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A Crafter Needs to Eat, Audiobooks and Podcasts

Soup’s On

Homemade chicken noodle soup, with homemade stock – this was my big accomplishment for the later part of this week.

I love cook and bake but my cooking and baking (until recently, see previous post Valentines) have been on hold since my husband suddenly died in December 2018.

For the past couple of months I’ve been living on what I could forage at Whole Foods (well at least it was a recently healthy diet). Many very kind and thoughtful friends and coworkers gave me Whole Foods gift cards after my husband died.

At first I would just get food at the Whole Foods hot food bar and sit in the supermarket dining area and eat so I would not have to dine alone every night. Luckily that got old after a while (plus the hot bar food is charged per pound and is rather “spendy” unless you only get really light food…) and I started buying groceries to take home.

But I was only buying groceries for quick prepare meals and it seemed like I lived on avocado toast, boiled eggs, Miso soup, and hummus with carrots for a couple weeks.

My diet was fairly vegetarian and the thought of meat turned my stomach, but earlier this week I was really craving some hard core protein. So armed with the remaining funds on the last of my Whole Food gift cards, I bought a whole cooked rotisserie chicken.

After a couple days of chicken, chicken, chicken, I was trying to decide what to do with the rest of the bird. I convinced myself to not only make homemade chicken noodle soup but to make my own from scratch chicken stock with the carcass, something I’ve never done before.

I found this wonderful recipe online: Easy Chicken Noodle Soup from Leftover Roasted Chicken on the chowhound.com cooking website.

Here is the stock simmering with the cut up and browned rotisserie chicken carcass:

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Here is the strained stock:

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The soup made with my homemade stock simmering (and the house smells so good):

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And finally a yummy bowl of my very own homemade chicken noodle soup!

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I’ve made homemade chicken noodle soup before but with store bought chicken stock or chicken bouillon base. Soup with my own homemade chicken stock tasted very different – It is pretty darn delicious!

One of the best things I learned from the Chowhound recipe is that you have to cook the noodles separately – do not try to cook them in the soup. You boil them per package instructions in their own pot and then add the cooked noodles to the soup. If you try to cook the noodles with the soup you will get what I’ve experienced in the past – a pasty mess of noodles!

Of course this recipe made a lot of soup so now my life is chicken soup, chicken soup, chicken soup – but it seems to be satisfying my soul (smile).


Postscript

I’m currently listening to an amazing audiobook – Resilience: Hard-Won Wisdom for Living a Better Life by Eric Greitens. 

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image credit: amazon.com

I did not think I would be at the point now where I would be interested in reading any “Self-Improvement” books but this one caught my eye when I was browsing my local library’s audiobook loan offerings online.

Goodreads has a wonderful synopsis of the book:

You cannot bounce back from hardship. You can only move through it. There is a path through pain to wisdom, through suffering to strength, and through fear to courage if we have the virtue of resilience.

In 2012, Eric Greitens unexpectedly heard from a former SEAL comrade, a brother-in-arms he hadn’t seen in a decade. Zach Walker had been one of the toughest of the tough. But ever since he returned home from war to his young family in a small logging town, he d been struggling. Without a sense of purpose, plagued by PTSD, and masking his pain with heavy drinking, he needed help. Zach and Eric started writing and talking nearly every day, as Eric set down his thoughts on what it takes to build resilience in our lives.

Eric’s letters drawing on both his own experience and wisdom from ancient and modern thinkers are now gathered and edited into this timeless guidebook. Resilience explains how we can build purpose, confront pain, practice compassion, develop a vocation, find a mentor, create happiness, and much more. Eric s lessons are deep yet practical, and his advice leads to clear solutions.

We all face pain, difficulty, and doubt. But we also have the tools to take control of our lives. Resilience is an inspiring meditation for the warrior in each of us.

It is a pretty powerful book even if it took listening to a chapter or two to get me engaged. Although the book is based on letters from one Navy Seal to another Navy Seal suffering from PTSD who also recently lost his brother to an auto accident, the messages in this book are quite universal.

I’ll close this post with a quote from this powerful book:

Smiling and breathing. These are simple things. Exercising and serving. These are simple things. Being grateful and gracious. These are simple things. Acting with humility. Acting with courage. These are simple things. Some people try to make this business of living too complicated

Eric Greitens, Resilience: Hard-Won Wisdom for Living a Better Life

 

A Crafter's Life

Valentines

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.

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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 faciliator:

I gave her a set of my little heart pillows, as she has been helping us heal our hearts.

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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:

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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:

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Here is the whole set up I surprised them with earlier this week at our weekly Spousal Loss Grief Support Group:

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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.

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

A Crafter's Life, Special Events, tierneycreates

“Soulful” Show Opening

Just a quick follow up to the January 21, 2019 post Soulful: A National Exhibition of African American Artists.

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My piece Color Study I: Flying Triangles, the first official recycled textiles art quilt I made was juried into this show which opened on February 7, 2019 in Norfolk, Virginia.

Color Study 1: Reflections of Flying Triangles (2012)
Color Study I: Flying Triangles. Photographed by Jeremy Koons.

As it is deep Winter in the Northwestern part of the U.S. where I live it was a bit much to fly to the other side of the country for the opening.

I did however discover photos from the opening on the d’Art Center facebook page and here are a several of those photos:

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d’Art Center facebook page
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d’Art Center facebook page

I appreciate the unknown person who took these photos who gave me an opportunity to see how my piece was displayed. Whoever hung the pieces did a nice job “color coordinating” the pieces on display!

Studio

Quilter’s Studio and House Tour

Alas, I am not sharing my studio and house tour. It is more like I am sharing my dream studio and house tour (smile). My house and studio are currently partially packed up and a mess as I sort my stuff out for my move to Colorado this Spring.

This post about another quilter’s studio and house tour.

My dear friend Marla Jo (and her wonderful husband Jason) have been incredibly supportive during this difficult period in my life (my new life as a recent widow) and to give me a distraction from my grief, a couple of weekends ago she invited me see the studio and home of one of her clients/friends (Jaime) who is a quilter.

I thought it would be fun to share some photos from that visit as I would guess many of you, like me, enjoy artist studio tour posts!

The Studio

Here are images of Jaime’s yummy quilt studio:

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She has beautiful custom designed cabinetry throughout her gorgeous home.

I was fascinated by how she organized her fabric:

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She showed me that she used scrap thin cardboard cut to a uniform size to organize the fabric:

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I love how her fabric stands upright like in a quilt shop.

Her organizationreminded me of the studio of my friend Dana which I shared on this post – Ultimate Studio Fabric Organization and the way Dana organized her fabric yardage.

Dana used recycled cardboard from fabric bolts that quilt shops gave to her. She cut them in half and wrapped her fabric around them:

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Jaime had a wonderful wallhanging in her studio, made by her sister, celebrating her collection of decorative pins:

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The House

The studio was spectacular and the house was equally as spectacular. Here are a couple of my favorite areas of Jaime’s beautiful home:

The Entire Wall Bookcase in the Living Room

My dream!

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The Dream Soaking Tub

Jaime is an artful decorator and designed a nook in her bathroom to put a peaceful soaking tub:

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The Grand Piano

At one point in my young life I studied piano and I have always been fascinated with pianos. Jaime had in her sitting room a custom made piano from Estonia that had an exquisite sound (she treated us to a mini concert):

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There were many other magical rooms/areas of her home but I wanted to spend time visiting with her and Marla Jo and not be rude and just take photos.

But let’s close this post with a view that took my breath away (my photo does not do it justice) – the view from the upstairs balcony of her home with a view down to the living room:

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A Crafter's Life, Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show

A Fish Tale

Making a Fish

Around 2010 or 2011 my friend Judy (my original “quilting sister” who taught me how to quilt, see post Quilting Sisters, Part I) visited me in Central Oregon for the annual Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show (SOQS).

Each year the week before the actual SOQS, which is always the second Saturday in July, the Stitchin’ Post and other local Central Oregon quilt shops have a week of classes by nationally known instructors called Quilters Affair“.

Officially “Quilters Affair” is managed by the Stitchin’s Post and the SOQS but many other local quilt shops have their unofficial version by offering classes to out of town quilters during this time.

While Judy was visiting, one of those quilt shops offering classes the week before SOQS was BJ’s Quilt Basket. They offered a class by Donna Cherry, an extremely talented young appliqué quilt designer and quilter. Judy and I decided to take the class to make the her wallhanging – “Mountain Trout“.

Here is her original version from her website Donna Cherry Designs:

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Image credit: donnacherrydesigns.com

Judy and I both had husbands who were into fishing, my Terry was a fly fisherman. We thought these wallhanging would be a wonderful gift for them.

Here is the version I made in class:

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Releasing a Fish

Well as most of you know, I lost my beloved husband suddenly in December 2018. Over the past could of months I’ve been donating and downsizing my life in preparation to move from Central Oregon to Colorado in the late Spring (see posts Colorado Bound (Part I)  and Colorado Bound (Part II)). Downsizing is especially important as I am moving from a three-bedroom house to a one-bedroom apartment.

I’ve made a lot of quilts over the years and many I’ve given away; however many I’ve kept. I know I needed to thin out my collection of quilts a little bit prior to the move.

My husband Terry (who I used to refer to as “Terry the Quilting Husband”/”TTQH” on my blog) was a quilter. I tried to make sure that many of his quilts were given to his family members, but I kept a couple special ones for myself.

I’ve made him many quilts over the years, including the Mountain Trout wallhanging quilt but my heart was telling me that it needed a new home – to go to another fly fisherman.

Fish Giving

I’ve been with my employer for 14 years and I’ve met some pretty awesome people at my job. I am fortunate enough to be a telecommuter (though I did work a year in the office when I lived in Seattle, WA when I first started my job) and will be taking my job with me to Colorado.

I’ve met a couple people at work that are so special I kind of consider them “work family members”. One of them is my friend Nancy who I refer to as my “Work Sister” and I made her a little quilted wallhanging for her cubicle of her beloved Cannon Beach Oregon (see post A Case for Buying Things You Have No Plans for at the time) in 2017.

Another work family member is my friend Cody who I consider my “Work Brother”. He is actually around the same age as my biological little brother and similarly as awesome. Although I was a fan of his work from afar, I met him in person for the first time at a national conference we attended in May 2018 (see post A Presidential Artistic Journey) and knew he was “my people” – especially when I discovered he is a crafter!

He is an avid fly fisherman and while we were at the conference he was busy in the evenings, with the supplies he brought from home, making/tying his own flies in his hotel room. I was kind of envious as I wished I had brought a quilting project to work on in the evening after each conference session in my hotel room!

A couple months ago I got to meet his beautiful and brilliant fiancée Cici and was totally smitten with her (does that make her my “work sister-in-law” when they marry?).

So I knew Cody was the perfect person to send this special Mountain Trout quilt and here is a photo taken by Cici of him with his new quilt (even if he did not iron the crease out in the middle from shipping before taking a photo – ha!):

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He was very happy with his new quilt and I received a wonderful phone call from him and Cici that made me smile.

It was a good “release” of a fish I once held.


Feature Photo by Sticker Mule on Unsplash

A Crafter's Life

“The Guest House” Revisited

Grieving the loss of my husband whom I’ve been with more than 1/2 my life is a daily life-consuming experience.

It was like he was the “tether” that held me to this world, to this life.

Now friends and family attempt to try to reach up and grab “my string” to re-tether me as much as they can, but ultimately I have to learn to “tether” myself.

Recently I finished a powerful book that my grief counselor loaned me – Grieving Mindfully: A Compassionate and Spiritual Guide to Coping with Loss by Sameet M. Kumar PhD.

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Image credit: Amazon.com

After reading this book I’ve been thinking about one of my favorite poems by Rumi (Jalāl ad-Dīn Muhammad Rūmī – a 13th century Persian poet and scholar) – The Guest House. 

I’ve shared it in previous posts but thought I would re-post it.

The Guest House

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness
comes as an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.
Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.
-Jalāl ad-Dīn Muhammad Rūmī

Postscript

I attend a weekly Spousal Loss Grief Support Group. Prior to today’s weekly meeting I’ve not shared with the other group members my plans to move to Colorado (see my previous post Colorado Bound (Part II)).

However, before the start of today’s meeting, another group member randomly gave me this little pocket card below and I’ve taken as another reaffirmation that I am headed in the right direction with my move to Colorado:

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Feature Photo by Scott Webb on Unsplash

A Crafter's Life

Getting Started with Quilting: What You Need to Know (Guest Post)

Today I have a guest post from Diana S. Clark of the Sewing Machine Club for anyone who is thinking about becoming a quilter but is not sure when to start.

Diana contacted me a week ago with the idea of a guest post and I love the information in her article and thought it would be fun to share with you!


What You Need to Know Before You Start Quilting

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Sewing Machine Club

There’s nothing more heartwarming than receiving a novelty quilt handmade with love and care which is why quilts make such great gifts!

Although quilting seems tedious and takes a lot of time and effort, they’re actually pretty simple. As a matter of fact, anyone can start quilting in the comfort of their own home.

If you’re on the fence on how to begin quilting, we got you covered. We have some tips to help you start your quilting project to ensure you’re fully prepared.

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Sewing Machine Club

Patterns, patterns, patterns!

Patterns are a crucial part of your quilt. It’s important to think about what patterns you want so you can prepare fabrics and equipment before quilting. Patterns come in different varieties and some may be a bit more complex than others hence, taking more time to create. So, keep in mind to choose a pattern that suits your taste and skill.

Preparation is Key

Before quilting, remember to gather all the equipment you need according to the instructions of the pattern since different patterns have different instructions. When searching for fabrics, opt for colorfast fabrics that don’t run when washed. Also, make sure to measure each block to figure out how much fabric will be needed.

Quilt Away

Find a comfortable space and set up your equipment such as your fabrics, sewing machine, and tools. Start by carefully cutting your patchwork pieces with a rotary cutter before sewing them. Once you’ve got all the patchwork pieces prepared, start quilting the top as it takes a lot of time and precision. Finally, make sure to iron the patchwork to set it.

Final Touches

Next, baste the quilt by combining the top and bottom layer and placing batting in between like a sandwich. Use pins or temporary adhesive to hold the layers while you sew them so the layers stay in place. When you’re done with sewing the layers, add some final touches with some decorative binding to the edges of your quilt to seal the layers.

For more details and images, check out this infographic about quilting!


Feature Photo by Jeff Wade on Unsplash

Colorado Bound

Colorado Bound (Part II)

Here is my next installment in my new series of posts “Colorado Bound” which began with this post: Colorado Bound (Part I).

As revealed in my January 22 post I’ve decided to begin my new life in Northern Colorado this Spring.

In this post I thought I’d share a couple more details.

When I was considering the move to Colorado and not sure if it was the right thing or not, the Universe gave me a sign, and this ad was the first thing I saw when I opened a magazine to read while I was still deciding:

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My Heart is In the Mountains

First, I want to share a series of photos that my friend Cody G. shared with me from one of his trips to Colorado (especially the Boulder, Colorado area) that show the mountainous beauty of the region:

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I am am drawn to living in places where I can be among mountains. One of the favorite things about living in the Pacific NW and Central Oregon during the past 21+ years of my life is that I got to live in the Cascade Mountain range.

Now I am moving to another amazing mountain range: the Rocky Mountains (Southern Rockies).

The Road Trip

In another post I will share some of the logistics of my move from Central Oregon to Northern Colorado but these are not as exciting as the upcoming ROAD TRIP from Central Oregon to Colorado!

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Photo by Nathan Anderson on Unsplash

My sister is going to join me on the road trip!

During our road trip across four states in the Northeastern U.S. after my husband died in December (see posts Stories from the Road, Part I and Stories from the Road, Part II) my sister and I discussed that someday we would like to go on a road trip together for a happy and fun reason, not for a sad reason.

So I was very excited to invite her to drive with Mike the Miniature Schnauzer and me to our new Colorado adventure. She is going to meet up with us on our first leg of the journey – in Boise, Idaho.

She will fly into Boise and we will wander around Boise, staying overnight and then head out of our adventure through the states of Idaho, Wyoming, Utah and into Colorado.

We are discussing a detour along the way to Yellowstone National Park!

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Old Faithful – Photo by Emily Campbell on Unsplash

We will of course have the tierneycreates Beastie with us (see series of posts Beastie Adventures) and she will be blogging from the road as we explore a couple states I’ve never driven through before!

Here is tierneycreates Beastie and her dog Mikelet, getting ready to study the road maps for the trip (but I hope she is not too much of a “backseat driver”):

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I love GPS and the concept of having easy navigation from your smartphone but I still want to have on hand good old fashioned ROAD MAPS!


Postscript

I need to take a break from daydreaming about my move to Colorado and start working on an art quilt for an invitational juried show, a really cool one, which I hope I get accepted into…but first I need to complete my piece!

Oh and I haven’t forgotten about the series of posts I started in early December – Secret Quilt Revealed, Part I, I will continue with the rest of the story about the creation of my piece for the WCQN show: Yours For Race and Country: Reflections on the Life of Colonel Charles Young.

One more thing – I went to lunch with my neighbor Carole today (the one whose lovely “girl cave” I featured in the October 2018 post A Room of Her Own) and came across this sign that made me smile at one of the shops we stopped in after lunch:

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Feature Photo Image Credit: Cody Gillenwater

What's on the Design Wall

“Tula in a Box” Quilt Top Finished

This weekend I moved forward on one of my stalled quilting projects: I finished my Tula in a Box quilt. If you check out this category of posts you will see the story behind this quilt and stages of progress in a series of previous posts – Tula Time!.

This weekend I went from this on the large design wall in the hallway:
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To this:

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This quilt top measures approximately 82 inch x 82 inches (208 cm x 208 cm) and is comprised of 36 – 12 inch x 12 inch (finished) blocks.

I love the brightly colored fabrics in this quilt, especially the fabulous prints of 6 animals (frog, owl, fancy bird, squirrel, raccoon, and bee) in 3 different color ways, such as this one of the owl:

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Originally I thought about piecing the leftover fat quarters and scraps into the backing for the quilt, but I’ve decided to save those for another project.

Instead I am going to search for a backing when I visit a couple quilting friends in Washington state in February (any excuse to go shopping with quilting friends!)

A Crafter's Life, Colorado Bound

Colorado Bound (Part I)

I’ve decided to relocate – to Northern Colorado. Either the Denver Greater Metropolitan area or to Boulder, Colorado:

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Why Colorado? Well here is a list that summarizes the reasons for my decision:

  1. I need to move to a major airport hub to put me closer to visiting my family and to make world traveling (should I choose to do that) more accessible.
  2. I have a longtime friend that lives in the Denver area.
  3. I have visited Colorado many times and love it.
  4. I need a new adventure.
  5. I hear they have a great quilting community
  6. The climate (high desert, high elevation) is similar to Central Oregon.
  7. It feels right.
  8. I want to live in a large metropolitan/urban area with more cultural opportunities.
  9. I love the mountains and always want to live near mountains.
  10. Look how beautiful this place is (The Flatirons near Boulder, CO):
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image credit: Snowbrains.com

More to come in a future post.

 

Special Events, tierneycreates

Soulful: A National Exhibition of African American Artists

A couple of days ago I got some cool news.

One of my early recycled silk art quilts was juried into the national Art (yes “art” not quilting, ha!) Show – “Soulful: A National Exhibition of African American Artists”. It opens February 7th and runs through February 28th at the d’Art Center in Norfolk, VA.

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image credit: d’Art Center

My piece that will appear in the show is called Color Story I: Flying Triangles. It was the first recycled silk art quilt I made when I began to experiment with using recycled materials. Below is the piece and the updated Artist Statement I did for the show.

COLOR STORY I: FLYING TRIANGLES 

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Photographed by Jeremy Koons

45 ” W x 44.5″ L, silk & linen garment scraps pieced on muslin foundation

ARTIST STATEMENT:

The Color Stories series of art quilts are vibrant colored compositions, created from recycled textiles including silks, wools and linens. Many of the recycled silks and linens are from samples and remnants from NYC Fashion District couture fabrics from the 1990’s European textile houses of Ratti, Braghenti, Castellini and D’Este. 

Instead of ending up in a landfill, these couture fabric samples with their complex colors, patterns and textures inspire my textile art.

This is piece is from my first art quilt series: Color Stories. If you’d like to see the other art quilts in this series, check out my page Art Quilt Stories.


Postscript

Next post I will share where I am moving or some of my plans for my next adventure in life. If you would like to take a guess, it is one of the states in the image of AAA travel books below (if you know already don’t ruin the surprise for any other readers, thanks!)

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Featured image credit: d’Art Center (d-artcenter.org)

Special Events, WCQN

Visioning Human Rights Show Opens in Austin, Texas on 02/21/2019

For those of you who’ve followed my blog for a while you know that my piece, The Lesson and The Equation is part of the traveling show Visioning Human Rights in the New Millennium: Quilting the World’s Conscience. 

You can read about my piece and the show in the following posts – Visioning Human Rights in the New Millennium, Part I , Visioning Human Rights in the New Millennium, Part II, Visioning Human Rights in the New Millennium, Part III , Visioning Human Rights in the New Millennium, Part IV , and International Exposure for The Lesson and The Equation.

This show, curated by Dr. Carolyn Mazloomi of the Women of Color Quilting Network (WCQN) celebrates the 70th Anniversary of the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights and features a collection of art quilts based on the 30 Articles of this declaration.

The show continues to travel and is opening on Thursday February 21, 2019 at Texas Folklife in Austin, Texas. 

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Image credit: Texas Folklife

You can more about this show at this link: Gallery Exhibit: Quilting The World’s Conscience.

I am sharing this in case any of my blogging buddies in Texas might be interested in attending.

 

A Crafter's Life, Adventures in Paper Piecing

Back to Making Things and Lovely Surprises in the Mail

Hello My Blogging Community, thanks for all your support during the most challenging time in my life.

I wanted to share that I have finally returned to “making” after quite the hiatus after the loss of my husband.

But first, let me share the two wonderful surprises I got in the mail today.

Surprise #1

My blogging buddy in Dublin Ireland, Helen @crawcraftsbeasties.com sent me a hand painted card featuring a Beastie comforting another Beastie:

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To learn more about the amazing Beasties that Helen makes, check out her website – crawcraftsbeasties.com.

Surprise #2

My blogging buddy in the Netherlands, Emmely @infectiousstitches gave me an amazing stitched card:

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It was like a large fabric postcard with a wonderful handwritten note on back.

I so appreciate all the support from my blogging community including so many people who have never met me in person and only know me from my blog. I wish we could all get together for some tea and pastries at a nice cafe.

No Longer Dreading the Mail

I feel I turned a corner as I am no longer dreading sympathy/condolence cards in the mail. So many thoughtful people have sent their condolences over the loss of my husband but each card was like a gut wrenching stab reminding me of my profound loss. I dreaded getting the mail and making myself open the cards and their words of sympathy blurring before my tearing eyes. Perhaps in retrospect I should have put them aside and read them later. I felt compelled and obligated to open each card.

On Tuesday I began an 8 week Spousal Loss Grief Support Group. The first meeting was incredibly difficult especially at first but by the end of the meeting as we all started to share and connect it got so much better. The Grief Counselor facilitating the meeting is amazing. This support group is through our local hospice and is a free community service.

There is an educational component to each meeting and I learned a lot about grief and why I have struggled with some severe irritability. I am so happy to have a safe place to talk about complex feelings with others who have also experienced the profound loss of a life partner.

I now get the whole “support group” concept where people going through similar experiences can support each other and relate to each other struggles, especially with the help of an amazing group facilitator.

Back to Making

I knew I needed to return to sewing and the tactile experience of working with fabric as part of my healing. I was either struggling with low energy or lack of interest, but I kept trying to dive back in.

First I tried to return to the Tula in a Box quilt I was working on before Terry died (and Terry helped me lay out the blocks) – see post .Tula in a Box. I managed to get the quilt back up on the large design wall in the hallway (I had half of it sewn together) as I had removed it from the design wall after he died as it was upsetting me:

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But I have not done any work on it.

Then I tried to work on taking out the stitching of a quilt I made into a tablecloth. I decided to turn it into a quilt. I did get the stitching out but got stalled on getting it ironed out so I could sent it out for long-arm quilting:

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Finally I thought I would try some hand work – something I could sit in front of the TV (I’ve been watching endless Netflix in the evening) and work on – English Paper Piecing (EPP):

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That worked. I’ve been working on making EPP hexies in the evening. Occasionally making the hexies feels bittersweet at Terry punched out the paper piecing templates for me. But I like to think that we are making them together.

A Crafter's Life

Stories from the Road, Part III

Hello to my blogging community.

I am continuing my series of posts about my new journey as a widow after losing my partner for more than half my life, Terry the Quilting Husband (TTQH).

My first two posts in this series Stories from the Road, Part I, and Stories from the Road, Part II were literally about a journey – a road trip with my sister across 4 states to see family on the East Coast and to celebrate TTQH’s life. This post is focused on my figurative journey navigating the grieving process and moving forward with my new life after the loss of the love of my life.

Before I dive into that, I wanted to say thank you to those of you who left thoughtful comments on my previous posts with your condolences and support. I’ve read all of them. I also appreciate those who have reached out via e-mail and/or also sent cards.

I miss regularly blogging and interacting with my regular blogging community (to include reading and commenting on your blog posts, etc.) but the profound grief that comes with such a loss consumes mental and physical energy on a level I cannot put into words.

I will likely at moments ramble in this post, but hopefully I will stay fairly coherent (smile).

The Widow’s Walk

I’ve loss both my parents but I’ve never experienced grief on this level. I do take one day at a time and each day does get a little better and the walk to get through each day seems a little less long and painful.

I’ve been focusing on planning for my next journey in life, which I discuss in a moment, and this has made me hopeful.

I would say my current state of mind is “sad but hopeful“.

I’ve decided to sell my house and move out of Central Oregon this Spring. I am not ready to share yet on my blog where I have decided to move, but will in the future.

Over the past couple of weeks I’ve been cleaning and clearing out many items from TTQH’s life and my life. I think all the thrift shops and shelters in town are tired of my endless carloads of donations.

In addition to local charity thrift shops, I am pleased with the groups I’ve been able to help out by donating TTQH’s stuff. For example I was able to donate all of his historical gaming miniatures/figures to the Hobby University of the Historical Miniature Gaming Society.  I was able to donate some cool stuff to a local Veterans Association. I know TTQH would have approved.

In preparation to sell the house and to move to a smaller space temporarily, I’ve been significantly downsizing my possessions. I’ve dabbled with Minimalism in the past (see my series of posts tagged with the category My Minimalism Journey) but I still had a lot of stuff.

It seems like now I am able to be “brutal” with downsizing my stuff and now able to let go more easily. When you experience such a significant loss, things just do not seem as important/precious as they did before.

For example, here is a growing pile of recycled fabric acquired over the years, that is headed to the local thrift shop:

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Mike the Miniature Schnauzer and I will be on a road trip this Spring to our new home. I will of course bring my tierneycreates Beastie (see series of posts in the category Beastie Adventures) on the road with us and she might be guest blogging to share stories of our journey from Central Oregon to our new location in the U.S. (staying in the States).

I do plan to return to quilting and blogging about lighter topics. I plan to finish the Tula Pink All Star quilt I last wrote about in the post Tula in a Box; and to continue the story on Secret Quilt Revealed, Part I.


Feature Photo by delfi de la Rua on Unsplash

A Crafter's Life

Stories from the Road, Part II

This post is a continuation of my post Stories from the Road, Part I, about my recent road trip across 4 states in the Eastern Coast of the United States as well as the new journey/road I am on as a widow after the recent loss of Terry the Quilting Husband (TTQH) my partner of many years.

Thanks for all your comments on my previous post and here is a continuation of the story.

Stories from the Road Continued

If you remember from the previous post, my awesome sister drove me across 4 states on the Eastern Coast of the U.S. to visit family. In Upstate NY, we hung out with Terry’s family including his two sisters who are quilters.

It was heart-warming seeing the quilts that Terry and I have made his sisters and mother (who passed last year) over the years. Here is an example of one on the back of a recliner in the their living room:

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Sunday 12/16, one of Terry’s older brother (TTQH was the youngest of 7 children) and his wife had a wonderful get together at their home to celebrate Terry’s life. It was an evening filled with much memories and laughter. It was a bittersweet family reunion and I kept thinking how much Terry would have enjoyed it but my sister kept reminding me he was there in spirit.

Always Time for a Quilt Shop Visit

On Monday 12/17/18 my sister and I went with Terry’s sisters, who are quilters, to lunch and then to their favorite quilt shop – the Joyful Quilter in Glenville, NY.

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Image credit: joyful quilter.com

My sister, who is not a quilter, was a good sport and hung out in the quilt shop, sitting in front of one of the gorgeous high-end Baby Lock sewing machines on display and working on her graduate school coursework.

The Inspirational Airbnb

My sister loves Airbnb and found us a delightful place to stay in Troy, NY while we were in Upstate NY. It was near downtown Troy which is actually quite charming and each morning we went to this wonderful little coffee shop for breakfast (and I had avocado toast for the first time which is actually quite delightful!).

All about the 2 bedroom Airbnb apartment we rented were inspirational quotes and signs. Here are a few examples:

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It was a perfect place to stay, very comforting, cozy and charming. It was fun to be sharing an apartment with my sister for a couple of days and just hanging out in the evening chatting about life over tea.

And speaking of tea, the apartment also had a little humor we discovered as we looked through the cupboards for our tea cups:

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Exploring Tarrytown

On the way back to Baltimore (I was flying back home out of BWI Airport), my sister and I stopped for the day in Tarrytown, NY.

Tarrytown is a charming town on the Hudson River and was ranked by Forbes as Among To 10 Prettiest Towns in America.

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We had a fun wander around Tarrytown and when I needed to go to the bathroom a local shopkeeper recommended I walk over to the library.

The library! If you’ve followed my blog for a while, you know how I feel about libraries – I love them! My sister was enjoying chatting with a shopkeeper and she encouraged me to take my time and wander about the local library.

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Tarrytown NY is a historic area and the library was filled with historical art and sculptures. It had an amazing main room where patrons were sitting and reading. If you look closely in the photo below you will see one of the library patrons so comfortable he is napping!

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I wanted to go hang out with a book (and maybe sneak in a little nap) at this delightful library!

My family and TTQH’s family would love me to move back to the East Coast to be closer to them and if it was not so expensive, Tarrytown might be an option. Once I get further down the road in my new journey as a widow and dealing with my grief, I will evaluate where I want to live my new life.

The Flight Home

The flight home was sad at first as I left the comfort of time with my families (my biological and my adopted Hogan family) and knew what waited for me back home was the reality of my loss and my new life as a grieving widow.

However about half way into the flight I gazed out my window seat and really looked at the beautiful landscapes of the earth below and somehow felt hopeful and peaceful and that I could make it through this.

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Postscript

For those of you who celebrate Christmas, I hope you had a Merry Christmas (or Happy Christmas as some countries say) with family and friends. I have a dear old friend staying with me right now for 5 days and she, I and Mike the Miniature Schnauzer spent a wonderful Christmas evening at a mutual friend’s house. We had a wonderful board game playing night with her children and Mike got to be worn around in his backpack by my friend’s 12 year old daughter.

Mike loves to be in his backpack, here is a photo from my May 2018 post, The Road to Retreat (Via Cannon Beach)  , with Mike riding around on TTQH’s back, happy as can be!

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Feature Photo by Jaromír Kavan on Unsplash

A Crafter's Life

Stories from the Road, Part I

I’ve titled this post “Stories from the Road” because it is about my recent road trip across 4 states in the Eastern Coast of the United States as well as the new journey/road I am on as a widow after the recent loss of Terry the Quilting Husband (TTQH) my partner of many years.

First I want to thank everyone who left thoughtful comments on my previous post when I shared I would be taking a break from blogging. Please know I read and appreciate all the comments, I am not up to responding to them. I really appreciate my blogging community and I was feeling the love, thank you.  Originally I planned to take an extended break from blogging (or perhaps stop blogging complete) but I really enjoy writing and the amazement that people actually read my musings!

No matter how terrible my grief is, I continually work on remembering two things: 1) how lucky I was to be married to my best friend for over half my life; and 2) that TTQH would want me to go forward in life and be happy.

Every day I also work on smiling through my tears such as in this recent photo taken from my brother-in-law’s kitchen in Upstate NY during the get together we had honoring Terry:

2018-12-16_13-25-19_877.jpegSo Much Support

I am blessed to have a large supportive network of family, friends, and colleagues. My sister has been exceptionally supportive and I will talk more about that in the next section. My friends Marla Jo, Jason, Laurie, Michele, Judy, Kelly, Diane, Kathy, Dana and Lisa have also been exceptionally supportive.

Marla Jo and Jason were there on the worst day of my life, finding Terry after an aneurysm took his life. They took my dog Mike the Miniature Schnauzer and kept him for a week.

My friend Laurie was there on the second worse day of my life – going to the funeral home to make arrangements. I’ve mentioned outings with Laurie and her dog Luna in previous blog posts and on the second worse day of my life, Laurie took me to visit a horse property with horses she works with to give me a little equestrian therapy (see post Horsing Around).

My friends Michele, Judy, Kelly, and Lisa have continually checked on me as well as many other friends and coworkers who have reached out.

Terry’s family has been awesome and very supportive, especially his two amazing sisters, to include helping me with his end of life expenses. Friends have also reached out with financial support to help with travel and end of life expenses and I greatly appreciate that support. I learned how to set up a PayPal Me account so people could send money if they chose to support me in that way.

I received two creative ways of support that made me smile – a Whole Foods gift certificate from my boss (I love Whole Foods but it is usually too expensive to shop there regularly); and a huge gift card to my favorite restaurant in Central Oregon from some colleagues. I’ve already used them both as I have not been up to cooking.

Stories from the Road

My sister insisted that I immediately come to the East Coast of the U.S. to be with family when she learned of Terry’s passing. I was initially concerned about the huge cost of last minutes cross country flights; and that it was basically deep Winter in Upstate NY.

My wonderful brother bought me a roundtrip plane ticket to Baltimore after my sister found the best flight option. My incredible sister, who lives in Richmond, Virginia, picked me up from Baltimore-Washington International Airport (BWI) and drove me across four states.

We stopped in Delaware to see my brother, his wife and their son (my adorable 6 year old nephew) and then headed to Tarrytown, NY to stay the night before going on to Upstate NY in the morning. My brother also covered our hotel reservation at a very nice Courtyard by Marriott using his frequent stay points (he travels a lot for business).

I am not sure how many miles my sister drove but I am pretty sure it was at least 800 – 900 miles roundtrip including her trip back home to Richmond. We crossed the following states: Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, and New York. Part of our trip we had semi-scary inclement weather but my sister was an amazing driver. She insisted on doing all the driving.

We drove to the home of Terry’s sisters, Sue and Diane. You might remember their names from my blog posts about their visits this summer to attend the Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show (see post Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show 2018, Part II: Visiting Crafters).

They are both quilters and while we visited I got to see and play with their new long-arm quilting machine:

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That is a practice panel on the machine as they want to do a lot of practice before they work on an actual important quilt.

Speaking of important quilts, they have a beautiful quilt in progress on their design wall as a belated wedding gift for a family member:

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The live in the original family home and I got a kick out of seeing Terry’s old room turned into their quilt studio (still a work in progress):

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He would most definitely approve!

Terry’s sisters have rescued a couple Shih Tzu dogs from a puppy mill and have a golden doodle, Tucker. My sister and I were treated one evening to a “floor show” put on by one of the Shih Tzus and Tucker as they played tug-a-war while he dragged her across the floor as she held fast on the edge of her dog bed:

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All I could think during the show was how much Terry would have enjoyed this as he was a huge dog person (he actually liked dogs more than people).

More to Come

I will end this post here and continue the story in the next post. My energy is low as would be expected with profound grief. Please know I appreciate and read your comments but I may not be up to responding.

I am keeping the words of this old Chinese proverb in my mind:

You cannot prevent the birds of sorrow from flying over your head, but you can prevent them from building nests in your hair. – Old Chinese proverb


Feature Photo by Vidar Nordli-Mathisen on Unsplash

A Crafter's Life, Quality of Life

Consider These

A bonus post for today. I wanted to share these tips that Amy W., a Wellness Coordinator at my employer shared today. 


Some things you might want to consider, or not…. Don’t overthink it

  1. Floss. You know this one already.
  2. Sell or donate your microwave. You’d be shocked how much healthier you eat when you must clean a pan after every meal.
  3. Apologize if you were wrong.
  4. Read books.
  5. Drink chamomile tea. It’s good for nearly every part of your body. Drink some calming, honey-laden tea and think for a second.
  6. Check your credit score. If you have a credit card or student loans, you need to check your credit score. I know it’s scary, but unlike your Netflix membership, it’s free and important.
  7. Meet your neighbors. That way you won’t have to feel awkward when you are both out front avoiding eye contact.
  8. Stop pretending you’re not on your cell phone that much. We all look at them way too much. Look up, you might like what you see.
  9. Leave 15 minutes early for everything.
  10. Get a physical and go to the dentist. Stop using Listerine/Neosporin/Cranberry Juice etc. to cure that infection.
  11. Go to bed at a p.m. hour. Watch both a sunset and a sunrise.
  12. Listen to a whole album. The digital sales market has returned music to the singles-centric model that worked in the 50s and 60s, but even then, the best work was the full vision of an artist.
  13. Write something every day. Doesn’t matter if it’s a rant against your roommate or the philosophical ponderings brought on by an episode of  your favorite television show.
  14. Learn this: They’re over there in their English class.
  15. Finally, remember we all have 24 hours every day to do with what we will.

 

A Crafter's Life, tierneycreates

Artistic Delights in the Mail

One of the best thing about having the tierneycreates blog for the past 5 years is connecting with other crafters, makers, artists around the world.

One of those people is Pennsylvania based artist extraordinaire, Claudia McGill. She is one of those “Renaissance Women” whose dabbles successfully in many arts – writing, painting, drawing, illustrations, poetry, ceramics/pottery and collage.

She has two blogs (that I know of, maybe she has more, ha!) – one for her art and one for her poetry:

Claudia McGill and Her Art World

Claudia McGill Writes Poetry, Did You Know That?

A couple days ago, I was surprised in the mail with a lovely holiday card and some some little pieces of her art!

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Lucky me!

I know there are new bloggers now following my blog that might be looking for other maker blogs to follow and blogging communities to connect with, so I plan in the future to share more about the blogs I follow to help connect anyone interested.

Over the years, I’ve met so many other bloggers through following and commenting on blogs that capture my interest.

 


Postscript

I’ve always fantasized about writing poetry and had dabbled but never had the confidence to share any of my writings.

In addition to Claudia’s blogs, I also follow other “artist poets” such as South African based artist and poet, Mariss Stevens. She shares her beautiful art quilts with accompanying poems!

You can check out her amazing art quilts and poetry on her blog:

FABRICATIONS

 

 

WCQN

Secret Quilt Revealed, Part I

If you’ve followed my blog for a while, you might remember that Spring to Summer 2018 I was working on a secret quilt for an unannounced exhibit.

Well the curator, Dr. Carolyn Mazloomi, has recently announced the show and now I can share my secret quilt with you; and I will share the story behind it in a series of posts.


Yours for Race and Country

The Women of Color Quilting Network (WCQN) exhibit, curated by Dr. Carolyn Mazloomi, is called Yours For Race and Country: Reflections on the Life of Colonel Charles Young. The exhibit will run from March 16, 2019 through August 17, 2019 at the National Afro-American Museum in historic Wilberforce, Ohio.

Colonel Charles Young was the first African-American to reach the rank of Colonel is the United States Army (the first African American officer to command a Regular Army regiment, and the highest-ranking black officer in the Regular Army until his death). He was also the first African-American Superintendent of a U.S. National Park – Sequoia National Park.

Here is a wonderful overview of some of his accomplishment I found on The Trust for Public Land website (tpl.org):

charles young.jpgTo read more about Colonel Charles Young and his historic accomplishments, check out the Arlington National Cemetery website – Charles Young, Colonel, United States Army.


The Art Quilt Assignment

I was extremely honored and excited to be invited to participate in this art quilt exhibit.

For the exhibit, Dr. Mazloomi gave us options to select from of pivotal moments and accomplishments in Colonel Young’s life as inspiration for a 40″ x 40″ quilt.

I selected his time as Superintendent of Sequoia National Park.

Then it was history time! I wanted to learn more about Colonel Young’s life than was available online, so I ordered this book and read it – Black Officer in a Buffalo Soldier Regiment: The Military Career of Charles Young by Brian G. Shellum:

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image credit: amazon.com

After reading the book and studying images I found online of Sequoia National Park, I was ready to get to work on my quilt.

In the next post in the series, I will share the evolution of the quilt and my challenges to create something I felt honored the legacy of Colonel Young (oh the pressure!).


Postscript

Here are more details on the exhibit, as posted on facebook by the show’s curator, Dr. Carolyn Mazloomi:

My latest curated exhibition opens March 16, 2019 at the National Afro-American Museum and Cultural Center in historic Wilberforce, Ohio. The exhibition, Yours for Race and Country: Reflections on the Life of Colonel Charles Young, is a visual history of the life of Charles Young. Young’s life is triumph over tragedy. Charles Young was born in 1864 to former slaves, but went on to attend and graduate West Point. He mastered several languages, played and composed music for piano, violin and guitar, wrote poetry, was a master cartographer, military strategist, the first African American Colonel in the U.S. Army and first superintendent of Sequoia National Park. Young’s home in Wilberforce was designated by President Barack Obama as a National Monument of the United States Parks Service. The Charles Young Buffalo Soldiers National Monument is a testament to Young’s perseverance.

The international exhibition visually explores, using the medium of quilts, the life of Col. Charles Young from his birth, life at West Point, military career, experiences in Foreign Service and his time as a Superintendent for the National Park Service.The opening reception is March 16th from 11:00am to 2:00pm. Copies of the catalogue will be made available to the public at that time.

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National Park Service website, courtesy of Library of Congress

In case you are wondering, I would like to attend the opening of the exhibit, I am just looking into if I can make it work with traveling in Winter and my job commitments. There is also going to be a private tour for the artists in the show of Colonel Young’s home in Wilberforce, OH. That would be a wonderful added bonus to getting to attend.

I will know more in 2019.


Feature photo credit – Change.org

Tula Time!, What's on the Design Wall

Tula in a Box

Follow up on my post earlier this week on the quilt, I am working on Tula in a Box – What’s On the Design Wall: Tula in a Box. This quilt is my own design and it is inspired by the colorful fabrics in Tula Pink’s All Stars fabric collection.

After completing thirty-six (36) 12.5″ x 12.5″ blocks, and having Terry the Quilting Husband (TTQH) lay them out on my large design wall in my hallway, it was time to cut the fat quarter collection of stripes from the Tula Pink All Stars fabric collection for the 2 inch lattice between the blocks:

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It was a lot of cutting (like endless cutting), but finally I got a “pile-o-stripes” cut:

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Then it was time to abuse…um, I mean enlist the help of TTQH again and ask him to lay out the lattice on the design wall:

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He is a very nice and patient husband!

As I mentioned in the post earlier this week, my hallway is narrow and I can only take photos at an angle, but here is what the design wall looked like after TTQH laid out the stripes for the lattice:

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After TTQH laid out the lattice, I cut 2″ x 2″ squares from the feature fabrics for the cornerstones between the lattice. For now I have them set on the edge of the design wall (TTQH’s idea) to pull them as I sew the lattice and blocks together:

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It is certainly going to be a colorful quilt!

As I get it sewn together, I will probably move it from the “design wall” to the “design bed” so I can share better photos of it.

I have a lot of scraps leftover from the Tula Pink All Stars fabric fat quarters collection I made the quilt from. I organized the scraps in smaller bags into dots, stripes, solid and feature fabrics (the Tula Pink animal prints) and then into a large bag.

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Some I of the scraps might use for the binding but I have enough to make at least a small lap quilt!


Postscript

It has been very cold in Central Oregon. TTQH took Mike the miniature schnauzer coat shopping the other day and TTQH thought I should share with you all Mike in his new coat to close out this post:

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After TTQH and Mike returned home from coat shopping, I realized I could have made Mike a coat myself as it was a simple design. But then Mike would have likely had to wait until Winter was fully here by the time I got the coat made…

 

A Crafter's Life, Special Events

A Presidential Artistic Journey (Re-post)

Today is a national day of mourning in the U.S. to honor the legacy of the recently deceased 41st President, George H.W. Bush, Sr.

No matter how you might feel politically about him, let’s agree that it takes a lot to live a life of public service, something few of us would take on. He was also a World War II Veteran. 

So in honor of George H.W. Bush, Sr.’s legacy, I thought I would repost this post from June 2018 about the opportunity I had in May 2018 to hear his son, former U.S. President George W. Bush, Jr. speak in person and talk about his artistic journey. 


A Presidential Artistic Journey

This is not a political post, but this post is about a former political figure, now a private citizen – former U.S. President George W. Bush, Jr.

Suspend for a moment any political leanings you hold and let me share a very special opportunity I had to see a former U.S. President speak in person in early May and to learn of his artistic journey.

A Once-In-A-Lifetime Opportunity

April 30 – May 4th, I attended a national conference for the industry that I am employed , in Orlando, Florida. One of the keynote presentations at the conference was a conversation with former President George W. Bush, Jr. and the president of a national organization hosting the conference.

No photos were allowed and there was strict security so unfortunately I have no photos from the experience to share (when I first discovered that President Bush would be speaking I had hopes of a “selfie” with a former U.S. President!). I’ve never seen a U.S. President in person so just the experience to see a historical figure in person was very exciting to me.

To be honest, I was not a huge fan of President Bush during his Presidency, but I put those thoughts aside and approached the presentation with an open mind.

He was absolutely amazing and spoke with much wonderful humor, insight, inspiration and Texas twang! He shared the experience of recently losing his mother, Barbara Bush (who I always greatly respected). He also spoke candidly about 9/11 (September 11, 2001/World Trade Center bombings) and other challenges and his Presidency; and about what’s going on in the world and in the U.S. today.

As I do not want this to be a political post I will not share all the specifics of what he said but let’s just say he might not fully support the current choices and political environment of the current U.S. Presidential Administration. He said that the U.S. cannot become isolationists, we have to stay connected to the world and shared specific reasons, in his opinion, why it is important that the U.S. stay engaged.

He did encourage those of us who might feel currently discouraged not to give up on democracy; and that the office of U.S. President is greater than the behavior of any one individual.

He also talked about what he has seen in the world and that those that live in the U.S. should remember just how blessed we are to live in this country (in regards to all the freedoms and opportunities we have available to us that are not available in all parts of the world).

Interestingly during his talk I learned that he is  close friends the Dalai Llama and Bono (lead singer of the band U2 who is heavily involved in humanitarian causes) – who would have known?

Overall his talk was very inspirational, spiritual (he is a man of strong faith) and hopeful – he brought many of us to tears several times during his talk.

A Former U.S. President’s Artistic Journey

For me the best part of his talk was when he shared how he became a painter and his evolution as an artist/his artistic journey. He talked about the fear he had to overcome to start painting and bouts with self doubt of his painting ability.

He also talked about the moment when he realized he was not too bad at painting. I wish I could have taken notes as there were many gems in his discussion of his artistic journey and I could relate to many of those experiences in my journey.

He eventually combined his love of painting with his post-presidency humanitarian efforts, which include working with Veterans especially those dealing with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). He painted Veterans for his book Portraits of Courage: A Commander in Chief’s Tribute to America’s Warriors (if you click on the link you will see an image of former President Bush painting a portrait) and proceeds from book sales, according to the website, “helps post-9/11 veterans and their families make a successful transition to civilian life and addresses issues of veteran wellness, including post-traumatic stress and traumatic brain injury”.

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image credit: bushcenter.org

He shared a couple of amazing stories about the friendships he developed with several Veterans dealing with PTSD while working on their portraits. He tried to capture in their portrait painting not only their physical features but what the individual was dealing with internally at the time, he made an effort to get to know each Veteran he was painting.

I’m so thankful to my employer for the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity they gave me in sending me to the conference in Orlando. I also appreciate the opportunity to share this experience with you all and ask for you to be moderate and thoughtful in your comments on this post as fellow readers have differing political views, thanks.

A Crafter's Life, Tula Time!, What's on the Design Wall

What’s On the Design Wall: Tula in a Box

First I’d like to apologize for any less than stellar photography. My design wall is in a narrow hallway in my home and I can only photograph it from an angle.

Now that you have that disclaimer and you have lowered your expectations on the quality of the photography on this post, I can continue my series of posts “What’s on the Design Wall”, featuring my latest project up on either one of the small design walls in my studio or the large design wall my hallway.

Up on my large design wall are thirty-six (36) 12.5 inch x 12.5 inch blocks for my quilt I am calling Tula in a Box

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I have Terry the Quilting Husband (TTQH) to thank for arranging the blocks on the design wall. I had looked at them so many times I did not know where to start in laying out the quilt blocks on the design wall!

There is a bit of story behind this quilt if you are new to my blog. You can check out my series of posts Tula Time! if you want to check out the back story.

The quilt did begin as an impulse purchase of Tula Pink Allstar fabric fat quarter packs (feature fabrics, stripes, solids, and dots) after seeing my friend Dana’s collection at a quilt retreat:

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I’ve now made quite a dent in that stack above while piecing the 36 blocks.

My  next step is to create the lattice and cornerstones from this pile (fat quarter collection of the stripes, and scraps from the feature fabric);

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I am going to “fussy cut” the scraps of the feature fabric (the 6 different animal prints in 3 different color ways) for the cornerstone between the lattice.

More to come as it progresses, for now I am just so happy to have finished the 36 blocks!


Postscript

My friend Dana who started my Tula Pink fabric obsession, has made great progress on her quilt which is made of pieced stars with the same collection of fat quarters from the Tula Pink All Stars line.

Here quilt got too big for the design wall so she has it laid out on a bed in her studio (every maker/crafter needs a bed in their studio in case they suddenly need a nap while creating, right?).

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She is working on figuring out what to do for a border around the blocks.

Our friend Judy who is also making a Tula Pink quilt, is still working on piecing her 36 blocks.

As I mentioned earlier, if you are new to this blog and would like to know the story behind our quilts, check out the series of posts – Tula Time! (this link contains all the posts tagged as related to Tula Pink fabrics, you will have to scroll through the posts to see the other posts).

 

Life in B&W

Santa Fe in Black and White

This post is another installation on posts about my trip to Santa Fe, New Mexico in early November. My previous post discussed creative inspiration from visiting the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum for the first time (Creative Inspiration: Georgia O’Keeffe Museum).

Santa Fe was filled with inspiration and I was inspired to dabble in B&W iPhone photography again like in previous posts (see my series of posts Life in B&W).

So indulge me again and check out this photo essay of images from my trip to Santa Fe in B&W!

Cathedral Basilica of Saint Francis of Assisi

The first building I fell in love with in Santa Fe and immediately wanted to photograph in B&W was the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Francis of Assisi in downtown Santa Fe.

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I took a lot of photos of the exterior of the church and even tried different B&W iPhone filters:

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And the amazing door, I had to photograph this door, as well as an interesting structure in the church courtyard:

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While we wandering downtown there was a Mass in progress so I did not peek inside of the church, but there I did check out photos online of the interior which were amazing.

Georgia O’Keeffe Museum

During our visit to the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum I experimented with B&W photography. Most of the photos are not worth sharing but I do like this one of the windows in a section of the gallery:

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Fences and Adobe Structures

I was absolutely fascinated with the rustic wood fences and adobe structures in Santa Fe. Here are some of my photos:

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Madrid, New Mexico

As I mentioned in the post Creative Inspiration: Georgia O’Keeffe Museum, on our road trip back to Albuquerque, NM to fly home, we took a detour to visit a colleague of my friend Laurie who owns an amazing horse ranch/equestrian center.

On our route to the horse ranch, we drove through the quaint town of Madrid, New Mexico and stopped to wander around. Here are some B&W photos from that wander.

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At the Equestrian Center

And finally, during our visit to the equestrian center outside of Albuquerque, NM, I took photos in B&W. I was fascinated by the displays of horse tack and saddles.

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More photos (in color) of my trip to come.


Postscript

Work has been very busy lately with end of year projects. I must admit I have not had much interest in being on a computer outside of work hours lately so although I have many posts in my head I have not actually written them. I also need to catch up on the blogs I follow.

I also need a nap.

Funny when you are a kid you never want to nap, but when you are an adult you would love to have a nap!

Speaking of naps, I will close this post with an image of my miniature schnauzer, Mike, taking a nap in the front window in his cushion that has been moved to the window area per his request (smile).

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He is a “Napping Professional”.

Special Events, WCQN

Visioning Human Rights Exhibit Book Update

I posted this in my Textiles Adventures page (which highlights the latest news on my adventures in the textile arts) The book for the WCQN show, Visioning Human Rights in the New Millennium: Quilting the World’s Conscience will be released on February 28, 2019.

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image credit: amazon.com

My quilt, The Lesson & The Equation, inspired by Article 1 of United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights, will be one of the quilts featured in this book from the exhibit.

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For more information about the show and my quilt, check out the post Visioning Human Rights in the New Millennium, Part I or the related series of posts on WCQN.

To say that I am excited to get a copy of the book when it is released is an understatement!