My sewing “mojo” was hiding somewhere for a while and I had little desire to sew. I had a “sewing-block“. Turns out the best way to resolve it was to sew a block!
I’ve been distracted from time in my sewing studio by some recent travel, visits from out of town friends, and a couple challenging recent life events. A couple days ago I knew I needed to get my back to sewing (as there is just so much fun stuff to be made) and decided returning to working on my Tula Pink City Sampler (100 Modern Quilt Blocks)would be a good place to start.
Well I’ve been busy settling into my home in the Greater Denver Metropolitan Area (if you are new to this blog see my series of post “Colorado Bound“). Now I am ready to return to blogging about my Colorado, crafting and other adventures.
So far I’ve had four visitors since I’ve moved to Colorado.
My first visitor was my brother Raoul, who was in Denver for a business meeting the same day I moved into my apartment! So along with my friends Jason, Michele and Blair, he helped unpack me! I forgot to take photos during his brief one day visit, so none to share.
My second visitor was my sister and we had fun taking my miniature Mike in his backpack into downtown Denver via the light rail and wander around sightseeing. Here is my sister Rianna with Mike her back:
My sister (by the way I have one sister and one brother and we are all very close) is exceptionally fun and we had a blast during her visit.
She enjoys shopping adventures and we even took Mike with us to a store called Nordstroms Rack and made him go shoe shopping with us!
We also both enjoy going to thrift shops (see my series of posts Thrift Shop Adventures) and had a laugh at these shoes we found at a thrift shop chain store called Buffalo Exchange:
These shoes would be perfect for running, don’t you agree??!?!?!
My sister is exceptionally more glamorous than me, and here we are attending Trivia Night at a local pub (we came in last place in trivia but had a blast):
My third visitor was my “Quilting Sister” Dana who was visiting her daughter who also lives in the Greater Denver Metro area. I will have a separate post about that visit as we had a wonderful outing to a very cool crafting shop!
But here is a preview (Dana craft shop shopping):
My fourth visitor was my friend Jenny who came for a long weekend. She is very outdoor adventurous so we went for a short hike in the Flatiron mountain area of Boulder, Colorado as well as explored downtown Boulder.
My next visitor will be my original “Quilting Sister” Judy – the woman who taught me how to quilt. She visits in August.
I will be busy traveling a bit in July but I am going to plan to attempt (that sounds so committed doesn’t it?) to keep up with my blog and also catch up on the blogs I follow.
Are you surprised that my tierneycreates Beastie (see Beastie Adventures) has not stepped in and written a post? She has been busy herself and she will have a future post of her adventures in the future.
Oh and yes, this is primarily a quilting/crafting blog and perhaps someday I will share a post about such topics (smile).
I am getting settled in my new Colorado apartment after relocating from Central Oregon to the Greater Denver Metro area.
Finally, here is the final post in my series of posts about my first solo show at the Seattle Municipal Tower’s Ethnic Heritage Art Gallerylocated at 700 5th Ave in downtown Seattle, Washington. The show is curated by the City of Seattle’s Office of Arts & Culture.
I stayed with friends in West Seattle and as parking in downtown Seattle is crazy, even though they offered to loan me one of their cars, I took the bus to the event. I arrived early and had time to wander around the amazing downtown Seattle library (I will share photos from that wander in another post).
After wandering around the library with my tierneycreates Beastie (who loves libraries also – see posts Beastie Colorado Adventure Begins and Beastie Outing: Trip to the Library) it was time to head into the Seattle Municipal Tower for the show opening, but not without first taking some photos of the entry and this downtown Seattle skyscraper:
As you can see in my above selfie, I was pretty darn excited.
Show Opening: The Wardrobe Meets the Wall
The show (The Wardrobe Meets the Wall: Art Quilts Created from Recycled Clothing and Garment Manufacturing Samples) opened with a presentation by board members the the Ethnic Heritage Art Gallery board on background and mission of the gallery, and then an introduction about me and my work.
Next, after providing an overview of my work, I did a presentation on the story behind the show and working with recycled materials. Then did a walk through tour and presentation on all 12 pieces I have in the show, sharing the story behind each piece.
Here are photos from the show which is on display until 07/15/2019. The gallery did a wonderful job of creating large placards for each piece that provided my full artist statement so that visitors could read the full story behind each piece.
A nice crowd attended the opening which included board members of the Ethnic Heritage Art Gallery board, downtown Seattle workers, my work colleagues in the Seattle office of my employer, and longtime friends who live in Seattle. I enjoyed walking the crowd through the 12 pieces and telling the story behind each piece (and no one appeared to fall asleep).
The Gallery also provided an area for flyers and my business cards if anyone was interested. I had generic business card created for the show as these cards are accessible by the public who has access to the gallery.
Additionally here are some photos taken the day before the show opening right after the pieces were hung, by my friend Loren who works at the Seattle Municipal Tower:
The whole experience was exciting but a little exhausting. I’ve been in several art shows in the past and have attended openings but it is a different experience when you are the only artist and it is your show!
When the show closes 07/15/2019, a Seattle based friend is going to collect the pieces from the gallery and deliver them to me when she visits me in the Denver area in late July. I do have two buyers interested in several of the pieces so I might have a couple art quilt sales in the near future.
After the Show
After the show I met up with a large group of Seattle friends at a lovely Dim Sum restaurant in the University Village area – Din Tai Fung.
We sat for hours visiting and having wonderful conversations while dining on delicious Taiwanese cuisine such as these wonderful vegetable dumplings below:
As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, I am settling into my new Colorado apartment. It has been an interesting transition from living in a house most of my life to now living in an apartment but so far, so good.
I wrote this blog post from my kitchen table this morning while eating breakfast and sipping on tea.
Mike my miniature schnauzer is getting used to all these people and dogs living in “his house” (he thinks the whole inside the apartment complex is his home but for some reason he and I only live in one section of it – ha!).
This is a quick post to share a photo of my piece, The Lesson & The Equation” hung at the show, courtesy of one of the other artists in the show, the very talented Jas Mardis:
My piece in the large one hanging on the left side of the image above.
The brilliant pieces to the right of it are by the very talented Carolyn Crump (who even has a quilt hanging in the Smithsonian Museum!). How lucky I am to have a piece in this traveling exhibit with some really amazing artists.
One of my early recycled silk art quilts was juried into the national Art (yes “art” not quilting, ha!) Show – “Soulful: A National Exhibition of African American Artists”. It opens February 7th and runs through February 28th at the d’Art Center in Norfolk, VA.
My piece that will appear in the show is called Color Story I: Flying Triangles. It was the first recycled silk art quilt I made when I began to experiment with using recycled materials. Below is the piece and the updated Artist Statement I did for the show.
COLOR STORY I: FLYING TRIANGLES
45 ” W x 44.5″ L, silk & linen garment scraps pieced on muslin foundation
The Color Stories series of art quilts are vibrant colored compositions, created from recycled textiles including silks, wools and linens. Many of the recycled silks and linens are from samples and remnants from NYC Fashion District couture fabrics from the 1990’s European textile houses of Ratti, Braghenti, Castellini and D’Este.
Instead of ending up in a landfill, these couture fabric samples with their complex colors, patterns and textures inspire my textile art.
This is piece is from my first art quilt series: Color Stories. If you’d like to see the other art quilts in this series, check out my page Art Quilt Stories.
Next post I will share where I am moving or some of my plans for my next adventure in life. If you would like to take a guess, it is one of the states in the image of AAA travel books below (if you know already don’t ruin the surprise for any other readers, thanks!)
Featured image credit: d’Art Center (d-artcenter.org)
For those of you who’ve followed my blog for a while you know that my piece, The Lesson and The Equation is part of the traveling show Visioning Human Rights in the New Millennium: Quilting the World’s Conscience.
This show, curated by Dr. Carolyn Mazloomi of the Women of Color Quilting Network (WCQN) celebrates the 70th Anniversary of the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights and features a collection of art quilts based on the 30 Articles of this declaration.
The show continues to travel and is opening on Thursday February 21, 2019 at Texas Folklife in Austin, Texas.
The tierneycreates blog is 5 years old this month! I cannot believe other humans have been reading my musings for 5 years (and have maintained their sanity).
My very first post was October 27, 2013, introducing myself.
I used to have this post as a “sticky post” on at the top of my blog posts, so I’ve edited over the years and updated the photo in 2015, but here is that first blog post in it’s current state:
Welcome to tierneycreates!
Thank you for visiting and I look forward to your comments and thoughts on my posts.
My blog focuses on the many aspects of a “Crafter’s Life” and discusses topics such as sources of creative inspiration, my artistic journey, what’s on my design wall, quality of life, quilting retreats, artistic growth, outside adventures, books that inspire me and all things related to handmade textile crafts!
So I am celebrating my fifth blogging anniversary this month in two ways:
Daily Posts for the 31 days of October: I have challenged myself to post every day for the entire month (we are at day 4 so far). I will likely mix in some reposting of my favorite old posts from the tierneycreates archives on days in which I have no new material to share – I do have 5 years of posts to pull from!
A Blog Anniversary Giveaway: Sometime around the middle of the month I will make the giveaway announcement and details on how I would like to thank my readers for joining me on my blogging journey so far! I will do the drawing around the actual blog anniversary 10/27/18 and announce the winners by the end of the month.
Right now you might be thinking: “Daily posts, yikes!”
I know you all have lives and I do not expect anyone to read my posts daily. I just have such a backlog of stuff in my mind to post about I thought this would be a great time to challenge myself to get caught up (and hopefully not to bore you all to death)!
While attending a quilt retreat this weekend, I got the most fabulous news from Dr. Carolyn Mazloomi, the curator of Visioning Human Rights in the New Millennium: Quilting the World’s Conscience – My piece, The Lesson and The Equation is featured on the website of the Brussels, Belgium based organization Human Rights 70.
(If you are just joining us on my blog, you can read background on my piece and the exhibit in these series of posts: WCQN )
This organization’s mission, according to their website:
is to contribute to promote the knowledge and application from individual up to supranational level, of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights, and in doing so contribute to the better living of all beings in the world
This Brussels based organization also has offices in Madrid, Paris, Geneva, Vienna, Amsterdam, Lisbon, Barcelona, Copenhagen, Bogota, and Mexico DF.
Here is a screen shot of the overview of the exhibit on the Human Rights 70 website:
To say I am excited and overwhelmed is an understatement (smile)!
For a high resolution image of the piece and to read the Artist Statement, see my page Art Quilt Stories.
All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood. – Article 1, Universal Declaration of Human Rights
Hello, my name is tierneycreates Beastie and I am a Monster, but the good kind of Monster.
The regular blogger Tierney, appears to be too distracted lately to write a blog post, so I told her I will take care of getting a post up this week. She did help me take photos since I am not very good at selfies due to my limited arm range.
Here I am ready to start a long overdue blog post:
But first – if you are new to this blog (welcome new readers, glad to have you join us!) you can read my story and see some of my adventures in the series of posts – Beastie Adventures. I was born in Dublin, Ireland and moved (well was shipped) to Central Oregon to join Tierney of tierneycreates in June 2018.
I am so glad my maker, Helen of Crawcrafts Beasties (crawcraftsbeasties.com) , made me a laptop so I could help Tierney with blog posts!
So what have I been up to? Well as you know, just like Tierney, I have locs in my hair (you may know these traditionally as being called “dreadlocks” but the current term is LOCS, as there is no “dread” in them!). Like Tierney, I am always wondering how to style my locs and sometimes I get lint in them as Tierney does with hers.
Tierney and I were playing with different hairstyles and she french-braided my hair:
The cool thing about Tierney’s attempt at french-braiding (let’s be honest, she is not going to win any “French-Braiding Awards”) is that my adorable ears get featured:
Although I enjoyed showing my adorable ears, after a while the french-braid felt too tight and we returned to my regular hairstyle:
While writing you, my miniature schnauzer Mikelet (named after Tierney’s dog Mike) began staring at me and I suspected he wanted to go for a walk:
I was pretty sure he wanted to go for a walk when he got insistent:
I wanted to put the final touches on this blog post, so I told him to wait.
He got bored waiting and wandered into the living room.
Realizing he probably really needed to “go potty”, I went to the living room to get him for a walk before finishing my blog post and found him hanging out with “Big Mike”:
Big Mike’s beard was looking a little messy so Terry the Quilting Husband (TTQH) began combing it while Mikelet looked on:
Mikelet wanted his beard combed also (he wants to do everything Big Mike does), so TTQH attempted to also comb his beard:
Finally, with a freshly combed beard, Mikelet was ready to go on his walk:
Tierney is not totally goofing off. She is still working on an art quilt for a special exhibit in which she cannot share photos until the curator announces the show.
What does the phrase “Soulful Simplicity” mean to you?
The last several months I’ve listening to some awesome audiobooks from my public library while I go on daily walks, sew, or do errands. I plan to share highlights from the audiobooks in upcoming posts and I thought I would begin with my current listen: Soulful Simplicity: How Living With Less Can Lead to So Much More by Courtney Carver.
Here is the summary of the book on on the Deschutes Public Library website:
Courtney Carver shows us the power of simplicity to improve our health, build more meaningful relationships, and relieve stress in our professional and personal lives. We are often on a quest for more, giving in to pressure every day to work more, own more, and do more. For Courtney Carver, this constant striving had to come to a stop when she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. Stress was like gasoline on the fire of her symptoms, and it became clear that she needed to root out the physical and psychological clutter that were the source of her debt and discontent.
In this book, Carver shows us how to pursue practical minimalism so we can create more with less-more space, more time, and even more love. She invites us to look at the big picture, discover what’s most important to us, and reclaim lightness and ease by getting rid of all the excess things.
The audiobook is read by the author (which always adds a high degree of authenticity to the listening for me) and focuses on “being more with less“.
I am 2/3rds through the audiobook and wanted share one of my favorite stories (that the author shares in her book) about what really matters in life. As the author states, there are many versions of this story. Here is the version from her website: Be More With Less.
The Mexican Fisherman
An American investment banker was at the pier of a small coastal Mexican village when a small boat with just one Mexican fisherman docked. Inside the small boat were several large yellowfin tuna. The American complimented the fisherman on the quality of his fish and asked how long it took to catch them.
The fisherman replied, “only a little while”. The American then asked why didn’t he stay out longer and catch more fish? The Mexican said he had enough to support his family’s immediate needs. The American then asked, “but what do you do with the rest of your time?”
The Mexican fisherman said, “I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, take siestas with my wife, Maria, stroll into the village each evening where I sip wine, and play guitar with my amigos. I have a full and busy life.”
The American scoffed, “I am a Harvard MBA and could help you. You should spend more time fishing and with the proceeds, buy a bigger boat. With the proceeds from the bigger boat, you could buy several boats, eventually you would have a fleet of fishing boats. Instead of selling your catch to a middleman you would sell directly to the processor, eventually opening your own cannery. You would control the product, processing, and distribution. You would need to leave this small coastal fishing village and move to Mexico City, then LA and eventually New York City, where you will run your expanding enterprise.”
The Mexican fisherman asked, “But, how long will this all take?”
To which the American replied, “15 – 20 years.”
“But what then?” asked the fisherman.
The American laughed and said, “That’s the best part. When the time is right you would announce an IPO and sell your company stock to the public and become very rich, you would make millions!”
“Millions – then what?”
The American said, “Then you would retire. Move to a small coastal fishing village where you would sleep late, fish a little, play with your kids, take siestas with your wife, stroll to the village in the evenings where you could sip wine and play your guitar with your amigos.”
In the version I heard many years ago, the Mexican fisherman states at the end of the story: “Why would I go through all that to get what I already have?”
The first time I heard this story it deeply resonated with me. As I have discussed in my series of posts on My Minimalism Journey, I’ve been working on appreciating and enjoying the life I have; taking care of my physical, emotional and spiritual health; and curating my possessions to only those things I truly love (but darn it, I love all my crafting books and magazines!)
In my pay-the-bills health care job, I’ve been offered the opportunity to attend my employer’s leadership track nine-month program to move into a leadership position. I declined the opportunity as although it would be more money, it would be much less time doing the things I love such as blogging, crafting, spending time with my husband and dog, enjoying nature, etc., etc., etc.
I am already happy with my job, salary and work schedule. I do not need to climb the “corporate ladder” to become happier.
Actually I think climbing the corporate ladder at this point in my life would be the path to less happiness as I remember a lot of stress in my life when I was previously in leadership for 8 – 9 years.
Terry the Quilting Husband (TTQH) fully supports this decision as he remembers his very stressed wife during her years in a leadership role.
I am quite content in my life’s version of a “little fishing village”.
Fear less, hope more; Eat less, chew more; Whine less, breathe more; Talk less, say more; Love more, and all good things will be yours! – Swedish Proverb
Are you inspired by nature? If you are an artist, is your art inspired by nature?
As part of my ongoing series of posts on sources of Creative Inspiration, I am sharing my latest nature-based inspiration: TREE BARK.
Wait. When you saw the post title, did you suspect I meant “dog bark” or the barking of dogs? I do love dogs, however their barking provides little source of creative inspiration (smile).
Studying Tree Bark
For the latest project I am working on (a secret project for a future exhibit not yet announced by the curator) I needed to study the texture of tree bark. A trip to a local park provided plenty of study subjects!
I was particularly taken by this tree:
And I took a couple B&W photos so I could study the lines of the bark texture for my piece in progress:
Although I did not take more photos, I studied the lines of several more trees in the park and on my daily walks I’ve paid closer attention to trees in my neighborhood.
Speaking of trees, next post I will share images from the Tree Quilt Show I attended last evening.
For the true nature of things, if we rightly consider, every green tree is far more glorious than if it were made of gold and silver. – Martin Luther
Tree of No Hurry (2017) will be part of the Trees Exhibit at QuiltWorks Gallery which opens on Friday July 6, 2018. The show will run through July.
QuiltWorks is a Central Oregon quilt shop that has a gallery upstairs and supports the Central Oregon traditional and art quilting community through its monthly shows featuring the works of local quilters, quilting groups and guilds.
Here is more about the QuiltWorks Gallery from their website:
If you are new to my blog, Tree of No Hurry began in an appliqué class with the wonderful teacher Janet Shorten at the Stitchin’ Post quilt shop in Sisters, Oregon in May 2016. Here are the related posts about the beginning of the piece, it’s evolution, wrangling embroidery floss, etc.:
Tree of No Hurry is part of my “Nature Stories” series of quilts. You can view my current four series of art quilts on my Art Quilt Stories page.
Here is the Artist Statement/story behind it:
TREE OF NO HURRY (2017)
25.5” W x 27” L, cotton fabric, embroidery floss
Designed, pieced and quilted by Tierney Davis Hogan
THE STORY OF THIS PIECE:
How often do we hurry about in our lives attempting “to do” everything we feel we must accomplish?
This quote by ancient Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu reminds us that a force as powerful as Nature (with a “to-do list” greater than we could imagine) does not hurry and still gets the important stuff accomplished.
Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished. – Lao Tzu
This is all part of my pretending that I am an art quilter!
I still need to move some of the blog posts that relate to my art quilts over to my tierneycreates blog; and I want to update my “Tierneycreates Studio Tour” page (located in the “About Me” menu) with current photos.
I am self taught on WordPress (thank you WordPress for awesome reference materials and for people publishing YouTube videos with WordPress tips and tricks) and I will keep tweaking my tierneycreates site as I keep learning new tips and tricks!
Last Thursday (April 19, 2018) I was the featured speaker at our monthly Central Oregon SAQA (art quilting) group meeting.
What I Presented
I did a presentation (complete with “death by PowerPoint”…I did try to keep the PowerPoint slides as engaging as possible with primarily photos) on the Women of Color Quilting Network (WCQN) and the 2017 Quilters Take Manhattan (QTM) event I attended in NYC in September 2017.
I used some of the key text from these posts but also included more photos than were in the posts (I have a crazy amount of photos from QTM 2017!). For fun I also snuck in some family photos (I met up with my sister, brother and two awesome nephews) from the trip, especially some of my highly adorable 5 year old and now 14 year old nephews!
I also brought a copy of all the WCQN Exhibit books by Dr. Carolyn Mazloomi in my personal collection for the attendees to look through while I spoke (so they would not fall asleep during my presentation):
And Still We Rise: Race, Culture and Visual Conversation
Threads of Faith: Recent Works from the Women of Color Quilters Network
Journey of Hope: Quilts Inspired by President Barack Obama
Textural Rhythms: Quilting the Jazz Tradition
Quilting African American Women’s History
I also brought a copy of Sherri Lynn Woods’ book The Improv Handbook for Modern Quilters: A Guide to Creating, Quilting, and Living Courageously just in case there was any art quilter in our group that had not heard of this book.
Terry the Quilting Husband (TTQH) attended the presentation also and helped me haul all those books to the speaking engagement.
No one appeared to fall asleep during my presentation and they actually appeared quite engaged (or faked it very well!)
If you’ve followed my blog for a while you know my obsession with my public library. What was cool (at least to me) was that my presentation was done in the Conference room of the Sisters Branch of the Deschutes Public Library. So I got to speak at the library (huge smile)!
Key to Overcoming the Fear of Public Speaking: Be Delusional & Improvisational
One of my Central Oregon SAQA friends asked me before the presentation if I was nervous and I said “no”.
I am not sure if I should be nervous but I am never really nervous before a speaking engagement. I have this likely delusional belief, especially if I am speaking in front of a group that knows me, that they want me to succeed and are cheering me on (hopefully no one breaks my delusion!).
I used to do a lot of public speaking professionally when I was a trainer (before the days of telecommuting) at work and at professional conferences. If you’ve done corporate training, especially mandatory corporate training, you know about speaking to an audience that may not want to be there!
What broke me of any fear of public speaking (possibly creating my delusion that everyone is cheering for me) was an experience many, many years ago when I spoke at a conference that my employer put on for one our retail clients when I worked for a Workers’ Compensation Carrier.
It was a large group of managers for one of our retail clients (a national group) that looked like their souls had been sucked out of their bodies (please know I have nothing against who works in retail, this group of conference attendees were just very lifeless, they could have been in any industry). Also as you could imagine, managing work related injuries is not the most exciting all day conference topic!
During the conference, I watched one presenter after the other painfully struggle through their presentation with a highly “unengaged” and bored audience.
When it was my turn, I figured the crowd/audience could not dislike me anymore than they obviously already disliked the previous presenters, so what the heck – I was going to have fun.
So when I got up to the podium, I had an improvisational moment and I took the microphone off the podium stand and started walking through the crowd with it. I did my presentation as if I was performing a nite-club act: Walking through the crowd, speaking directly to audience members and being very animated.
Shockingly I got the first round of audible strong applause for the day! I even saw some actual smiles in the crowd (like their souls had briefly returned to their bodies!)
After that I had no fear of public speaking. Ultimately if the audience hates me, they hate me (but I always secretly know they are cheering for me – my insanity is so delicious!)
A follow up to the post Additional Conversations – Completed , one of my blogging buddies asked me what was behind the name “Additional Conversations”. This made me realize I better go write the Artist Statement.
I’ve been waiting to share this with you for quite a while. First, I needed to wait until the show’s curator gave me permission to share, and then I needed to be ready to share.
I am ready to share!
This post is an overdue follow up to my post Creative Inspiration: Stories My Father Told Me, originally posted in April 2016. You are welcome to read the original post but here is a synopsis of some of this post and a little bit of additional information:
While browsing the magazine section at our local Barnes & Noble bookstore in March 2016, I came across this magazine that I’ve never seen before: American Craft Magazine:
In the April 2016 issue of American Craftthey had an article about an exhibit, And Still We Rise by the Women of Color Quilting Network (WCQN). I never heard of WCQN and immediately knew I wanted to join!
I reached out to Dr.Carolyn Mazloomi, founder of WCQN, shared my blog links with images of my work and asked if I could join and she said yes.
I then spent a lot of time looking through the WCQN website and was inspired to create a series based on the incredible stories my father, Raoul Davis, Sr., told me while growing up – Stories My Father Told Me.
I shared this with Dr. Mazloomi and she invited me to participate in the next WCQN show. (I was terrified and wanted to say “No” but I made myself say “Yes”)
The Lesson & The Equation
The WCQN show that I was incredibly lucky enough to be invited to participate, was based on the United Nations (U.N.) Universal Declaration ofHuman Rights. Participants had to select one of the thirty (30) Articles in this declaration and make a quilt inspired by the Article.
I selected Article 1 as it aligned with the lessons and values my father taught us as children:
“All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.”
I’ve shared partial images from the quilt I created, which is the first quilt in my series Stories My Father Told Me. Here is a full image of the quilt, courtesy of Dr. Carolyn Mazloomi, and below the image is my Artist Statement.
The Lesson & The Equation (2016) 50 x 50 inches
Applique, cotton, batiks, quilted
“Article I: All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.” – U.N. Universal Declaration of Human Rights
Article I of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights resonates the values that my father instilled in my siblings and me, as young children. My father grew up in the segregated South in the 1940s and embraced at an early age that change comes from respectful dialogue, not violence.
He taught us that regardless of what adversity we faced in life, we must face it with grace; and treat others with respect, dignity, and brotherhood. The foundation for a life lived embracing the values illustrated in Article I, begins at home, modeled and mentored by the adults in a child’s life. (THE LESSON)
In this quilt, a father (modeled after my own father in the 1970s) is teaching his children, on the main blackboard, THE EQUATION to achieving a world in which people are Free and Equal: Reason + Conscience = Spirit of Brotherhood
The two individual blackboards, “Dignity” and “Respect”, are the building blocks of the Free & Equal equation. I am from a family of educators, beginning with my great-grandfather. The blackboards in the quilt honor that legacy.
My father also taught us another key lesson, which is best expressed in the words of Mahatma Gandhi: “I will not let anyone walk through my mind with their dirty feet”.
This quilt will debut in the WCQN show, Visioning Human Rights in the New Millennium: Quilting the World’s Conscience, on August 17, 2018 at the FiltonCenterfor Creative Arts in Hamilton, OH.
Yes I will be attending the opening in August and there are no words I could type that would convey my excitement to be participating in this important exhibit. I am feeling very blessed to have been given this opportunity.
There will also be a book that accompanies the exhibit and Dr. Mazloomi’s books are incredible. Search “Carolyn Mazloomi” on Amazon to see a sample of books related to past exhibits. I own several of these books and to call them “inspirational” would be an understatement.
Below is an example of one of the books from a WCQN exhibit (which is currently touring):
And Still We Rise: Race, Culture and Visual Conversationsis on exhibit at the Freedom Center until September 1, 2018 – here is thelink if you would like to check out more information on this exhibit.
I had the opportunity to finally meet Dr. Carolyn Mazloomi in person this past September when I attended Quilters Take Manhattan (see post The “Dance Partner” – Michael Cummings at QTM 2017). I tried not to behave like too much of a “fan girl” but I was completely in awe of this amazing and accomplished woman.
What is Next?
I mentioned in my post Art& Fear, etc., I was struggling with two looming art quilt deadlines.
One of those quilts is for my local SAQA group annual show which I have started (will share in upcoming post); and the other one is a new art quilt for the next WCQN show I have been invited to participate in. I cannot share the details at the time, I need to wait until the curator is ready to officially announce the show – but it is another really exciting opportunity!
With the first quilt done in the Stories My Father Told Me series,I have mapped out the next 6 – 8 quilts in the series based on stories from my father’s life and lessons he taught me.
I just need to start making them (and if I win the lottery I plan to work full-time on completing this series)…
I think my whole experience demonstrates that you have to take risks in life and when an opportunity comes to your door – take it!
“Go out on a limb. That’s where the fruit is.” — Jimmy Carter
Imagine if I never contacted Dr. Mazloomi? (Of course imagine if I never randomly opened that magazine at my local Barnes & Noble…thank you Universe!)
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…)
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.
As I hinted in the Postscript section of the September post Limitless Library LoveI 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).
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).
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!
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 MQGis collecting quilts to pass out to those impacted by the shooting. You can check out her post link below for more information:
This is a quick follow up to my previous post CanWe Talk About TableRunners? – 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:
Feature photo credit: “fire in the sky” by Lucretious, free images.com
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:
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:
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.
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.
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 ):
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?
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:
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 MinimalismJourney ), I am working on letting go of more of my crafting related magazines.
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.
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
Get a space of your own, even if it has to be small
Make it personal to encourage your creativity
Have a place “off-site” to keep bulky or seldom used materials
Snowman Season by Sue Pelletier
In a narrow space, set up tables end to end so you can have several projects going at once
A dartboard makes a graphic yet compact inspiration board
Remember that if you want studio space badly enough, you will find a way
The Glitter Fairy by Laurie Davis
Use shelves with cubbies to hold and display rubber stamps
Use under-the-counter space as much as possible
Use stackable containers to hold small items
In a Nutshell – A small space dedicated to creativity by Janice Avellana
Keep supplies out in the open so the work is ready when you are
Disguise a small, open studio behind a tall bookcase
For flexible organization, use painted pegboard
Room of Requirement by Liza Julien
Maximize small space by going vertical with ladder-style shelving
Store papers suspended from pant hangers on a wooden dowel
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
Store supplies in baskets hung from the ceiling
Make your worktable an inspiration board, too, by slipping photos under a clear, plastic mat
Make a small space seem bigger by positioning it near a beautiful view
The Love Shack by Roberta Philbrick
Use “regular” furniture to hold art supplies
Color-coordinated caddies keep small items organized, portable, and attractive
A glass-topped table cleans up easily and looks polished in a small living/creating space
Strategic Design by Michelle Spaw
For an eclectic approach to organizing, try using non-conventional items such as stackable trays, bento boxes, and takeout-style containers
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
When purchasing storage boxes, think of color and pattern as a way to identify what you’re storing
Beaddazzled by Linda Dolack
Glue a sample of what’s in a drawer to the front so you can find and retrieve the object quickly
Use simple skirting to hide clutter stored below counters
Install shelving above windows to hold books and display art work out of the way
Where Whimsy Reigns by Elizabeth Holcombe Fedorko
Use collectibles as storage containers that can be displayed
Attach a folding table to the wall: pull it up to work, down to put it out of the way
No matter how small your space, make room for pets!
As you can see above, with 16 votes of the 28 total votes, Option #1 was the winner of the poll.
Option #1 won the poll, but alas, it was not the winner of my heart. As much as I loved the graphics on card #1 it kept feeling like that business card for a tailor or seamstress.
I so appreciated all the comments and votes, but I really connected with several comments in regards to Option #3 and decided to go with the vertical business card.
I am only ordering the smallest order (100 cards) as I love the idea from several comments to eventually go with a business card that features my art.
2017 I am going to focus on creating more of my textile art so I have a large selection of works to choose from someday – ha!
I am currently listening to the audiobook Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol S. Dweck (2006).
Although some of the material seems dated (the book was published in 2006), I am really enjoying the audiobook. A lot of it reminds me of the audiobook, Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseveranceby Angela Duckworth (2016) that I discussed in several posts, most recently in the 7/22/2016 post A “Gritty Bad#ss”?
The book focuses on a discussion of the “Fixed Mindset” vs. the “Growth Mindset”.
I am about a 1/3rd way through listening to the audiobook and I came across a great quote by the author on how some people need to feel praised, “worshipped”, and admired by others:
If you feel a need to be surrounded by worshippers, go to church. – Carol S. Dweck
I must admit at times in my life I sought praise from others, a lot. I cannot change how I behaved in the past but it is giving me a lot to think about for the future!
I like one of my blogging buddies, Claire of knitNkwilt, I had to use the “Design Bed”, and lay out my latest quilt on our bed.
Another quilter was cleaning out her UFOs (if you are not a quilter, please see the post Lexicon of Quilters’ Acronyms) and gave me 12 – 12.5 x 12.5 inch blocks she pieced with beautiful Kaffe Fassett fabrics. They were from a “Block-of-the-Month” club this quilt belonged to and was not interested in making them into a quilt.
At first I put these block in my “UFO” pile but yesterday I felt suddenly motivated to just make them into a quilt.
I used one of the sampler quilt layouts in the book The Quilt Block Cookbookby Amy Gibson (yep, this was one of the books from my posting The Library (Mega) Stack, I returned the book to the library but borrowed it again…when I can justify another book purchase, I am probably going to buy it…)
Here are the 12 blocks on the “Design Bed” waiting for me to sew the rows together.
I used to sell 8 beautiful fabric selections from this line in my tierneycreates Etsy shop. However, a couple of weeks ago, I decided to stop selling fabric and pulled the yardage, fat quarter sets and jelly rolls from my Etsy shop.
My decision was based on that I did not enjoy cutting yardage for people (I will never own a quilt shop) and I do not want to compete with quilt shops. (You can read from the tierneycreates archives, my first attempt to cut “fat quarter sets” – Adventures in Retail).
So, no judgement on people who sell fabric online, it was just not something I wanted to do any longer.
My plan is to focus my Etsy shop on handmade items. It is called “tierneycreates” after all. Recently, however, Tierney has not been doing any creating for the Etsy shop but has some ideas for 2017 and beyond.
For now Tierney will keep working through her personal UFO backlog (and obviously accept donations from other quilters’ UFO backlogs, ha!).
I am feeling pleased as there is something on the design wall to talk about.
In my 09/23/2016 post, The Library Stack (and a little EPP), I mentioned that I was feeling a little stuck and had not done any creating lately (“tierneycreates” without the “creates” part…).
Well Monday I was feeling inspired and continued working on the piece I first shared in my post Make Do Quilt Challenge. Continuing my ongoing series: What’s on the Design Wall, I present where I am at on my piece, tentatively titled: Making-Do:
It’s not the best photo as I took it with low light. It is also still very much “in progress”.
I was feeling frustrated it at one point, not knowing where it was going. Then I remembered something one of my mentors, Jean Wells Keenan, said during one of her classes (paraphrased): – Even though you may not be happy with an art quilt and want to give up, you have to keep on pushing through and see where it takes you.
This is very true. The collaborative piece, Abandoned Water Structure, that was recently purchased by the City of Seattle (see post Seattle Public Utilities’ Portable Works Collection) was an art quilt that I actually gave up on and tossed aside. I later picked it back up and kept working on it starting with a late night marathon design and piecing session.
So I am hoping Making-Do turns out to be something interesting! Next time I share an update, I might even take a better photo…
Monday I went for another hike up Pilot Butte (see my Category “Pilot Butte Adventures” for previous posts on my adventures) and I started laughing as soon as I arrived at the start. They had this sign posted:
If you remember my post Monday, Again, my current time up Pilot Butte is not as good as the time for the record in the ages 95 & up category! So no I am not entering this year’s challenge…perhaps next year…
While walking up Pilot Butte, I took this panoramic photo of Bend Oregon and the surrounding area. If you are ever in Central Oregon, driving or hiking to the top of Pilot Butte for the 360 degree view of Central Oregon is a must!
I hope you do not mind that I frequently link to previous posts. I consider my blog an ongoing conversation.
In my previous post, The Library Stack (and a little EPP), I mentioned sneaking KALE into Terry the Quilting Husband’s diet, something years ago he would have never eaten. This reminded me an old post I did about my favorite recipes, one of which is a Bean & Sausage Stew which is loaded with kale.
Since Fall is upon us and the weather is starting to cool down so it is stew and soup time, I thought I would share this post again.
A Girl’s Gotta Eat! (originally posted 10/10/14)
Recently my friend Ali, a writer for the At Home section of our local paper, asked if I would agree to be interviewed and photographed for an article she was working on about Favorite Recipes (those recipes you nearly have memorized and make over and over again). After she interviewed me for the article and we discussed one of my favorite recipes (Real Simple’s Bean and Chicken Sausage Stew), I got to thinking about all my favorite recipes. I love cooking nearly as much as I enjoy crafting. It is pretty nice after a Saturday afternoon of crafting in the fall to settle down to a nice stew and some crusty bread (and some delicious cookies for desert).
I have a HUGE binder of all my “clipped” recipes from the past 25 years (hey maybe I started collecting recipes when I was 4 years old, you never know…). My friend Kelvin who is a chef once said “hey can you put that binder in your Will to go to me if something happens to you?” This binder contains numerous torn/clipped recipes from magazines, from friends on notecards and scraps of paper, from old cookbooks that were so worn out I could only try to rescue my favorite recipe, all placed in plastic sheet protectors.
Below are many of my most favorite recipes that I make all the time. Thank you so much to the wonderful publications and blogs that have published these recipes online. Please click on the hyperlinked recipe name below to open the web page with the recipe.
I love Real Simple magazine. They offer wonderful tips on cooking, decorating, dressing, cleaning, stress free living, friendship, life, family, etc. My favorite part of the magazine are their excellent easy to prepare recipes. I make this stew all spring, fall and winter long and it is a great way to get the husband to eat kale. I like to use black beans instead of the cannellini beans listed in the recipe. Using spicy chicken cajun Andouille sausage is fun in the recipe or sometimes I just tone it down with a smoked turkey or beef kielbasa.
This recipe is fromMartha Stewart’s Living. I clipped the original recipe from one of my magazines and it is one of my favorite winter soups. The acorn squash trick a couple friends taught me was to bake the acorn squash in the oven before you use it in the soup. I usually split the acorn squash in half, scoop out the middle/seeds and bake for 30-40 min. at 350 degrees. Once it cools it is easier to slice then trying to saw through a raw acorn squash (which can lead to you saying bad words out loud!)
I enjoy the recipes of Ree Drummond, the Pioneer Woman and her The Pioneer Woman Cooks publications and I have at least 3 of her cookbooks – wonderfully illustrated, great stories and delicious recipes. She is very generous to share many of her recipes online. This recipe is from one of her cookbooks I own but also available online. I love to make this recipe with our beloved local Deschutes Brewery beer Jubelale. I have made it with other beers but Jubelale adds a wonderful distinct yummy flavor to the stew. I also add in some frozen peas to make it more like an Irish Stew.
Okay I think these are the best cookies ever and so do many friends who have tasted them! This recipe is from one of my favorite cookbooks Where Women Cook: Celebrate by Jo Packham (who also created the amazing publications Where Women Create, Where Women Cook, and Where Women Create Business). I was lucky to find a blogger (astillmagnolia) who had this wonderful recipe online for me to share.
Feature photo credit: Jean Scheijen, free images.com
The “tierney” in tierneycreates, has not done a lot of creating lately. I wonder if I am stuck. I have been reading about creating and I have been preparing to create (does that count?) but more about that later in this post.
The (Sort of) Current Library Stack
I am continuing my series of posts on the latest stack of books borrowed from my local library. At the time of writing this post, my stack has dwindled and I only have a couple books left – primarily the Vegan cookbooks and the book Why Write by Mark Edmundson.
I have enjoyed all the book except for the interior decorating book, Dreaming Small: Intimate Interiors by Douglas Woods. The book has a five-star rating on Amazon.com but I thought it was a snoozer (and yes I literally fell into a sweet little nap in my chair while reading/browsing through it).
The problem may not be the book, the problem may be that I am just completely burned out on home decorating books. They used to be a wonderful source of daydream but now many of them irritate me (except for the home decorating book The Nesting Place by Myquillyn Smith, which I discussed in my previous Library Stack post).
Terry the Quilting Husband, does not usually comment on my Library Stack sitting on the table next to my reading chair in the front window. He just accepts that his wife goes kind of wild on borrowing books from the library (there are worse habits to have in life). He did however tease me endlessly about a book called Mason Jar Nation(by JoAnn Moser).
Terry picked up the book and said: “Wow! A WHOLE BOOK about Mason Jars – WOW! Can I read it after you are done – it sounds SO exciting!” Through my laughter I heard him say something like: “No, no don’t tell me how it ends, I don’t want you to ruin it for me. I can’t wait to find out what the Mason Jars have been up to!”
I guess he does not fully appreciate all the options for craft related books and that yes, there are many people who enjoy making crafts with Mason Jars. The book was moderately interesting and did provide a nice history of Mason Jars. It did not inspire me to run out and buy some Mason jars and start crafting with them but it was fun to read while sipping my tea.
You might ask – why all the Vegan cookbooks? Are you Vegan or are you going Vegan? No to both questions. I love the idea of being Vegan, but there is one thing that keeps me from being Vegan, a little thing called B-A-C-O-N. Why live if you can never have bacon again? (Apologies to any Vegetarian or Vegan readers).
I work from home as a telecommuter for my pay-the-bills-job and so I eat lunch at home most days. Although I might be having meat and dairy with my dinner, I want to explore eating Vegan for lunch. I like the idea of “eating clean” for my mid-day meal. Terry the Quilting Husband has no interest in Vegan but you never know what I can slip into his diet (I have been very successful with slipping things years ago he said he would never eat like broccoli, spinach and kale! Oh wait, he reads my blog, now he will know what I am up to…)
Getting Ready to Create
Speaking of “library stacks”, I really enjoyed a book from my previous library stack (my August 23rd Library Stackposting) titled All Points Patchwork by Diane Gilleland. I enjoyed this book so much that I bought it.
This book covers the fundamentals of English Paper Piecing (EPP) as well as options for creating cool pieces using EPP. I have been getting ready to EPP and will have a future post on my Adventures in EPP.
There is a reason why I wanted to pick up EPP and I will discuss that later when I do my post on EPP (it has to do with trying to break an evening addiction to playing iPad games).
In addition to the book from the library, I was also influenced/inspired by one of the blogs I follow – Alice Samuel Quilt Company and a post the blogger did on recycling her old wedding invitations into EPP templates – A Box Full of Junk. I love the idea of using unwanted paper for something creative!
So here is what I have put together so far – a whole lot of hexagon templates using my new punch:
But more in a future post, first i need to make sure I do not completely embarrass myself trying to do EPP (if you never hear me mention those three words/three letters again you’ll know it did not work out…or I could post about “Misadventures in English Paper Piecing”!)
Someday I will follow up on all the other projects I have discussed and shared my start on. Right now I seem to just be building up my stash of “UFOs” (if you are not a quilter, refer to my post Lexicon of Quilters’ Acronyms).
I am fortunate to have been nominated for two different blogging awards – recently the Black Cat Blue Sea Award by the blogger of Of Tales & Dreams; and earlier this summer for a One Lovely Blog Award by the blogger of Dewey Hop. I will share more about these awards in a future post. I am very honored and appreciative that my blog was recognized!
“Downsizing” vs. “Rightsizing”
You may be familiar with the euphemism “right-sizing” related to corporate lay-offs or the dreaded term – “downsizing”. As I continue on my discussion of my Minimalism Journey, I think of these two terms and I think what I have been working on over the past 15 years is not “downsizing” my life but “rightsizing” it.
So far in my posts on my Minimalism Journey (see posts My Minimalism Journey: Part Iand My Minimalism Journey: Part II) I have shared how 9/11 shook me up and led me to desiring a change in my life, leading to our move to Central Oregon; and discovering I did not need all the “stuff” I had in my life.
Our move to Central Oregon also involved a decision to move from a 2800 square foot house to a 1340 square foot house. It is amazing how full we had our 2800 square foot house (including every closet stuffed). Now I live in a home where I know where everything is (believe me this is a big accomplishment to me) and when something new comes into the house, something old gets donated (and our closets and garage are actually relatively empty).
Speaking of closets – we went from a home of 6+ huge closets and an entire storage room, to a couple small closets including a small walk in closet that our clothes share with some storage. Below is a photo of our closet today.
It seems like this smaller house was the “rightsizing” we needed in our lives. I can clean it in a couple of hours (or if I put on really good and loud music I can have the whole house sparkling clean in 60 minutes!)
After moving to Central Oregon, becoming a full-time telecommuter (which impacted my clothing and travel expenses), and donating likely thousands of dollars of stuff to charity , it was time to move onto more than just “rightsizing” the space I lived in and the amount of stuff I had. It was time to begin truly improving the quality of my life.
Quality over Quantity
I noticed the less clutter I had in my life the more room I had to live and to think. I eventually realized some brutal truths that I was using the accumulation stuff to avoid dealing with the life issues I needed to deal with. Some of these issues were overeating, not taking care of my health, not having good boundaries in my friendships, and being too much a “people pleaser” (which also tied into my work-a-holic-ism).
So I began working on improving my overall health and quality of life through listening to self-help audiobooks and podcasts. I wonder if I hold some sort of world record for listening to the most self-help/self-improvement audiobooks. If you check out my post Life is Nonfiction Revisitedyou will see a listing of many of the books I listened to.
Everyone has a different learning style, for me listening to the experience and wisdom of others helps me learn and grow.
And what did I learn? I learned to meditate, to slow down and appreciate life, to believe in myself, that I am enough, that I am stronger than I can imagine, to be in the present moment, not to be afraid to take risks and chances, and what I think is most important – to live life filled with gratitude to all the wonders I experience daily in life.
Speaking of gratitude, there is a wonderful short animated video – Be Grateful for What You Have(by Igor Kalashnikov) – that I watched a couple months ago that really reinforced this to me.
It seemed the more I focused on appreciating and being present in each moment of my life, the less I desired to go buy stuff to make me happy. I also decided to just “be happy” and not look outside myself for happiness. Not all this happened overnight, it was a process but I feel it was part of my journey.
A Real Minimalist?
A couple of years ago learned about the Minimalism movement. My friend Torben introduced me the website of The Minimalists and I started reading books like The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo.
I also for a while became obsessed with Tiny Houses; and for a while the idea of selling everything and traveling around the country in a RV or even a van. I still occasionally on the weekend watch “Living in a Van” videos on YouTube and daydream. It seems so freeing to live with just what you need, have little responsibilities and to feel free just to go on adventures and experience the simple uncomplicated life.
But I write this as I sit in a cozy chair in my living room with a quilt on my lap and Sassy the Highly Opinionated Miniature Schnauzer curled up at my feet (and a nice cup of tea); and I having stayed in a tiny house (when we stayed at the Tiny House Caravan Hotel in Portland once) I can confirm that it does not compare in coziness to my huge (comparatively) 1300 sq. ft. home! (I refer to my house as “the mansion” after binge watching Tiny House and RV or Van Living videos).
Occasionally I have “incidents” (true confession time) – late night on Amazon.com purchases of MORE craft books (ok, they do bring me joy!) and impulse fabric purchases…and then more “stuff” sneaks into my life.
I watch videos of people living what I would consider true or even extreme Minimalism lifestyles. I am not truly a full textbook Minimalist. I am however, someone who has learned (through a many year journey and process) what is truly important in life and what makes me feel peace, happy, centered and joyful.
Now to close this series of post with a disclaimer. I’ve shared the story of MyMinimalism Journey. There is no judgement implied on anyone who is not on the same journey or who has with a lot of “stuff” in their lives (and no interest in living with less).
I wanted to share my journey and the path that worked for me. Everyone must find their own path to what brings them joy in life. For me, it it is living with less and appreciating each moment of life more.
The space in which we live should be for the person we are becoming now, not for the person we were in the past. – Marie Kondo
Sharing my story makes me think of my favorite quote of all time. It is a quote I have written on the white board on the door to the garage so that I always see it when existing my house this way (to go on a bike ride or a drive):
Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished. ~Lao Tzu
I used to be hurry, hurry, hurry – got to get it all done. I realized many of the things I am trying to get done are either not that important or not as important as taking the time to take my dogs on walk.
Speaking of dog walking, writing about my transition from busy life in Seattle to quiet life in Central Oregon, reminds me of my transition from working in an office to becoming a telecommuter. While I was in an office, I was very focused but I had other people around who would like to talk and go to lunch, etc. and I wanted to be social so I played along.
When I first became a telecommuter I was in a more “production” type of job than I am now. Without the distractions of other people I had laser-focus on my work and doubled my production. The only problem was that I was sort of making my co-workers who were not telecommuters (and perhaps not as focused) look bad in their production numbers. My boss gently suggested that I might want to take it a little easier on my numbers/production.
The old Tierney would have ignored this and have kept cranking out the production. The new me asked myself: “what are you trying to prove?” I knew because of the way I work and think I could not just slow down so I came up with another solution: I continued to work at my normal pace BUT I took 2 – 2.5 hours in the middle of my workday, nearly each day, to take my dogs on very long walks around Central Oregon and explore my new beautiful surroundings. This was the beginning of my taste of a deeper happiness and new found sense of peace.
Recently I told my current boss this story – of how 11 years ago when I first began telecommuting and in order not to be too much an overachiever I would take these long walks each day for hours with my dogs. She laughed and said: “Those days are certainly gone!” She is partially right – for the past 8 years my job has been too busy for 2 hour walks, however I still find time in my day to go on a dog walk or even occasionally a bike ride during the workday.
This is post is actually a “re-sharing” of a story from December 2013, I had in my Textile Adventures page. I am moving it out of that page and into this post.
Attending the Trends Show today and listening to the keynote speaker, the wonderful Mary Fons (www.maryfons.com), speak about “The Great American Quilt Revival”, made me think of a special memory related an antique quilt: when I got to be part of something special related to an antique quilt top.
I facilitated the completion of a quilt started in the 1930s and given as a gift to someone 80 years later (who was alive when the quilt was first started!!!)
THE LADIES FRIENDSHIP CIRCLE (1931)
82 years ago (in 1931) my friend’s Marla’s grandmother and her group of friends made a quilt top for Marla’s mother (the new baby in 1931). The quilt was never finished. Marla wanted to finish this quilt for her 82 year old mother who had kept it packed away in a chest for 80+ years and surprise her for Christmas.
After searching several quilt shops, Marla and I found the perfect backing and binding fabric at Quilt Works, one of our wonderful Central Oregon quilt shops. Then we had Guadalupe Designs, professionally quilt it.
Marla and I spent an evening sewing down the quilt binding to finish it. Now Marla plans to surprise her 82 year Mother with the mind blowing Christmas gift of a lifetime – a quilt top put away since 1931 that has been turned into a quilt!
Something very special about this quilt: Marla’s mom is the only person living from this time period of this dear group of family and family friends – so when she gets the surprise quilt for Christmas she will see the names of the long-passed very dear people she grew up with.
As I told Marla – when you hand your Mom the quilt at Christmas, it is going to be a “blow out the tear ducts moment”!
UPDATE: Marla presented her mother with the quilt for Christmas in December 2013 and yes there were many tears of joy.
Imagine receiving a completed quilt that was started and nearly finished when you were a child, by people who loved you and are now are long gone.
Quilts are love (as most quilters know) and this quilt contained the “spirits” of the departed loved ones entwined in the quilt’s hand embroidered stitches.
I liked to imagine these “spirits” being very pleased that their quilt was finally finished and given to the intended…even if it took 82 years…
More on the Trends show I attended in Portland, Oregon today:
In addition to spending time with one of my wonderful Washington State based Quilt Sister, Joan, I got to visit with Mary Fons (yes the very talented offspring of the “Fons” of Fons & Porter) and Marie Bostwick, NY Times bestselling author of quilting related fiction such as the Cobbled Court Series (A Single Thread, Threading the Needle, Apart at the Seams).
In addition to a wonderful Keynote presentation on “The Great American Quilt Revival”, I also attended a mini workshop with Mary Fons on “A Lesson in Contrast”. This workshop focused on an excellent way to select fabrics for a quilt and was an alternative to getting hung up on looking for “light”, “medium” and “dark” fabrics in a vacuum.
In addition to Mary Fons and Marie Bostwick, I also got to visit with Violet Craft (www.violetcraft.com) who is a fantastic pattern designer; and Annie Unrein of ByAnnie.com who is also a fantastic pattern designer (see my post iCase on a piece I made with one of her patterns) focusing on bags, cases and carryalls.
It was an amazing day meeting extremely talented individuals!