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!

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

The Tale of Three Tulas, Part III

Now you will truly be able to sleep through the night and have an actual restful slumber, as this post will complete my series of posts following up on the three Tula Pink All Stars fabric line inspired quilts my two quilting sisters (Judy and Dana) and I began in 2018.

If you are just starting with this post, the two recent previous posts are:

The Tale of Three Tulas, Part I (Dana’s quilt)

The Tale of Three Tulas, Part II (Judy’s quilt)

In this third post, I will share my Tula Pink All Stars fabric inspired quilt, Tula in the Box, and why it took me so long to finish it.


Tierney’s Quilt: Tula in the Box

The last time I blogged about the creation of this quilt was back in December 6, 2018, in this post: Tula in a Box.

This was 7 days before my husband Terry, who was known as “Terry the Quilting Husband” or “TTQH” on this blog, suddenly and unexpectedly died.

Here is TTQH from that post helping me lay out the quilt on the large design wall in the hallway of my former home in Central Oregon:

2018-12-04_13-18-37_054And here he is helping me layout the stripped fabric used as the sashing between the 36 blocks I created:

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The night that Terry died, this quilt in progress was still up on the design wall.

A couple days after he passed I took the quilt blocks and sashing down and put it away as with this shocking, actually devastating, change to my previoulsy wonderful life, I had no desire to finish this quilt (or any quilt ever again at that point).

In the depth of my grief during January 2019, I convinced myself to finish the quilt top in his honor (Tula in a Box Quilt Top Finished):

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I also got myself to send it off to the long-arm quilter, Krista Moser (who quilted all three of our Tula Pink All Stars fabric quilts).

In late Winter 2019 I made a brief visit to the Seattle, Washington area to visit with my quilting sisters Judy and Dana and to attend the 2019 Sewing & Stitchery Expo (Sew Expo). While at the Expo we ran into Krista Moser who had a booth promoting her new line of quilting rulers and patterns:

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Unfortunately she was backlogged with long-arm quilting orders and so it would be another month or so before mine was finished but she would mail it to my new home in Colorado (if you are new to this blog you can check out the story of my move from Oregon to Colorado in this series of posts – Colorado Bound)

Krista is such a brilliant young entrepreneur who began long-arm quilting around 14. You can check out her blog at The Quilted Life.

By the way, I did blog a little bit about the 2019 Sew Expo on this post – .Fabric Fangirl Frenzy

Now where were we in my story, I got distracted remembering the fun I had during Sew Expo 2019.

Oh yes, so I finished the Tula in the Box quilt in honor of TTQH and shipped the quilt top and backing (which I purchased in Washington State while visiting Judy and Dana during Sew Expo 2019) to the long-arm quilter.

In May 2019 I got the quilt back from the long-arm quilter but it took me until the end of June 2019 to put the binding on it and finish it.

Here is the quilt on the wall of my Colorado studio with the euro lounger I used to have in the studio:

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And here is Mike the Miniature Schnauzer lounging in the studio:

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The euro lounger is now out of my studio (it took up too much space) and was moved to the upstairs guest room/home office, but the finished quilt is still up on the wall:

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I’ve made a couple changes/updates to my quilt studio since my post New Studio, and I will share updated photos in a future post.

So that is my story of the quilt. Thanks for reading these three posts to close out the story!


Postscript

Speaking of Mike the Miniature Schnauzer on a euro lounger – here is a recent photo of Mike napping with a pile of purple fabrics in my home office/upstairs guest room:

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Why is he napping on a pile of fabrics? Well those fabrics are about to be put into my new fabric organization system! That will be a future blog post once I get my project complete. I am excited to share as I feel like I now have the best system of fabric yardage organization since I began quilting in 1999!

A Crafter's Life, tierneycreates

New Studio

As a follow up to my previous post Morning Walk in Black and White, where I mentioned that I am now living in a house and have a new quilting studio, in this post I am sharing photos of my new studio.

When I moved into my new housing situation earlier this summer, the first thing my new roommate did was build a design wall in the back bedroom he offered to me as my studio:

2019-06-24_16-57-15_034.jpegOne of his hobbies is wood working and he also offered to build me a center cutting table. I said “let me use what I brought with me for now (fold up tables) and see how the rooms develops”.

The rest of this post is a photo tour of my new studio. You may notice the strong turquoise like color on the wall. The room came with that color and since someday my roommate is thinking of selling his home and us possibly moving to a new home together, I declined his offer to paint the room a neutral color at this time.

To embrace the turquoise color for now, I hung my Tula Pink All Stars fabric quilt (which has a LOT of turquoise and aqua in it) on the wall as you will see in the images below. If you are new to this blog, the saga of its quilt is in this series of posts – Tula Time!. By the way – my friends Judy and Dana have also finished their Tula Pink quilts and I will share images in a future post. 

So here is the photo tour of my “temporary” new studio. If we end up moving to a new home together someday, I am going to design my new studio to be my dream studio this time (if I learned anything from the tragic and sudden loss of my husband in 2018, it is that life is short and you need to live your dreams, do not wait!). Since my roommate, who I should actually start referring to as “my partner”, loves to build things, I plan to take full advantage of his skills for my dream studio design!

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As you can see in several of the photos above, I repurposed an old armoire into crafting and fat quarter storage. I also repurposed an old card table found in the basement’s storage room into a center table.

That table also serves as a Mike the Miniature Schnauzer nesting space!

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You might also remember in the photos above (but I am posting it below also), a short long black bookcase looking thing. This was an old CD/DVD storage bookshelf I found in my partner’s basement storage room that I repurposed to hold my favorite fat quarters (I have an obscenely large collection of fat quarters as I confessed in the post Quilt Studio Archaeology and Purge, Part III (re-post))

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Postscript

In my preceding photos, you might have noticed a work in progress on the design wall. I will discuss it in a future post as I continue my series of posts What’s on the Design Wall.

Here is an additional photo I took during my photo shoot for this post of some of the recycled home decor fabrics I am considering for this piece (actually a series of pieces):

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If you’ve been following my blog for a long time and have a scary supernatural level of memory, you might remember these pieces from this post – What’s Simmering on the Design Wall.

A Crafter's Life, Quilt Shop Tours

Fancy Tiger Crafts, Denver CO

As promised in my previous post, this post will be about TEXTILES!

A couple of months ago, my dear quilting sister Dana was visiting the Denver, Colorado area (see post Greetings from Colorado) and we got together with her and her daughter Kaite (and darling grandchild) and went to a magical crafting shop in downtown Denver – Fancy Tiger Crafts.

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This was my first visit to this shop as I am new to the Denver Metropolitan area.

Upon entering the shop, I quickly realized that if your needs are related to the textile arts – they have it: spinning, knitting, needlework, other needle arts, dressmaking, quilting, bag making, etc.

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Here detailed look inside their shop (which we suspect is outside the normal space-time continuum because we spent a lot longer in the shop that we thought we did…).

Knitting, Spinning, Crocheting, Felting, Wool Craft

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And don’t forget the spinning wheel!

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Dressmaking & Garment Sewing

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Quilting

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Other Fun Stuff in the Shop

The shop also had all sort of fun things – like cool tote bags:

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And Crafter Merit Badges!

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I bought this one:

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I loved the decor – here are a couple images of the fun and funky decorations in the shop:

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Photos of Friends Shopping

Here are a couple photos of my friend Dana delightfully shopping at Fancy Tiger Crafts for the first time:

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Her talented crafter daughter Kaite and Kaite’s delightful 4 year old daughter selected this fabric during our shopping adventure for matching outfits:

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We tried to leave the shop after we made our initial purchases several times. Something kept drawing us back as we tried to leave the shop. I think we revisited the counter/register at least twice!

A Return Visit

After my initial visit, which I did post some photos from on my @tierneycreates Instagram account, my Central Oregon friends Wendy and Pat sent me gift cards for Fancy Tiger Crafts!

So a couple of weeks ago I returned on my own and bought some goodies:

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All pieces are canvas weight and I am thinking about some cool pouches or tote bags with these remnants.


Postscript

If you’ve following my blog for a while and Dana’s name sounds familiar, she has been featured in several other posts include the series of posts – Tula Time! (someday I need to post her completed Tula Pink All Stars quilt as well as my friend Judy’s completed quilt); and more recently Fabric Fangirl Frenzy.

A Crafter's Life

Salt of the Earth

I began drafting this post prior to the recent series of deadly mass shootings across the United States. I am eager to return to blogging, however I thought this was too an upbeat a post to make in light of the recent somber events.

Then I thought – perhaps during these dark times it is good to post a reminder about the good people in the world we meet in our daily lives…


Dictionary.com defines the term “salt of the earth” as follows:

“An individual or group considered as representative of the best or noblest elements of society.”

This term wonderfully describes the kind of people I’ve met and keep meeting since moving to Colorado.

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Colorado State Flag, zumper.com

If you are new to my blog, I moved to the greater Denver metropolitan area in April 2019 to start a new life after the sudden death of my husband (Terry the Quilting Husband)      and over the past several months I’ve been settling into my new life and exploring the region (see post Greetings from Colorado and the series of posts Colorado Bound).

I knew Colorado was an awesome state with lots to do, little did I know just how warm, friendly and helpful many of its residents are!

Let me share an example (actually multiple examples).

Schnauzerfest!

Moving to Colorado meant leaving my beloved veterinary office and finding a new vet for my Miniature Schnauzer, Mike. I selected a vet based on Google reviews and comments and I was not disappointed.

During Mike’s first visit to his new vet. she connected me with a group of local Miniature Schnauzer aficionados which included one of her best friends. Mike and I got invited to the annual Miniature Schnauzer Club picnic which was like attending “Miniature Schnauzer Fest”! 

The photos below will illustrate this better than I could describe and Mike enjoyed hanging out with his new friends, after he recovered from the shock of so many furry people that looked like him in one place!

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A Proper Grooming

I’ve struggled with finding a good dog groomer for my dog Mike. If you want a Miniature Schnauzer to look like a traditional Miniature Schnauzer, you need groom your dog regularly.

A couple months ago, I tried out a mobile groomer and unfortunately Mike was groomed more like a Bichon Frise instead of a Miniature Schnauzer:

Bichon Frise:

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Photo by Viktor Talashuk on Unsplash

Miniature Schnauzer:

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Wikipedia

I tried to fix the disappointing grooming myself but Mike ended up looking like a blindfolded, highly sedated dog groomer did the grooming!

Luckily at the Miniature Schnauzer Picnic, I met Carol, a highly seasoned dog groomer with extensive experience in grooming Miniature Schnauzers including competitive show dogs. She even showed a couple dogs herself at the Westminster Dog Show years ago.

We tried to schedule an appointment but had one challenge – she only  had spots open in the middle of the week and she lives 32 miles away from me. I telecommute for my work in the health care industry and my middle of the week is peppered with conference calls.

She has a dog grooming station inside her home and she suggested that I come telecommute at her house for the morning/day while she groomed Mike!

And so I did! Not only did she let me telecommute from her house while she lovingly and meticulously groomed Mike, but she even gave me beverages and snacks – homemade lemon poppyseed cake!

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I had so much fun telecommuting from her kitchen table while we discussed life and miniature schnauzers! Here are some photos of Mike transforming into a properly groomed Miniature Schnauzer!

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In addition to great conversation, exceptional dog grooming, and wonderful snacks – she also gave me a tour of her lovely garden and gave me a bag of fresh garlic from her garden to take home!

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She hand washed Mike’s collar before she began grooming him and had me hang it on the clothesline in the garden to dry!

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Finally, as an added bonus, she has 4 or so of her own Miniature Schnauzers, so there was lots of Miniature Schnauzer cuteness going on at her home!

I got three of them to stand still for a photo:

2019-07-17_13-02-54_764.jpegOf course every proper Miniature Schnauzer Aficionado has lots of Schnauzer related decorations in their home and she was no exception:

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I know this post was likely “Schnauzer Overload” and hopefully you will quickly recover (smile).

My telecommuting visit with my new dog groomer and the opportunity to hang out with other Miniature Schnauzer Aficionados (or perhaps “Obsessives” in a more accurate term) has only increased my feeling of being so “welcomed” to Colorado.

Every day I continue to meet warm, friendly, kind, generous, and welcoming, “salt of the earth” people in this state.

But these few are the salt of the earth; without them, human life would become a stagnant pool. Not only is it they who introduce good things which did not before exist, it is they who keep the life in those which already existed. – John Stuart Mill


Postscript

I promise my next post will be crafting/quilting related!

The tagline of my blog for tierneycreates is “a fusion of textiles and smiles“. I hope this post induced a little smile across your face. The “textiles” part will return next post!


Feature Photo by Jason Tuinstra on Unsplash

A Crafter's Life, Outside Adventures!

Greetings from Colorado

Hello Blogging Buddies! Long time no hear, right?

Well I’ve been busy settling into my home in the Greater Denver Metropolitan Area (if you are new to this blog see my series of post “Colorado Bound“). Now I am ready to return to blogging about my Colorado, crafting and other adventures.

First Visitors

So far I’ve had four visitors since I’ve moved to Colorado.

My first visitor was my brother Raoul, who was in Denver for a business meeting the same day I moved into my apartment! So along with my friends Jason, Michele and Blair, he helped unpack me! I forgot to take photos during his brief one day visit, so none to share.

My second visitor was my sister and we had fun taking my miniature Mike in his backpack into downtown Denver via the light rail and wander around sightseeing. Here is my sister Rianna with Mike her back:

2019-05-02_11-53-15_0872019-05-01_16-59-03_034My sister (by the way I have one sister and one brother and we are all very close) is exceptionally fun and we had a blast during her visit.

She enjoys shopping adventures and we even took Mike with us to a store called Nordstroms Rack and made him go shoe shopping with us!

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We also both enjoy going to thrift shops (see my series of posts Thrift Shop Adventures) and had a laugh at these shoes we found at a thrift shop chain store called Buffalo Exchange:

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These shoes would be perfect for running, don’t you agree??!?!?!

My sister is exceptionally more glamorous than me, and here we are attending Trivia Night at a local pub (we came in last place in trivia but had a blast):

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My sister on left, me on right (note we’ve been drinking adult beverages all evening, ha!)

My third visitor was my “Quilting Sister” Dana who was visiting her daughter who also lives in the Greater Denver Metro area. I will have a separate post about that visit as we had a wonderful outing to a very cool crafting shop!

But here is a preview (Dana craft shop shopping):

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My fourth visitor was my friend Jenny who came for a long weekend. She is very outdoor adventurous so we went for a short hike in the Flatiron mountain area of Boulder, Colorado as well as explored downtown Boulder.

Here are photos from our hike/wander about Chautauqua Park:

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I love this series of photos I took as Jenny took in the amazing views:

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Here we are wandering around the Pearl Street Mall area in Boulder, Colorado:

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My next visitor will be my original “Quilting Sister” Judy – the woman who taught me how to quilt. She visits in August.

I will be busy traveling a bit in July but I am going to plan to attempt (that sounds so committed doesn’t it?) to keep up with my blog and also catch up on the blogs I follow.


Postscript

Are you surprised that my tierneycreates Beastie (see Beastie Adventures) has not stepped in and written a post? She has been busy herself and she will have a future post of her adventures in the future.

Oh and yes, this is primarily a quilting/crafting blog and perhaps someday I will share a post about such topics (smile).

A Crafter's Life

Apartment Quilt Tour

As many of you know who have followed my blog for a while, in December 2018 my husband, my life-partner, and best friend who was also known on this blog as “Terry the Quilting Husband” (he was a quilter also) suddenly and unexpectedly passed.

Shortly after his passing I made the big life decision to relocate and a couple of weeks ago I moved (along with Mike my Miniature Schnauzer) from Central Oregon to the greater Denver metro area to start my new life.

Another major life change that occurred at the time of this move was to move from a house into an apartment. I’ve not lived in an apartment since I was in nursing school. Wait, I take that back, Terry and I did live in an apartment for a year when we first moved to Houston, Texas while he was in the military but as soon as we could we bought a house.

But that was still back in my 20s. And I am a wee bit older now than 20 – ha! Let’s just say I’ve lived in houses significantly longer than I lived in apartments.

I’m considering “apartment living” a year experiment. I did sign a year’s lease and during my year in the apartment I can decide what will be next in my living situation. I might buy a house on my own, I might stay in my apartment, I might rent a house instead of an apartment. We’ll see! (Your guess is as good as mine at this point).

I am rambling and you are probably waiting for the quilt tour that I promised. Let me just continue with a tiny bit more introduction to the tour.

To make my new apartment feel homey, I decorated it with many of the quilts I had on my walls at my house. As my apartment is smaller than my house, it might appear to some that I have an “intense concentration of quilts” on my walls and strewn about the house. I say “get over it, it makes me happy!”

So finally, here is the Apartment Quilt Tour:

MY ENTRYWAY/HALLWAY

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The wood piece to the left of the quilt pictured above, was made by my friend Cody G. out of recycled pallet wood. What is extra cool about this piece, besides it is a lovely gift from a friend, is that he had no idea of the colors in the quilt next to it. He just took a guess on a palette that would work with the pallet piece (yes, you likely guessed I had to Google the spelling of palette as in a color palette vs. the spelling of wooden pallet – English is so complicated!)

In addition to quilts, I have some handmade small items in my entryway – one of my miniature kimonos and a collection of my miniature pillows. I used to sell these on my now closed tierneycreates Etsy shop.

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HALLWAY TO THE KITCHEN AND HOME OFFICE AREA

On the way into the kitchen and in my home office area (I am a telecommuter), I have a couple quilts hung:

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THE KITCHEN

In the small dining area attached to the kitchen I have a quilted wallhanging:

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THE LIVING ROOM

There are layers of quilts in the living room as well as a couple on the wall.

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The quilt pictured above was the first quilt that I had in book. Several of the blocks were featured in the book 1000 Quilting Inspirations by Sandra  Sider, along with several of my first recycled silk art quilts.

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THE MASTER BEDROOM

I discovered something very exciting: the Sunflower quilt wallhanging I thought I had accidentally donated to a Central Oregon charity thrift shop was actually just packed away in a strange place. When I finally full unpacked I found it! So I put it up using Command Strips on the door to my bedroom!

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I have what some might consider a ridiculous amount of quilts up on the wall of my bedroom, but them make me happy!

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Oh I should mention – you might gasp that some of the quilts are not hung properly. Some have wooden hangers (which use a marble inside to hold the quilt in place), while some are hung up with…gasp…thumb tacks!

Do not worry, the thumb tack hangings are only temporary, I just wanted to make sure I liked where they were hung before I mounted the wooden hangers.

And finally the space I’ve shared already in a previous post – the guest room/studio.

GUEST ROOM/STUDIO

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In addition to quilts I’ve made, I also have some special quilts that friends have made up on the walls. I completely forgot to photographed those for this post, but I figured I have shown you enough quilts up on my wall for now (smile).

A Crafter's Life, The Library Stack

New Library in My Life!

How do you know someone is a good friend?

You know because they endure you totally geeking out over your new public library!

If you’ve been a follower of this blog for more than a couple months you know what a Public Library Nut I am. I do have a whole series of posts – The Library Stack – about my current library loans.

While I was visiting the Greater Denver Colorado Metro area March 20 to March 24 to find an apartment to rent, I checked out the local public library in the area where my new selected apartment resided.

My friend Michele endured me chatting with the library staff, getting a tour of the library and totally geeking out over a new 700 section to explore! She was extremely patient!

What I could not believe is the library allowed me to get my new library card before I actually moved there, I just had to give them my new address:

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To me a library card is like gold!

Here is a little taste of my new library which is walking distance of my new apartment!

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So much crafting book yumminess awaiting me at my new library!

They also had a cool section called “Lucky Day” where the latest releases of books and movies were available first come first serve. They cannot be renewed and these are copies that cannot be put on hold when they are in the “Lucky Day” section. While looking at the “Lucky Day” section I chatted with a library patron who was very excited about her lucky new release find!

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So as I am wandering around my new neighborhood I can peek into the library whenever I am nearby and see if it is my “lucky day”!

Now some of you might be thinking: “wow, she has no life”. What can I say, ever since I was a preteen I have been in love with the library, it is a sanctuary!


Postscript

I continue to spend my evenings packing but I made it through packing my books and magazines and now I can see a light at the end of the tunnel.

Last evening I worked on packing my kitchen and realized I had a pathological amount of spatulas. I did not realize I had some sort of spatula obsession. I did pare it down to just two. If I suddenly need more spatulas, I am sure they have more in Colorado!

A Crafter's Life, Colorado Bound, My Minimalism Journey

Never Stop to Think…Do I Have A Place for This?

So I told myself I would not allow myself to post again until I caught up on all the blogs I follow. Alas, I have not made a dent in catching up on my blogging buddies’ posts, but what the heck, I am going to sneak in a quick post 🙂

This is a follow up to my post 03/17/19 post Library MEGA Stack!. One of the books in the stack was Mary Randolph Carter’s book Never Stop to Think…Do I Have A Place for This? I might have to buy this book someday as I so enjoyed it and it was the perfect book to give me peace right now.

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Image credit: Amazon

Those of you following my blog for a while know that I’ve dabbled in Minimalism (see series of posts My Minimalism Journey). I’ve been successful in downsizing over the years and Marie Kondo’s (author of The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing) quote has gotten me through the letting go of my husband’s stuff after he passed in December 2018):

The space in which we live should be for the person we are becoming now, not for the person we were in the past. – Marie Kondo

I’ve been working on packing for my move to Colorado (see series of posts Colorado Bound) and I would not recommend packing as a hobby. Here is an example of the current nightmare:

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I’ve been struggling with the amount of crafting supplies I am bringing with me to Colorado. However after reading Mary Randolph Carter’s book I am more peaceful and accepting of my stuff. She had a wonderful chapter on Guilt and discusses her own investigation and readings into minimalism in a very thoughtful way.

Even Marie Kondo states you should have in your life only those things that ‘spark joy’ and my craft supplies bring me a lot of joy (as does my ridiculous collection of crafting related books).

So I decided to “Never Stop to Think…Do I Have A Place for This?” when it comes to the craft supplies I love!

Mary Randolph Carter also has another wonderful book – A Perfectly Kept House is the Sign of a Misspent Life.

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In my spousal loss grief support group, the facilitator emphasized that the person you were (your core will stay the same) before the loss of your spouse will likely change. Such a major life loss permanently changes you in some way. I definitely see myself lightening up on rules I’ve tried to live by in the past.

I doubt I will become someone featured in the television show “Hoarders” in the future but I am not going to hesitate (as long there is no harm to others) to do what makes me happy and not really care what others think!


Postscript

As I mentioned in a previous post, I did decided to rent a 2 bedroom apartment in Colorado, instead of the 1 bedroom I had originally planned. I am very excited about my nearly 1200 square feet (111.5 square meters) apartment and I’ve already begun decorating it in my mind!

In a future post I will share my new plan for fabric scraps organization at my new place. And of course I have a zillion other things to blog about 🙂

Okay now back to trying to catch up on my blogging buddies posts!

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

A Quilt for the Road…

This post is sort of a follow up to my previous post Love Wears it Out (Repost). I ordered someone to WEAR OUT a quilt!

Very Special Occasion Required

My original “Quilting Sister” (the woman who got me quilting) Judy always stated in response to people who would say to her “oh I wish you would make me a quilt“, is that you need to have a very special occasion to get a quilt: you have a baby, you get married, or you have some other very special occasion.

As quilts are a lot of work/time to make, not to mention a lot of money to make (more than non-quilters realize – see the TheQuiltShow’s July 2018 post – How Much Does It Cost to Make a Quilt? ), I’ve generally stuck to this rule.

Now, of course I’ve made quilts for special people in my life just because they are special. And as I’ve learned over the years, not everyone appreciates handmade items or appreciates the time and effort that went into it (I always remember the awful story a friend shared of discovering that a beautiful quilt she made for someone was being used to clean up an oil spill in recipient’s garage!).

But for the most part it is pretty darn exciting to give someone a quilt for a special occasion or because they are a special person.

Ordered to “Wear Out” a Quilt

Well my friends Cody and Cici are getting married this summer (a qualifying reason to get a quilt!), and although I have not known them a long time, I consider them special people and they really appreciate handmade items, so I sent them an early wedding gift – a quilt that I made with my late husband (who passed in December 2018), Terry the Quilting Husband.

I sent it to them with one very important stipulation: THEY MUST USE IT AND WEAR IT OUT.

Cody is an avid fly fisherman and so was my husband Terry. A couple years ago Terry selected a collection of fishing themed flannels and designed this quilt which I helped him assemble. Here are photos of the front of the quilt (which was so busy with fishing prints I sort of cringed when he designed it – ha!) and the back of the quilt (which was my idea to calm down the front!):

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One for the Road

So I knew Cody would love the quilt but I was a little worried his Cici might cringe. But I thought I would take a chance and send it to them as a their wedding gift.

They are super active outdoors people and have a cool Sprinter van that they use for long distance camping adventures, so I suggested that this very warm heavy flannel quilt be used for those adventures.

Well they both love the quilt and they complied! The quilt has already gone on its first van adventure:

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Photo courtesy of Cody G.

Cody and Cici sent me photos of them wrapped in their favorite sides of the quilt!

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I am working on a move to Colorado (see my series of posts Colorado Bound) and I need to lighten my load and this was a great way to do it. I know Terry would approve the quilt going to people who will love it and use it well!

I hope this quilt gets completely worn out to the point of being threadbare from a lifetime of adventures and road trips!

It is “one for the road”.


Postscript

I’m so honored my friend, author Marie Bostwick, reposted one of my blog posts (Valentines) on her blog Fierce Beyond 50, (which has a MUCH larger readership than my blog):

Coping with Grief by Helping Others

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I really appreciate the opportunity to share my musings with a larger audience.

A Crafter's Life

Love Wears it Out (Repost)

Yesterday, during the weekly Spousal Loss Grief Support Group I attend, the book The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams was mentioned. 

This made me think of a post I wrote in 2013 answering the question: “How do you know a quilt has been loved?” in which I quote this beautiful book.

Thought I would repost this post today.


How do you know a quilt has been loved?

It is worn, frayed, maybe even threadbare.

In my early days of quilting this would make me cringe. I put all that work into a quilt and now it is all worn out?

Now the thought of one my quilts being so loved (just think of that glorious book The Velveteen Rabbit) brings a huge smile to my face.

While talking to my sister (she has many quilts from me) she mentioned that most of the quilts I have made her are very worn out, some are just “hanging on by thread” about to fall apart.

I take quilt construction seriously and for a second I thought “wow shoddy workmanship on my part” and “why did they not take better care of the quilts”? I came to my senses several seconds later and realized: Wow! Those quilts have been truly loved – I am so lucky and so honored!

I think of what my first quilting mentor and dear friend, Judy D, once told me:

“If a quilt is falling apart, all worn out, then it has been truly loved…I never mind repairing a quilt that has been loved”.

Excerpt from The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams

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image credit: amazon.com

“Real isn’t how you are made, it’s a thing that happens to you… When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real.”

“Does it hurt?” asked the Rabbit.

“Sometimes…When you are Real you don’t mind being hurt.”

“Does it happen all at once, like being wound up..or bit by bit?”

“It doesn’t happen all at once..You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.”

Thank you to all the people I have made quilts for over the years, who have truly loved them, and made them REAL.


Postscript

Re-posting this post also made me think of an art quilt I finished in April 2018 titled Recycled Denim Story V: Recycled Love (2018)This piece is part of my Recycled Denim Story Series of art quilts (see my page Art Quilt Stories for more of the series).

Recycled Love (see post The Recycled Lovehonors all the love that goes into making and giving a quilt to someone.

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Here is the Artist Statement that explains the story behind this quilt made from all recycled materials:

The first law of thermodynamics states that the total amount of energy in a system cannot be created nor destroyed, it can only be changed from one form to another. A quilt is made from changing the existing “love energy” from the quilt maker’s heart into a pieced textile; ultimately recycling that love energy into the quilt’s recipient heart.

Quilt are Love!


Feature Photo by Alex Block on Unsplash

 

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

Valentines

A little less than a week ago I began having quite a bit of anxiety over how I was going to face my first Valentine’s Day without my Valentine. In December 2018 my husband Terry suddenly passed away. I’ve been with Terry more than 1/2 my life and we’ve never been apart on Valentine’s Day.

I was anticipating a painful day on February 14th, completely stricken my grief, perhaps not even able to get out of bed.

In the middle of my anticipatory grieving anxiety, I suddenly realized that doing something for others might be the solution to dealing with Valentine’s Day.

For the past 5 weeks I’ve been in a difficult but awesome Spousal Loss Grief Support Group that meets weekly. It suddenly hit me that all the widows and widowers in the grief support group with me were facing the same dilemma of their first Valentine’s Day without their Valentines.

So why don’t I invite them all the be my Valentines?

And that is just what I did.

For My Valentines

For the men in my grief support group:

Terry’s favorite cookies were the Molasses Crinkle Cookies that I loved to make. I’ve done little cooking and no baking since he passed so it was a pretty big thing to open my cookbook and actually bake something.

I made a huge batch of these cookies and it felt good to bake again, so good that I actually experienced a sweet moment of joy as I assembled the ingredients.

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I put the cookies in a basket and included little sandwich bags for them to take as many as they wanted home.

For the women in my grief support group:

I gave them each little wallets. If you are new to my blog here is a post about the little wallets I made a zillion of since I first became obsessed with them – “Little Wallet Madness” . If you are not new to my blog then you know all about little wallets and some of you own some of my little wallets you won in my blog anniversary drawings!

For the group facilitator:

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

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I then made “Oregon Healing Hearts” valentines using my circle punch and heart punch from my card marking supplies with Oregon/outdoor themed colored papers:

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People had the option of an “Oregon Healing Heart” with a dog in the middle of the heart (as I consider dogs healing) or a plain heart:

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

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I think it went over pretty well. The facilitator let me present them at the start of our support group meeting.

The men were willing to share their cookies and both the men and women got to take home some cookies if they wanted. There was laughter, smiles and hugs despite the difficult topics we discussed at that support group session.

Feeling at Peace

Today is Valentine’s Day and I feel at peace. I think it is because I stepped outside of myself and my grief and thought of others for a moment.

Day and night wallowing in my grief was not working for me, even if everyone expected and supported it. I had to try something else. That’s where my grief group came in, my unexpected valentines.

Grieving is hard work, maybe the hardest work I’ve ever done. It’s definitely a hobby I don’t recommend for anybody.  But, if you’re suddenly find yourself a member of the club that no one ever wants to join, find a grief group. Part of what I have learned from this experience is, don’t try to go it alone.

The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson

A Crafter's Life, Special Events, tierneycreates

“Soulful” Show Opening

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Crafter's Life, Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show

A Fish Tale

Making a Fish

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

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

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

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

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

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Image credit: donnacherrydesigns.com

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

Here is the version I made in class:

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Releasing a Fish

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

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

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

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

Fish Giving

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Feature Photo by Sticker Mule on Unsplash

A Crafter's Life

“The Guest House” Revisited

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

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

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

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

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Image credit: Amazon.com

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

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

The Guest House

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

Postscript

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

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

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Feature Photo by Scott Webb on Unsplash

A Crafter's Life

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

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

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


What You Need to Know Before You Start Quilting

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Sewing Machine Club

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

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

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

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Sewing Machine Club

Patterns, patterns, patterns!

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

Preparation is Key

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

Quilt Away

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

Final Touches

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

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


Feature Photo by Jeff Wade on Unsplash

A Crafter's Life, Colorado Bound

Colorado Bound (Part I)

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

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

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

More to come in a future post.

 

A Crafter's Life, Adventures in Paper Piecing

Back to Making Things and Lovely Surprises in the Mail

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

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

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

Surprise #1

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

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

Surprise #2

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

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

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

No Longer Dreading the Mail

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

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

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

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

Back to Making

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

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

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But I have not done any work on it.

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

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

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

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

Stories from the Road, Part III

Hello to my blogging community.

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

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

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

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

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

The Widow’s Walk

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Feature Photo by delfi de la Rua on Unsplash

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

Stories from the Road, Part II

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

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

Stories from the Road Continued

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

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

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

Always Time for a Quilt Shop Visit

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

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Image credit: joyful quilter.com

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

The Inspirational Airbnb

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

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

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

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

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Exploring Tarrytown

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Flight Home

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

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

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Postscript

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

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

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Feature Photo by Jaromír Kavan on Unsplash

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

Stories from the Road, Part I

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Stories from the Road

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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He would most definitely approve!

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

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

More to Come

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

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

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


Feature Photo by Vidar Nordli-Mathisen on Unsplash