A Crafter's Life

Whiskey Tasting and Coloring?!?!

Back in April after we got our COVID vaccinations and the numbers were starting to significantly decrease, we thought during Autumn 2021 we’d be able to do another Whiskey Tasting party for our friends who enjoy fine spirits such as Scotches, Bourbons, Ryes and Whiskeys.

Perhaps unrealistically hopeful, we scheduled a party for early October.

But as October approached, and the Delta Variant raged, attendees started to cancel for the party; and we realized that a party was not the best idea with the variant raging.

Our friends Michele and Blair who are busy parents, went to great lengths to make attending the party work for their schedules. We wanted to still do something with them that evening. They live on the other side of the Denver Metro area and had planned to stay overnight at our house the night of the party.

So we decided to go ahead and have a small version of the Whiskey Tasting with just Blair and Michele (who we know they have been really excellent with following COVID safe protocols).

A week before this mini-version of the tasting party, my partner John and I had visited the Denver Art Museum (my first visit there, I will do a post on my visit at a later time) and I had picked up a couple mandala coloring pages the museum was offering visitors for free.

So I thought – why not combine Whiskey Tasting and Coloring while we had them captive for the evening!

Everyone was game (or very good sports), I brought out my stash of colored pencils and we each got our own mandala coloring page to work on while tasting various whiskeys. Here are some images from the evening (and we did feed them dinner first before the tasting began!)

The tastings started before we began coloring to get us warmed up:

The men seriously working on coloring their mandalas:

Our completed mandalasthe whiskey tastings did not impair our creativity!

Individual close ups of each of our mandalas:

It was an incredibly fun evening and everyone seemed to enjoy expressing their creativity while sipping on various tasty adult beverages! Plus Blair and Michele got to leave our house the next morning with the art they created (I am sure they ran home and framed them, ha!)

I used to sort of make fun of the “adult coloring/coloring book” trend a couple years ago but then on a whim I bought a collection of “color them yourself” greeting cards at Dudley’s Bookstore when I lived in Bend, Oregon; and some colored pencils and found it to be very soothing and very meditative. (I loved Dudley’s Bookstore in downtown Bend, Oregon and here is a blog post I did on it several years ago honoring independent bookstores – Independent Bookstores (wonderful & magical places))

image credit – zulily.com

Here is a link to an article I enjoyed reading about the benefits of coloring – The Benefits of Adult Coloring: 10 Reasons to Color Yourself to Calm.

We were impressed that we all “stayed within the lines” while coloring and whiskey tasting!


Postscript

Speaking of creativity, Blair and Michele encourage and honor the creativity of their children by the framed art wall/gallery wall they have in their house of their kids’ art. I did a post on this a while back and here is a link to it –An Awesome Way to Display Kid Art!

A Crafter's Life

Awesome Surprise Treats in the Mail!

Usually my blog post stories are running a couple weeks behind (at least) in what is currently going on in my life. My @tierneycreates Instagram is more up to date. Well this blog post is actually current with my life like my Instagram.

I returned home from nearly a week in Wilmington, North Carolina with my partner John (who was on a business trip) and guess what I had in the mail?

A YUMMY surprise all the way from South Africa!

My longtime blogging buddy Mariss (@fabrications) back in June sent me the goodies pictured above which included two of her handmade pin cushions, and 2 months later they arrived!

In addition to the pin cushions, I was surprised with some amazing Nelson Mandela fabric!

Bet you do not see this everyday!

Of course it is too precious to use, so maybe I will just frame it. Okay, okay, maybe I will use it in a project some day…maybe…

I’ve been blogging for nearly 8 years and I’ve met some pretty incredible and talented people from all over the world. Several of those people have been so generous in sending me treats in mail over the years. I’ve sent out treats also of course. You all know who you are and I so appreciate you!

And I am going to be putting together some special treats for Mariss in the near future (for their 2 months+ journey to South Africa)!


Postscripts

One of my blogging buddies @quiteayarnblog has an ongoing series called “Agriculture Report” whose title always cracks me up because it is an update of what is going on in her garden.

In the same vein, I thought I would share my own “Agriculture Report” and share what to me is some exciting news: 

  1. I was able to grow enough basil to make Pesto
  2. I was able to grow enough tomatoes to make ONE dish

You might be wondering: “why is this exciting” or “why is this news”?!?!?

Well after living many years in places such as Seattle and Central Oregon where growing “crops” was not that challenging (especially not in Seattle where it seemed like you could just throw seeds on the ground in passing and you’d have a bumper crop of whatever), I’ve been living in Denver, Colorado where growing things is challenging. We have a short growing season. 

Last year I tried my first patio garden on the upper deck with meager results. This year, and perhaps it was because we had an unseasonably large amount of rain, I had good (well for Denver) results!

Here is my “bumper crop” of basil (enough for ONE batch of Pesto):

And here is my “bumper crop” of Roma and Cherry tomatoes (enough to make ONE dish):

Now it could just be me because when I first moved to the Denver area I took Mike the Miniature Schnauzer to a groomer near Boulder, Colorado and she had an amazing garden. I might just need to learn how to garden here!

Then I can provide better “Agriculture Reports” in the future (smile).

A Crafter's Life

Thinking About Kindness

I’ve been thinking a lot about kindness lately and appreciate those moments of kindness I get to witness.

It seems I’ve been doing a ridiculous amount of travel lately within the U.S., and a couple weeks ago I witnessed kindness while sitting on an airplane.

Kindness on an Airplane

A man likely in his late 30s ended up sitting next to an elderly couple, perhaps in their 80s. The wife sat in the middle row and the husband sat on the aisle seat. The husband was VERY hard of hearing and his wife had to basically yell at him for him to hear anything that was said. The wife was very friendly and began engaging the man at the window seat in conversation. The husband wanted to be part of the conversation too so the wife had to yell into her husband’s ear any questions/responses/discussions so that her husband could feel part of the conversation.

I was sitting in the row behind these three thinking: “whew I am so glad I did not end up in that row”. All I could think is that I would have put my headphones on very quickly and stuck my nose in my book.

I thought the window seat man would grow weary from the convoluted conversation but instead he was warm and very engaged and when he asked the elderly man what he used to for a living before he retired, the husband lit up and began telling the younger man interesting stories from his previous work life. I could sense how much he appreciated being asked and being listened to even though he was so hard of hearing.

I was amazed at the kindness of the younger man in the window seat and the gift he gave the older man: the gift of respect, listening, and kindness.

Photo by Dan Gold on Pexels.com

Kindness in the Community

A week later I was walk my dog Mike through the park near my house and noticed a couple actively cleaning up the park with grabber devices and trash bags, which were very full. I walked over to them and thanked them for keeping our park clean. They responded: “We are retired and have the time, we feel the least we could do it keep our community clean”.

What kindness they showed to our community!

Kindness in the Neighborhood

That same day I returned home from my dog walk to find my partner John mowing the lawn of my next door neighbors who just had a baby. Usually the husband keeps his lawn looking lovely but he was very busy with working and the new baby. 

John not only mowed their lawn and their curb lawn area, but he also edged and trimmed the neighbors’ property, leaving it looking spectacular. They of course were most appreciative. 

It might have taken John and extra 30 minutes of lawn care time but I know he felt good after being so kind to the neighbors. Because kindness is rewarding to the receiver and the giver!

I keep looking out for opportunities to witness simple (or large) acts of kindness on a daily basis by my fellow humans; and I hope that no matter what I am going through in life I can demonstrate kindness on a daily basis.

In A World Where You Can Be Anything Be Kind | DIGITANZA Feel free in the comments below to share your musings on kindness or any recent acts of kindness you’ve witnessed.

A Crafter's Life, tierneytravels

Weekend at The Broadmoor

Back in May my partner John took me for a weekend at The Broadmoor Resort in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

It was absolutely amazing! Here is the image from the front page of the resort website:

And from their website:

We began welcoming guests in Colorado Springs in 1918 and have remained one of the most recognizable and celebrated hotels in the world. Our distinctive blend of history, luxury and genuine hospitality has made us the longest-running consecutive winner of both the AAA Five-Diamond and Forbes Five-Star awards. We continue that legacy with an unmatched selection of accommodations, activities, and experiences that invite guests to immerse themselves in the beauty and traditions of the American West.

I’ve never stayed at a place so luxurious!

Our hotel room had it’s own doorbell:

John got us a room overlooking the lake and I forgot to take photos inside the room but here is a YouTube video of some video footage I took:

Our hotel room was basically an apartment with a walk-in closet and a bathroom bigger than the room I rented when I was first in college! And we were in a “middle level” room as there were many more luxurious suites and cottages you could reserve (for high level prices!).

The hotel/resort is so beautiful and although it was overcast and a little rainy the weekend we visited I still got some lovely images to give you a feel for the place:

Throughout the hotel there was a historic and European vibe as well as endless places to sit and relax.

I brought my English Paper Piecing with me and we had a lovely time in the evenings sitting around crafting (me) and reading/playing on iPad (John). Although there were a lot of guests, there were lots of cozy nooks you could find to nest in at the hotel.

There was also a LIBRARY! The resort had an amazing library nook/room with delicious cozy places to nest and read their huge collection of books (which you could borrow and take to your room):

As you can imagine, I spent a bit of time in the library. John and I hung out there for quite a while and I snuck back on my own, ha!

We noticed people walking around the grounds in long bathrobes and wondered what was going on.

Well they were coming from the spa area. In our room we had a set of long bathrobes and decided “when in Rome…”, put them on and headed to the spa/pool area ourselves.

It was so fun to walk around the grounds in our robes – here is John walking about in his robe:

Notice in his hand is his poker themed tote bag that I made him (see post Ready for the Poker Tournament ), he takes it everywhere with him!

We enjoyed the indoor pool as well as the amazing outdoor jacuzzi which overlooked the golf course:

I did not want to leave the jacuzzi but I was getting waterlogged after a while!

And speaking the golf course, The Broadmoor has an amazing golf course. John and I both play golf (he is way better than I am) and next time we visit we plan to book a tee time.

Many celebrities, politicians, heads of state, authors, etc. have stayed at The Broadmoor over the years. The resort has a whole section in one of its hallways dedicated to photos of famous people who have stayed there:

I took of course a ridiculous amount of photos (there were endless photographic moments), but I will just share one more group of photos – The Broadmoor has an amazing “Prohibition” collection of “fine spirits” from the early 20th Century:

It was a memorable birthday celebration weekend and I look forward to returning someday (like when it is sunny!)

A Crafter's Life, Outside Adventures!, tierneytravels

Train Ride to Glenwood Springs, CO and More – Part IV

I am sitting in the Philadelphia airport and I figure this is a great time to complete this series of posts about the trip my visiting sister and I took in June 2021 from Denver to Glenwood Springs, Colorado via Amtrak train.

See these posts for Parts I – III if you are just joining us:

Train Ride to Glenwood Springs, CO and More – Part I 

Train Ride to Glenwood Springs, CO and More – Part II 

Train Ride to Glenwood Springs, CO and More – Part III 

After an amazing weekend, it was time to take the train back to Denver.

At the Glenwood Springs Train Station

This time we decided to sit on the opposite side of the train (right instead of left) that we did going to Glenwood Springs to try and get different views. Now you could argue we sat on the same side of the train on the way back as we did the way there, as we were on the left side going there and the right side going back…but I think you know what I mean…

Oh and I forgot to mention in the post Train Ride to Glenwood Springs, CO and More – Part II, we did have to wear a mask the entire time on the train.

So here are some of my favorite photos (we both took a ridiculous amount of photos out the train window) on the train ride back to Denver which include the sunset (we traveled to Glenwood Springs on a morning train; the return train is an afternoon train ride):

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And of course the photos do not do justice to the actual beauty of the scenery but it was the best we could do looking out a UV protected film window on the train!

It was pretty late when we got into Denver as the train got delayed on the ride home. 

The next day we laid low, relaxed around the house and played with Mike the Miniature Schnauzer. I will close this post (and this series of posts on our adventure) with some darling photos we took of my sister and Mike.

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A Crafter's Life, Outside Adventures!, tierneytravels

Train Ride to Glenwood Springs, CO and More – Part III

I am visiting my brother and his family on the Eastern Coast of the U.S. right now and spent yesterday in New York City, but that is subject material for a future blog post (it seems like instead of “tierneycreates”, lately I am “tierneytravels”). For now I will continue my series of posts about the adventure I had with my sister in June 2021 traveling to Glenwood Spring, Colorado via Amtrak train.

If you are just joining us, here are Parts I and II (there will be a total of 4 parts when this series is complete):

Train Ride to Glenwood Springs, CO and More – Part I 

Train Ride to Glenwood Springs, CO and More – Part II 

In Glenwood Springs

Arriving in Glenwood Springs via train, we first took in the beautiful scenery around the train station:

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After checking into the Bed and Breakfast we were staying at, The Floradora House, we headed out to explore the downtown area and visit the brewery that I enjoyed on my first visit to Glenwood Springs – Casey’s Brewing.

Here we are hanging out at Casey’s Brewing:

Yes, look it is another selfie where I am not looking at the camera – ha!

Downtown Glenwood Springs is lovely and we had fun wandering about the shops and restaurants.

Glenwood Springs has two historic hotels: The Hotel Denver and The Hotel Colorado. They are on opposite sides of the bridge connecting one section of Glenwood Springs to the other.

Bridge over review connecting sections of Glenwood Springs
The Hotel Denver
The Hotel Colorado

Our Bed & Breakfast accommodations were within walking distance of downtown and here is the wonderful room we shared:

Even better than the beautiful room was the fun we had at the included breakfast each morning, visiting with other guests visiting from around the U.S. and Canada. Here is the wonderful main floor guest dining area and a sampling of the breakfasts.

We had two mornings of incredible conversations as we chatted with different guests each morning. We even met someone who had grown up in New York like we did.

Our second day in town we headed to the Glenwood Springs Hot Springs (what they are famous for – natural mineral hot springs), which in my post Weekend in Glenwood Springs (my first visit to Glenwood Springs with my partner John), I referred to as “taking a bath with a hundred or so other people”.

We spent the morning there and then returned in the evening (you buy a day pass). Here is my sister enjoying some “community bathing”!

It is pretty warm in the hot springs mineral pools and you can only stay in 5 – 15 minutes before you have to get out or just sit on the side of the pool and take a break, otherwise (as I discovered) you get pretty dizzy!

Our third day in town we went on a little adventure and walked a couple miles to the closest thrift shop (my sister loves “thrifting” like I do, actually she was the one who got me into it):

On our trek to the thrift shop we saw some people paragliding off one of the many hills in Glenwood Springs:

After thrifting we stopped at a delicious donut shop, Sweet Coloradough for a treat and relaxed on their patio with our sugary delights:

We had several yummy meals while in town. Here I am at one of the delicious restaurants after a relaxing session at the hot springs:

We wished we had one more day planned in Glenwood Springs, but before we knew it, it was time to head home.

The final post in this series will be photos from our train ride home, which had different views than the trip to Glenwood Springs (time of day was different and we sat on the opposite site on the way home).

A Crafter's Life, Outside Adventures!, tierneytravels

Train Ride to Glenwood Springs, CO and More – Part II

Okay continuing the story I started on July 17, 2021 about my sister’s visit and our train ride to Glenwood Springs, Colorado in June 2021 – Train Ride to Glenwood Springs, CO and More – Part I.

Waiting for the Train

Our trip started early in the morning at Denver’s Union Station. Union Station is the prettiest train station I’ve ever been in (including several I’ve been at in Europe):

Image credit: Wikipedia
Image credit: LA Times

Here are several of my images as we waited for the train in lovely surroundings:

And if you’d like to see some images I took in the “Silvertone” setting on my camera:

Our train was arriving in the station around 8:00 am but we got there an hour early and had coffee/tea and pastries while lounging on one of the comfortable sofas in the station.

The station is so beautiful you’d want to just grab your laptop and go work on a blog post with a cup of tea or coffee, even if you were not catching a train!

Train Ride to Glenwood Springs, Colorado

6 hours sounds like a long time to be on a train, but not if you get to spend the time having delicious snacks, catching up with your sister, and seeing amazing scenery as we traveled this route:

See the 5 hour 41 minute route

Driving to Glenwood Springs is a 4 hour trip but I think the additional 2+ hours (the train ride was over 6+ hours due to having to slow down while going over the Continental Divide) is worth it because you are not driving I-70 at steep inclines as you climb up the mountains (not only steep inclines and sharp curves but also some crazy drivers who all seem to be in a hurry to get somewhere…).

From the article Prepare to be Blown Away on the Best Train Ride in Colorado:

After departing Denver’s Union Station westbound, the train begins the section of railway that made the Zephyr famous—a 300-mile journey over the Colorado Rocky Mountains, along the Colorado River and through Glenwood Canyon. Because roadways take a different route, much of the landscape through which the train travels is viewable only to rail passengers.

As the train leaves the Eastern Slope behind, it travels through 31 tunnels before entering the 6.2-mile Moffat Tunnel and crosses the Continental Divide. Passengers are plunged into darkness for nearly 10 minutes before emerging back into daylight at the west portal, near Winter Park Ski Area.

The route continues on the Western Slope of Colorado through remote Fraser Canyon, Granby—the gateway to Rocky Mountain National Park and rugged Gore Canyon. The final 12.5 miles through Glenwood Canyon are among the most spectacular, with unimpeded views of the headwaters of the mighty Colorado River, the historic Shoshone Hydroelectric Plant, the Glenwood Canyon Recreation Path, and of course, the soaring 1,300-foot cliffs.

The seats in coach were very comfortable and were modified recliners with leg lifts so you could put your feet up. Here we are enjoying one of the many snacks we packed for the train ride in our cooler:

Relaxing train ride, visiting with sister, snacks and a magazine = happiness

Now comes the difficult part of writing this post: deciding which of the zillion photos we took during the train ride to Glenwood Springs to share with you, without blowing out my blog’s media allotment (and I have an upgraded WordPress plan!). Every time we thought we’d seen the most amazing sight out of our train window another amazing sight appeared! And as you can guess, the pictures do not do justice to what it was like to actually be looking out the window.

So I will use the rest of this post to share those images I selected. For the most part the images are in the order that we saw them on the train ride. You will see at times we are traveling along the Colorado River. Oh and one of the photos is of the observation car which has large windows/glass dome – passengers can take turns sitting in the car to get a more 360 degree view.

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And here are a couple short video clips I uploaded to YouTube to provide more visuals (the first one was a “jaw-dropping” experience):

Part III of this series of posts will talk about our time in Glenwood Spring, CO.

A Crafter's Life

News

In my July 4, 2021 post Okay so here is a tote bag (or two)…, I wrote:

I have lots of stories to share, things I’ve been making, and news even about a major life change (even if possibly temporary)

Here is the news:

I quit my job and I am taking some time off to focus on my crafting, sewing, quilting, textile art, etc. Before I return to employment in the healthcare industry, I plan to re-open my tierneycreates Etsy shop. I am spending the next several months focused on my creativity.

My last day at work was July 1, 2021 and I’d been with my former employer for 16 years. Back in November 2019 I transferred within the company from an important and useful position to what turned out to be an awful situation where I felt like I had no value in the company.

A little background: In 2019 I was in the midst of my first year as a new widow and I thought maybe a different job would help me re-focus as I was losing passion and focus for the position I was in when my husband passed. Of course I did not fully realize that when you lose your life partner all the things you thought were important (like your job) become meaningless (except to provide a paycheck).

I won’t bore you all the details of why the new position I transferred to in November 2019 did not work out. Let’s just say it wasn’t just a case of “the grass is not always greener on the other side” mistake, it was more like “the grass was rotting and putrid on the other side“!

Sales motivation quote: Sometimes the grass looks greener on the other side  ... - YouTube

I did meet some wonderful people in the position and had some great colleagues. But unfortunately that was not enough as there were nasty corporate “political” issues going on; and as I discovered, someone in leadership was trying to see me fail in my position. Actually my whole position was set up to fail from the beginning with the reporting structure they set up for the position.

It was a remote position and I enjoyed working from home but I was miserable and hated logging into work each morning.

I Hate My Job: Image Gallery (List View) | Know Your Meme

So if there is anything I learned from my husband’s sudden passing in December 2018 it was that life is short/your time on earth is not guaranteed to be long, so make the best what time you have.

My partner John has a wonderful health insurance plan and I could go on it, so I did. So now I am taking time off, not sure for how long (colleagues at my former employee have already been contacting me with job opportunities but I have declined them for now), but I’ve set a goal not to consider returning to the healthcare industry full-time (or part-time) until I make progress on some of my creative dreams.

How To Live Your Dream Life | Goalcast

I am fortunate to be able to do this; and I’ve been thinking a lot about this quote from the book Your Money or Your Life by Vicki Robin:

“Money is something you trade your life energy for. You sell your time for money. It doesn’t matter that Ned over there sells his time for a hundred dollars and you sell yours for twenty dollars an hour. Ned’s money is irrelevant to you. The only real asset you have is your time. The hours of your life.”

― Vicki Robin, Your Money or Your Life

Postscript

So you might be thinking: “Well Tierney, since you’ve been off work since July2, 2021, where is all the stuff you could have been creating since then?” The answer is that I’ve been traveling, catching up with friends and family. I was out of town most of last week and will be headed off to visit my brother and his family later this week. 

So I might need to be off work for a while as first I need to reconnect with family and friends I could not see during the pandemic, before I can get into a creative flow!

And maybe for a while I just won’t have a specific plan and see what that is like for a change…

Willie Nelson Quote: “I live one day at a time, one day at a time.  Yesterday's

A Crafter's Life, Outside Adventures!, tierneytravels

Train Ride to Glenwood Springs, CO and More – Part I

In early May 2021 I went on a road trip to see Glenwood Springs, CO for the first time (see post Weekend in Glenwood Springs). I love it so much that I decided it was the perfect trip to take my sister on when she visited in mid June. But this time instead of driving there, we took the Amtrak train!

Before the Train Ride

Before heading out on our 6 hour train ride from downtown Denver’s Amtrak station (Union Station) to Glenwood Springs, the day before our train trip I took my sister to the South Pearl District/South Pearl Street of Denver to wander about and then go thrift shopping. 

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Above is another terrible attempt at a selfie (I am the “World’s Worst Selfie Taker”) and I am not sure why I am staring off in the wrong direction, ha!

We wandered to various little shops boutiques and had lunch at a very delicious restaurant (where I took our selfie).

After the South Pearl Street wander about and lunch, we went to the huge Goodwill downtown (my sister loves thrift/charity shops also) and we had a wonderful browse there as well as several other thrift shops we stopped at on the way back to my house.

My sister toted about the new Wonder Woman tote bag I had made her (which I first shared in the post Okay so here is a tote bag (or two)…), during our shopping adventure:

In the next post I will continue with further stories of our adventures during our trip, starting with the train ride to Glenwood Springs, which was breathtaking in its scenery!

Trying to catch up on blog posts, I’ve realized that it might be easier for busy readers if my posts are a little shorter; and it is less work for me to get a post out there 🙂

A Crafter's Life

The Last Baskets

I mentioned in my previous post What’s On the Design Wall: Sasquatch Quilt Top Completed, that I needed to work on something “emotional”. I’ve completed my “emotional” project and here is a post about it.

My late husband Terry (aka “Terry the Quilting Husband) was a quilter and a crafter. He also helped me on numerous projects such as making binding for my quilts, cutting fabrics, making hexagon templates for my English Paper Piecing projects; and being an all around “sous chef” for my quilting/crafting endeavors.

One of the projects he worked on prior to his passing in December 2018 was covering clothesline with batik jelly roll strips (40 – 2.5″ x 42″ strips) to make Bali Boxes (actually “bowls” as I do not make the boxes) from the pattern by Aunties Two:

Here he is sewing the continuous strip (entire jelly roll sewn end to end) of batik strips on to the clothing line (see old posts “Throwing Pottery” on the Sewing Machine, Prepping to Make Fabric Bowls , and Prepping to Make Fabric Bowls, Continued for more on the process):

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As a result of his efforts I had a roll of batik covered clothing line rope, but we got busy on other projects and I put it away:

Over the past nearly 2.5 years since his passing, I’ve slowly worked on completing projects he began and did not finish; or projects he helped me with and we did not finish. An example of one of these projects was a quilt for his eldest brother Andy (he came from a family with 7 kids and I sent one of his completed quilts to most of his siblings when Terry passed, except I did not have a completed quilt for Andy) that I discussed in the post – The Last Quilt.

(Trying to write this post without breaking into tears, but I want to share this experience with you as perhaps there is someone out there that wants to find the strength to complete projects started by a loved one who passed…)

So continuing my journey to complete anything he started before he passed, I realized it was time to make something with the clothesline he covered in batik strips. I decided to make two baskets: one for his sisters Diane and Susan, and one for me.

Here are images from my recent creation of these baskets – I like to call the process “throwing pottery on the sewing machine”:

Here is the basket for Terry’s sisters fresh off the sewing machine and then an image of the binding for the top being put on:

Here is the completed basket and the view of the bottom of the basket:

You might wonder what is peeking out of the top of the completed basket. Well I decided that my era of making baskets was done for now and I put together a kit for Terry’s sisters to make their own baskets to include: 1) a batik jelly roll; 2) the pattern; and 3) several packages of clothesline rope:

Here is the second basket which I made for myself with the remaining batik strip covered clothesline. It came out bigger than I anticipated and I am using it to store batik scraps:

Last week I shipped the basket to Terry’s sisters in New York and they have received the package.

Along with the basket and basket making kit I included a printed photo of Terry working on covering the clothesline for the basket.


As I did in the quilt I sent to Terry’s brother Andy (The Last Quilt) I said that the gift was from Terry and me – from this life and the next

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Garden of the Gods in Black and White

This is sort of part 2 of the May 6th post Out of town guests? Put them to work!. We didn’t just make our friends visiting from Oregon work on home remodeling projects, we did actually take them sightseeing.

The weather was cold and a bit snowy during their visit but they really wanted to see the Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs, Colorado. According to Wikipedia, The Garden of the Gods is comprised of “red rock formations were created during a geological upheaval along a natural fault line millions of years ago”.

This was my second time there and very different from my first visit in August 2019 when we took my visiting sister and nephew there (see post And on the 8th Day…Part I). It was much sunnier and much warmer in August.

In honor of the difference between the warm August and cold/snowy early April visit, I took photos in Black & White instead of color.

Here is a photo journal of the day – enjoy (or cringe at my attempt to be a B&W photographer, ha!):

And yes, Mike the Miniature Schnauzer joined us in the backpack.

A Crafter's Life, tierneytravels

Oh Orlando

Thank goodness the tierneycreates Beastie did a post on April 13th (Guest Blogger: Updated Tour of Beastie’s Home), otherwise I’d be many weeks without a post to my blog!

We been “on holiday” and have had several sets of visitors (as well as more to come over the next several months). You give people vaccines and they just go crazy – ha! (Speaking of vaccine, we did get our one dose Johnson & Johnson COVID vaccine at the beginning on April – yay!!!!)

So now it’s back to some blogging for me and I was torn between first catching up on reading my blogging buddies posts from the past several weeks versus writing a post myself. But if I don’t go ahead and start writing posts it well it might be a couple more weeks before you hear from me (smile).

OH ORLANDO (FLORIDA)

Not sure why I added the “oh” in front of “Orlando” but I do love alliteration in blog post titles (one of the small pleasures in life).

On April 9th my partner John and I headed to Orlando, Florida for a 4 day vacation which included a visit to Universal Studios Florida.

Here we are in the obligatory photo in front of the Universal Studios Theme Park globe:

I am a notoriously bad group selfie photo taker but at least 75% or so of John’s head got in the photo!

Why Orlando? Well in my March 14th post Outstanding Blogger Award (and snow) I wrote:

Tierney here, writing to you from the “Snowpocalypse” in Colorado, buried under quite a bit of snow. Any of my blogging friends live in Florida or anywhere warm? May I move in with you? 

Well none of you invited me to come live with you in Florida (ha); somehow I got Florida stuck in my mind (warm, sun, no snow); and I read an article somewhere that that Orlando theme parks had excellent COVID protocols.

In retrospect I think I would have enjoyed visiting a Florida coastal town and enjoying the beach but I’ll save that for my next trip to Florida.

When we first arrived at the Universal Studios Resort area which a shopping and eatery area before you get to the theme park entrance, we were very naughty and began our day with a Voodoo Donuts treat:

I had a crazy sugar rush after my exceptionally delicious jelly donut but I worked it off (and hopefully the 10,000 calories) from walking 13,000+ steps per my phone around Universal Studios theme park.

We went on a Monday and were surprised how many people were there. The lines were long to get on each attraction because they had COVID protocols and could not fill each line. We also discovered we were there during a “Spring Break” time (we thought we had bypassed “Spring Break”).

We did not go on as many rides as we planned but here were our favorites:

The Bourne Stuntacular

I could not take any photos but it was based on the Jason Bourne movies and was a mind blowing mix of live action and 3D effects. Definitely worth seeing.

Transformers 3D

I screamed the entire ride as the 3D was super realistic and I thought I was actually plummeting down a skyscraper!

Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon

This ride was so fun as it was a virtual race through NYC and being a native New Yorker (grew up in Long Island and Update NY), I’ve spent a lot of time in NYC (pre-COVID my sister and I would go a “girls trip” at least once a year there).

Note: none of the rides allowed you to take photos in the actual ride, so any photos I am sharing are from the attraction’s wait queue line or the front of the attraction.

The Fast & Furious Ride

I’ve see all the Fast and Furious franchise movies and the ride itself was an amazing 3D experience but what was really amazing was the extremely detailed recreation of the garage from the movies where the built and services their racing high performance cars. We really enjoyed waiting on/moving through the line on this attraction and seeing the recreation of the garage.

In addition to going on rides, we also went to Diagon Alley at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. It was pretty amazing and if I’d been a kid currently reading the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling it would have blown my mind.

You can look at the images on the link I provided above and I am just going to share some of my favorite things from Diagon Alley:

Books that can eat you from the bookshop:

And Self-Knitting Needles (wouldn’t that save a lot of time!):

In addition to Universal Studios we stayed in Orlando near a collection of shops, restaurants and attractions called Icon Park. We ate several meals at restaurants at this park and had an especially memorial and delicious meal of paella at Tapa del Toro which also featured flamingo dancers while you ate.

It was a lot of paella and luckily our hotel room had a refrigerator and microwave so we could enjoy our leftovers the next day. John did go golfing with his colleague who lives in the Orlando area one morning while I binged watched a Netflix show (you got to have some downtime/chill out time on vacation).

So that was our Orlando trip, more stories of recent adventures (and even some about crafting) to come!

A Crafter's Life, From the Archives

From the Archives: “A Beautiful Monday”

I’ve been blogging for over 7 years and throughout 2021 I am going to sporadically share old posts from the 7+ years of blog posts archives.

I lived in Central Oregon for 14 years (and thought I would live the rest of my life until a big life change occurred in December 2018) and somedays I miss it terribly. Here is a post from February 2018 which honors the beauty of my former home – Bend, Oregon; and the wonderful walks/hikes I used to take with my friend Laurie.


A Beautiful Monday

Originally posted February 7, 2018

I do not work on Mondays and this past Monday I went for a lovely hike with my friend Laurie and her Bernese Mountain Dog, Luna along the Deschutes River Trail off of Farewell Bend Park.

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We are having “Sprinter” (Spring-like Winter, yes I totally made that up) in Central Oregon. Monday was in the late 50s to early 60s degrees F (14 – 15 degrees C for my blogging friends outside the US).  It was truly like a sunny blue sky Spring day (minus the Spring foliage).

We had a wonderful hike along the Deschutes River. Luna got to play in the river so she really happy and as a bonus for her and the humans, we ran in the puppy/”mini-me” version of Luna – an adorable Bernese Mountain Dog puppy named Willow.

Well, instead of me telling you about the hike, why don’t I just share photos and let the photos speak for themselves!

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The Deschutes River Trail and Farewell Bend Park connect you back into the Old Mill District, an outdoor shopping and dining area built around an old lumbar mill, hence the name (www.oldmilldistrict.com/about/history/).

Laurie and I got a kick out of the app-based rental bikes parked at the Old Mill. You sign up and pay for the rental using a smartphone app!

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We plan to rent them someday to explore the surrounding area by bike without having to haul our bikes down to the area!

Actually we are planning monthly hikes to explore our town. I have lived in Central Oregon 13 years and there is so much I have not yet explored, or I just want to explore again!

A Crafter's Life, From the Archives, tierneytravels

From the Archives: “Cabo San Lucas in Black and White”

In my 8th year of blogging I have amassed quite the archive of old blog posts. I will occasionally share from my archives (instead of being productive and writing a new post, ha!)

Across the U.S. many have been hit (or are being hit/still being hit) with a terrible Winter Storm; and I know my friends on the “other side on the pond” are dealing with yucky Winter weather also. Well I thought I’d offer a distraction from the cold and pretend like we are all hanging out in warm Cabo San Lucas sipping out beverages of choice at an outdoor cafe on the beach!

So here is a post from March 2020 and if you like put your bathing suit on and get a “special beverage” from the kitchen to sip on while you read it (smile).


Cabo San Lucas in Black and White

In the middle of February, before the reality of global pandemic became something we would be discussing in our daily conversations, my partner and I went on vacation to Cabo San Lucas.

In my next post I will share stories from our “relaxation vacation experiment” but for this post I will just share some of the photos I took in black & white to continue my ongoing series Life in B&W, in which I pretend I am a photographer (smile).

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Postscript

If you are feeling like: “Why Tierney is this post over? I am still sipping my special beverage and want more virtual warm tropical vacation time!”, here is another post about my trip with more images to temporarily whisk you away from the cold:

The Relaxation Vacation Experiment

Note: I wish in retrospect I had appreciated every moment of “The Relaxation Vacation Experiment”!

A Crafter's Life

Mind Blowing Mail

A couple weeks ago an amazing surprise came in the mail from my friend Dana – a quilt!

Not just any quilt, but a quilt I’ve been watching her make via her Instagram posts (@chambersdalix) for a couple months – the Nova Star Quilt pattern by Then Came June, using amazing fabrics from Rifle Paper Co.’s Primera Citrus Collection.

Here are some screen shot images from her Instagram posts while she participated in an online quilt-a-long (QAL) for this pattern:

All the lovely photography above is by @chambersdalix.

So for many weeks I’d been following this amazing quilt progress on Instagram and little did I know it would be coming to my house someday.

Dana mentioned she was sending me a surprise (I thought it might be fabric scraps from this quilt as I’d been drooling over it) so I knew I was getting a package, but I nearly fainted when it arrived.

Actually I teasingly accused Dana of “attempted murder” since I nearly fainted dead when I opened the box!

Dana also sent me a beautiful handmade card with the quilt!

I hung it in my home office/upstairs guest bedroom so I can look at it every day. Feeling very loved!

We stitch together quilts of meaning to keep us warm and safe, with whatever patches of beauty and utility we have on hand.
― Anne Lamott

A Crafter's Life, From the Archives

Valentines (re-post)

Happy Valentine’s Day!

I thought in honor of this day, and how far my life has come in a couple of years, I would re-post this Valentine’s Day post from February 14, 2019. This post was also featured, at the end of February 2019, on author Marie Bostwick’s blog: Coping With Grief by Helping Others.

I am in my 8th year of blogging and I have a large catalogue of archived posts and going forward I am going to occasionally share from the archives.


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


Feature Photo by Nicola Fioravanti on Unsplash

A Crafter's Life

Another Card Making Playdate

I mentioned in yesterday’s post (What I Did During My Blogging Vacation) that my friend Michele and I got together last Friday to discuss the book City of Brass by S.A. Chakraborty and to make greeting cards like we did a couple of months ago (see post Card Making Playdate).

Since the City of Brass takes place in the 18th century Middle East, I made a Middle Eastern themed lunch for us of tabouli, hummus, fruits, pistachios, dates and goat cheese drizzled with honey, and pita bread:

It was a nice lunch break during a day of paper-crafting together.

We made around 10 cards each. Here are some of the cards Michele made:

Here are the cards I made:

Many of the card stock was in darker colors which would be challenging to write in with regular pens so we added glued at the edge white copy paper into the middle of each card for ease of correspondence:

At the end of our card making day we headed out to meet up with Michele’s husband for dinner at a favorite Italian restaurant but not before my partner John made us some pre-dinner cocktails to celebrate all our productive day of card making!

And by the way, we only had one cocktail each in case you were curious – I photographed our individual cocktails together – ha!

I forgot to mention – when we discussed the we read in our private book group (see post Virtual Book Clubs) during our card making playdate, Michele gave the book City of Brass 3-stars and I gave it 4-stars. Just in case you are curious.

Next card making playdate, which will be at Michele’s house, we will discuss The Guest List by Lucy Foley.


Postscript

I’ve been catching up slowly on some of the blogs I follow and I was reminded how awesome the blog is of one of my blogging buddy Georgiana – Readers’ High TeaShe does a wonderful job of sharing her reviews of books, primarily contemporary fiction, and I now have a long list of what I want to read! 

If you are looking for ideas of what to read next, check out her blog.

A Crafter Needs to Eat, A Crafter's Life, Audiobooks and Podcasts, Bags Bags Bags

What I Did During My Blogging Vacation

I’ve been on hiatus from blogging for a couple weeks to temporarily remove any “artificial” obligations in my life in order to have some time to “reset”.

Now feeling “reset”, I thought I would jump back into blogging with a little essay “primary/elementary” school style like the infamous “What I Did on My Summer Vacation“.

By the way I was not hanging out with the fabulous looking women at the beach during my hiatus, like those in the feature photo of this post (photo by Vitae London on Unsplash), I just thought it was a fun beach photo to use in the middle of semi-freezing winter in Denver!

Okay so now it is time to imagine me standing in front of our 4th grade class presenting this essay below (and perhaps my parents helped me make a slide deck for my images/photos)…

READING

Listening to audiobooks and turning the pages of actual physical books, I’ve done a lot of reading during the past several weeks.

I’ve finished the book City of Brass by S.A. Chakraborty, that I read for my virtual book club with my friend Michele (see post Virtual Book Clubs):

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image credit – Kirkus Review

Last Friday Michele and I had another card-making playdate like the one I shared in the post Card Making Playdate from last October and discussed City of Brass. In tomorrow’s post (why yes, I am going to now post frequently…hope you don’t grow tired of me) I will share what we made.

I recently finished the next book in our “Virtual Book Group” (but wait is it “virtual” if we are meeting in person, socially distancing of course, to discuss the book?) and it was quite the awesome page turnerThe Guest List by Lucy Foley:

The Guest List
image credit – Publishers Weekly

It’s been a long time since I’ve read (actually I listened to the audiobook) the kind of book I absolutely could not put down. If you’d like to read a synopsis of the book – here is the link to the one on Publishers Weekly (no worries, there are no spoilers) – The Guest List.

Currently I am listening to an excellent (so far) Science Fiction/space novel – To Sleep Under a Sea of Stars by Christoper Paolini. I love it so much I’ve already bought the hard copy of the book as my library loan of the audiobook is about to expire and there are a zillion other library patrons waiting in line to listen to it next.

Image result for to sleep in a sea of stars
image credit – Paolini.net

It not just fiction books I’ve been inhaling, I’ve also read several new crafting books I picked up over the past couple of months.

I’ve been obsessed lately with making non-quilt items such as tote bags (see post Tote, Tote, Tote Bags) and pincushions (a future post); and love my new book by Ayumi Takahashi – Patchwork Please which features lots of fun things to make:

Patchwork Please!: Colorful Zakka Projects to Stitch and Give - Takahashi, Ayumi
image credit – amazon.com

I am sort of obsessed with “zakka” and Japanese author craft patterns. I love the aesthetics of their designs as well as the function. Here are many of the books in my home library collection of Japanese author craft patterns:

COOKING

For a while in the Denver metro area, our restaurants closed down again to inside dining during the pandemic. Finally they opened to 25% capacity and now I think they are starting to reopen to even 50% capacity (or perhaps I am hallucinating at this point as I have complete pandemic fatigue at this point).

While they were closed again, like in the early days of the pandemic, we tried to make fun meals at home and not get home cooking fatigue. Here are a couple photos of the delicious meals my partner John (a very good cook who used to actually cook professionally) and I made.

Delicious Irish Stew and Homemade Biscuits

Salmon Fried Rice

Nachos!

Pizza (with dough made from “scratch”)

Orzo Pasta Salad

Are you hungry yet?

One of my favorites that I could not locate easily locate a photo for was the handmade gnocchi with gorgonzola sauce and scallops that John made one night. I thought I was at a high-end restaurant!

Yes, I will not lie, I had packed on a couple “pandemic pounds” from all this good eating, but we do not eat like this every night. We do try and have salads for dinner a couple nights a week.

WALKING

To combat the effects of all those delicious home cooked meals, I’ve been going on a lot of very long walks. It is always a great way to listening to my audiobooks. Most of the times I take Mike my Miniature Schnauzer with me but many times I just go walking alone (then I do not have to stop for the “frequent signing in on bushes” that Mike loves to do on his walk).

Here are a couple Black & White images I took on a wintry walk, in which someone had left a found glove on a branch for its owner to hopefully someday find. I got a kick out of the “composition” in the stark landscape created by the glove.

If you enjoy B&W images, I do have a series of posts where I feature B&W images – Life in B&W.

In case you are wondering – either the glove blew away or was reunited with its partner by the owner as the next day it was gone.

REFLECTING

During my break from blogging, I spent a lot of time reflecting and trying to figure out my life. As many of you know, I am in my second year of widowhood caused by the very sudden and very expected death of my life partner, Terry the Quilting Husband (see post Remembering Terry the Quilting Husband (TTQH)).

I’d been with Terry since I was in my early 20s and I am now on a journey to “reinvent” myself in my middle years of life as “Tierney minus Terry”, after what seems like a lifetime of “Tierney +Terry”.

In previous posts, I’ve discussed re-opening my tierneycreates Etsy shop and my original plan when I took a hiatus from blogging was to start blogging again in about a month when I was ready to re-open my Etsy shop.

Over the past several months, I’ve made a lot of items in preparation to re-open the shop but still could not move forward with re-opening the shop. I was struggling to figure out what the big block was for me.

Then while looking at some old photos on my Google Photos account which I rarely use, I found an old image of the joint tierneycreates business card Terry and I had together when he was helping me with my Etsy shop. He was listed as a “Maker” on my Etsy shop as he helped me with many of the items I produced by cutting out patterns and doing preliminary sewing, especially on items like Miniature Kimonos, which were very popular on my shop.

I realized that my tierneycreates Etsy shop is just too closely tied to memories of crafting with Terry and I am just not ready.

Part of my “widowhood journey” is trying to figure out what to do with what is basically a lifetime’s worth of memories with someone who is now gone.

After losing your spouse you are expected to go on with your life but what do you do with all those memories (and mementos) of a life previously lived? I think that is the $64,000 Question which I have yet to answer for myself (I’ve done a lot of reading on grief and the answers of other people’s journey but I still have to find my own answer).

But I have figured out that unless it is something critical, not push myself to do anything I am not ready to do, even if it seems like a good thing to do (like re-opening my Etsy shop).

(The above images are of Terry, Sassy, who passed in Dec 2017 a year before Terry, and I vacationing in Cannon Beach, Oregon; and of Terry modeling a quilt he helped me make)

CRAFTING

There’s been a whole lot of crafting over the past couple of weeks. I’ve found a lot of peace in making things. I feel very lucky to be a “Maker”.

Many of the items I’ve shared on my tierneycreates Instagram account but many I have not. I am going to save a discussion of what I’ve been working on for future blogs posts but I will share that I’ve been making more tote bags like I discussed in the post Tote, Tote, Tote Bags.

Here are some of my latest tote bags:

I look forward to diving into more about what I’ve been making in my future posts!

WAKE UP, THE ESSAY IS FINALLY OVER!

So that concludes my essay and I can safely assume the whole class is asleep now at their desks!

Oh wait, I see the teacher is also asleep at their desk! Maybe I won’t get a “A” on this presentation…

Photo by Matheus Farias on Unsplash

Postscript

Just a quick follow up to my post Redesigning my logo. I decided not to change my logo at this time and just figure it out at a later date.

A Crafter's Life, Audiobooks and Podcasts

Virtual Book Clubs

I am not usually one for book clubs, at least not currently. I like to read what I want to read. I am however in two virtual “book clubs” with two friends right now on two different books: 1) a fiction physical book; and a 2) non fiction audiobook.

City of Brass by S.A. Chakraborty 

I am reading this first book in the Daevabad Trilogy with my friend Michele. 

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Here is the Kirkus Review on the book if you are curious:

A rich Middle Eastern fantasy, the first of a trilogy: Chakraborty’s intriguing debut.

On the streets of 18th-century Cairo, young Nahri—she has a real talent for medicine but lacks the wherewithal to acquire proper training—makes a living swindling Ottoman nobles by pretending to wield supernatural powers she doesn’t believe in. Then, during a supposed exorcism, she somehow summons a mysterious djinn warrior named Dara, whose magic is both real and incomprehensibly powerful. Dara insists that Nahri is no longer safe—evil djinn threaten her life, so he must convey her to Daevabad, a legendary eastern city protected by impervious magical brass walls. During the hair-raising journey by flying carpet, Nahri meets spirits and monsters and develops feelings for Dara, a deeply conflicted being with a long, tangled past. At Daevabad she’s astonished to learn that she’s the daughter of a legendary healer of the Nahid family. All the more surprising, then, that King Ghassan, whose ancestor overthrew the ruling Nahid Council and stole Suleiman’s seal, which nullifies magic, welcomes her.

With Ghassan’s younger son, Prince Ali, Nahri becomes immersed in the city’s deeply divisive (and not infrequently confusing) religious, political, and racial tensions. Meanwhile, Dara’s emerging history and personality grow more and more bewildering and ambiguous. Against this syncretic yet non-derivative and totally credible backdrop, Chakraborty has constructed a compelling yarn of personal ambition, power politics, racial and religious tensions, strange magics, and terrifying creatures, culminating in a cataclysmic showdown that few readers will anticipate. The expected first-novel flaws—a few character inconsistencies, plot swirls that peter out, the odd patch where the author assumes facts not in evidence—matter little. Best of all, the narrative feels rounded and complete yet poised to deliver still more.

Highly impressive and exceptionally promising.

This book is one of the first books (purchased new from an Independent Bookstore mentioned in the post – A Friday Frolicking Adventure) added to my new home library discussed in the post Curating a Home Library.

I am enjoying the book so far and look forward to discussing with my friend Michele. 

Untamed by Glennon Doyle 

Not only is this a non-fiction book in the “self-improvement genre” but I am listening to it as an audiobook with my friend Jenny from Central, Oregon where I used to live before I moved to the Denver Metro area in April 2019.

In my February 2020 post Musings on Self-Improvement, I swore off self-help/self-improvement audiobooks after sudden series burnout on listening to them. I’ve also been trying to stick to podcasts or music for the listening during my walks/hikes and save reading fiction or non-fiction in physical book form. During the pandemic I’ve rediscovered the pleasures of curling up with a book like in this photo below (and Mike the Miniature Schnauzer prefers it also_:

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But I heard a lot about this book and it really appealed to me as an exception to my “no more self-improvement audiobook rule”.

It also appealed to my friend Jenny who is dealing with some major life changes ahead; and who likes to go on long walks in Central Oregon and listen to audiobooks.

When we both finish the book, we are going to do a “Virtual Book Group” meeting and discuss via Facetime over a pot of tea (we have to each make our own because virtual tea gets complicated – ha!).

Oh and here is the Kirkus Review on the book (which I’ve actually finished and thought was spectacular and inspiring!):

More life reflections from the bestselling author on themes of societal captivity and the catharsis of personal freedom.

In her third book, Doyle (Love Warrior, 2016, etc.) begins with a life-changing event. “Four years ago,” she writes, “married to the father of my three children, I fell in love with a woman.” That woman, Abby Wambach, would become her wife. Emblematically arranged into three sections—“Caged,” “Keys,” “Freedom”—the narrative offers, among other elements, vignettes about the soulful author’s girlhood, when she was bulimic and felt like a zoo animal, a “caged girl made for wide-open skies.” She followed the path that seemed right and appropriate based on her Catholic upbringing and adolescent conditioning. After a downward spiral into “drinking, drugging, and purging,” Doyle found sobriety and the authentic self she’d been suppressing. Still, there was trouble: Straining an already troubled marriage was her husband’s infidelity, which eventually led to life-altering choices and the discovery of a love she’d never experienced before. Throughout the book, Doyle remains open and candid, whether she’s admitting to rigging a high school homecoming court election or denouncing the doting perfectionism of “cream cheese parenting,” which is about “giving your children the best of everything.” The author’s fears and concerns are often mirrored by real-world issues: gender roles and bias, white privilege, racism, and religion-fueled homophobia and hypocrisy. Some stories merely skim the surface of larger issues, but Doyle revisits them in later sections and digs deeper, using friends and familial references to personify their impact on her life, both past and present. Shorter pieces, some only a page in length, manage to effectively translate an emotional gut punch, as when Doyle’s therapist called her blooming extramarital lesbian love a “dangerous distraction.” Ultimately, the narrative is an in-depth look at a courageous woman eager to share the wealth of her experiences by embracing vulnerability and reclaiming her inner strength and resiliency.Doyle offers another lucid, inspiring chronicle of female empowerment and the rewards of self-awareness and renewal.

Here are a couple quotes from this book that seemed to be the right thing I needed to hear at the right time.

When a woman finally learns that pleasing the world is impossible, she becomes free to learn how to please herself.

Being human is not hard because you’re doing it wrong, it’s hard because you’re doing it right.

The only thing that was ever wrong with me was my belief that there was something wrong with me.

Be careful with the stories you tell about yourself.

Every life is an unprecedented experiment. This life is mine alone…So I have stopped asking people for directions to places they’ve never been. There is no map. We are all pioneers.

Privilege is being born on third base. Ignorant privilege is thinking you’re there because you hit a triple. Malicious privilege is complaining that those starving outside the ballpark aren’t waiting patiently enough.

I have learned that if I want to rise, I have to sink first.  


Postscript

Speaking of my friend Michele (the one I am reading City of Brass with) she sent me an image of her with the hat I made her last year and the matching scarf I made her recently that I shared in the post Scarf for a Friend.

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I think she looks lovely and coordinated (the hat and scarf match her winter jacket).

Oh and at the beginning of this post I mentioned I am not one for book clubs, at least not presently. I’ve tried several book clubs over the years and most of them was not a fit for me after a while. I did however belong to a spectacular book club, started by my friend Michele and I, when I lived in Seattle, Washington.

One of the cool things about this book club was it was a mix of male and female and had a wide age range. It was also quite diverse in culture and life experiences. It made for an excellent mix for a book club. It was called The Good Book Club and went on for many years. Several of our members were single and even met their future partners in book club. 


Feature Photo by hannah grace on Unsplash

A Crafter's Life, tierneycreates

Pillow for a Kitty

The title of this post might confuse you and lead you to wonder: “Is Tierney now focusing on making pillows for cats and how does Mike the Miniature Schnauzer feel about this?!?!?”

What is post is actually about it how as a crafter we make a lot of crafts and give a lot as gifts; and sometimes we forget what happens to those gifts over the years. It is a sweet and special blessing to hear how a gift is still being used years later.

Such in the case of an unexpected “kitty pillow“.

I have a post from February 2015, 2015 Goals, in which I shared that I had made Little Love Note Pillows for my then open Etsy Shop (aptly named tierneycreates). Around the same time as selling these pillows on my tierneycreates shop, I gave some as gifts to family and friends. Here are some images of these pillow sets I sold and gifted:

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I sort of forgot about these pillows made 5 years ago, especially with all that has transpired in my life the past 5 years (and especially the past nearly 2 years…).

Well a couple days ago, I received a text and images from my brother-in-law Sean (my late husband Terry’s brother), sharing some photos of how his cat is enjoying the little pillows I sent him so many years ago. His kitty thought they were the perfect “cat sized pillows”!

He meant to tell me long time ago but kept forgetting.

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What a huge smile his text and photos put on my face! It was a nice pick me up as I’ve been feeling quite blue of late (see the Postscript section below).


Postscript

Today is December 1st and I think I’ve come to accept that December is a very rough month for me.

December used to be my favorite month with my late husband Terry’s birthday (Dec 2), Christmas (Dec 25) and my wedding anniversary (Dec 29).

Now December also holds the anniversary of Terry’s (known to this blog as “Terry the Quilting Husband”) sudden passing (12/13) who had been my partner since I was 20 years old.

December also holds the anniversaries of the passing of my beloved mother-in-law “Mimi” that I had in my life longer than my biological mother; and Sassy the Highly Opinionated Miniature Schnauzer the greatest canine love of my life. The passed within a week of each other in December 2017.

I was numb during Christmas 2018; I made it through Christmas 2019 but I am thinking that this year I probably won’t do a Christmas tree as it is makes me even sadder. Unfortunately, on 12/13/18, a couple days after decorating our tree together, I discovered the love of my life deceased next to the Christmas tree.

I will get through December; and appreciate all the love and support from friends and family and I am so thankful for my partner John and our dog Mike.

Also I am always trying to remember this wonderful quote I stumbled upon early in my grief journey:

Some days it seems like every moment of the day is a battle to keep the nests out of my hair at least during the month of December…

(okay Tierney you just won the “Most Depressing Blog Post” award…I promise future posts will not be as glum)

A Crafter's Life

Not Your Traditional Thanksgiving

This past Thursday was Thanksgiving in the U.S. and traditionally it’s a holiday where family and/or friends gather and share a large meal featuring TURKEY.

Photo by Pro Church Media on Unsplash

However in 2020, time of the global pandemic, ongoing traditions likely did not work, especially with all the current COVID restrictions in place around the U.S.

In our region for example we are on “Level Red” restrictions and we are not supposed to congregate with people outside our immediate household. So that means no having relatives over for Thanksgiving.

My partner John has a son, daughter in law, and darling granddaughter in the area, as well as much of his siblings and parents in the Denver Metro area where we live. We could not gather with them for Thanksgiving due to the current restrictions in place.

I was not really in the mood for two of us to make and share a traditional Thanksgiving turkey dinner so we came up with the idea of John asking his son what his wanted to eat on Thanksgiving and John making it (he loves to cook) and dropping it off at his house. We decided to do the same thing with John’s elderly father and his partner who have been fairly homebound during the pandemic.

And what did John’s son choose for Thanksgiving dinner? He chose – CHICKEN STRIPS and MACARONI AND CHEESE, one of his favorite meals that his dad makes! John’s dad was happy with the same menu also so we made up several batches of homemade “mac & cheese” and chicken strips.

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John set them up for delivery and then did a door drop off to each household for their “Thanksgiving dinners”!

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We also included some ranch dressing for dipping the chicken strips.

John and I had the same dinner ourselves when he returned from dropping off the meals (which got rave reviews).

In a strange pandemic-times-way we “shared” a meal with family outside our household for Thanksgiving.

Here is Mike the Miniature Schnauzer asking for a sampling as the meals got boxed up for delivery.


Postscript

Speaking of Thanksgiving and cooking, if you like podcasts, head over to my blogging buddy, Portland based author Tammie Painter’s wonderful The Book Owl Podcast for the latest episode – Cooking Up Something Good – all about the history of cookbooks! It was another fun and informative podcast!

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A Crafter's Life

Morning Ride

Good Morning from my side of the pond. I thought I would share some recent images from my partner John’s early morning bike rides like I did in the post Good Morning and The Library Stack.

If in addition to making me look lazy with all his recent woodshop crafting projects, he has also been showing me up on physical fitness activities during the pandemic. Several times a week at 5:00 am in the morning he goes on a 20 – 26+ mile (32 – 42 km) bike ride (even in the chilly Autumn mornings).

He usually catches great sunrises on his ride, especially at the reservoir near our house.

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Here is John just returned from a morning ride (and I have just risen from bed to make my way to my 20 foot commute to my home office, ha!):


Postscript

Greetings from tierneycreates Beastie, she has not guest blogger posted in a while (Beastie Adventures). She might have a post in the future!

Well John is not early morning bike riding currently as it has snowed in the Denver Metro area.

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Here is tierneycreates Beastie in her Autumn/Winter outfit all ready for the cold and snow:

Thanks so much to Helen @crawcraftsbeasties for making her a scarf to go with her hat.

The scarf matches the scarf I knitted to match my hat I shared in this post – Scarf finally done.

A Crafter's Life, From the Woodshop

From the Woodshop

Crafting wise I do not have much to report as I am finished with the granny square blanket (see previous post Attack of the Giant Granny Square Blanket) and I am currently working on hand stitching Seattle Scrappy (see previous post and the post An Update on “Seattle Scrappy” – Haphazard Stitching… ).

So I am going to take this opportunity to share what the other crafty person in the house, my partner John has been working on.

A couple months ago we turned part of our basement into his woodshop (we had it professionally drywalled as well as electrical added, while John put in the floor and did all the finishing work), so he could have his own “craft room”.

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His workshop is a work in progress and evolving. For the first time in his life he has his dream of having his own dedicated woodshop beyond just tinkering in the garage.

John and I met in mid-2019 after suddenly each losing our long time spouses/life partners in 2018. We decided that since how long you have to live your life is unknown (when you become a widow/widower you think a lot about your own mortality in addition to grieving the loss of your spouse) we would not hold back from having our dreams (within reason and within financial possibilities of course!). One of his lifelong dreams was to have his own woodshop!

(One of our shared dreams is travel and pre-COVID pandemic we had many plans for travel in 2020, but you all know about “best laid plans” when it comes to 2020…)

Mike the miniature schnauzer did a guest blog post a couple weeks ago (yes, yes, stop your disbeliefs that my dog writes blog posts, ha, ha) on some of the projects John has been working on – Guest Blog Post: A Whole Lot of Remodeling Going On , but I thought I would share some of the projects since that post.

Wood Blocking Board

I saw on Instagram wood blocking boards for granny squares and asked John if he could make me one – and he did!

Here is an image of one I found online and texted him the image:

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He watched a couple YouTube videos and checked out some on Pinterest and figured it out how to make me one:

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It’s going to be great to use for making my next granny square blanket – I can stack my blocks pretty high with the long pegs.

Bike Holders/Storage

John loves Pinterest as a great source of ideas. He wanted to get our bikes off just sitting on the ground of the garage and found a cool design for a bike rack and made one for each of our bikes!

He made mine first so most of the images are of mine with some detailed images of the rack to include the little drawer he built for it also. 

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The little drawer is perfect to keep your biking gloves and other small items related to cycling. It is very easy to lift our bikes out of the holders.

Magnetic Board

I am obsessed with Scrabble letters. I have a collection of Scrabble letters from thrift stores and old Scrabble games. I’ve made gifts from them in the past like friend’s names spelled in Scrabble letters affixed to a magnetic strip. Recently while at a thrift shop I found a bag of Scrabble letters with individual thin magnetic strips attached. 

This led to the idea of creating a magnetic board for my home office where I could write inspirational messages for myself with Scrabble letters! I asked John and he made it happen!

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Currently up on the board I have the Maya Angelou quote:

Nothing can dim the light which shines from within.

Custom Tables for his Woodshop

The first table John made for his woodshop was a table/stand/storage for his Miter Saw:

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He used purchased plans he downloaded online to make this table and then made some adjustments for his needs.

Recently he made himself another table/stand/storage, this time without pre-purchased plans! He designed a table for his Planer with storage drawers with cool pulls he ordered online:

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Exercise Room for Water Rower

And the big project that John recently completed did not technically involve his woodshop as he did much for the work in the garage – he converted part of our unfinished storage room in the basement into an exercise room for our new Water Rower. This involved framing out and dry walling the room. A wonderful friend helped him with a lot of the initial labor related to framing,  installing the drywall, and pulling electrical for lighting and wall outlets.

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The artwork in the room was my idea and I found it at a thrift shop. John created the frame around the world map. I figured we can daydream about travel while we row.  We found a television on sale and an inexpensive TV mount online so we can watch rowing instructional videos (or Netflix) while rowing.

We repurposed an old bookcase for our “gym” towels and water bottles like they would have at a real gym. John also put in a vent for the room for ventilation while we break a sweat.

Well I better go work on my hand stitching so I can have something to show you in the future – John makes me look pretty lazy!


Postscript

Do you remember how in the post The Inpatient Schnauzer: Update on the Granny Square Afghan (Guest Blogger), Mike the miniature schnauzer was getting impatient for me to finish the granny square blanket? So it is all finished but he seems to have moved on!

He is now in love with a new fleece blanket we recently picked up and has become inseparable from it!

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I guess schnauzers are fickle!

Let me close this post with a sign/piece of artwork I discovered while thrifting that I put up outside John’s woodshop door. I think it goes with the aesthetic of a woodshop and also embraces how we are hoping to live our lives:

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Feature Image Photo by Joel & Jasmin Førestbird on Unsplash

A Crafter Needs to Eat, A Crafter's Life

Hello Autumn!

I’ve shared many of the photos below already on Instagram but I thought I would pull them together and share a quick post about Autumn, my favorite season.

Fall Scenery

Who doesn’t love the colors of Autumn and the changing leaves?

Not only the color of the leaves but the sounds of the leaves? Usually when I’m on a walk I have my earphones in and I am listening to an audiobook, a podcast or music. Yesterday I went on a little afternoon walk and actually just listened to the trees – their dry autumn leaves rustling in the wind. It was sort of glorious.

In addition to the trees/leaves, we’ve seen some beautiful skies at sunset – my partner John captured these photos.

Fall Cooking

The other day it dropped to 48 degrees F outside so was it’s cold enough for homemade chicken noodle soup with handmade noodles!

On Instagram I shared these two images below, implying I made the soup…

But I was only adding extra noodles to the soup – actually my partner John made the soup and the noodles.

But I did make an apple pie – a perfect Autumn desert!

I was super tasty and we had it for desert after our soup and garlic bread for supper.

Now it’s time to pull out the stew recipes as well as the soups I like to make recipes. Cooler weather means lots of cooking (and maybe some more baking).


Postscript

Oh I will close this post with what Mike the Miniature Schnauzer is up to – providing emotional support for more home remodeling projects (see his guest post Guest Blog Post: A Whole Lot of Remodeling Going On) by going on trips to home improvement stores.

Here is his photo from the other day when he went to pick up more supplies and it looks like he’s trying to give the humans some directions…

A Crafter's Life

The Earth’s Wisdom

I found a profound piece of “wisdom” taped to the inside cover of an old journal and wanted to share it with you, in case you also find it inspiring.

I do not know who to credit for this as I had no additional information on where I clipped this from; and when I tried to google it no result came up. So my apologies to whomever wrote these wonderful words I’ve copied below…

We should study the earth’s wisdom

– Unknown

Tree

Photo by niko photos on Unsplash

Have strong foundation. It will nourish you and stabilize you when life storms come.

Reach high and keep growing. Shelter and nurture others.

Share your fruit freely.

Volcano

Photo by USGS on Unsplash

Let it go! Don’t hold your fiery spirit in.

Your passion will create paradise in time.

River

Photo by kermit nicou on Unsplash

Keep moving or you will stagnate. You are more powerful than you know.

As you move through life, simply being yourself, you will nourish, refresh, and create incredible beauty.

Mountain

Photo by Mads Schmidt Rasmussen on Unsplash

Lift your consciousness to a higher level. Everything is different from that higher perspective.

Your path upward may seem rocky but it will be worthwhile.

Ocean

Photo by Giga Khurtsilava on Unsplash

Even if storms come, know that they are just on the surface.

Sync your awareness into your own depths where there is always calm. Even if your depths seem dark, they are rich with life. you hold, so much more than you imagine.

You are part of so much more than you realize. You may think you are a small wave but you are an intrinsic part of a large ocean.

Rock

Photo by Artem Kniaz on Unsplash

Be still. Conserve your energy.

You have existed for a long time and have soaked in wisdom like sunshine.

Your power is your being, not your doing.

Garden

Photo by Marta Bibi on Unsplash

Beauty comes from diversity.

Don’t be afraid of the fertilizer in your life. You can use it to grow.

There are friends buzzing all around to help you grow. You are not alone.

You are a gift, beautiful nourishing and soulful.

Moss

Photo by Aldo Hernandez on Unsplash

It’s OK to be soft and gentle.

Be yourself, soak in the waters of life, and you will be able to grow even in unlikely conditions.

Your essence is comfort.


Feature image credit: Photo by Casey Horner on Unsplash