The Mystery Blogger Award

Porch Distraction

I have been remiss. Three bloggers have been kind enough to recently nominate me for blogging awards and I have not followed through on them! Recently, outside of working my pay-the-bills healthcare job,  I have not been interested in writing or other “productive” activities.

True confessions: I have gotten involved with this: My Porch Swing.

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All I want to do is sitting or lie on my porch swing with a book, or no book, and just stare up at the sky, or just swing and swing and close my eyes. I have mastered pushing myself with one hand to make the swing, swing, while drifting off to sleep into a Swing-Nap.

If you remember (if you are not new to my blog) in my series of posts on the annual May retreat I attend with my Quilting Sisters, the post Quilt Retreat Inspiration and Projects in   which I share my distraction with the porch swing at the retreat center.

I appear to be suffering from Porch-Swing-itis. I just want to be in my swing!

The Mystery Blogger Award

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Well back to the purpose of this post (luckily it is 10 pm at night while I write this so I can fight my urge to run outside to the porch swing now that I am thinking about it) to thank Dewey Hop: Feisty Froggy Reads Through the Library for nominating me for the Mystery Blogger Award.

Dewey Hop|Feisty Froggy Reads Through The Library is one of my favorite blogs. She does not post frequently but when she posts they are well researched intriguing posts about a large variety of topics. As the blog’s title implies, the blogger is reading through the library, one section at a time and sharing the interesting finds!

Okoto Enigma created this award as a means of helping bloggers connect and discover amazing blogs. This is what she says the The Mystery Blogger Award is for:

“Mystery Blogger Award” is an award for amazing bloggers with ingenious posts. Their blog not only captivates; it inspires and motivates. They are one of the best out there, and they deserve any of the recognition they get. This award is also for bloggers who find fun and inspiration in blogging; and they do it with so much love and passion.

Here are the rules for accepting/nominating for this award:

  1. Post the award/ image on your blog .
  2. Thank whoever nominated you and give a link back to their blog.
  3. Mention the creator of the award and give a link back to her blog.
  4. Nominate some deserving bloggers and notify your nominees by commenting on their blogs.
  5. Ask your nominees 5 questions of your choice; including one weird or funny question.

Here are the questions from Dewey Hop’s nomination post and my answers:

  • If you could change one thing about our country, what would it be and why? I would make it mandatory that in general we treat each other with respect and kindness. There is no actual “us” and “them”, there are just fellow earthlings on one planet. We waste time and distract ourselves from the wonders and beauty in life when we are busy drawing lines in the sand. 
  • Which super hero powers would you like to have, if given a chance? Why ? I would like the ability to know what dogs are actually thinking. Why – because it is about time I figure out the devious plans of Sassy the Highly Opinionated Miniature Schnauzer!
  • What motivates you to blog (write) ? I like to use my blog to encourage myself…actually pressure myself to complete projects. I like to tell myself I owe it to my readers to complete a project I share the progress on in a blog post. It is likely highly imaginary and no one is really that concerned whether I complete a project or not, but blogging keeps me motivated. I also like to share interesting things I encounter in my life journey with others, in case they find it useful in their journey.
  • What is something you like to collect, if anything?  Fabric unfortunately though lately I am well behaved. I also seem to collect crafting related magazines and books – I love looking over ideas with a pot of tea. As part of My Minimalism Journey I am trying to bring less things into my life/better curate my life, and so far I have been able to reign in my desire for new magazines and crafting related books but using my public library to fulfilled that need (see my series of posts on The Library Stack). In a future post on Sassy the Highly Opinionated Miniature Schnauzer’s blog schnauzersnips, she might share some photos of our secret collection of schnauzer kitsch! 
  • If given the chance to rename any fast food restaurant, which would it be?               “Kentucky-Fried Death”? “McPoison”? In general do not eat fast food. I read the book Fast Food Nation many years ago and it forever impacted me on how I view fast food restaurants, especially the major chains. I am about 13 – 15 years free of having eaten at “the golden arches” or other such places. On a rare occasion we will stop at a Sonic to get soft serve ice cream cones.

Here are my five (5) nominees of some “amazing bloggers with ingenious posts” (Please do not feel obligated to participate and follow the rules, but thank you for your wonderful posts I am enjoying):

  • Melanie @ Catbird Quilt Studio – another one of my favorite blogs. Melanie’s posts are well written, informative and focus on a variety of topics to include quilting, but not just quilting.
  • I’ve Read This – a blog I recently started following, this blog is loaded with well written book reviews and lots of photos of kitties! If you like cats and reading, this is a blog you should check out.
  • Zheng Fan Minimalist – this is blog I recently started following with a wide variety of engaging topics and posts!
  • Crave Food-Health-Life – a lovely blog with a variety of topics and wonderful healthy recipes.
  • handmadehomemadeknitstitchdesign – this lovely blog is not just about handmade crafts but a variety of interesting topics.

Here are my five (5) questions for these bloggers should they choose to participate:

  1. If you had to listen to the same album on repeat for an entire day, what would that album be (and what artist is that album by)?
  2. What is your favorite (or one of your most favorite) posts of all time from your blog?
  3. What is ether your favorite meal to cook or your favorite meal to have someone else cook for you?
  4. If extraterrestrials suddenly landed in your backyard, and they appeared friendly, what would you do?
  5. What is the best part of waking up in the morning for you?

Thanks for playing along. I will post about the two other nominations and nominate more fellow bloggers for the next couple of blogging awards.

Remember participation is very optional. I understand if you would rather just hang out in your own Porch Swing!

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The other week in dipped down into the 50s and 60s so I could cozy up with quilt for my porch swing nap!

 

Quilt Retreat Inspiration and Projects

2 weeks ago today, at this time, I was on a bus back to Central Oregon after a relaxing 4 day/3 night quilting retreat at Sew N Go Retreats.

So I think I better finish up my series of posts on the 2017 annual quilt retreat I attended with my Quilting Sisters. I have a backlog of other blog posts ideas in my head and unless I finish this series I will not get to them.

If you are starting here, below are the links to the previous four posts in this series:

Relaxation Can Lead to Inspiration

For me it was a mellow and laid back quilt retreat experience. I did not even bring my sewing machine, only hand sewing projects. I did not drive, I took the bus (see post The Road to Retreat (via Bus!).

And, I spent a bit of time here, instead of in the quilt retreat center:

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My special “quilting retreat seating”

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I can see the quilting retreat center from here, does that count?

Looking at this:

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Hello, impossibly blue sky with a couple fluffy clouds over Portland, Oregon region

Or this:

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Hello, beautiful sunset!

I also spent a lot of time going on walks (see post Quilt Retreat Animals) and found inspiration in nature, surrounding farms, and a stump with moss and fungi! (see post The Beauty of Moss and Fungi):

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Area farm

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Lovely little shed, tree and old bike vignette discovered on a walk

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The infamous NW slug

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The beauty of moss and fungi

Sewing did actually occur, primarily by my quilting retreat sisters, however I have a couple projects to report.

Quilting Sisters’ Projects

Before they were projects, they were this nest of sewing machine, fabric, patterns and supplies! (one of my quilting sister’s stations):

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Here is a montage of the projects the other quilt retreat attendees worked on:

One of my quilting sisters was working on a project she found on Pinterest and reverse engineered how to do it (she is mighty crafty!) The project involves scrappy log cabin piecing of roses, set in scrappy pieced green log cabins:

I got a kick out her workstation as she worked on the quilt, it was highly organized with scraps of various colors:

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Inspired by Others

One of my quilting sisters worked on this quilt, with a lovely collection of bee themed fabric:

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The fabric line of the fabric with the printed designs is Bee Inspired by Deb Strain for Moda Fabrics and it was very darling:

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Photo credit: Moda fabrics

She gave me her scraps, which I turned into English Paper Pieced (EPP) hexagons during the retreat:

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I had so much fun trying to “fussy cut” the scraps into hexagons with specific images. I have many more hexagons to make before this can become a future project; and I will do a future blog post on this project (like in 2018 when I get to working on these again?!?!).

The same quilting sister was working on another project that I got to benefit from, this time on an even larger scale. She brought several “UFOs” (unfinished objects) including one from a class she took many years ago involving a mixture of embroidered blocks and non embroidered blocks. She did not select the fabric for the class it was part of the class kit. Now revisiting it, years later, she was not sure she liked the fabric or the design of the quilt:

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Small sampling of the blocks, not all blocks put up on wall

The fabric did not match her home decor and she did not have someone in mind to make the quilt for as a gift. I offered to take it off her hands and she gave me the blocks already made and all the remaining fabric/scraps.

Now it has become a “Challenge Bag” (see post Basket of Challenges) and I will feature it in a future post when I finish redesigning it into a different piece:

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Challenge Bag added to the “basket of challenges”, hoping to become a quilt someday

Tierney’s Projects?

So Tierney, besides fleecing one of your quilting sisters for her scraps and even an entire project, did you work on anything??!?!

Why yes I did. I worked on my stack of EPP rosettes (getting the rows between each hexagon sewn together:

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And I worked on an appliqué wallhanging that I started in a class in 2016 (see post Adventures in Appliqué):

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I really enjoyed blanket stitching and the more I practice the better I get (at least in my mind). Blanket stitching and other hand stitching is very relaxing and even meditative.

I might be tied with another quilt sister (she knows who she is) for the title of “Least Productive” but I had an incredible and relaxing time. The quilting sister who shared my lack of productivity was also the one going on wonderful walks including the one in which a local farm invited us over for a visit!

Inspiration All Around the Quilt Retreat Center

The Sew N Go retreat now has two classrooms: 1) the original retreat center/classroom which is a separate building on the farm property; and 2) a brand new classroom which is the converted garage to the main quilt retreat house.

Throughout the quilt retreat house and in both classrooms are many quilts, quilted wallhanging and little sewn projects. Below is a montage of some of the inspiration that surrounds you while you are quilt retreating:

Nancy, the quilt retreat hostess, did a demo on how to make a gift wine bag from a pair of old jeans:

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In addition to quilted/sewn inspirations, there are also wood crafting inspirations (Nancy also holds class in her barn on making wood working crafts):

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She also had a very creative way to display Lori Holt’s Farm Girl Vintage blocks (one of my other someday to finish projects, see series of posts  Farm Girl Vintage Blocks)

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I did have material for a Postscript section but this has been a very long post and I am sure you are exhausted now from slogging through all these photos (but maybe you are inspired to go create something!)

Thanks for joining me as I recapped the annual May quilting retreat with my quilting sisters. For me this year’s retreat was a very laid back. There was no “Floor Show” this year or stand up comedy (see post Quilt Retreat May 2016: The Tools & The Stories) but it was still exquisite to hang out with my quilting sisters and enjoy the beautiful Vancouver, WA countryside.

I did learn about a “new tool” for quilters at the retreat and I will close this post with the adorable information I found on this tool posted on the edge of one of the design walls at retreat:

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Special thank you to Quilting Sisters Lisa and Kathy on providing additional photos for this post.

 

Quilt Retreat Animals

Continuing my series of posts on the annual Sew N Go Quilt Retreat in Vancouver, WA I recently attended. If you are starting with this post, here are links to the previous posts:

I am not sure if Sassy the Highly Opinionated Miniature Schnauzer would approve of this post as there were on dogs at the quilt retreat, only horses and cats.

The Horses

Sew N Go Quilt Retreat is located in a very rural area of Vancouver, WA. The retreat center itself is on acreage and is surrounded by farms. Several times a day some of the quilt retreaters, including myself,  would go on walks around the area – up to 4+ miles per day walking!

While walking we would visit with several groups of horses we discovered hanging out in pastures in area farms. The first day we ran into the horses, we were surprised how the boldly they came over to the edge of their fence to see us. So the next day we were ready with apples!

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(Several of my fellow quilt retreaters were on Weight Watchers and watching their “points”. We joked as we fed the horses apples: “No worries horseys, zero points!”)

A horse from the pasture/farm next to the one above:

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Next thing we knew, we had two horses, from two different pastures side by side visiting with us and greeting each other through their fences:

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The long walks and the visits with the horses were are delightful break from our sewing marathons at the quilt retreat!

The Cats

On one of our walks, we were invited by owners of a local farm to come onto their farm and chat. It turned out that several of them were originally from NY like my quilting sister Kathy and myself.

On their farm we met “Heshe” (he-she) – a cat of unknown gender. I do not remember the entire story but when they adopted Heshe as a barn kitty, they could not determine if it was a “he” or a “she”! Heshe was a very sweet a friendly orange tabby:

But the cat star of the 4-day retreat weekend was my beloved “Abbey the Quilt Retreat Kitty” (she should have her own blog!)

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During the retreat, Nancy the quilt retreat host, needed to give Abbey some medications.

Cats, as explained by one of my quilting sisters who is a veterinarian, are difficult to get to swallow pills. Cats do not fall for the tricks dogs fall for (hiding pills in peanut butter, cheese, etc.) and so you have to find a way to get the pill to the back of the cats throat so they will automatically swallow it.

So Abbey was made into a “kitty burrito” to restrain her paws as she was given meds. She calmly and quietly accepted her kitty burrito status but still found a way to spit out her pill! It might have been because a group of quilters were standing around cracking up laughing at how adorable Abbey looked as a burrito!

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Each year at the retreat I look forward to hanging out with Abbey, and she knows it. She knows I am “one of her people”. I always find time to snuggle with her and give her lots of attention.

Abbey and I took a lovely nap together, with her sleeping behind my pillow and quietly purring against my head. I could not believe how soothing and meditative it was to listen to her purring.

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Okay there was a dog

There was one dog at the quilt retreat, but it was not a live dog. It was a dog quilt – an adorable pattern – “Dogs in Sweaters” by Elizabeth Hartman:

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Next post, how about some evidence that actual sewing occurred during the quilt retreat? Maybe (smile).


Postscript

In yesterday’s post I shared about my purchases of a vintage Singer sewing machine while at a fundraising garage sale in Sisters, Oregon. Check our Sassy the Highly Opinionated Miniature Schnauzer’s post Saturday Schnouting (Schnauzer Outing)! for information about our outing this past Saturday in Sisters, Oregon.

Quilting Sisters, Part II

This post continues yesterday’s post Quilting Sisters, Part I, sharing the story of how I ended up part of a group of quilters based out of California, Oregon and Washington.

We left off with Judy and I meeting Linda and Lisa at the Oasis Resort Quilt and Cast retreat. Linda lives in Oregon is one of those people you meet and immediately love. She is a retired 2nd grade teacher and she must have been the most wonderful teacher imaginable. A truly warm, kind and authentic person. Lisa lives in California and is a brilliant woman, a veterinarian and Renaissance woman of many talents besides quilting. We immediately connected and became friends.

A couple years later we met Donna from Sequim, WA, another wonderful teacher-person and her sisters (who attended once) and her lovely mother Shirley (who we all fell in love with as the social media/blogger and web savvy 80-something year old). In addition to Linda, Lisa, Donna, and Shirley I met other cool quilters including my friend Joan, however only Lisa, Linda, Donna and her mother Shirley became part of our regular quilt retreat group.

The retreat was also open to quilters who did not bring their husband for the “cast” part of the retreat. Judy and I attended the retreat without our husbands once or twice also (the cost of the quilting part of the retreat was significantly less than the guided fly fishing part of the retreat).

Beyond “Quilt and Cast”

Eventually we stopped going to the Quilt & Cast retreat due to significant increasing fees for the husbands to participate in the guided Deschutes river fishing. Also interest in the quilting retreat part of the Quilt and Cast retreat was waning.

Peggy, who ran the quilting retreat part of the Quilt & Cast retreat started her own retreat with Linda and for a couple of years we attended those retreats.

Eventually Peggy and Linda gave up their quilt retreat business and we began attending a quilting retreat in Vancouver, WA run by a lovely woman Cathy and her husband:

At some point Lisa, who attended the new Peggy & Linda retreats, invited her close California friends Debra and Kathy. Kathy is originally from NY like myself and actually grew up in a town next to the town I grew up! So there was an automatic connection.

Since I had moved to Bend, Judy felt it was time to lure another friend into quilting and convince our mutual Seattle friend, Barb to start quilting (Judy is very convincing!)

Birth of the Jelly Rollers

A jelly roll is a 42 piece collection of pre-cut 2.5 inch quilting fabric strips and are very popular among quilters (for the non quilters reading this). In the late 2000s to early 2010s jelly rolls were gaining huge popularity with quilters. Numerous jelly roll fabric collections and books with patterns on creating quilts made with jelly rolls were flooding the market.

Our gathering of quilters at the retreat hosted by Cathy in Vancouver, WA were obsessed with jelly rolls in the late 2000s. At one of the retreats at Cathy’s we decided to develop a core closed retreating group that would always attend an annual quilt retreat in May each year. Additional members could only be added by group approval (several of us had past experiences with attending quilt retreats with quilters with “challenging personalities”). We would call our group the Jelly Rollers!

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A “Jelly Roll” (photo credit: Missouri Star Quilt Co.)

Cathy stopped hosting retreats and referred our group of retreaters to another woman in the Vancouver area, Nancy. Nancy’s Sew N Go Retreat became the new permanent home for our annual May retreat.

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Sew N Go Retreat Classroom (Photo credit: Sew N Go)

After moving to Nancy’s Sew N Go retreat, Dana started attending and became a regular member of the Jelly Rollers. Dana was voted in as she grew up with Judy’s daughter and is an unofficially adopted daughter of Judy’s. Like Linda, she is one of those people you meet and immediately adore.

Dana is another person like Barb and myself that Judy convinced to start quilting. We tease Judy that she makes her friends start quilting whether they wanted to or not – ha!

My friend and Central Oregon quilting mentor, Betty Anne joined us for a couple retreats and is an honorary member of the Jelly Rollers.

Near the time of creating the Jelly Rollers, “Jelly Roll Races” (a way to make a quick quilt top with one jelly roll in an hour or so) were popular and we used to jokingly make that the initiation requirement for joining – complete a “Jelly Roll Race”.

Other Retreats

Some of the Jelly Rollers attend other retreats together during the year in California and in Washington. I used to attend another retreat with most of the other Jelly Rollers in Monroe, Washington but the sleeping accommodations are like dorm rooms with thin walls and I have trouble sleeping. When I do not sleep, I do not enjoy retreats.

Also this retreat had a lot of additional people I did not know and occasionally there were quilting retreat attendees with “challenging personalities“.

I seem to be a beacon for strange people to want to befriend, so this is not always the best environment for me. I ended up trying to courteous to needy and strange people and they stick to me like glue for the whole retreat!  My quilting sister Lisa is also a beacon for strange people and has shared interesting stories of “unique” individuals who have unsolicitedly attached themselves to her at quilt retreats.

I truly enjoy attending quilt retreats with people I know, it is a safer and more comfortable experience for me.

For those of you with experience with attending quilt retreats, I would be interested to hear in the Comments section your thoughts on quilting retreats – meeting strangers vs. quilting with established friends.

Friends for Life

We are at least in our 4th or 5th year as a formal group. Keeping our core group of annual quilt retreaters together has strengthened our bonds and we do many thoughtful things for one another.

A couple years ago, we put names in a hat and whichever name you picked, you had a year to make that person a lap quilt. Many of the quilters in the group never had anyone make a quilt for them. This exchange  was a way to further connect us and to ensure every quilter has the experience of having someone make a quilt for them rather than they just make quilts for others.

It was very awesome during the following year’s retreat when we surprised the person whose named we picked the previous year with their lap quilt!

In addition to that special quilt exchange a couple years ago, Judy made a special quilt for Lisa last year and at this year’s retreat, Lisa surprised Judy with a machine embroidered “crazy quilt”, the featured photo on this post:

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Embroidered quilt by Lisa M.

Although we do not see each other we have a strong connection to each other and stay frequently in touch. We are like a family sewn together special threads!


Postscript

Oh my what have I done?

My Impulse Buy

Perhaps I was influenced by Elena’s Vintage Sewing Machine blog or by the fact that sewing of my Quilting Sisters have antique featherweight sewing machines that they bring to retreats.

Saturday I went with my friend Susan to the Kiwanis Club’s fundraising garage sale in Sisters, Oregon and ended up impulse buying at vintage Singer sewing machine:

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The machine was listed for $25. One of the volunteers at the fundraiser sale saw me looking at it and said: “You can have it for $10”. How could I turn it down (I know, I know, I could have said “no thank you” and walked away…)

It is not a featherweight and it is quite heavy but it still works and runs quite smoothly. I called Betty Anne, who knows about vintage sewing machines and she gave me the name of someone in Central Oregon who can check out the machine for safety, clean and service it. It is also missing part of the footplate. You can still sew with the section missing but the bobbin is exposed.

Today I researched the serial number using the Singer Sewing Machine Serial Number Database website.  and it was assigned in 1910 so I think that sort of dates the machine. I am going to do some further research and see if it really is that old. Also I need to watch some YouTube videos and check out some websites on how to thread the machine and do basic maintenance.

It seems like it would be really fun to use on a sewing project or two and would make an interesting piece of art in my studio.

What I did not buy

Next to the Singer were these two vintage sewing machine which I am sure the volunteer would have sold to be also for $10:

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If I had a large sewing studio, they would have made for an interesting display on a shelf, but I had no excuse to buy them. I had of course no excuse to buy the Singer but I suspect it was meant to be…

Before Susan and I went to the fundraiser garage sale in Sisters, we stopped at the Stitchin’ Post quilt shop and I bought this fabric:

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Yup those are vintage Singer sewing machines, a very similar looking model to the one I bought. Was it kismet that an hour later I ended up with an actual vintage Singer sewing machine?

What I tried to convince my friend to buy

Here was something hysterical I did not buy at the fundraiser garage sale, though I tried to convince my friend Susan to buy it – a PUG PURSE!

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Susan was kind enough to model the Pug Purse

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I do not understand how she left the garage sale without it?!?!

Next post I will continue with more stories from the 2017 annual quilt retreat I attended.

Quilting Sisters, Part I

Yesterday’s post The Road to Retreat (via Bus!) began my series of posts on the 2017 annual quilt retreat I attended with my quilting sisters at Sew N Go retreat center in Vancouver, WA.

For the past 10+ years I have attend quilting retreats with at least some of my quilting sisters (even before they were formally my quilting sisters). Before continuing to share stories from this year’s annual quilt retreat, I thought I would share the story of how we formed our quilting retreat group consisting of quilters living in California, Oregon and Washington and became “quilting sisters”.

My beloved quilting sisters range in ages from late 40s to late 80s and their names are Judy, Barb, Dana, Linda, Lisa, Kathy, Debra, Donna, Shirley and Betty Anne. Honorary quilting sisters are Dana’s daughter Kaitlin, our current annual quilting retreat host Nancy and our previous annual quilting retreat host Cathy.

It all began with Judy

My friend Judy, who have I known for 20 years is my “Quilt Momma”. She convinced me to start quilting in the late 1990s when I lived in Seattle, WA. I mention her my story “The Tierney” and an April 2015 post “Creative Inspiration: Quilting Mentors“, in addition to references in other various posts.

I owe the start of my quilting journey to her encouragement to take the first step and mentorship through my first quilt.

I would love if the quilters reading this post, would share in the Comments section who got them started in quilting (or any other type of crafting). It is the kind of gift you can never repay, you can only just keep appreciating it!

A couple of years ago Judy made me this sweet wallhanging with Jody Houghton fabric:

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I keep it in my studio and I get a kick out of the quilting related details in the photo – note one of the quilters has thread spools for earrings:

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So Judy was my first “quilt sister” and from there the family grew, thanks to a little place called Maupin, Oregon.

Quilting and Casting

I moved from Seattle to Central Oregon in 2005. We rented a townhouse before buying our house and near our temporary townhouse was a quilt shop called BJ’s Quilt Basket (I will feature BJ’s Quilt Basket in a future blog post on Central Oregon Quilt shops). BJ’s was where I participated in my first “block of the month” club and where I found a flyer in 2006 about the Quilt & Cast Retreat at the Oasis Resort in Maupin Oregon, on the Deschutes River.

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Photo credit: Adventures in Rafting

Terry the Quilting Husband (TTQH), who was not TTQH in 2006, is a fly fisherman. The Quilt & Cast Retreat features for the husbands guided fly fishing with a professional Deschutes River tour guide. For the wives, a quilt retreat! The accommodations are historic fishing cabins and all meals are included.

I immediately contacted Judy, who still lived in Seattle. Her husband is a fisherman too and it seemed like the perfect retreat for the four of us.

And it was. They even let us bring our two miniature schnauzers at the time Fritz and Snickers. The cabins were definitely “historic” fishing cabins (years later they renovated) and included bathrooms that were a shared shower/toilet area, but they were cozy and comfortable.

Below is a montage of photos from several of our Oasis Quilt and Cast Retreats:

In addition to quilt retreat activities for the wives and guided fly fishing actives for the husbands, we went on outings and picnics to enjoy the beauty of Central Oregon. One of those outings was to White Falls in which I took photos of the abandoned White Falls water power plant, which lead to the art quilt, Abandoned Water Structure.

The wives would giggle to themselves in the mornings: at “o-dark-hundred”, when the husbands would get out of bed to go on a guided fly fishing trip on the Deschutes River, while the wives stayed in their cozy beds. Later in the morning we would mosey out of our beds for breakfast and then start out day of sewing.

Judy and I, along with our husbands, attended this retreat annually for 3 – 4 years. At the retreat we met our future quilting sisters – Linda, Lisa and Donna.

Tomorrow I will continue the rest of the Quilting Sisters story but let me close this post with images of friendship themed decor from the Sew N Go quilt retreat:

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A very nice plaque at a quilt retreat

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The cup I had my tea in each morning at the retreat

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A very good reminder

The Road to Retreat (via Bus!)

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


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

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

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Photo credit: cobreeze.com

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

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

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My lap – making EPP rosettes on the road!

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

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

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

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

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I will take over managing you for the next 4 days

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

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


Postscript

Melancholy

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

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

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

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

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

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

Some Happier News

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

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

Favorite tierneycreates posts of 2016

I am inspired by several year end summaries on other blogs I follow, to share a list of the of the posts I most enjoyed writing in 2016 on my tierneycreates blog.

It turns out the top three, are really three series of posts on different topics:

  • My Minimalism Journey
  • Fruits of My Neighborhood
  • Quilt Retreat Weekend May 2016

Here are those series of posts.

My Minimalism Journey

  1. My Minimalism Journey: Part I
  2. My Minimalism Journey: Part II
  3. My Minimalism Journey: Part III

Fruits of My Neighborhood

  1. The Fruits of My Neighborhood
  2. The Fruits of My Neighborhood, Part II
  3. The Fruits of My Neighborhood, Part III

Quilt Retreat Weekend May 2016

  1. The Road to the Retreat
  2. Sew N Go Quilt Retreat, in Pictures
  3. Quilt Retreat Weekend: The Projects
  4. Quilt Retreat May 2016: The Tools & The Stories

(Thank goodness I have one favorite series that is quilting related, especially when this is allegedly a quilter’s blog…)

I remember a sense of joy and whimsy as I wrote the posts related to the “Fruits of My Neighborhood” and “Quilt Retreat Weekend 2016”. I remember much reflection on where I used to be and where I am now in my life journey, when I wrote the series of posts on “My Minimalism Journey”.

Honorable Mention

Shameless “Thrifting”

When writing a blog post occasionally I wonder just how much to reveal about myself, to put out there in a public forum. Perhaps the readers of the “Shameless Thrifting” post are still reeling from the discovery of my childhood obsession with Barry Manilow!

Onward to 2017!

To those who followed me in 2016 (or 2015, 2014, 2013), thanks for reading my musings! Hoping to keep it interesting in 2017 (or to continue to be something you can read before bed to make you pleasantly drowsy!)

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Quilter’s Delight Cookbook

Every Spring my Quilt Sisters and I have our annual quilting retreat in May at sewNgo Quilting Retreat Center in Vancouver, Washington. Nancy, the host, makes delicious food and has recently published the Quilter’s Delight Cookbook featuring recipes her wonderful quilt retreat menu!

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Today for lunch I made the Vegetarian Kale Soup from the cookbook and it was delicious! The recipe made a large batch and I have lunch for a couple days plus enough to freeze for a future lunch.

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Nancy, the retreat host, is very sensitive to the dietary needs of her quilt retreaters and this recipe was actually Vegan in addition to being vegetarian! (No, I am not a Vegan or a Vegetarian as I could not live without bacon, but I do appreciate meat free dishes)

Postscript

I do love attending quilt retreats (even if I get sleep deprived at times from them). Someday when I retire I want to regularly attend quilt retreats!

If you would like to read  a couple of my past blog posts on my quilt retreat adventures, they are linked below:

Quilt Retreat May 2016: The Tools & The Stories

Quilt Retreat Weekend: The Projects

Sew N Go Quilt Retreat, in Pictures

The Road to the Retreat

Little Miss Muffet, Made Her Own Tuffet

Repost: Road Trip

 

Little Miss Muffet, Made Her Own Tuffet

Feature photo: one of the chalkboard wall art decorations in my room at the Over the Rainbow Retreat Lodge.


TUFFETS!

You remember that nursery rhyme:

Little Miss Muffet sat on a tuffet, eating her curds and whey…

I never really knew what the “tuffet” was in the nursery rhyme other than something to sit upon. That was until the recent tuffet making craze that seems to have taken the crafting world by storm (at least in the Pacific NW).

While attending a four-day quilt retreat at the beginning of August, I sat in the same room as a Tuffet Making Class by the very talented professional long-arm quilter and teacher, Krista the Kwilt Queen.

Several of my quilting friends (both old and new) were taking this class and I wanted to share some photos of their completed tuffets!

Here is Krista, the teacher, with nearly all the tuffets made in class:

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Here are the various beautiful tuffets made by the students. They used a variety of fabrics – from Kaffe Fasset and Hoffman Batik pre-cuts to RECYCLED DENIM JEANS!

One quilter, my friend Joan, made a tuffet from her husband’s old jeans as a gift to her husband for their RV!

It was very fun watching them assemble the tuffets (sewing the tuffets onto the the special template looked very tedious) and seeing their joy with the final project. Krista was a wonderful teacher and I wished I was taking the class (except how would I gotten the tuffet home on the plane ride?!?!)


OTHER PROJECTS

Several of us attending the retreat did not take the Tuffet Class, instead we worked on our own projects. You saw my project from the retreat in my post What’s on the Design Wall (Need Your Help)Here is a sampling of the other projects “retreaters” worked on during the retreat:

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Intuitive log cabin square-in-a-square art quilt by Dana

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Sasquatch themed flannel quilt by Judy – very Pacific NW!

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Tiny paper pieced block by Diana – it was amazing!


THE RETREAT

The retreat itself was held at Over the Rainbow Lodge Retreat in Camano Island, Washington. I first heard about this retreat during our annual May, Jelly Rollers Quilt Group Retreat. I was not going to attend as I would have to fly to the retreat and I was watching my budget.

However, as I mentioned in my post Distracted, I was feeling a little out of sorts with all the sad stuff going on in the world and needed something fun to lighten my mood. I discovered I had enough airline miles to purchase a discounted Alaska Airlines ticket (Alaska Airlines lets you combine miles and money to buy tickets if you do not have enough miles).

In addition to sewing, I made time to go on twice daily walks on the beautiful property and neighborhood where the retreat is located (it is a former private home in a private neighborhood). Sometimes I went on a solitary walks listening to an audiobook and other walks were spent with my fellow retreat attendees – both old and new friends. It is so fun to go on a long walk with a new or old friend during a retreat and “discuss life”.

Here are photos of the retreat center, the view of the water from the lounge area of the retreat and the road I walked on.

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Photo credit: Over the Rainbow Lodge

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Beautiful views of the water from the porch/deck of the retreat center

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Exquisite walks

The beds at the lodge were premium/high quality and I had great delicious sleep in the cool Pacific NW nights. I struggle occasionally with not sleeping well at quilt retreats due to uncomfortable beds and unfamiliar sounds. I sleep really well in a nice double bed to myself and had a great roommate Dana!

The Over the Rainbow Retreat Lodge is filled with art with inspirational messages. One of them is shown as the feature photo for this post.

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I will close this post with one of the inspirational messages stenciled onto the stair risers leading connecting the downstairs sewing area and the upstairs lounge and dining areas at the retreat.

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Quilt Retreat May 2016: The Tools & The Stories

In my 4th and final post in the series of posts on the 4-day quilt retreat I attended at Sew N Go Quilt Retreats in Vancouver, WA, I want to share some of the new tools I got while at the retreat and a couple of the stories.

Naturally –  “what happens in quilt retreat, stays in quilt retreat” – but I think my Quilt Sisters would be okay if I publicly shared a couple stories (maybe, ha!).


THE TOOLS

During quilt retreat I picked up a Martelli Round-a-Bout 17″ rotating cutting mat. Another quilter friend has one and I saw how wonderful it worked!

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In addition to the Martelli spinning cutting mat, I got a set of Bloc Loc Flying Geese rulers. I saw these demonstrated and one of my quilting sister had access to a wholesale set (they are usually fairly “spendy”if you buy them individually. If you would like to read more about Bloc Loc Rulers, check out their website: Flying Geese Square Up Rulers.

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A very neat device I picked up during quilt retreat was the Electric Seam Ripper. Another quilter demonstrated this device and makes seam ripper a breeze (not that I would ever need any seam ripping, I never make sewing mistakes, ha!). A couple other quilt retreat attendees also purchased them and there was no stealth seam ripping at the retreat: we could hear the whir of the battery powered seam ripper motor whenever seam ripping was occurring!

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I thought a sewing light, was a sewing light, until a quilting friend introduced me to the Slimline Table Lamp. It provides full spectrum light for a daylight effect. I picked one up the day of the retreat and used it for the entire retreat. It is a pretty darn awesome light to have over your sewing machine! It also doubles as an imaginary device (see THE STORIES).

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THE STORIES

“I’ve Had the Time of My Life”

When quilters are quilting late into the evening, and “special beverages” have been involved throughout the evening, and the quilters are long-time friends, occasionally very silly things can happen.

Such a very silly thing happened on the Saturday night of the quilting retreat.

Another quilter, who had also purchased a Slimline Table Lamp for the retreat and I thought these lamps looked like microphones. We thought it would be fun to put on a “floor show” for the other quilters and the quilt retreat host.

My floor show partner located the main song from the movie Dirty Dancing – “(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life” and put it on her smart phone speaker. We stood up at our tables and began singing into our imaginary microphones, at the top of our lungs, a poorly ad libbed (but fairly hysterical) version of the song “(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life”.

We even threw in a little dance during the instrumental interlude to the song. We nearly kept “straight faces” during our performance…nearly.

Our silliness was rewarded with laughter and applause. (Perhaps the other retreat attendees and hosts were just being polite and hoped we get “our meds adjusted” as soon as possible!).

Yes, to answer your question, photos were taken. They will not be shared. I do not even want to see them (smile).

“Adventures in Spanx”

Are you familiar with Spanx, the body shaping wear (shapewear) that squishes any “jiggling bits” into a smooth format (like a modern girdle)?

Well one of the quilters was preparing to attend an upcoming family wedding and wanted to find a special dress to wear. She told us the story of her first time putting on Spanx and proceeded to pantomime the whole experience.

She shared her story of going  to a department store, finding the perfect dress and while trying on the dress, the sales clerk suggesting she enhance the look of the dress by wearing a full Spanx bodysuit underneath to flatten any “jiggling bits”.

My dear Quilt Sister, then proceeded to pantomime and explain the whole experience of slowly putting on full body Spanx for the first time and how the Spanx moves the “jiggling bits” around to places you never imagined them moving on your body, especially on a middle-aged body (placing the jiggling bits in odd places at first as you slowly wriggle into the bodysuit).

It was like a brilliant stand-up comedy show performance. I have not laughed that hard in a long time and worried that my bladder control might fail me at any moment. The whole room was filled with laughter and at least one quilter had tears in her eyes from laughing so hard!

Well that is it for posts on this quilt retreat. I am looking forward to the next time I reunite with all my Quilting Sisters! 

Quilt Retreat Weekend: The Projects

This is post #3 about my recent 4-day quilt retreat long weekend at Sew N Go Retreat in Vancouver WA. See posts The Road to the Retreat and Sew N Go Quilt Retreat, in Pictures for more on this retreat.

Why do quilters go to quilt retreats? Yes of course to spend time with quilting friends or meeting new quilting friends. Quilters also attend retreat to relax; to see what others are working on and get new ideas; and to work on our BACKLOG of projects!

At a quilt retreat you have the opportunity to focus on getting those quilting projects D-O-N-E! (While not having to cook, clean, or even get dressed out of your PJs.)

Here is what some of the “busy bees” were working on during this year’s annual Sew N Go Retreat:


Tula Pink Would be Proud

Tula Pink is a very talented fabric designer and I had the opportunity to meet her at the Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show 40th Anniversary celebration last summer (she is absolutely lovely in person). She has several publications but one of her most popular publication is Tula Pink’s City Sampler: 100 Modern Quilt Blocks.

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Photo credit: amazon.com

One of my Quilt Sisters at the retreat has been working (for many months) on a sampler of all 100 blocks! Below is a photo of initial block layout on the design wall at the quilt retreat (she is still deciding the final layout):

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Here are a couple of my favorite blocks on the design wall:

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What patience to complete 100 blocks for a sampler!  I own this book, but I have not completed one block to date from this book (but I am now inspired to consider completing a block – ha!).


Study in Black and Gray

Another amazing quilt different Quilt Sister worked on quilt retreat weekend was a star block in black and gray flannels that had a 3-D effect due to the placement of the colors.

Here it is in progress:

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Completed with the borders added (she is going to put beautiful special gray and black Minky fabric on back!):

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The Mother of All Embroidery Machines

One quilter and her daughter worked on a major embroidery project with their fancy embroidery machine – an embroidered doll house for their great granddaughter/granddaughter! They had to make each panel separately and then assemble it into a house. They got 3 – 4 panels finished but unfortunately I only took a photo of one of the panels, darn!

The Machine!

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One of the doll house sections (the courtyard):

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Pretty amazing!

Other Wonderful Projects

I did not capture a photo of all the projects, but here are some of the other wonderful projects in progress or completed by other Quilt Sisters during quilt retreat weekend:


Tierney, Where are Your Projects?

Well…

I had good intentions. I brought 5 – 6 projects to quilt retreat including some vintage style beer label fabric coasters to work on for my tierneycreates Etsy shop. My stock of offerings in the tierneycreates Etsy shop is dwindling due to sales (which is good); due to being busy and stressed at my pay-the-bills healthcare job (and not wanting to face a sewing machine after a long day of work); and due to focusing my extra time on art quilting projects.

So I brought several projects related to items I wanted to make for the tierneycreates Etsy shop. I ended up making nine (9) sets of vintage style fabric beer coasters during the quilt retreat weekend.

What happened to those coasters? Well they never made it to the Etsy shop, all 9 sets were purchased by quilt retreat attendees and the quilt retreat owner to give as gifts or keep for their own home. I cannot complain – I made stuff and sold it at the retreat.

I call it “fleecing my friends”!

Here is a photo taken by a Quilt Sister’s husband after he got his coasters she brought back from the retreat:

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Next post: Tools & Stories from Quilt Retreat

Sew N Go Quilt Retreat, in Pictures

This week I am sharing experiences and photos from the 4-day quilt retreat I attended this past Thursday to Sunday at Sew N Go Quilt Retreat.

Yesterday in post #1 I focused on The Road to the Retreat. Today I am sharing photos from outside and inside the retreat.

The rest of the week I will share quilts and projects (in progress and completed) during the retreat; new tools from the retreat; and stories from the retreat (although “What happens at retreat, stays in retreat”, ha!).


Sew N Go Retreat: From the Outside

The Sew N Go Retreat, in Vancouver, WA (outside of Portland, OR) is located in a private and serene setting on a couple acres of land. There is a main house,  a barn, and several cool outbuildings from the main house to include the Retreat Center.

The main house has many comfortable bedrooms for quilters (some are dormitory style with up to 4 beds in a room), several bathrooms, a large dining room area, and a cozy living room for hanging out and reading with a kitty to cuddle  (optional) if you like.

The Retreat Center which has plenty of room for sewing; its own bathroom and kitchenette; and additional sleeping areas (in case you get sleepy while sewing, ha!).

The first two days of the retreat it was sunny and in the 70s in the Portland area. Of course I did not think of taking photos while it was sunny. I waited until it was a normal Portland rainy day to take photos on the 3rd day of retreat!

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The main house where quilters sleep, shower, lounge in the cozy living room, and where meals are served

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The property and the barn in the distance

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Some of the outside seating areas (it was overcast when I took these photos)

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A shed decorated with flowers

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The Retreat Center, Photo credit: Sew N Go Facebook page


Sew N Go Retreat: From the Inside

THE MAIN HOUSE (What a quilt retreat really looks like while quilters are staying there):

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Abby the Quilt Retreat Kitty 

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I am ready to snuggle with any quilters that are interested. Come read your book on the sofa with me and these quilts!

THE RETREAT CENTER (What a quilt retreat center really looks like while quilters are making a mess working on projects in there!):

And…as I discussed in the post My New Quilt Retreat Gadget – the battle for power strip/surge protector outlet spots:

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Look there are still some empty spots (but not for long…my table mate pulled out her other numerous electronic devices and that was it for the outlets!)


Postscript

One of the tierneycreates readers asked more about xeriscaping related to the post Tuesday…an update, in which I share photos of my xeriscaped (low water, native plant, no grass) front yard landscape.

I wanted to share a photo of a house I came across during my walk in my neighborhood which recently engaged in EXTREME XERISCAPING. They removed their front yard grass and all plants and replaced them with rocks.

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No water required!

Perhaps the correct term is “NON-SCAPING”!

The Road to the Retreat

Last Thursday 5/12/16 I “hit the road” to Vancouver, Washington for a four-day annual quilt retreat with my ” Quilting Sisters” from California, Oregon and Washington. We gather at least once a year for a retreat, at Nancy’s Sew N Go Retreat.

This is post #1 of a series of posts about my quilt retreating experience!

ROAD TRIP!

Car loaded up with sewing machine, quilting paraphernalia, fabric and various projects, I got on the road early in the am on 5/16/16. Driving from Central Oregon to Vancouver Washington I found many “car buddies” along the way (see my post Repost: Road Trip for an explanation of “car buddies”).

My favorite “car buddies” were a brown Mercedes wagon and a gray Subaru that I followed for many miles on my road trip to the quilt retreat. If only they knew they had been my “car buddies” (they would have been very frightened by a wacky woman following them and making them her imaginary friends?!?!).


Music Time!

Solo road tripping is an opportunity to listen to wonderful music, rather loudly, and sing along at the top of your lungs! I had my iPhone with the “Tierney Mix” playlist loaded and hooked up to a FM transmitter that sent the music to my car radio. (Yes the classic 2001 Saturn 4-door sedans do not come with a jack for your iPhone or any modern amenities…).

The “Tierney Mix” is a very eclectic mix of music. Here is a sampling of 20 songs that played in order while I drove:

  1. Third World Man – Steely Dan
  2. Lovesick Blues – Hank Williams
  3. Your Love is King – Sade
  4. Annie’s Song – John Denver
  5. How Soon is Now – The Smiths
  6. Black is the Color – Nina Simone
  7. How Deep is Your Love – The Bee Gees
  8. Tom Sawyer – Rush
  9. Tennessee Waltz – Patti Page
  10. Don’t Break My Heart – UB40
  11. Gravity – Jon Mayer
  12. Heartbreaker – Pat Benatar
  13. Okan Bale – Angelique Kidjo
  14. Dancing Nancies – Dave Matthews Band
  15. Chan Chan – Buena Vista Social Club
  16. Nights in White Satin – The Moody Blues
  17. Like a Star – Corinne Bailey Rae
  18. Cozza Frenzy – Bassnectar
  19. Sultans of Swing – Dire Straits
  20. That’s the Way of the World – Earth Wind & Fire

As you can see my musical tastes are all over the place!

I am glad my “car buddies” and other vehicles could not hear me singing along!


The Road Trip Scenery

I know you are not supposed to be engaging in DWP (driving while photographing) but I assure you I only took photos while it was safe. Also there was some construction on Highway 26 (the road from Central Oregon to the Portland Oregon area) and I was stopped for awhile and took photos.

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The landscape is filled with the Cascade Mountains, especially Mount Hood; lots of high desert brush; and endless farms. There is quite a climb in elevation from Central Oregon to the Portland Oregon area through the Mount Hood pass.

Mount Hood itself rises to 11,240 feet (Wikipedia) at its summit. The elevation from Central Oregon to the Mount Hood/Timberline Lodge region climbs from 3500+ feet above sea level to 6000+. Occasionally my ears “pop” on the drive from the change in elevation (but that does not stop me from continuing to sing at the top of my lungs).

It is a winding mountain road and in the winter some times it is not passable. I never drive from Central Oregon to the Portland area in the winter, though many Central Oregonians have family in Portland (and are originally from the Portland area) and drive to Portland for Thanksgiving or other “winter holidays”. Winter begins at the end of October or early November in the Mount Hood pass area due to the elevation!

Finally I arrived at Sew N Go Quilt Retreat!

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Photo credit: Sew N Go Facebook page

NEXT POST: Sew N Go Retreating! 

Repost: Road Trip

 

As I prepare to head out to my annual quilting retreat with my “quilting sisters” tomorrow, I thought I would repost a story from May 2015 about my road trip to my quilt retreat and finding “car buddies”.


ROAD TRIP (May 2015)

Last May I attend the Sew N Go Retreat in Vancouver, WA (outside of Portland, OR) for the first time. I live about 3.5 + hours from Vancouver, WA and  last year, I drove to the retreat with a friend who was also attending. Last Thursday I returned to the retreat, and this time I drove alone.

I was bummed, at first, to drive alone this year to the retreat. All I could think was: “3.5 + hours in the car, not fun”.  I was wrong. Road trips with friends are great, however it can be quite fun to go  on a solo road trip!

My husband and I both have older cars (we are all about having paid off cars) and I borrowed my husband’s car, the newer car (which is only 10 years old instead of 14+ years old like my car). My husband teases me that soon my car can be registered as an “antique”, however I do not think there is much of an automobile collector’s market for classic 2001 Saturns (perhaps there is one person in Uruguay who dreams of owning a non luxury old Saturn).

One of the drawbacks with older cars is you do not have the cool technology you have with newer cars – like a built in jack for your iPhone to allow you play tunes through the car radio. I did have an old FM transmitter powered by the car jack (formerly known in the old days as “the cigarette lighter”) and once I found a FM radio channel not used by any station, I was able to transmit my tunes through the car radio!

Armed with a package of roasted almonds, a container of blueberries, water, a turkey sandwich (I was eating healthy on the way to the quilting retreat as I planned to make naughty food choices the next 4 days) and my iTunes mixes on my iPhone, I was ready for my road trip! There is something very relaxing about listening to music alone on a long drive.

Most of my drive was pretty scenic, even if it was overcast, as I journeyed through part of the Cascade Mountain range with little traffic on a Thursday morning. There were a couple moments of what I would call “pure bliss” where it was just me, the road and my tunes. I felt light and carefree and at peace with all around me. I promised myself on the drive not to think about any life worries or concerns; not think about work; and not try to plan my life (I tend to be an over-planner). I had decided to just be in the moment on my drive.

Car Buddies

Along the highway on my trip I would find “Car Buddies“. For more years then I remember I have always been into finding imaginary “Car Buddies” when on long drives.

What are “Car Buddies”? Car Buddies are other cars that you follow for a long period of time. If you are on a one lane highway and a passing lane appears, you do not pass them, They are your buddy and you stay behind them maintaining a reasonable speed. The most appealing car buddies of course, are those who are going an acceptable speed!

Sometimes if I have been with a car buddy for a long time on the road I get kind of sad for a moment when they take an exit that I am not taking. I always say aloud: “bye-bye car buddy, thanks and take care!”  Yes I am weird. I have imaginary friendships and connections with other cars on the road.

Hey you never know when you are driving long distance, if I am behind you, making you my imaginary Car Buddy!

A bonus to the peaceful and relaxing road trip was that I was headed to a fun weekend. However I did not want the road trip to end – as I got closer, I wished I had a further to drive!

My New Quilt Retreat Gadget

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


Getting excited – less than a week until I join my long-time quilting friends group, The Jelly Rollers, at our Annual Quilt Retreat!

This time I am bringing a new gadget to the quilt retreat. No it is not a new rotary cutter, or special quilting ruler. It is a 4-Port USB charger!

At a quilt retreat it can be “battle for the outlets” and/or “battle for the surge protectors”.

You have a group of quilters with their sewing machines, their special sewing lights, their portable irons, and various other quilting related devices requiring electrical power. In addition to the sewing paraphernalia that requires a power source, quilters have their laptops, tablets, and smart phone all in need of charging.

Imagine a group of people, sitting in a pod (two or four tables connected) sharing just a couple surge protectors (also imagine me saying this in my best Rod Serling, Twilight Zone host voice…) – yes, you guessed it: Battle for the Outlets!  

(Live on Pay-Per-View: See quilters viciously battle for power outlets – oh the carnage!)

What I have done in the past is alternate between charging my iPhone or iPad (you need your iPad of course at a Quilt Retreat for easy access to your online patterns, sharing photos, and of course having a moment of distraction from quilting with those addictive iPad games!).

Now with my new 4-Port USB charger – no more switching out. I also have a 2-port charger (I discovered this first before learning there was a 4-port USB charger option).

IMG_3468.jpg

These nifty devices are available from various manufacturers but my 2-port and 4-port USB chargers are by iClever (I love the name)/Hisgadget, Inc. and you can find them reasonably priced online (I got mine through Amazon.com).

You can see on the 2-port charger I have already written my name (so there is no confusion at the quilt retreat in case another quilter has also discovered this wonderful device).

Bring on the quilt retreat fun!


Postscript

I finished Arianna Huffington’s wonderful audiobook – The Sleep Revolution: Transforming Your Life, One Night at a Time. I am now inspired to get lots of healing sleep!

I did have a brief moment of panic on finishing the audiobook as I did not have another audiobook to start. However when I returned from my walk I had an e-mail from my local public library notifying me that the audiobook I have on hold, Smarter Faster Better: The Secrets of Being Productive in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg was now available for download!

Yes! Loading up the iPhone with my next listen!

(I think my heart skips a beat in anticipation and happiness when I receive an e-mail from the library with title “Library Item Now Available”)

Road Trip

In my post Getting Ready to “Retreat” I shared my excitement on heading to a 4-day quilting retreat with my quilting friends from WA, OR, and CA. This next series of posts will be about that 4-day retreat.

ROAD TRIP

Last May I attend the Sew N Go Retreat in Vancouver, WA (outside of Portland, OR) for the first time. I live about 3 1/2 hours from Vancouver, WA and I drove to the retreat with a friend who was also attending. Last Thursday I returned to the retreat, and this time I drove alone.

I was bummed, at first, to drive alone this year to the retreat. All I could think was: “3 1/2 + hours in the car, not fun”.  I was wrong. Road trips with friends are great, however it can be quite fun to go  on a road trip alone!

My husband and I both have older cars (we are all about having paid off cars) and I borrowed my husband’s car, the newer car (which is only 10 years old instead of 14+ years old like my car). My husband teases me that soon my car can be registered as an “antique”, however I do not think there is much of an automobile collector’s market for classic 2001 Saturns (perhaps there is one person in Uruguay who dreams of owning a non luxury old Saturn).

One of the drawbacks with older cars is you do not have the cool technology you have with newer cars – like a built in jack for your iPhone to allow you play tunes through the car radio. I did have an old FM transmitter powered by the car jack (formerly known in the old days as “the cigarette lighter”) and once I found a FM radio channel not used by any station, I was able to transmit my tunes through the car radio!

Armed with a package of roasted almonds, a container of blueberries, water, a turkey sandwich (I was eating healthy on the way to the quilting retreat as I planned to make naughty food choices the next 4 days) and my iTunes mixes on my iPhone, I was ready for my road trip! There is something very relaxing about listening to music alone on a long drive.

Most of my drive was pretty scenic, even if it was overcast, as I journeyed through part of the Cascade Mountain range with little traffic on a Thursday morning. There were a couple moments of what I would call “pure bliss” where it was just me, the road and my tunes. I felt light and carefree and at peace with all around me. I promised myself on the drive not to think about any life worries or concerns; not think about work; and not try to plan my life (I tend to be an over-planner). I had decided to just be in the moment on my drive.

Car Buddies

Along the highway on my trip I would find “Car Buddies“. For more years then I remember I have always been into finding imaginary “Car Buddies” when on long drives. What are “Car Buddies”? Car Buddies are other cars that you follow for a long period of time. If you are on a one lane highway and a passing lane appears, you do not pass them, They are your buddy and you stay behind them maintaining a reasonable speed. The most appealing car buddies of course, are those who are going an acceptable speed! Sometimes if I have been with a car buddy for a long time on the road I get kind of sad for a moment when they take an exit that I am not taking. I always say aloud: “bye-bye car buddy, thanks and take care!”  Yes I am weird. I have imaginary friendships and connections with other cars on the road.

Hey you never know when you are driving long distance, if I am behind you, making you my imaginary Car Buddy!

A bonus to the peaceful and relaxing road trip was that I was headed to a fun weekend. However I did not want the road trip to end – as I got closer, I wished I had a further to drive!

Getting Ready to “Retreat”

In my post Retreating is not necessarily “retreating” I discuss the pleasure of attending a quilting/crafting retreat with other crafters – whether they are old friends or new friends.

Well later this week I head to a 4-day  quilting retreat with my quilting friends from California, Oregon, and Washington. I am very excited to see old friends and to be able to just relax and work on projects. Or just goof off visiting with my friends and pretend to work on projects!

Now it is decision time: what projects do I select to take to the retreat (whether I am planning to work on them or only pretend to work on them)?

I usually bring TOO MANY PROJECTS to quilting retreats! In my mind I am going to be so productive and get a backlog of projects done. In reality I might get 1/2 to 1 project done.

Projects to bring to quilting retreat?

Projects to bring to quilting retreat?

I think I am going to bring two projects pictured above – both are UFOs (quilters slang for “unfinished objects”).

Next decision: do I cut the fabric according to the pattern ahead of time and do I start some preliminary piecing; or just wait until I get to the retreat?

I have a couple days to figure this out. I also have a couple of days to psych myself up on how much stuff I will get done at the retreat.

Yes I am being delusional and it is time to be honest: I will bring these two projects with me to the retreat under the guise of planning to be productive. I might even unpack them at the retreat and lay out the fabric and the pattern and mention my strategy to get my piecing done. Then I will set out to wander around and see what others are working on*, catch up on my quilting friends lives, and lounge around and read some crafting magazines. That is the proper way to attend a quilting retreat.

 *Refer to the post Creative Inspiration: What Others Are Working On! – I am easily distracted by the cool projects other quilters are working on…

Retreating is not necessarily “retreating”

I am honored to be invited to teach a hand piecing/quilting/spiritual art class at the Women’s Relaxation Reiki Retreat in Finland, August 19-22, 2016 and I am working on developing Northern Lights (aka the aurora borealis) themed project options for the class since the Northern Lights will be in view during the retreat.

This will be a working retreat for me where I get to attend some classes and teach a couple of classes. I started thinking about the whole idea of going on a retreat/retreating and Quilting Retreats I have attended in the past (and those planned with my quilting friends in the near future) and this post shares my thoughts.

If you look up the word retreat in a dictionary you made find definitions like these below:

  • movement by soldiers away from an enemy because the enemy is winning or has won a battle
  • movement away from a place or situation especially because it is dangerous, unpleasant, etc.
  • the act of changing your opinion or position on something because it is unpopular

(Source – http://www.merriam-webster.com)

None of these definitions have anything to do with the type of retreats I enjoy! To retreat is commonly thought of as backing away and/or pulling into yourself. There are retreats such as spiritual based and meditation retreats where the purpose is to back away from your daily life and worries and to pull into yourself to gain perspective or spiritual enlightenment.  I admire people who attend these type of purely inward focused retreats. However the type of retreats enjoy involve connecting with people.

I am so fortunate to have a wonderful group of quilting friends from various parts of the country. I met these women through quilting retreats and because we deeply connected, we continue to retreat together year after year. We even plan our own special group retreat where only our private group attends. Yes, I will admit it – sometimes I bring a couple projects to these retreats and do not get much quilt piecing done. However what are you going to most remember about a quilt retreat: 1) that you completed 5 projects; or 2) that you hung out with some amazing women and had many laughs?

It is magical to connect with a stranger at a retreat on other common ground beyond being a quilter. I am originally from New York and I have bonded with another quilter because she is also “a Yankee”.

If you are a quilter/crafter, I bet you could not imagine attending a quilting/crafting retreat in which you just “back away/pull into yourself”. I have met a couple people at quilting retreats who just wanted to focus on their projects and were not very social – however I am not sure they had as great a time as those that did not get as much done but had a blast connecting with other retreat attendees.

Besides connecting with fun people, the other wonderful parts of quilt retreating are a scenic peaceful location (I do love a retreat where you can go for a solitary walk in a pastoral location and take break from the group setting), impromptu outings to local quilt shops (with old or new quilt friends), and yummy food to enjoy (that I did not have to cook!)

“Happiness [is] only real when shared” – Jon Krakauer, Into the Wild