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A Crafter's Life, Special Events

California Quilting Sisters Adventures, Part I

Currently I am on “holiday”, as my friends on the other side of the pond would call it. I am taking a lovely break from the snowstorms and biting cold of the Denver Metro area and relaxing in paradise. I’ll share a future post about my current adventures, however, as promised in a previous post, I want to catch up on some of my 2019 adventures I did not blog about.

For those of you just joining us, in December 2018 I suddenly and unexpectedly loss my best friend and husband of many years, Terry the Quilting Husband, and became a widow. So the 2018 holiday season and winter 2019 were a very dark and sad time in my life.

Thank goodness for my wonderful family and friends, who were an amazing support system during very dark days.

Also thank goodness for my (surprising to many) plans to leave Central Oregon and move to the Denver, Colorado metropolitan area (see series of posts Colorado Bound) as it gave me something else to focus on besides my all encompassing grief over the loss of my life parter.

One of the wonderful things my friends did to distract me from my loneliness and grief was to invite me to visit them and I shared the first fun trip I went on in 2019 in the post Fabric Fangirl Frenzy with my Quilting Sisters Judy and Dana (for the backstory on my Quilting Sisters see the posts Quilting Sisters I, and II).

The next trip I took was in March 2019 to visit my friend Michele and to tour apartment in the Denver metro area (see post An Awesome Way to Display Kid Art!).

In April I visited with my my Quilting Sisters Kathy and Lisa who live in the Sacramento, California area and this next several posts are about that wonderful visit!

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Snuggling with the Quilting Sisters Kathy and Lisa

It’s All About the Puppy

I stayed with my Quilting Sister Kathy and her husband Matt. They had just adopted a Chocolate Labrador puppy named Riley.

I love dogs, and I absolutely LOVE PUPPIES, and I fell in love quickly with Riley (so much so that by the end of trip the officially made me Riley’s “dog godmother”).

2019-04-04_18-37-59_1312019-04-04_21-33-14_990I spent a lot of the weekend cuddling with Riley (good therapy). He was a puppy of course and very active and crazy by nature but I set up a system of “Swaddling” him in a towel the evening to relax him and give us a break from his crazy puppy energy.

Kathy, Matt, Riley and I went to a local brewery and had a wonderful time with the pup! Here are some photos from our brewery time (and the brewery staff was very patient and accommodating when the pup had an “accident”).

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 More Pups and even a Cat

My Quilting Sister Lisa is a brilliant Veterinarian as well as the owner of Supreme Point Kennels – she shows and breeds Wirehaired Pointing Griffons.

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 Kathy took me over to Lisa’s home for a visit (and before we headed out on a Quilt Shop Hop Adventure which I will share in another post in this series) and I got to visit with the herd at her house which includes several gorgeous Wirehaired Pointing Griffons, a Giant Schnauzer, several rescued dogs and a cat.

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I was in furry creature heaven at Lisa’s home! There was a lot of petting and snuggling going on! I really got a kick out of the cat who just thought he was another one of the dogs and was very comfortable with the large dogs and being part of “the herd”.

Lisa was working on an awesome Griffon themed quilt from a class she took on portrait quilts:

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Human Snuggling

As I mentioned earlier in this post, during the most difficult time in my life, I was so supported (and still supported) by a wonderful network for family and friends.

During my visit to the Sacramento, CA area I got some time to be “loved on” and snuggled by my California Quilting Sisters which was very nurturing and healing.

Here we are snuggling on the sofa at Kathy’s house (I took a break from snuggling with Riley the pup to do human snuggling instead – ha!):

2019-04-03_20-55-24_350And here I am feeling all warm and cozy, sipping a Jameson Irish Whiskey that Kathy’s husband Matt poured for me, while knitting (working on the hat I discussed in this post The Ball of Yarn (which eventually became a hat)), sitting under one of Kathy’s handmade quilts, and watching baseball with my Quilting Sisters.

2019-04-03_21-13-16_033And for a beautiful moment in the midst of my grief, I felt at peace and quite loved.

What's on the Design Wall

Seattle Scrappy (What’s on the Design Wall)

This is a follow up to my recent post What’s On the Design Wall.

I’ve decided to name the freeform log cabin scrappy quilt I’ve created from my friend Dana’s scraps (see post What’s on the…Design Carpet) – “Seattle Scrappy”.

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The name was inspired by the scraps coming from the Seattle area and that it is gray and in Winter it is fairly gray in the Seattle area.

Above you can see my current progress on the piece. I am nearly done with the top, I just need to frame the whole thing in rows of dark framed blocks.

This was my original concept – a center dark shape, created by freeform log cabin blocks with dark gray outside borders:

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Then I would add lighter gray bordered freeform log cabin blocks around these blocks to float the center shape. However, as the black and white image I took of the quilt, the concept got a little muddled:

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But you can still sort of see the concept and make out a darker shape floating in the lights blocks (I hope!)

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I am hoping adding in a border all around of dark gray framed blocks will help my center pop a little more. A quilting friend said the piece looks like an aerial view of a city – I hadn’t thought of that!

More to come on “Seattle Scrappy” and I am currently trying to decide when I finish it, whether to:

  • Have it professionally quilted (a.k.a. “quilting by check”)
  • Machine quilt it myself
  • Hand quilt it (how about some kantha stitching like @ marissthequilter/fabrications)
  • Tie the quilt (yes, “old school” quilting tying)

If I cannot figure it out, I might ask you all to vote on it (smile)!


Postscript

Additional follow up from the post What’s On the Design Wall.

Do you remember the free large table I got from a community for sale board? Well I put risers (to make it “counter height”) on it and turned it into a large cutting and project table in my temporary studio (until I move to the new house in progress of being built some time in April):

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I then snugged my sewing machine against the table to create a yummy temporary “Creation-Station” (patent pending? can I market that!??!):

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Now I can comfortably watch the telly (well Netflix, ha!) while I sew.

I also added some quilts about the house. As I mentioned in a previous post, the house became sort of minimalist (and kind of sterile) when we staged it for the real estate sale photos that a professional photography came and took for the future real estate listing.

Since have delayed putting the house on the market until mid/late March, I was getting weary of living in basically a “model home”.

So I pulled out some of the quilts I had stored away and put them up on the wall with Command Strips!

And I placed an old quilt at the end of the bed where Mike my dog hangs out in my temporary studio while I sew:

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A Crafter's Life

Musings on Self-Improvement

I have a whole category on my blog called Audiobooks and Podcasts. Many of these posts have to do with the latest “self-improvement” genre audiobook I’ve read. Most of these audiobooks I’ve borrowed from local libraries via their Overdrive or Hoopla apps.

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If you’ve followed my blog for a while you’ve likely endured many reviews on various non-fiction “self-improvement” books I’ve listened to and occasionally read hardcover.

Recently another reserved “self-improvement” audiobook became available for download, The 5 AM Club: Own Your Morning, Elevate Your Life by Robin Sharma, and in the midst of listening to the book, I turned it off and exclaimed: “Enough of this #$%&, I am tired of ‘self-improving’!”

As I was sharing in a recent conversation with my friends Michele H. and Anne T., I am completed burned out on listening/reading anything that has to do with “self-improvement”.

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I’ve read a jillion (this number is way bigger than the imaginary number a zillion, ha!) self-improvement books, gained plenty of insight and attempted to live the best life possible but that did not stop awful things happening like my spouse suddenly passing away in December 2018 (yes, yes I know that you cannot read self-improvement books to protect yourself from bad things happening, but I guess in the back of my delusional mind I thought I was safe from major disaster as I was always trying to be the best person possible..).

I admit that some of the “self-improvement” type genre books such as Sheryl Sandberg’s Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy (see post New Library Stack and Option B) helped me tremendously on my grief journey.  And I am sure there are some other books out there that could help me, but I am just too burned out on the genre to read anymore right now (or anytime in the near future).

I am so done with “self improving” for now. 

Now it’s time to find some good yummy fiction to listen to or read!


Postscript

The irony of this recent decision is the moment I said “enough with the self-improvement” genre, every audiobook I had on reserve at my local library became available. So I actually have in my current online library account the following “self-improvement” books I can now borrow/download for 21 days:

  • The Self-Love Experiment by Shannon Kaiser
  • Everything is F*cked: A Book About Hope by Mark Manson (okay he did write a really awesome self help book I listened to a while ago: The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life, and it helped me “chill” on a lot of things)
  • Meta Human by Deepak Chopra
  • Good Habits, Bad Habits by Wendy Wood
  • The Third Door by Alex Banayan

It is sort of the like the “self-improvement” genre was having a major go at me as I was trying to give it up by sending me everything I had reserved at once.

Nope, returned them all!

(I wonder if now I will become a terrible and grouchy person since I’ve stopped “self-improving”…)

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What's on the Design Wall

What’s On the Design Wall

Yes I said “DESIGN WALL”, not design carpet (see post What’s on the…Design Carpet).

Since my post What’s on the…Design Carpet, there’s been some changes…

In case you are just joining us, let me recap:

  1. My partner and I were working on buying a house together and he is selling his house. So my quilting studio got packed up and my former studio became a staged bedroom for the realtor house listing photo shoot.
  2. Then I went to a mini quilt retreat a couple weeks ago and created freeform log cabin blocks from a friend’s scraps. Upon returning home I laid them out on the “design carpet” in my bedroom since I no longer had a design wall, much less a studio:

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So nearly two weeks ago, my partner and I decided to buy a new house, that is in the process of being built, and will not be ready until the end of April. So we cannot put his house on the market for a couple months – until we get closer to when our new house will close, otherwise we could end up between homes!

Since the house I currently live in was not going on the market for a couple of months, I negotiated that I set up a modified version of a studio that can be easily returned to a staged bedroom for house showing.

Around the same time of this decision, I discovered listed on our community website a free large table being offered.

With new large (free) table in hand, I have a makeshift studio:

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And to go with my makeshift  studio, I made a makeshift design wall:

2020-02-02_16-04-59_0142020-02-02_16-49-09_122On Superbowl Sunday (last Sunday), I had a “Stitching Bowl” and worked on getting the center of the piece sewn together:

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I am pretty happy with my makeshift studio and will share more photos of the piece as it evolves.

By the way, Mike my Miniature Schnauzer is enjoying hanging out on the bed (from the staging) in my makeshift studio while I sew!

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Outside Adventures!, Quilt Retreats

A Jaunt About Poulsbo, WA

This is a follow up to my previous post Mini Quilt Retreat, January 2020, on the the mini quilt retreat (just 4 quilters) I attended several weeks ago in Poulsbo, Washington.

As promised, here are some stories and photos from my adventures outside of the quilt retreat, in Poulsbo.

Ferry to Poulsbo

Wikipedia has a nice little write up about Poulsbo, Washington (Washington State in the Pacific Northwestern coast of the U.S. for my international blogging friends, not Washington D.C. which is on the Eastern coast of the the U.S.): Poulsbo, Washington.

As explained in the link above, Poulsbo is located in northern Kitsap County at at the north end of Liberty Bay, a sheltered arm of Puget Sound (an inlet of the Pacific Ocean) and one of the common ways to get there is by ferry.

Washington State has an extensive ferry system. I lived in Seattle, Washington for 8 years (1997 – 2005) and rode many ferries to the peninsulas and islands that are part of the Pacific Northwest.

It really is an exceptionally beautiful part of the U.S. with the Olympic Mountains in the background, except it rains all the time and can be very gray in the Winter (for example one winter a friend reported they went 60+ days without sunshine, this friend eventually moved to Denver, Colorado to get more sun in her life; I moved to Bend, Oregon in 2005 to get sun in my life).  

Living in Denver, Colorado, I am now “land locked” and I do miss the Pacific ocean. So it was very exciting to take a ferry ride to Poulsbo on my way to the retreat. Although it was chilly, I spent most of the ferry ride on the upstairs outer deck at the bow (or maybe it was the stern as the ferry just moves back and forth on its route) watching the water and the approaching land.

2020-01-09_10-21-32_3572020-01-09_10-21-51_3312020-01-09_10-24-04_3302020-01-09_10-21-16_043I spent a brief time inside the ferry passenger cabin, which is HUGE! There are plenty of commuters that take the ferry every day. It was outside commuting hours, so the inside the ferry was fairly empty (or most people were sitting in their cars, as it is also a car ferry).

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Inside the ferry they had wonderful topographical maps of the area and the ferry routes:

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Port Gamble

After a day of sewing at the mini quilt retreat, it was time to go out and explore the area so we spent an afternoon in Port Gamble, Washington on the northwestern shore of the Kitsap Peninsula.

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We had lunch at a lovely restaurant – Scratch Kitchen, a farmhouse restaurant which appeared to formerly be historic building as it had a Puget Mill Co. vault inside.

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Quilted Strait

After a delicious lunch, we wandered around historic Port Gamble:

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And ended up at the quilt shop right by the water, Quilted Strait.

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We had a wonderful wander about the quilt shop with its friendly staff and inviting atmosphere. During my wander I was tempted by the line of fabric (whose name I have now forgotten) that one of my fellow retreaters, Karen, used in her wonderful piece I shared in the previous post.

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A mysterious but wonderful fabric line…actually I think it is Northcott who also makes my beloved Stonehenge line
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Karen’s piece she worked on during the retreat

But I did not buy any as I am getting ready in the next couple of months to move (an update on that in a future post) and I need to control my fabric purchases! Perhaps as a housewarming (or new studio warming) gift to myself I will contact Karen and asking her what that awesome fabric line was…


Postscript

We did have several delightful indulgences during our mini quilt retreat time, and they came from a stop at Deliberate Chocolate.

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The chocolate was so good it was a mystical experience to eat it!

As we wandered about shops in Port Gamble, I came across this sign that made me smile:

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Quilt Retreats

Mini Quilt Retreat, January 2020

Well enough about me.

In my recent posts From the Basket – English Paper Piecing, and What’s on the…Design Carpet, I shared what I worked on during a a mini quilt retreat with a couple quilting friends in Poulsbo, Washington.

Well it’s time to share what the other quilters worked on at the retreat!

But first let me share a little about the venue.

Quilter’s Cottage

We stayed at Quilter’s Cottage in Poulsbo, Washington. It is a house turned into a quilt retreat venue. You provide your own food and supplies (but some basics are provided like an ironing area, cutting tables and work spaces). It is a three bedroom home and you can fit up to 6 quilters.

There are images on the website (linked above) but here are some of my photos of the venue:
2020-01-09_11-02-52_2422020-01-09_11-03-24_8702020-01-09_11-05-53_5792020-01-09_11-05-55_5802020-01-09_11-40-01_2062020-01-09_12-07-25_191I got myself settled right in (sorry I am talking about me just a little in this post) and unpacked my most important quilt retreat accessory: my comfy fleecy ROBE!

2020-01-09_11-41-34_935I happily wore my robe most of the retreat...except when we went outside and to visit quaint little historic downtown Poulsbo!

Getting to Quilting!

There were only 4 of us at the retreat, but the retreat center looked like there were 20 of us with our projects and supplies strewn everywhere!

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And here is what the other quilters worked on…

Judy and Dana

You might remember my quilting friends Judy (who got me into quilting) and Dana (another one of Judy’s quilting recruits!). Well they were each working on a Moda Fabrics C.O.L.O.R. Cuts Dessert Sampler, using different palettes

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Here is Judy’s in progress:

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And here is Dana’s

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Looking through the Dessert Sampler book and their fabrics, made me want to make this sampler also, but I do not need another backlogged project in queue – ha!

Karen

The fourth quilter at the retreat, Karen, is a newer quilting friend. I met her through Dana and Judy. She is very creative and likes to start with a pattern and then put her own spin on it.

During the retreat she worked on an amazing quilt, originally from a pattern, that she improvised the design on.

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Pretty cool, huh? It looks quite different (and more vibrant) than the original pattern (which I forgot to take a photo of, oops!)

Next post I will share a little about my travel to Poulsbo (ferry ride!) and the sweet afternoon we had wandering around old town/historic Poulsbo when we needed a break from stitching (which included a visit to a quilt shop of course)!


Postscript

There was some very interesting art hung at the quilt retreat, my favorite were the pet portraits.

My understanding is the mother of the woman who now owns the quilt retreat (it was formerly her parents home before they passed), painted the paintings about the retreat.

Here is a sampling of my favorites for your enjoyment:

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What's on the Design Wall

What’s on the…Design Carpet

It’s been a while since I’ve added anything to my series of posts:   “What’s on the Design Wall”, about my current project up on my design wall.

However as my tierneycreates Beastie shared in the post Guest Blogger: What the heck is going on here? , my studio is packed up and turned back into a bedroom for staging the house I currently live in for sale.

Not having a design wall up on the wall has not stopped me – I’ve discovered: The Design Carpet (patent pending, ha!).

2020-01-16_13-21-04_854But let’s back-up a moment, and tell you how this piece began and got to this point…

As I mentioned in my post From the Basket – English Paper Piecing, a couple weekends ago I attended a mini quilt retreat with a couple quilting friends in Poulsbo, Washington.

I brought a couple hand work projects from my basket of hand work (see post Inside the Basket ) and had EVERY INTENTION of only working on my hand work projects.

But…

My dear quilting friend Dana brought an extra sewing machine (one her her Berninas, and I love Berninas) and a BAG OF GRAY FABRIC SCRAPS for me to play with – oh no!

2020-01-10_18-11-38_9152020-01-11_15-35-55_903As you saw in the “From the Basket” post, I did work on my English Paper Piecing rosettes, but after a while I put them aside and STARTING PLAYING WITH THE GRAY SCRAPS! (I could not resist the temptation to play with fabric scraps)

Before you know it, as I shared on @tierneycreates on Instagram, I began creating freeform pieced/improvisationally pieced log cabin blocks (also known as “log jamming”):

2020-01-10_18-11-34_186And before I knew it, I had a pile of 138 blocks I made!

2020-01-12_08-01-18_2382020-01-12_08-00-38_602Once I got home, I could not wait to play with them and see what interesting pattern I could make with the dark gray and light gray framed blocks, So I decided to use the “Design Carpet”:

2020-01-16_13-07-40_412I began with creating a pattern with the dark gray framed blocks:

2020-01-16_13-07-51_784Then I worked on framing them with the light gray blocks:

2020-01-16_13-21-12_628I like the effect with the dark gray floating in the lighter gray blocks.

Since I took these photos, I’ve made additional progress and pulled out my sewing machine from the storage room (where you hide everything when staging a house for sale)!

Let me make a bit more progress on the piece and I will share in a future post!


Postscript

Let me know if you think I can patent the concept of the “Design Carpet” and make millions on my late-night infomercial selling “Design Carpets” and quit my day job and just sew all day!

“You can own your own Design Carpet for 5 easy payments of $99.99!

But wait, there’s more:

Buy one Design Carpet and get a second one for only $99.99 plus shipping and handling.”

– TIERNCO, DISTRIBUTOR OF THE DESIGN CARPET

Creative Inspiration, Stories My Father Told Me

Creative Inspiration: Stories My Father Told Me (re-post)

Today in the U.S. it is a National Holiday – Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.

This holiday is also known as the MLK Day of Service:

The Martin Luther King Jr. holiday on Jan. 20, 2020, marks the 25th anniversary of the day of service that celebrates the Civil Rights leader’s life and legacy. Observed each year on the third Monday in January as “a day on, not a day off,” MLK Day is the only federal holiday designated as a national day of service to encourage all Americans to volunteer to improve their communities. The Corporation for National and Community service has been charged to lead this effort for the last quarter century. (nationalservice.gov)

I am re-posting a blog post from April 2016 from my ongoing series on on my sources of Creative Inspiration, in honor of MLK Day, about a person I knew personally, my father Raoul A. Davis, Sr., who lived a life of service.

My father’s stories, words and lessons keep me centered and focused, and they inspire daily just like those of Martin Luther King, Jr. 


Friday Night at Barnes & Noble Bookstore: A Discovery (April 2016)

Life is filled with serendipitous events. Several Fridays ago such an event occurred.

wild Friday night in Central Oregon involves hanging out at the local Barnes & Noble bookstore. I love browsing in bookstores. I love bookstores, period. They are nearly as magical as libraries (except the discoveries at bookstores are not free to take home!)

While browsing the magazine section of Barnes & Noble, I came across a magazine I had not seen before – American Craft Magazine (and I thought I knew all the magazines in the “crafting” magazine section). This magazine is published by the American Craft Council.

Flipping through this magazine I found an article on an exhibit by the WCQN (Women of Color Quilting Network). I did not know, as a woman of color, that there was a Women of Color Quilting Network! I made a mental note of the acronym and immediately upon returning home I googled the WCQN.

The WCQN , according to their website “is a non-profit organization founded in 1985 by Carolyn L. Mazloomi, a nationally-acclaimed quilt artist and lecturer, to foster and preserve the art of quilt making among women of color.”

Wow. What a discovery for me!

I contacted the Director of WCQN, Dr. Carolyn L. Mazloomi, to find out how I could join.


WCQN Inspiration

After several wonderful exchanges with Dr. Mazloomi, I am now a member of the WCQN. I had the opportunity to view her website, www.carolynlmazloomi.com and view her amazing art. I also spent a considerable amount of time looking at the the WCQN website, www.wcqn.org, and viewing their past exhibitions (www.wcqn.org/exhibit.html).

I was overwhelmed with inspiration to explore an additional direction in my art quilting – telling stories with my art quilt.

The WCQN art quilts poignantly share stories from a people of color’s perspective and shared experience.

Wanting to explore this theme in the future, I am inspired to create a future series of art quilts called Stories My Father Told Me.


Stories My Father Told Me

My father, Raoul A. Davis, Sr. was an amazing man. He passed in 2008, and left behind a legacy of stories and inspiration.

Born of the 4th of July, he was the son of two teachers and grew up the segregated South (Charleston, West Virginia) in the 1930s. He faced many hardships and challenges but always forged ahead to achieve his goals and dreams. He was the first black to attend Kiski School in Pennsylvania, received a bachelor’s degree from Central State University, and obtained his master’s degree from Columbia University. He also served his country in the US Army.

He served as a leader in the nonprofit sector for over 40 years. His service included working with gangs and underprivileged youth as a Social Worker in NYC; founding the Urban League of Long Island, NY; and creating the first Empire State Black Arts and Cultural Festival (today known as the African American Family Day Art Festival).

He retired as the Deputy Commissioner for the Office of General Services for the State of NY. In his retirement he volunteered and consulted for local nonprofits and community agencies.

His resume was impressive, but what I remember most about him is his stories.

Starting from my earliest memories as a child, I remember him telling me stories of his challenges growing up in the segregated South, stories of his athletic pursuits (he was an accomplished multi-sport athlete), stories about the intense hazing he received as the first black to attend Kiski Prep School, stories of overcoming shocking physical and psychological abuse in the US Army in the 1950 by his drill sergeant, and many other inspirational stories from his life.

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A couple of years before he passed he decided to write his autobiography and I offered to help him by transcribing his handwritten notes and pulling them into a rough draft. It was so wonderful to read the stories I knew well from hearing in my youth; and I was honored to help him with this project.

Unfortunately my father passed before finishing his autobiography. I did take what I had and make it into a book for my sister and brother (two incredible individuals who continue my father’s legacy and inspire me daily); and for his grandchildren (one of which he did not get to meet before he passed).

I am still left with all his stories in my head and in my heart, and I think I want to share them in another medium beyond the verbal and written word: in my art quilts.


His Stories into My Quilts

I am in the early stages of thinking of how I want to translate some of my favorite stories into a textile story – will I do something abstract, or will I do a pictorial quilt (time to brush up my appliqué skills!).

An ongoing theme in all his stories is: Here is a challenge, it may seem impossible, but you can overcome it!

One of my favorite stories that my father told me, is a story from his growing up in the segregated South and a bus ride experience that embodied his outlook on dealing with racial prejudices:

As a teenage in the 1940s, I was riding on the bus and a white guy was forced to sit next to me because no other seats were available. He turned to me and growled – “I hate you, you  #%%$%%!”  

I calmly replied to him “Well, you would like me if you got to know me”. 

We ended up having a great conversation and when we got to his bus stop, he exclaimed as he exited the bus: “Raoul, you are alright”.

My father likely did not change this man’s racist outlook on people of color, but he may have left an imprint in this man’s mind and heart to evaluate people based on their character not their color.

My father, who was also active in the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960s and fortunate to have met Martin Luther King, Jr., believed in focusing on getting to know each other as individuals and not judging an entire group or population.

He believed change came through dialogue not violence. He taught his three children to be brave, no matter what adversity life threw at them; and to as Mahatma Gandhi said “…be the change you wish to see in the world”.

He also taught us to be proud of who we are as individuals, as a people and of our heritage, and not to listen to those who tell you otherwise.

“I will not let anyone walk through my mind with their dirty feet.” – Gandhi

I would be honored to share his stories through my quilts.


Postscript (11/16/16)

In Spring 2016, I  begin the Stories My Father Told Me series with quilt #1 – The Lesson & The Equation, discussed in the post Stories My Father Told Me: Quilt #1 .

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The Lesson & The Equation (2016) by Tierney Davis Hogan

I’ve been sketching out the next quilt in the series.

(This quilt was part of the nationally traveling exhibit “Visioning Human Rights in the New Millennium: Quilting the World’s Conscience“, see post Visioning Human Rights in the New Millennium – Book is Released! )

MLK-Day
virtualvocations.com

 

Adventures in Paper Piecing, Quilt Retreats

From the Basket – English Paper Piecing

This is a follow up to my previous post Inside the Basket. I realized I should try and catch my blog up to what I have been posting on @tierneycreates on Instagram!

One of the projects inside my basket of hand work is an ongoing English Paper Piecing (EPP) rosette quilt project.

My plan is to make this quilt from the cover of Quiltfolk Magazine, Issue 1:

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Image credit: Quiltfolk.com

As you can see from the image above, this quilt is comprised of 99 EPP hexie rosettes appliquéd onto 99 squares for a 9 x 11 quilt.

Last weekend I joined 3 quilting friends for a mini quilting retreat in Poulsbo, Washington.

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Image credit: vacation ideas.com

While at the retreat, I worked on my EEP project and completed stitching together 38 rosettes of the 99 I need to make:

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If you do the math, I have 61 more rosettes to make, and my sweet friend Dana, organized my remaining EPP hexies into groups of 6 for the outside hexies on the left side of my “box of hexies” and the solid color center options on the right side:

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“True friends will organize your EPP hexies for you at a quilt retreat” – Tierney

I have enough matching hexies to make about 30 more rosettes, so it is going to be time soon to create more EPP hexies.

The hexies I currently on hand have a lot of sentimental meaning/value, as they were all created by my late husband Terry (aka “Terry the Quilting Husband (TTQH)“) who used to be my assistant on crafting projects. So I am also finishing this project in his honor.

My partner John and I are moving along in getting his house ready for sale and have been actively house hunting. So it might not be too long until my studio gets unpacked and I am no longer limited to only hand projects.

Over the next several posts I will share more projects and stories from the mini quilt retreat I attended in Poulsbo!


Postscript

I had to relocate my “Basket of Hand Work” that I discussed in my previous post.

Our real estate agent wanted us to move my comfy leather chair in the living room up to the master bedroom, so I also relocated my basket of hand work. Additionally I tried to tastefully arrange some craft related reading I want to do and several projects into a bookcase in the bedroom.

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Studio, tierneycreates

Inside the Basket

Here is a follow up to the Guest Blogger’s post 01/08/2020 from Guest Blogger: What the heck is going on here? .

The tierneycreates Beastie stated: “…she has set up this basket of hand craft projects in the living room and allegedly she will show you what is inside of this basket in her next post”. So I am now obligated to do just that, otherwise my Beastie will give me grief about  it!


A Peek Inside the Basket of Hand Crafting

So we are staging the house for sale and had to pack up my studio and my sewing machine.

I am not sure how long it will take to sell the house, and find another house, and then to move into that new house. It could be several months and I cannot go that long without crafting, so I set up a basket in the living room of crafts I can do by hand.

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I am also in the process of setting up a sewing basket, found at a thrift shop, with my commonly used tools for hand crafting.

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Here’s what is inside the basket – a lot of old hand work projects, and some new ones, that I would like to finish.

English Paper Piecing (EPP)

Ssee my series of post Adventures in Paper Piecing for some background on this project. I made the zipped bag I am storing the project in.

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In addition to the EPP project above, I also have this EPP project which I have not started (and do not know what I am doing with these hexies which I made from a friend’s scraps during a quilt retreat several years ago:

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The Yo-Yo Project 

Someday I might blog about this old mysterious project…

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Sashiko

Another project(s) I should blog about someday…if I get any further on my dabble with Sashiko stitching.

It was an impulse buy (twice) at at a quilt shop…

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Knitting

A hat in progress and a ribbed (or seed stitch scarf) to go with the hat I made a friend that I discussed in this post – The Ball of Yarn (which eventually became a hat).

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The hat in progress has a story behind it that I will share in a future post.

Miscellaneous Projects

If I ever get working on them, I will explain what they are in a future post (smile).

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So that’s what is in the basket! I think I have enough projects to keep my busy a couple months.


Postscript

I am writing this post from the airport as I am returning from a small informal quilt retreat with 3 quilting friends. At this retreat I brought my EPP and made some progress! And I did some freeform log cabin block piecing with a borrowed sewing machine and a bag of a friend’s scraps. More of my next post.

Beastie Adventures

Guest Blogger: What the heck is going on here?

It is time for a Guest Blogger entry by a brilliant, adorable and talented guest blogger (me, me, me!).

2018-11-18_05-59-08_264In 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.

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My dog Mikelet might be made of felted wool but he is very affectionate

In my previous brilliant Guest Blogger post (by the way, Beasties are brilliant and you can check out more of my kind at the website of our maker in Ireland – CrawCrafts Beasties/Beastie HQ) Beastie Guest Blogger: Checking in on her progress, I shared that Mikelet and I had a cozy new area of Tierney’s new studio:

2019-10-22_08-11-13_5712019-10-22_08-11-05_364Well it is all GONE! The studio is gone and our cozy spot is gone!!!!

Tierney and her partner are getting ready to sell his house and buy their own house, and they have to do something stupid called “staging the house for sale”.

That means that her whole studio got packed up and put away, and they are painting over the beautiful turquoise color in the room to make it a boring neutral color like the rest of the house (humans are so silly!).

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2020-01-04_12-22-47_030.jpegMikelet and I are kind of disturbed by the giant schnauzer head we are pushed up against as well as the super creepy schnauzer hanging over the basket next to us!

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Once you recover from the shocking images above of Mikelet and I thrust into a “schnauzer slum”, you might start to wonder: “well what is Tierney going to do for crafting with all her stuff put away?”

Well she has set up this basket of hand craft projects in the living room and allegedly she will show you what is inside of this basket in her next post.

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tierneycreates

Scarf finally done

This is a quick follow up to a post I wrote in February 2018 – A Case Against Procrastination

Experienced knitting blogging buddies: please see the Postscript section for a question/request for advice, thanks!

The title of this post is Interesting as it is obvious that I ended up seriously procrastinated because I finally finished the scarf for this hat I made in December 2017 (Library Stack Catch Up):

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(I think I had a couple less wrinkles in 2017)

Well over 2 years later, the matching scarf is now done:

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I could not wait to try them on together the moment I finished the scarf:

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However ever as soon as I put it on, I took it off as I could not wear it outside today (without looking very strange) as it is was 52 degrees F (11 degrees C) and that is a little warm for scarf wearing.

It felt wonderful to have this scarf done and I am sure our snow and cold will return this winter in the Denver metropolitan area!


Postscript (Question on Blocking Knits)

Experienced knitters reading this post – tell me about your experiences with blocking scarfs or other knitting pieces.

I used a garter stitch to make this scarf. I used a blend wool-acrylic yarn, and the edges on the scarf curled. So I blocked it after I was done knitting it, just like in this video below:

But after all that work, the edge of my scarf still slightly curl under.

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Any thoughts?

Is it because I used a wool-acrylic blend?

A Crafter's Life

An Awesome Way to Display Kid Art!

As I mentioned in a recent post, I did a lot of traveling in 2019. I’m going to spend time in January 2020 catching up on the stories I did not get a chance to share in 2019.

I’ve always appreciated how parents traditionally encourage their children’s creativity and artistic endeavors by displaying their art on the refrigerator. However in March 2019 I witnessed a very awesome way in display “kid art”.

In March 2019 I visited Denver, Colorado to tour potential apartments as part of my move from Central Oregon to the greater Denver metro area (see series of posts Colorado Bound). I stayed with my friend Michele who drove me around to tour apartments.

She and her husband Blair have a lovely home and at the top of their upstairs landing, they have an amazing display of the art of their three children!

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All the pieces are nicely (and maybe professionally framed) and the entire wall is dedicated to celebrating the artistic talents of their children at various ages.

Here is some of the wonderful art up close:

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This is lightyears beyond the traditional “art on the fridge” that I’ve seen at other families homes. I love that this couple turned their children’s art into an art gallery!


Postscript

Originally I had planned to begin a series of posts about my “New Year’s Crafting Resolutions“. I was going to provide a catalog of my unfinished projects and a plan to start working on them (sort of like the recent cool series of posts by Melanie @ Catbird Studios in which she shares the contents of her cabinet of unfinished projects), however suddenly I have begun packing up my studio.

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Why? Because my partner and I have decided to go forward with selling his house and buying a house together.

The first step in this process is getting his house ready for sale and it is time to paint over the bold turquoise of my studio (see post New Studio) and make that room the same neutral color as the rest of the house.

Since he will be listing the house in the near future, and it needs to get “staged” for sale, I will keep my studio packed up. But that is okay, I have a plan for creative endeavors for the next couple months while my studio is packed up: It’s time to pull out the handwork!

I will post about that plan in the future.

The funny thing is I was recently preparing to return to working on my Farm Girl Vintage blocks and finish up a 20 block quilt (see series of posts Farm Girl Vintage Blocks) as I shared a couple days ago on Instagram:

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I’ve completed 19 blocks and only needed to make one more 12.5″ x 12.5″ block to make one of the sampler quilts in the book which uses 20 blocks.

But since my sewing machine is getting packed away, that will have to be on hold for now.

What’s that famous saying that comes to mind…oh yes:

“Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.”  – John Lennon

A Crafter's Life, Audiobooks and Podcasts

Good Listens in 2019

Happy New Year!

It’s been a long time since I had a post in my series of posts Audiobooks and Podcasts. So I thought my first post of 2020 would be a recap of some of my favorite audiobook listens in 2019.

I constantly listen to audiobooks, especially on my twice a day dog walks and while crafting. Occasionally I listen to fiction but my favorite genre is non fiction, especially books related to personal growth.

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Below I share my favorite listens in 2019 along with a link to the Publishers Weekly or or Amazon.com book review; and a quote from the book that resonated with me.

Signs: The Secret Language of the Universe by Laura Lynne Jackson

“Souls have deep connections and unique contracts that span centuries, exist back and forth in time, and bind us in ways we can’t really understand…. These connections are ancient and everlasting, and they already exist in our hearts, even if we’re not always aware of them.”

Never Split the Difference: Negotiating As If Your Life Depended On It by Chris Voss

“Psychotherapy research shows that when individuals feel listened to, they tend to listen to themselves more carefully and to openly evaluate and clarify their own thoughts and feelings.”

Unfu*k Yourself: Get Out of Your Head and Into Your Life by Gary John Bishop

“Love the life you have, not the one you expected to have.”

Everything is Figureoutable: How One Simple Belief Can Help Us Overcome Any Obstacle and Create Unstoppable Success by Marie Forleo

“I win or I learn, but I never lose.”

Digital Minimalism: On Living Better with Less Technology by Cal Newport

“Digital Minimalism A philosophy of technology use in which you focus your online time on a small number of carefully selected and optimized activities that strongly support things you value, and then happily miss out on everything else.”

The Courage to Be Disliked: The Japanese Phenomenon That Shows You How to Change Your Life and Achieve Real Happiness by Ichiro Kishimi and Fumitake Koga

“Unless one is unconcerned by other people’s judgments, has no fear of being disliked by other people, and pays the cost that one might never be recognized, one will never be able to follow through in one’s own way of living. That is to say, one will not be able to be free.”

The Alice Network by Kate Quinn

“What did it matter if something scared you, when it simply had to be done?”

Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy by Sheryl Sandberg

I discussed this book in my 5/13/19 post New Library Stack and Option B

“Resilience comes from deep within us and from support outside us. It comes from gratitude for what’s good in our lives and from leaning in to the suck. It comes from analyzing how we process grief and from simply accepting that grief. Sometimes we have less control than we think. Other times we have more. I learned that when life pulls you under, you can kick against the bottom, break the surface, and breathe again.”

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

I discussed this book in my 2/16/19 post Soup’s On

“When real transformation does occur in someone’s life, it usually happens through evolution, not revolution. Every time we make a choice to confront our fear, our character evolves and we become more courageous. Every time we make a choice to move through pain to pursue a purpose larger than ourselves, our character evolves and we become wiser. Every time we make a choice to move through suffering, our character evolves and we become stronger.”

Dark Matter by Blake Crouch

“We’re more than the sum total of our choices, that all the paths we might have taken factor somehow into the math of our identity.”

I listened to more audiobooks that those listed above in 2019, but these were my favorites!

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Feature Photo by Tomasz Gawłowski on Unsplash

A Crafter's Life

“Human Storage” and Airport Lore

A little humor and lore to close out 2019…

Human Storage

For four years (2013 – 2017) until her passing in December 2017, I helped manage the blog for my miniature schnauzer Sassy, the Highly Opinionated Miniature Schnauzer – SCHNAUZER SNIPS: MUSINGS FROM A HIGHLY OPINIONATED MINIATURE SCHNAUZER.

In February 2017 Sassy posted about Human Storage– how humans are always getting dropped off at this place called “the airport” where they appear to be stored for a period of time and then get picked up.

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Photo by T.H. Chia on Unsplash

Keep in mind she viewed life from a dog’s perspective!

I’ve traveled a lot in 2019, likely the most I’ve ever traveled in my life.

For my trips to the airport in 2019 while I lived in Central Oregon (January to April) and then after I moved to the greater Denver metro area (April), I’ve tried to have Mike my miniature schnauzer be in the car taking me to the airport and picking me up.

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Mike wonders why humans do not just stay at home and relax instead of going into storage

Mike seems to understand when I am going into “human storage” and when I am being retrieved! It appears to lessen his anxiety when I am missing from his home for a couple days to a week – he knows I am just in storage!

Airport Lore

Speaking of airports, I did not know about this until I moved to Denver, but the Denver International Airport (DIA) has quite a bit of lore about it.

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Photo credit: flydenver.com

This lore includes conspiracy theories such as that it contains secret underground bunkers.

You can read a summary of some of the common theories on this page – “5 Conspiracy Theories Surrounding the Denver Airport” on mental floss.com.

Some of the biggest DIA lore surrounds the airport “mascot” and the strange murals around the airport. Here is an excerpt from mental floss.com:

Conspiracy theories aside, it’s hard to deny the weirdness of DIA’s unofficial mascot—a massive horse statue called “Blue Mustang” that has already killed at least one man. At 32 feet tall and 9000 pounds (it’s made out of fiberglass), “Blue Mustang” is huge and imposing, and its glowing red eyes don’t help matters. This thing is giant and really scary—and it killed the man who made it. Really. Artist Luis Jimenez died in 2006 when a piece of the sculpture’s head broke off and severed an artery in his leg. 

Leo Tanguma’s two murals, which take up wide swathes of wallspace in DIA’s baggage claim, might have some nice names—they are called “Children of the World Dream of Peace” and “In Peace and Harmony with Nature,” respectively—but their actual content is terrifying. Death-masked soldiers stalk children with guns, animals are dead and kept under glass, and the entire world looks to have been destroyed. As if being at the airport isn’t bad enough. 

I’ve spent a lot of time at DIA since moving to the Denver area in April 2019 and so far it just seems like a large airport, nothing creepy. I’ve seen a couple of the controversial murals in person and they just seem odd and like they were created by someone on a LSD trip!

DIA has been under going a remodel and the airport leadership appears to have a sense of humor about the conspiracy theories familiar to locals.

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You can’t say people in Denver do not have a sense of humor!


Postscript

For some of my readers it is already 2020! For me in Colorado, 2020 is about to shortly begin.

I’ve already begun formulating my 2020 resolutions and look forward to reading some of yours. I have a lot of sewing (and more traveling/human storage at the airport) planned and looking forward to sharing my adventures with you.

Happy New Year!

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Photo by Jamie Street on Unsplash

Feature image: Photo by Ruchindra Gunasekara on Unsplash

A Crafter's Life, Special Events

Bucket List Delight!

2019 was a year filled with some major lows but also some MAJOR HIGHS (the Universe tried to keep itself in balance?).

These highs included being invited by the City of Seattle’s Office of Arts and Culture for my first solo art show (see posts Solo Show Seattle Municipal Tower, Part I, Solo Show Seattle Municipal Tower, Part II, and Solo Show Seattle Municipal Tower, Part III); moving to Colorado (see series of posts Colorado Bound); and meeting my partner John (see post Morning Walk in Black and White).

However one of the “awesome-nest” highs of 2019 involved achieving one of my “bucket list” items – seeing President Barack Obama speak in person.

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I’ll share the story of how it happened in a moment, but this was the second opportunity I was lucky enough to experience seeing a U.S. President in person. The first U.S. President I saw speak in person was in May 2018 – 43rd President George Bush, Jr (see post A Presidential Artistic Journey (Re-post)) and that was very awesome.

However seeing President Obama (44th U.S. President) speak in person was something very high on my “bucket list”.

Greenbuild Conference 2019

I have two very awesome siblings, they are two of my best friends on this planet – a brother Raoul and a sister Rianna (by the way, I am writing this post from the Denver International Airport as I get ready to fly to Las Vegas for the weekend to meet up with my brother and his family).

My sister Rianna, earlier in 2019, finished her Masters in Business Administration (MBA) with a focus on Project Management (the same MBA I have from the same university) and got her dream job as a Construction Project Manager for a University she was already working, but this time with their contractor Project Management company. (I was so impressed she finished her MBA in record time while working full time and being a busy Mom!).

She is working on her LEED green building certification and her new employer approved for her to attend the Greenbuild International Conference in Atlanta, Georgia November 19 – 22, 2019.  She was very excited to be approved for this opportunity but she was in shock when she discovered that the keynote speaker was President Barack Obama!!!

For an extra fee, you could bring a guest with you to the keynote as well as some limited events at the conference. So for my early Christmas present, my sister got me a ticket to the keynote which was actually titled “A Conversation with President Barack Obama“.

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There was a crazy extremely long line to get seated for the keynote, luckily we showed up early. Here we are waiting on line in major anticipation of seeing/hearing in person one of the people we most admire:

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The keynote was actually an interview of President Obama by U.S. Green Building Council’s president and CEO, Mahesh Ramanujam. The focus on the discussion/interview was on sustainability and affordability.

Here is a link to an online article with a wonderful summary of the highlights of the event – Highlights from former President Obama’s Greenbuild keynote.

I also found several excerpts from the keynote on YouTube:

It was very exciting to (sort of) be breathing the same air that President Obama was breathing and my sister and I tried to restrain our inner fan girls and just focus on his talk/interview/conversation.

We sat in the middle of the very large auditorium and luckily they had large monitors so we could get a close up view of the interview. Here are several of my photos of him speaking on the large monitors:

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He was as we expected, an incredibly eloquent and engaging speaker!

My sister and I were in sort of  daze after the keynote was done and we were giggling/laughing with other conference attendees as we walked out of the auditorium, squealing “that really happened, we really saw President Obama speak!!!”

I got the feeling that this moment was part of many attendees’ “bucket lists”!

After the Keynote/Conference

I telecommuted for work from our Atlanta, Georgia hotel while my sister attended the rest of the Greenbuild Conference and then we wandered around downtown Atlanta, Georgia.

We stopped at Centennial Olympic Park from when 1996 Summer Olympics were held in Atlanta, Georgia.

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It was very cool to see the iconic Olympic Rings in person:

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In the park area they had a sweet little German-style Holiday Market going on and we wandered about that market and enjoyed some Bavarian hot chocolate and gingerbread cookies.

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My sister used to live in Heidelberg, Germany for several years while she was in the military and she had fun chatting with a market vendor who was from Heidelberg.

Autumn colors were in full force in Atlanta and we also enjoyed wandering around enjoying the beautiful foliage!

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On the final day of the conference, in the evening, they had a major end of conference party/event – a party on the field of Mercedes Benz Stadium, home of the Atlanta Falcons (U.S. Football team for my blogging friends abroad)!

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It was amazing to actually be on the playing field of a U.S. Football team. I cannot share photos, as it might be embarrassing (smile), but they actually let party/conference attendees try kicking a field goal from the goal line! My sister was very brave and tried it herself, without much success, and she accepts she does not have a future as a professional football player (smile).

Here we are at the party on the stadium field:

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They also had a concert on the field for conference attendees by the band Collective Soul!


Postscript

I’ve traveled a lot in 2019, the most I’ve ever traveled in one year. I am quite behind in sharing my adventures and hopefully I can catch up on the backlog of stories I would like to share. Not to mention the backlog of reading my favorite blogs I follow!

The New Year is nearly upon us! Hope you and your loved ones are having a wonderful holiday season! Hopefully I will post more before the end of 2019 (smile).

A Crafter's Life, tierneycreates

From T-Shirt to Throw Pillow

The Christmas holidays are upon us and as one of my partner’s Christmas gifts, I decided to recycle several of his old T-shirts that no longer fit/were worn out into throw pillows for his “Man Cave” in our daylight basement.

Here is the first one I worked on – I used flannel to border the T-shirt (which I added fusible interfacing to first) and for the envelope back:

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Here is the next pillow I worked on (my partner is a Whiskey connoisseur) and I had trouble focusing while making the pillow because it was so outrageously funny and so unlike his personality:

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He was pleasantly surprised by the pillows (I gave them to him early so he could enjoy them for the holiday season). Here they are set up in the “Man Cave” (where we also like to sit and watch movies):

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Postscript

We also have our Schnauzer-themed Christmas tree up. I am lucky to have another Schnauzer-aficionado in my life. Yes we did include his ornaments too but the tree is “strongly Schnauzer” 🙂

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Every tree needs a “Schnauzer Angel” topper, right?

Thursday evening we had a quiet evening by the tree wrapping presents, drinking hot cocoa and eating grilled cheese sandwiches before the holiday madness begins.

Now it is holiday parties, out of town family members arriving for a visit; and then hosting 25+ people at the house for Christmas eve (my partner is the oldest of 7 children and hosts Christmas eve dinner for his family and extended family).

Quite the different Christmas holiday than I had in 2018…and I am feeling very blessed and cozy.

A Crafter's Life

Scraps for Sandy!

One of my dear blogging buddies, Sandy, of the crafting sister duo Gray Barns Designs (Cindy and Sandy), is making an insane quilt – a postage stamp quilt made with 3,420 1.5″ x 1.5″ RED squares (that’s 3,420 3.81 cm x 3.18 cm squares for my blogging friends on the metric system)!

Here is one of her posts about it:

Seeing Red

In this post she mentions she only has 1250 squares completed so far. Her sister Cindy is helping out with reds from her stash but I got the feeling Sandy would like more help, so I offered to send her red scraps from my stash (and she took me up on my offer).

I have my scraps organized by color groups at the bottom on my IKEA bookcase of fabric (see post A New Way to Organize My Fabric):

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I grouped them into four (4) boxes as follows:

  • Green and blue (and turquoise and aqua)
  • Red, pink and purple
  • Brown, yellow, and orange
  • Black, white, gray and cream

So during my lunch break today (I am a telecommuter), I pulled out my stash of red scraps and started pulling scraps for her postage stamp quilt of scrappy madness:

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That is just the beginning of the pile. I crammed as much as I could in a padded priority mailer (because it is near Christmas and no way was I returning to the post office again to mail anything – I just pre-printed my label at usps.com and gave it to my mail carrier):

2019-12-16_08-22-46_671.jpegI cannot show you what is inside because it is a surprise for Sandy to open!

I see from some of her other posts and comments that other blogging buddies are sending scraps too.

If you have red scraps to spare you can contact her at Gray Barns Designs by commenting on her post I linked above. And if you do not already follow their blog, I highly recommend you add it to your reading list – Gray Barns Designs: Real. Modern. Quilting and see what the talented crafting sister Sandy and Cindy are up to!

Perhaps Sandy will share what is in the package I sent on her blog when she receives it in a couple days :-).


Postscript

Sandy and Cindy of Gray Barns Designs are the first long-time blogging buddies I met in person. They attended the opening of the show Visioning Human Rights in the New Millennium: Quilting the World’s Conscience in Hamilton, OH in August 2018 (see post Visioning Human Rights in the New Millennium, Part I).

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Sandy, Tierney and Cindy

Now I have met the quilts in person of several of my other long-time quilting buddies. I met Mary of Zippy Quilts’s amazing quilt in person when I attended Quilters Take Manhattan in September 2017 (see post Wrap Up of QTM 2017 Weekend).

I also met one of Claire of knitNkwilts amazing modern quilts at the 2016 Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show (see post Return to Sisters (Oregon)); and the quilt of Becca of Pretty Piney‘s quilt at the 2018 Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show (see post Sisters Outdoor Show Part III: The Show).   I was living in Central Oregon at the time of these shows and took photos of their quilts for them since they could not attend.

I do have plans to meet in person more long-time blogging buddies in 2020 which hopefully includes meeting Helen of CrawCrafts Beasties (my tierneycreates Beastie has to meet her maker in person!) when I go with friends to Ireland this summer; and meeting Martha of Martha’s Blog in Mississippi sometime this year. Fingers crossed!

Perhaps I should just do “tierneycreates on Tour” series someday – my world tour – ha! (But there would be no visiting Greenland or Antartica as according to my WordPress stats no one follows my blog there – see post Guest Blogger: tierneycreates 5th Anniversary Celebration Giveaway).

Terry the Quilting Husband (TTQH), What's on the Design Wall

The Last Quilt

Sometimes the best way to deal with the depth your grief is to step outside yourself and do something for someone else. I first truly learned this in February 2019 when I faced my first Valentines Day without my Valentine and decided to make the members of my Spousal Loss Grief Support Group my Valentines (see post Valenties).

With the 1 year anniversary of Terry the Quilting Husband (TTQH)‘s sudden passing approaching I knew the only way to face it was to step outside myself again.

The Last Quilt

The last quilt that Terry created the blocks for was a homespun quilt in 2018. I wrote a post about the progress of that quilt in February 2018 – Spinning the Homespuns with TTQH.

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Terry never finished this quilt (but he had so much fun working on it) and I had the 25 blocks he made tucked away in my UFO (unfinished objects) stash.

My incredibly awesome, talented and generous friend Wendy Hill (@wendyquilter) offered after Terry passed to finish the quilt for me. I so appreciated her generous offer but at the time (early 2019) I could not even imagine pulling out those blocks and looking at them. Just waking up each morning and facing the day was so incredibly painful and I knew I needed to protect myself from complete psychological collapse which always seemed just around the corner.

For those of you who’ve had long time partners, after many years with a person (especially if you’ve been with them since you were young), your identity can get enmeshed and integrated with that person. So when you lose that person you lose part of your identity.

In my 8-week spousal loss grief support group, we frequently discussed the “secondary losses” that come with losing a spouse. After losing Terry just to be around other married people or hear other married people talk about their spouses was gut wrenching on a level I cannot even put into words.

Friends and family attempted to relate to my experience by sharing their stories of losses of their parents, etc. I too have loss my parents and as close you are to your parents, losing your life partner is a completely different experience.

Why? Because (unless you have a very strange relationship), you do not wake up each morning next to your parent, share your hopes and dreams, share day to day household and financial issues, have an intimate relationship, have a romantic relationship, etc.

Humorously (but not necessarily humorously at the time) some people even shared stories of losing a beloved pet to try and relate. I dearly loved all my dogs who have passed but I can tell you first hand that this does not compare to losing a spouse on any level.

I do not mean to diminish anyone’s personal grief experience or journey from losing someone beloved in their life, but experts have said the two greatest losses you can experience are loss of a child or loss of a life partner.

Here is some unsolicited advice to anyone who has not experienced one of these types tremendous losses but is trying to comfort a friend who is experiencing such as loss:

Consider not trying to connect their experience to your loss of a parent, pet, etc. Instead consider just supporting and listening to them with no agenda or judgement. Just be be there for them. If it feels right, you can also suggest they join a grief support group (when they are ready) so they connect with people who truly understand what they are going through. 

The best advice I was given came from the caring Sheriff Department Champlain in Central Oregon who arrived at my house with the police on the worse day of my life. He strongly suggested I get into a grief support group as soon as I was ready.

In addition to the amazing grief support group I attend for 8-weeks in Central Oregon, I have been lucky enough to have some incredible people in my life who have done exactly what I suggested above – they just supported me without judgement and accepted all the ups and downs of my journey as an unexpected widow.

Now grief can be thought of as a “spiral staircase” and after a year of discovering that I am stronger than I ever thought I was, I am at a good spot on that “staircase”, and I was ready to pull out those blocks from storage and make them into a quilt for someone special in Terry’s life.

For His Brother

Terry was the youngest of 7 children. When he passed I gave away many of his quilts to his siblings. A year or two before he passed we had also given several quilts to some of his nieces and I made a lovely quilt for his nephew who got married.

However I did not give a quilt made by Terry to his oldest brother Andy, who Terry adored. A couple years ago, while we were in Fort Worth, Texas for Andy’s son’s wedding, we stopped at quilt shop and I have an awesome photo of Terry and his big brother standing around a quilt shop while Andy’s wife and Terry’s sisters and I were shopping. I did a post about this quilt shop in June 2017 – Cabbage Rose Quilting & Fabrics, Ft. Worth TX.

I knew Andy loved quilts because many years ago I made him a quilt in my early days of quilting when I was his Secret Santa (with so many adults in the family, Terry’s family used to do an annual Secret Santa drawing and I always made a quilt for the person whose name I drew) and made him a quilt. I made the quilt in the early 2000s but any time I would talk to Andy he would mention how much he loved the quilt (and it was in my early days of quilting and nothing to “write home about”).

I just knew that Terry would approve of Andy being the recipient of his last quilt.

Making the Quilt

The first step to making the quilt was pulling out the 25 blocks and sitting on the floor and sobbing uncontrollably for an hour (not a pretty sight).

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Once that was over, it was time to get off my butt and “put my big girl panties on” and get to work on the quilt.

Terry created quilts with love but not necessarily with accuracy (smile) so I had to trim all 25 blocks to a uniform size.

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Originally the pattern made a king-sized quilt and had sashing around all the blocks. I decided to make a lap size quilt and just piece the blocks together.

2019-11-27_13-52-03_0942019-11-27_13-52-11_532Making a lap size quilt (each block was approximately 18″ x 18″), I did not need all the blocks for the front of the quilt, so I pieced the rest of the blocks for the back of the quilt.

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I decided to machine quilt it myself as there was no time to send off to a professional long-arm quilter before Christmas. So I had to spread it out on the floor and pin it all down for quilting.

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Surprisingly I finished quilting it faster than I expected and put on the binding around the edge of the quilt.

While sitting around the living room, with the quilt on my lap, hand sewing down the binding, Mike my miniature schnauzer kept snuggling with the quilt. When I got up to take a break from sewing down the binding, Mike would fully snuggle in the quilt.

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Mike loved Terry so much and he seemed to know that this was Terry’s last quilt. I know that pets grieve also and I know Mike himself has had a journey over the past year too. He was stuck with Terry’s body for 3 hours before I arrived home and discovered him, and I wondered for a while if Mike would ever recover from that terrible experience.

Mike is now thriving in his new life in the Denver Metro area.

Here is the label I created for the quilt, I put it was from Terry and me.

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I thought this was the right sentiment to write on the label:

Sending love from this life and the next.

The quilt arrived yesterday to Andy in Texas and I hope he finds comfort in that quilt, the last quilt Terry the Quilting Husband will ever make.


Postscript

I feel like I’ve shared enough of my grief story and journey and now, on the 1 year anniversary of Terry’s passing, I’ve decided my blog will no longer talk about my grief journey. I am just going to focus on what my life is moving forward in its new iteration, in its new identity.

I came across this wonderful quote that at first I thought sounded harsh (like you are just forgetting about the past) but then I totally connected with it:

Your future needs you. Your past does not.

I tried to figure out who to attribute the quote but came across too many sources when googling, but thank you to whomever said it.

So with this quote in mind, I am spending today with my partner John and later on today with his darling 10 year old granddaughter who totally loves Mike my dog.

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We are going to make dinner together, go see the movie Frozen 2, and then have a PJ Party (she is staying overnight) and decorate the Christmas tree. What better way to honor Terry than to go forth and be happy (and present) in my new life?

I am so thankful for the amazing past I had and now am going to be fully in the present and the future.

A Crafter's Life, Terry the Quilting Husband (TTQH)

Remembering Terry the Quilting Husband (TTQH)

Nearly a year has passed since my beautiful life radically changed when I suddenly loss my husband Terry who’d I been with since I was 20 years old.

On my blog he was known as “Terry the Quilting Husband” or “TTQH” as one of my blog readers named him.

He began quilting in 2014 and if you’d like to check out posts related to his adventures as quilter, they are in the series of posts  Terry the Quilting Husband (TTQH)

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Today is his birthday (December 2) and I wanted to honor and remember him with this post. I do not want to celebrate him on the day he passed (December 13, 2018), I want to celebrate him on the day that this world was lucky enough to have him join it!

As  we discussed in the 8-week Spousal Loss Grief Support group I attended in early 2019, when your life partner dies your immediate focus is on that person’s death and the tremendous loss in your life.

However that person had a whole entire life before their death, and in the support group we spent time focused on their life and what our lives with them meant to us.

TTQH was an incredible person and my best friend life partner. We had so much fun together and so many wonderful adventures. In the immediate wake of the loss, all I could see was the loss. Now, nearly a year later, I can step back and look at what an absolutely blessed and amazing life I was lucky enough to have for more than 1/2 my life with him.

And in 2014 he joined me in my quilting hobby and created 10+ quilts (and helped with many more) that brought a lot of joy to people. He gave the first quilt he made to his mother (who passed a year before him, December 2017). He even exhibited several quilts at the Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show in the Man Made Exhibit and sold two quilts!

Speaking of adventures – how lucky I was to have a life partner who loved going to quilt shops with me (and selecting his own huge collection of dog themed or fishing themed fabrics) and shared what was important to me – quilting. He looked forward every year to the April Central Oregon Quilt Shop Hop (he won a sewing machine one year at shop hop!) and to see if he could outdo me in fabric purchasing!

Here he is wandering around a quilt shop on his own, with our dog Mike in tow:

2018-05-16_16-17-56_002.jpegSo today I celebrate him!

Happy Birthday TTQH and thank you for the amazing life I shared with you.

To close out this post, let me share a poem by Henry Scott-Holland that I stumbled upon that made me cry and smile simultaneously.

Death Is Nothing At All

Death is nothing at all.
It does not count.
I have only slipped away into the next room.
Nothing has happened.

Everything remains exactly as it was.
I am I, and you are you,
and the old life that we lived so fondly together is untouched, unchanged.
Whatever we were to each other, that we are still.

Call me by the old familiar name.
Speak of me in the easy way which you always used.
Put no difference into your tone.
Wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow.

Laugh as we always laughed at the little jokes that we enjoyed together.
Play, smile, think of me, pray for me.
Let my name be ever the household word that it always was.
Let it be spoken without an effort, without the ghost of a shadow upon it.

Life means all that it ever meant.
It is the same as it ever was.
There is absolute and unbroken continuity.
What is this death but a negligible accident?

Why should I be out of mind because I am out of sight?
I am but waiting for you, for an interval,
somewhere very near,
just round the corner.

All is well.
Nothing is hurt; nothing is lost.
One brief moment and all will be as it was before.
How we shall laugh at the trouble of parting when we meet again!

A Crafter's Life, Quilt Shop Tours

The Fabric Incident

Recently, I’ve been traveling a lot. I’ve become very familiar with the Denver International Airport (DIA). This post is about one of those recent travels and how I got into trouble at a fabric shop that had a ridiculously low price on Moda Grunge.

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Mid-November I traveled to Washington State to visit two of my “Quilting SistersJudy and Dana. You may remember their names from previous posts including two recent posts (The Tale of Three Tulas, Part I and The Tale of Three Tulas, Part II).

We had a little quilting retreat at Dana’s house and you know when you get a group of quilters together for a long weekend, the chances are high that there will be an outing to a quilt shop or two…

There are NUMEROUS quilt shops in Washington State, so we visited a curated collection of beloved shops selected by Judy and Dana.

The first shop we visited, Calico Creations in Mount Vernon, Washington, did not allow photos inside their shop, so the only photo I have to share is of the outside.

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It was a lovely shop but I was well behaved in that shop.

The next shop we visited, Gossypium Quilt Shop in Issaquah, WA. They were photo friendly and the interior was beautiful and inviting.

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I bought a couple yards of fabric there and felt proud of how little damage I’d done to my pocketbook.

But then they took me to Annie’s Quilt Shoppe in Shelton, Washington!

Annie’s Quilt Shoppe is home of the $7.99 a yard fabric deals. High quality, major fabric brands at $7.99 a yard (that’s U.S. dollars and for my readers outside the U.S. if you check the conversion to your currency and yards to meters/metres, I think you will all join me in a communal “Wow!”).

I have a secret weakness for Moda Fabrics’ “Grunge” line of fabrics and when I spotted an extensive offering of Grunge fabrics in an extensive palette, I lost my mind and started pulling bolts for cutting.

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Hopefully you can see from the photos above that the Grunge line of fabrics are beautiful  textured solids. They are printed in Japan and come in 200+ amazing colors, textures, and shadings (according to The Fat Quarter Shop).

We had a delightful time with the store owners as they tag teamed cutting my huge pile of fabric. Here I am with my Quilting Sisters Dana and Judy with the delightful shop owners in the background (who were happy for the large sale but likely quite exhausted from cutting all that yardage):

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Forty-five (45) 1 -2 yard cuts later, my pocketbook was damaged but my dream was realized – to have an extensive collection of Moda Grunge fabrics!

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I wasn’t the only one who went a little crazy with the $7.99 a yard fabric offerings. For example, my friend Dana bought yardage from this beautiful selection of fabrics:

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When I got home I had to make room in new fabric storage area for them. Initially I though I could fit them all in one cubby of my IKEA cubby bookcase:

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Alas, they needed two cubbies but I did add in any other Grunge fabric I had already in my collection. In front of the Grunge, I placed my beloved Marcia Derse yardage (see post Fabric Fangirl Frenzy).

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We did not spend our entire long weekend together just shopping, we also spent time sewing together (actually I brought knitting), having wonderful meals, and catching up. Long weekends with good friends are wonderful for the spirit!


Postscript

So you might be thinking: “Okay Tierney, that is a lot of fabric shopping, where are your recent posts about making things with fabric?!?!”

Well I have not posted about my current quilting project because it is emotionally difficult. I am finishing up the last quilt my husband who unexpectedly died last December, started; and it is a gift for one of his family members. But once it is complete and that person receives their gift, I will blog about it.

I do have a follow up to my previous post The (Ridiculously Large) Library Stack.

Even more library books came in! So my stack got even larger! It would have been unwieldy to add the additional books to the stack for a photo, so here is a photo of those additional books on their own:

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Believe it or not, I’ve made a significant dent in my very large pile of library books. Lots of pots of tea and early mornings browsing through the wonderful books!

The Library Stack

The (Ridiculously Large) Library Stack

Hmmm…

I might have overdone it this time with my public library stack:

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Last time I had an entry my ongoing series, The Library Stack, sharing my stack of borrowed books from my local public library was May 2019, 6 months ago.

As I shared in my August 19th post, Morning Walk in Black and White, this summer I moved from my apartment to a house sharing situation – 35 miles away but still in the greater Denver metropolitan area.

When I moved, I had to change libraries as I moved to a new county. I really liked my public library in the first area of Denver, Colorado in which I lived (see post New Library in My Life!) and I was bummed to leave the sweet little library I could walk to.

My current library at my new housing situation is not too bad (and I can walk to it), the only thing is they do not have a good selection of crafting or home decor books (two of my favorite genres to borrow from the library).

However I discovered their online interlibrary loan system across the entire Denver metro area (numerous counties) and BAM – I now have access to lots of great titles.

Unfortunately I went a little “online-borrowing-request-crazy” and put too many books on hold at the same time through the online interlibrary loan system.

And they all came in at once…

Here is the new stack of the interlibrary loan books (they were quite the cumbersome stack to carry out of the library after check out):

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And here is the existing stack I already had at the house of library books:

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So when you combine them together you get this: The Ridiculously Large Library Stack!

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I was not even sure when to store all 18 books I have out on library loan.

Storing them in the sitting/reading room seemed like the best idea:

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Library books everywhere!

This morning I attacked the stack over breakfast…

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Lesson learned – I will not be so enthusiastic in reserving a large number online interlibrary book loans at once!

(Or I could just quit my job and read library books for a living…)

Life in B&W

Life in B&W: El Paso, Tx and Mesilla, NM

Continuing my series of posts Life in B&W, I thought I’d share images from a trip to El Paso, Texas and a day trip to Mesilla, New Mexico with old friends. In El Paso we stayed downtown at a lovely hotel called Hotel Indigo.

Let’s consider this post a “photo essay” and I will just share the images without a lot of text.

El Paso, Texas

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Mesilla, New Mexico

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Yes I have a thing for doorways and windows in B&W.  The last photo is one of my favorites – I love the contrast of the white adobe structure to the wooden door.


Postscript

Only in El Paso…

Why drive to Starbucks when you can take your horse? Yes this is downtown El Paso, Texas.

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A Crafter's Life

The Ball of Yarn (which eventually became a hat)

Did you ever need or want to finish a craft project but the project itself had a great emotional weight?

Such is the case with a ball of variegated turquoise yarn in my yarn stash.

Last year near this time I was on a trip with friends to Santa Fe, New Mexico (see posts Santa Fe in Black and White and Creative Inspiration: Georgia O’Keeffe Museum). Sante Fe has many wonderful shops and we did a little winter hat shopping in the shops for my friend Michele who was looking for the perfect turquoise hat to compliment her turquoise winter coat.

After trying on several hats in several shops that did not work, I offered to knit her a hat using turquoise yarn.

When I returned to my home in Central Oregon, my late husband Terry and I went shopping for the perfect yarn and we found it – variegated turquoise yarn.

Terry was taking a break from making quilts and was just enjoying being my “crafting assistant” so he rolled the skein of yarn into a ball to make my hat knitting easier.

This was one of the last crafting things he worked on before he unexpectedly and suddenly died on 12/13/18.

So I had this ball of yarn, that he had wound into a ball.

I could barely touch it much less even think of knitting that hat.

However, as I’ve discovered during my first year journey of widowhood: crafting and making things are good for your spirit. Sometimes it seems like doing something with my hands is healing to my heart.

I began working on the hat in late Winter 2019 as I prepared for my move to Colorado (see series of posts Colorado Bound) to begin a new life adventure.

But it was difficult to work on and I put it away. Every time I picked up the ball of yarn I could picture Terry sitting on the sofa across from me rolling the ball of yarn, watching a TV show with me, and laughing. Some days I still cannot believe my beautiful life with him suddenly ended.

In early October on an unexpectedly snowy day in Denver, I realized that “Winter is Coming” and if my friend Michele was to have that turquoise hat for this winter, I needed to work on it.

And so I did.

Here is my favorite part of knitting a hat – when you switch to the double pointed needles:

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Here is the completed hat:

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And here is my lovely friend Michele in her new hat (which I gave her this weekend):

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I feel very peaceful after completing the hat. Terry was also a friend of Michele’s and he would be very pleased to see the hat completed. His work rolling the ball of yarn was not wasted!


Postscript

To close out this post, here is another inspirational sign from the collection of signs sprinkled about the restaurant I mentioned in yesterday’s post’s Postscript section:

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A Crafter's Life

A Lovely Surprise in the Mail

One of my blogging buddies, Sandra McCall of sandramccall.com sent me a lovely and thoughtful surprise in the mail earlier this week!

Sandra (Sandy) is a published craft book author (check out examples of some of her books on this link – amazon.com) and has a wonderful website/blog filled with home decorating, crafting and cooking ideas – sandramccall.com.

I forgot how I originally discovered her blog but I’ve especially enjoyed her posts on dollhouse miniatures such as this one: Dollhouse Closet,Fabric and RUGS!

I’ve always been fascinated by dollhouses and miniatures and it is amazing what she makes on a small scale!

The lovely and thoughtful surprise I received from Sandy earlier this week was a stack of some of her books (and a couple bonus books by other authors) and a handmade wrap bracelet!

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I’m really enjoying the bracelet, I’ve been wearing it everywhere!

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Postscript

I continue to explore Denver, my home of now of nearly 8 months. This weekend I had lunch at the JUST BE KITCHEN in the South Platte River front area.

Sprinkled about the restaurant was awesome inspirational signs and I wanted to share two of my favorites (the latter one was in the restroom):

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