A Crafter's Life

Whiskey Tasting and Coloring?!?!

Back in April after we got our COVID vaccinations and the numbers were starting to significantly decrease, we thought during Autumn 2021 we’d be able to do another Whiskey Tasting party for our friends who enjoy fine spirits such as Scotches, Bourbons, Ryes and Whiskeys.

Perhaps unrealistically hopeful, we scheduled a party for early October.

But as October approached, and the Delta Variant raged, attendees started to cancel for the party; and we realized that a party was not the best idea with the variant raging.

Our friends Michele and Blair who are busy parents, went to great lengths to make attending the party work for their schedules. We wanted to still do something with them that evening. They live on the other side of the Denver Metro area and had planned to stay overnight at our house the night of the party.

So we decided to go ahead and have a small version of the Whiskey Tasting with just Blair and Michele (who we know they have been really excellent with following COVID safe protocols).

A week before this mini-version of the tasting party, my partner John and I had visited the Denver Art Museum (my first visit there, I will do a post on my visit at a later time) and I had picked up a couple mandala coloring pages the museum was offering visitors for free.

So I thought – why not combine Whiskey Tasting and Coloring while we had them captive for the evening!

Everyone was game (or very good sports), I brought out my stash of colored pencils and we each got our own mandala coloring page to work on while tasting various whiskeys. Here are some images from the evening (and we did feed them dinner first before the tasting began!)

The tastings started before we began coloring to get us warmed up:

The men seriously working on coloring their mandalas:

Our completed mandalasthe whiskey tastings did not impair our creativity!

Individual close ups of each of our mandalas:

It was an incredibly fun evening and everyone seemed to enjoy expressing their creativity while sipping on various tasty adult beverages! Plus Blair and Michele got to leave our house the next morning with the art they created (I am sure they ran home and framed them, ha!)

I used to sort of make fun of the “adult coloring/coloring book” trend a couple years ago but then on a whim I bought a collection of “color them yourself” greeting cards at Dudley’s Bookstore when I lived in Bend, Oregon; and some colored pencils and found it to be very soothing and very meditative. (I loved Dudley’s Bookstore in downtown Bend, Oregon and here is a blog post I did on it several years ago honoring independent bookstores – Independent Bookstores (wonderful & magical places))

image credit – zulily.com

Here is a link to an article I enjoyed reading about the benefits of coloring – The Benefits of Adult Coloring: 10 Reasons to Color Yourself to Calm.

We were impressed that we all “stayed within the lines” while coloring and whiskey tasting!


Postscript

Speaking of creativity, Blair and Michele encourage and honor the creativity of their children by the framed art wall/gallery wall they have in their house of their kids’ art. I did a post on this a while back and here is a link to it –An Awesome Way to Display Kid Art!

tierneycreates

Charm Square Wreath

If you are a quilter, and you are trying to figure out what to you with your ridiculous collection of charm squares then I have a project for you (except I have not tried it yet myself).

My friend Judy (the one who originally got me into quilting) came for a visit the other weekend and she brought me this amazing Autumn wreath that she made with 5 inch charm squares:

It looks very delicious in person, the photo does not quite capture it’s yumminess. I love how the stuffed little tubes feel. She made it all from fabric scraps from her scrap pile; and found the wreath frame at the “dollar store”.

I asked her for her instructions and here they are:

Cut 5” square with pinked rotary cutter.  Fold square in half wrong sides together.  See 2 sides.   Stuff.  Sew closed. Tie 12” piece of ribbon with knot to center.  Now tie this to the wired wreath with or without tying around the little “pillow” again   I found tying around the pillow a second time stabilizes it’s placement but it is not always necessary. 

Now I have not made it myself yet. When I do make one I will do a post showing step by step how I created it. I’d like to make one with Christmas fabric scraps.

And in case you’ve never heard of the term “charm squares”, here is a description of them from Robert Kaufman Fabrics:

A classic 5″ square cut, as a pack, perfect for charm quilts, including a variety of colors and/or prints with which to play!

photo credit – Robert Kaufman fabrics

You can buy charm packs of precut 5″ in squares (of which I have way too many in my stash) or you can just make them.

Bags Bags Bags

Three Part “Harmony” and Experimenting with “Mass Production”

I continue with making project/drawstring bags (little obsessed) for my imaginary reopening of my tierneycreates Etsy shop. While making the latest group, I thought I would try something: making them “mass production” style. Okay well small scale mass production style. I would cut all the pieces out, fuse the interfacing, and sew them production style one step at a time.

The first three bags to come out of this experiment was three bags in different sizes (small, medium, large) made from Figo Fabric’s Harmony line, with the word “Harmony” from the selvage stitched onto the bags.

I decided to name this series of three bags – “Three Part Harmony”. Get it? Or perhaps the name is silly but it made me smile. I will sell them as a set on my Etsy shop.

I didn’t have enough of the word “Harmony” in the rest of the fabric’s selvage to continue to stitch it onto the rest of the bags, but I finished them up also “production style”. Here are the rest of the bags in progress:

What I learned from my “mass production” experiment:

HATED IT!

And if you’ve ever seen the comedy TV show In Living Color you can hear the inflection in my voice in your mind, ha!

Something about the magic of completing a bag got taken away when I was doing each step production line style on 7 bags.

I guess I just enjoy making one bag at a time and being in the process of completing one bag. I would be very poor if I tried to live off the proceeds of selling on Etsy – ha!

But this is to be a hobby not the way I make a living. Unless I could sell each bag for $1000….ha!


Postscript

My friend Judy (the one who got me in to quilting in the late 1990s) and her husband came for a long weekend visit this past weekend. We did a little Denver area “quilt shop hopping” during her visit and stopped at Treelotta Fabrics which I discovered during the Rocky Mountain Quilt Shop Hop. While at this shop we discovered a different take on the drawstring bag that we really liked:

Instead of ribbon or cord, they made the drawstring from the same fabric as the bottom of the bag. Also they added some rick-rack to the seam between the two coordinating fabrics – very creative!

This gives me future ideas for bags. Of course I do need to make other things for my Etsy shop besides bags! (I do actually have a stash of other things I’ve made that I will share in future posts).

Beastie Adventures

Guest Blogger: New Member in Our Beastie Family

Yes Mike the Miniature Schnauzer beat me to posting in his recent post Guest Blogger: What Happens at Dog Camp, Stays at Dog Camp, but that is because I have been busy supervising Tierney in her studio.

Oh in case you are new to this blog here is my standard blurb/background:

My name is tierneycreates Beastie and I am a Monster, but the good kind of Monster. I was made by Helen of CrawCrafts Beasties in Dublin, Ireland. You can read my story at I’m A Monster!!!. You can also check out the other posts I’ve had to guest blog on (i.e. when the human Tierney falls off the blogging-wagon and I have to help) in the series of posts: Beastie Adventures.

First I would like to respond to Mike the Miniature Schnauzer’s comment in his post that my dog Mikelet is a “fake dog“! Just because Mikelet is made of felted wool does not mean he is not a real dog! He is the best real felted wool dog I can imagine and is very sweet and loyal!

Here is my partner and fiance John Beastie (see post Guest Blog Post: Mail Order Groom), taking Mikelet for his daily walk:

And I understand Mikelet is better behaved on his walks that Mike the (giant) Miniature Schnauzer is!

Oh but I think I got distracted from the topic of this guest blog post. I am happy to report that John Beastie and welcomed a new member to our Beastie family – Faith Beastie!

The very talented Helen @CrawCrafts Beasties in Dublin created a Beastie for human John’s granddaughter Faith, based on photos of her. Human John and Tierney got to surprise Faith a couple weeks ago with her Beastie.

Here we are all opening up her package when it arrived to our house:

We were blown away with all her “accessories” that Helen made! And in addition to the accessories, Faith Beastie has 3 pets – 2 cats and a dog Ajax, just like Human Faith!

You’ll see in the photo above, Mikelet is visiting with Faith Beastie’s pets.

Here are photos taken by Helen@CrawCrafts Beasties to better see her amazing work:

Human Faith was “over the moon” when the Humans took her out to lunch to surprise her.

John Beastie and I are pretty excited to have another Beastie in our family!

Bags Bags Bags

Returning to the bags…

I missed making drawstring bags like I did during the retreat I attended in August (A Drawstring-bagalicious Retreat, Part I), so over the past couple of days I’ve been making more bags.

I have a fantasy still that I am going to reopen my tierneycreates Etsy shop and I am making stuff for my shop (shhhh don’t mention I’ve said many times in the past I was going to reopen that shop…but this time I might really do it…maybe…)

Here are the bags I’ve made so far and I have 6 more cut out to sew.

Repurposing Words/Label from the Fabric Selvage

A Little Butterfly Bag

Black and White Bag with a Pop of Color Inside

Since finishing that art quilt for the exhibit I mentioned in the post Secret Quilt and Design Wall Struggle, I am enjoying just making drawstring bags. Thank goodness I have a large stash of interfacing as these bags use a lot of interfacing to make them stand up. I

I am sure I will tire of making them eventually and move on to other stuff but right now I am enjoying playing with fabric combinations.

Guest Blogger

Guest Blogger: What Happens at Dog Camp, Stays at Dog Camp

This is Mike the Miniature Schnauzer that manages Tierney and her partner John (who I will refer too as “the humans”), guest blogging for this post.

I borrowed Tierney’s laptop to write my post

I heard the other guest blogger that lives in my house, the tierneycreates Beastie, was going to be posting soon and I wanted to get my post in before hers. She is the one with that fake schnauzer “Mikelet”. I cannot believe the humans named him after me.

Only one real schnauzer in this house!

But we don’t need to discuss our guest blogger rivalry, I do not want to interfere with your enjoyment of my excellent post.

So if you’ve been following my female human’s blog, you’ve noticed that she’s been up to a lot of traveling since late Spring. You might wonder what becomes of me when she and the male human go out of town (or into “storage”, see post “Human Storage” and Airport Lore).

Well I go to Dog Camp.

A couple years ago the humans found a family who only watches small dogs (the best kind in my opinion) at their home; and they live near us.

I really like Dog Camp because they throw the ball for me as much as I want, there are lots of fur people my size there, and they give me special treats with my meals such as mashed sweet potatoes and chicken.

But what I really like are all the cute little female dogs to hang out with there. I am a single (and yes neutered) guy and I like hanging out with the girl dogs, what can I say.

Now personally I believe that: “what happens at dog camp, stays at dog camp”, but the lady who runs Dog Camp, keeps taking photos of my exploits and sending them to the humans! Is there no privacy??!?!

Since the humans already know, I thought I would share some of the photos and video from previous dog camps. I sort of have a thing for cream-colored girl dogs and here are a couple of my girlfriends from previous dog camps:

But sometimes the girls go a little crazy over me (which is understandable) as in this incident below captured by the female human that manages Dog Camp:

Ladies – there is enough of me to go around – stay calm!

But that is enough, I have to keep some secrets from Dog Camp.

My male human is trying to help me fend off the girl dogs by going incognito with some shades for next time:


Life in B&W, tierneytravels

Austin, Texas in Black and White

This post is my photographic travelogue of my recent trip to Austin, Texas.

I’d just returned from New York City when I turned around and went with my partner John to visit his son who recently moved to Austin, Texas. It was a quick 3 day trip and it was my first return to Austin, Texas since I used to live in Texas over 25 years ago.

I love taking photos when I travel and Austin lended itself (at least in my mind) to Black & White photography with my camera phone. Here are a sampling of my photos from my trip to Austin, Texas.

I had a wonderful time in Austin, Texas and I had the best beef brisket I’ve ever had in my life at the Rolling Smoke BBQ food truck. I also saw my first Lone Star Beer chandelier (see 2nd photo), a sight I can never “un-see” (smile)!

I remember moving from New York to Texas so many years ago when my late husband was in the military and having complete culture shock as a New Yorker. But I adapted and met many great friends; and now having lived in 5 states around the country it is easier to acculturate when moving (but I have no plans to leave Colorado).

That is it for traveling for now, am currently “travel out” and have a bit of traveling fatigue. It is good to just be home for a while!

Shows and Exhibits, tierneycreates, WCQN, What's on the Design Wall

Secret Quilt and Design Wall Struggle

Lately my blog has primarily focused on my recent travels and I’ve joked I should change the name from “tierneycreates” to “tierneytravels”. Well over the past 6 months I’ve been tierney-creating a lot (when not traveling!) working on a “secret quilt” for a Women of Color Quilting Network (WCQN) show that opens next year.

The name of the show is Black Pioneers: Legacy of the America West and it opens next spring at the The James Museum of Western & Wildlife Art in St. Petersburg, Florida. After a stint at The James Museum it will tour nationally (museums across the U.S. have already contacted the curator and head of the WCQN, Dr. Carolyn Mazloomi to request that the exhibit show at their museum).

Recently I put the final touches on my quilt for the show and sent it off to the curator to be professionally photographed for the book, etc.

We were provided with a list of Black Pioneers that contributed to the growth of the American West and my quilt is about one of those pioneers.

You’ll have to wait until Spring 2022 to find out more as the museum asked for no social media images of our quilts prior to the opening.

I am pretty excited about participating in this show; and this will be my third WCQN exhibit (see posts Visioning Human Rights in the New Millennium, Part I and “Giant Among the Sequoias” Returns Home). I’ve had the opportunity to participate in several other WCQN exhibits since Yours for Race and Country: Reflections on the Life of Colonel Charles Young (“Giant Among the Sequoias”) but I’ve had artist block when it comes to art quilts for a show over the past several years since my husband Terry died in December 2018.

I finally figured out what it was (beyond part of grieving) – I used to, in my previous home I shared with Terry for 14 years, work on art quilts in the giant design wall that spanned our small hallway of our home:

2018-07-02_10-57-08_041.jpg
Working on “Giant Among the Sequoias” in Spring 2018

I loved creating textile art in that hallway and I would always have Terry down the hall watching TV, playing a computer game, or reading a book while I worked. Occasionally he would walk by on his way to the bathroom and give me an approving nod.

In my current home in the Denver metro area, I have a large design wall inside my lovely studio that my partner John put together but for me creating art quilts was about being in that hallway.

So I had to overcome that, and it was more difficult than I thought, to be able to work on the quilt for this show. I knew I did not want to pass up on any more WCQN exhibit opportunities (nor did I want to give up making art quilts) so I had to overcome this hurdle to my creativity.

All I can say is widowhood is a long road filled with potholes (some you think will kill you or at least break both your legs) and pits of muck getting you stuck.

Image credit: Firestone

But then ever so often the road smooths out and you can travel peacefully for a while. You can also learn to avoid some of the potholes and pull yourself quickly out of the muck when you slip in.

You keep learning that you are stronger than you think you are.

Glad I got unstuck from the muck to create this quilt. I will update you in the future on the creation of the quilt, the finished quilt, and more information about the show.

Feature image credit: Photo by Eric Murray on Unsplash

tierneytravels

New York City x 2, Part III

So where did I leave off in this series of posts about the recent visits to New York City? Oh yes, on my second visit to NYC my sister and I visited NYC during New York Fashion Week (and the 20th anniversary of 9/11).

(If you are just joining us here are links to the two previous posts: New York City x 2, Part I and New York City x 2, Part II)

After having yummy gelato in Little Italy on Saturday after my first fashion show, we wandered around Soho and stop at a delicious little shop (Cha Cha Matcha) that specialized in green tea matcha and had green tea lattes with special messages from the barista:

We were joking because we just had a break to have gelato, only made it 2 blocks and had another break to have a latte!

After that we ran into Sunny Fong, winner of the second season of Project Runway Canada and competitor in Season 7 of Project Runway All Stars. My sister is a huge fan of Project Runway so she recognized him immediately. She took a photo with him and he invited us to stop by his pop up shop for his new line of watches.

Saturday was the 20th anniversary of 9/11 and instead of a somber mood people appeared to be exceptionally warm and friendly. There seemed to be so much love going around on Saturday and we gave the same warmth and love back to those we met and talked to,

We did not attend any of the 9/11 20th anniversary memorial events due to the crowds since we are still in a pandemic, but we did stop for a while at Engine 55 fire station (we came upon it walking around Little Italy) and pay our respects to those firefighters who died during 9/11.

By the way, did you know the actor Steve Buscemi served as a New York City firefighter at Engine 55 before he became an actor: Every September 11, I Remember This Surprising Story About Steve Buscemi.

While walking around we stopped by a couple sidewalk vendors on the streets on NYC and spent time chatting with a lovely couple who made amazing little leather wallets. My sister bought one and we had it engraved. We enjoyed chatting with them so much we took photos:

After a long day of wandering about, meeting and chatting with people, and stopping at lots of interesting places (this blog post would never end if I shared all my photos from the trip) we retired for the evening at our lovely historic hotel in Soho.

Here is the lobby where the next morning we met a real Instagram Influencer (they always seem like mysterious people who do not really exist) and her stylist and had a wonderful chat while they waited for their Uber. It would seem strange to have like 100,000 followers on Instagram but she made her living off of it and even had a paid stylist!

In NYC, like in Los Angeles you can always get the opportunity to see famous people wandering about. My sister attended the Tribeca Film Festival in NYC in 2019 and got a special invitation as a past attendee to go see Robert De Niro interviewing Martin Scorsese about their new film The Irishman. A couple rows sitting in front of her was Leonardo DiCaprio!

She had invited me to go with her (she automatically bought 2 tickets thinking of me) but it was in April 2019 and I was moving to Denver, Colorado. I sure wish I went. Of course I was in the midst of some scary stuff – starting a new life after my husband suddenly died in December 2018 so I was not thinking fully about the opportunity I was missing out on.

I can tell you this – I will not turn down an opportunity like that again (smile).

Sunday I needed to eventually get to LaGuardia Airport to fly back to Denver but first we wanted to find an interesting place for brunch. My sister and I thought we’d been all over NYC but we stumbled upon an area outside of Soho we’d never seen before: Little Paris.

We only found it because we asked someone on the street where they recommended we have breakfast and they recommended Maman.

We had an amazing breakfast, amazing server and the atmosphere was amazing!

I had the best almond croissant I’ve ever tasted!

Across the street from Maman was the NYC Police Department and it was just like something out of a movie or a television show:

The photo above does not do it justice – it was so immense and elaborately historic looking!

My sister and I parted back at the hotel and I headed via Uber to LaGuardia Airport. I hadn’t been to the airport in a long time (I usually fly into NYC via JFK Airport) and they had done some major remodeling and I enjoyed watching an elaborate laser water show at the fountain in the middle of the concourse before heading to my gate:

I found a video of it on YouTube if you’d like to see:

It was an amazing trip!

tierneytravels

New York City x 2, Part II

Continuing my story of surprisingly visited NYC twice in the span of two months which began in yesterday’s post New York City x 2, Part I.

So a couple weeks ago my sister called me up and asked: “Are you going anything the weekend of September 10 – 12th?” To my reply of “Nothing planned”, she responded: “What about doing something crazy and going to NYC to attend a fashion show during NYC Fashion Week?”

Not sure what came over me but I said “Yes”.

Must be something about these pandemic times and realizing you should take opportunities where you can (as long as you are safe, masked and vaccinated, at least in my opinion not necessarily the opinion of some of my fellow Americans…oh and I am aware that vaccine may not stop you from getting COVID but it does seem to lessen the symptoms).

It seems like 2020 took so much away from us and perhaps I am taking a little too many risks in 2021 but we did recently cancel our long awaiting and planned holiday in Hawaii because the governor of Hawaii asked people not to visit unless it was essential travel.

My sister was invited to buy to tickets to several of the NYC Fashion Week shows because she’s attend pre-pandemic. She got invites to mid-level shows, not the big designer shows like say the Prada show or something (I think you have to be a celebrity or in “the industry” to get invited to those). We decided to go to one show.

Yesterday’s post I mentioned some of the awesomeness of my younger brother. Well my younger sister (there are three of us and I am the oldest) is pretty awesome! She is very adventurous and has done a bit of world travel (more than me) and is not shy in seeking out new opportunities like regularly attending the Tribeca Film Festival, NYC Fashion Week, and getting me into one of her industry conferences where I got to see President Barrack Obama speak as the keynote speaker (see post Bucket List Delight!).

As a full-time working mom she went back to school and got her MBA with a focus in Project Management and now works for a university in a male dominated industry: Construction Project Management. She is ex-military and can hold her ground with “the boys” of the construction industry! She got me into “thrifting” and she has curated for herself a lovely second-hand thrifted wardrobe (I am still in training).

If you can’t tell, I am in awe of my siblings and consider them some of my best friends!

So it wasn’t just the opportunity to attend my first fashion show during NYC Fashion Week but an opportunity to hang out with my sister.

The journey began on Friday September 10th with a flight to BWI (Baltimore-Washington International Airport) with a “Sisters Road Trip” to New York City:

It is crazy driving into NYC so we drove to Secaucus Junction in Secaucus, New Jersey which is just 5 miles from Penn Station, New York.

There you can park a car at reasonably priced overnight parking and take the NJ Transit train for under $5 from the Secaucus Junction to Penn Station. Here are a couple photos from that trip for NJ to NYC:

An interesting note about NYC – not only were masks required in many places, but proof of COVID vaccination was required to eat in many restaurants, stores, museums and to get into the fashion shows, etc.

From Penn Station we walked a couple blocks, then took the subway to Brooklyn were our Airbnb accommodations awaited.

My sister got a room in a boutique hotel in Soho for Saturday night, so I treated us to a unique Airbnb stay in Brooklyn for Friday night. The owner is a curator of unusual antiques, vintage items and plants. It’s difficult to describe the place we stayed at but here are photos (and yes the late 20-something host/owner could be described as the “Ultimate Hipster“):

It was awesome but a little bit visually over stimulating!

We found an awesome neighborhood deli/grocery store and picked up a delicious assortment of hot and cold yummies to take back to our room to eat. We returned to that deli for breakfast the next day also. It was the sort of deli you can only find in New York.

The next morning we headed to the Angel Orensanz Foundation, a beautiful event space, for my first NYC Fashion Week Fashion Show!

We had little free gifts from the designers on our chairs and the atmosphere/vibe inside the place was awesome. We saw runway shows by 5 – 6 local NYC designers and here are some images from the runway shows:

After the show we headed to eat a very tourist lunch at Katz’s Deli (famously known for a scene in “When Harry Met Sally”):

But it was really different with it’s COVID restrictions/protocols and for the high prices (which did not used to be so high) we decided to pass on the tourist trap. I’ve eaten there several times before pre-COVID the food is great and the atmosphere is delightful – the crowded busy NYC deli – but had no charm this time unfortunately due to its rigid COVID safety set up.

Instead we wandered to Soho (where we would be spending the evening in the Sohotel a historic hotel in Soho) for find dining.

Before getting to Soho we ran into Little Italy and had a delicious stop for gelato!

I’ll continue the rest of our adventures from this visit to NYC in my next post!

tierneytravels

New York City x 2, Part I

It seems like my blog should be called “tierneytravels” instead of “tierneycreates” as it feels like I’ve been doing a lot of traveling over the past several months, especially since leaving my job of 16 years and taking a break.

Over the past 2 months, I’ve been to New York City (NYC) twice: at the end of July while visiting my brother and his family; and just this past weekend with my sister during New York Fashion Week. In this post I will share my adventures and photos from the visit in July with my brother and his family. Part II will be about my more recent visit.

I was born in Pennsylvania but grew up in Long Island and Upstate New York. I spent a lot of my youth traveling to New York City (we would go to Rockefeller Center around Christmas time to see the tree, ice skating rink and Radio City Music Hall to see the Rockettes). I remember as a teenager (I think I was 14 the first time), my parents let me travel with my friend to NYC for the day on the Long Island train (things were different then and you could actually be okay letting your teen travel without an adult to the city).

When I lived in Upstate NY, NYC was only a couple hour train or bus ride away. When I moved to the Pacific NW, I would take the JetBlue “red eye” flight from Portland to JFK Airport/NYC to meet up with my sister for a long weekend a couple times a year. NYC holds a special place in my heart and I have lots of fun memories tied to NYC.

However when the COVID Pandemic hit (and it hit NYC hard), I figured it would be 5 years before I would be able to visit NYC again. I think the last time pre-pandemic I visited NYC was October 2018. I’ve shared posts about previous visits to NYC such as: Mood Fabrics NYC, New York City in Black and White, Behind the Scenes at the Antonio Ratti Textile Center – QTM 2017, The “Dance Partner” – Michael Cummings at QTM 2017, and Wrap Up of QTM 2017 Weekend. I did not visit NYC in 2019 as I was in the process of moving to and starting my new life in Denver, Colorado after my husband suddenly died in December 2018.

So until July 2021, it had been the longest period in my life that I had not been to NYC.

Since taking a break from my job of 16 years at the start of July 2021 (see post News) I’ve been doing a bit of traveling (staying safe, I am vaccinated and always wearing a mask and social distancing) which included reconnecting with my family who lives on the Eastern Coast of the U.S.

My brother and his family live outside of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and I’d not seen my darling now 9-year old nephew since 2019 (they came to visit me in Denver when I first moved here) and it was definitely time for a visit. My brother surprised me as I was about to arrive, that I would be going with them to NYC for an overnight because he had a client meeting in NYC he needed to attend.

They picked me up from the Philadelphia airport and we headed to NYC (couple hour drive) to stay at a nice hotel in Times Square for the night and have breakfast with his client in the morning.

NYC has not recovered from the pandemic yet and tourism is still down. It was surreal to wander around a fairly empty feeling Times Square with my brother and nephew after we got to our hotel.

Usually there are throngs of people wandering around Times Square.

The next morning we had a wonderful breakfast with his client, a television actor and author with a current television show. (A side note about my brother – he has his own Public Relations/PR and Branding company. He is quite the entrepreneur and started his company while at university in his undergraduate studies. By the time he was in graduate school he had his company up and running which at the time found speakers for colleges. It has grown since then quite a bit).

It was fun dining with a celebrity at a hip eating establishment in NYC! A very unexpected experience.

After the client meeting, we headed to the “spy museum” in NYC called SpyScape. My brother and nephew love movies focused around espionage, covert organizations and intrigue such as The Bourne movies and James Bond movies. We had a blast at the museum on simulated espionage adventures.

I did through the “spy training” academy and the “spychology” assessment I participated in at the museum with my brother, his wife and son, that I was not cutthroat enough to be a spy and that my best position would be an Analyst that works in the background of a covert organization.

Here are some photos from our visit to SpyScape, including the history of espionage, more than you wanted to know about “government surveillance; and the amazing James Bond Exhibit they had:

If you weren’t already paranoid about the government listening in when you arrived, you were definitely by the time you finished going through the museum! But it was really cool to see the James Bond Aston Martin up close!

After the museum we headed to the Central Park area to wander around.

Here I am in Central Park, just absolutely amazed to be there (but a little jet lagged and sleep deprived as I never sleep well in hotels):

We could not help ourselves, we had to stop for some yummy ice cream from the Ice Cream Truck parked in the area (it reminded me of the Ice Cream Trucks that would come around our neighborhood as a kid). My brother and his son have red arrows next to them:

I posted this photo on Instagram around the time of my visit and we had a little laugh that everyone seems to have gotten the memo that is was “blue t-shirt day” that day!

My brother had the idea that we should do a bicycle carriage ride (where you are transported by someone driving/riding a bike carriage) through Central Park. Here are some photos from that adventure:

But the best part of the bicycle carriage ride through Central Park was on one of the many “photo breaks” the driver gave us I discovered “Open Air Salsa” in the middle of Central Park! I spent my entire photo break watching people dance and took this little video which I will use to close this post:

Bags Bags Bags, Quilt Retreats, Quilt Shop Tours

A Drawstring-bagalicious Retreat, Part II

Good Morning and here is part two of my story of the “Drawstring-bagalicious Retreat” I attended August 9 – 12, 2021 with my Washington based friends Judy and Dana. In Part I (A Drawstring-bagalicious Retreat, Part I) I shared that what began as a “bring your own project to work on quilting retreat” turned into a “let’s just make drawstring bags for 3 days obsession”!

We did do other things than make drawstring bags during our stay at the Riptide Retreat on the waterfront/beach in Shelton, Washington.

WE ENJOYED OUR COZY RETREAT CENTER

It was cluttered at times (this is what happens when you get a bunch of crafters together) but here are some scenes from the quilt retreat center (including while creativity was in progress):

In addition to the upstairs and its deck overlooking the water, the retreat center also had a downstairs with a cozy seating area, additional beds, and access to the downstairs deck.

There were only three of us at the retreat so we had plenty of space (the Riptide Retreat is set up for up to 10 attendees). Judy and Dana took the upstairs bedroom and I had the downstairs to myself – I had my own apartment! I would wake up each morning and look out on the water – it was pretty yummylicious (another fake English word like “bagalicious”, ha).

WE ENJOYED GORGEOUS VIEWS

One of the challenges of being at the Riptide Retreat (okay it was the only challenge) was not getting distracted by the gorgeous views. We keep being lured outside to sit on the upper deck and look at the water, instead of working on our drawstring bags.

I sat outside each morning with my tea and when I was not too distracted with the quiet peaceful views I worked on a blog post or two.

WE WENT SHOPPING!

The owners of the Riptide Retreat also own Annie’s Quilt Shoppe a very reasonably priced quilt shop in Shelton, Washington. We got a discount on some items because we were staying at their retreat center.

All I can say is we might have visited this shop more than once during the retreat!

During one of our visits to this quilt shop (oops I just gave our secret away) I discovered that there is actually a National Sew A Jelly Roll Day on Sept 18, 2021. So quilters get your jelly rolls ready to participate – ha!

WE HAD YUMMY FOOD

The three of us are pretty laid back when it comes to our food selections and when we eat, so we had whatever/foraging for breakfast each morning among what Judy and Dana brought (I didn’t have to bring any food since I flew to the retreat). For lunches and dinners we either ate out, ate leftovers, or Judy/Dana made a wonderful meal.

We discovered this wonderful sort of “hole in the wall” place in downtown Shelton which was actually an awesome (and super delicious) family run eatery – T’s Cafe. There I discovered the most scrumptious meatball sub on the planet:

We enjoyed dining “al fresco” on the upper deck of the retreat for several meals:

And yes, those are homemade frozen margaritas in our glasses (and I am happy to report all three of us are of legal drinking age, ha!).

WE WALKED ON THE BEACH

From the downstairs deck you can walk down another level to the beach along the water. I had a nice solo walk and with my friends on the beach.

WE DID A LOT OF RELAXING

I think some people consider a quilt retreat (or a drawstring bag retreat, ha) time to get all those projects done you could not get done at home. Well we consider a quilt retreat time to actually “retreat” from the busy world and do some relaxing.

We spent a lot of time on the upper deck reading, blogging, playing iPad games, walks around the neighborhood, catching up with each other, and watching boats go by on the canal.

Sometimes I forget just how beautiful the Pacific NW is (and I lived there for over 20 years between Washington and Oregon) until I visit it again.

Bags Bags Bags, Quilt Retreats

A Drawstring-bagalicious Retreat, Part I

Before I get into this post, I just want to clarify for anyone reading this in which English is not your primary language, that “bagalicious” is not a real word – ha!

“Drawstring-bagalicious” was the best way I can describe a small quilt retreat I attended at a beautiful location in Shelton Washington in August 2021 with my friends Judy and Dana where we ended up making drawstring bags for 3 days!

We stayed at The Riptide Retreat, a house/retreat center right on the waterfront:

I think for this post I will focus on our drawstring bag making obsession during our retreat and next post share the photos of the beautiful waterfront, the inside of the quilt retreat center, the awesome quilt shop we visited, and the yummy place we ate.

We each brought projects to work on at the retreat, and I brought some pre-cut and pre-fused fabric to make a couple drawstring bags.

Well you know how crafters are when we get together – before you knew it everyone wanted to make drawstring bags and put their planned projects aside.

Judy made several lovely bags (5 or 6 total) but the photo I took of them included some surprises/gifts for mutual friends, so I am not going to post the photo of her bags.

I will just share images of some of the bags Dana and I made.

Here are Dana’s first set of drawstring bags, including some fun photoshoots she did with her completed bags:

Dana started out making one extra large drawstring bag with the Ruby Star/Sarah Watts fabric – Purl (which I now own in several colorways the fabric is so yummy!) and then she became obsessed and made them in every size from on the pattern (we all got the pattern for the drawstring bags by Sotak Handmade)!

I plan to totally copy Dana’s interpretation of the pattern design and make the same drawstring bag. The photos do not do it justice – it was so freakin’ cute!

She went on and made more and along the way we worked out ways to make the drawstring bags faster and more efficiently. We basically had a Drawstring Bag Workshop! I can now make them in my sleep!

Here is an example of a trick to make sure the seams stay flat that Judy came up with and Dana used on one of her bags – press the seams open during early assembly:

Dana also got creative on her drawstring bag design and started added labels made from the fabric selvage:

Another idea I am totally stealing when I make more bags in the future.

Here are more of Dana’s completed bags and her fun photoshoots on the deck against the waterfront:

And here are some of the bags I made and some fun photoshoots I took with the waterfront in the background off the back deck:

If you haven’t figured this out from the photos, part of the fun of making the drawstring bags is not only selecting the external/outside bag fabric but also choosing a coordinating interior fabric. We had fun sharing fabrics and picking up more from the local quilt shop! We also had fun selecting the ribbon/cord for the drawstrings and went on shopping adventure one day just to buy more drawstring materials! Yes we were obsessed!

We even made the same bags when we’d seen another’s completed drawstring bag and want to make it also (any everyone was so generous with sharing their fabric and our dwindling supply of interfacing).

More to come on our retreat to including what we did when we weren’t sitting around making drawstring bags (and photographing them)!

tierneytravels

Wilmington, North Carolina in Color

This is sort of Part II of my post from yesterday, Wilmington, North Carolina in Black and White. We also took photos in color and I wanted to share a little more from our trip to Wilmington, NC for my partner John’s business meetings.

Let’s get started with THE BEACH!

In yesterday’s post I provided a little preview with this B&W photo I took after we parked our rental car and were headed to the beach:

Well here are some in color photos from our afternoon on the North Carolina coast:

There was something special about being on the East Coast of the US at the Atlantic Ocean again. It seems like I’ve spent a lot of my life (living in Seattle for 8 years and Oregon for 14 years) on the West Coast near or on the Pacific Ocean.

I grew up on the East Coast (Long Island and Upstate NY) and there was something so nostalgic about swimming in the Atlantic Ocean again! Now for me there was not much swimming as the waves were very active and even while standing on the shore I got knocked down by some forceful waves. John was braver and headed in deeper than I did.

A special treat of being on the Carolina coastline/Atlantic Ocean for the afternoon was all the SEASHELLS!

I spent part of the afternoon at the beach hunting for perfect seashells. I felt like I was a kid again wandering the seashore looking for shells!

Here is my haul:

And yes I have not been landlocked so long in Colorado that I thought the rock (with red arrow) was a seashell – ha! It was just a cool rock I found on the shore that wanted to come home with me!

We had a delicious lunch at a restaurant overlooking the ocean (had one of my favs for lunch – fish tacos!):

Since we were in a touristy coastal town, we had to of course indulge in the obligatory visit to the handmade candy shop (though we stayed away from the standard “salt water taffy” and fudge) and buy a caramel apple – yum!

Although tasty, it was not the best caramel covered candy apple we’ve ever had, that honor belongs to a candy shop in Estes Park, Colorado at the base of Rocky Mountain National Park (see post Rocky Mountain National Park).

Here are a couple more photos, this time in color, from the wander about downtown Wilmington I mentioned in yesterday’s post:

There was beautiful foliage everywhere. Definitely different types of plants than I see in Colorado!

Here we are at the shopping center I mentioned in yesterday’s post, before having dinner with his colleagues at a restaurant called “Port Land” instead of “Portland”.

Did you notice I managed not to cut off anyone’s head in the selfie above? Well that is because I think John took the selfie for me!

I will close this post with some photos that John took of the beautiful sunset on the river as we spent the early evening wandering the Wilmington Riverwalk:

Life in B&W, tierneytravels

Wilmington, North Carolina in Black and White

A couple weeks ago my partner John had a 5 day business trip in Wilmington, North Carolina. Since I am not currently working (see post News) I accompanied him and Mike the Miniature Schnauzer stayed with the dog babysitter (Mike will do a post in the future about his adventures at “Dog Camp” for little dogs).

We stayed at the Embassy Suites on the Wilmington Riverfront, and each morning I went on a walk along the river to explore and take photos, many in Black & White. As some of you might remember I like to pretend I am a photographer and do B&W photoshoots (see my blog post category Life in B&W  if you want to see more of my delusional photography…).

Here are some select B&W photos from my trip that I want to share with you (as usual I took a ridiculous amount of photos).

WANDERING ABOUT THE WILMINGTON RIVERWALK

The Wilmington Riverwalk is amazing and I was glad it was right outside our hotel!

Here is the photo that I would call “The Money Shot” (like they do in Hollywood) – it is my favorite photo I took along the Wilmington Riverwalk:

I love the reflection of the clouds on the water!

OLD BUILDINGS

I was fascinated by the old buildings I encountered while wandering around downtown Wilmington one day.

AROUND DOWNTOWN

Wandering around Downtown Wilmington…

THE RAILROAD MUSEUM

I thought I would get time to visit the Railroad Museum while I was there because I love railroads but time got away from me and I will have to save it for next time. I did take some photos though…

THE BEACH

Wilmington is on the North Carolina coast and we did spend an afternoon, when John was able to get out of meetings early, at the beach/ocean. Most of those photos were in color and I will share them on another post, but here is my one B&W photo at the on my way walk to the beach from where we parked.

BLOGGING CENTRAL

Our hotel room had a separate living room/kitchenette area from the bedroom area. Between the kitchenette and the living room was a desk set up. While on the trip I spent a bit of time catching up on reading blog posts as well as writing some posts. I took a photo of the desk I worked from in our hotel room:

I really enjoyed pretending I am a photographer! I also really enjoyed Wilmington, North Carolina!

John will be returning in the future for more business trips and there is a lot more to explore.

I also met some of his wonderful colleagues that live in North Carolina at a company dinner and look forward to spending time with them again. We dined at a place called the Port Land Grille (and yes after living in the Pacific NW I got a giggle over the name…) and I will close this post with a photo from the shopping center next to the restaurant.

Quilt Shop Tours, tierneytravels

Rocky Mountain Quilt Shop Hop 2021, Part V

Here is my final installment on my series of blog posts about my first Rocky Mountain Quilt Shop Hop. Thanks to everyone that made it through the first four posts covering days one and two of my adventure to visit all 11 quilt shops so I could complete my “shop hop passport” and get my Rocky Mountain Quilt Shop Hop commemorative pin:

On day three of the shop hop my partner John and Mike the Miniature Schnauzer joined me and we traveled to the last three shops I need to complete my passport Ruth’s Stitchery, Sew-Ciety, and Sew in Tune:

RUTH’S STITCHERY

Our first stop was Ruth’s Stitchery in Colorado Springs, the shop we attempted to visit on day one of shop hopping but they closed at 3:00 pm. This is also the shop that is next door to a woodworking shop:

So while my woodworking partner John, with Mike the Miniature Schnauzer in a backpack on his back, wandered about Woodcraft, I wandered inside Ruth’s Stitchery.

The shop was much larger than it looked from the outside. I thought it would be a quick “in and out” to get my passport stamped, collect the mini panel for the shop, but instead I wandered for quite a while and bought a couple items. Here are a couple photos from inside the shop (in the first photo you will see their interpretation of the completed shop hop quilt using all the mini panels and one of the large panels:

SEW IN TUNE

The next shop on our third day shop hop adventure was Sew in Tune in Monument, Colorado. Not only was the shop absolutely darling with it’s camping theme, but the town of Monument was so beautiful! John and I plan to do a day trip back there just to wander around.

Here are a couple images for Monument, CO (from TripAdvisor and from HomesOnlineToday):

Yes it is actually that beautiful and looks like what you think Colorado should look like (at least in my mind). John and I were having a fantasy of retiring there someday!

Okay so back to quilt shop hopping – here are some photos from inside the adorable quilt shop in Monument – Sew in Tune (oh and the staff were super friendly):

As you see in the photos above, they had two versions/interpretations of the shop hop quilt using each of the large panels. I ended up buying the patterns as I really liked their designs (each shop that created an interpretation/design of how the shop hop quilt should look, also sold the pattern).

SEW-CIETY

The last shop I needed to visit to complete my shop hop passport was Sew-Ciety in Castle Rock, CO. We did not watch our time very well (my fault for too much wandering) and we discovered the shop was closing at 3:00 pm! We arrived to the shop at 2:55 pm and all I had time to do was get my passport stamped before they closed.

I did not get to take any photos in that quilt shop but it looked like a nice shop and I will return at a later time to actually look around.

I did however get to turn in my completed stamped quilt shop hop passport to them (to be entered into the shop hop drawing); and I got my commemorative pin for completing the shop hop!

Yes it was a lot of work for a free pin but it was so fun to be introduced to a lot of quilt shops in Colorado.

Studio, tierneycreates

Seattle Scrappy is Done!

I was going to give you the last post in the series of posts on my first Rocky Mountain Quilt Shop Hop but I thought I would just do a quick post and tell you all that “Seattle Scrappy” is done!

If you are just joining us – “Seattle Scrappy” is a quilt I pieced from my friend Dana’s scraps at a quilt retreat in early 2020 (pre-Covid pandemic) in a free form log cabin quilt style. Then I took over a year to hand quilt it. After I finished hand quilting it, I had the tierneycreates blog readers help me select the binding.

If you happen to be curious on the full story on this quilt and its journey to completion, here are all the posts:

Of course you might be thinking: “Tierney maybe you would have had the quilt completed sooner if you weren’t blogging about it so much!” – ha!

So here is quilt with the binding on, fresh out of the dryer. I like to wash and dry utility quilts after I put the binding on (I do not wash art quilts):

I gave it little pressing and now it hung in our bedroom so I can look at it each morning when I wake up!

I better get another hand quilting project started before winter starts! I was definitely fun to sit under the quilt while I was hand quilting it in the colder months.

Quilt Shop Tours, tierneytravels

Rocky Mountain Quilt Shop Hop 2021, Part IV

I am now on the 4th installment on my series of posts on the first Rocky Mountain Quilt Shop Hop that I attended.

In my three previous posts (Rocky Mountain Quilt Shop Hop 2021, Part I, Rocky Mountain Quilt Shop Hop 2021, Part II, and Rocky Mountain Quilt Shop Hop 2021, Part III) I was on the “Day One” road trip with my partner John and our Miniature Schnauzer Mike (who was working quilt shop staff for treats). For “Day Two”, over a week later (because I was out of town for a quilt retreat but that is another post) I continued the shop hop on my own.

I visited 4 shops, trying to knock out more on the 11 quilt shop visit requirement to complete my shop hop passport in order to be entered to win the grand prize (and get the lovely pin for completing the shop hop):

The 4 shops I visited on my own have red boxes around them in the graphic below:

Two of the shops really impressed me with their fabric selections, interiors and friendliness of staff. Those are the ones I took photos inside. I spent a very long time at Treelotta – the staff was wonderful, I chatted with other quilters and they had an AMAZING selection of fabrics!

The Creative Needle, Littleton, CO

Treelotta, Englewood, CO

I also have this photo but I am not sure which shop it is from! It might be from one of the other two I visited, but is it is a lovely interpretation of how to make a quilt from the mini panels you collect from each shop and one of the larger panels you can purchase during the shop hop:

So that was “Day Two” of the shop hop. I have one more post to share with you about the shop hop and John and Mike join me again for “Day Three”.

A Crafter's Life

Awesome Surprise Treats in the Mail!

Usually my blog post stories are running a couple weeks behind (at least) in what is currently going on in my life. My @tierneycreates Instagram is more up to date. Well this blog post is actually current with my life like my Instagram.

I returned home from nearly a week in Wilmington, North Carolina with my partner John (who was on a business trip) and guess what I had in the mail?

A YUMMY surprise all the way from South Africa!

My longtime blogging buddy Mariss (@fabrications) back in June sent me the goodies pictured above which included two of her handmade pin cushions, and 2 months later they arrived!

In addition to the pin cushions, I was surprised with some amazing Nelson Mandela fabric!

Bet you do not see this everyday!

Of course it is too precious to use, so maybe I will just frame it. Okay, okay, maybe I will use it in a project some day…maybe…

I’ve been blogging for nearly 8 years and I’ve met some pretty incredible and talented people from all over the world. Several of those people have been so generous in sending me treats in mail over the years. I’ve sent out treats also of course. You all know who you are and I so appreciate you!

And I am going to be putting together some special treats for Mariss in the near future (for their 2 months+ journey to South Africa)!


Postscripts

One of my blogging buddies @quiteayarnblog has an ongoing series called “Agriculture Report” whose title always cracks me up because it is an update of what is going on in her garden.

In the same vein, I thought I would share my own “Agriculture Report” and share what to me is some exciting news: 

  1. I was able to grow enough basil to make Pesto
  2. I was able to grow enough tomatoes to make ONE dish

You might be wondering: “why is this exciting” or “why is this news”?!?!?

Well after living many years in places such as Seattle and Central Oregon where growing “crops” was not that challenging (especially not in Seattle where it seemed like you could just throw seeds on the ground in passing and you’d have a bumper crop of whatever), I’ve been living in Denver, Colorado where growing things is challenging. We have a short growing season. 

Last year I tried my first patio garden on the upper deck with meager results. This year, and perhaps it was because we had an unseasonably large amount of rain, I had good (well for Denver) results!

Here is my “bumper crop” of basil (enough for ONE batch of Pesto):

And here is my “bumper crop” of Roma and Cherry tomatoes (enough to make ONE dish):

Now it could just be me because when I first moved to the Denver area I took Mike the Miniature Schnauzer to a groomer near Boulder, Colorado and she had an amazing garden. I might just need to learn how to garden here!

Then I can provide better “Agriculture Reports” in the future (smile).

A Crafter's Life

Thinking About Kindness

I’ve been thinking a lot about kindness lately and appreciate those moments of kindness I get to witness.

It seems I’ve been doing a ridiculous amount of travel lately within the U.S., and a couple weeks ago I witnessed kindness while sitting on an airplane.

Kindness on an Airplane

A man likely in his late 30s ended up sitting next to an elderly couple, perhaps in their 80s. The wife sat in the middle row and the husband sat on the aisle seat. The husband was VERY hard of hearing and his wife had to basically yell at him for him to hear anything that was said. The wife was very friendly and began engaging the man at the window seat in conversation. The husband wanted to be part of the conversation too so the wife had to yell into her husband’s ear any questions/responses/discussions so that her husband could feel part of the conversation.

I was sitting in the row behind these three thinking: “whew I am so glad I did not end up in that row”. All I could think is that I would have put my headphones on very quickly and stuck my nose in my book.

I thought the window seat man would grow weary from the convoluted conversation but instead he was warm and very engaged and when he asked the elderly man what he used to for a living before he retired, the husband lit up and began telling the younger man interesting stories from his previous work life. I could sense how much he appreciated being asked and being listened to even though he was so hard of hearing.

I was amazed at the kindness of the younger man in the window seat and the gift he gave the older man: the gift of respect, listening, and kindness.

Photo by Dan Gold on Pexels.com

Kindness in the Community

A week later I was walk my dog Mike through the park near my house and noticed a couple actively cleaning up the park with grabber devices and trash bags, which were very full. I walked over to them and thanked them for keeping our park clean. They responded: “We are retired and have the time, we feel the least we could do it keep our community clean”.

What kindness they showed to our community!

Kindness in the Neighborhood

That same day I returned home from my dog walk to find my partner John mowing the lawn of my next door neighbors who just had a baby. Usually the husband keeps his lawn looking lovely but he was very busy with working and the new baby. 

John not only mowed their lawn and their curb lawn area, but he also edged and trimmed the neighbors’ property, leaving it looking spectacular. They of course were most appreciative. 

It might have taken John and extra 30 minutes of lawn care time but I know he felt good after being so kind to the neighbors. Because kindness is rewarding to the receiver and the giver!

I keep looking out for opportunities to witness simple (or large) acts of kindness on a daily basis by my fellow humans; and I hope that no matter what I am going through in life I can demonstrate kindness on a daily basis.

In A World Where You Can Be Anything Be Kind | DIGITANZA Feel free in the comments below to share your musings on kindness or any recent acts of kindness you’ve witnessed.

Quilt Shop Tours, tierneytravels

Rocky Mountain Quilt Shop Hop 2021, Part III

I am sitting my hotel room in Wilmington, North Carolina as I’ve joined my partner John for the week on his business trip. It’s been a surprisingly very busy summer of travel (and we’ve careful, safe and are vaccinated). I wonder if all this “make up” travel post 2020 pandemic is only a brief moment in time as things may return to 2020 lockdown levels. I am thinking of/sending good thoughts to my blogging buddies in NZ and AU and anywhere in our world else facing 2020ish lockdowns again. I do know how fortunate I am right now to be able to travel.

This post I am continuing my series of posts on my partner John, my Miniature Schnauzer Mike, and I attending our first Rocky Mountain Shop Hop (which included quilt shops from Englewood Colorado to Pueblo Colorado). If you are just joining us, here are the links to the two previous posts:

Rocky Mountain Quilt Shop Hop 2021, Part I 

Rocky Mountain Quilt Shop Hop 2021, Part II 

So in the previous post we had traveled to the wrong quilt shop (First Stitches in Canon City) which was not part of the Rocky Mountain Quilt Shop Hop and returned to Pueblo, CO to stop at the correct shop:

Here was their version of the completed 2021 shop hop quilt using one of the large panels I mentioned in the first post on this series:

I do not remember if I mentioned it or not, but I did buy both the large panels from the 2021 shop hop – the “Welcome to Colorful Colorado” one; and the Colorado Map one.

Then it was off to lunch on the Pueblo Riverwalk, which according to puebloriverwalk.org:

The Historic Arkansas Riverwalk of Pueblo (HARP) is a 32-acre urban waterfront experience open to the Public daily. The Riverwalk returned the Arkansas River to its historic location at the heart of downtown Pueblo, after being diverted in the 1920s due to a devastating flood that destroyed much of Pueblo. The Riverwalk’s current location serves the community by revitalizing a segment of the downtown area that was previously unsightly and unusable. This urban development transforms the community and has been vital in attracting new businesses, thereby helping to stabilize the economic base of the city. The Arkansas River has been the lifeblood of Pueblo for over 300 years. Native Americans followed the river for hunting and trapping. Early settlers came as sheepherders and cattlemen. Agriculture blossomed in Pueblo’s warmer climate and the steel industry used the bountiful water resources to build a massive manufacturing center.

Before eating lunch on the patio (so Mike the Miniature Schnauzer could join us) the Brues Alehouse Brewing Company, we went for a walk along the Riverwalk in Pueblo and were surprised how cool it was (I love the Riverwalk in San Antonio, Texas and I did not think it would be as cool as that one).

Here are some photos from our stroll on the Riverwalk in Pueblo:

We wander the Riverwalk while waiting for our table to become available at the Brewery and were sort of disappointed when we got the text that the table was ready sooner than they originally said. We wanted to explore the area a little longer.

We had a delicious lunch at Brues Alehouse Brewing Company, I had the vegan tacos with fried avocados and John had a local speciality called a “Slopper” which is an open faced hamburger smothered in green chili.

Mike had some doggy snacks were brought and glared at his imaginary nemesis – another dog dining outside on the patio (Mike I guess wanted to be the only dog on the patio).

It was a little warm in the shade of the patio so we put an ice cube on Mike’s head to help him cool down from walking the Riverwalk:

Here we are enjoying our craft beer at the brewery:

I know, I know, another masterfully snapped selfie by me (should find an online selfie snapping training program!)

After lunch we headed to Colorado Spring, CO to continue the shop hop and arrived at High Country Quilts, one of the friendliest quilt shops I’ve ever been to!

I had fun chatting with the staff at the shop as well as other quilters/shop hoppers. I spent much longer in this shop than I had anticipated (and bought more than I had anticipated, ha!)

Little did I know that the second shop in Colorado Springs, CO closed at 3 pm and I was about to miss out crossing it off my shop hop list because I spent too long at the first shop I went to in Colorado Springs!

When we arrived (too late but did not know it yet) to Ruth’s Stitchery in Colorado Springs, my partner John (whose hobby is woodworking) was greeted with a wonderful surprise: the quilt shop is next to Woodcraft a woodworking shop!

He and Mike the Miniature Schnauzer (in his backpack) headed into Woodcraft for a wander and I headed over to the quilt shop to discover it was closed. I was so disappointed as it meant we would have to drive 70+ minutes back to Colorado Springs before the shop hop ended on August 21; but I was able to entertain myself while John and Mike were wandering the woodworking shop – there was a large charity thrift shop in the same shopping center!

After Colorado Springs we headed home from day one of the 2021 Rocky Mountain Quilt Shop Hop – we were tired and I had reached my limit (too many quilt shops in one day makes going into quilt shops less special).

However there are more quilt shops to come in the next post in the series as I was determined to visit all 11 and complete the shop hop!

Here are summary of Day One – 4 shops total (red stars):

Quilt Shop Tours, tierneytravels

Rocky Mountain Quilt Shop Hop 2021, Part II

Now it’s time for Part II on my 2021 Rocky Mountain Quilt Shop Hop Adventures, which started with the post Rocky Mountain Quilt Shop Hop 2021, Part I.

Our first Colorado Quilt Shop Hop adventure began in Fountain, CO and in this post we have made it to Pueblo, Colorado for the second leg of our adventure.

But first let’s talk about this:

This is Mike the Miniature Schnauzer working a quilt shop staff member at Stitcher’s Garden in Pueblo, CO for treats! Curiously they happen to have a bag of doggy treats in the back stockroom and Mike was fed many of them!

It was very warm during the shop hop and we wanted to bring Mike the Mini Schnauzer on the road trip but not leave him the car, so it was backpacking into the quilt shops for him!

All the shops were “dog-in-a-backpack-friendly” and I think he gained a couple pounds from treats during the shop hop!

Luckily there we some nice local town parks or scenic walks that my partner John could take him on if I needed some extended time in any quilt shop. Mike enjoyed riding around in the backseat of the car with this cozy blanket and the cooler filled with our sparkling waters, soda, and snacks for roadtripping. (He just wished he had opposable thumbs so he could open the cooler when he wanted and grab his own snack!)

The first quilt shop we visited in Pueblo was Stitcher’s Garden and here are some photos from that shop so you can have a virtual shop hop experience:

Did you see the Batik fabric cowboy boots in one of the above photos? Those made me laugh! They were not wearable but they would be a funny decorative/storage item for your quilting room! And did you notice the giant bag of treats the quilt shop staff member had in her hand while she was petting her new friend Mike?!?!?!

So far our quilt shop hop was going well until….

After our visit to that first quilt shop in Pueblo, CO, my understanding was that we had one more quilt shop in Pueblo on the 2021 Rocky Mountain Quilt Shop Hop but when my partner John put the shop’s name “First Stitches” into his Google Maps the directions said the shop was in Canon City, CO. So we listened to Google Maps instead of our COMMON SENSE and headed out 41 miles to Canon City (do you see where this is headed…not in the right direction…).

The staff at the First Stitches quilt shop were warm and friendly and when I asked for them to punch my Rocky Mountain Quilt Shop Hop ticket (which gives you credit for visiting each shop) they said: “Oh we are not participating in the shop hop, our ORIGINAL SHOP in PUEBLO is participating”.

Oh my.

So we drove back to Pueblo, tried Google Maps again and found the correct shop.

But, I had a lovely time at the wrong shop and here are photos from the First Stitches quilt shop in Canon City, CO:

I even bought some beautiful Ruby Star Society butterfly fabric at the unnecessary-stop-quilt-shop. John felt bad about the accidental side trip but it was just as much my fault as his for not using that thing called COMMON SENSE and double checking the Rocky Mountain Shop Hop quilt shop list!

After going to the correct shop which I quickly ran into, go my shop hop “passport” stamped and ran out because at this point we were so hungry, we went to the Riverwalk in Pueblo lunch, which was more beautiful than I anticipated.

I’ll save that and our next quilt shop adventure along the shop hop for my next post.

Quilt Shop Tours, tierneytravels

Rocky Mountain Quilt Shop Hop 2021, Part I

I’ve lived in Colorado for over 2 years now but I’ve never been to a “Quilt Store Shop Hop” like those I used to attend when I lived in Seattle, WA (where I began quilting) and Bend, Oregon.

On August 6th my partner John, my Miniature Schnauzer Mike, and I attended our first Rocky Mountain Shop Hop which included quilt shops from Englewood Colorado to Pueblo Colorado.

To enter the big drawing you had to visit all 11 shops but they give you 17 days to do it (August 5th through August 21st). You also get a special Rocky Mountain Shop Hop completion pin unique for 2021.

The coolest thing is that each participating shop has a unique Colorado themed mini panel that you can collect (for $5) to create along with the major panels, a Colorado themed quilt.

Here are all the mini panels:

And here are the two larger panels which can be configured into many different quilt designs (each shop had their own sampler quilt, pattern and kit for a Colorado themed quilt.

This is the Colorado map large panel:

Here it is shown in a Colorado themed quilt at the first quilt shop we visited on the hop, Na-La’s Quilt Shop in Fountain, Colorado. (sorry that the photo is a little blurry)

The other large panel focused on the famous/iconic “Welcome to Colorful Colorado” sign located near the Utah and Colorado border:

image credit: pixels.com

Here are a couple quilts from different shops on the Rocky Mountain Shop Hop featuring that panel:

As I mentioned earlier in this post, the first shop we visited on the shop hop was ed quilt at the first quilt shop we visited on the hop, Na-La’s Quilt Shop in Fountain, Colorado.

It was a wonderful place to start our shop hop as the staff was so inviting and friendly and they provided yummy snacks!

So you can have a virtual shop hop experience, here are some photos of the shop I took as I wandered about.

The shop had a fabulous collection of antique sewing machines all around the shop, here are a few:

An interesting thing about the shop is that you did not enter via the front door. Instead you entered through this really cool side door. The shop was located in downtown Fountain, CO and the building where the shop was located was obviously historic.

I overheard while in the shop, when another customer asked, the reason for the side door entry was a leftover from having to control entry during COVID pandemic restrictions.

More to come on my first Rocky Mountain Quilt Shop Hop adventure but I thought I would get started sharing with this post.

A Crafter's Life, tierneytravels

Weekend at The Broadmoor

Back in May my partner John took me for a weekend at The Broadmoor Resort in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

It was absolutely amazing! Here is the image from the front page of the resort website:

And from their website:

We began welcoming guests in Colorado Springs in 1918 and have remained one of the most recognizable and celebrated hotels in the world. Our distinctive blend of history, luxury and genuine hospitality has made us the longest-running consecutive winner of both the AAA Five-Diamond and Forbes Five-Star awards. We continue that legacy with an unmatched selection of accommodations, activities, and experiences that invite guests to immerse themselves in the beauty and traditions of the American West.

I’ve never stayed at a place so luxurious!

Our hotel room had it’s own doorbell:

John got us a room overlooking the lake and I forgot to take photos inside the room but here is a YouTube video of some video footage I took:

Our hotel room was basically an apartment with a walk-in closet and a bathroom bigger than the room I rented when I was first in college! And we were in a “middle level” room as there were many more luxurious suites and cottages you could reserve (for high level prices!).

The hotel/resort is so beautiful and although it was overcast and a little rainy the weekend we visited I still got some lovely images to give you a feel for the place:

Throughout the hotel there was a historic and European vibe as well as endless places to sit and relax.

I brought my English Paper Piecing with me and we had a lovely time in the evenings sitting around crafting (me) and reading/playing on iPad (John). Although there were a lot of guests, there were lots of cozy nooks you could find to nest in at the hotel.

There was also a LIBRARY! The resort had an amazing library nook/room with delicious cozy places to nest and read their huge collection of books (which you could borrow and take to your room):

As you can imagine, I spent a bit of time in the library. John and I hung out there for quite a while and I snuck back on my own, ha!

We noticed people walking around the grounds in long bathrobes and wondered what was going on.

Well they were coming from the spa area. In our room we had a set of long bathrobes and decided “when in Rome…”, put them on and headed to the spa/pool area ourselves.

It was so fun to walk around the grounds in our robes – here is John walking about in his robe:

Notice in his hand is his poker themed tote bag that I made him (see post Ready for the Poker Tournament ), he takes it everywhere with him!

We enjoyed the indoor pool as well as the amazing outdoor jacuzzi which overlooked the golf course:

I did not want to leave the jacuzzi but I was getting waterlogged after a while!

And speaking the golf course, The Broadmoor has an amazing golf course. John and I both play golf (he is way better than I am) and next time we visit we plan to book a tee time.

Many celebrities, politicians, heads of state, authors, etc. have stayed at The Broadmoor over the years. The resort has a whole section in one of its hallways dedicated to photos of famous people who have stayed there:

I took of course a ridiculous amount of photos (there were endless photographic moments), but I will just share one more group of photos – The Broadmoor has an amazing “Prohibition” collection of “fine spirits” from the early 20th Century:

It was a memorable birthday celebration weekend and I look forward to returning someday (like when it is sunny!)

Studio

Are You a Peeker?

I know that sounds like a really personal question doesn’t it? (I am a proud “peeker” but we’ll get into that in a moment…)

I’m about to ask those of you who quilt/put bindings on projects some really deeply personal questions, are you ready?

Working on sewing on the quilt binding that won the votes (see posts Help Me Pick the Binding for Seattle Scrappy! and And the Winner of the Binding Fabric Poll is…) yesterday got me wondering what other crafters’ practices are related to sewing on a binding.

First a couple questions related to the initial sewing on of the binding to the quilt:

Are You a Peeker?

When you first sew the binding onto to the quilt (before you hand stitch or machine stitch it down), do you peek after your first couple inches or so to see how the binding is going to look finished

I do! I am a proud peeker! As soon as I have enough binding sewn on to the quilt I flip the edge it over to the backside so I can see how it is going to look:

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It is just so pleasing to me and like instant gratification to see a preview of how the finishing quilt binding will look!

Do You Measure or Eyeball?

When it comes to turning a corner on a quilt when initially sewing on the binding, do you eyeball the quarter inch (or whatever measurement you use), or do you whip out the ruler and measure?

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I am an “eyeballer” and so far it has served me well (but I have screwed up a couple times). Occasionally, as you can see in the image above,  I do also pin it in place before sewing down the next section after turning the corner.

Now a couple questions related to hand stitching the binding to the back of the quilt after you’ve initially sewn it on:

How Do You Do Your Corners?

After you finish initially sewing on the binding, do you sew all the corners of the binding first and then sew down the rest along the quilt; or do you just start at one section and work your way around the quilt?

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What I do is preview the corners, that they are sitting correctly and sometimes leave some pins or some clips in the corner, and then I randomly select a place to start to sew down the binding and work my way around the quilt.

And the most private and personal question of all (smile):

How Do You Select Thread Color to Sew Down to Back?

I’ve always struggled with this – do you go with trying to match the color of the binding or the color of the backing/back of the quilt?

I went with what was in my sewing machine – a medium-ish gray and I hope it works between the medium-dark binding color and the light gray backing!

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I think that is enough probing questions.

Okay, so in the comments below feel free to share your most personal binding related secrets – it’s OK you’re among friends (smile)!


Postscript

I was also going to ask how do you initially measure how much binding you need to bind a quilt? I eyeball it by holding up my fabrics strips, that will be made into the binding, up to the quilt. But many times I end up with this situation: too much leftover binding…