I’ve been on hiatus from blogging for a couple weeks to temporarily remove any “artificial” obligations in my life in order to have some time to “reset”.
Now feeling “reset”, I thought I would jump back into blogging with a little essay “primary/elementary” school style like the infamous “What I Did on My Summer Vacation“.
By the way I was not hanging out with the fabulous looking women at the beach during my hiatus, like those in the feature photo of this post (photo by Vitae London on Unsplash), I just thought it was a fun beach photo to use in the middle of semi-freezing winter in Denver!
Okay so now it is time to imagine me standing in front of our 4th grade class presenting this essay below (and perhaps my parents helped me make a slide deck for my images/photos)…
Listening to audiobooks and turning the pages of actual physical books, I’ve done a lot of reading during the past several weeks.
I’ve finished the book City of Brass by S.A. Chakraborty, that I read for my virtual book club with my friend Michele (see post Virtual Book Clubs):
Last Friday Michele and I had another card-making playdate like the one I shared in the post Card Making Playdate from last October and discussed City of Brass. In tomorrow’s post (why yes, I am going to now post frequently…hope you don’t grow tired of me) I will share what we made.
I recently finished the next book in our “Virtual Book Group” (but wait is it “virtual” if we are meeting in person, socially distancing of course, to discuss the book?) and it was quite the awesome page turner – The Guest List by Lucy Foley:
It’s been a long time since I’ve read (actually I listened to the audiobook) the kind of book I absolutely could not put down. If you’d like to read a synopsis of the book – here is the link to the one on Publishers Weekly (no worries, there are no spoilers) – The Guest List.
Currently I am listening to an excellent (so far) Science Fiction/space novel – To Sleep Under a Sea of Stars by Christoper Paolini. I love it so much I’ve already bought the hard copy of the book as my library loan of the audiobook is about to expire and there are a zillion other library patrons waiting in line to listen to it next.
It not just fiction books I’ve been inhaling, I’ve also read several new crafting books I picked up over the past couple of months.
I’ve been obsessed lately with making non-quilt items such as tote bags (see post Tote, Tote, Tote Bags) and pincushions (a future post); and love my new book by Ayumi Takahashi – Patchwork Please which features lots of fun things to make:
I am sort of obsessed with “zakka” and Japanese author craft patterns. I love the aesthetics of their designs as well as the function. Here are many of the books in my home library collection of Japanese author craft patterns:
For a while in the Denver metro area, our restaurants closed down again to inside dining during the pandemic. Finally they opened to 25% capacity and now I think they are starting to reopen to even 50% capacity (or perhaps I am hallucinating at this point as I have complete pandemic fatigue at this point).
While they were closed again, like in the early days of the pandemic, we tried to make fun meals at home and not get home cooking fatigue. Here are a couple photos of the delicious meals my partner John (a very good cook who used to actually cook professionally) and I made.
Delicious Irish Stew and Homemade Biscuits
Salmon Fried Rice
Pizza (with dough made from “scratch”)
Orzo Pasta Salad
Are you hungry yet?
One of my favorites that I could not locate easily locate a photo for was the handmade gnocchi with gorgonzola sauce and scallops that John made one night. I thought I was at a high-end restaurant!
Yes, I will not lie, I had packed on a couple “pandemic pounds” from all this good eating, but we do not eat like this every night. We do try and have salads for dinner a couple nights a week.
To combat the effects of all those delicious home cooked meals, I’ve been going on a lot of very long walks. It is always a great way to listening to my audiobooks. Most of the times I take Mike my Miniature Schnauzer with me but many times I just go walking alone (then I do not have to stop for the “frequent signing in on bushes” that Mike loves to do on his walk).
Here are a couple Black & White images I took on a wintry walk, in which someone had left a found glove on a branch for its owner to hopefully someday find. I got a kick out of the “composition” in the stark landscape created by the glove.
If you enjoy B&W images, I do have a series of posts where I feature B&W images – Life in B&W.
In case you are wondering – either the glove blew away or was reunited with its partner by the owner as the next day it was gone.
During my break from blogging, I spent a lot of time reflecting and trying to figure out my life. As many of you know, I am in my second year of widowhood caused by the very sudden and very expected death of my life partner, Terry the Quilting Husband (see post Remembering Terry the Quilting Husband (TTQH)).
I’d been with Terry since I was in my early 20s and I am now on a journey to “reinvent” myself in my middle years of life as “Tierney minus Terry”, after what seems like a lifetime of “Tierney +Terry”.
In previous posts, I’ve discussed re-opening my tierneycreates Etsy shop and my original plan when I took a hiatus from blogging was to start blogging again in about a month when I was ready to re-open my Etsy shop.
Over the past several months, I’ve made a lot of items in preparation to re-open the shop but still could not move forward with re-opening the shop. I was struggling to figure out what the big block was for me.
Then while looking at some old photos on my Google Photos account which I rarely use, I found an old image of the joint tierneycreates business card Terry and I had together when he was helping me with my Etsy shop. He was listed as a “Maker” on my Etsy shop as he helped me with many of the items I produced by cutting out patterns and doing preliminary sewing, especially on items like Miniature Kimonos, which were very popular on my shop.
I realized that my tierneycreates Etsy shop is just too closely tied to memories of crafting with Terry and I am just not ready.
Part of my “widowhood journey” is trying to figure out what to do with what is basically a lifetime’s worth of memories with someone who is now gone.
After losing your spouse you are expected to go on with your life but what do you do with all those memories (and mementos) of a life previously lived? I think that is the $64,000 Question which I have yet to answer for myself (I’ve done a lot of reading on grief and the answers of other people’s journey but I still have to find my own answer).
But I have figured out that unless it is something critical, not push myself to do anything I am not ready to do, even if it seems like a good thing to do (like re-opening my Etsy shop).
(The above images are of Terry, Sassy, who passed in Dec 2017 a year before Terry, and I vacationing in Cannon Beach, Oregon; and of Terry modeling a quilt he helped me make)
There’s been a whole lot of crafting over the past couple of weeks. I’ve found a lot of peace in making things. I feel very lucky to be a “Maker”.
Many of the items I’ve shared on my tierneycreates Instagram account but many I have not. I am going to save a discussion of what I’ve been working on for future blogs posts but I will share that I’ve been making more tote bags like I discussed in the post Tote, Tote, Tote Bags.
Here are some of my latest tote bags:
I look forward to diving into more about what I’ve been making in my future posts!
WAKE UP, THE ESSAY IS FINALLY OVER!
So that concludes my essay and I can safely assume the whole class is asleep now at their desks!
Oh wait, I see the teacher is also asleep at their desk! Maybe I won’t get a “A” on this presentation…
Just a quick follow up to my post Redesigning my logo. I decided not to change my logo at this time and just figure it out at a later date.
I am not usually one for book clubs, at least not currently. I like to read what I want to read. I am however in two virtual “book clubs” with two friends right now on two different books: 1) a fiction physical book; and a 2) non fiction audiobook.
City of Brass by S.A. Chakraborty
I am reading this first book in the Daevabad Trilogy with my friend Michele.
Here is the Kirkus Review on the book if you are curious:
A rich Middle Eastern fantasy, the first of a trilogy: Chakraborty’s intriguing debut.
On the streets of 18th-century Cairo, young Nahri—she has a real talent for medicine but lacks the wherewithal to acquire proper training—makes a living swindling Ottoman nobles by pretending to wield supernatural powers she doesn’t believe in. Then, during a supposed exorcism, she somehow summons a mysterious djinn warrior named Dara, whose magic is both real and incomprehensibly powerful. Dara insists that Nahri is no longer safe—evil djinn threaten her life, so he must convey her to Daevabad, a legendary eastern city protected by impervious magical brass walls. During the hair-raising journey by flying carpet, Nahri meets spirits and monsters and develops feelings for Dara, a deeply conflicted being with a long, tangled past. At Daevabad she’s astonished to learn that she’s the daughter of a legendary healer of the Nahid family. All the more surprising, then, that King Ghassan, whose ancestor overthrew the ruling Nahid Council and stole Suleiman’s seal, which nullifies magic, welcomes her.
With Ghassan’s younger son, Prince Ali, Nahri becomes immersed in the city’s deeply divisive (and not infrequently confusing) religious, political, and racial tensions. Meanwhile, Dara’s emerging history and personality grow more and more bewildering and ambiguous. Against this syncretic yet non-derivative and totally credible backdrop, Chakraborty has constructed a compelling yarn of personal ambition, power politics, racial and religious tensions, strange magics, and terrifying creatures, culminating in a cataclysmic showdown that few readers will anticipate. The expected first-novel flaws—a few character inconsistencies, plot swirls that peter out, the odd patch where the author assumes facts not in evidence—matter little. Best of all, the narrative feels rounded and complete yet poised to deliver still more.
I am enjoying the book so far and look forward to discussing with my friend Michele.
Untamed by Glennon Doyle
Not only is this a non-fiction book in the “self-improvement genre” but I am listening to it as an audiobook with my friend Jenny from Central, Oregon where I used to live before I moved to the Denver Metro area in April 2019.
In my February 2020 post Musings on Self-Improvement, I swore off self-help/self-improvement audiobooks after sudden series burnout on listening to them. I’ve also been trying to stick to podcasts or music for the listening during my walks/hikes and save reading fiction or non-fiction in physical book form. During the pandemic I’ve rediscovered the pleasures of curling up with a book like in this photo below (and Mike the Miniature Schnauzer prefers it also_:
But I heard a lot about this book and it really appealed to me as an exception to my “no more self-improvement audiobook rule”.
It also appealed to my friend Jenny who is dealing with some major life changes ahead; and who likes to go on long walks in Central Oregon and listen to audiobooks.
When we both finish the book, we are going to do a “Virtual Book Group” meeting and discuss via Facetime over a pot of tea (we have to each make our own because virtual tea gets complicated – ha!).
Oh and here is the Kirkus Review on the book (which I’ve actually finished and thought was spectacular and inspiring!):
More life reflections from the bestselling author on themes of societal captivity and the catharsis of personal freedom.
In her third book, Doyle (Love Warrior, 2016, etc.) begins with a life-changing event. “Four years ago,” she writes, “married to the father of my three children, I fell in love with a woman.” That woman, Abby Wambach, would become her wife. Emblematically arranged into three sections—“Caged,” “Keys,” “Freedom”—the narrative offers, among other elements, vignettes about the soulful author’s girlhood, when she was bulimic and felt like a zoo animal, a “caged girl made for wide-open skies.” She followed the path that seemed right and appropriate based on her Catholic upbringing and adolescent conditioning. After a downward spiral into “drinking, drugging, and purging,” Doyle found sobriety and the authentic self she’d been suppressing. Still, there was trouble: Straining an already troubled marriage was her husband’s infidelity, which eventually led to life-altering choices and the discovery of a love she’d never experienced before. Throughout the book, Doyle remains open and candid, whether she’s admitting to rigging a high school homecoming court election or denouncing the doting perfectionism of “cream cheese parenting,” which is about “giving your children the best of everything.” The author’s fears and concerns are often mirrored by real-world issues: gender roles and bias, white privilege, racism, and religion-fueled homophobia and hypocrisy. Some stories merely skim the surface of larger issues, but Doyle revisits them in later sections and digs deeper, using friends and familial references to personify their impact on her life, both past and present. Shorter pieces, some only a page in length, manage to effectively translate an emotional gut punch, as when Doyle’s therapist called her blooming extramarital lesbian love a “dangerous distraction.” Ultimately, the narrative is an in-depth look at a courageous woman eager to share the wealth of her experiences by embracing vulnerability and reclaiming her inner strength and resiliency.Doyle offers another lucid, inspiring chronicle of female empowerment and the rewards of self-awareness and renewal.
Here are a couple quotes from this book that seemed to be the right thing I needed to hear at the right time.
When a woman finally learns that pleasing the world is impossible, she becomes free to learn how to please herself.
Being human is not hard because you’re doing it wrong, it’s hard because you’re doing it right.
The only thing that was ever wrong with me was my belief that there was something wrong with me.
Be careful with the stories you tell about yourself.
Every life is an unprecedented experiment. This life is mine alone…So I have stopped asking people for directions to places they’ve never been. There is no map. We are all pioneers.
Privilege is being born on third base. Ignorant privilege is thinking you’re there because you hit a triple. Malicious privilege is complaining that those starving outside the ballpark aren’t waiting patiently enough.
I have learned that if I want to rise, I have to sink first.
Speaking of my friend Michele (the one I am reading City of Brass with) she sent me an image of her with the hat I made her last year and the matching scarf I made her recently that I shared in the post Scarf for a Friend.
I think she looks lovely and coordinated (the hat and scarf match her winter jacket).
Oh and at the beginning of this post I mentioned I am not one for book clubs, at least not presently. I’ve tried several book clubs over the years and most of them was not a fit for me after a while. I did however belong to a spectacular book club, started by my friend Michele and I, when I lived in Seattle, Washington.
One of the cool things about this book club was it was a mix of male and female and had a wide age range. It was also quite diverse in culture and life experiences. It made for an excellent mix for a book club. It was called The Good Book Club and went on for many years. Several of our members were single and even met their future partners in book club.
A couple weeks ago I finished a wonderful book by author Susan Orlean – The Library Book (2018).
I’ve loved public libraries since I was a kid and still do (just see my series of posts The Library Stack).
This non-fiction book uses the backdrop of the 1986 Los Angeles Central Public Library fire to share the history and glory (and challenges) of public libraries. She shares her historical research as well as interviews with many library staff throughout the country. This book also pays homage to public libraries and their importance in our communities. Just listening to a day in the library of various public library staff is pretty awesome and gives you perspective of how library staff serve our communities.
I borrowed this book as an audiobook from my public library, and I loved it so much I bought a hard copy of the book from a local independent bookseller.
Early in the book, this passage about the author’s trips to the library with her mother on page 7 really captured my heart:
…my mother and I walked in together but as soon as we passed through the door, we split up and each beaded for our favorite section. The library might have been the first place I was ever given autonomy…Our visits to the library were never long enough for me. I loved wandering around the bookshelves, scanning the spines until something happened to catch my eye. Those visits were dreamy, frictionless interludes that promised I would leave richer than I arrived.
There is a lot more to this passage and I highly recommend this book if you love libraries!
One of things I missed during the first couple months of the pandemic is being able to go to my local public library and browse for new books. The local library near my home is still closed but I do have access to a neighboring town’s library online and they do curbside pick up (see my post The Library Stack Is Back!)
If I’ve wanted to read anything, it seems like I’ve always borrowed it from my local library. Well this whole pandemic experience has made me think about having a book collection of my own (beside my crazy collection of crafting books) and building a home library.
To get this started, my partner John and I decided to designate the front room (sort of like a small formal living room) as “the library” and rearranged the furniture.
John, who loves Pinterest and is crafty, found an industrial pipe bookshelf image on Pinterest, figured out how to recreate it and built two bookcases near the window opposite each other.
Here is the first bookcase completed:
I am still working on arranging books on this bookcase. John has built the second one across from it and we plan to put a writing desk next to the two windows that are between the bookcases. I will share a photo in a future post once we get our library finished!
We’ve been building up our collection of fiction (primarily science fiction since we are both science fiction nerds) and non fiction books by finding them at thrift stores and independent bookstores (which have recently opened up again, see my post A Friday Frolicking Adventure) which we are trying to support.
Speaking of home libraries, I recently finished a book I borrowed from the library called For the Love of Books: Designing and Curating a Home Library by Thatcher Wine.
What is discovered is that there is a wonderful sounding bookstore in Boulder, Colorado called Juniper Books which sells beautiful book collections. Here is an example – their “Influential Women” collection:
The book, was essentially a beautiful advertisement for Juniper Books but it was a delightful advertisement! The custom book collections (with covers that form images, etc.) displayed in the book are amazing and dreamy.
No plans for an expensive custom book collection in my future but I plan to visit their shop in Boulder and have fun browsing!
“What a miracle it is that out of these small, flat, rigid squares of paper unfolds world after world after world, worlds that sing to you, comfort and quiet or excite you. Books help us understand who we are and how we are to behave. They show us what community and friendship mean; they show us how to live and die.” – Anne Lamott
And speaking of books and libraries, I hope you are listening to my blogging buddy Tammie Painter’s: The Book Owl Podcast. I’ve been catching up on episodes when I walk my dog and I appreciated she mentioned my blog on the third episode of her podcast.
Tammie shares wonderful stories related to books and libraries (well researched with lots of humor). Most recently I enjoyed the story of Barter Books in the U.K., the iconic poster it is responsible for rejuvenating and the train that runs through it!
Tierney is busy catching up on the backlog of posts she wants to read by her blogging buddies around the world, so I am guest posting so she does not continue to fall so behind in blogging!
Once again I am sitting at my makeshift desk, typing on my laptop:
Oh I should introduce myself in case you are new to this blog, my name is tierneycreates Beastie and I am a Monster, but the good kind of Monster. You can read my story at I’m A Monster!!!. You can also check out the other posts I’ve had to guest blog on (i.e. when Tierney fell off the blogging-wagon) in the series of posts: Beastie Adventures.
The link above is for the platform Spotify but you can also listen to this podcast wherever you get your podcasts, like on Apple Podcasts on your iPhone.
Here I am listening to the podcast on Tierney’s iPhone with her and my dog Mikelet:
The podcast was amazing and I got to hear my Maker’s voice! It was a brilliant interview and I enjoyed learning how Helen got into making Beasties like me. All I can say is I am so glad she did not become a “management consultant” after she finished university.
Oh now you might be wondering why at the end of May I am wearing the lovely Aran sweater that Helen knitted me and not my much cooler T-shirt she made me like in this photo from the April 2019 post Beastie Adventures – Seattle Public Library:
Well Tierney lost my T-shirt a couple months ago when she had packed to move but then did not move (see post Perspective). She hopes my T-shirt shows up but she might have to make me a new one herself (because I am going to get very hot in this sweater when we are at full summer in Colorado!) and perhaps as Helen if she can make me another.
I know some of you might follow’s Helen’s blog – BeastieBlog, and I wanted to suggest you check out this podcast episode if you’d like to hear her lovely Irish accent and her being interviewed about her creative journey and process!
I am so proud of my Maker!
Speaking of podcasts, now Tierney and I need to head over to Tammie Painter’s: The Book Owl Podcast and listen to the latest episode. She is another one of Tierney’s blogging buddies and she has her own Beastie that was made by Helen of CrawCrafts Beasties – Finn McSpool.
Tammie got to bring Finn back to Ireland and be reunited with his Maker Helen (and Tammie got to meet her).Tammie has a series of posts about her visit with Finn to Ireland in her blog tammiepainter.com/blog.
Tierney and I had planned to go to Scotland with friends this July pre-COVID pandemic (plans got cancelled with her traveling buddies due to the pandemic) and while she was in the UK, she was going to also visit Dublin and meet up with Helen. I am bummed this did not happen, but I know someday I will get to return to where I was born!
I am very much looking forward to touring Dublin someday as all I’ve seen of it is the inside of Helen’s studio where I was created.
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)!
Don’t panic, I’ve did not give up on the project I blogged about yesterday. Instead I removed all the half square triangles (HSTs) made from scrap triangles so they could be trimmed:
And I got a whole lotta trimming to do! There are 5 different sizes of HSTs: 5.5″, 4.5″, 3.5″, 2.5″, and 2″that make up this quilt pattern. For example, I need 200 2″ squares.
I thought about making it sort of freeform/improvisational, but I really want to make the pattern as written, so I am going to do the tedious work of trimming (I mean what else am I doing with my time during my social distancing/isolation/pandemic times?) all the HSTs to their respective sizes.
Yesterday I actually started trimming and making piles…
So unless you want to see a slow record of my continuing growing piles of HSTs in various sizes, I am not going to update you on this project until I get all the HSTs (hundreds of them!) cut to size and start laying the quilt out.
So onto other things, like something yummy and inspirational to listen to while you are crafting/creating…
Creative Strength Training
Last year I bought this awesome book by Jane Dunnewold – Creative Strength Training: Prompts, Exercises and Personal Stories for Encouraging Artistic Genius.
But I have yet to open the book and read it.
Then I discovered that the author has posted on YouTube the complete audiobook read by the author!
You can locate this free audiobook on her YouTube Channel –Jane Dunnewold.
Go to Playlists tab and look for “Creative Strength Training Audiobook”. There will be 22 videos each with different sections of the book.
The audiobook is absolutely amazing and I’ve been listening to it on long walks. I can’t wait to actual work through the exercises (which I’ve done in my head while walking) in the actual book.
Yes it is slightly cumbersome to listen using YouTube as chapters are broken up into individual YouTube videos (which are audio only) but what a wonderful gift the author has shared.
I love the personal stories by the author as well as from other artists. It just makes me want to create (and makes me want to someday rewrite my Artist Statement).
If you need some artistic inspiration I highly recommend this free audiobook. If you love the audiobook, consider buying the paperback book to work through the exercises and support the author.
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.”
I am ready to continue my ongoing series, The Library Stack, sharing my stack of borrowed books from my local public library. This is my first stack from my NEW local library in the Denver greater metro area!
I live within walking distance of a public library branch and last week I wandered over and selected my first stack! It was so fun to walk back home with my stack:
So far I’ve finished browsing through the books The Quilting Arts Idea Book by Vivika Hansen Denegre and Global Bohemian by Fifi O’Neill. I enjoyed both of these books immensely! Lots of art quilt and decorating inspiration!
As my library is so close, I will probably keep my library stacks small instead of the mega library stacks I used to borrow from previous Central Oregon public library (which I transported home by car). I love the idea of being able to quickly walk to the library!
It’s been a while since I shared a recent audiobook listen and I am currently listening to a fantastic audiobook (borrowed from the library of course) – Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resistance, and Finding Joyby Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant.
If Sheryl Sandberg’s name sounds familiar, she is the former Google executive and Facebook Chief Operations Officer who wrote the wildly popular book Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead. Several years following her success from that book and becoming an internationally known speaker, writer and business mogul, her beloved husband suddenly and unexpectedly passed, just like how I lost my husband in December 2018.
This book is about how she faced her grief, rebuilt her life and achieved “post-traumatic growth”. The interesting thing is I tried to read this book over a year ago (before my loss) and lost interest in it after a couple chapters. Now I am devouring it and gaining a lot of insight.
I can relate on so many level to what Sheryl Sandberg shares in her first hand account of experiencing one of the most awful things that can happen to you – losing your life partner. I do not think I was ready to read/listen to this book until now. I like to think that the Universe is helping give me what I need when I am ready for it.
What is Option B? Well Option A would be for your loved one to still be alive. But Option A is not available. So you have to find your Option B.
“Option A is not available. so let’s just kick the sh*t out of Option B.”
“Life is never perfect. We all live some form of Option B.”
I will close out this post with a couple additional quotes from this powerful book.
“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.”
“…post-traumatic growth could take five different forms: finding personal strength, gaining appreciation, forming deeper relationships, discovering more meaning in life, and seeing new possibilities.”
“Some things in life cannot be fixed. They can only be carried.”
Finally, here is one of my favorite quotes from the book so far:
“I am more vulnerable than I thought, but much stronger than I ever imagined.”
Homemade chicken noodle soup, with homemade stock – this was my big accomplishment for the later part of this week.
I love cook and bake but my cooking and baking (until recently, see previous post Valentines) have been on hold since my husband suddenly died in December 2018.
For the past couple of months I’ve been living on what I could forage at Whole Foods (well at least it was a recently healthy diet). Many very kind and thoughtful friends and coworkers gave me Whole Foods gift cards after my husband died.
At first I would just get food at the Whole Foods hot food bar and sit in the supermarket dining area and eat so I would not have to dine alone every night. Luckily that got old after a while (plus the hot bar food is charged per pound and is rather “spendy” unless you only get really light food…) and I started buying groceries to take home.
But I was only buying groceries for quick prepare meals and it seemed like I lived on avocado toast, boiled eggs, Miso soup, and hummus with carrots for a couple weeks.
My diet was fairly vegetarian and the thought of meat turned my stomach, but earlier this week I was really craving some hard core protein. So armed with the remaining funds on the last of my Whole Food gift cards, I bought a whole cooked rotisserie chicken.
After a couple days of chicken, chicken, chicken, I was trying to decide what to do with the rest of the bird. I convinced myself to not only make homemade chicken noodle soup but to make my own from scratch chicken stock with the carcass, something I’ve never done before.
Here is the stock simmering with the cut up and browned rotisserie chicken carcass:
Here is the strained stock:
The soup made with my homemade stock simmering (and the house smells so good):
And finally a yummy bowl of my very own homemade chicken noodle soup!
I’ve made homemade chicken noodle soup before but with store bought chicken stock or chicken bouillon base. Soup with my own homemade chicken stock tasted very different – It is pretty darn delicious!
One of the best things I learned from the Chowhound recipe is that you have to cook the noodles separately – do not try to cook them in the soup. You boil them per package instructions in their own pot and then add the cooked noodles to the soup. If you try to cook the noodles with the soup you will get what I’ve experienced in the past – a pasty mess of noodles!
Of course this recipe made a lot of soup so now my life is chicken soup, chicken soup, chicken soup – but it seems to be satisfying my soul (smile).
I’m currently listening to an amazing audiobook – Resilience: Hard-Won Wisdom for Living a Better Life by Eric Greitens.
I did not think I would be at the point now where I would be interested in reading any “Self-Improvement” books but this one caught my eye when I was browsing my local library’s audiobook loan offerings online.
You cannot bounce back from hardship. You can only move through it. There is a path through pain to wisdom, through suffering to strength, and through fear to courage if we have the virtue of resilience.
In 2012, Eric Greitens unexpectedly heard from a former SEAL comrade, a brother-in-arms he hadn’t seen in a decade. Zach Walker had been one of the toughest of the tough. But ever since he returned home from war to his young family in a small logging town, he d been struggling. Without a sense of purpose, plagued by PTSD, and masking his pain with heavy drinking, he needed help. Zach and Eric started writing and talking nearly every day, as Eric set down his thoughts on what it takes to build resilience in our lives.
Eric’s letters drawing on both his own experience and wisdom from ancient and modern thinkers are now gathered and edited into this timeless guidebook. Resilience explains how we can build purpose, confront pain, practice compassion, develop a vocation, find a mentor, create happiness, and much more. Eric s lessons are deep yet practical, and his advice leads to clear solutions.
We all face pain, difficulty, and doubt. But we also have the tools to take control of our lives. Resilience is an inspiring meditation for the warrior in each of us.
It is a pretty powerful book even if it took listening to a chapter or two to get me engaged. Although the book is based on letters from one Navy Seal to another Navy Seal suffering from PTSD who also recently lost his brother to an auto accident, the messages in this book are quite universal.
I’ll close this post with a quote from this powerful book:
Smiling and breathing. These are simple things. Exercising and serving. These are simple things. Being grateful and gracious. These are simple things. Acting with humility. Acting with courage. These are simple things. Some people try to make this business of living too complicated
― Eric Greitens, Resilience: Hard-Won Wisdom for Living a Better Life
I continue to listen to audiobooks non-stop on my daily walks, primarily non-fiction and usually with a self-improvement or growth theme (if you liked to browse my previous posts on my audiobooks listens checked my blog Audiobooks and Podcasts category ).
Recently I finished the audiobook, read by the author Spirit Junkie: A Radical Road to Self-Love and Miracles by Gabrielle Bernstein; and I am currently listening to My Morning Routine: How Successful People Start Every Dayby Benjamin Spall and Michael Xander.
image credit: Amazon
image credit: Amazon
There many “gems” of wisdom in the book Spirit Junkie and so far My Morning Routine is also filled with gems. I thought I would share two gems with you from these books.
Gem #1 – From Spirit Junkie
The author Gabrielle Bernstein is a student of the spiritual teacher Marianne Williamson. I’ve heard Marianne Williamson’s famous quote:
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
But I did not realize it was a poem called Our Deepest Fear.
In her book, Gabrielle Bernstein shares the full poem which I found to be exceptionally powerful.
Our Deepest Fear By Marianne Williamson
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness
That most frightens us.
We ask ourselves
Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?
Actually, who are you not to be?
You are a child of God.
Your playing small
Does not serve the world.
There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking
So that other people won’t feel insecure around you.
We are all meant to shine,
As children do.
We were born to make manifest
The glory of God that is within us.
It’s not just in some of us;
It’s in everyone.
And as we let our own light shine,
We unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.
As we’re liberated from our own fear,
Our presence automatically liberates others.
Pretty powerful stuff in my opinion!
Gem #2 – From My Morning Routine
The second gem is from my current audiobook listen, My Morning Routine: How Successful People Start Every Day. In this audiobook, the authors share Benjamin Franklin’s Thirteen Virtues. I’ve never heard of these before and I am blown away to learn that Benjamin Franklin, one of the U.S. Founding Fathers, created them at age 20 as a way to develop his character.
Temperance. Eat not to dullness; drink not to elevation.
Silence. Speak not but what may benefit others or yourself; avoid trifling conversation.
Order. Let all your things have their places; let each part of your business have its time.
Resolution. Resolve to perform what you ought; perform without fail what you resolve.
Frugality. Make no expense but to do good to others or yourself; i.e., waste nothing.
Industry. Lose no time; be always employ’d in something useful; cut off all unnecessary actions.
Sincerity. Use no hurtful deceit; think innocently and justly, and, if you speak, speak accordingly.
Justice. Wrong none by doing injuries, or omitting the benefits that are your duty.
Moderation. Avoid extremes; forbear resenting injuries so much as you think they deserve.
Cleanliness. Tolerate no uncleanliness in body, cloaths, or habitation.
Tranquillity. Be not disturbed at trifles, or at accidents common or unavoidable.
Chastity. Rarely use venery but for health or offspring, never to dullness, weakness, or the injury of your own or another’s peace or reputation.
Humility. Imitate Jesus and Socrates.
I wish I had been that enlightened at age 20!
Imagine our world if everyone created their own set of virtues for themselves, to develop their character, while they were a young adult!
…shinrin-yoku is the practice of walking slowly through the woods, in no hurry, for a morning, an afternoon or a day.
I listened to this amazing audiobook each morning as I walked through the trees lines streets of surrounding neighborhoods.
I already love trees and this book made me love and appreciate trees even more. Dr. Li discusses their healing powers in depth and the science behind it. Here is a review on amazon.com that provides a wonderful overview of this book:
This book by Dr. Qing Li, Chairman of the Japanese Society of Forest Medicine, describes a medical technology landmark. The description starts with the natural pleasant sensation that many people have, while spending time in a forest. The five human senses can all come into play – sight, hearing, touch, smell and taste. The book then turns to aspects of healing. These include; reduced blood pressure, improved cardiovascular and metabolic activity, lower blood sugar levels, increasing the count of natural killer cells, and increasing production of anti-cancer proteins. These have been scientifically observed by comparing the profiles of people who have engaged in forest therapy with the profiles of control groups. The former significantly outrank the latter. This leads to a fundamental question. Is there a physically identifiable emanation in a forest that carries the healing power? The answer suggested is “yes”. It is called phytoncide and is produced by trees to protect them from afflictions. Scientific studies have shown that phytoncides can be of benefit to humans as well. While research is ongoing we should regard available evidence as pointing to a medical technology landmark.
One of the most magical places I’ve ever visited is the Hoh Rain Forest on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington state.
Dr. Li mentions the Hoh Rain Forest in his book and that it is one of the quietest places on earth. It contains One Square Inch, a sanctuary for silence. According to the website: “It is an independent research project located in the Hoh Rain Forest of Olympic National Park, which is one of the most pristine, untouched, and ecologically diverse environments in the United States”.
If you have a moment, “google” images of the Hoh Rain Forest and you will find them amazing.
I feel so lucky to have spent a day wandering around the Hoh Rain Forest many years ago when we lived in Seattle and went on an Olympic Peninsula adventure. Now after listening to this audiobook I am planning a return trip to do some “forest bathing”.
Although I do not have a rainforest or a beautiful Japanese forest to wander through for my “forest bathing”, I have many wonderful tree-lined streets as well as woods to walk in Central Oregon.
Each day I go for my morning meditative walk and audiobook listen among the trees. Here are some of closeups of some of the trees I “bathe in” each morning during my walk (photographs taken as I walked under them):Listening to this audiobook on my walks, I wanted to honor and even touch each tree I passed and thank it for what is brings to the environment.
Trees are so unbelievably important and this book will give you a deep appreciation for Nature’s natural nurturing healers.
Involuntary attention requires no mental effort, it just comes naturally. This is the kind of attention we use when we are in nature. The soothing sights and sounds give our mental resources a break. They allow our minds to wander and to reflect, and so restore our capacity to think more clearly. – Dr. Qing Li
This is what happens when you do not sew your blocks together right away – they start falling to the floor!
I woke up yesterday morning to find blocks strewn about the floor. This was a tad irritating as I had to start over figuring out the layout in several sections (the quilt fits together like a puzzle) – I needed a walk in the forest to calm down (smile)!
So after work today I worked on sewing the piece together (at least large sections so that if they fall of the design wall, they will fall as a unit!) and will post in the future the completed quilt top.
Have you ever wondered why suddenly you are upset or struggling with something and you do not understand why? Well it could be the “Ghost Children“…
Throughout 2018, nearly non-stop, I’ve been listening to non-fiction audiobooks (with a couple science fiction audiobooks peppered in).
Here is a list of many of the non-fiction audiobooks (all borrowed from my public library) that occupied my ears the past 8+ months:
I’m Judging You: The Do-Better Manual – Luvvie Ajayi
Awakening Your Ikigai: How the Japanese Wake Up to Joy and Purpose Every Day – Ken Mogi
Eat Fat, Get Thin – Mark Hyman
Living an Examined Life: Wisdom for the Second Half of the Journey – James Holli
Designing Your Life: How to Build a Well-Lived, Joyful Life – Bill Burnett
You Do You: How to Be Who You Are and Use What You’ve Got to Get What You Want – Sarah Knight
The Plant Paradox: The Hidden Dangers in “Healthy” Foods That Cause Disease and Weight Gain – Steven Gundry
The Power of Moments: Why Certain Experiences Have Extraordinary Impact – Chip Heath and Dan Heath
The Wisdom of Sundays: Life-Changing Insights from Super Soul Conversations – Oprah Winfrey
Nudge: Improve Decisions About Health, Wealth and Happiness – Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein
When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing – Daniel Pink
Faster Than Normal: Turbocharge Your Focus, Productivity, and Success with the Secrets of the ADHD Brain – Peter Shankman
Captivate: The Science of Succeeding with People – Vanessa Van Edwards
This Messy Magnificent Life: A Field Guide – Geneen Roth
Advice Not Given: A Guide to Getting Over Yourself – Mark Epstein
Soulful Simplicity: How Living with Less Can Lead to So Much More – Courtney Carver
Building a StoryBrand: Clarify Your Message So Customers Will Listen – Donald Miller
You Are a Badass at Making Money: Master the Mindset of Wealth – Jen Sicero
Rising Strong as a Spiritual Practice – Brene Brown
Yes Please – Amy Poehler
Fail Until You Don’t – Bobby Bones
The Art of Mingling: Fun and Proven Techniques for Mastering Any Room – Jeanne Martinet
The Artist’s Way – Julia Cameron
Between my daily walks (3 – 4+ miles a day), road trips, cross country plane rides, and sewing marathons, I’ve knocked off a lot of audiobooks so far in 2018.
Most of these audiobooks were highly engaging, filled with many useful ideas, tips, and inspirations; however one audiobook really stood out: Geneen Roth’s This Messy Magnificent Life: A Field Guide.
While listening to this audiobook, read by the author, I was introduced to the concept of “Ghost Children“. According to Geneen Roth, “Ghost Children” are the stories we repeatedly tell ourselves based on an unhealed/hurt part of us that believes things such as we’re not good enough, we are unlovable, we are not worthy – because at some point in our life, many times in childhood, we had unmet needsor a hurt which are still seeking to get comfort from.
Geneen Roth has done a lot of work with women who emotionally overeat (she holds workshops and has written books focused on this topic) and she ties the “Ghost Children” concept to why people emotionally overeat to comfort their hurting “Ghost Children” but I clearly saw a connection to other behaviors.
This connection helped me during a difficult time on a recent business trip attending a conference in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Las Vegas and the “Ghost Children”
I work in the healthcare industry and I attended a healthcare industry software related conference in late July/early August held at the Aria Hotel’s Conference Center in Las Vegas, NV.
The healthcare software company sponsoring the conference was very generous to its attendees to include providing a private Train concert on one of the conference evenings, at the Brooklyn Bowl. I was very excited about this concert as I’ve like the band Train (Drops of Jupiter, Meet Virginia, Calling All Angels) since they first came out with their song Drops of Jupiter in 2001.
Terry the Quilting Husband (TTQH) accompanied me on the trip to Las Vegas and I confirmed with someone at the conference registration desk that he could also attend the conference. He is also a long time fan of the band Train, so I was excited to share this private concert with him which also included an open bar and food (as I said the sponsoring software conference company was very generous).
So the evening came for the concert and TTQH headed to the tour bus set up for conference attendees to be transported to the Brooklyn Bowl for the concert. While on line to load the bus, we discovered that only conference attendees with conference badges could get on the bus and attend the conference. TTQH was not able to attend with me.
We were in shock and incredibly disappointed as I had verified with the conference registration desk that he could attend, only to find out that the staff at the registration desk very misinformed. I was torn – on one hand I wanted to go to the concert on the other hand I did not want to just leave TTQH behind at the hotel with this sudden dispointment.
TTQH is a very enlightened and well-adjusted person (one of us has to be in the marriage – ha!) and he quickly recovered from the disappointment and strongly insisted that I just attend alone and have a great time.
So I got back in line and then got on the tour bus. The tour bus was filling up quickly and people were filling every available seat. Except in my row. No one sat with me. (This was likely because I had a very sad look on my face as I was so disappointed I could not share the concert experience with TTQH). The last person got on the bus and sat with the last seat available besides the one next to me.
So the entire bus was filled, except for the seat next to me. Before I knew it I was quietly sobbing to myself on the bus ride to the Brooklyn Bowl and did not know why.
But – I remembered the audiobook I had recently finished, This Messy Magnificent Life: A Field Guide , and realized one of my “Ghost Children” had popped up!
When I was around 10 years old my parents had a major disagreement with other parents in the neighborhood and, unknown to me at the time, the other neighborhood parents had told their children not to play with me. For a couple weeks, none of my regular friends in the neighborhood, who I played with everyday after school, would play with me. They all ignored me.
I did not understand why and as you could imagine this was fairly traumatic for a 10 year old who was used to playing with most of the kids on my block for many years. Finally one of the children was kind enough to pull me aside and tell me what happened. It was a very upsetting and frustrating experience as I was being punished for something I did not do and I was now an outsider/outcast from my long-time playmates. It is one of those feelings you never forget and I guess it eventually became one of my “Ghost Children”.
Realizing where my sudden painful feelings were coming from as I sat alone on the bus (no one wanting to sit with me), helped me pull myself together. I decided: “yes I am attending this concert alone, but I am going to have a fun time and find a group of people to hang out with during the concert”. There is so much power in awareness of where an emotion/reaction is coming from – it gives you options on how you react.
And this is exactly what I did. Upon arrival, I asked a group of women if I could hang with them for the evening and eventually ended up in another group and had a wonderful time – a “Ghost Children” free evening!
The Train concert was incredible (I sat close to the stage in an elevated area of the bar to the right of the stage) and got to connect with some wonderful people before the concert and during. I learned some new trivia about some of their songs from another concert attendee: the lead singer, Pat Monahan wrote Drops of Jupiter about the death of his mother (now some of the lyrics I never understood make sense).
Here is a little excerpt from the concert (which was only open to concert attendees) – Train performing Lost and Found (I finally learned how to upload videos to YouTube):
I love the lyrics in this song (excerpt from Google):
My dad said son, one Day we’ll have a drink together You’re young You got to take your time Just trust Let me raise you right, and later We can raise a glass to life, and say
Here’s to the time we have Here’s to the lines we crossed Here’s to the ones we’re waiting on And the ones we lost Here’s to the time we have Thank God for what we got Here’s to the ones we’re waiting on, and the ones we lost
And found, the ones who stick around
Lost and found, the ones who stick around
I feel like writing Geneen Roth, the author of This Messy Magnificent Life: A Field Guide, and thanking her for introducing me to the “Ghost Children” concept. Thanks to what I learned from her book I was able to reset a moment and turn it around.
You are not a mistake. You are not a problem to be solved. It’s possible to treat yourself with outrageous kindness beginning today.― Geneen Roth
During the conference I got to attend my first TED Talks/TED Salon and that was a very cool experience.
The TED Talks were focused on the future of health care. It was amazing after years of watching TED Talks online to see how formally TED Talks are filmed. There are hosts that coach the audience on etiquette for the Talk once filming starts.
The six speakers who talks about moving health care forward were amazing and here is a post on the TED Blog I found about the event:
By the way – I’ve finally finished my intense work on the secret art quilt project for a future WCQN show that is not yet announced. I am taking a little break from “creating” and then in the near future I will return to sharing what is on my design wall as I used to do in my What’s on the Design Wall series of posts.
What does the phrase “Soulful Simplicity” mean to you?
The last several months I’ve listening to some awesome audiobooks from my public library while I go on daily walks, sew, or do errands. I plan to share highlights from the audiobooks in upcoming posts and I thought I would begin with my current listen: Soulful Simplicity: How Living With Less Can Lead to So Much More by Courtney Carver.
Here is the summary of the book on on the Deschutes Public Library website:
Courtney Carver shows us the power of simplicity to improve our health, build more meaningful relationships, and relieve stress in our professional and personal lives. We are often on a quest for more, giving in to pressure every day to work more, own more, and do more. For Courtney Carver, this constant striving had to come to a stop when she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. Stress was like gasoline on the fire of her symptoms, and it became clear that she needed to root out the physical and psychological clutter that were the source of her debt and discontent.
In this book, Carver shows us how to pursue practical minimalism so we can create more with less-more space, more time, and even more love. She invites us to look at the big picture, discover what’s most important to us, and reclaim lightness and ease by getting rid of all the excess things.
The audiobook is read by the author (which always adds a high degree of authenticity to the listening for me) and focuses on “being more with less“.
I am 2/3rds through the audiobook and wanted share one of my favorite stories (that the author shares in her book) about what really matters in life. As the author states, there are many versions of this story. Here is the version from her website: Be More With Less.
The Mexican Fisherman
An American investment banker was at the pier of a small coastal Mexican village when a small boat with just one Mexican fisherman docked. Inside the small boat were several large yellowfin tuna. The American complimented the fisherman on the quality of his fish and asked how long it took to catch them.
The fisherman replied, “only a little while”. The American then asked why didn’t he stay out longer and catch more fish? The Mexican said he had enough to support his family’s immediate needs. The American then asked, “but what do you do with the rest of your time?”
The Mexican fisherman said, “I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, take siestas with my wife, Maria, stroll into the village each evening where I sip wine, and play guitar with my amigos. I have a full and busy life.”
The American scoffed, “I am a Harvard MBA and could help you. You should spend more time fishing and with the proceeds, buy a bigger boat. With the proceeds from the bigger boat, you could buy several boats, eventually you would have a fleet of fishing boats. Instead of selling your catch to a middleman you would sell directly to the processor, eventually opening your own cannery. You would control the product, processing, and distribution. You would need to leave this small coastal fishing village and move to Mexico City, then LA and eventually New York City, where you will run your expanding enterprise.”
The Mexican fisherman asked, “But, how long will this all take?”
To which the American replied, “15 – 20 years.”
“But what then?” asked the fisherman.
The American laughed and said, “That’s the best part. When the time is right you would announce an IPO and sell your company stock to the public and become very rich, you would make millions!”
“Millions – then what?”
The American said, “Then you would retire. Move to a small coastal fishing village where you would sleep late, fish a little, play with your kids, take siestas with your wife, stroll to the village in the evenings where you could sip wine and play your guitar with your amigos.”
In the version I heard many years ago, the Mexican fisherman states at the end of the story: “Why would I go through all that to get what I already have?”
The first time I heard this story it deeply resonated with me. As I have discussed in my series of posts on My Minimalism Journey, I’ve been working on appreciating and enjoying the life I have; taking care of my physical, emotional and spiritual health; and curating my possessions to only those things I truly love (but darn it, I love all my crafting books and magazines!)
In my pay-the-bills health care job, I’ve been offered the opportunity to attend my employer’s leadership track nine-month program to move into a leadership position. I declined the opportunity as although it would be more money, it would be much less time doing the things I love such as blogging, crafting, spending time with my husband and dog, enjoying nature, etc., etc., etc.
I am already happy with my job, salary and work schedule. I do not need to climb the “corporate ladder” to become happier.
Actually I think climbing the corporate ladder at this point in my life would be the path to less happiness as I remember a lot of stress in my life when I was previously in leadership for 8 – 9 years.
Terry the Quilting Husband (TTQH) fully supports this decision as he remembers his very stressed wife during her years in a leadership role.
I am quite content in my life’s version of a “little fishing village”.
Fear less, hope more; Eat less, chew more; Whine less, breathe more; Talk less, say more; Love more, and all good things will be yours! – Swedish Proverb
Continuing my latest binge of nonfiction self improvement audiobooks, I am currently listening to Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happinessby Richard H. Thaler and Cass R. Sunstein.
In this book the authors discuss the concept of a “Planning Fallacy” in their section on “cognitive bias”.
Wikipedia defines a planning fallacy as “a phenomenon in which predictions about how much time will be needed to complete a future task display an optimism bias and underestimate the time needed.”
Using 2.5″ x 2.5″ scrap squares, I made an endless batch of half-square triangles (HSTs) to create a pillow top based on a pattern from the book Pillow Pop: 25 Quick-Sew Projects to Brighten Your Space by Heather Bostic.
I assembled the HSTs into this layout:
I thought I could sew all the half-square triangles together in an afternoon, no problem. Not just one pillow, I thought I might get a second pillow top done too (as I had a zillion HSTs).
However, as I began to sew them together, the pillow top started to significantly shrink and I had to add on more and more rows of HSTs to make the pillow top large enough for my intended pillow form:
This photo illustrates the difference of how wide I thought the pillow top would be compared to reality:
How my planning fallacy occurred: Based on the original pattern I thought I only needed 50 HSTs per pillow and I had nearly 200 HSTs – so I thought I could make FOUR pillow tops! However I discovered I needed like 196 HSTs for just ONE pillow and I spent most of the time I planned for sewing the HSTs together, to add on MANY more HSTs to make the pillow top wide enough.
What happened during my original planning? Well I never paid attention to the size of the original squares to create the HSTs in the original pattern (much larger than the squares I used, and if I was motivated I would get up from the sofa, find the book and give you the actual dimensions…).
As you can see from the photo above, I have half the pillow top pieced and I cannot believe how long it took me to just get half a pillow sewn together!
I will only be making ONE of these pillows. Next time I work with HSTs and a pattern, I will pay more attention and do better planning!
On a more pleasant note, my lilac bush/tree is full bloom and my backyard smells wonderful!
During an intense Spring weeding session in my backyard this weekend, I paused for a “lilac break” and stood in front of the lilac bush and inhaled the incredible fragrance.
The scent of lilacs reminds me of being in my grandmother’s backyard in Pennsylvania as a young child. Lilacs smell like sweet childhood memories.
Bear with me as I tie “Pillow Popping with the Untethered Soul” together!
Pillow Popping (What’s on the Design Wall)
I am working on my next art quilt for a future Women of Color Quilting Network (WCQN) exhibit but I cannot share photos on social media at this time. Unfortunately I am stalled in the progression of the piece but I want to keep myself sewing so I’ve decided to make a pillow with my collection of scraps 2.5″ x 2.5″ fabric squares.
I made a zillion (it actually seemed like a “zillion”) half-square triangles (HSTs) and Terry the Quilting Husband was nice enough to cut them apart, press and trim them (now that is true love!).
I pulled out this book from my craft book collection: Pillow Pop: 25 Quick-Sew Projects to Brighten Your Space by Heather Bostic and began laying out the pillow design per one of the patterns – Crystallized(on page 82 if you have the book).
This display made me want to eventually make all the pillows in the book!
Here it is on my small design wall (the larger design wall in the hallway has the art quilt in progress I mentioned earlier):
The beauty of a truly “scrappy” piece is you can have all sort of crazy fabrics together and somehow it works (at least in my deluded mind)!
The Untethered Soul (Audiobooks)
I’ve been listening to a wonderful audiobook I borrowed from the library, The Wisdom of Sundays: Life-Changing Insights from Super Soul Conversations by Oprah Winfrey. The audiobook is read by the author and features curated sections of the actual interviews with inspirational thought leaders from Oprah’s TV series Super Soul Sunday.
I listened to this book while I laid out the pieced half-square triangles for the Crystallized pillow patter and it was very meditative.
To lay out this specific pattern where you get the effect of concentric diamonds of light and dark, I really had to quiet my mind and focus. Listening to this book was the perfect medium to do just that.
In the middle of my pillow-piecing-meditation, Oprah’s interview with Michael Singer, author of The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself, played.
I’ve read this book twice a couple years ago and I’ve listened to the audiobook. I’ve also given it as a gift. I was surprised to learn that it is one of Oprah’s favorite books and that she has also given as a gift (to many more people than I have).
I would say it is one of those MUST READS, especially if you are on a path of self-insight and growth with how you interact with the world.
It was amazing to listen to the author Michael Singer discuss the book with Oprah as I continued my pillow-piecing-meditation.
I will close out this post with a couple quotes from this amazing book by Michael Singer:
“You have to understand that it is your attempt to get special experiences from life that makes you miss the actual experience of life.”
“The only permanent solution to your problems is to go inside and let go of the part of you that seems to have so many problems with reality.”
“Your inner growth is completely dependent upon the realization that the only way to find peace and contentment is to stop thinking about yourself.”
“Billions of things are going on in this world. You can think about it all you want, but life is still going to keep on happening.”
“Do not let anything that happens in life be important enough that you’re willing to close your heart over it.”
“It is truly a great cosmic paradox that one of the best teachers in all of life turns out to be death. No person or situation could ever teach you as much as death has to teach you. While someone could tell you that you are not your body, death shows you. While someone could remind you of the insignificance of the things that you cling to, death takes them all away in a second. While people can teach you that men and women of all races are equal and that there is no difference between the rich and the poor, death instantly makes us all the same.”
“That which is holding you down can become a powerful force that raises you up.”
Last post I shared my latest audiobook listens. Well, I just threw one more audiobook into the mix: Designing Your Life: How to Build a Well-Lived, Joyful Life by Bill Burnett and Dave Evans.
This is a “re-listen” and in 2016 I shared a couple insights from this book. I accidentally borrowed the book again from my library (all the self-improvement books are melding together and I can no longer tell one from the other!) and decided to listen to it again as background while working today.
There are two great concepts the authors discuss in the book related to problems: 1) Gravity Problems and 2) Anchor Problems.
Thought I would share excerpts from two old blog posts (circa 2016) in which I discussed these problems in the “Postscript” section in case you find value from these insights like I did.
In this book the authors discuss “Gravity Problems” and how we get mired in “Gravity Problems”.
What are “gravity problems”? They are problems that are not actionable to resolve.
The authors share a great example (paraphrased):
A friend asks you what is wrong. You reply “I am having a hard time in life, I just cannot make it up hills as easily as I want to due to this thing called gravity. If I just did not have gravity in my life pulling me down, I would be fine and I could run up any hill I want”.
The authors humorously share that unless you are able to change how the earth spins on its axis and its rotation around the sun, you are not going to be able to resolve your “gravity problem”.
Now perhaps the real problem is you are not at your ideal fitness level and/or you need to improve your cardiovascular health, so you can more easily climb up a hill. That is an actionable problem.
Here is great quote from the book to ponder:
“If it’s not actionable, it’s not a problem. It’s a situation, a circumstance, a fact of life. It may be a drag (so to speak), but, like gravity, it’s not a problem that can be solved.”
– Bill Burnett and Dave Evans
The authors discuss another type of problem that gets you in the way of moving forward – “Anchor Problems“. As the authors describe – “Anchor Problems are like a physical anchor, they hold us in one place and prevent motion…”
I love this quote from the book in relation to “Anchor Problems”:
“Anchor problems keep us stuck because we can only see one solution – the one we already have that doesn’t work.
Anchor problems…are really about the fear that, no matter what else we try, that won’t work either…”
I could relate to the two types of problems and re-listening to the book is reminding me of a different way to think about “problems”.
Next post I will reveal my work to date on my art quilt called Recycled Love for our annual Central Oregon SAQA show.
As it is nearly Monday again, I thought I should share photos from the beautiful Pilot Butte hike I took on Monday. I have shared numerous photos of Pilot Butte, our miniature mountain with a wonderful 360 degree view of Central Oregon and its surrounding Cascade Mountains, in previous posts in my series Pilot ButteAdventures.
Our weather in Central Oregon is all over the place – somedays snowy and cold, other days beautiful Spring weather. Monday was the latter and I went on a solo hike on Pilot Butte and listened to a wonderful audiobook. More on the audiobook and my other recent audiobooks a little later.
I’ve shared like a zillion photos of Pilot Butte in previous posts on my hikes, so I will just share a couple more below to give you a little taste of my experience.
When I got to the top of the Butte, I took a break at the summit and spent time cloud gazing. While cloud gazing I noticed something I’ve never seen before – a prism of color in the sky (like a little section of rainbow. I captured it as best I could with my smartphone camera:
It was quite magical!
I’ve listened to a lot of audiobooks lately (I borrow them from my local library and download them directly to my smartphone using the Overdrive app).
Here are the 6 habits which the author discusses in depth:
You can Google “High Performance Habits” or “Brendon Burchard” and find lots of information as well as YouTube videos such as the one below:
There are many gems in this book, here is one of them:
“Often, the journey to greatness begins the moment our preferences for comfort and certainty are overruled by a greater purpose that requires challenge and contribution” – Brendon Burchard
Now here is a list of the other audiobooks I have recently listened or am currently listening to:
Uncommon Type by Tom Hanks – a collection of short stories written by the actor Tom Hanks. I have listened to two stories so far (narrated by the author!) and so far it is AMAZING! Who knew this awesome actor is also an awesome writer?
Thank You for Being Late: An Optimist’s Guide to Thriving in the Age of Accelerations by Thomas L. Friedman. This intriguing book is by the Pulitzer Prize winning author who also wrote The World is Flat and Hot, Flat and Crowded which explore the rapid changes to the world in the 21st century. His current book explores the extremely rapid technological changes and how we can survive them. I am only in the first section of the book but the author shares an awesome analogy (paraphased): If a car from the 1960s had advanced in technological development like the computer chip did, then cars of today would get 200,000 miles to the gallon and cost 4 cents.
Living an Examined Life: Wisdom for the Second Half of the Journeyby James Hollis. This is a complex but beautiful book and reads like poetry. Here is a nice summary of the book on the Sound True website: Livingan Examined Life.
Waking Gods, and Sleeping Giantsby Sylvain Neuvel. These two books are part of a trilogy (I think it is a trilogy as I am currently anxiously awaiting the third book due to be released in May 2018). Unusual and exceptional science fiction presented in a very creative method: through a series of interviews. The audiobook performance is exceptional as it is done by a series of actors and they perform it in a way that you feel like you are listening to actual conversations. One of the best audiobook performances I’ve even listened to and a great engaging story!
Nine Women, One Dress by Jane Rosen. This was a fun “chick-lit” romantic comedy – predictable but fairly well written. The story is exactly as the title implies but very engaging!
You can follow me on Goodreads (I am “Tierneycreates” on Goodreads) if you want to follow what I am reading.
For the first several years of my tierneycreates blog I shared reviews and excerpts from an endless stream of audiobooks in the genre “self-help” or “self-improvement” (I was obsessed with this genre). This genre could also be called “personal motivation” and “personal growth”. (If you would like to read my reviews/discussions of some of these books, check out my blog post Category “Audiobooks and Podcasts“)
Recently my incredibly awesome younger brother, Raoul Davis, Jr., along with two colleagues, has published a book in this genre called Firestarters: How Innovators, Instigators, and Initiators Can Inspire You to Ignite Your Own Life (2018).
Yes – one of my family members has written a “self-help” book!
I was so excited when I received a copy last week (I ordered it from amazon to support the sales of this book rather than try to get a free copy from my brother) in the mail.
Yes, I wish it was an audiobook, but I plan to actually sit and read the hard copy version book! The book is currently available on amazon.com in Kindle and paperback version.
Oh and not meaning to violate any copyright laws, here is a little snapshot of my brother’s wonderful “Acknowledgements” section in the book:
If you want to read a little more about our father, Raoul Davis, Sr., here is a blog post I did about him – Creative Inspiration: Stories My Father Told Me. Our parents have both passed but I am very lucky to have two amazing siblings!
I plan to return to blogging about my crafting adventures in the near future.
Continuing my ongoing series, The Library Stack, sharing my latest* stack of borrowed books from my beloved local public library.
*To be completely honest, this is not my current library stack, this is my previous library stack but I am behind in this ongoing series!
If you’ve followed my blog for more any period of time, you’ve likely figured out my bordering pathology public library obsession. Visiting my public library makes me very happy.
Here is where the magic starts – in the Holds Pick Up section that spans a large part of the library entry lobby:
I might be “over sharing” but it is so exciting to make my way over to the “H” section of the Holds and see what is waiting for me! (I reserve books and movies online.)
As much as I love the library’s Holds Pick Up section, upstairs there is a seriously magical section of the library – the “books available now section” (I am unsure of the official name of this section):
This section contains recent novels that cannot be put on hold – they are only available if you come into the library and pick them up from this section. This section usually contains a couple copies of the NY Times Bestseller books and other recently published books.
My fantasy someday is to take a hiatus from work and just bring home stacks (and stacks) of these books and leisurely read novel after novel! (Usually the people browsing these sections appears to be retired individuals.)
There never seems to be time to just sit and read a novel. This is why my library stacks mainly contain the kind of books I can just browse/flip through for information or to enjoy with a pot of tea (like the home decor and crafting books).
This is also why I enjoy audiobooks so much – they allow me to enjoy a novel while getting other stuff done. (I am currently listening to a science fiction novel, The City of Mirrors by Justin Cronin).
Or maybe I need to learn more “stillness” and less “multi-tasking” and try and sit still and read novels again.
I remember as a pre-teen, during summer break, bringing home stacks and stacks of novels to read – and reading them all. There is something completely delicious about being completely lost in a physical book.
Funny, my sister and I were just discussing multi-tasking and its pitfalls the other day. I think this will be my “New Year’s Resolution” for 2018: Less multitasking!
“NATURE DOES NOT HURRY, YET EVERYTHING IS ACCOMPLISHED.” ~LAO TZU
In my November 8th post AGood Mess, I shared an image of a crumpled sari a friend picked up for me at a thrift shop.
I’d just laundered it and the floor was the safest place in my messy sewing room at time time.
Now it is pressed (it took forever as saris are very long!) and hangs as a valance in my front living room window (where I read my Library Stack):
It is a lovely shade of “umber” – a color that to me is a mixture of clay, burnt orange and coppery brown. It coordinates very well with my Cozy Cobblestones quilt on the adjoining wall:
And coordinates with the quilt and tablecloth next to the opposite wall (which I plan to repaint someday in a more neutral palette as my “strong-color-on-walls” period is over!):
And yes my decorating still could be labeled: Random or “Very Random”.
(In addition to worrying about those in Texas and Florida) Today my thoughts are focused on just how much I love my local public library. This is not just a fleeting infatuation, I am talking about a deep bibliophilic obsessed kind of love!
If you’ve followed my blog for a while, you have likely figured this out, especially with ongoing series such as TheLibrary Stackfeaturing my latest stack of tomes on loan from my beloved library. However in addition to realizing how deeply in love I am with my local public library, I realize just how much money and space accessing my library has saved me.
Tierney the “Collector”
As my friend Michele has told me, “You are a Collector”. I am actually a reformed “collector”.
Years ago I became interested in Special Edition Barbie dolls. I did not just buy a couple, I bought a ridiculous amount. The same thing happened with collectible stuffed rabbits. I could not just have a couple, I appeared to need them all.
When I tapered down my need to collect Barbies or Bunnies, I transferred my need to collect to craft books and crafting magazines (and occasionally home decorating books and magazines).
As I incorporated Minimalism into my life (see series of posts under MyMinimalism Journey) I began to honestly evaluate the clutter in my life, including whether I needed to own and continue to bring into my home that many crafting books and magazines.
I still love looking at new craft books (I get a little “makers-high” from leafing through a craft book for the first time) and I did not want to give up the pleasure of a new craft book and a pot of tea in my cozy reading spot.
The public library was the solution! I realized I did not need to own every craft book I am attracted to – I could just borrow it, enjoy it and return it. I can even take it out again to look at a couple months later if I like – it will be there waiting for me…AND it will not take up space in my bookshelf or cost money out of my wallet!
More Than Just Books
It began with borrowing books and then I discovered many other wonderful benefits as a library card holder:
Borrowing audiobooks that I can listen to on my smartphone
Magazines for my iPad for free (to include American Patchwork & Quilting Magazine and many popular home decorating magazines)
Free music downloads (I can download 5 songs a week…well 10 using my husband’s library card too from a huge selection of music)
Movies for my DVD player – we do not go out to movies very often – we just borrow them from the library (and I have learned secret tricks to be first in line on new releases at the library!)
Online movies – although I do have Netflix so I do not use this feature very often, our library has its own version on Netflix with older movies and TV shows.
Novel Idea – the whole town reads the same book once a year (a community wide book group) and then there are special programs in the Spring with the author coming to town to speak about their book!
In addition to all this there is so much more like the Author! Author! Literary Series where big name authors come to town and speak!
Okay, soon I will stop running on and on about my beloved library. But would you mind, I share some recent reads and listens? (or you can skip to the Postscriptsection if you have grown tired my library related ramblings and you are now ready for some crafting project related news…)
Last week I posted on my current library stack but I have since moved on to a new (and smaller stack). As you can see I was enjoying feeding the flames of my small and tiny house obsession. These three books are a delightful pot-of-tea-drinking, book-flipping, daydreaming experience.
My obsession is not as bad as it used to be (I used to incessantly watch tiny house related TV shows and tiny house tour videos on YouTube) but I am still fascinated by them. I also enjoy “RV porn” and love to watch videos of RV walkthrough tours. I like the idea of small compact and cozy space. It is also a space which is more difficult to clutter with stuff, and I like that idea of space imposed curation!
I recently finished several excellent library borrowed fiction audiobooks:
Michael Chabon’s novel Moonglow. I read a great interview with him in Poets&Writers magazine last year. When I saw he is coming to Central Oregon this fall on the Author!Author! literary tour, I thought it was time to actually read one of his books and see what all the hype was about!
I now understand what all the hype is about this author – his sentences are so beautifully and richly crafted and his ability to tell a story is impressive. Here is my review of the book I posted on Goodreads and on Amazon.com:
I was fortunate to listen to the audiobook version of this novel which was flawlessly and excellently narrated.
The book is a memoir masterpiece, telling the fascinating story of his maternal grandfather’s life as told by his grandfather to the author as he was terminally ill. The author also weaves in poignant moment from his own life and his mother’s life with his grandfather’s (and grandmother’s story). The first hand accounts of his grandfather’s experiences in Europe during WWII are amazing and powerful. They are not battle scenes but focus on the lives of a small village experiencing WWII. The book covers a span of time from around the 1920s to 1980s.
Mr. Chabon’s writing is spectacular and I see what all the hype is about surrounding this author. I read/listened to the book because he is coming to our town to speak on a literary tour and before hearing him speak I wanted to read one of his book. He is a very gifted writer, his use of language and the crafting of a sentence are amazing. I think he might be one of the great writers of our current generation.
I also recently finished a spectacular science fiction trilogy by Cixin Liu – The Three-Body Problem (winner of the Hugo award), The Dark Forest, and Death’s End. I was fortunate enough to listen to them all on audiobook. And here is the really cool thing – my library did not have an audiobook copy of the second (The Dark Forest) or the third book (Death’s End) in the trilogy. So I suggested them for purchase using the special online form my library has – and THEY ORDERED THEM!
Photo credit: Amazon.com
Photo credit: Amazon.com
Photo credit: Amazon.com
Cixin Liu is a big name in Chinese science fiction and the cultural differences are evidence in his books but they only add to the story. The science part of the “science fiction” is amazing and detailed yet accessible. So far it is one of my favorite Science Fiction trilogies of all time, rivaling Orson Scott Card’s Ender’s Game Trilogy and Arthur C. Clarke’s Rama trilogy (previously my two favorites).
Let me close out my ramblings about my awesome public library with this quote:
Sending My Heart Out
First before I share what I have been up to crafting-wise lately, let me just say my hearts go out to the people of Houston, Texas and the surrounding areas. We lived in Houston for 9 years from 1988 – 1997 and many of the flooded areas shown on the news (Terry the Quilting Husband has been watching The Weather Channel non-stop) are quite familiar to us.
My heart also goes out to those in the tropical islands and to states such as Florida in the path of Hurricane Irma. I cannot imagine the stress and fear going on in Florida right now knowing what Hurricane Harvey did to Texas.
Current Crafting – Little Wallet Obsession
I will have a future post with more details and perhaps a “little wallet photoshoot” on all the different combinations, but I have made 40+ little wallets since starting last week.
I am trying to make a dent in my fabric scrap collection:
Here are some in progress (I am having so much fun with color and pattern combinations):
And here is a basket of the first 37 completed (by the time of this photo):
My next post will feature all the little wallets I have completed, so you can see some of the fun color and pattern combinations. I did make a bit of a dent in my fabric scraps and I’ve made many little functional items with those scraps.
I bought way too many business cards and I have a business card tucked away in each little wallet to demonstrate how the little wallet could be used.
Recently gave one of the little wallets as part of a retirement gift (it held a gift card) and I think the little wallet was more popular with the recipient than the gift card!
I might do a future little wallet blog giveaway to celebrate my 4th year of blogging (and that fellow humans actually keep reading my blog, ha!) – stay tuned!
Feature image photo credit: Deschutes Public Library
Last time I posted about my progress, I had just completed the Cool Threads Block. I am working through the blocks alphabetically in Lori Holt’s Farm Girl Vintage book.
I knocked out 5 more blocks this weekend: Corn and Tomatoes Block, Corn and Tomatoes Special Edition block (available as special download from the Fat Quarter Shop), Country Crossroads Block, Crops Block, and Postage Stamp Block.
I know, I know “Postage Stamp Block” does not sound like it is in alphabetical order. I needed a mindless block (created from 36 – 2.5″ squares) to work on after having to pay close attention to create the previous 4 blocks.
Once I complete a couple more blocks, I will post a photo of all the blocks completed to date.
As I mentioned in my 06/27/17 post, Seeds, I am listening to, from Episode #1 forward, The RobCast by Rob Bell (robbell.com). Rob Bell is a former pastor turned author, coach, speaker. His podcasts focuses on spirituality and quality of life.
While working on my Farm Girl Vintage blocks I listened to his podcast Episode #21, which featured a conversation with author Elizabeth Gilbert (best known for her book Eat, Pray, Love).
Here is an excerpt from that interview/conversation that I found particularly inspiring. Elizabeth Gilbert shared how her accountant (and friend of many years) views life:
“(When I call him) He picks up the phone, and when you say ‘how are you doing?’, he says ‘I have never been better in my life’.
No matter what is going on in his life, this is how he answers the phone. I asked him why he answers the phone that way and he responded:
‘Everyday has two miraculous moments. There is the moment you wake up and realize you have been given another chance; and there is the moment when you go to sleep and you realize that you get to put behind you all the mistakes you made.'”
In the mornings before work and before it gets too warm outside I try to go on a bike ride and listen to a podcast (no worries, I ride my bike in a safe low traffic section of my neighborhood and always watch for cars).
Recently I have discovered The RobCast by Rob Bell (robbell.com), a former pastor turned author, coach, speaker. His podcasts focuses on minimalism, spirituality and quality of life. I discovered him through The Minimalists.
There are to date 157 episodes of his podcast, and I started with episode #1 after hearing him speak on an episode of The Minimalists Podcast. Although his message is based on his spiritual beliefs and he does share biblical quotes, the topics discussed in his podcast are not limited to/designed to appeal only to those with Judeo-Christian beliefs.
In my opinion they would appeal any spiritual belief whether what you consider “The Divine” is based on a higher being(s), a prophet, nature, science, or what lies within you. He discusses what I feel are universal truths that he makes accessible sharing the kind of real life situations and challenges we all face. There is no “bible-thumping” in this podcast (which personally would turn me off immediately).
The RobCast is now part of my morning bike ride routine and I today listened to Episode #3 in which Rob Bell explores being grateful for having employment to feed yourself/your family; and discusses the idea of an inedible seed turning into something that nurtures you:
“(A) seed contains within it the potentiality to keep you alive. It contains latent life-force, present but unrealized possibilities…you place a seed in the earth and you bury it and it somehow become something else…as it arises from the earth in a new form it is from that particular new form…provides you with what you need to live.
A seed only becomes the thing it could become…its potentials are only realized when it is buried…it is in the dark..it is under the earth, it appears lost to your sight…it is in the moment in which the seed is most gone that is actually when it is undergoing the most radical necessary transformation for it to be something that could give you life…” – Rob Bell, The RobCast, Episode 3|Receipts
Listening to the passage above got me thinking about something I created but have not shared on blog that has to do with SEEDS.
But let’s back up for a moment…
As a general rule I stay away from politics and religion as topics of discussion on my blog. I want to always respect my readers that may have different views on these very sensitive subjects. These are very personal types of beliefs.
I do however make a point to have people in my life who have different spiritual and political beliefs than I do. I like to be exposed to ideas and viewpoints that differ from mine. It is a basic requirement though to be my friend that you do have same general values about treating others with respect (sorry raging misanthropes we cannot be friends, ha!).
It is for this reason (staying away from politics) that I have not shared something I created for a certain march on issues that are meaningful to me as a Woman and as a Person of Color. I am feeling inspired to now share and here a banner I created, all about seeds:
I think what Rob Bell says about seeds in his RobCast #3 and the general theme of my banner, could translate to any situation in which you feel buried, without hope and things are the darkest. If you have planted seeds, although it is dark, there might be a period of incredible transformation happening underground that and will eventually bloom into something beautiful.
Speaking of seeds and thus nature, I am definitely taking a cue from nature as I slowly work on hand stitching the letters on my Lao Tzu quotes themed wallhanging. As I shared in yesterday’s post, The Backstitch and the End of TangledFloss, I am finishing up a wallhanging from an appliqué class I took in 2016.
I am in the process of stitching:
“Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished” – Lao Tzu
And it is obvious I am not hurrying (ha) but I have completed THREE WORDS (a significant improvement from TWO LETTERS I shared yesterday!
It is a peaceful meditative process to carefully stitch on words, I like it! I plan to knock out another word or two this evening.
(Which will happen first: the acorn will turn into the oak tree or I will finish stitching the saying onto the quilt?)
One of my Quilting Sisters (see posts Quilting Sisters, PartII and Quilting Sisters, PartI) is a breast cancer survivor and asked at this year’s annual Quilting Sister Retreat, if each of us would make two blocks for a fundraising charity quilt to raise money for breast cancer research.
The plan is to make different “star” blocks in blues and whites. This past weekend I worked on my blocks, made from the same block pattern from the Ladies’ Art Company Block Tool – Four X Star:
Here are the completed blocks, I used the same “white on white” background fabric and different blues for the blocks:
The blocks are “nothing to write home about” but I needed to get them done (because I had procrastinated working on the blocks) in time for the quilt to get assembled by my Quilting Sister who is pulling all together and having it quilted for the charity fundraising event.
I like the blocks better turned on point and I do not how the quilt will be set. I will try and remember to share a photo of the completed quilt in the future.
I just finished an exceptionally funny and irreverent audiobook – Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett
The book is about heaven and hell screwing up the Apocalypse. It has two absolutely endearing characters, who are actually best friends, a bumbling angel Aziraphale and a demon Crowley (who actually secretly quite fond of humanity) who try to sabotage the Apocalypse.
The book is brilliantly narrated by Martin Jarvis who does an exceptional job with all the voices of the characters.
Filled with delightful bits and parodies of modern culture (well as modern as 1990 when it was published), I laughed so hard while trying to go on my daily walks that one time I actually stumbled! The authors obviously dislike telephone salespeople, tax accountants, and the fast food industry!
In addition it the awesome British humor and endless silly bits (The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse are actually “Hell’s Angels” bikers!), some of them with “Monty Pythonesque” humor, the book has some wonderful insight on humanity’s foibles and how we should try and be better to each other. It also is filled with heart warming sweetness of how much goodness there actually is in the world.
There are many wonderful quotes in the book. Here is one I found on QuoteAddicts.com:
If you have followed my blog for a while you know how much I love nonfiction “self-help” and “self improvement” genre audiobooks. The last couple of months I took a break from nonfiction and listened to several science fiction audiobooks – Cixin Liu’s The Three-Body Problem and The Dark Forest. These were excellent books/stories with excellent audiobook narrators, however I began to crave a little nonfiction audiobook in the mix.
I heard about the commencement speech by Naval Admiral William H. McRaven (retired) in which he shares life lessons from his Navy Seal training, beginning with “make you bed every morning”. When I saw my local library had his book on audiobook I had to reserve it.
I really enjoyed the audiobook (read by the author) and the details of the stories he shared from his Navy Seal training that led him to form his 10 Life Lessons:
10 Life Lessons from Basic SEAL Training
If you want to change the world, start off by making your bed.
If you want to change the world, find someone to help you paddle.
If you want to change the world, measure a person by the size of their heart, not the size of their flippers.
If you want to change the world get over being a sugar cookie and keep moving forward.
If you want to change the world, don’t be afraid of the circuses.
If you want to change the world sometimes you have to slide down the obstacle head first.
If you want to change the world, don’t back down from the sharks.
If you want to change the world, you must be your very best in the darkest moment.
If you want to change the world, start singing when you’re up to your neck in mud.
If you want to change the world don’t ever, ever ring the bell.
Here is a link to the commencement speech he gave in 2014 at the University of Texas at Austin – University of Texas at Austin 2014 Commencement Address – Admiral William H. McRaven, in which he addresses these 10 life lessons. In his speech he gives a very abbreviated version of each lesson – in the book he really fleshes out the story behind each lesson in a very engaging manner. At the end of the book he shares the original commencement speech that led to the book but for me it did not compare to the richness and depth of stories in the book providing the background to each of his life lessons.
One of my favorites of his life lessons is: “If you want to change the world get over being a sugar cookie and keep moving forward.” You will have to either read the book or watch the commencement speech to find out what he means by “sugar cookie”! I have so much respect for those who can endure Navy Seal training in order to serve our country. It seems impossibly grueling!
We already make our bed each morning, as it just looks better up, made but Admiral McRaven opened my eyes to the true power of making your bed each morning!