Tierney is busy catching up on the backlog of posts she wants to read by her blogging buddies around the world, so I am guest posting so she does not continue to fall so behind in blogging!
Once again I am sitting at my makeshift desk, typing on my laptop:
Oh I should introduce myself in case you are new to this blog, my name is tierneycreates Beastie and I am a Monster, but the good kind of Monster. You can read my story at I’m A Monster!!!. You can also check out the other posts I’ve had to guest blog on (i.e. when Tierney fell off the blogging-wagon) in the series of posts: Beastie Adventures.
The link above is for the platform Spotify but you can also listen to this podcast wherever you get your podcasts, like on Apple Podcasts on your iPhone.
Here I am listening to the podcast on Tierney’s iPhone with her and my dog Mikelet:
The podcast was amazing and I got to hear my Maker’s voice! It was a brilliant interview and I enjoyed learning how Helen got into making Beasties like me. All I can say is I am so glad she did not become a “management consultant” after she finished university.
Oh now you might be wondering why at the end of May I am wearing the lovely Aran sweater that Helen knitted me and not my much cooler T-shirt she made me like in this photo from the April 2019 post Beastie Adventures – Seattle Public Library:
Well Tierney lost my T-shirt a couple months ago when she had packed to move but then did not move (see post Perspective). She hopes my T-shirt shows up but she might have to make me a new one herself (because I am going to get very hot in this sweater when we are at full summer in Colorado!) and perhaps as Helen if she can make me another.
I know some of you might follow’s Helen’s blog – BeastieBlog, and I wanted to suggest you check out this podcast episode if you’d like to hear her lovely Irish accent and her being interviewed about her creative journey and process!
I am so proud of my Maker!
Speaking of podcasts, now Tierney and I need to head over to Tammie Painter’s: The Book Owl Podcast and listen to the latest episode. She is another one of Tierney’s blogging buddies and she has her own Beastie that was made by Helen of CrawCrafts Beasties – Finn McSpool.
Tammie got to bring Finn back to Ireland and be reunited with his Maker Helen (and Tammie got to meet her).Tammie has a series of posts about her visit with Finn to Ireland in her blog tammiepainter.com/blog.
Tierney and I had planned to go to Scotland with friends this July pre-COVID pandemic (plans got cancelled with her traveling buddies due to the pandemic) and while she was in the UK, she was going to also visit Dublin and meet up with Helen. I am bummed this did not happen, but I know someday I will get to return to where I was born!
I am very much looking forward to touring Dublin someday as all I’ve seen of it is the inside of Helen’s studio where I was created.
One of the things I’ve greatly missed during the “COVID-times” is visiting my local public library to browse the shelves and/or pick up my latest stack of holds.
My local public library, which is within walking distance of where I live, is still closed BUT last week I discovered the public library in the neighboring country opened for “curbside pick up”. Library patrons could reserve books online and when notified that the library that they are available, could park in designated spots at the library and HAVE THEIR LIBRARY HOLDS DELIVERED DIRECTLY INTO THE TRUNK OF THEIR CAR!
Giddy with the excitement of this news, I contacted the neighboring county’s library to see if they would allow me to sign up for a library card/account with them. I discovered from the friendly library staff that any Colorado resident could sign up!
I could not get online fast enough to sign up for a library patron account with this neighboring county’s library!!!
I went a little crazy putting books on hold online. Like super crazy. Like completely and utterly insane.
So now I am ready to continue my ongoing series, The Library Stack, sharing my stack of borrowed books from my local public library. Because, the LIBRARY STACK IS BACK
Initially I received an e-mail that several of the books I reserved were available and immediately drove to the library to pick them up. !
And a couple days later I received a notice that like 15+ more books were available for me to pick up.
Here is the resulting MEGA STACK of library books:
And I am in library book heaven!
This morning (the first day of my “staycation”, see Postscript), I had a simple breakfast in the front room with a pile of library books. It was a lovely way to spend a morning!
Oh and yes, a couple more books have come in and I returned to the library a third time to have them load more books into my trunk! I did return a couple books using their drive through book return so my stack is still the same size (sort of…but I am not showing you any more of my pathological addiction to library books in this post – ha!)
Today I began my first day of a 10 day “staycation” (a holiday at home). I plan to spend it reading my giant library stack, catching up on reading the blogs I follow, and even writing some more blog posts. My partner John and I are also planning some day trip adventures and working on some home remodeling projects.
Oh in addition to the library stack, I am also reading a book on Kindle – Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace; and listening to a fantastic audiobook book – The Library Book by Susan Orleans which is a love letter to public libraries. I will of course be discussing this book a bit in a future post when I finish it.
I don’t know about you but I keep fighting getting blue during these COVID-times. I know some of the stay at home orders/restrictions are loosening but if your part of the world is like mine you are still dealing with “social distancing”, limited access to things and needing to wear masks when you venture out.
I am so grateful for my health and the health of those I love and I hate to sound whiny at all but I miss what life used to be pre-COVID so much.
Somedays I sort of want to just run around and hug everyone I come across! It hurts my heart to always have to intentionally and constantly stay away from people. When walking my dog and passing another person, we each move an extra bit to the opposite side. I guess dogs just figure that people all hate strangers now or something!
To try and perk myself up at bit/motivate myself/shake the pervasive ennui, I bought this journal the other day:
I also came across this quote the other day and it was a good reminder for me to “snap out of it” and send out positive vibes to my fellow humans struggling with this new reality:
Before I dive into this post I’d like to ask you to revisit my previous post if you’d like to: Liebster Award Nomination. I decided not to make it a two part post (because originally I was falling asleep towards the end of writing it) and to just go back and edit the post and finish it up. You will see towards the bottom of the post a header: “Update 05/12/2020”; and under that header you will find “Eleven (11) Facts About Myself”, my nominations of 7 blogs and the corresponding questions I’ve posed for the nominees to answer. I did go ahead and notify the 7 nominees in the comment section of their blogs. So if you’d like to read the rest of my ramblings related to Anna at Homeschool Guru nominating me for a blogging award head on over there (smile).
And now onto the previous Friday’s frolicking adventure…
Indie Bookstore and Antique Shop Browsing!
I am off work on Fridays (I work Monday – Thursday) and my partner John and I decided to have a little adventure. We heard last week that the town of Castle Rock, Colorado was relaxing their business closure rules during the pandemic and would allow some businesses to open.
Masked and gloved we headed out to Castle Rock as we checked and their independent bookstore Sudden Fiction Bookswas open! It feels like its been eons since I’ve been able to wander through a bookstore or a public library so I was so excited to browse.
We had an exquisite browse at Sudden Fiction in downtown Castle Rock, which sells both new and used books and we left with quite the stack of new and used books (mainly science fiction). Here are photos from that visit.
Here is my partner John all masked and gloved while browsing.
I had a lovely chat with the shopkeeper while maintaining social distancing and trying to talk through our masks. We occasionally we did have to repeat ourselves as some words do not enunciate very clearly through a mask!
On our way out of the bookstore we noticed there we other shops open in downtown Castle Rock to include an antique shop!
The only shopping I’ve done in the past couple of months was at grocery stores or “box stores” (Costco, Target, Home Depot) and what a pleasure it was to actually wander/browse through an independent retail shop.
Here are photos from our inside and outside wander (they have an outdoor garden kitsch section) at The Barnin downtown Castle Rock. We bought some new yard art there to support the business.
In the garden section out back I was particularly fascinated by their huge collection of large rusted letters. We photographed them in both color and black & white.
But alas, I could not figure out why I needed them so we did not leave the shop with any large letters!
We also ate lunch in Castle Rock at a new place called Cuba Cuba. We were allowed to walk in and order at the bar (maintaining social distance of course) and then we had to wait outside on the patio for our food. Inside the restaurant was lovely and we look forward to the day we can go inside and dine (or even sit outside on their nice patio and dine). But we happily ate our Cuban sandwiches in the car.
All the things I used to kind of take for granted pre-pandemic. What a treat it was to be able to browse in downtown Castle Rock on Friday!
Speaking of Castle Rock, we were excited that Castle Rock had loosened some restrictions but unfortunately not all Castle Rock business behaved as the Colorado governor had mandated when the restrictions were loosened as you will see in this online news article:
The word “Liebster” sounded vaguely familiar and quite German. I studied German for a year when I was in college and I remembered the German word “lieb” which means dear as in beloved.
I checked an English to German dictionary online (interglot.com) and discovered the definition for “Liebster” is: “friend, dear, sweetheart.
Sounds like a nice name for a blogging award (smile).
It’s been a long time since I’ve received a nomination for a blogging award as I’ve been blogging for nearly 7 years and it seems like these awards are primarily to give exposure to new blogs. So it was quite a pleasant and appreciated surprise.
I appreciated her comments on her post regarding my nomination:
Tierney at Tierney Creates. Queen of quilts, this is a creative and artistic blog, plus Mike-the-dog-who-thinks-he’s-a-human.
(You might be wondering why I follow a blog/website called homeschoolguru when I do not have any children that I home school. Well this blogger found me and commented on my blog a couple months ago and I took a peek at her blog and discovered it was absolutely delightful! Yes she writes many posts helpful to parents who home school but she also covers many other topics of interests and her posts are witty and engaging!)
Okay so here are the rules of being nominated:
LIEBSTER AWARD RULES
• Thank the blogger who nominated you, and provide a link to their blog.
• Answer the 11 questions given to you.
• Share 11 facts about yourself.
• Nominate 5-11 other bloggers.
• Ask your nominees 11 questions of your choice.
• Notify your nominees once you have uploaded your post.
By the way, it’s late in the evening, the wind is howling like crazy outside and I am sitting in bed writing while sleep is attempting to creep upon me. I might ramble during the rest of this post, please forgive me. I did not want to let too much time pass between the time I was nominated (May 5th) and when I answered the questions that come along with being nominated.
I think these questions are designed for you all to get to know me a little better, but some of you have followed my blog for years and might feel like you know enough already (or more than you want to know!)
Question #1:Do you have a book out or in the pipeline?
Yes, in the pipeline! I have an idea for a children’s’ book or a young adult book (or both), but not ready to share yet.
Question #2: How long have you been blogging and what is your favorite subject to write about?
I’ve been blogging for nearly 7 years – my blog began in October 2013 as a vehicle originally for my now closed tierneycreates Etsy shop. I do not have a favorite subject to blog about, I just enjoy sharing stories from a “Crafter’s Life”.
Question #3: If you could move to a different town, state or country… where would you be?
New Zealand – not sure what town – I’d just have to first visit all my blogging buddies that live there and see which town was the friendliest for me to build my small off grid cottage! (But I would need some serious solar power for running my sewing machine all the time).
Question #4:What is your favorite quality about yourself?
I grow wiser as I grow older and have learned to put things in “perspective”.
Question #5: Are you an Introvert or an Extrovert or even both?
I am both. I spent many years presenting as an Extrovert, but now I am enjoying embracing my Introverted side while functioned as needed as an Extrovert (smile).
Question #6: What is THE JOB of your dreams?
If someone could pay me a nice salary to blog full time and make things in my craft room, that would be it. Or perhaps I get my book (or books) published someday and use the royalties to just craft and blog all day!
Question #7:Other than blogging/writing what is the one favorite thing you LOVE to do?
Go on walks alone listening to audiobooks/podcasts, or with my dog, or with my partner (but I talk to him instead of listening to books!). If my legs and feet could handle it I would walk for miles and miles each day!
Question #8:Where is one of the first places you plan on going after quarantine is over?
Can anyone guess? Yup, it the PUBLIC LIBRARY! I cannot wait until I can run free (no worry I will be clothed) through the stacks and stacks books in the library. All those lonely books, waiting for me to check them out…
Question #9:Speaking of COVID-19, is there anything that you learned about yourself or will be changing about yourself when ‘life moves on?’
Several years ago I discovered “Minimalism” and I was trying to move towards a quality life with less stuff in my life. Then I kind of slip off that path for a while. Now I’ve been using COVID-times to refocus on what really matters in life and to be careful how I spend my money and my time.
Question #10:Is there anything as far as food that you will absolutely NOT eat?
Oh yes – Liver and Onions! I gagged it down as a child, and never again. Also I will never eat Oreo cookies or Mint Chocolate Chip ice cream – yuck! Their flavors nauseate me.
Question #11:Do you own a website for your writing?
No, not yet…
Well I am super sleepy now, as I am sure you are too trying to read all this boring information about me – hopefully you have not done a face-plant into your computer keyboard – ha!
I will continue my rambling…um, I mean completing the requested Liebster Award nomination information in my next post.
I’ve decided not to do a “Part II” to this post and just finish up on this post.
Eleven (11) Facts About Myself
I used to be obsessed with Barbies (Mattel toys Barbie dolls) from my late 20s to late 30s. It was something related to some challenging childhood memories and Barbies provided me with a lot of comfort. When I got into my late 30s to early 40s I was finally able to let my Barbie collection go. I sold some on Etsy, some on eBay and gave away/donated a lot of Barbies.
I love public libraries. Walking into a library immediately calms, relaxes and excites me. This is related to many wonderful childhood memories at the library. I think it was the summer when I was 10 years old that I spent every day at the library. I would ride my bike to the library and browse books for hours – both children and adult books. The librarians knew me well. When I lived in Central Oregon from 2005 – 2019 I got to know the Deschutes Public Library quite well and had some librarian buddies at the downtown branch. I even had several art quilts in library art shows (see post A Novel Panel Idea). When I travel I try to visit a local library whenever possible.
I’ve likely read way too many self-help books but I am still strangely drawn to them. I tried to swear off of them (see post Musings on Self-Improvement) but I might be secretly listening to one right now and just not telling all about it (smile).
Fabric scraps make me happy. Very happy. I love the idea of saving something meant for a landfill and making something (eventually, hopefully, possibly…) out of it. I’ve become more selective over the years what scraps I get from other quilters and I’ve donated many fabric scraps in thrift shops (they sell well at thrift shops) as I shared in the post A “Humane” Way to Eliminate Fabric Scraps.
My husband (who suddenly passed in December 2019) and I adopted rescued dogs, specifically rescued miniature schnauzers, for nearly 25 years. I currently have a rescued miniature schnauzer, Mike, who is 9.5 year old. His story is in the post – Taking Chances: The Mike Hogan Chronicles (re-post). I have been thinking about the future and wondering should I continue with miniature schnauzers or explore adopting those teddy bear looking labradoodles?
I absolutely love pretzels. I’ve loved them since I was little. I enjoy quilt retreating with my friend Judy because she loves pretzels too and always has a nice stash of yummy pretzels (sometimes with a special garlic seasoning on them) to the retreat for us to snack on! (Of course quilt retreats are all about snacking, right?) My sister and I have a funny memory related to a pretzel:We like to meet up in New York City for a sisters weekend occasionally (she lives on the East Coast) and I was having the most delicious street vendor large hot pretzel I’ve ever had in my life. I gave her a bite of it. Well then I asked her to hold the pretzel while I rearranged something in my tote bag and BAM she finished off the pretzel while I was not looking, She claims to have had an “out of body experience” and does not remember finishing off the pretzel! We tried to find the vendor again for her to replace my pretzel but we never found another NYC street vendor pretzel as delicious…
My favorite genre is science fiction and for a while I was really into post apocalyptic fiction, especially if there were some type of strange mutation to humans post apocalypse! Of course with the pandemic in place I am avoiding anything in this genre as it is too close for comfort.
I am a recovering perfectionist. I still love organizing things and an organized environment but I have definitely “chilled out” over the years and don’t try to make all things perfect in my life!
I got addicted for a while to those smartphone games like Candy Crush (but I did not give them any money, only played for free) and they were distracting me from working on my creative projects. Finally one day I convinced myself to delete them from my phone!
I know what it is like to be hungry and not know where your next decent meal is coming from. I am grateful that I overcame that time in my life.
Seeing someone snuggled in a quilt I made brings me a sense of joy that I cannot even put into words!
The last part of the Liebster Blogging Award nomination is that I need to nominate between 5 – 11 other bloggers and ask them 11 questions of my choice. I think 11 question is a bit much, so since I am getting close to my blog’s 7th anniversary, I am going to nominate 7 bloggers and ask them to respond to 7 questions; as well as share 7 facts about themselves. I will notify them in a comment on their blog and participation of course is completely optional!
I selected blogs/blogger that I have recently followed who are posting intriguing content to give them some exposure (please know I adore you my long time blogging buddies and you deserve blogging awards everyday!).
You might of noticed if you read my post from Saturday, What’s on the Design Wall: “All the Trimmings”, I’ve been tediously working with a lot of small fabric scraps and half square triangles. For example I had to sew 200 2″ x 2″ half square triangles together to create the first section of the quilt All the Trimmings.
Watching a movie would be a great way to distract myself from the tedium but since I had to make sure the seams all lined up, I’ve been listening to music instead.
For years I’ve been listening to music on shuffle. I use iTunes and have a collection of favorite tunes loaded on my iPhone, or I listen to Pandora or Amazon, Prime Music or the awesome Colorado Public Radio Jazz station KUVO (which is available to stream online also) smartphone apps.
Lately, however, I’ve been trying something different – instead of listening to shuffled music, I’ve been listening to entire albums.
For those of you who listened to music before the music download era, do you remember buying an album (whether vinyl, cassette, 8-track, or compact disc/CD) and LISTENING TO THE ENTIRE ALBUM straight through?
Many albums are concept albums and/or the recording artists had a reason for the order in which they arranged the tracks.
For example – have you ever tried to listen to Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moonshuffled into other songs? It doesn’t work as many of the songs on this classic album were designed to connect and flow into each other.
So for the past several weeks, whenever I am in my sewing studio working on a project, I’ve been listening to entire albums (songs in consecutive order as many of the artists intended) and it has been an AMAZING experience!
Listening to albums in their entirety have brought back a lot of memories and I thought I would share a little bit (and perhaps too much on some) of those memories about three (3) of the albums I’ve recently listened to while sewing.
I was a huge fan of the band The Police during their heyday and thought the lead singer Sting was like one of the hottest men walking the earth (you are quite impressionable as a pre-teen, ha!). But I did not really grow to appreciate the breadth of his talent until he went out on his own.
Sting spent time in South America and one of the most powerful songs on the album, They Dance Alone(Cueca Solo) is a powerful metaphor referring to mourning Chilean women who dance the Cueca, the national dance of Chile, alone with photographs of their disappeared loved ones in their hands as a symbolic gesture of protest against the Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet whose regime killed thousands of people between 1973 and 1990 (Wikipedia).
They Dance Alone(Cueca Solo) is a chilling and powerful song, hut the for me one of the most powerful and beautiful song on this album is the song Fragile. It always bring a couple tears to my eyes when I listen.
Perhaps this final act was meant
To clinch a lifetime’s argument
That nothing comes from violence and nothing ever could
For all those born beneath an angry star
Lest we forget how fragile we are
I love to attend live concerts, especially when I was in my 20s and 30s (yup I am older now!) and one of the most memorable concerts I attended was when I saw Sting and his band (including Bradford Marsalis) play at the RPI Fieldhouse when I lived in Upstate New York. He was touring for the Nothing Like the Sun album and played many songs from the album as well as classic songs from when he was with The Police.
I remember nearly falling over a railing I was holding on when he came out shirtless with just an acoustic guitar to sing Message in a Bottle as one of the encores with the audience joining him in harmony midway through the song.
It would have been quite a fall and I would not be blogging to you right now so it was good I paid attention at the last minute!
I found this obscure video on YouTube which was likely from that tour, to give you a sample of my experience except Sting is fully clothed in this video (smile):
I grew up listening to Stevie Wonder as I primarily listened to whatever my parents were playing on their turnable which was usually R&B, Jazz or Blues. I remember watching the Grammys as a small child and it seemed like he was always awarded Grammys.
He did receive a Grammy in the mid 1970s for the incredible album, but I did not really appreciate the depth of Stevie Wonder’s greatness and talent until I was an adult.
I think sometime in my 30s I bought the CD Innervisions just to add it to a library I was building of classic albums and ended up falling completely in love with the album and realizing his genius.
The album is an incredible masterpiece and I think it is best appreciated listening from start to finish. I do not have a favorite song on this album as each song is a work of musical art.
Here is a sample courtesy of YouTube:
Wait a minute. I do have a favorite song from this incredible album – the sad but beautiful All in Love is Fair. I always have it on my iPhone playlist.
I first heard of ZZ Top in the 1980s during their “Pop Music” MTV phase with songs like Sharp Dressed Man and Gimme All Your Lovin. But in the early 1990s, while living in Houston, Texas, some friends at a dinner party one night introduced me to their earlier work to include the completely bad*ss album – Deguello!
When I first heard the songs La Grange, I’m Bad, I’m Nationwide, Cheap Sunglasses, etc. I was blown away!
Here’s a little sample courtesy of YouTube:
And yes, I had to stand up from my sewing machine on some of the songs and dance about the room. But during the song La Grange I was able to just sing “Hmm, hmm, hmm” in a gravely voice while still sewing!
If you like rock, like real yummy Texas Bluesy Rock, here’s another sample for you (but don’t try to craft/knit/sew to it or you might mess up your piece – ha!):
There is currently a pretty cool documentary about ZZ Top currently on Netflix called The Little Ol’ Band From Texas
I lived in Texas for 8 years and it is like living in another country outside the United States – it really is a unique place with a distinct culture! Everyone needs to visit Texas at least once in their life!
And More Music…
I was originally going to discuss 5 or more albums on this post but I knew I might lose a couple of peoples’ attention if I kept running on about albums (hey Tierney isn’t this supposed to be a blog about crafting?!?!).
But here is a list of some of the other albums I enjoyed listening to in their entirety while I worked on my endless half square triangle quilt:
Brothers in Arms – Dire Straits
The Dark Side of the Moon – Pink Floyd
Zebop – Santana
What’s Going On – Marvin Gaye
Rumours – Fleetwood Mac
Kind of Blue – Miles Davis
Too Long in Exile – Van Morrison
Ten – Pearl Jam
Legend – Bob Marley & The Wailers
Tapestry – Carole King
Court & Spark – Joni Mitchell
A Love Supreme – John Coltrane
Talking Book – Stevie Wonder
At Folsom Prison – Johnny Cash
Listening to great music gives me a lot of comfort during these challenging times and inspires me to keep sewing!
Now if you prefer listening spoken word over music for your crafting and you enjoy podcasts, I’d like to recommend a new podcast by one of my blogging buddies, author Tammie Painter: The Book Owl Podcast.
I’ve been following Tammie’s blog for a while and it was fun to actually hear her voice!
Currently there are only two episodes (well three if you count the introduction episode) and I’ve highly enjoyed them both. She takes a topic related to books/literature and presents her research in a humorous and engaging way.
You can find the podcast wherever you get your podcasts. I used Apple podcasts and I was able to pull up the podcast through the Podcast app on my iPhone.
Of course I hope this puts pressure on Tammie to give us another episode soon (smile)!
Okay my blogging buddies that are quilters – I want you to enter this Call for Entries with me and see if you can get your quilt into a book (see my Postscript section at the end of this post) and possibly to be shown/displayed at the Houston International Quilt Festival in 2021.
Dr. Sandra Sider, Curator of the Texas Quilt Museum is selecting quilts for a book and show called: Quarantine Quilts: Creativity in the Midst of Chaos.
The deadline for entry is June 30, 2020.
I know many of you have been busy making quilts during the COVID-times – well maybe you can share them with the larger worldwide quilting community!
Half of the royalties from the future book Quarantine Quilts: Creativity in the Midst of Chaos will be donated to Doctors Without Borders.
Do it – enter! Even if you’ve never entered something like this before! Either your piece does not get accepted…or it does (you have to PLAY TO WIN)!
If selected you would have a quilt published in a book (and maybe your piece makes it to the Houston International Quilt Festival!)
You can read my original post from June 2014 Look Look I am in a Book for more of the story, but back in the middle of the night sometime in 2014, on a spur of the moment whim, I entered a call for entry for Sandra Sider’s book 1000 Quilt Inspirations: Colorful and Creative Designs for Traditional, Modern, and Art Quilts.
I sent in images from 5 different quilts. I was notified in June 2015 that several of my quilts would be in the book, little did I know at the time the FIVE of my quilts would be in this book!
The book was published by Quarry Books in 2015 and I nearly fainted when I received my copy and saw I had all five of the quilts I entered in this book!
This was extremely early in my days of trying to be an “art quilter” and you can imagine the joy I felt knowing my art was in a national publication.
Hope this Postscript inspires you to enter a quilt into the call for entries of her new book. I plan to enter my piece currently in progress!
I found this images on Pinterest, which I shared in that post, of what the quilt looks like finished:
I decided to name my version of this quilt “All the Trimmings”since most of the scrap triangles were donated by other quilters from their block trimmings. Most of the triangles I am using in my version of this quilt were once headed to the landfill (and now they get to be in a quilt!).
The quilt consist of sections of 2 inch x 2 inch half square triangles (HSTs); 2.5″ x 2.4″ HSTs, 3.5″ x 3.5″ HSTs, 4.5″ x 4’5″ HSTs, and finally 5.5″ x 5.5″ HSTs.
HSTs are usually made by some quick method such as placing two squares of fabric together, making a line down the middle, sewing a 1/4 on each side of the line and then cutting apart two completed HSTs.
However I made most of the HSTs the manual hard way by sewing two scrap triangles together and then trimming the block to the required size. But I used up hundreds and hundreds (nearly all of them) of my scrap triangle collection.
I’ve completed three sections of the quilt: 2″x2″, 2.5″x2.5″ and 3.5″x3.5″ and they are up on my design wall.
Seeing her work and her color palettes always inspires my creativity.
I’ve also started to follow her third blog (yes, like I said above, she can make you feel like you’ve been quite lazy – ha!) Sometimes You Get So Confused, which talks about her art drop offs in public places and her musings as she navigates life.
I’ve given the three clay figures, The Positive People, she generously gifted me, a special place in my tierneycreates studio!
Feeling pretty lucky to continue to meet so many awesome people in the “blogosphere”!
I shared in the post Paved Trail Inspirations, that people (likely kids/families) were writing positive messages in sidewalk chalk in the paved trails near my house which I walk everyday. Well, I like to vary my walks to include walking in neighborhoods, and during these walks I am now finding inspirational painted stones, likely done by kids, tucked here and there in neighborhood sidewalks.
These are unusual and challenging times and I love that people (real life “Positive People”) are trying to reach out to each other with encouragement!
The park retains a unique part of Colorado’s history, the remains of Castlewood Canyon Dam. Visitors can still see the remnants and damage from that dam which burst in 1933. The event sent a 15-foot (5 m) wave of water all the way to downtown Denver resulting in a flood.
My partner John and I brought Mike the miniature schnauzer with us, and once again, as in photos in other posts in this series of posts, Mike got to hike in the backpack:
Yes, Mike is one spoiled miniature schnauzer!
With social distancing in place, hiking was a bit tricky when we got to narrow areas as if there was another set of people walking by we had to get at least six (6) feet away from them. This got a wee bit cumbersome during the hike at times, especially if there was a large family group hiking.
During this time of social distancing, I always wonder if dogs think that humans just do not like each other any longer, as they are always avoiding one another as much as possible!
You cannot sit at any of the park benches or picnic areas (they are closed off during the COVID-times) but we did have a nice picnic on a large rock next to a stream during our hike.
As you can see in the first photo, Mike looked on as lunch was prepared and eaten, wondering why he was not invited to the feast (we did bring dog treats and water for him of course)!
I will close out this post with some of my favorite photos from the several hour afternoon hike at Castlewood Canyon State Park in both color and black & white. Thanks for virtually sharing this hike with me!
I am taking a break from posting about the natural geologic beauty of Colorado like I did in my previous two posts. Instead I have a sort of follow up to my 04/16/2020 post Solo Show Seattle Municipal Tower (re-post).
My first solo show at the Seattle Municipal Tower (sponsored by the City of Seattle’s Office of Arts and Culture) ended in July 2019, and I’d already moved to Colorado. The City of Seattle ended up purchasing 3 of the quilts from the show for their permanent collection; and private collectors purchased 2 more, so that left 7 quilts (or 6 I forget) to be returned to me.
Thanks to my friends Colleen, Donna and Judy, the quilts were held for me until I attended a quilt retreat in Washington state in November 2019.
I noticed when I picked up the quilts that had not sold, the City of Seattle had also included all the placards from the show! Below is an example of one of those placards created by the City of Seattle’s gallery curator and his team:
I was not sure as to what to do with these placards, but after moving back into our current house (after due to the COVID related financial crisis we decided not to buy a new house), I decided to create a gallery in my house with the remaining art quilts and their placards.
The gallery is scattered about the house upstairs and downstairs; and is found in hallways as well as bedrooms.
I also mounted on the wall of my studio the placards for the quilts that sold as well as the main poster for the show.
I am not sure how long I will leave the placards up along side the remaining art quilts, but for now I find it entertaining. I guess when you are stuck at home during the COVID times you have to discover new ways to entertain yourself!
Speaking of entertaining oneself, I’ve been thinking about the instruction/suggestion below that I discovered on a morning walk as sidewalk/walking path art (see post Paved Trail Inspirations):
Social isolation is the standard now in the “time of COVID” (how I refer to these times), and my partner John and I have been trying to be creative with finding simple ways to entertain ourselves (besides exhaustive online television network watching).
One of the things we do a couple times of week is having “walking cocktail hour” when we take Mike our miniature schnauzer for a walk in the evening. We load our portable tumblers with our cocktails – a microbrew for me, an Old Fashioned for him, and head out on our dog walk!
And no one knows what is our tumblers…(smile)
I always wonder what pets are thinking about the COVID times and the humans always being around. I already telecommuted full-time and now my partner is also telecommuting, so we are always home together. Here is Mike trying to make the best of us both working on our laptops and fitting in a snuggle with the humans…
I am continuing my series of posts to celebrate my one year anniversary of living in Colorado by sharing some of the natural geologic beauty I’ve witnessed over the past year as I explore Colorado. Here is the link to the first post in this series if you missed it – And on the 8th Day…Part I. This post also explains the title of this series of posts.
I meant to continue this series yesterday, on April 19th the actual anniversary, but I got distracted by the endless trimming of half square triangles (No Scrap Left Behind (half square triangle craziness)), so I have a good excuse. No worries (in case you’ve been losing sleep wondering how I am progressing on my latest scrappy quilt) I will update you on this piece in a future post, but for now here is a photo of my growing piles of trimmed half square triangles:
Eldorado Canyon State Park
Eldorado Canyon State Park is one of those hidden gems in Colorado that no one talks about except the native/locals. Luckily my partner John is a Colorado native and knows all the great places to hike. We spent the day there with Mike our miniature schnauzer in September 2019.
Eldorado Canyon is a hidden treasure right in Boulder’s backyard! Whether it’s hiking amidst the towering sandstone cliffs, picnicking along scenic South Boulder Creek or climbing Eldo’s sheer golden walls, Eldorado Canyon State Park truly has something for everyone! Discover this hidden jewel and take home memories that will last a lifetime.
Well, like the description above says, I did “take home memories that will last a lifetime” and I took WAY TOO MANY photos!
In preparing for this post, I poured over hundreds of photos from my visit to decide which ones to share. I am only going to share my absolute favorites (smile).
In the Rapids
One of my favorite memories of the day is climbing out to the rocks in the middle of river (or creek?) that runs through the park and being in the middle of the rapids (well it was not that turbulent) and having a little picnic.
My partner John, who took the photos, had to precariously hand me Mike once I got myself safely positions on the rocks in the middle of the water.
My favorite photo from this moment is selfie I took of Mike and I where it looks like Mike is saying: “My human is kind of crazy for bringing me out to this rock in the middle of rapidly moving water!”
Wandering About the Canyon
I only had to select from 20+ photos to provide those photos above. I won’t tell you the obscene amount of photos I had to select from for these next set of photos. Everything was so beautiful and awe-inspiring as we hiked about the canyon.
Here are some of my favorite photos (because I do not want to blow out my blog page image storage allowance, ha!).
All I can say is that these images do not do the beauty of this place justice.
The sky was clear blue and although it was a Saturday in September there we not very many fellow hikers there. At times it felt like we had the whole amazing place to ourselves!
Traveling in Style
As some of the hike involved a bit of easy rock climbing to get around, we decided we would carry Mike in his backpack most of the hike for safety. Here he is traveling in style (we took turns carrying him vs. our day hike pack) and John carried him most of the time.
The Black and Whites
Of course I took B&W photos during the hike? Would you expect any less of me?!?! (If you are new to this blog you can check out my series of posts – Life in B&W).
Here are some of my favorites as I channeled my inner Ansel Adams…
And to close out this post, here is me, feeling quite happy and blessed to be a on a beautiful hike, on a beautiful day, in the beautiful state of Colorado!
To celebrate this anniversary, over the next several posts, I want to share with you some of the natural geologic beauty I’ve witness over the past year as I explore Colorado.
The title of this post “And on the 8th day” is a reference to the Judeo-Christian Creation Story in the Bible in which God worked 7 days to put heaven and earth together (actually 6 days as on the 7th day God rested per the story); and the saying I’ve heard from other Colorado residents in regards to the natural wondrous beauty of Colorado:
The photos I am about to share do not do the awe inspiring beauty of this place justice, but hopefully they will give you a little sample of why people in Colorado joke that this state had a day of Creation devoted to it!
If you’ve ever visited Arches National Park in Utah, it’s a similar concept – amazing rock formations! It is not as elaborate as Arches but it is pretty spectacular in person (as I mentioned, photos do not do it justice…well at least not amateur photos!).
The sky was overcast on the day we visited and I look forward to visiting there again this year on a sunny day. We were a bit hurried during our visit because we will trying to fit in a lot of sightseeing for our visitors. Next time I visit, I want to bring a picnic and spend more time exploring and just sitting and admiring the breathtaking beauty of the place.
And of course I took Black and White photos and here are a sample of some of those photos.
Today’s post is a re-post of my post from April 26, 2019 about my first solo show, which was a very big moment in my imaginary artistic career (smile).
April 19th is my one year anniversary of moving to the Denver area and I want to celebrate that anniversary this week by re-sharing this big moment as well as a couple new posts about the beauty of Colorado later this week.
I cannot believe the trajectory of my life over the past 16 months.
As many of you know in December 2018 I suddenly lost my husband (Terry the Quilting Husband (TTQH)) and my whole life radically changed. I’d been with Terry since I was 20 years old and did not know adult life without him. He was definitely the protector type and now I had to learn to protect myself and function in the world without him.
I was blessed with an incredible support network and blessed with the strange decision I made to sell my home in Central Oregon and move to the Denver Colorado greater metropolitan area (see series of posts Colorado Bound). This move gave me something to focus on besides my all consuming and completely overwhelming grief (I do not recommend this widow thing as a hobby, it sucks).
In addition to planning the move to Colorado and visiting friends in the Pacific NW, a shining light during my early days of widowhood was a surprise invitation in January 2019 from the City of Seattle’s Office of Arts & Culture, to have a solo show at their downtown Seattle Municipal Tower.
I still cannot believe the timing on this amazing opportunity, that is happened when I really needed it and was at the lowest point in my entire life. Preparing for the show gave me something additional (and exciting) to focus on. The Universe is magical that way sometimes, eh?
I get blue some days during these COVID-times (and I really appreciate when my blogging buddies share their struggles on their blogs) but I remind myself: “Hey, you made it through losing your life partner that you were with for more than 1/2 your life; and you moved to Colorado and started a new life – you can do this, you can make it through these times.”
(And if you are having a particular blue day during the COVID-times, perhaps reminding yourself of hard times you’ve already made it through might help. You can do this!)
Solo Show Seattle Municipal Tower, Part III
I am getting settled in my new Colorado apartment after relocating from Central Oregon to the Greater Denver Metro area.
Finally, here is the final post in my series of posts about my first solo show at the Seattle Municipal Tower’s Ethnic Heritage Art Gallerylocated at 700 5th Ave in downtown Seattle, Washington. The show is curated by the City of Seattle’s Office of Arts & Culture.
I stayed with friends in West Seattle and as parking in downtown Seattle is crazy, even though they offered to loan me one of their cars, I took the bus to the event. I arrived early and had time to wander around the amazing downtown Seattle library (I will share photos from that wander in another post).
After wandering around the library with my tierneycreates Beastie (who loves libraries also – see posts Beastie Colorado Adventure Begins and Beastie Outing: Trip to the Library) it was time to head into the Seattle Municipal Tower for the show opening, but not without first taking some photos of the entry and this downtown Seattle skyscraper:
As you can see in my above selfie, I was pretty darn excited.
Show Opening: The Wardrobe Meets the Wall
The show (The Wardrobe Meets the Wall: Art Quilts Created from Recycled Clothing and Garment Manufacturing Samples) opened with a presentation by board members the the Ethnic Heritage Art Gallery board on background and mission of the gallery, and then an introduction about me and my work.
Next, after providing an overview of my work, I did a presentation on the story behind the show and working with recycled materials. Then did a walk through tour and presentation on all 12 pieces I have in the show, sharing the story behind each piece.
Here are photos from the show which is on display until 07/15/2019. The gallery did a wonderful job of creating large placards for each piece that provided my full artist statement so that visitors could read the full story behind each piece.
A nice crowd attended the opening which included board members of the Ethnic Heritage Art Gallery board, downtown Seattle workers, my work colleagues in the Seattle office of my employer, and longtime friends who live in Seattle. I enjoyed walking the crowd through the 12 pieces and telling the story behind each piece (and no one appeared to fall asleep).
The Gallery also provided an area for flyers and my business cards if anyone was interested. I had generic business card created for the show as these cards are accessible by the public who has access to the gallery.
Additionally here are some photos taken the day before the show opening right after the pieces were hung, by my friend Loren who works at the Seattle Municipal Tower:
The whole experience was exciting but a little exhausting. I’ve been in several art shows in the past and have attended openings but it is a different experience when you are the only artist and it is your show!
When the show closes 07/15/2019, a Seattle based friend is going to collect the pieces from the gallery and deliver them to me when she visits me in the Denver area in late July. I do have two buyers interested in several of the pieces so I might have a couple art quilt sales in the near future.
After the Show
After the show I met up with a large group of Seattle friends at a lovely Dim Sum restaurant in the University Village area – Din Tai Fung.
We sat for hours visiting and having wonderful conversations while dining on delicious Taiwanese cuisine such as these wonderful vegetable dumplings below:
As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, I am settling into my new Colorado apartment. It has been an interesting transition from living in a house most of my life to now living in an apartment but so far, so good.
I wrote this blog post from my kitchen table this morning while eating breakfast and sipping on tea.
Mike my miniature schnauzer is getting used to all these people and dogs living in “his house” (he thinks the whole inside the apartment complex is his home but for some reason he and I only live in one section of it – ha!)
Don’t panic, I’ve did not give up on the project I blogged about yesterday. Instead I removed all the half square triangles (HSTs) made from scrap triangles so they could be trimmed:
And I got a whole lotta trimming to do! There are 5 different sizes of HSTs: 5.5″, 4.5″, 3.5″, 2.5″, and 2″that make up this quilt pattern. For example, I need 200 2″ squares.
I thought about making it sort of freeform/improvisational, but I really want to make the pattern as written, so I am going to do the tedious work of trimming (I mean what else am I doing with my time during my social distancing/isolation/pandemic times?) all the HSTs to their respective sizes.
Yesterday I actually started trimming and making piles…
So unless you want to see a slow record of my continuing growing piles of HSTs in various sizes, I am not going to update you on this project until I get all the HSTs (hundreds of them!) cut to size and start laying the quilt out.
So onto other things, like something yummy and inspirational to listen to while you are crafting/creating…
Creative Strength Training
Last year I bought this awesome book by Jane Dunnewold – Creative Strength Training: Prompts, Exercises and Personal Stories for Encouraging Artistic Genius.
But I have yet to open the book and read it.
Then I discovered that the author has posted on YouTube the complete audiobook read by the author!
You can locate this free audiobook on her YouTube Channel –Jane Dunnewold.
Go to Playlists tab and look for “Creative Strength Training Audiobook”. There will be 22 videos each with different sections of the book.
The audiobook is absolutely amazing and I’ve been listening to it on long walks. I can’t wait to actual work through the exercises (which I’ve done in my head while walking) in the actual book.
Yes it is slightly cumbersome to listen using YouTube as chapters are broken up into individual YouTube videos (which are audio only) but what a wonderful gift the author has shared.
I love the personal stories by the author as well as from other artists. It just makes me want to create (and makes me want to someday rewrite my Artist Statement).
If you need some artistic inspiration I highly recommend this free audiobook. If you love the audiobook, consider buying the paperback book to work through the exercises and support the author.
I thought I would start with my fabric scrap collection for my first non-mask project in my “new” studio.
I have long history of fabric scrap addiction (yes I am that person at a quilt retreat who stops people from throwing out their larger scraps in the trash and offers to “adopt” them) and so I have quite the collection of fabric scraps.
I keep them organized in bins at the bottom of the IKEA bookcases in my studio:
These bins contains scraps organized by color.
I also have them organized by themed collections of scraps in bags stored under my cutting table:
One of these collections, is a collection of scrap triangles, most given to me by other quilters when they trimmed these triangle when piecing blocks for their quilts. The triangles are in various sizes.
By sewing two scrap triangles together, I can created a scrappy “half square triangle” (HST) which provides many design opportunities. This is what I did with a bunch of scrappy fabric squares which I turned into HSTs back in Spring 2018 (see post Pillow Popping with the Untethered Soul), and created a pillow top:
I do have a basket of fabric scrap squares that I could have used to make HSTs for the project I am about to tell you about:
But I’ve decided I want to start using (and cleaning out) my ridiculous collection of themed bags of scraps (mainly given to me by other quilters) and my scrap triangle collection had gotten out of control.
So I dumped the entire collection of fabric scrap triangles onto my cutting table:
And pulled out this awesome book by Amanda Jean Nyberg, No Scrap Left Behind, for ideas.
I found a pattern in the book called All Sizes which uses several different sizes of HSTs to create a scrap quilt with smaller HSTs progressing to larger HSTs.
I did not want to violate copyright laws by photographing the quilt pattern inside the book but I did find an image of the quilt on Pinterest:
The pattern instructs you to create HSTs the standard way from two contrasting squares (if you’ve never made HSTs or are not quilter, here is a link by Blossom Heart Quilts explaining how HSTs are commonly made – HST Tutorial). However I decided to manually make HSTs by sewing two scrappy triangles together.
So to make this happen I had to sort my giant pile of scrap triangles into light and dark in order to manual create the HSTs (to get a nice contrast with a HST you use a light fabric and a darker fabric). The process was tedious but fun (I listened to great music while sorting, sewing, pressing/ironing. and trimming).
Eventually my “hot mess” of scrap triangles, turned into this on my design wall:
No it doesn’t look anything like the pattern of the Pinterest finished quilt image I shared above but it is in progress. Initially I placed the HSTs in size order on the design wall but my organization fell apart after a while of trying to just randomly get all the HSTs I’ve made onto the design wall (to get a sense of how many I’ve made so far).
Also, you might have noticed that the Pinterest finished quilt image has white as the light on the HSTs. I’ve was very loose in my interpretation of “light” to contrast with my darker triangles. I did not have many white/cream or other light colored scrap triangles. So I had to use medium fabrics often as “lights” and you will see some bold fabrics in the mix (like deep/strong yellows, etc.) as “lights”.
But hey – it’s going to be a very scrappy quilt!
When the quilt top is complete, I am going to toss any remaining scrappy triangles. They were originally headed to the trash bin before I rescued them. It is okay if some now make it to the trash.
I think there will be very few scrap triangles remaining when I am done; and I think this is a one time scrap quilt experiment with scrap triangles. (Next time I make HSTs it will be using contrasting squares)
And I plan to say “no thank you” when other quilters offer me their scrap triangles in the future!
I am still hand quilting Seattle Scrappy (see post Seattle Scrappy (What’s on the Design Wall)) in case you wondered what became of that piece. I keep it on the stairs railing next to the recliner I sit in when watching television in the living room, so it is always handy to work on:
Some of you might now be working from home for the first time during the COVID times. I’ve been working from home (or telecommuting as my employer calls it) for over 14 years.
Instead of “telecommuting tips”, I thought I would share some home office tips and a little tour of my home office.
Home Office Tips
Make it cozy and comfortable
Try to make it feel like a separate space from the rest of your home
Don’t stay in there all day! Stand up every 1/2 hour from your desk and at least every couple of hours leave the room to take a little break.
Have a TV or music in the room or listen to podcasts or something – you can simulate having background noise like you would at work
Let your pet (cat, dog, iguana, porcupine, etc.) hang in the room with you and have a cozy spot for them
Tierney’s Home Office Tour
My home office is shared with the upstairs guest room and I’ve decorated it with my favorite schnauzer/dog themed art, some quilts and some tchotchkes!
It makes me smile to work in the room (and during a really boring conference call, I can lie on the bed and listen to it…)
Oh – if you’d like to see close up photos and read more about the flags about the guest bed, here is a post I did in May 2017 on these flags –The Flags Outside My Window
I’ve also turned the closet of the guest room/office into a multipurpose closet with 1/2 of the closet for off season clothes storage (and a place for guests to hang their clothes); and non-sewing craft storage.
I had a mismatched collection of baskets I’ve collected over the years and I used them in an old storage shelf/bookcase (that fit perfectly in 1/2 the closet) to store my paper crafting, jewelry making and miscellaneous craft supplies. I am pleased with the re-purposing.
It is a fun room to work in. It might seem a little busy and overstimulating to some people but it works for me. Create a space that works for you!
Who knows how long you will be working from home during these times, so my suggestion is to make it a fun and stimulating place to work!
One more thing to add – I am very grateful to my employer for really supporting their workforce as most of the company transitions to telecommuting. We have increased video conferencing meetings; wonderful updates from leadership team via video; as well as frequent webinars on taking care of yourself as a remote worker and managing stress during these uncertain times.
How are you all doing? I am thinking about you all and sending you all good and peaceful thoughts.
I’ve been going on a lot of walks in the green space behind my house (as there is not much to do outside but walk around, while keeping social distance). There are miles and miles of paved trails and I’ve enjoying seeing many families, couples and individuals out walking.
In a recent post Perspective I shared inspirational sidewalk/paved trail chalk art I came upon during a walk last week:
Well, 2 days ago, I discovered on my walk a whole path of inspirational messages in sidewalk chalk that I want to share with you.
I have captioned each message in case they are difficult to read.
I also came across in a drainage area with even more inspirational messages and kid art that made me smile.
I suspect a family with their kids did this project together. I’d like to imagine there was a family cheering themselves up by trying to cheer up others by spreading a message of positivity and hope.
To all my blogging friends who might be worrying and struggling:
A lot of people are out walking about, which is a good thing. However some days it feels like my favorite walking trails are getting a wee bit too crowded (even with people respecting social distancing).
I was quite pleased yesterday when I ventured in a new direction and discovered a lesser known/used path. I had an exquisitely peaceful walk on my own with no one else in sight for 30 minutes. All I could hear was birds chirping.
As Tierney promised in her previous post Perspective, I am going to be your guest blogger for this post and give you a tour of my “new” home, which is also Tierney’s “new” studio.
But first, in case you are new to this blog, my name is tierneycreates Beastie and I am a Monster, but the good kind of Monster. You can read my story at I’m A Monster!!!. You can also check out the other posts I’ve had to guest blog on (i.e. when Tierney fell off the blogging-wagon) in the series of posts: Beastie Adventures.
Here is what my dog Mikelet and I look like outside our basket (before we were homebound…):
We were created by the very, very, very talented Helen of Crawcrafts Beasties in Dublin, Ireland.
Here I am working from my makeshift desk to bring you this guest blog post:
Well enough about me (even though I am very interesting) and let’s get to the tour of Tierney’s “new” studio.
Oh – first I should address why I keep putting the word “new” in quotes. It’s because, as she shared in her previous post, she did not move into the new house she and John were going to buy. Instead they decided to stay at their current house which was pretty much completely packed up except for basic items to stage the house for sale and to live day to day. Her studio had been painted and converted into a bedroom:
So when they decided not to buy the new house/not to move, Tierney had to unpack her studio and in unpacking her studio, she decided to reimagine the layout.
So she has sort of created a “new” studio!
tierneycreates Studio Tour
Tierney decided to first bring in the IKEA bookcases she had previously in her home office (she has been a full-time telecommuter for the past 14 years, before I was even a ball of yarn…). From there she figured out with her partner John on the best way to layout the room.
Over the next several days she unpacked her boxes (which seemed like they would never end), hung up some art and quilts on the studio wall and found a place for the large design wall her partner John built her.
Here are photos of the completed studio from various angles:
So Tierney is ready to create (she can be tierneycreates again) in her new studio! She is so happy to have her sewing machine unpacked!
The dictionary site merriam-webster.com has a fantastic definition of the word Perspective:
the capacity to view things in their true relations or relative importance
This is the perfect description of what I’ve attempted to do when my partner and I had to make the difficult decision last week to back out of our new house we were having built. So we cancelled the purchase just a couple weeks before closing.
The house was nearly complete and was quite lovely:
But due to the current financial crisis (and the hit we took in the stock market, etc.) and the global pandemic/its related uncertainty, it did not feel like the right time to buy the new house or to move, so we decided to stay where we are at for a couple more years.
So we’ve spent the past 5 days unpacking our boxes/containers and settling back into life at our house.
I was sad for a brief moment (just a couple tears, not an “ugly cry” or anything) of not getting the new house, but then here is where “perspective” really came in:
We already live in a nice neighborhood with neighbors we know and plenty of green spaces to walk about in (while keeping social distancing)
We are both employed and are doing great telecommuting together
We are both healthy and feel safe
Our current home is comfortable and we had fixed up/repaired anything needing repairing before we put it on the market (we took if off the market last week of course)
Mike the miniature schnauzer loves his current home
Keeping “perspective” we realized that the bulleted items above are way more important than getting a brand new house.
In addition to unpacking over the past 5 days, we’ve been re-imaging how our home is decorated and reconfiguring layouts in various rooms. It has been a really fun way to spend our time (when not working at our jobs) when we have been housebound due to the statewide “stay at home” order.
One the big things I did was to unpack my sewing/crafting studio and reconfigure it!
Here is my studio in progress:
In my next post I will show you my unpacked and reconfigured studio (or perhaps I’ll have a guest blogger, the tierneycreates Beastie, give you a tour!). My partner built me a new design wall for it!
In the suburban section of the Denver metro area in which I live, we are allowed to go outside for exercise during the “stay at home” order. Behind our home are walking trails and we can see families walking or bike riding through the day together. More than I’ve ever seen prior to the pandemic.
I think this pandemic is unbelievably horrible and I am sorry for all the lives and livelihoods lost. If there could be any silver linings in these dark days I think it would be how we seemed to have paused from our busy lives and perhaps shifted our perspectives to what really is important. It seems like many families are spending so much more time together and making the best of it.
Today during a virtual/video conference call work meeting, our department leader asked what is the first thing we plan to do when the pandemic is over. Most people said go visit a family member or friend we had not seen in person and give them a big hug.
I’ll close this post with an image of the sidewalk art (by some of the kind hearted people of the Denver area) I discovered as I walked my dog the other day.
I began this post a couple of days ago and then got really blue about what is going on in Italy and other parts of the world, not to mention my own country. But I think we need to carry on with “regular life” as much as we can (while we socially isolate and for some while we “shelter-in-place”), so I pulled myself out of my blueness and I am finishing up this post that might seem a little frivolous at this point but…
Remember mid-February? Remember when you had access to all the toilet paper you needed (or could possibly dream of) and terms such as “social distancing” were not part of your vocabulary/life?
Well let’s take a brief break from our global pandemic in this post and let me share my semi-failed experiment in my first planned “complete relaxation vacation” (but if I could go back in time, knowing what I know now, I would not have failed at the relaxation vacation experiment!)
You might look at these photos and think: “Wow, what a vacation/holiday in paradise”. This is what normal people would think. However for John and I it was a “Relaxation Vacation Experiment”.
And we may have failed at this experiment…
John is a widower and as many of you know I am a widow. Our former spouses were both the type who liked to do “Always Busy/Scheduled Activities/See As Much As You Can” vacations.
I was with Terry the Quilting Husband since I was 20 years old (nearly my entire adult life) and every vacation we went on was filled with endless sightseeing and other busy activities. I am not complaining we had some wonderful vacations and I got to visit some major historical sights and battlegrounds in the U.S. and Europe (Terry was a Military History buff) on our trips as well as fun and playful vacations like Disneyland, etc.
John’s previous life was the same – his vacations were filled with trying to do as much sightseeing as possible during the vacation time allotted.
So he and I came up with the idea that for the first time in our lives, we should go on a vacation in which we do something crazy…RELAX!
In our minds, we would enjoy our first completely relaxing, have nothing scheduled, lie around on the beach and read books, vacation.
John’s sister has a lovely condo in Cabo San Lucas and so we thought that would be a perfect (and not too expensive) way to have a mid-Winter relaxing vacation in a warm and tropical place!
Things started out promising – we managed to goof off a couple hours wandering and sitting around the beach and reading books on our first afternoon in town.
We even invented the “Shoe Coaster” (patent pending) for our special beverages on the beach!
Unfortunately we grew a little bored of just hanging out on the beach after a while.
There were lots of wonderful restaurants on the beach so we tried just hanging out for long stretches “relaxing” at restaurants on the beach. Here I am on the way to the beach or a restaurant on the beach, preparing for some more “relaxation”:
The truth is, after just a couple days of this “relaxation” stuff, we were bored out of our minds.
Yes we did do some sightseeing in the main area of Cabo San Lucas but everywhere you walked someone was trying to sell you something and after a while I just felt like a “dollar” walking around for vendors trying to get.
We did one afternoon however have a lovely lunch at the marina area of Cabo and we did have brief sweet moments of “total relaxation”.
But like the creature in the image above, after a couple of days we decided all this relaxation vacation stuff was “for the birds” and not for us!
After an awkward discussion where we finally both admitted (previous we were each secretly thinking it without telling the other) we were absolutely bored out of our minds with all this relaxation (we had even tried just staying the condo and binge watching a Netflix show when we’d had enough of the beach, etc.) – we decided to change our flight and come home early from vacation.
Are you shaking your heads in disbelief at this point?
(To be honest, now, with what is going on in the world, I too am shaking my head – I wish I had stayed longer in Cabo and embraced relaxation…)
We both accepted we had “failed” at the “Relaxation Vacation Experiment”.
Actually we did not fail, we learned.
We learned that we like to more active vacations in places where there are lots of museums and historic sights to see. We are not the “lie on the beach and relax” kind of vacation people.
And that is okay (smile).
The day before we were scheduled to return home early our enthusiasm returned and we decided to fill our last full day in Cabo having a less traditional experience: we decided to go “Farm-to-Table” restaurant hopping. I guess there is a big farm-to-table movement in Cabo and we thought it would be fun to explore.
Luckily we had a car during our trip so we drove to a remote area for our first Mexican farm-to-table experience. The road to this farm, Los Tamarindos, was a quite bumpy (unpaved) and a little scary (in the middle of nowhere) but it was so worth the drive. We had an amazing meal and experience and here are a couple photos:
The food was not just fresh and amazing, it was sort of a spiritual experience!
After our first farm-to-table experience in Mexico, we were hooked and headed to the next farm, Flora Farms, where we did not sit for a formal meal but wandered around and amazing cocktails and the most delicious ice cream cone in my life!
This trip and these photos seems like another lifetime, like another world.
Hoping you all stay safe in the reality of our current world. Hang in there.
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).
I currently have “Corona-virus Blues”, what about you? I was scheduled to go next week to a very exciting conference in Nashville, Tennessee with many fun events, but my employer cancelled all business/corporate travel for the next several weeks because of the virus outbreak.
Even though I am bummed, in the big picture this is not such a big issue as there are many people impacted on a greater scale. My heart goes out to those who are currently infected and recovering as well as to the families of those who’ve loss loved ones due to this outbreak.
And now onto lighter topics such as the awesome find I recently made at a local thrift shop.
Although it does not replace my beloved Humane Society Thrift Shop, I have discovered a fairly wonderful thrift shop in downtown Denver – Goodwill Denver– Broadway.
Last weekend, while browsing, I stumbled upon an amazing find – all this fabric marked at $12, which I got for 30% off $12 because of the tag color sale (Goodwill does a daily tag color discount that varies from day to day):
Inside this bag was a large collection of fabrics by a company called Boundless Fabricswhich appears to be primarily sold by Bluprint (formerly known as Craftsy).
The package included yardage, precuts (charm squares and fat quarters), a panel (a Moda Fabrics panel) and some odd size fabric scraps.
The pictures above do not do the package as there is enough fabric for several quilts (there are at least 10+ yards of fabric among the yardage).
The fabrics could not be used in one quilt (unless you liked an eclectic mix of styles and patterns) but they could be used for several different quilts.
I looked up reviews on Boundless Fabrics and they higher than the quality of fabrics sold at JOANN Fabrics and Craft Store but slightly below the quality of those sold at quilt shops. But for 30% of $12 (oh please do not make me do the math, ha!) they were not a bad deal!
In case you are wondering I have absolutely no idea of what I am going to do with them, but I put them away for now (smile).
Continuing with the theme of “interesting finds”…
For those of you who’ve been blogging for a while – do you remember when you were a new blogger? Remember trying to build your audience? I did it by following other blogs and commenting on posts.
Over the years (I’ve been blogging nearly 7 years) I’ve met a bunch of cool blogging buddies and regularly follow their blogs.
I noticed that many of us, especially those of us who are crafters, follow the same blogs and it fun to see for example Mary @zippyquilts commenting on a post by Chela @chela’s colchas y mas who just commenting on a post by Mariss @fabrications who had a comment from Laura @laurabrunolilly.com who had commented also on the blogs I just mentioned!
You get a real sense of community. (And there are many more bloggers in our community, like Claudia @claudiamcgillart, but I just listed a few as an example.)
Well I would like to occasionally introduce/suggest a new member to our crafter blogging community – an interesting blog find I discovered through this blogger commented on my posts:
Check out this interesting crafter blog if you get a chance and perhaps become a follower and make her part of our community. Her crafting and crafter’s life posts are well written, informative and engaging! This blog is an “Interesting Find”!
Hello there, thought I would give you an update on my freeform log cabin scrap quilt “Seattle Scrappy”.
First here is a quick recap.
I began piecing this quilt in early January 2020 while attending a quilt retreat, from a bag of gray fabric scraps my friend Dana shared during the retreat; and initial made around 140 blocks:
When I returned home, I trimmed these blocks to 5′ x 5″ (12.7 cm x 12.7 cm) blocks and began piecing them together and musing over how to finish the quilt including whether to machine or hand quilt it, etc.:
Last weekend I finished the quilt top and decided to hand quilt it! So I laid it out on the floor of my bedroom (also known as the “design carpet” – see post What’s on the…Design Carpet) and pinned it:
Here it is ready for hand stitching:
I bought a couple spools of gray Perle Cotton for hand stitching (I am not sure how much I need yet and did not want to over-buy):
And I’ve started stitching:
The quilt measures around 60″ x 60″ (152.4 x 152.4 cm) and it is going to take a while to hand quilt it, even with using large Kantha-like stitches.
I had so much fun piecing this quilt from scraps, I am itching to start a new scrap quilt. Although most of my fabric (yardage and pre-cuts) is packed up in anticipation of my move to a new house in the next couple of months I still have access to most of my scraps.
This book in my craft book library (which I have not completed packed) caught my eye…
And I am tempted to start something from this book…
Also I have a couple incomplete (less than 5″) freeform log cabin blocks and scraps left over from making “Seattle Scrappy” and I am trying to decide what to make with them – perhaps a pillow cover or a pot holder or something…
This hat is for my sister Rianna, who helped me more than I can ever put into words or thank her for during the most difficult time of my life in December 2018, after my husband suddenly died.
As I shared in the 12/23/18 post Stories from the Road, Part I, after my husband died I flew to the Eastern Coast of the U.S. (on a plane ticket my brother Raoul brought me) and my sister drove me across 4 Eastern states to see family and to attend a celebration of life for my husband with his family in Upstate New York. (My husband and I are originally from the East Coast of the U.S., both growing up in New York)
I was in a shocked daze but hanging out with my sister was a beautiful and bonding distraction. She drove me over 800 miles round-trip and on our way back from Upstate New York we stopped in a quaint town called Tarrytown, New York.
I knew at the time I needed to leave Central Oregon where I lived the past 14 years with my husband and start a new life somewhere, when I was ready, but moving to Colorado was not a fully formed idea yet. I was considering moving to New York to be closer to my siblings.
So we stopped in Tarrytown and wandered around for several hours as a break from being on the road.
While in Tarrytown we discovered the Flying Fingers Yarn Shop, and while browsing my sister brought a skein of yarn over to me and said: “Would you knit me a hat with this?”.
A little over 14 months later, I’ve finished the hat for my sister with the yarn she selected on the road trip:
I love variegated yarn and I think the pattern created by the variegations in the yarn is yummy!
My sister has curly hair (lots of it), so I made the hat a little bit wider and longer than I normally do. Here are some photos of me modeling the hat for my sister when I texted her images of the finished hat (I wanted to show her I added in extra length to the hat).
A handmade knitted hat is not enough to thank my sister for how much she was there for me during the most difficult time in my life but it is a little token of my appreciation.
When I write posts like this, though I try not to my make blog too “grief-y” these days, it reminds me how much love I have in my life from family and friends.
I’ve been struggling with anxiety this winter, especially when we have heavy snows in the Denver metropolitan area where I now live.
Likely this is related to the worse winter of my life in early 2019 (after the worse Christmas season in my life when my husband died 12 days before Christmas).
There were constant major snowstorms in Central Oregon in January and February 2019 and I was constantly shoving feet of snow just to get out of my driveway.
Previously, my awesome husband always handled snow shoveling (occasionally I would help and we would “team shovel”) and suddenly after his death, I now had to constantly do it on my own (while sobbing uncontrollably in my grief).
This continued until I finally admitted to close friends my struggles and my wonderful friend Jason once he found out what I was doing, brought his snowblower over and told me no matter what, I was not to shovel snow anymore! He drove across town daily if needed to my house to take care of the snow removal (we had an endless dump of snow daily for a while in Central Oregon in winter 2019)!
I think when heavy snow hit the Denver area in January and February 2020 it brought back those awful grief memories and it manifested itself in “Snow Anxiety”.
No worries, I am working with my healthcare provider on this anxiety issue. Living at 5280+ feet above sea level, in the Rocky Mountains, there is going to be snow. So unless I am planning to move somewhere tropical I need to resolve my “Snow Anxiety” issue.
One thing that is helping with my anxiety is knitting and quilting projects!
This morning over breakfast I was reading an article in a crafting magazine discussing the mental health benefits of handwork and came across the most wonderful quote from Anne Lamott that I will close this post with:
Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes, including you. – Anne Lamott
As you can see by the map image above there were move quilt shops in the Bay Area but we could only fit in so much in one day (smile) and still have a proper Quilting Sister visit (to include lunch, ice cream and wandering about window shopping at non-quilting shops!).
The first quilt shop in our Northern California quilt shop hop adventure was Leal’s Coop in Auburn, CA which was both quilting fabric shop and home decor shop. Lisa had another commitment so Kathy and I began the shop hop adventure on our own.
The shop owner was delightful and she was working on gift boxes for customers with her monthly gift box subscription:
After a wonderful wander about this shop and delightful chat with the shop owner, we wandered around the other surrounding shops:
We stopped for a delicious lunch at a vegan restaurant:
And I snuck in some Black & White photography time.
This shop immediately made me smile with this Rumi quote on the glass window in front as you enter the shop:
This shop was not a quilt shop but a fabric and sewing notions shop. It was crammed full of fabrics for all types of sewing – home decor, apparel, quilting, etc.
I ended up buying these amazing pieces of canvas fabric (yes, impulse buy!):
The third fabric/quilt shop we visited in the Bay Area was Bay Quilts. This quilt shop also had an art galley inside with rotating exhibits by local fiber artists.
Are you exhausted from all the virtual quilt/fabric shop hopping in this post (smile).
I had a wonderful day of quilt/fabric shop hopping with my California Quilting Sisters!
By the way my Quilting Sister Lisa was able to take her fabric purchases from the day back home to be sewn on with her newly custom painted Singer Featherweight:
While staying at Kathy’s house during my Northern CA trip, it was fun to revisit several of my fiber art pieces she owns which includes as batik rope basket I made her as a gift; and a table runner she bought from my tierneycreates Etsy shop* years ago.
(*believe or not this blog began in 2013 as vehicle for my Etsy shop – the blog kept going but the Etsy shop did not!)
Oh and let’s close out this series of posts about my trip in April 2019 to Northern California, with one more image of the sweet (and insane) Chocolate Labrador puppy Riley that was one of the special treats during my visit.
Here she is taking a break from her very active puppy-ness!