Tea Time!

I am an obsessive tea drinker. I cannot start my day until I have had a pot of strong green tea. I also love tea shops, tea rooms and the rare special treat of going to “High Tea”.

We used to have a lovely tea room in Sisters, Oregon and I went to several wonderful High Teas there. I love the whole English High Tea concept – a delicious pot of tea, finger sandwiches, scones with Devonshire cream and lemon curd, etc. I never had Devonshire cream until I moved to Central Oregon and went to my first high tea. I tried to stay calm after my first taste (I would have embarrassed my dining companions had I started licking the plate!)

The tea room in Sisters, Oregon used to serve soup or salad and scones for their high tea. I was quite sad when it closed (I did buy way too many tea related items at their going out of business sale, but many of them I still use – like my beloved tea pot warmer).

So you can imagine what a treat it was this past Saturday when a friend took me for tea at AK’s Tea Room in Redmond, Oregon. The tea room is located in downtown Redmond among a nest of antique shops, a bookstore, little eateries, and various boutiques. It is a fun area to wander. I had stopped there once before for a pot of tea and cupcake but had never have their full “Hampton Court Afternoon Tea for Two”.

The proprietor, Karen George, is a delightful woman who is originally from London and she spent time chatting with us. After she moved to Central Oregon, she and the fellow Brits she discovered also living here noted there was no place in Central Oregon to “get a proper cup of tea”. Through a series of fated and magical-seeming occurrences she and her spouse opened a tea room in downtown Redmond. There is an article from 2014 on her shop in the Bend Bulletin called High Tea in  the High Desert.

Here are photos from her tea room and our tea (it was not proper “high tea” as it was not in the afternoon but it was our “tea lunch” done in the style of an afternoon tea):

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Outside one of the many antique shops in downtown Redmond

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AK’s Tea Room

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Many goodies await

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Behind the counter lots of British paraphernalia

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Tea books and gifts

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The tea room is decorated with unusual tea themed items

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There was even a Union Jack quilt

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Our delicious treat to accompany our pot of tea!

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: 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

What’s on the Design Wall

I am feeling pleased as there is something on the design wall to talk about.

In my 09/23/2016 post, The Library Stack (and a little EPP), I mentioned that I was feeling a little stuck and had not done any creating lately (“tierneycreates” without the “creates” part…).

Well Monday I was feeling inspired and continued working on the piece I first shared in my post Make Do Quilt Challenge. Continuing my ongoing series: What’s on the Design Wall, I present where I am at on my piece, tentatively titled: Making-Do:

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It’s not the best photo as I took it with low light. It is also still very much “in progress”.

I was feeling frustrated it at one point, not knowing where it was going. Then I remembered something one of my mentors, Jean Wells Keenan, said during one of her classes (paraphrased): – Even though you may not be happy with an art quilt and want to give up, you have to keep on pushing through and see where it takes you.

This is very true. The collaborative piece, Abandoned Water Structure, that was recently purchased by the City of Seattle (see post Seattle Public Utilities’ Portable Works Collection) was an art quilt that I actually gave up on and tossed aside. I later picked it back up and kept working on it starting with a late night marathon design and piecing session.

So I am hoping Making-Do turns out to be something interesting!  Next time I share an update, I might even take a better photo…


POSTSCRIPT

Monday I went for another hike up Pilot Butte (see my Category “Pilot Butte Adventures” for previous posts on my adventures) and I started laughing as soon as I arrived at the start. They had this sign posted:

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If you remember my post Monday, Again, my current time up Pilot Butte is not as good as the time for the record in the ages 95 & up category! So no I am not entering this year’s challenge…perhaps next year…

While walking up Pilot Butte, I took this panoramic photo of Bend Oregon and the surrounding area. If you are ever in Central Oregon, driving or hiking to the top of Pilot Butte for the 360 degree view of Central Oregon is a must!

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I hope you do not mind that I frequently link to previous posts. I consider my blog an ongoing conversation. 

A Girl’s Gotta Eat (re-post)

 

In my previous post, The Library Stack (and a little EPP), I mentioned sneaking KALE into Terry the Quilting Husband’s diet, something years ago he would have never eaten. This reminded me an old post I did about my favorite recipes, one of which is a Bean & Sausage Stew which is loaded with kale. 

Since Fall is upon us and the weather is starting to cool down so it is stew and soup time, I thought I would share this post again.


A Girl’s Gotta Eat! (originally posted 10/10/14)

Recently my friend Ali, a writer for the At Home section of our local paper, asked if I would agree to be interviewed and photographed for an article she was working on about Favorite Recipes (those recipes you nearly have memorized and make over and over again). After she interviewed me for the article and we discussed one of my favorite recipes (Real Simple’s Bean and Chicken Sausage Stew),  I got to thinking about all my favorite recipes. I love cooking nearly as much as I enjoy crafting. It is pretty nice after a Saturday afternoon of crafting in the fall to settle down to a nice stew and some crusty bread (and some delicious cookies for desert).

I have a HUGE binder of all my “clipped” recipes from the past 25 years (hey maybe I started collecting recipes when I was 4 years old, you never know…). My friend Kelvin who is a chef once said “hey can you put that binder in your Will to go to me if something happens to you?” This binder contains numerous torn/clipped recipes from magazines, from friends on notecards and scraps of paper, from old cookbooks that were so worn out I could only try to rescue my favorite recipe, all placed in plastic sheet protectors.

Below are many of my most favorite recipes that I make all the time. Thank you so much to the wonderful publications and blogs that have published these recipes online. Please click on the hyperlinked recipe name below to open the web page with the recipe.

Bean and Chicken Sausage Stew 

I love Real Simple magazine. They offer wonderful tips on cooking, decorating, dressing, cleaning, stress free living, friendship, life, family, etc. My favorite part of the magazine are their excellent easy to prepare recipes. I make this stew all spring, fall and winter long and it is a great way to get the husband to eat kale. I like to use black beans instead of the cannellini beans listed in the recipe. Using spicy chicken cajun Andouille sausage is fun in the recipe or sometimes I just tone it down with a smoked turkey or beef kielbasa.

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Kale, bean and sausage stew nearly gone bye-bye!

Winter Vegetable Soup

This recipe is from Martha Stewart’s Living. I clipped the original recipe from one of my magazines and it is one of my favorite winter soups. The acorn squash trick a couple friends taught me was to bake the acorn squash in the oven before you use it in the soup. I usually split the acorn squash in half, scoop out the middle/seeds and bake for 30-40 min. at 350 degrees. Once it cools it is easier to slice then trying to saw through a raw acorn squash (which can lead to you saying bad words out loud!)

Beer Stew with Beer and Paprika

I enjoy the recipes of Ree Drummond, the Pioneer Woman and her The Pioneer Woman Cooks publications and I have at least 3 of her cookbooks – wonderfully illustrated, great stories and delicious recipes. She is very generous to share many of her recipes online. This recipe is from one of her cookbooks I own but also available online. I love to make this recipe with our beloved local Deschutes Brewery beer Jubelale. I have made it with other beers but Jubelale adds a wonderful distinct yummy flavor to the stew. I also add in some frozen peas to make it more like an Irish Stew

(NOTE: This stew freezes well. I use my Foodsaver, discussed in the post “Food Saving” for Less Time in Kitchen, More Time in Studio, to vacuum seal the cooled/partially frozen stew into several packages for future meals)

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Once it cools, I freeze it in several bags for future meals

Happy Cooking!


POSTSCRIPT

And for desert:

Sugared Molasses Crinkles

Okay I think these are the best cookies ever and so do many friends who have tasted them! This recipe is from one of my favorite cookbooks Where Women Cook: Celebrate by Jo Packham (who also created the amazing publications Where Women Create, Where Women Cook, and Where Women Create Business). I was lucky to find a blogger (astillmagnolia) who had this wonderful recipe online for me to share.


Feature photo credit: Jean Scheijen, free images.com

The Library Stack (and a little EPP)

The “tierney” in tierneycreates, has not done a lot of creating lately. I wonder if I am stuck. I have been reading about creating and I have been preparing to create (does that count?) but more about that later in this post.


The (Sort of) Current Library Stack

I am continuing my series of posts on the latest stack of books borrowed from my local library. At the time of writing this post, my stack has dwindled and I only have a couple books left – primarily the Vegan cookbooks and the book Why Write by Mark Edmundson.

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I have enjoyed all the book except for the interior decorating book, Dreaming Small: Intimate Interiors by Douglas Woods. The book has a five-star rating on Amazon.com but I thought it was a snoozer (and yes I literally fell into a sweet little nap in my chair while reading/browsing through it).

The problem may not be the book, the problem may be that I am just completely burned out on home decorating books. They used to be a wonderful source of daydream but now many of them irritate me (except for the home decorating book The Nesting Place by Myquillyn Smith, which I discussed in my previous Library Stack post).

Terry the Quilting Husband, does not usually comment on my Library Stack sitting on the table next to my reading chair in the front window. He just accepts that his wife goes kind of wild on borrowing books from the library (there are worse habits to have in life). He did however tease me endlessly about a book called Mason Jar Nation (by JoAnn Moser).

Terry picked up the book and said: “Wow! A WHOLE BOOK about Mason Jars – WOW! Can I read it after you are done – it sounds SO exciting!” Through my laughter I heard him say something like: “No, no don’t tell me how it ends, I don’t want you to ruin it for me. I can’t wait to find out what the Mason Jars have been up to!”

I guess he does not fully appreciate all the options for craft related books and that yes, there are many people who enjoy making crafts with Mason Jars. The book was moderately interesting and did provide a nice history of Mason Jars. It did not inspire me to run out and buy some Mason jars and start crafting with them but it was fun to read while sipping my tea.

You might ask – why all the Vegan cookbooks? Are you Vegan or are you going Vegan? No to both questions. I love the idea of being Vegan, but there is one thing that keeps me from being Vegan, a little thing called B-A-C-O-N. Why live if you can never have bacon again? (Apologies to any Vegetarian or Vegan readers).

I work from home as a telecommuter for my pay-the-bills-job and so I eat lunch at home most days. Although I might be having meat and dairy with my dinner, I want to explore eating Vegan for lunch. I like the idea of “eating clean” for my mid-day meal. Terry the Quilting Husband has no interest in Vegan but you never know what I can slip into his diet (I have been very successful with slipping things years ago he said he would never eat like broccoli, spinach and kale! Oh wait, he reads my blog, now he will know what I am up to…)


Getting Ready to Create

Speaking of “library stacks”, I really enjoyed a book from my previous library stack (my August 23rd Library Stack posting) titled All Points Patchwork by Diane Gilleland. I enjoyed this book so much that I bought it. 

This book covers the fundamentals of English Paper Piecing (EPP) as well as options for creating cool pieces using EPP. I have been getting ready to EPP and will have a future post on my Adventures in EPP.

There is a reason why I wanted to pick up EPP and I will discuss that later when I do my post on EPP (it has to do with trying to break an evening addiction to playing iPad games).

In addition to the book from the library, I was also influenced/inspired by one of the blogs I follow – Alice Samuel Quilt Company and a post the blogger did on recycling her old wedding invitations into EPP templates – A Box Full of Junk. I love the idea of using unwanted paper for something creative!

So here is what I have put together so far – a whole lot of hexagon templates using my new punch:

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But more in a future post, first i need to make sure I do not completely embarrass myself trying to do EPP (if you never hear me mention those three words/three letters again you’ll know it did not work out…or I could post about “Misadventures in English Paper Piecing”!)


POSTSCRIPT

Someday I will follow up on all the other projects I have discussed and shared my start on. Right now I seem to just be building up my stash of “UFOs” (if you are not a quilter, refer to my post Lexicon of Quilters’ Acronyms).


Feature Photo Credit: Gary Tamin, free images.com

The Ladies Friendship Circle (1931)

This is post is actually a “re-sharing” of a story from December 2013, I had in my Textile Adventures page. I am moving it out of that page and into this post.

Attending the Trends Show today and listening to the keynote speaker, the wonderful Mary Fons (www.maryfons.com), speak about “The Great American Quilt Revival”, made me think of a special memory related an antique quilt: when I got to be part of something special related to an antique quilt top.

I facilitated the completion of a quilt started in the 1930s and given as a gift to someone 80 years later (who was alive when the quilt was first started!!!)


THE LADIES FRIENDSHIP CIRCLE (1931)  

82 years ago (in 1931) my friend’s Marla’s grandmother and her group of friends made a quilt top for Marla’s mother (the new baby in 1931). The quilt was never finished. Marla wanted to finish this quilt for her 82 year old mother who had kept it packed away in a chest for 80+ years and surprise her for Christmas.

After searching several quilt shops, Marla and I found the perfect backing and binding fabric at Quilt Works, one of our wonderful Central Oregon quilt shops.  Then we had my friend and long-arm quilter Betty Anne Guadalupe of Guadalupe Designs, professionally quilt it.

Marla and I spent an evening sewing down the quilt binding to finish it. Now Marla plans to surprise her 82 year Mother with the mind blowing Christmas gift of a lifetime – a quilt top put away since 1931 that has been turned into a quilt!

Something very special about this quilt: Marla’s mom is the only person living from this time period of this dear group of family and family friends – so when she gets the surprise quilt for Christmas she will see the names of the long-passed very dear people she grew up with.

As I told Marla – when you hand your Mom the quilt at Christmas, it is going to be a “blow out the tear ducts moment”!

 

UPDATE: Marla presented her mother with the quilt for Christmas in December 2013 and yes there were many tears of joy.

Imagine receiving a completed quilt that was started and nearly finished when you were a child, by people who loved you and are now are long gone.

Quilts are love (as most quilters know) and this quilt contained the “spirits” of the departed loved ones entwined in the quilt’s hand embroidered stitches.

I liked to imagine these “spirits” being very pleased that their quilt was finally finished and given to the intended…even if it took 82 years…


POSTSCRIPT

More on the Trends show I attended in Portland, Oregon today:

In addition to spending time with one of my wonderful Washington State based Quilt Sister, Joan, I got to visit with Mary Fons (yes the very talented offspring of the “Fons” of Fons & Porter) and Marie Bostwick, NY Times bestselling author of quilting related fiction such as the Cobbled Court Series (A Single Thread, Threading the Needle, Apart at the Seams).

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In addition to a wonderful Keynote presentation on “The Great American Quilt Revival”, I also attended a mini workshop with Mary Fons on “A Lesson in Contrast”. This workshop focused on an excellent way to select fabrics for a quilt and was an alternative to getting hung up on looking for “light”, “medium” and “dark” fabrics in a vacuum.

In addition to Mary Fons and Marie Bostwick, I also got to visit with Violet Craft (www.violetcraft.com) who is a fantastic pattern designer; and Annie Unrein of ByAnnie.com who is also a fantastic pattern designer (see my post iCase on a piece I made with one of her patterns) focusing on bags, cases and carryalls.

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It was an amazing day meeting extremely talented individuals!

Lexicon of Quilters’ Acronyms

I will continue my series on my Minimalism Journey in my next post, but today I am at a show called Trends and I get to hear Mary Fons (of Fons & Porter…the daughter of the original Fons) speak; and take a class from Annie Unrein of byAnnie.com (maker of those adorable purse and bag patterns and creator of ByAnnie’s Soft and Stable). I am very excited!

So I am going to focus on quilting in this brief post today – words related to quilting as a matter of fact.

Whistler Studio has a new line of fabric called Sew Hope Full (I came across it while looking at “fabric porn” online). It is filled with humorous acronyms related to quilting, many of which I have never heard of before and I thought you might enjoy (though you might have heard these before…):

  • PhD – Project half Done
  • WOMBAT  – Waste of Money, Batting and Time
  • SABLE – Stash Accumulation Beyond Life Expectancy
  • UFO – Un Finished Objects
  • WHIMM – Works Hidden in My Mind
  • PIGS – Projects in Grocery Sacks
  • WISP – Works in Slow Progress
  • TGIF – Thank God It’s Finished
  • HIPS – Hundreds of Ideas Piling Skyward
  • STASH – Secret Treasures all Secretly Hidden

These crack me up and I can completely relate to “WHIMM”!

Do you have anymore to add to this list to share? Feel free to make some new ones up and share with us!

Make Do Quilt Challenge

Yes, this blog is called “tierneycreates” and Tierney should probably discuss…well…doing some creating…instead of her random rambles about her Minimalism Journey (Part II of her ramble will continue in the next post).

I am participating in Sherri Lynn Wood’s (author of The Improv Handbook for Modern Quilters) recycled quilt challenge: Make Do Quilt Challenge – #makedoquilt.  You can read about this challenge on Sherri Lynn’s blog – dainty time.net; or you can read a wonderful post by Kris R. about this challenge and “the skinny on trashing textiles” on one of the wonderful blogs I follow, Coloring Outside the Lines:

Make Do Quilt Challenge

The Made Do Quilt Challenge asks you make a quilt out of recycled textiles using one of the “Scores” that Sherri Lynn Wood discusses in her book The Improv Handbook for Modern Quilters (for more about this book, see my post Creative Inspiration: Books I Own).

In her book, she helps guide the quilter, new to improvisational piecing, by providing “scores” to suggest the creation of an improv quilt. Ms. Wood likens these score to “musical scores” and shares the following:

In creating a musical score, a composer is making a record of how the music is to be performed. Yet each performance of the score will be unique. – Sherri Lynn Wood

For my challenge quilt, I am using the “Score” called Floating Squares. The score suggests to limit yourself to three fabrics (two used in small amounts and one used to “float” the improv squares). I am using 5 fabrics but treating four of the fabrics as pairs as they are loosely (very loosely) in the sort of same color way.

My fabrics are:

  1. A recycled table runner from a thrift shop that is in stripped orange, greens, reds and purples.
  2. Recycled orange corduroy pants (I only have a tiny bit left and it is the companion fabric to the #1 fabric above)
  3. A recycled tweed jumper
  4. Gold-ish recycled home decor fabric scraps (this is the companion fabric paired with the tweed in #3 – yes of course brown tweed and deep gold lame-ish fabric are in the same color way – ha!)

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I began with cutting up squares with scissors (Sherri Lynn Wood is all about ruler free design) and ended up with these squares on my design wall:

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Here is my “pile-o-denim” scraps on the floor to float my squares in:

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And here is where I am with the piece so far:

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I am very interested to see how it comes out. I am just making sections and when I feel I am ready, I will figure out the layout (the initial layout you see above may have nothing to do with the final piece).

So that is my current Tierney-creating!


POSTSCRIPT

Sassy the Highly Opinionated Miniature Schnauzer has taken a short hiatus from her SchnauzerSnips blog page but she will return soon with her story of “The Herd” (recently we babysat two other schnauzers for 5 days).

In my post, Seattle Public Utilities’ Portable Works Collection, I shared my elation of the piece Abandoned Water Structure (designed and pieced by myself and quilted by Betty Anne Guadalupe) being purchased by the City of Seattle for its Seattle Public Utilities Portable Art Collection. Yesterday I mailed it off the framer in Seattle and I wanted to share the custom label I made for the back of the piece – I included the photo of the structure that inspired my creation of the piece and Betty Anne’s quilting:

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I of course have more random rambles, but I am trying not to make my posts too long (so you do not fall asleep while reading!). More next time!


Feature image photo credit: Charles Novaes, free images.com

My Minimalism Journey: Part I

“The seeker embarks on a journey to find what he wants and discovers, along the way, what he needs.”

― Wally Lamb

On the eve of Sept 11th, I want to share my a little about my “Minimalism” journey as 9/11 was a major catalyst to the start of this journey.

If you have not heard of “Minimalism” you can google the term and find numerous websites discussing Minimalism. I discuss my minimalism journey in several older posts to include:

Shameless “Thrifting”

The Empty Drawer (re-post)

We are seeing each other again…

If it brings me joy, I will keep it in view

Craft Book Purge

A “Humane” Way to Eliminate Fabric Scraps

The Space in Which We Live

For me, embracing Minimalism is more than decluttering my life and living with less stuff. It is a deep set of personal values that I started to internalize post 9/11, I just did not have a name for it at the time.


The Start of the Journey

I grew up in New York State and NYC has a special place in my heart. I traveled there as a child, as a teenager and as an adult.

Some of my fond pre 9/11 NYC memories include:

  •  Going as a child going to Rockefeller Center to see the Christmas tree and to see the Rockettes perform at Radio City Music Hall.
  • A day trip in NYC via bus, sponsored by my nursing school in Upstate NY. The trip included  going to the Museum of Natural History (as an adult this time) and realizing just how incredible and magical a museum it is. I was dating Terry (future “Quilting Husband”) at the time and I have a humorous memory of him walking around the Museum of Modern Art (the MOMA) and sharing his head at what he thought was “terrible art” (he did not appreciate “modern” art).

When 9/11 happened, my husband and I lived in Seattle, Washington. We had moved in Seattle in 1997 and it was a welcome change from our crazy life in Houston, Texas. We were extreme workaholics in Houston as young professionals trying to get established in our careers. We knew it was time for a change when we forgot to go to a special rock concert that we had waited years for this particular band to tour and come to Houston (and we had purchased very expensive tickets for!). Work consumed our life and distracted us from enjoying life.

Seattle was a wonderful place when we moved there in 1997 and I met many wonderful friends and had an incredible social network. We used to have a lot of dinner parties/game nights and attend endless social events. My husband still teases me about the time, in order to keep everyone happy, we attended 3-4 (he swears it was 5) Thanksgiving dinners/events in one day. We were always very busy on holidays going from friend’s house to friend’s house to “make an appearance”.

Post 9/11 in addition to a terrible sadness and hurt for my beloved NYC (I have a friend in NYC who had a friend who called in sick on 9/11 and is alive because she happened to be ill that day), I felt this tremendous uneasiness and anxiety. There was not anything I could put my finger on but I knew that I felt unsettled in my life.

I had been a manager for many years and I realized I did not want to “manage” people any longer. I wanted to only be responsible for myself.

One of the great pleasures in my life was time spent walking my dogs, however the neighborhood we lived in was starting to decline and became less safe. Seattle as it grew and expanded became more expensive. The neighborhood we lived in was more still an affordable area but attracted less desirable and questionable characters (we suspected there was a “Meth lab” near our house).

We lived in a large house in Seattle (2800 square feet) and we had a lot of stuff. We had a mother-in-law style apartment in the daylight basement that we rented for awhile and when our tenants moved out we filled it with more stuff. I realize now that a lot of the stuff I bought (as a friend of mine pointed out – I was a “collector”) was related to seeking happiness, comfort, or a temporary purchase “high”.

Around 2001 we adopted our rescued miniature schnauzers Fritz and Snickers from a place I never heard of before – Central, Oregon. They were found as strays in a place called Maupin, Oregon and then were first rescued by a couple who lived in Sisters, Oregon but could not keep them. We adopted them through Miniature Schnauzer Rescue out of Portland, Oregon.

A year or so before I had started quilting, a friend took me to the annual Sew Expo in Pullayup, WA for the first time and I visited the booth of this magical quilt shop called the Stitchin’ Post which was from Sisters, Oregon.

In 2005 close friends of ours moved to Central, Oregon. We went to visit them a couple months after they moved…

This was it, this was the place. Central Oregon was where I needed to be to feel safe and peaceful again and to continue on a journey I did not even realize I had begun.

We returned from our first visit to Central Oregon in October 2005, put our Seattle house on the market. It sold in 3 days and by November 2005 (yes one month later) we were living in temporary housing in Central Oregon.

This is the place I can walk my dogs at 10 pm at night, alone, and feel safe. Speaking of dogs, my husband would joke when we first moved to town that: “we had to bring the schnauzers back to their native land”.

I will continue the story of this journey in a future post. For now let me leave you with a quote I came across that embraces the idea of the start of a journey (which can begin right outside your front door):

Go outside. Don’t tell anyone and don’t bring your phone. Start walking and keep walking until you no longer know the road like the palm of your hand, because we walk the same roads day in and day out, to the bus and back home and we cease to see. We walk in our sleep and teach our muscles to work without thinking and I dare you to walk where you have not yet walked and I dare you to notice. Don’t try to get anything out of it, because you won’t. Don’t try to make use of it, because you can’t. And that’s the point. Just walk, see, sit down if you like. And be. Just be, whatever you are with whatever you have, and realise that that is enough to be happy.
There’s a whole world out there, right outside your window. You’d be a fool to miss it. 

― Charlotte Eriksson


Feature Photo credit: Mathew Herman, free images.com

First Friday Art Walk 09/02/16

The first Friday of each month, Downtown Bend, Oregon hosts a “First Friday Art Walk”. The downtown galleries and shops stay open late and host special art exhibits or show their ongoing exhibits. The local shops and galleries serve snacks and beverages including complimentary microbrews (Bend, OR is known for its numerous and excellent microbreweries) and wine.

Our Central Oregon SAQA (Studio Art Quilt Associates) group showed our Doors exhibit at Cascade Sotheby’s International Realty. This show first opened at the 2016 Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show as a special exhibit (see the post 2016 Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show Part II for more of the story on this exhibit and for better photos of the art quilts).

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My piece, Recycled Door (quilted by Betty Anne Guadalupe) was in the show. I was very honored to be in a show with these talented art quilters, several of whom are locally, nationally or internationally renown for their fiber art. Our Oregon SAQA reps, Jan Tetzlaff and Marion Shimoda did an impressive job hanging the art quilts in the gallery!

Here are more photos from the show (it was very crowded at the show and I had to take photos quickly as there were breaks between people viewing the show):

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The show runs through September and is located at: Cascade Sotheby’s International Realty, 821 NW Wall Street, Bend, OR (Downtown)


POSTSCRIPT (follow up to the post Waiting for the Sunflowers)

The giant sunflowers did finally bloom in my yard – I have 4 total and they are all over 8 feet tall!

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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

Friday at the “Butte” in B&W

I have created a new Category – “Pilot Butte Adventures” if you would like to read about my other Pilot Butte walks or learn more about Pilot Butte.

Friday, Sept 2 I took the day off from work before the Labor Day weekend. It was a glorious 66 degree day, slightly overcast but with complex swirly clouds interspersed between swaths of impossibly blue sky (it is the only way I can describe the sky in Central Oregon – impossibly blue). I decided it was a perfect day for a Pilot Butte hike.

Playing with my smartphone camera, this time I took photos in B&W during my hike up and down the Butte:

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There is something mystical about this image

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The flag blowing in the wind at the base of Pilot Butte

It’s amazing how striking images are when you take away the color. The contrast between objects in a photo is so significant in black & white. I use the B&W (mono or tonal) on my smartphone when I am trying to determine if I have too many mediums in a quilt I am designing. Taking away the color shows the value (light, medium, dark) of a fabric more clearly. Next Pilot Butte hike I plan to play more with B&W photography.

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photo credit: Amazon.com

Besides taking photos during Friday’s hike, I listened an awesome audiobook, Spin (2010) by Robert Charles Winston. I am taking a break from nonfiction audiobooks and enjoying a Science Fiction audiobook!

This book is actually a “re-listen” as I first listened to it 5-6 years ago. It is an incredible tale of childhood friendship, longing and loyalty woven into an engaging and spectacular and unique apocalyptic tale. I forgot how much I enjoy being immersed in a well written fictional story!

Although this is a fictional tale, it does touch upon what I perceive as many truths about human nature and the different ways people would react to an end-of-the-world scenario.

The hypothetical science is fascinating and very accessible. I am glad I forgot how its ends and it is fun to rediscover this gem!


POSTSCRIPT

I am getting too influenced my reading all the wonderful blogs I follow. I find myself interested in English Paper Piecing (future post about that and yes I bought a book and a hole punch to make hexagons!) as well as working on a Sampler Quilt (yes a future post about that) and making a Delectable Mountain quilt. I am also tempted to start painting someday and pick up drawing again (which I have not seriously done since I was in Junior High School).

Hmm…following a bunch of blogs by creative individuals is just as bad (or good) as Pinterest binging! It must be the “Crafter ADHD” in me – I see it and I want to do it too!

Hope you are having a wonderful Labor Day weekend!

Shameless “Thrifting”

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


MY HISTORY WITH THRIFTING

I titled this post “Shameless ‘Thrifting'” as I used to be ashamed to go into thrift stores. I would avoid them at all costs and despite hearing stories from friends about the cool items they discovered for a very low cost at thrift shops.

My shame did not come from fear that people would think I was poor and needed to shop in a thrift shop, it came from once being quite poor and a thrift shop being the only option for clothes, household items, etc.

I put myself through pre-med and then nursing school (when I decided to become a nurse instead of a physician as I had originally planned) when I was in my late teens to my early 20s and I had no disposable income. At one point I was working 40 hours a week (at night as a Home Health Aide) and going to school full-time. It is a long story (related to why my family did not have resources to help me with school) but I obviously made it through (and met Terry, the future “Quilting Husband” while I was in nursing school).

Although we have likely donated thousands of dollars’ worth of no longer used items to charity thrift stores, I refused to shop at thrift stores. To me they represented the poverty I once experienced (and never wanted to experience again), so I stayed away from them. I was all about being able to buy the new things I wanted to buy, when I wanted to buy them (before embracing the Minimalism movement).

A couple of years ago, my a friend introduced me to the fun of discovering cool cheap high quality fabric and antique fabric finds at thrift shops! My sister, who has an excellent sense of style and is a wonderful dresser, also encouraged me to explore thrift shops (She has discovered many incredible inexpensive clothing finds, including “designer” brands).  Inspired by my friend and my sister, finally I realized that shopping at thrift stores not only makes good financial sense, but it is very “green”. Instead of items going into a landfill they can be reused by someone else (and the purchase benefits charity organizations – it is a “win-win”).

Concurrently with my sister’s and friend’s influence, over the years my consumerism fueled drive to purchase “new shiny things” has ended. I started to choose experiences over things and realizes new shiny things only bring temporary and fleeting joy. Real joy comes from say a quiet walk in nature or cup of tea with a friend. This is one of the reasons why we have donated likely 30 – 50% of our stuff now to charity organizations.


THRIFT STORE SATURDAY!

So this past Saturday I decided I wanted to go wander around our local thrift store and hunt for fun deals. I had a desire for “Retail Therapy” but in an inexpensive and “green” way. Here is what I found during my Saturday adventure visiting Goodwill, Humane Society Thrift Shop, and the Hospice Thrift Shop (benefiting Central Oregon Hospice).

Goodwill

I know there is some controversy about the Goodwill Industries organization but their mission seems on the surface to be pretty darn wonderful. I spent the first part of the my “Shameless Thrifting” Adventure, wandering around Goodwill.

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Shoes! I could not believe how many nice pairs of shoes were at Goodwill at very cheap prices. I am not that into fashion, being a telecommuter and outdoorsy kind of person (I prefer a comfortable outfit and pair of shoes) but if I were I would know where to get lovely designer shoes very cheaply!

After I was done entertaining myself with looking at shoes, I went to visit the fabric section (especially after the find from my last visit – see the post Mysterious Thrift Store Fabric Find).

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I did not find anything interesting in the linens and fabric section. However I did return again to the shoe section just browse it for fun; and to think about how much money women spend on new shoes that they only wear for a short period of time. I bet most of the shoes sitting on the shelves of the Women Shoe Section of Goodwill at one time gave some woman a fleeting sense of happiness and temporary “new purchase high”. And now they were sitting on the shelf for $6.99 a pair (note – this Goodwill store appeared to only sell used shoes which were in very good condition).

Humane Society Thrift Store

I left Goodwill empty handed and ventured onto the Humane Society Thrift Store where I entertained myself browsing their used vinyl record collection. While browsing, I stumbled upon this record which brought back some major memories from my childhood:

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Yes when I was a pre-teen I was a HUGE Barry Manilow fan. I cannot believe I am admitting this (and putting it in writing), but while some pre-teens were crazy for Michael Jackson or Donny Osmond, I was all about Barry Manilow! I remember the joy of getting a new Barry Manilow record as a kid. (Are you so shocked you have to unfollow my blog now?!?! Can I ever regain your respect?!?!)

A young couple who was browsing in the same section, looked at me with curiosity as I was photographing this record. I can only imagine what they were thinking, ha!

Now, I did not buy the Barry Manilow record. However I did leave the Humane Society Thrift Store with 3 used SAQA Journal Magazines (from 2011 and 2012 before I was a SAQA member) and 5 buttons (for future miniature kimonos). A purchase that totaled $1.

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Hospice Thrift Shop

I ended my thrifting adventure at the Hospice Thrift Shop. I did not purchase anything this thrift shop, but I was very entertained looking at their used craft supply section. My favorite item: not only did someone donate their yarn but they must have said “screw it, I am done with this knitting thing” and they donated the piece in progress still on the knitting needles!

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Summarizing My Saturday Shameless Thrifting Adventure:

  • Time spent browsing = 2.5 hours
  • Money spent = $1
  • Fun (the thrill of the hunt), giggles, and insight = priceless!

POSTSCRIPT

I do not regret the time in my life when I had little financial resources. It was during this time that I learned to cook as I could make my own food from scratch (much cheaper than purchasing pre-made food). For example, I learned to bake my own bread from discounted flour I bought at wholesale from a food coop I volunteered at (to get wholesale prices on food).

Also I learned at an early age how to budget and manage resources; and also how to stay away from the pitfalls of credit card debt.  My life could have been easier by taking out a large school loan but I worked my way through school instead (there was no partying or goofing off during my time in college) so I had a minimal student loan to pay when I graduated (yes and sigh, no wild college parties memories but that is okay).

But most important though, is I learned to appreciate everything I have, as everything I have was earned through my effort and hard work.

I do believe through struggle comes growth.

Taking Chances: The Mike Hogan Chronicles (re-post)

In honor of Friday August 26 being “National Dog Day” and in celebration of Mike’s 2  year anniversary with us, here is a re-posting of a post from 11/27/15:


Making a decision whether to “take a chance” on something or someone, is part of life. We all face  decisions on whether to take chances related to work, family, relationships, finances, environment, career, artistic endeavors and so forth.  Most of the time there is no guarantee that the chance we are taking is the right one to take.

Even the most evaluated, considered and researched “chance” requires an element of risk and an element of faith that it will work out. Otherwise it would not be “a chance”, it would be “a certain”.

In September 2014 I took a chance that required a very large element of risk and faith, and that chance’s name is Mike Hogan. 

(Usually any posts about the miniature schnauzers are done on Sassy the Highly Opinionated Schnauzer’s page Schnauzer Snips, but she gave me permission to post on this topic.)

Meeting “Cujo”

For nearly 24 years we have adopted miniature schnauzers from rescue organizations. Our first miniature schnauzer, Kerie, was from a rescue organization in Houston Texas, where we volunteered as Caring Critters Animal Assisted Therapy Volunteers, visiting health care facilities, residential homes, and shelters with animals to foster the human-animal bond.

After our first rescued miniature schnauzer, we were addicted to the breed. Kerie passed away after we had moved to the Pacific NW, and we adopted our next rescued miniatures schnauzers (two brothers, Fritz and Snickers) through Miniature Schnauzer Rescue, Inc. and all future rescued miniature schnauzers.

In July 2014, after losing the second of the two miniature schnauzer brothers we had adopted from Miniature Schnauzer Rescue, and applying for another rescued dog from the organization, we were contacted about a miniature schnauzer “Michael” that needed a new home.

Michael was a troubled rescue – surrendered by his family due to excessive nuisance barking and aggression. We first met Michael at the end of July 2014 at his foster parents’ home. After meeting him, I nicknamed him “Cujo” (yes, after the terrifying rabid dog from the Stephen King book and movie), I  gave an apologetic but firm “NO” on adopting Michael.

To summarize his behavior when I first me him: He was insane.  My husband Terry however saw something in Michael and was willing to give him a chance but I quickly talked him out of it.

Alright, You Can Come Home with Us

In September 2014, we were contacted by the rescue organization asking us if we would reconsider adopting Michael (they were persistent!). He had been living between two foster homes (Michael needed to be shared!) and the rescue organization had brought in an animal behaviorist to work with him. I am not sure what convinced me to say yes to meeting with Michael (aka “Cujo”) again but I did.

When we met Michael again in September 2014, he was a bit calmer and we could see the good work his foster parents, in two different homes, had done with him. He was still territorial and moderately insane. I had a lot of hesitancy but my husband Terry felt strongly that Michael needed to come home with us, and I agreed to give Michael a chance. (My primary fear was that Michael, with all his territorial issues, would not fit into our very social lifestyle).

When we loaded Michael into our car, he became very quiet and calm on the ride home to our house. He seemed like a different dog once he got into our car. He got along well with our other rescue dog Sassy on the ride home.

The first couple of months with Michael were challenging – he had anxiety issues, engaged in plenty of nuisance barking, had leash aggression and was very territorial to anyone trying to come into our house. He even chewed on one of my quilts (it was an old quilt and I was able to repair it but it was very upsetting and I was worried for the other quilts around the house).

My husband Terry was very patient with him. We spent a lot of time working with him and renamed him “Mike Hogan”. (He appears to love his new name “Mike Hogan” and his tail goes wild whenever we say it.)

One of the Great Loves of My Life

It is now 14 months later and Mike Hogan is now one of the great loves of my life (as are all my dogs). He is still territorial at times (though we are now able to have friends over without him being too insane as well as bring him over friends’ houses); he still has a bit of leash aggression and he still likes to bark.

These things do not matter as he is the most loving, cuddly, sweet dog I have had in my entire life. Every night I go to sleep snuggled to him and every morning I wake up to him nestled against me. He insists on sharing my pillow with me. He is obsessed with my husband Terry, and I refer to Mike as “Terry’s Fan Club President”. He is also very sweet to his adopted miniature schnauzer sister, Sassy, who we got a year before Mike.

Mike Hogan now knows quilts are for napping and snuggling in, not chewing. He appeared to sense how upset I was when he chewed on my quilt when we had first adopted him. He is attuned with our moods and seems to want to make us or keep us happy. He continues to struggle with wanting to protect his home and his people versus being open to meeting strangers and giving them a chance. He has learned to trust us: if we act like someone is okay, then they just might be okay!

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One of the things I did with Mike Hogan during the early days of adopting him is continually tell him “you are safe” and “we are your forever home”. You can debate whether or not you believe dogs understand human language but in my heart I feel he heard me.

He obviously suffered from anxiety, as confirmed by a veterinarian friend of mine, and by continually making him feel safe and loved, he settled down. I cannot imagine not having adopted Mike Hogan, he was a chance well taken! (I am forever grateful to the volunteers at Miniature Schnauzer Rescue who encouraged us to revisit giving him a chance).

Living with fear stops us from taking risks, and if you don’t go out on the branch, you’re never going to get the best fruit. – Sarah Parish

By the way, I now lovingly call Mike Hogan my “sweet little Cujo”…

Artist Statements


THE STRUGGLE

I always struggle with writing an “Artist Statement”, the written description of my piece, for an art quilt for a show. It feels awkward and uncomfortable.

Even more daunting – someday I need to write an overall Artist Statement – a written description of my body of work. Once I participated in an exercise at our Central Oregon Studio Art Quilt Associates (SAQA) where we worked on our overall Artist Statements. We worked on this exercise in small groups, with more experienced art quilters sharing their Artist Statements (which were quite impressive and rather intimidating) with the mere mortals like myself.

This was a very uncomfortable exercise and I could not wait for it to be over. My draft Artist Statement to me read like an essay on “What I did during my summer vacation” from 7th grade.

I think I need to first develop my “body of work” and where I want to go as an “Artist” before I can write my overall Artist Statement.


A RECENT ATTEMPT

Here is the Artist Statement I wrote today for the piece Ohio Shifted (2016) which will be in a show-within-a-show at the Pacific International Quilt Festival in October (see post Creative Quilt Challenges: Shape Shifting):

Ohio Shifted (2016)    Tierney Davis Hogan  18” W x 14.25” L    Recycled Silks

Ohio Shifted (2016) embraces the Creative Quilt Challenges, CHALLENGE #3: “Unlikely Materials”. It also and embraces the name of this exhibit-within-an-exhibit, “Shape Shifting”.

Made from recycled silk samples and scraps from garment manufacturing (“unlikely materials”), Ohio Shifted began its art quilt life as a very different piece.

It was originally created as part of a challenge with a friend to use up the scraps from her piece, a reinvented Ohio Star block, and was titled “Ohio”. The borders on the piece were dull brown garment silk and muddied the overall look.

I decided to “Shape Shift” it, and rework the piece and its borders. Instead of a dull brown silk border, I used bright fuchsia raw silk found at a thrift store (another “unlikely material”).

Shifting the dimensions and overall shape of the of the miniature square-within-a-square log cabin blocks in the center; and floating them brightly colored raw silk, I created a new version of the original piece “Ohio”. It is now “Shifted”.

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I did find resources online on writing Artist Statements just by googling “Artist Statement” that I plan on reviewing and studying further.

Do any of you have insights to share on writing Artist Statements? 


Featured image photo credit: Joseph Hart, free images.com

Becoming Wise

On my walk this morning, I plucked a ripe peach from the neighborhood tree (to snack on during my stroll) and listened to the following passage from the audiobook Becoming Wise: An Inquiry into the Mystery and Art of Living by Krista Tippet:

There is a reason why, when my son, who is 6 and is crying…needs a hug: It’s not just that he needs my love, he needs boundary around his experience. He needs to know that the pain is contained and can be housed, and won’t be limiting his whole being…that he can get a hug – and he drops (back) into his body…

This passage is from an interview with Matthew Sanford, a renown yoga teacher and inspirational speaker (who is paralyzed from the chest down), discussing the mind-body connection.

I had to pause for a moment during during my walk (and wipe the peach juice from my mouth) and reflect on the true purpose of a comforting hug. This audiobook is filled with opportunities for deep reflection.

At times a little esoteric but always profound, Krista Tippet in this audiobook, interviews over 40 great thinkers of our time on what it means to be human and the “human experience”. You can find a wonderful synopsis of this book on audible.com: Becoming Wise: An Inquiry into the Mystery and Art of Living

I cannot promise that I will be wiser after listening to this audiobook but I appreciate the opportunity to listen to so many wonderful perspective and to ponder many aspects of the human experience.


POSTSCRIPT

Reviews

I finished another wonderful audiobook, mentioned in an earlier post – Trespassing Across America: One Man’s Epic, Never-Done-Before (and Sort of Illegal) Hike Across the Heartland by Ken Ilgunas. I posted my review of the book on amazon.com and on Goodreads.

Most of the books I read and audiobooks I listen to come from the public library and so they are for free. My way of thanking the author for the opportunity to read of listen to  their book, since I did not purchase the book, is to write a review.

If I did not like the book, and I got it from the library, I do not write a review. I consider my good review a “thank you gift” to the author that hopefully will help gain them new readers (and perhaps lead to an actual book purchase).

I am slowly getting the book reviews I have posted on my blog over the past 3 years on to Goodreads, so they can be in one place. Some of the books already have a review posted to amazon.com.

More Fruit!

I took a different turn on my walk this morning and discovered yet another neglected fruit tree – this time another green apple tree. I am starting to get overwhelmed with fruit!

I am also keep an eye on this tree, wondering what the fruit will taste like when it ripens (and wondering if it is plum or something else..):

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Still Waiting…

Oh (the sound of a random thought popping into my head) – if you remember my 07/21/16 post  Waiting for the Sunflowers – well I am still waiting for the sunflowers! At least the huge sunflowers in my backyard.

In the post I shared a photo of the hopefully-soon-to-be large sunflower plants coming up in my backyard, just outside of my sunroom window. Here is an updated photo – still no blooms, just growing stalks! All the other sunflowers around the neighborhood have bloomed except mine…I am still waiting…

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(Featured Image photo credit – “Owl Eyes” by Danny de Bruyne, free images.com)

The Library Stack

Just a short post this morning, after yesterday’s long post about fruit liberation (smile).

I am continuing my ongoing series of sharing the stack of books I am currently borrowing from my public library. As you can see by the photo below, I went a little crazy on quilting books this time:

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Normally I will have a self-improvement book, perhaps a home decorating book and maybe even a cookbook mixed in the pile. Not this time!  My most recent “power browse” at the public library ended with an arm full (I could barely make it to self check out without dropping any) of quilting books.

My favorite 746 section of the library was full of books clamoring for my attention (“pick me”, “pick me”, “no, pick me”!)

The first one I read/browsed was the Sue Spargo book – Stitches to Savor. Sue Spargo is very popular in Central Oregon and has a “cult-following”. I did not know very much about her work. After reading/browsing this book, all I can say is WOW. She is the queen of stitching and appliqué. I highly recommend this book for a browse (or purchase if you follow the work of Sue Spargo).

As far as the other books, several of them I have borrowed before from the library but want to revisit.


POSTSCRIPT

I finished quilting the recycled silk art quilt, Ohio Shifted, I discussed in the post Creative Quilt Challenges: Shape Shifting.

A photo of the completed piece is on my tierneycreates Instagram feed and here is the link: https://www.instagram.com/p/BJY-SCaB7HW/?taken-by=tierneycreates

The Fruits of My Neighborhood, Part III

P E A C H E S !

We have peaches in the neighborhood! Okay, well in the neighborhood next to my neighborhood.

This post a follow up to the posts:

I am not sure where to begin – should I start with the crabapple harvest, the additional apple tree, the pears, or the peach tree? Okay, I know where I will start: with a little update from the previous posts on the fruit I have “liberated” from neglected trees in neighborhood I ride my bike and walk around.

Sour Cherries

In the post The Fruits of My Neighborhood, Part II, I share my discovery of a sour cherry tree in the neighborhood I walk and bike in. The lovely blogger from Zippy Quilts advised that I should confirm these are actually cherries and not ornamental berries from a similar looking tree.

We took at sample of one of the cherries to our local nursery which specializes in native plants and they verified that the fruit was indeed a sour cherry. As mentioned in the same post, I have them bagged and frozen for future use.

A friend gave me a great recipe for individual cherry pies;  so that plan is to make up little pies in dough and freeze them, then bake a couple at a time. I am also thinking of making little hand pies: Mmmmm – cherry hand pies!

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Pears

In the same post I mentioned there are pear trees in the neighborhood that I am waiting for their fruit to ripen. My friend Michele posted that pears ripen off the tree and shared this informative link:  http://www.oregonfresh.net/education/commodities/pears.php

I used this link to determine when to pull the pears of the tree (I had pulled some tester pears off too soon; they never ripened off the tree and I had to compost them) and I am hoping the latest batch of pears will ripen soon on my dining room table!

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More Apples!

In addition to pears in the photo above, you will see some apples (and some peaches which I will discuss a little later).

In my post The Fruits of My NeighborhoodI share my discovery of a green apple tree and the subsequent delicious apple pie I made from my haul (I picked enough neglected green apples for my neighbor, who loves to bake, to also make a pie).

Well I discovered another neglected apple tree (at a very neglected looking and perhaps vacant house). I am not sure what variety of apple but they taste quite delicious with my morning oatmeal! I was only able to liberate a couple apples as most were rotted on the ground or had worms. Too bad, there were some beautiful apples on the ground.

Here is the current fruit bowl on my dining table filled with “liberated” pears, apples and peaches (yes I took this photo with my new Instagram app now that I have embraced Instagram…”welcome to the 21st century Tierney”):

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Crabapples

I was on a bike ride last week, and came upon this sign attached to a tree:

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Oh my – Someone wants help liberating their fruit!!! How could I refuse?!?!

Luckily I had my “fruit liberating sack” (copyright pending, ha!) with me and I proceeded to fill up it up with delicious ripe crabapples. While I was filling up my bag, the homeowner came out and chatted with me for a while.

She was so happy I was taking the fruit and I shared with her my adventures of “liberating” other fruit in the neighborhood and pie making. She told me of the delicious crabapple butter she and her Mom made last year with the crabapples; but she could not keep up with them this year and was hoping they would not just go to waste.

I told her – “I am here for you!” which got quite the laugh from the homeowner.

Below is my bike filled with crabapples in my “fruit liberating sack”:

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I got enough for myself and my neighbor who likes to bake/cook. I researched online how to freeze them (Crabapples: University of Alaska Extension); and froze two (2) large bags of crabapples for our Fall cooking adventures (you can freeze for up to 3 months).

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And Finally, Peaches

Imagine going on a walk with your dogs in the morning and you can pluck a ripe peach from a tree and munch on it as you walk. Is this a scene from the State of Georgia? No this was my morning walk in Central Oregon!

I did not know we could even grow peaches in Central Oregon. Our high desert hot and dry climate does not remotely seem like the correct climate for peaches. But then what do I know of horticulture?

Here is the lovely peach tree, with peaches falling from the tree as they ripen:

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And here is my haul of peaches – not sure if I want to make a peach cobbler or just enjoy them each day as they get riper and riper (and juicier and juicier). Funny thing as I was never really interested in store bought peaches. But peaches right off the tree – fruit heaven!

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What’s next in my “Fruit Liberation” quests? Well I have spotted some plums and possibly some nectarine like fruit that will be coming into season in the upcoming weeks.

The interesting thing is that before embracing simpler living I would never have been interested in “liberating” fruit from neglected fruit trees. Truthfully, in the past I did not eat that much fruit in my daily diet. Terry the Quilting Husband and I live a much healthier existence since changing our lifestyle a couple years ago (though it was a process that began with moving to Central Oregon in 2005). But that is another future post on our “Minimalism Journey”


POSTSCRIPT

Instead of a “Monday at the Butte” (see my previous posts on hiking Pilot Butte), yesterday I did a “Sunday at the Butte” with my friend Jenny. We hiked Pilot Butte and then went for coffee and pastries! We figured we had earned our pastries!

Here are a couple photos – the summit of Pilot Butte (I never tire of this view); the selection of pastries at the local bakery/coffee shop; and a beautiful color combination on the table we sat:

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Enjoy your week and here is a sign I came across at a tea shop a couple of weeks ago as a closing “food for thought”:

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Stories My Father Told Me: Quilt #1

 


Stories My Father Told Me: The First Quilt in the Series

In my 04/23/16 post Creative Inspiration: Stories My Father Told Me, I shared how I want to translate some of the inspirational stories my father, Raoul Davis, Sr. told me as a child, that inspire who I am as a person, into textile stories.

Two things happened since this post: 1) I was invited to participate in a special exhibit where I could draw from my the inspirational stories and words I listened to from my father as a child; and 2) I watched an excellent presentation on “Working in a Series” through the art quilting organization I belong – Studio Art Quilt Associates (SAQA) that further inspired me to work on this series.

I created my first quilt in my Stories My Father Told Me Series, and it is titled “The Lesson & The Equation“. At this time I cannot share details on the show that it will be a part of as the exhibit has not been announced yet. However, I did receive permission from the show’s curator to share a photo of the quilt on my tierneycreates blog.

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The Lesson & The Equation (2016). Designed, pieced and quilted by Tierney Davis Hogan

Below are excerpts from my Artist Statement for this piece to provide some understanding of the inspiration for this piece:

My father grew up in the segregated South in the 1940s and embraced at an early age that change comes from respectful dialogue, not violence. He taught us that regardless of what adversity we faced in life, we must face it with grace; and treat others with respect, dignity, and brotherhood….  (THE LESSON).

In this quilt, a father (modeled after my own father in the 1970s) is teaching his children, on the main blackboard, THE EQUATION to achieving a world in which people are Free and Equal…I am from a family of educators, beginning with my great-grandfather. The blackboards in the quilt honor that legacy.


POSTSCRIPT: The Instagram Experiment

I have decided to experiment with the mysterious social networking app Instagram (yes, it is only mysterious to me). I mentioned in the “POSTSCRIPT” section of the post Back to the Butte how clueless I am about Instagram. Experimenting with it might be the only way to become less clueless!

I have added an Instagram “widget” to my blog page and now you will see my Instagram feed on my Home page. (Of course ow I need to add more than the 4 or so photos I had in Instagram when I first signed up a year or two ago,  got very confused and stopped using it).

We have magnetic erasable board on our refrigerator. I write menu plans and grocery shopping lists on this board. I have a habit of taking a photo of my grocery list on my smartphone to take shopping (I figure that is “greener” than using paper to write it down). I was laughing to myself: wouldn’t that make a terribly dull Instagram feed – just photos of my messily scrawled food shopping lists?!?!

I promise to try to keep the feed a wee bit more interesting than that!

Creative Quilt Challenges: Shape Shifting

I was invited by Wendy Hill and Pat Pease, authors of  Creative Quilt Challenges (C&T Publishing, 2016) to participate in their invitational exhibit: Shape Shifting.

Creative Quilt Challenges is a Special Exhibit at the Pacific International Quilt Festival (PIQF) , October 13-16, in Santa Clara, California. Shape Shifting will be an exhibit within their Creative Challenges exhibit. Please be sure to stop by Pat Pease and Wendy Hill’s exhibit at PIQF if you are attending and tell my friends “hello”!

For my piece in this invitational exhibit, I had decided to actually do some “shape shifting” and transform an existing art quilt piece that I was not too sure about, into something that actually made me smile.


SHAPE SHIFTING

I began with this existing piece, Ohio, which I last discussed in the post Update: Ohio

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Something about the piece was displeasing to me and the piece felt kind of “blah”. So I removed the borders using with some very careful seam ripping (the piece is made of recycled silks; and then sliced apart a couple sections of the piece.

Then I played around with a border of BRIGHT fuchsia-pink raw silk that a friend picked up from a thrift shop and shared with me:

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The selvage of the bright fuchsia raw silk had the name “FOUWAH, HONG KONG”. Some “googling” revealed this piece was likely a vintage fabric from Fou Wah Fabrics of Hong Kong:

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Here is the final design of the piece, which I am tentatively naming: Ohio Shifted (I will have to create quite the Artist Statement on this piece to explain to the viewer where I got the name from…I might rethink the name…we’ll see…)

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I selected this fabric for the back of the piece:

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The piece is now ready for quilting. I am going to “put my big girl panties on” and quilt this art quilt myself. I need to be able to give it to Wendy and Pat by September 15th and I need to keep challenging myself to go to places (my own art quilting) that I do not want to go, so I can grow.

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Initially I was going to go buy some bright fuchsia thread to quilt it with but I have selected a soft gold thread (the one on the left) that mirrors the colors in some of the blocks. I might also another another thread color, still deciding.

(Note – I did do a 1/8 an inch stitch around the edge of the piece using a 2.0 stitch length to stop the raw silk from fraying any further than the edges).

I am going to practice what I want to do as far as quilting on the quilt on a scrap silk “quilt sandwich” before I quilt on my actual piece.  A couple of months ago I did quilt an entire art quilt myself for a piece for another invitational exhibit that I will post about in the future.


POSTSCRIPT

In March, I did participate in a Blog Tour to celebrate the release of the art quilting book, Creative Quilt Challenges by Pat Pease and Wendy Hill.

If you would like to read my post for my part of the blog tour, where I discuss working with “unlikely materials” (recycled silks, denim, wool) in making quilts please see the link below:

BLOG TOUR DAY 4: Unlikely Materials

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Photo credit: Amazon.com

Seattle Public Utilities’ Portable Works Collection

I have some great news to share: My collaborative art quilt,  Abandoned Water Structure has been selected for purchase by the City of Seattle for the Seattle Public Utilities’ Portable Works Collection. This collection is part of the City of Seattle’s Public Art Collection.

Abandoned Water Structure was designed and pieced by myself using recycled silk and linen garment manufacturing scraps and samples; then it was brilliantly quilted by Betty Anne Guadalupe.

The story behind the development of this piece can be found on the post: What’s on the Design Wall: Working Through A New Art Quilt Piece. There is also a post on The Wardrobe Meets the Wall’s website about this piece: New Piece Added to Collection: Abandoned Water Structure (2015)

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Abandoned Water Structure (2015). Designed and pieced by Tierney Davis Hogan, quilted by Betty Anne Guadalupe


THE CALL FOR ENTRY

I subscribe to CAFE for Artistscallforentry.org, an online resource for locating “calls for entry” for juried shows; a portal for entering shows; and a platform to store your and art portfolio.

After entering a couple shows over the past year and being rejected (after previous success of being selected), I had stopped entering shows due to the costs. Entering juried shows can run $25 – $45 or more per show (I did have a limit of no more than $35 to enter a show).

After deciding to take a hiatus from entering shows, I continued to read the Call for Entries e-mail that came from CAFE every couple of weeks, just for fun (and daydreaming).

A couple of months ago I saw a Call for Entry from the City of Seattle for the Seattle Public Utilities’ Portable Works Collection. They wanted submissions (for consideration for purchase) of art related to water. If you read the post about the creation of Abandoned Water Structure (which was originally titled “Abandoned Structure”) you will see the piece is all about water!

Also the entry fee was only $10. I figured for $10 I could take a chance.

I had to complete quite the entry/application and basically write an essay. Of course I like writing, so that was okay.


SELECTED!

I was notified a couple of weeks ago but needed to wait until their Public Art Advisory Committee met to finalize the decision. (I have been sitting on this exciting news!)

Their selection panel included three arts professionals from Washington State, and an advisor from Seattle Public Utilities.  The panel reviewed the artworks from 307 applicants and selected 36 artworks by 34 artists. I am very honored that Abandoned Water Structure was selected.

Here is a link to the City of Seattle Portable Works Collection, which includes works by many renown artists such as Jacob Lawrence, Mary Iverson, Gwendolyn Knight, George Tsutakawa, and Dale Chihuly.

Although I doubt Abandoned Water Structure would ever be featured on the main page, I am honored to know it is part of a collection with the works of these real artists! Additionally, as a former Seattle, Washington resident, this honor gives me a special connection to the city I used to call home!

I will be sharing part of the proceeds from the sale with my collaborative partner on the piece, Betty Anne. Her spectacular quilting helped bring this piece to life. She  intuitively quilted the piece based on the actual photograph of the decaying structure and the water flowing around it.


NEXT STEPS

I will post further updates if I find out where the piece will be displayed in Seattle.

Currently I am waiting for the purchase order from the City of Seattle and then I have many, many, many forms to complete (including one on how they need to care and maintain the piece) before the purchase is finalized.

I am living the fantasy, just for a moment, of being a “Professional Artist” (smile)!


UPDATE 09/28/16

The process is complete and I sent the piece to the City of Seattle’s framer. I hope someday I can see a photo of it framed.

In my final communication with the City of Seattle’s Public Art Project Manager I received a formal synopsis of the program and what will happen to the artwork:

The artworks will be exhibitioned throughout the public spaces of Seattle Public Utilities in Seattle. These public spaces include lobbies, entry hallways, reception areas and conference rooms. In order to encourage involvement and understanding of the diversity of artwork in the collection, employees participate in the selection of artwork for their own areas. The artwork moves throughout the offices on a rotation basis, thereby increasing viewing opportunities of the art by employees and the general public. The collection is also occasionally borrowed by museums and galleries for exhibitions. 

Back to the Butte

Central Oregon is a geological wonderland and one of its marvels is Pilot Butte. It is like having a “mini mountain” to hike in the middle of Bend, Oregon. At its summit is a splendid 360-degree view of nearly the entire Central Oregon region.

I have a series of posts on my Pilot Butte adventures:

Monday on the “Butte”

The Monday, Post “Yard Bark Mulching”

Monday, Again

You Got to Start Somewhere

Monday 8/15/16, I returned to my Monday hikes on Pilot Butte. I took a hiatus and started going on long bike rides instead as my knees were growing unhappy with the steep vertical ascent and decent on Pilot Butte. I missed Pilot Butte terribly and finally returned.

My current audiobook inspired to return to hiking Pilot Butte – Trespassing Across America: One Man’s Epic, Never-Done-Before (and Sort of Illegal) Hike Across the Heartland (2016) by Ken Ilgunas. Please see the Postscript section of this post for more on this book.

It was not my best hike up the Butte as I needed to take a break during the climb. Luckily Pilot Butte has awesome benches with breathtaking views along the path.

Here is today’s hike in photos:

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I am back!

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Two options: the paved road up or the dirt/nature trail

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I chose the “Nature Trail” which was quite dusty with the hot dry weather

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As you make your ascent you enjoy sweeping views of the region

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And views of Cascade Mountain peaks

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My first bench rest area

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I skipped this bench near the summit, I had my momentum going

At the summit, I discovered these new educational/informational panels:IMG_4463

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I took the road down

My knees are a tiny bit sore, but I am feeling quite pleased that I was able to return to hiking Pilot Butte!


POSTSCRIPT

My current read/listen

I had committed to trying to read/listen to some fiction. I borrowed a “beach read” from the library. That was not a good idea – I became very impatient with the predictable storyline. I gave up on the book.

While trying to figure out what to listen to/read next the audiobook Trespassing Across America: One Man’s Epic, Never-Done-Before (and Sort of Illegal) Hike Across the Heartland (2016) by Ken Ilgunas, became available.

So far this synopsis on amazon.com summarizes the book well:

Told with sincerity, humor, and wit, Trespassing Across America is both a fascinating account of one man’s remarkable journey along the Keystone XL pipeline and a meditation on climate change, the beauty of the natural world, and the extremes to which we can push ourselves—both physically and mentally.
 

This book seems like to perfect book for a long walk or a hike. I loved listening to his hiking adventures and challenges while climbing and descending Pilot Butte.

The book reminds me of a Bill Bryson novel (A Walk in the Woods, Notes from a Small Island): in that addition to sharing his adventures trekking across the Canadian and US plains, he shares the geologic and cultural issues of the regions he travels through as well as its history.

Goodreads

A couple of years ago my friend Michele introduced me to Goodreads, the social network for avid book readers. At the time I was still “social networking” skittish (it took awhile for friends to convince me to join Facebook) so I signed up but never really did anything with it.

Recently my blogging buddy Laura has gotten me interested in rediscovering Goodreads. My public profile name is tierneycreates on Goodreads and I am going to start posting all the book reviews I have posted in my blog over the past 3+ years onto my Goodreads profile.

So feel free to connect with tierneycreates on Goodreads if you like to see my reviews. I will also post reviews of my favorite fiction books before I started on my non-fiction obsession.

A Few Random Thoughts on Social Networking

Even though I am a blogger, I still have not fully embraced social networking.

I am signed up on Twitter as tierneycreates, but I am not really into tweeting (I have it set up that my tierneycreates blog posts are automatically tweeted onto Twitter in case anyone wants to follow me there).

I am signed up with Instagram but I have yet to figure out its purpose. I do enjoy Pinterest and someday I will put more effort into organizing my Pinterest boards!

I like to connect, but I do not want to be over-connected…

Little Miss Muffet, Made Her Own Tuffet

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


TUFFETS!

You remember that nursery rhyme:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


OTHER PROJECTS

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

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

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Sasquatch themed flannel quilt by Judy – very Pacific NW!

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Tiny paper pieced block by Diana – it was amazing!


THE RETREAT

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

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

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

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

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Photo credit: Over the Rainbow Lodge

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

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Exquisite walks

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

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

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

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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:

IMG_2578

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!