A Crafter's Life

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 faciliator:

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.

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

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

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

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:

2018-12-16_13-25-19_877.jpegSo Much Support

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

A Crafter's Life, Quality of Life

Consider These

A bonus post for today. I wanted to share these tips that Amy W., a Wellness Coordinator at my employer shared today. 


Some things you might want to consider, or not…. Don’t overthink it

  1. Floss. You know this one already.
  2. Sell or donate your microwave. You’d be shocked how much healthier you eat when you must clean a pan after every meal.
  3. Apologize if you were wrong.
  4. Read books.
  5. Drink chamomile tea. It’s good for nearly every part of your body. Drink some calming, honey-laden tea and think for a second.
  6. Check your credit score. If you have a credit card or student loans, you need to check your credit score. I know it’s scary, but unlike your Netflix membership, it’s free and important.
  7. Meet your neighbors. That way you won’t have to feel awkward when you are both out front avoiding eye contact.
  8. Stop pretending you’re not on your cell phone that much. We all look at them way too much. Look up, you might like what you see.
  9. Leave 15 minutes early for everything.
  10. Get a physical and go to the dentist. Stop using Listerine/Neosporin/Cranberry Juice etc. to cure that infection.
  11. Go to bed at a p.m. hour. Watch both a sunset and a sunrise.
  12. Listen to a whole album. The digital sales market has returned music to the singles-centric model that worked in the 50s and 60s, but even then, the best work was the full vision of an artist.
  13. Write something every day. Doesn’t matter if it’s a rant against your roommate or the philosophical ponderings brought on by an episode of  your favorite television show.
  14. Learn this: They’re over there in their English class.
  15. Finally, remember we all have 24 hours every day to do with what we will.

 

A Crafter's Life, tierneycreates

Artistic Delights in the Mail

One of the best thing about having the tierneycreates blog for the past 5 years is connecting with other crafters, makers, artists around the world.

One of those people is Pennsylvania based artist extraordinaire, Claudia McGill. She is one of those “Renaissance Women” whose dabbles successfully in many arts – writing, painting, drawing, illustrations, poetry, ceramics/pottery and collage.

She has two blogs (that I know of, maybe she has more, ha!) – one for her art and one for her poetry:

Claudia McGill and Her Art World

Claudia McGill Writes Poetry, Did You Know That?

A couple days ago, I was surprised in the mail with a lovely holiday card and some some little pieces of her art!

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Lucky me!

I know there are new bloggers now following my blog that might be looking for other maker blogs to follow and blogging communities to connect with, so I plan in the future to share more about the blogs I follow to help connect anyone interested.

Over the years, I’ve met so many other bloggers through following and commenting on blogs that capture my interest.

 


Postscript

I’ve always fantasized about writing poetry and had dabbled but never had the confidence to share any of my writings.

In addition to Claudia’s blogs, I also follow other “artist poets” such as South African based artist and poet, Mariss Stevens. She shares her beautiful art quilts with accompanying poems!

You can check out her amazing art quilts and poetry on her blog:

FABRICATIONS

 

 

A Crafter's Life, Special Events

A Presidential Artistic Journey (Re-post)

Today is a national day of mourning in the U.S. to honor the legacy of the recently deceased 41st President, George H.W. Bush, Sr.

No matter how you might feel politically about him, let’s agree that it takes a lot to live a life of public service, something few of us would take on. He was also a World War II Veteran. 

So in honor of George H.W. Bush, Sr.’s legacy, I thought I would repost this post from June 2018 about the opportunity I had in May 2018 to hear his son, former U.S. President George W. Bush, Jr. speak in person and talk about his artistic journey. 


A Presidential Artistic Journey

This is not a political post, but this post is about a former political figure, now a private citizen – former U.S. President George W. Bush, Jr.

Suspend for a moment any political leanings you hold and let me share a very special opportunity I had to see a former U.S. President speak in person in early May and to learn of his artistic journey.

A Once-In-A-Lifetime Opportunity

April 30 – May 4th, I attended a national conference for the industry that I am employed , in Orlando, Florida. One of the keynote presentations at the conference was a conversation with former President George W. Bush, Jr. and the president of a national organization hosting the conference.

No photos were allowed and there was strict security so unfortunately I have no photos from the experience to share (when I first discovered that President Bush would be speaking I had hopes of a “selfie” with a former U.S. President!). I’ve never seen a U.S. President in person so just the experience to see a historical figure in person was very exciting to me.

To be honest, I was not a huge fan of President Bush during his Presidency, but I put those thoughts aside and approached the presentation with an open mind.

He was absolutely amazing and spoke with much wonderful humor, insight, inspiration and Texas twang! He shared the experience of recently losing his mother, Barbara Bush (who I always greatly respected). He also spoke candidly about 9/11 (September 11, 2001/World Trade Center bombings) and other challenges and his Presidency; and about what’s going on in the world and in the U.S. today.

As I do not want this to be a political post I will not share all the specifics of what he said but let’s just say he might not fully support the current choices and political environment of the current U.S. Presidential Administration. He said that the U.S. cannot become isolationists, we have to stay connected to the world and shared specific reasons, in his opinion, why it is important that the U.S. stay engaged.

He did encourage those of us who might feel currently discouraged not to give up on democracy; and that the office of U.S. President is greater than the behavior of any one individual.

He also talked about what he has seen in the world and that those that live in the U.S. should remember just how blessed we are to live in this country (in regards to all the freedoms and opportunities we have available to us that are not available in all parts of the world).

Interestingly during his talk I learned that he is  close friends the Dalai Llama and Bono (lead singer of the band U2 who is heavily involved in humanitarian causes) – who would have known?

Overall his talk was very inspirational, spiritual (he is a man of strong faith) and hopeful – he brought many of us to tears several times during his talk.

A Former U.S. President’s Artistic Journey

For me the best part of his talk was when he shared how he became a painter and his evolution as an artist/his artistic journey. He talked about the fear he had to overcome to start painting and bouts with self doubt of his painting ability.

He also talked about the moment when he realized he was not too bad at painting. I wish I could have taken notes as there were many gems in his discussion of his artistic journey and I could relate to many of those experiences in my journey.

He eventually combined his love of painting with his post-presidency humanitarian efforts, which include working with Veterans especially those dealing with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). He painted Veterans for his book Portraits of Courage: A Commander in Chief’s Tribute to America’s Warriors (if you click on the link you will see an image of former President Bush painting a portrait) and proceeds from book sales, according to the website, “helps post-9/11 veterans and their families make a successful transition to civilian life and addresses issues of veteran wellness, including post-traumatic stress and traumatic brain injury”.

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image credit: bushcenter.org

He shared a couple of amazing stories about the friendships he developed with several Veterans dealing with PTSD while working on their portraits. He tried to capture in their portrait painting not only their physical features but what the individual was dealing with internally at the time, he made an effort to get to know each Veteran he was painting.

I’m so thankful to my employer for the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity they gave me in sending me to the conference in Orlando. I also appreciate the opportunity to share this experience with you all and ask for you to be moderate and thoughtful in your comments on this post as fellow readers have differing political views, thanks.

A Crafter's Life, Tula Time!, What's on the Design Wall

What’s On the Design Wall: Tula in a Box

First I’d like to apologize for any less than stellar photography. My design wall is in a narrow hallway in my home and I can only photograph it from an angle.

Now that you have that disclaimer and you have lowered your expectations on the quality of the photography on this post, I can continue my series of posts “What’s on the Design Wall”, featuring my latest project up on either one of the small design walls in my studio or the large design wall my hallway.

Up on my large design wall are thirty-six (36) 12.5 inch x 12.5 inch blocks for my quilt I am calling Tula in a Box

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I have Terry the Quilting Husband (TTQH) to thank for arranging the blocks on the design wall. I had looked at them so many times I did not know where to start in laying out the quilt blocks on the design wall!

There is a bit of story behind this quilt if you are new to my blog. You can check out my series of posts Tula Time! if you want to check out the back story.

The quilt did begin as an impulse purchase of Tula Pink Allstar fabric fat quarter packs (feature fabrics, stripes, solids, and dots) after seeing my friend Dana’s collection at a quilt retreat:

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I’ve now made quite a dent in that stack above while piecing the 36 blocks.

My  next step is to create the lattice and cornerstones from this pile (fat quarter collection of the stripes, and scraps from the feature fabric);

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I am going to “fussy cut” the scraps of the feature fabric (the 6 different animal prints in 3 different color ways) for the cornerstone between the lattice.

More to come as it progresses, for now I am just so happy to have finished the 36 blocks!


Postscript

My friend Dana who started my Tula Pink fabric obsession, has made great progress on her quilt which is made of pieced stars with the same collection of fat quarters from the Tula Pink All Stars line.

Here quilt got too big for the design wall so she has it laid out on a bed in her studio (every maker/crafter needs a bed in their studio in case they suddenly need a nap while creating, right?).

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She is working on figuring out what to do for a border around the blocks.

Our friend Judy who is also making a Tula Pink quilt, is still working on piecing her 36 blocks.

As I mentioned earlier, if you are new to this blog and would like to know the story behind our quilts, check out the series of posts – Tula Time! (this link contains all the posts tagged as related to Tula Pink fabrics, you will have to scroll through the posts to see the other posts).

 

A Crafter's Life

The Thorn Bushes Have Roses (Gratitude)

In honor of Thanksgiving, I thought I would re-post my blog post from October 2015. For my U.S. readers – I hope you and the people in your life have a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday. For my readers around the world – I hope you and the people in your life have a wonderful day! 


Abraham Lincoln said:

We can complain because the rose bushes have thorns, or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses

roses-66527_1920The Gratitude Diaries

I have just finished a wonderful audiobook, The Gratitude Diaries: How a Year Looking on the Bright Side Can Transform Your Life by Janice Kaplan (2015).

In her book, Janice Kaplan shares plenty of meaningful quotes, like the one above, as well as wonderful stories (personal and of others) about living each day filled with gratitude.

The author also provides lots of social science/research (aka “Malcolm Gladwell” style) that supports why true happiness and peace comes from living an existence soaked in gratitude.

A very inspirational and very joyous audiobook listen.

 

Photo Credit: Amazon.com
Photo Credit: Amazon.com

One of my favorite quotes in the book is one by the Greek Philosopher Epicurus:

Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for.

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A Crafter's Life, Life in B&W, Sunflowers!

End of the Season Musings

This is sort of a follow up to the 10/21/18 post Creative Inspiration: Sunflowers!. but it really about the end of the “warm” seasons in Central Oregon (late Spring, Summer and early to mid Autumn) and the heralding of the Winter (aka cold) season.

A couple days ago on my daily walk I snapped this photo of the Giant Sunflower that I posted about in the Creative Inspiration: Sunflowers! post.

Here is what is looked like in September:

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Here is what it looked like in Black & White in September:

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Here is what it looks like now in November:

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And here is what it looks like now, in Black & White:

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I seems like Black & White is the right palette for the now stark and shriveled previously gorgeous sunflower.

It appears that all the sunflower seeds are gone from the sunflower head and I am not sure why the homeowners are letting it sit there to decay.

The decay reminds that Winter is coming…

There are many good things about Winter and Winter is important to the Central Oregon ecosystem and to our economy (we have Mount Bachelor which brings in the skiers and other Winter sport enthusiasts). Winter is also a great time for reading, nesting, crafting, reflecting, and the Winter holiday.

But today I am sort of wistful for the beauty of the other seasons and grieving the end of the tremendous beauty of Autumn in Central Oregon (see post Creative Inspiration: Fall Colors).

Right now all the leaves have fallen and everything looks stark, bare and dried out. I think the landscape will get more appealing once the snow falls and a lovely blanket of white covers the stark ground.

A Crafter's Life

From Decapitation to “Recapitation”

If you have recently joined us on this blog, the title might be freaking you out right now. You might be thinking: “I thought this was a nice quilting/crafting related blog…is this some type of ghoulish or macabre journal?!?!?”

No, this is a follow up to the 10/10/18 post Mysterious Package, in which I received my 6 year old nephew’s favorite, alas decapitated, bear Marseille for repair:

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Well I am happy to report Marseille had his surgery yesterday and he is “recapitated” and all better!

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I used a doll needle for the first time, to repair Marseille. This is a very long needle (over 5 inches/2.5 cm). Here is a comparison between a doll needle and a regular needle:

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Here is Marseille posing with the needle and the thick thread that I used to put his head back on:

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Marseille also had a loose arm so I reinforced the stitches on his arm so he did not suffer any spontaneous amputation of his limb!

Today Marseille flies back to the Eastern Coast of the U.S. to be reunited with my nephew (via the U.S. Postal Service Priority Mail).

I already texted a photo of “recapitated” Marseille to my sister-in-law who shared this with my nephew who is very excited to get his beloved bear back (with a head)!

I must admit, repairing Marseille and working with a doll needle got me interested again in the idea of making “softies” someday. I will put that into my backlog of craft projects I want to work on someday.


Postscript

In addition to repairing Marseille the little teddy bear, I also had to repair Mike the Miniature Schnauzer’s favorite toy “Lamby”.

We do not usually let mike have stuffed/soft toys as he tends to tear them up (his main toys are usually chew-resistant balls). However when my sister-in-laws visited this summer for the Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show (see post Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show 2018, Part II: Visiting Crafters) they brought his a toy that was allegedly rugged and could handle his chewing – a toy lamb.

We named the lamb “Lamby”. Well Lamby, despite losing two limbs, was holding up and Mike adored his lamb and would nap with it:

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Mike cuddling with Lamby (I think he feels bad he ripped off his arms)

But then we discovered Lamby had a terrible and unsightly injury: his crotch was ripped open!

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Oh the horror!

I immediately repaired Lamby’s crotch injury and said to Mike: “You must be gentler with Lamby or he has to go away”.  I think Mike understood me as here he is keeping post-operative Lamby company:

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A Crafter's Life

Impromptu Quilt Gifting

I am on Day 12 of daily posts as part of the challenge I set for myself for the month of October in celebration of my blog’s 5th anniversary to post everyday for the 31 days of October.

If you count the post I made on Sept. 30th then I am actually at 13 days straight of daily posts!

So far I haven’t had to pull from my 5 years of post archives as I thought I might have to by now. Today I originally planned a semi-follow-up to yesterday’s post Shinrin-Yoku: The Japanese Art and Science of Forest Bathing, but then something cool happened yesterday afternoon that I wanted to share: Impromptu Quilt Gifting.

When the Moment Feels Right…

6 or so years ago I made this quilt from scraps and leftover blocks from flannel quilts I made during my early years of quilting:

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2 years ago I took it out of “quilt rotation” at my house and put it away in the closet. You see after 18 years of quilting I have a lot of quilts in rotation at my house!

Earlier this year I took the quilt out of the closet to decide what to do with it – I did not want it to just live in the closet – it is a nice cozy quilt that someone could enjoy. It was not the style of any of my family members or close friends. So I put it back in the closet.

Well yesterday this quilt discovered its new forever home at the spur of the moment.

I am a full-time telecommuter for my pay-the-bills-job. Yesterday afternoon I had a virtual meeting with a new colleague (the unit I work on recently transferred into her department). She mentioned during our meeting that she heard I was a quilter and wondered if I she could commission me to make a quilt for her daughter.

Her 12 year old daughter has a complex illness and is continually in and out of the hospital or extensive ongoing outpatient visits and treatment. While in the hospital or in outpatient treatment rooms, she is cold and the blankets they provide never really keep her warm plus they are impersonal communal blankets.

What she wanted for her daughter is her own quilt to take with her to keep her warm and cozy while she endures extensive ongoing medical treatments and evaluations.

I wanted to help but I do not have the bandwidth or interest at this point to do a commission quilt and offered to refer her to one of my quilting friends who might be interested. Then I remembered that I had a quilt currently available. So I asked her did she need a custom quilt and she replied no – she just wanted a cozy quilt for daughter.

I texted her a photo of the quilt and offered it as a gift for her daughter to keep her cozy during her treatments. My colleague immediately said yes and was overwhelmed with my impromptu offer. The amazing thing was that the quilt is in her daughter’s favorite colors!

I sewed a special label on the back of the quilt with her daughter’s name to reinforce that this was her very own quilt and it is packaged up for shipping out today:

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The cool thing about this quilt is I think it has a lot of “love energy” contained in it because it is made from scraps and leftover blocks from quilts made for people I love in my life.

I hope that positive energy is felt by my colleague’s daughter as she is wrapped up in the quilt.

This make me think of the Artist Statement I wrote for my art quilt, The Recycled Love (see post The Recycled Love) that summarizes how I generally feel about quilts:

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

The moment felt right yesterday afternoon for some impromptu quilt gifting.

A Crafter's Life

Mysterious Package…

I had a different post planned for today but last night I picked up a package from the mail.

A mysterious package…

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The return address was from my brother who lives on the East Coast of the U.S.

He’s bought me fabric before, he’s a world traveler…maybe to celebrate my 5th year blogging he’s sent me some interesting fabric from his travels…

It’s a soft package…feels like fabric…(anticipation building…getting excited…)

So I open it.

It is not fabric..it is a HEAD! A bear’s head!

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Is my brother sending me a warning that he has ordered a mob hit on me?!?!?!?

Also inside the package is a body…

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Then I remember – this is my 6 year old nephew’s favorite teddy bear.

My brother has sent the decapitated bear to me for repair!

Now normally I do not like to be asked to do repairs (and please never ask me to hem/mend your clothes) as I think asking a quilter to repair fabric items, mend/hem clothing, etc. for you is like asking an artist who paints landscapes to paint your house. 2a76ea28325e65d0f8ae1304e9daebe2.png

I always flinch when someone asks me this BUT this is for my beloved 6 year old nephew. So I am going to do a complex head reattachment surgery.

If you are a quilter, how do you feel when someone asks you to hem or mend a fabric item just because you have a sewing machine/know how to use a needle?

A Crafter's Life

A Room of Her Own

My neighbor Carole, a retired nurse, recently created a room in her house just for herself. I got to tour the room on Monday afternoon when I popped over for tea and to share my homemade apple cake (yes I made apples cake with left over rescued apples, see post Apple Rescue and Pre-Fall Cooking).

She let me take photos so I could share with you images from her “nest“.

Creative Space: The “Sacred Nest”

In the April 2018 post “The Toe Saga, Library Stack Catch Up, and Your Sacred Nest“, I shared a quote from the book our Creative Work Space: The Sweet Spot Style Guide to Home Office + Studio Decor by Desha Peacock from the section “Your Sacred Nest: Everyone Needs a Creative Sweet Spot Space“:

A mother bird doesn’t complain that she doesn’t have time or space to create her nest, she just makes do with the resources available to her at the time…Her job is not finished when the nest is built. She still needs to protect it until her babies are strong enough to go out on their own…think of what would happen if the momma bird neglected to actually build the nest because she couldn’t find the perfect materials. Don’t let your creativity suffer or, worse, die because you can’t find the perfect lamp…don’t worry if it’s not perfect. Use the resources you have around you and allow them to blossom with age and use. 

Carole’s Nest

Carole’s home looks like it was ripped from the pages of the magazine Country LivingShe has a wonderful sense of style.

When you first arrive at her home, here is what greets you at her her front door. In addition to her front door,  her front porch always has seasonal decor:
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Carole has a three bedroom home and previously one bedroom was the master bedroom, one bedroom was her husband’s office (he is a consultant), and the third bedroom was the traditional guest bedroom.

Carole has adult children and adult grandchildren that live out of state and visit occasionally, however she realized that  a high quality blow up mattress (that can be kept out of sight when she did not have visitors) would work for their visits. So she was able to get rid of the bed in the guest room, open up the space and create her Sacred Nest!

Decorated with antiques and country charm, here is a photo tour of her room:

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The table in the middle of the room has leaves and opens up to a fairly large table that provides room for laying out a quilt or other projects needing additional space. When she has overnight visitors, she moves the table and sets up the air mattress in the middle of the room for the guests.

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She has many sweet items in the room, many tied to special memories. Next to her sewing machine she has a little metal drawer cabinet her husband made in high school shop class 60 years ago!

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Oh and I made this little pillow that hangs on her armoire a couple years ago for her as a Christmas present:

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Here husband also loves her room and is amazed with the warm cozy and inviting feel to the room. He even invited himself over to hang out in her room and watch a movie with her!

Do you have your own nest/sacred space in your home – a room of your own?


Postscript

I’ve featured Carole’s decorating talents in a previous post from December 2016 –Seriously Cute Holiday Decorations.  Here is one of her amazing holiday decorations from her endlessly creative mind:.2016-12-01_13-50-12_890

 

A Crafter's Life, Audiobooks and Podcasts

Las Vegas and the “Ghost Children”

Have you ever wondered why suddenly you are upset or struggling with something and you do not understand why? Well it could be the “Ghost Children“…

Throughout 2018, nearly non-stop, I’ve been listening to non-fiction audiobooks (with a couple science fiction audiobooks peppered in).

Here is a list of many of the non-fiction audiobooks (all borrowed from my public library) that occupied my ears the past 8+ months:

  • I’m Judging You: The Do-Better Manual – Luvvie Ajayi
  • Awakening Your Ikigai: How the Japanese Wake Up to Joy and Purpose Every Day – Ken Mogi
  • Eat Fat, Get Thin – Mark Hyman
  • Living an Examined Life: Wisdom for the Second Half of the Journey – James Holli
  • Designing Your Life: How to Build a Well-Lived, Joyful Life – Bill Burnett
  • You Do You: How to Be Who You Are and Use What You’ve Got to Get What You Want – Sarah Knight
  • The Plant Paradox: The Hidden Dangers in “Healthy” Foods That Cause Disease and Weight Gain – Steven Gundry
  • The Power of Moments: Why Certain Experiences Have Extraordinary Impact – Chip Heath and Dan Heath
  • The Wisdom of Sundays: Life-Changing Insights from Super Soul Conversations – Oprah Winfrey
  • Nudge: Improve Decisions About Health, Wealth and Happiness – Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein
  • When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing – Daniel Pink
  • Faster Than Normal: Turbocharge Your Focus, Productivity, and Success with the Secrets of the ADHD Brain – Peter Shankman
  • Captivate: The Science of Succeeding with People – Vanessa Van Edwards
  • This Messy Magnificent Life: A Field Guide – Geneen Roth
  • Advice Not Given: A Guide to Getting Over Yourself – Mark Epstein
  • Soulful Simplicity: How Living with Less Can Lead to So Much More – Courtney Carver
  • Building a StoryBrand: Clarify Your Message So Customers Will Listen – Donald Miller
  • You Are a Badass at Making Money: Master the Mindset of Wealth – Jen Sicero
  • Rising Strong as a Spiritual Practice – Brene Brown
  • Yes Please – Amy Poehler
  • Fail Until You Don’t – Bobby Bones
  • The Art of Mingling: Fun and Proven Techniques for Mastering Any Room – Jeanne Martinet
  • The Artist’s Way – Julia Cameron

Between my daily walks (3 – 4+ miles a day), road trips, cross country plane rides, and sewing marathons, I’ve knocked off a lot of audiobooks so far in 2018.

Most of these audiobooks were highly engaging, filled with many useful ideas, tips, and inspirations; however one audiobook really stood out: Geneen Roth’s This Messy Magnificent Life: A Field Guide.

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image credit: amazon.com

While listening to this audiobook, read by the author, I was introduced to the concept of “Ghost Children“. According to Geneen Roth, “Ghost Children” are the stories we repeatedly tell ourselves based on an unhealed/hurt part of us that believes things such as we’re not good enough, we are unlovable, we are not worthy – because at some point in our life, many times in childhood, we had unmet needs or a hurt which are still seeking to get comfort from.

Geneen Roth has done a lot of work with women who emotionally overeat (she holds workshops and has written books focused on this topic) and she ties the “Ghost Children” concept to why people emotionally overeat to comfort their hurting “Ghost Children” but I clearly saw a connection to other behaviors.

This connection helped me during a difficult time on a recent business trip attending a conference in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Las Vegas and the “Ghost Children”

I work in the healthcare industry and I attended a healthcare industry software related conference in late July/early August held at the Aria Hotel’s Conference Center in Las Vegas, NV.

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Las Vegas Boulevard

The healthcare software company sponsoring the conference was very generous to its attendees to include providing a private Train concert on one of the conference evenings, at the Brooklyn Bowl. I was very excited about this concert as I’ve like the band Train (Drops of Jupiter, Meet Virginia, Calling All Angels) since they first came out with their song Drops of Jupiter in 2001.

Terry the Quilting Husband (TTQH) accompanied me on the trip to Las Vegas and I confirmed with someone at the conference registration desk that he could also attend the conference. He is also a long time fan of the band Train, so I was excited to share this private concert with him which also included an open bar and food (as I said the sponsoring software conference company was very generous).

So the evening came for the concert and TTQH headed to the tour bus set up for conference attendees to be transported to the Brooklyn Bowl for the concert. While on line to load the bus, we discovered that only conference attendees with conference badges could get on the bus and attend the conference. TTQH was not able to attend with me.

We were in shock and incredibly disappointed as I had verified with the conference registration desk that he could attend, only to find out that the staff at the registration desk very misinformed. I was torn – on one hand I wanted to go to the concert on the other hand I did not want to just leave TTQH behind at the hotel with this sudden dispointment.

TTQH is a very enlightened and well-adjusted person (one of us has to be in the marriage – ha!) and he quickly recovered from the disappointment and strongly insisted that I just attend alone and have a great time.

So I got back in line and then got on the tour bus. The tour bus was filling up quickly and people were filling every available seat. Except in my row. No one sat with me. (This was likely because I had a very sad look on my face as I was so disappointed I could not share the concert experience with TTQH). The last person got on the bus and sat with the last seat available besides the one next to me.

So the entire bus was filled, except for the seat next to me.  Before I knew it I was quietly sobbing to myself on the bus ride to the Brooklyn Bowl and did not know why.

But – I remembered the audiobook I had recently finished, This Messy Magnificent Life: A Field Guide , and realized one of my “Ghost Children” had popped up!

When I was around 10 years old my parents had a major disagreement with other parents in the neighborhood and, unknown to me at the time, the other neighborhood parents had told their children not to play with me. For a couple weeks, none of my regular friends in the neighborhood, who I played with everyday after school, would play with me. They all ignored me.

I did not understand why and as you could imagine this was fairly traumatic for a 10 year old who was used to playing with most of the kids on my block for many years. Finally one of the children was kind enough to pull me aside and tell me what happened. It was a very upsetting and frustrating experience as I was being punished for something I did not do and I was now an outsider/outcast from my long-time playmates. It is one of those feelings you never forget and I guess it eventually became one of my “Ghost Children”.

Realizing where my sudden painful feelings were coming from as I sat alone on the bus (no one wanting to sit with me), helped me pull myself together. I decided: “yes I am attending this concert alone, but I am going to have a fun time and find a group of people to hang out with during the concert”. There is so much power in awareness of where an emotion/reaction is coming from – it gives you options on how you react.

And this is exactly what I did. Upon arrival, I asked a group of women if I could hang with them for the evening and eventually ended up in another group and had a wonderful time – a “Ghost Children” free evening!

The Train concert was incredible (I sat close to the stage in an elevated area of the bar to the right of the stage) and got to connect with some wonderful people before the concert and during. I learned some new trivia about some of their songs from another concert attendee: the lead singer, Pat Monahan wrote Drops of Jupiter about the death of his mother (now some of the lyrics I never understood make sense).

Here is a little excerpt from the concert (which was only open to concert attendees) – Train performing Lost and Found (I finally learned how to upload videos to YouTube):

I love the lyrics in this song (excerpt from Google):

My dad said son, one
Day we’ll have a drink together
You’re young
You got to take your time
Just trust
Let me raise you right, and later
We can raise a glass to life, and say
Here’s to the time we have
Here’s to the lines we crossed
Here’s to the ones we’re waiting on
And the ones we lost
Here’s to the time we have
Thank God for what we got
Here’s to the ones we’re waiting on, and the ones we lost
And found, the ones who stick around
Lost and found, the ones who stick around

 

I feel like writing Geneen Roth, the author of This Messy Magnificent Life: A Field Guide, and thanking her for introducing me to the “Ghost Children” concept. Thanks to what I learned from her book I was able to reset a moment and turn it around.

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Taking a break from the conference and relaxing at the Bellagio hotel, “Ghost Children” free

You are not a mistake. You are not a problem to be solved. It’s possible to treat yourself with outrageous kindness beginning today. Geneen Roth


Postscript

During the conference I got to attend my first TED Talks/TED Salon and that was a very cool experience.

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Dr. Andrew Bastawrous at TED Salon: Catalyst at the Aria Las Vegas

The TED Talks were focused on the future of health care. It was amazing after years of watching TED Talks online to see how formally TED Talks are filmed. There are hosts that coach the audience on etiquette for the Talk once filming starts.

The six speakers who talks about moving health care forward were amazing and here is a post on the TED Blog I found about the event:

Moving healthcare forward: The talks of TED Salon: Catalyst

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A slide from one of the speaker’s presentation

By the way – I’ve finally finished my intense work on the secret art quilt project for a future WCQN show that is not yet announced. I am taking a little break from “creating” and then in the near future I will return to sharing what is on my design wall as I used to do in my What’s on the Design Wall series of posts.

 

 

A Crafter's Life

Small World with Awesome Yarn

It is a HUGE world but it is also a SMALL world. As a blogger I get to connect with people all over the world, and it is kind of magical!

Early in July, my dear friend of many years, Michele, went to Ireland and Iceland for her honeymoon. She is a world traveler and these were two places on her list she had not visited yet – funny the names of both countries began with the letter “I” (and it would have been awesome if she had also visited India, Israel, Italy, the Ivory Coast and Indonesia too on the same trip if she was keeping with the letter “I” as her theme for travel)!

Since she was going to tour Ireland including a stop in Dublin, I connected her with my blogging buddy Helen@crawcraftsbeasties.com and they were able to connect and hang out together during Michele’s visit. How cool is that? 

Well a surprise came for me in the mail today – a box from Michele.

Inside the box was a lovely bag:

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Peeking inside the bag I spotted some yarn:

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Not just yarn,  but beautiful yarn – from Ireland and Iceland!!!!

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Now I get to knit something with yarn from Ireland and from Iceland (the yarns are different textures/weights so I will likely use them on separate projects)  – what an awesome surprise!

“(Knitting,) it is pure potential. Every ball or skein of yarn holds something inside it, and the great mystery of what that might be can be almost spiritual”
― Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, Knitting Rules!: The Yarn Harlot Unravels the Mysteries of Swatching, Stashing, Ribbing & Rolling to Free Your Inner Knitter


Postscript

Of course now Helen@crawcraftsbeasties.com is expecting me to visit since I sent my friend to meet her first, ha! Plus someday I need to see where my tierneycreates Beastie was born (and Terry the Quilting Husband’s grandparents are all from Ireland so he might want to see his ancestral home someday…) and meet her maker!

But then I would be obligated to visit ALL the countries in which my blogging buddies live, just to be polite 🙂

A Crafter's Life, Stories My Father Told Me, The Library Stack

The Library Stack and a Little Craftivism

It’s time to continue my ongoing series, The Library Stack, sharing my stack of borrowed books from my beloved local public library.

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“Craftivism”

I’ve finished most of the stack and enjoyed flipping through the books with a couple pots of tea. I’m still finishing up one book that I wanted to spend extra time on: How to be a Craftivist: The art of gentle protest by Sarah Corbett.

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Image credit: Amazon

As the author asks in the book: “If we want a world that is beautiful, kind and fair, shouldn’t our activism be beautiful, kind and fair?”

This book is by the founder of the Craftivist Collective and provides an alternative to responding to injustice with apathy or aggression – responding instead with gentle, effective protest.

The back cover summary provides as excellent overview of the book so I am going to just quote it: “Quiet action can sometimes speak as powerfully as the loudest voice. With thoughtful principles, practical examples and honest stories from her own experience as a once burnt-out activist, Corbett shows how activism through craft can produce long-lasting positive change.”

If you are interested in Craftivism (using craft as a form of activism according to the author), I highly recommend you borrow this book from your library or pick up a copy at a local bookstore (or online).

The author shares a Craftivist’s Manifesto and I’ve listed her ten (10) actions below but I refer you to the book for more details and explanations:

  1. Be the tortoise
  2. Craft is our tool
  3. Solidarity not sympathy
  4. Find comfort in contemplation
  5. Empathy never points fingers
  6. Small and beautiful
  7. Humility holds the key
  8. Provoke don’t preach
  9. Embrace positivity
  10. Make the change you wish to see

The book is peppered with powerful quotes by great thinkers and activists and below are  several examples, which are explored deeply in the book:

There comes a point where we need to stop just pulling people out-of-the-river. We need to go upstream and find out why they’re falling in. – Desmond Tutu

Our greatest strength lies in the gentleness and tenderness of our heart. – Rumi

An unexamined life is not worth living .- Socrates

We must combine the toughness of the serpent with the softness of the dove. A tough mind and tender heart. – Martin Luther King

If you want to go quickly go alone. If you want to go far, go together. – African Proverb

Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world,. Today and I am wise so I am changing myself. – Rumi

Anger is the enemy of non-violence and pride is a monster that swallows it up. – Mahatma Gandhi

Handle them carefully for words have more power than atom bombs. – Pearl Stracha Hurd

Evil flourishes when good people do nothing. – Edmund Burke

Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.. – Winston Churchill

UPDATE 8/6/18

There are several TED Talks by the author, here is one of her awesome TED Talks:

My Dabble with Craftivism

In my June 27, 2017 post Seeds I share how I contributed a piece/banner from the Women’s March to the national traveling exhibit called Still They Persist: Protest Art of the 2017 Women’s Marches. It is featured in a book about the exhibit by the same title.

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NOTE: Being sensitive to the fact that my American blog readers may have differing political views in regards to the current U.S. President and protest events such as the Women’s March, please be thoughtful in any comments you make in the “Thoughts”  section of this post about these topics.

My Craftivist Future

A couple of weeks ago I had a wonderful conversation with my sister who challenged me on what direction I want to take my art.

I already plan to continue by series Stories My Father Told Me (see post Creative Inspiration: Stories My Father Told Me ) which is focused on sharing positive stories through textile art of how my father overcame the challenges of discrimination, segregation, and racism.  However after talking to my sister, I am starting to explore other series that will have a “Craftivist” flavor.

Ultimately I would love to make art that inspires dialogue. I am still early in my artistic journey and finding my voice.

Of course I also want to make pretty/visually pleasing traditional and art quilts in the future too as well as many other types of textile crafts. Now to just plan to win the lottery so I can devote all my time to my art!  (Oh wait, do you have to play the lottery to win?)


Postscript

Speaking of “winning the lottery”, I had one of those awesome early morning walk experiences last Friday (or maybe it was Saturday) that felt like a mini-lottery win.

I’ve been trying start each morning with a 2 miles walk around 6:00 am before it gets hot.

The Balloons Over Bend Hot Air Ballon Festival was in progress (July 27 – 29) and much to my surprise during my morning walk I noticed hot air balloons floating over my neighborhood at a fairly low altitude. One of them dipped so low for a moment that I thought it was going to land in my neighborhood park!

It did not land however and took back off up into the sky.

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It was 60 degree Fahrenheit with a slight breeze and absolutely crystal clear blue skies. Seeing the hot air balloons float by was an exquisite experience and the moment made me pause and realize that life is filled with many wonderful little sweet surprising moments!

A Crafter's Life, Special Events

A Presidential Artistic Journey

This is not a political post, but this post is about a former political figure, now a private citizen – former U.S. President George W. Bush, Jr.

Suspend for a moment any political leanings you hold and let me share a very special opportunity I had to see a former U.S. President speak in person in early May and to learn of his artistic journey.

A Once-In-A-Lifetime Opportunity

April 30 – May 4th, I attended a national conference for the industry that I am employed , in Orlando, Florida. One of the keynote presentations at the conference was a conversation with former President George W. Bush, Jr. and the president of a national organization hosting the conference.

No photos were allowed and there was strict security so unfortunately I have no photos from the experience to share (when I first discovered that President Bush would be speaking I had hopes of a “selfie” with a former U.S. President!). I’ve never seen a U.S. President in person so just the experience to see a historical figure in person was very exciting to me.

To be honest, I was not a huge fan of President Bush during his Presidency, but I put those thoughts aside and approached the presentation with an open mind.

He was absolutely amazing and spoke with much wonderful humor, insight, inspiration and Texas twang! He shared the experience of recently losing his mother, Barbara Bush (who I always greatly respected). He also spoke candidly about 9/11 (September 11, 2001/World Trade Center bombings) and other challenges and his Presidency; and about what’s going on in the world and in the U.S. today.

As I do not want this to be a political post I will not share all the specifics of what he said but let’s just say he might not fully support the current choices and political environment of the current U.S. Presidential Administration. He said that the U.S. cannot become isolationists, we have to stay connected to the world and shared specific reasons, in his opinion, why it is important that the U.S. stay engaged.

He did encourage those of us who might feel currently discouraged not to give up on democracy; and that the office of U.S. President is greater than the behavior of any one individual.

He also talked about what he has seen in the world and that those that live in the U.S. should remember just how blessed we are to live in this country (in regards to all the freedoms and opportunities we have available to us that are not available in all parts of the world).

Interestingly during his talk I learned that he is  close friends the Dalai Llama and Bono (lead singer of the band U2 who is heavily involved in humanitarian causes) – who would have known?

Overall his talk was very inspirational, spiritual (he is a man of strong faith) and hopeful – he brought many of us to tears several times during his talk.

A Former President’s Artistic Journey

For me the best part of his talk was when he shared how he became a painter and his evolution as an artist/his artistic journey. He talked about the fear he had to overcome to start painting and bouts with self doubt of his painting ability.

He also talked about the moment when he realized he was not too bad at painting. I wish I could have taken notes as there were many gems in his discussion of his artistic journey and I could relate to many of those experiences in my journey.

He eventually combined his love of painting with his post-presidency humanitarian efforts, which include working with Veterans especially those dealing with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). He painted Veterans for his book Portraits of Courage: A Commander in Chief’s Tribute to America’s Warriors (if you click on the link you will see an image of former President Bush painting a portrait) and proceeds from book sales, according to the website, “helps post-9/11 veterans and their families make a successful transition to civilian life and addresses issues of veteran wellness, including post-traumatic stress and traumatic brain injury”.

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Image credit:  bushcenter.org

He shared a couple of amazing stories about the friendships he developed with several Veterans dealing with PTSD while working on their portraits. He tried to capture in their portrait painting not only their physical features but what the individual was dealing with internally at the time, he made an effort to get to know each Veteran he was painting.

I’m so thankful to my employer for the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity they gave me in sending me to the conference in Orlando. I also appreciate the opportunity to share this experience with you all and ask for you to be moderate and thoughtful in your comments on this post as fellow readers have differing political views, thanks.


Postscript

The weather was beautiful in Orlando during my visit and I enjoyed 70 to 90 degree F. weather (21 – 32 C. for my readers outside the U.S.). I brought my work laptop and had to keep up on my work when not attending conference session so I did not get much time for fun in Florida.

Here is the view from my hotel room balcony where I bought my laptop out to work between conference sessions:

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I went on a walk around the hotel/conference center property each morning (early before it got too warm and before the conference sessions started) and I wondered why the air seemed to smell so good. Then I realized there were Magnolia trees everywhere! What an incredible fragrance!

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The climate, geography and flora is very different than Central Oregon (which is known as a “high desert” area and at 3500+ feet above sea level elevation). It was amazing to see palm trees everywhere!

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Although I did not get time to play while I was in Orlando, it was still wonderful to enjoy the warm and tropical climate!


Feature image credit: bushcenter.org