Music to Craft By

It’s time we get to know each other better. I mean some of us have been together nearly four (4) years with the tierneycreates blog.

It’s time I find out what type of music you like to listen to while you craft (for those of you who are Crafters)!

This weekend I spent time working on a new art improvisational art quilt using leftover clothing scraps from my pieces The Recycled Door and The Recycled Path, and I listened to a lot of music as a I designed and sewed from my Tierney Mix on my iPhone.

Frequently I listen to audiobooks or podcasts while crafting but I was really in the mood for just music while sewing.

My Tierney Mix is all over the place as far as musical genres. Here is a sampling of a run of songs that played from the mix while I crafted this weekend:

  • Beast of Burden, The Rolling Stones
  • My One and Only Love, John Coltrane
  • Pride (In The Name of Love), U2
  • Light My Fire, Jose Feliciano
  • Ode to My Family, The Cranberries
  • Waiting in Vain, Bob Marley & The Wailers
  • The Stone, Dave Matthews Band
  • Wichita Lineman, Glen Campbell
  • Lovesong, The Cure
  • Annie’s Song, John Denver
  • I’m Like a Bird, Nellie Furtado
  • Dust Bowl Dance, Mumford & Sons
  • Tin Pan Alley, Stevie Ray Vaughn
  • Desperado, Linda Ronstadt
  • Forever My Friend, Ray LaMontagne
  • All In Love is Fair, Stevie Wonder
  • The Logical Song, Supertramp
  • Lovesick Blues, Hank Williams
  • She’s Gone, Hall & Oates
  • Oh Yeah, Los Lobos
  • Nothing Even Matter, Lauryn Hill
  • Subdivisions, Rush
  • I’m Your Boogie Man, KC & The Sunshine Band
  • Reminiscing, Little River Band
  • Let Her Go, Passenger
  • Leave Me Here, Hem
  • Sweet Love, The Commodores
  • Mama, You Got A Daughter, John Lee Hooker
  • Angela, The Lumineers
  • The Girl from Ipanema, Joao Gilberto, Stan Getz, Astrid Gilberto
  • I’ll Take Care of You, Van Morrison
  • Let it Be, The Beatles

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As you can see, my musical tastes are all over the place! The only type of music I think I do not like is “Death Metal”. I also listen to Classical Music but I do not mix it in with contemporary music. I have a separate Classical Music Mix.

When I am not listening to my own mix, I love to listen to the online radio station – Radio Paradise (also available as a phone app). The Radio Paradise mix is even more eclectic than my personal mix. The gentleman and his wife that run Radio Paradise will mix in Tchaikovsky followed by a Rolling Stones song!

So – what type of music is on your playlist while you craft? Please share!

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Daniel Moore, free images.com


Postscript

Just a reminder – you have until Sunday 10/22/17 to comment on the post Blog Anniversary Celebration & Giveaway in order to enter the drawing (which was extended to 10/23/17) for a handmade Little Wallet!


Feature Image credit (musical score): Daniel Moore, free images.com

What’s on the Design…Ironing Board?

This post is actually a continuation of my ongoing series “What’s on the Design Wall”, featuring my latest project up on either the small design wall in my studio or the large design wall my hallway. It is also a follow up to my post Can We Talk About Table Runners?  on the table runners I am working on.

I had the five (5), yes five (5) table runner tops that I finished on the large design wall in my hallways but I yesterday evening I started a new art quilt and took them down. Now they are all sitting on the ironing board waiting to be completed:

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They all began as yardage of my collection of Ombre fabrics and my stash of pieced strips from brightly colored fabric scraps:

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I have decided to quilt each one of them.

In the previous post on these table runners I discussed my challenge of how long to make them and several of you weighed in with ideas on both length and width.

The unfinished group of five table runner tops measure anyway from 17 – 19″ wide and 44″ – 53″ long. The dimensions will decrease after I quilt them and trimmed them down a bit to straighten their lines. So I think I will end up with table runners from 16″ x 42″ to 18″ x 52″ or something like that.

I just flowed with whatever length the design took me as I progressed!

I will reveal the runners in all their glory in a future post once I get some quilted!


Postscript

The Natural Selection Convention

Whether you believe in Evolution, Intelligent Design, Creationism, or something else, you have likely heard the term coined by Charles Darwin – “Natural Selection”. 

Dictionary.com defines it as “The process whereby organisms better adapted to their environment tend to survive and produce more offspring”.

Well last week I came across on my walk what I might call a Bird Natural Selection Convention!

First I noticed at the corner of an alley I turned into on my walk, an adorable cat sitting on a fence. Well that cat wasn’t just sitting on the fence, he was curled around a set of bird feeders!

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“Here birdy, birdy, some nice yummy food is waiting for you…”

I stopped a greeted the cat who let me take his photo (I actually took like 10 different photos to get the right shot and the kitty just stared at me while I did it). Then I completed turning the corner and here is what I found two feet from the “bird-feeder-cat” – another kitty just hanging out on the same fence:

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And then, one more foot down the fence, another kitty:

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This is why I am calling this a Bird Natural Selection Convention any bird that attempts to use the bird feeder will most likely not be having any more offspring!!!

I laughed so hard at the trio of kitties waiting for very hungry and not too bright birds!

What the Heck is This?!?!?!

Have you ever been to Costco? It is a magical place I try to stay away from (see my post Break Up Letter to My Warehouse Club). However there was something we really needed at Costco (what Tierney, an 180 count jar of olives, triple pack?) and so we went.

While strolling the aisles (okay even if you go there for just one thing, it is mandatory that while you are in Costco you stroll the aisles), Terry and I came across this:

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It looked like someone had skinned a schnauzer! We do not know if it was synthetic or some poor animal but it was a very unusual pillow. It was quite soft to the touch (you could pet it for hours) but then that added to sort of a creepy feeling I got from it.

Also – how the heck would you wash it if you got a stain on it? We had quite the laugh over it (like we did in September when they had the Christmas decorations already out in Costco) but we somehow controlled ourselves and did not buy it.

(Sassy the Highly Opinionated Miniature Schnauzer would have been quite distressed if she thought we were bringing home a skinned schnauzer pillow!)

Creative Inspiration: Autumn in Central Oregon

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

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

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Here is my absolute favorite of the photos I took:

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

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

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

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

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


Postscript

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

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

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

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

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

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Terry the Quilting Husband puts up with me weirdness!

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

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Blog Anniversary Celebration & Giveaway

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

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

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

The Celebration

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

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

The Giveaway

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Image credit: BSK, free images.com

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

Speaking of Community

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

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

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

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


Postscript

Las Vegas

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

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

CATCHING MY BREATH AND CALL FOR #QUILTSFORVEGAS

Table Runners

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

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

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

Can We Talk About Table Runners?

I might ramble a bit in this post, bear with me. I am trying to figure out standard lengths for table runners. I know, I know, this is a shocking and controversial topic to take on in a blog post. If you can stay awake while reading this post, I will try not to bring up too many sensitive issues about table runners, ha!

Table Runners Running Around in My Mind

Why am I thinking about table runner lengths – have I simply run out of things to think about?

Let’s back up a moment…

Recently I sold the last of my tierneycreates table runners from when I had my tierneycreates Etsy shop, to a work colleague. She remembered the table runners I had offered in my shop and wanted one. I explained I only had one left and I had laundered it as I had used it on my table. She still wanted it.

So we worked out a deal, I mailed it to her, and here is a photo of it on her table:

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The photo made me smile. I love the idea of something I made being useful in someone else’s home and making them smile. This is aligned with the tierneycreates tagline of “a fusion of textiles and smiles”.

Here is the original style of table runner (quilted) I made for my Etsy shop that I could not keep in stock:

 

Here is one in green ombre that is not quilted that sold out in my shop also:

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The one in the photo above is does not look very exciting, so you will have to just trust me that it looks better in person (and the women who bought it gave it a 5-star review on Etsy).

So this leads us back to why I am thinking about table runners lengths – because I am thinking about making up a new batch of quilted table runners (and maybe selling them on Etsy); and I am not sure what length to make them!

Do I just make up a couple in different standard lengths?!?!?

What Length, Oh What Length?

I did a lot of “googling” to try and find a guide to standard table runner lengths. I found several pages which listed info on standard table runner sizes.

Then I came across this webpage – Table Runner Dimensions

What I liked about this webpage was this statement:

“A table runner should be long enough to overhang the end of your table by approximately 6 to 10 inches on each end.”

Why did this statement appeal to me? Because it means there is no way to anticipate all the different table sizes potential customers will have and that I just need to decide one standard length I will offer as well as offer a custom table size option. I am going to aim around 42″ as my standard length.

Table Runner-ing

I have spent the last couple of days working on creating the strata for my scrappy table runners from a bag of Kaffe Fassett-type of fabric scraps from my collection of Challenge Bags (see post Basket of Challenges ):

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I welcome your thoughts on this oh so controversial topic – table runner lengths>

If you were going to make up table runners for unknown tables, what length would you make? 


Postscript

One of my miniature schnauzers, Mike, was trying to take a nap with the book I was reading and I thought it was a very sweet photo:

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The Library Stack

Continuing my ongoing series, The Library Stack,  and sharing my latest stack of borrowed books from my beloved local public library.

Before I left for my trip to NYC for Quilters Take Manhattan (see my recent posts), a HUGE stack of library books from my library holds all became available at once:

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Okay, they didn’t all become available at once from my books on hold, there were a couple I happened to pick off the New Releases Non Fiction shelves while I was at the library…I can’t help it if they deliberately tempt me when I visit my local public library!

I am nearly done with this stack and several were a good “flip-the-pages-look-book” while working on a pot of tea. The interiors in The Kinfolk Home (which I borrowed a second time from the library) and Hidden Paris were just dreamy!

There were so many cute quilts to make in the book Charm School and I have many sets of 5″ charm squares just begging to become a quilt, but I have so many projects on the burner I couldn’t be tempted to make any quilts from the book. But it will be waiting for me at the library when I am ready!

The Crafters Market and How to Make It are  great resource books for people trying to start or running a craft business. The Fussy Cut Sampler had adorable ideas for fussy cut pieced blocks.

Kaffe Fassett’s Quilts in Ireland was visual colorful candy; but I own a bunch of Kaffe Fassett books and I have yet to make a quilt from one of them. I did meet Kaffe Fassett a couple of years ago when he came to speak at the Stitchin’ Post in Sisters Oregon. So I had him autograph one of  my ‘Kaffe’ books, but I did not confess that I have never made a quilt from one of his books! His fabrics are so beautiful and I actually have a huge collection of Kaffe Fassett fabric scraps that quilting friends have given me.

I still have a couple books to finish looking through (those I have not mentioned) and then back to the library for everyone!


Postscript

No work on my next art quilt yet, but I did have a colleague inquire about purchasing one of my tierneycreates table runners from when I had my tierneycreates Etsy shop. I had one more left and sold it to her.

This prompted me to play with the idea in my mind of re-opening my tierneycreates Etsy shop for the holiday season, but I have not decided yet. I did though decide to work on a couple new table runners, beginning with one I had started but never finished  – now it is finished.

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I have a stash of tierneycreates sew on labels from when I had my Etsy shop, so it was great to use them again:

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My employer is having a holiday craft fair in Portland in November and I am also sort of toying with the idea of participating in that. It would be my first time to sell at a craft fair.

Till next time,

Fusing Textiles & Smiles

 

Wrap Up of QTM 2017 Weekend

This is my fourth and final installment on my 4-day weekend in NYC to visit my family and to attend the Quilt Alliance’s Quilters Take Manhattan (QTM) event.

Here are the links to the first three previous posts on my weekend:

To close out this series of posts I have a bunch of random photos and stories.

Small World!

I remembered that my blogging buddy, Mary of Zippy Quilts announced in one of her post \s that she won the Judge’s Choice Award in the Quilt Alliance’s small quilt challenge. for the QTM 2017 event. Here is a link to her post: Judge’s Choice! Woo!

So on Saturday at the main QTM 2017 event, I went searching for the exhibit. When I found the exhibit with Mary’s piece, I noted another attendee was taking photos of the piece.

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Turns out that attendee was Becca of Pretty Piney, another blogging buddy of Mary’s! It was great to chat with Becca and together we admired Mary’s piece in person:

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Congratulations Mary! Oh and here is Becca’s post from her blog on her experiences at QTM 2017: Quilters Take Manhattan 2017.

Go Ahead and Look Out the Window

Flying makes me slightly nervous. When I moved from Seattle to Central Oregon I had to acclimate to taking smaller planes. Our airport is small and cannot handle standard size planes/jets, just the Turboprop size planes, like the one in the image below:

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Photo credit: Alaska Airlines

These planes only climb to about 10,000 feet unlike jets which having cursing altitudes of 30,000 – 40,000 feet. So you have at many times a view of the ground when you are at cruising altitude in these planes as opposed to in the larger planes where all you see are clouds below you at cruising altitude.

In order to fly to the East Coast of the US, I had to first fly to Seattle (usually you have to fly to Portland, Seattle, San Francisco, Denver, LA or Salt Lake City to get anywhere beyond the West Coast from Central Oregon). Normally I do not look out of the window as a rule. I had a window seat during my flight from Central Oregon to Seattle. I felt peaceful and excited about my upcoming adventure and was brave and starred the window the entire flight! This was a very big thing for me to do and here are a couple photos of what I saw:

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I had incredible views of some of the Cascade Mountain range. We were sandwiched between layers of clouds and it was very beautiful (note the window was tinted and sort of cloudy so the photos are limited in their clarity).

Meeting a Quilting Hero

As I mentioned in the previous posts, I got to meet in person someone I greatly respect and admire, Dr. Carolyn L. Mazloomi, founder of the Women of Color Quilting Network (WCQN). 

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I joined WCQN in 2016 and my piece The Lesson & The Equation will be in an upcoming WCQN show. I will share details about that show once Dr. Mazloomi formally announced the show. I am very excited to have my piece in the upcoming book that will be published about this show. Check out Dr. Mazloomi’s amazon.com page for examples of books from other exhibits she has curated.

At QTM 2017 I had the opportunity to view one of her amazing B&W quilts in person. She draws/paints these images and turns them into quilts. The piece below is of her grandson looking through some of her exhibit books:

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Coming ‘Home’ to New York

I was born in Pittsburgh, PA but I grew up in Long Island and Update New Yorker. I consider myself a “native New York” and part of my heart will always live in New York. I have been in NYC many times. I remember when I was a teenager I would take the train from Long Island to Manhattan and wander around the City for the day and return home in the evening.

If you have never visited NYC, it is something you must put on your “bucket list”. I guess it is like however everyone should try and visit Paris or London if possible. New York is one of those cities you just have to experience in person.

While living in Seattle and a couple times since I have moved to Central Oregon, I meet up with my family in NYC (they live in other areas of the East Coast but they are only a train or bus ride away). We learned over the years where the best least expensive places are to stay, and for this trip my sister found us an AirBNB place in a Brooklyn neighborhood:

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Here are a couple photos from the neighborhood to include a branch of the Brooklyn Public Library which was near where we stayed and the iconic FDNY:

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And then there was the Mister Softie truck which my 13 year nephew and I got slightly addicted to (NY soft serve ice cream!!!)

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The funny thing is as many times as I have visited NYC as an adult, I have only attended a Broadway show a couple times. I think I saw a couple Broadway shows as a kid and as a teens but I have primarily only seen the less expensive off-Broadway shows. Still as I was wandering around Manhattan between events one day of my trip, I daydreamed of going to this show (I am not sure if you can even get tickets):

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More from the Met

In my previous post I shared some photos of my brief wander around the overwhelming Metropolitan Museum of Art . In addition to the Asian wing, I also wandered around the European paintings. Like the museum in Europe I have visited (Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam; Uffizi, Florence, etc.) it is so amazing to see paintings from say the 12th century!

I spent a little time in the Medieval painting section of the Met:

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I also stumbled upon displays of amazing ancient and modern ceramics, which included this piece/pieces which I thought would be a great inspiration art quilt design inspiration:

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Trimmings Galore

If you are a crafter visiting NYC, I recommend a visit to the Fashion District. It is a magical place with shops with rare fabrics and trimmings.

While wandering around Manhattan with my sister and nephew, I dragged them into an amazing shop – M&J Trimmings. Any embellishment you could think of for a textile could be found in this shop. Whether you needed feathers, buttons, tassels, cord, or any other type of trim you could imagine, they had it.

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And this was the room that blew my mind (I only captured one wall in my photos) – a huge room of BUTTONS! Buttons everywhere! I wanted to buy them all, but I only admired them as I could not justify buying anymore buttons! (See my 2016 post Buttons for more on my button-obsession).

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Of course I have so many more photos and of course a lot of family photos (you will just have to take my word for it on how handsome my nephews) but hopefully over the past four posts I gave you a general feeling of what it was like to attend the QTM 2017!


Postscript

So you might be thinking: “Tierney if you love NY so much, why don’t you still live there?”

I love NY and it has a special place in my heart but it is not where my heart wants to live. My heart wants to live in the Pacific NW. Washington and Oregon are amazing and beautiful states. The cultures are quite different than the East Coast. I love the laid back vibe and spirit of the Pacific NW. I love all the trees, the mountains, the “hipster” and “hippy” people that live here. The green eco-conscious vibe. The focus on human rights and causes. Not to say this type of culture does not exist in other parts of our country, but it seems really concentrated in the Pacific NW.

Now I have a friend from my college days who lives in NYC and loves to tease me: “Can you braid your arm pit hair now from living in the Pacific NW so long?” She thinks I spend most my days tree-hugging lol between sips of coffee.

People in the Pacific NW sometimes go overboard being nice and thoughtful but I like it! Sometimes crosswalks are an issue as cars will stop in anticipation that you are approaching the crosswalk to cross the street, so you can back up traffic when you are just looking like you might eventually cross a street! In Central Oregon we do not in general honk our horns at people who do not start up right away from a light changing to green. We just patiently wait for them to see the light and go (this is VERY different than NY!) If you need to learn patience and become more peaceful, move to the Pacific NW.

But people smile a lot here, and their smiles seem genuine.

During my layover in Seattle before my flight (on a big plane!) across the country to JFK airport/NYC, I found this in the Seattle airport bathroom – in a bathroom stall where the purse hook is mounted. Maybe it was done by a traveler from somewhere else, but it feels so Pacific NW:

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Feature image credit: quiltalliance.com

Behind the Scenes at the Antonio Ratti Textile Center – QTM 2017

Continuing my series of posts on my Quilters Take Manhattan 2017 event experience, this post I share my awe and wonder while attending a special behind the scenes tour of the Antonio Ratti Textile Center at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

How I Ended Up Attending QTM 2017

Before I share that experience, let me back up a moment and talk about how I ended up attending the Quilt Alliance’s Quilters Take Manhattan event.

I first heard about the Quilters Take Manhattan event on a Facebook post of someone I follow who was attending the event.

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Image credit: quiltalliance.com

I was immediately tempted when I checked the event’s website and saw that Dr. Carolyn L. Mazloomi and Sherri Lynn Wood would be presenting but NYC is quite a plane ride from Central Oregon for a 1 day conference.

Next I saw that they were offering special add-on events such as a behind the scenes tour of the Antonio Ratti Textile Center at the Metropolitan Museum of Art .

The words “Antonio Ratti” hold a lot of meaning for me. In 2012 my friend Betty Anne and I came up with the idea of creating a collection of art quilts from gifted samples of Ratti textiles (renown house of Italian couture textiles) from the 1990’s NYC Fashion District. These samples would have been destroyed and we thought it would be amazing to create a collection of quilts from recycled materials meant for couture fabrics.

Betty Anne then invited other quilters to participate and we created Quilting Meets Couture. We showed this collection of 21 art quilts created by 14 women in 2013 at several venues to include a special exhibit at the Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show. The Quilting Meets Couture group eventually disbanded, the collection did not go any further, and it eventually became The Wardrobe Meets the Wall containing only Betty Anne and my art quilts.

Recently, I created a page on the collaborative website Betty Anne and I have, Improvisational Textiles to honor the memory of this special time which was also my first venture into “art” quilting:

Quilting Meets Couture

(I will always been deeply grateful to my friend and mentor Betty Anne Guadalupe for encouraging me to move from traditional to art quilting, as well as all the art quilting inspiration from Jean Wells Keenan, see my post Creative Inspiration, Quilting Mentors).

Still the opportunity to meet Dr. Mazloomi, Sherri Lynn Wood, and to attend a behind the scenes tour of the textile center created/funded by the great Italian textile manufacturer/designer was not enough to fully justify in my mind a trip across the country (and associated expenses). I then realized I could also justify my trip by visiting with my family (who all live on the East Coast) while I was in NYC.

Of course this is where I ran into trouble – I tried to cram too much into a 4-day weekend. I ended up catching a bad cold from exhausting, long air travel, lack of sleep, etc. I ran my immune system into the ground, but I had a really wonderful time. I had an incredible visit with my sister, my brother and my two awesome nephews (ages 5 and 13).

Am I rambling? I always question at what point in my post I am just rambling. Okay, let’s return to the original purpose of this post – to share highlights from the behind the scenes tour of the Antonio Ratti Textile Center!

Behind the Scenes at the Antonio Textile and Reference Library

Our tour group was led/coordinated by the quite fabulous, Merikay Waldvogel, quilt historian. We met in the foyer of the mind blowing Metropolitan Museum of Art:

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The second photo you will see a very excited Tierney waiting with the tour group to go to the Antonio Ratti Textile Center. The last photo in the series above is an archway we passed under on our way to the Textile Center. I could barely breath at this point…

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I will be sharing limited photos that I took during the rest of this post on the tour. The curator requested that, in general, we only take photos for our own personal use. They would prefer we public shared only official images from the Met’s official collection. She also stated we could not take photos of how they store textiles at the center. There were other special rules of course – we could not touch any of the pieces and had to be careful not to let anything on our person touch the textiles.

But do not worry – they said we could note the catalog number of the quilt we viewed to access their public images of the work. So for the most part, I will share their images of the incredible historic quilts I viewed.

The staff at the Ratti Textile Center pre-selected a group of rare quilts, several which have never been on display because they are so fragile, for us to view. All the images below are property of and from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Art Collection website.

A Selection of Some of The Quilts We Viewed:


Honeycomb Quilt, Elizabeth Van Home Clarkson, 1830

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image credit: Metropolitan Museum of Art

From the Met website:

Elizabeth Van Horne Clarkson made this quilt from hundreds of small hexagonal pieces of fabric. It is the earliest wholly pieced American quilt in the Museum’s collection. Although pieced quilts were popular in England in the eighteenth century, the technique did not catch on in America until the nineteenth century, as increased leisure time made quiltmaking more popular and small patterned printed cottons were less expensive to work with than English chintzes. The quilt was made in a pattern known as Honeycomb. The multicolored hexagons are sewn together with whipstitching. Elizabeth Clarkson probably made the quilt as a wedding present for her son Thomas in about 1830.

There are an amazing amount of very tiny hexagons. The photo of course does not compare to seeing all the exquisite and elaborate detail of his quilt in person – the border is a quite complex piecing.


Pictorial Quilt, Euphemia Kichlein, 1832

The Met does not have an official photo on their website, so I will share one of the images I took of this amazing quilt:

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This quilt is quite famous and has appeared in several quilting historical books.


Star of Bethlehem pattern variation, Ellen Morton Littlejohn,  1837–50

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Image credit: Metropolitan Museum of Art

This quilt is too fragile to ever be on display and we were given the rare, once in a lifetime opportunity to view it in person. This quilt was made by an African American woman while she was a slave for the family that owned her. It was an example that early African American quilting is not only improvisational/’make do” quilting like the Gees Bend Quilts. This was an elaborately pieced and trapunto quilted quilt. The photo above does not show you all the detail I saw in person. One of the quilt historians in our tour group (there were at least 3 including a curator from the American Folk Art Museum!) stated that many elaborate quilts were made by slaves however these quilts were kept by the families that owned them and the quilts were never credited with the work.


Tumbling Blocks with Signatures pattern, Adeline Harris Sears, 1856

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Image credit: Metropolitan Museum of Art

From the Met’s website:

In 1856, seventeen-year-old Adeline Harris, the daughter of a well-to-do Rhode Island mill owner, conceived of a unique quiltmaking project. She sent small diamond-shaped pieces of white silk worldwide to people she esteemed as the most important figures of her day, asking each to sign the silk and return it to her. By the time the signatures were all returned and ready to be stitched into a “tumbling-blocks” patterned quilt, Adeline had amassed an astonishing collection of autographs. Her quilt features the signatures of eight American presidents; luminaries from the worlds of science, religion, and education; heroes of the Civil War; such authors as Charles Dickens and Ralph Waldo Emerson; and an array of prominent artists. Today, the autographs displayed in this beautiful and immaculately constructed quilt provide an intriguing glimpse into the way an educated young woman of the mid-nineteenth century viewed her world.

It was amazing to see Abraham Lincoln’s signature on a quilt block. Hope I am not breaking the rules, but here is a close up image I took:

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Floral Applique Quilt, Emeline Travis Ludington, 1850

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Image credit: Metropolitan Museum of Art

From the Met website:

In the mid-nineteenth century, at the time this outstanding quilt was made in Carmel, New York, a town about fifty miles north of New York City, the florid and intricate Rococo Revival Style was in full bloom. The grapevines and appliquéd flowers entwined into wreaths stiched onto the surface are reminiscent of the decoration found carved into the rich rosewood backs of high-style New York furniture of the same era. While many bed quilts are quite modest objects meant for everyday use, this one would have been considered stylish and sophisticated when it was created. Its exceptionally good condition reinforces the notion that it was meant to be a “best” quilt, taken out only on special occasions to beautify its maker’s home.
Emeline Travis Ludington had an ambitious artistic vision for her quilt, laying out and stiching a stunning overall design and adding an unusual scalloped finishing detail to the edges. Ludington was married to a banker, George, and was the mother of six children. Her quilt-making skill is undocumented beyond this piece.

It was interesting to listen to several of the quilt historians on the tour in our group debating the source of fabrics (England vs. US) and other historical details. We had a group of brilliant women in our tour group!


Woman’s Rights Quilt, Emma Civey Stahl, 1875

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From the Met’s website:
This unique pictorial quilt tells two distinct stories. Three of the circular appliquéd vignettes depict soldiers who fought in the American Civil War, assuredly still a fresh memory when the quilt was made. Three other blocks feature dynamic scenes of social activism in the fight for women’s rights. In one vignette, the reformer leaves her husband and child, a “WOMAN’S RIGHTS” banner slung jauntily over her shoulder. In another she is driving a horse-drawn cart, undoubtedly going to the meeting depicted in a third circle, where she vociferously lectures the cowering audience. The quiltmaker’s comical take on one of the most serious issues of the late nineteenth century raises the question of her own viewpoint on the subject


There were several other quilts, however in this post I wanted to share examples of the incredible pieces of quilting history we had the chance to view. The staff at the Antonio Ratti Textile Center were extremely knowledgable and helpful and you could tell they were excited to share some of the collection with the tour group.

After the Textile Center Tour

I had an hour before I needed to meet up with my family after the behind the scenes of the Antonio Ratti Textile Center tour was complete. What do see in an hour at the Metropolitan Museum of Art?!!?

The Met has over 5000 years of art from around the world, according to their website. According to Wikipedia, it is the largest art museum in the United States and its permanent collection contains 2 million works!

I went to one of the docent/information desks and asked for an idea of what to see in an hour (it takes weeks or months to see the entire collection). We discussed what I was interested in and she suggested I go to the Asian Art Wing. In this wing they had an amazing exhibit – Cosmic Buddhas in the Himalayas which had some incredible textiles on display as well as iconic Buddha images.

Here is a little flavor of the amazing exhibit:

It was quite a serene and mediative experience to walk among the Buddhas in the exhibit. The lighting was amazing, perfectly dimmed and the exhibits rooms were fairly empty except a couple of others quietly wandering the exhibit like myself. There was a mystical feeling to the whole exhibit. Also I had a wonderful chat with one of the security guards/museum staff assigned to the exhibit. She was amazed herself with one of the tapestries and when I showed interest in it, she was so happy to have someone to discuss all the intricate details of the tapestry with (the exhibit was very empty of visitors so there was not much guarding for her to do!)

Of course the images do not do the pieces justice. The same for the quilts I saw in person, the images do not even come close to the experience of seeing them in person.

I would like to return to the Metropolitan Museum of Art again someday and spend more time looking through their amazing collection!


Postscript

There is so much more I wanted to share in this post but this post has grown rather long so I will save the rest of it for my next post.

Little Wallet Madness

As mentioned in recent previous posts, I have been making little wallets from my fabric scraps.

Endless wallets. Cutting out fabric from templates in the evening while watching TV and then engaging in marathon assembling and sewing.

58+ wallets later, I am ready to share photos of the wallets.

First here are 55 of them (two I recently I gave away as gifts and one I kept for myself):

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An attempt at closer up photos of the wallets:

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I had so much fun rummaging through my boxes of fabric scraps and putting together various combinations. Here are photos of a couple of the insides of the little wallets to demonstrate some of the color and texture combinations I used for the inside pockets:

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Here are some of my favorite little wallets from my little wallet assembly madness:

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I plan to do a “Little Wallet” giveaway to celebrate the 4th anniversary of my blog in October so stay tuned. They are perfect for business cards, a place to keep punch cards (like frequent customer cards) or to use as a wallet.

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Update on “Scrappy Improvisational Medallion”…Pillow

The last of the four old projects (#3) I laid out in my my studio in the photo below, is now completed:

2017-08-01_19-03-27_630I first posted about this project in the post What’s on the Design Wall: Scrappy Improvisational Medallion and the plan was to make it into a Medallion Quilt.

However, I was not feeling inspired to keep building the improvisational Medallion Quilt, even after I pulled out my copy of Gwen Marston’s book Liberated Medallion Quilts. (This book is about breaking the rules and making improvisational medallion quilts instead of traditional accurately pieced medallion quilts.)

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I even found among my scraps a wonderful collection of coordinating fabrics. Still, I was not feeling inspired to make it into a quilt. I did however want to make it into something and to be done with this project, so I made it into a pillow for my sunroom:

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This pillow joins my collection of handmade items on secondhand love-seat in my sunroom that my neighbor gave me. The love-seat is plaid and not really my style, so I covered it with homemade and other second hand items.

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I am not giving up on my plan to make a medallion quilt someday! I tucked away some ideas from working on this piece.


Postscript

So what is next? Well I have become obsessed with making little wallets using my collection of fabric scraps:

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I am not sure what I am going to do with all the little wallets, but I am having fun playing in my different boxes of fabric scraps organized by color and finding pieces that working with the templates for the little wallets:

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Fabric scraps organized by color

Here is a bag of turquoise and teal fabric scraps I cannot wait to play with next once I finish playing with orange and brown scraps:

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I will share in a future post all the little wallets in fun color combinations I made from scraps!

 

The Library Stack

It has been a long time since I contributed an entry to my ongoing series The Library Stack.

I took a hiatus from slogging home huge piles of books from my beloved Public Library and cozying up with a pot of tea. Instead I’ve been reading from my collection of craft magazines and books with my pot of tea.

But I could not stay away too long from my library and recently I slogged home a new pile of borrowed tomes:

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The 700s is my favorite Dewey Decimal section!

Novel Interiors

I’ve greatly enjoyed one of the books in the stack so far – Novel Interiors: Living in Enchanted Rooms Inspired by Literature, by Lisa Borgnes Giramonti (2014).

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Photo credit: amazon.com

I thought I would share a couple quotes from the book that made my smile:

“We don’t just read a great story, we inhabit it.” – Lisa Borgnes Giramonti

“Jo hurried to this quiet place, and curling herself up in the easy chair, devoured poetry, romance, history, travels, and pictures like a regular bookworm.” – Louisa May Alcott, Little Women

“If people do but know how to set about it, every comfort may be enjoyed in a cottage as in the most spacious dwelling.” – Jane Austen, Sense and Sensibility

Yes this morning, I am enjoying the comfort of reading with my pot of tea in my cottage (we nicknamed our 1300 square foot abode “The Cottage”)!


Postscript

After going to the Deschutes County Fair (see post Deschutes County Fair) and finishing 3 of my 4 crafting project laid out in my studio, I thought I might revisit my Farm Girl Vintage blocks again. I  put them all up on the design wall in the hallway:

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But I am just not “feeling them” right now and I am going to take them back down. Watch for a future post to see what I’ve stuck up on the design wall instead!

Speaking of “Farm Girl” my little farm (backyard raised bed garden) had the most curious harvest: ONE zucchini. Yes you read correctly – only ONE zucchini. I might be the first person in history to have just ONE zucchini in their zucchini harvest.

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Usually people are trying to give away their zucchini harvest (a friend told me story of “zucchini drive-bys” where you drop bags of zucchini at the front porches of unsuspecting friends and neighbors) and I have only ONE.

So what did I do with my ONE zucchini (yes there are no more zucchinis on the horizon in my garden, I checked 4-5 times) – well, I made two loaves of zucchini bread!

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I stretched that ONE precious zucchini!


Check out Sassy the Highly Opinionated Miniature Schnauzer’s latest musings on her blog Schnauzer Snips. 

 

 

Deschutes County Fair

A couple weekends ago we went to the Deschutes County Fair (Deschutes County Fair & Rodeo) and this is a belated post to share some photos from the Fair.

The Deschutes County Fair is allegedly (according to their website) Oregon’s largest county fair and rodeo. We have attended a couple of times, and honestly we are always a little underwhelmed.

This could because we used to live in Seattle, WA and each year would go to the more impressive Pullayup Fair (Washington State Fair) or because we used to live in Houston, TX and would attend the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo.  So perhaps the bar was set a little high on what we expect from a Fair/Livestock Show/Rodeo.

Lured by the Promise of “Carnival Eats”

We would have passed on the Deschutes County Fair this year, but Terry the Quilting Husband (TTQH) got hooked on a show on the Cooking Channel called Carnival Eats.

Basically Carnival Eats is an extreme “food porn” show featuring the NAUGHTIEST fair/carnival food ever (we are talking bacon burgers stuffed with cheese set in a glazed Krispy Kreme donut bun) around the country. Some of the carnival food shown on the show makes you gasp and you imagine if you had one glorious bite you would just immediately drop dead of a heart attack from an extreme coronary blockage by fat. But you would die with a smile on your face!

TTQH and I in general eat fairly healthy but after binge watching a couple of the show with Terry, I thought it would be fun this year to go to the Deschutes County Fair and have one very naughty carnival food experience.

Alas, there was only the standard Fair/Carnival food at the Deschutes Country Fair (corn dogs, friend twinkies, elephant ears). Below is a photo of the most exciting offering they had, and we passed on it, It was just not naughty enough to spend the calories on:

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Wandering Around the Fair

Our coronary arteries probably thanked us, but we gave up on hopes of any naughty food experiences, grabbed a lemonade and wandered around the Fair. Here are some photos from the day.

The Livestock

The livestock was owned/managed by the adorable 4H and FFA (Future Farmers of America) kids. One kids asked me if I wanted to meet her goat,  how could I refuse?

The 4H or FFA kids had posted The Six Pillars of Character:

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The Quilts

What would a county fair be without the craft section? First here is a sampling of some the quilts:

And they had a room in which you could watch women hand quilt in various modified versions of quilting circles!

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The Fiber Arts

The also had knitting and weaving displays and juried winners:

The Rides (that there was no way in heck I was going on)

In case the signs were not enough to keep me away:

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Then the rides themselves accomplished that objective:

Yes, I am a wimp, and proud of it! (smile)

Leaving the Fair

Upon leaving the fair, I asked TTQH if he was less likely to eat meat after meeting all those farm animals. He replied: “That was very cute bacon and if I knew it’s name I would personally thank it while having breakfast”.

No vegetarianism in TTQH’s future!


Postscript

Returning to what originally drew us to the fair – the promise of naughty fair food, I looked around the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo’s website and discovered they had a list of their Fair Food – 2017 Carnival Food

Now, look at these delicacies we did not have access to at the Deschutes County Fair:

  • Flaming Hot Cheetos Roaster Corn & Flaming Hot Cheetos Corn in Cup
  • Nutella Funnel Cake & Oreo Churros with filling
  • Flaming Hot Cheetos Pizza
  • Deep Fried Tim Tams & Deep Fried Chocolate Covered Marshmallows
  • Bacon Nutella Pickle, Pickled Cheese-on-a-Stick, & Shrimp and Pickle Basket
  • Pork Chop-on-a-stick, Loaded Baked Potato Bites & Deep Fried Nachos

So right now your mouth is either watering or your stomach is turning!

We ended up having a nice late lunch after the fair at a local brewery.

What’s Off the Design Wall: Cozy Cobblestones

Finally the follow up post to What’s on the Design Wall: Cozy Cobblestones with the completed quilt top!

It is a quilt top measures approximately 60″ x 72″ and made with traditional piecing but not a with a traditional vibe.

I tried to photograph it using the back of my shed discussed in the post The Photoshoot Shed: Please Give Me Your Ideas, but I had a shadow from the top of my gate due to the position of the sun:

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So I moved it to the side of my house which was completely in shadow and got a better photo:

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I decided not to put a border on it because I plan to put it into the rotation of quilts I rotate through my living room. A border would make it too large for the space I want to hang it. It coordinates well with the colors in my living room!

So I am working on piecing a backing together with various 1 -2 yard pieces of browns I have (trying to use my stash) and then send it to a long-arm quilter. I will likely bind it in the Stonehenge fabric I was going to use for the border.

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I guess I need to work on the Medallion quilt in the photo below next as I have completed  #1, #2, and #4!

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Postscript 

Around this time last year I was posting about the sunflowers in my garden. Well they did not return this year and I did not plant sunflower seeds – so I am sunflowerless!

Luckily my neighbors on the corner have several raised bed boxes of sunflowers in their front yard for me to enjoy:

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I will be more diligent next Spring on planting sunflower seeds!

The Expenditure Tracking Experiment

I am still working on piecing together Cozy Cobblestones that I discussed in my previous post. The “Picnic Setting” is no picnic, and has several “Y” seams and must be pieced in a methodical way (or you are screwed!) Hopefully the next post will be to share my completed quilt top (unless I decided to throw in a post about our visit to the Deschutes County Fair a couple weekends ago…)

This post I wanted to share an interesting experiment I have committed to doing for a year and wondered if any of you have ever tried something like this – I am tracking ALL my expenditures for 1 year. Everything, even if I buy a $2 ice cream cone, etc.

I created a spreadsheet at the end of 2016, broken into as many categories as I could think of (though I had to keep adding categories as the year progressed) and starting January 1, 2017, I began recording anything I spent money on – from food to utilities.

Here is a screenshot of a section of my spreadsheet to date:

Screen Shot 2017-08-19 at 12.24.23 PM.pngOne of the most enlightening (actually shocking) things, was how much we spend on food (and there are only two humans in the household)!  Not to mention how many trips to the grocery store (and several different grocery stores) we make each month.

For example in July 2017, we went to one grocery store EIGHT (8) times! I am starting to wonder if my hobby is not quilting/crafting, but actually going to grocery stores! I wince at the $1.38 purchase listed above – whatever that was, why didn’t I get it during the grocery store visit in the $52.90 purchase above?

Well making a change can only come after gaining awareness that a change is needed. I thought I was a very thrifty “demi-minimalist” but my spreadsheet says I am an out of control food hoarder!

Besides the shocking amount of grocery store spending/visits I have made so far this year, I have learned a lot of valuable stuff about our spending habits and several positive changes have been made. Also it has become a game, where I will not buy something that I do not really need because I want to see if I can get the current month’s expenditures lower than the others.

One more cool thing about this (sometimes painful) spreadsheet, is I have a tool to use to discuss with Terry the Quilting Husband strategies to manages our expenses. We discussed the disaster that was July 2017 and made a conscious effort to keep the August grocery expenses under control!

I would love to hear if any of you have tried something like this.

Well that’s all for now, I got to go head out to the grocery store and pick something up 😉


Feature image photo credit: Sufi Nawaz, free images.com

 

 

What’s on the Design Wall: Cozy Cobblestones

This morning’s post is a follow up What’s on the Design Wall…a “Hot Mess”?

Yesterday I worked to turn the “hot mess” and former unfinished object (UFO) into something resembling a quilt top. I’ve named the quilt “Cozy Cobblestones” as the fabric is the Northcott Stonehenge Cobblestones line.

I promised better photos, however I was unable to keep my promise. Still struggling with the narrowness of my hallway, I had to take entire layout photos at an angle. Alas, this is one of the “cons” of having a design wall in a narrow hallway!

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From the right side

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From the left side

Here is one “head on” photo taken by smooshing myself against the opposite wall:

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“Smooshed” against the wall!

You are probably wincing at the lighting on the photos. Once I sew the blocks together, I am going to take the quilt outside for a proper photo!

I am likely going to “float” the quilt top in additional Stonehenge fabric (I think I have enough yardage to put a “float” border around it). Here is the fabric I might use (it is my only choice unless I go out and try to find some more):

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Next to a section of the blocks layout:

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Try and use your imagination of how cool this will look…

I might use the same fabric for the binding too as I am trying to use what I have in my stash. A contrasting binding might be nice but I would have to purchase it new (and I am taking a hiatus from buying fabric right now).

Speaking of my “stash”, I put the scraps and the two remaining fat quarters that I did not use up, in a future “Challenge Bag” (see post Basket of Challenges):

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I’m gonna be a future “Challenge Bag” – yay!

Inside the scrap bag you will see the blue scraps that I loved (from another Stonehenge line that a quilting friend donated) but could not work into the piece. We’ll see what I make in the future with this small bag of scraps.

The remaining scraps are fairly small as I worked hard to harvest any piece I could turn into a 2.5″ x 2.5″ block:

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Little squares, cutting so many little squares! (42 x 9 = 378)

Quilters reading this may wince, but I did not have enough length of any of the scraps from piecing the original 12″ blocks to make the 6′ nine-patch blocks using the quick “strip-piecing” method. Instead I had to cut out individual 2.5″ x 2.5″ pieces and sew them together to make 42 6-inch nine-patch blocks!  I did “chain-piece” the heck out the pieces after a while became a nine-patch block factory!

It was definitely an old school traditional piecing!

I am feeling pleased with my progress on the “UFOs” in this photo, this quilt top is the #4 in the photo below:

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Once I get it all sewn together, I guess I need to work on the only remaining “UFO” – #3 (Medallion quilt) – but I am not feeling inspiration on that one yet!


Postscript

In addition to a push to complete my unfinished projects, I’ve recently experimented with a couple paper-crafting/card making projects in the paper-crafting/beading area I set up in my sunroom:

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Here are the two cards I made:

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I am not sure if the recipients of these cards actually liked them, but I had fun making them. I listened to a classical radio station on my new(ish) thrift shop radio and found card making very meditative.

Card making was actually my first official crafting hobby that I did with others.

My friend Michele got me started in the late 1990s. I think it opened my mind to starting quilting, which I learned shortly after. I still have many of my card making supplies from the late 1990s and early 2000s. I donated about 1/2 of those supplies to charity organizations but I still have some wonderful supplies to make more handmade cards (whether people want them or not – ha!)

What’s on the Design Wall…a “Hot Mess”?

On the large design wall in my hallway is something that resembles a “hot mess“.

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The hallway is narrow – it works great as a design wall, but is challenging for photography.

This “hot mess” actually represents quite a bit of progress. I struggled with what to do with the 20 blocks I made during a “traditional piecing” binge I went on October to November 2016 and discussed in the following series of posts:

A little background:

Prior to working these blocks, it seems like the last couple of years I was primarily focused on improvisational quilting. I was craving structure (and a break from designing my own quilts) and pulled out my old Ladies’ Art Company Block Tool by Connie Chunn (2007) and started making blocks using a jelly roll I found in my stash of Northcott Cobblestone Stonehenge; and some Stonehenge scraps another quilter gave me.

Unfortunately, I did not have enough of the blue Stonehenge scraps to use them in more than just one block so I had to return those to the fabric scrap basket.

(Now I could have titled this post “Revisiting Traditional Piecing…Part IV” but this binge of working on “traditional pieced blocks” has intermittently continued while I sporadically work on Farm Girl Vintage blocks.)

The dilemma – designing the final quilt layout

The reason why the 20 blocks pictured below got put aside after my “piecing binge” was that I could not find a pleasing way to lay them out. I auditioned many different ways of setting the blocks to include traditional ways such as lattice, putting them on pointing, floating them, and various ideas suggested by my readers (much appreciated!)

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I even thought about the unique and spectacular block layout that Martha Ginn shared in her Martha’s Blog post: Shapely Challenge Revealed.

(Martha and met through this quilt: She bought the green ombre setting fabric for this exquisite sampler quilt through my tierneycreates Etsy shop…glad I met her before I closed the shop!)

Alas, none of the numerous options I explored appealed to me.

Farm Girl Vintage Strikes!

My next venture into traditional-block-piecing-binging was with Lori Holt’s Farm Girl Vintage. In this book I discovered the perfect setting for my blocks! It is called the “Picnic Setting”

For copyright reasons I did not want to photograph the page in Farm Girl Vintage showing the setting, but I did find this photo on Pinterest, pinned by Deborah Thomas, of a quilt in the Picnic Setting:

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Photo credit: Deborah Thomas, Pinterest

The setting is a mixture of 12″ (finished) and 6″ (finished) blocks. The 6″ blocks are the setting for the 12″ blocks!

At first I thought of returning to the Ladies’ Art Company Block Tool and creating a bunch of different 6 inch pieced blocks. Thinking through this idea, I realized the quilt top would NEVER get done if headed down this path. How daunting to make 36 different 6″ blocks to set my 12″ blocks! I needed at least 36 of them to make the block setting work, and it would be 2020 before I posted about this quilt in progress again!.

Nine-Patch, an old stand-by

Finally I settled on making “old school” 6″ (finished) nine-patch blocks using up the scraps from the original jelly roll from piecing the 12″ blocks.

Here is the beginning of playing with the layout as I make the nine-patch blocks:

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There will not be a lot of contrast, and that is intentional. I want the quilt top to have the feel of looking at a stone floor and the patterns and the colors of the stones flowing into one another.

More to come as I progress on the quilt top (perhaps even better photos, but do not get your hopes up!)


Postscript

Decorating with Pillows

A quick follow up to my previous post – Petite Pillow Power! – here is a little vignette in my living room with one of the new pillow, a batik basket I made (the top one),  a lidded store bought basket, and a Longaberger basket someone gave me as a gift 20 years ago:

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Quilting Meets Couture

In case you’d like to learn more about the project that got me started on my art quilting journey, check out this post on the collaborative website I have with Betty Anne Guadalupe, Improvisational Textiles:  

Quilting Meets Couture

You can also check out the new page on Improvisational Textiles that showcases the entire Quilting Meets Couture collection:

QUILTING MEETS COUTURE


Check out the Improvisational Textiles blog if you would like to follow our collaborative improvisational art quilting journey.

I hurried.

No the feature photo is not of anyone I know, it is courtesy of freeimages.com and the photographer is Alex LA. 

Today I have a shocking update to my previous post on 07/31/17, Everything is Accomplished (What’s On the Design Wall) .

I actually finished (quilted, binding done and hung on the wall) the wallhanging I started in an appliqué class in May 2016, inspired by Lao Tzu’s quote:

“NATURE DOES NOT HURRY, YET EVERYTHING IS ACCOMPLISHED.” ~LAO TZU

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Finished, quilted, hanging on the wall!

I am not sure what came over me, as I really was going to continue following Nature’s example and not hurry – ha! I figured in another year or so I would get it finished. Instead I finished it under a week.

Shocking.


Postscript

A couple of days ago I snapped this photo in my studio. I was laughing to myself at how many projects I had in progress, at the same time, in the same area.

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I assigned numbers and below is a link to the most recent blog posts on each ongoing project. I am on a push to complete open projects!

  1. Decorative small pillows – Finishing out the Challenge Bag of shot cottons
  2. Applique Project (this post)
  3. Medallion wallhanging – What’s on the Design Wall: Scrappy Improvisational Medallion
  4. Traditional quilt block piecing with non traditional fabrics – Revisiting Traditional Piecing: The Blocks Part III

Well, as of today I am one down!

Everything is Accomplished (What’s On the Design Wall)

Yesterday I completed the quilt top for a wallhanging based on the following quote:

“Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished.” ~Lao Tzu

And like Nature, I did not hurry on completing this piece! It was started in May 2016 during a class at the Stitchin’ Post in Sisters, Oregon with the lovely Janet Shorten (see post Adventures in Appliqué ). I picked the piece back up again in June 2017 (see post Quilt Retreat Inspiration and Projects). I wrangled tangled floss and learned to backstitch (see post The Backstitch and the End of Tangled Floss) and finally completed the quilt top yesterday…July 2017!

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At first I was only going to stitch the Lao Tzu quote going around the tree. However the right side did not seem balanced, with the left side having the acorn. Also I thought at first glance it might not be apparent what the odd thing on the left was (my loose interpretation of an acorn), so I decided to risk becoming “Captain Obvious” and stated that “The tiny acorn becomes the mighty oak tree”.

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I am not going to win any “stitching words on quilts” awards, but I really enjoyed slow stitching the backstitching of the words on the piece and learned a lot as I progressed. I wimped out at the end and did not do the letter “i”s french knot top dots (or whatever the official word is for the dot/period on the top of the letter “i”), but maybe next time.

You may be curious about my fabric choices but let’s just say the whole piece is “multicultural”:

  • The saying/quote is from an ancient Chinese philosopher.
  • The piece was inspired by an African Bible Verses quilt and the original fabric for the acorn and the tree were from the teacher’s stash of African themed fabrics.
  • The border fabric is an Aboriginal style print.

Here is the fabric I have planned for the binding – it reminded me of a tree branch:

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I plan to do a combination of machine and hand quilting on the piece, so by 2018 I should have it done (smile).

But then I am only following Nature’s example…and eventually the piece will be accomplished!


Postscript

My blogging buddy Melanie at Catbird Studios, asked her readers in a recent post how they choose their next quilting project to work on. I responded that for me it is random, which is usually true, however I realize that lately I appear to be focused on working on unfinished projects (which is a very good thing) instead of starting something new when it catches my attention.

Creative Inspiration: Just Cut Out the Bad Parts and Keep Going

This post continues my series of posts on sources of Creative Inspiration.

One of my quilting mentors, Jean Wells Keenan, once said in a class (paraphrased): When you are really stuck on a piece and you want to give up, don’t give up. Just push through your discomfort or unhappiness with the piece; keep going and you will be surprised how it evolves.

So what does this have to do with my featured image for this post – a pile of sweet potatoes?

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Well, at lunch today (I am a telecommuter), I pulled out the remains of a bag of several weeks old sweet potatoes. I forgot about them in the veggie drawer in my fridge and I hoped I could possibly use them (I hate wasting food) in a salad or veggie bowl if I boiled them.

As I washed the sweet potatoes, a first glance, they looked kind of icky and their only future was compost. However on closer inspection, I realized there were good viable parts to each sweet potato – all I had to do was cut out the bad parts.

While trimming each sweet potato to remove the “bad parts”, I thought how this relates to creating a piece of art. I have worked on several art quilting project when I wanted to just give up, crumple the piece into a ball (and burn it) and discard it.

Occasionally I did just this, throw away the piece and try to forgot the time I spent on expending my creativity on the piece. This was until I took a series of art quilting classes with Jean Wells Keenan and heard her statement about not giving up – it resonated with me.

I learned to work or rework what I have created already, cut the bad parts out, and keep going with creating the piece.

An example of an art quilt that I wanted to throw into the trash pile (or burn as an effigy of what-not-to-do-when-creating-an-art-quilt) was my piece Abandoned Water Structure.  This piece, which was eventually sold to the City of Seattle/Seattle Public Utilities for their Portable Works Collection  nearly made it to the trash or fabric recycling pile several times (or as potential kindling).

It began as an art quilt project based on a photo of a beach structure for a series of classes I was taking with Jean Wells Keenan, called Journey to Inspired Art Quilting. I absolutely hated the piece and it seemed like to would never go anywhere (I felt like I was stopped in my journey anywhere, much less to inspired art quilting).

The series of classes ended, and I took the unfinished piece back home with me to sit in the abandoned project pile (where projects go to die..).

Randomly rummaging through my abandoned project pile a couple months later, I rediscovered the piece and I was suddenly struck with the feeling that I was not using the correct inspiration for the piece. The piece WANTED TO BE SOMETHING ELSE.

I had a photo on my inspiration board of an abandoned/closed water power facility in Central Oregon and I knew this is what the piece was to become (or at least be inspired by)!

After reworking the piece for a couple hours, I was tempted to return it to the abandon project pile (or just soak it in lighter fluid) but luckily I heard Jean in the back of my head to “just push through, keep going“. I cut out the bad parts, the parts that were not working in the piece, and eventually it became the Abandoned Water Structure art quilt.

If I were to summarize my thoughts and advice from this experience (and my ramblings above) for my fellow crafters and artists, it would be:

Creating can be like working with a partially rotted sweet potato. 
You know there is yumminess still there but you don't want to eat 
"the bad parts".

So cut out the "bad parts" and keep the good/viable parts!

Keep going, don't give up, be patient with yourself and the piece.
Let it become the yumminess it eventually wants to become.

Well I have stretched that analogy as far as it will stretch, thanks for reading to see where the heck I was going with my sweet potato story.

Oh and in case you were curious, my trimmed and boiled sweet potatoes were delicious (full of yumminess) in my salad at lunch!


Feature image credit: khongrithSV, free images.com

More Farm House Vintage Blocks

I worked on Farm Girl Vintage Blocks this weekend.

Last time I posted about my progress, I had just completed the Cool Threads Block. I am working through the blocks alphabetically in Lori Holt’s Farm Girl Vintage book.

I knocked out 5 more blocks this weekend: Corn and Tomatoes Block, Corn and Tomatoes Special Edition block (available as special download from the Fat Quarter Shop), Country Crossroads Block, Crops Block, and Postage Stamp Block.

I know,  I know “Postage Stamp Block” does not sound like it is in alphabetical order. I needed a mindless block (created from 36 –  2.5″ squares) to work on after having to pay close attention to create the previous 4 blocks.

Once I complete a couple more blocks, I will post a photo of all the blocks completed to date.


Postscript

As I mentioned in my 06/27/17 post, Seeds, I am listening to, from Episode #1 forward,  The RobCast by Rob Bell (robbell.com). Rob Bell is a former pastor turned author, coach, speaker. His podcasts focuses on spirituality and quality of life.

While working on my Farm Girl Vintage blocks I listened to his podcast Episode #21, which featured a conversation with author Elizabeth Gilbert (best known for her book Eat, Pray, Love).

Here is an excerpt from that interview/conversation that I found particularly inspiring. Elizabeth Gilbert shared how her accountant (and friend of many years) views life:

“(When I call him) He picks up the phone, and when you say ‘how are you doing?’, he says ‘I have never been better in my life’.

No matter what is going on in his life, this is how he answers the phone. I asked him why he answers the phone that way and he responded:

‘Everyday has two miraculous moments. There is the moment you wake up and realize you have been given another chance; and there is the moment when you go to sleep and you realize that you get to put behind you all the mistakes you made.'”

– Elizabeth Gilbert

Tiny Studio Tips

I love seeing where people to create and in case you would like to see where I create, I have added a page to my blog tierneycreates Studio Tour where I will post photos of the latest version of my tiny little tierneycreates studio. More on this later in this post.

As part of my ongoing journey to curate my life (see post category: My Minimalism Journey ), I am working on letting go of more of my crafting related magazines.

Studios Magazine

I have a stash of Cloth Paper Scissors STUDIOS magazine from 2008 – 2014 (magazine is no longer in publication). This publication featured “artist studio porn”: essays and articles about professional and hobby artists’ studios, tips on designing and organizing your studio, and endless photos of studio layouts. The tagline for the magazine was “inspiration & ideas for your art and craft space”.

There are so many online resources (aka Pinterest) on studio organization ideas, I do not need these magazines. I can let them go, donate them to my beloved local Humane Society Thrift Shop and let them go to someone else to enjoy.

But, I wanted to read through each one, one more time, before donating them.

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Working though re-reading the pile with my tea each morning

When I got to the Winter 2010 issue of Cloth Paper Scissors STUDIOS magazine I noticed it featured a collection of tips by various crafters/artists on small space tips.

Recently I re-organized by studio to try and make the best of the small space. I thought I would share some of my favorite tips from this issue from the various studio tours in case my readers find them useful.

Small Studio Tips

In Her Shoes by Catherine Thursby

  1. Get a space of your own, even if it has to be small
  2. Make it personal to encourage your creativity
  3. Have a place “off-site” to keep bulky or seldom used materials

Snowman Season by Sue Pelletier

  1. In a narrow space, set up tables end to end so you can have several projects going at once
  2. A dartboard makes a graphic yet compact inspiration board
  3. Remember that if you want studio space badly enough, you will find a way

The Glitter Fairy by Laurie Davis

  1. Use shelves with cubbies to hold and display rubber stamps
  2. Use under-the-counter space as much as possible
  3. Use stackable containers to hold small items

In a Nutshell – A small space dedicated to creativity by Janice Avellana

  1. Keep supplies out in the open so the work is ready when you are
  2. Disguise a small, open studio behind a tall bookcase
  3. For flexible organization, use painted pegboard

Room of Requirement by Liza Julien

  1. Maximize small space by going vertical with ladder-style shelving
  2. Store papers suspended from pant hangers on a wooden dowel
  3. Install hooks on table legs, the sides of shelving – anywhere that’s handy and out of the way

Studio in the Sky by Victoria Grobels

  1. Store supplies in baskets hung from the ceiling
  2. Make your worktable an inspiration board, too, by slipping photos under a clear, plastic mat
  3. Make a small space seem bigger by positioning it near a beautiful view

The Love Shack by Roberta Philbrick

  1. Use “regular” furniture to hold art supplies
  2. Color-coordinated caddies keep small items organized, portable, and attractive
  3. A glass-topped table cleans up easily and looks polished in a small living/creating space

Strategic Design by Michelle Spaw

  1. For an eclectic approach to organizing, try using non-conventional items such as stackable trays, bento boxes, and takeout-style containers
  2. Removing the doors to your closet is as strong incentive to keep it tidy. Because the contents are always visible, you will be motivated to maintain order and curb the clutter
  3. When purchasing storage boxes, think of color and pattern as a way to identify what you’re storing

Beaddazzled by Linda Dolack

  1. Glue a sample of what’s in a drawer to the front so you can find and retrieve the object quickly
  2. Use simple skirting to hide clutter stored below counters
  3. Install shelving above windows to hold books and display art work out of the way

Where Whimsy Reigns by Elizabeth Holcombe Fedorko

  1. Use collectibles as storage containers that can be displayed
  2. Attach a folding table to the wall: pull it up to work, down to put it out of the way
  3. No matter how small your space, make room for pets!

As you will see on my page tierneycreates Studio Tour I followed Ms. Fedorko’s tip #3 and made room for pets (well actually my manager Sassy the Highly Opinionated Miniature Schnauzer):

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Sassy hanging out in “cave”

If you have a small studio like I do (or a dream larger studio) I hope you find some of these tips useful!

 

Update on “A Chicken Named Tierney”

Several months ago I posted that a friend of mine named her baby hen chicks after her close female friends. This is an update to that post – A Chicken Named “Tierney”.

A month or so ago I took photos of teenage “Tierney the Chicken” and her brand new chicken coop; and recently I took photos of young adult “Tierney the Chicken”.

The Teen Years Weeks

Here is the deluxe coop she and her hen sisters live in. It has an inside section and a sunroom:

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Chicken Cooping in style

Here is teenage “Tierney the Chicken” and her sister “Gabrielle the Chicken”:

 

Here is “Tierney” and the other teenage hens getting a snack:

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My friend Marla, mother to all the young hens, has a photo in her house of what “Tierney the Chicken” will look like when she grows up and becomes an adult Dominique chicken:

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Young Adult “Tierney the Chicken”

“Tierney” is now a young adult and getting closer to her egg laying days. No eggs yet but my friend Marla thinks in the upcoming weeks she and her sister hens will lay their first eggs.

Here is a current photo of “Tierney” and her sister “Gabrielle” (and some other chicken “photo bombing” the shot, ha!):

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My friend Marla reports that “Tierney” is the friendliest of all the chickens. She runs towards you first when you come into the coop and she likes to snuggle:

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Chicken Cuddles

Truthfully I’ve never cared about chickens beyond enjoying the eggs they lay or an occasionally tasty chicken dinner. This is the first time I have ever seen a chicken snuggle! (Is it my fate to eventually become vegan now that I suspect most farm animals will snuggle?)

Maybe it is slightly weird my friend named one of her hens after me (and her other close female friends) but how many people get to say they have a chicken with their namesake!??!

I will close this post with a photo of the cool wind vane inside Marla’s backyard:

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Update: Terry the Quilting Husband

So unless you live in Barrow, Alaska (1300 miles south of the North Pole/320 miles north of the Arctic Circle), you are probably not thinking about flannel, much less daydreaming of wrapping yourself in a flannel quilt right now.

We are currently sweltering in Central Oregon right but I am still going to share an update on Terry the Quilting Husband (TTQH)’s latest quilt top: A flannel fishing themed quilt:

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He actually finished it a couple weeks ago but I am just now getting around to posting about it.

If you check out my 04/30/17 post  Central Oregon Quilt Shop Hop 2017 you will see the fabric TTQH purchased during shop hop.

He finished the quilt top in late May when we happened to have some cool days, and I found him and our miniature schnauzers taking a nap under his new quilt top (the “cuteness factor” was very high when I walked into the room and I had to tip toe out and grab my camera!):

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He has not worked on the back for the quilt as it is kind of warm right now to even think about looking at flannel in our fabric stash much less touching it. We might just put the top away for now until the weather gets out of the 90s and we can start to think about flannel quilts again.


Postscript

With the warmer weather TTQH is working on other things in his spare time besides flannel quilts – like taking Mike, one of our rescued miniature schnauzers on a bike ride. We have two doggy backpacks and Sassy rides with me (the girls together) and Mike rides with Terry. The photo below is from a week ago when we had a break from the heat as Terry and Mike head out on their bike ride:

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If you would like to see more photos of Mike (and Sassy) bike riding, see these posts on Sassy’s Schnauzer Snips blog:

What’s on the Design Wall: Scrappy Improvisational Medallion

This post is actually a continuation of my ongoing series What’s on the Design Wall, featuring my latest project up on either the small design wall in my studio or the large design wall my hallway.

Got Medallion?

Obviously I have been influenced by my quilting mentor Betty Anne Guadalupe (see post Improvisational Medallion Quilt) or by my fellow blogger buddy Melanie at Catbird Studio (see post The Six-Pointed Star and per page Medallion Lessons) but I have a burning need to make a Medallion Quilt.

I am also influenced by this page I tore from a Keepsake Quilting catalog for a medallion style Block of the Month (BOM) sampler. The only problem is that monthly participation in this BOM is $42.99 plus shipping! As lovely as this quilt is that would not be in my budget, so I just added the image to my magnet inspiration board on my studio closet door:

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Rummaging Through the “Challenge Bags”

For the 4th of July, we were “bunkered” in our house with loud movies or music playing in the background, all the windows shut and the air conditioner (actually we have 2 evaporative or “swamp” coolers) to try to keep our extremely fireworks terrified dogs calm. Each year we plan to get from the vet some anti-anxiety medications for them but we forget, so instead we distract them with other sounds. This works most of 4th while neighborhood kids are playing with their fireworks. It only stops working in the evening when there is a VERY LOUD fireworks display at local attraction near our house.

Since I was “bunkering” on the 4th, I decided to spend some time in my studio looking through my collection of “Challenge Bags” (see post Basket of Challenges). Inside one of the bags I found an old felt and tweed Schoolhouse block pillow top I had purchased 14 years ago for $1 in a clearance sale at the back of a quilt shop. Tucked in with the Schoolhouse block were several strips of “Pyramid” borders that my friend Betty Anne gave me either from an old project of hers, or an old project of another quilter.

With Medallion Quilts floating around in the back of my mind, I started playing with the pieces on the design wall:

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I had just enough of the Pyramid pieced strips to border the Schoolhouse block twice on each side and ended up with the beginning of a scrappy improvisational medallion quilt!

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My very first Medallion Quilt in progress. I plan to make it using only fabric scraps and recycled pieced items from my challenge bags. I am going to read through Melanie at Catbird Studio’s lessons on for making Medallion quilts as inspiration and then let myself get all improvisational once I understand any helpful concepts.

What Comes Next?

I pulled from my “Basket of Challenges” (my stash of challenge bags) a bag of scrap squares and a bag of scrap triangles.  I am going to just keep this piece up on my design wall and slowly add to it as I am inspired.

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I had fun “bunkering” on the 4th!

Sisters, Oregon Before the Madness

Saturday, a week before the Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show (SOQS), I met up with a couple friends to wander around Sisters, Oregon and have lunch.

A Little Bit About SOQS

SOQS, the world’s largest outdoor quilt show, is always the second Saturday in July. If you are a quilter or a person who loves quilts, I recommend you put it on your bucket list to see at least once in your life.

Per the website: “More than 10,000 visitors from all 50 states and 27 foreign countries” attend the show. We wanted to wander around Sisters before the madness of all those visitors descended upon the town!

While waiting on line to order lunch at The Depot Deli in Sisters, we chatted with a quilter from the UK that was in town for the SOQS and the week of classes prior to the show – the Quilters Affair.

At the Quilters Affair, renown quilters (Tula Pink, Joe Cunningham, Jean Wells, Rosalie Dace, Sue Spargo, Karla Alexander, Hilde Morin, Elizabeth Hartman, Rob Appell, etc.) teach classes.

My friend Susan created this year’s SOQS raffle quilt which will help raise funds to help cover the administrative costs of this free to the public event (the Saturday SOQS main event is free, all other events are not). The proceeds from the raffle also benefit various community programs such as the Sisters Food Bank.

While wandering around Sisters Saturday, Susan and my other friends stopped at the Stitchin’ Post quilt shop where her quilt was hanging out front (and of course we went into the quilt shop and wandered around):

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“A Story of Stars” designed and pieced by Susan Cobb and quilted by Laura Simmons.

Many of the quilts at SOQS are for sale. Last year I had 6 quilts in the SOQS (5 for sale and 1 in a special art quilt exhibit); and Terry the Quilting Husband had 5 quilts in the “Made by Men” Exhibit and he sold 2 quilts!

This year for the 2017 SOQS I will only have 1 quilt in a special show by the art quilting group I belong to, Central Oregon SAQA. I will post photos after next Saturday’s show.

If you would like to get a feel for what it is like to attend this amazing show checking out my Central Oregon blogging buddy, Anna and her blog Woolie Mammoth or her YouTube Channel – Quilt Roadies, where you will find videos from past SOQS and she will post videos about this year.

Additionally, I have added a category for my posts – Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show, if you want to check my posts from previous years on the show.

The Drug Store Quilt Show

During the 2nd Saturday of July for the SOQS, the entire downtown of Sisters Oregon is shut down from traffic and quilts are hung from every building in the town. They are also hung inside all the downtown buildings!

A couple weeks prior to the SOQS, Sponsor Quilts are hung in many downtown shops as a prelude to the SOQS. Patrons of these shops have the opportunity to purchase the quilts on display prior to the SOQS.

When you go into a drugstore you never expect to also be walking into a quilt show (not something generally associated with drugstores!). While wandering around Sisters, we stopped in the Sisters Drug & Gift Shop to see another one of Susan’s quilts displayed. Here are photos from inside the this downtown drugstore (and awesome gift shop!) – note the first photo is an incredible paper pieced quilt by teacher Janet Storten who I have mentioned in previous posts (see Adventures in Appliqué):

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I bet you have never attended a Drugstore Quilt Show!

This drugstore is famous for its handmade chocolate counter, which will tempt visitors during the SOQS:

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I am looking forward to the 2017 SOQS next Saturday!


Postscript

While wandering around Sisters, we stopped at the Habitat for Humanity thrift shop and I picked up this Crosley radio for $12:

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These radios retail for $54 – $79 and look like antique radios. The sound is excellent and the only thing wrong with it was a couple cosmetic scratches.

I added this radio to my paper crafting and jewelry making station I created in my sunroom:

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I am determined to start card making and jewelry making again. So many crafts, so little time…