A Crafter's Life, Quality of Life

Independent Bookstores (wonderful & magical places)

I won’t pretend I do not shop on Amazon.com for book deals or that I do not go to our local Barnes & Noble bookstore, but today I was reminded just how wonderful and magical Independent Bookstores are to have in one’s community. I plan to spend more time at indie bookshops!

Today we went for a wander around and hot beverage at downtown Bend’s Dudley’s Bookshop Cafe.

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As the sign upstairs at Dudley’s Bookshop Cafe reads:

Independent Bookstores are wonderful & magical places because each book will have been hand selected, you know all of them are jewels just waiting to be discovered…

After the friendly shopkeepers filled darling ceramic mugs with our hot cocoa (for me) and mocha (for Terry the Quilting Husband), we had a leisurely and delicious wander about the shop browsing and their well curated selections.

Come wander the shop with us for a moment…

Downstairs, where you enter Dudley’s bookshop and immediately think – “well this would be a fine place to nest for awhile”:

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People were nesting – they have WiFi and some were on their laptops and some were sipping their hot beverages and reading a book (or previewing a book!).

Among the shelves of books are fun things and objects to look at, including this wickedly funny sign:

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Now head upstairs (carefully carry your mug of hot beverage with you!) and check out the painted stairs celebrating books:

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(I love the step that reads: “Fifty Shades of Dudley’s)

At the top of the landing you will find a shelf of books (in case it was too long a journey to go without being able to browse any books from the bottom of the stairs to the top).

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Now, turn the corner…and…WOW: Here is the cozy reading nook you might have searched for while browsing any bookstore (and maybe dreamed about in your own home):

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The secret OCD person inside of me wanted to go and fix the left side of the curtain, but I was here to browse books, not adjust decor so I left it alone – ha!

After walking by the cozy reading nook, you come upon the upstairs room with more books to browse – how about a Art/Film/Music book to add to your collection?

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Even the bathroom was delightful and had this great poster called A Plotting of Fiction Genres:

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If you would like to know more about this poster, I did find it online at Pop Chart Lab. I did not want to spend too long in the bathroom reading it, but I was very impressed with it in my brief time with it!  Here is a better overall photo from the seller’s website.

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I could not leave Dudley’s Bookshop without a little something. If you have followed my blog for a while, you know I love our local public library and lately I get most of my reading through borrowing from the library (as I have been very naughty at bookshops in the past and have a huge book collection). I am trying not to add more books permanently to my home but I did want a little something from the indie bookstore, so I bought a cool set of greeting cards that you color yourself!

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Two of my many favorite authors, Neil Gaiman and Ann Patchett are huge advocated for preserving independent bookstores (Ann Patchett even owns her own indie bookstore, Parnassus Books) and have lauded the value of preserving these shops in their writing.

I will close this post with a Neil Gaiman quote, which is also on the Dudley’s Bookshop Cafe website, from his wonderful and magical book American Gods:

What I say is, a town isn’t a town without a bookstore. It may call itself a town, but unless it’s got a bookstore it knows it’s not fooling a soul. – Neil Gaiman

Audiobooks and Podcasts

This is the Story of a Quilting Husband

Check out Sassy the Schnauzer’s latest adventures in her Schnauzer Snips page. 

I recently finished a wonderful audiobook written and read by Ann Patchett: This is the Story of a Happy Marriage (2013) – a brilliant collection of her essays. (Yes, I should just abandon my plan for a year of fictional audiobooks as I continue to primarily listen to nonfiction…)

In Ms. Patchett’s novel she tells, as the title suggests, the story of her happy marriage in one of her essays. I have been fortunate to be happily married for 25+ years to my husband Terry and recently finishing this novel inspired the title of this post.

This is the Story of a Quilting Husband

My husband Terry has always been supportive of my quilting hobby (as he enjoys a nap under a cozy handmade quilt). He never questioned the quilting fabric purchases during my intense “fabric acquisition periods” (refer to the post Craft Book Hoarder?!?!? and substitute “craft book” with “quilting fabric”).

Terry would accompany me to quilt shops and patiently wait while I shopped. Eventually he developed the habit of looking for dog themed fabric (especially if the fabric had schnauzers in it) whenever we went to a quilt shop. This became his special self appointment assignment (which eventually led to a large collection of dog themed fabric in my stash). Occasionally when I was done shopping at the quilt shop, Terry would still be looking around.

Terry became popular among my quilting friends when we lived in Seattle – he drove an Astro Van (which I called the “moving living room”) and he drove several of my quilting friends, myself and our two miniature schnauzers at the time, Fritz and Snickers, all around the Seattle area for Quilt Shop Hop. We must have spent 10 hours that day going to quilt shops and on the road driving a hundred or more miles trying to go to as many quilt shops as possible for shop hop. He deserves a special husband award for doing that!

Last fall I was struggling to make items for my tierneycreates Etsy shop and work my full-time health care job. On a whim I asked Terry: “would you be interested in learning how to quilt and helping me with simple piecing/sewing on quilts and other projects?”  Terry replied, “sure, I can do that.”  He proceeded to “do that”, Terry patiently learned, from his wife, basic sewing machine operation, machine sewing and simple piecing. The plan was to also enroll him in a beginning quilting class but the class he was enrolled got cancelled.

Terry has progressed in his sewing abilities and has become adept at basic straight piecing (sewing a straight edge to another straight edge) and is a natural with the terrifying tool – the rotary cutter (he has never sliced himself like I have). He has helped me on many projects, completing repetitive chain piecing projects and making the binding for my quilts.

His first completed quilt, a yummy log cabin flannel quilt, he gave to his Mom for her birthday as a surprise and she was quite pleased. He finally took his first quilt shop quilting class – on making t-shirt quilt.  Below is a photo of his first t-shirt quilt which made from his collection of brewery and beer enjoyment themed t-shirts.

Luckily I do not see Terry becoming a fabric hoarder like myself, but he does have his own stash (primarily stocked with those dog prints he found over the years). Besides we have a small house and we have reached our limit of fabric!

He is interested in the future in designing quilts that men would enjoy (and women who enjoy simple cozy comfort) made from flannel and denim. His favorite quilt is a quilt I made him in my early days of quilting which is very worn (and not very well constructed, ha) and made from flannel shirt material and denim.

Audiobooks and Podcasts

Life is Nonfiction: Part V

We arrive at the conclusion of a series of posts which began with Life is Nonfiction, a listing  of my favorite nonfiction audiobooks and subsequent discussion of key insights I gained from listening to these books.

In my prior post in this series, Life is Nonfiction: Part IV, I opened with a brief discussion of  the fictional audiobooks I have listened to recently as part of my 2015 “a year of fiction”. I realized forgot to mention that I had recently finished the Ann Patchett’s book The Magician’s Assistant, a highly enjoyable listen about being in love with someone you cannot have, closure, and finding your own way. Currently I am listening to Ann Patchett’s The Story of a Happy Marriage, an excellent collection of her essays. After reading or listening to Bel Canto, State of Wonder, The Magician’s Assistant and now The Story of a Happy Marriage, I have decided to start with her earliest novel, The Patron Saint of Liars and read/listen to her entire catalogue of novels. I have become interested in exploring an author’s entire body of work. It is intriguing to find reoccurring themes in an author’s writing. So far several of Ann Patchett’s novels touch upon some version of unrequited love.

Now onto the key insights I gained from the remaining favorite nonfiction audiobooks:

Robinson, Ken (2013). Finding your element: how to discover your talents and passions and transform your lifeNew York, NY: Viking.

KEY INSIGHT: Be brave and identify where your passions lie. The pursue them!

Singer, Michael (2013). The untethered soul: the journey beyond yourself. Oakland, CA: New Harbinger Publications.

KEY INSIGHT: I think this book is a mandatory read for humans. I first read it and then I listened to the audiobook. The audiobook is humorous in a way, after reading this very profound book, as the narrator sounds like a slightly irritated New Yorker telling you to “get over yourself”. The key insight of the book is basically “get over yourself”! Don’t listen to your ego talking and bossing you around, find your real voice, the voice at your core. This book helps you dispel with the negative self-talk and “chatter” and get to the magic and the beauty of being a conscious living being. I must recommend that for your first exposure to this book – read the book and then if you want to revisit it listen to the “slightly irritated New Yorker” narration!

Taleb, Nassim (2012). Antifragile: things that gain from disorder. New York, NY: Random House.

KEY INSIGHT: Awareness of the fragility in systems, what makes them fragile, and how to protect yourself professionally and personally.

Tolle, Eckhart (2005). A new earth: awakening to your life’s purpose. New York, NY: Dutton/Penguin Group.

KEY INSIGHT: Like the book The untethered soul, this book focuses on the awareness of the ego and then letting go of the ego. Listening to this book helped me gain quite a sense of peace and release from things that I was obsessing and worrying about as ultimately many of them do not matter in the whole scheme of the universe.

Tolle, Eckhart (1999), The power of now: a guide to spiritual enlightenment. Novato, CA: New World Library.

KEY INSIGHT: Live in the moment. The past is not changeable and the future is not ultimately known. This book helped me let go of many worries and to appreciate what I am experiencing in the moment. This book is about being fully present in the Present.

Weber, Lauren (2009). In cheap we trust: the story of a misunderstood American virtueNew York, NY: Little, Brown.

KEY INSIGHT: This book was an enjoyable discussion on the history of frugality and that “being cheap” is not a bad thing!

White, Jennifer (2004). Work less, make more. Ashland, OR: Blackstone Audiobooks.

KEY INSIGHT: This book encouraged intense scrutiny of what was really important to me in life. I realized that my health care career was not at the top of the list. At the top of the list is family (including furry family members) and my tierneycreates creations!

Whew – not sure what I was thinking when I decided to take on discussion/key insights of so many nonfiction audiobooks. I hope you will find a book or two that inspire you after all these insights. I did notice repetition in “self-help” nonfiction audiobooks but repetition of important ideas/concepts can be a good thing. Happy Listening!