The Road to Retreat (via Bus!)

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


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

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

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Photo credit: cobreeze.com

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

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

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My lap – making EPP rosettes on the road!

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

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

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

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

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I will take over managing you for the next 4 days

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

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


Postscript

Melancholy

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

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

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

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

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

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

Some Happier News

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

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

Returning to a Wonderful Surprise!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Postscript

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

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I am still working on finding my “song”.


Feature photo credit: www.quilted.at

The Flags Outside My Window

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

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

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


HAPPINESS

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


LOVE

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


COURAGE

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


WISDOM

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


PEACE

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


TRANQUILITY

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

 

 

 


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

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Vegan Split Pea Soup

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

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

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

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

Split Pea Soup with Cumin & Orange

Adapted from Portland Monthly onlineSplit Pea Soup with Cumin & Orange

Serves 6

INGREDIENTS:

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

COOKING DIRECTIONS:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Postscript

Being Stealth

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

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

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

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

A Couple of Cool Blogs

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

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

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

A Chicken Named “Tierney”

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


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

You know when a chicken has been named after you!

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

Here is “Tierney” the Chicken:

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

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

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


Postscript

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

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

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

Thoughts on Solitude

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

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Photo credit: Amazon.com

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

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

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

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

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

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

A couple of quotes from the book:

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

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

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

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

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

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


Postscript

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

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

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

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

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

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


Featured image credit: Gabor Szakacs, freeimages.com

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Central Oregon Quilt Shop Hop 2017

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

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

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

Here are the seven (7) shops we visited:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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For the fishing themed flannel quilt

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For his “stash” I guess…

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

Here is Sassy on the road:

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

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

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


Postscript

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

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

Oregon Roadtrip

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

On the Road

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

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

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

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

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

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

Craft Book Heaven (and Overload)

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

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

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I could have spent days in this section, ha!

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

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

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Photo credit: Amazon.com

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

Tulip Festival & Tasty Meal

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Glockenspiel Restaurant 

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

Here is our delicious lunch:

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

For the Yarn Lovers

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

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

Yarn Department, Stitchin’ Post

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

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

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A Tiny Bit More on Hygge

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

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

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

– Hans Christian Andersen

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

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

Marie Bostwick Book Tour/Book Signing

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

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

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

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

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Photo credit: mariebostwick.com

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

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

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

www.mariebostwick.com/calendar

The Love Ducks are Back!

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

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

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

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

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

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

I guess the ducks feel safe here too.

Softies and Sharing

Softies

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

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

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

Until today…

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

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

Guess what I found?

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

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I know what you are thinking….

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

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

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

Sharing

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

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

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

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

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

Recycled Plastic Bags…Become a Bag!

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

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

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

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

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

I am very excited about my new bag!

How awesome to go from this:

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To this*:

*Adorable dog in a cute sweater not included.

The Napkin Story

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

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

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

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

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

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

Then my sister visited…

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

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

A hush fell over the dining room table…

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

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

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

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

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

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


Postscript

Paper Towels

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

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

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

Signs of Spring

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

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The Easter Schnauzer Bunny?

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

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

Farm Girl Vintage, Part III

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

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

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

Chicken Foot Block

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Churn Dash Block

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Cool Threads Block

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

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

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

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


Postscript

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

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

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

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

I made this for you. 

I thought of you while I made it.

I guess I kind of love you.

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

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

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

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

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Feature photo credit: Paul Kearley, free images.com

WWII: The High Desert Home Front

Terry the Quilting Husband (TTQH) is a military history buff and yesterday we went to see the exhibit “WWII: The High Desert Home Front” at the High Desert Museum.2017-02-25_12-52-16_242

This is exhibit, with many items donated by Oregon WWII veterans or their families, according the the exhibit’s page, “reveals the wartime activities that took place in the High Desert, including some of the most celebrated and tragic chapters in our country’s history”.

This exhibit honors those who served, those who gave the “ultimate sacrifice”, women workers during WWII, efforts by various ethic groups, the dark times of Japanese internment camps, and the development of and decision to drop the atomic bomb.

I took a zillion photos of this excellent exhibit and I thought I would share some of my favorites. (TTQH was in his element quietly wandering around this exhibit reading and looking at everything in awe and respect).

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The Vehicles

WWII Harley Davidson and Army Jeep

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The Uniforms

Of course being a nurse I had to include the Red Cross Volunteer uniform!

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Women and WWII

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I do not want World War to be a reason but I think more of us need our own “Victory Gardens” growing our own vegetables:

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Contributions by Specific Ethnic Groups

Native American, African American, and Mexican American (keep in mind this was the 1940s a much different America than we are now…)

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Japanese American Internment

A dark time in American history, hopefully we never forget.

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(and finally) The Beginning of the Atomic Age

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Postscript

After viewing the WWII: The High Desert Homefront, we needed something lighter before leaving the museum. So went wandered the rest of the museum and enjoyed some lighter “visual fare”:

Prehistoric Buzz Saw Sharks (Helicoprion)

Hysterical T-Shirt in the Gift Shop 

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A little High Desert humor!

Our Beloved High Desert Raptors

I enjoyed visiting with the museum volunteer holding the raptor in falconry style. We discussed Helen Macdonald’s book – H is for Hawk and the beautiful story of how falconry with a goshawk helps a woman deal with the loss of her beloved father. I listened to the audiobook and I thought it I was listening to beautiful poetry.

Looking through the Raptor exhibit made me think back to a weekend afternoon early last Fall. On a beautiful Central Oregon day with endless blue sky and a few fluffy cloud meandering across the sky, I took a “mini-vacation” in my backyard lying on a lounger and staring meditatively at the sky.

Suddenly my view appeared partially obscured by a large flying reptilian object and I thought for a moment I was in a scene from the movie Jurassic Park. No, it was not a Pterodactyl, it was one of our Central Oregon raptors, flying very low (likely it had spotted something tasty in a backyard…). As I had been intensively and hypnotically staring at the sky the object appeared larger than actual!

The whole moment took my breath away for a second. I guess if you are going to be eaten by a Pterodactyl at least have it happen after a relaxing afternoon…

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Image credit: dinosaurpictures.org


So there were so many more photos but I had to stop somewhere with my photo sharing. Thanks for virtually joining me at the High Desert Museum!

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Quilt Studio Closet Purge

Continuing the momentum from my Quilting Studio Archaeology, each evening last week I have continued to evaluate what I have in my quilting studio/sew room.

I decided to take an honest and objective look at all the crafting paraphrenelia and projects in queue that have gathered over the years in my quilting studio closet. As a result I was able to unload and remove two tall rolling organizing/storage drawer sets. I donated them to our local Humane Society Thrift Shop along with some of their contents from my purging.

Here they are in my backseat awaiting their next adventure (I hope they go to a good home). They served me well for at least 15 years:

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In one of the drawers I kept my large collection of art brush markers, gel pens and Sharpies. Most of these markers and pens came from a coworker in the early 2000s. She loved cool pens and markers at her local speciality stationary store and would impulsively buy pens. In the early 2000s I was into card making and she decided to purge her huge pen collection and give most of it to me for card making.

I moved all these pens with me from Seattle to Central Oregon in 2005 and most of them have just sat in a drawer since 2005, unused.

On a mission not to keep stuff that is not functional/does not work and that I do not love, I checked every single pen/art marker on Thursday evening (I know you are very envious that we have such wild evenings as “pen checking” in Central Oregon). I was able to toss 30 pens that had dried up.

Here is what remained (still a lot but they all work and I like the colors):

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Terry the Quilting Husband and I are planning on doing some remodeling in our living room this Spring/Summer. We want to put in built-in bookcases/entertainment unit/fireplace along the largest wall of the living room.  I have spent (or wasted) a lot of time on Pinterest looking at “bookcase porn”.

The plan is to repurpose 1 – 2 of the existing free standing bookcases in the living room as studio closet storage. To make this work, I will need to have less stuff in my quilt studio closet and removing the two storage units gets me a lot closer to that goal.

POSTSCRIPT

Recently I am quite inspired by a newer blog I follow – DEVISE.CREATE.CONCOCT – Finding frugal ways to live more with less (devisecreateconcoct.com). This blogger’s tips on managing your spending on the necessities of life have inspired me to also take an honest and objective look on how we spend money each month, beginning with January 2017.

Today I created an expense tracking spreadsheet and recorded expenses for 2017 year to date. It was very enlightening – for example, I did not realize how much we are spending on groceries!

Now with my quilting studio closet purged (as much as I was willing to purge at this point); and our expenses all documented, I can perhaps return to working on Farm Girl Vintage blocks (see post Farm Girl Vintage, Part II and Recent Audiobook Delights)


Featured image credit: L. Emerson, freeimages.com

The “Nurture” of Words (and Quilts) – repost

Happy Saturday, I hope you are having a peaceful and restorative day or engaging in something fun. Here is a post from the tierneycreates archives from November 2013


The Nature and Nurture of Words and Quilts (repost from 11/10/13)

Last night I attended The Nature of Words (www.thenatureofwords.org) annual literary festival’s evening of “Guest Author Readings”. This local literary festival’s guest author evening included readings by two poets: an Oregon Poet Laureate, Professor Lawson Inada and a National Slam Poet, Karen Finneyfrock.

While listening to these wonderful poets and the other guest authors perform their poetry or read excerpts from their novels, I began to think about the “nurture of words”. Reading poetry and literature nurtures our souls and stimulates our creative spirits whether they explore complex painful emotions or humorous and joyous experiences.

Eventually my thoughts turned to quilting and creating handmade items (as my thoughts always do). Quilts are nurturing – they keep you warm, they make you smile, they say ‘someone cares about you so much that they took hours and hours (and hours and hours) of their time to make you a substantial gift’.

Quilts and quilting can be also thought of as poems. We carefully select a pattern for our quilts (as a poet might select the Haiku poetic form) or we create our own unique design (a free-form poetic structure). As we make our quilts, each section of the quilt we piece is essentially a stanza of our poem. The final product is something that we choose to share with the world, a private individual or just keep for ourselves (as poets do).  My friend who is a talented long-arm quilter essentially creates beautiful poems on her customers quilts with thread as her poetry composition medium. The process of creating a quilt,  quilting a quilt, and/or giving someone a quilt as a gift, can be as nurturing as beautifully crafted poignant words on a page of prose or poetry.

I wanted to end this post with a short poem about creating a quilt, but I am not a “written word poet”. Instead I will leave you with an image of one of my textile poemsCentral Oregon is Central to Me.

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“Central Oregon is Central to Me”, Tierney Davis Hogan, 2013

Quilting Studio Archaeology

Mondays I am off work from my pay-the-bills-job and I thought this Monday would be a great day to do a little Quilt Studio clean up (or archaeological digging).

Quilting for over 16 years, I have acquired quite a bit of quilting paraphernalia to include templates, rules, quilting aids, tools, and well…quilting thinga-ma-bobs. I thought I was fairly organized and diligent on cleaning out the stuff I no longer use, but then today I remembered the cabinet in my sewing desk where I had shoved a bunch of rulers and templates.

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The cabinet now empty but once filled with curious archaeological finds

Crafters, you know what I am talking about when I mention those rulers, templates, tools that you were (suckered?) required to buy for a class or a specific project. You have never used them again but you are not sure if you should part with them.

If it wasn’t for a class then it was from a demo you saw at a quilt shop, retreat or conference that you thought “why yes, I definitely need that”. Or maybe it was something given to you by a friend who finished their project, gave you the pattern that they were NEVER GOING TO DO AGAIN and the accompanying special ruler or template.

Keep all that in mind as I show you what was unearthed today during my “Quilt Studio Archaeological Dig” (and don’t judge – ha!):

Thangles!

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Oh look I have never used Thangles in a nice variety of sizes!

Yes, they are actually called “Thangles” and they are used as a shortcut to making “half square triangles”(HSTs). I purchased them when I lived in Seattle, likely in the early 2000s when I saw them demo’d at a quilt shop.

I have made a zillion (okay I am exaggerating, perhaps only a million) HSTs over the years and never once (never) have I thought about the Thangles I was storing for posterity in my cabinet. Imagine if I had actually used this tool as it was intended! Perhaps it would have made a couple sets of HST’s quicker.

Marti Michell Perfect Patchwork Templates

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Are these collectible?

A burning question plagues me (a question besides why the heck did I buy these?): Why do I have Set A, Set B and Set D, but no Set C? Was Set C too controversial to purchase? Or by the time Set C came out did I decide it was silly to buy anymore sets I have never used but had a moment of weakness when Set D came out and bought it anyway?!?!

Great and mysterious question to ponder…

Rulers Gone Wild!

Oh so many rulers only used once (or never).

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I was going to lay them all out and take a photo of them, but right now I am in denial so I merely placed them all in a basket for now. I am simply going to keep them all in sight, out on my cutting table for now, and continue to pretend like I might use them someday.

Just for fun, here is a list of some of the likely useful and likely very obscure rulers in my collection:

  • Easy Diamond Template (never used)
  • Easy Heart Template (never used)
  • EZ Quilting Hexagon Shapes (never used)
  • 60 degree Diamond (never used)
  • Quilt Sense Rulers (never used, I guess they made so much sense they scared me)
  • Flying Geese Bloc Loc Rulers (I am really going to use these someday, maybe)
  • Fons & Porter Binding Tool (if my friend Lisa is reading this, enjoy the private joke now about my quilt binding skills)
  • Marti Michell Perfect Patchwork Corner Trimmer (yikes all these years I have let my corners go un-perfectly trimmed!)
  • A whole slew of Kaye Wood rulers (I do not want to talk about my Kaye Wood obsession in my early days of quilting and just how many of her rulers I purchased…and never used)
  • A Girl’s Best Friend Diamond Cut Ruler (obviously not one of my best friends as I have never used it)
  • Easy Circle Cut (never used)
  • Japanese Jigsaw Ruler (well a friend of mine DID make a quilt with this ruler, does that count?)

That’s enough I cannot bear to list anymore. Honestly though, I cannot bear to part with any of these never used rulers. I still plan to use them all – SOMEDAY!  (Note I do have at least double the amount of rules I just listed which I have actually used or used at least once).

Have any of you discovered any dusty ancient gems in your crafting room lately during an archaeological dig?


Postscript

One of my readers asked for some photos of food from the Fast Metabolism Diet (FMD) I mentioned in my previous post. I just started the FMD today but here are photos of breakfast and lunch:

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Breakfast of steel cut oats and blueberries

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Lunch of a turkey bacon wrap on a spelt tortilla (yup I was hungry while photographing and couldn’t resist a bite!)

No, no I am not going to post photos of every meal I have for the 28 days of the FMD. At a later date I will do a post about it and share more meal images for anyone who is curious.


Featured image photo credit – Russell Hugo, free images.com

Thank You for the Blogging Awards

I am supposed to be working on our income taxes right now but I thought I would just have quick distraction by checking my blog reader and I discovered I have been honored with being nominated for another blogging award.

I have been nominated for several blogging awards in the past and I have been VERY remiss in following the guidelines on the nominations.

Commonly blogging award nominations propose that you nominate several of your favorite blogs/bloggers part of your acceptance post – to pass on the love. Blogging awards are great ways to give a kudos to the blogs you like to read and to expose to other bloggers.

My problem is I love all the blogs I follow. I want to follow even more but alas I have to keep time to work on craft projects, spend time with Terry the Quilting Husband and the dogs, and of course that pesky pay-the-bills-job.

I list some of the blogs I follow in my my Main Sidebar, however WordPress limits it to 50 blogs, so the earliest blogs I followed are not listed (but check out my Postscript section for a special note).

Since I have been so remiss on following the rules of the blogging awards nominations at this point I am just going to say thank you to those who nominated me and invite my readers to check out their wonderful blogs .

Blogger Recognition Award

Linda Kelley at the fabulous Arts & Crafts Blog Extraordinaire – kelleysdiy.com – recently nominated me for this award!

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Black Cat Blue Sea Award

The intriguing writer, blogger and bibliophilist (there is your word for the day) – Of Tales and Dreams Kamalini nominated me for this award in September 2016.

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One Lovely Blog Award

Speaking on “bibliophilist”, the awesome blogger Feisty Froggy of Dewey Hop (Feisty Froggy Reads Through the The Library) in June 2016 nominated me for this blogging award.

one-lovely-blog-award.pngOk, now this is embarrassing – I think there was one more blogging award I was nominated for but I cannot remember what it was or who nominated me. My sincere apologies to my fellow blogger who was kind enough to nominate me!


Postscript

I wanted to recognize two of the first fellow bloggers to follow my blog when I started it in late 2013 (back when I had like 5 readers as most were friends and family I badgered into following my blog – ha!).

Claire and Cindy – I really appreciate your posts and your comments on my posts over the years:

knitNkwilt (knitnkwilt.wordpress.com)

A Quilter’s Corner with Cindy Anderson (https://inastitchquilting.com)

Farm Girl Vintage, Part I

Not a Farm Girl but In Love with Farm Girl Vintage

I am not a “Farm Girl”. I spend my teenage years in Upstate NY where there were farms and I have visited farms but there is nothing remotely “farm girl” about me. I did however absolutely fall in love with Lori Holt’s quilting block book – Farm Girl Vintage .

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Photo credit – Amazon.com

The blocks and quilts in the book are not even my style (they would not fit in my home decor) and still I am completely in love. This book contains a wonderful collection of sweet farm-themed blocks and quilt layout options. It is very delicious.

So a couple quilting friends bought the book also and we are working on blocks and comparing notes. Here is my progress so far (to date I have completed 8 blocks):

My fabric selection/palette

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Initial pull of fabric from my stash (primarily fat quarters)

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Organized nicely in a basket

Setting Fabric – Using White/Off-White Fabric Scraps

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Eight Blocks Completed (3 are duplicates):

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My Favorite Block So Far (Baby Chick):

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I will try to have better photos next time to showcase my next set of blocks.

Fat Quarter Stash Busting

As I mentioned in a previous post, I have a “dirty little secret” – my ridiculous stash of fabric precuts (jelly rolls, charm packs, fat quarters, etc.). One of the cool things about this project is that I am using fat quarters and scraps fabric to make the blocks. I am not cutting into any yardage at this time.

I had a blast visiting with my crazy stash of fat quarters (purchased from over 16+ years of quilting) and pulling fabrics for my Farm Girl Vintage blocks!  As you can see from the photos my palette is not traditional “farm vintage” fabric but more “calico” and modern style “brights”.


Postscript

I just realized I have not posted in a while.

Besides working (that darn pay-the-bills-job), I have been busily cooking up lots and lots of slow cooker/pot crock meals. On Monday I start my first ever formal diet – the Fast Metabolism Diet by Haylie Pomroy.

I am not one for formal diets and having a nursing background and knowledge of general good health principles, so when I have wanted to drop weight in the past I have done it through good nutritional choices and exercise. Recently however two of my quilting mentors (Jean and Susan) have gone on this diet and look fantastic. My friend Susan got me interested in looking into this diet as it restarts your metabolism. I read the book and it made a lot of sense scientifically.

I am not one to just jump into a formal diet plan, especially after never doing one before, so for the past couple of weeks I have made significant changes to my food choices such as decreasing dairy, gluten, and sugar intake; and learning to drink a large amount of water each day. Also I have worked on learning to snack a new way (life without peanut M&Ms) and learning to eat every 3 hours while awake. Finally I have been trying out the recipes.

So I am hoping to get off that pesky 10 pounds I have been wanting to lose – and if all goes well maybe I can lose 20 pounds and return to the weight I was when I was first dating Terry the Quilting Husband (you know before starting to put on those “love pounds” – ha).

We’ll see how it goes. I have been running my slow cooker non stop it seems,  portioning out and freezing meals (and labeling of course).

Terry the Quilting Husband has agreed to eat some of the meals (the food, much of it made in a slow cooker, is absolutely delicious) so that will make life easier instead of cooking two separate meal plans.

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Photo credit: hayliepomroy.com

 


Check out Sassy the Highly Opinionated Miniature Schnauzer’s latest musings at schnauzersnips.wordpress.com/blog

Baby Quilts

In my recent post Little Bits of Oregon Warmth I shared a baby quilt I made for a friend expecting her first child (shortly now!). Today I received an e-mail from a friend for whom I made a baby quilt for his first child nearly 7 years ago that started me thinking about the baby quilts I have made.

Recently he and his wife had friends visit and they brought their baby. The quilt I made his baby all those years ago was enjoyed by the new baby and he sent me a photo (I do not know the parents so I cropped out the sweet baby’s face to respect their privacy):

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A huge smile took over my face when I saw this photo!

I have made so many baby quilts over the years and my heart feels very full when I think of all those sweet “new people” that got wrapped in my creations. I have also donated a couple baby quilts to Project Linus and I want to do more baby quilt donations in the future.

When I had my tierneycreates Etsy shop (it is now inactive), I sold an inspirational baby quilt (not sure if it was a Moda fabric line)  with words like “Grow”, “Sunshine”, “Renew”, “Life”, “Plant” and “Hope”.

I received the most beautiful communication from the woman who bought the quilt – she was going to wrapped her newly adopted child in the quilt. It was one of those communications (via Etsy conversation and then the Seller Feedback she left) that made my eyes fill with tears of joy that something I made could be that meaningful to someone else (I am glad the quilt was so reasonably priced, otherwise I would have been tempted to just give her a refund and say “take it as a gift!”)

But my sweetest memory related to giving someone a baby quilt is related to a baby quilt I made for someone I never met. Terry the Quilting Husband (before he was a quilting husband but he knew handmade quilts made people very happy) had a coworker that was expecting her first child. He asked me if I could make her a baby quilt.

I did not know the woman and I was pressed for time but I found a baby themed pre-printed panel and whipped out a very quick and easy baby quilt. It was definitely not my greatest work but it was your basic utility baby quilt.

When Terry arrived home from work that day he told me about her at work Baby Shower and how she had started sobbing when she opened up the gift and saw the quilt. She said no one had ever made a quilt for her or anyone in her family. She was overwhelmed and felt very special.

Some fabric sewed together can be pretty magical, eh?

Quilt Shop Tour (Sew Many Quilts) and Sewing Machine Maintenance

This post has two parts: Part I (the fun part) is a tour of the new Sew Many Quilts quilt shop location; and Part II (the less fun part) is a little discussion on sewing machines and their maintenance (with a request for your input).

Part I: Sew Many Quilts’ New Shop

We have wonderful quilt shops in Central Oregon. I have a full list and link to the shop’s websites in the right sidebar of my blog.

Saturday I need to take by Bernina QE in for service (more on that in Part II) to Sew Many Quilts and Bernina Center. They recently moved to a larger location and Terry the Quilting Husband and I were looking forward to seeing their new shop and layout.

We have lived in Central Oregon for nearly 12 years and Sew Many Quilts is one of the first quilt shops I went to when I moved here. They used to be in a very very very tiny location and you had to sometimes back out of an area so another quilter could pass by the area you were shopping in. Then they moved to a semi-industrial shop area but it was tucked away and I wonder if they were not getting enough traffic. Now they have moved to a highly visible store front strip mall type location.

This quilt shop is always dear to my heart as it is where I bought my first “high-end” sewing machine (but more on that in Part II).

Enough rambling, here is a photo tour of their new location (note they do not have their sign out front yet so I did not take many outside photos).

General quilt shop photos:

The Bernina Center (warning this section contains “sewing machine porn”):

There were many wonderful quilt samples on display, but this one was my favorite:

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So next time you are in Central Oregon, be sure to add this wonderful quilt shop to your visit list!

Part II: Sewing Machines and Their Maintenance

Here are a couple questions for those of you who sew (at first I wrote “sewers” but I thought hmmm that would be like I am addressing all the underground conduits following my blog, ha!):

  1. What type of sewing machine(s) do you have; and if you have multiple machine – which one is your favorite?
  2. How often do you get your sewing machine(s) serviced?

My Sewing Machines

I have 2 sewing machines – a Bernina 440 QE (my primary machine) and  Bernina Active 210 (for travel/classes). I nicknamed my beloved Bernina 440 “Berny”.

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My beloved Bernina 440 QE (“Berny”)

I began quilting on a Singer sewing machine and then upgraded to a Husqvarna Viking sewing machine. At the time this was a huge purchase as a new quilter – $400 (on sale of course) for a sewing machine – could you imagine someone spending that much on a sewing machine, I could not (little did I know what was to come…)

After a couple years of quilting and taking classes and drooling over the higher end machines that other quilters had, I decided that to feel complete in life I needed a Bernina. I was very attracted to Bernina because of its reputation for being well constructed and reliable with durable internal metal parts. I did of course have “sticker shocked” when I saw what Berninas cost!

I would visit Sew Many Quilts and drool over their Bernina display. Then they had a sale with 12 months same as cash no interest and I decided to make the investment and purchase the Bernina 440 QE.

Overall I have been pleased with my Bernina and a couple of years ago bought a smaller Bernina for classes during another sale at Sew Many Quilts.

The one thing I wish my Berninas had is a thread cutter. I borrowed a friend’s Janome with a thread cutter and I fell in love with the whole automatic thread cutting experience (it made me coo with delight!).

However after years of quilting and talking to other quilters, I realized I could have bought at least one of my Berninas used and saved quite a bit of money. I have also sewed on other machines such as Janomes that a pretty nice too (and are less expensive).

My friend Betty Anne has used/older Berninas that work wonderfully (I borrow one when I go over her house for a “Sew Day”). I now realize you do not always need the newest shiniest thing when it comes to sewing machines!

Maintenance

Berninas require regularly service/maintenance and you have to oil them (they come with a bottle of machine oil) to keep them running smoothly. We have one (that I know of) Bernina Service Technician in Central Oregon so if he is busy you have to be patient.

The recommendation is a once a year service which I have to confess I have not always followed. I am pretty good at regularly oiling my machine and keeping all the areas I can reach free of dust and lint. So sometimes I go up to 2 years before bringing it in for maintenance (clean, oil and adjust).

In the 8 years I have had my Berninas I have only had one major issue and that was because one of them got dropped on the way to a quilting retreat by an airport shuttle company. I did pursue a claim with the airport shuttle company and they did reimburse the repairs.

I look forward to reading your thoughts on sewing machines and sewing machine maintenance in the Comment section – thanks!


Postscript

I have listened to a bunch of interesting “self-help” audiobooks lately while sewing or walking the dogs. In a future post will share a little bit about those books and key inspirational insights.

Straightened Curtains and Dalai Lama Wisdom

The plan was not to do a post until I finished my Happy Ending quilt discussed in previous posts. I am plugging away at it and have moved it from the “design wall” to the “design bed” (a concept I borrowed from Claire @ knitNkwilt) so hopefully in the near future I will post the completed quilt top.

But for now, I thought I would share a silly update from my 12/23/26 post Independent Bookstores (wonderful & magical places).

I took a vacation day from work today and went to lunch with my friend Jenny and a wander about downtown Bend, Oregon. After lunch we stopped at Dudley’s Bookshop Cafe for a Chai tea and bookstore browse. Dudley’s in the indie bookstore featured in my 12/23/16 post and had an upstairs curtain which was askew. After grabbing my tea, I rushed upstairs to see if the curtain was still askew as this time I planned to fix it (a little OCD humor discussed in the comments in the 12/23/16 post).

Well! The curtain was already fixed!

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The owner of Dudley’s had promised to leave the curtain askew for me after reading my 12/23/16 post but I guess some other patron fixed it before I could return!

After leaving Dudley’s we wandered around a couple other downtown shops. In one of the shops I saw this wonderful quote by His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet (I had to google that to find his proper title) that gave me a moment of pause and reflection:

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I transposed the quote on a photo I snapped of a cloudy day in Central Oregon this past Fall. If you like it, feel free to copy the image and share it. I used PicMonkey’s Photo Editor.

Okay back to working on that quilt.