Fabric Scraps Obsession, Sampler Quilts, What's on the Design Wall

“Sewing-Block” Resolved by Sewing a Block!

My sewing “mojo” was hiding somewhere for a while and I had little desire to sew. I had a “sewing-block“. Turns out the best way to resolve it was to sew a block!

I’ve been distracted from time in my sewing studio by some recent travel, visits from out of town friends, and a couple challenging recent life events. A couple days ago I knew I needed to get my back to sewing (as there is just so much fun stuff to be made) and decided returning to working on my Tula Pink City Sampler (100 Modern Quilt Blocks) would be a good place to start.

I love this book!

So I made block number 31 (I’ve already made blocks 1 – 30, see post What’s On the Design Wall: Not Losing Momentum):

got the ball rolling…

Once you get started up sewing again, things get rolling, and I was able to make also blocks 32 – 40 over the next several days (my sewing was “un-blocked”!):

10 block recently completed

Today while taking photos for this post, I discovered I did not like the gray “frame” in one of the blocks (too overpowering):

see block with red arrow

So I redid it this morning with a red “frame”:

New block frame

Now I have 40 blocks out of 100 now complete!

Only 60 more to go (oh my…)

Not sure why my photos came out so dark from my design wall, I guess it was the lighting in my sewing studio this morning.

I am enjoying working from my piles of scraps selected for the 100 block sampler, and I’ve decided to just keep the piles out until I finish all 100 blocks.

I’ve been making a bunch of small scraps while cutting the fabrics for the 6.5 inch by 6.5 inch blocks and I plan to stuff pincushions like I did in this post – Stuffing it the Eco-conscious Way!

I plan to continue working on the blocks for the sampler and maybe whipping out a pincushion or two between sets of blocks if my tiny pile of scraps gets larger than my little basket for tiny scraps.

Quilt Shop Tours, tierneytravels

Trip to North Carolina: Quilt Shop Wander

The week before last, we returned to North Carolina for a week for my partner John’s business conference trip. Our previous trip to North Carolina was in August 2021 and here are the two blog posts from that trip: Wilmington, North Carolina in Black and White and Wilmington, North Carolina in Color.

We needed to return to Wilmington, NC for his work conference, but first we stopped for an evening and 1/2 a day in Raleigh, NC which I’ve never visited before. I will share a little about our trip to Raleigh in an upcoming post, but for this post I wanted to share photos of the quilt shop we stopped at during our drive from Raleigh to Wilmington, NC on Sunday January 30.

For a quilter, besides the thrill of returning home to fondle your new fabric purchases or completing a major quilting project, is there anything more awesome than wandering around a quilt shop you’ve never visited before? For me, it is one of life’s true pleasures!

I may not buy something at every quilt shop I visit but I love seeing the “creative potential” of the fabric, patterns, samples quilts, etc.

So for you, here is my wander around Cary Quilting Company in Cary, North Carolina:

And here is the very patient partner John, waiting while I wandered about the shop:

Hope you enjoyed that virtual wander, sorry you could not fondle the fabric with me!

The staff was very friendly and the wonderful woman who rang up my purchases (I bought a pattern), gave me this wonderful pin as a gift to welcome me to the shop and to North Carolina:

It can be worth chatting with friendly people in quilt shops!


Postscript

Before we went to the quilt shop, we stopped for an amazing seafood lunch at a Farmers Market in Raleigh called the State Farmers Market.  We ate at this friendly and amazing fish fry/seafood fry place called N.C. Seafood Market

Oh my goodness. We are “landlocked” in Colorado and do not get much access to fresh seafood (unless a Colorado restaurant has a system to fly in seafood fresh each day), so we were in “seafood heaven” at this place. 

The food was very reasonably priced and tasty is an understatement. It was so good that on our way back to Raleigh (we flew home to Denver via Raleigh) we stopped there again for lunch (and they recognized us and welcomed us back)!

I did not take any photos, I was just too excited! But here is a photo that I downloaded from Google Images from the restaurant to give you an idea of what our platter looked like:

Hmm…suddenly I am very hungry…

Next couple of posts I will share more about our trip to North Carolina.

Knit and Crochet Away!

The Itty-Bitty Hat and Fun Surprises in the Mail

I am covering two topics in this post:

  1. How the knitted hat I made from yarn I discovered in my stash turned out too small (follow up to blog post Hot Mess of Yummy Yarn); and
  2. The two awesome packages I discovered in my mail upon returning from vacation in Northern California.

THE ITTY-BITTY HAT

It been a while since I’ve knitted a hat and I appeared to have forgotten that I have to alter the pattern I use in order to accommodate my head (I have a lot of hair and perhaps a larger than average head).

Here’s the yarn I started with that I re-discovered while tidying up my yarn stash (two skeins intertwined):

Here is the hat in progress – I love getting to the double point needles section of knitting the hat:

And here is the itty-bitty hat (too small for my head):

The hat is cute and I guess will be enjoyed someday by someone with a smaller head!

I do have leftover yarn from the first skein and I’ve already began knitting another hat (this time with the pattern modified for my head) with the end of the first skein and then into the second skein. So I’ll see how that one comes out and if I can model it for you (or if it will also become a gift…).

FUN SURPRISES IN THE MAIL

Speaking of gifts, I recently returned from a long weekend visiting friends in Northern California (and while I was there I nearly finished knitting the first too small hat). When I picked up my mail on return to Denver, I discovered not one but TWO awesome surprises in the mail!

SURPRISE ONE was from my blogging buddy in the Netherlands Emmely @Infectious Stitches filled with delicious Dutch treats:

She also included a handmade artist roll for my colored pencils – I can do some coloring on the go!

Just starting to load my pencils on to the roll

Emmely recently released/published a new foundation paper piecing pincushion pattern and I got to be a pattern-tester on it. You can check out her blog post about it – New Directions: Pattern tester makes!. I did not post about it because I was not over excited about the boring version I made of the pincushion and I want to make a better version before I post about it. I do not like foundation paper piecing so we thought I would be a good tester. Turned out it was easy (and a very well written pattern) and I whipped through making a (boring color choice) pincushion. The other pattern tester and Emmely made beautiful pincushions (as you will see if you check out her post I have linked above).

Oh and in case you are curious, I’ve already opened some of the Dutch treats (yum).

SURPRISE TWO in the mail was a wonderful collection of fabric scraps from my blogging buddy Chela @Chela’s Colchas y Mas.

I know I will figure something fun to make with these fabric someday!

It was a nice way to return from “holiday”. I will share some of my adventures in Northern California in a future post or two.

Guest Blogger, Miniature Schnauzer Musings

Guest Blogger: What Happens at Dog Camp, Stays at Dog Camp

This is Mike the Miniature Schnauzer that manages Tierney and her partner John (who I will refer too as “the humans”), guest blogging for this post.

I borrowed Tierney’s laptop to write my post

I heard the other guest blogger that lives in my house, the tierneycreates Beastie, was going to be posting soon and I wanted to get my post in before hers. She is the one with that fake schnauzer “Mikelet”. I cannot believe the humans named him after me.

Only one real schnauzer in this house!

But we don’t need to discuss our guest blogger rivalry, I do not want to interfere with your enjoyment of my excellent post.

So if you’ve been following my female human’s blog, you’ve noticed that she’s been up to a lot of traveling since late Spring. You might wonder what becomes of me when she and the male human go out of town (or into “storage”, see post “Human Storage” and Airport Lore).

Well I go to Dog Camp.

A couple years ago the humans found a family who only watches small dogs (the best kind in my opinion) at their home; and they live near us.

I really like Dog Camp because they throw the ball for me as much as I want, there are lots of fur people my size there, and they give me special treats with my meals such as mashed sweet potatoes and chicken.

But what I really like are all the cute little female dogs to hang out with there. I am a single (and yes neutered) guy and I like hanging out with the girl dogs, what can I say.

Now personally I believe that: “what happens at dog camp, stays at dog camp”, but the lady who runs Dog Camp, keeps taking photos of my exploits and sending them to the humans! Is there no privacy??!?!

Since the humans already know, I thought I would share some of the photos and video from previous dog camps. I sort of have a thing for cream-colored girl dogs and here are a couple of my girlfriends from previous dog camps:

But sometimes the girls go a little crazy over me (which is understandable) as in this incident below captured by the female human that manages Dog Camp:

Ladies – there is enough of me to go around – stay calm!

But that is enough, I have to keep some secrets from Dog Camp.

My male human is trying to help me fend off the girl dogs by going incognito with some shades for next time:


A Crafter's Life

Awesome Surprise Treats in the Mail!

Usually my blog post stories are running a couple weeks behind (at least) in what is currently going on in my life. My @tierneycreates Instagram is more up to date. Well this blog post is actually current with my life like my Instagram.

I returned home from nearly a week in Wilmington, North Carolina with my partner John (who was on a business trip) and guess what I had in the mail?

A YUMMY surprise all the way from South Africa!

My longtime blogging buddy Mariss (@fabrications) back in June sent me the goodies pictured above which included two of her handmade pin cushions, and 2 months later they arrived!

In addition to the pin cushions, I was surprised with some amazing Nelson Mandela fabric!

Bet you do not see this everyday!

Of course it is too precious to use, so maybe I will just frame it. Okay, okay, maybe I will use it in a project some day…maybe…

I’ve been blogging for nearly 8 years and I’ve met some pretty incredible and talented people from all over the world. Several of those people have been so generous in sending me treats in mail over the years. I’ve sent out treats also of course. You all know who you are and I so appreciate you!

And I am going to be putting together some special treats for Mariss in the near future (for their 2 months+ journey to South Africa)!


Postscripts

One of my blogging buddies @quiteayarnblog has an ongoing series called “Agriculture Report” whose title always cracks me up because it is an update of what is going on in her garden.

In the same vein, I thought I would share my own “Agriculture Report” and share what to me is some exciting news: 

  1. I was able to grow enough basil to make Pesto
  2. I was able to grow enough tomatoes to make ONE dish

You might be wondering: “why is this exciting” or “why is this news”?!?!?

Well after living many years in places such as Seattle and Central Oregon where growing “crops” was not that challenging (especially not in Seattle where it seemed like you could just throw seeds on the ground in passing and you’d have a bumper crop of whatever), I’ve been living in Denver, Colorado where growing things is challenging. We have a short growing season. 

Last year I tried my first patio garden on the upper deck with meager results. This year, and perhaps it was because we had an unseasonably large amount of rain, I had good (well for Denver) results!

Here is my “bumper crop” of basil (enough for ONE batch of Pesto):

And here is my “bumper crop” of Roma and Cherry tomatoes (enough to make ONE dish):

Now it could just be me because when I first moved to the Denver area I took Mike the Miniature Schnauzer to a groomer near Boulder, Colorado and she had an amazing garden. I might just need to learn how to garden here!

Then I can provide better “Agriculture Reports” in the future (smile).

Quilt Shop Tours, tierneytravels

Rocky Mountain Quilt Shop Hop 2021, Part II

Now it’s time for Part II on my 2021 Rocky Mountain Quilt Shop Hop Adventures, which started with the post Rocky Mountain Quilt Shop Hop 2021, Part I.

Our first Colorado Quilt Shop Hop adventure began in Fountain, CO and in this post we have made it to Pueblo, Colorado for the second leg of our adventure.

But first let’s talk about this:

This is Mike the Miniature Schnauzer working a quilt shop staff member at Stitcher’s Garden in Pueblo, CO for treats! Curiously they happen to have a bag of doggy treats in the back stockroom and Mike was fed many of them!

It was very warm during the shop hop and we wanted to bring Mike the Mini Schnauzer on the road trip but not leave him the car, so it was backpacking into the quilt shops for him!

All the shops were “dog-in-a-backpack-friendly” and I think he gained a couple pounds from treats during the shop hop!

Luckily there we some nice local town parks or scenic walks that my partner John could take him on if I needed some extended time in any quilt shop. Mike enjoyed riding around in the backseat of the car with this cozy blanket and the cooler filled with our sparkling waters, soda, and snacks for roadtripping. (He just wished he had opposable thumbs so he could open the cooler when he wanted and grab his own snack!)

The first quilt shop we visited in Pueblo was Stitcher’s Garden and here are some photos from that shop so you can have a virtual shop hop experience:

Did you see the Batik fabric cowboy boots in one of the above photos? Those made me laugh! They were not wearable but they would be a funny decorative/storage item for your quilting room! And did you notice the giant bag of treats the quilt shop staff member had in her hand while she was petting her new friend Mike?!?!?!

So far our quilt shop hop was going well until….

After our visit to that first quilt shop in Pueblo, CO, my understanding was that we had one more quilt shop in Pueblo on the 2021 Rocky Mountain Quilt Shop Hop but when my partner John put the shop’s name “First Stitches” into his Google Maps the directions said the shop was in Canon City, CO. So we listened to Google Maps instead of our COMMON SENSE and headed out 41 miles to Canon City (do you see where this is headed…not in the right direction…).

The staff at the First Stitches quilt shop were warm and friendly and when I asked for them to punch my Rocky Mountain Quilt Shop Hop ticket (which gives you credit for visiting each shop) they said: “Oh we are not participating in the shop hop, our ORIGINAL SHOP in PUEBLO is participating”.

Oh my.

So we drove back to Pueblo, tried Google Maps again and found the correct shop.

But, I had a lovely time at the wrong shop and here are photos from the First Stitches quilt shop in Canon City, CO:

I even bought some beautiful Ruby Star Society butterfly fabric at the unnecessary-stop-quilt-shop. John felt bad about the accidental side trip but it was just as much my fault as his for not using that thing called COMMON SENSE and double checking the Rocky Mountain Shop Hop quilt shop list!

After going to the correct shop which I quickly ran into, go my shop hop “passport” stamped and ran out because at this point we were so hungry, we went to the Riverwalk in Pueblo lunch, which was more beautiful than I anticipated.

I’ll save that and our next quilt shop adventure along the shop hop for my next post.

Fabric Scraps Obsession, Studio

Help Me Pick the Binding for Seattle Scrappy!

Okay time to take a break from “tierneytravels” and get back to “tierneycreates” (smile).

It only took like a year+ but I’ve finally finished hand quilting a lap sized free form log cabin quilt I started back in January 2020 at a quilting retreat which I named “Seattle Scrappy”. Now I need your help to decide which fabric to use for the quilt binding.

I know crafters are opinionated and like helping other crafters with their design, so I am looking for your opinions.

But first here is a little quick background on the piece and some additional photos.

  • In January 2020 (before the pandemic was a reality) I attended a mini quilt retreat with a couple quilting friends in Poulsbo, Washington. I brought a couple hand work projects and had EVERY INTENTION of only working on my hand work projects. But, my dear quilting friend Dana brought an extra sewing machine (one her her Berninas, and I love Berninas) and a BAG OF GRAY FABRIC SCRAPS for me to play with – oh no!
  • Out of that bag of scraps came a whole lots of free form pieces log cabin blocks and you can read about those in this post – What’s on the…Design Carpet.
  • Since February 2020 I’ve had a series of posts on the evolution of this quilt:
  • I’ve had an update or two on my @tierneycreates Instagram feed since these posts but basically I’ve just been plugging along (when I remember to work on it) hand stitching it with perle/pearl cotton thread.
  • Last night I finally finished stitching it; and this morning I trimmed off the extra batting on the edges!

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I didn’t have the best light when I quickly took these photos this morning, but they give you a general idea of the hand quilted quilt.

Now it’s time to choose the binding (this is where you come in) and here are the four options I am considering:

As you can see they are all some shade of gray. You might be thinking: “Well Tierney, what about the turquoise, aqua, or the burnt orange in the piece?” I did think about those for a moment but first of all I do not have enough of any of those fabrics to create a binding; and second I do not want to frame it in a strong color. I want to frame it in a gray.

So here are the four gray fabrics up close up against the quilt for you to select from when you share your thoughts:

A – fabric with faux stitching pattern

Fabric A

B – medium-dark gray fabric

Fabric B

C – medium gray fabric

Fabric C

D – variegated gray fabric (the tone/shade of gray will change along the binding

Fabric D

Here is a poll below for you to vote and I will report back on the result of the poll and my final decision (which will likely be heavily influenced by your votes):

****If you’d like to participate in voting/respond to the poll, you have to go to my actual website. It will not show in the WordPress Reader, sorry (thanks @tammiepainter for making me aware). If you are in the WP Reader, click on “Visit Site”.****

I’d appreciate any additional thoughts you have in addition to your vote in the Comments section of this post.

Please note however, I will only tally votes through the poll above just to make sure I do not duplicate votes, thanks!

Awaiting your votes…
Outside Adventures!, tierneytravels

Train Ride to Glenwood Springs, CO and More – Part I

In early May 2021 I went on a road trip to see Glenwood Springs, CO for the first time (see post Weekend in Glenwood Springs). I love it so much that I decided it was the perfect trip to take my sister on when she visited in mid June. But this time instead of driving there, we took the Amtrak train!

Before the Train Ride

Before heading out on our 6 hour train ride from downtown Denver’s Amtrak station (Union Station) to Glenwood Springs, the day before our train trip I took my sister to the South Pearl District/South Pearl Street of Denver to wander about and then go thrift shopping. 

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2021-06-10_14-54-27_012

Above is another terrible attempt at a selfie (I am the “World’s Worst Selfie Taker”) and I am not sure why I am staring off in the wrong direction, ha!

We wandered to various little shops boutiques and had lunch at a very delicious restaurant (where I took our selfie).

After the South Pearl Street wander about and lunch, we went to the huge Goodwill downtown (my sister loves thrift/charity shops also) and we had a wonderful browse there as well as several other thrift shops we stopped at on the way back to my house.

My sister toted about the new Wonder Woman tote bag I had made her (which I first shared in the post Okay so here is a tote bag (or two)…), during our shopping adventure:

In the next post I will continue with further stories of our adventures during our trip, starting with the train ride to Glenwood Springs, which was breathtaking in its scenery!

Trying to catch up on blog posts, I’ve realized that it might be easier for busy readers if my posts are a little shorter; and it is less work for me to get a post out there 🙂

Beastie Adventures, Special Events

Guest Blogger: Denver Quilt Craft and Sewing Festival

Tierneycreates Beastie here to report on my adventures at the Denver Quilt Craft and Sewing Festival. going on this weekend!

Here I am writing this post from my laptop on a make-shift desk

Oh in case you are new to this blog here is my standard blurb/background:

My name is tierneycreates Beastie and I am a Monster, but the good kind of Monster. I was made by Helen of CrawCrafts Beasties in Dublin, Ireland. You can read my story at I’m A Monster!!!. You can also check out the other posts I’ve had to guest blog on (i.e. when the human Tierney falls off the blogging-wagon and I have to help) in the series of posts: Beastie Adventures.

A couple of weeks ago, Tierney (the human version of me) discovered that Denver is having it’s first Quilt/Craft/Sewing Festival since the pandemic. She immediately got us tickets:

$10 for 3 days and free parking!

It’s very warm here (we’ve been having a mini-heatwave past couple of days with temperatures up to 100F/38C) and I changed out of my standard T-shirt to my light summer dress for the festival:

I know, I know, I look extremely adorable. Can’t help it, I was made that way…

I did not wear my shoes as Tierney has a history of leaving one of my shoes behind somewhere when she helps me do my photo shoots.

I even took off my standard messenger bag where I keep my laptop (and library card) and put on my backpack in case Tierney needed help getting any fun finds at the festival home:

Ready to carry as much fabric as my backpack will hold!

The first thing we came across at the festival was a “make and take” table featuring a little felt coffee themed coaster you could make. We were tempted but we had so much to see.

After so many months of social distancing, it was strange to see all these crafters crammed into the festival (and they were all happy and very eager to wander around the booths!). The festival did require masks if you were unvaccinated and we did see some people with masks on (Tierney is fully vaccinated and I am…well I am made from yarn so I am immune in general…).

I could not help myself, there was so much fabric around, I had to play in it:

You think with all those fabric selections, Tierney could find some fabric to make me a new dress or two (I only have one dress, made by Helen @ CrawCrafts Beasties).

In addition to wandering around the many vendor booths at the festival, we also watched some cool demos:

Me watching a demo (I just noticed I have some lint in my hair, probably from laying in fabric)

We also chatted with a vendor that had a very unusual and cool woven shirt:

Very creative shirt!

We had fun watching demos of Bernina sewing machines (and a long-arm quilting machine) we could not afford:

Tierney told the Bernina representative about my Beastinia and he was impressed!

Here are more images from the festival including several of me just being very cute:

We were exhausted after a couple hours at the festival but had fun chatting with other crafters and vendors as well as seeing some amazing things (most of which luckily we did not try to bring home).

Tierney could not help herself on her way to the car and had to take a photo in Black & White of some industrial spools in the parking lot (but she forgot to put me in the photo to make it interesting):

Tierney likes to pretend she is a photographer…

When we got back home, Tierney’s tote bag she took to the festival (one of her handmade tote bags) was full of goodies:

My backpack however only contained my laptop. I am not sure why she did not use my backpack for overflow. Well at least I offered.

I had a great time at my first festival (I know you are shocked that she never took me to one before). I can’t wait until my next one!

Oh and if you live in the U.S. and you are itching to go to one of these festivals, this website had a listing of upcoming (in person!) Quilt, Craft & Sewing Festivals:

https://quiltcraftsew.com/denver.html

But be safe – there are still “cooties” out there and the pandemic is not over yet (especially in many parts of the world).

tierneycreates

Redesigning my logo

I decided it was time to redesign my tierneycreates logo which I had created originally back in 2013 when I first began blogging:

This time I wanted to do something more “organic”.

I’ve been addicted to the game/app Words with Friends for years and I play online Scrabble daily with friends such as my friend Kathy and my partner John:

Yup I lost in the game above.

I loved Scrabble since I was a kid. I actually have a collection of Scrabble letter collected from old games I picked up from garage sales or just the letters themselves.

I’ve crafted with them in the past making refrigerator magnet gifts with friends’ names done in Scrabble letters.

Also recently my partner John made me a photo platform to use for photographing items for my tierneycreates Etsy shop (which I hope to re-open this year). Combined with my new Ring Light (which I am still learning to use) I hope I will have decent photos for my Etsy listings!

So I came up with the idea of spelling out my company name (tierneycreates) with my tagline (a fusion of textiles and smiles) in Scrabble letters, and adding some textiles!

For the “textiles” I dug into my basket of fabric scrap strings:

Here is the photo shoot:

Here are two version of the resulting new logo I am thinking of trying out (and if you can’t tell any difference don’t worry it is subtle – they are each cropped slightly differently):

It’s definitely “organic”!

So what do you think? Does it look like I was Drinking While Designing (a “DWD”) a logo?

Beastie Adventures, From the Woodshop, Studio

“From the Cutting Table”: Update to tierneycreates Studio (Guest Blogger)

It’s been a while since I guest blogged. Hi there – it’s tierneycreates Beastie and I wanted to share some changes to my home (Tierney’s studio).

I’ve titled my post “From the Cutting Table…” because my dog Mikelet and I now live on the cutting table in Tierney’s studio:

 In case you are new to this blog, here is a little background on me:

My name is tierneycreates Beastie and I am a Monster, but the good kind of Monster. I was made by Helen of CrawCrafts Beasties in Dublin, Ireland. You can read my story at I’m A Monster!!!. You can also check out the other posts I’ve had to guest blog on (i.e. when the human Tierney falls off the blogging-wagon and I have to help) in the series of posts: Beastie Adventures.

I like the cutting table, I have plenty of room and it is not too scary like it was when Tierney had me next to all those creepy giant schnauzers (see January 2020 post Guest Blogger: What the heck is going on here?)

Can you see the look of sheer terror in my eyes??!?!

Whew, glad those days are over! Oh you might wonder what became of my fiancé John Beastie (see post Guest Blog Post: Mail Order Groom), well he spends most of his time in John the Human’s office downstairs. Tierney and John Human feel it is best not to let a couple of Beasties spend too much time together as mischief is certain to happen! (Just wait until we get married, they’ll never keep us apart!!!)

Here we are in July 2020 celebrating our engagement

Oh I think I am getting off track on my post…

So yes my dog Mikelet and I spend most of our time on the cutting board in Tierney’s studio and we like it, though I have to keep an eye on Mikelet because sometimes he plays in the pincushion and I think that might be dangerous.

By the way my maker Helen of CrawCrafts Beasties made me my own sewing machine so I could help Tierney sew projects and once I figure out how to use it maybe I will have a guest post about my projects instead of Tierney’s!

Now what I was I originally planning to tell you? Beasties are easy distracted. Oh yes, I wanted to tell you about a recent change to my home the tierneycreates Studio.

John, Human John not Beastie John, Tierney’s partner, recently made an ironing board table for the studio. Before the new ironing board table, Tierney was using a traditional ironing board and iron.

What started this change was for Christmas John got Tierney a cordless iron:

Perhaps you wanted to see a full image of the iron but isn’t the iron much cuter with me in front of it?!!?!?

Okay here is the iron:

Image from Amazon.com

Now that Tierney had cordless iron she had more flexibility on where her iron could be located, so John (again I mean Human John as Beastie John could not have handled the tools involved which are bigger than him…) built her a 2 foot by 4 foot ironing table for her studio.

First John cut a piece of plywood the same size as the table base being used (an old counter height folding table). Then John and Tierney wrapped and stapled four (4) layers onto the plywood base:

  • Batting
  • Insul-Brite heat resistant batting
  • Heat resistant fabric (like the type used for old ironing board covers)
  • Cotton fabric

Tierney is really pleased with her new ironing table and she used it while making all those tote bags she talked about in her recent post (see post Tote, Tote, Tote Bags).

So that is the big change to the studio.

Somedays I get tired of the studio and miss the days when I used to go on adventures with Tierney. The pandemic has slowed down my adventures. Tierney promises that soon we will resume our adventures, I just need to be patient.

For now Mikelet and I will wistfully stare out the studio window…


Postscript

I am going to close this guest post by sharing a secret: Tierney is sort of a slob in her studio.

Look at these mini Toblerone candy bar wrappers she left on the cutting table!

I caught Mikelet sniffing them, luckily there was no candy in them as chocolate is bad for dogs.

I hope she will be more respectful of my space and clean up her wrappers!

Thrift Shop Adventures

An Interesting Find…

I currently have “Corona-virus Blues”, what about you? I was scheduled to go next week to a very exciting conference in Nashville, Tennessee with many fun events, but my employer cancelled all business/corporate travel for the next several weeks because of the virus outbreak.

Even though I am bummed, in the big picture this is not such a big issue as there are many people impacted on a greater scale. My heart goes out to those who are currently infected and recovering as well as to the families of those who’ve loss loved ones due to this outbreak.

And now onto lighter topics such as the awesome find I recently made at a local thrift shop.


It’s been quite a while since I posted anything in my category/series of blog posts Thrift Shop Adventures. I have not done as much thrifting as I used to do in Central Oregon since moving to the Denver metro area in April 2019. I do miss the awesome Humane Society of Central Oregon Thrift Store, where I discovered many delights, such as this find such as the one I mention in this November 2018 post – Awesome $2 Thrift Shop Find.

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All these high end designer fabric samples for $2 from the Humane Society Thrift Shop!

Although it does not replace my beloved Humane Society Thrift Shop, I have discovered a fairly wonderful thrift shop in downtown Denver – Goodwill Denver– Broadway.

Last weekend, while browsing, I stumbled upon an amazing find – all this fabric marked at $12, which I got for 30% off $12 because of the tag color sale (Goodwill does a daily tag color discount that varies from day to day):

2020-03-02_17-53-59_481Inside this bag was a large collection of fabrics by a company called Boundless Fabrics which appears to be primarily sold by Bluprint (formerly known as Craftsy).

2020-03-02_17-47-32_363The package included yardage, precuts (charm squares and fat quarters), a panel (a Moda Fabrics panel) and some odd size fabric scraps.

2020-03-02_17-49-32_9772020-03-02_17-50-17_3572020-03-02_17-53-01_991The pictures above do not do the package as there is enough fabric for several quilts (there are at least 10+ yards of fabric among the yardage).

The fabrics could not be used in one quilt (unless you liked an eclectic mix of styles and patterns) but they could be used for several different quilts.

I looked up reviews on Boundless Fabrics and they higher than the quality of fabrics sold at JOANN Fabrics and Craft Store but slightly below the quality of those sold at quilt shops. But for 30% of $12 (oh please do not make me do the math, ha!) they were not a bad deal!

In case you are wondering I have absolutely no idea of what I am going to do with them, but I put them away for now (smile).


Postscript

Continuing with the theme of “interesting finds”…

For those of you who’ve been blogging for a while – do you remember when you were a new blogger? Remember trying to build your audience? I did it by following other blogs and commenting on posts.

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Photo by davide ragusa on Unsplash

Over the years (I’ve been blogging nearly 7 years) I’ve met a bunch of cool blogging buddies and regularly follow their blogs.

I noticed that many of us, especially those of us who are crafters, follow the same blogs and it fun to see for example Mary @zippyquilts commenting on a post by Chela @chela’s colchas y mas who just commenting on a post by Mariss @fabrications who had a comment from Laura @laurabrunolilly.com who had commented also on  the blogs I just mentioned!

You get a real sense of community. (And there are many more bloggers in our community, like Claudia @claudiamcgillart, but I just listed a few as an example.)

Well I would like to occasionally introduce/suggest a new member to our crafter blogging community – an interesting blog find I discovered through this blogger commented on my posts:

Sleepy Beagle 

(thesleepybeagleword.wordpress.com/blog/)

Check out this interesting crafter blog if you get a chance and perhaps become a follower and make her part of our community. Her crafting and crafter’s life posts are well written, informative and engaging! This blog is an “Interesting Find”!

What's on the Design Wall

What’s on the…Design Carpet

It’s been a while since I’ve added anything to my series of posts:   “What’s on the Design Wall”, about my current project up on my design wall.

However as my tierneycreates Beastie shared in the post Guest Blogger: What the heck is going on here? , my studio is packed up and turned back into a bedroom for staging the house I currently live in for sale.

Not having a design wall up on the wall has not stopped me – I’ve discovered: The Design Carpet (patent pending, ha!).

2020-01-16_13-21-04_854But let’s back-up a moment, and tell you how this piece began and got to this point…

As I mentioned in my post From the Basket – English Paper Piecing, a couple weekends ago I attended a mini quilt retreat with a couple quilting friends in Poulsbo, Washington.

I brought a couple hand work projects from my basket of hand work (see post Inside the Basket ) and had EVERY INTENTION of only working on my hand work projects.

But…

My dear quilting friend Dana brought an extra sewing machine (one her her Berninas, and I love Berninas) and a BAG OF GRAY FABRIC SCRAPS for me to play with – oh no!

2020-01-10_18-11-38_9152020-01-11_15-35-55_903As you saw in the “From the Basket” post, I did work on my English Paper Piecing rosettes, but after a while I put them aside and STARTING PLAYING WITH THE GRAY SCRAPS! (I could not resist the temptation to play with fabric scraps)

Before you know it, as I shared on @tierneycreates on Instagram, I began creating freeform pieced/improvisationally pieced log cabin blocks (also known as “log jamming”):

2020-01-10_18-11-34_186And before I knew it, I had a pile of 138 blocks I made!

2020-01-12_08-01-18_2382020-01-12_08-00-38_602Once I got home, I could not wait to play with them and see what interesting pattern I could make with the dark gray and light gray framed blocks, So I decided to use the “Design Carpet”:

2020-01-16_13-07-40_412I began with creating a pattern with the dark gray framed blocks:

2020-01-16_13-07-51_784Then I worked on framing them with the light gray blocks:

2020-01-16_13-21-12_628I like the effect with the dark gray floating in the lighter gray blocks.

Since I took these photos, I’ve made additional progress and pulled out my sewing machine from the storage room (where you hide everything when staging a house for sale)!

Let me make a bit more progress on the piece and I will share in a future post!


Postscript

Let me know if you think I can patent the concept of the “Design Carpet” and make millions on my late-night infomercial selling “Design Carpets” and quit my day job and just sew all day!

“You can own your own Design Carpet for 5 easy payments of $99.99!

But wait, there’s more:

Buy one Design Carpet and get a second one for only $99.99 plus shipping and handling.”

– TIERNCO, DISTRIBUTOR OF THE DESIGN CARPET

tierneycreates

From T-Shirt to Throw Pillow

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

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

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

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

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Postscript

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

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

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

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

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

Quilt Shop Tours

Hawaiian Quilt Exhibit: Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum

According to Wikipedia:

A Hawaiian quilt is a distinctive quilting style of the Hawaiian Islands that uses large radially symmetric applique patterns. Motifs often work stylized botanical designs in bold colors on a white background.

Hawaiian quilt applique is made from a single cut on folded fabric.Quilting stitches normally follow the contours of the applique design

The other day I paid a visit to the Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum in Golden, Colorado for the first time, and saw an incredible exhibit of Hawaiian Quilts.

Most of the quilts were from the 1930s and 1940s but there were several from the late 1800s.

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Here are photos of many of the quilts in the exhibit. Most of them were Queen-bed sized, though a several appeared to be King-sized bed quilts and there were several wallhanging sized pieces.

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The quilts were absolutely amazing!

After wandering around the exhibit, I stopped in the gift shop which was also a miniature quilt shop.

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While browsing the gift shop, I discovered this book – an exhibition catalog for the show Rooted in Tradition: Art Quilts from the Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum.

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I ended up buying the book as not only did it contain amazing art quilts and profiles of quilters, but there were also at least three renown quilters in it that I’ve met and admired for a while:

  • Dr. Carolyn Mazloomi
  • Ed Johnetta Miller
  • Wendy Hill

I am so lucky in my art quilting journey so far I’ve had such fortunate brushes with greatness and inspirational talent in the quilting medium!

If you are a quilter, or someone who loves quilts, if you happen to be in the Denver area, I highly recommend a visit to the Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum!

 

Studio, tierneycreates

From “Orphan Blocks” to Pillows

If you make quilts, then you’ve probably dealt with “orphan blocks” – the extra blocks you either made accidentally while making your quilt or intentionally to give you options when you laid out your quilt and made final decisions on what blocks you want to use in the quilt.

For years I’ve had these two “orphan blocks” from a Connecting Threads Minnesota Stars Kit I made at least 8 years ago.

Here is what the quilt looks like (it is currently serving as a tablecloth on my table in the sunroom):

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And here are the two “orphan blocks” that did not fit into the quilt (I think I accidentally made too many):

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You may notice in the images above it looks like the blocks were hand-stitched. Well they were – I attempted to do something with the blocks years ago and added batting, backing and hand-stitched them.

And then they went to the place where all unfinished projects go – to the back of the closet.

Last night I decided rather than move them as unfinished blocks to my next residence, why not just FINISH them and make them into coordinating pillows?

So I did:

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And now they are on the chairs in the sunroom with the tablecloth quilt that they are connected:

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Ah, it feels so good to finish an old project!

Guest Blogger

Getting Started with Quilting: What You Need to Know (Guest Post)

Today I have a guest post from Diana S. Clark of the Sewing Machine Club for anyone who is thinking about becoming a quilter but is not sure when to start.

Diana contacted me a week ago with the idea of a guest post and I love the information in her article and thought it would be fun to share with you!


What You Need to Know Before You Start Quilting

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Sewing Machine Club

There’s nothing more heartwarming than receiving a novelty quilt handmade with love and care which is why quilts make such great gifts!

Although quilting seems tedious and takes a lot of time and effort, they’re actually pretty simple. As a matter of fact, anyone can start quilting in the comfort of their own home.

If you’re on the fence on how to begin quilting, we got you covered. We have some tips to help you start your quilting project to ensure you’re fully prepared.

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Sewing Machine Club

Patterns, patterns, patterns!

Patterns are a crucial part of your quilt. It’s important to think about what patterns you want so you can prepare fabrics and equipment before quilting. Patterns come in different varieties and some may be a bit more complex than others hence, taking more time to create. So, keep in mind to choose a pattern that suits your taste and skill.

Preparation is Key

Before quilting, remember to gather all the equipment you need according to the instructions of the pattern since different patterns have different instructions. When searching for fabrics, opt for colorfast fabrics that don’t run when washed. Also, make sure to measure each block to figure out how much fabric will be needed.

Quilt Away

Find a comfortable space and set up your equipment such as your fabrics, sewing machine, and tools. Start by carefully cutting your patchwork pieces with a rotary cutter before sewing them. Once you’ve got all the patchwork pieces prepared, start quilting the top as it takes a lot of time and precision. Finally, make sure to iron the patchwork to set it.

Final Touches

Next, baste the quilt by combining the top and bottom layer and placing batting in between like a sandwich. Use pins or temporary adhesive to hold the layers while you sew them so the layers stay in place. When you’re done with sewing the layers, add some final touches with some decorative binding to the edges of your quilt to seal the layers.

For more details and images, check out this infographic about quilting!


Feature Photo by Jeff Wade on Unsplash

A Crafter's Life, Adventures in Paper Piecing

Back to Making Things and Lovely Surprises in the Mail

Hello My Blogging Community, thanks for all your support during the most challenging time in my life.

I wanted to share that I have finally returned to “making” after quite the hiatus after the loss of my husband.

But first, let me share the two wonderful surprises I got in the mail today.

Surprise #1

My blogging buddy in Dublin Ireland, Helen @crawcraftsbeasties.com sent me a hand painted card featuring a Beastie comforting another Beastie:

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To learn more about the amazing Beasties that Helen makes, check out her website – crawcraftsbeasties.com.

Surprise #2

My blogging buddy in the Netherlands, Emmely @infectiousstitches gave me an amazing stitched card:

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It was like a large fabric postcard with a wonderful handwritten note on back.

I so appreciate all the support from my blogging community including so many people who have never met me in person and only know me from my blog. I wish we could all get together for some tea and pastries at a nice cafe.

No Longer Dreading the Mail

I feel I turned a corner as I am no longer dreading sympathy/condolence cards in the mail. So many thoughtful people have sent their condolences over the loss of my husband but each card was like a gut wrenching stab reminding me of my profound loss. I dreaded getting the mail and making myself open the cards and their words of sympathy blurring before my tearing eyes. Perhaps in retrospect I should have put them aside and read them later. I felt compelled and obligated to open each card.

On Tuesday I began an 8 week Spousal Loss Grief Support Group. The first meeting was incredibly difficult especially at first but by the end of the meeting as we all started to share and connect it got so much better. The Grief Counselor facilitating the meeting is amazing. This support group is through our local hospice and is a free community service.

There is an educational component to each meeting and I learned a lot about grief and why I have struggled with some severe irritability. I am so happy to have a safe place to talk about complex feelings with others who have also experienced the profound loss of a life partner.

I now get the whole “support group” concept where people going through similar experiences can support each other and relate to each other struggles, especially with the help of an amazing group facilitator.

Back to Making

I knew I needed to return to sewing and the tactile experience of working with fabric as part of my healing. I was either struggling with low energy or lack of interest, but I kept trying to dive back in.

First I tried to return to the Tula in a Box quilt I was working on before Terry died (and Terry helped me lay out the blocks) – see post .Tula in a Box. I managed to get the quilt back up on the large design wall in the hallway (I had half of it sewn together) as I had removed it from the design wall after he died as it was upsetting me:

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But I have not done any work on it.

Then I tried to work on taking out the stitching of a quilt I made into a tablecloth. I decided to turn it into a quilt. I did get the stitching out but got stalled on getting it ironed out so I could sent it out for long-arm quilting:

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Finally I thought I would try some hand work – something I could sit in front of the TV (I’ve been watching endless Netflix in the evening) and work on – English Paper Piecing (EPP):

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That worked. I’ve been working on making EPP hexies in the evening. Occasionally making the hexies feels bittersweet at Terry punched out the paper piecing templates for me. But I like to think that we are making them together.

tierneytravels

Stories from the Road, Part III

Hello to my blogging community.

I am continuing my series of posts about my new journey as a widow after losing my partner for more than half my life, Terry the Quilting Husband (TTQH).

My first two posts in this series Stories from the Road, Part I, and Stories from the Road, Part II were literally about a journey – a road trip with my sister across 4 states to see family on the East Coast and to celebrate TTQH’s life. This post is focused on my figurative journey navigating the grieving process and moving forward with my new life after the loss of the love of my life.

Before I dive into that, I wanted to say thank you to those of you who left thoughtful comments on my previous posts with your condolences and support. I’ve read all of them. I also appreciate those who have reached out via e-mail and/or also sent cards.

I miss regularly blogging and interacting with my regular blogging community (to include reading and commenting on your blog posts, etc.) but the profound grief that comes with such a loss consumes mental and physical energy on a level I cannot put into words.

I will likely at moments ramble in this post, but hopefully I will stay fairly coherent (smile).

The Widow’s Walk

I’ve loss both my parents but I’ve never experienced grief on this level. I do take one day at a time and each day does get a little better and the walk to get through each day seems a little less long and painful.

I’ve been focusing on planning for my next journey in life, which I discuss in a moment, and this has made me hopeful.

I would say my current state of mind is “sad but hopeful“.

I’ve decided to sell my house and move out of Central Oregon this Spring. I am not ready to share yet on my blog where I have decided to move, but will in the future.

Over the past couple of weeks I’ve been cleaning and clearing out many items from TTQH’s life and my life. I think all the thrift shops and shelters in town are tired of my endless carloads of donations.

In addition to local charity thrift shops, I am pleased with the groups I’ve been able to help out by donating TTQH’s stuff. For example I was able to donate all of his historical gaming miniatures/figures to the Hobby University of the Historical Miniature Gaming Society.  I was able to donate some cool stuff to a local Veterans Association. I know TTQH would have approved.

In preparation to sell the house and to move to a smaller space temporarily, I’ve been significantly downsizing my possessions. I’ve dabbled with Minimalism in the past (see my series of posts tagged with the category My Minimalism Journey) but I still had a lot of stuff.

It seems like now I am able to be “brutal” with downsizing my stuff and now able to let go more easily. When you experience such a significant loss, things just do not seem as important/precious as they did before.

For example, here is a growing pile of recycled fabric acquired over the years, that is headed to the local thrift shop:

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Mike the Miniature Schnauzer and I will be on a road trip this Spring to our new home. I will of course bring my tierneycreates Beastie (see series of posts in the category Beastie Adventures) on the road with us and she might be guest blogging to share stories of our journey from Central Oregon to our new location in the U.S. (staying in the States).

I do plan to return to quilting and blogging about lighter topics. I plan to finish the Tula Pink All Star quilt I last wrote about in the post Tula in a Box; and to continue the story on Secret Quilt Revealed, Part I.


Feature Photo by delfi de la Rua on Unsplash

tierneytravels

Stories from the Road, Part I

I’ve titled this post “Stories from the Road” because it is about my recent road trip across 4 states in the Eastern Coast of the United States as well as the new journey/road I am on as a widow after the recent loss of Terry the Quilting Husband (TTQH) my partner of many years.

First I want to thank everyone who left thoughtful comments on my previous post when I shared I would be taking a break from blogging. Please know I read and appreciate all the comments, I am not up to responding to them. I really appreciate my blogging community and I was feeling the love, thank you.  Originally I planned to take an extended break from blogging (or perhaps stop blogging complete) but I really enjoy writing and the amazement that people actually read my musings!

No matter how terrible my grief is, I continually work on remembering two things: 1) how lucky I was to be married to my best friend for over half my life; and 2) that TTQH would want me to go forward in life and be happy.

Every day I also work on smiling through my tears such as in this recent photo taken from my brother-in-law’s kitchen in Upstate NY during the get together we had honoring Terry:

2018-12-16_13-25-19_877.jpegSo Much Support

I am blessed to have a large supportive network of family, friends, and colleagues. My sister has been exceptionally supportive and I will talk more about that in the next section. My friends Marla Jo, Jason, Laurie, Michele, Judy, Kelly, Diane, Kathy, Dana and Lisa have also been exceptionally supportive.

Marla Jo and Jason were there on the worst day of my life, finding Terry after an aneurysm took his life. They took my dog Mike the Miniature Schnauzer and kept him for a week.

My friend Laurie was there on the second worse day of my life – going to the funeral home to make arrangements. I’ve mentioned outings with Laurie and her dog Luna in previous blog posts and on the second worse day of my life, Laurie took me to visit a horse property with horses she works with to give me a little equestrian therapy (see post Horsing Around).

My friends Michele, Judy, Kelly, and Lisa have continually checked on me as well as many other friends and coworkers who have reached out.

Terry’s family has been awesome and very supportive, especially his two amazing sisters, to include helping me with his end of life expenses. Friends have also reached out with financial support to help with travel and end of life expenses and I greatly appreciate that support. I learned how to set up a PayPal Me account so people could send money if they chose to support me in that way.

I received two creative ways of support that made me smile – a Whole Foods gift certificate from my boss (I love Whole Foods but it is usually too expensive to shop there regularly); and a huge gift card to my favorite restaurant in Central Oregon from some colleagues. I’ve already used them both as I have not been up to cooking.

Stories from the Road

My sister insisted that I immediately come to the East Coast of the U.S. to be with family when she learned of Terry’s passing. I was initially concerned about the huge cost of last minutes cross country flights; and that it was basically deep Winter in Upstate NY.

My wonderful brother bought me a roundtrip plane ticket to Baltimore after my sister found the best flight option. My incredible sister, who lives in Richmond, Virginia, picked me up from Baltimore-Washington International Airport (BWI) and drove me across four states.

We stopped in Delaware to see my brother, his wife and their son (my adorable 6 year old nephew) and then headed to Tarrytown, NY to stay the night before going on to Upstate NY in the morning. My brother also covered our hotel reservation at a very nice Courtyard by Marriott using his frequent stay points (he travels a lot for business).

I am not sure how many miles my sister drove but I am pretty sure it was at least 800 – 900 miles roundtrip including her trip back home to Richmond. We crossed the following states: Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, and New York. Part of our trip we had semi-scary inclement weather but my sister was an amazing driver. She insisted on doing all the driving.

We drove to the home of Terry’s sisters, Sue and Diane. You might remember their names from my blog posts about their visits this summer to attend the Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show (see post Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show 2018, Part II: Visiting Crafters).

They are both quilters and while we visited I got to see and play with their new long-arm quilting machine:

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That is a practice panel on the machine as they want to do a lot of practice before they work on an actual important quilt.

Speaking of important quilts, they have a beautiful quilt in progress on their design wall as a belated wedding gift for a family member:

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The live in the original family home and I got a kick out of seeing Terry’s old room turned into their quilt studio (still a work in progress):

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He would most definitely approve!

Terry’s sisters have rescued a couple Shih Tzu dogs from a puppy mill and have a golden doodle, Tucker. My sister and I were treated one evening to a “floor show” put on by one of the Shih Tzus and Tucker as they played tug-a-war while he dragged her across the floor as she held fast on the edge of her dog bed:

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All I could think during the show was how much Terry would have enjoyed this as he was a huge dog person (he actually liked dogs more than people).

More to Come

I will end this post here and continue the story in the next post. My energy is low as would be expected with profound grief. Please know I appreciate and read your comments but I may not be up to responding.

I am keeping the words of this old Chinese proverb in my mind:

You cannot prevent the birds of sorrow from flying over your head, but you can prevent them from building nests in your hair. – Old Chinese proverb


Feature Photo by Vidar Nordli-Mathisen on Unsplash

A Crafter's Life, tierneycreates

Artistic Delights in the Mail

One of the best thing about having the tierneycreates blog for the past 5 years is connecting with other crafters, makers, artists around the world.

One of those people is Pennsylvania based artist extraordinaire, Claudia McGill. She is one of those “Renaissance Women” whose dabbles successfully in many arts – writing, painting, drawing, illustrations, poetry, ceramics/pottery and collage.

She has two blogs (that I know of, maybe she has more, ha!) – one for her art and one for her poetry:

Claudia McGill and Her Art World

Claudia McGill Writes Poetry, Did You Know That?

A couple days ago, I was surprised in the mail with a lovely holiday card and some some little pieces of her art!

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Lucky me!

I know there are new bloggers now following my blog that might be looking for other maker blogs to follow and blogging communities to connect with, so I plan in the future to share more about the blogs I follow to help connect anyone interested.

Over the years, I’ve met so many other bloggers through following and commenting on blogs that capture my interest.

 


Postscript

I’ve always fantasized about writing poetry and had dabbled but never had the confidence to share any of my writings.

In addition to Claudia’s blogs, I also follow other “artist poets” such as South African based artist and poet, Mariss Stevens. She shares her beautiful art quilts with accompanying poems!

You can check out her amazing art quilts and poetry on her blog:

FABRICATIONS

 

 

Books, Music, Podcasts, My Minimalism Journey, Quality of Life

Soulful Simplicity and the Mexican Fisherman

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

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

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image credit: Amazon

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

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

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

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

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


The Mexican Fisherman

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

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

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

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

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

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

“But what then?” asked the fisherman.

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

“Millions – then what?”

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Feature photo credit: Johanna Ljungblom

Creative Inspiration

Creative Inspiration: Bark

Are you inspired by nature? If you are an artist, is your art inspired by nature?

As part of my ongoing series of posts on sources of Creative Inspiration,  I am sharing my latest nature-based inspiration: TREE BARK.

Wait. When you saw the post title, did you suspect I meant “dog bark” or the barking of dogs? I do love dogs, however their barking provides little source of creative inspiration (smile).

Studying Tree Bark

For the latest project I am working on (a secret project for a future exhibit not yet announced by the curator) I needed to study the texture of tree bark. A trip to a local park provided plenty of study subjects!

I was particularly taken by this tree:

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And I took a couple B&W photos so I could study the lines of the bark texture for my piece in progress:

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Although I did not take more photos, I studied the lines of several more trees in the park and on my daily walks I’ve paid closer attention to trees in my neighborhood.

Speaking of trees, next post I will share images from the Tree Quilt Show I attended last evening.


For the true nature of things, if we rightly consider, every green tree is far more glorious than if it were made of gold and silver. – Martin Luther

tierneycreates

tierneycreates has a new look

Every so often I enjoying changing out my WordPress blog template and trying something new.

Previously I had two blogs I managed: 1) my personal blog, tierneycreates; and 2) a collaborative blog, Improvisational Textiles where I kept my art quilt portfolio.

Improvisational Textiles is now inactive and I’ve transitioned my art quilting portfolio over to my tierneycreates blog.

I also added a “landing page”/Welcome Page (“Home“) when you first arrive at tierneycreates.com to make it more like a “artists website” and not only a blog.

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I added a new menu “Tierney Creates” which contains the pages for my Artist Statement, my art quilt portfolio (Art Quilt Stories), and a listing of Exhibits/Shows I’ve participated in.

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This is all part of my pretending that I am an art quilter!

I still need to move some of the blog posts that relate to my art quilts over to my tierneycreates blog; and I want to update my “Tierneycreates Studio Tour” page (located in the “About Me” menu) with current photos.

I am self taught on WordPress (thank you WordPress for awesome reference materials and for people publishing YouTube videos with WordPress tips and tricks) and I will keep tweaking my tierneycreates site as I keep learning new tips and tricks!

Quilt Retreats, Quilt Shop Tours

The Road to Retreat (Via Cannon Beach)

Continuing my series of posts about the annual May quilting retreat I attended with my Quilting Sisters in Vancouver, WA May 17 – 20. To read my previous posts about quilting retreats I’ve attended, see my post category – Retreats.

A Different Way to Quilt Retreat

Each year when posting about the annual May quilting retreat I attend, I include a “road to retreat” post on my journey to the retreat at Sew N Go in Vancouver, WA.

Examples of such posts include The Road to the Retreat  on my solo car road trip and The Road to Retreat (Via Bus!) about my first time taking the Central Oregon Breeze bus to the retreat.

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A couple weeks before the retreat I was trying to decide whether to drive to the May quilt retreat or to take the bus again. Terry the Quilting Husband (TTQH) offered to drive me this time to the retreat with Mike the Miniature Schnauzer joining us for the road trip.

Instead of having him drive 4 hours to the retreat and then back, we came up with the idea of driving to Cannon Beach, Oregon the day before the retreat. We would spend a day in Cannon Beach, stay overnight and the TTQH would drive me to the retreat and head back home.

I Love Cannon Beach

We’ve been visiting Cannon Beach for many years – I think we visited the first time in the early 2000s. In my post A Case for Buying Tings You Have No Plans For At The Time, I share my love for Cannon Beach and a special Cannon Beach themed wallhanging I made for my friend at work Nancy.

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Wandering Around Cannon Beach

Let’s begin with images of the beach, the sea, and the iconic Haystack rock at Cannon Beach. We enjoyed talking the coastline with Mike and here are images from Day which was fairly sunny.

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The next day, before heading to retreat, it was overcast but the beach was still wonderful:

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I love Central Oregon but it is far away from the sea. Every so often it is nice to be at the sea, smell the sea, and listen to the sea.

Cannon Beach has a wonderful quilt shop, Center Diamond Fabrics. If you check out my post A Case for Buying Tings You Have No Plans For At The Time, you will see a link to a YouTube video by the Quilt Roadies with a tour of Center Diamond Fabrics.

We’ve had a doggy backpacks for years that we carry our miniature schnauzers around in when traveling (most shops unless they are restaurants will allow a dog in a backpack in the shop) so we do not have to leave them in the car when sightseeing.

TTQH had Mike in his backpack as we wandered around Center Diamond Fabrics and Mike appears to be advising TTQH on fabric selections:

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Mike: “TTQH look at the fabrics over there!”

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Mike: “I am not too sure about those fabrics”

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Mike: “Hold on, slow down, I want to check this rack”

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Mike: “Okay let’s get all of these…”

After the quilt shop, it was off to the yarn shop at Cannon Beach, Coastal Yarns, where Mike also advised from his backpack:

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I was naughty at this shop and bought a skein of this ridiculously expensive variegated silk yarn that I fell hopelessly in love with it:

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We stayed at the inviting and dog-friendly McBee Cottages where they had a welcome basket for Mike and a wonderful collection of handmade bird houses.

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Wished I Lived in Cannon Beach, But Wait…

Every time we visit Cannon Beach, I daydream about moving there.

There are beautiful beach houses everywhere in the wonderful neighborhoods around the coastal area:

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There are beautiful coastal gardens:

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And of course there is this – the beach and the Pacific Ocean:

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But then there is this:

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(If there is a Tsunami, do not stop – RUN this way!!!!!)

We do not worry about Tsunamis in Central Oregon. So I will stick with just visiting Cannon Beach (hopefully never during a Tsunami) for now!

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Yes, this is the Tsunami Evacuation Route WALKING PATH (you better be walking very fast)