A Year of Finishes - 2023, Bags Bags Bags, Etsy shop

New “Photo Box” and 36th to 38th Finish in A Year of Finishes

John recently built a “photo box” (not sure what to call it) for photography my items for my Etsy shop (TextilesandSmiles) and for photographing items for his Etsy shop (to be opened someday and hopefully called MightyMoeCreations). He designed it so it could be easily assembled and dissembled for storage.

I finished 3 more drawstring/project bags as part of my A Year of Finishes – 2023  project.

The fabric is from my trip to the  Missouri Star Quilt Company (MSQC) for a quilting retreat in early 2022. It is their custom fabric which is designed to look like traditional quilt blocks in a quilt. If you’d like to see the posts from my MSQC Retreat adventure here is the link to those 6 posts – Missouri Star Quilt Retreat.

A Year of Finishes - 2023, Bags Bags Bags

A Year of Finishes: 32nd to 35th Finish

I continue to shamelessly count each completed Project Drawstring Bag as a finish on my unfinished projects (that I started prior to 2023) for my project A Year of Finishes – 2023 (if you are really bored, click on that link to see all blog posts related to this project…zzz).

After finishing the Colour Wheel Quilt (see post The Colour Wheel Quilt is Done) I was planning to start an improvisational art quilt project (preparing for the 6-day workshop I am teaching next year, more to come on that someday) but was not “feeling it” yet.

So I thought I would assign myself the goal of “making something each day” to keep my creating vibe going (even if it’s just one quilt block) and decided to continue making the drawstring/project bags which I will someday list on my Textiles & Smiles Etsy shop (when I reopen it again).

I made 4 more bags. They were quick to put together as I’d always cut out all the fabric and interfacing, as well as did the fusing, etc. several months ago.

I am getting a kick out of the fun fabric combinations.

Here are two for the bird/bird house aficionado:

I was practicing taking photos for the eventually Etsy listings so I have a lot of photos of these bags (and likely more than I needed to share on this post, ha!)

And for the person who likes a little woodland whimsy, here are another set of drawstring/project bags:

I love the lining in these two bags!

So there you go – 4 more finishes of unfinished projects I started prior to 2023 (I like to make very small accomplishments sounds very exciting, ha)!

From the Woodshop

From the Woodshop: Mighty Moe Creations

My husband John is a self-taught woodworker (so many YouTube videos watched) as many of you know. I’ve featured some of his projects on my blog post category: From the Woodshop.

Recently he decided to take on some commissions and make a little money on the side with his woodworking. We figured he needed a business name and we came up with Mighty Moe Creations, as his nickname is “Moe” (a childhood nickname adapted from his middle name which he used as his first name when he was younger).

He wanted to have a wood branding iron to burn/emboss his name on wood items he creates and so we created a logo for Mighty Moe Creations using Canva:

I am new to using Canva but I was proud of myself of being able to draft a logo which he and I finalized.

Earlier this week the branding iron he ordered came in the mail and he has been practicing branding scrap wood until he perfects his technique and is ready to brand pieces he makes.

We were pleased how crisp the image comes out from the branding iron compared to the original logo we created and sent to the company that makes wood branding irons!

John’s been busy working on his commission piece in his workshop, a large 3D looking custom serving tray similar to the one in this post – From the Woodshop: Tray for our Ottoman.

John’s studio/woodshop in our basement is a “hot mess” right now but he’s making progress on his commission:

I can’t wait to see the finished commission with his new logo branded onto it!

Oh and here is Mike the Miniature Schnauzer peeking into the woodshop (he is never allowed inside the shop as we are worried about wood splinters getting into his paws) to see what his humans are up to!

Fabric Scraps Obsession, What's on the Design Wall

The Colour Wheel Quilt is Done

The Colour Wheel Quilt is finally done. I just finished quilting and putting on the binding today.

It’s come a long way from this:

Here is what the sample from the book Quilt Color Workshop by T. Bruecher, B. Greenberg, L. Goldsworthy, and J. Adams (2014) looks like:

I made some changes to the original pattern and added a header created from the trimmings from the 30 degree wedges of each colorway I cut to create the wheel.

My plan is to use this quilt as a teaching aid when I cover color theory in the workshop I’ll be providing next year (which has now become two workshops at two different venues…more info to come someday…).

If you need a legend for the labeled colorways, here you go:

Primary Colors

  • Red (R)
  • Yellow (Y)
  • Blue (B)

Secondary Colors

  • Orange (O)
  • Green (G)
  • Violet/Purple (V)

Tertiary Colors

  • Red-Orange (RO)
  • Yellow-Orange (YO)
  • Yellow-Green (YG)
  • Blue-Green (BG)
  • Blue-Violet (BV)
  • Red-Violet (RV)

As you can see from the list above, “Secondary Colors” are formed by combining “Primary Colors”; and “Tertiary Colors” are formed by combining a “Primary Color” with a “Secondary Color”.

Fabric Scraps Obsession

ScrapHappy April 2023

Kate @talltalesfromchiconia hosts a monthly celebration of reusing scraps and “scrap-happy challenges” called ScrapHappy Day on the 15th of each month and thanks to Alys @gardeningnirvana I found out about this monthly event and Kate let me participate!

Here is my latest scrap-happy project, which is currently in progress awaiting my machine quilting – the Colour Wheel Quilt wallhanging which I will be using as a teaching tool.

I’ve already appliquéd down the letters and the quilt sandwich is ready to go. If you’d like some background on this piece please see these posts: Update on the “Colour Wheel” Quilt, “Colour Wheel” Quilt in Progress, and Color Sorting.

Here is a scrap-happy project I recently completed – a table runner made from my ridiculous collection of batik fabric scraps.

For more about this piece please see my posts A Year of Finishes: 32nd Finish – the Batik Table Runner and Update on Batik Scrappy Table Runner.

To close this ScrapHappy post I thought I would share a little gallery of some previous quilts I made entirely from fabric scraps.

Fabric Scraps Obsession, Studio, The Library Stack

Library Stack Unrestrained…

Again, it’s been a while since I’ve written any posts for my blogging topic category – The Library Stack where I share my latest stack of local library books I’ve borrowed.

In this quick post I thought I would share my latest stack, recently acquired when I browsed the library “unrestrained” (by common sense and no longer being hindered by hobbling around in a walking book):

Yes it’s a bit ridiculous and I am not sure what happened to me while browsing (I guess I had an “out of body” experience) the library. It was the first time I was able to drive myself to the library and browse independently since I broke my ankle in January 2023.

Surprisingly I was able to haul all these books to the library’s check out station using a tote bag (and taking the elevator, there was no way my ankle was going to get me all the way down the library stairs!).

My plan is to flip through these books while I have breakfast each morning.

I think that is all the time I should allow this stack as I need to keep working on finishing my Colour Wheel Quilt that I most recently blogged about in this post Update on the “Colour Wheel” Quilt.

I just finished wrangling the quilt, with just the batting attached (to act as interfacing), under the sewing machine to machine applique down all those letters. So I am moving forward despite distraction from my latest (and unrestrained) “Library Stack”!

Fabric Scraps Obsession, What's on the Design Wall

Update on the “Colour Wheel” Quilt

Here is an update on the Colour Wheel quilt/wall hanging that I am making as a teaching tool on color theory when I teach an art quilting course in 2024 (see post A Year of Finishes: The Pivot) using fabric scraps.

The pattern I used is from the book Quilt Color Workshop by T. Bruecher, B. Greenberg, L. Goldsworthy, and J. Adams (2014) and the quilt is supposed to look the quilt on the book’s cover:

But I decided to modify the quilt a bit as I will show you below.

In my previous post on this quilt Colour Wheel” Quilt in Progress, I had a collection of 24 trimmings from making the “spokes” of the 12 sectioned color wheel and I was deciding what to do with them.

Well I decided to piece 23 of them together (1 trimming was sacrificed while I was experimenting with options) to make a banner for the top of the quilt.

Banner? What do you mean by “banner” Tierney?!?!?

Well I decided if the quilt was going to be a teaching tool I was going to add some additional details to the quilt as you will see below.

Before I get to that, let me show you the backing fabric I found in my stash for the quilt – a colorful butterfly fabric that had most of the colors from my the color wheel.

Here is the banner pieced from the trimming scraps, the backing, and the pieced main part of the quilt up on my design wall.

Looking at it on the design wall, I decided it was all feeling a little boring and it needed something. Then I remembered it is was to be a teaching tool so why not fully commit to it being a teaching tool and add letters and words to it?

So I did, and here is what the quilt currently looks like on the design wall.

I added “The Colour Wheel” to the banner made by the trimming scraps; and labeled each of the colorways.

The letters are just tentatively laid out, when I remove the quilt from the design wall I will measure out the proper spacing of the letters and words.

I am pretty pleased with this wallhanging so far!

A Year of Finishes - 2023, Fabric Scraps Obsession

A Year of Finishes: 32nd Finish – the Batik Table Runner

I continue to work on the Colour Wheel quilt/wallhanging that I most recently blogged about in the post “Colour Wheel” Quilt in Progress, but I am not ready to share my further progress (and I did come up with a plan on how to use the trimmed sections of the color wheel and incorporate them into the quilt!), so instead I will share an update on the batik table runner I made for a friend.

This post is a follow up to the post – Update on Batik Scrappy Table Runner. It is also part of my documentation of the backlog of projects I am finishing in 2023 – A Year of Finishes – 2023.

Back when I lived in Bend, Oregon (now over 4 years ago), I promised to make my friend L a table runner for her long dining room table which I had enjoyed several wonderful meals at over the years.

Finally back in December 2022 I started the table runner and made it from batik fabric scraps using the pattern Bamboo Shade by Aardvark Quilts. Here is where I was at in December 2022 – I had pieced it and prepared it for quilting:

I shared in the March 17, 2023 post 7 Million Stitches+, that I was working on machine quilting the table runner on my new sewing machine.

Here is the completed table runner:

And here is the table runner on my friend L’s dining room table (she received it in the mail the other day and sent me a photo)!

It felt wonderful to complete that project and finally give her the table runner!

Independent bookstores, Thrift Shop Adventures, tierneytravels

Playing Tourist in My State: A Couple Days in Boulder Colorado, Part II

Here is the second part of my two part series of posts about a recent visit to Boulder, Colorado. You can read the Part I of the adventure in this post – Playing Tourist in My State: A Couple Days in Boulder Colorado, Part I.


Oh I left out something from our visit to the Pearl Street shopping district thrift/vintage shop – Heady Bauer from the previous post. The shop had a really cool used instrument section where the staff encouraged you to pick up an instrument and play whether you knew how or not:

There was a father and son in the section enjoying the instruments.

John decided to pick up a used guitar and start strumming:

John used to play a lot of instruments when he was younger (the guitar, the piano, and even the saxophone) and at one point was even in a band. I encouraged him to think about getting a used guitar in the future and start playing again.

After an afternoon of wandering around the downtown Boulder shopping area Pearl Street, we headed over to the Boulder Dushanbe Teahouse for dinner. This tea house was a gift from Boulder’s sister city in the Soviet Union, Dushanbe. Here is a snippet of the history from the teahouse’s website:

In 1987, during his first visit to Boulder, Mayor Maksud Ikramov announced that Dushanbe planned to present our city with a Teahouse to celebrate the establishment of sister city ties. From 1987 -1990, more than 40 artisans in several cities of Tajikistan created the decorative elements our Teahouse, including its hand-carved and hand-painted ceiling, tables, stools, columns, and exterior ceramic panels. Often these skills are handed down from generation to generation within families. Lado Shanidze served as chief architect. In Central Asia, teahouses serve as gathering places where friends meet to talk or play chess over a cup of tea. Many teahouses are traditionally decorated with Persian art, characterized by the use of motifs from nature – stellar, solar, and floral, by the repetition of patterns, by form over representation and pattern over detail, and by lavish decoration and color. Our Teahouse accurately reflects this artistic tradition that dates back nearly 2,000 years. The master woodcarvers, including Manon Khaidarov and Mirpulat Mirakhmatov who helped reassemble the Teahouse here, have carved their names in the ceiling. The artisans who have painted it have written their names on a green painted area above the entry to the kitchen. A message carved in the ceiling reads “artisans of ancient Khojand whose works are magical”.

Here are some photos I took while we visited the teahouse, but there are much better photos on the teahouse’s website.

They have an extensive tea menu, hundreds of teas are available. As an obsessive tea drinker, I enjoyed browsing their menu book of teas!

I ended up gong with one of the “teas of the day” which was a rose and lavender infusion. I had a lovely pot of tea along with our lovely meal. (And my pot of tea came with an little hourglass so that I would know when to put the infuser basket out of my tea pot!)

This teahouse reminded us of how many hidden gems (well at least hidden to us) there are in Colorado. We plan to spend the Spring and Summer exploring more of Colorado and finding more of those “hidden gems”.

After the teahouse we continued on our thrifting/thrift store adventures and stopped at the awesome Goodwill in Boulder. There John found an amazing deal – a metal craft beer sign to join his collection of craft beer signs in our basement bar area, for 75% off the retail price!

The sign was in pristine/brand new condition and still had a plastic protective sheet over it (which was removed for the photo above).

I found some amazing used books – several of which were recent publication hardbacks – for only $2 each!

This particular Goodwill was recommended to me by someone I’ve followed for a while on Instagram @boulderthrifter. She was kind enough to give me thrift shop recommendations for our trip to Boulder.


The next day we had another Independent Bookstore adventure, this time at The Bookworm – Boulder’s largest used books bookstore (after a delicious breakfast at The Buff, a Boulder breakfast top spot).

I knew The Bookworm was my kind of place because when you first walk in you are greeted by the bookstore dog!

After petting the dog for a while, I went on to browse their HUGE used book selection.

John and I had a wonderful browse in this bookstore.

Right before we headed back to the Denver Metro area, we stopped at a cool used art supply shop, Art Parts: Creative Reuse Center. I love art supply reuse centers! I’ve written about them in the past in posts such as Who Gives a Scrap?.

I had a fun browsing at this shop and left with some free art quilting magazines.

So that was our Boulder, Colorado adventure!

Independent bookstores, Life in B&W, Thrift Shop Adventures, tierneytravels

Playing Tourist in My State: A Couple Days in Boulder Colorado, Part I

John and I decided to play tourist in our own state and spend a couple days last week in Boulder, Colorado (if you click on the linked “Boulder, Colorado” you’ll see a lovely little video giving you a feel for Boulder, Colorado from the bouldercoloradousa.com website).


We opted for a rustic experience in our accommodation choices, and stayed at the A-Lodge/Boulder Adventure Lodge in the Fourmile Canyon area of Boulder.

I couldn’t help myself, it is early Spring and the landscape is still pretty stark around Colorado so I just had to take the photos in Black & White!

The Lodge has a cool two-level lounging area and they also serve craft beers and have a daily “Happy Hour”. The accommodations were decent although sparse, but you couldn’t beat the $70 a night price.

Excellent value for the money; and if you are really looking to save money, they also have like a $22 a night hostel (you share a room with others). There were lots of young outdoorsy adventure seeking type dudes staying there, I am sure they were enjoying the low rates for the hostel area.

John and I spent some time in the lower level of the Lodge, sipping craft beers and reading (John) and crocheting (me with my travel granny squares making project).

I loved this cool piece of art in the Lodge:


So Boulder has a lot of independent bookstores and a lot of cool thrift shops, and visiting them was part of our plan while in Boulder!

We started our adventure with a trip to the downtown Boulder shopping area Pearl Street and spent time wandering about the Boulder Book Store.

The bookstore was pretty amazing; and I could have spent a day there (but there was so much more to see in Boulder). The original building that houses the bookstore was built in 1899 and you can see the historical architecture throughout the building.

Here are a couple photos to give you a flavor of what it was like to wander about the bookstore:

I had my favorite (and now well worn) tote bag in tow; but I was well behaved and only filled it with one new book from the Boulder Book Store.

I also filled it with some new stickers for my water bottle, laptop and John’s tool chest (which he covers with stickers) as they had an amazing and reasonably priced sticker collection:

After the bookstore, we wandered around the Pearl Street shopping district and stumbled upon this very fun thrift/vintage shop – Heady Bauer. I was already having an awesome day so I appreciated the sign in front of their door: “Best Day Ever”:

When first entering the shop you see a huge wall display of crocheted blankets, including granny square blankets, mounted on the wall!

Seriously creative art and recycling!

I bought a used book there (I didn’t want the book from our first stop to be lonely!) – an original edition (complete with 1970s cover art) of one of my favorite science fiction books of all time: Rendezvous with Rama by Arthur C. Clarke.

It will be fun to re-read it in the version that it was originally published.

Oh we had a laugh when we stopped at the clothing store Free People to look around (I do like some of their clothes). Do you remember when I was endlessly working on drawstring bags? Well we came across a line of pants that to us looked like “drawstring bag pants”!

I feel like I could definitely learn to make those pants!

I’ll continue the rest of our Boulder adventures in my next post, and I want to close this post with some really cool embroidery art they had in the Free People store above their clothing displays: embroidered coffee and tea burlap sacks:

That is gorgeous recycling!