Audiobooks and Podcasts, My Minimalism Journey, Quality of Life

Soulful Simplicity and the Mexican Fisherman

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.

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image credit: Amazon

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


Feature photo credit: Johanna Ljungblom

Audiobooks and Podcasts, What's on the Design Wall

The “Planning Fallacy”

Continuing my latest binge of nonfiction self improvement audiobooks, I am currently listening to Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness by Richard H. Thaler and Cass R. Sunstein.

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Image credit: Amazon.com

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.”

Well, I recently made quite the “planning fallacy” in relation to the pillow top I’ve been working on (and discussed in the post Pillow Popping with the Untethered Soul).

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:

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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:

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This photo illustrates the difference of how wide I thought the pillow top would be compared to reality:

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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!


Postscript

On a more pleasant note, my lilac bush/tree is full bloom and my backyard smells wonderful!

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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.

Audiobooks and Podcasts, What's on the Design Wall

Pillow Popping with the Untethered Soul

I know, I know, this is the craziest tierneycreates post title ever, eh?

This post is actually a continuation of two ongoing tierneycreates series: 1) What’s on the Design Wall, and 2) Audiobooks and Podcasts.

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).

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Image credit: Amazon.com

If you remember from my post Central Oregon Quilt Shop Hop Day 1 QuiltWorks quilt shop had a wonderful Pillow Pop display with several completed pillows:

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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):

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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.

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Image credit: Amazon.com

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.

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Image credit: Amazon.com

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.”

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Audiobooks and Podcasts

Got Problems?

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.

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Image credit: amazon.com

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.

Gravity Problems

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.

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Image credit: Pexels Photo Library

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

Anchor Problems

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…”

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Image credit: Pexels Photo Library

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”.


Postscript

Next post I will reveal my work to date on my art quilt called Recycled Love for our annual Central Oregon SAQA show.


Feature image credit: Pexels Photo Library

A Crafter's Life, Audiobooks and Podcasts, Outside Adventures!

A Beautiful Monday and Audiobook Delights

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 Butte Adventures.

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.

Pilot Butte

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.

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Headed up the Butte
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Near the top, taking in the panoramic views
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Headed down the Butte and of course some really fit Central Oregon Senior Citizen passed me

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:

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It was quite magical!

Audiobooks

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).

On Monday’s Pilot Butte hike however I listened to an audiobook I found for free on iTunes podcasts: High Performance Habits with Brendon Burchard by Brendon Burchard.

Here are the 6 habits which the author discusses in depth:

  • Seek Clarity
  • Generate Energy
  • Raise Necessity
  • Increase Productivity
  • Develop Influence
  • Demonstrate Courage

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 Journey by 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: Living an Examined Life.
  • Waking Gods, and Sleeping Giants by 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.

A Crafter's Life, Audiobooks and Podcasts, tierneycreates

“Self-Help” From My Family

Curious title for this post, eh?

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). 

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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:

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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!


Postscript

I plan to return to blogging about my crafting adventures in the near future.

In case you do not follow my other blog, Improvisational Textiles: A Collaborative Art Quilting Journey, here are a couple recent posts on the Improvisational Textiles blog about my art quilts and my addition to the Seattle Office of Arts & Culture’s Ethnic Artist Roster:

Audiobooks and Podcasts, The Library Stack

The Library Stack

Continuing my ongoing series, The Library Stack, sharing my latest* stack of borrowed books from my beloved local public library.

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*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:

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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):

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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

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Wallhanging I completed in July 2017 in honor of my favorite quote!

Postscript

In my November 8th post A Good Mess, I shared an image of a crumpled sari a friend picked up for me at a thrift shop.

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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):

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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:

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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!):

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And yes my decorating still could be labeled: Random or “Very Random”.

A Crafter's Life, Audiobooks and Podcasts, My Minimalism Journey, The Library Stack

Limitless Library Love

(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 The Library Stack featuring 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 My Minimalism 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!

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Image credit: Deschutes Public Library

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 Postscript section if you have grown tired my library related ramblings and you are now ready for some crafting project related news…)

Recent Borrowings

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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!

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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!

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:

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Postscript

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:

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Here are some in progress (I am having so much fun with color and pattern combinations):

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And here is a basket of the first 37 completed (by the time of this photo):

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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

Audiobooks and Podcasts, Farm Girl Vintage Blocks

More Farm House Vintage Blocks

I worked on Farm Girl Vintage Blocks this weekend.

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.


Postscript

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.'”

– Elizabeth Gilbert

Audiobooks and Podcasts

Seeds

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:

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This banner is based on a Mexican proverb and the banner is currently in a national traveling exhibit called Still They Persist: Protest Art of the 2017 Women’s Marches. It is featured in a book about the exhibit by the same title.

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.


Postscript

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 Tangled Floss, 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!

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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?)

Thanks for reading my ramblings…

 

Audiobooks and Podcasts, Studio

Fundraiser Quilt and Good Omens

Quilting Sisters’ Charity Quilt

One of my Quilting Sisters (see posts Quilting Sisters, Part II and Quilting Sisters, Part I) 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:

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Here are the completed blocks, I used the same “white on white” background fabric and different blues for the blocks:

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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.

Good Omens

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

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Photo credit: Amazon.com

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:

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Postscript

The kale in my garden is ready to use!

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Hello Kale, I would like to invite you into my belly

Even though summer has started, I made my one of my favorite stews for supper: Bean and Chicken Sausage Stew .

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Used fresh tomatoes instead of canned

With some crusty bread, we had a very tasty supper last night! Check out my repost from  November 2016, A Girl’s Gotta Eat (repost), if you would like links to some of other favorite recipes.

All the topics on this post seem rather random, so I will continue to be random, and share the cover of a blank journal my friend Susan recently gave me as a gift. It makes me smile:

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Audiobooks and Podcasts

Make Your Bed

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.

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Photo credit: Amazon.com

10 Life Lessons from Basic SEAL Training

  1. If you want to change the world, start off by making your bed.
  2. If you want to change the world, find someone to help you paddle.
  3. If you want to change the world, measure a person by the size of their heart, not the size of their flippers.
  4. If you want to change the world get over being a sugar cookie and keep moving forward.
  5. If you want to change the world, don’t be afraid of the circuses.
  6. If you want to change the world sometimes you have to slide down the obstacle head first.
  7. If you want to change the world, don’t back down from the sharks.
  8. If you want to change the world, you must be your very best in the darkest moment.
  9. If you want to change the world, start singing when you’re up to your neck in mud.
  10. 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!

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Photo credit: Lars Jensen, freeimages.com

Postscript

My art quilt, Jiko’s Robe, is in a month long exhibit at QuiltWorks Gallery.  Here is a post about the show on our Improvisational Textiles blog: Jiko’s Robe at QuiltWorks Gallery June 2017.

I will do a future post with photos from the exhibit of the other Asian themed quilts.

 

Audiobooks and Podcasts, Blogging Awards, tierneycreates

Versatile Blogger Award

The tierneycreates blog has been honored with another blogging award (see post Thank You for the Blogging Awards). Thanks so much to Dewey Hop: Feisty Froggy Reads Through the Library for the nomination!

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The Dewey Hop/Feisty Froggy has accused the tierneycreates blog of being “versatile, informative, fun, and original“!

In order accept this award, I must list the rules (slightly altered by Dewey Hop/Feisty Froggy per her confession, ha) :

THE RULES:

  • You have to thank the person who nominated you and provide a link to their blog!
  • Nominate bloggers of your choice.
  • Link the nominees and inform them about their nomination.
  • Share some facts about yourself.

NOMINEES:

I  (like Dewey Hop/Feisty Froggy) will do my best to nominate people who really are versatile, informative, fun, and original. Bloggers, please don’t feel that you have to participate if you don’t want to, but you do deserve this honor whether you participate or not.

(NOTE: I would definitely have nominated Dewey Hop but then this would be a circular nomination, ha!)

I follow many wonderful blogs and for this nomination I tried to focus on those with a very wide ranges of topics and/or uniqueness.

SHARING SOME FACTS (QUITE RANDOM FACTS):

  1. I constantly listen to audiobooks. I am never without an audiobook queued on my iPhone and usually I have two audiobooks going at once. Currently I am listening to Make Your Bed: Little Things That Can Change Your Life…And Maybe the World by Admiral William McRaven (U.S Navy Retired), which I will discuss in a future post. 
  2. I love dogs’ noses. When not kissing the noses of my two rescue miniature schnauzers, I am admiring other dogs’ noses. Cats noses are pretty cool too.
  3. For most of my life (age 11 forward) I have loved horror films. Classic horror films (Frankenstein, Dracula, Wolf-man…anything with Christopher Lee or Bella Lugosi); haunted house horror films; slasher-films, Japanese-style horror (The Grudge, The Ring), and silly horror films (like Nightmare on Elm Street, etc.). Then, suddenly about 6 months ago, I stopped enjoying most horror films and stopped watching the genre (except for the occasional classic horror film). It just seemed like there was too much horror already in the real world, I did not want to watch fictional horror on film anymore.
  4. A couple years ago I had decided to become a runner without listening to my sister who said I needed to get orthotics and good sneakers. I ended up with Plantar Fasciitis and a Morton’s Neuroma on my feet and had to wear a walking boot for several months. After my rehabilitation, I now stick with walking. I never really appreciated my feet until they were not working very well. Now I treat them very well – custom orthotics, high quality sneakers and shoes, and daily foot exercises to avoid a return of Plantar Fasciitis (or have to get another one of those icky foot injections to treat the Morton’s Neuroma).
  5. Terry the Quilting Husband (TTQH) and I are craft brews/microbrews aficionados. I never liked beer until we lived in Seattle and we met people who introduced us to craft brewing. In 2004 we traveled to Amsterdam, Antwerp, Brussels and Denmark on a beer tasting and friend visiting vacation. During this trip,  TTQH, who is also a Military History buff specializing in the Napoleonic Era, got to see Waterloo. This was definitely one of those “Bucket List” items for TTQH. To get to Waterloo battleground and museums, we traveled from Brussels via train and then bus; and I had to pull out my very rusty high school French to get the last leg of the journey to Waterloo (no one spoke English on the local bus)!
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Lion’s Mound, Waterloo (Photo Credit: European Traveler)

Thanks again to Dewey Hop/Feisty Froggy at Dewey Hop: Feisty Froggy Reads Through the Library for nominating tierneycreates: a fusion of textiles & smiles.

A Crafter's Life, Audiobooks and Podcasts

Thoughts on Solitude

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

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Photo credit: Amazon.com

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

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

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

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

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

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

A couple of quotes from the book:

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

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

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

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

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

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


Postscript

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

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

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

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

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

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


Featured image credit: Gabor Szakacs, freeimages.com

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Audiobooks and Podcasts, Studio, What's on the Design Wall

A Happy Ending for “Happy Ending”

“The Quilt is in the Mail”

A package arrived in the mail yesterday. A very exciting package. A quilted quilt!

I could not wait to open the package and see Cindy Anderson’s, of A Quilter’s Corner with Cindy Anderson (inastitchquilting.com), long-arm quilting magic!

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How fast can I get the box open?
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Oh the anticipation, now I have to unwrap it from the enclosed bag!

Before we get to the reveal (don’t scroll down and peek yet!) here is a little background on this quilt.

I found the pattern for this quilt, Happy Ending, in a book I borrowed from my public library – Perfect Quilts for Precut Fabrics by That Patchwork Place. The pattern was designed by Lesley Chaisson. I used a couple packages of pre-cut 5 inch squares (charm packs) and deep blue (Ink) Peppered Cotton, shot cotton to make the quilt.

If interested, you can read these previous posts about the evolution of this quilt: Diving into a quilt (and other stuff) and What’s on the Design Wall and What’s on the Design Wall.

After  removing the quilt from the box, Terry the Quilting Husband (TTQH) and I opened it up and laid it out on our bed to get the full effect of the completed:

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Draped on a king-size bed

My quilt top traveled from Oregon to Wisconsin and returned from Wisconsin as a quilted quilt!

I wish it was completely done and ready for use, but first I have to make and then sew the binding to the edge of the quilt to finish it.

Originally my plan was to use the deep blue shot cotton (main fabric of the quilt) for the binding. TTQH suggested a contrasting color for the binding instead of the dark blue, like an orange or a red fabric.

I like that idea! I found in my stash a reddish-orange Moda fabric that coordinates with the Moda fabric charm squares. I will post more photos when I get the binding put on the Happy Ending quilt. Photos do not do it justice, the geometric designs of Cindy’s long-arm quilting are lovely on my quilt!

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Waiting for the binding to be added

How Do You Trim?

I have a question for the quilters reading: How do you trim the excess batting and fabric off the edges of a quilt that has been long-arm quilted (or domestic machine quilted by you)?

When I began having quilts professionally long-arm quilted, I would use scissors to trim down the quilt. Eventually I moved to using a rotary cutter and a ruler to get a sharp straight edge. This takes a bit of time to complete trimming on a large quilt and I long for the day when I would just use scissors.

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Trimming my quilt after long-arm quilting completed

Rotary cutter and ruler or scissors? How do you trim?

Bonus Content

Inside the box with my quilt from Cindy were a couple extra items that made me smile:

A handmade card (not by Cindy but by another artist) from recycled fabric scraps:2017-04-11_13-30-49_944.jpeg

Scraps left over from the quilt including some fairly thin scraps that I think Cindy was challenging to make something with! (ok true confession – my quilt back was little bit short on one side and Cindy had to do some “remodeling” on my quilt back to make it work):

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And finally – a challenge piece – an embroidered napkin:

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When I saw the napkin, I misunderstood why Cindy sent it. I thought she sent it in support of my post The Napkin Story. However, after chatting with Cindy I discovered she sent it to me as a recycled fabric quilt challenge! She wants to see what I can do with it! (I took it out of my cloth napkin drawer and put it in my studio).


Postscript

I love listening to audiobooks and most of the audiobooks I listen to are borrowed from my public library’s digital download system. You reserve audiobooks just like you would hard copy books (the library is given a limited number of licenses of copies of a digital book they can loan out at one time) and the library e-mails you when the audiobook is available for download. On popular audiobooks, you can wait anywhere from a week to a couple months to get that e-mail.

So I went crazy reserving a bunch of audiobooks a couple of weeks ago when I suddenly ran out of audiobooks to listen – PANIC! Then, yesterday in addition to getting the quilt in the mail, I got an e-mail from my library notifying me that FIVE of the audiobooks I had on hold were available for download:

  • Norse Mythology – Neil Gaiman
  • For Women Only: What You Need to Know About the Inner Lives of Men
    – Shaunti Feldhahn
  • We: A Manifesto for Women Everywhere – Gillian Anderson & Jennifer Nadel (yup, Gillian Anderson of The X-Files fame)
  • Good Omens – Neil Gaiman & Terry Pratchett
  • Smoke and Mirrors: Short Fictions and Illusions – Neil Gaiman

The loan period is 21 days, so I need to listen to all books in 21 days or have to go back into the reserve book queue – yikes!

I went ahead and started listening to For Women Only: What You Need to Know About the Inner Lives of Men as I was in the mood to begin with my nonfiction options. Also I previously read Good Omens and several of the short stories in the anthology Smoke and Mirrors are in the Neil Gaiman book I read last year, Trigger Warning. 

The audiobook is very interesting so far! I might share some insights from this book in a future post.

(Shaunti Feldhahn did also write with her husband Jeff Feldhahn the companion book – For Men Only, Revised and Updated Edition: A Straightforward Guide to the Inner Lives of Women. According to Ms. Feldhahn these books are used as reading requirements in some church-based premarital counseling programs.)

Audiobooks and Podcasts, Creative Inspiration, Outside Adventures!

Creative Inspiration: Pilot Butte Hike

This post is a continuation of two series of posts:

Monday, I went on my first 2017 Pilot Butte hike! Nearly a year ago, last Spring, I started back hiking our local “mini mountain”, Pilot Butte.

Every Pilot Butte hike I take photos, it is like I cannot control myself, even if I am taking the same photos over and over again!

Monday’s hike I experimented with taking both color and B&W photos of the same scenes. I shared one of my B&W photos with some friends, and my friend Lisa mentioned the photo below would be a great inspiration for a quilt:

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The steps to the viewpoint at the summit of Pilot Butte.

A light bulb appeared above my head: my Pilot Butte photos could serve as inspiration for a future art quilt.

So I thought I would share some of the photos from Monday’s hike that I would consider “creative inspiration”:

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You likely noticed, except for the photos of the steps, the photos above feature trees.

Hiking up Pilot Butte affords 360 degrees views of Central Oregon; and I took many photos that looked like this featuring the wonderful Cascade Mountain Range:

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However I am not attracted to mountain landscape scenes for art quilting inspiration as I am to structures such as trees. I think trees are among the most magical organic structures on earth! (Check out previous posts featuring trees such as Creative Inspiration: Winter Trees and Creative Inspiration: Fall Foliage).

As much as I love the trees, I will likely give the steps photo priority as creative inspiration for a future art quilt, I love the composition:

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To see more photos of the Pilot Butte hike in B&W check out my post from 09/04/16 – Friday at the ‘Butte’ in B&W.

Postscript

Listen While I Walk

I always listen to an audiobook or podcast while I hike Pilot Butte.

On Monday I finished the last two episodes of a six-episode podcast – Missing Richard Simmons. This podcast explores the story behind the fitness guru and eccentric celebrity Richard Simmons’ disappearance in 2014. It is very interesting, I was completely drawn into the story by the middle of the first podcast.

Richard Simmons, whether you loved or hated him, helped and inspired a lot of people. This podcast gives you insight into his world from interviews from clients and friends.

“No tricks, gimmicks, special pills, special potions, special equipment. All it takes is desire and will.”  — Richard Simmons

I love podcasts, I cannot believe how many free podcasts there are to download off of iTunes – on so many topics!

Watch for the Wildlife

One more photo to close out this post – I love this sign at the base of Pilot Butte:

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I have hiked Pilot Butte for nearly 12 years and luckily no cougar sightings for me. I hope my record of 0 cougar sightings stands.

I wonder if any new hiker to Pilot Butte sees this sign, turns around and gets back in the car!

A Crafter's Life, Audiobooks and Podcasts, Special Events, Terry the Quilting Husband

WWII: The High Desert Home Front

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

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

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

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

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The Vehicles

WWII Harley Davidson and Army Jeep

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The Uniforms

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

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Women and WWII

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

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Contributions by Specific Ethnic Groups

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

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Japanese American Internment

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

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(and finally) The Beginning of the Atomic Age

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Postscript

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

Prehistoric Buzz Saw Sharks (Helicoprion)

Hysterical T-Shirt in the Gift Shop 

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A little High Desert humor!

Our Beloved High Desert Raptors

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

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

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

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

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Image credit: dinosaurpictures.org

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

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Audiobooks and Podcasts, Farm Girl Vintage Blocks, Studio, What's on the Design Wall

Farm Girl Vintage, Part II and Recent Audiobook Delights

Farm Girl Vintage

I recently finished another block from the Farm Girl Vintage book by Lori Holt. In the post Farm Girl Vintage, Part I I shared the first 8 blocks I made from the book.

Here is the latest block: Canning Season

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You might have to use your imagination but this block is supposed to be 6 jars of canned goods in a farm’s cupboard. Yes, these colorful “Mason jars” of food may look suspicious but the fabric is pretty!

I had fun selecting fabric from my basket of fat quarters and scraps for this block:

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If happen to also have this book and plan to work on the blocks here is a tip: Each block has cutting directions for both a finished 6″ block or a 12″ block. If you are working on the 12″ blocks, like I am, cover up the directions for the 6″ block so your eye does not accidentally cut your fabric to the 6″ block directions (BEEN THERE!)

Recent Audiobooks

In my post Cozy Quilt and Audiobook Delights, I shared that I was listening to the wonderful audiobook Emotional Agility: Get Unstuck, Embrace Change, and Thrive in Work and Life by Susan David. Well I finished that book (I highly recommend it) and now I have moved on to listening to another “self-improvement” genre audiobook – Joy on Demand: The Art of Discovering the Happiness Within by Chade-Meng Tan.

Instead of providing and overview of this awesome audiobook, here is a link to brief article on mindful.org by the author that provides many of the key concept in this book:

Joy on Demand The art of discovering the happiness within

Early in the book the author shares a wonderful quote by Archbishop Desmond Tutu:

“If you want to become an agent of change, you have to remember to keep your sense of humor.”

I love this quote!

I am mixing my endless nonfiction audiobook consumption (thank you local library!) with some fiction lately – a couple of mystery/suspense novels by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child.

Postscript

How about a photo of an adorable senior dog to close our this post?

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I was visiting a friend who was babysitting a tiny 13 year old “Pom-Chi” (pomeranain and chihuahua). He was so tiny but he did not know it. He was trying to be alpha to a large golden retriever and very large golden doodle!

He was totally a miniature with a big attitude!

Audiobooks and Podcasts, Terry the Quilting Husband

Cozy Quilt and Audiobook Delights

Cozy Quilt Completion

Terry the Quilting Husband got his cozy flannel quilt back from the long-arm quilter and finally we have put the denim binding on (I say “we” because Terry sewed the binding strips together but I sewed them down on the quilt as he hates that part!) and completed the quilt.

Here is Terry under the quilt (he does not like his photo posted, and no, he is not in a witness protection program):

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Somewhere under this cozy flannel quilt is a male quilter…

A close up of the denim binding (Terry’s idea) and the pieced :

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Pieced flannel back and binding

Here is the chair with the quilt “sans Terry”. This chair is actually my favorite chair for reading in front of the window, but Terry has hijacked it and has his quilt and his book (Military History not crafting) in my spot:

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Not sure if there are enough quilts in this corner…

Terry selected the fabric (a fat quarter stack of Woolies flannel), designed the quilt, and pieced the quilt…and assembled the binding then handed it off to his wife to sew onto the quilted quilt!


Non-Stop Self-Help Audiobook Listening

Those of you who have followed my blog for a while know of my obsession with self-help audiobooks. I do try and sprinkle a little fiction into my book consumption whether it be a Neil Gaiman audiobook or my recent read (via a hardback book!) of Paula Hawkin’s The Girl on the Train (which I really liked, it was a page turner, but the main character did irritate me…).

Recently from my local library, I have listened to three “self-help” genre audiobooks back to back:

  • Present Over Perfect: Leaving Behind Frantic for a Simpler, More Soulful Way of Living by Shauna Niequist
  • The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life by Mark Manson
  • Emotional Agility: Get Unstuck, Embrace Change, and Thrive in Work and Life by Susan David

I am still reading/listening to Emotional Agility and it might end up being one of my most favorite “self-improvement”/”self-help” audiobooks of all time. It is narrated by the author who has a lovely South African accent (early in the book she shared some of the horrors witnessed growing up in South Africa during the Apartheid and how they influenced her; she now lives in the US).

I greatly enjoyed The Subtle Art… and it was not about being indifferent or becoming a sociopath – it was about embracing your life struggles and viewing your struggles from a different perspective. The book also focused on deciding what is important to you in life, based on your values, and focusing your energies there instead of getting lost in the meaningless details in life.

I gave up halfway through the book Present Over Perfect as I found the narrator and the book sort of tedious and repetitious; however the author did make some good points and perhaps I would have enjoyed it better as a print book.

Here are some quotes from each of the books that I found inspirational:

Present Over Perfect (Shauna Niequist)

“What kills a soul? Exhaustion, secret keeping, image management. And what brings a soul back from the dead? Honesty, connection, grace”

“How we live matters, and what you choose to own will shape your life, whether you choose to admit it or not. Let’s live lightly, freely, courageously, surrounded only by what brings joy, simplicity, and beauty.”

“But you can’t have yes without no. Another way to say it: if you’re not careful with your yeses, you start to say no to some very important things without even realizing it. In my rampant yes-yes-yes-ing, I said no, without intending to, to rest, to peace, to groundedness, to listening, to deep and slow connection, built over years instead of moments.”

The Subtle Art… (Mark Manson)

“We suffer for the simple reason that suffering is biologically useful. It is nature’s preferred agent for inspiring change. We have evolved to always live with a certain degree of dissatisfaction and insecurity, because it’s the mildly dissatisfied and insecure creature that’s going to do the most work to innovate and survive.”

“Who you are is defined by what you’re willing to struggle for.”

“We are so materially well off, yet so psychologically tormented in so many low-level and shallow ways. People relinquish all responsibility, demanding that society cater to their feelings and sensibilities. People hold on to arbitrary certainties and try to enforce them on others, often violently, in the name of some made-up righteous cause. People, high on a sense of false superiority, fall into inaction and lethargy for fear of trying something worthwhile and failing at it.”

Emotional Agility (Susan David)

“People frequently die in fires or crash landings because they try to escape through the same door they used when they entered.”

“Your Values will bring you freedom from Social Comparisons.”

“Bottling and brooding are short-term emotional aspirin we reach for, yet these habits don’t deal with what’s causing our distress.”

There is a great transcription of an interview with Susan David by the University of Pennsylvania’s The Wharton School’s website: How Achieving Emotional Agility Can Help You — at Work and in Life.

This quote by Susan David from the interview sums up the theme of this wonderful book:

“(Emotional Agility is) the ability to be able to be with your thoughts, your emotions and your stories. We all have thousands of these every day in a way that enables us not to be derailed by them, but rather brings us intentionally and with purpose towards what we value in our live.”

I keep thinking I will eventually tire of or just get completely sick of “self-help” books but then I stumble across a couple of gems like The Subtle Art… and Emotional Agility!


Postscript

I backup my photos on Google Photos and occasionally it will automatically add a special effect to one of my photos that I can choose to save or discard (not affecting the original photo). Here are two photos that were first featured on the 01/15/17 post Creative Inspiration: Winter Trees that Google added special effects.

I wanted to share these photos as they look really cool (well at least to me):

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Audiobooks and Podcasts, Creative Inspiration

Creative Inspiration: Winter Trees

A bit of time has passed since I continued my ongoing series on sources of Creative Inspiration.

I cannot promise I am going to create an art quilt based on every inspiration I have shared in the Creative Inspiration series of posts, but I use this series of posts as an online catalogue/resource for future art quilt ideas!

In January 2016, I posted about the beauty of Winter Trees. If you peek at this post, from nearly a year ago, you will see bare trees against a blue sky. January 2017 looks much different – the trees are bare of leaves, but they are filled with snow!

Here are a couple of photos from my daily walks (recently I upgraded from an iPhone 4S to an iPhone 7 so my photo quality has improved…at least in my mind):

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A snapped a couple photos of birds in the snowy Winter Trees:

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If any of my photos inspire you to create please feel free to use them!

It has been a beautiful Winter Wonderland in Central Oregon, even if I refer to it as “Snowmageddon”. I do have proof we have had serious snow – the Bend Bulletin recently published this story: “Central Oregon sees historic snow depths”. (See I am not being a drama queen over this snow, ha!)

Postscript

Follow up to my recent post Diving into a quilt (and other stuff) – I have made 192 half square triangles and in the near future I will have a “What’s on the Design Wall” post with my progress!

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Today I finished two books – an audiobook (Scrappy Little Nobody) and a paper novel (Girl on the Train).

Anna Kendrick’s Scrappy Little Nobody was delightful! It is narrated by the author and filled with charming and very funny stories from her days as a child actor, awkward adolescent, and struggling young adult. The end of her book contains a hysterically funny “Book Club Discussion Questions” written by the author and making fun of herself as a celebrity who writes a memoir.

Scrappy Little Nobody ranged from PG to an occasional PG-13 rating in my opinion. It was quite different than Amy Schumer’s The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo which was R to NC-17 rated (but absolutely hysterically funny).

Just to give you a sense of the difference, Amy Schumer opens her book with a graphic letter of apology to her “lady parts”. Anna Kendrick on the other hand kept acknowledging that her mother would be reading her book so she had to leave some stuff out of her book…

I realized I have now listened to many memoirs by current pop culture female celebrities. Here is my ranking of these books:

  1. Scrappy Little Nobody – Anne Kendrick
  2. The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo – Amy Schumer (Amy Schumer’s book was the funniest – like stop my walk to bend over laughing funny – but Anne Kendrick was more endearing)
  3. Bossypants – Tina Fey
  4. Shrill: Notes From a Loud Woman – Lindy West
  5. You’ll Grow Out of It – Jesse Klein (this would have had a higher ranking if not for the unnecessary Triple XXX chapter that took oversharing to a whole new level)

Am I rambling? There was something else I was going to add to the Postscript section but it left my mind. (Hope I have not been “oversharing”…)

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At least we have blue skies…

If you would like to see what Sassy the Highly Opinionated Miniature Schnauzer thinks of all the Central Oregon snow, check out her blog at schnauzersnips.wordpress.com/blog/

A Crafter Needs to Eat, A Crafter's Life, Audiobooks and Podcasts, The Library Stack

Diving into a quilt (and other stuff)

It is time to get back to some quilt making, since allegedly I am a quilter, and this a blog about a Quilter’s Life (which would imply there would eventually be some quilt-making involved).

I tried to start the quilt (Tango Stripe) I mentioned in the post Quilt Seating! but as I mentioned in the post Not working on what I’m supposed to be working on, I abandoned it for knitting a hat.

Never started…

 

However sitting around reading and browsing books from my latest library stack (see post The Library Stack) and being the ADHD creative person I am, I found a quilt pattern in the book Perfect Quilts for Precut Fabrics by That Patchwork Place, that I had to make IMMEDIATELY!

It is a fairly simple “half square triangles” (HSTs) quilt pattern called “Happy Ending”, designed by Lesley Chaisson. I have a couple bolts of Peppered Cotton (shot cottons) in various colors and a crazy amount of Moda charm packs. I thought this pattern and quilt would be the perfect marriage between a deep blue (ink) Peppered Cotton and a couple Moda Basic Grey line charm packs. You need like 7 yards of the solid so this is a great way to use up a bolt that I have too much of (originally I was selling it on my tierneycreates Etsy shop).

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I have completed most of the cutting and Terry the Quilting Husband has drawn the diagonal lines on the back of the printed charm squares for us to make the HSTs. So the next step is to actually sit in front of my sewing machine and sew! (so that’s how quilts are made…)

And what about the hat I was working on? It is done and I wore it for the first time yesterday on a dog walk in the land of “Snowmageddon” (it is still snowing and snowing and snowing in Central Oregon).

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(And yes I did wear the hat around the house for 1/2 hour with the double pointed needles on top mentioned in my prior post – I get so excited when a hat is nearly done – I get a “knitting high”)

I am tempted to start another hat but first I better actually finish a quilt top…


Postscript

So what else have I been doing during “Snowmageddon” – reading and cooking.

I am reading Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins and I am completely sucked into the convoluted tale. I even stayed up too late one night reading. It is one of those books where I think the actual paper book is better than the audiobook. I gave up on the audiobook earlier this year and I am so glad I gave it another try in paper.

I am also listening to an audiobook when I walk the dogs in Snowmageddon – Scrappy Little Nobody by Anna Kendrick. The book is delightful and narrated by the author. I did not know she was a child actor and I am enjoying her stories from her childhood and the less than glamorous world of childhood acting. She is a great narrator and I feel like she is talking to me telling me her story.

As far as cooking, I have been persuing Pinterest for soup recipes and found a delicious vegetable soup recipe on the Cooking Classy blog – Vegetable Soup. It says it serves 7 but I think they left the “0” off after the “7”. It made SO MUCH SOUP.

I froze several large bags of soup and I have a couple containers in the fridge for lunch this week (and next week, and the next week..)

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Finally, let me leave you with this image that a friend shared. I do not know the original source, so unfortunately I have no credit for the photo/meme. It does capture how we are feeling right now in Central Oregon with the nonstop snow:

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Sassy the Highly Opinionated Miniature Schnauzer now has her own blog schnauzersnips.wordpress.com.

You can sign up to follow her blog at schnauzersnips.wordpress.com/blog/

A Crafter's Life, Audiobooks and Podcasts, tierneycreates

And the winner is…

As promised, today I will reveal my decision on which of three new business card finalists I was considering; and asked for your votes on in the post New Business Card Options (please vote for your favorite).


The Options

To recap, there were the three options:

Option #1

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Option #2

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Option #3

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The Poll Results

Here are the results from the poll:

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As you can see above, with 16 votes of the 28 total votes, Option #1 was the winner of the poll.


The Decision

Option #1 won the poll, but alas, it was not the winner of my heart. As much as I loved the graphics on card #1 it kept feeling like that business card for a tailor or seamstress.

I so appreciated all the comments and votes, but I really connected with several comments in regards to Option #3 and decided to go with the vertical business card.

I am only ordering the smallest order (100 cards) as I love the idea from several comments to eventually go with a business card that features my art.

2017 I am going to focus on creating more of my textile art so I have a large selection of works to choose from someday – ha!


Postscript

I am currently listening to the audiobook Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol S. Dweck (2006).

Although some of the material seems dated (the book was published in 2006), I am really enjoying the audiobook. A lot of it reminds me of the audiobook, Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance by Angela Duckworth (2016) that I discussed in several posts, most recently in the 7/22/2016 post A “Gritty Bad#ss”?

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Photo credit: Amazon.com

The book focuses on a discussion of the “Fixed Mindset” vs. the “Growth Mindset”.

I am about a 1/3rd way through listening to the audiobook and I came across a great quote by the author on how some people need to feel praised, “worshipped”, and admired by others:

If you feel a need to be surrounded by worshippers, go to church. – Carol S. Dweck

I must admit at times in my life I sought praise from others, a lot. I cannot change how I behaved in the past but it is giving me a lot to think about for the future!


Feature photo credit: dchappel, free images.com

A Crafter's Life, Audiobooks and Podcasts

Thursday Crafting, Thrifting and Laughing

Check out Sassy the Highly Opinionated Miniature Schnauzer’s blog page Schnauzer Snips, for her later musings.


A Day of Fun!

I took yesterday (Thursday) off from work as I wanted to attend a class that our SAQA (Studio Art Quilt Associates) group was having at a local gallery that started at 2:30 pm (I normally work until 4:30 pm or later at my healthcare industry pay-the-bills-job).

I have a couple of friends who are retired or self-employed and have a lot more freedom in their day, so I invited them to meet me for lunch and then wander around downtown Bend, Oregon until our class at 2:30 pm.

So began my lovely Thursday of crafting, thrifting and laughing.


Crafting

Our art quilting group, met up at A6 Studio & Gallery in Bend. The A6 Studio & Gallery hosted a private Bookmaking Class and Tour in honor of their OPENING JAPAN: THREE CENTURIES OF JAPANESE PRINTS exhibit.

The class, held in the back of the studio/gallery, was taught by a professional bookmaking artist. We made an origami folded little booklet called the “Blizzard Book”. A renown origami artist had created the book and the pattern during a blizzard when she needed a paper folding project to distract her from the weather outside.

Here are photos from my first origami mini book making experience:

During the class I learned the importance of the “bone folder” tool to get crisp folds and markings during origami paper folding.


Thrifting

After the class, before heading home, I thought it would be fun to take a peek at a couple local thrift stores near the gallery. As discussed in previous posts, I’ve found some wonderful fabric treasures at my local thrift stores. (My all time greatest find was a couple of years ago at the Brightside Animal Shelter Thrift Store. I found several yards of brand new Maywood Woolies Flannel, in brown check, for $1. Yes one dollar for like $30 + in new flannel. I ended up giving an extra donation to the animal shelter as it felt like pure stealing to only pay $1, so I paid $5!).

So here was my treasure I found on this thrifting trip – nearly a yard and a half of Amy Butler Midwest Modern fabric – for $1.50!


Laughing

The day filled with laughter began around 11:30 am when I met my friends for lunch, walked around downtown Bend and through the origami bookmaking class. We have a fun SAQA group of extremely talented art quilters (some of them super famous…but I finally learned to stop being intimidated) who were completely new to origami and were very able to laugh at themselves as they completely bungled paper folding.

When I returned home, the laughter continued, as I took the dogs on a walk and I continued to listen my my latest audiobook from the library: The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo by Amy Schumer.

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Photo credit: Amazon.com

Now this book is not for everyone. It is very irreverent and it is filled with profanity and some graphic stories from her love life. But, Amy is brilliant in it.

She narrates her own audiobook and her comic delivery is flawless. She shares (and maybe overshares) her vulnerabilities, mistakes and accomplishments in life is a warm-hearted, extremely humorous manner.

I love the relationship has with her younger sister; and I love the sections where she shares excerpts from her teenage journals with footnotes/comments from her current views on life.

In this book, Amy shares her flaws and her genuine desire that young women learn from some of the errors in judgement she has made related to relationships.

She also has a brutally honest story about her scary experience with domestic violence.

After listening to Tina Fey’s wonderful audiobook Bossypants and Jesse Klein’s nearly brilliant audiobook, You’ll Grow Out of It, I thought I was done with female comic’s memoirs.

I am so glad I borrowed this one from the library – numerous times on walks I stopped for a moment because I was laughing so hard. I was also glad my bladder was empty before listening!


Well the weekend is upon us. I hope you have some crafting (if you are a crafter), perhaps a little thrifting, and of course bountiful laughter!

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Gratuitous photo of beautiful Central Oregon, from one of my walks
Audiobooks and Podcasts, Creative Inspiration

Creative Inspiration: Fall Foliage

Continuing my ongoing series on sources of creative inspiration, I want to share my love for the colors of Fall and the beautiful fall foliage of Central Oregon.

In January 2016, I posted about the austere beauty of Winter Trees –  Well, before they become “Winter Trees” first, they are beautiful “Fall Trees“!

I love the deep oranges, reds, yellow and browns of the turning leaves. I took a series of photos over the past couple weeks for future quilt palette inspiration:img_5335img_5345img_5342img_2740img_5346img_5399img_5397img_5339

And speaking of creative inspiration – I came across an interesting quote in the book Inspired: how creative people think work and find inspiration by Dorte Nielsen and Kiki Hartman:

When creativity kicks in, a large amount of resistance inevitably also comes with it.

– Carouschka Streijffert

Inspire is one of the books from my The Library (Mega) Stack that I shared in an October 2016 post. I am about halfway through that stack of library books!

That is an interesting quote to mull over, eh? I would love to hear what you think that quote means in the Comments section.


Postscript

A couple of random follow up items…

  • In my post Fabulous Thrifting Fabric Find! I shared how I took down from the wall and donated a framed poster about Solitude, as I was ready to move on. Well, I did not share what I put up in its place. He Dresses Up, He Dresses Down (designed and pieced by me, quilted by Betty Anne Guadalupe) is now hanging in my entryway. It is a recycled fabric art quilt made from old denim jeans, wool scraps (Pendleton® Wool clothing and blankets) and scraps from mens suiting manufacturing.

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  • In several recent posts, I shared that I listened to the audiobook, The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz. The first time I listened to this audiobook it was an emotional experience as there were a lot of truths I was hearing and trying to absorb. I listened with tears running down my cheeks for several sections of this audiobook. Well I decided to listen to it again (it is only a couple hours long) and this time there were no tears, there was only a great sense of peace and deeper understanding of The Four Agreements. On my second listen, I discovered that I had not fully grasped the First Agreement: “Be Impeccable with Your Word”. I thought this agreement was focused on keeping your word, being true to your word. It is actually focused on being careful with the words that come out of your mouth and the power of words – to hurt and to heal.

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  • In the post When all else fails, reorganize your fabric scraps I shared an interesting except from the audiobook – Designing Your Life: How to Build a Well-Lived, Joyful Life by  Bill Burnett and Dave Evans on “Gravity Problems”. Later in the audiobook, 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 am really enjoying this book and nearly at the end of this inspiring listen! Here is another gem (quote) from this book:

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…

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Anchor Photo credit – Nicholas Sales, free images.com

Audiobooks and Podcasts, Studio

When all else fails, reorganize your fabric scraps

As I shared in previous posts, a month or so ago I was in the midst of a creative block. I first picked up English Paper Piecing and then revisited traditional quilt piecing to get myself creating again.

Before I got to this point however, I was trying to figure out a way, short of forcing myself to sew something, that I could “get my creative energies flowing”. On a whim I decided to reorganize my fabric scraps.

I first shared my fabric scrap organization in the 01/01/2016 post Inside the StudioMy fabric scraps were organized by individual color – Red, Blue, Green, Orange, Cream, Black/Gray/Black & White, Brown, and Yellow. Each color had its own bucket.

Reorganizing my fabric scraps I decided to group colors together that sometimes I have trouble telling apart and to make it easier to work with by having less individual buckets.

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As you can see by the photo above, the new groupings are:

  • Orange & Brown
  • Black, Gray, and Black & White
  • Red & Purple
  • Blue & Green (interestingly this was my largest group of scraps)
  • White, Cream and Yellow

While I was regrouping the scraps, I got to revisit my fabric scraps and I could feel creative energies start to percolate!

Interestingly, one of the books from my latest library stack (The Library (Mega) Stack) – Living the Creative Life by Rice Freeman-Zachary – addresses creative block. The author interviewed a group of artists for this book and their wisdom and experiences are peppered throughout this inspiring read.

One of the artists  the author interviewed, Bean Gilsdorf, an art quilter out of Portland, Oregon (www.beangildorf.com), shares the following tip for dealing with creative block:

When it starts to stress me out that I’m not doing anything in my studio, I try to make myself do something to get my hands busy again. The ideas will come back eventually…Clean out your files, rearrange your paints,  or clean everything so that when you’re ready, everything is in order. – Bean Gilsdorf

I read this book after I reorganized my scraps, but this book reinforced that I was headed in the right direction!


Postscript

I am currently listening to a wonderful nonfiction audiobook – Designing Your Life: How to Build a Well-Lived, Joyful Life by Bill Burnett and Dave Evans. 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 a wonderful quote from the book that I will leave you 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

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That pesky thing called gravity…

Photo credit – Michael Lorenzo, free images.com