Audiobooks and Podcasts, My Minimalism Journey, Quality of Life

Soulful Simplicity and the Mexican Fisherman

What does the phrase “Soulful Simplicity” mean to you?

The last several months I’ve listening to some awesome audiobooks from my public library while I go on daily walks, sew, or do errands. I plan to share highlights from the audiobooks in upcoming posts and I thought I would begin with my current listen: Soulful Simplicity: How Living With Less Can Lead to So Much More by Courtney Carver.

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image credit: Amazon

Here is the summary of the book on on the Deschutes Public Library website:

Courtney Carver shows us the power of simplicity to improve our health, build more meaningful relationships, and relieve stress in our professional and personal lives. We are often on a quest for more, giving in to pressure every day to work more, own more, and do more. For Courtney Carver, this constant striving had to come to a stop when she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. Stress was like gasoline on the fire of her symptoms, and it became clear that she needed to root out the physical and psychological clutter that were the source of her debt and discontent.

In this book, Carver shows us how to pursue practical minimalism so we can create more with less-more space, more time, and even more love. She invites us to look at the big picture, discover what’s most important to us, and reclaim lightness and ease by getting rid of all the excess things.

The audiobook is read by the author (which always adds a high degree of authenticity to the listening for me) and focuses on “being more with less“.

I am 2/3rds through the audiobook and wanted share one of my favorite stories (that the author shares in her book) about what really matters in life. As the author states, there are many versions of this story. Here is the version from her website: Be More With Less.


The Mexican Fisherman

An American investment banker was at the pier of a small coastal Mexican village when a small boat with just one Mexican fisherman docked.  Inside the small boat were several large yellowfin tuna.  The American complimented the fisherman on the quality of his fish and asked how long it took to catch them.

The fisherman replied, “only a little while”. The American then asked why didn’t he stay out longer and catch more fish? The Mexican said he had enough to support his family’s immediate needs. The American then asked, “but what do you do with the rest of your time?”

The Mexican fisherman said, “I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, take siestas with my wife, Maria, stroll into the village each evening where I sip wine, and play guitar with my amigos.  I have a full and busy life.”

The American scoffed, “I am a Harvard MBA and could help you. You should spend more time fishing and with the proceeds, buy a bigger boat. With the proceeds from the bigger boat, you could buy several boats, eventually you would have a fleet of fishing boats. Instead of selling your catch to a middleman you would sell directly to the processor, eventually opening your own cannery. You would control the product, processing, and distribution. You would need to leave this small coastal fishing village and move to Mexico City, then LA and eventually New York City, where you will run your expanding enterprise.”

The Mexican fisherman asked, “But, how long will this all take?”

To which the American replied, “15 – 20 years.”

“But what then?” asked the fisherman.

The American laughed and said, “That’s the best part.  When the time is right you would announce an IPO and sell your company stock to the public and become very rich, you would make millions!”

“Millions – then what?”

The American said, “Then you would retire.  Move to a small coastal fishing village where you would sleep late, fish a little, play with your kids, take siestas with your wife, stroll to the village in the evenings where you could sip wine and play your guitar with your amigos.”


In the version I heard many years ago, the Mexican fisherman states at the end of the story: “Why would I go through all that to get what I already have?

The first time I heard this story it deeply resonated with me. As I have discussed in my series of posts on My Minimalism Journey, I’ve been working on appreciating and enjoying the life I have; taking care of my physical, emotional and spiritual health; and curating my possessions to only those things I truly love (but darn it, I love all my crafting books and magazines!)

In my pay-the-bills health care job, I’ve been offered the opportunity to attend my employer’s leadership track nine-month program to move into a leadership position. I declined the opportunity as although it would be more money, it would be much less time doing the things I love such as blogging, crafting, spending time with my husband and dog, enjoying nature, etc., etc., etc.

I am already happy with my job, salary and work schedule. I do not need to climb the “corporate ladder” to become happier.

Actually I think climbing the corporate ladder at this point in my life would be the path to less happiness as I remember a lot of stress in my life when I was previously in leadership for 8 – 9 years.

Terry the Quilting Husband (TTQH) fully supports this decision as he remembers his very stressed wife during her years in a leadership role.

I am quite content in my life’s version of a “little fishing village”.

Fear less, hope more; Eat less, chew more; Whine less, breathe more; Talk less, say more; Love more, and all good things will be yours! – Swedish Proverb


Feature photo credit: Johanna Ljungblom

Creative Inspiration

Creative Inspiration: Autumn in Central Oregon

Monday I went on a field trip to the Wintercreek Nursery with my friend Jenny. The Nursery was filled with glorious examples of the beauty of Autumn in Central Oregon.

I thought I would post a couple of those photos as part of my ongoing series of posts on sources of Creative Inspiration. I think these photo compositions could be inspiration for an interesting art quilt. Feel free to use them for inspiration and if you repost the photos, please credit me as the photographer, thanks.

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Here is my absolute favorite of the photos I took:

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And here is a tiny little house that I think was covering some plumbing that looked like a real house tucked away in forest growth:

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Finally here are a couple photos of Autumn at my house in Central Oregon:

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We have a lot of reds, yellows, yellow-greens and greens. We do not have the purples of the Autumn in Vermont (when I lived in New York we used to drive to Vermont in the Fall to see the exquisitely beautiful palette of colors) but I think Autumn is an exceptionally lovely time of year with the Fall colors and the backdrop of an impossibly blue Central Oregon Autumn sky!

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Thanks for reading my photo essay of Autumn in Central Oregon!

One of the “non-Wordpress” blogs I love to follow is that of a fellow Central Oregon SAQA member, Kristin Shields. On her blog Kristin Shields: Artist & Quiltmaker, she has a visually beautiful post on Fall Color – October Color.


Postscript

I’ve made quite a bit of progress on the table runners I am working on (see recent posts) and will sharing a peek in a future post.

Now that the weather has changed (it has dipped into the 60s and 50s during the day and 20s – 30s at night!) it is time to start making knitted hats again in the evenings while watching TV.

I love to wear my knitted hats (yes I only know one pattern) on brisk Fall and Winter walks!

As I mentioned in the post Not Working On What I am Supposed to be Working On, I love to wear my nearly finished hat around the house with the double pointed needles sticking out of the top, as a tradition right before I finished off the hat.

So here is another silly picture of me with my nearly finished hat!

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Terry the Quilting Husband puts up with me weirdness!

Oh and here is the full image of the featured photo – I would like to find fabric in this color:

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tierneycreates

Blog Anniversary Celebration & Giveaway

October heralds the 4th anniversary of the tierneycreates blog. Although a 4th anniversary it not traditionally a milestone anniversary, I did not want to wait until the 5th anniversary to start my first annual Blog Anniversary Giveaway!

Whether you are a new reader/follower or have been with me since the beginning (like perhaps the friends and family that were browbeaten into signing up to follow my blog in the early days?!?!) I so appreciate you taking time from your day to read my tierneycreates musings.

So let’s first talk about the “celebration” and then I will give you the details on the “giveaway”. (and of course I will ramble on more afterwards…)

The Celebration

Throughout the month of October, along with new posts, I am going to feature “the best of tierneycreates” from the past 4 years – those posts which got the most views and/or the most comments.

We’ll kick it off tomorrow with a sort of October/Halloween-esque post from October 2015 Dark Cabinet of Mystery.

The Giveaway

As I hinted in the Postscript section of the September post Limitless Library Love I am going to giveaway FOUR (4) of the Little Wallets I was obsessed with making in September 2017. You can view the whole lot of them in this post – Little Wallet Madness.

So here is what you need to do to ENTER THE GIVEAWAY:

Write a comment in the Comments/Leave a Reply section of this post with a minimum of the following three pieces of information:

Question #1 – What is your favorite color? (or “favourite colour” if you live outside the US!)

Questions #2 – What is your second favorite color (in case you’re selected & your 1st choice is gone)

Question #3 – If you are a blogger, what is your favorite thing about blogging; or if you are not a blogger – what is your favorite thing about reading/following blogs?

 Oh my goodness Tierney you are asking me to write a freaking essay to try and get one of your Little Wallets (yup I know what you are thinking).

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Hope this photo gets you excited about essay writing – ha!

But I think it will be fun to read people’s comments about why they blog or enjoy reading blogs. The last question is meant to celebrate blogging and our blogging community!

You have until Sunday, October 22nd to add your comment to enter the giveaway. I will have Terry the Quilting Husband (TTQH) randomly select 4 winners on Monday October 23, 2017. No, no, no don’t try and write cute comments to TTQH in your entry, I am going to just give him a blinded list of who responded on the post with assigned numbers! He won’t even see the names to be influenced by any cute blogger names (smile).

Do not worry if you live in other countries such as Canada, UK, Australia, South Africa, India, Texas, etc., I am going to mail the Little Wallet to you wherever you live (unless of course you are an extraterrestrial – unfortunately interspace postal services are not an option at this point).

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Image credit: BSK, free images.com

I will privately contact the winners, within our solar system, for their mailing addresses.

Speaking of Community

What is my answer to Question #3? What I love about blogging and reading/following blogs is the sense of community. It makes me smile that there seems to be a little tribe of crafters who follow each other blogs. When I use the word “crafter” I mean all creative types – whether you have a cooking blog, a paper crafting blog, a needlepoint blog, sewing blog, creative writing or poetry blog, drawing/painting blog, quilting blog, etc., etc. I love being exposed to all this darn creativity floating around the ethernet!

I started blogging, heavily encouraged by my awesome sister, in October 2013 as a vehicle for my now closed tierneycreates Etsy shop. I discovered I like blogging way more than trying to sell handmade items online.

Much thanks for my longtime readers/followers and to my newer readers! 

I hope to keep “fusing textiles and smiles” (my tierneycreates tagline) on this blog for many more years!


Postscript

Las Vegas

I had to take a little break from blogging as I dealt emotionally with sad stuff going on in the world. I could not bring myself to write for a couple of days.

I did come across something very awesome – the blogger Christa Quilts (christaquilts.com) lives in Las Vegas and her local guild, Las Vegas MQG is collecting quilts to pass out to those impacted by the shooting. You can check out her post link below for more information:

CATCHING MY BREATH AND CALL FOR #QUILTSFORVEGAS

Table Runners

This is a quick follow up to my previous post Can We Talk About Table Runners? – I have been working on table runners and have completed 5 tops so far! I am going to quilt them and will reveal the table runners and their sizes/dimensions in a future post.

Here is a little tease – stacks of strips of pieced brightly colored fabric scraps for the table runners:

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Feature photo credit: “fire in the sky” by Lucretious, free images.com

Blogging Awards, Quilt Retreats

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!

 

Blogging Awards

Thank You for the Blogging Awards

I am supposed to be working on our income taxes right now but I thought I would just have quick distraction by checking my blog reader and I discovered I have been honored with being nominated for another blogging award.

I have been nominated for several blogging awards in the past and I have been VERY remiss in following the guidelines on the nominations.

Commonly blogging award nominations propose that you nominate several of your favorite blogs/bloggers part of your acceptance post – to pass on the love. Blogging awards are great ways to give a kudos to the blogs you like to read and to expose to other bloggers.

My problem is I love all the blogs I follow. I want to follow even more but alas I have to keep time to work on craft projects, spend time with Terry the Quilting Husband and the dogs, and of course that pesky pay-the-bills-job.

I list some of the blogs I follow in my my Main Sidebar, however WordPress limits it to 50 blogs, so the earliest blogs I followed are not listed (but check out my Postscript section for a special note).

Since I have been so remiss on following the rules of the blogging awards nominations at this point I am just going to say thank you to those who nominated me and invite my readers to check out their wonderful blogs .

Blogger Recognition Award

Linda Kelley at the fabulous Arts & Crafts Blog Extraordinaire – kelleysdiy.com – recently nominated me for this award!

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Black Cat Blue Sea Award

The intriguing writer, blogger and bibliophilist (there is your word for the day) – Of Tales and Dreams Kamalini nominated me for this award in September 2016.

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One Lovely Blog Award

Speaking on “bibliophilist”, the awesome blogger Feisty Froggy of Dewey Hop (Feisty Froggy Reads Through the The Library) in June 2016 nominated me for this blogging award.

one-lovely-blog-award.pngOk, now this is embarrassing – I think there was one more blogging award I was nominated for but I cannot remember what it was or who nominated me. My sincere apologies to my fellow blogger who was kind enough to nominate me!


Postscript

I wanted to recognize two of the first fellow bloggers to follow my blog when I started it in late 2013 (back when I had like 5 readers as most were friends and family I badgered into following my blog – ha!).

Claire and Cindy – I really appreciate your posts and your comments on my posts over the years:

knitNkwilt (knitnkwilt.wordpress.com)

A Quilter’s Corner with Cindy Anderson (https://inastitchquilting.com)

A Crafter's Life

Our Beautiful Central Oregon Winter

Technically it is not Winter yet. Not until Wednesday Dec 21, but we like to start things early in Central Oregon!

We’ve had over a foot (or two) of fluffy snow so far; and when we have one of our many sunny days with the endless impossibly blue sky, the snow looks very pretty.

Last week, after a huge snow storm, I shared photos with my coworkers at my pay-the-bills-job. I am fortunate to be a telecommuter and my coworkers also telecommute, most from warmer climes such as Seattle and Portland (yes I say that with jest as it has been fairly cold, icy and even snowy in those areas).

One of my coworkers asked about our snow in Central Oregon so I sent her and my other coworkers photos of the snow around my neighborhood. At first I was going to share those in this blog post, but those photos are BORING compared to the recent photos my friend Jenny took of our beloved Mt. Bachelor skiing area.

Photos from the Mountain

My friend Jenny went snowboarding last week and took photos from her run at the top of the mountain. She was kind enough to give me permission to share them with you:

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Now that is SNOW! I think this photos are worthy of a future art quilt inspiration (oh darn, I could have made this post part of my ongoing series “Creative Inspiration. I might someday recycle these photos on a future post about creative inspiration…

Snowshoeing in Central Oregon

I am so lucky to live a short drive from one of the largest ski resorts in the country, Mt. Bachelor. I might be making this up but I remember hearing recently that it is the 5th largest in the country.

So you are thinking – wow, Tierney, you must ski all the time.

Nope. I grew up in NY and when I was in nursing school, I went with my roommates on my first ski trip to Vermont. I discovered that I was a terrible and highly uncoordinated skier. I have no place on snow skis…ever.

I did however eventually learn to cross-country ski. However, I did not particularly like it. What I discovered I liked, and so does Terry the Quilting husband, is to go snowshoeing!

I remember when we first moved from Seattle to Central Oregon and we went snow shoeing here for the first time. We had been snowshoeing several times in Washington State in places like Snow Parks and the Snoqualmie Nordic Center, so we thought we were comfortable snowshoeing.

So we scheduled a guided snowshoeing trip our first winter in Central Oregon with Bend Parks & Recreation as we thought that would be the best way to first experience snowshoeing in a new area.

As we boarded the Bend Parks & Recreation van to take us to a day of snowshoeing at one of the Sisters Mountain, we noticed we were the youngest people getting into the van. Everyone else, except for our guide, was a Senior Citizen. We thought, wow, we hope we do have to snowshoe too slowly with this group (fearing our day would be slow and boring).

No. We were the slow ones on the mountain. As I shared in the 04/25/16 post Monday Again, about my continuing adventures hiking up Pilot Butte, Central Oregon has some seriously fit Seniors here!

There was one woman, who said she was in her 80s and was originally from Switzerland, who was especially “dusting” us. We could not begin to keep up with her pace – all I could see in the distance was this tiny woman powering along with her snowshoes and her poles.  (I like to think it was because she grew up in Switzerland and maybe she lived on top of a mountain and had to snowshoe to school everyday…)

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These are my old snowshoes, at the end of last season I did get some new ones which I will use this season!

This was my first exposure to how fit people are here. My goal of course is when I am a Senior, that I am going to be very fit like the role models around me!

(Just a side note/excuse for our lack of initial fitnesses – we did move from Seattle, which was at sea level to Central Oregon which is on average at 3000 – 3500 feet above sea level elevation just at the ground level when you walk around town!)


Postscript

I know, I know, this blog is called “tierneycreates” and if you are a crafter reading this you are probably wondering: “where is all the ‘creating'”. Well it is going on, I just cannot show a photo of it yet. I just finished a gift quilt and I am shipping it off to the person today and did not want photos of it on the blog until the person received it (that would take the surprise out of it!)

I did recently add to the right side of my blog a listing of and link to the websites of Central Oregon Quilt Shops, just to prove I really am a quilter (even if my blog does not show this lately) and to support the wonderful quilt shops in my area!

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A Crafter's Life, Fabric Scraps Obsession, Studio

Pinwheel Therapy

In my 11/6/16 post Pinwheel Piecing Party, I shared how I started making small pinwheels from a friend’s collection of trimmed triangles, that have otherwise been destined for the trash.

Here was my first load of pinwheels:

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For the past week, as a way to escape from all the hate and unhappiness that seems to be seeping out of every corner of my country, I have been focusing on, during any spare moments, making more scrappy pinwheels.

In order to distract myself for awhile, I created a goal that I had to empty out the bag of pieced triangle scraps my friend gave me.

So I was busy at work “chain” sewing, or “chaining” little half square triangle blocks together. I was quite meditative.

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As a result, I now have approximately (I counted quickly) – 72 pinwheel blocks, each measuring approximately 2.5 inches x 2.5 inches!

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Also have two “oops” blocks, which I guess you might call – pieced “square within a square” blocks. My “pinwheeling” went awry during my piecing of these blocks!

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So what am I going to do with 72 (or more) 2.5 inch x 2.5 inch pinwheel blocks? Well your guess is as good as mine!

For now I am going to put them into my new “Parts Department” I created in my stash after seeing a trunk show and presentation by the Australian quilt designer, Jen Kingwell (see my post Revisiting Traditional Piecing). During her trunk show presentation she talked about using blocks from her “Parts Department” (leftover blocks from other projects, etc.).

Another project I worked on this past week was to go through my stash of fabric scraps and pull out all the scrap triangles and scrap small squares. I put them in separate bags to use for future improvisational quilting projects.

What’s next on the horizon for my crafting therapy? I am going to return to work on the traditionally pieced blocks last discussed in my post Revisiting Traditional Piecing: The Blocks Part II.


Postscript

A dear old friend in NYC, who has also being feeling blue about current events, sent me this photo to cheer me up a little – a photo of her sweet rescued kitty – Chummy – on a quilt I made her.

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Kitty cozy on a quilt! It is hard to resist smiling at that!

 

What timing !  The quilt that inspired me to start scrappy pinwheeling (which provided a therapeutic distraction) is connected to the photo a friend recently sent me to cheer me up!

Maybe the Universe at work, you never know (smile).

Audiobooks and Podcasts, Fabric Scraps Obsession, Studio

When all else fails, reorganize your fabric scraps

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Postscript

I am currently listening to a wonderful nonfiction audiobook – Designing Your Life: How to Build a Well-Lived, Joyful Life by Bill Burnett and Dave Evans. In this book the authors discuss “Gravity Problems” and how we get mired in “Gravity Problems”.

What are “gravity problems”? They are problems that are not actionable to resolve.

The authors share a great example (paraphrased):

A friend asks you what is wrong. You reply “I am having a hard time in life, I just cannot make it up hills as easily as I want to due to this thing called gravity. If I just did not have gravity in my life pulling me down, I would be fine and I could run up any hill I want”.

The authors humorously share that unless you are able to change how the earth spins on its axis and its rotation around the sun, you are not going to be able to resolve your “gravity problem”.

Now perhaps the real problem is you are not at your ideal fitness level and/or you need to improve your cardiovascular health, so you can more easily climb up a hill. That is an actionable problem.

Here is a wonderful quote from the book that I will leave you to ponder:

If it’s not actionable, it’s not a problem. It’s a situation, a circumstance, a fact of life. It may be a drag (so to speak), but, like gravity, it’s not a problem that can be solved. – Bill Burnett and Dave Evans

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That pesky thing called gravity…

Photo credit – Michael Lorenzo, free images.com

A Crafter's Life, Audiobooks and Podcasts

Buttons

I just wanted to randomly post about one of my guilty pleasures in life – buttons!

I did not to intend to collect buttons, my button collection just sort of crept up on me…

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Trying to be organized with my button collection

I am not sure how it began but I remember as a little girl playing with my grandmother’s button jar and being fascinated.

Then, many years later, my love of buttons was rekindled when I started making miniature kimono wallhangings and wanted to embellish them with interesting buttons.

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Miniature Kimono with an antique button

I began picking up interesting buttons here and there – from craft shows, from shift shops, antique shops, and from a bookstore.

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Card of antique buttons picked up at a used bookstore

I was even lucky enough to have a friend who let me raid her old button collection in search of cool buttons for miniature kimonos.

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A couple of these buttons were raided from my friend’s antique button collection

This past May, my friend Dana, who was my “secret quilt sister” at our annual quilting retreat, surprised me with an “Vintage Button Jar” as part of my gift.

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The jar contained lots of fun buttons such as the ones below:

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Some cool large buttons courtesy of my friend Dana

Upon returning home from the retreat I attempted to cram my entire button collection into my new “Vintage Button Jar” but my collection was overflowing from the jar.

So now I keep the jar in my sewing studio to hold small packages and cards of special buttons.

img_2975Anyone else have an issue with buttons? Any secret (or not so secret) collectors?


Postscript

In an earlier post this week, Revisiting Traditional Piecing: The Blocks Part I, I shared I recently listened to The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom by Don Miguel Ruiz.

Well I am working on incorporating first of the four agreements into my life:

  1. Be impeccable with your word

I am not challenged in general of keeping my word to other and keeping my commitments to other people; but I do struggle with being on time to appointments with other people. So in essence I am not being impeccable with my word (that I will arrive at a specific time).

I am easily distracted and I struggle with getting out of the house and to appointments on time. I was very pleased with myself when on Monday I was early to meeting my friend at the coffee shop. I am tired an embarrassed that I appear to be “chronically late”.

Another area I struggle in regards to being impeccable with my word is is in keeping my word to myself! Keep my “self” commitments.

So  I am starting small (like going to bed on time, being sure to get out each day and go on a walk, making healthy food choices) to work on becoming impeccable with my word to myself. I plan to build up to the bigger commitments to myself which I hope include to do some sewing each day!

The Library Stack

The Library (Mega) Stack

I may have gone overboard this time on the number of books I borrowed today from our public library.

I am continuing my series on sharing a photo of the books I borrow from my public library – The Library Stack.

There is something very exciting to me about a new stack of freshly borrowed books awaiting my reading and browsing while I sip my tea and/or have a snack in my favorite cozy reading spot.

Here is the latest stack of 17 books:

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I am not sure which book to start with – I have them arranged by size for the photo but that is not necessarily the order in which I will start reading the books. Maybe I am weird but I am filled with bubbling happy anticipation on working through this stack! (Yes, if you have followed my blog of awhile, you have figured out I am weird.)

Several of the books – Tiny Homes on the Move, Cabin Porn, and Dresden Carnival are books I have borrowed previously but I want to look at again.

I do not work on Mondays and I met a friend for coffee this morning (I had tea of course!). After a hour chatting over hot beverages, it was time for a leisurely wander of the aisles of our downtown public library!

I will share in a future post if I gain any earth shattering revelations from this stack!

(If you would like to see the previous stacks, check out the Category – The Library Stack for the other posts.)

 

A Crafter's Life, Audiobooks and Podcasts, Studio

Revisiting Traditional Piecing: The Blocks Part I

This is a continuation to yesterday’s post – Revisiting Traditional Piecing.

In my previous post I mentioned the first set of blocks I made with the Ladies’ Art Company Block Tool by Connie Chunn (while participating in a Block-a-Month Quilt Club) were turned into a sampler quilt, Block Filmstrip, around 2008.

What I forgot to mention was that details of four (4) of the blocks in this quilt ended up in the book 1000 Quilting Inspirations by Sandra  Sider, Quarry Books (2015). It is funny that a a sampler quilt that I was not sure if I even wanted to finish around 2008 ended up as the opening series of “Quilting Inspiration” images in the book – images #0001 – 0004 of the 1000 inspirations!

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Filmstrip quilt – four images 0001-0004 are featured in the book 1000 Quilt Inspirations
1000 Quilt Inspirations
Photo Credit: Quarry Books

In addition to four (4) images from Block Filmstrip, the book also contains images from four (4) of my recycled silk art quilts and are part of The Wardrobe Meets the Wall Collection.


Making Blocks

Using the Ladies’ Art Company Block Tool by (2007), I have made eight (8) 12 inch blocks (finished size) using a fat quarter packet, scraps and yardage of Northcott’s Stonehenge fabric line, so far as I created a queen-sized sampler quilt to be given as a wedding gift to a young couple.

I made two (2) of four (4) different blocks from the Block Tool:

AIR CASTLE

AUNT ELIZA’S STAR

BIG DIPPER (I made 2 of the same color way)

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CHURN DASH

 


Thinking About Settings and Borders

In case you have not figure this out yet, I plan to set the blocks “on point” that is why they are all turned on point. I originally meant to photograph them in their traditional square orientation instead of this “diamond” orientation. Also I took the photos on the design wall in the hallway where the light is not the best. Life has been busy and I figure if I took time re-doing the photos then I will never get this post up, ha!

Next set of blocks, I will take better photos (smile).

In addition to wanting to set the blocks “on point” I have already started looking at different options for settings. I am currently looking through a book I recently borrowed from the library – The Quilt Block Cookbook by Amy Gibson (2016). There is a wonderful block setting option in this book called “Point Taken”. I am leaning towards that setting.

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Photo credit: Amazon.com

I am also thinking about what type of border I want and I have decided to make a pieced border. I want the quilt to be special and I think a pieced border will add a nice touch.

Looking through my collection of quilt books I came across an old book in my craft book library called The Border Workbook by Janet Kime (2006). This book has great ideas for creating lovely pieced borders.

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Photo credit:Amazon.com

More blocks to come (and better photos next time)!


Postscript

Traditional piecing seems to be what I need right now. My mind feels overloaded from my non-crafting life, especially related to my job in the healthcare industry. At the end of the workday and the end of the workweek I am feeling “all thought out” and was not inspired to create any art quilts.

Creating these blocks from patterns feels mediative, centering and peaceful. All I have to do is follow the instructions, cutting the fabric to the dimensions indicated and sew the pieces together.

I am also enjoying carefully pressing the different components of each block as I assemble them and trying to ensure the back of the block is nearly as neatly pressed as the front.

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The back of a carefully pieced block

While piecing the first couple of blocks I listened to a wonderful and engaging audiobook read by the actor Peter Coyote – The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom by Don Miguel Ruiz (1997).

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Photo credit: Amazon.com

The Four Agreements are as follows:

  1. Be impeccable with your word
  2. Don’t take anything personally
  3. Don’t make assumptions
  4. Always do your best

These seem logical and on the surface very simple. What makes the audiobook so engaging is the author’s discussion and exploration of each of The Four Agreements. Powerful and centering stuff to listen to and ponder while peacefully piecing my blocks!

A Crafter's Life, Studio

Revisiting Traditional Piecing

Check out Sassy the Highly Opinionated Miniature Schnauzer’s page Schnauzer Snips for her latest musings and recent experience with the “ongoing herd”!


Creative Roadblock Stops with Returning to Traditional Piecing

A couple weeks ago I discussed an art quilt I was working on as part of the recycled materials “Make Do” challenge (Sherri Lynn Wood, The Improv Handbook for Modern Quilters) in the post What’s on the Design Wall.

Well I gave up on that piece for now, bundled it up and put it away for now. I was feeling burned out on creating improvisational quilts.

Around this same time I went over my friend Susan’s house who was working on the Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show 2017 raffle quilt which has some lovely traditional block piecing in it. I found the piecing so pleasing.

I also thought about a blog I follow, Texas Quilting, in which the talented blogger does a lot of traditional block piecing including an incredible sampler she is working on.

Finally, as if the universe was telling me to take a break from improvisational quilting and return to traditional piecing for a while, I was invited to attend a trunk show and talk by Jen Kingwell, Australian quilt designer. She used traditional blocks and piecing in innovative and colorful ways – and she uses lots and lots of scraps in her work. If you would like to see highlights of her talk you can check out the post on the Woolie Mammoth blog – Jen Kingwell Australian Quilt Designer.

Here is the one bad photo I took of one of Jen Kingwell’s awesome quilts from her trunk show (look at the sweet little traditional “Churn Dash” blocks in her quilt, she uses a lot of traditional pieced and appliqué blocks in unique colors and combinations in her work):

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To see more of her beautiful work, I recommend checking out the Woolie Mammoth post mentioned above or check out Jen Kingwell Designs website – Amitié Textiles; or her Facebook page Jen Kingwell Designs.

I realized I need to starting working on quilt to be a Wedding gift and wouldn’t a traditional block sampler be a timeless gift? I checked with the bride to be and found out she liked earth tones and then I found a beautiful collection of Northcott’s Stonehenge fabric line.

Now what pattern to use? Should I pull out the old quilting books filled with traditional designs? After pouring over patterns in 10 – 15 books as well as patterns I had clipped from magazines, etc. I came across my old Ladies’ Art Company Block Tool by Connie Chunn (2007).

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Photo credit: Amazon.com

I first learned of this tool around 2007. I had recently moved to Central Oregon and joined the Block-a-Month Quilt Club at the Stitchin’ Post quilt shop in Sisters, OR. The goal was to make a block a month from one of the patterns in this tool and then create a sampler quilt from the blocks.

Here is are sections of the quilt I made from those traditional blocks in the Ladies’ Art Company Block Tool:

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Block Filmstrip (2008?) – pieced and quilted by Tierney Davis Hogan

After making this quilt I shoved away this block tool/block pattern collection. Now, 8 – 9 years later, this tool would be my solution to my creative block! I would make traditional blocks selected from the 160 rotary-cut block patterns in this tool!


Getting Started on My Traditional Piecing Project

Here is my Block Tool and the fabrics I will be using.  I only had a little of the blue you see on the right and I later decided to remove it and make the palette oranges, rusts, browns, greens, and creams. I only had one small strip of the blue in the Stonehenge line and although it would had many an interesting accent, I would need to purchase more to make it work and I am trying to work with what I have in my stash.

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I also think the blue was too dark, if it had been a lighter blue that would have worked even better.

As of today, I have made 8 blocks and next post I will share my progress so far!

A Crafter's Life

The Tao of Quilting (re-post)

More new posts in the near future, but for now here is a re-posting of a November 2013 post – sharing  a page discovered in a quilting magazine long ago. The page is hung in my studio and each time I read it, it brings a smile to my face.


Are you familiar with the Tao Te Ching?

This ancient Chinese text, was according to legend, was written by Lao Tzu in the 6th century BC. It it a philosophical text which provides instructions on the way to live a virtuous life of harmony. There have been many versions of this text written and reinterpreted over the years to include The Tao of Pooh by Benjamin Hoff which shares practical life lessons from the perspective of Winnie the Pooh.

Many years ago, in a special publication quilting magazine Quilts with Style, I came across “The Tao of Quilting” by Stephen Seifert – a one page take on the Tao Te Ching. I have kept this page in the front of my binder of patterns-clipped-from-quilting-magazines to continually inspire me.

THE TAO OF QUILTING by Stephen Seifert

Our lives are full of obstacles causing stress and discontent.

But a quilt can be a bridge to overcome diversions and chaos.

Water ripples in the wind, never considering who is in control.

Yet its fluid nature gives it strength to serve as a foundation to life.

Soft fabric stitched together in a quilt fills the hardest heart with love and beauty.

The simplicity of love can penetrate all, including the the most cynical mind.

Rigid stone shores appear impenetrable, but their yielding surface gives rise to life.

Evergreens soar triumphantly above the lake shore, reflecting the paradox of life.

Problems emerge and seem pressing

But over time our thoughts evolve into understanding.

Nature’s silent teachings are taught without words

Instilling integrity into every quilt.

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Section from Tree Outside My Window (2015)

 


Feature photo credit: jhraskson, pixabay.com

A Crafter's Life, tierneycreates

Knitting!

And now for something completely different…  – Monty Python’s Flying Circus

Let’s take a break from quilting and sewing and talk about KNITTING!

I have always wanted to learn to knit, I thought it was magical. My grandmother taught me how to crochet and crocheting is cool but there was something more austere and glamorous about knitting, not quite sure how to put it into words. Maybe it was because I did not know how to do it and it seemed so difficult that made it so ethereal…

15 years ago a I learned how to knit but I only learned how to make knitted scarves, I was scared to try anything beyond a scarf. After learning how to knit I became completely enamored with wool yarns. As a crocheter I had made numerous afghans with inexpensive acrylic blend yarns. I could not imagine buying expensive yarn for crocheting.

One of my first exposures to “high-end” yarns was at a yarn shop in British Columbia on a trip to Victoria. When we lived in Seattle, WA, Canada was not that far away and we would frequently go to Vancouver, BC. Every couple of years we would take the ferry from Northern Washington State to Victoria, BC for the weekend.

One trip to Victoria, we stopped at the Beehive Wool Shop. My first time to a yarn speciality shop, I was overwhelmed – so many colors and textures, and yarn options, and patterns, and, and, and (I nearly get short of breath and dizzy just thinking of that first experience).

They were so friendly and welcoming at the Beehive Wool Shop, especially when I told them I was a new knitter. It was as if I had joined a new family – The Knitting Family.

Displayed at the shop I saw the most beautiful scarf – a ribbed knit scarf made with this beautiful burnt orange yarn (I seem to have always had a thing for orange, see my posts Embracing Orange and Orange). I figured this scarf was way too advanced for me – I had only mastered straight knitting and straight purling, no combinations!

The kind and very encouraging shopkeeper at the Beehive Wool Shop told me that I could do it, found me the yarn, then gave me an impromptu lesson on how to create ribbing. She also wrote down the simple pattern for me.

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Here is the completed scarf – it is my most favorite scarf of all time (and I made it – yay)!

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Having conquered a semi difficult scarf, I set my dreams on someday knitting my own cap/hat.

Then 9 years later, while living in Central Oregon, my friend who is a very experienced knitter, knitted me my first handmade cap! Oh my goodness – I was so in love with this hat that his hat became my “security blanket” (remember when you were young and you had a “bankie” that you took everywhere with you?) and once the weather got slightly cold enough it was time to wear my hat!

Dec 2014 me
Me in my “security blanket”
My love for my hat grew to the point that I had to learn how to make such a hat, even if this sounded scary and beyond my reach. My friend Pam agreed to teach me how to knit a hat and she was very patient (very patient) as I made it through my first hat.

There are no photos to share of my first hat. It was wonderful to make a hat but it was rather small for my head, not sure what I was thinking.

I did not give up, the best thing after learning to do something is to try again, especially on your own, to cement your learning. I have made two more knitted hats since that time (same pattern) and I am currently working on a third. Eventually I would like one in every color of my wardrobe!

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My knitted hat collection (from the top): I made the olive green hat, my friend Pam made the purple variegated one, I made the blue one, the maroon one is in progress.
I may not work on it all the time but my knitting is very special to me. I like to take it on trips or to events where I will just be sitting around. I carry my knitting in a special bag – one that I picked up when I went on a trip with my father (who is no longer with us) to Williamsburg, VA. This bag reminds of the fun day I had, about 18 years ago, wandering around Colonial Williamsburg with my Dad.

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Every time I go to knit it reconnects me with that special trip.

Happy Crafting!

 

A Crafter's Life, Adventures in Paper Piecing, Studio, tierneycreates

Adventures in English Paper Piecing (Part I)

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


In my 09/23/16 post The Library Stack (and a little EPP) I mentioned that I was learning English Paper Piecing (EPP) using the book All Points Patchwork by Diane Gilleland.

So here is an update:

After purchasing a hexagon paper punch, I punched our a huge stack of hexagons using old cardstock from my handmade card making days.

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This past Spring, Terry the Quilting Husband and I went to the Central Oregon Quilt Shop Hop. During the Shop Hop we each received a “fat 1/8th quarter” of coordinated fabric. I stuck this fabric away for a future project and it seems perfect for my EPP experimentation!

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I put together a plastic tote for my EPP supplies:

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And here is my beginning stack of EPP hexagons:

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So why EPP?

Well I had become addicted to playing games on my iPad in the evening as we watch evening TV shows (like NCIS on Tuesdays).

Playing these games were actually making me kind of frustrated and anxious as I moved into higher and higher levels. I had lost the sense of initial enjoyment that I experience when I first played. It became as if I had to keep playing and get to higher and higher levels  (but why, for what purpose?).

Although the games were a complete meaningless waste of time and no longer fun, I did not seem to be able to stop. I even tried deleting them from my iPad but in a moment of weakness the following evening, I would reinstall the app for evening TV watching.

I do not seem to be able to just sit and watch TV, I have to be doing something else. It was clear that I needed a productive alternative to playing these games and EPP seemed like the perfect solution.

So now I can do something productive with my hands in the evening while watching TV instead of playing iPad game apps! I am starting to find EPP kind of addicting – I like to keep cranking out EPP completed hexagons and it is becoming a game of how many hexagons I can rack up in an evening! (Oh no soon I will be strung out on hexagons!)

Next time I update you on my Adventures in EPP, hopefully I will have enough hexagons to start planning a small piece. Perhaps I will have even started assembling the hexagons into a piece!


POSTSCRIPT

If you are not familiar with English Paper Piecing (EPP), the online craft class site Craftsy has a nice little overview called Exploring English Paper Piecing.

Oh (random info) I recent reorganized my Gallery page into Art Quilts, Quilts, and Small Projects. I have a lot of old photos on this page and there are many old quilts I do not have digital photos on. Going forward I hope to only have high quality images of my work (but then I am taking the photos, so I am not promising – ha!)

Creative Inspiration

Creative Inspiration: Fiery Orange & Red Clouds

Continuing my ongoing series of sources of creative inspiration…


Last evening I wished I was a painter.

We had a glorious sky in Central Oregon as the sun set yesterday. During our evening dog walk, all I could do is stare at the sky filled with fiery orange and then red tinged clouds, dappled with the light from the fading sun.

I wished I was a painter and could paint what I saw – I would have run outside, set up my easel and start putting images upon my canvas.

But I am not a painter, I am a quilter (and maybe a budding textile artist), so I took the photos below to save for future creative inspiration for a quilt’s palette.

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These photos were taken on my smartphone and of course not the quality of professional photography. I could just imagine the photos a professional…or amateur photographer would have taken…okay anyone who know how to take decent photos (I am not in this group, ha!)

Even with professional photography, I am not sure the camera still could not capture the beauty of viewing it in real life. I think I stopped breathing for a moment while I stared at the sky!


POSTSCRIPT

Mini Vacation In My Mind

I have always loved staring at clouds, imagining various shapes in the clouds and daydreaming.

In my backyard I have an old outdoor bench with weather resistant cushions and pillow that is sort of an “outside love seat” type of two person seating. During late Spring, early Summer and early Fall, I like to go on “mini vacations in my mind” in it.

I will lay on the bench with my head propped up on one of the pillows and my leg bent and feet resting on the end, and stare at the clouds floating by in the endless blue Central Oregon sky.

I love how slowly clouds change shape while you watch them, but if you look away or get distracted for a moment, it seems like a quick change. I love to watch “raptors” – hawks and eagles soar overhead, riding the thermals. I love to see small private planes fly by and occasionally a jet far overhead and wonder where it is headed.

It seems like nothing else at the moment matters, but the sky….

Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass under trees on a summer’s day, listening to the murmur of the water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is by no means a waste of time. – John Lubbock

A Crafter's Life, The Library Stack

The Library Stack: The Nesting Place

This post I continue my ongoing series on my latest stack of book borrowed from my local public library.

Here is my latest stack of library books:

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I realize the photo is not very clear, but many of the books did not turn out to be very memorable or I have borrowed them before, except for The Nesting Place (2014) by Myquillyn Smith.

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photo credit: Amazon.com

Myquillyn Smith is a popular blogger – Nesting Place (thenester.com). The tagline of the Nesting Place blog is “It Doesn’t Have to Be Perfect to Be Beautiful. This tagline embraces the whole them of the book!

I am a little jaded about home decorating books after flipping through so many from past library stacks (I do enjoy them, they just all seem the same after a while). This book was a refreshing change – it is filled with photos of a home actually being used and enjoyed. The author focuses on creating a home that meets your real life needs; accepting imperfections and not trying to make your home perfect but cozy and fun.

The book is also peppered with wonderful and inspirational quotes and I wanted to share my favorites:

Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for. – Epicurus

Where thou art, that is home. – Emily Dickinson

A beautiful thing is never perfect. – Ancient Proverb

Don’t scrub the soul out of your home. – Mary Randolph Carter

Everyone gets to decide how happy they want to be, because everyone gets to decide how grateful they are willing to be. – Ann Voskamp

Home interprets heaven. Home is heaven for beginners. – Charles Henry Parkhurst

It’s not about what is is, it’s about what is can become. – Dr. Seuss, The Lorax

Imperfections put people at ease. – Myquillin Smith

One of the best things I got from the the book is the quote by Myquillin Smith that “imperfections put people at ease”. I have been guilty in the past of trying to have everything perfect, perhaps overdoing it, and I think that has impact in my relationships.

I have been learning to “chill out” and just let things be more natural (and not always spotlessly clean my house before someone comes over!)


POSTSCRIPT

I loved the Ann Voskamp quote so much I made a picture quote thingie:

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Featured photo credit: “Blackbird Nest (abandoned)” by Rainer SXC Schmidt, freeimages.com

Studio, What's on the Design Wall

What’s on Design Wall: Your Ideas

My next post was going to be about the cool projects other quilters were working on at the retreat (tuffets!) I attended last weekend. However, I do not want to lose the momentum from the project discussed in my Thursday 08/11/16 post –What’s on the Design Wall (Need Your Help).

I so appreciate all the enthusiastic responses, votes, and ideas. I have to tell those of you who commented: You made a MESS of my studio (smile)!

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You should have seen my little studio – various fabrics pulled out from my stash in many different colors, from your suggestions, strewn about everywhere. It was like a tornado of fabric options had blown through.

Reading all the comments was very fun – it was like you all were crammed into my tiny studio (where would I fit you all?!??!) and we were looking through my stash together and throwing around ideas (and fabric).

Of course, I would have to plan a snack and beverage for all my studio guests crammed into the tiny room…but where would I set out the plates and cups? (Maybe I could go scavenge some more fruit from my neighborhood to serve as snacks…but that is an upcoming post: Fruits of My Neighborhood Part III!)


THE RECAP

  • This project began with a bag of colorful Batik scraps (that I embarrassingly actually purchased…in a moment of weakness from the Stitchin’ Post quilt shop’s basket of scrap bags for sale..that shop is loaded with temptation!)

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  • I turned many of those scraps into 24 6′ x 6″ blocks:
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(BTW – I moved these blocks to my new hallway design wall which we created this weekend – but that is another post…)
  • I presented four (4) options for the layout on the blocks and here are the votes by Option:
    • OPTION 1A – Float the blocks individually in a neutral background: 2 Votes
    • OPTION 1B – Group the blocks together and then float the whole grouping in a neutral background: 0 Votes
    • OPTION 2A – Float the blocks individually in a gray background: 4 Votes
    • OPTION 2B – Group the blocks together and then float the whole grouping in a gray background: 2 Votes
  • In addition to voting on options I presented, many of you in your comments suggested different options (I hope I captured the essence of all the comments to date, my apologies if I left a summary of your comment out below):
    • Group them together on a neutral background not trying to make them perfectly square, use Misty Fuse to attach them
    • Stitch the blocks together, use a pieced binding to enclose them, they speak so well on their own!
    • Group them together on the grey but make sure all blue sides are facing opposite of the grey fabric and placed up against another block rather than up against the grey fabric not allowing a blue side to but up against another blue.
    • Float each block individually, with a PURPLE or RED background- keep the color going! And maybe put a yellow square at each “intersection”
    • Golden brown would be nice also (to float blocks).
    • I agree with some others are dark brown, plum, dark red, I’d be inclined to try them on different ones and see which calls loudest.I start to wonder if it’s be even better on the dark brown.
    • I think a chocolate brown would be so cool.
    • I would make more blocks, group them without sashing or a border, and bind with a pieced binding (NOTE: I did make more blocks, see below!)
    •  If you do want separation, don’t set them straight, in rows and columns. Use your separator in more random sizing — perhaps framing each one with the same fabric but in wonky widths. It might be easiest to pull off with a fabric that has some pattern so the seams between newly framed blocks disappear a bit.
    • If you really want to set them apart on a different background, what about looking at either a gold dupioni or a deep purple dupioni?
    • (from a text to my phone, not posted to the blog) What came to mind was floating blocks in a round of neutral logs then a round of gray logs – maybe alternate with the reverse – round of gray first then neutral – then you float and have blocks side by side – and I’m thinking of a neutral acid yellow or lime green or maybe an acid yellow orange – a crisp bright marigold color – all would look good with the blocks and gray.
    • Option Z: I love love love the blocks, but am partial to flashy colors mounted on a white background. I also like sashing between the blocks because it makes each one pop.
    • While I like both versions of placing all the blocks together and placing with sashing, I would need to try the sashing version using a variety of sizes and different shades of either the light or the grey.
  • One fellow blogger, Melanie @ Catbird Quilt Studio  was kind enough to e-mail me a photo of one of her lovely scrappy log cabin quilts, “Broken Pains” as an example of a layout she used:
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Photo courtesy of Melanie McNeil, Catbird Quilt Studio. Used with permission; all rights reserved.
  • In addition to showing you the scraps I started with, in the previous post I shared the pile of scraps I had left over from trimming the original set of blocks down to a 6″ x 6″ size:

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  • In the evening on Friday and Saturday, I turned the trimmings from those scraps and some of the remaining scraps into 23 more 6″ x 6″ blocks:
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(Now why didn’t I make 24 more instead of 23 more? I guess I lost count while piecing!) As you can see, these blocks are somewhat darker and have more piecing. I tried to use all the scraps from the trimmings which had piecing within the scraps.
  • I now have scraps left over from trimming the latest blocks and the remaining original scraps that started it all…and yes, I am going to make more blocks out of them!  (Besides 47,  24 + 23, is an usual odd number of blocks. )

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THE EXPERIMENTS

I tried out many of your color suggestions. To save time, I had a “pocket full of scrappy blocks” as I experimented. I never imagined walking around my house with a pocket full of quilt blocks!

Now, try and use your imagination as you look at my experiments. Although I tried to put strong lighting on the design wall, if you have been following my blog for a while, you know I am not the best photographer (if I tried to make photography a career I would be very hungry).

I provide two layouts on each test background fabric: 1) floated and 2) grouped together with a border.

More disclaimers (soon you will be frightened to even scroll down and look…): I did not iron the fabric I used as the test background and I randomly selected the blocks to go onto the test fabric. (If this were a real quilt layout, I would have given more thought to the block placement and order.)

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RED – I loved this!
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Brown – sort of a “milk chocolate” brown – could take it or leave it…
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Dark Brown – I guess the “dark chocolate” brown – I liked it!
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Gold – this is a new Moda fabric I picked up – I love it!
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Different shades of gray using an ombre fabric – could take it or leave it
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Purple – lovely!
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White – in concept sounded nice put I do not use large amounts of white in my pieces
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Blue-gray – sort of denim like – I liked it! This is one of the Peppered Cottons I have on my Etsy shop
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MARIGOLD! Well as close as I could get to marigold – this is a Moda Grunge line fabric and this is my favorite!
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Looked for an “acid green” in my stash but this bright lime green was the best I could find. I like it!

THE DECISION

Thank you so much for all the great ideas. I also appreciated all the layout and general design ideas.

My decision is as follows:

  1. Make more blocks, trying to use up nearly all the remaining scraps.
  2. Do not make a quilt with these blocks, instead make a SERIES of artsy table runners for my tierneycreates Etsy shop using various combinations and layouts of these blocks and my favorites of the backgrounds above (red, marigold, gold, purple, dark brown, and lime/acid green).

Thanks for coming with me on this color and design adventure! I will update you all as I complete the table runners!


POSTSCRIPT

Here is a follow up on the post Mysterious Thrift Store Fabric Find: One of my blogger buddies, Claire @ knitnkwilt.wordpress.com, tapped into her resources and got a translation for the words on the selvage of my mysterious Asian fabric thrift store find:

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ll the characters on the left say is ‘manufacturer/maker’.  I’m guessing the ones just to the right of Watex are the company’s Japanese name. The handwritten characters say ‘Golden Age’

Thanks so much Claire for helping solve the mystery.

I had more ramblings for this Postscript, but you are likely exhausted after reading this very long post!

Studio, Thrift Shop Adventures, tierneycreates

More Creating – More Art Pillows

This post is a quick follow up to the post Creating… on 07/27/16 where I discussed pulling out from my project pile and completing a set of “art pillow experimentations”.

I spent part of this weekend finishing up the rest of the little art pillows (they range from around 6 x 6 inches to 8 x8 inches for the large one).

Here is the full set of the finished pillows (notice my new tierneycreates labels on each pillow):

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Here are the backs of the smaller pillows (made with hand dyed fabric found at a thrift store (it was quite the score!)

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I was going list these three pillows on my tierneycreates Etsy shop as a set but I decided to just list them separately (they do look cute together though): 

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Here are close ups of some of the pillows:

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I am posting this on Sunday night but you will likely read this on Monday, so I wish you all a wonderful week, and talk to you later!


Postscript

My blogging buddy, Laura of Create Art Every Day, posted a lovely painting of a quilt block, inspired by my blog on her post GEOMETRIC ABSTRACT CALL TO AUTUMN IN WATERCOLOR AND ACRYLIC (WORLD WATERCOLOR MONTH, 29/31)

I am inspired by her paintings! I might do a little quilt piece inspired by her work.

In Central Oregon we actually have a famous quilter and a well-known painter collaborating on art projects – Jean Wells Keenan (quilter) and Judy Hoiness (painter).

Here is a link to examples of their wonderful collaborations: Twist from Tradition Series.

Fabric Scraps Obsession, Studio, tierneycreates

Creating…

I realized it’s time for “Tierney” to return to “creating”…

This blog is not called:

  • tierneywritesaudiobookreviews;
  • tierneyshowsterrythequiltinghusband’sprogress;
  • tierneysharesherrandomthoughts; or
  • tierneyobsessesaboutsunflowers

The blog is called tierneycreates, so Tierney better get to creating! (I like the imaginary sense of accountability blogging gives me – like you all will be very disappointed if my blog does not live up to its name!)

So last evening, I returned to “creating” and pulled out the “art pillow experimentations” tops I started last year and discussed in the 12/24/15 post   What’s On the Design Wall: Playing with Solids.

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I was excited to pull these items out of the “set aside to work on later” basket (set aside for 7+ months so far!) and turn them into pillows.

So far, I started with this one:

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And turned it into this little pillow which I have named Textured Desert Canyon:

 

I was excited to use my new “tierneycreates – smiles & textiles” tags (see post Embracing Orange) for the first time on this pillow (can you see the little tag in the photo?). I had to experiment to figure out exactly how to make the tag work but I think I like the outcome.

I experimented with quilting with a solid color thread and then a variegated thread to try and give a lot of depth to the quilting.

What surprised me was the dense quilting gave the hand dyed solid scraps pieced into this pillow a suede like texture and appearance. I am eager to experiment more with dense quilting.

Now onto to working on the next four (4) pillows!


Postscript

I follow many wonderful blogs and recently one of the blogs I follow, Catbird Quilt Studio has begun an interesting series on The Future of Quilting.

Here are links below to the two enjoyable posts in this series so far:

The Future of Quilting, Part 1

The Future of Quilting, Part 2

Melanie, the talented blogger, invites engaging discussion in these posts! Enjoy!

What's on the Design Wall

What’s on the Design Wall

Continuing my series on What’s on the Design Wall: Projects in Progress…


Terry the Quilting Husband, fresh from his sale of two of his quilts during the 2016 Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show, is eagerly working on a new piece (maybe for the 2017 Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show?).

Terry is using our new temporary “giant design wall” that I discuss in the post Whole House Crafting. Until we get the interior walls of our house repainted (someday) we are just using a package of Warm & Natural batting on one of our hallway walls.  A future house project is to build a nice large design wall on this side of the one hallway in our little home.

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Terry likes to work from parameters I start him off with and he does not like quilt patterns of any kind. I tried to help him learn how to follow quilt patterns, but he strongly prefers to work intuitively.

I had a stack of 2.5 inch strips from an old kit (for a very ugly table runner) that I was never going to make. After sewing sections of the strips together, he is going to inset denim between them some how. All his concept – I only gave him the strips.

Here is my stash of recycle denim he is looking through to complete his design:

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The chair in my studio with my stash of denim scraps

Can’t wait to see how it comes out!

A Crafter's Life, Audiobooks and Podcasts, tierneycreates

Getting Gritty (Coasting with the Coasters)

Check out Sassy the Highly Opinionated Miniature Schnauzer’s blog on her SchnauzerSnips page for her latest musings…


Showing Some “Grit”

After posting on Saturday about having “Grit” (powerful motivation to achieve an objective) I figured I better get “Gritty” and work on getting my tierneycreates Etsy shop restocked.

So I had a “power crafting holiday weekend” and made 17 sets of vintage beer coasters.

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I was “coasting” with making coasters!
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Tied up with a beer ribbon and ready to gift to the craft beer enthusiast

They are now listed on my tierneycreates Etsy shop and I am very pleased and relieved.  Now onto the stack of other projects for the shop. Perhaps someday I can return to having 90+ items listed on my shop instead of my recent low of 25 items.

I have been working on better photography on my Etsy shop items. Below is an example from my “photo shoot” for the vintage beer coaster listing:

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Coasters in action!

Once I get some additional smaller items onto the shop, I would like to focus on building my collection of modern quilt table runner offerings.

I have decided to no longer try to sell quilts on my Etsy shop and instead focus on offering reasonably priced smaller items. I removed all the listings for quilts made by me or by “Terry the Quilting Husband” on the tierneycreates Etsy shop. We plan to show and offer those quilts at the 2016 Sisters Outdoor Show.

It is challenging to sell quilts online. If you are a quilter you know how much work goes into making a quilt – time, effort and financial investment. It is difficult (at least for me with my questionable photography skills) to show online how lovely a quilt is in person. A great example is I sold a quilt at the 2015 Sisters Outdoor Show that I struggled for a year to sell on my Etsy shop – which was listed for quite a lower price on the Etsy shop. In person the quilt was spectacular (based on feedback I received) but you cannot always capture the specialness of a quilt with an online photo.

Interestingly potentially customers have contacted me on an Etsy quilt listings to ask me if I am willing to negotiate on the price of a quilt. It appeared they were looking for mass produced department store prices on my quilts. 

Additionally, and this might be a topic for a future blog post, I am temporarily burned out on making lap and bed size quilts. I am interested in focusing on making table runners or small wall hanging size quilts instead.

Naturally I have more ideas in my mind that hours I have available to work on projects (don’t we all?) and I still have that pesky pay-the-bills full-time job in the healthcare industry (and they don’t let me quilt while working – ha!)

I continue to enjoy the audiobook Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance by Angela Duckworth (2016) and I am finding lots of inspiration to keep moving forward on my goals!


POSTSCRIPT: VARIOUS RAMBLINGS 

When I ride my bike or go on a walk a million ideas seem to pop into my head of things I want to share on my blog. I thought I would do a mini “brain dump” in the “Postscript” section of this post:

  • In a previous post, Good Listens, I shared my favorite podcasts. Recently I have added several new favorites to my list:
    • While She Naps with Abby Glassensberg – a crafter and craft business focused podcast by blogger Abby Glassenberg who has a wonderful blog by the same name. I am currently listening to podcast episode #53 which features an excellent interview with Sherri Lynn Wood (author of my beloved The Improv Handbook for Modern Quilters: A Guide to Creating, Quilting, and Living Courageously).  
    • Let’s Know Things – an engaging podcast by Colin Wright exploring and discussing different topics. He has a very relaxing voice and his topics are well researched and presented.
    • Chris Hogan’s Retire Inspired – I occasionally listen to Dave Ramsey’s podcasts on managing your finances and Chris Hogan is a protege of Dave Ramsey. Chris Hogan’s style is more appealing – he is warm and hysterically funny financial coach.

All of these podcasts are available for free on iTunes. I might discuss them in more depth in a future post.

  • You may wonder what become of my “Pilot Butte Walks” that I posted about in several posts in April and May. Well they are still on hold for now (first due to my knees, then due to hot days) but I am going bike riding several days a week now in the am before work. I bike ride in the back of an adjoining neighborhood where I discovered an empty block (new house construction that was halted) in which I can safely ride around and around the block listening to podcasts. I try to ride for at least the length of a 30 or 40 minutes podcast before heading home.
  • The Here and Now Habit by Hugh Byrne – I discussed this audiobook in several previous posts (see Listening and Reading and The Guest House). Well I felt that I got all I could get out of it and did not finish it. That of course is the beauty of free public library audiobook downloads. It grew repetitive after a while and I felt like it was time to move on.

I think that is enough “brain dump” for now. Thanks for reading my ramblings. It is time to go to bed and hope I continue to be infused with “Grit” to attack all the awaiting fiber projects!

Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show, Studio

“P” is for Persistence

This is a follow up to Sunday’s post Putting the “P” in Procrastination.

Instead of “P” being for “Procrastination” and “Panic” –  “P” is now for “Persistence” and “Progress”! All 10 labels are done, thanks everyone for the encouragement. Sunday to Monday (I am off work on Mondays) I was the focused, focused, focused quilt label sewing quilter. 

In case you are curious, and in case you happen to be attending the Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show, here are the names of the quilts we will have in the show and their measurements (I will take photos at the show and share):

Terry the Quilting Husband (he will be in the Special Exhibit “Made by Men“):

  1. Colorful Modern Squares – 53″ x 59″
  2. Squares Gone Wild – 48″ x 60″
  3. Charming You – 45″ x 61″
  4. Cozy Flannel Shirts – 53″ x 61″
  5. Cozy Flannel Snuggle – 58″ x 67″

Tierney (tierneycreates):

  1. Splendid Splendor – 74″ x 62″
  2. Modern Bedtime – 63″ x 72″
  3.  Scrappy Modern Delight – 53″ x 53″
  4. Cozy Sunflower Log Cabin – 64″ x 80″
  5. Desert Winds – 56″ x 64″

I will also have one more quilt, “Recycled Door” in a Special Exhibit – “Central Oregon SAQA: Doors Exhibit” which I have mentioned in previous posts.

So we are ready to drop our quilts off at the Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show Office on time!

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Bag-o-Quilts ready to roll…
Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show, Studio

Putting the “P” in Procrastination

Once upon a time there was a quilter who was also married to a quilter. The quilter and her husband-the-quilter decided to each put five (5) quilts into the 2016 Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show, for a total of ten (10) quilts. They finished their 10 quilts and had them all back from the magical long-arm quilter by April 2016. The quilts needed to be labeled and ready for the show by June 24, 2016.

The quilter and her husband knew they had plenty of time to get those labels on the quilts…


I think this tale will have a happy ending, but right now I am in the “moral lesson” part of the tale. Like in the “Ant and the Grasshopper ” from Aesop’s Fables (the ant spent the summer planning for winter and the grasshopper spent the summer goofing off and we know how that ended…).

We have a stack of 10 quilts needing labels (see photo above!) and Terry the Quilting Husband does not hand sew (he actually hates needles and has no desire to hand stitch anything). So I need to get all the labels on by 06/23/16 to deliver the quilts on 06/24/16 to the Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show Office.

“P” is not just for Procrastination. “P” is for PANIC.

Studio

Breaking the Law! (Update on Recycled Door)

There is song from the 1980s by a British heavy metal rock band Judas Priest titled “Breaking the Law” where in the song, they repeatedly sing the chorus: “Breaking the law, breaking the law, breaking the law, breaking the law.”

When I lived in Seattle my friend Michele and I would enjoy singing choruses of this very campy 1980s song under our breath or at the top of lungs when we were not following standard rules of behavior or etiquette, etc.

This song was played my head when I made the decision to do a traditional quilt binding instead of a “facing”on the back of my art quilt Recycled Doors for the upcoming Central Oregon SAQA (Studio Art Quilt Art Quilt Associates) exhibit at the 2016 Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show. Please see my post Update: Recycled Door for more information on this piece.

(If you are unfamiliar with “facing a quilt”, here is a link to the Quilting Daily’s page on Finishing a Quilt with a Facing. Facing creates clean edges to the quilt with no edge binding.)

Facing the back of an art quilt to create a smooth edge appears to be the expected and acceptable standard and is what I have always done in the past on any quilt I want to be classified as an “art quilt”.

I feel feeling very rebellious after talking to my friend Wendy who suggested, as an option to finishing the quilt, a binding to bring out the orange in the center of the piece. I was reading to do some “law breaking” and did a traditional binding instead of facing the quilt.

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“Breaking the law, breaking the law…”  Recycled Door (2016)  – designed and pieced by Tierney Davis Hogan; quilted by Betty Anne Guadalupe.

It felt good to be a rebel, ha!

Every act of rebellion expresses a nostalgia for innocence and an appeal to the essence of being. – Albert Camus


Postscript

You may notice my new blog template – quite different from the previous one. I really enjoyed the Chalkboard Template, but after reading that article on making blog pages easy for all readers to read and the feedback you all provided, I am going to try this new format for a while.