A couple days ago my art quilt Giant Among the Sequoias (2018)arrived in the mail. It was touring in an exhibit: “Yours for Race and Country: Reflections on the Life of Colonel Charles Young”, curated by Dr. Carolyn Mazloomi, head of the Women of Color Quilting Network (WCQN).
It was bittersweet having this quilt returned to me.
This quilt was the last “art quilt” I created before my husband Terry (Terry the Quilting Husband (TTQH)) suddenly died in December 2018. I remember having the quilt up in the design wall in the hallway in my former home in Central Oregon and soliciting his feedback as the quilt organically evolved.
I’ve continued quilting and making little craft projects since he died, but for the past year and a half I’ve lost my art quilt muse. I can make improvisational quilts like Seattle Scrappy (see post Seattle Scrappy (What’s on the Design Wall)) but I’ve struggled with wanting to create storied/pictorial quilt like Giant Among the Sequoias. I even passed up an amazing invitational only opportunity in the spring of 2019 which would have led to my first quilt showing at the Houston International Quilt Show.
I am so happy I had all the quilts already made when I had my first solo show at the Seattle Municipal Center in April 2019 (see post Solo Show Seattle Municipal Tower (re-post)) as I could not have made new art quilt pieces for that show.
I did not attend the opening for the exhibit “Yours for Race and Country: Reflections on the Life of Colonel Charles Young” which opened March 16, 2019 in Wilberforce, Ohio. I had planned to attend it before Terry died and my sweet brother wanted me to meet him in Ohio and attend the show with me.
I just was not up to it and in retrospect I regret not attending the show and also missing on an opportunity to spend time with my wonderful brother Raoul.
Alas grief is a strange beast and now a year and a half into widowhood I have learned to tame that beast a bit, or at least live somewhat peacefully with it.
The narrative quilts are a history lesson captured in fabric.
“Giant Among the Sequoias,” a quilt created by Oregon artist Tierney Davis Hogan, is a re-creation of a forest scene made from recycled batik fabric scraps. In the center, an image of Young is stitched into the largest tree, keeping watch over the park.
“I love that because it’s quite a twist,” Mazloomi said. “It’s not necessarily a narrative quilt but it is a modern quilt in geometric form and it goes on to tell a story about his work in Sequoia Park.”
I am so honored!
My muse has slowly returned and I am going to create a storied/pictorial art quilt for an important show, which I hope to get juried into. Even if my piece is not accepted, it will be my next piece (I only have one so far) in my series Stories My Father Told Me (see series of posts Stories My Father Told Me).
I did hang up the quilt in the hallway headed downstairs to the daylight basement as there is other wall art related to national parks and the outdoors in that area.
Before I dive into this post I’d like to ask you to revisit my previous post if you’d like to: Liebster Award Nomination. I decided not to make it a two part post (because originally I was falling asleep towards the end of writing it) and to just go back and edit the post and finish it up. You will see towards the bottom of the post a header: “Update 05/12/2020”; and under that header you will find “Eleven (11) Facts About Myself”, my nominations of 7 blogs and the corresponding questions I’ve posed for the nominees to answer. I did go ahead and notify the 7 nominees in the comment section of their blogs. So if you’d like to read the rest of my ramblings related to Anna at Homeschool Guru nominating me for a blogging award head on over there (smile).
And now onto the previous Friday’s frolicking adventure…
Indie Bookstore and Antique Shop Browsing!
I am off work on Fridays (I work Monday – Thursday) and my partner John and I decided to have a little adventure. We heard last week that the town of Castle Rock, Colorado was relaxing their business closure rules during the pandemic and would allow some businesses to open.
Masked and gloved we headed out to Castle Rock as we checked and their independent bookstore Sudden Fiction Bookswas open! It feels like its been eons since I’ve been able to wander through a bookstore or a public library so I was so excited to browse.
We had an exquisite browse at Sudden Fiction in downtown Castle Rock, which sells both new and used books and we left with quite the stack of new and used books (mainly science fiction). Here are photos from that visit.
Here is my partner John all masked and gloved while browsing.
I had a lovely chat with the shopkeeper while maintaining social distancing and trying to talk through our masks. We occasionally we did have to repeat ourselves as some words do not enunciate very clearly through a mask!
On our way out of the bookstore we noticed there we other shops open in downtown Castle Rock to include an antique shop!
The only shopping I’ve done in the past couple of months was at grocery stores or “box stores” (Costco, Target, Home Depot) and what a pleasure it was to actually wander/browse through an independent retail shop.
Here are photos from our inside and outside wander (they have an outdoor garden kitsch section) at The Barnin downtown Castle Rock. We bought some new yard art there to support the business.
In the garden section out back I was particularly fascinated by their huge collection of large rusted letters. We photographed them in both color and black & white.
But alas, I could not figure out why I needed them so we did not leave the shop with any large letters!
We also ate lunch in Castle Rock at a new place called Cuba Cuba. We were allowed to walk in and order at the bar (maintaining social distance of course) and then we had to wait outside on the patio for our food. Inside the restaurant was lovely and we look forward to the day we can go inside and dine (or even sit outside on their nice patio and dine). But we happily ate our Cuban sandwiches in the car.
All the things I used to kind of take for granted pre-pandemic. What a treat it was to be able to browse in downtown Castle Rock on Friday!
Speaking of Castle Rock, we were excited that Castle Rock had loosened some restrictions but unfortunately not all Castle Rock business behaved as the Colorado governor had mandated when the restrictions were loosened as you will see in this online news article:
The word “Liebster” sounded vaguely familiar and quite German. I studied German for a year when I was in college and I remembered the German word “lieb” which means dear as in beloved.
I checked an English to German dictionary online (interglot.com) and discovered the definition for “Liebster” is: “friend, dear, sweetheart.
Sounds like a nice name for a blogging award (smile).
It’s been a long time since I’ve received a nomination for a blogging award as I’ve been blogging for nearly 7 years and it seems like these awards are primarily to give exposure to new blogs. So it was quite a pleasant and appreciated surprise.
I appreciated her comments on her post regarding my nomination:
Tierney at Tierney Creates. Queen of quilts, this is a creative and artistic blog, plus Mike-the-dog-who-thinks-he’s-a-human.
(You might be wondering why I follow a blog/website called homeschoolguru when I do not have any children that I home school. Well this blogger found me and commented on my blog a couple months ago and I took a peek at her blog and discovered it was absolutely delightful! Yes she writes many posts helpful to parents who home school but she also covers many other topics of interests and her posts are witty and engaging!)
Okay so here are the rules of being nominated:
LIEBSTER AWARD RULES
• Thank the blogger who nominated you, and provide a link to their blog.
• Answer the 11 questions given to you.
• Share 11 facts about yourself.
• Nominate 5-11 other bloggers.
• Ask your nominees 11 questions of your choice.
• Notify your nominees once you have uploaded your post.
By the way, it’s late in the evening, the wind is howling like crazy outside and I am sitting in bed writing while sleep is attempting to creep upon me. I might ramble during the rest of this post, please forgive me. I did not want to let too much time pass between the time I was nominated (May 5th) and when I answered the questions that come along with being nominated.
I think these questions are designed for you all to get to know me a little better, but some of you have followed my blog for years and might feel like you know enough already (or more than you want to know!)
Question #1:Do you have a book out or in the pipeline?
Yes, in the pipeline! I have an idea for a children’s’ book or a young adult book (or both), but not ready to share yet.
Question #2: How long have you been blogging and what is your favorite subject to write about?
I’ve been blogging for nearly 7 years – my blog began in October 2013 as a vehicle originally for my now closed tierneycreates Etsy shop. I do not have a favorite subject to blog about, I just enjoy sharing stories from a “Crafter’s Life”.
Question #3: If you could move to a different town, state or country… where would you be?
New Zealand – not sure what town – I’d just have to first visit all my blogging buddies that live there and see which town was the friendliest for me to build my small off grid cottage! (But I would need some serious solar power for running my sewing machine all the time).
Question #4:What is your favorite quality about yourself?
I grow wiser as I grow older and have learned to put things in “perspective”.
Question #5: Are you an Introvert or an Extrovert or even both?
I am both. I spent many years presenting as an Extrovert, but now I am enjoying embracing my Introverted side while functioned as needed as an Extrovert (smile).
Question #6: What is THE JOB of your dreams?
If someone could pay me a nice salary to blog full time and make things in my craft room, that would be it. Or perhaps I get my book (or books) published someday and use the royalties to just craft and blog all day!
Question #7:Other than blogging/writing what is the one favorite thing you LOVE to do?
Go on walks alone listening to audiobooks/podcasts, or with my dog, or with my partner (but I talk to him instead of listening to books!). If my legs and feet could handle it I would walk for miles and miles each day!
Question #8:Where is one of the first places you plan on going after quarantine is over?
Can anyone guess? Yup, it the PUBLIC LIBRARY! I cannot wait until I can run free (no worry I will be clothed) through the stacks and stacks books in the library. All those lonely books, waiting for me to check them out…
Question #9:Speaking of COVID-19, is there anything that you learned about yourself or will be changing about yourself when ‘life moves on?’
Several years ago I discovered “Minimalism” and I was trying to move towards a quality life with less stuff in my life. Then I kind of slip off that path for a while. Now I’ve been using COVID-times to refocus on what really matters in life and to be careful how I spend my money and my time.
Question #10:Is there anything as far as food that you will absolutely NOT eat?
Oh yes – Liver and Onions! I gagged it down as a child, and never again. Also I will never eat Oreo cookies or Mint Chocolate Chip ice cream – yuck! Their flavors nauseate me.
Question #11:Do you own a website for your writing?
No, not yet…
Well I am super sleepy now, as I am sure you are too trying to read all this boring information about me – hopefully you have not done a face-plant into your computer keyboard – ha!
I will continue my rambling…um, I mean completing the requested Liebster Award nomination information in my next post.
I’ve decided not to do a “Part II” to this post and just finish up on this post.
Eleven (11) Facts About Myself
I used to be obsessed with Barbies (Mattel toys Barbie dolls) from my late 20s to late 30s. It was something related to some challenging childhood memories and Barbies provided me with a lot of comfort. When I got into my late 30s to early 40s I was finally able to let my Barbie collection go. I sold some on Etsy, some on eBay and gave away/donated a lot of Barbies.
I love public libraries. Walking into a library immediately calms, relaxes and excites me. This is related to many wonderful childhood memories at the library. I think it was the summer when I was 10 years old that I spent every day at the library. I would ride my bike to the library and browse books for hours – both children and adult books. The librarians knew me well. When I lived in Central Oregon from 2005 – 2019 I got to know the Deschutes Public Library quite well and had some librarian buddies at the downtown branch. I even had several art quilts in library art shows (see post A Novel Panel Idea). When I travel I try to visit a local library whenever possible.
I’ve likely read way too many self-help books but I am still strangely drawn to them. I tried to swear off of them (see post Musings on Self-Improvement) but I might be secretly listening to one right now and just not telling all about it (smile).
Fabric scraps make me happy. Very happy. I love the idea of saving something meant for a landfill and making something (eventually, hopefully, possibly…) out of it. I’ve become more selective over the years what scraps I get from other quilters and I’ve donated many fabric scraps in thrift shops (they sell well at thrift shops) as I shared in the post A “Humane” Way to Eliminate Fabric Scraps.
My husband (who suddenly passed in December 2019) and I adopted rescued dogs, specifically rescued miniature schnauzers, for nearly 25 years. I currently have a rescued miniature schnauzer, Mike, who is 9.5 year old. His story is in the post – Taking Chances: The Mike Hogan Chronicles (re-post). I have been thinking about the future and wondering should I continue with miniature schnauzers or explore adopting those teddy bear looking labradoodles?
I absolutely love pretzels. I’ve loved them since I was little. I enjoy quilt retreating with my friend Judy because she loves pretzels too and always has a nice stash of yummy pretzels (sometimes with a special garlic seasoning on them) to the retreat for us to snack on! (Of course quilt retreats are all about snacking, right?) My sister and I have a funny memory related to a pretzel:We like to meet up in New York City for a sisters weekend occasionally (she lives on the East Coast) and I was having the most delicious street vendor large hot pretzel I’ve ever had in my life. I gave her a bite of it. Well then I asked her to hold the pretzel while I rearranged something in my tote bag and BAM she finished off the pretzel while I was not looking, She claims to have had an “out of body experience” and does not remember finishing off the pretzel! We tried to find the vendor again for her to replace my pretzel but we never found another NYC street vendor pretzel as delicious…
My favorite genre is science fiction and for a while I was really into post apocalyptic fiction, especially if there were some type of strange mutation to humans post apocalypse! Of course with the pandemic in place I am avoiding anything in this genre as it is too close for comfort.
I am a recovering perfectionist. I still love organizing things and an organized environment but I have definitely “chilled out” over the years and don’t try to make all things perfect in my life!
I got addicted for a while to those smartphone games like Candy Crush (but I did not give them any money, only played for free) and they were distracting me from working on my creative projects. Finally one day I convinced myself to delete them from my phone!
I know what it is like to be hungry and not know where your next decent meal is coming from. I am grateful that I overcame that time in my life.
Seeing someone snuggled in a quilt I made brings me a sense of joy that I cannot even put into words!
The last part of the Liebster Blogging Award nomination is that I need to nominate between 5 – 11 other bloggers and ask them 11 questions of my choice. I think 11 question is a bit much, so since I am getting close to my blog’s 7th anniversary, I am going to nominate 7 bloggers and ask them to respond to 7 questions; as well as share 7 facts about themselves. I will notify them in a comment on their blog and participation of course is completely optional!
I selected blogs/blogger that I have recently followed who are posting intriguing content to give them some exposure (please know I adore you my long time blogging buddies and you deserve blogging awards everyday!).
You might of noticed if you read my post from Saturday, What’s on the Design Wall: “All the Trimmings”, I’ve been tediously working with a lot of small fabric scraps and half square triangles. For example I had to sew 200 2″ x 2″ half square triangles together to create the first section of the quilt All the Trimmings.
Watching a movie would be a great way to distract myself from the tedium but since I had to make sure the seams all lined up, I’ve been listening to music instead.
For years I’ve been listening to music on shuffle. I use iTunes and have a collection of favorite tunes loaded on my iPhone, or I listen to Pandora or Amazon, Prime Music or the awesome Colorado Public Radio Jazz station KUVO (which is available to stream online also) smartphone apps.
Lately, however, I’ve been trying something different – instead of listening to shuffled music, I’ve been listening to entire albums.
For those of you who listened to music before the music download era, do you remember buying an album (whether vinyl, cassette, 8-track, or compact disc/CD) and LISTENING TO THE ENTIRE ALBUM straight through?
Many albums are concept albums and/or the recording artists had a reason for the order in which they arranged the tracks.
For example – have you ever tried to listen to Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moonshuffled into other songs? It doesn’t work as many of the songs on this classic album were designed to connect and flow into each other.
So for the past several weeks, whenever I am in my sewing studio working on a project, I’ve been listening to entire albums (songs in consecutive order as many of the artists intended) and it has been an AMAZING experience!
Listening to albums in their entirety have brought back a lot of memories and I thought I would share a little bit (and perhaps too much on some) of those memories about three (3) of the albums I’ve recently listened to while sewing.
I was a huge fan of the band The Police during their heyday and thought the lead singer Sting was like one of the hottest men walking the earth (you are quite impressionable as a pre-teen, ha!). But I did not really grow to appreciate the breadth of his talent until he went out on his own.
Sting spent time in South America and one of the most powerful songs on the album, They Dance Alone(Cueca Solo) is a powerful metaphor referring to mourning Chilean women who dance the Cueca, the national dance of Chile, alone with photographs of their disappeared loved ones in their hands as a symbolic gesture of protest against the Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet whose regime killed thousands of people between 1973 and 1990 (Wikipedia).
They Dance Alone(Cueca Solo) is a chilling and powerful song, hut the for me one of the most powerful and beautiful song on this album is the song Fragile. It always bring a couple tears to my eyes when I listen.
Perhaps this final act was meant
To clinch a lifetime’s argument
That nothing comes from violence and nothing ever could
For all those born beneath an angry star
Lest we forget how fragile we are
I love to attend live concerts, especially when I was in my 20s and 30s (yup I am older now!) and one of the most memorable concerts I attended was when I saw Sting and his band (including Bradford Marsalis) play at the RPI Fieldhouse when I lived in Upstate New York. He was touring for the Nothing Like the Sun album and played many songs from the album as well as classic songs from when he was with The Police.
I remember nearly falling over a railing I was holding on when he came out shirtless with just an acoustic guitar to sing Message in a Bottle as one of the encores with the audience joining him in harmony midway through the song.
It would have been quite a fall and I would not be blogging to you right now so it was good I paid attention at the last minute!
I found this obscure video on YouTube which was likely from that tour, to give you a sample of my experience except Sting is fully clothed in this video (smile):
I grew up listening to Stevie Wonder as I primarily listened to whatever my parents were playing on their turnable which was usually R&B, Jazz or Blues. I remember watching the Grammys as a small child and it seemed like he was always awarded Grammys.
He did receive a Grammy in the mid 1970s for the incredible album, but I did not really appreciate the depth of Stevie Wonder’s greatness and talent until I was an adult.
I think sometime in my 30s I bought the CD Innervisions just to add it to a library I was building of classic albums and ended up falling completely in love with the album and realizing his genius.
The album is an incredible masterpiece and I think it is best appreciated listening from start to finish. I do not have a favorite song on this album as each song is a work of musical art.
Here is a sample courtesy of YouTube:
Wait a minute. I do have a favorite song from this incredible album – the sad but beautiful All in Love is Fair. I always have it on my iPhone playlist.
I first heard of ZZ Top in the 1980s during their “Pop Music” MTV phase with songs like Sharp Dressed Man and Gimme All Your Lovin. But in the early 1990s, while living in Houston, Texas, some friends at a dinner party one night introduced me to their earlier work to include the completely bad*ss album – Deguello!
When I first heard the songs La Grange, I’m Bad, I’m Nationwide, Cheap Sunglasses, etc. I was blown away!
Here’s a little sample courtesy of YouTube:
And yes, I had to stand up from my sewing machine on some of the songs and dance about the room. But during the song La Grange I was able to just sing “Hmm, hmm, hmm” in a gravely voice while still sewing!
If you like rock, like real yummy Texas Bluesy Rock, here’s another sample for you (but don’t try to craft/knit/sew to it or you might mess up your piece – ha!):
There is currently a pretty cool documentary about ZZ Top currently on Netflix called The Little Ol’ Band From Texas
I lived in Texas for 8 years and it is like living in another country outside the United States – it really is a unique place with a distinct culture! Everyone needs to visit Texas at least once in their life!
And More Music…
I was originally going to discuss 5 or more albums on this post but I knew I might lose a couple of peoples’ attention if I kept running on about albums (hey Tierney isn’t this supposed to be a blog about crafting?!?!).
But here is a list of some of the other albums I enjoyed listening to in their entirety while I worked on my endless half square triangle quilt:
Brothers in Arms – Dire Straits
The Dark Side of the Moon – Pink Floyd
Zebop – Santana
What’s Going On – Marvin Gaye
Rumours – Fleetwood Mac
Kind of Blue – Miles Davis
Too Long in Exile – Van Morrison
Ten – Pearl Jam
Legend – Bob Marley & The Wailers
Tapestry – Carole King
Court & Spark – Joni Mitchell
A Love Supreme – John Coltrane
Talking Book – Stevie Wonder
At Folsom Prison – Johnny Cash
Listening to great music gives me a lot of comfort during these challenging times and inspires me to keep sewing!
Now if you prefer listening spoken word over music for your crafting and you enjoy podcasts, I’d like to recommend a new podcast by one of my blogging buddies, author Tammie Painter: The Book Owl Podcast.
I’ve been following Tammie’s blog for a while and it was fun to actually hear her voice!
Currently there are only two episodes (well three if you count the introduction episode) and I’ve highly enjoyed them both. She takes a topic related to books/literature and presents her research in a humorous and engaging way.
You can find the podcast wherever you get your podcasts. I used Apple podcasts and I was able to pull up the podcast through the Podcast app on my iPhone.
Of course I hope this puts pressure on Tammie to give us another episode soon (smile)!
Seeing her work and her color palettes always inspires my creativity.
I’ve also started to follow her third blog (yes, like I said above, she can make you feel like you’ve been quite lazy – ha!) Sometimes You Get So Confused, which talks about her art drop offs in public places and her musings as she navigates life.
I’ve given the three clay figures, The Positive People, she generously gifted me, a special place in my tierneycreates studio!
Feeling pretty lucky to continue to meet so many awesome people in the “blogosphere”!
I shared in the post Paved Trail Inspirations, that people (likely kids/families) were writing positive messages in sidewalk chalk in the paved trails near my house which I walk everyday. Well, I like to vary my walks to include walking in neighborhoods, and during these walks I am now finding inspirational painted stones, likely done by kids, tucked here and there in neighborhood sidewalks.
These are unusual and challenging times and I love that people (real life “Positive People”) are trying to reach out to each other with encouragement!
I am taking a break from posting about the natural geologic beauty of Colorado like I did in my previous two posts. Instead I have a sort of follow up to my 04/16/2020 post Solo Show Seattle Municipal Tower (re-post).
My first solo show at the Seattle Municipal Tower (sponsored by the City of Seattle’s Office of Arts and Culture) ended in July 2019, and I’d already moved to Colorado. The City of Seattle ended up purchasing 3 of the quilts from the show for their permanent collection; and private collectors purchased 2 more, so that left 7 quilts (or 6 I forget) to be returned to me.
Thanks to my friends Colleen, Donna and Judy, the quilts were held for me until I attended a quilt retreat in Washington state in November 2019.
I noticed when I picked up the quilts that had not sold, the City of Seattle had also included all the placards from the show! Below is an example of one of those placards created by the City of Seattle’s gallery curator and his team:
I was not sure as to what to do with these placards, but after moving back into our current house (after due to the COVID related financial crisis we decided not to buy a new house), I decided to create a gallery in my house with the remaining art quilts and their placards.
The gallery is scattered about the house upstairs and downstairs; and is found in hallways as well as bedrooms.
I also mounted on the wall of my studio the placards for the quilts that sold as well as the main poster for the show.
I am not sure how long I will leave the placards up along side the remaining art quilts, but for now I find it entertaining. I guess when you are stuck at home during the COVID times you have to discover new ways to entertain yourself!
Speaking of entertaining oneself, I’ve been thinking about the instruction/suggestion below that I discovered on a morning walk as sidewalk/walking path art (see post Paved Trail Inspirations):
Social isolation is the standard now in the “time of COVID” (how I refer to these times), and my partner John and I have been trying to be creative with finding simple ways to entertain ourselves (besides exhaustive online television network watching).
One of the things we do a couple times of week is having “walking cocktail hour” when we take Mike our miniature schnauzer for a walk in the evening. We load our portable tumblers with our cocktails – a microbrew for me, an Old Fashioned for him, and head out on our dog walk!
And no one knows what is our tumblers…(smile)
I always wonder what pets are thinking about the COVID times and the humans always being around. I already telecommuted full-time and now my partner is also telecommuting, so we are always home together. Here is Mike trying to make the best of us both working on our laptops and fitting in a snuggle with the humans…
Some of you might now be working from home for the first time during the COVID times. I’ve been working from home (or telecommuting as my employer calls it) for over 14 years.
Instead of “telecommuting tips”, I thought I would share some home office tips and a little tour of my home office.
Home Office Tips
Make it cozy and comfortable
Try to make it feel like a separate space from the rest of your home
Don’t stay in there all day! Stand up every 1/2 hour from your desk and at least every couple of hours leave the room to take a little break.
Have a TV or music in the room or listen to podcasts or something – you can simulate having background noise like you would at work
Let your pet (cat, dog, iguana, porcupine, etc.) hang in the room with you and have a cozy spot for them
Tierney’s Home Office Tour
My home office is shared with the upstairs guest room and I’ve decorated it with my favorite schnauzer/dog themed art, some quilts and some tchotchkes!
It makes me smile to work in the room (and during a really boring conference call, I can lie on the bed and listen to it…)
Oh – if you’d like to see close up photos and read more about the flags about the guest bed, here is a post I did in May 2017 on these flags –The Flags Outside My Window
I’ve also turned the closet of the guest room/office into a multipurpose closet with 1/2 of the closet for off season clothes storage (and a place for guests to hang their clothes); and non-sewing craft storage.
I had a mismatched collection of baskets I’ve collected over the years and I used them in an old storage shelf/bookcase (that fit perfectly in 1/2 the closet) to store my paper crafting, jewelry making and miscellaneous craft supplies. I am pleased with the re-purposing.
It is a fun room to work in. It might seem a little busy and overstimulating to some people but it works for me. Create a space that works for you!
Who knows how long you will be working from home during these times, so my suggestion is to make it a fun and stimulating place to work!
One more thing to add – I am very grateful to my employer for really supporting their workforce as most of the company transitions to telecommuting. We have increased video conferencing meetings; wonderful updates from leadership team via video; as well as frequent webinars on taking care of yourself as a remote worker and managing stress during these uncertain times.
The dictionary site merriam-webster.com has a fantastic definition of the word Perspective:
the capacity to view things in their true relations or relative importance
This is the perfect description of what I’ve attempted to do when my partner and I had to make the difficult decision last week to back out of our new house we were having built. So we cancelled the purchase just a couple weeks before closing.
The house was nearly complete and was quite lovely:
But due to the current financial crisis (and the hit we took in the stock market, etc.) and the global pandemic/its related uncertainty, it did not feel like the right time to buy the new house or to move, so we decided to stay where we are at for a couple more years.
So we’ve spent the past 5 days unpacking our boxes/containers and settling back into life at our house.
I was sad for a brief moment (just a couple tears, not an “ugly cry” or anything) of not getting the new house, but then here is where “perspective” really came in:
We already live in a nice neighborhood with neighbors we know and plenty of green spaces to walk about in (while keeping social distancing)
We are both employed and are doing great telecommuting together
We are both healthy and feel safe
Our current home is comfortable and we had fixed up/repaired anything needing repairing before we put it on the market (we took if off the market last week of course)
Mike the miniature schnauzer loves his current home
Keeping “perspective” we realized that the bulleted items above are way more important than getting a brand new house.
In addition to unpacking over the past 5 days, we’ve been re-imaging how our home is decorated and reconfiguring layouts in various rooms. It has been a really fun way to spend our time (when not working at our jobs) when we have been housebound due to the statewide “stay at home” order.
One the big things I did was to unpack my sewing/crafting studio and reconfigure it!
Here is my studio in progress:
In my next post I will show you my unpacked and reconfigured studio (or perhaps I’ll have a guest blogger, the tierneycreates Beastie, give you a tour!). My partner built me a new design wall for it!
In the suburban section of the Denver metro area in which I live, we are allowed to go outside for exercise during the “stay at home” order. Behind our home are walking trails and we can see families walking or bike riding through the day together. More than I’ve ever seen prior to the pandemic.
I think this pandemic is unbelievably horrible and I am sorry for all the lives and livelihoods lost. If there could be any silver linings in these dark days I think it would be how we seemed to have paused from our busy lives and perhaps shifted our perspectives to what really is important. It seems like many families are spending so much more time together and making the best of it.
Today during a virtual/video conference call work meeting, our department leader asked what is the first thing we plan to do when the pandemic is over. Most people said go visit a family member or friend we had not seen in person and give them a big hug.
I’ll close this post with an image of the sidewalk art (by some of the kind hearted people of the Denver area) I discovered as I walked my dog the other day.
I began this post a couple of days ago and then got really blue about what is going on in Italy and other parts of the world, not to mention my own country. But I think we need to carry on with “regular life” as much as we can (while we socially isolate and for some while we “shelter-in-place”), so I pulled myself out of my blueness and I am finishing up this post that might seem a little frivolous at this point but…
Remember mid-February? Remember when you had access to all the toilet paper you needed (or could possibly dream of) and terms such as “social distancing” were not part of your vocabulary/life?
Well let’s take a brief break from our global pandemic in this post and let me share my semi-failed experiment in my first planned “complete relaxation vacation” (but if I could go back in time, knowing what I know now, I would not have failed at the relaxation vacation experiment!)
You might look at these photos and think: “Wow, what a vacation/holiday in paradise”. This is what normal people would think. However for John and I it was a “Relaxation Vacation Experiment”.
And we may have failed at this experiment…
John is a widower and as many of you know I am a widow. Our former spouses were both the type who liked to do “Always Busy/Scheduled Activities/See As Much As You Can” vacations.
I was with Terry the Quilting Husband since I was 20 years old (nearly my entire adult life) and every vacation we went on was filled with endless sightseeing and other busy activities. I am not complaining we had some wonderful vacations and I got to visit some major historical sights and battlegrounds in the U.S. and Europe (Terry was a Military History buff) on our trips as well as fun and playful vacations like Disneyland, etc.
John’s previous life was the same – his vacations were filled with trying to do as much sightseeing as possible during the vacation time allotted.
So he and I came up with the idea that for the first time in our lives, we should go on a vacation in which we do something crazy…RELAX!
In our minds, we would enjoy our first completely relaxing, have nothing scheduled, lie around on the beach and read books, vacation.
John’s sister has a lovely condo in Cabo San Lucas and so we thought that would be a perfect (and not too expensive) way to have a mid-Winter relaxing vacation in a warm and tropical place!
Things started out promising – we managed to goof off a couple hours wandering and sitting around the beach and reading books on our first afternoon in town.
We even invented the “Shoe Coaster” (patent pending) for our special beverages on the beach!
Unfortunately we grew a little bored of just hanging out on the beach after a while.
There were lots of wonderful restaurants on the beach so we tried just hanging out for long stretches “relaxing” at restaurants on the beach. Here I am on the way to the beach or a restaurant on the beach, preparing for some more “relaxation”:
The truth is, after just a couple days of this “relaxation” stuff, we were bored out of our minds.
Yes we did do some sightseeing in the main area of Cabo San Lucas but everywhere you walked someone was trying to sell you something and after a while I just felt like a “dollar” walking around for vendors trying to get.
We did one afternoon however have a lovely lunch at the marina area of Cabo and we did have brief sweet moments of “total relaxation”.
But like the creature in the image above, after a couple of days we decided all this relaxation vacation stuff was “for the birds” and not for us!
After an awkward discussion where we finally both admitted (previous we were each secretly thinking it without telling the other) we were absolutely bored out of our minds with all this relaxation (we had even tried just staying the condo and binge watching a Netflix show when we’d had enough of the beach, etc.) – we decided to change our flight and come home early from vacation.
Are you shaking your heads in disbelief at this point?
(To be honest, now, with what is going on in the world, I too am shaking my head – I wish I had stayed longer in Cabo and embraced relaxation…)
We both accepted we had “failed” at the “Relaxation Vacation Experiment”.
Actually we did not fail, we learned.
We learned that we like to more active vacations in places where there are lots of museums and historic sights to see. We are not the “lie on the beach and relax” kind of vacation people.
And that is okay (smile).
The day before we were scheduled to return home early our enthusiasm returned and we decided to fill our last full day in Cabo having a less traditional experience: we decided to go “Farm-to-Table” restaurant hopping. I guess there is a big farm-to-table movement in Cabo and we thought it would be fun to explore.
Luckily we had a car during our trip so we drove to a remote area for our first Mexican farm-to-table experience. The road to this farm, Los Tamarindos, was a quite bumpy (unpaved) and a little scary (in the middle of nowhere) but it was so worth the drive. We had an amazing meal and experience and here are a couple photos:
The food was not just fresh and amazing, it was sort of a spiritual experience!
After our first farm-to-table experience in Mexico, we were hooked and headed to the next farm, Flora Farms, where we did not sit for a formal meal but wandered around and amazing cocktails and the most delicious ice cream cone in my life!
This trip and these photos seems like another lifetime, like another world.
Hoping you all stay safe in the reality of our current world. Hang in there.
This hat is for my sister Rianna, who helped me more than I can ever put into words or thank her for during the most difficult time of my life in December 2018, after my husband suddenly died.
As I shared in the 12/23/18 post Stories from the Road, Part I, after my husband died I flew to the Eastern Coast of the U.S. (on a plane ticket my brother Raoul brought me) and my sister drove me across 4 Eastern states to see family and to attend a celebration of life for my husband with his family in Upstate New York. (My husband and I are originally from the East Coast of the U.S., both growing up in New York)
I was in a shocked daze but hanging out with my sister was a beautiful and bonding distraction. She drove me over 800 miles round-trip and on our way back from Upstate New York we stopped in a quaint town called Tarrytown, New York.
I knew at the time I needed to leave Central Oregon where I lived the past 14 years with my husband and start a new life somewhere, when I was ready, but moving to Colorado was not a fully formed idea yet. I was considering moving to New York to be closer to my siblings.
So we stopped in Tarrytown and wandered around for several hours as a break from being on the road.
While in Tarrytown we discovered the Flying Fingers Yarn Shop, and while browsing my sister brought a skein of yarn over to me and said: “Would you knit me a hat with this?”.
A little over 14 months later, I’ve finished the hat for my sister with the yarn she selected on the road trip:
I love variegated yarn and I think the pattern created by the variegations in the yarn is yummy!
My sister has curly hair (lots of it), so I made the hat a little bit wider and longer than I normally do. Here are some photos of me modeling the hat for my sister when I texted her images of the finished hat (I wanted to show her I added in extra length to the hat).
A handmade knitted hat is not enough to thank my sister for how much she was there for me during the most difficult time in my life but it is a little token of my appreciation.
When I write posts like this, though I try not to my make blog too “grief-y” these days, it reminds me how much love I have in my life from family and friends.
I’ve been struggling with anxiety this winter, especially when we have heavy snows in the Denver metropolitan area where I now live.
Likely this is related to the worse winter of my life in early 2019 (after the worse Christmas season in my life when my husband died 12 days before Christmas).
There were constant major snowstorms in Central Oregon in January and February 2019 and I was constantly shoving feet of snow just to get out of my driveway.
Previously, my awesome husband always handled snow shoveling (occasionally I would help and we would “team shovel”) and suddenly after his death, I now had to constantly do it on my own (while sobbing uncontrollably in my grief).
This continued until I finally admitted to close friends my struggles and my wonderful friend Jason once he found out what I was doing, brought his snowblower over and told me no matter what, I was not to shovel snow anymore! He drove across town daily if needed to my house to take care of the snow removal (we had an endless dump of snow daily for a while in Central Oregon in winter 2019)!
I think when heavy snow hit the Denver area in January and February 2020 it brought back those awful grief memories and it manifested itself in “Snow Anxiety”.
No worries, I am working with my healthcare provider on this anxiety issue. Living at 5280+ feet above sea level, in the Rocky Mountains, there is going to be snow. So unless I am planning to move somewhere tropical I need to resolve my “Snow Anxiety” issue.
One thing that is helping with my anxiety is knitting and quilting projects!
This morning over breakfast I was reading an article in a crafting magazine discussing the mental health benefits of handwork and came across the most wonderful quote from Anne Lamott that I will close this post with:
Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes, including you. – Anne Lamott
Northern California is a beautiful part of the U.S. While visiting my Quilting Sisters Kathy and Lisa in the Sacramento area in April 2019 I got to appreciate some of the beauty of Northern CA.
I stayed with my friend Kathy, her husband Matt and her awesome new Chocolate Labrador puppy, Riley. They have incredible wooded areas on their property and just hanging out at their home I got a taste of the beauty of Northern CA.
One morning, I watched three wild male turkeys trying to court a female turkey right off their back patio:
I put an arrow where the female turkey was and she did not seem very interested in any of them (she kept wandering away) while they took turns (or simultaneously) displaying their plumages!
Kathy took me on a day trip to South Yuma River State Park and it was amazing! I will let the rest of this post serve as a photo essay as I show you some of the images from our visit to this stunning state park.
Next post (which is the final one in this series of posts) I will share photos and stories from our Quilt Shop Hopping in Northern California!
I am also sneaking into this post a continuation on my series of posts Life in B&W, in which I pretend I am a photographer showing you the stark beauty of Black and White photography.
Here are a couple of the images I took during the day trip in B&W for your enjoyment (or you can roll your eyes, ha!).
Oh yes there we a lot more, but I figure four images is enough to expose you to 🙂
Currently I am on “holiday”, as my friends on the other side of the pond would call it. I am taking a lovely break from the snowstorms and biting cold of the Denver Metro area and relaxing in paradise. I’ll share a future post about my current adventures, however, as promised in a previous post, I want to catch up on some of my 2019 adventures I did not blog about.
For those of you just joining us, in December 2018 I suddenly and unexpectedly loss my best friend and husband of many years, Terry the Quilting Husband, and became a widow. So the 2018 holiday season and winter 2019 were a very dark and sad time in my life.
Thank goodness for my wonderful family and friends, who were an amazing support system during very dark days.
Also thank goodness for my (surprising to many) plans to leave Central Oregon and move to the Denver, Colorado metropolitan area (see series of posts Colorado Bound) as it gave me something else to focus on besides my all encompassing grief over the loss of my life parter.
One of the wonderful things my friends did to distract me from my loneliness and grief was to invite me to visit them and I shared the first fun trip I went on in 2019 in the post Fabric Fangirl Frenzy with my Quilting Sisters Judy and Dana (for the backstory on my Quilting Sisters see the posts Quilting Sisters I, and II).
In April I visited with my my Quilting Sisters Kathy and Lisa who live in the Sacramento, California area and this next several posts are about that wonderful visit!
It’s All About the Puppy
I stayed with my Quilting Sister Kathy and her husband Matt. They had just adopted a Chocolate Labrador puppy named Riley.
I love dogs, and I absolutely LOVE PUPPIES, and I fell in love quickly with Riley (so much so that by the end of trip the officially made me Riley’s “dog godmother”).
I spent a lot of the weekend cuddling with Riley (good therapy). She was a puppy of course and very active and crazy by nature but I set up a system of “Swaddling” her in a towel the evening to relax her and give us a break from her crazy puppy energy.
Kathy, Matt, Riley and I went to a local brewery and had a wonderful time with the pup! Here are some photos from our brewery time (and the brewery staff was very patient and accommodating when the pup had an “accident”).
More Pups and even a Cat
My Quilting Sister Lisa is a brilliant Veterinarian as well as the owner of Supreme Point Kennels – she shows and breeds Wirehaired Pointing Griffons.
Kathy took me over to Lisa’s home for a visit (and before we headed out on a Quilt Shop Hop Adventure which I will share in another post in this series) and I got to visit with the herd at her house which includes several gorgeous Wirehaired Pointing Griffons, a Giant Schnauzer, several rescued dogs and a cat.
I was in furry creature heaven at Lisa’s home! There was a lot of petting and snuggling going on! I really got a kick out of the cat who just thought he was another one of the dogs and was very comfortable with the large dogs and being part of “the herd”.
Lisa was working on an awesome Griffon themed quilt from a class she took on portrait quilts:
As I mentioned earlier in this post, during the most difficult time in my life, I was so supported (and still supported) by a wonderful network for family and friends.
During my visit to the Sacramento, CA area I got some time to be “loved on” and snuggled by my California Quilting Sisters which was very nurturing and healing.
Here we are snuggling on the sofa at Kathy’s house (I took a break from snuggling with Riley the pup to do human snuggling instead – ha!):
And here I am feeling all warm and cozy, sipping a Jameson Irish Whiskey that Kathy’s husband Matt poured for me, while knitting (working on the hat I discussed in this post The Ball of Yarn (which eventually became a hat)), sitting under one of Kathy’s handmade quilts, and watching baseball with my Quilting Sisters.
And for a beautiful moment in the midst of my grief, I felt at peace and quite loved.
I have a whole category on my blog called Audiobooks and Podcasts. Many of these posts have to do with the latest “self-improvement” genre audiobook I’ve read. Most of these audiobooks I’ve borrowed from local libraries via their Overdrive or Hoopla apps.
If you’ve followed my blog for a while you’ve likely endured many reviews on various non-fiction “self-improvement” books I’ve listened to and occasionally read hardcover.
Recently another reserved “self-improvement” audiobook became available for download, The 5 AM Club: Own Your Morning, Elevate Your Life by Robin Sharma, and in the midst of listening to the book, I turned it off and exclaimed: “Enough of this #$%&, I am tired of ‘self-improving’!”
As I was sharing in a recent conversation with my friends Michele H. and Anne T., I am completed burned out on listening/reading anything that has to do with “self-improvement”.
I’ve read a jillion (this number is way bigger than the imaginary number a zillion, ha!) self-improvement books, gained plenty of insight and attempted to live the best life possible but that did not stop awful things happening like my spouse suddenly passing away in December 2018 (yes, yes I know that you cannot read self-improvement books to protect yourself from bad things happening, but I guess in the back of my delusional mind I thought I was safe from major disaster as I was always trying to be the best person possible..).
I admit that some of the “self-improvement” type genre books such as Sheryl Sandberg’s Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy (see post New Library Stack and Option B) helped me tremendously on my grief journey. And I am sure there are some other books out there that could help me, but I am just too burned out on the genre to read anymore right now (or anytime in the near future).
I am so done with “self improving” for now.
Now it’s time to find some good yummy fiction to listen to or read!
The irony of this recent decision is the moment I said “enough with the self-improvement” genre, every audiobook I had on reserve at my local library became available. So I actually have in my current online library account the following “self-improvement” books I can now borrow/download for 21 days:
The Self-Love Experiment by Shannon Kaiser
Everything is F*cked: A Book About Hope by Mark Manson (okay he did write a really awesome self help book I listened to a while ago: The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life, and it helped me “chill” on a lot of things)
Meta Human by Deepak Chopra
Good Habits, Bad Habits by Wendy Wood
The Third Door by Alex Banayan
It is sort of the like the “self-improvement” genre was having a major go at me as I was trying to give it up by sending me everything I had reserved at once.
Nope, returned them all!
(I wonder if now I will become a terrible and grouchy person since I’ve stopped “self-improving”…)
As I mentioned in a recent post, I did a lot of traveling in 2019. I’m going to spend time in January 2020 catching up on the stories I did not get a chance to share in 2019.
I’ve always appreciated how parents traditionally encourage their children’s creativity and artistic endeavors by displaying their art on the refrigerator. However in March 2019 I witnessed a very awesome way in display “kid art”.
In March 2019 I visited Denver, Colorado to tour potential apartments as part of my move from Central Oregon to the greater Denver metro area (see series of posts Colorado Bound). I stayed with my friend Michele who drove me around to tour apartments.
She and her husband Blair have a lovely home and at the top of their upstairs landing, they have an amazing display of the art of their three children!
All the pieces are nicely (and maybe professionally framed) and the entire wall is dedicated to celebrating the artistic talents of their children at various ages.
Here is some of the wonderful art up close:
This is lightyears beyond the traditional “art on the fridge” that I’ve seen at other families homes. I love that this couple turned their children’s art into an art gallery!
Originally I had planned to begin a series of posts about my “New Year’s Crafting Resolutions“. I was going to provide a catalog of my unfinished projects and a plan to start working on them (sort of like the recent cool series of posts by Melanie @ Catbird Studios in which she shares the contents of her cabinet of unfinished projects), however suddenly I have begun packing up my studio.
Why? Because my partner and I have decided to go forward with selling his house and buying a house together.
The first step in this process is getting his house ready for sale and it is time to paint over the bold turquoise of my studio (see post New Studio) and make that room the same neutral color as the rest of the house.
Since he will be listing the house in the near future, and it needs to get “staged” for sale, I will keep my studio packed up. But that is okay, I have a plan for creative endeavors for the next couple months while my studio is packed up: It’s time to pull out the handwork!
I will post about that plan in the future.
The funny thing is I was recently preparing to return to working on my Farm Girl Vintage blocks and finish up a 20 block quilt (see series of posts Farm Girl Vintage Blocks) as I shared a couple days ago on Instagram:
I’ve completed 19 blocks and only needed to make one more 12.5″ x 12.5″ block to make one of the sampler quilts in the book which uses 20 blocks.
But since my sewing machine is getting packed away, that will have to be on hold for now.
What’s that famous saying that comes to mind…oh yes:
“Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.” – John Lennon
It’s been a long time since I had a post in my series of posts Audiobooks and Podcasts. So I thought my first post of 2020 would be a recap of some of my favorite audiobook listens in 2019.
I constantly listen to audiobooks, especially on my twice a day dog walks and while crafting. Occasionally I listen to fiction but my favorite genre is non fiction, especially books related to personal growth.
Below I share my favorite listens in 2019 along with a link to the Publishers Weekly or or Amazon.com book review; and a quote from the book that resonated with me.
“Souls have deep connections and unique contracts that span centuries, exist back and forth in time, and bind us in ways we can’t really understand…. These connections are ancient and everlasting, and they already exist in our hearts, even if we’re not always aware of them.”
“Digital Minimalism A philosophy of technology use in which you focus your online time on a small number of carefully selected and optimized activities that strongly support things you value, and then happily miss out on everything else.”
“Unless one is unconcerned by other people’s judgments, has no fear of being disliked by other people, and pays the cost that one might never be recognized, one will never be able to follow through in one’s own way of living. That is to say, one will not be able to be free.”
“Resilience comes from deep within us and from support outside us. It comes from gratitude for what’s good in our lives and from leaning in to the suck. It comes from analyzing how we process grief and from simply accepting that grief. Sometimes we have less control than we think. Other times we have more. I learned that when life pulls you under, you can kick against the bottom, break the surface, and breathe again.”
I discussed this book in my 2/16/19 post Soup’s On
“When real transformation does occur in someone’s life, it usually happens through evolution, not revolution. Every time we make a choice to confront our fear, our character evolves and we become more courageous. Every time we make a choice to move through pain to pursue a purpose larger than ourselves, our character evolves and we become wiser. Every time we make a choice to move through suffering, our character evolves and we become stronger.”
For four years (2013 – 2017) until her passing in December 2017, I helped manage the blog for my miniature schnauzer Sassy, the Highly Opinionated Miniature Schnauzer – SCHNAUZER SNIPS: MUSINGS FROM A HIGHLY OPINIONATED MINIATURE SCHNAUZER.
In February 2017 Sassy posted about Human Storage– how humans are always getting dropped off at this place called “the airport” where they appear to be stored for a period of time and then get picked up.
Keep in mind she viewed life from a dog’s perspective!
I’ve traveled a lot in 2019, likely the most I’ve ever traveled in my life.
For my trips to the airport in 2019 while I lived in Central Oregon (January to April) and then after I moved to the greater Denver metro area (April), I’ve tried to have Mike my miniature schnauzer be in the car taking me to the airport and picking me up.
Mike seems to understand when I am going into “human storage” and when I am being retrieved! It appears to lessen his anxiety when I am missing from his home for a couple days to a week – he knows I am just in storage!
Speaking of airports, I did not know about this until I moved to Denver, but the Denver International Airport (DIA) has quite a bit of lore about it.
This lore includes conspiracy theories such as that it contains secret underground bunkers.
Some of the biggest DIA lore surrounds the airport “mascot” and the strange murals around the airport. Here is an excerpt from mental floss.com:
Conspiracy theories aside, it’s hard to deny the weirdness of DIA’s unofficial mascot—a massive horse statue called “Blue Mustang” that has already killed at least one man. At 32 feet tall and 9000 pounds (it’s made out of fiberglass), “Blue Mustang” is huge and imposing, and its glowing red eyes don’t help matters. This thing is giant and really scary—and it killed the man who made it. Really. Artist Luis Jimenez died in 2006 when a piece of the sculpture’s head broke off and severed an artery in his leg.
Leo Tanguma’s two murals, which take up wide swathes of wallspace in DIA’s baggage claim, might have some nice names—they are called “Children of the World Dream of Peace” and “In Peace and Harmony with Nature,” respectively—but their actual content is terrifying. Death-masked soldiers stalk children with guns, animals are dead and kept under glass, and the entire world looks to have been destroyed. As if being at the airport isn’t bad enough.
I’ve spent a lot of time at DIA since moving to the Denver area in April 2019 and so far it just seems like a large airport, nothing creepy. I’ve seen a couple of the controversial murals in person and they just seem odd and like they were created by someone on a LSD trip!
DIA has been under going a remodel and the airport leadership appears to have a sense of humor about the conspiracy theories familiar to locals.
You can’t say people in Denver do not have a sense of humor!
For some of my readers it is already 2020! For me in Colorado, 2020 is about to shortly begin.
I’ve already begun formulating my 2020 resolutions and look forward to reading some of yours. I have a lot of sewing (and more traveling/human storage at the airport) planned and looking forward to sharing my adventures with you.
However one of the “awesome-nest” highs of 2019 involved achieving one of my “bucket list” items – seeing President Barack Obama speak in person.
I’ll share the story of how it happened in a moment, but this was the second opportunity I was lucky enough to experience seeing a U.S. President in person. The first U.S. President I saw speak in person was in May 2018 – 43rd President George Bush, Jr (see post A Presidential Artistic Journey (Re-post)) and that was very awesome.
However seeing President Obama (44th U.S. President) speak in person was something very high on my “bucket list”.
Greenbuild Conference 2019
I have two very awesome siblings, they are two of my best friends on this planet – a brother Raoul and a sister Rianna (by the way, I am writing this post from the Denver International Airport as I get ready to fly to Las Vegas for the weekend to meet up with my brother and his family).
My sister Rianna, earlier in 2019, finished her Masters in Business Administration (MBA) with a focus on Project Management (the same MBA I have from the same university) and got her dream job as a Construction Project Manager for a University she was already working, but this time with their contractor Project Management company. (I was so impressed she finished her MBA in record time while working full time and being a busy Mom!).
She is working on her LEED green building certification and her new employer approved for her to attend the Greenbuild International Conference in Atlanta, Georgia November 19 – 22, 2019. She was very excited to be approved for this opportunity but she was in shock when she discovered that the keynote speaker was President Barack Obama!!!
For an extra fee, you could bring a guest with you to the keynote as well as some limited events at the conference. So for my early Christmas present, my sister got me a ticket to the keynote which was actually titled “A Conversation with President Barack Obama“.
There was a crazy extremely long line to get seated for the keynote, luckily we showed up early. Here we are waiting on line in major anticipation of seeing/hearing in person one of the people we most admire:
The keynote was actually an interview of President Obama by U.S. Green Building Council’s president and CEO, Mahesh Ramanujam. The focus on the discussion/interview was on sustainability and affordability.
I also found several excerpts from the keynote on YouTube:
It was very exciting to (sort of) be breathing the same air that President Obama was breathing and my sister and I tried to restrain our inner fan girls and just focus on his talk/interview/conversation.
We sat in the middle of the very large auditorium and luckily they had large monitors so we could get a close up view of the interview. Here are several of my photos of him speaking on the large monitors:
He was as we expected, an incredibly eloquent and engaging speaker!
My sister and I were in sort of daze after the keynote was done and we were giggling/laughing with other conference attendees as we walked out of the auditorium, squealing “that really happened, we really saw President Obama speak!!!”
I got the feeling that this moment was part of many attendees’ “bucket lists”!
After the Keynote/Conference
I telecommuted for work from our Atlanta, Georgia hotel while my sister attended the rest of the Greenbuild Conference and then we wandered around downtown Atlanta, Georgia.
We stopped at Centennial Olympic Park from when 1996 Summer Olympics were held in Atlanta, Georgia.
It was very cool to see the iconic Olympic Rings in person:
In the park area they had a sweet little German-style Holiday Market going on and we wandered about that market and enjoyed some Bavarian hot chocolate and gingerbread cookies.
My sister used to live in Heidelberg, Germany for several years while she was in the military and she had fun chatting with a market vendor who was from Heidelberg.
Autumn colors were in full force in Atlanta and we also enjoyed wandering around enjoying the beautiful foliage!
On the final day of the conference, in the evening, they had a major end of conference party/event – a party on the field of Mercedes Benz Stadium, home of the Atlanta Falcons (U.S. Football team for my blogging friends abroad)!
It was amazing to actually be on the playing field of a U.S. Football team. I cannot share photos, as it might be embarrassing (smile), but they actually let party/conference attendees try kicking a field goal from the goal line! My sister was very brave and tried it herself, without much success, and she accepts she does not have a future as a professional football player (smile).
Here we are at the party on the stadium field:
They also had a concert on the field for conference attendees by the band Collective Soul!
I’ve traveled a lot in 2019, the most I’ve ever traveled in one year. I am quite behind in sharing my adventures and hopefully I can catch up on the backlog of stories I would like to share. Not to mention the backlog of reading my favorite blogs I follow!
The New Year is nearly upon us! Hope you and your loved ones are having a wonderful holiday season! Hopefully I will post more before the end of 2019 (smile).
The Christmas holidays are upon us and as one of my partner’s Christmas gifts, I decided to recycle several of his old T-shirts that no longer fit/were worn out into throw pillows for his “Man Cave” in our daylight basement.
Here is the first one I worked on – I used flannel to border the T-shirt (which I added fusible interfacing to first) and for the envelope back:
Here is the next pillow I worked on (my partner is a Whiskey connoisseur) and I had trouble focusing while making the pillow because it was so outrageously funny and so unlike his personality:
He was pleasantly surprised by the pillows (I gave them to him early so he could enjoy them for the holiday season). Here they are set up in the “Man Cave” (where we also like to sit and watch movies):
We also have our Schnauzer-themed Christmas tree up. I am lucky to have another Schnauzer-aficionado in my life. Yes we did include his ornaments too but the tree is “strongly Schnauzer” 🙂
Every tree needs a “Schnauzer Angel” topper, right?
Thursday evening we had a quiet evening by the tree wrapping presents, drinking hot cocoa and eating grilled cheese sandwiches before the holiday madness begins.
Now it is holiday parties, out of town family members arriving for a visit; and then hosting 25+ people at the house for Christmas eve (my partner is the oldest of 7 children and hosts Christmas eve dinner for his family and extended family).
Quite the different Christmas holiday than I had in 2018…and I am feeling very blessed and cozy.
One of my dear blogging buddies, Sandy, of the crafting sister duo Gray Barns Designs (Cindy and Sandy), is making an insane quilt – a postage stamp quilt made with 3,420 1.5″ x 1.5″ RED squares (that’s 3,420 3.81 cm x 3.18 cm squares for my blogging friends on the metric system)!
In this post she mentions she only has 1250 squares completed so far. Her sister Cindy is helping out with reds from her stash but I got the feeling Sandy would like more help, so I offered to send her red scraps from my stash (and she took me up on my offer).
So during my lunch break today (I am a telecommuter), I pulled out my stash of red scraps and started pulling scraps for her postage stamp quilt of scrappy madness:
That is just the beginning of the pile. I crammed as much as I could in a padded priority mailer (because it is near Christmas and no way was I returning to the post office again to mail anything – I just pre-printed my label at usps.com and gave it to my mail carrier):
I cannot show you what is inside because it is a surprise for Sandy to open!
I see from some of her other posts and comments that other blogging buddies are sending scraps too.
If you have red scraps to spare you can contact her at Gray Barns Designs by commenting on her post I linked above. And if you do not already follow their blog, I highly recommend you add it to your reading list – Gray Barns Designs: Real. Modern. Quiltingand see what the talented crafting sister Sandy and Cindy are up to!
Perhaps Sandy will share what is in the package I sent on her blog when she receives it in a couple days :-).
Now I have met the quilts in person of several of my other long-time quilting buddies. I met Mary of Zippy Quilts’s amazing quilt in person when I attended Quilters Take Manhattan in September 2017 (see post Wrap Up of QTM 2017 Weekend).
I do have plans to meet in person more long-time blogging buddies in 2020 which hopefully includes meeting Helen of CrawCrafts Beasties (my tierneycreates Beastie has to meet her maker in person!) when I go with friends to Ireland this summer; and meeting Martha of Martha’s Blog in Mississippi sometime this year. Fingers crossed!
Nearly a year has passed since my beautiful life radically changed when I suddenly loss my husband Terry who’d I been with since I was 20 years old.
On my blog he was known as “Terry the Quilting Husband” or “TTQH” as one of my blog readers named him.
He began quilting in 2014 and if you’d like to check out posts related to his adventures as quilter, they are in the series of posts Terry the Quilting Husband (TTQH)
Today is his birthday (December 2) and I wanted to honor and remember him with this post. I do not want to celebrate him on the day he passed (December 13, 2018), I want to celebrate him on the day that this world was lucky enough to have him join it!
As we discussed in the 8-week Spousal Loss Grief Support group I attended in early 2019, when your life partner dies your immediate focus is on that person’s death and the tremendous loss in your life.
However that person had a whole entire life before their death, and in the support group we spent time focused on their life and what our lives with them meant to us.
TTQH was an incredible person and my best friend life partner. We had so much fun together and so many wonderful adventures. In the immediate wake of the loss, all I could see was the loss. Now, nearly a year later, I can step back and look at what an absolutely blessed and amazing life I was lucky enough to have for more than 1/2 my life with him.
And in 2014 he joined me in my quilting hobby and created 10+ quilts (and helped with many more) that brought a lot of joy to people. He gave the first quilt he made to his mother (who passed a year before him, December 2017). He even exhibited several quilts at the Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show in the Man Made Exhibit and sold two quilts!
Speaking of adventures – how lucky I was to have a life partner who loved going to quilt shops with me (and selecting his own huge collection of dog themed or fishing themed fabrics) and shared what was important to me – quilting. He looked forward every year to the April Central Oregon Quilt Shop Hop (he won a sewing machine one year at shop hop!) and to see if he could outdo me in fabric purchasing!
Here he is wandering around a quilt shop on his own, with our dog Mike in tow:
So today I celebrate him!
Happy Birthday TTQH and thank you for the amazing life I shared with you.
To close out this post, let me share a poem by Henry Scott-Holland that I stumbled upon that made me cry and smile simultaneously.
Death Is Nothing At All
Death is nothing at all. It does not count. I have only slipped away into the next room. Nothing has happened.
Everything remains exactly as it was. I am I, and you are you, and the old life that we lived so fondly together is untouched, unchanged. Whatever we were to each other, that we are still.
Call me by the old familiar name. Speak of me in the easy way which you always used. Put no difference into your tone. Wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow.
Laugh as we always laughed at the little jokes that we enjoyed together. Play, smile, think of me, pray for me. Let my name be ever the household word that it always was. Let it be spoken without an effort, without the ghost of a shadow upon it.
Life means all that it ever meant. It is the same as it ever was. There is absolute and unbroken continuity. What is this death but a negligible accident?
Why should I be out of mind because I am out of sight? I am but waiting for you, for an interval, somewhere very near, just round the corner.
All is well. Nothing is hurt; nothing is lost. One brief moment and all will be as it was before. How we shall laugh at the trouble of parting when we meet again!
Recently, I’ve been traveling a lot. I’ve become very familiar with the Denver International Airport (DIA). This post is about one of those recent travels and how I got into trouble at a fabric shop that had a ridiculously low price on Moda Grunge.
Annie’s Quilt Shoppe is home of the $7.99 a yard fabric deals. High quality, major fabric brands at $7.99 a yard (that’s U.S. dollars and for my readers outside the U.S. if you check the conversion to your currency and yards to meters/metres, I think you will all join me in a communal “Wow!”).
I have a secret weakness for Moda Fabrics’ “Grunge” line of fabrics and when I spotted an extensive offering of Grunge fabrics in an extensive palette, I lost my mind and started pulling bolts for cutting.
Hopefully you can see from the photos above that the Grunge line of fabrics are beautiful textured solids. They are printed in Japan and come in 200+ amazing colors, textures, and shadings (according to The Fat Quarter Shop).
We had a delightful time with the store owners as they tag teamed cutting my huge pile of fabric. Here I am with my Quilting Sisters Dana and Judy with the delightful shop owners in the background (who were happy for the large sale but likely quite exhausted from cutting all that yardage):
Forty-five (45) 1 -2 yard cuts later, my pocketbook was damaged but my dream was realized – to have an extensive collection of Moda Grunge fabrics!
I wasn’t the only one who went a little crazy with the $7.99 a yard fabric offerings. For example, my friend Dana bought yardage from this beautiful selection of fabrics:
When I got home I had to make room in new fabric storage area for them. Initially I though I could fit them all in one cubby of my IKEA cubby bookcase:
Alas, they needed two cubbies but I did add in any other Grunge fabric I had already in my collection. In front of the Grunge, I placed my beloved Marcia Derse yardage (see post Fabric Fangirl Frenzy).
We did not spend our entire long weekend together just shopping, we also spent time sewing together (actually I brought knitting), having wonderful meals, and catching up. Long weekends with good friends are wonderful for the spirit!
So you might be thinking: “Okay Tierney, that is a lot of fabric shopping, where are your recent posts about making things with fabric?!?!”
Well I have not posted about my current quilting project because it is emotionally difficult. I am finishing up the last quilt my husband who unexpectedly died last December, started; and it is a gift for one of his family members. But once it is complete and that person receives their gift, I will blog about it.
Even more library books came in! So my stack got even larger! It would have been unwieldy to add the additional books to the stack for a photo, so here is a photo of those additional books on their own:
Believe it or not, I’ve made a significant dent in my very large pile of library books. Lots of pots of tea and early mornings browsing through the wonderful books!
Did you ever need or want to finish a craft project but the project itself had a great emotional weight?
Such is the case with a ball of variegated turquoise yarn in my yarn stash.
Last year near this time I was on a trip with friends to Santa Fe, New Mexico (see posts Santa Fe in Black and White and Creative Inspiration: Georgia O’Keeffe Museum). Sante Fe has many wonderful shops and we did a little winter hat shopping in the shops for my friend Michele who was looking for the perfect turquoise hat to compliment her turquoise winter coat.
After trying on several hats in several shops that did not work, I offered to knit her a hat using turquoise yarn.
When I returned to my home in Central Oregon, my late husband Terry and I went shopping for the perfect yarn and we found it – variegated turquoise yarn.
Terry was taking a break from making quilts and was just enjoying being my “crafting assistant” so he rolled the skein of yarn into a ball to make my hat knitting easier.
This was one of the last crafting things he worked on before he unexpectedly and suddenly died on 12/13/18.
So I had this ball of yarn, that he had wound into a ball.
I could barely touch it much less even think of knitting that hat.
However, as I’ve discovered during my first year journey of widowhood: crafting and making things are good for your spirit. Sometimes it seems like doing something with my hands is healing to my heart.
I began working on the hat in late Winter 2019 as I prepared for my move to Colorado (see series of posts Colorado Bound) to begin a new life adventure.
But it was difficult to work on and I put it away. Every time I picked up the ball of yarn I could picture Terry sitting on the sofa across from me rolling the ball of yarn, watching a TV show with me, and laughing. Some days I still cannot believe my beautiful life with him suddenly ended.
In early October on an unexpectedly snowy day in Denver, I realized that “Winter is Coming” and if my friend Michele was to have that turquoise hat for this winter, I needed to work on it.
And so I did.
Here is my favorite part of knitting a hat – when you switch to the double pointed needles:
Here is the completed hat:
And here is my lovely friend Michele in her new hat (which I gave her this weekend):
I feel very peaceful after completing the hat. Terry was also a friend of Michele’s and he would be very pleased to see the hat completed. His work rolling the ball of yarn was not wasted!
To close out this post, here is another inspirational sign from the collection of signs sprinkled about the restaurant I mentioned in yesterday’s post’s Postscript section:
One of my blogging buddies, Sandra McCall of sandramccall.com sent me a lovely and thoughtful surprise in the mail earlier this week!
Sandra (Sandy) is a published craft book author (check out examples of some of her books on this link – amazon.com) and has a wonderful website/blog filled with home decorating, crafting and cooking ideas – sandramccall.com.
Now you will truly be able to sleep through the night and have an actual restful slumber, as this post will complete my series of posts following up on the three Tula Pink All Stars fabric line inspired quilts my two quilting sisters (Judy and Dana) and I began in 2018.
If you are just starting with this post, the two recent previous posts are:
In this third post, I will share my Tula Pink All Stars fabric inspired quilt, Tula in the Box, and why it took me so long to finish it.
Tierney’s Quilt: Tula in the Box
The last time I blogged about the creation of this quilt was back in December 6, 2018, in this post: Tula in a Box.
This was 7 days before my husband Terry, who was known as “Terry the Quilting Husband” or “TTQH” on this blog, suddenly and unexpectedly died.
Here is TTQH from that post helping me lay out the quilt on the large design wall in the hallway of my former home in Central Oregon:
And here he is helping me layout the stripped fabric used as the sashing between the 36 blocks I created:
The night that Terry died, this quilt in progress was still up on the design wall.
A couple days after he passed I took the quilt blocks and sashing down and put it away as with this shocking, actually devastating, change to my previoulsy wonderful life, I had no desire to finish this quilt (or any quilt ever again at that point).
I also got myself to send it off to the long-arm quilter, Krista Moser (who quilted all three of our Tula Pink All Stars fabric quilts).
In late Winter 2019 I made a brief visit to the Seattle, Washington area to visit with my quilting sisters Judy and Dana and to attend the 2019 Sewing & Stitchery Expo (Sew Expo). While at the Expo we ran into Krista Moser who had a booth promoting her new line of quilting rulers and patterns:
Unfortunately she was backlogged with long-arm quilting orders and so it would be another month or so before mine was finished but she would mail it to my new home in Colorado (if you are new to this blog you can check out the story of my move from Oregon to Colorado in this series of posts – Colorado Bound)
Krista is such a brilliant young entrepreneur who began long-arm quilting around 14. You can check out her blog at The Quilted Life.
Now where were we in my story, I got distracted remembering the fun I had during Sew Expo 2019.
Oh yes, so I finished the Tula in the Box quilt in honor of TTQH and shipped the quilt top and backing (which I purchased in Washington State while visiting Judy and Dana during Sew Expo 2019) to the long-arm quilter.
In May 2019 I got the quilt back from the long-arm quilter but it took me until the end of June 2019 to put the binding on it and finish it.
Here is the quilt on the wall of my Colorado studio with the euro lounger I used to have in the studio:
And here is Mike the Miniature Schnauzer lounging in the studio:
The euro lounger is now out of my studio (it took up too much space) and was moved to the upstairs guest room/home office, but the finished quilt is still up on the wall:
I’ve made a couple changes/updates to my quilt studio since my post New Studio, and I will share updated photos in a future post.
So that is my story of the quilt. Thanks for reading these three posts to close out the story!
Speaking of Mike the Miniature Schnauzer on a euro lounger – here is a recent photo of Mike napping with a pile of purple fabrics in my home office/upstairs guest room:
Why is he napping on a pile of fabrics? Well those fabrics are about to be put into my new fabric organization system! That will be a future blog post once I get my project complete. I am excited to share as I feel like I now have the best system of fabric yardage organization since I began quilting in 1999!
As a follow up to my previous post Morning Walk in Black and White, where I mentioned that I am now living in a house and have a new quilting studio, in this post I am sharing photos of my new studio.
When I moved into my new housing situation earlier this summer, the first thing my new roommate did was build a design wall in the back bedroom he offered to me as my studio:
One of his hobbies is wood working and he also offered to build me a center cutting table. I said “let me use what I brought with me for now (fold up tables) and see how the rooms develops”.
The rest of this post is a photo tour of my new studio. You may notice the strong turquoise like color on the wall. The room came with that color and since someday my roommate is thinking of selling his home and us possibly moving to a new home together, I declined his offer to paint the room a neutral color at this time.
To embrace the turquoise color for now, I hung my Tula Pink All Stars fabric quilt (which has a LOT of turquoise and aqua in it) on the wall as you will see in the images below. If you are new to this blog, the saga of its quilt is in this series of posts – Tula Time!. By the way – my friends Judy and Dana have also finished their Tula Pink quilts and I will share images in a future post.
So here is the photo tour of my “temporary” new studio. If we end up moving to a new home together someday, I am going to design my new studio to be my dream studio this time (if I learned anything from the tragic and sudden loss of my husband in 2018, it is that life is short and you need to live your dreams, do not wait!). Since my roommate, who I should actually start referring to as “my partner”, loves to build things, I plan to take full advantage of his skills for my dream studio design!
As you can see in several of the photos above, I repurposed an old armoire into crafting and fat quarter storage. I also repurposed an old card table found in the basement’s storage room into a center table.
That table also serves as a Mike the Miniature Schnauzer nesting space!
You might also remember in the photos above (but I am posting it below also), a short long black bookcase looking thing. This was an old CD/DVD storage bookshelf I found in my partner’s basement storage room that I repurposed to hold my favorite fat quarters (I have an obscenely large collection of fat quarters as I confessed in the post Quilt Studio Archaeology and Purge, Part III (re-post))
In my preceding photos, you might have noticed a work in progress on the design wall. I will discuss it in a future post as I continue my series of posts What’s on the Design Wall.
Here is an additional photo I took during my photo shoot for this post of some of the recycled home decor fabrics I am considering for this piece (actually a series of pieces):
If you’ve been following my blog for a long time and have a scary supernatural level of memory, you might remember these pieces from this post – What’s Simmering on the Design Wall.