Last week I was in Seattle, Washington for a work meeting and while I was in Seattle I dropped of my 12 art quilts that will be in my solo show at the Seattle Municipal Tower in Downtown Seattle opening 04/18/19 and running through 07/16/19.
I had the pleasure of meeting with Patricia S. the Coordinator for the City of Seattle’s Ethnic Heritage Gallery and Blake H. the Curator and Collections Manager for the Seattle Office of Arts & Culture. They seemed pleased with the art quilts I had selected for the show.
I got to tour the gallery space in the Seattle Municipal Tower in downtown Seattle.
Here is some of the gallery space (I took photos quickly as I had to get to a work meeting in another section of downtown Seattle):
Here is the reception area where the opening reception will be held:
And here is the draft flyer for the show which is titled “The Wardrobe Meets the Wall: Art Quilts Created from Recycled Clothing & Garment Manufacturing Samples”.
The show’s curator said he loved the title, the concept and thought the art quilts were beautiful (I had a “trunk show” in the lower lobby/gallery area for the Coordinator and Curator).
The show opens at 12 noon on 04/18/19 at 700 5th Avenue, Seattle Washington. See you there if you are in the area! (My head is still reeling that the City of Seattle invited me to have a solo show…)
Downtown Seattle in B&W
I could not refuse the opportunity to take photos of downtown Seattle Washington in black & white while I walked from my meeting with the City of Seattle on the show, to my employer’s office.
I guess you could consider this postscript a continuation of my series of posts – Life in B&W.
And then there was the magnificent Downtown Seattle Public Library which I used to browse when I lived in Seattle 15 years ago:
Returned to Seattle again for a brief business trip, met with the City of Seattle, toured the and got to tour the gallery space for my first solo show in April;
Continue to prep for my big move to Colorado at the end of April (see series of posts Colorado Bound); and
In the near future I travel to Denver to visit a friend and tour 10 (yes 10) rentals I’ve researched for my future home (looking between Boulder and Denver, CO and in a future post in my Colorado Bound series I will share more about how I got to 10).
Should I also mention need to create a piece for an invitational only juried show that I really want to get into? I was invited in the Fall of 2018, before my husband passed away in December 2018. I will see after my visit to the Denver area to find my housing if I think I can whip out an art quilt before the closing of the show entry date on June 15.
In between all this mixture of fun and crazy schedule, I am still grieving the loss of my partner of more than 1/2 my life, Terry the Quilting Husband.
I was having a rough patch of grief earlier this week and I had a wonderful conversation with one of the physicians I work with, Liz, who is also a friend. She strongly suggested that I take some “self-care” time and slow my life down a bit.
I decided to take her advice and had a “Self-Care Saturday” yesterday which involved a visit to my local library to get a MEGA library stack!
So let’s continue my ongoing (and long-time neglected) series – The Library Stack – in which I share my stack of borrowed books from my beloved local public library (and in the next couple of months will have to change to the Denver or Boulder area public library system).
Leisurely Lounging, Library & Lunch
By Thursday of last week I decided that Saturday was only going to be for me. I was going to relax and have fun. A dear friend invited me to have breakfast with her on Saturday and I declined telling her I was “busy”. As much as I would have enjoyed her company, I wanted to keep my commitment to myself (I was “busy” – I was busy taking care of myself).
Saturday morning, Mike the miniature schnauzer and I spent hours leisurely lounging in bed (including breakfast in bed for me) and binge watching documentaries on space and astrophysics – two of my favorite documentary topics.
Here we are binge watching, but I think Mike is just napping – ha!
Of course maybe Mike’s giant schnauzer cushion is blocking his view of the television…
After a couple documentaries, Mike and I headed out for a long walk around the neighborhood.
Then I headed out for a special treat – to return to my local downtown library and spend an hour browsing in my favorite sections – crafting and home decorating.
Here is the crazy MEGA library stack of borrowed books that resulted from my leisurely browsing:
A couple of the books are repeat loans but most of them are new to me. It appears the library acquired more yummy crafting and home decor books while I was away for a couple months!
After my library browsing, I took myself to lunch (yummy tapas) and brought one of my library books along to start reading while I ate my delicious patatas bravas and rockfish taco:
A solitary lunch with a good book can be quite exquisite.
The New Bohemians Handbook
I’ve borrowed Justina Blackeney’s book The New Bohemians: Cool and Collected Homes, several times in the past from my library.
How delightful it was to discover during my library browsing that she has a new book: The New Bohemians Handbook: Come Home to Good Vibes:
I loved her previous book and this new book is excellent timing for me to discover as soon I will be working on decorating my new apartment (which will be much smaller than my current home).
The “Bohemian” style really appeals to me. I’ve always referred to my style of interior decorating as “cozy and random”. I think “Bohemian” sounds even better!
In this book the author proposes that there is a “deep connection between home decor and well-being”. She recommends five (5) processes to achieve that sense of well-being with your home decor:
It was a wonderful book to read and browse through during my delicious lunch at a local Tapas Eatery.
I look forward to finishing the book and working my way through the rest of the MEGA Library Stack!
I believe creativity and good vibes can save the world.
My original “Quilting Sister” (the woman who got me quilting) Judy always stated in response to people who would say to her “oh I wish you would make me a quilt“, is that you need to have a very special occasion to get a quilt: you have a baby, you get married, or you have some other very special occasion.
As quilts are a lot of work/time to make, not to mention a lot of money to make (more than non-quilters realize – see the TheQuiltShow’s July 2018 post – How Much Does It Cost to Make a Quilt? ), I’ve generally stuck to this rule.
Now, of course I’ve made quilts for special people in my life just because they are special. And as I’ve learned over the years, not everyone appreciates handmade items or appreciates the time and effort that went into it (I always remember the awful story a friend shared of discovering that a beautiful quilt she made for someone was being used to clean up an oil spill in recipient’s garage!).
But for the most part it is pretty darn exciting to give someone a quilt for a special occasion or because they are a special person.
Ordered to “Wear Out” a Quilt
Well my friends Cody and Cici are getting married this summer (a qualifying reason to get a quilt!), and although I have not known them a long time, I consider them special people and they really appreciate handmade items, so I sent them an early wedding gift – a quilt that I made with my late husband (who passed in December 2018), Terry the Quilting Husband.
I sent it to them with one very important stipulation: THEY MUST USE IT AND WEAR IT OUT.
Cody is an avid fly fisherman and so was my husband Terry. A couple years ago Terry selected a collection of fishing themed flannels and designed this quilt which I helped him assemble. Here are photos of the front of the quilt (which was so busy with fishing prints I sort of cringed when he designed it – ha!) and the back of the quilt (which was my idea to calm down the front!):
One for the Road
So I knew Cody would love the quilt but I was a little worried his Cici might cringe. But I thought I would take a chance and send it to them as a their wedding gift.
They are super active outdoors people and have a cool Sprinter van that they use for long distance camping adventures, so I suggested that this very warm heavy flannel quilt be used for those adventures.
Well they both love the quilt and they complied! The quilt has already gone on its first van adventure:
Cody and Cici sent me photos of them wrapped in their favorite sides of the quilt!
I am working on a move to Colorado (see my series of posts Colorado Bound) and I need to lighten my load and this was a great way to do it. I know Terry would approve the quilt going to people who will love it and use it well!
I hope this quilt gets completely worn out to the point of being threadbare from a lifetime of adventures and road trips!
It is “one for the road”.
I’m so honored my friend, author Marie Bostwick, reposted one of my blog posts (Valentines) on her blog Fierce Beyond 50, (which has a MUCH larger readership than my blog):
Yesterday, during the weekly Spousal Loss Grief Support Group I attend, the book The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams was mentioned.
This made me think of a post I wrote in 2013 answering the question: “How do you know a quilt has been loved?” in which I quote this beautiful book.
Thought I would repost this post today.
How do you know a quilt has been loved?
It is worn, frayed, maybe even threadbare.
In my early days of quilting this would make me cringe. I put all that work into a quilt and now it is all worn out?
Now the thought of one my quilts being so loved (just think of that glorious book The Velveteen Rabbit) brings a huge smile to my face.
While talking to my sister (she has many quilts from me) she mentioned that most of the quilts I have made her are very worn out, some are just “hanging on by thread” about to fall apart.
I take quilt construction seriously and for a second I thought “wow shoddy workmanship on my part” and “why did they not take better care of the quilts”? I came to my senses several seconds later and realized: Wow! Those quilts have been truly loved – I am so lucky and so honored!
I think of what my first quilting mentor and dear friend, Judy D, once told me:
“If a quilt is falling apart, all worn out, then it has been truly loved…I never mind repairing a quilt that has been loved”.
Excerpt from The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams
“Real isn’t how you are made, it’s a thing that happens to you… When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real.”
“Does it hurt?” asked the Rabbit.
“Sometimes…When you are Real you don’t mind being hurt.”
“Does it happen all at once, like being wound up..or bit by bit?”
“It doesn’t happen all at once..You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.”
Thank you to all the people I have made quilts for over the years, who have truly loved them, and made them REAL.
Re-posting this post also made me think of an art quilt I finished in April 2018 titled Recycled Denim Story V: Recycled Love (2018). This piece is part of my Recycled Denim Story Series of art quilts (see my page Art Quilt Stories for more of the series).
Here is the Artist Statement that explains the story behind this quilt made from all recycled materials:
The first law of thermodynamics states that the total amount of energy in a system cannot be created nor destroyed, it can only be changed from one form to another. A quilt is made from changing the existing “love energy” from the quilt maker’s heart into a pieced textile; ultimately recycling that love energy into the quilt’s recipient heart.
A couple weeks ago I was contacted by a member of the City of Seattle’s Ethnic Heritage Art Gallery (EHAG) and invited to participate in what I thought was an art show featuring myself and other artists at the Seattle Municipal Tower in downtown Seattle, Washington. This show was to run from April to July 2019.
I thought I was invited to participate in the April – July 2019 show at the Seattle Municipal Tower because I was a member of this roster and they were doing a show featuring artists on this roster.
Last week, however, I discovered that I misunderstood. I was not invited to be part of a show, I was invited to have my own SOLO show!
I also discovered I was invited to have a solo show because a member of the Ethnic Heritage Art Gallery worked in a building in which my piece Abandoned Water Structure was hung and looked at it every day for a year. She wanted to work with me and give me an opportunity to have a show featuring more of my work because of what Abandoned Water Structure meant to her!
The show (name of show pending) featuring my work opens at noon on 04/18/19 and run through 07/15/19. I will be attending the show opening in Seattle.
Over the next couple of weeks I will be focusing on:
Preparing my existing pieces from my catalogue for the show (tentatively I have 8 – 10 art quilts for the show);
Providing the information to the coordinator on the name of the show (I have an idea in mind that I am working through);
Finalizing the display/placard information for each piece; and
Working with the gallery on the flyer to promote/advertise the show!!!
I will hand deliver the quilts to the gallery for storage prior to the show during an upcoming business trip to Seattle before the show.
More to come, I just wanted to share this exciting news with you that the municipality of the largest city in the Pacific Northwest Region of North America has invited me to have this glorious opportunity.
In addition to being very excited to have my first solo show, I am also excited to have a reason to have a reunion with my Seattle friends (I lived in Seattle for 8 years before moving to Central Oregon in 2005) before I move to Colorado this Spring.
April is beginning to look very busy but it will be a “good busy”!
Saturday, before “Snowmageddon” descended upon Central Oregon, I went over my friend Marie’s house for a Sew Day.
I did not want to arrive empty handed so I whipped up the evening before a little pillow, from a dog faces panel (Dogs of Many Breeds by Elizabeth Studio) I had in my stash, of her beloved Cavalier King Charles Spaniel.
Pup Pillow Making
After cutting from the panel the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel block, I worked to find fabrics in my stash to pair with it:
I decided to go with a gold shot cotton inner border and a gold small print floral outer border.
I used the “quilt-as-you-go” technique to assemble the pillow, piecing the pillow directly to a piece of batting.
After trimming excess fabric to even up the borders, I had a completed pillow top:
I give the pillow enough weigh in the back as the front was quilted with batting, I used a double layer of coordinated backing fabric.
After pinning the two right sides together, I stitched around the edge of the pillow, leave a couple inches opening for turning right sides out and for stuffing.
I like to stuff the corners first when stuffing a pillow to make sure they get enough stuffing. I used which I like because it is made from recycled materials:
Once the pillow was stuffed to my liking, I pinned the section I left open and whip stitched it closed with coordinating thread.
I figured out a couple years ago that pinning the open section of a pillow (or other stuffed item) before you whip stitch it close gives you a better chance of an even closure.
Pup Pillow Reveal and a Very Cute Model
Here is the completed pillow:
But here is something EVEN CUTER, my friend’s Cavalier King Charles Spaniel doing a photoshoot with the pillow!
Of course she was thinking: “I am way cuter than that dog in the pillow!”; or “Lady, hurry and get this photoshoot done, I want a biscuit!”
In case you were wondering what I worked on during the Sew Day at my friend’s house – I worked on my ongoing English Paper Piecing project and actually made a little progress:
You can check out posts about this ongoing project in my series of posts Adventures in Paper Piecing – (scroll through to see older posts after you click on the link).
This is a quick post to share a photo of my piece, The Lesson & The Equation” hung at the show, courtesy of one of the other artists in the show, the very talented Jas Mardis:
My piece in the large one hanging on the left side of the image above.
The brilliant pieces to the right of it are by the very talented Carolyn Crump (who even has a quilt hanging in the Smithsonian Museum!). How lucky I am to have a piece in this traveling exhibit with some really amazing artists.
In this post I announced the exhibit for which I was working on a secret quilt (the curator ask us not to post photos of our quilts until the show was announced) from April to August 2018.
“Working” is a term I am using loosely as I was procrastinating on completing the quilt during that time. I was given over one+ year (maybe 1.5 years) to complete the quilt from the invitation to be part of the Women of Color Quilting Network show, but alas, I was burning the midnight oil to get it done in time for the October deadline!
The show is called “Yours for Race and Country: Reflections on the Life of Colonel Charles Young”. It opens on March 16, 2019 and the exhibit will run from through August 17, 2019 at the National Afro-American Museum in historic Wilberforce, Ohio.
Please check out the “Part I” post of this series for more details on Colonel Charles Young.
So now it’s time to reveal the quilt I made for the show.
Honoring His Service at Sequoia National Park
As I discussed in the previous post, the show’s curator provided us with options of what part of Colonel Young’s life could inspire out quilt. I selected his time as Superintendent of Sequoia National Park.
I read a book about his life and accomplishments (Black Officer in a Buffalo Soldier Regiment: The Military Career of Charles Young by Brian G. Shellum) and studied images I found online of Sequoia National Park to inspire my piece.
After sketching out numerous ideas (in my journal, see post Creative Inspiration: Peek Inside My Journals) I knew that I wanted to make Colonel Young part of the beauty of Sequoia National Park since his role, as the first African American Superintendent of a National Park, was to preserve its beauty.
Also I decided I wanted to use only recycled materials to create the piece which would also honor his conservation efforts. I decided to only use cotton Batik fabric scraps.
Here is the forest as it developed on the large design wall in my hallway (I added this post of my series What’s on the Design Wall, as it was secretly on my design wall!):
I wanted to incorporate Colonel Young and his accomplishments into the trees. So first I worked on a tree with his image as part of the bark:
I also wanted to honor the National Park Service, so I created a fabric version of a U.S. Parks Service sign and edited the image to be the name of the quilt – Giant Among the Sequoia.
I had so much fun making this “monument marker”!
And here is the full quilt which measures 40″ x 40″:
Here is the Artist Statement:
Giant Among the Sequoias (2018)
Tierney Davis Hogan
40” x 40”
Recycled cotton batik fabric scraps, batik cotton fabric, recycled cotton and polyester batting, ink
Inspired by Brian G. Shellum’s biography, Black Officer in a Buffalo Soldier Regiment: The Military Career of Charles Young (Bison Books, 2010), this piece honors the legacy of Colonel Charles Young, the first African-American Superintendent of a national park.
Floating among the trees in a mythical scene inspired by an image of a section of Sequoia National Park and by Brain G. Shellum’s book, are phrases describing the work that this groundbreaking leader accomplished during his time as Superintendent of General Grant (now Kings Canyon) and Sequoia National Parks:
Overseeing Operations, Park Superintendent, Clearing Trails, Providing Leadership, Stopping Livestock Grazers, Park Patrolling, Protecting Against Poachers, Road Building, Respected by the Community; and Inspiring Youth
In the center of the piece, a giant Sequoia tree with Colonel Charles Young’s image surveys and protects the park. Adding a bit of whimsy to the piece, an image of a real U.S. Forest Service sign in Sequoia National Forest was creatively edited.
This piece also honors the precious natural environment of our national parks and is made primarily from recycled materials (batik fabric scraps) that would have otherwise ended up in a landfill.
If you make quilts, then you’ve probably dealt with “orphan blocks” – the extra blocks you either made accidentally while making your quilt or intentionally to give you options when you laid out your quilt and made final decisions on what blocks you want to use in the quilt.
For years I’ve had these two “orphan blocks” from a Connecting Threads Minnesota Stars Kit I made at least 8 years ago.
Here is what the quilt looks like (it is currently serving as a tablecloth on my table in the sunroom):
And here are the two “orphan blocks” that did not fit into the quilt (I think I accidentally made too many):
You may notice in the images above it looks like the blocks were hand-stitched. Well they were – I attempted to do something with the blocks years ago and added batting, backing and hand-stitched them.
And then they went to the place where all unfinished projects go – to the back of the closet.
Last night I decided rather than move them as unfinished blocks to my next residence, why not just FINISH them and make them into coordinating pillows?
So I did:
And now they are on the chairs in the sunroom with the tablecloth quilt that they are connected:
I appreciate everyone’s comments and two of the comments particularly stuck with me:
Concern over sleeping and working in the same room; and
In my future one bedroom apartment in Colorado – the suggestion that I do not sleep with my fabric due to the off gassing from the chemicals (like sizing) used on fabric.
A Tweak to My Arrangement
I am a telecommuter and the type of job I have requires that most of the time I am connected directly to a broadband connection rather than using WiFi to connect to my employer’s network. So since I was working where I was sleeping this required me to sleep with my cable broadband modem/router. Also there were some blinking lights on my work computer that were always present.
The feeling came upon me that sleeping right next to your powerful broadband modem/router might not be the best idea.
So this morning I moved my home office into my quilting studio.
Thanks to the person who brought up that concern!
Sleeping with Fabric
Since I planned to move to a one-bedroom, I was sort of thinking of “sleeping with my quilting fabric”. However one of the comments on my previous post made me think that is not the best idea.
In a month I go to Colorado to visit my dear friend and to tour apartments to rent and sign a lease. I’ve been checking out apartment complexes online for a couple weeks now and I will definitely be looking for a place with a large enough living room to work in my quilt studio and perhaps a nice hall closet for fabric storage!
One of the “finalists” apartment complexes, which is also near where my friend lives, has a nice built-in desk in the large apartment kitchen. That would be perfect for my home office!
Speaking of kitchens, all the apartment complex finalists have nice modern kitchens and many of them have a lot of storage – more than I need. So I might be storing fabric in my kitchen – ha!
Okay next post I will be returning to sewing/crafting specific posts. Thanks for reading my non-sewing/crafting related musings (smile).
This weekend I did something that some might think crazy: I moved out of my master bedroom and ensuite bathroom and into my guest bathroom and guest bathroom.
I now live alone in a 1340 square foot (124.5 square meters) house since my husband suddenly passed in December 2018. The house has three (3) bedrooms and two (2) bathrooms. It seemed like the perfect size for two people and a miniature schnauzer but now the space seems too large for me.
This Spring I plan to sell my house and move to a one bedroom apartment in Boulder/Denver Colorado (see Colorado Bound). However until then I need to keep living in my existing home in Central Oregon, without my beloved husband.
For the first month since his passing, sleeping in our king-size bed in our master bedroom gave me comfort but for the past couple of weeks I’ve had difficulty sleeping in that bed.
I am also finding that using the master bathroom, with it’s double sinks constantly reminds me of my profound loss.
Well this Saturday and idea came to me: Since I am not planning on having any guests before I move to Colorado, so why can’t I just move into my guest room and guest bathroom?
So I spent them weekend completely clearing out of my master bedroom and bath and into my guest room and guest bath. I even moved out of my master bedroom closet and moved my hanging clothes into the mudroom/laundry room closet which is next to the guest bedroom.
I also moved out of my dresser in the master bedroom and moved my undergarments, socks and t-shirts into baskets in the guest bedroom closet. I even fit the television from my master bedroom into the closet of the guest bedroom!
Mike the miniature schnauzer and I had a cozy sleep last night in the guest room. I even moved my first “art quilt attempt” Inspired by Schnauzers from the master bedroom to above the guest room bed so a schnauzer watched over us while we slept!
I think several really good logistical things came out of this move:
Now I only need to clean one bathroom
My master bedroom and closet are now storage areas for staging for my move
I can practice living in a one bedroom apartment and using/living in less space
I was able to find more stuff to downsize and put in my “charity thrift shop” donation pile
But the best thing to come out of this move is a cozy, less grief infused place to sleep. I also feel like I really gotten back on track on “My Minimalism Journey“.
The funny thing to come out of this move is that my guest room is also where I have my home office as a telecommuter. So I now sleep and work in the same room!
UPDATE: One person who commented on this post asked about what became of my quilt studio? Well I still have that in place (I have a three bedroom house) in the back bedroom. However when I move to a one bedroom apartment I will be incorporating my quilting studio into my living room area (it will be my apartment and I can do whatever weird thing I want – ha!).
There are so many good “Home” shows coming out of the U.K. I discovered several delightful series on Netflix and Amazon Prime.
Recently I’ve been binge watching the UK show “How to Live Mortgage Free with Sarah Beeny” on Netflix. Here is an interview on Good Morning Britain with Sarah Beeny.
I am actually in bed (in the guest room!) right now watching this show in the background as I write this post.
My favorite episode so far is Episode 3 in which a man who wanted to take care of his father with Alzheimers built a small cottage in his father’s backyard in order for he and his girlfriend to have their own space but to be right there to help his father (and allow his father to stay in his own home).
There was another episode where a young man built a small house for him and his partner on the land where his beloved grandfather’s shop use to stand and using his grandfather’s tools.
The show is really excellent with wonderful stories and amazing idea for alternatives to traditional housing options.
Oh no – I just discovered that the show only has six (6) episodes and only one season is on Netflix…maybe I better slow down my binge watching!
Homemade chicken noodle soup, with homemade stock – this was my big accomplishment for the later part of this week.
I love cook and bake but my cooking and baking (until recently, see previous post Valentines) have been on hold since my husband suddenly died in December 2018.
For the past couple of months I’ve been living on what I could forage at Whole Foods (well at least it was a recently healthy diet). Many very kind and thoughtful friends and coworkers gave me Whole Foods gift cards after my husband died.
At first I would just get food at the Whole Foods hot food bar and sit in the supermarket dining area and eat so I would not have to dine alone every night. Luckily that got old after a while (plus the hot bar food is charged per pound and is rather “spendy” unless you only get really light food…) and I started buying groceries to take home.
But I was only buying groceries for quick prepare meals and it seemed like I lived on avocado toast, boiled eggs, Miso soup, and hummus with carrots for a couple weeks.
My diet was fairly vegetarian and the thought of meat turned my stomach, but earlier this week I was really craving some hard core protein. So armed with the remaining funds on the last of my Whole Food gift cards, I bought a whole cooked rotisserie chicken.
After a couple days of chicken, chicken, chicken, I was trying to decide what to do with the rest of the bird. I convinced myself to not only make homemade chicken noodle soup but to make my own from scratch chicken stock with the carcass, something I’ve never done before.
Here is the stock simmering with the cut up and browned rotisserie chicken carcass:
Here is the strained stock:
The soup made with my homemade stock simmering (and the house smells so good):
And finally a yummy bowl of my very own homemade chicken noodle soup!
I’ve made homemade chicken noodle soup before but with store bought chicken stock or chicken bouillon base. Soup with my own homemade chicken stock tasted very different – It is pretty darn delicious!
One of the best things I learned from the Chowhound recipe is that you have to cook the noodles separately – do not try to cook them in the soup. You boil them per package instructions in their own pot and then add the cooked noodles to the soup. If you try to cook the noodles with the soup you will get what I’ve experienced in the past – a pasty mess of noodles!
Of course this recipe made a lot of soup so now my life is chicken soup, chicken soup, chicken soup – but it seems to be satisfying my soul (smile).
I’m currently listening to an amazing audiobook – Resilience: Hard-Won Wisdom for Living a Better Life by Eric Greitens.
I did not think I would be at the point now where I would be interested in reading any “Self-Improvement” books but this one caught my eye when I was browsing my local library’s audiobook loan offerings online.
You cannot bounce back from hardship. You can only move through it. There is a path through pain to wisdom, through suffering to strength, and through fear to courage if we have the virtue of resilience.
In 2012, Eric Greitens unexpectedly heard from a former SEAL comrade, a brother-in-arms he hadn’t seen in a decade. Zach Walker had been one of the toughest of the tough. But ever since he returned home from war to his young family in a small logging town, he d been struggling. Without a sense of purpose, plagued by PTSD, and masking his pain with heavy drinking, he needed help. Zach and Eric started writing and talking nearly every day, as Eric set down his thoughts on what it takes to build resilience in our lives.
Eric’s letters drawing on both his own experience and wisdom from ancient and modern thinkers are now gathered and edited into this timeless guidebook. Resilience explains how we can build purpose, confront pain, practice compassion, develop a vocation, find a mentor, create happiness, and much more. Eric s lessons are deep yet practical, and his advice leads to clear solutions.
We all face pain, difficulty, and doubt. But we also have the tools to take control of our lives. Resilience is an inspiring meditation for the warrior in each of us.
It is a pretty powerful book even if it took listening to a chapter or two to get me engaged. Although the book is based on letters from one Navy Seal to another Navy Seal suffering from PTSD who also recently lost his brother to an auto accident, the messages in this book are quite universal.
I’ll close this post with a quote from this powerful book:
Smiling and breathing. These are simple things. Exercising and serving. These are simple things. Being grateful and gracious. These are simple things. Acting with humility. Acting with courage. These are simple things. Some people try to make this business of living too complicated
― Eric Greitens, Resilience: Hard-Won Wisdom for Living a Better Life
A little less than a week ago I began having quite a bit of anxiety over how I was going to face my first Valentine’s Day without my Valentine. In December 2018 my husband Terry suddenly passed away. I’ve been with Terry more than 1/2 my life and we’ve never been apart on Valentine’s Day.
I was anticipating a painful day on February 14th, completely stricken my grief, perhaps not even able to get out of bed.
In the middle of my anticipatory grieving anxiety, I suddenly realized that doing something for others might be the solution to dealing with Valentine’s Day.
For the past 5 weeks I’ve been in a difficult but awesome Spousal Loss Grief Support Group that meets weekly. It suddenly hit me that all the widows and widowers in the grief support group with me were facing the same dilemma of their first Valentine’s Day without their Valentines.
So why don’t I invite them all the be my Valentines?
And that is just what I did.
For My Valentines
For the men in my grief support group:
Terry’s favorite cookies were the Molasses Crinkle Cookies that I loved to make. I’ve done little cooking and no baking since he passed so it was a pretty big thing to open my cookbook and actually bake something.
I made a huge batch of these cookies and it felt good to bake again, so good that I actually experienced a sweet moment of joy as I assembled the ingredients.
I put the cookies in a basket and included little sandwich bags for them to take as many as they wanted home.
For the women in my grief support group:
I gave them each little wallets. If you are new to my blog here is a post about the little wallets I made a zillion of since I first became obsessed with them – “Little Wallet Madness” . If you are not new to my blog then you know all about little wallets and some of you own some of my little wallets you won in my blog anniversary drawings!
For the group facilitator:
I gave her a set of my little heart pillows, as she has been helping us heal our hearts.
I then made “Oregon Healing Hearts” valentines using my circle punch and heart punch from my card marking supplies with Oregon/outdoor themed colored papers:
People had the option of an “Oregon Healing Heart” with a dog in the middle of the heart (as I consider dogs healing) or a plain heart:
Here is the whole set up I surprised them with earlier this week at our weekly Spousal Loss Grief Support Group:
I think it went over pretty well. The facilitator let me present them at the start of our support group meeting.
The men were willing to share their cookies and both the men and women got to take home some cookies if they wanted. There was laughter, smiles and hugs despite the difficult topics we discussed at that support group session.
Feeling at Peace
Today is Valentine’s Day and I feel at peace. I think it is because I stepped outside of myself and my grief and thought of others for a moment.
Day and night wallowing in my grief was not working for me, even if everyone expected and supported it. I had to try something else. That’s where my grief group came in, my unexpected valentines.
Grieving is hard work, maybe the hardest work I’ve ever done. It’s definitely a hobby I don’t recommend for anybody. But, if you’re suddenly find yourself a member of the club that no one ever wants to join, find a grief group. Part of what I have learned from this experience is, don’t try to go it alone.
The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.”
― Ralph Waldo Emerson
Alas, I am not sharing my studio and house tour. It is more like I am sharing my dream studio and house tour (smile). My house and studio are currently partially packed up and a mess as I sort my stuff out for my move to Colorado this Spring.
This post about another quilter’s studio and house tour.
My dear friend Marla Jo (and her wonderful husband Jason) have been incredibly supportive during this difficult period in my life (my new life as a recent widow) and to give me a distraction from my grief, a couple of weekends ago she invited me see the studio and home of one of her clients/friends (Jaime) who is a quilter.
I thought it would be fun to share some photos from that visit as I would guess many of you, like me, enjoy artist studio tour posts!
Here are images of Jaime’s yummy quilt studio:
She has beautiful custom designed cabinetry throughout her gorgeous home.
I was fascinated by how she organized her fabric:
She showed me that she used scrap thin cardboard cut to a uniform size to organize the fabric:
I love how her fabric stands upright like in a quilt shop.
Dana used recycled cardboard from fabric bolts that quilt shops gave to her. She cut them in half and wrapped her fabric around them:
Jaime had a wonderful wallhanging in her studio, made by her sister, celebrating her collection of decorative pins:
The studio was spectacular and the house was equally as spectacular. Here are a couple of my favorite areas of Jaime’s beautiful home:
The Entire Wall Bookcase in the Living Room
The Dream Soaking Tub
Jaime is an artful decorator and designed a nook in her bathroom to put a peaceful soaking tub:
The Grand Piano
At one point in my young life I studied piano and I have always been fascinated with pianos. Jaime had in her sitting room a custom made piano from Estonia that had an exquisite sound (she treated us to a mini concert):
There were many other magical rooms/areas of her home but I wanted to spend time visiting with her and Marla Jo and not be rude and just take photos.
But let’s close this post with a view that took my breath away (my photo does not do it justice) – the view from the upstairs balcony of her home with a view down to the living room:
Each year the week before the actual SOQS, which is always the second Saturday in July, the Stitchin’ Post and other local Central Oregon quilt shops have a week of classes by nationally known instructors called “Quilters Affair“.
Officially “Quilters Affair” is managed by the Stitchin’s Post and the SOQS but many other local quilt shops have their unofficial version by offering classes to out of town quilters during this time.
While Judy was visiting, one of those quilt shops offering classes the week before SOQS was BJ’s Quilt Basket. They offered a class by Donna Cherry, an extremely talented young appliqué quilt designer and quilter. Judy and I decided to take the class to make the her wallhanging – “Mountain Trout“.
Judy and I both had husbands who were into fishing, my Terry was a fly fisherman. We thought these wallhanging would be a wonderful gift for them.
Here is the version I made in class:
Releasing a Fish
Well as most of you know, I lost my beloved husband suddenly in December 2018. Over the past could of months I’ve been donating and downsizing my life in preparation to move from Central Oregon to Colorado in the late Spring (see posts Colorado Bound (Part I) and Colorado Bound (Part II)). Downsizing is especially important as I am moving from a three-bedroom house to a one-bedroom apartment.
I’ve made a lot of quilts over the years and many I’ve given away; however many I’ve kept. I know I needed to thin out my collection of quilts a little bit prior to the move.
My husband Terry (who I used to refer to as “Terry the Quilting Husband”/”TTQH” on my blog) was a quilter. I tried to make sure that many of his quilts were given to his family members, but I kept a couple special ones for myself.
I’ve made him many quilts over the years, including the Mountain Trout wallhanging quilt but my heart was telling me that it needed a new home – to go to another fly fisherman.
I’ve been with my employer for 14 years and I’ve met some pretty awesome people at my job. I am fortunate enough to be a telecommuter (though I did work a year in the office when I lived in Seattle, WA when I first started my job) and will be taking my job with me to Colorado.
I’ve met a couple people at work that are so special I kind of consider them “work family members”. One of them is my friend Nancy who I refer to as my “Work Sister” and I made her a little quilted wallhanging for her cubicle of her beloved Cannon Beach Oregon (see post A Case for Buying Things You Have No Plans for at the time) in 2017.
Another work family member is my friend Cody who I consider my “Work Brother”. He is actually around the same age as my biological little brother and similarly as awesome. Although I was a fan of his work from afar, I met him in person for the first time at a national conference we attended in May 2018 (see post A Presidential Artistic Journey) and knew he was “my people” – especially when I discovered he is a crafter!
He is an avid fly fisherman and while we were at the conference he was busy in the evenings, with the supplies he brought from home, making/tying his own flies in his hotel room. I was kind of envious as I wished I had brought a quilting project to work on in the evening after each conference session in my hotel room!
A couple months ago I got to meet his beautiful and brilliant fiancée Cici and was totally smitten with her (does that make her my “work sister-in-law” when they marry?).
So I knew Cody was the perfect person to send this special Mountain Trout quilt and here is a photo taken by Cici of him with his new quilt (even if he did not iron the crease out in the middle from shipping before taking a photo – ha!):
He was very happy with his new quilt and I received a wonderful phone call from him and Cici that made me smile.
Grieving the loss of my husband whom I’ve been with more than 1/2 my life is a daily life-consuming experience.
It was like he was the “tether” that held me to this world, to this life.
Now friends and family attempt to try to reach up and grab “my string” to re-tether me as much as they can, but ultimately I have to learn to “tether” myself.
Recently I finished a powerful book that my grief counselor loaned me – Grieving Mindfully: A Compassionate and Spiritual Guide to Coping with Loss by Sameet M. Kumar PhD.
After reading this book I’ve been thinking about one of my favorite poems by Rumi (Jalāl ad-Dīn Muhammad Rūmī – a 13th century Persian poet and scholar) – The Guest House.
I’ve shared it in previous posts but thought I would re-post it.
The Guest House
This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness
comes as an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.
Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.
-Jalāl ad-Dīn Muhammad Rūmī
I attend a weekly Spousal Loss Grief Support Group. Prior to today’s weekly meeting I’ve not shared with the other group members my plans to move to Colorado (see my previous post Colorado Bound (Part II)).
However, before the start of today’s meeting, another group member randomly gave me this little pocket card below and I’ve taken as another reaffirmation that I am headed in the right direction with my move to Colorado:
Today I have a guest post from Diana S. Clark of the Sewing Machine Club for anyone who is thinking about becoming a quilter but is not sure when to start.
Diana contacted me a week ago with the idea of a guest post and I love the information in her article and thought it would be fun to share with you!
What You Need to Know Before You Start Quilting
There’s nothing more heartwarming than receiving a novelty quilt handmade with love and care which is why quilts make such great gifts!
Although quilting seems tedious and takes a lot of time and effort, they’re actually pretty simple. As a matter of fact, anyone can start quilting in the comfort of their own home.
If you’re on the fence on how to begin quilting, we got you covered. We have some tips to help you start your quilting project to ensure you’re fully prepared.
Patterns, patterns, patterns!
Patterns are a crucial part of your quilt. It’s important to think about what patterns you want so you can prepare fabrics and equipment before quilting. Patterns come in different varieties and some may be a bit more complex than others hence, taking more time to create. So, keep in mind to choose a pattern that suits your taste and skill.
Preparation is Key
Before quilting, remember to gather all the equipment you need according to the instructions of the pattern since different patterns have different instructions. When searching for fabrics, opt for colorfast fabrics that don’t run when washed. Also, make sure to measure each block to figure out how much fabric will be needed.
Find a comfortable space and set up your equipment such as your fabrics, sewing machine, and tools. Start by carefully cutting your patchwork pieces with a rotary cutter before sewing them. Once you’ve got all the patchwork pieces prepared, start quilting the top as it takes a lot of time and precision. Finally, make sure to iron the patchwork to set it.
Next, baste the quilt by combining the top and bottom layer and placing batting in between like a sandwich. Use pins or temporary adhesive to hold the layers while you sew them so the layers stay in place. When you’re done with sewing the layers, add some final touches with some decorative binding to the edges of your quilt to seal the layers.
Here is my next installment in my new series of posts “Colorado Bound” which began with this post: Colorado Bound (Part I).
As revealed in my January 22 post I’ve decided to begin my new life in Northern Colorado this Spring.
In this post I thought I’d share a couple more details.
When I was considering the move to Colorado and not sure if it was the right thing or not, the Universe gave me a sign, and this ad was the first thing I saw when I opened a magazine to read while I was still deciding:
My Heart is In the Mountains
First, I want to share a series of photos that my friend Cody G. shared with me from one of his trips to Colorado (especially the Boulder, Colorado area) that show the mountainous beauty of the region:
I am am drawn to living in places where I can be among mountains. One of the favorite things about living in the Pacific NW and Central Oregon during the past 21+ years of my life is that I got to live in the Cascade Mountain range.
Now I am moving to another amazing mountain range: the Rocky Mountains (Southern Rockies).
The Road Trip
In another post I will share some of the logistics of my move from Central Oregon to Northern Colorado but these are not as exciting as the upcoming ROAD TRIP from Central Oregon to Colorado!
My sister is going to join me on the road trip!
During our road trip across four states in the Northeastern U.S. after my husband died in December (see posts Stories from the Road, Part I and Stories from the Road, Part II) my sister and I discussed that someday we would like to go on a road trip together for a happy and fun reason, not for a sad reason.
So I was very excited to invite her to drive with Mike the Miniature Schnauzer and me to our new Colorado adventure. She is going to meet up with us on our first leg of the journey – in Boise, Idaho.
She will fly into Boise and we will wander around Boise, staying overnight and then head out of our adventure through the states of Idaho, Wyoming, Utah and into Colorado.
We are discussing a detour along the way to Yellowstone National Park!
We will of course have the tierneycreates Beastie with us (see series of posts Beastie Adventures) and she will be blogging from the road as we explore a couple states I’ve never driven through before!
Here is tierneycreates Beastie and her dog Mikelet, getting ready to study the road maps for the trip (but I hope she is not too much of a “backseat driver”):
I love GPS and the concept of having easy navigation from your smartphone but I still want to have on hand good old fashioned ROAD MAPS!
I need to take a break from daydreaming about my move to Colorado and start working on an art quilt for an invitational juried show, a really cool one, which I hope I get accepted into…but first I need to complete my piece!
Oh and I haven’t forgotten about the series of posts I started in early December – Secret Quilt Revealed, Part I, I will continue with the rest of the story about the creation of my piece for the WCQN show: Yours For Race and Country: Reflections on the Life of Colonel Charles Young.
One more thing – I went to lunch with my neighbor Carole today (the one whose lovely “girl cave” I featured in the October 2018 post A Room of Her Own) and came across this sign that made me smile at one of the shops we stopped in after lunch:
This weekend I moved forward on one of my stalled quilting projects: I finished my Tula in a Box quilt. If you check out this category of posts you will see the story behind this quilt and stages of progress in a series of previous posts – Tula Time!.
This weekend I went from this on the large design wall in the hallway:
This quilt top measures approximately 82 inch x 82 inches (208 cm x 208 cm) and is comprised of 36 – 12 inch x 12 inch (finished) blocks.
I love the brightly colored fabrics in this quilt, especially the fabulous prints of 6 animals (frog, owl, fancy bird, squirrel, raccoon, and bee) in 3 different color ways, such as this one of the owl:
Originally I thought about piecing the leftover fat quarters and scraps into the backing for the quilt, but I’ve decided to save those for another project.
Instead I am going to search for a backing when I visit a couple quilting friends in Washington state in February (any excuse to go shopping with quilting friends!)
One of my early recycled silk art quilts was juried into the national Art (yes “art” not quilting, ha!) Show – “Soulful: A National Exhibition of African American Artists”. It opens February 7th and runs through February 28th at the d’Art Center in Norfolk, VA.
My piece that will appear in the show is called Color Story I: Flying Triangles. It was the first recycled silk art quilt I made when I began to experiment with using recycled materials. Below is the piece and the updated Artist Statement I did for the show.
COLOR STORY I: FLYING TRIANGLES
45 ” W x 44.5″ L, silk & linen garment scraps pieced on muslin foundation
The Color Stories series of art quilts are vibrant colored compositions, created from recycled textiles including silks, wools and linens. Many of the recycled silks and linens are from samples and remnants from NYC Fashion District couture fabrics from the 1990’s European textile houses of Ratti, Braghenti, Castellini and D’Este.
Instead of ending up in a landfill, these couture fabric samples with their complex colors, patterns and textures inspire my textile art.
This is piece is from my first art quilt series: Color Stories. If you’d like to see the other art quilts in this series, check out my page Art Quilt Stories.
Next post I will share where I am moving or some of my plans for my next adventure in life. If you would like to take a guess, it is one of the states in the image of AAA travel books below (if you know already don’t ruin the surprise for any other readers, thanks!)
Featured image credit: d’Art Center (d-artcenter.org)
For those of you who’ve followed my blog for a while you know that my piece, The Lesson and The Equation is part of the traveling show Visioning Human Rights in the New Millennium: Quilting the World’s Conscience.
This show, curated by Dr. Carolyn Mazloomi of the Women of Color Quilting Network (WCQN) celebrates the 70th Anniversary of the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights and features a collection of art quilts based on the 30 Articles of this declaration.
The show continues to travel and is opening on Thursday February 21, 2019 at Texas Folklife in Austin, Texas.
My blogging buddy in the Netherlands, Emmely @infectiousstitches gave me an amazing stitched card:
It was like a large fabric postcard with a wonderful handwritten note on back.
I so appreciate all the support from my blogging community including so many people who have never met me in person and only know me from my blog. I wish we could all get together for some tea and pastries at a nice cafe.
No Longer Dreading the Mail
I feel I turned a corner as I am no longer dreading sympathy/condolence cards in the mail. So many thoughtful people have sent their condolences over the loss of my husband but each card was like a gut wrenching stab reminding me of my profound loss. I dreaded getting the mail and making myself open the cards and their words of sympathy blurring before my tearing eyes. Perhaps in retrospect I should have put them aside and read them later. I felt compelled and obligated to open each card.
On Tuesday I began an 8 week Spousal Loss Grief Support Group. The first meeting was incredibly difficult especially at first but by the end of the meeting as we all started to share and connect it got so much better. The Grief Counselor facilitating the meeting is amazing. This support group is through our local hospice and is a free community service.
There is an educational component to each meeting and I learned a lot about grief and why I have struggled with some severe irritability. I am so happy to have a safe place to talk about complex feelings with others who have also experienced the profound loss of a life partner.
I now get the whole “support group” concept where people going through similar experiences can support each other and relate to each other struggles, especially with the help of an amazing group facilitator.
Back to Making
I knew I needed to return to sewing and the tactile experience of working with fabric as part of my healing. I was either struggling with low energy or lack of interest, but I kept trying to dive back in.
First I tried to return to the Tula in a Box quilt I was working on before Terry died (and Terry helped me lay out the blocks) – see post .Tula in a Box. I managed to get the quilt back up on the large design wall in the hallway (I had half of it sewn together) as I had removed it from the design wall after he died as it was upsetting me:
But I have not done any work on it.
Then I tried to work on taking out the stitching of a quilt I made into a tablecloth. I decided to turn it into a quilt. I did get the stitching out but got stalled on getting it ironed out so I could sent it out for long-arm quilting:
Finally I thought I would try some hand work – something I could sit in front of the TV (I’ve been watching endless Netflix in the evening) and work on – English Paper Piecing (EPP):
That worked. I’ve been working on making EPP hexies in the evening. Occasionally making the hexies feels bittersweet at Terry punched out the paper piecing templates for me. But I like to think that we are making them together.
I am continuing my series of posts about my new journey as a widow after losing my partner for more than half my life, Terry the Quilting Husband (TTQH).
My first two posts in this series Stories from the Road, Part I, and Stories from the Road, Part II were literally about a journey – a road trip with my sister across 4 states to see family on the East Coast and to celebrate TTQH’s life. This post is focused on my figurative journey navigating the grieving process and moving forward with my new life after the loss of the love of my life.
Before I dive into that, I wanted to say thank you to those of you who left thoughtful comments on my previous posts with your condolences and support. I’ve read all of them. I also appreciate those who have reached out via e-mail and/or also sent cards.
I miss regularly blogging and interacting with my regular blogging community (to include reading and commenting on your blog posts, etc.) but the profound grief that comes with such a loss consumes mental and physical energy on a level I cannot put into words.
I will likely at moments ramble in this post, but hopefully I will stay fairly coherent (smile).
The Widow’s Walk
I’ve loss both my parents but I’ve never experienced grief on this level. I do take one day at a time and each day does get a little better and the walk to get through each day seems a little less long and painful.
I’ve been focusing on planning for my next journey in life, which I discuss in a moment, and this has made me hopeful.
I would say my current state of mind is “sad but hopeful“.
I’ve decided to sell my house and move out of Central Oregon this Spring. I am not ready to share yet on my blog where I have decided to move, but will in the future.
Over the past couple of weeks I’ve been cleaning and clearing out many items from TTQH’s life and my life. I think all the thrift shops and shelters in town are tired of my endless carloads of donations.
In addition to local charity thrift shops, I am pleased with the groups I’ve been able to help out by donating TTQH’s stuff. For example I was able to donate all of his historical gaming miniatures/figures to the Hobby University of the Historical Miniature Gaming Society. I was able to donate some cool stuff to a local Veterans Association. I know TTQH would have approved.
In preparation to sell the house and to move to a smaller space temporarily, I’ve been significantly downsizing my possessions. I’ve dabbled with Minimalism in the past (see my series of posts tagged with the category My Minimalism Journey) but I still had a lot of stuff.
It seems like now I am able to be “brutal” with downsizing my stuff and now able to let go more easily. When you experience such a significant loss, things just do not seem as important/precious as they did before.
For example, here is a growing pile of recycled fabric acquired over the years, that is headed to the local thrift shop:
Mike the Miniature Schnauzer and I will be on a road trip this Spring to our new home. I will of course bring my tierneycreates Beastie (see series of posts in the category Beastie Adventures) on the road with us and she might be guest blogging to share stories of our journey from Central Oregon to our new location in the U.S. (staying in the States).
I do plan to return to quilting and blogging about lighter topics. I plan to finish the Tula Pink All Star quilt I last wrote about in the post Tula in a Box; and to continue the story on Secret Quilt Revealed, Part I.