A Crafter's Life, Outside Adventures!

Greetings from Colorado

Hello Blogging Buddies! Long time no hear, right?

Well I’ve been busy settling into my home in the Greater Denver Metropolitan Area (if you are new to this blog see my series of post “Colorado Bound“). Now I am ready to return to blogging about my Colorado, crafting and other adventures.

First Visitors

So far I’ve had four visitors since I’ve moved to Colorado.

My first visitor was my brother Raoul, who was in Denver for a business meeting the same day I moved into my apartment! So along with my friends Jason, Michele and Blair, he helped unpack me! I forgot to take photos during his brief one day visit, so none to share.

My second visitor was my sister and we had fun taking my miniature Mike in his backpack into downtown Denver via the light rail and wander around sightseeing. Here is my sister Rianna with Mike her back:

2019-05-02_11-53-15_0872019-05-01_16-59-03_034My sister (by the way I have one sister and one brother and we are all very close) is exceptionally fun and we had a blast during her visit.

She enjoys shopping adventures and we even took Mike with us to a store called Nordstroms Rack and made him go shoe shopping with us!


We also both enjoy going to thrift shops (see my series of posts Thrift Shop Adventures) and had a laugh at these shoes we found at a thrift shop chain store called Buffalo Exchange:


These shoes would be perfect for running, don’t you agree??!?!?!

My sister is exceptionally more glamorous than me, and here we are attending Trivia Night at a local pub (we came in last place in trivia but had a blast):

My sister on left, me on right (note we’ve been drinking adult beverages all evening, ha!)

My third visitor was my “Quilting Sister” Dana who was visiting her daughter who also lives in the Greater Denver Metro area. I will have a separate post about that visit as we had a wonderful outing to a very cool crafting shop!

But here is a preview (Dana craft shop shopping):


My fourth visitor was my friend Jenny who came for a long weekend. She is very outdoor adventurous so we went for a short hike in the Flatiron mountain area of Boulder, Colorado as well as explored downtown Boulder.

Here are photos from our hike/wander about Chautauqua Park:


I love this series of photos I took as Jenny took in the amazing views:


Here we are wandering around the Pearl Street Mall area in Boulder, Colorado:


My next visitor will be my original “Quilting Sister” Judy – the woman who taught me how to quilt. She visits in August.

I will be busy traveling a bit in July but I am going to plan to attempt (that sounds so committed doesn’t it?) to keep up with my blog and also catch up on the blogs I follow.


Are you surprised that my tierneycreates Beastie (see Beastie Adventures) has not stepped in and written a post? She has been busy herself and she will have a future post of her adventures in the future.

Oh and yes, this is primarily a quilting/crafting blog and perhaps someday I will share a post about such topics (smile).

Outside Adventures!

Horsing Around

This post is another entry in my series Outside Adventures!,

Monday I went on a hike with my friend Laurie and her Bernese Mountain Dog Luna on Horse Butte in Central Oregon. But first she took me on tour of Healing Reins where she works as a Physical Therapist providing therapeutic equine based services to children with special needs to begin our “horse themed” adventures.

I met several of the therapy horses in the outside areas. There was a group therapeutic session going on in the large indoor barn riding area with most of the horses and I could not take photos there because of client confidentiality. However here are a couple photo of the horses used for therapeutic riding and Laurie helping them get to the hay at the bottom of their feeder:


Here is Elvis, who is used for therapeutic interventions but not for riding, as he is a miniature horse:


There are also farm animals at Healing Reins that are very tame and used for therapeutic interventions with children. The farm animals include chickens, goats, pigs and a slightly grumpy duck named Michael and his partner:


I had a blast petting the farm animals and got to watch a therapeutic interventions with a pediatric client and the animals:


The staff at Healing Reins clearly love animals as evidenced by their current use of a side door to enter their indoor therapy center as there is a robin’s nest on the electrical meter near the front door (and they do not want to disturb the nesting bird!):


We kept the horse theme going and left Healing Reins to head to Horse Butte/Arnold Ice Cave Trail for a hike with Luna in tow. Note that on the trail sign below “Horses have the right of way“!


While hiking the base of Horse Butte we came across a woman riding one horse and leading another horse (who did not have a saddle). It was like she was taking the second horse “for a walk”. Laurie, who has extensive experience with horses, explained that likely she was acclimating the other horse to the trail.


The base of Horse Butte was scenic but we were lured into the possibility of awesome vistas at the top of Horse Butte and decided to climb to the top.

Unfortunately we could not find a suitable path, only sections of loose lava rock (Central Oregon is region formed by ancient volcanoes). But we decided to try it anyway. You will see in the photo below Laurie headed up and I am lagging behind (I’d like to use the excuse that I was lagging behind to take photos but in truth I was just lagging behind!)


Even more unfortunately on the way up the loose lava rock gave way and I took a spill and banged my knee, but I was able to continue to the top.

Although I had a sore knee, I got to enjoy some beautiful vistas at the summit:


Sometimes you have to suffer for beauty.


Then it was time to face the scary hike down on the loose lava rocks:


Obviously I made it as I am able to write you about it. My knee is still sore but I will survive.

(There was a funny moment on the trip back down where Laurie, who is very fit and sporty, was trying to guide the clumsy me back down the mountain, so I would not take out my other knee. She would preview where I should try and gain a foothold. At one point she yelled: “walk over here, this is best” and then proceeded to wipe out herself on the loose rocks. We had a good laugh about it!)

Luna, the Bernese Mountain Dog (note the word “Mountain” in her breed name) had no trouble scaling up and down Horse Butte!


After the hike we rewarded ourselves with a tasty lunch and microbrew at a new food cart station in the area (there were no horses in the food cart area to continue the day’s theme!)

A Crafter's Life, Creative Inspiration, Outside Adventures!

Return to Hiking with Luna and Laurie

This post is another entry in my series Outside Adventures!, and a follow up to my post The Toe Saga, Library Stack Catch Up, and Your Sacred Nest.

As I shared in “The Toe Saga” post, I had a quite careless mishap that led to a broken toe (my sofa and I are in “couples counseling” and working out our issues, ha!). A broken toe meant putting on hold my hiking adventures with my friend Laurie and my favorite Bernese Mountain Dog of all time – Luna.

Well this past Monday, I returned to hiking with “Laurie & Luna”! We did a reasonably easy hike – Farewell Bend Park along the Deschutes River. And as per our routine we had a delicious lunch afterwards in the Old Mill Shopping Center which is also along the Deschutes River.

Here are photos from our hike along the Deschutes River:


I’ve also tagged this post with my category/series “Creative Inspiration” on sources of creative/future art quilt inspiration, as I took a couple photos of trees/vignettes that I thought would make interesting art quilt compositions:


I did not take a photo of our lunch but here is Luna at lunch trying to convince Laurie and I that we really need to share our lunches with her:


I would not win any hiking competitions but I was quite pleased with myself that according to my Health tracker app on my smartphone I had these statistics for Monday May 7:


My toe is not fully healed and I was fairly sore the next day, but it was so wonderful to get outside and hike in my beautiful Central Oregon (with fun companions) again!


A Crafter's Life, Creative Inspiration, Outside Adventures!

Hiking the Highlands

No, alas, not the Scottish Highlands. This post is about a hike on the Cascade Highlands Trail in Central Oregon. Not as glorious as hiking in the Scottish Highlands but still quite lovely (and a significantly less expense trip – no airfare or accommodations required!)


I do not work on Mondays and once a month I’ve been going on a hike (followed by a yummy lunch) with my friend Laurie and her Bernese Mountain Dog Luna. I thought about creating a category for these posts called “Adventures with Laurie & Luna” but I decided to create a new blog category called Outside Adventures! which includes my various solo Pilot Butte hikes and any other interesting outdoor adventures.

Laurie who is new-ish to Central Oregon (I think she has lived here between 1 – 2 years) thought it would be a great idea to explore Central Oregon together by going on hikes we have not been on before and trying out restaurants we have not dine at before (or at least one of us has not tried before). We plan one at least once a month.

Hiking the Cascade Highlands

Here are photos from the hike (which were more breathtaking in person than the photos capture):


Good smells!


I am also adding this post to my blog post category Creative Inspiration as there was much potential art quilt inspiration on this hike!

Bend, Oregon (not that I am encouraging any more people to move to Central, Oregon – ha!) has over 44 miles of urban trails, where you can go hiking without leaving town! Here is a 2005 (when I first moved here!) article from the Bend Bulletin (and I bet there are more than 44 miles of trails now): Get outdoors in town: Bend’s urban trails system allows for hiking without leaving town.

Lunch Time

Laurie and I both enjoy yummy food and finding new places to enjoy yummy food. After the hike we went to a place we’ve never tried before, Chow, and it was quite delicious.


We decided to split a crab cake sandwich and each had our own special sides – I selected the most exquisite tasting sautéed (and finished with truffle oil) Brussels sprouts!


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.

Headed up the Butte
Near the top, taking in the panoramic views
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:


It was quite magical!


I’ve listened to a lot of audiobooks lately (I borrow them from my local library and download them directly to my smartphone using the Overdrive app).

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, Creative Inspiration, Outside Adventures!

Creative Inspiration: A Surprisingly Beautiful Monday

We have a break in our Winter weather and I went on a beautiful hike at Shevlin Park this past Monday with my friend and her Bernese Mountain Dog.

I thought I’d share photos from my hike as part ongoing series of posts on my sources of Creative InspirationMy blogging buddy Mary @Zippy Quilts had a recent post about Inspiration from Nature, and her post inspired this post!


I think several of the photos above would make awesome art quilt compositions! Especially the one of Luna the Bernese Mountain Dog!


After our hike we went to a lovely bakery for lunch (salad and sandwiches, not pastries for lunch!) and then wandered a well curated small indie bookstore nearby, Roundabout Books.

I have an old post about the joy of spending time in an Indie bookstore Dudley’s Bookshop Cafe – Independent Bookstores; Wonderful & Magical Places, and I also enjoyed wandering around Roundabout Books.

Here are a couple photos from my visit:

Like Dudley’s, Roundabout Books has an antique typewriter on display:


They have a wreath made from recycled book pages:


The entire shop is peppered with Staff Suggestions of great books to read (I did purchase the science fiction book The Fifth Season to read after discussing with one of the staff):


Their counter was made from books (I did not want to bother the patron to move so I could take the photo):


And they had a great quote above their backdoor:


Outside Adventures!

A Beautiful Monday

I meant to post this yesterday but the day got away from me (where does time go? do the minutes slip away to the same place missing socks go?).

I do not work on Mondays and this past Monday I went for a lovely hike with my friend Laurie and her Bernese Mountain Dog, Luna along the Deschutes River Trail off of Farewell Bend Park.


We are having “Sprinter” (Spring-like Winter, yes I totally made that up) in Central Oregon. Monday was in the late 50s to early 60s degrees F (14 – 15 degrees C for my blogging friends outside the US).  It was truly like a sunny blue sky Spring day (minus the Spring foliage).

We had a wonderful hike along the Deschutes River. Luna got to play in the river so she really happy and as a bonus for her and the humans, we ran in the puppy/”mini-me” version of Luna – an adorable Bernese Mountain Dog puppy named Willow.

Well, instead of me telling you about the hike, why don’t I just share photos and let the photos speak for themselves!


The Deschutes River Trail and Farewell Bend Park connect you back into the Old Mill District, an outdoor shopping and dining area built around an old lumbar mill, hence the name (www.oldmilldistrict.com/about/history/).

Laurie and I got a kick out of the app-based rental bikes parked at the Old Mill. You sign up and pay for the rental using a smartphone app!


We plan to rent them someday to explore the surrounding area by bike without having to haul our bikes down to the area!

Actually we are planning monthly hikes to explore our town. I have lived in Central Oregon 12 years and there is so much I have not yet explored, or I just want to explore again!


I so appreciate the comments, insights and encouragement on my 02/04/18 post Art & Fear, etc..

I got less stuck (or got over my “inertia” an awesome word my blogging buddy Claire of knitNkwilt commented) and mapped out the required dimensions of one of the art quilts with a looming deadline:


I also pulled out my recycled materials stash to start playing with fabrics based on the design I have sketched!


Moving forward! Unstuck! (for now…)


A Crafter's Life, Outside Adventures!, Special Events

Pilot Butte Posts

As part of the 4th year Blog Anniversary Celebration for tierneycreates, I am re-posting some favorite blog posts over the past 4 years throughout the month of October. Originally I was going to post just those with the most views or the most comments but I have decided to also randomly repost and that just totally cracked me up while I wrote them.

Yesterday I went hiking up Pilot Butte with a friend and her adorable Bernese Mountain Dog. 

Central Oregon is a geological wonderland and one of its marvels is Pilot Butte. It is like having a “mini mountain” to hike in the middle of Bend, Oregon. At its summit is a splendid 360-degree view of nearly the entire Central Oregon region.


Yesterday while hiking Pilot Butte I thought of my series of posts from 2015 – 2017 on my Pilot Butte hikes (Pilot Butte Adventures). Then at the end of our yesterday’s hike, a visit to the Pilot Butte Challenge Board made me think of a post from April 2016 (that cracked me up while I wrote it) on how my time up and down Pilot Butte, at my top pace, is still slower then the 95 year old’s record! (In case you did not know, I am quite younger than 95 years old)

MONDAY, AGAIN (original post 04/25/16)

I walked/climbed/hiked Pilot Butte (see previous post “Monday“) for the 3rd Monday in a row today.  I was fairly pleased with myself, as I again went up and back down Pilot Butte in 45 minutes.

However, on the way back to my car, I passed by the Pilot Butte Challenge board and noticed the records, by age group, of the fastest ascent/descent of Pilot Butte. I see in the 95 & up age range, someone walked up and down Pilot Butte in 26.51 minutes.

Yes, 95 & up. Now, my new goal is to be able to at least walk up and back down Pilot Butte in 26:51 minutes. Maybe I can even walk faster than that “95 & up” year old person someday and beat their record! Maybe someday I can even beat the time of the record holder in the “90 – 94” age group! (If I am going to dream, I might as well dream big! Ha!)



IMG_3410 (1)

Here are some photos from my Pilot Butte hike today to distract you from the fact that my time was nearly 20 minutes slower than someone “95 & up” (maybe they were a retired Olympian or something; or maybe a space alien…).


Fabric Scraps Obsession, Outside Adventures!, Studio

Basket of Challenges

One the years I’ve grown to appreciate fabric scraps, especially coordinated fabrics scraps shared from other quilters’ projects.

I have gathered a collection of coordinated fabric scraps donated by quilting friends.

Each collection of scraps is organized in a plastic bag, which I call a “challenge bag“. Each bag is a challenge to create something from a fabric scrap collection otherwise destined for the trash.

I had these challenge bags stored in two storage containers:


I decided to move them into a large basket in my studio where I could see them all the time and be reminded of the fun challenges to work on:


While going through the challenge bags to move them from the storage containers to the open basket, I figured it was time to work on one of them.

My friend gave me a collection of brown batik scraps and partial fat quarters that she had started making little wallets out of – she also gave me the pattern and the templates she had cut. I think she thought I would just use the fabrics/scraps as part of a scrappy quilt. Instead I used nearly all the fabric/scraps she gave me to make a collection of little wallets:

Little Wallets, pattern by Valori Wells
Perfect size to hold business cards

I am looking forward in the future playing with another “challenge bag”. We’ll see what I make next…


Yesterday I hiked Pilot Butte (miniature mountain with 360 degree views of Central Oregon and surrounding region) and nearing the summit I took a photo of a controlled burn off in the distance. The US Department of Agriculture Forest Service has to do controlled burns in the Deschutes National Forest to control forest fires.

Prescribed Fire in Central Oregon

I used the zoom on my iPhone and although it is not the clearest photo it gives you a sense of the scope of the controlled burn:


If you are new to my blog and wanted to read more about my Pilot Butte adventures, check out this link: Pilot Butte Adventures.

For those of you who have followed me for a while – yes, on my hike yesterday, another Senior Citizen dusted me on Pilot Butte. At least the 80+ year old (maybe even 90) was kind enough to wish me a “good day” as he effortlessly walked around me on the hike back down the Butte!

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:

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”:


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:


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:


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.


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:


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!

Outside Adventures!, What's on the Design Wall

What’s on the Design Wall

I am feeling pleased as there is something on the design wall to talk about.

In my 09/23/2016 post, The Library Stack (and a little EPP), I mentioned that I was feeling a little stuck and had not done any creating lately (“tierneycreates” without the “creates” part…).

Well Monday I was feeling inspired and continued working on the piece I first shared in my post Make Do Quilt Challenge. Continuing my ongoing series: What’s on the Design Wall, I present where I am at on my piece, tentatively titled: Making-Do:


It’s not the best photo as I took it with low light. It is also still very much “in progress”.

I was feeling frustrated it at one point, not knowing where it was going. Then I remembered something one of my mentors, Jean Wells Keenan, said during one of her classes (paraphrased): – Even though you may not be happy with an art quilt and want to give up, you have to keep on pushing through and see where it takes you.

This is very true. The collaborative piece, Abandoned Water Structure, that was recently purchased by the City of Seattle (see post Seattle Public Utilities’ Portable Works Collection) was an art quilt that I actually gave up on and tossed aside. I later picked it back up and kept working on it starting with a late night marathon design and piecing session.

So I am hoping Making-Do turns out to be something interesting!  Next time I share an update, I might even take a better photo…


Monday I went for another hike up Pilot Butte (see my Category “Pilot Butte Adventures” for previous posts on my adventures) and I started laughing as soon as I arrived at the start. They had this sign posted:

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If you remember my post Monday, Again, my current time up Pilot Butte is not as good as the time for the record in the ages 95 & up category! So no I am not entering this year’s challenge…perhaps next year…

While walking up Pilot Butte, I took this panoramic photo of Bend Oregon and the surrounding area. If you are ever in Central Oregon, driving or hiking to the top of Pilot Butte for the 360 degree view of Central Oregon is a must!


I hope you do not mind that I frequently link to previous posts. I consider my blog an ongoing conversation. 

Audiobooks and Podcasts, Life in B&W, Outside Adventures!

Friday at the “Butte” in B&W

I have created a new Category – “Pilot Butte Adventures” if you would like to read about my other Pilot Butte walks or learn more about Pilot Butte.

Friday, Sept 2 I took the day off from work before the Labor Day weekend. It was a glorious 66 degree day, slightly overcast but with complex swirly clouds interspersed between swaths of impossibly blue sky (it is the only way I can describe the sky in Central Oregon – impossibly blue). I decided it was a perfect day for a Pilot Butte hike.

Playing with my smartphone camera, this time I took photos in B&W during my hike up and down the Butte:

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There is something mystical about this image

2016-09-02_185827585_EC7A0_iOS2016-09-02_185830900_3C355_iOS2016-09-02_190007329_A1FD7_iOS   (2016-09-05T00_04_37.866)

The flag blowing in the wind at the base of Pilot Butte

It’s amazing how striking images are when you take away the color. The contrast between objects in a photo is so significant in black & white. I use the B&W (mono or tonal) on my smartphone when I am trying to determine if I have too many mediums in a quilt I am designing. Taking away the color shows the value (light, medium, dark) of a fabric more clearly. Next Pilot Butte hike I plan to play more with B&W photography.

photo credit: Amazon.com

Besides taking photos during Friday’s hike, I listened an awesome audiobook, Spin (2010) by Robert Charles Winston. I am taking a break from nonfiction audiobooks and enjoying a Science Fiction audiobook!

This book is actually a “re-listen” as I first listened to it 5-6 years ago. It is an incredible tale of childhood friendship, longing and loyalty woven into an engaging and spectacular and unique apocalyptic tale. I forgot how much I enjoy being immersed in a well written fictional story!

Although this is a fictional tale, it does touch upon what I perceive as many truths about human nature and the different ways people would react to an end-of-the-world scenario.

The hypothetical science is fascinating and very accessible. I am glad I forgot how its ends and it is fun to rediscover this gem!


I am getting too influenced my reading all the wonderful blogs I follow. I find myself interested in English Paper Piecing (future post about that and yes I bought a book and a hole punch to make hexagons!) as well as working on a Sampler Quilt (yes a future post about that) and making a Delectable Mountain quilt. I am also tempted to start painting someday and pick up drawing again (which I have not seriously done since I was in Junior High School).

Hmm…following a bunch of blogs by creative individuals is just as bad (or good) as Pinterest binging! It must be the “Crafter ADHD” in me – I see it and I want to do it too!

Hope you are having a wonderful Labor Day weekend!

A Crafter Needs to Eat, Outside Adventures!

The Fruits of My Neighborhood, Part III

P E A C H E S !

We have peaches in the neighborhood! Okay, well in the neighborhood next to my neighborhood.

This post a follow up to the posts:

I am not sure where to begin – should I start with the crabapple harvest, the additional apple tree, the pears, or the peach tree? Okay, I know where I will start: with a little update from the previous posts on the fruit I have “liberated” from neglected trees in neighborhood I ride my bike and walk around.

Sour Cherries

In the post The Fruits of My Neighborhood, Part II, I share my discovery of a sour cherry tree in the neighborhood I walk and bike in. The lovely blogger from Zippy Quilts advised that I should confirm these are actually cherries and not ornamental berries from a similar looking tree.

We took at sample of one of the cherries to our local nursery which specializes in native plants and they verified that the fruit was indeed a sour cherry. As mentioned in the same post, I have them bagged and frozen for future use.

A friend gave me a great recipe for individual cherry pies;  so that plan is to make up little pies in dough and freeze them, then bake a couple at a time. I am also thinking of making little hand pies: Mmmmm – cherry hand pies!



In the same post I mentioned there are pear trees in the neighborhood that I am waiting for their fruit to ripen. My friend Michele posted that pears ripen off the tree and shared this informative link:  http://www.oregonfresh.net/education/commodities/pears.php

I used this link to determine when to pull the pears of the tree (I had pulled some tester pears off too soon; they never ripened off the tree and I had to compost them) and I am hoping the latest batch of pears will ripen soon on my dining room table!


More Apples!

In addition to pears in the photo above, you will see some apples (and some peaches which I will discuss a little later).

In my post The Fruits of My NeighborhoodI share my discovery of a green apple tree and the subsequent delicious apple pie I made from my haul (I picked enough neglected green apples for my neighbor, who loves to bake, to also make a pie).

Well I discovered another neglected apple tree (at a very neglected looking and perhaps vacant house). I am not sure what variety of apple but they taste quite delicious with my morning oatmeal! I was only able to liberate a couple apples as most were rotted on the ground or had worms. Too bad, there were some beautiful apples on the ground.

Here is the current fruit bowl on my dining table filled with “liberated” pears, apples and peaches (yes I took this photo with my new Instagram app now that I have embraced Instagram…”welcome to the 21st century Tierney”):



I was on a bike ride last week, and came upon this sign attached to a tree:


Oh my – Someone wants help liberating their fruit!!! How could I refuse?!?!

Luckily I had my “fruit liberating sack” (copyright pending, ha!) with me and I proceeded to fill up it up with delicious ripe crabapples. While I was filling up my bag, the homeowner came out and chatted with me for a while.

She was so happy I was taking the fruit and I shared with her my adventures of “liberating” other fruit in the neighborhood and pie making. She told me of the delicious crabapple butter she and her Mom made last year with the crabapples; but she could not keep up with them this year and was hoping they would not just go to waste.

I told her – “I am here for you!” which got quite the laugh from the homeowner.

Below is my bike filled with crabapples in my “fruit liberating sack”:


I got enough for myself and my neighbor who likes to bake/cook. I researched online how to freeze them (Crabapples: University of Alaska Extension); and froze two (2) large bags of crabapples for our Fall cooking adventures (you can freeze for up to 3 months).


And Finally, Peaches

Imagine going on a walk with your dogs in the morning and you can pluck a ripe peach from a tree and munch on it as you walk. Is this a scene from the State of Georgia? No this was my morning walk in Central Oregon!

I did not know we could even grow peaches in Central Oregon. Our high desert hot and dry climate does not remotely seem like the correct climate for peaches. But then what do I know of horticulture?

Here is the lovely peach tree, with peaches falling from the tree as they ripen:


And here is my haul of peaches – not sure if I want to make a peach cobbler or just enjoy them each day as they get riper and riper (and juicier and juicier). Funny thing as I was never really interested in store bought peaches. But peaches right off the tree – fruit heaven!



What’s next in my “Fruit Liberation” quests? Well I have spotted some plums and possibly some nectarine like fruit that will be coming into season in the upcoming weeks.

The interesting thing is that before embracing simpler living I would never have been interested in “liberating” fruit from neglected fruit trees. Truthfully, in the past I did not eat that much fruit in my daily diet. Terry the Quilting Husband and I live a much healthier existence since changing our lifestyle a couple years ago (though it was a process that began with moving to Central Oregon in 2005). But that is another future post on our “Minimalism Journey”


Instead of a “Monday at the Butte” (see my previous posts on hiking Pilot Butte), yesterday I did a “Sunday at the Butte” with my friend Jenny. We hiked Pilot Butte and then went for coffee and pastries! We figured we had earned our pastries!

Here are a couple photos – the summit of Pilot Butte (I never tire of this view); the selection of pastries at the local bakery/coffee shop; and a beautiful color combination on the table we sat:


Enjoy your week and here is a sign I came across at a tea shop a couple of weeks ago as a closing “food for thought”:



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

Back to the Butte

Central Oregon is a geological wonderland and one of its marvels is Pilot Butte. It is like having a “mini mountain” to hike in the middle of Bend, Oregon. At its summit is a splendid 360-degree view of nearly the entire Central Oregon region.

I have a series of posts on my Pilot Butte adventures:

Monday on the “Butte”

The Monday, Post “Yard Bark Mulching”

Monday, Again

You Got to Start Somewhere

Monday 8/15/16, I returned to my Monday hikes on Pilot Butte. I took a hiatus and started going on long bike rides instead as my knees were growing unhappy with the steep vertical ascent and decent on Pilot Butte. I missed Pilot Butte terribly and finally returned.

My current audiobook inspired to return to hiking Pilot Butte – Trespassing Across America: One Man’s Epic, Never-Done-Before (and Sort of Illegal) Hike Across the Heartland (2016) by Ken Ilgunas. Please see the Postscript section of this post for more on this book.

It was not my best hike up the Butte as I needed to take a break during the climb. Luckily Pilot Butte has awesome benches with breathtaking views along the path.

Here is today’s hike in photos:

I am back!
Two options: the paved road up or the dirt/nature trail
I chose the “Nature Trail” which was quite dusty with the hot dry weather
As you make your ascent you enjoy sweeping views of the region
And views of Cascade Mountain peaks
My first bench rest area
I skipped this bench near the summit, I had my momentum going

At the summit, I discovered these new educational/informational panels:IMG_4463


I took the road down

My knees are a tiny bit sore, but I am feeling quite pleased that I was able to return to hiking Pilot Butte!


My current read/listen

I had committed to trying to read/listen to some fiction. I borrowed a “beach read” from the library. That was not a good idea – I became very impatient with the predictable storyline. I gave up on the book.

While trying to figure out what to listen to/read next the audiobook Trespassing Across America: One Man’s Epic, Never-Done-Before (and Sort of Illegal) Hike Across the Heartland (2016) by Ken Ilgunas, became available.

So far this synopsis on amazon.com summarizes the book well:

Told with sincerity, humor, and wit, Trespassing Across America is both a fascinating account of one man’s remarkable journey along the Keystone XL pipeline and a meditation on climate change, the beauty of the natural world, and the extremes to which we can push ourselves—both physically and mentally.

This book seems like to perfect book for a long walk or a hike. I loved listening to his hiking adventures and challenges while climbing and descending Pilot Butte.

The book reminds me of a Bill Bryson novel (A Walk in the Woods, Notes from a Small Island): in that addition to sharing his adventures trekking across the Canadian and US plains, he shares the geologic and cultural issues of the regions he travels through as well as its history.


A couple of years ago my friend Michele introduced me to Goodreads, the social network for avid book readers. At the time I was still “social networking” skittish (it took awhile for friends to convince me to join Facebook) so I signed up but never really did anything with it.

Recently my blogging buddy Laura has gotten me interested in rediscovering Goodreads. My public profile name is tierneycreates on Goodreads and I am going to start posting all the book reviews I have posted in my blog over the past 3+ years onto my Goodreads profile.

So feel free to connect with tierneycreates on Goodreads if you like to see my reviews. I will also post reviews of my favorite fiction books before I started on my non-fiction obsession.

A Few Random Thoughts on Social Networking

Even though I am a blogger, I still have not fully embraced social networking.

I am signed up on Twitter as tierneycreates, but I am not really into tweeting (I have it set up that my tierneycreates blog posts are automatically tweeted onto Twitter in case anyone wants to follow me there).

I am signed up with Instagram but I have yet to figure out its purpose. I do enjoy Pinterest and someday I will put more effort into organizing my Pinterest boards!

I like to connect, but I do not want to be over-connected…

A Crafter Needs to Eat, Outside Adventures!

The Fruits of My Neighborhood, Part II

In the post The Fruits of My Neighborhood I shared my adventures of discovering a neglected green apple tree in a nearby neighborhood during a bike ride; “liberating” the fruit; and making an apple pie.

Since discovering a neglected, unused apple tree, I have kept an eye out for other fruit tree in my neighborhood or surrounding neighborhoods that are neglected, apparently unloved, and unused. I think of it as my “Fruit Tree Love Intervention” or “Fruit Tree Appreciation Harvest Rescue” program.

The other day I discovered a neglected tree (the house is on the market and empty) that appeared to have “cherry-like” fruit but the fruit did not look like traditional cherries.


I thought – “what the heck, I will try one of the suspicious cherries and see if they are edible” (or if they will cause me to fall to ground convulsing as the poison of the toxic berry races through my body).

I lived, but you probably guessed that as I am writing this post.

The sample cherry was VERY tart, especially the skin. It did not taste like a traditional “sweet cherry”. I went home and researched what type of cherry I had sampled, searching through many photos of cherry fruit and cherry fruit trees; and it appeared to be a Prunus cerasus cherry or “sour cherry” according to Wikipedia.

After reviewing several sources on sour cherries, I decided free sour cherries sounded like a good idea for a future pie. I thought “future pie” as it has been very warm in Central Oregon lately and I was not in the mood for baking.

The challenge: the sour cherries on the tree appeared were fairly ripe and many had fallen to the ground already (poor unloved fruit tree!)  If I put off making the pie, the cherries would be done for the season (lying on the ground, sad that they did not get into a pie, tart, or jam…)

So I researched freezing cherries and it turns out that sour cherries are very good to freeze – they keep their nutritional value when frozen. Also sour cherries have considerably more nutritional value (according to my “googling”) than sweet cherries.

I returned yesterday and gathered a huge load of unloved sour cherries from the neglected tree, rinsed and froze them for use in a future pie or tart!

I froze them individually at first and then bagged them together for freezing, so they would not stick to one another:



I am still keeping an eye on two neglected pear trees in the neighborhood.

Their fruit is not getting ripe, it is still very hard. I keep testing pears and they they are hard and not very tasty. I did take one home to see if it would ripen off the tree, but I think they pears are just not ready yet.

So they will have to wait to be “liberated” from their neglected tree!

A Crafter Needs to Eat, Outside Adventures!

The Fruits of My Neighborhood

This a blog about my quilting and crafting adventures, but it is also about a Quilter’s Life and quilters have to eat! (If we did not eat we would be gaunt and wasted, face down on our sewing machines or lying across our piles of fabric…)

So this post is about food. A most wonderful food in particular – pie – Apple Pie!

As I mentioned in prior posts, I ditched hiking Pilot Butte for a while and instead I have been going on bike rides – at least 3 – 4 times a week.  On my bike rides I would pass by a huge Granny Smith apple tree (or a tree with very “Granny Smith” looking green apples). The tree was in a neglected yard; in a house that looked like either the occupants moved out or were on a long vacation.

It became clear that the apples were all going to just fall to the ground and go to waste. I was torn between “apple theft” and watching perfectly good apples all go to waste.

I chose…(let’s not use the word “theft”)…Apple Liberation!

During several bike trips, I freed enough apples for a pie for myself and a pie for my neighbor (who is quite the baker).

Bike basket of apples!

During my second round of picking apples, a neighborhood resident on a walk sauntered by, and I felt obligated to explain what I was doing. He confirmed that it was the right thing to do and he grabbed an apple for himself and continued on his walk!

I would like to think when/if the occupants return to the house they will be happy that the apples did not go to waste.

Apples saved from rotting on the ground unappreciated

And now I have pie:

Apples are really happy when they are in pie!

And life is always better with pie!

More neighborhood fruit to come: I have spotted two neglected pear trees with fruit getting close to ripening! 


A Crafter's Life, Outside Adventures!

At the Corner of Joy (and some other street)

Yesterday I was at the corner of Joy, literally and metaphorically.

A reader asked “so what happened to your Pilot Butte hikes?” Well it has been very hot in Central Oregon and I had no desire to hike in the heat. Also my knee was bothering me a bit so I thought perhaps I should try something else besides the Monday hikes for a while.

So I decided instead to start riding my bike, on a daily basis, in the early morning, instead of a Monday hike. It has been a year since I have been on my bike and I forgot the joy of bike riding!

I am riding a couple miles each morning up to 7 or more miles. Some days I can only fit in a couple miles but that is still wonderful!

Bike riding is great for my knees and I am feeling a tremendous sense of JOY when I ride my bike.

I am riding in the surrounding neighborhoods and in low traffic areas. Many times, it is like I have the road completely to myself.

A sense of peace washes over me and I would be in a complete meditative state if not needing to carefully watch for cars (as you never know when a car will come out of no where and many drivers do not seem to see cyclists – it is like we are invisible!)

The other morning I was having a glorious bike ride in a newer neighborhood area I had not noticed before and I came across a street called JOY WAY. This street name perfectly described what I was feeling biking on a beautiful morning!

I had to take photo (yes I did dismount from my bike to take the photo) as it made me smile even wider than I was already smiling!


I hope you all find yourself at “the corner of Joy…”, metaphorically that is!

“One of the most important days of my life, was when I learned to ride a bicycle.”
– Michael Palin (English comedian of Monty Python fame)

“I’ll tell you what I think of bicycling. I think it has done more to emancipate women than any one thing in the world. I rejoice every time I see a woman ride by on a bike. It gives her a feeling of self-reliance and independence the moment she takes her seat; and away she goes, the picture of untrammelled womanhood.”
– Susan B. Anthony, 1896

“Cycle tracks will abound in Utopia.”
– H.G. Wells


One of my favorite bicycling memories biking for miles and miles around the rural outskirts of Copenhagen when visiting a friend in Denmark. It was magical!

A Crafter's Life, Outside Adventures!

The Monday, Post “Yard Bark Mulching”

This morning I read in a WordPress blogging forum, that you should always have an engaging title to your  blogpost. An engaging title will entice existing readers and potential new readers to click on the link and read the post.

What could be more exciting and engaging to read about than yard bark mulch? I am bristling with excitement just typing these thrilling words:

Y-A-R-D  B-A-R-K  M-U-L-C-H.

No. There is nothing even remotely exciting about putting mulch in your yard.

No worries, this post is not about yard bark mulch; it an update on what happened with this week’s visit to Pilot Butte for my weekly hike (see my previous post Monday on the “Butte”). Okay I do provide a little background on the yard bark mulch situation just so you can understand why I chose a different Pilot Butte experience today.


We had 6 yards of hemlock bark mulch delivered on Thursday. We were convinced (or deluded) that we could,  by Saturday, get all that mulch spread around the front and back yards of our house (and still be able to walk). I guess we thought our bodies had suddenly become the bodies of athletic 18 year olds with extensive recent manual labor experience…

Several years ago we “xeriscaped” – removed our front lawn and planted native plants and grasses.

In the Central Oregon’s high desert, if you want to grow anything, you have to use irrigation. Xeriscaping allows you to use less water/irrigation to keep up your yard. We receive little rainfall in Central Oregon (hence the beautiful blue skies). This limits what will grow in Central Oregon without irrigation/watering.

Bark mulching our xeriscaped yard helps it to maintain moisture (and look more aesthetically pleasing). Every couple of years we have to refresh the mulch.

If you would like to learn more about xeriscaping and creating a low water consuming landscape you can check out Oregon.gov’s online publication: Introduction to Xeriscaping in the High Desert. (Central Oregon is known as the “high desert” as we are at 3600+ ft above sea level elevation and we have a low average yearly rainfall).

When we lived in Seattle, Washington, where there is plenty of rainfall, I never appreciated gardening. Now I live in a land where growing anything is challenging and I am fascinated with gardening and landscaping.

As a bonus to the challenge of growing plants in Central Oregon, we are a geologic volcanic landscape (No, no, no – NO live volcanos – my blogging won’t suddenly be cut off by lava flow…but we do have many extinct volcanos here).

Our soil is coarse, has a sandy texture and tends to be very sterile with minimal organic matter (OSU “Central Oregon Climate”). Central Oregon is not for “gardening sissies”!

So where am I going with all this information? Well this is all relates to what happened today during my weekly hike on Pilot Butte. I was extremely sore from laying down bark mulch over the past 3 days, that my knees told me I may not hike up Pilot Butte today.

With some tedious negotiation I was about to convince my knees (and my sore back) that they could WALK AROUND Pilot Butte.

I didn’t want to just abandon my weekly Pilot Butte experience (every Monday for the past 4 weeks) so I thought “as long as I walk around the base of Pilot Butte that would still count as doing the Butte”!

Here are photos from the ground level of Pilot Butte as I walked approximately 2.5 miles in a loop at the base of Pilot Butte. My knees are not speaking to me right now but I think by tomorrow we will make up with each other.

The Loop – I did 8+ laps around the path while listening of course to an audiobook! Nearly 2.5 miles.


The Day – another beautiful blue sky day with a couple solitary clouds here and there.


The Walk – photos from walking around the loop to give you a feel of the view from the base of Pilot Butte.




BONUS – some of our beautiful volcanic rocky and pumice soil that I get to try and grow things in!


Enjoy your week!


A Crafter's Life, Outside Adventures!

Monday on the “Butte”

If you are new to my blog, for the past three Mondays I have hiked Pilot Butte after an 8 month hiatus (see posts You Got to Start SomewhereMonday, and Monday, Again for more background).

Today I returned for the 4th Monday in a row (I am off work on Mondays).

The Route Up and Back Down

On my previous hikes, I timed myself to see if I could return to my previous time (prior to my foot injury last fall); and as I discovered last week – eventually beat the record of a “95 & up” year old posted on the Pilot Butte Challenge board.

Today I took another approach: I did not time myself but leisurely hiked up the Butte and then back down via a different way.

Pilot Butte has in general three (3) standards routes up the Butte to the summit:

1) The Nature Trail – a groomed dirt path



2) Summit Road – a road that is open part of the year (late Spring to early Fall) for cars to drive up to the summit


3) The Summit Drive Trail – the trail alongside Summit Road


On the previous 3 Mondays, Summit Road was closed to cars. So I hiked up the Nature Trail and then walked back down via Summit Drive Trail. When it is closed to cars, you can walk in the center of Summit Drive Road or stay on the trail at the edge.

Today, Pilot Butte was reopened to cars so I tried something different: I hiked up the Nature Trail and then back down the Nature Trail.

I enjoyed, as usual saying “hello” to and smiling at other hikers as they passed. I notice a difference in “hiker friendliness” depending on what route they take up the Butte. Those coming down the Nature Trail while you are hiking up it are very friendly. Those coming up the Summit Drive Trail/Summit Road as you are going down the Butte via this route, are not as friendly. They do not make eye contact as much as they seemed more focused (or perhaps exhausted).

Both were equally rough on my knees, but I am going to adopt the Nature Trail as my new standard way down the Butte!

Lucky to Live Here!

As I was approaching the summit of the Butte, I met a women who was taking photos with professional looking photography equipment. I stopped and chatted a while with her – she was visiting from out of town and she was amazed at how beautiful it was hiking up Pilot Butte and how beautiful it is in Central Oregon. She said she could not stop taking endless photos!

I was overcome with a feeling of how lucky I am to live in Central Oregon!

I also walked into (I am not running up the Butte yet…) another “person of color” like myself. There are not a lot of “people of color” in Central Oregon, so it is always a treat for me to see Central Oregon getting more “colorful”!

My family who lives on the East Coast (I am originally from New York) asked me, when I had decided to move to Central Oregon over 10 years ago, why I wanted to move to a place so “culturally isolated”like Central Oregon.

I replied I was moving here to “integrate it”!

My perspective is: We are all earthlings and I enjoy living with my fellow earthlings in this beautiful place!

Another impossibly blue Central Oregon sky (with a couple fluffy clouds) as I hiked up the Butte.


I listened to Arianna Huffington’s book – The Sleep Revolution: Transforming Your Life, One Night at a Time – while hiking the Butte. I am enjoying it is as much I enjoyed her previous book: Thrive: the third metric to redefining success and creating a life of well-being, wisdom, and wonder.

The author shares a wonderful Ralph Waldo Emerson quote while discussing dealing with the worries that plague us as we lie in bed at night:

“Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day and you shall begin it well and serenely.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

I love this quote! I am going to keep it in mind when I go to bed each night!

A Crafter's Life, Outside Adventures!

Monday, Again

I walked/climbed/hiked Pilot Butte (see previous post “Monday“) for the 3rd Monday in a row today.  I was fairly pleased with myself, as I again went up and back down Pilot Butte in 45 minutes.

However, on the way back to my car, I passed by the Pilot Butte Challenge board and noticed the records, by age group, of the fastest ascent/descent of Pilot Butte. I see in the 95 & up age range, someone walked up and down Pilot Butte in 26.51 minutes.

Yes, 95 & up. Now, my new goal is to be able to at least walk up and back down Pilot Butte in 26:51 minutes. Maybe I can even walk faster than that “95 & up” year old person someday and beat their record! Maybe someday I can even beat the time of the record holder in the “90 – 94” age group! (If I am going to dream, I might as well dream big! Ha!)


IMG_3410 (1).jpg

Here are some photos from my Pilot Butte hike today to distract you from the fact that my time was nearly 20 minutes slower than someone “95 & up” (maybe they were a retired Olympian or something; or maybe a space alien…).

A Crafter's Life, Outside Adventures!


As you can see, I am playing with my blog template again. Why does WordPress give me so many interesting options for my blog template? How can I ever be happy just sticking with the same template, ha! I welcome your feedback on the latest look to the tierneycreates blog: “Chalkboard” template.

Happy Monday to you all! A couple photos and updates to share with you as follow ups to various previous posts:

Creative Inspiration: The Scents of Spring

The flowering crabapple tree is in full bloom in front of my house and unbelievably, deliciously, inspirationally fragrant. When I step out from front door I am immediately enveloped with this incredible scent of Spring and the sounds of busy bees buzzing around the crabapple tree blooms!


Update: Ohio

I appreciate all the feedback on this post. I did decide to orientate the piece vertically.

It is now with Betty Anne Guadalupe to work her quilt magic.

Twigs Gallery Show Photos

I recently learned that my piece, made from discards from another quilter’s project, We Will Not Be Discarded, has sold in the Twigs Gallery Collaboration show!

Very exciting – this is my first time selling my quilting art at a gallery show!


If you would like to read more about the story behind this piece, please see the post What’s on the Design Wall: “We Will Not Be Discarded!”.

You Got to Start Somewhere

I walked Pilot Butte again today, this time it took me 46 minutes to go up to the summit and back down, 4 minutes off my time last Monday (when I returned hiking our “mini mountain” in town for the first time after an 8 month hiatus after my foot injury).

The 360 degree views of Bend, Oregon and Central, Oregon continue to be breathtaking on another impossibly blue sky day here (we have a lot of impossibly blue sky beautiful days).


In the post You Got to Start Somewhere I shared that I listened to the audiobook Become Who You Were Born to Be by Brian Souza while hiking Pilot Butte. Today I continued my listen of this inspirational audiobook while hiking the Butte.

I wanted to share a wonderful quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson from this book which brought a smile to my face and a small tear to my eye from its beauty and truth.

What is Success?

“To laugh often and much;

To win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children;

To earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends;

To appreciate beauty, to find the best in others;

To leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition;

To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived.

This is to have succeeded.” 

– Ralph Waldo Emerson

Enjoy the rest of your week!

I am sure before the end of the week I will have more thoughts to share with you from all the thoughts that constantly swirl around in my head. Perhaps they will even have to do with quilting! (Smile).

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

You Got to Start Somewhere

Yesterday, 04/11/16, I hiked Pilot Butte, a cinder cone butte (extinct volcano) in Central Oregon. This was my first time hiking “the Butte” since issues with my foot last Fall.

It felt like a great accomplishment since at times during my recovery, I struggled with just returning to regular walks around my neighborhood, much less being able to hike again.

My History with the “Butte”

Prior to my foot injury last fall, I regularly hiked Pilot Butte. In addition to hiking Pilot Butte, I had started going to short runs around my neighborhood. I felt in really great shape.

Central Oregon is a volcanic region (no active volcanos) and its geography is peppered with remnants of its volcanic origins, such as Pilot Butte.

Pilot Butte, according to Wikipedia, has an elevation of 4142 feet  above sea level (rising 500 feet from Central Oregon which is 3500+ feet above sea level). From the top of Pilot Butte, the entire city of Bend, Oregon is visible, as are several of the major peaks of the Oregon Cascades Mountain range (Three Sisters, Broken Top, Mount Bachelor, etc).

When I moved from Seattle, WA to Central Oregon over 10 years ago, I had to adjust to the high altitude (Seattle is at sea level). Central Oregon’s climate is called the “high desert” and resembles areas of Colorado. In the late Spring, Summer, and early Fall it can be very dry and dusty. (Central Oregon averages about 12 inches of rainfall per year, the US average of rain is 37 inches according to Sperling’s Best Places).

When I lived in Seattle, I walked a lot and considered myself in fairly decent shape for long walks. I also went hiking and biking in Seattle. After moving to Central Oregon, I remember my first time to hike Pilot Butte – I was so thirsty (the very dry air) and was easily fatigued. I was not used to the altitude!

Persistence pays off and in time my body acclimated to the altitude and I got better at hiking Pilot Butte. Before my foot injury last fall, I could hike Pilot Butte without stopping for any breaks. The hike is only 1 mile up and 1 mile down but there is a gain of 500 feet of elevation, most of it fairly steeply uphill. Area athletes use Pilot Butte for training and there is even an annual competition of fast run up and down the Butte.

The views are amazing, you wind around a continually elevating 360 degree loop until you get to the summit.

View of the city of Bend, Oregon while hiking the Butte


Starting Somewhere

My right foot was a disaster last Fall, and my left foot was beginning to have difficulty. After several medical appointments (including an urgent care appointment as I thought I had a stress fracture when I work up one morning and could not walk on my right foot), I was diagnosed with Plantar fasciitis and a Morton’s neuroma.

Suddenly I could no longer hike, go on runs, or even walk my dogs. I ended up in a walking boot on my right foot for a couple weeks. After getting orthotics, home physical therapy exercises and starting on slow short walks, eventually I was able to return to walking my dogs.

I was even able to go on a long fairly flat hike with a friend. However I was scared to return to Pilot Butte.

I woke up on Monday morning 04/11/16 (I have Mondays off from work) and decided just to do it.

I was going to return to hiking Pilot Butte, even if I was the slowest, saddest looking hiker going up the Butte. I had to start somewhere. 

I am not sure if I was the slowest, but I was fairly slow, stopping as I needed for breaks. One guy on his second of third time looping past me (he was running the Butte), told me to “hang in there”.

I timed myself and it took 50 minutes, which is not bad as when I was in better shape, I could go the up and down hike in 35 – 40 minutes.

Postscript: Audiobook Inspiration

While hiking the Butte, I listened to the audiobook Become Who You Were Born to Be by Brian Souza.  This book is filled with wonderful, inspiring stories of individuals who overcame unbelievable obstacles to achieve their dreams.

One of the stories the author shares in the audiobook, is that of the polar explorer Ernest Shackleton and his team’s survival for over a year on the ice-bound Antarctic seas in the early 1990s. He and members of his team successfully hiked 32 miles over frozen mountainous terrain in 36 hours (if they stopped to rest they would die of hyperthermia) to make it to a whaling station to be rescued.

I figured I could hike a mile up and back down a “miniature mountain” on on a beautiful Spring day after listening to that story!

This audiobook was a very inspirational listen as I convinced myself to continue to the top of Pilot Butte!

“By endurance we conquer.” – Ernest Shackleton

Audiobooks and Podcasts, Creative Inspiration, Outside Adventures!

Creative Inspiration: The Scents of Spring

Continuing my series on my sources of Creative Inspiration, I explore in this post how certain scents inspire my creativity.

In January I posted about the austere beauty of trees in winter in the post Winter Trees. It is now Spring in Central Oregon and today on my morning walk, I was overwhelmed with the beauty of trees blossoming in Spring, especially the Dogwood Trees.

Their fragrance enveloped me on my walk and I was filled with a sense of joy, peace and a desire to go home and create something.

This is what Spring is about – creating. Dormant bulbs will now grow and create beautiful blooms; trees will awaken their buds to create leaves, nuts and fruits; and creatures such as insects now rustle and fly and in creation of new life and pollination of the flowers.



When I returned home from my walk, and opened all the windows in the house, the delicious scents of Spring wafted into the house through a soft sweet wind.

Spring is Nature’s way of saying “let’s party” – Robin Williams


While on my walk today I listened to a wonderful audiobook – 101 Ways to Transform Your Life by Dr. Wayne W. Dyer. During his discussion of one of the “101 ways to transform your life”, Dr. Dyer shared this Robert Frost poem which gave me pause for thought on this beautiful Spring day:

We dance round in a ring and suppose,
But the Secret sits in the middle and knows.

– Robert Frost

Maybe the “Secret” is learning to be quiet, centered, and peaceful enough to be in the moment and enjoy the beauty that surrounds us in Nature.


 Inspiration is in the air and in my heart, it is time to go create something!