My Father Told Me. Today, February 17th, is the 14th anniversary of his passing in 2008 and he is part of my personal “Black History” legacy.

Stories My Father Told Me (originally posted April 2016)

My father, Raoul A. Davis, Sr. was an amazing man. He passed in 2008, and left behind a legacy of stories and inspiration.

Born of the 4th of July, he was the son of two teachers and grew up the segregated South (Charleston, West Virginia) in the 1930s. He faced many hardships and challenges but always forged ahead to achieve his goals and dreams. He was the first black to attend Kiski School in Pennsylvania, received a bachelor’s degree from Central State University, and obtained his Master’s degree from Columbia University. He also served his country in the US Army.

He served as a leader in the nonprofit sector for over 40 years. His service included working with gangs and underprivileged youth as a Social Worker in NYC; founding the Urban League of Long Island, NY; and creating the first Empire State Black Arts and Cultural Festival (today known as the African American Family Day Art Festival).

He retired as the Deputy Commissioner for the Office of General Services for the State of NY. In his retirement he volunteered and consulted for local nonprofits and community agencies.

His resume was impressive, but what I remember most about him is his stories.

Starting from my earliest memories as a child, I remember him telling me stories of his challenges growing up in the segregated South, stories of his athletic pursuits (he was an accomplished multi-sport athlete), stories about the intense hazing he received as the first black to attend Kiski Prep School, stories of overcoming shocking physical and psychological abuse in the US Army in the 1950 by his drill sergeant, and many other inspirational stories from his life.

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A couple of years before he passed he decided to write his autobiography and I offered to help him by transcribing his handwritten notes and pulling them into a rough draft. It was so wonderful to read the stories I knew well from hearing in my youth; and I was honored to help him with this project.

Unfortunately my father passed before finishing his autobiography. I did take what I had and make it into a book for my sister and brother (two incredible individuals who continue my father’s legacy and inspire me daily); and for his grandchildren (one of which he did not get to meet before he passed).

I am still left with all his stories in my head and in my heart, and I think I want to share them in another medium beyond the verbal and written word: in my art quilts.

One of my favorite stories that my father told me, is a story from his growing up in the segregated South and a bus ride experience that embodied his outlook on dealing with racial prejudices:

As a teenage in the 1940s, I was riding on the bus and a white guy was forced to sit next to me because no other seats were available. He turned to me and growled – “I hate you, you  #%%$%%!”  

I calmly replied to him “Well, you would like me if you got to know me”. 

We ended up having a great conversation and when we got to his bus stop, he exclaimed as he exited the bus: “Raoul, you are alright”.

My father likely did not change this man’s racist outlook on people of color, but he may have left an imprint in this man’s mind and heart to evaluate people based on their character not their color.

My father, who was also active in the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960s and fortunate to have met Martin Luther King, Jr., believed in focusing on getting to know each other as individuals and not judging an entire group or population.

He believed change came through dialogue not violence. He taught his three children to be brave, no matter what adversity life threw at them; and to as Mahatma Gandhi said:

You must be the change you wish to see in the world.

Mahatma Gandhi

Featured image credit: Wikipedia stock image

tierneytravels

Breakfast Buffet and Confused Deer

Of all the things I took for granted that I could do “pre-pandemic”, going to a breakfast buffet was one of them. This weekend I got to eat at my first breakfast buffet since 2019 and meet some very confused deer.

My partner John and I have an obsession with historic hotels and gravitate towards staying in them. We live in the Denver Metropolitan area and we’ve even gone for a weekend to a local historic hotel in downtown Denver, just to experience it.

Colorado has some cool historic hotels and one of them that we love is The Broadmoor in Colorado Springs. I stayed there for the first time in May 2021 and you can read about that visit in this post – Weekend at The Broadmoor.

Well for Valentine’s Day weekend we returned there and surprisingly they had their renown breakfast buffet at the Lake Terrace Dining Room recently reopened! It had been closed for a long time due to the pandemic of course.

I tried to remain calm and make good choices, but I was ECSTATIC to wander about a breakfast buffet. Here are some photos from the buffet (why yes, I was the idiot wandering about the food at the buffet taking photos while “oooing” and “ahhhing”...):

They had a custom omelet station as well other delights such as cheese blintzes with berry compote. There was a lot more food than what was pictured but I would have looked even more pitiful (like I am never allowed out the house) if I took pictures of all the food stations at the buffet while people were waiting to serve themselves.

Yes, I was acting like I’d never been to a buffet before, like ever. Or like I had just landed on this planet and was learning my way around…

One of the things at the buffet that made my jaw drop was their honeycomb display for the local honey that had on the smoked meat and cheese table:

Perhaps I am just being weird after losing access for a couple years to things I took for granted, but I thought this was quite the delightful (and delicious) sight! And yes the honey drizzled over the gourmet cheese and smoked meats was sublime!

Although I wanted to be very naughty, I did not return for any refills (except on tea) and here are our plates after making our way through the buffet:

After our breakfast, we wandered outside to watch ducks and geese (they also have swans living on the lake) who live at the little lake at The Broadmoor fly about.

You are going to have to trust me that is was austere and peaceful to watch them, as the photos above do not do the experience any justice.

While watching the birds, we noticed a trio of deer wandering around the cobblestone grounds near the building where we had breakfast. At first they looked like they knew where they were going as they trotted down the stairs to the paved little shopping area below on the property. However after a while they looked like their GPS directions stopped working!

They looked like confused deer:

In the image above it looks like they are saying: “I thought you knew where we turn next…”

I hope they found their way to wherever they were going!

Quilt Shop Tours

Who Gives a Scrap?

We spent some time in Colorado Springs, Colorado this weekend. While there I visited a very cool place – Who Gives a SCRAP, a creative reuse center.

The description from the Who Gives a SCRAP website:

Who Gives a SCRAP is a donation based scrap store that carries an impressive mix of arts and craft and hobbies supplies in addition to unique vintage finds.  We carry everything from scrapbook paper to game pieces, used books and sewing patterns, the variety is a crafters dream.  We believe that the reuse of  goods and materials is the most efficient, environmentally friendly and economically viable way to reduce the waste stream. Our shop is open to the public and our ever changing inventory is based on individual and business donations.

When I first walked into the main shopping area of the place, I was greeted with three (3) tubs of FABRIC SCRAPS!

For my first 20 – 30 minutes in the shop I did not get much further than those three tubs as you could fill a bag for $1.00 with fabric scraps!

I found some amazing fabric scraps, filled my bag and finally moved on to the other parts of the shop filled with donated/recycled crafting and art supplies for EVERY craft you could imagine (painting, beading, scrapbooking, quilting, doll making, knitting, etc.)

It was kind of overwhelming!

Overstimulated from looking at a seemingly endless collection of inexpensive crafting/art supplies, I wandered into the book area to look at their large collection of second handing arts and crafts books:

I behaved and only bought one quilting book.

My partner John joined me in the shop (he went off to get our car washed while I initially wandered the shop); and together we wandered into a room of sort of “antiques” and other odds and ends for sale.

Inside this room we found some unusual items, including several pieces of “shoe art” that John found:

Hmm…

There was more eclectic art and “antiques” in that room.

If you are ever in Colorado Springs, CO I recommend a visit to this place! Oh and no worries, if you like fabric scraps, I did leave you some in those tubs when you first walk in (smile).

A Crafter's Life

Valentines (re-post)

Happy Valentine’s Day!

I thought in honor of this day, and how far my life has come in a couple of years, I would re-post this Valentine’s Day post from February 14, 2019 (the first Valentine’s Day I faced after my husband suddenly died in December 2018).

This post was also featured, at the end of February 2019, on author Marie Bostwick’s blog: Coping With Grief by Helping Others.


Valentines

A little less than a week ago I began having quite a bit of anxiety over how I was going to face my first Valentine’s Day without my Valentine. In December 2018 my husband Terry suddenly passed away. I’ve been with Terry more than 1/2 my life and we’ve never been apart on Valentine’s Day.

I was anticipating a painful day on February 14th, completely stricken my grief, perhaps not even able to get out of bed.

In the middle of my anticipatory grieving anxiety, I suddenly realized that doing something for others might be the solution to dealing with Valentine’s Day.

For the past 5 weeks I’ve been in a difficult but awesome Spousal Loss Grief Support Group that meets weekly. It suddenly hit me that all the widows and widowers in the grief support group with me were facing the same dilemma of their first Valentine’s Day without their Valentines.

So why don’t I invite them all the be my Valentines?

And that is just what I did.

For My Valentines

For the men in my grief support group:

Terry’s favorite cookies were the Molasses Crinkle Cookies that I loved to make. I’ve done little cooking and no baking since he passed so it was a pretty big thing to open my cookbook and actually bake something.

I made a huge batch of these cookies and it felt good to bake again, so good that I actually experienced a sweet moment of joy as I assembled the ingredients.

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I put the cookies in a basket and included little sandwich bags for them to take as many as they wanted home.

For the women in my grief support group:

I gave them each little wallets. If you are new to my blog here is a post about the little wallets I made a zillion of since I first became obsessed with them – “Little Wallet Madness” .

For the group facilitator:

I gave her a set of my little heart pillows, as she has been helping us heal our hearts.

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I then made “Oregon Healing Hearts” valentines using my circle punch and heart punch from my card marking supplies with Oregon/outdoor themed colored papers:

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People had the option of an “Oregon Healing Heart” with a dog in the middle of the heart (as I consider dogs healing) or a plain heart:

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Here is the whole set up I surprised them with earlier this week at our weekly Spousal Loss Grief Support Group:

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I think it went over pretty well. The facilitator let me present them at the start of our support group meeting.

The men were willing to share their cookies and both the men and women got to take home some cookies if they wanted. There was laughter, smiles and hugs despite the difficult topics we discussed at that support group session.

Feeling at Peace

Today is Valentine’s Day and I feel at peace. I think it is because I stepped outside of myself and my grief and thought of others for a moment.

Day and night wallowing in my grief was not working for me, even if everyone expected and supported it. I had to try something else. That’s where my grief group came in, my unexpected valentines.

Grieving is hard work, maybe the hardest work I’ve ever done. It’s definitely a hobby I don’t recommend for anybody.  But, if you’re suddenly find yourself a member of the club that no one ever wants to join, find a grief group. Part of what I have learned from this experience is, don’t try to go it alone.

The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.”
― Ralph Waldo Emerson


Studio

Stuffing it the Eco-conscious Way!

In my sort of recent post, Preparing for Quilt Retreat, I shared that I was preparing for an upcoming quilt retreat with my long time quilting friends by pre-cutting blocks from the book Tula Pink’s City Sampler 100 Modern Quilt Blocks for a quilt, and saving them in individual packets so I’d be ready to work on each block at the retreat:

I ended up getting 20 of these cut for the retreat, so that is 1/5th the blocks needed for the quilt

Well, cutting the fabric for 20 – 6.5 inch by 6.5 inch blocks made a lot of tiny scraps, especially since many pieces/parts of the blocks were 1.5 inch x 1.5 inch or a little larger.

Here is my little bucket of scraps:

Most of the pieces were too small to use in anything, and I already have a collection of “leaders and enders” for sewing on my machine and did not need more.

So I decided to use the scraps as stuffing for some pincushions I needed to finish up, sitting in my WIP pile. The tops for the pincushions were paper pieced (see posts Paper Pieced Pincushion and Another Paper Pieced Pincushion & Amazing Thrift Shop Find), the bottoms cut and I needed to sew the strips around the middle, stuff them and put on the buttons.

Here is one of the pincushions getting stuffed with scraps:

And here are a couple images of a finished pincushion, all stuffed with tiny scraps (and thread clippings) that could have ended up in the trash (then landfill!):

I was feeling quite eco-conscious after using those tiny scraps (and thread clippings) to stuff the pincushion!

Knit and Crochet Away!

A Hat for Me

This post is a quick follow up on the post from November 2021 – The Itty-Bitty Hat and Fun Surprises in the Mail. I knitted a colorful hat which was too small for my head.

I ended up giving this hat to my friend Wendy as a gift and it fit her perfectly (she is very petite and has a petite head).

I still had leftover yarn from this hot mess of yarn (which I did roll into a ball of yarn):

So I decided to try making myself a hat with the yarn again, this time one appropriate for the size of my head and my hair. I finished the hat in January and I’ve been enjoying it!

Now it’s time to use the only hat pattern I know, to knit a hat from my partner John (who has been waiting for a hand knitted hat from me for some time…).

Books, Music, Podcasts, The Library Stack

Double Stacking It with the Library Stack

It’s been a while since I shared my latest “Library Stack” in my series of ongoing posts by the same name – The Library Stack. I noticed I have 39 posts so far under the blog post category “The Library Stack” so over the past 8 years I’ve been blogging I’ve shared a lot of stacks!

A couple weeks ago I had “an incident“. I borrowed a stack of books from two different public library systems which resulted in a DOUBLE STACK!

I have to keep the stacks separate so I don’t mess up and return the wrong stack to the wrong library!

Here is a close up of each stack:

Stack I (Library 1):

Stack II (Library 2):

I’ve recently finished up Stack II and returned it to its correct library (yay!). The books I most enjoyed in this stack were: Styling for Instagram and Dollhouse Style.

For the past couple of month’s I’ve been obsessed with tiny room vignettes and dollhouse size furniture on Instagram (I think it is just a phase) and I follow Instagram pages such as @simplylivingminidesigns.

I was obsessed with tiny houses (the kind you can live in) for quite a while, but now I seem to have gone tinier!

The human sized livable tiny house still remain an obsession for me as you can see that in Stack I I have a book titled The Giant Book of Tiny Homes!

Well I have a lot of page browsing ahead with pots of tea to finish Stack 1 and get it back to its library! Then I will take a “Library Stack” break and work on reading the books I already have in queue in my home library!

From the Woodshop

From the Woodshop: The Bedroom Suite is Complete!

Well, John has done it. He has completed a “bedroom suite” of a headboard, dresser, and two matching nightstand tables.

Here are the posts related to the first pieces he made – the dresser and then the headboard:

Out of town guests? Put them to work!

From the Woodshop: A New Headboard

Recently my partner John made two matching nightstand tables to coordinate with the dresser and headboard he made. He made them in a weekend!

Here are the tables in progress:

And if you want to peek a little more around the current version of his woodshop, here are a couple more photos I took at the same time:

And here are the finished products:

Can you tell which side of the bed is mine? Hint: not the one with the Handyman magazine – ha! I always keep a basket of quilting magazines that I’ve picked up at thrift stores next to my side of bed. I like to daydream about projects I likely won’t make right before going to sleep – ha! I re-donate the magazines to the thrift shop when I am done so they can sell them again.

Here are the coordinating pieces – the headboard and dresser – that complete the “suite”:

I am amazed. That is all I can say!

You might have noticed a “project list” in one of the photos above in his workshop. Well he has many more projects planned. He makes me look lazy, I should have finished like 5 quilts by now – ha!

tierneytravels

Trip to North Carolina: Fun Evening in Downtown Raleigh

Finishing out my little series of posts on a recent trip to North Carolina when I joined my partner John on a business trip to Wilmington, NC. Here are the previous two posts in the series:

Trip to North Carolina: Quilt Shop Wander 

Trip to North Carolina: The Ocean

I’ve never visited Raleigh, North Carolina before, so we flew into Raleigh and spent an evening and 1/2 a day there before driving our rental car to Wilmington, NC. The two major airports to fly into when going to Wilmington are either Myrtle Beach or Raleigh.

We got a great deal on a hotel near Raleigh downtown and then randomly decided where to go eat (and later what to do after eating) in downtown.

I was in the mood for Dim Sum and we found online a restaurant that is both a brewery (we both love a good craft beer) and specializes in Dim Sum – Brewery Bhavana!

As an added bonus, it also had a bookstore next to and inside the dining area, so I got to browse books while we waited for a seat at the bar for our amazing meal!

Here are photos from our experience there.

Books, craft beer, and Dim Sum – YES PLEASE!

After a wonderful meal (and exceptional friendly service), we randomly decided to check out a place called – the Boxcar Bar + Arcade in downtown Raleigh. Yes, it was exactly what the name says – a bar and an arcade!

It was an arcade for adults (you had to be 21 to enter, which is legal drinking age in North Carolina). It was filled with vintage (and some newer) arcade games to include Pacman, Centipede, Donkey Kong, Galaga, air hockey, skee ball, and lots of pinball machines!

We got a roll of tokens for the arcade games and proceeded to lose track of time and play for several hours. We had so much fun! The vintage arcade games like Pacman we only 25 cents just like when I was a teen.

John was much better at the games than I was but I had an awesome time (even if I was absolutely terrible at pinball).

One of the very cool things is that the bar had TV screens in which they played vintage cartoons from the 1980s and 1990s including the one my brother was addicted to growing up: He–Man and the Masters of the Universe.

Watching it for a while at the bar reminded me of my younger brother being glued to the TV screen while that animated show played; and him wanting all the action figures!

Here are some photos from our time at the arcade bar (they are dark because it was rather dark in the bar-arcade).

What an evening! I look forward to flying into Raleigh again on our next trip to Wilmington, NC for John’s job and exploring more of Raleigh!

Quilt Retreats, Sampler Quilts

Preparing for Quilt Retreat

Next post I will finish up sharing more about our North Carolina trip, but I thought I would share that I am currently preparing for an upcoming quilt retreat with my long time quilt friends from California, Washington, and now NE England and South Carolina.

I decided to be very prepared for the quilt retreat and pre-cut a project so I can have more time to just relax and sew and visit with my quilting friends.

I’ve decided to work on making the Tula Pink’s City Sampler 100 Modern Quilt Blocks quilt. I’ve had the book on Kindle for years and I also found a copy at a thrift store.

image credit: amazon.com

The blocks are all 6.5 inches by 6.5 inches. Over the past couples days I’ve cut out 18 of the 100 blocks. I think I am going to cut out about 25 blocks to work on for the week long quilt retreat, that should keep me busy!

I organized the cut pieces for each block into little packets:

I had a lot of fun digging through this box of scraps and putting together the fabrics for each block.

I can’t wait to open each packet I’ve made at the quilt retreat (one at a time of course) and work on the blocks!

I have one other project for the retreat that I’ve prepared so far. I have a collection of Marcia Derse fabric scrap strips.

I love her fabric designs, and if you check out this post you will see how I got all “fan girl” on her when I met her in person a couple years ago at a Sewing Festival – Fabric Fangirl Frenzy.

Some of the scrap strips are fairly thin (under 2 inches, some are an inch) and besides a “string quilt” I was trying to decide what to do with them.

Well I came across a method of piecing small strips/small scraps of fabric using adding machine tape as a foundation while watching quilting videos on YouTube:

So I bought a couple rolls of adding machine tape for $1 at a thrift store and I am going to try it out with the thinner of the Marcia Derse fabric scrap strips.

I put together a packet of smaller scrap strips that I ironed (so they would be ready to use at the retreat) to pack in my suitcase.

I will let you know how it goes. I will probably open up my laptop at the retreat, watch the video while listening on my headphones, and follow along with the instructions.

I might also bring my English Paper Piecing hexie project I’ve been working on for a couple years, just to have some handwork with me.

The retreat is a week long but I am sure it won’t be “sweat shop quilting” where we do not take breaks to do other things. So I do not want to bring too many projects!

By the way, my tierneycreates Beastie is excited because I am going to bring her on the quilt retreat. She might even do a “guest blogger” post about it!

Her dog, Mikelet, won’t be coming. Just her and her Beastnina. So I need to be sure to leave room in my suitcase for her and her machine!

tierneytravels

Trip to North Carolina: The Ocean

In yesterday’s post about my recent trip to North Carolina to accompany my partner John on a business trip (Trip to North Carolina: Quilt Shop Wander), I mentioned how happy I was to have fresh seafood because we are “landlocked” in Colorado.

Well in addition to seafood fresh from the ocean, I was so happy to be back at the ocean!

Wilmington, NC is right on the Atlantic ocean and I spent a lot of time wandering along Wrightsville Beach either with my partner or alone (while poor John had to work!)

We stayed at The Blockage Runner Beach Resort, which was right on the ocean (and we had wonderful views of the ocean from our room).

image credit: Blockage Runner facebook page

Here is a view from our hotel room window:

And each morning, we woke up to some amazing sunrises! We made sure to be up early each morning and watch the “show” out our window:

I brought several handwork craft projects to work on during the trip but I got nothing done because I got distracted by this:

The Atlantic Ocean, so happy to just stand here

I spent a lot of time walking the beach. Here is very happy me (taking a bad selfie as usual) about to head out for another walk along the beach:

Even if it was a gloomy/overcast day, I still walked the beach:

I had fun one afternoon selecting seashells from all the shells washed up on the shore. I only took a little as already had some from our previous visit to Wilmington, NC.

My partner John joined me for some of the walks. On one of our walks on the beach we spent a long time just standing there watching pelicans dive for fish in the ocean. There was something so peaceful, quiet and amazing doing that, I just cannot put the experience in to proper words. Here is a little video snippet from our experience:

Pelicans diving for fish

I took a hundred additional photos but most of us have seen the ocean before (and likely more beautiful ocean vistas than the ones I had from the Atlantic Ocean in the Winter) so I will spare you from all the other photos.

I do love the mountains of Colorado, but every so often it is so wonderful to see the sea…

25 inspiring quotes about the ocean | Eradicate Plastic
Quilt Shop Tours, tierneytravels

Trip to North Carolina: Quilt Shop Wander

The week before last, we returned to North Carolina for a week for my partner John’s business conference trip. Our previous trip to North Carolina was in August 2021 and here are the two blog posts from that trip: Wilmington, North Carolina in Black and White and Wilmington, North Carolina in Color.

We needed to return to Wilmington, NC for his work conference, but first we stopped for an evening and 1/2 a day in Raleigh, NC which I’ve never visited before. I will share a little about our trip to Raleigh in an upcoming post, but for this post I wanted to share photos of the quilt shop we stopped at during our drive from Raleigh to Wilmington, NC on Sunday January 30.

For a quilter, besides the thrill of returning home to fondle your new fabric purchases or completing a major quilting project, is there anything more awesome than wandering around a quilt shop you’ve never visited before? For me, it is one of life’s true pleasures!

I may not buy something at every quilt shop I visit but I love seeing the “creative potential” of the fabric, patterns, samples quilts, etc.

So for you, here is my wander around Cary Quilting Company in Cary, North Carolina:

And here is the very patient partner John, waiting while I wandered about the shop:

Hope you enjoyed that virtual wander, sorry you could not fondle the fabric with me!

The staff was very friendly and the wonderful woman who rang up my purchases (I bought a pattern), gave me this wonderful pin as a gift to welcome me to the shop and to North Carolina:

It can be worth chatting with friendly people in quilt shops!


Postscript

Before we went to the quilt shop, we stopped for an amazing seafood lunch at a Farmers Market in Raleigh called the State Farmers Market.  We ate at this friendly and amazing fish fry/seafood fry place called N.C. Seafood Market

Oh my goodness. We are “landlocked” in Colorado and do not get much access to fresh seafood (unless a Colorado restaurant has a system to fly in seafood fresh each day), so we were in “seafood heaven” at this place. 

The food was very reasonably priced and tasty is an understatement. It was so good that on our way back to Raleigh (we flew home to Denver via Raleigh) we stopped there again for lunch (and they recognized us and welcomed us back)!

I did not take any photos, I was just too excited! But here is a photo that I downloaded from Google Images from the restaurant to give you an idea of what our platter looked like:

Hmm…suddenly I am very hungry…

Next couple of posts I will share more about our trip to North Carolina.

From the Woodshop

From the Woodshop: Tray for our Ottoman

My partner John, who only took up woodworking a couple years ago, has been busy crafting up a storm in his woodshop in our basement.

Our basement serves several purposes: a den, John’s home office, our bar, John’s woodshop, and the guest bedroom/guest bathroom.

Recently we bought a new sectional sofa with a storage ottoman set to replace the old sofa and loveseat in “den” area of the basement.

In order to make the sectional and ottoman work, we had to give away the old coffee table and end table along with the old sofa and loveseat (we gave them to our neighbor’s son who needed furniture for his first apartment).

We decided to use the ottoman like a coffee table and I found an old tray to put on it so we could stabilize any food or drinks we wanted to put on it when we have “movie night” in the basement.

John was not happy with using that old tray and decided to make a custom tray for the ottoman. And not just a simple designed tray, he decided to try and make one with a 3D effect that he found on YouTube (where he watches endless woodworking videos).

Here is the tray in progress in his woodshop:

Here is the finished tray:

Here is the tray on the ottoman!

And here is our miniature schnauzer Mike who did not like I was taking photos of the ottoman and not of him on the sofa – ha!

A Crafter's Life, Bags Bags Bags

Talking About “Good Mail”

A couple posts ago I shared the craft exchange that @Mildy Granola and I did – drawstring bag for hand knitted socks, in this post The Exchange! .

Well my friend Wendy and I call this “Good Mail“.

Good Mail is when you get something very fun in the mail, like a handmade item or some type of fun treat. Through out the pandemic, Wendy and I have exchanged Good Mail.

THE GOOD MAIL DELIVERED TO MY HOUSE

For this round of Good Mail Wendy sent me an issue of the amazing periodical Curated Quilts and a beautiful Chinese New Year artist postcard for the Year of the Tiger.

What made this issue of Curated Quilts so special is that it featured the story of Wendy’s Quarantine Quilt Collaboration.

If you are just joining us, Wendy did a series of five (5) guest blog posts sharing the amazing story of how deep in the early days of the COVID pandemic quilt she made during quarantine with the four (4) rambunctious boys next door (aka “The Boys”) ages 2 – 8.

Could you imagine (and perhaps you can) being quarantined with your four young children ages 2 – 8 for months on end? Wendy provided an amazing distraction/project for the boys and likely made their parents lives a little saner.

Here are the links to those 5 posts if you’d like to read the full story (or re-read):

In the Curated Quilts (the theme of the issue is “Collaborate”) article Wendy provides a nice summary of the whole experience and shares the best of the photos (including my favorite – the one with the whole family and the finished quilt). It was such an amazing and selfless gift she gave to this family my eyes get a little teary when I think about it.

THE GOOD MAIL DELIVERED TO WENDY’S HOUSE

And what did I send Wendy for her Good Mail? Well she loves cats, and has a couple darling cats at home, so I made her a project bag with this fabric:

It was some cool fabric I found in my stash, I did not know where I got it from. When I posted the bag on Instagram, someone mentioned it is from a Valori Wells fabric line. Since I only had a little more than a fat quarter’s worth of fabric, I must have picked it up from a scrap bag I bought at the Stitchin’ Post when I lived in Central Oregon.

Here is the completed bag:

I included the rest of the fabric for Wendy inside the bag in case she wanted to make something with the fabric, as well as some other goodies (couldn’t just send her an empty bag!)

She has hung her bag with some other previous Good Mail from me (the tote bag I made her):

A Crafter's Life

Black History Month

I had a different post planned for this morning, but I was thinking about “Black History Month” in the US, which is every February. Here is a link from the History Channel network if you are not familiar with it or would like to learn more: Black History Month.

No matter where you live in the world I am guessing you are familiar with the history and struggles of people of African decent in the United States. I want to share a post I put on facebook yesterday about Black History Month:

Today is the first day of Black History Month and I know there are individuals in this country who might roll their eyes each February when this month comes around. When I was growing up my parents always made a big deal about Black History Month and we even had some type of encyclopedia they had bought related to Black History and had me read it regularly. Some of you might might not understand what it meant to me as a young Black child to learn about people like me who did GREAT THINGS. Growing up in the 1970s most of the history taught my school focused on “White History”. Back then they even skewed stories of slavery being focused on African tribes selling their tribe members instead of the horrors of our ancestors being stolen also from Africa. Growing up in a time where the focus was that as a person of color you were “less than” a White person was a very different experience than growing up today. I am so thankful for Black History Month and I will always celebrate it! I am so thankful to my parents that in a country that said I was “less than”, I was raised to know that I am “more than” any oppression that tries to tell me I am “less than”.

I am grateful that my parents who believed in education and making the best of yourself despite any challenges you might face. I always think of that Mahatma Gandhi quote when I think of how I was raised:

I will not let anyone walk through my mind with their dirty feet.

Remembering this quote has served me well when I am in a situation (which still happens today) in which it is implied that I am “less than”.

I recently finished an awesome audiobook by the Young Adult Fiction writer, John Green – The Anthropocene Reviewed: Essays on a Human-Centered Planet. In this amazing collection of essays where he “reviews” common human experiences during our geological age, the Anthropocene.

To give the readers a perspective of time since the geologic creation of the earth, he uses the span of a year. The time humans appeared on the earth would be late December and what we would consider “major events in history” would be mere seconds, or milliseconds in the time span of the earth.

So you might be wondering where I am going with this…

Well the author’s use of a familiar time scale – a year’s period – really put into perspective how little time has really passed in the scope of human history (and tiny in the scope of earth’s history) of what we consider to be significant changes in race relations in the US like the end of slavery and the Civil Rights movement. I think in a couple more generations, how people treat each other will evolve (hopefully for the good). Just my musings I am sharing.

I will close this post with a song that I’ve been listening to a lot lately, by Damien Marley, one of the very talented musician sons of Bob Marley, called Speak Life. It gives me a lot of thought on how I want to live my life.

If you’d like to see the lyrics here is a link: Damian Marley Speak Life Lyrics.

If you are wondering what “Speak Life” means, I did a little googling and it is related to a Bible verse and here’s a general summary which is a consensus of my research:

To speak life is to be a person of encouragement, edification, and blessing to others through what you say.

– gotquestions.org

I say we all go forward and “Speak Life” and make this world as bright as we can.

Featured image from dscout.com

From the Woodshop

From the Woodshop: A New Headboard

I guess I’ve officially turned this in to a series: posts about what my woodworking partner John has made in his woodshop!

If you want to see other posts on what he’s made they are all under this link – From the Woodshop (it will include this post; after you click on the link, scroll down to see earlier posts).

We did not have a headboard on our bed, we just had a platform on which our mattress rested. John decided to make a headboard for our bed using a design similar to the one he used for making Lazy Susans (see post From the Woodshop: No “Lazy” in the Making of a Lazy Susan):

Here is the headboard in progress in his woodshop:

And here are some images of the completed headboard:

It’s amazing how he keeps progressing on his woodworking journey, all self taught using YouTube videos!