I was not going to give up, zipper foot issues be darned, I re-attempted making the Devon Pouch by s.o.t.a.k. handmade last night, and made a second one this morning.
This time I kept my dastardly zipper foot tucked away and just used my normal sewing foot.
Here is the first pouch redone with different center fabric:
I was so pleased with it, compared to my first attempt, I gave it its own section in my studio!
Sort of an homage to trying again and not giving up (smile).
This morning I decided to make the second one as my friend Dana had sent me enough supplies to make two:
In the third image above you will see there are trains at the bottom of the pouch. I plan to take this pouch with me when I do one of my “Bucket List” items in the future and take the transcontinental train across Canada (someday when they allow us Americans with cooties back into Canada…).
I am so happy with my two pouches! They are not perfect of course but they are MUCH better than my first attempt!
Oh and thanks to everyone who provided kind comments on the post of my first attempt as well as resources for learning how to use a zipper foot.
My friends Cody and Cici are expecting their first baby. They are two adventurers and world travelers, and many of their adventures involve traveling around the U.S. in their awesome Sprinter van which they customized for travel.
For their wedding gift in 2019 I gave them one of my late husband Terry’s flannel fishing and outdoor adventure themed quilts (see post A Quilt for the Road…) to keep them warm while adventuring in their van.
So I figured their baby is going to need their own flannel blanket for adventures!
Cody and Cici live in the Pacific Northwest and I made a Pacific NW themed outdoor adventure baby quilt from flannel scraps and fat quarters I had in my stash:
I put flannel fish themed fabric on the back as the new baby’s father is an avid flyfisherman.
Here it is all packaged up and ready to be sent off (they have since received it):
In case you are curious I used one of the patterns from the booklet – Three Times the Charm!-7 Quilt Patterns by Me and My Sister Designs Using Precut Charm Packs (2011).
My friend Judy (who got me into quilting) introduced this book to me years ago at a quilt retreat. It is a great book for quick small quilts made out of charm (5″) square packs, like baby quilts! I modified one of the patterns to make it work for how I wanted to design this quilt.
I pre-washed the quilt after I quilted it. I usually do that for baby quilts so the parents know the quilt is easily machine washable and should not be treated like some “precious thing”. It is not an heirloom – it is a utility quilt meant to be (hopefully) heavily used.
I am hoping the quilt I made them will get lots of use, go on many adventures, and get many washings in the future!
Just a quick follow up to the post Artists Teaching Students – Slide Deck Posted, yesterday I had a wonderful Zoom call with a teacher in the Beaverton School District who saw the slide deck and wanted me to do a presentation for his class. I will be meeting with his class next Wednesday via Zoom.
Oh and just a humorous blurb on Mike the Miniature Schnauzer (though it was not immediately humorous at the moment it happened):
Last weekend we had Starbucks for breakfast one morning (my partner John went and picked it up for us). Starbucks gave John the wrong hot beverage for me (a Chai Tea instead of a Green Tea Latte) and he went back to our local Starbucks to exchange it.
While he was doing that I left half my breakfast sandwich on the coffee table to check on something. When I returned my sandwich was missing and a very guilty looking miniature schnauzer was staring at me.
When I exclaimed: “Mike did you eat my sandwich!??!” He immediately put himself in a “time out” in the corner of the room! I laughed so hard I could not be mad and any longer, grabbed my phone and took this photo below.
He stayed in the “time out” for a couple minutes until I summoned him out for a cuddle (his cuteness led to instant forgiveness for stealing 1/2 my sandwich!).
John had some errands to run (he bought a new bike in Fort Collins and had to go pick it up) so he left me unsupervised for an hour at a quilt shop!
Here are some images from my leisurely wander about the shop:
It has been a long time since I wandered around a quilt shop, I cannot begin to tell you how delicious an experience it was! They shop also had a friendly staff and I enjoyed chatting with quilt shop staff.
While wandering I came across a quilt I absolutely wanted to make. The image does not do it justice but it is an awesome relatively simple pattern with a panel in the center:
I could not control myself and bought most of the fabrics (and the panel) as well as the pattern card:
I also bought a couple extra items like a some cool canvas fabric with Edison-style light bulbs; some random Cotton + Steel fabric yardage; a random fat quarter on sale; and a fat quarter set (that I absolutely did not need!).
The Fig Leaf Quilt Shop is also a furniture store! I guess they went with a multipurpose shop concept!
We did more than visit a quilt shop while visiting Fort Collins for the weekend, we also went new bike for John (who is an avid cyclist), visited some of the awesome craft breweries, visited some thrift shops (I love thrifting, see my series of posts Thrift Shop Adventures), and we had some wonderful meals.
One of the most memorable restaurant visits while in Fort Collins was to The Farmhouse at Jessup Farms. I love farm-to-table restaurants and this one was wonderful. In addition to the main restaurant (and farm of course), they also had an onsite brewery, smaller eatery areas, and gift shops.
Here are some photos from the complex and our delicious meal at the main restaurant (which included pork belly on grits which was 1000 times more delicious than it sounds!):
*Note – Dana is one of those people who can merely look at an image of a handmade item on Pinterest and figure out how to make it from the image…and then make it perfectly!
So when she talked her daughter, me, and our mutual friend Kathy into working on an Instagram based “bag of the month” project to build our bag making skills I was excited. For February the bag was the Devon Pouch by s.o.t.a.k. handmade. You make the pouch and then post the image to Instagram.
If you go to the hashtag #devonpouch on on Instagram you will see some GORGEOUS versions of the pouch:
I was like: “Wow! I want to make this pouch!”. Sure I have not made very many things with zippers but I can follow a pattern; and the designer has a time lapsed YouTube video of her making the bag so you can see all the steps demonstrated in addition to have the pattern.
So I thought I was safe.
Plus Dana was so sweet and sent me cute fabric from her stash and some zippers to make 2 of the pouches. So what could go wrong….?
Excited to get started, this past Saturday I cut out the pattern pieces, applied the interfacing and prepared to make two pouches:
I put on some yummy music (my favorite Denver radio station KUVO which is also a streamable Public Radio Station from kuvo.org), opened my laptop to the video of the designer making the pouch, sat down at my sewing machine and got to work.
In addition to materials to make the pouch, my friend Dana had also sent me scraps from when she made me a quilt (see post Mind Blowing Mail) and I incorporated some of these scraps into the front zipper pocket for my first pouch that I worked on.
I was feeling very clever.
A couple hours later, I was not feeling so clever.
The written pattern stated to change to a “zipper foot” whenever you were working on the two zippers in the pouch. I found the zipper foot to my Bernina, which I’ve only used once before and I think that was in 2006 in a class when I first bough my Bernina sewing machine.
The pattern told me to switch between my regular foot and my zipper foot. Problem: I am very inexperienced using a zipper foot. Wait let’s just say it plainly: I did not know what the heck I was doing.
I will spare you the full saga, but my seams were off and once multiple seams are off in a pattern you know you are in the middle of a serious freaking sewing misadventure!
Here is my quite ugly version of the finished pouch:
Here’s an even better image that might make you suspect I was under the influence of mind altering drugs while sewing (Nope, the bottom of the pouch is NOT supposed to look like that):
Please look away if the image above is too grotesque. My version of the pouch does not appear to even be remotely related to the examples of the beautiful pouches on #devonpouch that I shared earlier in this post.
I did post the completed bag to Instagram and people were very kind but I was quite embarrassed over how lopsided and poorly constructed it was (the photo actually does not do justice to the sewing abomination!)
As a bonus, I accidentally stuck myself with pin (yay, that is always so pleasant) during final construction and bled on the back of the bag. I did not catch the spot of blood of course until I pressed/ironed in the blood (is this pouch doomed or what?):
At first I decided to just keep the pouch and use it to store the fabric scraps Dana sent me:
But finally I decided to un-assemble it and salvage the nice zippers that Dana sent me; and reuse the zippers in my next attempt.
So when I feel up to it, I am going to start over again and make my first pouch again, before moving on to the second one. I am going to stay away from the zipper foot this time as I discovered towards the end I could sew the zipper just fine with a standard foot.
In more successful crafting news, Mr. Woodworker (my partner John) recently finished a remodel of one of our basement closets to become an entertaining supply storage closet with cabinet and coordinating shelves:
This was the first real cabinetry he’s made. He also made a butcher block style counter top of the cabinet!
Oh and John is going to take the advice several of you left in the comment section of the post Handmade Spools, and make more wooden spools for me to sell on either my Etsy shop (if I ever get it reopened) or a craft fair or something.
This is a follow up to the post – Artists Teaching Students. As I shared in that post, Beaverton School District in Beaverton, Oregon invited me to participate in their Art Literacy Program – Artist Teaching Students, by working with their Art Literacy Program Coordinator, Cathy Lamb, to create a slide deck presentation for kindergarten to eighth grade students (ages 5 – 14).
The slide deck is now posted on the Beaverton School District’s Art Literacy website:
You’ll have to see the full presentation if you want to check out awkward 11 year old Tierney (I was years from becoming the babe I became at 19 – 20 years old when I met my late husband Terry while I was in nursing school, ha!).
I have to give most of the credit for the awesome slide deck to the work of the wonderful Beaverton School District Art Literacy Program Coordinator, Cathy Lamb. Cathy and I used Google Sheets to collaborate over the phone to develop the slide deck and Cathy selected most of the quilts/images from my tierneycreates.com site that she thought would fit with the presentation.
I so enjoyed my collaboration with Cathy and how she helped me tailor concepts, such as my overall Artist Statement on my Artist Statement page on tierneycreates.com, and the artist statements for the quilts in the slide deck, into words and concepts that would be meaningful to kids. She had me just talk about how I felt about developing different quilts in plain language and she translated that into text for elementary and middle school students. It was a memorable and poignant conversation.
I hope you get the chance to check out the full presentation on the Beaverton School District Art Literacy website to see Cathy’s amazing work and the results of our collaboration!
I’ve added this to my Textile Adventures page which is a chronological summary of the highlights of my artistic journey to date.
After the slide deck was posted, a teacher/advisor at one of the schools (Arts & Communication Magnet Academy, ACMA) in the Beaverton School District reached out to me and invited me to meet with a group of students in the National Art Honors Society (NAHS) via Zoom video call.
So sometime in the near future I will be meeting with students via video to talk about textile art.
Yup. So much for my plans to do daily postings to my blog. I even asked Mike the Miniature Schnauzer, who guest blog posted on Sunday 2/21/21, to fill in like he did in the post Guest Blogger: Obsession with Making Crocheted Dishcloths, but he was busy napping and still seems irritated over some dishcloth-crocheting-while-riding-in-the-car incident… (I have a hashtag I use on Instagram sometimes for posted pictures of Mike: #miniatureschnauzerfirstworldproblems).
Rulers Gone Awry
This is probably not unusual but as a quilter I have a lot of different rulers and templates. I have the standard cutting rulers and then I have special rulers and templates I’ve collected over the years for various projects (or being lured by a demo at a quilt shop into buying a ruler/template I thought I might need someday!).
My organization of these rulers and templates was sort of haphazard and irritating to me. I thought that adding pegboard to my crafting studio would help resolve this – so I consulted with my partner John, aka “Mr. Woodworker” and he figured out a solution.
First he installed a floating shelf he built above where the pegboard was to be placed:
Then he cut the pegboard to fit the area of wall; and painted the pegboard to match the wall:
And then he installed the pegboard. Here is my original set up with the pegboard hooks and pegboard baskets were bought:
At first I tried giving tierneycreates Beastie and her dog Mikelet (see series of post Beastie Adventures) their own little balcony on the pegboard wall but they did not like it.
So I moved her to another area on my studio (she will probably do a guest post in the future to show you her new home and other changes to my studio) and repurposed that “balcony”:
The pegboard has been wonderful to organize my commonly used and miscellaneous rulers. For now I still keep my very large rulers (like my 15″ x 15″ ruler) on my cutting table:
“Mr. Woodworker” is building me a new cutting table in the future which will have slots for my large rulers underneath the cutting surface!
My friend Dana was inspired by my new pegboard and recently she had her husband install one in her studio!
At first she was going to have the pegboard painted a neutral color like the color of her studio walls, but then she decided she wanted a pop of color:
I think she did an amazing job organizing her pegboard! Thanks to Dana for sharing images of her new pegboard.
I’ve been blogging for over 7 years and throughout 2021 I am going to sporadically share old posts from the 7+ years of blog posts archives.
I lived in Central Oregon for 14 years (and thought I would live the rest of my life until a big life change occurred in December 2018) and somedays I miss it terribly. Here is a post from February 2018 which honors the beauty of my former home – Bend, Oregon; and the wonderful walks/hikes I used to take with my friend Laurie.
A Beautiful Monday
Originally posted February 7, 2018
I do not work on Mondays and this past Monday I went for a lovely hike with my friend Laurie and her Bernese Mountain Dog, Luna along the Deschutes River Trail off of Farewell Bend Park.
We are having “Sprinter” (Spring-like Winter, yes I totally made that up) in Central Oregon. Monday was in the late 50s to early 60s degrees F (14 – 15 degrees C for my blogging friends outside the US). It was truly like a sunny blue sky Spring day (minus the Spring foliage).
We had a wonderful hike along the Deschutes River. Luna got to play in the river so she really happy and as a bonus for her and the humans, we ran in the puppy/”mini-me” version of Luna – an adorable Bernese Mountain Dog puppy named Willow.
Well, instead of me telling you about the hike, why don’t I just share photos and let the photos speak for themselves!
The Deschutes River Trail and Farewell Bend Park connect you back into the Old Mill District, an outdoor shopping and dining area built around an old lumbar mill, hence the name (www.oldmilldistrict.com/about/history/).
Laurie and I got a kick out of the app-based rental bikes parked at the Old Mill. You sign up and pay for the rental using a smartphone app!
We plan to rent them someday to explore the surrounding area by bike without having to haul our bikes down to the area!
Actually we are planning monthly hikes to explore our town. I have lived in Central Oregon 13 years and there is so much I have not yet explored, or I just want to explore again!
I thought I would combine discussing a crafting project and me (as it is important that I am one of the main features of this post) for this post.
Obsession with Crocheted Cotton Dishcloths
For years Tierney has a huge stash of cotton yarn that a friend gave her over 20 years ago:
Well Tierney decided a couple of months ago that it was time to do something with this stash. She needed new dishcloths in the kitchen, so why not crochet them herself out of her old stash of cotton yarn? Additionally it was a great portable project when in the car or waiting around, etc.
She put together a little zippered bag of yarn, crochet needles and supplies:
She’s been taking this bag everywhere with her, especially on car rides, and I am not sure I like this.
Why? Because when she is the car her primary responsibility is to pet and cuddle me while the car is moving.
Instead, I’ve had to cuddle with the yarn:
Also she has mocked me with the yarn and placed it on my head while crocheting as if I were some live furry yarn holder!
Finally, I’d had enough and resorted to just cuddling with the dishcloth she was working on to block her progress and make her re-evaluate her priorities!
She did laugh and stop crocheting to love on me (how could she have refused?)
She even had me pose for some selfies in the car with her but as you can see I am still a little perturbed that I was ignored for part of the car ride:
I am sure in time I will emotionally heal.
Oh I should probably close this post with an image of what the washcloths look like completed and you will see on the left one actually in action (wet from being used to washed dishes!)
Wait. I think I hear you all saying that you wished another image of me would close this post. Your wish is granted – here I am finishing up the post. Hopefully my human will get her act together for tomorrow’s post.
And to schedule me for a desperately needed haircut!
The Universe never fails to surprise me. Last week I received an inquiry through my website/blog from the Program Coordinator for the Art Literacy Program, Beaverton School District, in Beaverton, Oregon.
She invited me to participate in the Beaverton School District’sArtists Teaching Students Program by working with her to develop a slide deck to teach students about my art and becoming an artist.
Here is an excerpt from her original inquiry to me:
I coordinate Art Literacy for the Beaverton School District. Art Literacy is a program that brings artists and art lessons to our students. A few of our artists – Faith Ringgold, Monet, Lois Mailou Jones, Romare Bearden, Picasso, Deborah Butterfield, Michelangelo, Grandma Moses, Vermeer, etc. When schools closed in March, I began writing a new curriculum called Artists Teaching Students. I feature local artists and their work, lives, studios, childhoods, etc. through a slide deck. The slide deck is sent out to all of our elementary and middle school students. I wanted to bring art to our kids during a really hard time.
– Program Coordinator Art Literacy, Beaverton School District
If you look at the Beaverton School District Art Literacy page – Art Literacy Beaverton Schools, and scroll down to the section “Artist Teaching Students Online Lessons” you will see examples of the presentations by other artists, geared towards elementary and middle school students, who have participated in this program.
Last evening I worked with the Program Coordinator to draft up a slide deck for the middle school students and she is adapting that for elementary school students. I will share the link to this slide deck in the future once it is complete if you’d like to see my online program for students.
The Program Coordinator does any amazing job developing these decks in collaboration with featured artists.
I am very honored to be invited to participate in this program.
I smile because although I no longer live in Oregon or Washington State, these states keep reaching out to me in some way, whether it is through the City of Seattle inviting me to have a solo show and purchasing my art for their Portable Works Collection; or an Oregon school district reaching out to participate in their Art Literacy program.
In my 8th year of blogging I have amassed quite the archive of old blog posts. I will occasionally share from my archives (instead of being productive and writing a new post, ha!)
Across the U.S. many have been hit (or are being hit/still being hit) with a terrible Winter Storm; and I know my friends on the “other side on the pond” are dealing with yucky Winter weather also. Well I thought I’d offer a distraction from the cold and pretend like we are all hanging out in warm Cabo San Lucas sipping out beverages of choice at an outdoor cafe on the beach!
So here is a post from March 2020 and if you like put your bathing suit on and get a “special beverage” from the kitchen to sip on while you read it (smile).
Cabo San Lucas in Black and White
In the middle of February, before the reality of global pandemic became something we would be discussing in our daily conversations, my partner and I went on vacation to Cabo San Lucas.
In my next post I will share stories from our “relaxation vacation experiment” but for this post I will just share some of the photos I took in black & white to continue my ongoing series Life in B&W, in which I pretend I am a photographer (smile).
If you are feeling like: “Why Tierney is this post over? I am still sipping my special beverage and want more virtual warm tropical vacation time!”, here is another post about my trip with more images to temporarily whisk you away from the cold:
Before I begin on the topic of this post, I wanted to send WARM THOUGHTS out to my blogging buddies in Texas and other parts of the U.S. where a winter storm is hitting hard. A recent post by @Sleepy Beagle will give you some perspective – Day 4 Still Rolling.
Another Paper Pieced Pincushion
Well after making the paper pieced (foundation piecing) pincushion I discussed in the post Paper Pieced Pincushion, I decided to make another pincushion, this time for my friend Dana who had sent me the incredible quilt I shared in my previous post Mind Blowing Mail.
Dana loves fabric by the designer Tula Pink (you can see some of her Tula Pink fabric adventures in my series of posts – Tula Time!, and she even attended a retreat with Tula Pink herself!). I decided to make her a pincushion, as part of a “thank you” package, with some scraps of Tula Pink’s All Stars fabric line I had in my stash.
Instead of canvas for the background, I used recycled denim as I thought it would go nicely with the colors and designs in the Tula Pink fabric.
It was actually easier working with the denim for the paper piecing instead of the heavy weight canvas scraps I had used in the tote bags I made (see post Tote, Tote, Tote Bags ).
Amazing Thrift Shop Find
Oh and speaking of the fabric designer Tula Pink, do you see that fabric underneath the pincushion in the image above? Well it was part of an amazing thrift shop score from a couple weeks ago. I gave Dana a little bit of the huge stash of Tula Pink’s Homemade fabric line fabric I discovered at a thrift shop.
All the fabric was in brand new condition!
There was about 12 – 14 yards of fabric in total spread out in three package bundles for $4.99 each and I bought them all.
I cannot believe this find! For now I have the fabric packaged up and put away for a future project:
So as I close this post I just wanted to mention that I know I’ve been posting a lot (well every day) since I returned to blogging, but I have a lot to catch you up on (smile).
A couple weeks ago an amazing surprise came in the mail from my friend Dana – a quilt!
Not just any quilt, but a quilt I’ve been watching her make via her Instagram posts (@chambersdalix) for a couple months – the Nova Star Quilt pattern by Then Came June, using amazing fabrics from Rifle Paper Co.’s Primera Citrus Collection.
Here are some screen shot images from her Instagram posts while she participated in an online quilt-a-long (QAL) for this pattern:
I was looking through my old Google photos this morning looking for some photos for a project I’ve been invited to participate on with a school district (I will share more in a later post).
While browsing my old photos on Google (I no longer use Google, I use Amazon Photos for photo storage) I came across photos from December 2011 of the first hat I knitted!
It was a very big deal for me to learn how to knit a hat. My friend Pam in Central Oregon taught me how to knit a hat. I felt like I was a “knitting bad *ss” because I could now make my own hat!
Here are the images I found from 9+ years ago; and you will see I had braces at the time and I had just started growing my locs.
I was so proud of that hat and myself for actually knitting a hat. Eventually I learned to make hats a bit longer for the shape of my head.
Unfortunately the hat got washed and dried in the dryer (long story but it involved not taking the hat out of my pocket when I put a sweatshirt in the wash…) and it FELTED (frown). So that was the end of this hat which had become a tightly felted child hat in the dryer!
But I’ve made 11+ more hats (actually I’ve lost count) since my first hat, for myself and for family and friends. Yes the same pattern – a rolled brim hat.
In case you are interested in this very basic pattern, I did find a similar pattern online on Ravelry: Basic Roll Brim Beanie.
But warning: DO NOT LAUNDER AND PUT IN THE DRYER your completed creation!
I thought in honor of this day, and how far my life has come in a couple of years, I would re-post this Valentine’s Day post from February 14, 2019. This post was also featured, at the end of February 2019, on author Marie Bostwick’s blog: Coping With Grief by Helping Others.
I am in my 8th year of blogging and I have a large catalogue of archived posts and going forward I am going to occasionally share from the archives.
A little less than a week ago I began having quite a bit of anxiety over how I was going to face my first Valentine’s Day without my Valentine. In December 2018 my husband Terry suddenly passed away. I’ve been with Terry more than 1/2 my life and we’ve never been apart on Valentine’s Day.
I was anticipating a painful day on February 14th, completely stricken my grief, perhaps not even able to get out of bed.
In the middle of my anticipatory grieving anxiety, I suddenly realized that doing something for others might be the solution to dealing with Valentine’s Day.
For the past 5 weeks I’ve been in a difficult but awesome Spousal Loss Grief Support Group that meets weekly. It suddenly hit me that all the widows and widowers in the grief support group with me were facing the same dilemma of their first Valentine’s Day without their Valentines.
So why don’t I invite them all the be my Valentines?
And that is just what I did.
For My Valentines
For the men in my grief support group:
Terry’s favorite cookies were the Molasses Crinkle Cookies that I loved to make. I’ve done little cooking and no baking since he passed so it was a pretty big thing to open my cookbook and actually bake something.
I made a huge batch of these cookies and it felt good to bake again, so good that I actually experienced a sweet moment of joy as I assembled the ingredients.
I put the cookies in a basket and included little sandwich bags for them to take as many as they wanted home.
For the women in my grief support group:
I gave them each little wallets. If you are new to my blog here is a post about the little wallets I made a zillion of since I first became obsessed with them – “Little Wallet Madness” . If you are not new to my blog then you know all about little wallets and some of you own some of my little wallets you won in my blog anniversary drawings!
For the group facilitator:
I gave her a set of my little heart pillows, as she has been helping us heal our hearts.
I then made “Oregon Healing Hearts” valentines using my circle punch and heart punch from my card marking supplies with Oregon/outdoor themed colored papers:
People had the option of an “Oregon Healing Heart” with a dog in the middle of the heart (as I consider dogs healing) or a plain heart:
Here is the whole set up I surprised them with earlier this week at our weekly Spousal Loss Grief Support Group:
I think it went over pretty well. The facilitator let me present them at the start of our support group meeting.
The men were willing to share their cookies and both the men and women got to take home some cookies if they wanted. There was laughter, smiles and hugs despite the difficult topics we discussed at that support group session.
Feeling at Peace
Today is Valentine’s Day and I feel at peace. I think it is because I stepped outside of myself and my grief and thought of others for a moment.
Day and night wallowing in my grief was not working for me, even if everyone expected and supported it. I had to try something else. That’s where my grief group came in, my unexpected valentines.
Grieving is hard work, maybe the hardest work I’ve ever done. It’s definitely a hobby I don’t recommend for anybody. But, if you’re suddenly find yourself a member of the club that no one ever wants to join, find a grief group. Part of what I have learned from this experience is, don’t try to go it alone.
The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.” ― Ralph Waldo Emerson
If you are bad in life and go to the “Underworld” when you die, as your punishment you will be made to do foundation paper piecing all day (so live a good life as that is way too terrible an eternal torture)…
Did I mention I do not like foundation paper piecing?
But I really want to make the pin cushion, so I put my “big girl panties on” and proceeded with the pattern.
I had fun rifling through my modern prints fabric scraps to find some coordinated scraps as well as some interesting selvage pieces for the sides of the pin cushion:
After watching a tutorial on foundation paper piecing, and rewinding like 100 times (okay maybe a little less) to learn every nuance of the torturous technique, I successfully paper pieced the top of the pincushion:
And voila – a pincushion was born!
I used leftover bits of canvas from making tote bags (see post Tote, Tote, Tote Bags) as the background fabric for the top of the pincushion. I loved making the fabric covered button for the pincushion – I think it is adorable!
As much as I wanted to keep it, I decided to send it as a surprise to my friend Wendy (the one who wrote the series of posts last year as a guest blogger on the Quarantine Quilt she made with her neighbors 4 boys ages 2 – 8 – Quarantine Quilts).
She sent me a photo of the pincushion in it’s new home in her sewing room:
Since the City of Brass takes place in the 18th century Middle East, I made a Middle Eastern themed lunch for us of tabouli, hummus, fruits, pistachios, dates and goat cheese drizzled with honey, and pita bread:
It was a nice lunch break during a day of paper-crafting together.
We made around 10 cards each. Here are some of the cards Michele made:
Here are the cards I made:
Many of the card stock was in darker colors which would be challenging to write in with regular pens so we added glued at the edge white copy paper into the middle of each card for ease of correspondence:
At the end of our card making day we headed out to meet up with Michele’s husband for dinner at a favorite Italian restaurant but not before my partner John made us some pre-dinner cocktails to celebrate all our productive day of card making!
And by the way, we only had one cocktail each in case you were curious – I photographed our individual cocktails together – ha!
I forgot to mention – when we discussed the we read in our private book group (see post Virtual Book Clubs) during our card making playdate, Michele gave the book City of Brass 3-stars and I gave it 4-stars. Just in case you are curious.
Next card making playdate, which will be at Michele’s house, we will discuss The Guest List by Lucy Foley.
I’ve been catching up slowly on some of the blogs I follow and I was reminded how awesome the blog is of one of my blogging buddy Georgiana – Readers’ High Tea. She does a wonderful job of sharing her reviews of books, primarily contemporary fiction, and I now have a long list of what I want to read!
If you are looking for ideas of what to read next, check out her blog.
I’ve been on hiatus from blogging for a couple weeks to temporarily remove any “artificial” obligations in my life in order to have some time to “reset”.
Now feeling “reset”, I thought I would jump back into blogging with a little essay “primary/elementary” school style like the infamous “What I Did on My Summer Vacation“.
By the way I was not hanging out with the fabulous looking women at the beach during my hiatus, like those in the feature photo of this post (photo by Vitae London on Unsplash), I just thought it was a fun beach photo to use in the middle of semi-freezing winter in Denver!
Okay so now it is time to imagine me standing in front of our 4th grade class presenting this essay below (and perhaps my parents helped me make a slide deck for my images/photos)…
Listening to audiobooks and turning the pages of actual physical books, I’ve done a lot of reading during the past several weeks.
I’ve finished the book City of Brass by S.A. Chakraborty, that I read for my virtual book club with my friend Michele (see post Virtual Book Clubs):
Last Friday Michele and I had another card-making playdate like the one I shared in the post Card Making Playdate from last October and discussed City of Brass. In tomorrow’s post (why yes, I am going to now post frequently…hope you don’t grow tired of me) I will share what we made.
I recently finished the next book in our “Virtual Book Group” (but wait is it “virtual” if we are meeting in person, socially distancing of course, to discuss the book?) and it was quite the awesome page turner – The Guest List by Lucy Foley:
It’s been a long time since I’ve read (actually I listened to the audiobook) the kind of book I absolutely could not put down. If you’d like to read a synopsis of the book – here is the link to the one on Publishers Weekly (no worries, there are no spoilers) – The Guest List.
Currently I am listening to an excellent (so far) Science Fiction/space novel – To Sleep Under a Sea of Stars by Christoper Paolini. I love it so much I’ve already bought the hard copy of the book as my library loan of the audiobook is about to expire and there are a zillion other library patrons waiting in line to listen to it next.
It not just fiction books I’ve been inhaling, I’ve also read several new crafting books I picked up over the past couple of months.
I’ve been obsessed lately with making non-quilt items such as tote bags (see post Tote, Tote, Tote Bags) and pincushions (a future post); and love my new book by Ayumi Takahashi – Patchwork Please which features lots of fun things to make:
I am sort of obsessed with “zakka” and Japanese author craft patterns. I love the aesthetics of their designs as well as the function. Here are many of the books in my home library collection of Japanese author craft patterns:
For a while in the Denver metro area, our restaurants closed down again to inside dining during the pandemic. Finally they opened to 25% capacity and now I think they are starting to reopen to even 50% capacity (or perhaps I am hallucinating at this point as I have complete pandemic fatigue at this point).
While they were closed again, like in the early days of the pandemic, we tried to make fun meals at home and not get home cooking fatigue. Here are a couple photos of the delicious meals my partner John (a very good cook who used to actually cook professionally) and I made.
Delicious Irish Stew and Homemade Biscuits
Salmon Fried Rice
Pizza (with dough made from “scratch”)
Orzo Pasta Salad
Are you hungry yet?
One of my favorites that I could not locate easily locate a photo for was the handmade gnocchi with gorgonzola sauce and scallops that John made one night. I thought I was at a high-end restaurant!
Yes, I will not lie, I had packed on a couple “pandemic pounds” from all this good eating, but we do not eat like this every night. We do try and have salads for dinner a couple nights a week.
To combat the effects of all those delicious home cooked meals, I’ve been going on a lot of very long walks. It is always a great way to listening to my audiobooks. Most of the times I take Mike my Miniature Schnauzer with me but many times I just go walking alone (then I do not have to stop for the “frequent signing in on bushes” that Mike loves to do on his walk).
Here are a couple Black & White images I took on a wintry walk, in which someone had left a found glove on a branch for its owner to hopefully someday find. I got a kick out of the “composition” in the stark landscape created by the glove.
If you enjoy B&W images, I do have a series of posts where I feature B&W images – Life in B&W.
In case you are wondering – either the glove blew away or was reunited with its partner by the owner as the next day it was gone.
During my break from blogging, I spent a lot of time reflecting and trying to figure out my life. As many of you know, I am in my second year of widowhood caused by the very sudden and very expected death of my life partner, Terry the Quilting Husband (see post Remembering Terry the Quilting Husband (TTQH)).
I’d been with Terry since I was in my early 20s and I am now on a journey to “reinvent” myself in my middle years of life as “Tierney minus Terry”, after what seems like a lifetime of “Tierney +Terry”.
In previous posts, I’ve discussed re-opening my tierneycreates Etsy shop and my original plan when I took a hiatus from blogging was to start blogging again in about a month when I was ready to re-open my Etsy shop.
Over the past several months, I’ve made a lot of items in preparation to re-open the shop but still could not move forward with re-opening the shop. I was struggling to figure out what the big block was for me.
Then while looking at some old photos on my Google Photos account which I rarely use, I found an old image of the joint tierneycreates business card Terry and I had together when he was helping me with my Etsy shop. He was listed as a “Maker” on my Etsy shop as he helped me with many of the items I produced by cutting out patterns and doing preliminary sewing, especially on items like Miniature Kimonos, which were very popular on my shop.
I realized that my tierneycreates Etsy shop is just too closely tied to memories of crafting with Terry and I am just not ready.
Part of my “widowhood journey” is trying to figure out what to do with what is basically a lifetime’s worth of memories with someone who is now gone.
After losing your spouse you are expected to go on with your life but what do you do with all those memories (and mementos) of a life previously lived? I think that is the $64,000 Question which I have yet to answer for myself (I’ve done a lot of reading on grief and the answers of other people’s journey but I still have to find my own answer).
But I have figured out that unless it is something critical, not push myself to do anything I am not ready to do, even if it seems like a good thing to do (like re-opening my Etsy shop).
(The above images are of Terry, Sassy, who passed in Dec 2017 a year before Terry, and I vacationing in Cannon Beach, Oregon; and of Terry modeling a quilt he helped me make)
There’s been a whole lot of crafting over the past couple of weeks. I’ve found a lot of peace in making things. I feel very lucky to be a “Maker”.
Many of the items I’ve shared on my tierneycreates Instagram account but many I have not. I am going to save a discussion of what I’ve been working on for future blogs posts but I will share that I’ve been making more tote bags like I discussed in the post Tote, Tote, Tote Bags.
Here are some of my latest tote bags:
I look forward to diving into more about what I’ve been making in my future posts!
WAKE UP, THE ESSAY IS FINALLY OVER!
So that concludes my essay and I can safely assume the whole class is asleep now at their desks!
Oh wait, I see the teacher is also asleep at their desk! Maybe I won’t get a “A” on this presentation…
Just a quick follow up to my post Redesigning my logo. I decided not to change my logo at this time and just figure it out at a later date.
I decided it was time to redesign my tierneycreates logo which I had created originally back in 2013 when I first began blogging:
This time I wanted to do something more “organic”.
I’ve been addicted to the game/app Words with Friends for years and I play online Scrabble daily with friends such as my friend Kathy and my partner John:
Yup I lost in the game above.
I loved Scrabble since I was a kid. I actually have a collection of Scrabble letter collected from old games I picked up from garage sales or just the letters themselves.
I’ve crafted with them in the past making refrigerator magnet gifts with friends’ names done in Scrabble letters.
Also recently my partner John made me a photo platform to use for photographing items for my tierneycreates Etsy shop (which I hope to re-open this year). Combined with my new Ring Light (which I am still learning to use) I hope I will have decent photos for my Etsy listings!
So I came up with the idea of spelling out my company name (tierneycreates) with my tagline (a fusion of textiles and smiles) in Scrabble letters, and adding some textiles!
For the “textiles” I dug into my basket of fabric scrap strings:
Here is the photo shoot:
Here are two version of the resulting new logo I am thinking of trying out (and if you can’t tell any difference don’t worry it is subtle – they are each cropped slightly differently):
It’s definitely “organic”!
So what do you think? Does it look like I was Drinking While Designing (a “DWD”) a logo?
It’s been a while since I guest blogged. Hi there – it’s tierneycreates Beastie and I wanted to share some changes to my home (Tierney’s studio).
I’ve titled my post “From the Cutting Table…” because my dog Mikelet and I now live on the cutting table in Tierney’s studio:
In case you are new to this blog, here is a little background on me:
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.
Can you see the look of sheer terror in my eyes??!?!
Whew, glad those days are over! Oh you might wonder what became of my fiancé John Beastie (see post Guest Blog Post: Mail Order Groom), well he spends most of his time in John the Human’s office downstairs. Tierney and John Human feel it is best not to let a couple of Beasties spend too much time together as mischief is certain to happen! (Just wait until we get married, they’ll never keep us apart!!!)
Oh I think I am getting off track on my post…
So yes my dog Mikelet and I spend most of our time on the cutting board in Tierney’s studio and we like it, though I have to keep an eye on Mikelet because sometimes he plays in the pincushion and I think that might be dangerous.
By the way my maker Helen of CrawCrafts Beasties made me my own sewing machine so I could help Tierney sew projects and once I figure out how to use it maybe I will have a guest post about my projects instead of Tierney’s!
Now what I was I originally planning to tell you? Beasties are easy distracted. Oh yes, I wanted to tell you about a recent change to my home the tierneycreates Studio.
John, Human John not Beastie John, Tierney’s partner, recently made an ironing board table for the studio. Before the new ironing board table, Tierney was using a traditional ironing board and iron.
What started this change was for Christmas John got Tierney a cordless iron:
Perhaps you wanted to see a full image of the iron but isn’t the iron much cuter with me in front of it?!!?!?
Okay here is the iron:
Now that Tierney had cordless iron she had more flexibility on where her iron could be located, so John (again I mean Human John as Beastie John could not have handled the tools involved which are bigger than him…) built her a 2 foot by 4 foot ironing table for her studio.
First John cut a piece of plywood the same size as the table base being used (an old counter height folding table). Then John and Tierney wrapped and stapled four (4) layers onto the plywood base:
Insul-Brite heat resistant batting
Heat resistant fabric (like the type used for old ironing board covers)
Tierney is really pleased with her new ironing table and she used it while making all those tote bags she talked about in her recent post (see post Tote, Tote, Tote Bags).
So that is the big change to the studio.
Somedays I get tired of the studio and miss the days when I used to go on adventures with Tierney. The pandemic has slowed down my adventures. Tierney promises that soon we will resume our adventures, I just need to be patient.
For now Mikelet and I will wistfully stare out the studio window…
I am going to close this guest post by sharing a secret: Tierney is sort of a slob in her studio.
Look at these mini Toblerone candy bar wrappers she left on the cutting table!
I caught Mikelet sniffing them, luckily there was no candy in them as chocolate is bad for dogs.
I hope she will be more respectful of my space and clean up her wrappers!
Yes there are a lot of very strange things going on in my country (U.S.) but I am only going to write about making tote bags.
Lots of tote bags…
It began with making a Christmas gift for one of my partner John’s son for Christmas who is very eco-conscious:
Next came a gift for our friends we golf with (in warmer weather) with some golf themed fabric I found in my stash:
Next came a craft beer themed tote bag for another friend for a New Years gift (more novelty fabric from my stash):
Most recently (couple days ago), I decided to experiment with more “artsy” fabric instead of novelty fabric and made this tote bag:
Here is one side of the tote bag:
And here is the other:
I’ve actually made a total of 6 tote bags since I began my tote bag making obsession in early December (2 of them are repeats of ones I shared above).
I am currently taking a break from tote bag making and moved on to other projects but I plan to make a fresh batch of tote bags in a couple weeks, this time for my (to be reopened sometime this winter I think) tierneycreates Etsy shop.
Each tote bag, except the first one I made, is lined with canvas drop cloth (yes the kind you use when painting to protect surfaces) from a home improvement store:
The canvas drop cloth (which I pre-wash before using), gives the tote bag a nice structure and is less expensive than buying canvas fabric from a fabric store.
Here is Mike the Miniature Schnauzer riding through another home improvement store to pick up supplies for our next home remodeling project and some canvas drop cloth for more tote bags!
Addendum: I just realized from one of the comments, that Mike technically IN A TOTE BAG himself in the images above (smile)! He’s “tote-able”!
December was challenging for me but I stayed busy with crafting and reading. I will share those crafts in future posts.
I wanted to share some of the positive highlights of December now that this month is over and it is time to start a New Year!
Furniture Shopping with Mike the Miniature Schnauzer
Mid month we went to a furniture store to look for a new loveseat for the front room. The furniture store had a sign on the front “No Dogs Allowed”. But they did not say: “No Dogs in Backpacks Allowed”!
We waited for one of the many furniture salespeople to approach us about our dog in a backpack but instead they asked if they could pet Mike.
Mike might be the first “Furniture Shopping Support” dog!
We did not end up buying a loveseat for the front room (looking at the prices we decided we would just make work what we have for now) but we did buy the clock in the photo above!
After furniture shopping (and clock purchasing), we stopped at Starbucks and Mike got his first Puppuccino.
Christmas and Bombs (Hot Chocolate Bombs)
We had fun celebrating Christmas with Mike the Miniature Schnauzer and my partner John’s immediate family that live in the Denver metro area. Unfortunately one of his son’s could not come visit from California because of the pandemic. (We were supposed to go to the East Coast and spend Christmas with my family but the pandemic made us make the difficult decision to cancel those plans).
Here is my partner’s darling wonderful granddaughter enjoying some of her stocking stuffers (I went crazy shopping for them and over did it I am sure) while watching a Christmas movie, over our house at Christmas:
John and I wanted to do something special for Christmas and kept hearing about “Hot Chocolate Bombs“. We bought a couple silicon molds and followed the recipes and directions from this page – The BEST Hot Chocolate Bombs.
No one would buy Hot Chocolate Bombs from us (because they looked like a “hot mess”) but we had so much fun making them on Christmas morning:
Our Christmas dinner guests (my partner’s son, daughter-in-law, and granddaughter) had so much fun pouring steaming hot milk over their hot chocolate bombs and watching them “explode” into hot chocolate.
Here’s a video courtesy of YouTube that demonstrates what happens when hot milk meets a bomb!
We made basic Hot Chocolate Bombs and maybe next Christmas we will experiment with more complicated recipes such as Salted Caramel!
I’ll close this post with Mike the Miniature Schnauzer on Christmas looking cute in Christmas ribbon:
Just a quick(ish) post as I try to catch up on reading all my dear blogging buddies’ posts that happened while I was away from blogging for a little while.
This is an unexpected continuation of my previous post – In the Studio.
“Mr. Woodworker” (my new nickname for my partner John) is a little obsessed with getting my sewing studio in shape for maximum-creativity-efficiency (or he is just looking for more pandemic projects and we continue to primarily be stuck at home).
He and I came up with the idea of adding some shelving on each end of my new floating shelf he just installed:
Here are the new shelves (just installed yesterday) – one on each side of the window in my sewing studio!
I cannot begin to tell you how pleased I am with my two new bookcases/shelving on each end of the new floating shelf. These bookcases are things I did not even realize I needed until we spontaneously came up with the idea and Mr. Woodworker whipped them up!
I now feel really organized!
What does Mr. Woodworker have planned next for my sewing studio? Well he wants to build me a matching cutting table, a sewing table and one additional bookshelf area. I asked him to hold off for now as I need to focus on using my studio to keep making stuff for my tierneycreates Etsy shop I hope to reopen in January 2021.
Mr. Woodworker has been working on his own studio too, which is located in the basement. He built himself a clamp stand for his woodworking clamps:
Functional – yes. As cute as my sewing studio area – no – ha!
It seems like it’s been a bit of a while since I posted.
To get myself through December (see Postscript section of the post Pillow for a Kitty) I’ve been spending a lot of time in my sewing studio working on various projects. I will share these projects over the next several posts.
Some of the projects have to do with preparing to re-open my tierneycreates Etsy shop after taking a hiatus for 4 (?) years (it appears I last sold something in my shop in 2016).
I’ll talk more about my decision to re-open my shop and the offerings I am working in some future post, but my studio currently shows evidence of my progress to eventually stock my shop.
My sewing studio has really been an oasis and making things has made me feel centered and peaceful. My partner John has been supporting my studio time and progressing with his new hobby woodworking by sprucing up my studio with some new handmade furniture.
He made a bookcase for my studio (his first bookcase). The first image is of the bookcase being built in his studio in the basement:
New Floating Shelf
He also built a floating shelf across the wall of windows in my studio to add extra storage:
(By the way, my studio is a mess because I’ve been busy making things and not always tidying up between projects…)
In addition to making many things over the past several weeks, I’ve also added in some additional organizational touches to include re-organized my fabric scraps into baskets in my sewing studio’s closet and getting additional wine crates to organize fat quarters.
Re-organizing Fabric Scraps
Here is what I did with the fabric scraps:
It looks messy but it is a much better way for me to access my fabric scraps which are organized by color groups:
Black, white and gray
Cream and yellow
Orange and brown
Red and purple
Green, blue, and all the blue-greens
I have batik scraps in their own separate bucket and I have speciality fabric scraps in their own basket.
The plastic bags are scraps for special projects.
While organizing my scraps I purged a lot of small pieces. I decided to finally let go of the small/tiny pieces as well as any scraps that “did not bring me joy”.
Fat Quarter Wrangling
I’ve collected a lot of fat quarters over the years and it feels like I am always searching for the best way to store them. A couple months ago I came up with the idea to organize them in wine crates that I got from local liquor stores. Some stores will give you 1 or 2 for free while others charge $5 a wine crate.
Using an old bookshelf (that I’ve had for like 20 years), I organized the fat quarters by color groups into crates, which I keep next to my cutting table:
A week ago I added one more crate – the prettiest crate I’ve picked up to date and it was given to me for free by a local liquor store. It even came with a lid:
I keep my beloved collection of Asian and Japanese woven fat quarters as well as a couple other special fat quarter fabric sets (like my Marcia Derse fat quarter collection, see post Fabric Fangirl Frenzy for the story of when I met Marcia and went a little “fabric designer fan girl” on her… ) on the top of the bookshelf with the wine crates:
I love the sign I found at a thrift shop: “Happiness is homemade”. It feels like a lot of my recent happiness (or at least breaks from grief) is tied to working on handmade items!
As I mentioned earlier in the post, my next group of posts will be what I’ve been working on in my studio over the past couple of weeks.
In case you are wandering what Mike the Miniature Schnauzer has been up to – he is back riding the aisles of home improvement stories and his continues to provide emotional support to his male human working on woodworking projects!
He actually loves going to home improvement stores and does not like John to leave the house without him!
I am not usually one for book clubs, at least not currently. I like to read what I want to read. I am however in two virtual “book clubs” with two friends right now on two different books: 1) a fiction physical book; and a 2) non fiction audiobook.
City of Brass by S.A. Chakraborty
I am reading this first book in the Daevabad Trilogy with my friend Michele.
Here is the Kirkus Review on the book if you are curious:
A rich Middle Eastern fantasy, the first of a trilogy: Chakraborty’s intriguing debut.
On the streets of 18th-century Cairo, young Nahri—she has a real talent for medicine but lacks the wherewithal to acquire proper training—makes a living swindling Ottoman nobles by pretending to wield supernatural powers she doesn’t believe in. Then, during a supposed exorcism, she somehow summons a mysterious djinn warrior named Dara, whose magic is both real and incomprehensibly powerful. Dara insists that Nahri is no longer safe—evil djinn threaten her life, so he must convey her to Daevabad, a legendary eastern city protected by impervious magical brass walls. During the hair-raising journey by flying carpet, Nahri meets spirits and monsters and develops feelings for Dara, a deeply conflicted being with a long, tangled past. At Daevabad she’s astonished to learn that she’s the daughter of a legendary healer of the Nahid family. All the more surprising, then, that King Ghassan, whose ancestor overthrew the ruling Nahid Council and stole Suleiman’s seal, which nullifies magic, welcomes her.
With Ghassan’s younger son, Prince Ali, Nahri becomes immersed in the city’s deeply divisive (and not infrequently confusing) religious, political, and racial tensions. Meanwhile, Dara’s emerging history and personality grow more and more bewildering and ambiguous. Against this syncretic yet non-derivative and totally credible backdrop, Chakraborty has constructed a compelling yarn of personal ambition, power politics, racial and religious tensions, strange magics, and terrifying creatures, culminating in a cataclysmic showdown that few readers will anticipate. The expected first-novel flaws—a few character inconsistencies, plot swirls that peter out, the odd patch where the author assumes facts not in evidence—matter little. Best of all, the narrative feels rounded and complete yet poised to deliver still more.
I am enjoying the book so far and look forward to discussing with my friend Michele.
Untamed by Glennon Doyle
Not only is this a non-fiction book in the “self-improvement genre” but I am listening to it as an audiobook with my friend Jenny from Central, Oregon where I used to live before I moved to the Denver Metro area in April 2019.
In my February 2020 post Musings on Self-Improvement, I swore off self-help/self-improvement audiobooks after sudden series burnout on listening to them. I’ve also been trying to stick to podcasts or music for the listening during my walks/hikes and save reading fiction or non-fiction in physical book form. During the pandemic I’ve rediscovered the pleasures of curling up with a book like in this photo below (and Mike the Miniature Schnauzer prefers it also_:
But I heard a lot about this book and it really appealed to me as an exception to my “no more self-improvement audiobook rule”.
It also appealed to my friend Jenny who is dealing with some major life changes ahead; and who likes to go on long walks in Central Oregon and listen to audiobooks.
When we both finish the book, we are going to do a “Virtual Book Group” meeting and discuss via Facetime over a pot of tea (we have to each make our own because virtual tea gets complicated – ha!).
Oh and here is the Kirkus Review on the book (which I’ve actually finished and thought was spectacular and inspiring!):
More life reflections from the bestselling author on themes of societal captivity and the catharsis of personal freedom.
In her third book, Doyle (Love Warrior, 2016, etc.) begins with a life-changing event. “Four years ago,” she writes, “married to the father of my three children, I fell in love with a woman.” That woman, Abby Wambach, would become her wife. Emblematically arranged into three sections—“Caged,” “Keys,” “Freedom”—the narrative offers, among other elements, vignettes about the soulful author’s girlhood, when she was bulimic and felt like a zoo animal, a “caged girl made for wide-open skies.” She followed the path that seemed right and appropriate based on her Catholic upbringing and adolescent conditioning. After a downward spiral into “drinking, drugging, and purging,” Doyle found sobriety and the authentic self she’d been suppressing. Still, there was trouble: Straining an already troubled marriage was her husband’s infidelity, which eventually led to life-altering choices and the discovery of a love she’d never experienced before. Throughout the book, Doyle remains open and candid, whether she’s admitting to rigging a high school homecoming court election or denouncing the doting perfectionism of “cream cheese parenting,” which is about “giving your children the best of everything.” The author’s fears and concerns are often mirrored by real-world issues: gender roles and bias, white privilege, racism, and religion-fueled homophobia and hypocrisy. Some stories merely skim the surface of larger issues, but Doyle revisits them in later sections and digs deeper, using friends and familial references to personify their impact on her life, both past and present. Shorter pieces, some only a page in length, manage to effectively translate an emotional gut punch, as when Doyle’s therapist called her blooming extramarital lesbian love a “dangerous distraction.” Ultimately, the narrative is an in-depth look at a courageous woman eager to share the wealth of her experiences by embracing vulnerability and reclaiming her inner strength and resiliency.Doyle offers another lucid, inspiring chronicle of female empowerment and the rewards of self-awareness and renewal.
Here are a couple quotes from this book that seemed to be the right thing I needed to hear at the right time.
When a woman finally learns that pleasing the world is impossible, she becomes free to learn how to please herself.
Being human is not hard because you’re doing it wrong, it’s hard because you’re doing it right.
The only thing that was ever wrong with me was my belief that there was something wrong with me.
Be careful with the stories you tell about yourself.
Every life is an unprecedented experiment. This life is mine alone…So I have stopped asking people for directions to places they’ve never been. There is no map. We are all pioneers.
Privilege is being born on third base. Ignorant privilege is thinking you’re there because you hit a triple. Malicious privilege is complaining that those starving outside the ballpark aren’t waiting patiently enough.
I have learned that if I want to rise, I have to sink first.
Speaking of my friend Michele (the one I am reading City of Brass with) she sent me an image of her with the hat I made her last year and the matching scarf I made her recently that I shared in the post Scarf for a Friend.
I think she looks lovely and coordinated (the hat and scarf match her winter jacket).
Oh and at the beginning of this post I mentioned I am not one for book clubs, at least not presently. I’ve tried several book clubs over the years and most of them was not a fit for me after a while. I did however belong to a spectacular book club, started by my friend Michele and I, when I lived in Seattle, Washington.
One of the cool things about this book club was it was a mix of male and female and had a wide age range. It was also quite diverse in culture and life experiences. It made for an excellent mix for a book club. It was called The Good Book Club and went on for many years. Several of our members were single and even met their future partners in book club.