My sewing “mojo” was hiding somewhere for a while and I had little desire to sew. I had a “sewing-block“. Turns out the best way to resolve it was to sew a block!
I’ve been distracted from time in my sewing studio by some recent travel, visits from out of town friends, and a couple challenging recent life events. A couple days ago I knew I needed to get my back to sewing (as there is just so much fun stuff to be made) and decided returning to working on my Tula Pink City Sampler (100 Modern Quilt Blocks)would be a good place to start.
How the knitted hat I made from yarn I discovered in my stash turned out too small (follow up to blog post Hot Mess of Yummy Yarn); and
The two awesome packages I discovered in my mail upon returning from vacation in Northern California.
THE ITTY-BITTY HAT
It been a while since I’ve knitted a hat and I appeared to have forgotten that I have to alter the pattern I use in order to accommodate my head (I have a lot of hair and perhaps a larger than average head).
Here’s the yarn I started with that I re-discovered while tidying up my yarn stash (two skeins intertwined):
Here is the hat in progress – I love getting to the double point needles section of knitting the hat:
And here is the itty-bitty hat (too small for my head):
The hat is cute and I guess will be enjoyed someday by someone with a smaller head!
I do have leftover yarn from the first skein and I’ve already began knitting another hat (this time with the pattern modified for my head) with the end of the first skein and then into the second skein. So I’ll see how that one comes out and if I can model it for you (or if it will also become a gift…).
FUN SURPRISES IN THE MAIL
Speaking of gifts, I recently returned from a long weekend visiting friends in Northern California (and while I was there I nearly finished knitting the first too small hat). When I picked up my mail on return to Denver, I discovered not one but TWO awesome surprises in the mail!
SURPRISE ONE was from my blogging buddy in the Netherlands Emmely @Infectious Stitches filled with delicious Dutch treats:
She also included a handmade artist roll for my colored pencils – I can do some coloring on the go!
Emmely recently released/published a new foundation paper piecing pincushion pattern and I got to be a pattern-tester on it. You can check out her blog post about it – New Directions: Pattern tester makes!. I did not post about it because I was not over excited about the boring version I made of the pincushion and I want to make a better version before I post about it. I do not like foundation paper piecing so we thought I would be a good tester. Turned out it was easy (and a very well written pattern) and I whipped through making a (boring color choice) pincushion. The other pattern tester and Emmely made beautiful pincushions (as you will see if you check out her post I have linked above).
Oh and in case you are curious, I’ve already opened some of the Dutch treats (yum).
SURPRISE TWO in the mail was a wonderful collection of fabric scraps from my blogging buddy Chela @Chela’s Colchas y Mas.
I know I will figure something fun to make with these fabric someday!
It was a nice way to return from “holiday”. I will share some of my adventures in Northern California in a future post or two.
This is Mike the Miniature Schnauzer that manages Tierney and her partner John (who I will refer too as “the humans”), guest blogging for this post.
I heard the other guest blogger that lives in my house, the tierneycreates Beastie, was going to be posting soon and I wanted to get my post in before hers. She is the one with that fake schnauzer “Mikelet”. I cannot believe the humans named him after me.
But we don’t need to discuss our guest blogger rivalry, I do not want to interfere with your enjoyment of my excellent post.
So if you’ve been following my female human’s blog, you’ve noticed that she’s been up to a lot of traveling since late Spring. You might wonder what becomes of me when she and the male human go out of town (or into “storage”, see post “Human Storage” and Airport Lore).
Well I go to Dog Camp.
A couple years ago the humans found a family who only watches small dogs (the best kind in my opinion) at their home; and they live near us.
I really like Dog Camp because they throw the ball for me as much as I want, there are lots of fur people my size there, and they give me special treats with my meals such as mashed sweet potatoes and chicken.
But what I really like are all the cute little female dogs to hang out with there. I am a single (and yes neutered) guy and I like hanging out with the girl dogs, what can I say.
Now personally I believe that: “what happens at dog camp, stays at dog camp”, but the lady who runs Dog Camp, keeps taking photos of my exploits and sending them to the humans! Is there no privacy??!?!
Since the humans already know, I thought I would share some of the photos and video from previous dog camps. I sort of have a thing for cream-colored girl dogs and here are a couple of my girlfriends from previous dog camps:
But sometimes the girls go a little crazy over me (which is understandable) as in this incident below captured by the female human that manages Dog Camp:
Ladies – there is enough of me to go around – stay calm!
But that is enough, I have to keep some secrets from Dog Camp.
My male human is trying to help me fend off the girl dogs by going incognito with some shades for next time:
I decided it was time to redesign my tierneycreates logo which I had created originally back in 2013 when I first began blogging:
This time I wanted to do something more “organic”.
I’ve been addicted to the game/app Words with Friends for years and I play online Scrabble daily with friends such as my friend Kathy and my partner John:
Yup I lost in the game above.
I loved Scrabble since I was a kid. I actually have a collection of Scrabble letter collected from old games I picked up from garage sales or just the letters themselves.
I’ve crafted with them in the past making refrigerator magnet gifts with friends’ names done in Scrabble letters.
Also recently my partner John made me a photo platform to use for photographing items for my tierneycreates Etsy shop (which I hope to re-open this year). Combined with my new Ring Light (which I am still learning to use) I hope I will have decent photos for my Etsy listings!
So I came up with the idea of spelling out my company name (tierneycreates) with my tagline (a fusion of textiles and smiles) in Scrabble letters, and adding some textiles!
For the “textiles” I dug into my basket of fabric scrap strings:
Here is the photo shoot:
Here are two version of the resulting new logo I am thinking of trying out (and if you can’t tell any difference don’t worry it is subtle – they are each cropped slightly differently):
It’s definitely “organic”!
So what do you think? Does it look like I was Drinking While Designing (a “DWD”) a logo?
It’s been a while since I guest blogged. Hi there – it’s tierneycreates Beastie and I wanted to share some changes to my home (Tierney’s studio).
I’ve titled my post “From the Cutting Table…” because my dog Mikelet and I now live on the cutting table in Tierney’s studio:
In case you are new to this blog, here is a little background on me:
My name is tierneycreates Beastie and I am a Monster, but the good kind of Monster. I was made by Helen of CrawCrafts Beasties in Dublin, Ireland. You can read my story at I’m A Monster!!!. You can also check out the other posts I’ve had to guest blog on (i.e. when the human Tierney falls off the blogging-wagon and I have to help) in the series of posts: Beastie Adventures.
Can you see the look of sheer terror in my eyes??!?!
Whew, glad those days are over! Oh you might wonder what became of my fiancé John Beastie (see post Guest Blog Post: Mail Order Groom), well he spends most of his time in John the Human’s office downstairs. Tierney and John Human feel it is best not to let a couple of Beasties spend too much time together as mischief is certain to happen! (Just wait until we get married, they’ll never keep us apart!!!)
Oh I think I am getting off track on my post…
So yes my dog Mikelet and I spend most of our time on the cutting board in Tierney’s studio and we like it, though I have to keep an eye on Mikelet because sometimes he plays in the pincushion and I think that might be dangerous.
By the way my maker Helen of CrawCrafts Beasties made me my own sewing machine so I could help Tierney sew projects and once I figure out how to use it maybe I will have a guest post about my projects instead of Tierney’s!
Now what I was I originally planning to tell you? Beasties are easy distracted. Oh yes, I wanted to tell you about a recent change to my home the tierneycreates Studio.
John, Human John not Beastie John, Tierney’s partner, recently made an ironing board table for the studio. Before the new ironing board table, Tierney was using a traditional ironing board and iron.
What started this change was for Christmas John got Tierney a cordless iron:
Perhaps you wanted to see a full image of the iron but isn’t the iron much cuter with me in front of it?!!?!?
Okay here is the iron:
Now that Tierney had cordless iron she had more flexibility on where her iron could be located, so John (again I mean Human John as Beastie John could not have handled the tools involved which are bigger than him…) built her a 2 foot by 4 foot ironing table for her studio.
First John cut a piece of plywood the same size as the table base being used (an old counter height folding table). Then John and Tierney wrapped and stapled four (4) layers onto the plywood base:
Insul-Brite heat resistant batting
Heat resistant fabric (like the type used for old ironing board covers)
Tierney is really pleased with her new ironing table and she used it while making all those tote bags she talked about in her recent post (see post Tote, Tote, Tote Bags).
So that is the big change to the studio.
Somedays I get tired of the studio and miss the days when I used to go on adventures with Tierney. The pandemic has slowed down my adventures. Tierney promises that soon we will resume our adventures, I just need to be patient.
For now Mikelet and I will wistfully stare out the studio window…
I am going to close this guest post by sharing a secret: Tierney is sort of a slob in her studio.
Look at these mini Toblerone candy bar wrappers she left on the cutting table!
I caught Mikelet sniffing them, luckily there was no candy in them as chocolate is bad for dogs.
I hope she will be more respectful of my space and clean up her wrappers!
Did you ever need or want to finish a craft project but the project itself had a great emotional weight?
Such is the case with a ball of variegated turquoise yarn in my yarn stash.
Last year near this time I was on a trip with friends to Santa Fe, New Mexico (see posts Santa Fe in Black and White and Creative Inspiration: Georgia O’Keeffe Museum). Sante Fe has many wonderful shops and we did a little winter hat shopping in the shops for my friend Michele who was looking for the perfect turquoise hat to compliment her turquoise winter coat.
After trying on several hats in several shops that did not work, I offered to knit her a hat using turquoise yarn.
When I returned to my home in Central Oregon, my late husband Terry and I went shopping for the perfect yarn and we found it – variegated turquoise yarn.
Terry was taking a break from making quilts and was just enjoying being my “crafting assistant” so he rolled the skein of yarn into a ball to make my hat knitting easier.
This was one of the last crafting things he worked on before he unexpectedly and suddenly died on 12/13/18.
So I had this ball of yarn, that he had wound into a ball.
I could barely touch it much less even think of knitting that hat.
However, as I’ve discovered during my first year journey of widowhood: crafting and making things are good for your spirit. Sometimes it seems like doing something with my hands is healing to my heart.
I began working on the hat in late Winter 2019 as I prepared for my move to Colorado (see series of posts Colorado Bound) to begin a new life adventure.
But it was difficult to work on and I put it away. Every time I picked up the ball of yarn I could picture Terry sitting on the sofa across from me rolling the ball of yarn, watching a TV show with me, and laughing. Some days I still cannot believe my beautiful life with him suddenly ended.
In early October on an unexpectedly snowy day in Denver, I realized that “Winter is Coming” and if my friend Michele was to have that turquoise hat for this winter, I needed to work on it.
And so I did.
Here is my favorite part of knitting a hat – when you switch to the double pointed needles:
Here is the completed hat:
And here is my lovely friend Michele in her new hat (which I gave her this weekend):
I feel very peaceful after completing the hat. Terry was also a friend of Michele’s and he would be very pleased to see the hat completed. His work rolling the ball of yarn was not wasted!
To close out this post, here is another inspirational sign from the collection of signs sprinkled about the restaurant I mentioned in yesterday’s post’s Postscript section:
One of my blogging buddies, Sandra McCall of sandramccall.com sent me a lovely and thoughtful surprise in the mail earlier this week!
Sandra (Sandy) is a published craft book author (check out examples of some of her books on this link – amazon.com) and has a wonderful website/blog filled with home decorating, crafting and cooking ideas – sandramccall.com.
My blogging buddy in the Netherlands, Emmely @infectiousstitches gave me an amazing stitched card:
It was like a large fabric postcard with a wonderful handwritten note on back.
I so appreciate all the support from my blogging community including so many people who have never met me in person and only know me from my blog. I wish we could all get together for some tea and pastries at a nice cafe.
No Longer Dreading the Mail
I feel I turned a corner as I am no longer dreading sympathy/condolence cards in the mail. So many thoughtful people have sent their condolences over the loss of my husband but each card was like a gut wrenching stab reminding me of my profound loss. I dreaded getting the mail and making myself open the cards and their words of sympathy blurring before my tearing eyes. Perhaps in retrospect I should have put them aside and read them later. I felt compelled and obligated to open each card.
On Tuesday I began an 8 week Spousal Loss Grief Support Group. The first meeting was incredibly difficult especially at first but by the end of the meeting as we all started to share and connect it got so much better. The Grief Counselor facilitating the meeting is amazing. This support group is through our local hospice and is a free community service.
There is an educational component to each meeting and I learned a lot about grief and why I have struggled with some severe irritability. I am so happy to have a safe place to talk about complex feelings with others who have also experienced the profound loss of a life partner.
I now get the whole “support group” concept where people going through similar experiences can support each other and relate to each other struggles, especially with the help of an amazing group facilitator.
Back to Making
I knew I needed to return to sewing and the tactile experience of working with fabric as part of my healing. I was either struggling with low energy or lack of interest, but I kept trying to dive back in.
First I tried to return to the Tula in a Box quilt I was working on before Terry died (and Terry helped me lay out the blocks) – see post .Tula in a Box. I managed to get the quilt back up on the large design wall in the hallway (I had half of it sewn together) as I had removed it from the design wall after he died as it was upsetting me:
But I have not done any work on it.
Then I tried to work on taking out the stitching of a quilt I made into a tablecloth. I decided to turn it into a quilt. I did get the stitching out but got stalled on getting it ironed out so I could sent it out for long-arm quilting:
Finally I thought I would try some hand work – something I could sit in front of the TV (I’ve been watching endless Netflix in the evening) and work on – English Paper Piecing (EPP):
That worked. I’ve been working on making EPP hexies in the evening. Occasionally making the hexies feels bittersweet at Terry punched out the paper piecing templates for me. But I like to think that we are making them together.
One of the best thing about having the tierneycreates blog for the past 5 years is connecting with other crafters, makers, artists around the world.
One of those people is Pennsylvania based artist extraordinaire, Claudia McGill. She is one of those “Renaissance Women” whose dabbles successfully in many arts – writing, painting, drawing, illustrations, poetry, ceramics/pottery and collage.
She has two blogs (that I know of, maybe she has more, ha!) – one for her art and one for her poetry:
A couple days ago, I was surprised in the mail with a lovely holiday card and some some little pieces of her art!
I know there are new bloggers now following my blog that might be looking for other maker blogs to follow and blogging communities to connect with, so I plan in the future to share more about the blogs I follow to help connect anyone interested.
Over the years, I’ve met so many other bloggers through following and commenting on blogs that capture my interest.
I’ve always fantasized about writing poetry and had dabbled but never had the confidence to share any of my writings.
In addition to Claudia’s blogs, I also follow other “artist poets” such as South African based artist and poet, Mariss Stevens. She shares her beautiful art quilts with accompanying poems!
You can check out her amazing art quilts and poetry on her blog:
It is a HUGE world but it is also a SMALL world. As a blogger I get to connect with people all over the world, and it is kind of magical!
Early in July, my dear friend of many years, Michele, went to Ireland and Iceland for her honeymoon. She is a world traveler and these were two places on her list she had not visited yet – funny the names of both countries began with the letter “I” (and it would have been awesome if she had also visited India, Israel, Italy, the Ivory Coast and Indonesia too on the same trip if she was keeping with the letter “I” as her theme for travel)!
Since she was going to tour Ireland including a stop in Dublin, I connected her with my blogging buddy Helen@crawcraftsbeasties.com and they were able to connect and hang out together during Michele’s visit. How cool is that?
Well a surprise came for me in the mail today – a box from Michele.
Inside the box was a lovely bag:
Peeking inside the bag I spotted some yarn:
Not just yarn, but beautiful yarn – from Ireland and Iceland!!!!
Now I get to knit something with yarn from Ireland and from Iceland (the yarns are different textures/weights so I will likely use them on separate projects) – what an awesome surprise!
“(Knitting,) it is pure potential. Every ball or skein of yarn holds something inside it, and the great mystery of what that might be can be almost spiritual”
― Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, Knitting Rules!: The Yarn Harlot Unravels the Mysteries of Swatching, Stashing, Ribbing & Rolling to Free Your Inner Knitter
Of course now Helen@crawcraftsbeasties.com is expecting me to visit since I sent my friend to meet her first, ha! Plus someday I need to see where my tierneycreates Beastie was born (and Terry the Quilting Husband’s grandparents are all from Ireland so he might want to see his ancestral home someday…) and meet her maker!
But then I would be obligated to visit ALL the countries in which my blogging buddies live, just to be polite 🙂
This is all part of my pretending that I am an art quilter!
I still need to move some of the blog posts that relate to my art quilts over to my tierneycreates blog; and I want to update my “Tierneycreates Studio Tour” page (located in the “About Me” menu) with current photos.
I am self taught on WordPress (thank you WordPress for awesome reference materials and for people publishing YouTube videos with WordPress tips and tricks) and I will keep tweaking my tierneycreates site as I keep learning new tips and tricks!
Continuing my series of posts about the annual May quilting retreat I attended with my Quilting Sisters in Vancouver, WA May 17 – 20. To read my previous posts about quilting retreats I’ve attended, see my post category – Retreats.
A Different Way to Quilt Retreat
Each year when posting about the annual May quilting retreat I attend, I include a “road to retreat” post on my journey to the retreat at Sew N Go in Vancouver, WA.
A couple weeks before the retreat I was trying to decide whether to drive to the May quilt retreat or to take the bus again. Terry the Quilting Husband (TTQH) offered to drive me this time to the retreat with Mike the Miniature Schnauzer joining us for the road trip.
Instead of having him drive 4 hours to the retreat and then back, we came up with the idea of driving to Cannon Beach, Oregon the day before the retreat. We would spend a day in Cannon Beach, stay overnight and the TTQH would drive me to the retreat and head back home.
I Love Cannon Beach
We’ve been visiting Cannon Beach for many years – I think we visited the first time in the early 2000s. In my post ACase for Buying Tings You Have No Plans For At The Time, I share my love for Cannon Beach and a special Cannon Beach themed wallhanging I made for my friend at work Nancy.
Wandering Around Cannon Beach
Let’s begin with images of the beach, the sea, and the iconic Haystack rock at Cannon Beach. We enjoyed talking the coastline with Mike and here are images from Day which was fairly sunny.
The next day, before heading to retreat, it was overcast but the beach was still wonderful:
I love Central Oregon but it is far away from the sea. Every so often it is nice to be at the sea, smell the sea, and listen to the sea.
We’ve had a doggy backpacks for years that we carry our miniature schnauzers around in when traveling (most shops unless they are restaurants will allow a dog in a backpack in the shop) so we do not have to leave them in the car when sightseeing.
TTQH had Mike in his backpack as we wandered around Center Diamond Fabrics and Mike appears to be advising TTQH on fabric selections:
After the quilt shop, it was off to the yarn shop at Cannon Beach, Coastal Yarns, where Mike also advised from his backpack:
I was naughty at this shop and bought a skein of this ridiculously expensive variegated silk yarn that I fell hopelessly in love with it:
We stayed at the inviting and dog-friendly McBeeCottages where they had a welcome basket for Mike and a wonderful collection of handmade bird houses.
Wished I Lived in Cannon Beach, But Wait…
Every time we visit Cannon Beach, I daydream about moving there.
There are beautiful beach houses everywhere in the wonderful neighborhoods around the coastal area:
There are beautiful coastal gardens:
And of course there is this – the beach and the Pacific Ocean:
But then there is this:
We do not worry about Tsunamis in Central Oregon. So I will stick with just visiting Cannon Beach (hopefully never during a Tsunami) for now!
Thanks so much to everyone who voted on the setting triangle color for the fussy cut Tula Pink All Stars block my Quilting Sister Dana has been working on at our annual May Quilt Retreat!
Here were the options to vote on:
We cut off the voting at 10am so Dana could get the block assembled before I leave to take a bus back to Central Oregon.
Votes were tallied from the previous blog post comments, from people at the retreat and from my personal Facebook page.
It was very close but Teal won by two (2) votes!
So Dana made up the block with the winning color:
And here is the whole group of. blocks so far:
Dana plans to make 18 blocks from the 6 different animals in 3 colorways.
The six (6) animals that she will fussy cut are: bees, squirrels, owls, frogs, raccoons, and a fancy birds. According to Dana the fabric line is called Tula Pink All Stars because Tula Pink brought back her most popular retired lines and updates the colors.
Several of you suggested yellow and Dana said that would been a great idea but she did not have that as a fabric option in the Tula Pink solid fabric line.
Thanks for playing along 😀
Oh and I am super behind in blogging – I have a backlog of stories to share, stay tuned 😀
That’s a lot of topics for one post, well let’s get started!
The Toe Saga
I’ve been delinquent in blogging lately due to a very silly injury: a broken toe.
My sofa and I had an argument and I lost. I was rushing around, not paying attention and jammed my right foot/toes into the metal leg of my sofa at what felt like 80 miles an hour. It hurt, like really hurt but I thought it was just a sprain or an irritation to my toes and tried to care for itself (after all I am a RN).
A couple days later one of the toes was looking more purple and bruised so it was time to head over the Urgent Care, and yes, per the x-ray, the toe was fractured…in two places. They are hairline fractures and will take up to 6 weeks to heal; but my toe did not require surgery or fracture reduction/setting (so that is a good thing!).
(I know, I know, you all are so disappointed that I did not include a photo of my purplish bruised toe in this post, ha!)
I am mainly irritated with myself for such careless stupidity and that my daily walks are on hold for a week. The Physician Assistant I saw in Urgent Care said in a week my toe will be better to walk on, but I suspect I will have to take a hiatus from my hiking adventures.
I am trying to use this experience as a lesson that I need to slow down and be more mindful of my environment. I also rearranged my end tables to guard me against a future “sofa attack”.
Library Stack Catch Up
Before I decided to share “The Toe Saga”, the original purpose of this post was to continue my ongoing series, The Library Stack, sharing my latest stack of borrowed books from my beloved local public library.
Well I am two stacks behind! So let’s catch you up.
The Prior Stack
A couple of the books were books I’ve borrowed before such as Quilt Inspirations from Africa and Red & White Quilting. I like to think of my public library as “my other bookcase” and many of the older quilting/crafting books are always on the shelves whenever I want to read them again.
Two books that I’ve never borrowed before and really enjoyed in this stack were Fairy Tale Sewing: Whimsical Toys, Dolls and Softies by Heidi Boyd and Stitch Draw by Rosie James.
Of course I’ve been heavily influenced by the work of Helen@Crawcraftbeasties and Shirley @Handmade Habit – there are doing awesome things with “Softies” and I want to be part of this scene somedays too (along with the 10,000 other crafts I want to make).
I have commissioned Helen to make the tierneycreates Beastie and Shirley is doing some amazing new things with new stuffed animal creations! Be sure to check out their wonderful blogs if you have not already (I’ve linked their blogs in the text above and you should also check out their awesome Instagram pages).
I’ve also been influenced by Chela @Chela’s Colchas y Mas who retired from teaching and it now trying to become the “Renaissance Women of All Things Crafting”.
She started posting her stitching doodles and drawings on her blog and now I want to try that out someday also (yeah, yeah, future craft projects/techniques, get in line behind all the others). I thought the book Stitch Draw by Rosie James had many great ideas to get started.
A Single Stack
In between the library stack above, and my current stack, I had one solitary book: Living the Airstream Life by Karen Flett.
Lots of daydreaming went on while reading this book (but where would I put my sewing studio in the Airstream…and where would I store all my fabric scraps?!?!).
The physical book itself is pretty cool – the outside is framed in silver paper with simulated rivets like on an Airstream trailer!
Of course Terry the Quilting Husband (TTQH) had to tease me while I was reading the book. He kept asking: “So do we get a trailer to attach behind the Airstream for your fabric?”.
I’ve posted in the past about embracing Minimalism in my series of posts on MyMinimalism Journey but my craft hobbies are interfering with a full “embracement”!
My Current Stack: Your Sacred Nest
My current stack of library books is, in my opinion, quite yummy! This stack is about quality over quantity.
I am currently reading Your Creative Work Space: The Sweet Spot Style Guide to Home Office + Studio Decor by Desha Peacock, and so far this book is fantastic!
I’d like to share snippets from a passage from the book on “Your Sacred Nest: Everyone Needs a Creative Sweet Spot Space“:
A mother bird doesn’t complain that she doesn’t have time or space to create her nest, she just makes do with the resources available to her at the time…Her job is not finished when the nest is built. She still needs to protect it until her babies are strong enough to go out on their own…think of what would happen if the momma bird neglected to actually build the nest because she couldn’t find the perfect materials. Don’t let your creativity suffer or, worse, die because you can’t find the perfect lamp…don’t worry if it’s not perfect. Use the resources you have around you and allow them to blossom with age and use.
Once you create your space, do not abandon it. Protect it fiercely with that momma bird love… – Desha Peacock, Your Creative Work Space (2017)
I love thinking of my creative endeavors as my “baby birds”!
(But wait a minute, I could continue with this analogy and realize that the reason I get into trouble sometimes is I am trying to feed too many “baby birds” at one time!)
I love my neighborhood and I have some awesome neighbors who I just really like as people (they are good humans!). Here is a recent sweet public library story from one of my neighbors.
My neighbor and friend Jenny just returned from a three week trip to Australia to visit her in-laws. Her in-laws live suburb of Melbourne and after a week or so of just reading downloaded e-books, she and her young son were missing their regular trips to their our local public library (she is a Deschutes Public Library Cult-Member like I am, ha!). Jenny heard that the Melbourne area library system allows visitor passes and for visitors with ID to borrow up to two books.
So she and her son walked 10 minutes from where they were staying to the St. Kilda library. The librarian was so welcoming and after a chat she not only let them borrow more than 2 books (which is awesome as Jenny and her son did not have to go with one book each), she helped identify some great books (and loaded them up) in the children’s section and gave them a nice tote bag to get their huge stack of book back to where they were staying 10 minutes away!
So libraries are good places all over the world and librarians are some of the best people on earth (smile).
No, alas, not the Scottish Highlands. This post is about a hike on the Cascade HighlandsTrailin Central Oregon. Not as glorious as hiking in the Scottish Highlands but still quite lovely (and a significantly less expense trip – no airfare or accommodations required!)
I do not work on Mondays and once a month I’ve been going on a hike (followed by a yummy lunch) with my friend Laurie and her Bernese Mountain Dog Luna. I thought about creating a category for these posts called “Adventures with Laurie & Luna” but I decided to create a new blog category called OutsideAdventures! which includes my various solo Pilot Butte hikes and any other interesting outdoor adventures.
Laurie who is new-ish to Central Oregon (I think she has lived here between 1 – 2 years) thought it would be a great idea to explore Central Oregon together by going on hikes we have not been on before and trying out restaurants we have not dine at before (or at least one of us has not tried before). We plan one at least once a month.
Hiking the Cascade Highlands
Here are photos from the hike (which were more breathtaking in person than the photos capture):
I am also adding this post to my blog post category CreativeInspiration as there was much potential art quilt inspiration on this hike!
I spent a brief (it seemed too short) 3 day trip to visit friends in Gig Harbor, WA and go to the Sewing & Stitchery Expo(“Sew Expo“) in Puyallup, WA at the Washington State Fairgrounds with some of my WA based QuiltingSisters.
I took a zillion photos and in this post I will share some of the “zillion” photos and give you a taste of what it is like to attend Sew Expo.
The Flight to SeaTac Airport
When Terry the Quilting Husband (TTQH) and Mike the Miniature Schnauzer dropped me off at our small Central Oregon airport (RDM), I thought of this old post from Sassy the Highly Miniature Schnauzer’s SchnauzerSnips blog: Human Storage?. From a dog’s point of view, as this post discusses, it appears that I am just staying at the airport for a couple of days – Mike sees me dropped off at the airport and then picked up at the airport!
Flying in small planes makes me slightly nervous. When we moved from Seattle to Central Oregon I had to acclimate to taking smaller planes. Our airport is small and cannot handle standard size planes/jets, just the Turboprop size planes, like the one in the image below:
But I discovered, years ago, thanks to my primary care doctor, the magic of a small dose of Ativan and a dose of Dramamine – it makes the flight awesome.
Alaska Airlines serves, for those 21 and over, a complimentary glass of wine or a Pacific NW Microbrew during these small plane flights between Central Oregon and Seattle. The flight is between 45 – 55 minutes and I enjoyed a blissful flight with my microbrew, a biscuit, my knitting and relaxing music on my smartphone (in airplane mode of course!):
I got quite a bit of knitting done on the scarf I mentioned in the post ACase Against Procrastination, during the trip between the flight, hanging out in the airport before flights, and hanging out visiting with my friends. I will share an update when the scarf is done (so you won’t lie awake at night wondering when I will get that scarf done – ha!)
Welcome to Washington State Fairgrounds
The Sasquatch is the unofficial mascot of the Pacific NW. I lived in Seattle for 8 years and did a lot of hiking but never saw a Sasquatch running around! But when you walk into the WA State Fairground there is a carved Sasquatch to greet you and it was decorated for Sew Expo!
Inside Sew Expo: The Crowds
There are two buildings housing vendors for Sew Expo and the space is HUGE! It took us 4 – 5 hours to walk around Sew Expo. Here are a couple photos of the crowds and some random vendors:
It’s Called “Sew Expo” But There Was a Lot of Yarn!
Sew Expo is really about most textile based crafts and there were many yarn vendors. I know many of you knit and crochet, so let me share some of the endless yarn-yumminess in the vendor booths at Sew Expo:
Special Booths: Pendleton Wool
Some vendors had special large booths, such as the large booth of Pendleton Woolen Mills. They had a large area in their booth in which they were selling Pendleton Woolen Mills selvages. I could not figure out why someone would want to buy a giant bag of these selvages until I noticed that there were shag rugs made from these selvages. Great recycling!
The Fabric, Oh The Fabric
Okay it is called “Sew Expo” and so the bulk (at least 60% or more) of the vendor booths were dedicated to fabric for sewing garment, making quilts, and other sewn crafts. Here is just a sampling of the fabric delights I browsed:
This booth had an exceptionally delicious offering of silks:
There were lot’s of fabric deals:
But the “craziest” fabric deals of all were the “trough-o-fabric” at $7.99 a pound section and the vendor selling yardage of high quality fabric at $5.99+ a yard.
A ridiculous amount of quilting fabric remnants, fat quarters and yardage were thrown in giant rolling tubs. You grab a large plastic bag and fill it up with what you want, they weigh it and you pay $7.99 a pound.
Yes this looks like total insanity, and it was but I had so much fun with the other quilters digging through the troughs. We were all helping each other and looking out for whatever someone asked for help looking for. for $14.00 I picked up about $40 – $50 in high quality quilting fabric (some Kaffe Fasset stripe fabric, etc).
This area was huge and took up a large section of the last aisle in one of the Pavilions at Sew Expo. One of my Quilting Sisters picked up some mind blowing fabric deals in this section but I had “Fabric Burnout” by the time I got to this section and only took photos, no serious shopping (which I regretted later when I saw the deals my friend got!)
Let’s end this post here, I will continue in the next post with the rest of the Sew Expo experience.
Thank goodness I spent a little time proofreading this post before posting it. It was not a “Freudian Slip”, just typing too quick, but I did type “Sex Expo” instead of “Sew Expo” in several area (including at first the post title, which I expanded to the official name of the event).
Trust me, if I went to “Sex Expo”, I would not be posting about it – ha! (And that would be a very strange thing to attend with one’s Quilting Sisters!)
Curiously, when looking through my blog posts of 2017, I see I started a lot of projects (like FarmGirl Vintage blocks), but did not complete that many projects in 2017! I better get my act together in 2018…
Seven (7) Favorite Posts/Series of Posts of 2017
I selected these seven (7) posts (or series of posts) because I really enjoyed writing them:
However Mike is much more mellow and not as highly opinionated (and prefers to spend most his time napping in the back of Terry the Quilting Husband’s knees) so it would not make sense for him to want to take over the blog.
Eventually I would like to turn the blog into a memory photo and story book for Terry and I once I figure out what platform to do this on. For now the blog will stay live on the web in the “blogosphere” for whomever stumbles upon it.
Meet the Pups in the Feature Photo
I thought I will end this post on a silly note and introduce you to the pups in the feature photo for this post:
They are known as The Puppy Powers and they live in my sewing studio along with other furry creatures to keep me smiling while I sew. I found them years ago (I do not remember where) and they all have magnetic paws and can be posed it adorable poses and stuck on anything metal.
Their names are Pup, Puppy, Puppa, and Pups:
And here they are having fun on their photo shoot:
It’s challenging to keep a Radio Flyer full of puppies still during a photo shoot!
Are you familiar with the phrase “throwing pottery”? This phrase relates to creating some type of clay vessel/bowl on a pottery wheel.
Recently I made a fabric bowl by “throwing” it on my sewing machine!
This bowl is made from batik fabric strips wrapped around clothesline using the instructions from the Bali Boxes pattern by Aunties Two.
It measures approximately 11.5″ in diameter and is 4″ deep.
Several years ago I was really into making batik fabric bowls and boxes and had a stash of cotton clothesline and 2.5″ pre-cut batik fabric strips (like Hoffman Bali Pops). Here are a couple of my baskets from that period:
Bali Basket – lots of work
I burned out on making these baskets, however I had enough wrapped clothesline to make one more small basket and set it aside for the day I wanted to make another basket (into my “abandoned project stash”).
Well that day arrived a week ago – I was ready to “throw” a new basket!
Here is the wrapped clotheslines and the fabric for the center:
Making the basket begins with making a coiled foundation around a Timtex (heavy interfacing) filled center fabric pouch:
Once the base is created, it is time to “throw” the basket and angle it around the sewing machine as you add rows of covered clothesline using a zig-zag stitch:
The piece is finished off with a binding on top to cover the ends of the wrapped clothesline:
And now a couple images of the completed bowl (I added a little tierneycreates tag to the top under the binding):
I am pleased with my “thrown” fabric bowl and glad I pulled the remaining wrapped clothesline out of my abandoned project stash!
This post is a continuation of my ongoing series “What’son the Design Wall”, featuring my latest project up on either the small design wall in my studio or the large design wall my hallway.
I am working on my fourth improvisational piece from a group of recycled clothing and home decor titled: RecycledWindows of Conversation. This piece will become part of my improvisational art quilt series: Recycled DenimStories.
Here is Recycled Windows of Conversation in progress on my small design wall in my studio:
This art quilt will measure approximately 18″ x 40″, the same size as these two other quilts in the Recycled Denim Stories series, The Recycled Road and Recycled Door:
You might ask why did I name the piece in progress, Recycled Windows of Conversation?
The “Recycled” part of the name is to tie it to the two other 18″ x 40″ pieces from the same recycled materials shown above; and the “Conversations” part of the name is to tie to Additional Conversations, a piece I recently finished the quilt top (but have not quilted yet):
Recycled Windows of Conversation is made from the leftover blocks (and additional blocks) from Additional Conversations (which is still laying on my larger hallway design wall awaiting quilting).
In case you are new to my blog and have not followed the development of these previous art quilts, here’s a list of the recycled materials used in these pieces:
Curtain (valence scarf)
Old sweat pants
Gold home decorating fabric scraps (given to me by an interior decorator from her sample collection)
The world’s ugliest orange corduroy pants
Denim duvet cover (used in Additional Conversations only)
I plan to quilt Recycled Windows of Conversation by machine and I have selected my thread colors – gold, blue and orange:
Here is the piecing hanging out on the iron board, awaiting quilting:
In case you are wondering, I have only a tiny pile of scraps left over from these four quilts. I might challenge myself and try to eek out a small piece to make it five total.
I continue to work on having a cohesive body of work when it comes to my delusional journey towards becoming an art quilter!
A quilting friend recently remodeled her studio area in her vintage home (circa early 1900s) and asked for help organizing her fabric in the reconfigured back room (that used to be where meat was stored in the early 1900s.
Here is a photo of an alcove with newly added shelves that I found especially pleasing during my time over her house yesterday helping her organize fabric:
Her fabric used to be crammed into a dark back storage room – now it is easier to access!
Continuing my ongoing series, The Library Stack, sharing my latest* stack of borrowed books from my beloved local public library.
*To be completely honest, this is not my current library stack, this is my previous library stack but I am behind in this ongoing series!
If you’ve followed my blog for more any period of time, you’ve likely figured out my bordering pathology public library obsession. Visiting my public library makes me very happy.
Here is where the magic starts – in the Holds Pick Up section that spans a large part of the library entry lobby:
I might be “over sharing” but it is so exciting to make my way over to the “H” section of the Holds and see what is waiting for me! (I reserve books and movies online.)
As much as I love the library’s Holds Pick Up section, upstairs there is a seriously magical section of the library – the “books available now section” (I am unsure of the official name of this section):
This section contains recent novels that cannot be put on hold – they are only available if you come into the library and pick them up from this section. This section usually contains a couple copies of the NY Times Bestseller books and other recently published books.
My fantasy someday is to take a hiatus from work and just bring home stacks (and stacks) of these books and leisurely read novel after novel! (Usually the people browsing these sections appears to be retired individuals.)
There never seems to be time to just sit and read a novel. This is why my library stacks mainly contain the kind of books I can just browse/flip through for information or to enjoy with a pot of tea (like the home decor and crafting books).
This is also why I enjoy audiobooks so much – they allow me to enjoy a novel while getting other stuff done. (I am currently listening to a science fiction novel, The City of Mirrors by Justin Cronin).
Or maybe I need to learn more “stillness” and less “multi-tasking” and try and sit still and read novels again.
I remember as a pre-teen, during summer break, bringing home stacks and stacks of novels to read – and reading them all. There is something completely delicious about being completely lost in a physical book.
Funny, my sister and I were just discussing multi-tasking and its pitfalls the other day. I think this will be my “New Year’s Resolution” for 2018: Less multitasking!
“NATURE DOES NOT HURRY, YET EVERYTHING IS ACCOMPLISHED.” ~LAO TZU
In my November 8th post AGood Mess, I shared an image of a crumpled sari a friend picked up for me at a thrift shop.
I’d just laundered it and the floor was the safest place in my messy sewing room at time time.
Now it is pressed (it took forever as saris are very long!) and hangs as a valance in my front living room window (where I read my Library Stack):
It is a lovely shade of “umber” – a color that to me is a mixture of clay, burnt orange and coppery brown. It coordinates very well with my Cozy Cobblestones quilt on the adjoining wall:
And coordinates with the quilt and tablecloth next to the opposite wall (which I plan to repaint someday in a more neutral palette as my “strong-color-on-walls” period is over!):
And yes my decorating still could be labeled: Random or “Very Random”.
It’s time we get to know each other better. I mean some of us have been together nearly four (4) years with the tierneycreates blog.
It’s time I find out what type of music you like to listen to while you craft (for those of you who are Crafters)!
This weekend I spent time working on a new art improvisational art quilt using leftover clothing scraps from my pieces The Recycled Door and The Recycled Path, and I listened to a lot of music as a I designed and sewed from my Tierney Mix on my iPhone.
Frequently I listen to audiobooks or podcasts while crafting but I was really in the mood for just music while sewing.
My Tierney Mix is all over the place as far as musical genres. Here is a sampling of a run of songs that played from the mix while I crafted this weekend:
Beast of Burden, The Rolling Stones
My One and Only Love, John Coltrane
Pride (In The Name of Love), U2
Light My Fire, Jose Feliciano
Ode to My Family, The Cranberries
Waiting in Vain, Bob Marley & The Wailers
The Stone, Dave Matthews Band
Wichita Lineman, Glen Campbell
Lovesong, The Cure
Annie’s Song, John Denver
I’m Like a Bird, Nellie Furtado
Dust Bowl Dance, Mumford & Sons
Tin Pan Alley, Stevie Ray Vaughn
Desperado, Linda Ronstadt
Forever My Friend, Ray LaMontagne
All In Love is Fair, Stevie Wonder
The Logical Song, Supertramp
Lovesick Blues, Hank Williams
She’s Gone, Hall & Oates
Oh Yeah, Los Lobos
Nothing Even Matter, Lauryn Hill
I’m Your Boogie Man, KC & The Sunshine Band
Reminiscing, Little River Band
Let Her Go, Passenger
Leave Me Here, Hem
Sweet Love, The Commodores
Mama, You Got A Daughter, John Lee Hooker
Angela, The Lumineers
The Girl from Ipanema, Joao Gilberto, Stan Getz, Astrid Gilberto
I’ll Take Care of You, Van Morrison
Let it Be, The Beatles
As you can see, my musical tastes are all over the place! The only type of music I think I do not like is “Death Metal”. I also listen to Classical Music but I do not mix it in with contemporary music. I have a separate Classical Music Mix.
When I am not listening to my own mix, I love to listen to the online radio station – RadioParadise (also available as a phone app). The Radio Paradise mix is even more eclectic than my personal mix. The gentleman and his wife that run Radio Paradise will mix in Tchaikovsky followed by a Rolling Stones song!
So – what type of music is on your playlist while you craft? Please share!
Just a reminder – you have until Sunday 10/22/17 to comment on the post Blog Anniversary Celebration & Giveawayin order to enter the drawing (which was extended to 10/23/17) for a handmade Little Wallet!
Feature Image credit (musical score): Daniel Moore, free images.com
As mentioned in recent previous posts, I have been making little wallets from my fabric scraps.
Endless wallets. Cutting out fabric from templates in the evening while watching TV and then engaging in marathon assembling and sewing.
58+ wallets later, I am ready to share photos of the wallets.
First here are 55 of them (two I recently I gave away as gifts and one I kept for myself):
An attempt at closer up photos of the wallets:
I had so much fun rummaging through my boxes of fabric scraps and putting together various combinations. Here are photos of a couple of the insides of the little wallets to demonstrate some of the color and texture combinations I used for the inside pockets:
Here are some of my favorite little wallets from my little wallet assembly madness:
I plan to do a “Little Wallet” giveaway to celebrate the 4th anniversary of my blog in October so stay tuned. They are perfect for business cards, a place to keep punch cards (like frequent customer cards) or to use as a wallet.
(In addition to worrying about those in Texas and Florida) Today my thoughts are focused on just how much I love my local public library. This is not just a fleeting infatuation, I am talking about a deep bibliophilic obsessed kind of love!
If you’ve followed my blog for a while, you have likely figured this out, especially with ongoing series such as TheLibrary Stackfeaturing my latest stack of tomes on loan from my beloved library. However in addition to realizing how deeply in love I am with my local public library, I realize just how much money and space accessing my library has saved me.
Tierney the “Collector”
As my friend Michele has told me, “You are a Collector”. I am actually a reformed “collector”.
Years ago I became interested in Special Edition Barbie dolls. I did not just buy a couple, I bought a ridiculous amount. The same thing happened with collectible stuffed rabbits. I could not just have a couple, I appeared to need them all.
When I tapered down my need to collect Barbies or Bunnies, I transferred my need to collect to craft books and crafting magazines (and occasionally home decorating books and magazines).
As I incorporated Minimalism into my life (see series of posts under MyMinimalism Journey) I began to honestly evaluate the clutter in my life, including whether I needed to own and continue to bring into my home that many crafting books and magazines.
I still love looking at new craft books (I get a little “makers-high” from leafing through a craft book for the first time) and I did not want to give up the pleasure of a new craft book and a pot of tea in my cozy reading spot.
The public library was the solution! I realized I did not need to own every craft book I am attracted to – I could just borrow it, enjoy it and return it. I can even take it out again to look at a couple months later if I like – it will be there waiting for me…AND it will not take up space in my bookshelf or cost money out of my wallet!
More Than Just Books
It began with borrowing books and then I discovered many other wonderful benefits as a library card holder:
Borrowing audiobooks that I can listen to on my smartphone
Magazines for my iPad for free (to include American Patchwork & Quilting Magazine and many popular home decorating magazines)
Free music downloads (I can download 5 songs a week…well 10 using my husband’s library card too from a huge selection of music)
Movies for my DVD player – we do not go out to movies very often – we just borrow them from the library (and I have learned secret tricks to be first in line on new releases at the library!)
Online movies – although I do have Netflix so I do not use this feature very often, our library has its own version on Netflix with older movies and TV shows.
Novel Idea – the whole town reads the same book once a year (a community wide book group) and then there are special programs in the Spring with the author coming to town to speak about their book!
In addition to all this there is so much more like the Author! Author! Literary Series where big name authors come to town and speak!
Okay, soon I will stop running on and on about my beloved library. But would you mind, I share some recent reads and listens? (or you can skip to the Postscriptsection if you have grown tired my library related ramblings and you are now ready for some crafting project related news…)
Last week I posted on my current library stack but I have since moved on to a new (and smaller stack). As you can see I was enjoying feeding the flames of my small and tiny house obsession. These three books are a delightful pot-of-tea-drinking, book-flipping, daydreaming experience.
My obsession is not as bad as it used to be (I used to incessantly watch tiny house related TV shows and tiny house tour videos on YouTube) but I am still fascinated by them. I also enjoy “RV porn” and love to watch videos of RV walkthrough tours. I like the idea of small compact and cozy space. It is also a space which is more difficult to clutter with stuff, and I like that idea of space imposed curation!
I recently finished several excellent library borrowed fiction audiobooks:
Michael Chabon’s novel Moonglow. I read a great interview with him in Poets&Writers magazine last year. When I saw he is coming to Central Oregon this fall on the Author!Author! literary tour, I thought it was time to actually read one of his books and see what all the hype was about!
I now understand what all the hype is about this author – his sentences are so beautifully and richly crafted and his ability to tell a story is impressive. Here is my review of the book I posted on Goodreads and on Amazon.com:
I was fortunate to listen to the audiobook version of this novel which was flawlessly and excellently narrated.
The book is a memoir masterpiece, telling the fascinating story of his maternal grandfather’s life as told by his grandfather to the author as he was terminally ill. The author also weaves in poignant moment from his own life and his mother’s life with his grandfather’s (and grandmother’s story). The first hand accounts of his grandfather’s experiences in Europe during WWII are amazing and powerful. They are not battle scenes but focus on the lives of a small village experiencing WWII. The book covers a span of time from around the 1920s to 1980s.
Mr. Chabon’s writing is spectacular and I see what all the hype is about surrounding this author. I read/listened to the book because he is coming to our town to speak on a literary tour and before hearing him speak I wanted to read one of his book. He is a very gifted writer, his use of language and the crafting of a sentence are amazing. I think he might be one of the great writers of our current generation.
I also recently finished a spectacular science fiction trilogy by Cixin Liu – The Three-Body Problem (winner of the Hugo award), The Dark Forest, and Death’s End. I was fortunate enough to listen to them all on audiobook. And here is the really cool thing – my library did not have an audiobook copy of the second (The Dark Forest) or the third book (Death’s End) in the trilogy. So I suggested them for purchase using the special online form my library has – and THEY ORDERED THEM!
Photo credit: Amazon.com
Photo credit: Amazon.com
Photo credit: Amazon.com
Cixin Liu is a big name in Chinese science fiction and the cultural differences are evidence in his books but they only add to the story. The science part of the “science fiction” is amazing and detailed yet accessible. So far it is one of my favorite Science Fiction trilogies of all time, rivaling Orson Scott Card’s Ender’s Game Trilogy and Arthur C. Clarke’s Rama trilogy (previously my two favorites).
Let me close out my ramblings about my awesome public library with this quote:
Sending My Heart Out
First before I share what I have been up to crafting-wise lately, let me just say my hearts go out to the people of Houston, Texas and the surrounding areas. We lived in Houston for 9 years from 1988 – 1997 and many of the flooded areas shown on the news (Terry the Quilting Husband has been watching The Weather Channel non-stop) are quite familiar to us.
My heart also goes out to those in the tropical islands and to states such as Florida in the path of Hurricane Irma. I cannot imagine the stress and fear going on in Florida right now knowing what Hurricane Harvey did to Texas.
Current Crafting – Little Wallet Obsession
I will have a future post with more details and perhaps a “little wallet photoshoot” on all the different combinations, but I have made 40+ little wallets since starting last week.
I am trying to make a dent in my fabric scrap collection:
Here are some in progress (I am having so much fun with color and pattern combinations):
And here is a basket of the first 37 completed (by the time of this photo):
My next post will feature all the little wallets I have completed, so you can see some of the fun color and pattern combinations. I did make a bit of a dent in my fabric scraps and I’ve made many little functional items with those scraps.
I bought way too many business cards and I have a business card tucked away in each little wallet to demonstrate how the little wallet could be used.
Recently gave one of the little wallets as part of a retirement gift (it held a gift card) and I think the little wallet was more popular with the recipient than the gift card!
I might do a future little wallet blog giveaway to celebrate my 4th year of blogging (and that fellow humans actually keep reading my blog, ha!) – stay tuned!
Feature image photo credit: Deschutes Public Library
However, I was not feeling inspired to keep building the improvisational Medallion Quilt, even after I pulled out my copy of Gwen Marston’s book Liberated Medallion Quilts. (This book is about breaking the rules and making improvisational medallion quilts instead of traditional accurately pieced medallion quilts.)
I even found among my scraps a wonderful collection of coordinating fabrics. Still, I was not feeling inspired to make it into a quilt. I did however want to make it into something and to be done with this project, so I made it into a pillow for my sunroom:
This pillow joins my collection of handmade items on secondhand love-seat in my sunroom that my neighbor gave me. The love-seat is plaid and not really my style, so I covered it with homemade and other second hand items.
I am not giving up on my plan to make a medallion quilt someday! I tucked away some ideas from working on this piece.
So what is next? Well I have become obsessed with making little wallets using my collection of fabric scraps:
I am not sure what I am going to do with all the little wallets, but I am having fun playing in my different boxes of fabric scraps organized by color and finding pieces that working with the templates for the little wallets:
Here is a bag of turquoise and teal fabric scraps I cannot wait to play with next once I finish playing with orange and brown scraps:
I will share in a future post all the little wallets in fun color combinations I made from scraps!
One of my quilting mentors, Jean Wells Keenan, once said in a class (paraphrased): When you are really stuck on a piece and you want to give up, don’t give up. Just push through your discomfort or unhappiness with the piece; keep going and you will be surprised how it evolves.
So what does this have to do with my featured image for this post – a pile of sweet potatoes?
Well, at lunch today (I am a telecommuter), I pulled out the remains of a bag of several weeks old sweet potatoes. I forgot about them in the veggie drawer in my fridge and I hoped I could possibly use them (I hate wasting food) in a salad or veggie bowl if I boiled them.
As I washed the sweet potatoes, a first glance, they looked kind of icky and their only future was compost. However on closer inspection, I realized there were good viable parts to each sweet potato – all I had to do was cut out the bad parts.
While trimming each sweet potato to remove the “bad parts”, I thought how this relates to creating a piece of art. I have worked on several art quilting project when I wanted to just give up, crumple the piece into a ball (and burn it) and discard it.
Occasionally I did just this, throw away the piece and try to forgot the time I spent on expending my creativity on the piece. This was until I took a series of art quilting classes with Jean Wells Keenan and heard her statement about not giving up – it resonated with me.
I learned to work or rework what I have created already, cut the bad parts out, and keep going with creating the piece.
An example of an art quilt that I wanted to throw into the trash pile (or burn as an effigy of what-not-to-do-when-creating-an-art-quilt) was my piece Abandoned Water Structure. This piece, which was eventually sold to the City of Seattle/Seattle Public Utilities for their Portable Works Collection nearly made it to the trash or fabric recycling pile several times (or as potential kindling).
It began as an art quilt project based on a photo of a beach structure for a series of classes I was taking with Jean Wells Keenan, called Journey to Inspired Art Quilting. I absolutely hated the piece and it seemed like to would never go anywhere (I felt like I was stopped in my journey anywhere, much less to inspired art quilting).
The series of classes ended, and I took the unfinished piece back home with me to sit in the abandoned project pile (where projects go to die..).
Randomly rummaging through my abandoned project pile a couple months later, I rediscovered the piece and I was suddenly struck with the feeling that I was not using the correct inspiration for the piece. The piece WANTED TO BE SOMETHING ELSE.
I had a photo on my inspiration board of an abandoned/closed water power facility in Central Oregon and I knew this is what the piece was to become (or at least be inspired by)!
After reworking the piece for a couple hours, I was tempted to return it to the abandon project pile (or just soak it in lighter fluid) but luckily I heard Jean in the back of my head to “just push through, keepgoing“. I cut out the bad parts, the parts that were not working in the piece, and eventually it became the Abandoned Water Structure art quilt.
If I were to summarize my thoughts and advice from this experience (and my ramblings above) for my fellow crafters and artists, it would be:
Creating can be like working with a partially rotted sweet potato.
You know there is yumminess still there but you don't want to eat
"the bad parts".
So cut out the "bad parts" and keep the good/viable parts!
Keep going, don't give up, be patient with yourself and the piece.
Let it become the yumminess it eventually wants to become.
Well I have stretched that analogy as far as it will stretch, thanks for reading to see where the heck I was going with my sweet potato story.
Oh and in case you were curious, my trimmed and boiled sweet potatoes were delicious (full of yumminess) in my salad at lunch!