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A Crafter Needs to Eat, A Crafter's Life

Hello Autumn!

I’ve shared many of the photos below already on Instagram but I thought I would pull them together and share a quick post about Autumn, my favorite season.

Fall Scenery

Who doesn’t love the colors of Autumn and the changing leaves?

Not only the color of the leaves but the sounds of the leaves? Usually when I’m on a walk I have my earphones in and I am listening to an audiobook, a podcast or music. Yesterday I went on a little afternoon walk and actually just listened to the trees – their dry autumn leaves rustling in the wind. It was sort of glorious.

In addition to the trees/leaves, we’ve seen some beautiful skies at sunset – my partner John captured these photos.

Fall Cooking

The other day it dropped to 48 degrees F outside so was it’s cold enough for homemade chicken noodle soup with handmade noodles!

On Instagram I shared these two images below, implying I made the soup…

But I was only adding extra noodles to the soup – actually my partner John made the soup and the noodles.

But I did make an apple pie – a perfect Autumn desert!

I was super tasty and we had it for desert after our soup and garlic bread for supper.

Now it’s time to pull out the stew recipes as well as the soups I like to make recipes. Cooler weather means lots of cooking (and maybe some more baking).


Postscript

Oh I will close this post with what Mike the Miniature Schnauzer is up to – providing emotional support for more home remodeling projects (see his guest post Guest Blog Post: A Whole Lot of Remodeling Going On) by going on trips to home improvement stores.

Here is his photo from the other day when he went to pick up more supplies and it looks like he’s trying to give the humans some directions…

What's on the Design Wall

An Update on “Seattle Scrappy” – Haphazard Stitching…

I thought I would give you all an update on the improvisationally free-form log cabin block style pieced quilt I’ve been working on since January 2020 – Seattle Scrappy. I last updated you on this piece in my March post – Update on Seattle Scrappy (though I think here and there in the Postscript section of later posts I provided a brief update…maybe).

A Little Background

To save you time from reading the previous posts about this quilt Update on Seattle Scrappy, Seattle Scrappy (What’s on the Design Wall) , and What’s on the…Design Carpet (and also have you wondering: “she’s posted about this quilt three times over 9+ month, why is it not done yet?!?!?) here is a little summary.

The quilt began as a pile of scraps that my friend Dana let me play with when I attended a quilt retreat in Poulsbo, Washington in January 2020 (see posts Mini Quilt Retreat, January 2020 and A Jaunt About Poulsbo, WA). I pieced these scraps into free form log cabin blocks (no measuring, just “eye-balling” and trimming to make fit):

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I made a lot of blocks and when I returned home I arranged them into this quilt top:

I decided to name the piece: Seattle Scrappy.

For the past 7 or so months, I’ve been hand stitching the quilt.

Update on “Seattle Scrappy”

In my mind I am doing something like Kantha hand stitching but actually what I am doing should be called “Drunken Kantha” (no I am not drinking while stitching – that could be disastrous since I am a “light-weight” when it comes to alcohol consumption, I would impale my finger…constantly…with the needle) as, well…it sort of looks…sloppy…

Let’s get this over with – let me show you the photos – I am nearly 1/3rd done on stitching this quilt which measures approximately 60 inches by 60 inches:

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If you are gasping or just shaking your head at this point as you look at the nonuniform stitching, I have an artistic design “excuse” for the stitching. It is a weak excuse but here goes: As it frequently rains in Seattle, Washington, I wanted the stitching to capture the feeling of a rainstorm (with the wind blowing the rain sideways…).

There. That sounds quite reasonable – it was just my artistic design, not that I am a terrible Kantha-stitcherist! (smile).

But seriously, I am hopeful it will look acceptable once I get the whole thing stitched, and then trim off the excess batting and backing, do a whole lot of ironing, and bind the edges in some manner (either a traditional quilt binding or the art quilt technique of putting a “facing” on the back edges of the quilt).

I cannot believe how long it takes to hand quilt a lap sized quilt. I’ve hand quilted smaller pieces before (see post What’s on My Lap) and I found it very meditative. I think in the future I will reserve hand quilting only for smaller pieces, it was a bit too ambitious an undertaking (for a slopping hand quilter) to hand quilt Seattle Scrappy!

Till the next update, Seattle Scrappy will continue to sit on the edge of my chair in the living room, waiting for the next set of haphazard stitches!


Postscript

Hopefully I did not visually traumatize you with images of my hand stitching.

If I have, I would like to undo the damage by referring you to look at the website of one of my extremely talented blogging buddies – Mariss the Quilter: Fabrications – who is a masterful Kantha stitcher. Check out her post On Hand Stitching to see some amazing Kantha stitching!

Someday…maybe…I can get my stitching to a “less scary point”. I am not aiming for her level of talent, just not to scare myself or others – ha!  I did recently actually invest in a book on Kantha stitching. So perhaps there is hope…

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Knit and Crochet Away!

Update on the “Granny Square Madness”

I thought I would share an update to this post from a couple weeks ago Granny Square Madness, and let you where I am on making my first granny square afghan.

At the previous update I was here in my progress – 46 blocks completed:

And here is where I am as of today – 63 blocks done:

Since I am making the afghan 9 x 10 (90 blocks), I have 27 more to go!

After laying out the completed blocks, I checked my remaining blocks in various stages of progress to make sure I had 27:

And yay – I have 27 in progress! This was important to check as I am getting low on yarn. I’ve already exhausted the magenta and most recently the oatmeal colored yarn; and now I only have 1 skein each of the dark gray and of the light gray.

So I really need to conserve my remaining yarn to complete the rest of the blocks. That was once a full basket of yarn! It does feel good to use up 15 – 20 year old yarn I’ve had in my stash.

I did find a YouTube tutorial that I think I am going to use to attached my blocks:

Courtesy of YouTube

I like the join in this one. I have not made my final decision yet and plan to check out some more videos before deciding.

But as I mentioned earlier in this post I am running low on yarn, so what yarn will I use to join the blocks? Well – a couple weeks ago I found a giant skein of dark gray yarn (darker than the gray I am already using) at a thrift shop that I think I will use to join the blocks. Today I auditioned it with a couple blocks:

I plan to try joining a couple blocks as a test with the dark. dark gray yarn and see how I like it. I did take a look around the yarn department of Joann’s Fabrics, the same national chain where I bought the original Lions Brand yarn in Seattle, Washington in the early 2000s, and they did not carry any of the exact yarns I am using. Too bad I think it would have been cool to join the blocks with the magenta color!

Once again Mike the Mini Schnauzer tried out the afghan after I laid it out on the carpet:

He continues to grow impatient with me as he wants to snuggle in and fall asleep in the finished afghan.

When he got up from lying on the blocks one of the block got stuck on his foot and he “rearranged” the blocks a little…

Well that is an update for now, back to working on finishing the last 27 blocks!


Postscript

I am already thinking about my next granny square afghan (not sure when my first one is complete that I can stop the “madness”) and I realized a couple weeks ago I do not have much acrylic or wool-acrylic blend yarn in my stash. I mainly have wool yarns for knitting. 

So on my visits to thrift stores to build my home library (future blog post), I’ve also been on the look out for yarn that will work for granny square afghans (acrylic and blends) and slowly building my stash (quite inexpensively):

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A Crafter's Life

The Earth’s Wisdom

I found a profound piece of “wisdom” taped to the inside cover of an old journal and wanted to share it with you, in case you also find it inspiring.

I do not know who to credit for this as I had no additional information on where I clipped this from; and when I tried to google it no result came up. So my apologies to whomever wrote these wonderful words I’ve copied below…

We should study the earth’s wisdom

– Unknown

Tree

Photo by niko photos on Unsplash

Have strong foundation. It will nourish you and stabilize you when life storms come.

Reach high and keep growing. Shelter and nurture others.

Share your fruit freely.

Volcano

Photo by USGS on Unsplash

Let it go! Don’t hold your fiery spirit in.

Your passion will create paradise in time.

River

Photo by kermit nicou on Unsplash

Keep moving or you will stagnate. You are more powerful than you know.

As you move through life, simply being yourself, you will nourish, refresh, and create incredible beauty.

Mountain

Photo by Mads Schmidt Rasmussen on Unsplash

Lift your consciousness to a higher level. Everything is different from that higher perspective.

Your path upward may seem rocky but it will be worthwhile.

Ocean

Photo by Giga Khurtsilava on Unsplash

Even if storms come, know that they are just on the surface.

Sync your awareness into your own depths where there is always calm. Even if your depths seem dark, they are rich with life. you hold, so much more than you imagine.

You are part of so much more than you realize. You may think you are a small wave but you are an intrinsic part of a large ocean.

Rock

Photo by Artem Kniaz on Unsplash

Be still. Conserve your energy.

You have existed for a long time and have soaked in wisdom like sunshine.

Your power is your being, not your doing.

Garden

Photo by Marta Bibi on Unsplash

Beauty comes from diversity.

Don’t be afraid of the fertilizer in your life. You can use it to grow.

There are friends buzzing all around to help you grow. You are not alone.

You are a gift, beautiful nourishing and soulful.

Moss

Photo by Aldo Hernandez on Unsplash

It’s OK to be soft and gentle.

Be yourself, soak in the waters of life, and you will be able to grow even in unlikely conditions.

Your essence is comfort.


Feature image credit: Photo by Casey Horner on Unsplash

A Crafter's Life

Why Worry Now

I was thinking about a different post to write this post on my morning walk with Mike the Miniature Schnauzer.

The trees have turned and the weather has cooled down and there was a delicious Autumn cool quiet to my walk this morning.

I enjoy listening to either podcasts, audiobooks or music while I walk Mike. This morning I was listening to music and one of my all time favorite songs queued up on my playlist – Why Worry by Dire Straits from of one of my favorite albums of all time – Brothers in Arms.

In the back of mind lately, always swirling around, are thoughts of the craziness going on in the world. Listening to this song gave me pause.

So I decided to save the post I was going to write today for tomorrow and instead share this song with you and maybe it can give you a little pause too if you have a lot of “thought swirling” going on in your head…

Courtesy of YouTube

Baby, I see this world has made you sad
Some people can be bad
The things they do, the things they say

But baby, I’ll wipe away those bitter tears
I’ll chase away those restless fears
And turn your blue skies into gray

Why worry

There should be laughter after pain
There should be sunshine after rain
These things have always been the same
So why worry now
Why worry now

And if you’d like to see a lovely live version of the song in a Mark Knopfler duet with the exquisite Emmylou Harris, here you go…

Courtesy of YouTube

I thought my soul would float away from peacefulness listening to this…

By the way if you enjoyed this duet they have a brilliant album together that I highly recommend (it’s in my music collection) – All the Road Running.

What's on the Design Wall

What’s On the Design Wall: “Pride”

The colorful quarter circle quilt “Pride” (which I first shared in the July 2020 post What’s on the Design Wall: Pride) is back up on the design wall (I took it down a couple months ago to work on other pieces):

“Pride” in it’s tentative layout on the design wall

Each block is 7.5 inches x 7.5 inches and there are 64 blocks. Using some rough math the finished piece is estimated to be a little under 5 ft. x 5 ft.

Right now I am still playing with the color combinations to make sure I have the most pleasing layout. I still have more blocks to make with additional color combinations.

More quarter circle blocks to piece

So once I get those done I can finalize the layout and begin sewing the blocks together.

More to come…


Postscript

I am still working on my granny square madness (see post Granny Square Madness) and plan to share an update once I finish up the remaining blocks of the 100 I am making.

The madness continues

I continue to take my “to go” kit of granny squares in progress everywhere I go!

Special Events

Card Making Playdate

I am off work on Fridays and last Friday I had my friend Michele over for a card making playdate!

Michele got me into card making back in the late 1990s when we worked together at a company in Seattle, Washington (in the Queen Anne area if you are familiar with Seattle). Along with our friend Sandy we would make cards in the conference room during our lunch break.

I’ve not make cards for a couple years, not since I made them for my tierneycreates Etsy shop (which I still daydream about reopening someday). Here are the sets of cards I sold on my Etsy shop years ago:

I lined the inside of the cards with a white folded sheet of paper to make it easier to write inside the card (instead of trying to write a greeting on deep colored card stock.

So Michele and I thought it would be fun after all these years, and since I now also live in the Denver Metro area where she lives, to get together for making cards (and we could relatively socially distance while crafting).

I converted my studio/sewing room into a “paper crafting emporium” for the day, putting away my sewing machine and current project in progress (which I will share in a future post) and dusted off my old paper crafting supplies and set them up around the room.

Here is my studio table all set for card making (with snacks of course!):

And the paper crafting supplies spread around the room:

Here is Michele’s work in progress and the cards she made:

I tried to recreate the style of the cards I made previously for my Etsy shop that I featured earlier in the post but I was struggling with my paper cutter (old dull blade, etc.) in order to make larger cards from card stock, so I settled on using pre-made and folded smaller card stock I found in my paper crafting stash (likely 15+ year old!).

I also made these cards (some of the cards have 2 images – one with the ribbon in place and one with it moved so you can read the text):

Most of cards Michele and I added an inner liner of folded white paper glued into the crease to make it easy to write a note inside the card.

Michele and I had a very fun day while Mike the Miniature Schnauzer hung out in the room with us while we crafted.

At one point Mike keep seeking attention from Michele, and she took out a sheet of pre-printed adhesive letters and began teaching Mike the alphabet/to read (while we giggled). During the pandemic she’s been helping her son in his remote home schooling (like so many awesome Moms out there) so she used her Mom-Teacher skills on Mike!

Mike did listen attentively but he was not very good at learning the alphabet!

We had a wonderful lunch prepared by my partner John (who full time telecommutes during the pandemic) of scalloped potatoes, honey ham, and sautéed broccoli.

We also went on a walk around the green space/park behind my house.

It was a lovely way to spend a Friday and we plan to paper craft again in the near future. This time Michele is going to pull out her dusty paper crafting supplies and we will craft at her house.


Postscript

Speaking of crafting, my partner John, who has since the pandemic started and we became homebound, has been studying woodworking and continuing working on projects. I shared the tables he made in the Postscript section of the post – Making My Own Granny Square Afghan.

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Well recently he completely a bench/table with drawers for his Miter Saw which in my opinion is pretty impressive for a new woodworker! He bought plans online for the bench/table and improved upon those plans to better reinforce the table.

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He’s been having a lot of fun in his studio since we converted part of the daylight basement to his woodworking shop!

Outside Adventures!, What's on the Design Wall

The Mountains on the Wall

I spend a lot of time in my home office. I work four 10 hour days Monday to Thursday each week. I try to keep the walls of my home office visually appealing since occasionally during boring conference calls I might need to stare at them (smile).

Have you ever played “Conference Call Bingo”? My friend Cody turned me on to it.

I love mountains, that is one of the reasons I chose the part of Colorado (the Front Range Urban Corridor of the Rocky Mountains) I moved to in 2019 (see series of posts Colorado Bound) – it has lots of visible mountains!

image credit: KGA Studio Architects

I’ve enjoyed some amazing hikes in Colorado (see series of posts Outside Adventures! – the posts on my mountain hikes) and being near any sort of geologic rock formation is one of my favorite things in the world.

I love Mountains. One of my favorite memories while living in the Seattle area was a visit on my birthday to Mount Rainer/Mount Rainer National Park (which I beloved nicknamed “baby mountain” because it was my most dearly beloved mountain of the Cascade Mountain range).

image credit: Mt. Rainer Guest Services

So last year while visiting my Washington state based quilting friends Judy and Dana, I picked up a mountain scene themed panel to make a future wall hanging.

Finally, over a year later, I finished this wall hanging. See photos below.

The panel is by one of my favorite fabric lines – Stonehenge by Northcott Fabrics. In a perfect (and frivolous) world I would own the entire fabric line!

I made a simple quilted wallhanging by adding in a thin and then larger border with some coordinating fabrics from the Stonehenge line, and used the outside border fabric to bind it.

Then I hung it on my home office wall (which is also the upstairs guest room):

Someday I need to make a queen-sized bed quilt for the upstairs guest room bed!

In case you’ve been following my blog for a while and you have a very detailed memory (filled with lots of random things you remember), you will notice my home office wall color has changed. It used to be green, as shown in this post from April 2020 – Home Office Tips and Tour.

We decided to paint it the same color as the rest of the house instead of the random green color it had on its walls. It was one of those projects we did during my guest blogger’s (Mike the Miniature Schnauzer) discussion of endless pandemic home remodeling projects in his post Guest Blog Post: A Whole Lot of Remodeling Going On.

In addition to the mountain quilt wallhanging, I also have B&W photos from hikes around Colorado as well as some other B&W photos I love.

The B&W photograph on the right in the second image is by Kirk Fry Photography (a local Colorado artist) and gifted to me by my friend Michele.

And here is the desk where I endure conference calls from all day – ha!

It helped to have quilts to look at when the conference calls get mind numbing…

I also now have a built in shelved closet in my home office but I will talk more about that in a future post about another remodel of my studio (if you are on Instagram, there are some images on my IG page @tierneycreates).

The Library Stack, Thrift Shop Adventures

Good Morning and The Library Stack

First let me wish you all a “Good Morning”, even if your time zone is greatly different from mine (perhaps you are reading this post before you go to bed!).

Just like in the August 6, 2020 post Good Morning, I would like to give you a “Good Morning” greeting by sharing some photos from my partner John’s morning bike ride, this time from a couple days ago along a reservoir near our house.

Now for the second part of this post, I am going to continue my series of posts about the latest stack of my local library books I’ve borrowed (The Library Stack), and show you the sort of crazy huge stack of books I just got from the library:

I actually took a break from “library stacks” for a while as I was trying to catch up on my backlog of crafting magazines I have to read in my home library. But then my blogging buddy, author and podcaster* (and fellow Beastie owner) Tammie Painter shared her latest “library stack” in her post It’s Time for An Action-Packed Library Stack and it made me want to go to my library and get my “stacking” on! (I am easily influenced).

(*If you enjoying listening to podcasts check out Tammie’s wonderful The Book Owl Podcast available on the podcast platforms).

In addition to my standard home decorating books (so enjoyable to browse with a pot of tea), I have a couple books in the stack related to my latest obsession – making granny squares (see post Granny Square Madness).

Speaking of granny squares, the other day we stopped at a thrift store when wandering about and I found another cool granny square afghan that needed “rescuing”. Yes – it looked at me with big eyes that said “bring me home Tierney…please…”. (It is okay if you are now rolling your eyes…)

Here is Mike (my rescue dog) with my latest “rescued” afghan:

It’s quite cozy and I had a nice nap under it this weekend.

I can relate to all the work that goes into making granny squares (I’ve made 15 more this weekend of the 43 left to make to complete my first granny square afghan) and I sort of wince to think this ended up in a thrift shop but I guess it was time for me to be its guardian!

Oh and since this post seems filled with rather random things (sunrise photos from a morning bike ride, a library stack, “rescued” granny square afghan, etc.) I will add to the randomness by closing out this post with my new tablecloth and placemats I also picked up from a thrift shop.

The napkins are from World Market and my beloved sunflower center piece is from my friend Michele, but the table cloth and placemats were a couple of dollars investment for a nice new look to our kitchen table!

Okay that’s the end of this random item post, hope you all have a great day!

tierneycreates

Project Adoption Challenge!

My friend Wendy Hill (yes Wendy of the Quarantine Quilts series of posts where she made a quilt with the 4 rambunctious boys next door ages 4 – 8 as a diversion for them during the height of the pandemic) has been “KonMari-ing” her house. Using Marie Kondo’s methods she’s been going through her home organizing and letting go of that which does not give her joy.

I’ve recently benefited from her “KonMari-fication” (totally made up word, not endorsed by Marie Kondo, ha) when I received in the mail a project challenge.

goodies in the mail!

She sent me the pattern she wrote and all the material (pre-cut including bias tape) to make a quilt called Friendship Ring from her book Easy Bias-Covered Curves (Wendy Hill, 2006).

When I mean all the fabrics, I mean ALL THE FABRICS, to include pre-sewn blocks and examples of how to attached the bias tape…and the already created bias tape!

I was overwhelmed by her generosity. She decided she was not interested in making another one of these quilts (one had been made as a sample for the book), so it was just taking up space in her home (and not bringing her joy).

Here is what, in a perfect world (of me perfectly putting it together as instructed), the quilt will look like when done (thanks Wendy Hill for the photo):

photo credit: Wendy Hill

I already have a copy of her book Easy Bias-Covered Curves to help me with the technical aspects of assembling this quilt and finishing up the bias covered curves with all the pre-made bias tape she sent me:

The fabrics are lovely, they are a collection of 1930s type of prints collected by Wendy and donated by her friends who collected these types of fabrics.

So I’ve excitedly added this project to my project queue! I will of course blog about its progress when I start working on it. Thanks so much to Wendy for her generosity and for trusting me with carrying this project forward!

Let me close this post with my favorite Marie Kondo quote which I’ve referenced in previous posts in my old life (before my husband passed) such as The Space in Which We Live; and now in current life in which I had to let go of a lot from my wonderful old life to make space for this new reality and existence.

The space in which we live should be for the person we are becoming now, not for the person we were in the past.

– Marie Kondo, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing

Special Events

Leonardo…

And now for something completely different…(and if you get the Monty Python reference then you are my people!)


Nothing can be loved or hated unless it is first understood.

– Leonardo da Vinci

I’ve always been fascinated by Leonardo da Vinci. I first learned about this Renaissance genius Italian polymath in my high school European History class; and I’ve remained fascinated by his works all my life.

The first Leonardo da Vinci exhibit I attended was when I lived in Houston, Texas at the Museum of Fine Arts. The second exhibit I attended was in British Columbia at the Royal British Columbia Museum, Victoria, Canada when I lived in Seattle, Washington (British Columbia is fairly close to the Pacific Northwestern part of the US and we took the Victoria Clipper ferry from Washington state to Victoria).

Here is one of my favorite posters of all time that I put up on the wall wherever I live since I purchased it in 1999 at the exhibit:

Last August I visited the exhibit Leonardo da Vinci: 500 Years of Genius at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science and I thought I would share some highlights of this exhibit with you (I meant to blog about it last year after I attended, and I forgot…)

Here is an excerpt of the description of the exhibit from the Denver Museum of Nature and Science

Although Leonardo da Vinci died in 1519, his influence has endured. His extraordinary legacy comes to life…through a variety of experiences that illustrate why the ultimate Renaissance man remains an inspiration for the ages. 

    • See nearly 70 of Leonardo’s machine inventions, built using detailed concepts from his famous codices (notebooks), including a helicopter, airplane, automobile, submarine and military tank.
    • Explore the exclusive “The Secrets of Mona Lisa,” an analysis of the iconic painting conducted at the Louvre by scientific engineer and photographer Pascal Cotte.
    • Be immersed in Leonardo’s works through a multisensory cinematic experience using Grande Exhibitions’ SENSORY4 technology.
    • Test a Leonardo-inspired catapult, and encounter the Museum’s historical enactors, presenting characters who bring a personal perspective to the story of Leonardo.

What was most amazing about this exhibit (besides the whole room dedicated to the science and the mystery behind the Mona Lisa) was seeing life size models of da Vinci’s creations from his drawings in his famous notebooks.

By the way – throughout the exhibit they had enlarged reproductions of da Vinci’s famous backward writing on the walls of the exhibit:

Leonardo Machine Inventions Brought to Life From His Notebooks

Here are some of the machine models created from da Vinci’s drawings for this exhibit and reproductions of the original drawings.

Anatomic Drawings and  Vitruvian Man 

The exhibit also had a section on da Vinci’s anatomic drawings and his famous Virtuvian Man . Here are a couple images from that section:

The Mona Lisa

The exhibit also had an amazing section on the mysteries of the Mona Lisa. It was the most crowded section of the exhibit.

As I mentioned unfortunately it was very crowded in this part of the exhibit and I did not get to spend as much time as I’d like to.

The Denver Museum of Nature and Science is pretty awesome and we’ve attend several other awesome exhibits there in the past (see post The Art of the Brick).


Postscript

Around the time I first learned about Leonardo da Vinci (in high school), I also discovered Monty Python.

There is no relation to the two, but I opened this post with a Monty Python reference and now I am going to close it with a clip of one of my favorite Monty Python skits:

Ministry of Silly Walks

I dare you not to laugh, John Cleese is so brilliant in it. I’ve seen this clip many times and it always brings a smile to my face (and most times a belly laugh!)

Knit and Crochet Away!

Granny Square Madness

This is a follow up to my blog post Making My Own Granny Square Afghan, in which I discuss how I taught myself via YouTube videos to crochet granny square blocks.

Recently I’ve took a little hiatus from blogging and social media as I was struggling with an intense bout of grief related to widowhood and things going on in the world (grief sucks as a hobby, I do not recommend it).

One thing I did to distract myself from spiraling into the pit of despair was to keep crafting, specifically working on making granny square blocks for an eventual granny square blanket.

I became a little obsessed with crocheting these blocks and my living room became “Granny Square Central”:

Note – the granny square blankets you see on my sofa above were “rescued” from thrift shops and are part of my “Rescued Granny Square Afghan” collection I mentioned in the previous post (see the Postscript section of this post for my exciting latest acquisition in my “rescue” activities…)

I also began taking a little kit with me when I left the home so I could work on granny squares while riding in the car (while someone else was driving), when waiting at an appointment, when traveling, etc. I did not want to be away from my yarn and crochet hook!

Working on granny squares has been a wonderful distraction and feels very peaceful and grounding. Thank goodness for handwork!

I used a stash of old Lion Brand Wool Ease yarn I’ve had for 20 years in grays, magenta and oatmeal, which is blended wool and acrylic yarns:

And with all this granny square crocheting my collection of completed squares began to build. In the image below I have my completed blocks in a large plastic bag:

At first I designed a block with 4 rows but then added a 5th row to make it bigger, which looked like this:

Then I decided to experiment with a variety of other combinations and below is a slide show of many of the different type of blocks I’ve made (47 to date):

I’ve completed 47 blocks and after laying them out I’ve decided to make the blanket 9 blocks by 10 blocks (90 blocks), so I have another 43 blocks to make.

Here is my latest version of laying out my completed blocks (I had 46 done at the time I took this image):

And here is an image from the first time I laid out the blocks to see what they looked like (I had 15 blocks completed). Mike my Miniature Schnauzer thought the blanket was ready for him to use!

I am currently making 43 centers for the next round of blocks and I decided to have less color changes (a lot of color changes means a lot of weaving in ends) so I am only doing three colors for the rest of the blocks.

Limiting the rest of the blocks to three color combinations works well as I am nearly out of the magenta and the oatmeal but I have lots of the light and dark gray (which will also be the lattice and border when I join the blocks together). So most of the remaining blocks will have a magenta or oatmeal center and then the light gray and dark gray for the remaining color combinations.

I think the centers are so cute, it always pleases me when I finish a center and get the ends weaved in:

I’ve begun working on other projects besides obsessively making granny squares but that is for another post. Now I have to find some YouTube videos on options for joining together my granny squares.


Postscript

As I mentioned earlier in my post, recently I “rescued” another granny square afghan from the thrift store – a very lovely one. I cannot believe the amount of work that went into this blanket – it must have taken many months to finish. I know the cost of the yarn/materials and then time and effort were more than the $7 that it cost me to buy it from the thrift shop!

This new afghan has given me a lot of comfort. When I was feeling particularly sad I would wrap myself up in it as I knew a lot of love went into making it. I felt I could feel that love when I was snuggled in it and it comforted and calmed me.

I nicknamed it the “full of love afghan”. I do not know how it ended up in a thrift shop but I send a thank you out into the Universe to whoever made it whether they are still living or have passed.

Special Events, tierneycreates

Seattle, CoCA Scream Gala Auction, and More

Seattle, Washington

Traveling Workshop 2020: Seattle, Washington - Transom

Seattle is where I originally learned to quilt and it continues to be connected to my quilting journey (and not just because the awesome person, Judy D., who got me into quilting still lives there). I lived in Seattle, Washington from 1997 to 2005 before moving to Bend, Oregon in 2005 and then to Colorado (Denver Metro area) in 2019.

If you’ve been following my blog for a while you might remember that the City of Seattle’s Office of Arts and Culture invited me to have my first solo show in 2019 (see post Solo Show Seattle Municipal Tower (re-post) ), and ended up purchasing 3 pieces of the 12 pieces in my solo show for their permanent collection (see section on City of Seattle’s Portable Works Collection later in this post).

Depending on how long you’ve followed my blog, you might also remember that the City of Seattle first purchased one of my works, Abandoned Water Structure, in 2016 and exhibited it in 2017, for their Portable Works Collection (see post “Your Body of Water” Exhibit, Seattle Municipal Tower Gallery).

Abandoned Water Structure (2015), photo by Deborah Paine, Curator of show at the City of Seattle’s Municipal Tower Gallery

Surprisingly opportunities like the above keep happening for me tied to Seattle, WA. This year several amazing things have happened tied to Seattle and my (art) quilting journey and I am going to share them in the rest of this post.

Scream: 2020 CoCA Gala and Auction

A couple of months ago I was contacted by the Curator for the Center on Contemporary Art in downtown/Pioneer Square Seattle, and invited to submit work to be juried into an invitation participate in their annual Gala and Art Auction. I was juried into the show that opens Saturday September 19, 2020 and three of my pieces (Random Not So Random, Archaeological Dig – The Vessel, and The Loud Color Shift) are part of the event, which this year due to the pandemic, is being held virtually – SCREAM: COCA’S ANNUAL GALA & AUCTION).

Here are some images from the social media promotion of the show which is the annual fundraiser for the gallery (note the artist and gallery split the auction proceeds on the artist’s piece that sells in case you are curious):

So Saturday I will find out if my pieces get purchased in the auction and if so if they fetch a decent price (smile). If we were not in the midst of a pandemic, the event would have been live in person and I would have been invited to attend the Gala in person (and play dress up!) while visiting my friends in Seattle.

The crazy thing about this is that 1) I did not seek out this opportunity, it came to me; and 2) back when I lived in Seattle (and before I ever dreamed of “art quilting”) I used to visit this gallery during the First Thursday Gallery Walk in downtown/Pioneer Square. I never imagined I would make art that would be part of a show associated with this gallery!

If you’d like to see images of and read my Artist Statement on any of the art quilts mentioned above check out my page – Art Quilt Stories.

Request from Seattle Art Teacher

In December 2019 I received a request from Deborah Kapoor an artist and art teacher in Seattle, WA to use an image of my piece Random Not So Random as inspiration for her art students.

She wrote:

Hi Tierney, I teach painting and drawing at South Seattle College, and wanted to share your beautiful work with students. If you are open to the idea, I would just need a high res image sent to me, and I plan to print on 11 x 17 inch paper and laminate, sort of like a mini-poster, for the art room. I think it would really inspire the students! The piece I am interested in is Color Story III: Random, Not so Random

I sent her a high resolution image which she printed into a poster and put on her “wall of fame” in her classroom.

Color Study 3: Random not so Random (2012)
Random Not So Random

Here is a partial image she sent me of that wall (other artists work edited out of image) in early 2020:

She said her students are inspired by my piece!

City of Seattle’s Ethnic Artist Roster

In November 2017 I was juried into the City of Seattle Office of Arts & Culture’s Ethnic Artist Roster (see post Ethnic Artist Roster). The Office of Arts & Culture updated their Ethnic Artist Roster website and now each artist has their own page.

Tierney Davis Hogan

Capitol Hill Mural, Seattle, WA

I was contacted in July 2020 by artist @salmakingstuff (Sally Lavengod) who was asked to create a mural in Capitol Hill, Seattle supporting the Black Lives Matters (BLM) movement. She asked if she could list my @tierneycreates Instagram handle in the part of the mural listing inspirational Artists of Color. I was honored and said yes.

She created a 4 sided mural of Colin Kaepernick, Fred Hampton, Malcom X, and Afeni Shakur on the corner of 12th and Spring in Capitol Hill in response to the BLM movement. To the mural she added Instagram handles of Black Artists who inspired her to include mine –  @tierneycreates:

City of Seattle’s Portable Works Collection

According to the Seattle.gov, the City of Seattle’s Portable Works Collection is a rotating collection of over 3,200 artworks in all media, representing hundreds of artists collected by the city since 1973. The collection includes sculpture, painting, mixed media, prints, photography and textiles.

As I mentioned earlier in this post, 4 of my pieces are now part of the City of Seattle’s Portable Works collection. Recently I discovered the updated listing of my pieces on the Portable Works website.

I am so honored that several of my art quilts circulate around City of Seattle offices (of course during the pandemic they might be hanging out alone in offices with no one to view them right now!)

Although I haven’t lived in Seattle for 15 years but I continue to be connected to this city through my art quilting. It’s mysterious and magical to me.


Postscript

I am learning how to use the new WordPress Editor and it is not intuitive (it is actually downright painful…). I think I am going to have to find a tutorial.

Next post I will update you on my Granny Square crochet block obsession that I first mentioned in the post Making My Own Granny Square Afghan.

I’ve crocheted 46 blocks so far after using YouTube videos to learn how to crochet again.

Studio, What's on the Design Wall

The Patriotic Quilt

Recently I made a patriotic themed quilt for my partner John to go next to his framed U.S. flag from a mission in Iraq his adopted son Kyle, who serves in the U.S. Air Force, dedicated in his honor.

When I purchased the panel a month or so ago from Missouri Star Quilt Company I was feeling strangely patriotic. Now I have mixed feelings but I like the way the quilt came out and how it looks next to the mission flag, which I will show you later in this post.

Here is the panel with the piecing in progress:

2020-08-25_18-35-37_061I made a lot of “flying geese” using the quick method for flying geese and had a lot of little trimmings to throw out but it was better then the slower way to may flying geese!

2020-08-24_11-09-42_2842020-08-24_11-10-25_9322020-08-24_11-10-01_225Here is the finished quilt next to the framed mission flag:

IMG_20200826_1600492020-08-26_16-15-39_6822020-08-26_16-15-29_378As you can tell, I machine quilted it myself (smile).

I mentioned earlier in this post, when I purchased this panel (thanks to a lovely birthday Missouri Star Quilt Company gift certificate from my friend Michele) I was feeling strangely patriotic.

I think I am still feeling patriotic but I am also feeling fairly discouraged and a little sad about the state of  my country. However, I am trying to focus on all the good people here and not the “less good” (and I am not talking politics as I am fairly disillusioned by both sides of the U.S. political parties).

My parents raised us to be patriotic, my father was even born on the 4th of July (Independence Day) and served his country is the U.S. Army.

Even though as people of African decent our ancestors were brought to the country against their will, I came from a family who tried to make the best they could of a not so good situation (Stories My Father Told Me). We focused on education (I come from a long line of teachers) and did not let racial discrimination hold us down. I was taught to keep moving forward and to focus on raising others up (for example my father worked as a social worker with gangs in New York City after finishing his Masters Degree in the early 1960s and then was the head of the Urban League in several major cities; and my mother worked as a Director of  a Head Start Program).

The 4th of July used to be an important holiday for me, always celebrated (plus it was my father’s birthday!). I loved wearing red, white and blue in honor of the U.S. flag. As a kid I loved standing and reciting the Pledge of Allegiance each morning at school; and I loved to sing the National Anthem at the top of my lungs.

But I’ve been struggling over the past 4 years and I’ve been embarrassed by this country’s leadership (both sides of the political spectrum) who seem to be overall very “self-serving”, intentionally polarizing this country, and spending most of their time “pointing fingers”.  I feel like my heart is broken…at times actually shattered.

However, this is the only country I have, and to hate it just makes me even sadder and more heart broken. So I’ve decided despite all the strife and unhappy stuff going on in the U.S. to remain patriotic and still believe in my country.

I am just sharing my feelings and I am not making any particular political point. I respect that others may feel quite different and thanks for reading my musings.

We should really love each other in peace and harmony, instead we're  fussin' n ... | PureLoveQuotes

A Crafter's Life

The Calendar That Wasn’t

Toward the end of last year (2019), we bought a large erasable calendar for the laundry room to keep track of all the things we had planned.

2020-07-06_09-28-45_457

We had so many thing planned from March 2020 through Summer 2020 that we needed a central and visible place to keep track of everything and to make plans.

On this calendar were the basketball games we had tickets to attend, special events for my partner’s work, two conference to attend – one in Nashville and one in Orlando, a trip to Scotland and Ireland with friends in July (and a possible side trip to Paris to meet up with my sister who would be in Europe at the same time), parties/special celebrations to attend, and so much more.

Then COVID happened, and the calendar just stopped. 

Almost Half of Americans Have Canceled Summer 2020 Travel Plans ...

All those things got erased from the erasable calendar. It somedays it feels like an entire lifestyle got erased overnight.

I think why I struggled with this is that I was so looking forward to late Winter, Spring and Summer 2020.

Late 2019 was very difficult dealing with the first anniversary of my husband’s passing and early 2020 was difficult with my “snow anxiety” (see the Postscript section of the post The Hat from the Yarn from the Journey). I had made it through some “dark days” and I was so looking forward to all the fun ahead documented on our calendar…

I might be sounding whiny at this point.

We are starting to add a little to our calendar now but I do not see it returning to its pre-pandemic state any time soon.

FUNNY MEMES!!! The 150 Funniest Memes Of All-Time! - Yellow Octopus

I am okay with this, I appreciate any fun outside the home we get to have these days!


Postscript

Mike the Miniature Schnauzer has been pretty happy the past 5 months with both of us working from home and not going on any trips until recently (like our long weekend to Rocky Mountain National Park).

Dogs celebrate Memes - ImgflipSpeaking of Mike, here is an image that either he forgot to share in his recent post – Guest Blog Post: A Whole Lot of Remodeling Going On; or the tierneycreates Beastie forgot to share in her recent post – Guest Blog Post: Mail Order Groom.

2020-07-23_15-10-37_835Yes it’s a photo of Mikelet (tierneycreates Beastie’s dog) and Mike, ready to go on their walks. I put a red arrow in the lower left hand corner of the photo above so you would not miss Mikelet who is a considerably smaller miniature Miniature Schnauzer!

(Yes these are the silly things we do to entertain ourselves these days…)

Knit and Crochet Away!

Making My Own Granny Square Afghan

Experienced crocheters – try not to roll your eyes too much while reading this post, ha!

I love Granny Square Afghans. I know how to do basic crochet (I’ve made simple crocheted afghans and scarves in the past) but I always thought Granny Square Afghans were something extremely magical and way beyond my skill level.

I’ve collected them over the years from thrift shops and garage sales. Here are examples of those in my collection:

2020-08-15_07-39-14_4692020-08-15_07-39-28_5712020-08-15_07-40-09_965And here is the link to a post I wrote in 2015 called Granny Square Rescue! about my obsession and an image of my collection circa 2015.

Rescued Granny Square Afghans - all safe and loved in my homeA couple days ago I randomly decided that it was time I learned how to make Granny Squares and a Granny Square afghan.

I’ve looked at patterns in the past but quickly grew intimidated since I am not that experienced a crocheter. Then I remembered my trusty friend YouTube and found a whole bunch of videos on making Granny Squares!

First I followed this video by Jayda InStitches 

And made this block!

2020-08-15_07-35-16_5262020-08-15_17-33-02_767I cannot tell you how pleased and excited I was to have completed my first Granny Square!

I did not feel like my stitches were not tight enough and so I looked for another instructional video just to get a different perspective on how to make a Granny Square.

So then I watched this video by Hooked by Robin:

The pattern/instruction was slightly different and she used a smaller crochet hook (the first video used an “I”/5.5 mm needle and the second video used a “G”/4 mm) and that seemed to make the difference for tighter stitches.

In the image below, the square on the left is the first one I made with slightly looser stitches (size I crochet hook) and the one of the right is the second one I made with the size G crochet hook.

2020-08-15_17-32-56_112Now I plan to make up a bunch of centers and get started on “production line” crochet.

I want to be more efficient with the color changes (work on one color of yarn at once instead of constant color changes) as I create enough blocks to make a GRANNY SQUARE AFGHAN!!!

2020-08-16_12-31-20_605This is going to be a lot of work but I am so excited to make my very own!

I will update you on my progress…


Postscript

Speaking of making things for the first time, my partner John recently made his first piece of actual furniture in his new workshop in our daylight basement. In the previous post on my blog, Guest Blog Post: A Whole Lot of Remodeling Going On , Mike the dog (giggle) shared that we recently turned part of the basement into his craft room.

Well this weekend he put the room to use and made two redwood side tables for our front porch which matched the style of the existing coffee table on the porch:

2020-08-15_14-46-33_8352020-08-15_16-35-17_7922020-08-16_12-32-30_5402020-08-16_12-32-52_530So we were both pretty proud of ourselves!

Guest Blogger

Guest Blog Post: A Whole Lot of Remodeling Going On

Recently I’ve had several guest bloggers on my tierneycreates blog – Wendy Hill (a human) with her series on her Quarantine Quilt collaboration (see link Quarantine Quilts for all the posts); and the tierneycreates Beastie (non human, monster) announcing her new Beastie partner (see link Beastie Adventures for all her posts).

Well Mike the Miniature Schnauzer (non-human, canine) was feeling a little irritated that he had not been invited to guest blog. So I guess it is his turn…


A Whole Lot of Remodeling Going On

Hello Bloglandia.

This is Mike the Miniature Schnauzer. I am dictating this post as although I might secretly have opposable thumbs that would allow me to type for myself, I like to keep certain things secret from my humans.

2019-08-15_14-38-15_154
I am Mike and I am a Miniature Schnauzer the smartest dog breed imaginable (maybe)

It’s my turn to do a guest blog post! My adopted sister Sassy (who passed in December 2017) used to have her own blog, Schnauzer Snips: Musings from a Highly Opinionated Miniature Schnauzer. I am not asking for my own blog, just to be invited to guest blog once in a while so you can read about life from a Miniature Schnauzer’s perspective.

I am a rescue (I rescued my humans from life without me) and if you’d like to read my story it is on this post – Taking Chances: The Mike Hogan Chronicles (re-post). I lost one of my humans (male human, Terry) suddenly in December 2018 but my female human (Tierney) and I have been making the best of our new life in the metropolitan Denver Colorado area since April 2019 (see series of posts Colorado Bound).

I now have the new male human in my life (John) nearly fully managed as you will see later in this post.

I’ve been spending a lot of time at home improvement stores during the pandemic. My humans have been working on a lot of remodeling projects and I am trying to supervise them as best I can.

2020-08-06_19-33-02_390Back in late March/start of April 2020 my humans made the decision not to move to a new house they were going to buy and instead to stay in their current abode (see post Perspective) due to the initial financial crisis in the early days of the pandemic.

Staying in their current residence meant fixing it up so that both humans were happy with it and it met their needs.

For my female human, that meant redoing her studio (see post Guest Blogger: tierneycreates’ “New” Studio Tour); and for my male human it meant building a workshop for his woodworking in the daylight basement:

2020-07-08_16-05-22_7772020-08-07_08-07-02_0832020-08-07_08-07-06_936His workshop is still a work in progress but he is very happy to now have his own “playroom” like my female human!

So you might ask – what did it mean for me? Well it meant lots of trips to home improvement stores for supplies.

Sometimes on my male human’s back:

2020-06-15_11-05-29_5162020-06-15_11-07-03_5522020-06-15_11-07-06_9512020-06-15_11-10-59_046And sometimes in the shopping cart:

2020-07-19_16-22-13_3132020-07-19_16-22-15_4622020-07-19_16-24-29_4482020-08-06_19-33-05_305I know, I know, you just can’t get enough of the cute photos of me in a shopping cart. Unfortunately my female human said we have to limit the photos to only four (4) because she has to protect her digital storage allotment on her blog (sigh).

The humans also did a lot of “fixing things” in the house to include dangerous high altitude ceiling fan installation:

2020-03-01_13-29-53_037Yes that is a ladder, on top of scaffolding. Looks pretty safe to me (NOT!)

My male human even figured out during the early days of the pandemic how to fix their dryer himself by watching YouTube videos and ordering parts:

2020-03-28_09-24-51_903He also completely redid the garage, drywalling it in, painting it and installing shelves:

2020-05-09_15-33-57_714He also built bookcases in the front room to create our “home library” as my female human mentioned in this post – The Library Book and the Home Library. In this post she promised to share updated photos (and forgot), so I guess it is up to me to make sure you see how the room turned out:

2020-06-25_09-17-13_9932020-08-06_20-35-44_710Most recently he added in a shelf behind our living room TV to distract your eye from the fact the flat screen TV is in front on an alcove (circa early 2000s) for a large deep TV. This was my female human’s idea from looking at too much Instagram home decorating feeds!

2020-08-08_17-36-32_5002020-08-11_07-55-48_819I am sure there were a lot more home remodeling projects that occurred over the past four (4) months but this is all I can remember since I was sleeping through many of them.

schnausleep
Trying to block out all the remodeling noise and get some sleep!


Postscript

When I am not overseeing the humans while they complete their home remodeling projects, I am going on bike rides. I appear to have convinced my human John to ride me around on his back in addition to carrying or shopping-cart-driving me around stores!

Here we are headed out for a bike ride and then on a bike ride (in the second photo my female human Tierney is behind us dangerously taking photos while bike riding…)

2020-08-01_18-59-43_0192020-08-01_19-08-17_468

Guest Blogger, Quarantine Quilts

Quarantine Quilt Project: Life in the Time of Coronavirus, Part V (Guest Blog Post)

All good things must come to an end as they say, and here is the 5th and final installment of the guest blog post series by my talented friend Wendy Hill on the awesome quilt she made during quarantine with the four rambunctious boys next door (aka “The Boys”) ages 2 – 8.

Thanks for reading this series along with me (I was so excited to receive each installment via e-mail and read it myself for the first time while posting it!)

And if you are just joining us, see these posts for Parts I, II, III and IV of the story by Wendy Hill:

You can follow Wendy Hill on Instagram @wendyquilter


Quarantine Quilt Project: Life in the Time of Coronavirus

Part V: The Big Giveaway

I’m eager to show off the Quarantine Quilt and The Big Giveaway where “The Boys” and their parents see the quilt for the first time.

Here are the full view photographs of the front and the back. (The quilt, with no sleeve, wiggled a bit being clamped to a bar for the photos.)

#1- FV front#2- FV backAt home, I took some detail photographs. Of course, the cats found the quilt in no time….The Quarantine Quilt is officially cat approved!!

#3- Cooper on quilt#4- Izzy on quiltLet’s start with the appliquéd hand blocks. I put The Boys’ hands in the middle, with the adults’ hands on the four corners. It’s symbolic on purpose: the adults are looking after the kids.

#5- kids hands#6- Dad#7- Mom#8- David#9- WendyHere are a few more detail photographs of the quilt front:

#10-front#11- front#12- frontThe quilt back is fun too, with the assortment of found fabrics and leftovers. A friend sent me her found robot boy yardage for the center; she thought it perfect for The Boys.

#13- back#14- back#15- backI’m so pleased I took the time to embroider the labels. These labels will last as long as the quilt.

#16 both labels#17 heart label#18 main labelIt had been a long time since “The Boys” had seen the blocks, and I wondered what they would remember about their creations. But the 3 older boys wasted no time in finding their hand and favorite blocks.

One of “The Boys” found his favorite block, saying it was the weirdest block ever. I told him I’d never seen anything like it and in fact, it was ‘genius’. He had a big grin.

#19Another favorite of The Boys was this block. I think it’s graphic and moody, in a good way.

#20Finally the day for the Big Giveaway came. David and I spread out several sheets on our back deck. As we watched the kids scramble around the quilt (while staying 10’ apart), some of us burst into tears while the rest became teary. This project was definitely a good thing.

#21- giveaway the quiltIn the beginning, we were two neighbors who banded together when the state government ordered a month-long lockdown. At first, we joined forces to add something special to the daily life of “The Boys”, whose routines had changed suddenly with the Pandemic.

Then we started helping each other out. We even celebrated shared birthdays in the open yard between our houses. “The Boys” were growing up in front of our eyes, going from ages 2-8 to ages 2-9. We became closer while we had to live separately.

I can’t help but feel there is a larger story here during this Pandemic. There must be a patchwork of stories unfolding all over the United States and the World, as we find ways to connect and help each other out.

Outside Adventures!

Good Morning

It’s late on my side of the pond but I was in the mood for a quick blog post.

I thought I would send you all a “Good Morning” with a couple photos, whether it is morning on your side of the pond now or it might be morning by the time you read this post.

The other day my partner John, on his early morning bike ride, took these lovely photos as he stopped to watch the sunrise on the reservoir near our home.

IMG_20200727_055600IMG_20200727_054104IMG_20200728_060524 I so enjoy seeing beautiful nature/landscape photos on the blogs I follow and I wanted to share a couple with you!

Have a wonderful day 🙂

I hope you realize that every day is a fresh start for you. That every sunrise is a new chapter in your life waiting to be written. – Juansen Dizon

Guest Blogger, Quarantine Quilts

Quarantine Quilt Project: Life in the Time of Coronavirus, Part IV (Guest Blog Post)

Here is the 4th installment of the guest blog post series by my talented friend Wendy Hill on the awesome quilt she made during quarantine with the four rambunctious boys next door (aka “The Boys”) ages 2 – 8. Wendy has a background in teaching (and quilt book writing) and in this post she provides details on her process of basting, quilting and binding one GIGANTIC Quarantine Quilt!

If you are just joining us, see these posts for Parts I, II and III of the story by Wendy:


Quarantine Quilt Project: Life in the Time of Coronavirus

Part IV: Basting, Quilting & Binding The Gigantic Quilt

If you’ve been following along, you know that my collaboration with The Boys next door led to a gigantic quilt top measuring 82” by 104”, and a quilt back 84” by 106”. Time to baste and quilt this monster-sized quilt!!

Basting

Basting is a two-step process for me: spray baste first with Odif 505 Temporary Adhesive followed by stitching a large grid with water soluble thread by Superior (Vanish Lite). This foolproof method lets me quilt without any problems.

But first, I have to clear the sewing room. After ironing the batting to smooth out any creases, I tape the batting to the floor to hold it in place.

#1- basting prep#2-batting smoothedWe had to navigate the crowded hallway for a day or two, but the cats loved exploring this new-to-them space.

#3- stuff in hallway#4 cat in stuff in hallwayWith the quilt back centered on the batting, the window open, the ceiling fan on low, and paper around the edge to catch any over spray, I’m ready to baste.

#5- ready to basteI can baste any size quilt with my “assistant”: a swim noodle. (My assistant never complains but getting up off the floor is another story!)

Roll up half the quilt onto the swim noodle. Spray a light coat from side to side, covering about 15” from the rolled up quilt towards you. Unroll the quilt over the sprayed area, smoothing as you go. Here is a photo of a different quilt ready to spray, unroll, and smooth.

#6- diff quilt, swim noodleRepeat to spray baste both halves of the quilt. Trim the excess batting along the fabric edge. Allow to dry for a few hours or overnight before turning over and taping the quilt to the floor.

With the quilt front centered on the batting, repeat the steps above to spray baste. Allow to dry.

#7- quilt topWith both ends of the quilt rolled up to the middle, I stitched lines about 3”-4” apart with the water soluble thread, from the middle to the edge. Repeat with the other half. Re-roll the quilt in the other direction, stitching perpendicular lines about 3”-4” apart.

A bonus benefit is the way these stitching lines change how the quilt handles, making it easier to do the actual quilting lines.

#8-sewing room#9- water soluble grid#10- water soluble grid#11, water soluble grid

Tips for Using Any Spray Baste

  1. Ventilate the room.
  2. Cover up to prevent overspray on unwanted places.
  3. Hold the can at least 12” away from the surface.
  4. Keep the can moving from side to side- do not soak the batting.
  5. After the layers are basted, allow time for the spray baste to dry & set.
  6. It will evaporate out, especially in dry climates. Another reason for stitching a water soluble thread grid is to buy time before you start quilting.

Quilting

I like using roughly parallel quilting lines, but with a quilt this size, this will be the easiest thing for me to do on my home sewing machine.

But first, thread choices. I selected Aurifil 50 wt cotton for the front (yellow) and back (blue).

#12- thread choicesWith the quilt rolled up from both ends to the middle, I started stitching the roughly parallel lines, using the pressor foot as a guide. Ignore the water soluble thread lines.

I accordion folded the quilt in my lap, but with big quilts, you can get some drag from the rolled up quilt coming out behind the sewing machine. When you start to feel some drag, accordion fold the quilt behind the sewing machine, which will reduce or eliminate the dead weight.

#13- first stitching lines#14- stitch side to sideKeep quilting! The lines are actually unequal distances apart and not perfectly straight, but I like this look on a scrappy quilt.

#15- stitching#16 still stitchingI used the seam lines between the rows to “square up” my parallel lines.

In the last couple of inches before the seam line, I start my course correction strategy. I start stitching parallel to the seam line, so that the next row/section starts over with an accurate straight line. The stitching lines can get way off line without some kind of course correction fix.

#17- squaring upCelebration! The very last line of stitching!! I zigzagged the edges and trimmed the batting before tossing the quilt into the washer and dryer. I like to let the quilt shrink at this stage, before sewing on the binding.

#18- last stitching line#19- zigzag edge#20- before washingRemove the quilt from the dryer while still slightly damp and allow to air dry the rest of the way.

#21- air drying#22- air drying

Binding

I’m always searching for alternative techniques. I invented a way to machine topstitch binding that is easy and looks great. For quilts that will be loved, used, and washed & dried, this method is also makes for a sturdy binding.

I started with a double French fold binding. A 3/8” seam allowance gives me the wide binding I like so much. I flattened the seam allowance with my faux serge stitch (or zigzag works too) to get a flatter looking binding.

#23- dble fold binding#24-wide seam allowance#25- flattening teh seam allowance#26- flattenedAfter folding over and pinning (or clipping) the binding in place, I hand sewed the mitered corners, about 1” in each direction from the corner.

Next, I basted along the very edge of the binding, from the back of the quilt. This big stitch goes fast.

#27- big stitch baste along edgeFlip over. From the front, you can see the basting thread: this shows you exactly where the fold is on the other side.

#28 basting line on frontI machine topstitched the binding from the front, by stitching just to the right of the basting line. (You can stitch anywhere between the basting line and the ditch of the binding seam.)

#29-stitch from the front#30- stitching from the backI removed the basting thread and checked the back to make sure the stitching line is along the edge of the binding. Finished!!!

#31 finished from the front#32- finished from the back

Next Week: The Big Giveaway!

#33 sneak peek front#34 sneak peek back

 

 

Studio, tierneycreates

Early Experiment with Strong and Bold Colors

Last week I rotated the quilts hanging in my entry hall from several of my recycled silk art quilts to a quilt I made in the early 2010s (perhaps 2010 or 2011) that was one of my first attempts of experimenting with bold colors.

Rotated from this:

2020-04-01_08-38-32_810

to this:

2020-07-28_15-04-56_367

This quilt, which I will call Asian Fabric Slide Show, is from the pattern Slide Show by Atkinson Designs. If you are a quilter, and I have been to a quilt shop in the past 15 years, then likely you’ve seen this pattern – either available for purchase, or as a sample quilt, or as both.

Screen Shot 2020-08-04 at 5.11.36 PM

It is a very common quilt pattern and before I made the quilt I’d seen many version of it, many which looked similar to the quilt in the image above from Atkinson Design’s website.

Before making this quilt I had begun to experiment a little with color, especially with batiks, which I had recently discovered. And before that I was making quilts with traditional looking quilting fabrics and colors. My original palette (especially when I began quilting around 1999/2000) was blue, red, green, cream, purple, white, mauve.

I found this image on twobeesfabric.com and it looks like my old fabric palette:

cw_bundle_of_10Somewhere in the late 2000s as I began to make quilts with batik fabrics, I became attracted to strong/bold colors.

When I decided to make the Slide Show quilt, I decided to make unconventional choices including using a “featured fabric”/main fabric with a non-repeat pattern (which was more like a panel than traditional fabric yardage).

2020-07-28_09-03-31_0722020-07-28_15-05-12_9392020-07-28_15-05-21_2182020-07-28_15-05-30_6822020-07-28_15-05-33_7142020-07-28_15-05-38_9292020-07-28_15-05-57_1032020-07-28_15-06-08_635For the little blocks surrounding the larger squares, I decided to experiment with adding a fabric that WAS NOT in the featured fabric but added a pop of color that appeared to go well with the other fabrics which were coordinated.

I used a light and iridescent bluish gray fabric for this experiment with “non-matching the featured fabric” (see arrow in image below):

2020-07-28_15-06-37_430Then I got really crazy with the quilt and added a very strong deep orange as the border. I’d never used this much orange in a quilt before. In the past I would have used the green I used in lattice or a black as the border. I am not sure what got into me but I decided to make the border really pop!

2020-07-28_15-06-52_3542020-07-28_15-07-22_746It wasn’t until I recently rotated the quilts in the hallway that I remembered this part of my quilt journey.

After this quilt, bold color became part of my design/quilt journey as evidenced by my series of recycled silk quilts – the Color Story Series.

Here is one from that series with a crazy amount of bold color:

2018-06-29_14-30-05_418.jpeg
COLOR STORY VIII: THE LOUD COLOR SHIFT (2016)

If you like, please share in the comments, a little about your color/colour journey in your art (whether you are a quilter, knitter, painter, ceramicist, etc.)! 


Postscript

In case you are curious about the kimono quilt to the right of the quilt discussed in this post:

2020-07-28_15-04-56_367You can read about that quilt in an old post from June 2017:

Jiko’s Robe at QuiltWorks Gallery, June 2017

2017-06-02_18-00-44_012.jpeg

Guest Blogger, Quarantine Quilts

Quarantine Quilt Project: Life in the Time of Coronavirus, Part III (Guest Blog Post)

Perhaps your enthusiastic comments encouraged Wendy Hill to immediately put together the third installment of her guest blog post series about the awesome quilt she made during quarantine with the four rambunctious boys next door (aka “The Boys”) ages 2 – 8. 

I am so happy to now share her third installment! (And now you get to see the quilt laid out with all the blocks created by “The Boys”.)

If you are just joining us, see these posts for Part I and Part II of the story:


Quarantine Quilt Project: Life in the Time of Coronavirus

Part III: Magic! Turning 65 Blocks of All Sizes Into a Quilt Top! And Leftovers Into a Quilt Back!

On a lark, my neighbors and I added playing with fabric to make quilt blocks. We had no idea where this project would take us or how our families would connect over time. 

Please consider launching your own “quarantine quilt” project with kids or adults who would enjoy such a project. Collaborate through “snail mail” if your people are not in the neighborhood. I believe everyone can capture the free spirit seen in The Boys’ quilt blocks. 

Quilt Top

Since I refused to do anything more than trim (or square-up) the precious blocks, I had to find another way to unify 65 blocks of all sizes. I sorted the blocks by height, the first bit of “magic”, to layout 8 rows of 8 blocks, saving the extra block for the quilt back. 

#1A 8 blocks, 8 rows#1B 8 blocks, 8 rowsWith the row height consistent, I planned to frame the blocks, adding “filler” fabrics if needed, to adjust the row width. I looked to my assortment of “dots” and “cross hatched” fabrics, many of which had already been cut into.

#2A- assorted dots#2B- assorted cross hatchI started with the widest row as the standard width, which happened to be Row #4. Next I assembled Row #3, working my way up to Row #1. Of course, the quilt needed a border at the top (and bottom), because the quilt can’t be too big, right? 

#3A Rows 3&4#3B Rows 2,3,4I alternated “A” and “B” blocks in each row as part of my plan to frame the blocks, add fillers, and create a border on the two long sides. A plan helps me keep my sanity but also gives me freedom to go off the path. It’s a paradox!

“A” blocks are framed on all four sides. I used the same fabrics or similar color scheme: 

#4A- _A_ block#4B- _A_ block#4C- _A_ block“B” blocks are only framed top and bottom. 

#5A- _B_ block#5B- _B_ block#5C- _B_ blockThe border on the long sides is created block-by-block, using a 2 3/4” width of fabric on the outside edges of the first and last blocks in each row. This creates a visual border without using one long strip of fabric. (The width of this border strip could be anything to make the border wider or narrower.) 

#6- built in border on rightFor “A” blocks, the outside edge/border strip (one of four strips framing the block) is cut to this specific width. 

#7, end border strip for _A_ blocksFor “B” blocks, the outside edge/border strip is also cut to this specific width, making a total of 3 strips framing the block (instead of only top & bottom). 

#8, end border strip for B blockAt this point, you might wonder how the rows come out the same width? This second bit of magic is in way to adjust the row width. Assemble the row in two sections. Layout the two pieces on a design wall or other surface. 

If the sections are too wide, overlap the raw edges between the two sections, until the width is correct. Sew the seam, trimming excess fabric to account for the seam allowance. 

If the two sections are too short and leave a gap, add a “filler” strip to one of the two sections, and continue as described above. 

For these two rows, I chose bright filler fabrics: look for the bright green plaid in the first photo, and bright red plaid in the second photo. The “fillers” just add to the fun (chaos)!

#9A- green plaid filler9B- red plaid fillerEveryone encounters surprises, obstacles or let’s be honest, mistakes. How a quilter deals with these events are what counts and as quilters know, these are often “opportunities” to do something unexpectedly great. 

I accidentally trimmed or “squared-up” two blocks, making them the wrong height. “Fillers” to the rescue once again, as I just added another strip to the top edges. 

#10A- extra strip fix#10B- extra strip fixWhen I cut a fabric on the bias, I often reinforce the edge with a narrow strip of fusible interfacing. This way, there are no worries about the edge stretching. 

#11- reinforce bias edge

Before assembling Rows 5-8 and the border, I stood back and saw the two orange fabrics screaming at me. I couldn’t shut out the visual noise (ha ha) so I swapped one of the oranges out for another color. Peace was restored.

#12A, orange screams#12B, replaced orange, peace restored

Quilt Back

While “The Boys” used my saved scraps to create fun, exciting, weird and wonderful blocks, I did my best to put together a quilt back also using leftovers, larger scraps, and found fabrics in the closet. 

As the back evolved, I took a few photos, showing how the fabrics shifted around, got deleted, or sometimes, added back in. Not shown in the photos is a late stage addition; look for it in the finished quilt photos in the final guest post. 

#16- trials#15- trials#14- trials#13- trials

Labels

I used the extra block made by “The Boys”, and another leftover pieced heart block, to create two labels. When I searched the internet for the best fabric pen, my first reference said “don’t use a pen, embroider the label”. I agreed. 

#17, made by label#18 HeartAs I came closer to finishing the quilt, I had the growing feeling that this quilt was so much bigger then me or my neighbors or The Boys. 

We’ve known in theory that we could have another global pandemic, but the reality is so — well— real. The enormity of the pandemic is hard to grasp, even now. 

Yet in the face of adversity, we find many examples of people, all over the world, reaching out to help and support each other. The Quarantine Quilt is one of these examples. 

Wendy’s next guest blog post: Quilting and Binding The Gigantic Quilt

 

 

Guest Blogger, Quarantine Quilts

Quarantine Quilt Project: Life in the Time of Coronavirus, Part II (Guest Blog Post)

Well the tierneycreates Beastie would tease me that I am just using Guest Bloggers to keep up on new posts but I am very excited to share Wendy Hill’s second guest blog post on the awesome quilt she made during quarantine with the four rambunctious boys next door (aka “The Boys”) ages 2 – 8.

If you are just joining us, see this post for Part I of the story as well for some background on the super talented Wendy Hill: Quarantine Quilt Project: Life in the Time of Coronavirus, Part I (Guest Blog Post) .


Quarantine Quilt Project: Life in the Time of Coronavirus

Part II: “The Boys” Make 61 Blocks!

My story about two neighbors who band together (during the pandemic lockdown) left off with “The Boys” arranging fabric scraps on printer paper. We agreed to two blocks per day and soon we had a routine. “The Boys” dropped off their fabric arrangements in the morning, and I dropped off their finished blocks before dinner. 

I gave simple instructions: fill a piece of 8 1/2” by 11” paper with fabric scraps. Overlaps of fabric were okay but no gaps.

One day the mother of “The Boys” tucked a note inside the bag:

This is such a fun thing for our family and it’s always a race to the door when they hear your knock.

#1A, Kid Layout#1B, finished block#2A, Kid Layout#2B, finished blockSome arrangements were easy to sew together. I could sew pieces into smaller units, then assemble the units into a block. 

#3A kid layout#3B finished block#4A kid layout#4B finished blockOther arrangements required me to be inventive. Sometimes the seam allowances created gaps, so I had to add fabrics. I added a solid pink to this block. I looked for fabrics that would “go” with fabrics in the arrangement. 

#5A kid layout#5B finished blockOther times I did my best to duplicate the block, always trying to keep the original intent of “The Boys” who arranged the fabrics. 

#6A kid layout#6B finished block#7A kid layout#7B finished block#8A kid layout#8B finished blockI kept adding more scraps of all sorts to their Big Bag of Fabrics.  “The Boys” took time to create just the right assortment of fabrics on their page. 

#9 kid contemplation#10A kid layout#10B more kid layout#10C finished block“The Boys” sampled everything! Just like with “quilters” everywhere, their fabric choices reflected their explorations and mood. I was always excited to see what The Boys would drop off next. 

#11#12#13#14#15#16#17#18Then this happened: The Hand Blocks! I surprised “The Boys” with machine appliquéd fabric hands (from outlines of their hands taken by their parents). I embroidered their name and age on each hand. 

“The Boys” filled the page around their hands with their fabric choices, which I sewed into blocks. I received another written note:

These hands were such a fun idea! The kids were amazed you could do that!

#19 Wesley#20 Levi#21 Jacob#22 CalebYou know how it is. One thing leads to another, and now I thought the adults had to have appliquéd and embroidered fabric hand blocks too. I placed the hands on 4 pieced heart blocks leftover from 2018, which somehow seemed perfect!

#23, Mom#24, Dad#25, Wendy#26, DavidThe funny thing is that we became closer while we had to live separately during the lockdown. We helped each other out and we even celebrated birthdays out in the yard. 

Caleb turned 9 years old around the time my husband David turned 64. We shared chocolate almond cake and sang a joyous round of Happy Birthday together! Yes, we kept our physical distance for safety, but we remained socially connected. 

#27, almond chocolate torte

Wendy’s Next Blog Post: Magic! Turning 65 Blocks of All Sizes Into a Quilt Top!

Beastie Adventures, Guest Blogger

Guest Blog Post: Mail Order Groom

Hello! This is tierneycreates Beastie guest blogging for this post. If you are new to this blog here is my standard blurb:

 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.

Here I am at my latest makeshift desk writing this post for you on my Beastie laptop:

2020-07-23_15-16-36_158I am going to get to the news related to the title of this post, but first I need to talk about myself a bit, as that is what Beasties do.

You might notice in the photo above that I have a new dress! Well a shipment of goodies for me, likely purchased begrudgingly by the human Tierney, arrived a couple weeks ago from Dublin, Ireland, all made by my brilliant maker, Helen of CrawCrafts Beasties.

In addition to my new summer dress, there was also a scarf to match my hat I wear in the winter, a backpack, some books, Hop Monster IPA (I guess this is bottled in Dublin), and my new Beastnina Sewing Machine!!!! It looks just like Tierney’s Bernina sewing machine and now I can help her sew projects (because as slow as she is getting her projects done she obviously needs help).

2020-07-23_14-57-32_6712020-07-23_15-07-27_4152020-07-23_15-07-37_5492020-07-23_15-08-05_2942020-07-23_15-18-34_9692020-07-23_15-19-46_327Here I am hanging out in Tierney’s studio with my goodies with my dog Mikelet:

2020-07-15_10-42-41_448And because I know you can never tire of photos of me (and all my utter adorableness), here is a photo of me sporting my new backpack as I wait to get into Tierney’s car for our latest trip to the public library (one of our favorite places):

2020-07-23_15-00-08_531Inside the backpack I keep two important items: 1) my laptop; and 2) my Beastie library card!

2020-07-23_14-58-00_985I guess we could take a break talking about me and get to the story that connects to the title of this post: Mail Order Groom

The Mail Order Groom

Tierney now has her partner John that Mikelet (my dog), Mike (Tierney’s dog) and I live with. Well I wanted MY OWN PARTNER! So I asked Tierney to order from my maker Helen a “John Beastie”.

A couple weeks ago, along with all my goodies I shared earlier in this post, my new partner John Beastie arrived from Dublin, Ireland!

2020-07-23_14-35-40_019 (1)As I like to have as much the same as Tierney, I asked that John Beastie be a chef like human John (that is why he has on an apron just like the one John wears), and that he enjoys playing poker with his friends as one of his hobbies just like human John. So John Beastie came with a winning poker hand and chips (and his trusty cell phone). Additionally human John enjoys Bourbon and Whiskey tasting and loves to make homemade pasta so included with John Beastie is a bottle of Monsters Mark!

2020-07-23_14-36-05_2792020-07-23_14-36-52_563Tierney does not always take the best photos (and my paws are too small to handle taking photos with her smartphone so I have to leave it up to her) but what you cannot tell in the first photos of John Beastie, is he has a Colorado Avalanche Hockey team Bigfoot logo cap on his head:

2020-07-23_14-36-16_878This is human John’s favorite cap (he wears a lot of caps as his hair is missing, not sure where he left it…) and is a classic team logo cap/hat that is no longer sold by Colorado’s hockey team.

Here is human John with his cap that human Tierney suspects has grown into his scalp because he wears it so much!

2020-07-23_15-11-25_572My dog Mikelet (named after Tierney’s Miniature Schnauzer, Mike) took immediately to John Beastie just like real Mike is totally in love with human John.

2020-07-23_14-37-25_993Before I knew it, without asking, John Beastie was taking Mikelet for walks!

2020-07-23_14-38-24_5182020-07-23_14-39-31_193I am not sure why John Beastie is wearing his apron for walking Mikelet but he seems to like to always be ready to start cooking!

Since  my dog really likes him, I decided to go ahead and accept John Beastie’s proposal (like Tierney did human John a couple months ago) for marriage. Luckily John Beastie arrived with two engagement rings.

2020-07-23_15-03-25_393Here we are – a happy family of Beasties!

2020-07-23_15-06-33_485Oh and if you’d like to see actual decent high quality photos of John Beastie, etc., check out our maker’s recent blog posts:

Monster Engagement Celebrations

Beastie Accessory Bonanza


Postscript

Tierney did not previously mention it on her blog but she did actually get engaged to human John earlier this year. Like John Beastie and me, they have no wedding date planned in the near future, they are just enjoying being engaged.

Human John proposed on the stage at Red Rocks Amphitheater in Morrison, Colorado. As it was winter, there we no concerts planned and the public was allowed to wander around the natural amphitheater and go to the stage (where many famous acts have played over the years).

I asked Tierney to share a couple photos with you from that day to close out this post (unfortunately she left me at home, but she did bring her dog Mike).

2020-01-01_13-42-31_1902020-01-01_13-46-13_0582020-01-01_14-06-41_170IMG_20200101_1414032020-01-01_14-02-45_049


Postscript Postscript

We’ve put Mikelet to bed and now John Beastie and I are off to enjoy our bottles of Hop Monster

2020-07-23_15-09-29_360

Outside Adventures!

Rocky Mountain National Park

Well while we are waiting for Wendy’s next installment in her guest blog series (see previous post Quarantine Quilt Project: Life in the Time of Coronavirus, Part I (Guest Blog Post)), I guess I could start to catch you up on my adventures.

First Visit to Rocky Mountain National Park

A couple of weeks ago my partner John took me to Rocky Mountain National Park for the first time. We had to make a reservation to visit the national park (new thing in the time of the pandemic). In April 2020 I did a series of posts on the beauty of Colorado seen in several hiking adventures (And on the 8th Day…Part I, And on the 8th Day…Part II, and And on the 8th Day…Part III) and our trip to Rocky Mountain National Park could easily fit into that series of posts. I moved to Colorado in April 2019 and the mountainous beauty continues to blow me away!

We did a mixture of hiking and driving through the national park, We got up to 12,000+ feet above sea level (3657.6+ MSL). Good thing I already live at 6000 feet above sea level (1828.8 MSL) and I was able to acclimate to the altitude.

On our way to 12,000+ feet, we stopped along the way:

2020-07-02_15-21-27_630Near the top of the drive from the car’s altimeter:

2020-07-02_16-28-51_595I did get a little lightheaded when we were hiking near other people at 12,000 feet and I was wearing a cloth mask I made. We let the crowds get ahead of us so we could take a break from our masks and just use social distancing (we stayed at least 50 feet behind another hiking group).

Here are a smattering of photos from our drive through the national park and our various hikes. The photos do not begin to capture the beauty of the park as you can imagine.

2020-07-02_13-48-32_8782020-07-02_14-05-31_9232020-07-02_14-26-51_4552020-07-02_14-52-06_1112020-07-02_15-46-47_4682020-07-02_15-54-27_1962020-07-02_15-57-54_0802020-07-02_17-31-26_694IMG_20200702_150830IMG_20200702_1528052020-07-02_14-06-26_618And of course while taking my standard zillion photographs, once again I attempted to channel my inner Ansel Adams and took black & white photos. Here are a couple of my favorites:

2020-07-02_15-03-50_248IMG_20200702_133821~2

The Elk “Sherpa”

We had a curious experience while at Rocky Mountain National Park. While hiking in the higher elevations of the park, we came across a young elk. The elk ended up going on the hike with us, grazing along the way. We joked that the elk was our “Sherpa” leading us up the mountain.

2020-07-02_16-39-51_2622020-07-02_16-50-56_8292020-07-02_16-53-44_842It must have hiked with us for about a mile to a rock formation at the end of the trail. When we stopped, it stopped and waited for us.

After we explored the rock formation and turned around to walk back toward our car, the elk joined us for most of the walk back. Then suddenly it turned to look at us, as if saying goodbye, and walked off to join its herd in the distance.

2020-07-02_17-02-53_866The whole experience with the young elk felt sort of magical and mystical to us. Not to get all “woo-woo” on you but my partner and I both lost our life partners of many years (I am a widow, he is a widower) about 3 months apart. It sort of felt like the spirit of a love one was visiting upon the elk to walk with us.

I did a little googling on elk sightings as a message:

The elk represents dignity, power, inner strength, and passion. If you experience an elk sighting, it’s a message to stay steady on your current course. (californiapsychics.com)

I know super “woo-woo” but it just felt like a special moment when the elk went walking with us…

Fun at Lower Altitudes

In addition to visiting Rocky Mountain National Park, we also visited Fort Collins, Colorado and Estes Park, Colorado which is at the foot of Rocky Mountain National Park.

We love craft beer and stopped at several breweries:

2020-07-01_17-56-45_220IMG_20200701_1816222020-07-02_12-18-54_048If you’ve ever seen the movie The Shining which was filmed at the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, you will get the humor in the ale by Estes Park Brewery shown above!

Estes Park has a wonderful downtown shopping (tourist trap, ha!) area with endless delightful shops filled with things you do not need. While wandering about we stopped in a very naughty confectionary that specialized in gourmet caramel apples.

2020-07-02_11-29-16_4842020-07-02_11-29-28_8312020-07-02_11-30-25_193I am proud to say we left with only one caramel apple in hand (and it was incredibly delicious and we wished we’d bought two!)

Here is a hysterical (and scary t-shirt) we saw in a shop window (bears a prevalent at Rocky Mountain National Park):

IMG_20200702_115830In case the image above is too unclear – first the child is attempting to feed the bear and then the child is inside the bear!

And while wandering about Fort Collins and Estes Park, I took more black & white photos:

2020-07-01_19-29-31_6612020-07-01_19-30-20_581Thanks for making it through all these photos!


Postscript

But wait…more photos! I am sure there are way too many photos in this post but I am going to add a couple more.

In late March, early in the pandemic, when we were just beginning to go stir crazy, we attempted to visit Rocky Mountain National Park. We had a stay at home order in place but you were allowed to go on outside hikes. Not sure what we were thinking but we headed to Rocky Mountain National Park without first checking if it was even open.

We discovered it was closed to the public but we ended up visiting the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, where the first The Shining movie was filmed. They were allowing people to walk around the outside of the hotel and to come into the lobby as long as they maintained social distancing. Here are a couple photos from our visit to this amazing historic hotel (which include an autographed photo of younger Stephen King, author of The Shining).

2020-03-22_11-54-56_8632020-03-22_12-14-04_2882020-03-22_12-10-48_119MVIMG_20200322_1211542020-03-22_12-12-10_489IMG_20200322_120015Oh and in case you are wondering (and you remember the movie), no they do not have a labyrinth like the famous one in the film.

Sneaking in one more B&W photo to close out this post!

2020-03-22_11-56-31_869