On the first day visiting our friends Kathy and Matt in Northern California, they took us to Lake Tahoe, an area I’ve never seen before. While in Lake Tahoe I took many Black and White photographs.
I’ve titled this post “Exploring My Inner Ansel Adams” as Ansel Adams is one of the most famous/renown B&W photographers. If you are not familiar with him I linked his bio here – Ansel Adams, Photographer.
As mentioned in the Wikipedia entry on Lake Tahoe that I linked above, “is a large freshwater lake in the Sierra Nevada of the United States”. Ansel Adams was renown for his amazing B&W photos in the Sierra Nevada.
So here is my photo essay in B&W of my first visit to Lake Tahoe (and there was a cool fog/mist above part of the lake).
Let me know which # photo you like the best in the comments below! I numbered the photos in the comment field below each image.
I mentioned in my previous post that I was in Northern California (small town outside of Sacramento) visiting friends Kathy and Matt this past weekend, and I would share some stories/photos from that visit.
This post is sort of inspired by my blogging friend Beth’s blog Lessons from a Lab, where she blends her spirtuality with life lessons from her labrador retriever.
Labrador Retrievers are smart, loving and amazing dogs and although I’ve never owned…no wait – “partnered” seems more appropriate…with one, they are one of my favorite dog breeds (but don’t tell Mike my Miniature Schnauzer).
Kathy and Matt assigned me to be Riley’s “Dog Godmother” and she has always had a special place in my heart since then!
Okay so now the subject of this post: When I took my partner John with me to visit Matt and Kathy for the first time, Riley fell in love with him. I have this wonderful series of photos I wanted to share with you of John being loved/mugged by Riley which seemed to be a pure moment of JOY for the both of them!
When a lab wants to love on you, they go all in! John could barely control all that loving at one time – ha!
I’ll close this post with a sort of calmer photo of Riley from the trip – here I am attempting to do whiskey tasting while acknowledging Riley (and not both successfully)!
How the knitted hat I made from yarn I discovered in my stash turned out too small (follow up to blog post Hot Mess of Yummy Yarn); and
The two awesome packages I discovered in my mail upon returning from vacation in Northern California.
THE ITTY-BITTY HAT
It been a while since I’ve knitted a hat and I appeared to have forgotten that I have to alter the pattern I use in order to accommodate my head (I have a lot of hair and perhaps a larger than average head).
Here’s the yarn I started with that I re-discovered while tidying up my yarn stash (two skeins intertwined):
Here is the hat in progress – I love getting to the double point needles section of knitting the hat:
And here is the itty-bitty hat (too small for my head):
The hat is cute and I guess will be enjoyed someday by someone with a smaller head!
I do have leftover yarn from the first skein and I’ve already began knitting another hat (this time with the pattern modified for my head) with the end of the first skein and then into the second skein. So I’ll see how that one comes out and if I can model it for you (or if it will also become a gift…).
FUN SURPRISES IN THE MAIL
Speaking of gifts, I recently returned from a long weekend visiting friends in Northern California (and while I was there I nearly finished knitting the first too small hat). When I picked up my mail on return to Denver, I discovered not one but TWO awesome surprises in the mail!
SURPRISE ONE was from my blogging buddy in the Netherlands Emmely @Infectious Stitches filled with delicious Dutch treats:
She also included a handmade artist roll for my colored pencils – I can do some coloring on the go!
Emmely recently released/published a new foundation paper piecing pincushion pattern and I got to be a pattern-tester on it. You can check out her blog post about it – New Directions: Pattern tester makes!. I did not post about it because I was not over excited about the boring version I made of the pincushion and I want to make a better version before I post about it. I do not like foundation paper piecing so we thought I would be a good tester. Turned out it was easy (and a very well written pattern) and I whipped through making a (boring color choice) pincushion. The other pattern tester and Emmely made beautiful pincushions (as you will see if you check out her post I have linked above).
Oh and in case you are curious, I’ve already opened some of the Dutch treats (yum).
SURPRISE TWO in the mail was a wonderful collection of fabric scraps from my blogging buddy Chela @Chela’s Colchas y Mas.
I know I will figure something fun to make with these fabric someday!
It was a nice way to return from “holiday”. I will share some of my adventures in Northern California in a future post or two.
I took the class last Thursday but I was determined to have it finished by the time I returned to the quilt shop for my first Open Sew evening on Wednesday (yesterday).
Here it is in my studio in progress:
And here is it COMPLETED:
To say I am pleased to have completed it is an understatement (smile). The instructions were excellent but it was like a zillion little parts and I was surprised that they all went together so perfectly (well almost, I did not properly center. my zipper and had to add some tabs on either side of the zipper to hide my mistake),
It was awesome to be able to show it off at Open Sew yesterday. The teacher I had last week for the class was there and I was able to show her as well as ask some follow up questions so I could make it even better next time (yes I think I might attempt it again…someday…).
In my post from late September 2021, Secret Quilt and Design Wall Struggle, I mentioned that I had completed an art quilt for a Women of Color Quilting Network (WCQN) show opening in 2022, but I could not yet share images of the quilt.
I was recently contacted by The James Museumwho asked for me to sign an image copyright release for my quilt. They said it was to use images of the quilt for promotional purposes. I immediately signed the release but I was not sure what would happen next.
To my ecstatic surprise the museum contacted me a day or so later with the link to their listing of Special Exhibitions > Upcoming shows and my quilt was featured for the upcoming exhibit: Black Pioneers: Legacy in the American West!
You will see the quilt I made plus and overview about the future show!
I am sharing this with you as it is on a public facing website. I’ll wait until the show opens next year to share photos of the quilt and my creation of the quilt; as well as my Artist Statement. I don’t want to give anything away from the show’s opening in September 2022 (no longer April 2022, now September).
I can tell you that I was inspired by Langston Hughes’ amazing poem – Let America Be America Again. You can read the entire poem at this website:
This poem was written in the 1930s but to me feels relevant still today.
Dr. Carolyn Mazloomi, the show’s curator and head of the WCQN, will likely publish a book about the exhibit like she has done on other amazing WCQN exhibits. Here is her amazon page – Carolyn Mazloomi.
Being an “ADHD” type of crafter, although I had lots of other projects to work on, I decided I needed to organize my semi-obscene collection of yarn (darn you thrift/charity shops – why do you have to have so many good yarn deals?!?!)
While rummaging through my yarn stash I came across this yummy “hot mess of yarn”, which appears to be two skeins of yarn:
Wouldn’t that make a delicious hat and matching scarf?
I do not have anything like that in my current collection of handmade hats:
They all look sort of “tired” compared to the colors in that yarn. Oh and speaking of “tired”, I keep using the same pattern over and over again because it is easy and comforting to knit.
Okay dusting off the knitting needles and adding a new project to my chair in the living room when watching television in the evening! I’ll update you on the progress…
(oh no, just realized I need to roll the skeins into balls before I start knitting – ick!)
Some great news: I was able update the art quilt RECYCLED HOPE III: WINDOWS OF CONVERSATION on my Portfolio page as: “OWNED BY PRIVATE COLLECTOR”!
A month ago I was contacted through my tierneycreates Inquirespage by an art consultant in Seattle, Washington who was interested in purchasing this piece for her client.
We worked out the details, I created an invoice and they purchased the piece!
So with this sale, I’ve now sold 11 of my art quilts over the past 5 years (and yes I would be very hungry if I’d tried to live off the sale of art quilts as that averages to 2.2 quilts sold per year – ha!).
The City of Seattle owns four (4) of my art quilts which you can check out on my Portfoliopage:
COLOR STORY I: FLYING TRIANGLES
COLOR STORY II: SILK LANDSCAPE
COLOR STORY IV: COLOR CHANGE
COLOR STORY V: ABANDONED WATER STRUCTURE
And the rest of the seven (7) that have sold were purchased by private collectors:
WE WILL NOT BE DISCARDED (not in my Portfolio but you can see a post on it – We Will Not Be Discarded’s Debut; it sold at a show at Twig’s Gallery in Sisters Oregon in 2016)
It’s been years since I’ve taken an in person quilting or crafting class.
I moved from Oregon to Colorado in April 2019 and a month later I met my partner John at a widow/widowers grief support group. The rest of 2019 was spent settling into Colorado and into my first new relationship in over 30 years. Then in 2020 the pandemic hit and you know the rest about all those fun lockdown times.
Treelotta just felt like it was “my place” and the staff is so awesome. It has incredibly positive and creative vibe. I found out about classes on my first visit but was not quite ready to purse it yet.
Then I returned in October when my friend Judy visited and found out about their Open Sew Nights and upcoming classes as well as talked to one of their class facilitators and I just knew it was time/the right place to find my quilting community.
The funny think is it is about a 30 min drive from my house (or more depending on traffic), and there is a much closer quilt shop to my house, but that closer shop does not have a good vibe (actually I call that quilt shop “The Grumpy Quilt Shop” because no matter how many times I’ve been in there they remain unfriendly).
So last night I took a bag making class at Treelotta – we worked on the Range Backpack by Noodlehead.
Here is the teacher’s sample, which looked more amazing in person as I do not think my photos do it justice:
The other students were working on some amazing backpacks such as this one:
I had not properly prepared for class (I am out of practice of attending in person classes) but here is the main fabric for my backpack and the straps I was working on:
The teacher and the support staff person (who found items for us we needed, handled any additional purchases, etc) were awesome.
But what made the class really awesome was the other students! I met so many fun, talented and wonderful crafters with an age range from 30s to 70s. I cannot put into words how wonderful it was to take the class and meet other creative people in the Denver metropolitan area.
I am going back – I am planning to attend Open Sew next week and take the next Noodlehead bag making class in December! Below is the class sample for that class:
But one bag at a time – first I have to finish the backpack (will of course share photos in a future post) before I think about starting my next bag.
We have another new member to our Beastie Family thanks to the amazing work of Helen of CrawCrafts Beasties!
This is tierneycreates Beastie guest blogging and 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.
In my previous post I shared our excitement to add FAITH BEASTIE, human John’s granddaughter’s new Beastie (see post Guest Blogger: New Member in Our Beastie Family). Well for his birthday, human John got his son Zach his own ZACH BEASTIE!
Zach Beastie arrived from Dublin Ireland on Monday and John Beastie and I could not wait to open his package (hopefully his ride across the seas was not too bumpy):
Human Zach loves to go on long bike rides (like his human father does) and so Zach Beastie has his own bike helmet (in case human Zach wants to take him on a ride):
Human Zach loves to read and always has a tote bag in tow, so Zach Beastie has a customized tote bag and some hefty reading:
“Woollyses” – get it? A little James Joyce humor (Ulysses)!
And here is a close up of Zach Beastie, with facial hair just like the human one!
Oh and talk about details – human Zach loves his Doc Martens shoes and his Beastie has wool felted Doc Martens like shoes!
Helen of CrawCrafts Beastiesis unnaturally brilliant (perhaps she is extraterrestrial, who knows..)
We are so happy to have a 4th Beastie in our Beastie family!
I am running out of art quilts my portfolio. On one hand this is a good thing, as many have sold including 4 that the City of Seattle own as part of their Portable Works Collection. On the other hand – I am running out of available pieces in my portfolio for shows/calls for entry. I explained why I’ve not made many recent art quilts in my postSecret Quilt and Design Wall Struggle.
I am approaching 3 years in Colorado (in April 2022) and in early 2021 I realized I want to show my work in my new home Colorado and since I was not up to making any additional art quilts at that time, I needed to try and get some of my remaining pieces in a Colorado based show.
So back in April 2021, I responded to a call for entry for a Textile Arts show at the R Gallery in Boulder, Colorado and my art quilt Color Story III: Random Not So Random was accepted.
I was “over the moon” with excitement as I was going to be in my first Colorado show!
When it came time to deliver the quilt to the gallery for the show I carefully packaged it up and we set it in the back of the car (we have a hatchback).
Unfortunately my partner John also (accidentally) set his large open beverage in the back of the car, and forgot it.
We stopped for lunch along the way and John went to check something in the back of the car and discovered his drink (which he had forgotten about and did not know he left it there) had spilled and soaked my recycled silk art quilt.
We could not deliver the quilt to the gallery as it was a “hot mess” to say the least.
I am just now able to write about it, and laugh about it, as it was an upsetting moment for me to say the least.
I contacted the gallery and told them what happened and that I would not be able to be in the show.
John felt absolutely terrible about it and ended up buying the quilt from me for what I was going to list it at in the gallery. The positive outcome was that I did not have to lose 30 – 50% of the sale to the gallery commission. Another positive outcome is that the quilt dried out and although to me it does not look exactly like it did originally, John loves it and has it displayed on the wall near his home office downstairs:
John says he is proud to own one of my art quilts.
While I’ve been busy making endless drawstring/project bags, my partner John has been busy building his first barrister bookcase to replace the shelves in his bar in our downstairs entertainment area.
John has always been handy but he got into woodworking a couple years ago and really started focusing on it during the early days of the COVID pandemic. He also had a section of our basement framed out and removed the carpet to have walls and a door put up to create a workshop for himself (see post From the Woodshop to see how it looked when first built..he has since done a lot of upgrades and added in an air filtration system and sawdust collection system). Part of our basement was rarely used so it was a much better use of the space to make a “studio” for John!
A lot of good things have come out of John’s woodshop such as a remodel to my sewing studio:
Our bedroom dresser:
If you’d like to see posts I did on his projects, see my blog category – From the Woodshop for links to the related posts.
For a quite a while, John has been fascinated with barrister style bookcases. If you’ve never heard of them, here is a little background on them from Apartment Therapy:
This old staple, also referred to as a lawyer’s bookcase, comes in many shapes and sizes. However, all barrister bookcases feature glass panes to protect books and trinkets from dust. I think what I like about them most is that they offer both old-school charm and a sense of regality.
John found plans online to create barrister bookcases and taught himself via YouTube videos and online resources how to make them!
Here are photos from his building of the bookcases:
And here are the completed bookcases mounted as his new liquor cabinet in our bar:
To add an extra feature to the bookcases, he installed lights into the first two rows of cabinets:
Here is what they look like with the doors open (the doors lift and glide into the top of their section:
John has curated a nice collection of Whiskeys, Bourbons, Ryes, and Scotches including those he purchased during a Bourbon Tour of Kentucky he went on with his friends a couple years ago. Now he has a nice place to display them!
I tease John that after a while he will run out of things to build and he will just have to build us a new house!
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 combineWhiskeyTastingandColoring 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:
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))
We were impressed that we all “stayed within the lines” while coloring and whiskey tasting!
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!
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!
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.
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:
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!
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 Fabricswhich 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).
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!
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.
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.
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 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.
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:
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!
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:
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.
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.
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).
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 9/11and 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.
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:
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:
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 Italyand had a delicious stop for gelato!
I’ll continue the rest of our adventures from this visit to NYC in my next post!
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.
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 Squarefor 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 Martinup 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:
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 Retreaton 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 Shoppea 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.
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!
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)!
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: