Spiritual Quilting – Sherri Lynn Wood at QTM 2017

Continuing my series of posts on the Quilters Take Manhattan (QTM) 2017 event I recently attended that began with the Sunday 09/17/17 post The “Dance Partner” – Michael Cummings at QTM 2017.

I could not decide whether to title this post “Spiritual Quilting”, “Quilting for the Spirit”, “Soul Quilting”, or “Quilting for the Soul” related to sharing highlights of Sherri Lynn Wood’s presentation at the QTM 2017.

Sherri Lynn Wood, author of The Improv Handbook for Modern Quilters: A Guide to Creating, Quilting, and Living Courageously (2015) is not only an improvisational quilter but is also a former Divinity School student who I feel now practices a Ministry of Healing through Textile Arts. 

You might be familiar with Sherri Lynn Wood if you follow her blog, dainty time.net and/or if belong to her Facebook group The Improv Handbook For Modern Quilters. Here is Sherri at QTM 2017 in front of one of her iconic pieces; as well as her signing copies of her Improv Handbook:

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Here is another one of her iconic improvisational quilts:

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You might also be familiar with the Artist in Residence (AIR) residency she had a Recology in San Francisco where she and a group of other artists were given free reign of materials from a city’s dump to create art for a Modern Art exhibit of recycled art. Ms. Wood presented an excellent presentation on her Recology Residency and the amazing pieces of textile art she made from discarded items. Ms. Wood stated she even found a sewing machine, sewing supplies, thread, materials for batting, etc. in the city dump to use to create her art!

Below is an example of one of those pieces she had on display at QTM – a quilt made from discarded military uniform pants, using the length and lines of the pants as part of her quilt design.

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What you might not know about Sherri Lynn Wood, is that she has what I would consider a “Quilting Ministry” and part of that ministry is her Passage Quilting program where she helps individuals deal with grief and loss through creating a quilt (even if they have never quilted before) made from clothes of the deceased.

Ms. Wood shared this heart wrenching, amazing and beautiful story of a young woman who lost her fiancé due to a sudden tragedy. A short time after that loss, Ms. Wood helped this woman to make a Passage Quilt from her fiancé’s favorite clothing. It was an incredibly difficult process but the woman stated it had a tremendous impact on having her work through her grief. Ms. Wood had on display at QTM one of the Passage Quilts:

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She also has a project where she works with individuals and families who have lost a loved one in combat/while serving in the military to sew a coffin onto a remembrance quilt as part of their healing process. She shared several powerful stories and images of families who lost their military family members sewing together as part of their healing. Below is one of these quilts:

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She also works with communities to create community quilts where anyone no matter what level of sewing skill can participate.

The general themes of her presentation were:

  • Building community through craft
  • Honoring the earth through working with recycled materials; and by creating art from the discarded
  • Healing and grief work through tactile textile experiences

I was already a “super-fan” of Sherri Lynn Wood before meeting her and I have read Improv Handbook for Modern Quilters: A Guide to Creating, Quilting, and Living Courageously from cover to cover. I was deeply touched by Ms. Wood’s presentation (tears filled my eyes at times) – my spirit and my soul felt stirred and moved by her stories and images.

This is the reason for the title to this post – “Spiritual Quilting”. I am not referring to religious or a specific faith-based quilting. I am thinking of quilting, fabric, textiles, as a medium for hope, healing and community. For me, these are part of the foundation of spirituality.


Postscript

I did have my “fan-girl” moment and upon arriving at the QTM conference center in the morning and spotting Sherri Lynn Wood setting up her quilts for display, I thanked her for her wonderful book, the inspiration, and gave her a little wallet I had made from scraps specifically for her:

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Speaking of “fan-girl” moments for me at QTM 2017, I got a chance to meet in person Dr. Carolyn L. Mazloomi, founder of the Women of Color Quilting Network (WCQN) . I of course made her a special little wallet too, just tiny tokens for great women who inspire me! Her little wallet was inspired by her incredible Black & White art quilts!

 

More on that in my next post and at some point I will share my experience going on a behind the scenes tour of the Antonio Ratti Textile Center at the Metropolitan Museum of Art; seeing one of my blogging buddies pieces at QTM 2017 (Mary P. of Zippy Quilts!) and meeting a fellow blogging buddy of Mary’s at the event; and more (I have a lot to share but I not mapped out the organization of this series of posts, ha!)

(Plus I will share a valuable lesson of how you should not try to cram too much into one weekend…I am currently recovering from a wicked cold!)

 


Feature photo credit: Nadia Szopińska, free images.com

 

The “Dance Partner” – Michael Cummings at QTM 2017

Sitting in an airport waiting for a flight seems like the perfect time to write a blog post.

I am flying back home to Central Oregon, to the other side of the country from where I have spent the past four days – New York, New York (aka NYC). I spent time with my family who lives on the East Coast and joined me in NewYork; I attended the Quilt Alliance’s 2017 Quilters Take Manhattan (QTM) event, which featured speakers Sherri Lynn Wood, Merikay Waldvogel, and Michael A. Cummings, interviewed by Dr. Carolyn L. Mazloomi; and I went on a behind the scenes tour of the Antonio Ratti Textile Center at the Metropolitan Museum of Art!

It was quite the four-day weekend (I am planning a series of blog posts to share various snippets from this inspirational weekend) and what is currently resonating in my mind (and my heart) is the inspirational interview Dr. Carolyn Mazloomi held with the NYC based art quilter, Michael A. Cummings.

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Mr. Cummings and Dr. Mazloomi in front of one his incredible pieces from his African Jazz series – African Jazz #10

The Dance Partner

During the interview, Mr. Cummings referred to his sewing machine as his “dance partner”.

The first time he mentioned this my heart smiled (I felt it in my chest!). What an exquisite and beautiful way to refer to one of the primary tools an art or traditional quilter’s uses to express their creativity.

Mr. Cummings stated he has been using the same sewing machine for 40+ years and if I remember correctly, it is just a standard department store sewing machine. Colleagues have suggested he upgrade to an industrial or more modern sewing machine, but he stays faithful to his “dance partner”.

Mr. Cummings and his “dance partner” tell stories through his art. He shared during the interview that he has been influenced by cinema and music to include musical storytellers such as Bob Dylan.

Here are some examples, on display during the Quilters Take Manhattan Event of the incredible dances that Mr. Cummings and his dance partner have performed (please check out his website michaelcummings.com for his official portfolio – he has exhibited his art quilts and sold works to public institutions and private collectors around the world and has work in the permanent Smithsonian Folk Art collection):

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These are very large quilts and Dr. Mazloomi (a longtime friend and colleague of Mr. Cummings) states that most of his pieces are around 8 x 9 feet. All of this huge quilts are pieced, appliquéd, and machine quilted on his 40+ year old “dance parter”.

Lesson: You do not need a fancy new sewing machine to create incredible art. You just need to have story to tell and a creative mind to translate that story in fabric!

Mr. Cummings had a bounty of inspirational answers to Dr. Mazloomi’s questions. Some other inspirational answers he provided included:

  • When asked when does he know a quilt is done, Mr.Cummings responded “I let the quilt tell me when it is done” (paraphrased).
  • Mr. Cummings shared that for years he worked full-time for the Department of Cultural Affairs for New York City and made himself find time every evening after work to work on his art quilts. At times he wanted to do something else in the evenings (relax after work, attend social events, etc.) but he knew that if he truly wanted to be an art quilter he would have to sacrifice and “do the work”.

Postscript

To say I was creatively inspired after the interview, would be an understatement.

I feel like I am ready to go home and continue working on my Stories My Father Told Me Series (see post Creative Inspiration: Stories My Father Told Me).

Sorry little wallets (Little Wallet Madness) it’s time to return to art quilting and tell some stories – I am ready to dance with my partner!

Well it is time to go get on my plane and return to quiet Central Oregon (quite different from NYC in so many ways) but I have much more to share in future posts from my trip and this incredible weekend!


Feature image (cropped) credit: Yan Moura, freeimages.com

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The Napkin Story

From the tierneycreates archives – I am getting ready to meet up with my sister in NYC (I am attending the Quilters Take Manhattan event) and I was thinking of the many times that she inspired me to chill out more in life!

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In my previous post Farm Girl Vintage, Part III I mentioned my past challenges with nearly OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder) level of desire for order and neatness in my life.

When we lived in Seattle, WA I used to entertain, a lot. Game nights, holiday get-togethers at my house, random dinner parties, birthday party hosting, baby shower hosting, work parties, etc., etc. I was very social – and if I was not throwing party, I was attending a party or going to some event. Notice, I mentioned that “I” was very social, as I learned years later, Terry the Quilting Husband was only playing along, he would have preferred more quiet time at home with me and the dogs. (There is the Thanksgiving he always teases me about – when we out of obligation, courtesy and my desire, attended 3 – 4 Thanksgiving celebrations at various friends’ homes all…

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Limitless Library Love

(In addition to worrying about those in Texas and Florida) Today my thoughts are focused on just how much I love my local public library. This is not just a fleeting infatuation, I am talking about a deep bibliophilic obsessed kind of love!

If you’ve followed my blog for a while, you have likely figured this out, especially with ongoing series such as The Library Stack featuring my latest stack of tomes on loan from my beloved library. However in addition to realizing how deeply in love I am with my local public library, I realize just how much money and space accessing my library has saved me.

Tierney the “Collector”

As my friend Michele has told me, “You are a Collector”. I am actually a reformed “collector”.

Years ago I became interested in Special Edition Barbie dolls. I did not just buy a couple, I bought a ridiculous amount. The same thing happened with collectible stuffed rabbits. I could not just have a couple, I appeared to need them all.

When I tapered down my need to collect Barbies or Bunnies, I transferred my need to collect to craft books and crafting magazines (and occasionally home decorating books and magazines).

As I incorporated Minimalism into my life (see series of posts under My Minimalism Journey) I began to honestly evaluate the clutter in my life, including whether I needed to own and continue to bring into my home that many crafting books and magazines.

I still love looking at new craft books (I get a little “makers-high” from leafing through a craft book for the first time) and I did not want to give up the pleasure of a new craft book and a pot of tea in my cozy reading spot.

The public library was the solution! I realized I did not need to own every craft book I am attracted to – I could just borrow it, enjoy it and return it. I can even take it out again to look at a couple months later if I like – it will be there waiting for me…AND it will not take up space in my bookshelf or cost money out of my wallet!

More Than Just Books

It began with borrowing books and then I discovered many other wonderful benefits as a library card holder:

  • Borrowing audiobooks that I can listen to on my smartphone
  • Magazines for my iPad for free (to include American Patchwork & Quilting Magazine and many popular home decorating magazines)
  • Free music downloads (I can download 5 songs a week…well 10 using my husband’s library card too from a huge selection of music)
  • Movies for my DVD player – we do not go out to movies very often – we just borrow them from the library (and I have learned secret tricks to be first in line on new releases at the library!)
  • Online movies – although I do have Netflix so I do not use this feature very often, our library has its own version on Netflix with older movies and TV shows.
  • Novel Idea – the whole town reads the same book once a year (a community wide book group) and then there are special programs in the Spring with the author coming to town to speak about their book!

In addition to all this there is so much more like the Author! Author! Literary Series where big name authors come to town and speak!

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Image credit: Deschutes Public Library

Okay, soon I will stop running on and on about my beloved library. But would you mind, I share some recent reads and listens? (or you can skip to the Postscript section if you have grown tired my library related ramblings and you are now ready for some crafting project related news…)

Recent Borrowings

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Last week I posted on my current library stack but I have since moved on to a new (and smaller stack). As you can see I was enjoying feeding the flames of my small and tiny house obsession. These three books are a delightful pot-of-tea-drinking, book-flipping, daydreaming experience.

My obsession is not as bad as it used to be (I used to incessantly watch tiny house related TV shows and tiny house tour videos on YouTube) but I am still fascinated by them. I also enjoy “RV porn” and love to watch videos of RV walkthrough tours. I like the idea of small compact and cozy space. It is also a space which is more difficult to clutter with stuff, and I like that idea of space imposed curation!

I recently finished several excellent library borrowed fiction audiobooks:

  • Michael Chabon’s novel Moonglow. I read a great interview with him in Poets&Writers magazine last year. When I saw he is coming to Central Oregon this fall on the Author!Author! literary tour, I thought it was time to actually read one of his books and see what all the hype was about!

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I now understand what all the hype is about this author – his sentences are so beautifully and richly crafted and his ability to tell a story is impressive. Here is my review of the book I posted on Goodreads and on Amazon.com:

I was fortunate to listen to the audiobook version of this novel which was flawlessly and excellently narrated.

The book is a memoir masterpiece, telling the fascinating story of his maternal grandfather’s life as told by his grandfather to the author as he was terminally ill. The author also weaves in poignant moment from his own life and his mother’s life with his grandfather’s (and grandmother’s story). The first hand accounts of his grandfather’s experiences in Europe during WWII are amazing and powerful. They are not battle scenes but focus on the lives of a small village experiencing WWII. The book covers a span of time from around the 1920s to 1980s.

Mr. Chabon’s writing is spectacular and I see what all the hype is about surrounding this author. I read/listened to the book because he is coming to our town to speak on a literary tour and before hearing him speak I wanted to read one of his book. He is a very gifted writer, his use of language and the crafting of a sentence are amazing. I think he might be one of the great writers of our current generation.

  • I also recently finished a spectacular science fiction trilogy by Cixin Liu – The Three-Body Problem (winner of the Hugo award), The Dark Forest, and Death’s End. I was fortunate enough to listen to them all on audiobook. And here is the really cool thing – my library did not have an audiobook copy of the second (The Dark Forest) or the third book (Death’s End) in the trilogy. So I suggested them for purchase using the special online form my library has – and THEY ORDERED THEM!

Cixin Liu is a big name in Chinese science fiction and the cultural differences are evidence in his books but they only add to the story. The science part of the “science fiction” is amazing and detailed yet accessible. So far it is one of my favorite Science Fiction trilogies of all time, rivaling Orson Scott Card’s Ender’s Game Trilogy and Arthur C. Clarke’s Rama trilogy (previously my two favorites).

Let me close out my ramblings about my awesome public library with this quote:

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Postscript

Sending My Heart Out

First before I share what I have been up to crafting-wise lately, let me just say my hearts go out to the people of Houston, Texas and the surrounding areas. We lived in Houston for 9 years from 1988 – 1997 and many of the flooded areas shown on the news (Terry the Quilting Husband has been watching The Weather Channel non-stop) are quite familiar to us.

My heart also goes out to those in the tropical islands and to states such as Florida in the path of Hurricane Irma. I cannot imagine the stress and fear going on in Florida right now knowing what Hurricane Harvey did to Texas.

Current Crafting – Little Wallet Obsession

I will have a future post with more details and perhaps a “little wallet photoshoot” on all the different combinations, but I have made 40+ little wallets since starting last week.

I am trying to make a dent in my fabric scrap collection:

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Here are some in progress (I am having so much fun with color and pattern combinations):

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And here is a basket of the first 37 completed (by the time of this photo):

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My next post will feature all the little wallets I have completed, so you can see some of the fun color and pattern combinations. I did make a bit of a dent in my fabric scraps and I’ve made many little functional items with those scraps.

I bought way too many business cards and I have a business card tucked away in each little wallet to demonstrate how the little wallet could be used.

Recently gave one of the little wallets as part of a retirement gift (it held a gift card) and I think the little wallet was more popular with the recipient than the gift card!

I might do a future little wallet blog giveaway to celebrate my 4th year of blogging (and that fellow humans actually keep reading my blog, ha!)  – stay tuned!


Feature image photo credit: Deschutes Public Library

Deschutes County Fair

A couple weekends ago we went to the Deschutes County Fair (Deschutes County Fair & Rodeo) and this is a belated post to share some photos from the Fair.

The Deschutes County Fair is allegedly (according to their website) Oregon’s largest county fair and rodeo. We have attended a couple of times, and honestly we are always a little underwhelmed.

This could because we used to live in Seattle, WA and each year would go to the more impressive Pullayup Fair (Washington State Fair) or because we used to live in Houston, TX and would attend the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo.  So perhaps the bar was set a little high on what we expect from a Fair/Livestock Show/Rodeo.

Lured by the Promise of “Carnival Eats”

We would have passed on the Deschutes County Fair this year, but Terry the Quilting Husband (TTQH) got hooked on a show on the Cooking Channel called Carnival Eats.

Basically Carnival Eats is an extreme “food porn” show featuring the NAUGHTIEST fair/carnival food ever (we are talking bacon burgers stuffed with cheese set in a glazed Krispy Kreme donut bun) around the country. Some of the carnival food shown on the show makes you gasp and you imagine if you had one glorious bite you would just immediately drop dead of a heart attack from an extreme coronary blockage by fat. But you would die with a smile on your face!

TTQH and I in general eat fairly healthy but after binge watching a couple of the show with Terry, I thought it would be fun this year to go to the Deschutes County Fair and have one very naughty carnival food experience.

Alas, there was only the standard Fair/Carnival food at the Deschutes Country Fair (corn dogs, friend twinkies, elephant ears). Below is a photo of the most exciting offering they had, and we passed on it, It was just not naughty enough to spend the calories on:

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Wandering Around the Fair

Our coronary arteries probably thanked us, but we gave up on hopes of any naughty food experiences, grabbed a lemonade and wandered around the Fair. Here are some photos from the day.

The Livestock

The livestock was owned/managed by the adorable 4H and FFA (Future Farmers of America) kids. One kids asked me if I wanted to meet her goat,  how could I refuse?

The 4H or FFA kids had posted The Six Pillars of Character:

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The Quilts

What would a county fair be without the craft section? First here is a sampling of some the quilts:

And they had a room in which you could watch women hand quilt in various modified versions of quilting circles!

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The Fiber Arts

The also had knitting and weaving displays and juried winners:

The Rides (that there was no way in heck I was going on)

In case the signs were not enough to keep me away:

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Then the rides themselves accomplished that objective:

Yes, I am a wimp, and proud of it! (smile)

Leaving the Fair

Upon leaving the fair, I asked TTQH if he was less likely to eat meat after meeting all those farm animals. He replied: “That was very cute bacon and if I knew it’s name I would personally thank it while having breakfast”.

No vegetarianism in TTQH’s future!


Postscript

Returning to what originally drew us to the fair – the promise of naughty fair food, I looked around the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo’s website and discovered they had a list of their Fair Food – 2017 Carnival Food

Now, look at these delicacies we did not have access to at the Deschutes County Fair:

  • Flaming Hot Cheetos Roaster Corn & Flaming Hot Cheetos Corn in Cup
  • Nutella Funnel Cake & Oreo Churros with filling
  • Flaming Hot Cheetos Pizza
  • Deep Fried Tim Tams & Deep Fried Chocolate Covered Marshmallows
  • Bacon Nutella Pickle, Pickled Cheese-on-a-Stick, & Shrimp and Pickle Basket
  • Pork Chop-on-a-stick, Loaded Baked Potato Bites & Deep Fried Nachos

So right now your mouth is either watering or your stomach is turning!

We ended up having a nice late lunch after the fair at a local brewery.

The Expenditure Tracking Experiment

I am still working on piecing together Cozy Cobblestones that I discussed in my previous post. The “Picnic Setting” is no picnic, and has several “Y” seams and must be pieced in a methodical way (or you are screwed!) Hopefully the next post will be to share my completed quilt top (unless I decided to throw in a post about our visit to the Deschutes County Fair a couple weekends ago…)

This post I wanted to share an interesting experiment I have committed to doing for a year and wondered if any of you have ever tried something like this – I am tracking ALL my expenditures for 1 year. Everything, even if I buy a $2 ice cream cone, etc.

I created a spreadsheet at the end of 2016, broken into as many categories as I could think of (though I had to keep adding categories as the year progressed) and starting January 1, 2017, I began recording anything I spent money on – from food to utilities.

Here is a screenshot of a section of my spreadsheet to date:

Screen Shot 2017-08-19 at 12.24.23 PM.pngOne of the most enlightening (actually shocking) things, was how much we spend on food (and there are only two humans in the household)!  Not to mention how many trips to the grocery store (and several different grocery stores) we make each month.

For example in July 2017, we went to one grocery store EIGHT (8) times! I am starting to wonder if my hobby is not quilting/crafting, but actually going to grocery stores! I wince at the $1.38 purchase listed above – whatever that was, why didn’t I get it during the grocery store visit in the $52.90 purchase above?

Well making a change can only come after gaining awareness that a change is needed. I thought I was a very thrifty “demi-minimalist” but my spreadsheet says I am an out of control food hoarder!

Besides the shocking amount of grocery store spending/visits I have made so far this year, I have learned a lot of valuable stuff about our spending habits and several positive changes have been made. Also it has become a game, where I will not buy something that I do not really need because I want to see if I can get the current month’s expenditures lower than the others.

One more cool thing about this (sometimes painful) spreadsheet, is I have a tool to use to discuss with Terry the Quilting Husband strategies to manages our expenses. We discussed the disaster that was July 2017 and made a conscious effort to keep the August grocery expenses under control!

I would love to hear if any of you have tried something like this.

Well that’s all for now, I got to go head out to the grocery store and pick something up 😉


Feature image photo credit: Sufi Nawaz, free images.com

 

 

The Photoshoot Shed: Please Give Me Your Ideas

Looking at the feature photo for this post you are likely thinking: “Wow Tierney, you have truly run out of things to talk about on your blog. You are now talking about backyard sheds?!?!?”

No, this is actually crafting/quilting related post. Quilt photography related as a matter of fact.

I would love your thoughts/ideas on the best way to make the rear of my new 8′ x 10′ backyard shed work for photographing textile art.

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But first, let me share some background.

I am a recovering terrible photographer. My photography skills only approved over the past couple of years because they had to – if I ever wanted to have a sale on my tierneycreates Etsy shop I had to learn to take clear and alluring photos.

My Etsy shop is now closed but it was a great way to force me to become a better photographer.

In order to become a better…well okay, to become a less-terrible photographer, I had to learn some basic photography techniques. One of the first things I learned was the power of using natural light and the concept of “The Golden Hour”.

The Golden Hour and Soft Diffused Light

Here is a wonderful description of “The Golden Hour” from photographymad.com:

The golden hour, sometimes called the “magic hour”, is roughly the first hour of light after sunrise, and the last hour of light before sunset, although the exact duration varies between seasons. During these times the sun is low in the sky, producing a soft, diffused light which is much more flattering than the harsh midday sun that so many of us are used to shooting in. 

This type of light produces less contrast, reducing the chances of losing parts of your subject in strong shadows or blown-out highlights. The warm glow adds a pleasing feel to the scene, and the long shadows help to pick out details, adding texture and depth to the image.

As an added benefit, there are generally fewer people around at dawn and dusk than there are at other times of the day, giving you a chance to capture your images in relative peace.

The Golden Hour was wonderful for photographing the handmade miniature kimonos I used to sell on my tierneycreates Etsy shop. I also discovered it was wonderful for photographing quilts. The mid-day sun occasionally works for some large quilts but for art quilts, they seem to photograph better in diffuse light.

APQS, long-arm quilt machine manufacturer, has an article on their website, apqs.com, on How to Photograph Your Quilt which states:

If you are taking your quilts photo outside, keep in mind that stark daylight isn’t a great idea as it creates strong shadows and it is just too harsh. Filtered light, like dappled light through a tree’s leaves or even the light found during a cloudy day is softer. This type of light will help you capture your quilt’s beauty more easily.

Whether it is “The Golden Hour” or mid-day with dappled light, my handmade items always appear to photograph better in natural light instead of indoor artificial light.

So when our backyard Costco resin/Rubbermaid Shed’s roof caved in from all the intense Central Oregon snowfall this past Winter and was recently replaced with a real wood built-on-site shed, I knew this was an opportunity to have a standard place outdoor place to photograph quilts.

Whether photographing quilts and quilted wallhanging for my former tierneycreates Etsy shop or photographing art quilts for show entires, I have discovered that I get better images if the quilt is hung/mounted vertically and I can photograph it from a standing position. Although I have relentlessly tried, I just cannot get a good quality photograph of a quilt when it is on the ground and I am standing over it.

I just have to figure out how to set up the back of the shed as a quilt photography area that allows me the flexibility to hang/mount quilts of different dimension for their photo shoot.

I would appreciate your ideas!


Postscript

Check out Sassy the Highly Opinionated Miniature Schnauzer’s latest Schnauzer Snips blog post – Schnauzer Quilt on a quilt I do not think I have shared before on my blog.

Oh, and in case you are curious, here is a photo of the front of the new backyard shed:

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Update on “A Chicken Named Tierney”

Several months ago I posted that a friend of mine named her baby hen chicks after her close female friends. This is an update to that post – A Chicken Named “Tierney”.

A month or so ago I took photos of teenage “Tierney the Chicken” and her brand new chicken coop; and recently I took photos of young adult “Tierney the Chicken”.

The Teen Years Weeks

Here is the deluxe coop she and her hen sisters live in. It has an inside section and a sunroom:

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Chicken Cooping in style

Here is teenage “Tierney the Chicken” and her sister “Gabrielle the Chicken”:

 

Here is “Tierney” and the other teenage hens getting a snack:

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My friend Marla, mother to all the young hens, has a photo in her house of what “Tierney the Chicken” will look like when she grows up and becomes an adult Dominique chicken:

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Young Adult “Tierney the Chicken”

“Tierney” is now a young adult and getting closer to her egg laying days. No eggs yet but my friend Marla thinks in the upcoming weeks she and her sister hens will lay their first eggs.

Here is a current photo of “Tierney” and her sister “Gabrielle” (and some other chicken “photo bombing” the shot, ha!):

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My friend Marla reports that “Tierney” is the friendliest of all the chickens. She runs towards you first when you come into the coop and she likes to snuggle:

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Chicken Cuddles

Truthfully I’ve never cared about chickens beyond enjoying the eggs they lay or an occasionally tasty chicken dinner. This is the first time I have ever seen a chicken snuggle! (Is it my fate to eventually become vegan now that I suspect most farm animals will snuggle?)

Maybe it is slightly weird my friend named one of her hens after me (and her other close female friends) but how many people get to say they have a chicken with their namesake!??!

I will close this post with a photo of the cool wind vane inside Marla’s backyard:

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The Wedding Gift Quilt

Ah, this is a blog about a Quilter’s Life.

Quilters allegedly make quilts.

So occasionally I should probably feature a quilt in one of my posts (smile).

We recently returned from a visit to Fort Worth, Texas for a wedding. Terry the Quilting Husband’s nephew got married to a lovely woman. I gave them a quilt as a wedding present.

I do not know what I was thinking, but I did not take the best photos of the actual quilt before shipping it off. So before you get to my photos, I want to show you the official image of the quilt by the quilt designer.

The pattern is called JOY and the pattern designer is Whirligig Designs. The finished quilt measures approximately 89″ x 106″.

The pattern photo:

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Photo credit: Stitch ‘N Time Fabrics

And now my photos…

I used batik fabrics similar to those used in the sample for the pattern photo. The quilt was quilted by Betty Anne Guadalupe. Unfortunately I did not take any photos with the details of the quilting (or any photos with decent image quality, ha).

The newlywed recipients are currently on their honeymoon and perhaps at a later date I will ask them to take a better photo of the quilt and send to me. I am a pretty sure they did not take the quilt on the honeymoon with them!

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I made a nice quilt label for the back of the quilt and emphasized that the name of the pattern is “JOY” and wished them much joy in their life together. I sort of miss the quilt but they seemed pretty happy about it (I shipped it to them before the wedding) so I hope the quilt has a happy life the lovely couple who received it!

My wonderful Sisters-in-laws and Mother-in-law, who are also quilters, helped finance the creation of and professional long-arm quilting of this quilt. I included their names in the label. I was “assigned” to be the one to make the wedding quilt for the newly wedded!


Postscript

Normally I travel with a medium or large backpack. I am not a formal suitcase kind of person and I like to travel as light as possible. However since I was going to a wedding and needed to bring dressier clothes and shoes, I had to pull out the traditional rolling suitcase.

My rolling suitcase is a black suitcase and looks like the zillion other suitcases traveling through airports. One of my Quilting Sisters (see posts Quilting Sisters, Part I and Quilting Sisters, Part II) Lisa, gave me an awesome luggage tag that made my standard plain black rolling suitcase stand out:

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My suitcase was easily to locate in the crowd…and I felt like a “Bad *ss” when I picked it off the luggage cart!

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The Road to Retreat (via Bus!)

The next series of posts will be about the annual quilt retreat I attended May 18 – 21 at Sew N Go in Vancouver, WA.


Each May I attend an annual quilt retreat in Vancouver, WA (outside of Portland, OR) with my “Quilting Sisters” from Washington, Oregon and California. I have shared my quilt retreat adventures in my series of post in the category Retreats which include my annual road trip experience getting to the quilting retreat.

This year I decided to do something different – take the bus, the Central Oregon Breeze from Central Oregon to Portland – to get to the retreat. It is approximately a 4 – 4.5 hour trip and totally worth the $95 roundtrip price!

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Photo credit: cobreeze.com

Yes by not driving I missed out on having “car buddies” (see 04/20/15 post “Road Trip“), but I traded that experience for a relaxing and productive trip to my retreat!

Listening to audiobooks and music, I worked on my English Paper Piecing (see series of posts Adventures in English Paper Piecing) and watched a pre-downloaded video on my iPad.

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My lap – making EPP rosettes on the road!

All while enjoying the beautiful scenery (well through UV coated window) of the drive from Central Oregon to Portland:

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The Central Oregon Breeze makes several stops for bathroom breaks to include one stop at a deluxe gas station convenience store. I wear a wrist pincushion when working on hand sewing projects while traveling. I forgot to take my pincushion off during one of the breaks so I looked pretty weird heading into the bathroom stop with pins/needles coming out of my wrist! Just some crazy quilter on the bus!

The bus has several stops for passengers and I got off at the Portland Airport (aka PDX). One of my quilt sisters picked me up from the airport and drove me to Vancouver, WA for the retreat at Sew N Go.

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Where Abbey the Quilt Retreat Kitty awaited to manage me for a couple days in place of Sassy the Highly Opinionated Miniature Schnauzer who stayed at home with Terry the Quilting Husband.

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I will take over managing you for the next 4 days

More on Abbey in a later post. If you would like to see previous photos of the Sew N Go Quilt Retreat in Vancover, WA check out this post – Sew N Go Retreat in Pictures.

Lots of photos and stories to come, hope you have a wonderful Saturday (yay it is the weekend!)


Postscript

Melancholy

My original plan was to start blogging about this year’s retreat last Monday after I returned from the retreat last Sunday. While the stories and experience were fresh.

However I had some struggle with a bout of melancholy. Initially over the sudden suicide of the musician Chris Cornell and then over the terrible tragedy in Manchester, UK.

I get so overwhelmed thinking about it but my heart completely goes out to the parents who lost their children at a concert in Manchester due to an unthinkable event.

As far as Chris Cornell, I was a huge fan of his music with the band Soundgarden and as solo act. We lived in Seattle, Washington during the tail end of the 90s Grunge music era. My husband Terry ran into several members of Pearl Jam hanging out in front of a house in the late 90s and said hi.

I ran into Chris Cornell at Cafe Minnie’s in the downtown Seattle area one day. He said hello and gave me a warm smile. He seemed down-to-earth. Luckily I remained calm an said hi back! I think it took awhile for the Seattle Grunge scene musicians to get used to their national and then international fame, and some did not do too well with it (Kurt Cobain, etc.)

Here is a link to great post by the blogger Rich Larson, thefirsttenwords, that sums up my shock and feelings about his suicide and provides an insight on why his sudden death is so rattling to those of us in Chris Cornell’s generation: It’s not what you think

Some Happier News

I discovered earlier this week that my collaborative piece with Betty Anne Guadalupe, Abandoned Water Structure,  which was purchased by the City of Seattle for their Portable Works Collection, is on display in a show in downtown Seattle (Seattle Municipal Tower Gallery, 700 Fifth Ave) called Your Body of Water, Part II. 

Check out this link from our collaborative website/blog, Improvisational Textiles for more on this story: Your Body of Water Exhibit, Seattle Municipal Tower Gallery. As you will see in the post, the exhibit’s curator with the City of Seattle’s Office of Arts & Culture was kind enough to e-mail me some photos of my piece hanging in the show.

Returning to a Wonderful Surprise!

I just returned from the 4-day annual May quilt retreat with my Washington, Oregon and California Quilt Sisters. The next series of blog posts will be about that retreat. When I walked in the house yesterday, suitcase laden with partially completed projects and some new fabric picked up during the retreat (oops), I had a package waiting.

Inside the package was my birthday gift from my Danish brother Torben (see 04/15/17 post The Library Stack and Hygge) from a quilt shop in his current country of residence, Austria!

The goodies inside included a “layer cake” (collection of 10″ precut coordinated fabric squares), information about the fabric line, information about the quilt shop, and other treats!

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The fabric line is Véro´s World by Gütermann and my wonderful Danish brother, picked up the fabric (and other goodies) at a quilt shop, Quilted, in Vienna.

Check out the link for the Quilted Quilt Shop website for a peek inside a Viennese quilt shop! Note – everything is in German on the website, but you can get a general feel for the website’s navigation if you do not speak/read German.

I have visited Torben a couple times in Denmark, but not in Austria. I guess since they have quilt shop, I will have to visit – ha!

In addition to the treats from the Austrian quilt shop, there was a birthday card in Danish (just to mess with my mind). Most of the words I recognize from absorbing Danish from 20 years of friendship.

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Just wanted to share my wonderful surprise, it was a nice way to return home from a wonderful relaxing 4-day quilt retreat (my next series of posts).


Postscript

Here is a card someone sent me years ago that I framed and keep on my studio wall. It is a good reminder when I get discouraged about the slow progress of my art quilting journey:

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I am still working on finding my “song”.


Feature photo credit: www.quilted.at

The Flags Outside My Window

Every morning I look out my kitchen window at a set of Tibetan-Prayer-like flags as I put on the kettle for my pot of tea.

These six (6) flags have Kanji (Japanese Chinese-inspired characters) symbols and an English language inspirational quote.

This morning I thought I would share with you the text the “flags outside my windows”  that I read to start my day. (Kanji character images from kanji-symbol.net).


HAPPINESS

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When one’s spiritual needs are met by an untroubled inner life. Happiness comes when your work and words are of benefit to yourself and others.


LOVE

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An inspired form of giving, love breathes life into the heart and brings grace to the soul.


COURAGE

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Not the absence of fear or despair, but the strength to conquer them.


WISDOM

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Knowledge, intuition and experience combine to guide us in thought and deed.


PEACE

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To bring peace to the Earth, strive to make your own life peaceful.


TRANQUILITY

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The peace that comes when energies are in harmony, relationships are in balance.

 

 

 


Looking at these flags is a grounding way for me to start each day.

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Vegan Split Pea Soup

Tierney! You are not a food blogger and this is not a cooking blog, what are you thinking with this post?

Well I wanted to share one of my favorite food recipes (and what I am having for lunch today)  – Split Pea Soup with Cumin & Orange from the 01/19/11 online issue of Portland Monthly.

I am not vegan, though I do enjoy vegan cooking – it feels so “clean and pure“. I love a thick hearty traditional split pea soup simmered with a ham bone with tender ham meat simmering in the soup. I also love this vegan version and find the flavor equally as satisfying!

In the link above from Portland Monthly you can find the original recipe, but below I will share my version of the recipe and photos:

Split Pea Soup with Cumin & Orange

Adapted from Portland Monthly onlineSplit Pea Soup with Cumin & Orange

Serves 6

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tbsp cumin seeds
  • ½ tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 large carrots, diced
  • 3 celery stalks, diced
  • 2 jalapeños, seeded and minced
  • 3 cups split peas, divided in half
  • 8 cups water
  • 2 tbsp orange zest, minced
  • Salt to taste
  • Your favorite hot sauce

COOKING DIRECTIONS:

(1) HEAT olive oil in a heavy saucepan on medium and add garlic, cumin, and black pepper. I have burned the garlic in the past, so I always make sure I do not overheat the olive oil before putting the garlic. cumin and pepper and then I stir them constantly on medium heat. 

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(2) SAUTÉ until garlic just begins to brown (about 5 minutes).

(3) ADD onion, carrot, celery, and jalapeños—stir well and cook until onions begin to soften (5–7 minutes). I also add the celery leaves and I always put in a little extra carrots and celery than the recipe calls for.

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(4) ADD water and half of the split peas, and bring to a simmer.  I do not add the water first, I add the split peas (1 1/2 cups/half of them) to the sautéed vegetables and sauté the peas a little in the vegetable/spice mix to add a little extra flavor to the dried pea. Then I add the water.

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Stirring occasionally, cook until peas are tender (about 45 minutes).

(5) ADD remaining split peas and orange zest and cook on a low simmer, uncovered, until all of the peas are tender (30–40 minutes), and season to taste with salt and pepper. I use my microplane to zest the skin of one orange. Usually what I will do is have an orange at breakfast and save the skins for orange zest. If you do not have a microplane (or you are terrified of this very sharp cooking instrument in which you can also zest off your skin, been there…) then you can just use a grater and lightly grate off the orange skin/zest (I know the culinary purists are cringing right now).

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After I add in the orange zest and remaining split peas, I also add a dash of hot sauce instead of just adding it as a garnish is step #6.

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(6) GARNISH with toasted cumin seeds, orange zest, and hot sauce.  I only garnish with a little extra hot sauce after serving into my bowl.

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This soup freezes beautifully and I think it makes more than 6 servings. I am a telecommuter so I am always trying to plan my lunches out ahead of time. I love just pulling out a serving of this soup in the morning to thaw before starting my workday.


Postscript

Being Stealth

I am getting ready to leave for the annual quilt retreat in the Vancouver, Washington area I go on with my quilt sisters from Washington, Oregon and California. Sassy, the Highly Opinionated Miniature Schnauzer, gets very stressed when one of her humans is leaving her sight/management for a while.

She becomes very anxious when she sees suitcases, so I am having to do stealth packing for the retreat. I pack a couple days early and keep them hidden (behind the sari curtain in my studio):

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Why yes, that is all I am bringing to a 4-day quilt retreat. I decided to just bring hand quilting projects. I did bring a small project I could use a borrowed sewing machine on if I suddenly become overwhelmed with the need to sit at a sewing machine.

Also I packed minimal coordinating clothes and figure I can repeat an outfit (if I start to smell, oh well, I am at a quilt retreat – ha!)

A Couple of Cool Blogs

I follow several non-crafting blogs and I wanted to share a couple very cool blogs I thought some of you might enjoy:

  • The Tiny Potager: Self Sufficiency and Sustainable Living – with a family of six – tinypotager.com – this blogger is out of the UK and posts wonderful photos of farming, farmlands, hikes, road trips, etc. I feel like I am on a relaxing virtual mini-holiday when I look at this blog.
  • I’ve Read This: Looking for something good to read? – ivereadthis.com – this blog is for people who love to read and love cats! The blogger posts adorable cat photos and great book reviews. The latest post is on a book called The Lion in the Living Room by Abigail Tucker; and has a great video on why cats love boxes!

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    Example of “kitty in a box”, my friend Wendy’s darling cat

A Chicken Named “Tierney”

Wishing you all a Happy Mothers Day whether you are raising/have raised little humans, or you care for furry creature! Check out my fur kid’s latest musings in her Schnauzer Snips blog.


How do you know you have really made it in life?

You know when a chicken has been named after you!

My friend Marla started raising hen chicks and she has named them after her close female friends and family members. She is raising several varieties and I have been honored with one of her Dominique Chickens being given my name.

Here is “Tierney” the Chicken:

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She and her husband began raising the chicks in their bathroom in a specially heated set up. Now the chickens are moved to a lovely outdoor coop her husband built (I hope to remember in the future to take a photo and share, maybe when little “Tierney” is all grown up). Here are a couple of photos of the chicks while they lived in the bathroom:

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So what do you feed chicks as snacks? Well you give them Happy Hen Treats: Mealworm Frenzy!

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It is both disgusting and hysterical. I think I will stick with dogs and dog biscuits, ha! I hope to remember to post another photo in the future when chick “Tierney” becomes full grown egg laying hen “Tierney”.


Postscript

One of the cool things about being a quilter is when many years later someone thanks you again for a quilt you made for them (that they have been enjoying for many years!).

Out of the blue I received a text from an old friend Colleen, thanking me for a quilt I made her 6 or so years ago after he husband passed. She sent me the photo below of the quilt, on her bed:

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What a wonderful treat it was to be reminded of this quilt and how much it meant to her!

Thoughts on Solitude

Recently I finished an audiobook, The Stranger in the Woods: The Extraordinary Story of the Last True Hermit by Michael Finkel (2017). This book tells the story of the North Pond Hermit (Christopher Knight) who lived alone in the Maine woods for 27 years.

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Photo credit: Amazon.com

Christopher Knight walked away from his life with the rest of humanity shortly after high school. He lived in isolation, in a hidden camp deep in the North Pond area of the Maine woods, without human interaction for 27 years.

Unfortunately, for 27 years, he pilfered summer camps for food, which eventually led to his capture. Until his arrest he was only known as a mysterious (and mythical) legend – the “North Pond Hermit”.

The book was fascinating – I listened to it nearly non-stop (anytime I could find a moment for a listen). Most of the book is Christopher Knight’s story told through the author, a journalist, who gained access to Knight during his incarceration. The other parts of the book are interviews with law enforcement, Knight’s childhood neighbors, and summer residents of North Pond who were tormented and terrorized for years of endless thefts of their summer camps.

The author also delves into the psychological aspects and impacts of isolation; and why some humans crave isolation while others would do anything to avoid it. He discusses the beauty experienced and wisdom/insight that can be gained from selected solitude (think of Henry David Thoreau). I found many of the author’s musings very profound.

There was something intriguing about the idea of living alone in the woods (I know, I know, it would be hard to using my electric sewing machine, but I could get a treadle machine…) and I spent a lot of time thinking about what it would be like to live alone in the woods and the peaceful beauty of solitude as I read the book.

I do enjoy my time alone – on a walk or reading in a quiet spot. However I enjoy an occasional DAY alone, not 27 years (or 9850+ days!) alone.

A couple of quotes from the book:

“Solitude increased my perception. But here’s the tricky thing: when I applied my increased perception to myself, I lost my identity. There was no audience, no one to perform for. There was no need to define myself. I became irrelevant. (I)solation felt more like communion…To put it romantically, I was completely free.”

“Silence, it appears, is not the opposite of sound. It is another world altogether, literally offering a deeper level of thought, a journey to the bedrock of the self.”

“Modern life seems set up so that we can avoid loneliness at all costs, but maybe it’s worthwhile to face it occasionally. The further we push aloneness away, the less we are able to cope with it, and the more terrifying it gets. Some philosophers believe that loneliness is the only true feeling there is.”

― Michael Finkel, The Stranger in the Woods: The Extraordinary Story of the Last True Hermit

I was fascinated how Christopher Knight learned to survive in the Maine woods, especially during the long exceptionally brutal winters. It is amazing the price he was willing to pay each winter to continue to live in isolation. You can check out videos on YouTube (just search “North Pond Hermit” or “Christopher Knight Hermit”) of the camp he created as his hidden home in the Maine woods, taken when law enforcement seized his camp contents after his arrest.

His story of surviving in the woods, made me think of a recent post by one of my favorite bloggers, Dewey Hop: Feisty Froggy Reads Through the LibraryNatural Disasters. Feisty Froggy discusses/reviews several books on how to survive disasters and what emergency supplies to have on hand. Christoper Knight went into the Maine woods as a young man without a “bug-out bag” or any standard/basic survival supplies. He just parked his car at the edge of the woods, got out and headed in to live the next 27 years of his life in isolation.


Postscript

In the Postscript section of my 04/12/17 post A Happy Ending for “Happy Ending”, I shared that I overdid it reserving a bunch of audiobooks all at once from my beloved public library and five (5) books came available at once!

Well the next day, a 6th book came availableThe Stranger in the Woods: The Extraordinary Story of the Last True Hermit – the audiobook discusses in this post. Since the library only gives you 21 days to listen to the audiobooks and you cannot renew them if they have holds (and all the books had holds), I had to make some decisions.

The Stranger in the Woods: The Extraordinary Story of the Last True Hermit obviously got priority, because I finished it! Here is what happened to the other audiobooks mentioned in the 04/12/17 post:

  • Norse Mythology – Neil Gaiman – This audiobook is awesome, narrated by the author himself in his delightful British accent – my audiobook loan expired before I could finish it, so I have reserved it again…
  • For Women Only: What You Need to Know About the Inner Lives of Men
    – Shaunti Feldhahn – Very interesting book – I think it should be required reading before you get married (there is a companion book for men on the Inner Lives of Women); it is faith-based but not too heavy handed in regards to biblical tie-ins. I considered myself successfully married for eons but I gained some new insights.
  • We: A Manifesto for Women Everywhere – Gillian Anderson & Jennifer Nadel (yup, Gillian Anderson of The X-Files fame) – I wanted to like this book but struggled to finish it. It seemed very inspirational but it was read by the authors and for some reason they, especially Gillian Anderson (who I loved in The X-Files). I might try it again the future as a paper book instead of audiobook.
  • Good Omens – Neil Gaiman & Terry Pratchett – Oh my goodness – I love this book – absolutely hysterical with lots of British style snarky humor. Unfortunately my loan expired before I finished it, so I am anxiously awaiting notification that I can download it again (our library uses the Overdrive app and your download automatically expires when the 21 days are up)
  • Smoke and Mirrors: Short Fictions and Illusions – Neil Gaiman – Never got to it. Will try it again the the future.

Yes of course I reserved more audiobooks at the same time again. I do not want to be without an audiobook! I am currently listening to The Diet Fix: Why Diets Fail and How to Make Yours Work by Yoni Freedhoff. I will chat about that in the future and what became of the Fast Metabolism Diet I shared in posts from mid February to early March 2017.

Christopher Knight, the North Pond Hermit, survived and thrived in isolation by reading books (that he stole from summer camps). If I had to, I guess I could survive in isolation for a couple years, as long as I had audiobooks!


Featured image credit: Gabor Szakacs, freeimages.com

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Central Oregon Quilt Shop Hop 2017

Friday, a day after returning from our Oregon Roadtrip, Terry the Quilting Husband (TTQH) and I hit the road again – this time for the annual Central Oregon Quilt Shop Hop.

We visited all seven (7) Central Oregon quilt shops in order to fill out our shop-hop passcards for a chance to win a dream Bernina sewing machine (and gift certificates to the local shops).

As much as I enjoy the annual quilt shop hop, I did offer to pass on it this year as TTQH had just done all that driving. But he insisted – he wanted to go and wanted to complete our shop-hop passcards (he likes a challenge).

Here are the seven (7) shops we visited:

Several of these shops were featured on previous posts. I have added a new Category for my posts – “Quilt Shop Tours” in case you want to find quilt shop photo tours I have posted (check out “My Topics” Menu).

Quilt Shop Hop is always fun: you run into the same people shop-hopping in the same order as you are; the quilt shops have tasty treats and one even served lunch; and you get to look at the wonderful displays and fabrics at each shop.

In addition, each shop you visit gives you a free fat 1/8th of fabric. Between TTQH and myself, we collected 14 fat 1/8ths. Here is the haul (note, I let TTQH select his own fat 1/8th and he went rogue and selected a black & grey one that did not match the rest of the brights palette!):

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Several fabrics are duplicates because we accidentally selected the same fat 1/8ths!

Last year I took our collection of fat 1/8th from the 2016 Central Oregon Quilt Shop Hop and turned them into English Paper Piecing (EPP) hexagons (see post Adventures in English Paper Piecing, Part II). I plan to use the collection of fat 1/8ths from the 2017 shop hop for a project, this time I am thinking a standard paper piecing project.

I would like to use these free fabrics in a challenge project each year. I was intimidated by the thought of doing of EPP and now I absolutely love it!

I am completely aghast at the idea of traditional paper piecing (my sister-in-law Sue, the master quilter, once showed me how to do it as did my first quilting instructor Roxanne Carter, but it still fills my heart with terror), so why not challenge myself again?

So I nicely pressed and organized the 2017 free fat 1/8th in preparation for a future project:

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I did not buy anything at shop hop, but TTQH did! He decided he wanted to make a flannel fishing themed quilt (he is into fly fishing). Also he could not resist a couple animal themed prints. Here is his haul:

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For the fishing themed flannel quilt

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For his “stash” I guess…

Sassy the Highly Opinionated Miniature Schnauzer and her adopted brother Mike went on the road with us during Central Oregon Quilt Shop Hop. We stopped for a nice lunch and lots of dog walks. Material Girl Fabrics in Redmond, Oregon is in a house in a quaint old neighborhood so we had a really nice long dog walk before heading into that quilt shop.

Here is Sassy on the road:

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Sassy has to sit on my lap in the front seat for the best views

Here is a sampling of the lovely Central Oregon views as we traveled around the area shop hopping!

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I would guess we did about a 100+ miles of driving on Friday; for example the distance between some of the farthest quilt shops (from my house) – Homestead Quilts in LaPine, Oregon and the Quilt Shack in Prineville, Oregon is 65 miles.


Postscript

In a future post I will feature more Central Oregon quilt shop photo tours.

If you enjoy quilt shop virtual tours, I highly recommend Anna of Woolie Mammoth’s YouTube channel – Quilt Roadies. She, her husband and their adorable dog, travel in their RV to quilt shops around the country as well as other interesting sights!

Oregon Roadtrip

Terry the Quilting Husband (TTQH) and I just returned from an “Oregon Roadtrip”. I took this week off from work for a part “staycation” and a part explore a little more of the state of Oregon. We did a quick jaunt to Portland, Oregon and then went to the Wooden Shoe Tulip Fest  in Woodburn, Oregon.

On the Road

TTQH did the driving and I got to sightsee on the road trip and work on my English Paper Piecing (EPP). I am still working on my first series/stash of hexagons (hexies) last discussed in my 02/05/17 post, Adventures in English Paper Piecing (Part II).

I am so glad I got into EPP, it is a great traveling project and very addicting. In a future post I will reveal just how many little hexies I have completed. Here is my lap during the road trip:

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I have my coat on my lap. Why? Because of what you will see in the two images below: driving through the mountain passes (Mt. Hood area and Santiam Pass) there was snow. The photos below are from our drive back to Central Oregon, encountering snow in the Santiam Pass:

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This is the price you pay when you live in the Cascade Mountain range region. Central Oregon itself is at 3500 – 3600+ feet, and when you drive through the mountain range areas to get out of Central Oregon, you are going to see some snow in the higher elevations even into late May and possibly June (Santiam Pass is at 4800 feet elevation). In the late Fall and Winter there is major snow and I will not drive to Portland from November to March. But if you like Winter sports, this place is a dream.

When we got out of the mountain passes, the weather was fine.

An interesting fact: According to Wikipedia, there are 318 mountain passes in the state of Oregon (List of mountain passes in Oregon). Some passes are above 7000 feet elevation! When you drive around Central Oregon, all you can see is mountains, mountains, mountains!

Craft Book Heaven (and Overload)

While in Portland, Oregon we spent an afternoon in Powell’s Books: The World’s Largest Independent Bookstore. Their book inventory exceeds 2 million volumes and I cannot begin to describe how large a bookstore it is – there are many levels and sections, assigned different colors. There is a map to the store and you can definitely lose someone in the store if you are not browsing together (thank goodness for cellphones!)

Their craft book section is mind-blowing and I spent an hour in there browsing while TTQH spent who knows how long in the Military History book section.

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I could have spent days in this section, ha!

After my browsing, I took at stack of books to the coffee shop inside the bookstore and nested there with my cup of tea until TTQH joined me. I did not buy the all the books in my stack (because I did not need them, but they were fun to look at).

I did buy one book, used (Powell’s sells new and used books) as I thought I owned it but actually I had borrowed it from my friend Betty Anne:

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Photo credit: Amazon.com

TTQH left Powell’s with a military history book that had been on his radar for a while.

Tulip Festival & Tasty Meal

After our Portland visit, we headed to Woodburn, Oregon to stop at an outlet shopping area that TTQH likes to buy his favorite sneakers (Converse). While at the outlet mall, someone handed us a flyer on the Wooden Shoe Tulip Fest  in Woodburn, Oregon. We decided, spur of the moment, to head there next.

This was my first tulip festival. I took a ridiculous amount of photos and here are some of my favorites:

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The photo above, which I also used as a feature photo for this post, is my absolute favorite. This tulip variety was also my favorite of all the spectacular tulips we saw at the fest. I have many photos of individual tulips – I went a little overboard in taking photos, caught up in the moment of visual splendor overload!

While at the Tulip Fest, we went on a hayride around the festival and walked all the tulip fields (to be honest, after a couple hours we were burned out on tulips – ha!)

After the tulip festival, we went to eat at the Glockenspiel Restaurant in Mt. Angel, Oregon. It was mentioned in the Tulip Fest flyer and I had recently heard of it in the latest edition of Via Magazine (the AAA Travel Magazine for auto club members).

The Glockenspiel Restaurant is a German food eatery, which has a working glockenspiel mounted on it’s exterior which performs at various times during the day. We missed the most recent performance but I did find a YouTube video of what it looks like:

The Glockenspiel Restaurant 

The person who filmed the video has a narrative of the story/history behind what you are seeing in the Glockenspiel.

Here is our delicious lunch:

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I look forward to more exploration of our wonderful state of Oregon in the future!

For the Yarn Lovers

Or should the post title be: “For Lovers of Yarn”? Either way, here is a post for people who love yarn and/or knit, crochet, spin, weave or other fiber arts involving yarn.

Last Thursday I was at the Stitchin’ Post in Sisters Oregon for our monthly art quilter group meeting. Before the meeting, I wandered around the shop “ooh-ing and ahh-ing” at all the treats for purchases (fabric, yarn, notions, art, books, etc.). The yarn department/section seemed exceptionally lovely this visit (I think they re-organized the shop), so I took photos to share with my yarn-loving readers!

Yarn Department, Stitchin’ Post

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My friend Pat was kind enough to be the hand model in several of the photos.

If you are every in Central Oregon and you are a quilter, knitter, crocheter, or any type of fiber arts crafter I highly recommended a visit to this shop!

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A Tiny Bit More on Hygge

A little follow up from yesterday’s post, The Library Stack and Hygge, on the Nordic concept of hygge (pronounced ‘hoo-ga’).

While continuing to read How to Hygge: The Nordic Secrets to a Happy Life by Signe Johansen, I came across this quote this morning that made me smile:

But just to keep alive is not enough. To live you must have sunshine and freedom, and a little flower to love.

– Hans Christian Andersen

The tulips are popping up in my garden and I thought I was share a “little flower” with you I have “to love”.

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Wishing you a glorious day of sunshine, freedom and flowers.

Marie Bostwick Book Tour/Book Signing

I met NY Times Bestselling Author, Marie Bostwick, through a mutual friend when I attend last Fall’s Trends Show (see the “Postscript” section of the 09/18/16 post The Ladies Friendship Circle (1931)). I had a great time hanging out with her and learned she was moving to my beloved Central Oregon! She is currently on a book tour and Terry the Quilting Husband and I went to see her speak on Saturday.

Marie is a quilter and her first major series of books, Cobbled Court Quilt Series, was strongly quilting/life of a quilter related. The series begins with the book A Single Thread.

In case you have read her books, I thought I would share photos from her Book Tour stop on Saturday April 1, 2017 in Bend, Oregon.

During this tour she is promoting her latest book, The Promise Girls, released at the end of March.

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Photo credit: mariebostwick.com

On Saturday Marie discussed her new book as well as some of the history on her other books and how she became a writer. She also did a little “trunk show” and showed us several quilts, many of which were based on quilts/themes in her books:

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Even the table she did her book signing featured one of her quilts!

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If you would like to see her on her US tour, here is a link with tour dates:

www.mariebostwick.com/calendar

The Love Ducks are Back!

No this post is not about our Oregon Ducks (University of Oregon) men’s basketball team who happens to be in the NCAA Tournament’s “Final Four: playoff today (the last time they won the tournament was 1939!). It is about the annual pair of a hen and drake ducks that wander around our neighborhood and seem to herald the start of Spring.

I do not know a lot about ducks and let’s assume it is not the same pair year after year (but maybe…), however, around this time every year (see my post from 04/02/16 – The Hen and the Drake) while walking the dogs, we come upon a “duck couple” hanging out or just walking about the neighborhood together:

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They seem oblivious to the goings on in the neighborhood and even ignore our slightly snarling miniature schnauzers as we walked by the pair. I remember the first time I saw them in the neighborhood, about 11 years ago, and saw my next door neighbor’s cat slowly stalk them down the middle of the street.

The ducks kept walking at their normal pace, despite there was a cat obviously lurking/stalking them 20 – 30 feet away. It was video worthy but I did not think about that at the time.

Ultimately the kitty turned around and went back home. I guess he figured if the duck couple was not afraid of him, maybe he should be afraid of them!

I love my neighborhood. It is just a regular working class neighborhood with primarily older single story houses and kind and friendly neighbors who look out for each other. I feel very safe and peaceful when I walk around my neighborhood.

I guess the ducks feel safe here too.

Softies and Sharing

Softies

I love working with fabrics and in the future I want to focus on more craft items than quilts – like tote bags, pillows, handbags, pincushions and “softies” (plush toys).

Although I am trying to be good on not buying crafting magazines, whenever we stop by Barnes & Noble for a book and magazine browse, I peek at the latest issue of Stuffed Magazine: The Crafting of Softies, published by Stampington & Company.

Like the other high end crafting magazines, it costs $14.99 an issue, and I could not really justify bringing an issue home with me. Especially when I have other crafting magazines filled with many patterns and inspirations waiting for me!

Until today…

Monday is my day off, and I took a car trunkful of donations (from cleaning out my crafting supplies – see my posts on “Craft Room Archaeology”) to the Humane Society Thrift Store.

I had in my purse a “$5 off a $15 or more purchase” at the Humane Thrift Store coupon, so after turning in my donation, and noticing that all books and magazines were 50% off, I thought I would just stop in for a quick wander.

Guess what I found?

I found 9 issues of Stuffed Magazine, in excellent condition, for $3 each (instead of $14.99). With the 50% off sale on books and magazines, I only paid $1.50 per issue. I also picked up a knitting book, Yarn Play, and a $1 brand new container of Mod Podge (yes I opened it up and made sure it was still usable).

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I know what you are thinking….

“Tierney, didn’t we just read a whole series of posts about you getting rid of stuff in your home…and this whole minimalism thing you are embracing?”

Yup.  But, but, but – I could not pass this deal by…

Also, I am thinking of it as a “rental“. When I am done with the Stuffed Magazines, I will donate them back to the Humane Society Thrift Shop!  For now, I am going to put on the kettle for a HUGE pot of tea for this stack of magazines!

Sharing

Do you ever feel like the Universe is having you hold onto something for someone else?

A couple weeks ago, I clipped the Humane Society Thrift Shop “$5 off a purchase of $15 or more” coupon and stuck it in my purse with no plans to go shopping with it. It just seemed like a good idea to keep it handy.

Today’s impulse wander at Humane Society Thrift Shop led to a $16 purchase but I did not use the coupon. Instead I gave it to the woman at the counter/line next to me, who had 4 young kids with her and was struggling to decide if she could get all her thrift shop purchases.

She had a stack of books for her kids (obviously taking advantage of the 50% off sale) and a couple of kitchen items. She was having the clerk tally the items several times to see what she could get and what she needed to put back/leave at the shop. I handed her my coupon, with the excuse that it was about to expire and I did not need it. She was quite pleased and exclaimed: “Now, I can get everything, thanks!”

I felt like the Universe had me put that coupon in  my purse for her.

Recycled Plastic Bags…Become a Bag!

Yesterday a friend surprised me with a gift – a large sturdy tote bag made from recycled grocery store plastic bags by a very talented crafter friend of hers!

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It measures approximately 18″ x 12″ x 18″ and appears to be made using a crochet technique. Here is a photo of the bottom and if you crochet the pattern might look familiar:

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Just how study is it? Well you can transport a Pom-Chi in it!

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Imagine how many plastic bags get recycled to make this bag!

The friend who gave it to me (who also recently adopted the senior Pomeranian-Chihuaha, Chewy) mentioned that her friend who makes these has a huge ball of plastic grocery bag twine in her studio. The artist first makes plastic bags into twine/plastic yarn before crocheting (?) them into bags. She also makes mats/rugs from recycled grocery bags.

I am very excited about my new bag!

How awesome to go from this:

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To this*:

*Adorable dog in a cute sweater not included.

The Napkin Story

In my previous post Farm Girl Vintage, Part III I mentioned my past challenges with nearly OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder) level of desire for order and neatness in my life.

When we lived in Seattle, WA I used to entertain, a lot. Game nights, holiday get-togethers at my house, random dinner parties, birthday party hosting, baby shower hosting, work parties, etc., etc. I was very social – and if I was not throwing party, I was attending a party or going to some event. Notice, I mentioned that “I” was very social, as I learned years later, Terry the Quilting Husband was only playing along, he would have preferred more quiet time at home with me and the dogs. (There is the Thanksgiving he always teases me about – when we out of obligation, courtesy and my desire, attended 3 – 4 Thanksgiving celebrations at various friends’ homes all in one day!)

I enjoyed the gatherings, but when I hosted it was secretly very stressful as I always wanted to have everything  absolutely perfect for my guests. I would spend hours before hosting a party making sure everything was perfect. I would read magazine articles about tips for being the perfect host (Martha Stewart in her heyday would have been proud…or perhaps have some concerns about my sanity).

One of the “perfect host” tips was to have a perfectly set table. I always kept a perfectly set dining room table, even when no one was coming over to dine. All the plates, flatware, and cloth napkins perfectly arranged (at least I refrained from keeping glassware set out to gather dust…) in anticipation for the next get together.

The cloth napkins, oh the cloth napkins. They were always freshly pressed, perfectly arranged in their napkin rings and never to be used. Yes, you read correctly, never to be used.

When people came over for dinner, I would pull out disposable napkins and place them next to the cloth napkins. I did not realize how much weirdness this was, but my friends quietly accepted my weirdness and would use the paper napkins while the cloth napkins remained untouched.

Then my sister visited…

My younger sister Rianna is awesome and has helped me evolve to a more “chilled-out” person. I had a dinner party in her honor when she visited with some of my closest Seattle friends.

Rianna did not know of my “napkin weirdness” and sat down at the dining table to eat and proceeded to remove the cloth napkin from its napkin ring and place it on her lap.

A hush fell over the dining room table…

My sister tells the story much better than I but it was like she had climbed on top of the table and started dancing through our plates of food – it was that shocking to me and my other guests (who unfortunately I had obviously trained to accept my weirdness). I am sure I behaved very tensely for a moment but I had no choice but to see the silliness of the situation – being upset that someone was actually using a cloth napkin I had set out on the table.

My sister was patient and understanding (though she thought it was hysterical once she realized what happened). When she returned home from her visit she sent me a HUGE collection of cloth napkins and kindly suggested I actually USE them.

Fast forward many years. Now having embraced minimalism, living with less, and a desire to be thoughtful to the environment, I have completely given up paper napkins and only use cloth napkins!

As you can see from the photo below, they are very well used. We even use napkins several times before throwing them into the washing machine (unless we have a really messy meal).

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We do not entertain like we used to and we are very happy with that (notice I said “we” – Terry the Quilting Husband is over the moon that he gets to mainly spend time hanging out with just me and the dogs).

I still keep my house fairly neat and I like things in order. If you read my series of posts on My Minimalism Journey you will see that I have much less things (so they are even easier to keep in order – ha!). I accept that order makes me happy but I try not to be obsessed about it and continually try to let go of perfection (I no longer iron my cloth napkins and I donated all my napkin rings to a local charity thrift shop!)


Postscript

Paper Towels

As I was thinking about writing this post, one of my blogging buddies who writes an awesome blog about living thrifty, @Devise.Create.Connect, posted this about paper towels: THINGS I DON’T BUY ANYMORE TO SAVE MONEY: PAPER TOWELS.

I realized that in addition to using cloth napkins, we also switched to using old tea towels and old wash cloths to clean the house; and crocheted washcloths for dishes. We keep a supply of paper towels for anything super messy and for draining fat/oil when cooking (i.e. for bacon).

We used to go through a lot of paper towels and now a roll of paper towels seems to last us forever.

Signs of Spring

It feels like it has been an endless Winter, but yesterday in my neighbor’s garden, I witnessed signs of Spring! The crocus are popping up:

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The Easter Schnauzer Bunny?

This probably belongs on Sassy the Highly Opinionated Miniature Schnauzer’s blog, Schnauzer Snips, but Terry and I were at the grocery store on Friday and came across this in the Easter display:

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Yes, nestled among the stuffed animal rabbits, chickens (or is that a duck?) and sheep, was an “Easter Schnaubunny”. No we did not buy it, as tempting as it was!

Farm Girl Vintage, Part III

I am not a farm girl but I am strangely in love with Lori Holt’s Farm Girl Vintage quilt block book. I recently finished 3 more blocks from her book.

There are 45 blocks in the book, arranged in alphabetical order, and I have finished 9 different blocks so far (3 of the blocks I made two of, so I actually have 12 in total completed). Here is a link to my most recent previous post:  Farm Girl Vintage, Part II and Recent Audiobook Delights.

I am working through the blocks in alphabetical order. Here are the latest blocks I’ve completed:

Chicken Foot Block

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Churn Dash Block

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Cool Threads Block

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I am having a blast selecting from my pull of fabrics (see post Farm Girl Vintage, Part I) for this project as in the example below when I prepared fabrics for the Cool Threads Block:

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Technically this post would be part of my What’s on the Design Wall series/category of posts, so here are the blocks on the small design wall in my studio (in a future post I will share a photo of all the blocks up on the large design wall in my hallway):

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9 blocks down, 36 more to go! If you want to see a photo of most of the blocks, the Fat Quarter Shop blog has a posting on Farm Girl Vintage Sewing Along – scroll down to the “Farm Girl Vintage Schedule” section.

(No need to panic for me if you read my recent post Quilt Studio Archaeology and Purge, Part III which focused on my “Fat Quarter Pathology”. I was not on the Fat Quarter Shop website to shop for more fat quarters, it was just a resource I found to see all the blocks posted on the web in one spot!)


Postscript

Here is an update on my most recent The Library Stack post.

One of my blogging buddies @Handmade Habit had a post with a wonderful sounding  book suggestion – Knitting Yarns: Writers on Knitting, edited by Ann Hood. I reserved it at my beloved local public library and picked it up the other day along with a couple additional books for my mega stack:

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This book is an anthology of inspirational knitting related short stories by popular authors and included stories by two of my favorite authors: Barbara Kingsolver and Ann Patchett. The book also includes a couple knitting patterns.

One of the early stories in the anthology is by Elizabeth Berg and she shares this passage that I feel embodies the core sentiments that are the foundation of handmade gift giving:

I made this for you. 

I thought of you while I made it.

I guess I kind of love you.

A book already in the stack was the fabulous book by Mary Randolph Carter – A Perfectly Kept House in the Sign of a Misspent Life. I am a notoriously neat housekeeper (and trained Terry the Quilting Husband to be so too), occasionally to the borders of OCD-levels of neatness. I have learned to chill over the years (in a future post I will share The Napkin Story) and the book is further supporting my ongoing progress on being more balanced.

I love this quote in the book by Dame Rose Macaulay:

At the worst, a house unkept cannot be so distressing as a life unlived.

I still have a lot of the rest library stack to get through – warm up the kettle!

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Feature photo credit: Paul Kearley, free images.com