A Crafter Needs to Eat, A Crafter's Life, Audiobooks and Podcasts, Bags Bags Bags

What I Did During My Blogging Vacation

I’ve been on hiatus from blogging for a couple weeks to temporarily remove any “artificial” obligations in my life in order to have some time to “reset”.

Now feeling “reset”, I thought I would jump back into blogging with a little essay “primary/elementary” school style like the infamous “What I Did on My Summer Vacation“.

By the way I was not hanging out with the fabulous looking women at the beach during my hiatus, like those in the feature photo of this post (photo by Vitae London on Unsplash), I just thought it was a fun beach photo to use in the middle of semi-freezing winter in Denver!

Okay so now it is time to imagine me standing in front of our 4th grade class presenting this essay below (and perhaps my parents helped me make a slide deck for my images/photos)…

READING

Listening to audiobooks and turning the pages of actual physical books, I’ve done a lot of reading during the past several weeks.

I’ve finished the book City of Brass by S.A. Chakraborty, that I read for my virtual book club with my friend Michele (see post Virtual Book Clubs):

city-of-brass
image credit – Kirkus Review

Last Friday Michele and I had another card-making playdate like the one I shared in the post Card Making Playdate from last October and discussed City of Brass. In tomorrow’s post (why yes, I am going to now post frequently…hope you don’t grow tired of me) I will share what we made.

I recently finished the next book in our “Virtual Book Group” (but wait is it “virtual” if we are meeting in person, socially distancing of course, to discuss the book?) and it was quite the awesome page turnerThe Guest List by Lucy Foley:

The Guest List
image credit – Publishers Weekly

It’s been a long time since I’ve read (actually I listened to the audiobook) the kind of book I absolutely could not put down. If you’d like to read a synopsis of the book – here is the link to the one on Publishers Weekly (no worries, there are no spoilers) – The Guest List.

Currently I am listening to an excellent (so far) Science Fiction/space novel – To Sleep Under a Sea of Stars by Christoper Paolini. I love it so much I’ve already bought the hard copy of the book as my library loan of the audiobook is about to expire and there are a zillion other library patrons waiting in line to listen to it next.

Image result for to sleep in a sea of stars
image credit – Paolini.net

It not just fiction books I’ve been inhaling, I’ve also read several new crafting books I picked up over the past couple of months.

I’ve been obsessed lately with making non-quilt items such as tote bags (see post Tote, Tote, Tote Bags) and pincushions (a future post); and love my new book by Ayumi Takahashi – Patchwork Please which features lots of fun things to make:

Patchwork Please!: Colorful Zakka Projects to Stitch and Give - Takahashi, Ayumi
image credit – amazon.com

I am sort of obsessed with “zakka” and Japanese author craft patterns. I love the aesthetics of their designs as well as the function. Here are many of the books in my home library collection of Japanese author craft patterns:

COOKING

For a while in the Denver metro area, our restaurants closed down again to inside dining during the pandemic. Finally they opened to 25% capacity and now I think they are starting to reopen to even 50% capacity (or perhaps I am hallucinating at this point as I have complete pandemic fatigue at this point).

While they were closed again, like in the early days of the pandemic, we tried to make fun meals at home and not get home cooking fatigue. Here are a couple photos of the delicious meals my partner John (a very good cook who used to actually cook professionally) and I made.

Delicious Irish Stew and Homemade Biscuits

Salmon Fried Rice

Nachos!

Pizza (with dough made from “scratch”)

Orzo Pasta Salad

Are you hungry yet?

One of my favorites that I could not locate easily locate a photo for was the handmade gnocchi with gorgonzola sauce and scallops that John made one night. I thought I was at a high-end restaurant!

Yes, I will not lie, I had packed on a couple “pandemic pounds” from all this good eating, but we do not eat like this every night. We do try and have salads for dinner a couple nights a week.

WALKING

To combat the effects of all those delicious home cooked meals, I’ve been going on a lot of very long walks. It is always a great way to listening to my audiobooks. Most of the times I take Mike my Miniature Schnauzer with me but many times I just go walking alone (then I do not have to stop for the “frequent signing in on bushes” that Mike loves to do on his walk).

Here are a couple Black & White images I took on a wintry walk, in which someone had left a found glove on a branch for its owner to hopefully someday find. I got a kick out of the “composition” in the stark landscape created by the glove.

If you enjoy B&W images, I do have a series of posts where I feature B&W images – Life in B&W.

In case you are wondering – either the glove blew away or was reunited with its partner by the owner as the next day it was gone.

REFLECTING

During my break from blogging, I spent a lot of time reflecting and trying to figure out my life. As many of you know, I am in my second year of widowhood caused by the very sudden and very expected death of my life partner, Terry the Quilting Husband (see post Remembering Terry the Quilting Husband (TTQH)).

I’d been with Terry since I was in my early 20s and I am now on a journey to “reinvent” myself in my middle years of life as “Tierney minus Terry”, after what seems like a lifetime of “Tierney +Terry”.

In previous posts, I’ve discussed re-opening my tierneycreates Etsy shop and my original plan when I took a hiatus from blogging was to start blogging again in about a month when I was ready to re-open my Etsy shop.

Over the past several months, I’ve made a lot of items in preparation to re-open the shop but still could not move forward with re-opening the shop. I was struggling to figure out what the big block was for me.

Then while looking at some old photos on my Google Photos account which I rarely use, I found an old image of the joint tierneycreates business card Terry and I had together when he was helping me with my Etsy shop. He was listed as a “Maker” on my Etsy shop as he helped me with many of the items I produced by cutting out patterns and doing preliminary sewing, especially on items like Miniature Kimonos, which were very popular on my shop.

I realized that my tierneycreates Etsy shop is just too closely tied to memories of crafting with Terry and I am just not ready.

Part of my “widowhood journey” is trying to figure out what to do with what is basically a lifetime’s worth of memories with someone who is now gone.

After losing your spouse you are expected to go on with your life but what do you do with all those memories (and mementos) of a life previously lived? I think that is the $64,000 Question which I have yet to answer for myself (I’ve done a lot of reading on grief and the answers of other people’s journey but I still have to find my own answer).

But I have figured out that unless it is something critical, not push myself to do anything I am not ready to do, even if it seems like a good thing to do (like re-opening my Etsy shop).

(The above images are of Terry, Sassy, who passed in Dec 2017 a year before Terry, and I vacationing in Cannon Beach, Oregon; and of Terry modeling a quilt he helped me make)

CRAFTING

There’s been a whole lot of crafting over the past couple of weeks. I’ve found a lot of peace in making things. I feel very lucky to be a “Maker”.

Many of the items I’ve shared on my tierneycreates Instagram account but many I have not. I am going to save a discussion of what I’ve been working on for future blogs posts but I will share that I’ve been making more tote bags like I discussed in the post Tote, Tote, Tote Bags.

Here are some of my latest tote bags:

I look forward to diving into more about what I’ve been making in my future posts!

WAKE UP, THE ESSAY IS FINALLY OVER!

So that concludes my essay and I can safely assume the whole class is asleep now at their desks!

Oh wait, I see the teacher is also asleep at their desk! Maybe I won’t get a “A” on this presentation…

Photo by Matheus Farias on Unsplash

Postscript

Just a quick follow up to my post Redesigning my logo. I decided not to change my logo at this time and just figure it out at a later date.

Bags Bags Bags

Tote, Tote, Tote Bags

Yes there are a lot of very strange things going on in my country (U.S.) but I am only going to write about making tote bags.

Lots of tote bags…

It began with making a Christmas gift for one of my partner John’s son for Christmas who is very eco-conscious:

Next came a gift for our friends we golf with (in warmer weather) with some golf themed fabric I found in my stash:

Next came a craft beer themed tote bag for another friend for a New Years gift (more novelty fabric from my stash):

Most recently (couple days ago), I decided to experiment with more “artsy” fabric instead of novelty fabric and made this tote bag:

Here is one side of the tote bag:

And here is the other:

I’ve actually made a total of 6 tote bags since I began my tote bag making obsession in early December (2 of them are repeats of ones I shared above).

I am currently taking a break from tote bag making and moved on to other projects but I plan to make a fresh batch of tote bags in a couple weeks, this time for my (to be reopened sometime this winter I think) tierneycreates Etsy shop.

Each tote bag, except the first one I made, is lined with canvas drop cloth (yes the kind you use when painting to protect surfaces) from a home improvement store:

image credit: Home Depot

The canvas drop cloth (which I pre-wash before using), gives the tote bag a nice structure and is less expensive than buying canvas fabric from a fabric store.


Postscript

Here is Mike the Miniature Schnauzer riding through another home improvement store to pick up supplies for our next home remodeling project and some canvas drop cloth for more tote bags!

Addendum: I just realized from one of the comments, that Mike technically IN A TOTE BAG himself in the images above (smile)! He’s “tote-able”!

A Crafter's Life, tierneycreates

From T-Shirt to Throw Pillow

The Christmas holidays are upon us and as one of my partner’s Christmas gifts, I decided to recycle several of his old T-shirts that no longer fit/were worn out into throw pillows for his “Man Cave” in our daylight basement.

Here is the first one I worked on – I used flannel to border the T-shirt (which I added fusible interfacing to first) and for the envelope back:

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Here is the next pillow I worked on (my partner is a Whiskey connoisseur) and I had trouble focusing while making the pillow because it was so outrageously funny and so unlike his personality:

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He was pleasantly surprised by the pillows (I gave them to him early so he could enjoy them for the holiday season). Here they are set up in the “Man Cave” (where we also like to sit and watch movies):

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Postscript

We also have our Schnauzer-themed Christmas tree up. I am lucky to have another Schnauzer-aficionado in my life. Yes we did include his ornaments too but the tree is “strongly Schnauzer” 🙂

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Every tree needs a “Schnauzer Angel” topper, right?

Thursday evening we had a quiet evening by the tree wrapping presents, drinking hot cocoa and eating grilled cheese sandwiches before the holiday madness begins.

Now it is holiday parties, out of town family members arriving for a visit; and then hosting 25+ people at the house for Christmas eve (my partner is the oldest of 7 children and hosts Christmas eve dinner for his family and extended family).

Quite the different Christmas holiday than I had in 2018…and I am feeling very blessed and cozy.

Bags Bags Bags

The “Madness” Returns

The madness has returned.

Little Wallet Making Madness!

2019-09-08_09-02-38_908.jpeg

I am back to making a massive amount of little wallets inspired by Valori Wells’ pattern (which I modified), just as I discussed in this 2017 post Little Wallet Madness.

Some of you might remember the little wallets being part of my October 2017 and 2018 “Bloganniversary” giveaways. Well it is now October 2019 which means it is my blog’s 6th anniversary.

However, given the major change in my life over the last year, I may or may not do a 6th blog anniversary celebration like I did in the past…we’ll see how I feel later in the month.

It’s not like last year, where for my 5th blog anniversary I posted daily for 30 days and did a series of (what I thought was) awesome giveaways.

Honestly, thoughts of my blog anniversary makes me sad as it makes me think of how Terry the Quilting Husband (TTQH), who passed in December 2018, used to help me do the blog anniversary giveaway drawings along with Sassy the Highly Opinionated Miniature Schnauzer (who passed in December 2017 and used to have her own blog, Schnauzerships) who ensured the integrity of the drawings (see post Announcing the Winners of the tierneycreates Blog’s 4th Anniversary Giveaway).

During previous blog anniversary Octobers, I would share links from favorite previous posts, like a “Best of tierneycreates”, but so many of those posts are loaded with memories of my previous wonderful (darn near perfect) life with TTQH.

But next year is my 7th year of blogging anniversary and my hope is I do a blowout sort of celebration for that one! Time does help ease the pain of loss a little at a time. So bear with me (smile).

Oh but back to little wallets, the original subject of this blog post…

I had a HUGE stash of little wallets after making so many like in this photo from September 2017:

2017-09-10_15-49-57_316

Recently though I got down to only two wallets left:

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Oh and if you are new to this blog and are curious what the little wallets look like on the inside, here is a photo:

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I have a ridiculous amount of tierneycreates business cards and each little wallet comes with a business card tucked inside.

SIDEBAR: It’s the tierneycreates business card that gave it away when I discovered one of my little wallets in a thrift shop, that obvious someone I had given one to had donated it – see post Found! At the Thrift Shop!. I ended up buying the little wallet for 50 cents from the thrift shop and then regifting it.

So it was time to make another stash of little wallets, so I pulled out a bunch of fat quarters and fabric scraps and got busy designing little wallets:

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The images above are just a couple of the combinations I am working on and in a future post I will share the plethora of wallets I made to replenish my little wallet stash!


Postscript

A quick follow up to the September 27, 2019 post A New Way to Organize My Fabric, I finished refolding my ridiculous fat quarter collection and now have them organized (except for novelty fat quarters) in front of the yardage that I wrapped in the comic boards:

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I have to admit sometimes I just walk in the room and smile as this colorful organization makes me happy!

By the way – this is not all the fabric (should I even admit this?) – I do have separate organization for my flannel, canvas, and novelty fabrics that I recently created. Perhaps I will share this in a future post (if I am ready for full disclosure of my ridiculous fabric stash).

Speaking of stuff that makes me happy – two weeks ago my little brother visited me in Denver along with his family. He had a “milestone” birthday and we celebrated by taking him to his first NFL game to see his favorite football team of all time – the Denver Broncos. Here I am below with my brother and my adorable 7 year old nephew who thoroughly enjoyed the game (and danced in the stands during the music breaks!)

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Much to the chagrin of my Pacific NW friends, I’ve sort of defected from being a Seattle Seahawks fan to a Denver Broncos fan (though I still root for the Seahawks if they are not playing the Broncos).

A Crafter's Life

The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Crafters (re-post)

Recently, a friend of mine was telling me about a really cool Stephen Covey themed workshop she attended at work.

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey, was definitely one of my most seminal/life-changing reads;  and one of my most precious books. At a previous job I led a series of workshops for the leadership team (in my former life as a manager) on the 7 Habits and at one point I was fairly “Seven Habits” obsessed.

I am re-posting my crafting inspired take on The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People post, from July 2015, for you today because this recent conversation and stirring of memories of this beloved book.


Do you have a favorite inspirational book of all time? A book whose message you have woven into the core of who you are as a person?

I do – Stephen Covey’s The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. If you have not read this book, I highly recommend that you do.

Recently revisiting this book got me thinking: “how would the habits discussed in this book apply to creativity, making handmade crafts, and creating a collection of art quilts?” Can I apply Covey’s The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People to the work I do on my tierneycreates business: striving to make a catalogue of handmade items infused with smiles to offer to my Etsy shop customers; and to working towards my dream of becoming a professional artist (The Wardrobe Meets the Wall)?

I came up with The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Crafters, based on Covey’s 7 Habits. If you have read Covey’s spectacular book then you know the background on each habit listed. If you have not read the book, read it, it is a life changer!

THE SEVEN HABITS OF HIGHLY EFFECTIVE CRAFTERS

  1. Be Proactive: Those projects will not just start or finish themselves, Tierney! This habit reminds me that if I want to move forward with my goals, I have to get off the couch (and stay away from those highly addictive iPad games) and start working on projects and actions to achieve my goals.
  2. Begin with the End in Mind: This habit helps me when working on an art quilt. When I get to the point when my intuitive and free-form design appears to have gone awry, I step back and think: “What do I want this piece to be? What do I want it to truly express and represent?” Taking a step back and thinking about what I want the end (the completed piece) to accomplish helps me refocus.
  3. Put First Things First: I use this habit when deciding on what priorities of projects to work on. It is very attractive and fun to work on another set of log jam blocks (read about my addiction to “log jam” blocks on my post “Log Jamming”: The Sequel) but it does not move me towards my goal of becoming a professional artist. What I need to put first is working on a new art quilt to build my catalogue of art quilts. This habit is also important when there are times I need to step away from the sewing machine and focus my attending on spend time hanging out with my husband and dogs.
  4. Think Win-Win: This has been a helpful habit on rare Etsy shop issues. Recently a customer mistakingly ordered the wrong fabric for a quilt project she was trying to complete. I did not carry in my Etsy shop the hard to find exact color she needed, only a similar color. I offered to accept a return on the fabric and I spent a bit of time researching for her where she could find the hard to find color in rare fabric line. She decided to keep the fabric she ordered by mistake and she used the links I sent her to work on locating the rare fabric for her quilt.
  5. Seek First to Understand, Then to be Understood: The meaning of this habit is actually much deeper then how I am about to apply it to crafting: Sometimes you have to step back, slow down and try to understand why something is not working on a piece in progress. I get so focused on trying to complete something it is as if I am trying to force a square peg into a round hole. If I take a step back and try to understand what is really going on with the piece then I can come to solution. This habit is also an invaluable habit when working with other quilters on projects and working with my Etsy customers.
  6. Synergize: This habit comes into play when I am consulting on designing and piecing a new quilt with my quilting friends. Their external ideas help fuel and enhance my internal ideas.
  7. Sharpen the Saw: I am an experienced quilter but I need to continue to take quilting classes and workshops to learn new techniques and refine existing ones. I also need to continue to network with other quilters and crafters, both those doing traditional quilts and those doing art quilts and experimental art quilting techniques. Inspiration does not come to me in a vacuum.

The_7_Habits_of_Highly_Effective_People
photo credit: Wikipedia

A Crafter's Life

The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Crafters

Do you have a favorite inspirational book of all time? A book whose message you have woven into the core of who you are as a person?

I do – Stephen Covey’s The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. If you have not read this book, I highly recommend that you do.

Recently revisiting this book got me thinking: “how would the habits discussed in this book apply to creativity,  making handmade crafts, and creating a collection of art quilts?” Can I apply Covey’s The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People to the work I do on my tierneycreates business: striving to make a catalogue of handmade items infused with smiles to offer to my Etsy shop customers; and to working towards my dream of becoming a professional artist?

I came up with The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Crafters, based on Covey’s 7 Habits. If you have read Covey’s spectacular book then you know the background on each habit listed. If you have not read the book, read it, it is a life changer! 

THE SEVEN HABITS OF HIGHLY EFFECTIVE CRAFTERS

  1. Be Proactive: Those projects will not just start or finish themselves, Tierney! This habit reminds me that if I want to move forward with my goals, I have to get off the couch (and stay away from those highly addictive iPad games) and start working on projects and actions to achieve my goals.
  2. Being with the End in Mind: This habit helps me when working on an art quilt. When I get to the point when my intuitive and free-form design appears to have gone awry, I step back and think: “What do I want this piece to be? What do I want it to truly express and represent?” Taking a step back and thinking about what I want the end (the completed piece) to accomplish helps me refocus.
  3. Put First Things First: I use this habit when deciding on what priorities of projects to work on. It is very attractive and fun to work on another set of log jam blocks (read about my addiction to “log jam” blocks on my post “Log Jamming”: The Sequel) but it does not move me towards my goal of becoming a professional artist. What I need to put first is working on a new art quilt to build my catalogue of art quilts. This habit is also important when there are times I need to step away from the sewing machine and focus my attending on spend time hanging out with my husband and dogs.
  4. Think Win-Win: This has been a helpful habit on rare Etsy shop issues. Recently a customer mistakingly ordered the wrong fabric for a quilt project she was trying to complete. I did not carry in my Etsy shop the hard to find exact color she needed, only a similar color. I offered to accept a return on the fabric and I spent a bit of time researching for her where she could find the hard to find color in rare fabric line. She decided to keep the fabric she ordered by mistake and she used the links I sent her to work on locating the rare fabric for her quilt.
  5. Seek First to Understand, Then to be Understood: The meaning of this habit is actually much deeper then how I am about to apply it to crafting: Sometimes you have to step back, slow down and try to understand why something is not working on a piece in progress. I get so focused on trying to complete something it is as if I am trying to force a square peg into a round hole. If I take a step back and try to understand what is really going on with the piece then I can come to solution. This habit is also an invaluable habit when working with other quilters on projects and working with my Etsy customers.
  6. Synergize: This habit comes into play when I am consulting on designing and piecing a new quilt with my quilting friends. Their external ideas help fuel and enhance my internal ideas.
  7. Sharpen the Saw: I am an experienced quilter but I need to continue to take quilting classes and workshops to learn new techniques and refine existing ones. I also need to continue to network with other quilters and crafters, both those doing traditional quilts and those doing art quilts and experimental art quilting techniques. Inspiration does not come to me in a vacuum.

photo credit: Wikipedia
photo credit: Wikipedia