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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

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:

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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

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

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

 

 

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

“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 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!

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Quarantine Quilts

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

I am so excited! My tremendously talented friend Wendy Hill has agreed to do a series of guest blog posts about a wonderful quilt project she’s been working on with children in her neighborhood during the quarantine/”COVID-times”. Over the past several months, she’s shared with me updates on this amazing project and I invited her to share with my tierneycreates blog readers. I hope the story of this project makes you smile as much as it made me smile.

Wendy Hill is a fiber artist and teacher who has written several art quilting books to include most recently Creative Quilt Challenges, cowritten with Pat Pease.   She has a website Wendy Hill Quilt Artist and you can follow her current work and musings on Instagram @wendyquilter.


Quarantine Quilt Project: Life in the Time of Coronavirus

Part I: Once Upon A Time

This is the story of two neighbors who banded together when the state government ordered a lock down because of the first Global Pandemic in over 100 years.

The big wide world was suddenly narrowed down to one house each for the four young boys next door and for us, a retired couple.

We live on a quiet cul-de-sac of a street, in a woodsy area, and now our respective worlds are turned upside down. 

#1 Yards#2 Yards#3 Yard SM“The Boys”, ages 2-8 years, explored the area around their house after finishing ‘school’.

With no fences and the houses close together, “The Boys” inevitably spilled over into our yard.

One day, it seemed, to them, a good idea to fill our birdbaths with dirt and make mud. “The Boys” cleaned up the mess and later dropped off an apology.

“Can you ever forgive us?” the note read. 

#4 BirdbathThere was nothing to forgive! “The Boys” were going stir crazy.

I sent an invitation to participate in “An Exchange”. I started with a drawing of a mouse, which looked a lot like a rat, and invited “The Boys” to add to the drawing. This drawing, plus two others, went back & forth until we had finished artworks. 

#5, first drawing#6, first drawing#7, collage#8, 3rd drawingLife during the pandemic meant one day blending into to the next, without much definition. But now, we waited to hear the patter of footsteps followed by the chime of the doorbell.

Likewise, I could hear “The Boys” squeal with delight when I rang their doorbell. It was exciting to open the door and see what The Boys left on the porch. 

One day, I sent over a note which read “I have a bit of a crazy idea….”. I sent over a Big Bag of Fabric Scraps with instructions to fill up blank 8 1/2” by 11” pages with fabric pieces. Overlaps of fabric were okay but no gaps. I explained I’d sew the fabrics together to make “quilt blocks”.

If “The Boys” had fun, we could keep it up until we had enough to make something.

#9, Bag of ScrapsThe mom replied “This sounds like a great idea!” and we were off.

The Boys had fun playing with color & texture, and they enjoyed seeing their fabric arrangements get transformed into blocks. As the number of blocks grew, they played with layouts on their floor. We agreed to make enough blocks for a quilt.

We were all building new pandemic memories and they would have a cuddly family quilt. Win-Win-Win! 

#10, The Boys#11, making arrangements#12, more arrangements#13, trial layouts

Wendy’s Next Guest Blog Post: The Boys Make 61 Blocks!

What's on the Design Wall

What’s on the Design Wall: Pride

In my June 11th post Tweaks to the Tierneycreates Studio, I shared that one of my quilting friends (Dana) had gifted me fabric, the pattern, the templates and pieces she already cut of a quilt she decided not to make:

2020-06-08_08-36-36_4322020-06-08_08-36-19_7792020-06-08_08-36-24_219As you can see above, Dana had already made 20 or so of the 7″ template quarter circle blocks.

One of the template sets had this quilt on it’s cover:

2020-07-10_14-43-16_798I decided not to make any of the 3.5″ quarter circle blocks but instead to start assembling the 7″ circle blocks Dana already cut and to arrange them like the pattern that came with the 3.5″ template.

2020-07-10_14-43-11_585Here is where I am with the piece to date:
2020-07-10_14-42-56_876 I’ve decided to name the piece “Pride” because it is bold and colorful and not afraid to be what it wants to be!

I still have a lot more 7″ quarter circle blocks to put together in additional color combinations which will provide more variety to the block options than I have above.

2020-07-10_14-43-01_459You might not see an update on this quilt for a while because I had to take it off the design wall to work on another piece for a show I’ve been invited to (the curator will still have to make the final decision whether I get into the show after they see  my piece) participate.  I won’t be sharing images of that piece for the show until it is complete and I find out if I got into the show!


Postscript

My partner John recently stripped/sanded an old chair he had for years from his maternal grandmother. The chair is approximately 80 years old. I forgot to take a “before” photo (but trust me the chair looked terrible – it was covered in paint and grime), but here are photos after it was sanded and refinished:

2020-07-11_11-39-06_3932020-07-11_11-42-59_011We made the chair into a bedside table in our upstairs guest room (which is also my home office) by clipping on a lamp. I got this idea from one of the many home decorating books I’ve borrowed recently from the library (see post Beastie goes to the library (and gets a Library Stack)).

2020-07-14_08-06-49_968And an update to the recent “library stacks” I’ve borrowed: I am enjoying reading the books sitting on the front porch during our warm weather in the Denver metro area. Here is Mike the Miniature Schnauzer attempting to distract me from my reading:

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Beastie Adventures, The Library Stack

Beastie goes to the library (and gets a Library Stack)

It was as if the gates of Heaven opened and I could hear the angels singing: Last week a neighboring library system (the one I’ve started getting books via curbside pick up from a couple weeks ago, see post The Library Stack Is Back!), OPENED ITS DOOR TO THE PUBLIC!!!

So the tierneycreates Beastie and I headed to the library to frolic among the stacks! (We did not bring tierneycreates Beastie’s dog Mikelet since only Service Dogs are allowed in libraries…even though he is very small and I likely could have hid him in my pocket…)

2020-06-29_15-15-57_875 After chatting with the library front desk staff and introducing them to the tierneycreates Beastie and showing them her library card* (see post Beastie Outing to the Library), we headed upstairs to browse our favorite Dewey Decimal System section 700 (Arts & Recreation)!

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*tierneycreates Beastie with her very own Library Card

Once again, like the other time I took my Beastie to the library, she insisted on trying to navigate the library stairs herself:

2020-06-29_15-00-25_0082020-06-29_15-00-52_369But she was not getting anywhere very fast so she agreed I could just carry her upstairs to the magical 700 section of the library.

Once we got upstairs, I let her do her own browsing and she eventually found her way to the knitting book section as she is always trying to learn more about how she was made in Dublin by her maker Helen@Crawcraftbeasties.

2020-06-29_15-01-45_4572020-06-29_15-15-51_1012020-06-29_15-21-05_5172020-06-29_15-22-05_9522020-06-29_15-22-17_902Beasties are sort of vain and she kept asking me to take her photo among various stacks of craft books. Here is a photo she did not want you to see but I told her I was going to share it anyway so you can see sometimes even Beasties take bad photos:

2020-06-29_15-21-48_969While I was browsing (note – this was the first time I’ve been inside this library as I joined this neighboring library system when they started curbside pick up a couple weeks ago since my local library is still completely closed) in section 700, I noticed this sign:

2020-06-29_15-30-08_633I was like “whaaaaaaaaaaaat?” I love Interior Decorating/Design books and this library has their own “Interior Design Nooks?!??! (insert sounds of more angels singing). So I wandered over there while the tierneycreates Beastie continued to browse through the knitting section.

2020-06-29_15-31-49_068The nook is both sides of this freestanding section and a built in bookshelf!

Unfortunately my arms were overloading with browsings from the other 700 sections and I could only select a couple books from this section to borrow (but I will be back!!!)

Here is the resulting Library Stack from our visit (or frolic among the library stacks):

2020-06-29_16-16-11_005tierneycreates Beastie just mentioned to me that since I was “keeping it real” by showing a photo of her earlier in this post with disheveled hair, I need to show you all what the Library Stack really looks like when I first get it home before I put it in a nice order:

2020-06-29_15-39-35_827Beasties keep you honest!

Special Events

The Art of the Brick

“Art nurtures the brain. Whether made from clay, paint, wood, or a modern-day toy.” – Nathan Sawaya

Sunday we went to see an awesome new exhibit at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science – The Art of the Brick by Nathan Sawaya. All the pieces are made out of Legos!

2020-06-28_09-05-30_732We are museum members so we got invited to a members’ only showing which was awesome as the crowd was small (and everyone was social distancing and had their masks on).

2020-06-28_09-06-10_484The pieces in the exhibit were amazing and many were HUGE! We imagined hours and hours of creating these pieces. Here is a video I found from when the exhibit visited Manchester, UK. (which unfortunately closed early due to the pandemic).

Well let’s dive into images from the Denver show we saw Sunday:

2020-06-28_09-07-36_4462020-06-28_09-08-01_6482020-06-28_09-08-42_0782020-06-28_09-09-26_6662020-06-28_09-09-32_5562020-06-28_09-09-51_3282020-06-28_09-17-26_1872020-06-28_09-18-46_1532020-06-28_09-21-30_4682020-06-28_09-22-42_938All life size or larger!

Also displayed were an amazing collection of reproductions of famous paintings and sculptures done in Legos:

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The artist also created some very unique pieces with Legos, including a giant figure swimming in Lego water:

2020-06-28_09-16-01_3992020-06-28_09-19-30_1922020-06-28_09-18-04_550My favorite piece in the show was this one (yes a Legos dog made life size):

2020-06-28_09-22-16_0132020-06-28_09-22-23_201My partner John’s favorite piece was this twisted Lego block:

IMG_20200628_091901John loved Legos as a kid and participated in Legos building competitions. He got a kick posing with several of the Legos figures at the exhibit!

2020-06-28_09-00-16_9802020-06-28_09-23-21_357I’ll close out this post with one of the posters of quotes from the artist throughout the exhibit:

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Audiobooks and Podcasts

The Library Book and the Home Library

The Library Book

A couple weeks ago I finished a wonderful book by author Susan Orlean – The Library Book (2018).

susan-orlean_the-library-book
Image credit: theparisreview.org

I’ve loved public libraries since I was a kid and still do (just see my series of posts The Library Stack).

This non-fiction book uses the backdrop of the 1986 Los Angeles Central Public Library fire to share the history and glory (and challenges) of public libraries. She shares her historical research as well as interviews with many library staff throughout the country. This book also pays homage to public libraries and their importance in our communities. Just listening to a day in the library of various public library staff is pretty awesome and gives you perspective of how library staff serve our communities.

I borrowed this book as an audiobook from my public library, and I loved it so much I bought a hard copy of the book from a local independent bookseller.

Early in the book, this passage about the author’s trips to the library with her mother on page 7 really captured my heart:

…my mother and I walked in together but as soon as we passed through the door, we split up and each beaded for our favorite section. The library might have been the first place I was ever given autonomy…Our visits to the library were never long enough for me. I loved wandering around the bookshelves, scanning the spines until something happened to catch my eye. Those visits were dreamy, frictionless interludes that promised I would leave richer than I arrived.

There is a lot more to this passage and I highly recommend this book if you love libraries!

Home Library

One of things I missed during the first couple months of the pandemic is being able to go to my local public library and browse for new books. The local library near my home is still closed but I do have access to a neighboring town’s library online and they do curbside pick up (see my post The Library Stack Is Back!)

If I’ve wanted to read anything, it seems like I’ve always borrowed it from my local library. Well this whole pandemic experience has made me think about having a book collection of my own (beside my crazy collection of crafting books) and building a home library.

To get this started, my partner John and I decided to designate the front room (sort of like a small formal living room) as “the library” and rearranged the furniture.

John, who loves Pinterest and is crafty, found an industrial pipe bookshelf image on Pinterest, figured out how to recreate it and built two bookcases near the window opposite each other.

Here is the first bookcase completed:

2020-06-24_10-53-31_538I am still working on arranging books on this bookcase. John has built the second one across from it and we plan to put a writing desk next to the two windows that are between the bookcases. I will share a photo in a future post once we get our library finished!

We’ve been building up our collection of fiction (primarily science fiction since we are both science fiction nerds) and non fiction books by finding them at thrift stores and independent bookstores (which have recently opened up again, see my post A Friday Frolicking Adventure) which we are trying to support.

Speaking of home libraries, I recently finished a book I borrowed from the library called For the Love of Books: Designing and Curating a Home Library by Thatcher Wine.

9781423652151-us
Image credit: abebooks.com

What is discovered is that there is a wonderful sounding bookstore in Boulder, Colorado called Juniper Books which sells beautiful book collections. Here is an example – their “Influential Women” collection:

ELWW5_Influential-Women-Authors_Angle_1200_1200x
Image credit: juniperbooks.com

The book, was essentially a beautiful advertisement for Juniper Books but it was a delightful advertisement! The custom book collections (with covers that form images, etc.) displayed in the book are amazing and dreamy.

Screen Shot 2020-06-25 at 8.34.38 AM
juniperbooks.com

No plans for an expensive custom book collection in my future but I plan to visit their shop in Boulder and have fun browsing!

“What a miracle it is that out of these small, flat, rigid squares of paper unfolds world after world after world, worlds that sing to you, comfort and quiet or excite you. Books help us understand who we are and how we are to behave. They show us what community and friendship mean; they show us how to live and die.” – Anne Lamott


Postscript

And speaking of books and libraries, I hope you are listening to my blogging buddy  Tammie Painter’sThe Book Owl Podcast. I’ve been catching up on episodes when I walk my dog and I appreciated she mentioned my blog on the third episode of her podcast.

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thebookowlpodcast.com

Tammie shares wonderful stories related to books and libraries (well researched with lots of humor). Most recently I enjoyed the story of Barter Books in the U.K., the iconic poster it is responsible for rejuvenating and the train that runs through it!


Feature Photo by Janko Ferlic on Unsplash

A Crafter's Life, Special Events, WCQN

“Giant Among the Sequoias” Returns Home

A couple days ago my art quilt Giant Among the Sequoias (2018) arrived in the mail. It was touring in an exhibit: “Yours for Race and Country: Reflections on the Life of Colonel Charles Young”, curated by Dr. Carolyn Mazloomi, head of the Women of Color Quilting Network (WCQN).

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Giant Among the Sequoias (2018) by Tierney Davis Hogan

You can read about this quilt in these two posts:

Secret Quilt Revealed, Part I

Secret Quilt Revealed, Part II: Yours for Race and Country

 The quilt is included in the book for exhibition:

2020-06-20_17-05-04_0422020-06-20_17-05-23_703It was bittersweet having this quilt returned to me.

This quilt was the last “art quilt” I created before my husband Terry (Terry the Quilting Husband (TTQH)) suddenly died in December 2018. I remember having the quilt up in the design wall in the hallway in my former home in Central Oregon and soliciting his feedback as the quilt organically evolved.

I’ve continued quilting and making little craft projects since he died, but for the past year and a half I’ve lost my art quilt muse. I can make improvisational quilts like Seattle Scrappy (see post Seattle Scrappy (What’s on the Design Wall)) but I’ve struggled with wanting to create storied/pictorial quilt like Giant Among the SequoiasI even passed up an amazing invitational only opportunity in the spring of 2019 which would have led to my first quilt showing at the Houston International Quilt Show.

I am so happy I had all the quilts already made when I had my first solo show at the Seattle Municipal Center in April 2019 (see post Solo Show Seattle Municipal Tower (re-post)) as I could not have made new art quilt pieces for that show.

I did not attend the opening for the exhibit “Yours for Race and Country: Reflections on the Life of Colonel Charles Young” which opened March 16, 2019 in Wilberforce, Ohio. I had planned to attend it before Terry died and my sweet brother wanted me to meet him in Ohio and attend the show with me.

I just was not up to it and in retrospect I regret not attending the show and also missing on an opportunity to spend time with my wonderful brother Raoul.

Alas grief is a strange beast and now a year and a half into widowhood I have learned to tame that beast a bit, or at least live somewhat peacefully with it.

One day I did stumble upon, during my googling about the show, a nice comment by Dr. Mazloomi the curator on this website Dayton.com –  Military luminary Col. Charles Young subject of show at the National Afro-American Museum & Cultural Center:

The narrative quilts are a history lesson captured in fabric.

“Giant Among the Sequoias,” a quilt created by Oregon artist Tierney Davis Hogan, is a re-creation of a forest scene made from recycled batik fabric scraps. In the center, an image of Young is stitched into the largest tree, keeping watch over the park.

“I love that because it’s quite a twist,” Mazloomi said. “It’s not necessarily a narrative quilt but it is a modern quilt in geometric form and it goes on to tell a story about his work in Sequoia Park.”

I am so honored!

My muse has slowly returned and I am going to create a storied/pictorial art quilt for an important show, which I hope to  get juried into. Even if my piece is not accepted, it will be my next piece (I only have one so far) in my series Stories My Father Told Me (see series of posts Stories My Father Told Me).

I did hang up the quilt in the hallway headed downstairs to the daylight basement as there is other wall art related to national parks and the outdoors in that area.

2020-06-20_17-04-53_778

What's on the Design Wall

“All the Trimmings” is all done

Good Morning, here is a quick update on the quilt I shared in the post Update on “All the Trimmings”.

I finished machine quilting my quilt created from a zillion half square triangles (HSTs), most of which were from scrap triangles collected over 15 years, most of which were triangles from the trimming of blocks by other quilters. Hence the name: All the Trimmings.

THogan_All the TrimmingsThe quilt measures 57.5 inches by 72.5 inches (146 cm x 184 cm).

Here’s another photo with my partner John holding up All the Trimmings:

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As I created it during the Quarantine times, I went ahead and entered it into the call for entry I linked in this post – Quarantine Quilts (call for entry).

I was limited to 50 words, but here is the Artist Statement for the quilt I submitted:

Missing my Quilting Community during Quarantine and inspired by Amanda Jean Nyberg’s pattern “All Sizes”, I created a quilt from 15 years of scrap triangles collected from my quilting friends at quilt retreats and “sew dates”. Most of the scraps in this quilt are from the trimmings of blocks by many quilters as they made their quilts. Instead of going into the trash, scrap triangles compose this cozy quilt.

I am fairly sure some pretty spectacular quilts (and art quilts) have been submitted for this international call for entry and some of the quilts will go to the Houston International Quilt Show, one of the biggest quilt shows in the world.

I have doubts my little HST quilt will be selected but as they say: “You got to be in it to win it” – ha! (and it was free to enter).

The rules say the makers of the quilts selected will be notified no later than July 10th.  I will let you know the outcome.

For now, the quilt is keeping me company on my favorite chair in the living room.

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You might notice that the quilt Seattle Scrappy (see post Update on Seattle Scrappy) is sitting in the chair also – I am still working on hand quilting it (and wow hand quilting a lap size quilt takes MUCH LONGER than machine quilting it!).


Postscript

Speaking of “Quarantine Quilts”, a friend of mine has been working on an incredible quilting collaboration project with some children in her neighborhood and I hope she will share with us this project in a future guest post. Every time I look at images of this quilt in progress I get a huge smile!

Beastie Adventures, Studio

Tweaks to the Tierneycreates Studio

I love Crafter’s/Artist’s Studio tours! I love to see where people create. If I happen upon a studio tour blog post then it’s time to get a cup of tea and settle back and enjoy!

I have a couple books in my collection of studio tours/ideas and I occasionally pick up the latest issue of the magazine – Where Women Create.

So I thought I’d share an update to the post Guest Blogger: tierneycreates’ “New” Studio Tour, and share some photos of the latest version of my tierneycreates studio (aka back bedroom) in case you like studio tours as much as I do!

The Studio Needed An Official Name

I decided to name it “Tierney’s Woman Cave”!

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New Layout

I changed the layout of the table I have on risers that serves as my cutting table. This is the table I got for free from my community’s for sale/for free online boards.

Before:

2020-04-01_10-55-43_977After (gave the Eurolounger next to the window to the pre-teen next door for her room remodel):

2020-06-08_08-35-51_856I had a feeling when I first re-did my studio after moving back into it after we decided in the early COVID days not to sell the house and to stay put (see post Perspective), that I would make tweaks to the layout as I used the studio and got a sense of what worked and what could be better.

I shifted the iron board and re-did the area on top of the bookcases in the room. I also added in additional storage drawers in the cubby bookcases.

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New Closet

One of the biggest changes is that my partner John removed the original wire shelf and built me nice shelves in the closet. Previously I had the original wire shelf where clothes would have hung with hanging wire shelves added.

Before:
2020-04-01_17-39-50_206After:

2020-06-06_14-39-11_468I love my new closet and had so much fun organizing it!

Tierneycreates Beastie’s New Home

I relocated the Tierneycreates Beastie from a basket to the top of a bookcase next to a delicious basket of fabric string scraps (well delicious to me):

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Project That is Sort of In Progress

I am will share more on this project in a future post in my series What’s on the Design Wall,  but one of my quilting friends gave me a project she decided to give up on after taking a class. Right now I am sorting out the pieces she has sewn together, the pieces she has cut out, the leftover fabric, the pattern and the templates.

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I am also still working on machine quilting my piece All the Trimmings which I last discussed in the post Update on “All the Trimmings”. I had to take it off my sewing machine to roll the section I completed quilting to make room in the machine:

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I am really enjoying my Tierney’s Woman Cave, it is my “happy place”!


Postscript

A quick follow up to the post Proud of My Maker (Guest Blogger Post) in which the guest blogger, Tierneycreates Beastie mentions that I lost her t-shirt during packing for my move that did not  happen.

Well her t-shirt has been found!

Turns out I had shoved it into this antique box when I was packing up:

2020-06-10_22-04-59_661I originally put the box in my cubby bookcase without even checking the contents, but took a closer look the other day.

So now she has her t-shirt for the warmer weather instead of having to wear her sweater all the time!

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tierneycreates

Photoshoot: African Windows

A couple weeks ago I did a photoshoot of a quilt I made with African textile inspired fabrics for a project I have been invited to participate in (more details in the future) and I thought I would share a couple images of this quilt, African Windows, I made in 2014.

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Back in 2014, I was gifted a collection of African textiles (not sure if they were originals or reproductions) from someone’s Aunt who had passed who was an avid world traveler and collector of textiles on her travels. (I was also gifted a collection of Japanese and Dutch textiles, which I used to make the quilt I will share in a future blog post).

Here is the Artist Statement I recently wrote on this quilt for the project I was invited to participate:

African Windows (2014)

 I was gifted a collection of African textiles and created a piece to display the beautiful patterns of these spectacular fabrics. The design of this piece was inspired by an old Patchwork Studio pattern called “Aussie”. I adapted this pattern to work with the African textiles.

The quilt measures 56 inches wide by 64.5 inches long.

Here are a couple close up photos of the fabrics used in this quilt:

IMG_20200516_104134IMG_20200516_104136IMG_20200516_104137IMG_20200516_104140

Recently my partner and I remodeled our garage and painted it white. We discovered that an empty section of wall in the garage is a great place to photograph a quilt. So we set up a shop light on a ladder for better lighting.

2020-05-16_10-41-40_7492020-05-16_10-41-59_884Of course it took a while to figure out the best way to mount the quilt so it did not keep sliding down (we used Command Strips) right before we snapped the photo – ha!

MVIMG_20200516_102929A couple more Command Strips and finally it worked!

IMG_20200516_103821


Postscript

Around the same time as a photoshoot, I decided I needed a new journal to write thoughts and plans. I came across this lovely journal which I felt had a very inspiring cover and added it to my life:

2020-05-17_10-06-23_197I think it is a great daily inspiration!

tierneycreates, What's on the Design Wall

Update on “All the Trimmings”

Hello everyone, I wanted to share an update on the quilt I last discussed in this post What’s on the Design Wall: “All the Trimmings”.

I completed all five sections of the quilt top made from fabric scrap triangles and scrap squares to create nearly 600 half square triangles (HSTs) in the following sizes:

  • 2 inch x 2 inch
  • 2.5 inch x 2.5 inch
  • 3.5 inch x 3.5 inch
  • 4.5 inch x 4.5 inch
  • 5.5 inch x 5.5 inch

2020-05-23_20-04-48_040It was inspired by the pattern  All Sizes by Amanda Jean Nyberg from her book, No Scrap Left Behind.

Here it is on the ironing board after I pinned it for quilting:

2020-06-02_11-22-07_211And here is it currently being machine quilted on my sewing machine:

2020-06-03_17-22-24_962I decided to machine quilt it myself rather than send it out to be professional long-arm machine quilted. Slowly I am making progress, I try to work on a section each day.

(You might notice some curious brightly colored half-circle blocks on my design wall behind my sewing area. I’ll talk about those in a future post. They are blocks a quilting friend gave me when she decided not to finish a piece. More to come.)

And of course when I finish machine quilting All the Trimmings I will share another update.

I am going to do an Artist Statement for this piece since there is a story behind it. Here is a very rough draft of that statement:

It’s more than just a half square triangle quilt. I miss going to Quilting Retreats and hanging out with Quilting friends so I made this quilt, based on Amanda Jean Nyberg’s pattern “All Sizes”, from scraps collected from my quilting friends during 15 years of quilting retreats and “Sew Dates”. Most of the scraps are triangle trimmings from their block piecing. Hundreds of scrap triangles went into this quilt top!


Postscript

A friend of mine recently said that she was looking forward to hearing my thoughts on the tragic events and strife currently going on in the United States in a blog post.

For me it is just too deeply personal and sad issue to discuss in this forum, so I am going to just focus my blog posts on my creative projects and other lighter topics.

I will however share with you that I am currently taking a break from watching or reading the news as this was wearing down my soul.

Recently came across this quote by Fred (Mister) Rogers that made me feel some peace and I will close out this post with this quote:

helpers

Audiobooks and Podcasts, Beastie Adventures

Proud of My Maker (Guest Blogger Post)

Tierney is busy catching up on the backlog of posts she wants to read by her blogging buddies around the world, so I am guest posting so she does not continue to fall so behind in blogging!

Once again I am sitting at my makeshift desk, typing on my laptop:

2018-11-18_05-59-08_264Oh I should introduce myself in case you are new to this blog, my name is tierneycreates Beastie and I am a Monster, but the good kind of Monster. 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 Tierney fell off the blogging-wagon) in the series of posts: Beastie Adventures.

I am originally from Dublin, Ireland and I was made by Helen Crawford of CrawCrafts Beasties. Well the other day, Tierney and I listened to a podcast with an interview with my Maker – From The Maker To The Made, EP.18 Helen Crawford.

Screen Shot 2020-05-23 at 10.10.07 AMThe link above is for the platform Spotify but you can also listen to this podcast wherever you get your podcasts, like on Apple Podcasts on your iPhone.

Here I am listening to the podcast on Tierney’s iPhone with her and my dog Mikelet:

IMG_20200521_122226The podcast was amazing and I got to hear my Maker’s voice! It was a brilliant interview and I enjoyed learning how Helen got into making Beasties like me. All I can say is I am so glad she did not become a “management consultant” after she finished university.

Oh now you might be wondering why at the end of May I am wearing the lovely Aran sweater that Helen knitted me and not my much cooler T-shirt she made me like in this photo from the April 2019 post Beastie Adventures – Seattle Public Library:

2019-04-18_10-55-12_298Well Tierney lost my T-shirt a couple months ago when she had packed to move but then did not move (see post Perspective). She hopes my T-shirt shows up but she might have to make me a new one herself (because I am going to get very hot in this sweater when we are at full summer in Colorado!) and perhaps as Helen if she can make me another.

I know some of you might follow’s Helen’s blog – BeastieBlog, and I wanted to suggest you check out this podcast episode if you’d like to hear her lovely Irish accent and her being interviewed about her creative journey and process!

I am so proud of my Maker!


Postscript

Speaking of podcasts, now Tierney and I need to head over to Tammie Painter’sThe Book Owl Podcast and listen to the latest episode. She is another one of Tierney’s blogging buddies and she has her own Beastie that was made by Helen of CrawCrafts BeastiesFinn McSpool.

Tammie got to bring Finn back to Ireland and be reunited with his Maker Helen (and Tammie got to meet her).Tammie has a series of posts about her visit with Finn to Ireland in her blog tammiepainter.com/blog.

Tierney and I had planned to go to Scotland with friends this July pre-COVID pandemic (plans got cancelled with her traveling buddies due to the pandemic) and while she was in the UK, she was going to also visit Dublin and meet up with Helen. I am bummed this did not happen, but I know someday I will get to return to where I was born!

I am very much looking forward to touring Dublin someday as all I’ve seen of it is the inside of Helen’s studio where I was created.

The Library Stack

The Library Stack Is Back!

One of the things I’ve greatly missed during the “COVID-times” is visiting my local public library to browse the shelves and/or pick up my latest stack of holds.

1000x700-love-libraries-quotes-12
Photo credit: dictionary.com

My local public library, which is within walking distance of where I live, is still closed BUT last week I discovered the public library in the neighboring country opened for “curbside pick up”. Library patrons could reserve books online and when notified that the library that they are available, could park in designated spots at the library and HAVE THEIR LIBRARY HOLDS DELIVERED DIRECTLY INTO THE TRUNK OF THEIR CAR!

Giddy with the excitement of this news, I contacted the neighboring county’s library to see if they would allow me to sign up for a library card/account with them. I discovered from the friendly library staff that any Colorado resident could sign up!

I could not get online fast enough to sign up for a library patron account with this neighboring county’s library!!!

But…

I went a little crazy putting books on hold online. Like super crazy. Like completely and utterly insane.

So now I am ready to continue my ongoing series, The Library Stack, sharing my stack of borrowed books from my local public library. Because, the LIBRARY STACK IS BACK

Initially I received an e-mail that several of the books I reserved were available and immediately drove to the library to pick them up. !

2020-05-19_10-59-25_709And a couple days later I received a notice that like 15+ more books were available for me to pick up.

Here is the resulting MEGA STACK of library books:

2020-05-20_11-46-58_418And I am in library book heaven!

This morning (the first day of my “staycation”, see Postscript), I had a simple breakfast in the front room with a pile of library books. It was a lovely way to spend a morning!

2020-05-22_09-20-11_234Oh and yes, a couple more books have come in and I returned to the library a third time to have them load more books into my trunk! I did return a couple books using their drive through book return so my stack is still the same size (sort of…but I am not showing you any more of my pathological addiction to library books in this post – ha!)


Postscript

Today I began my first day of a 10 day “staycation” (a holiday at home). I plan to spend it reading my giant library stack, catching up on reading the blogs I follow, and even writing some more blog posts. My partner John and I are also planning some day trip adventures and working on some home remodeling projects.

Oh in addition to the library stack, I am also reading a book on Kindle – Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace; and listening to a fantastic audiobook book – The Library Book by Susan Orleans which is a love letter to public libraries. I will of course be discussing this book a bit in a future post when I finish it.

I don’t know about you but I keep fighting getting blue during these COVID-times. I know some of the stay at home orders/restrictions are loosening but if your part of the world is like mine you are still dealing with “social distancing”, limited access to things and needing to wear masks when you venture out.

I am so grateful for my health and the health of those I love and I hate to sound whiny at all but I miss what life used to be pre-COVID so much.

Somedays I sort of want to just run around and hug everyone I come across! It hurts my heart to always have to intentionally and constantly stay away from people. When walking my dog and passing another person, we each move an extra bit to the opposite side. I guess dogs just figure that people all hate strangers now or something!

I came across this quote the other day and it was a good reminder for me to “snap out of it” and send out positive vibes to my fellow humans struggling with this new reality:

2020-05-17_10-31-30_628

A Crafter's Life

A Friday Frolicking Adventure

Before I dive into this post I’d like to ask you to revisit my previous post if you’d like to: Liebster Award Nomination. I decided not to make it a two part post (because originally I was falling asleep towards the end of writing it) and to just go back and edit the post and finish it up. You will see towards the bottom of the post a header: “Update 05/12/2020”; and under that header you will find “Eleven (11) Facts About Myself”, my nominations of 7 blogs and the corresponding questions I’ve posed for the nominees to answer. I did go ahead and notify the 7 nominees in the comment section of their blogs.  So if you’d like to read the rest of my ramblings related to Anna at Homeschool Guru  nominating me for a blogging award head on over there (smile).

And now onto the previous Friday’s frolicking adventure…


Indie Bookstore and Antique Shop Browsing!

2020-05-08_14-12-25_610

I am off work on Fridays (I work Monday – Thursday) and my partner John and I decided to have a little adventure. We heard last week that the town of Castle Rock, Colorado was relaxing their business closure rules during the pandemic and would allow some businesses to open.

Masked and gloved we headed out to Castle Rock as we checked and their independent bookstore Sudden Fiction Books was open! It feels like its been eons since I’ve been able to wander through a bookstore or a public library so I was so excited to browse.

I love independent (indie) bookstores and I’ve blogged about them in the past – Independent Bookstores (wonderful & magical places). I try to support them whenever I can.

We had an exquisite browse at Sudden Fiction in downtown Castle Rock, which sells both new and used books and we left with quite the stack of new and used books (mainly science fiction). Here are photos from that visit.

2020-05-08_14-10-38_1812020-05-08_14-10-12_571

2020-05-08_14-10-18_835
In case you cannot read this through the hand sanitizer, it says: “Don’t make us move all our post-apocalyptic fiction to the non-fiction. Wash your hands.”

2020-05-08_14-09-43_8272020-05-08_14-09-57_1592020-05-08_14-10-27_1502020-05-08_14-09-26_960Here is my partner John all masked and gloved while browsing.

2020-05-08_13-53-34_007

I had a lovely chat with the shopkeeper while maintaining social distancing and trying to talk through our masks. We occasionally we did have to repeat ourselves as some words do not enunciate very clearly through a mask!

On our way out of the bookstore we noticed there we other shops open in downtown Castle Rock to include an antique shop!

The only shopping I’ve done in the past couple of  months was at grocery stores or “box stores” (Costco, Target, Home Depot) and what a pleasure it was to actually wander/browse through an independent retail shop.

Here are photos from our inside and outside wander (they have an outdoor garden kitsch section) at The Barn in downtown Castle Rock. We bought some new yard art there to support the business.

2020-05-08_14-12-53_8992020-05-08_14-12-41_3012020-05-08_14-12-49_8332020-05-08_14-41-03_6562020-05-08_14-25-53_0122020-05-08_14-24-24_8272020-05-08_14-24-16_9952020-05-08_14-24-08_830In the garden section out back I was particularly fascinated by their huge collection of large rusted letters. We photographed them in both color and black & white.

2020-05-08_14-29-06_515IMG_20200508_142943IMG_20200508_142943~2But alas, I could not figure out why I needed them so we did not leave the shop with any large letters!

We also ate lunch in Castle Rock at a new place called Cuba Cuba. We were allowed to walk in and order at the bar (maintaining social distance of course) and then we had to wait outside on the patio for our food. Inside the restaurant was lovely and we look forward to the day we can go inside and dine (or even sit outside on their nice patio and dine). But we happily ate our Cuban sandwiches in the car.

2020-05-08_13-12-39_4292020-05-08_13-12-28_6982020-05-08_13-16-52_729All the things I used to kind of take for granted pre-pandemic. What a treat it was to be able to browse in downtown Castle Rock on Friday!


Postscript

Speaking of Castle Rock, we were excited that Castle Rock had loosened some restrictions but unfortunately not all Castle Rock business behaved as the Colorado governor had mandated when the restrictions were loosened as you will see in this online news article:

Governor Suspends Castle Rock Restaurant’s License After Mother’s Day Opening Goes Viral

animals - 8756610560

 

A Crafter's Life

Liebster Award Nomination

Thank you to Anna at Homeschool Guru for nominating my blog for a Liebster Award.

Essentials

The word “Liebster” sounded vaguely familiar and quite German. I studied German for a year when I was in college and I remembered the German word “lieb” which means dear as in beloved.

I checked an English to German dictionary online (interglot.com) and discovered the definition for “Liebster” is: “friend, dear, sweetheart.

Sounds like a nice name for a blogging award (smile).

It’s been a long time since I’ve received a nomination for a blogging award as I’ve been blogging for nearly 7 years and it seems like these awards are primarily to give exposure to new blogs. So it was quite a pleasant and appreciated surprise.

I appreciated her comments on her post regarding my nomination:

Tierney at Tierney Creates. Queen of quilts, this is a creative and artistic blog, plus Mike-the-dog-who-thinks-he’s-a-human.

(You might be wondering why I follow a blog/website called homeschoolguru when I do not have any children that I home school. Well this blogger found me and commented on my blog a couple months ago and I took a peek at her blog and discovered it was absolutely delightful! Yes she writes many posts helpful to parents who home school but she also covers many other topics of interests and her posts are witty and engaging!)


Okay so here are the rules of being nominated:

LIEBSTER AWARD RULES
•       Thank the blogger who nominated you, and provide a link to their blog.
•       Answer the 11 questions given to you.
•       Share 11 facts about yourself.
•       Nominate 5-11 other bloggers.
•       Ask your nominees 11 questions of your choice.
•       Notify your nominees once you have uploaded your post.


By the way, it’s late in the evening, the wind is howling like crazy outside and I am sitting in bed writing while sleep is attempting to creep upon me. I might ramble during the rest of this post, please forgive me. I did not want to let too much time pass between the time I was nominated (May 5th) and when I answered the questions that come along with being nominated.

I think these questions are designed for you all to get to know me a little better, but some of you have followed my blog for years and might feel like you know enough already (or more than you want to know!)


Question #1: Do you have a book out or in the pipeline?

Yes, in the pipeline! I have an idea for a children’s’ book or a young adult book (or both), but not ready to share yet.

Question #2: How long have you been blogging and what is your favorite subject to write about?

I’ve been blogging for nearly 7 years – my blog began in October 2013 as a vehicle originally for my now closed tierneycreates Etsy shop. I do not have a favorite subject to blog about, I just enjoy sharing stories from a “Crafter’s Life”.

Question #3: If you could move to a different town, state or country… where would you be?

New Zealand – not sure what town – I’d just have to first visit all my blogging buddies that live there and see which town was the friendliest for me to build my small off grid cottage! (But I would need some serious solar power for running my sewing machine all the time).

New Zealand Hotels - Online hotel reservations for Hotels in New ...
Ah one of the neighbor’s lambs went for a walk with me today. in my small New Zealand town.. (image credit agoda.com)

Question #4: What is your favorite quality about yourself?

I grow wiser as I grow older and have learned to put things in “perspective”.

Question #5: Are you an Introvert or an Extrovert or even both?

I am both. I spent many years presenting as an Extrovert, but now I am enjoying embracing my Introverted side while functioned as needed as an Extrovert (smile).

How are introverts and extroverts viewing social distancing ...
I am I in the mood to deal with people today?

Question #6: What is THE JOB of your dreams?

If someone could pay me a nice salary to blog full time and make things in my craft room, that would be it. Or perhaps I get my book (or books) published someday and use the royalties to just craft and blog all day!

Question #7: Other than blogging/writing what is the one favorite thing you LOVE to do?

Go on walks alone listening to audiobooks/podcasts, or with my dog, or with my partner (but I talk to him instead of listening to books!). If my legs and feet could handle it I would walk for miles and miles each day!

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Question #8: Where is one of the first places you plan on going after quarantine is over?

Can anyone guess? Yup, it the PUBLIC LIBRARY! I cannot wait until I can run free (no worry I will be clothed) through the stacks and stacks books in the library. All those lonely books, waiting for me to check them out…

100,000 patrons return to Denver Public Library after late fine ...

Question #9: Speaking of COVID-19, is there anything that you learned about yourself or will be changing about yourself when ‘life moves on?’

Several years ago I discovered “Minimalism” and I was trying to move towards a quality life with less stuff in my life. Then I kind of slip off that path for a while. Now I’ve been using COVID-times to refocus on what really matters in life and to be careful how I spend my money and my time.

Question #10: Is there anything as far as food that you will absolutely NOT eat?

Oh yes – Liver and Onions! I gagged it down as a child, and never again. Also I will never eat Oreo cookies or Mint Chocolate Chip ice cream – yuck! Their flavors nauseate me.

Question #11: Do you own a website for your writing?

No, not yet…


Well I am super sleepy now, as I am sure you are too trying to read all this boring information about me – hopefully you have not done a face-plant into your computer keyboard – ha!

Sleeping At Desk Computer GIF - SleepingAtDesk Computer Sleep GIFs

I will continue my rambling…um, I mean completing the requested Liebster Award nomination information in my next post.


Update 05/12/2020

I’ve decided not to do a “Part II” to this post and just finish up on this post.

Just the facts, ma'am. Just the facts" - Theia

Eleven (11) Facts About Myself

  1. I used to be obsessed with Barbies (Mattel toys Barbie dolls) from my late 20s to late 30s. It was something related to some challenging childhood memories and Barbies provided me with a lot of comfort. When I got into my late 30s to early 40s I was finally able to let my Barbie collection go. I sold some on Etsy, some on eBay and gave away/donated a lot of Barbies.
  2. I love public libraries. Walking into a library immediately calms, relaxes and excites me. This is related to many wonderful childhood memories at the library. I think it was the summer when I was 10 years old that I spent every day at the library. I would ride my bike to the library and browse books for hours – both children and adult books. The librarians knew me well. When I lived in Central Oregon from 2005 – 2019 I got to know the Deschutes Public Library quite well and had some librarian buddies at the downtown branch. I even had several art quilts in library art shows (see post A Novel Panel Idea). When I travel I try to visit a local library whenever possible.
  3. I’ve likely read way too many self-help books but I am still strangely drawn to them. I tried to swear off of them (see post Musings on Self-Improvement) but I might be secretly listening to one right now and just not telling all about it (smile).
  4. Fabric scraps make me happy. Very happy. I love the idea of saving something meant for a landfill and making something (eventually, hopefully, possibly…) out of it. I’ve become more selective over the years what scraps I get from other quilters and I’ve donated many fabric scraps in thrift shops (they sell well at thrift shops) as I shared in the post A “Humane” Way to Eliminate Fabric Scraps.
  5. My husband (who suddenly passed in December 2019) and I adopted rescued dogs, specifically rescued miniature schnauzers, for nearly 25 years. I currently have a rescued miniature schnauzer, Mike, who is 9.5 year old. His story is in the post – Taking Chances: The Mike Hogan Chronicles (re-post). I have been thinking about the future and wondering should I continue with miniature schnauzers or explore adopting those teddy bear looking labradoodles?
  6. I absolutely love pretzels. I’ve loved them since I was little. I enjoy quilt retreating with my friend Judy because she loves pretzels too and always has a nice stash of yummy pretzels (sometimes with a special garlic seasoning on them) to the retreat for us to snack on! (Of course quilt retreats are all about snacking, right?) My sister and I have a funny memory related to a pretzel: We like to meet up in New York City for a sisters weekend occasionally (she lives on the East Coast) and I was having the most delicious street vendor large hot pretzel I’ve ever had in my life. I gave her a bite of it. Well then I asked her to hold the pretzel while I rearranged something in my tote bag and BAM she finished off the pretzel while I was not looking, She claims to have had an “out of body experience” and does not remember finishing off the pretzel! We tried to find the vendor again for her to replace my pretzel but we never found another NYC street vendor pretzel as delicious…
  7. My favorite genre is science fiction and for a while I was really into post apocalyptic fiction, especially if there were some type of strange mutation to humans post apocalypse! Of course with the pandemic in place I am avoiding anything in this genre as it is too close for comfort.
  8. I am a recovering perfectionist. I still love organizing things and an organized environment but I have definitely “chilled out” over the years and don’t try to make all things perfect in my life!
  9. I got addicted for a while to those smartphone games like Candy Crush (but I did not give them any money, only played for free) and they were distracting me from working on my creative projects. Finally one day I convinced myself to delete them from my phone!
  10. I know what it is like to be hungry and not know where your next decent meal is coming from. I am grateful that I overcame that time in my life.
  11. Seeing someone snuggled in a quilt I made brings me a sense of joy that I cannot even put into words!

The Nominations

The last part of the Liebster Blogging Award nomination is that I need to nominate between 5 – 11 other bloggers and ask them 11 questions of my choice. I think 11 question is a bit much, so since I am getting close to my blog’s 7th anniversary, I am going to nominate 7 bloggers and ask them to respond to 7 questions; as well as share 7 facts about themselves. I will notify them in a comment on their blog and participation of course is completely optional!

I selected blogs/blogger that I have recently followed who are posting intriguing content to give them some exposure (please know I adore you my long time blogging buddies and you deserve blogging awards everyday!).

SEVEN NOMINATED BLOGS

  1. Sleepy Beagle
  2. From My Carolina Home
  3. Reader’s High Tea
  4. High Road Quilter
  5. Plants and Beyond
  6. Nana Cathy Dotcom
  7. The Library Lady Travels

SEVEN QUESTIONS FOR THESE BLOGGERS TO ANSWER (some borrowed from the previous list I was given)

  1. What made you start a blog and do you have any favorite topics for your blog posts?
  2. If you could move to a different town, state or country… where would you be?
  3. What is your favorite quality about yourself?
  4. What are your favorite creation(s) to date during the pandemic’s stay-at-home times (if you are expressing yourself creatively during this time)?
  5. Where is one of the first places you plan on going after quarantine is over?
  6. Other than blogging/writing what is the one favorite thing you LOVE to do?
  7. If a movie was made about your life, what actor would like casts in the leading role (as you)?

In addition to answering these 7 questions, if you like please also share 7 facts about yourself. 

And if you like, nominate 7 other bloggers for this award to introduce your readers to blogs they may not already follow but you think they will enjoy!


Featured Photo by Tyler Nix on Unsplash

A Crafter's Life, Audiobooks and Podcasts

Music!

This post was inspired by a post from a lovely blog I follow, From My Carolina Home: Going Down a Rabbit Hole of Music (and if you do not currently follow this blog, I suggest you check it out – lots of great posts on crafting, home decorating, and life!). 

Returning to a Traditional Way to Listen to Music

You might of noticed if you read my post from Saturday, What’s on the Design Wall: “All the Trimmings”, I’ve been tediously working with a lot of small fabric scraps and half square triangles. For example I had to sew 200 2″ x 2″ half square triangles together to create the first section of the quilt All the Trimmings.

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Sewing these many tiny pieces together can make you sort of insane unless you have music!

Watching a movie would be a great way to distract myself from the tedium but since I had to make sure the seams all lined up, I’ve been listening to music instead.

For years I’ve been listening to music on shuffle. I use iTunes and have a collection of favorite tunes loaded on my iPhone, or I listen to Pandora or Amazon, Prime Music or the awesome Colorado Public Radio Jazz station KUVO (which is available to stream online also) smartphone apps.

Lately, however, I’ve been trying something different – instead of listening to shuffled music, I’ve been listening to entire albums.

For those of you who listened to music before the music download era, do you remember buying an album (whether vinyl, cassette, 8-track, or compact disc/CD) and LISTENING TO THE ENTIRE ALBUM straight through?

Many albums are concept albums and/or the recording artists had a reason for the order in which they arranged the tracks.

For example – have you ever tried to listen to Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon shuffled into other songs? It doesn’t work as many of the songs on this classic album were designed to connect and flow into each other.

So for the past several weeks, whenever I am in my sewing studio working on a project, I’ve been listening to entire albums (songs in consecutive order as many of the artists intended) and it has been an AMAZING experience!

Listening to albums in their entirety have brought back a lot of memories and I thought I would share a little bit (and perhaps too much on some) of those memories about three (3) of the albums I’ve recently listened to while sewing.

The Listens

Nothing Like the Sun – Sting

nothing
image credit – discogs.com

I was a huge fan of the band The Police during their heyday and thought the lead singer Sting was like one of the hottest men walking the earth (you are quite impressionable as a pre-teen, ha!). But I did not really grow to appreciate the breadth of his talent until he went out on his own.

His first big solo album, The Dream of the Blue Turtles came out in 1985 and I loved it but his next album Nothing Like the Sun blew me away. This album featured his ongoing collaboration with some amazing Jazz musicians such as the amazing saxophonist Bradford Marsalis.

Sting spent time in South America and one of the most powerful songs on the album, They Dance Alone (Cueca Solo) is a powerful metaphor referring to mourning Chilean women who dance the Cueca, the national dance of Chile, alone with photographs of their disappeared loved ones in their hands as a symbolic gesture of protest against the Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet whose regime killed thousands of people between 1973 and 1990 (Wikipedia).

They Dance Alone (Cueca Solo)  is a chilling and powerful song, hut the for me one of the most powerful and beautiful song on this album is the song Fragile. It always bring a couple tears to  my eyes when I listen.

Perhaps this final act was meant
To clinch a lifetime’s argument
That nothing comes from violence and nothing ever could

For all those born beneath an angry star
Lest we forget how fragile we are

– Sting

I love to attend live concerts, especially when I was in my 20s and 30s (yup I am older now!) and one of the most memorable concerts I attended was when I saw Sting and his band (including Bradford Marsalis) play at the RPI Fieldhouse when I lived in Upstate New York. He was touring for the Nothing Like the Sun album and played many songs from the album as well as classic songs from when he was with The Police.

I remember nearly falling over a railing I was holding on when he came out shirtless with just an acoustic guitar to sing Message in a Bottle as one of the encores with the audience joining him in harmony midway through the song.

It would have been quite a fall and I would not be blogging to you right now so it was good I paid attention at the last minute!

I found this obscure video on YouTube which was likely from that tour, to give you a sample of my experience except Sting is fully clothed in this video (smile):

Innervisions – Stevie Wonder

I grew up listening to Stevie Wonder as I primarily listened to whatever my parents were playing on their turnable which was usually R&B, Jazz or Blues. I remember watching the Grammys as a small child and it seemed like he was always awarded Grammys.

He did receive a Grammy in the mid 1970s for the incredible album, but I did not really appreciate the depth of Stevie Wonder’s greatness and talent until I was an adult.

I think sometime in my 30s I bought the CD Innervisions just to add it to a library I was building of classic albums and ended up falling completely in love with the album and realizing his genius.

inner
image credit – discogs.com

The album is an incredible masterpiece and I think it is best appreciated listening from start to finish. I do not have a favorite song on this album as each song is a work of musical art.

Here is a sample courtesy of YouTube:

Wait a minute. I do have a favorite song from this incredible album – the sad but beautiful  All in Love is Fair. I always have it on my iPhone playlist.

Degüello – ZZ Top

I first heard of ZZ Top in the 1980s during their “Pop Music” MTV phase with songs like Sharp Dressed Man and Gimme All Your Lovin. But in the early 1990s, while living in Houston, Texas, some friends at a dinner party one night introduced me to their earlier work to include the completely bad*ss album – Deguello!

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image credit – amazon.com

When I first heard the songs La Grange, I’m Bad, I’m Nationwide, Cheap Sunglasses, etc. I was blown away!

Here’s a little sample courtesy of YouTube:

And yes, I had to stand up from my sewing machine on some of the songs and dance about the room. But during the song La Grange I was able to just sing “Hmm, hmm, hmm” in a gravely voice while still sewing!

If you like rock, like real yummy Texas Bluesy Rock, here’s another sample for you (but don’t try to craft/knit/sew to it or you might mess up your piece – ha!):

There is currently a pretty cool documentary about ZZ Top currently on Netflix called The Little Ol’ Band From Texas

I lived in Texas for 8 years and it is like living in another country outside the United States – it really is a unique place with a distinct culture! Everyone needs to visit Texas at least once in their life!

And More Music…

I was originally going to discuss 5 or more albums on this post but I knew I might lose a couple of peoples’ attention if I kept running on about albums (hey Tierney isn’t this supposed to be a blog about crafting?!?!).

But here is a list of some of the other albums I enjoyed listening to in their entirety while I worked on my endless half square triangle quilt:

  • Brothers in Arms – Dire Straits
  • The Dark Side of the Moon – Pink Floyd
  • Zebop – Santana
  • What’s Going On – Marvin Gaye
  • Rumours – Fleetwood Mac
  • Kind of Blue – Miles Davis
  • Too Long in Exile – Van Morrison
  • Ten – Pearl Jam
  • Legend – Bob Marley & The Wailers
  • Tapestry – Carole King
  • Court & Spark – Joni Mitchell
  • A Love Supreme – John Coltrane
  • Talking Book – Stevie Wonder
  • At Folsom Prison – Johnny Cash

Listening to great music gives me a lot of comfort during these challenging times and inspires me to keep sewing!


Postscript

Now if you prefer listening spoken word over music for your crafting and you enjoy podcasts, I’d like to recommend a new podcast by one of my blogging buddies, author Tammie Painter: The Book Owl Podcast.

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image credit: thebookowlpodcast.com

I’ve been following Tammie’s blog for a while and it was fun to actually hear her voice!

Currently there are only two episodes (well three if you count the introduction episode) and I’ve highly enjoyed them both. She takes a topic related to books/literature and presents her research in a humorous and engaging way.

You can find the podcast wherever you get your podcasts. I used Apple podcasts and I was able to pull up the podcast through the Podcast app on my iPhone.

Of course I hope this puts pressure on Tammie to give us another episode soon (smile)!


Feature Photo by MARK S. on Unsplash

What's on the Design Wall

What’s on the Design Wall: “All the Trimmings”

It is time to follow up on my post No Scrap Left Behind (half square triangle craziness), as I’ve made significant progress on this scrap triangle quilt inspired by the pattern All Sizes in Amanda Jean Nyberg lovely book, No Scrap Left Behind.

I found this images on Pinterest, which I shared in that post, of what the quilt looks like finished:

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Image credit: Pinterest

I decided to name my version of this quilt “All the Trimmings” since most of the scrap triangles were donated by other quilters from their block trimmings. Most of the triangles I am using in my version of this quilt were once headed to the landfill (and now they get to be in a quilt!).

The quilt consist of sections of 2 inch x 2 inch half square triangles (HSTs); 2.5″ x 2.4″ HSTs, 3.5″ x 3.5″ HSTs, 4.5″ x 4’5″ HSTs, and finally 5.5″ x 5.5″ HSTs.

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HSTs are usually made by some quick method such as placing two squares of fabric together, making a line down the middle, sewing a 1/4 on each side of the line and then cutting apart two completed HSTs.

However I made most of the HSTs the manual hard way by sewing two scrap triangles together and then trimming the block to the required size. But I used up hundreds and hundreds (nearly all of them) of my scrap triangle collection.

I’ve completed three sections of the quilt: 2″x2″, 2.5″x2.5″ and 3.5″x3.5″ and they are up on my design wall.

2020-04-30_08-48-58_848As I mentioned in the post No Scrap Left Behind (half square triangle craziness), I had very few white or super light colored scrap triangles, so I loosely interpreted the HST standard of a light triangle with a dark triangle for contrast.

Towards the end of making enough 3.5″ x 3.5″ HSTs required for the pattern, I ran out of scrap triangles and had to dip into my scrap squares collection (someday to be made into a scrappy quilt):

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Then when I got to the point of making 4.5″ x 4.5″ HSTs, I ran out of larger scrap squares, so I had to dip into my Charm Square collection to finish the number of 4.5″ HSTs I needed for the pattern.

2020-04-20_15-19-40_771Just two more sections to go on this quilt; and I will update you again after I get the other two sections completed.


Postscript

A little follow up the the Postscript from my previous post The Positive People (Surprise Gift).

I discovered a whole display of inspirational rocks painted by kids on my dog walk yesterday that made me smile, thought I would share them with you to close out this post.

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A Crafter's Life

The Positive People (Surprise Gift)

The other day I was surprised in the mail by a wonderful gift from a blogging buddy, Claudia McGill!

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The three clay figures measure approximately 3.5″ each and each had a positive message inside (be happy, be well, be safe):

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I have apt named this trio The Positive People.

I regularly follow Claudia’s blogs Claudia McGill and Her Art World and Claudia McGill Writes Poetry, Did You Know That?. She’s one of those artists, that after reading her musings or seeing her prolific art of many mediums (clay, painting, inks, etc.), you begin to feel like you’ve been rather lazy! 

Seeing her work and her color palettes always inspires my creativity.

I’ve also started to follow her third blog (yes, like I said above, she can make you feel like you’ve been quite lazy – ha!) Sometimes You Get So Confused, which talks about her art drop offs in public places and her musings as she navigates life.

I’ve given the three clay figures, The Positive People, she generously gifted me, a special place in my tierneycreates studio!

Feeling pretty lucky to continue to meet so many awesome people in the “blogosphere”!


Postscript

I shared in the post Paved Trail Inspirations, that people (likely kids/families) were writing positive messages in sidewalk chalk in the paved trails near my house which I walk everyday. Well, I like to vary my walks to include walking in neighborhoods, and during these walks I am now finding inspirational painted stones, likely done by kids, tucked here and there in neighborhood sidewalks.

2020-04-27_10-54-47_711These are unusual and challenging times and I love that people (real life “Positive People”) are trying to reach out to each other with encouragement!

Life in B&W, Outside Adventures!

And on the 8th Day…Part III

This is my third and I think final installment of my series of posts celebrating my one year anniversary of living in Colorado by sharing some of its natural geologic beauty.

If you are just joining us, here are the previous two posts in this series:

And on the 8th Day…Part I

And on the 8th Day…Part II

Today’s post is about a recent hike (two weekends ago) at Castlewood Canyon State Park.

And let me kick off this post with a photo I took early in the hike that I think is quite lovely (I forgot which smartphone camera settings I used, perhaps “Sepia”):

2020-04-10_11-42-11_276 (1)Although we did not hike into this specific area (the site of the remains of Castlewood Canyon Dam), Wikipedia has some interesting history on Castlewood Canyon State Park:

The park retains a unique part of Colorado’s history, the remains of Castlewood Canyon Dam. Visitors can still see the remnants and damage from that dam which burst in 1933. The event sent a 15-foot (5 m) wave of water all the way to downtown Denver resulting in a flood.

My partner John and I brought Mike the miniature schnauzer with us, and once again, as in photos in other posts in this series of posts, Mike got to hike in the backpack:

2020-04-10_12-03-07_2942020-04-10_12-30-58_602IMG_20200410_132042Yes, Mike is one spoiled miniature schnauzer!

With social distancing in place, hiking was a bit tricky when we got to narrow areas as if there was another set of people walking by we had to get at least six (6) feet away from them. This got a wee bit cumbersome during the hike at times, especially if there was a large family group hiking.

During this time of social distancing, I always wonder if dogs think that humans just do not like each other any longer, as they are always avoiding one another as much as possible!

You cannot sit at any of the park benches or picnic areas (they are closed off during the COVID-times) but we did have a nice picnic on a large rock next to a stream during our hike.

2020-04-10_12-15-53_5262020-04-10_12-15-57_8972020-04-10_12-30-16_017As you can see in the first photo, Mike looked on as lunch was prepared and eaten, wondering why he was not invited to the feast (we did bring dog treats and water for him of course)!

I will close out this post with some of my favorite photos from the several hour afternoon hike at Castlewood Canyon State Park in both color and black & white. Thanks for virtually sharing this hike with me!

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A Crafter's Life, tierneycreates

Home Gallery

I am taking a break from posting about the natural geologic beauty of Colorado like I did in my previous two posts. Instead I have a sort of follow up to my 04/16/2020 post Solo Show Seattle Municipal Tower (re-post).

My first solo show at the Seattle Municipal Tower (sponsored by the City of Seattle’s Office of Arts and Culture) ended in July 2019, and I’d already moved to Colorado. The City of Seattle ended up purchasing 3 of the quilts from the show for their permanent collection; and private collectors purchased 2 more, so that left 7 quilts (or 6 I forget) to be returned to me.

Thanks to my friends Colleen, Donna and Judy, the quilts were held for me until I attended a quilt retreat in Washington state in November 2019.

I noticed when I picked up the quilts that had not sold, the City of Seattle had also included all the placards from the show! Below is an example of one of those placards created by the City of Seattle’s gallery curator and his team:

2019-04-18_11-44-27_227I was not sure as to what to do with these placards, but after moving back into our current house (after due to the COVID related financial crisis we decided not to buy a new house), I decided to create a gallery in my house with the remaining art quilts and their placards.

The gallery is scattered about the house upstairs and downstairs; and is found in hallways as well as bedrooms.

2020-04-01_08-38-32_8102020-04-01_08-46-20_1372020-04-01_10-55-14_9192020-04-01_13-06-26_5092020-04-03_09-51-35_9982020-04-03_09-52-19_664I also mounted on the wall of my studio the placards for the quilts that sold as well as the main poster for the show.

2020-04-01_17-39-38_3722020-04-01_10-55-14_919I am not sure how long I will leave the placards up along side the remaining art quilts, but for now I find it entertaining. I guess when you are stuck at home during the COVID times you have to discover new ways to entertain yourself!


Postscript

Speaking of entertaining oneself, I’ve been thinking about the instruction/suggestion below that I discovered on a morning walk as sidewalk/walking path art (see post Paved Trail Inspirations):

2020-04-07_13-45-54_805Social isolation is the standard now in the “time of COVID” (how I refer to these times), and my partner John and I have been trying to be creative with finding simple ways to entertain ourselves (besides exhaustive online television network watching).

One of the things we do a couple times of week is having “walking cocktail hour” when we take Mike our miniature schnauzer for a walk in the evening. We load our portable tumblers with our cocktails – a microbrew for me, an Old Fashioned for him, and head out on our dog walk!

2020-04-07_19-42-56_956And no one knows what is our tumblers…(smile)

I always wonder what pets are thinking about the COVID times and the humans always being around. I already telecommuted full-time and now my partner is also telecommuting, so we are always home together. Here is Mike trying to make the best of us both working on our laptops and fitting in a snuggle with the humans…

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