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Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Anvils and cats

Today I have spent making Oriental Anvils. Boring, boring, boring. I had this bright idea last year about joining a swap with an on-line friendship group of mine. I don't do swaps. Why did I do this one? Hmmmm, maybe it was because I thought it would be a nice way to start using some of the Japanese fabrics I started collecting (while in Japan) in 1998. Maybe I was just crazy. Well, of course, hubby would say the latter, rather than the former. So. I've been sewing anvils. Oh, I guess I already said that. Guess what I've been doing for the last two days when I've had time? Sewing anvils. Is this boring yet? You should try sewing anvils. I'm not really is nice to see some of these pretty fabrics again, AND I am sewing! But still, it's boring.

So after I had nine of them on the design wall, I decided to take the picture of them and import it into Photoshop to play around with them. You know - to break up the monotony. Maybe these blocks would more exciting, eh?

How about twirling anvils? Sounds sort of dangerous, I suppose.

Or what about liquid anvils? I don't know how effective liquid anvils would be if you needed an anvil. But I do like the look of the liquid colors.

What would you say to polar coordinates. Too much math? Maybe I just need to finish sewing the regular blocks.

And lest you think I am just too, too, too, traditional, here's my first maverick little quilt. I actually made a lot of these when I got going. I think I made about 3 of the cats, or at least until I ran out of the cat fabric. Then I moved on to wacky looking "popsicle" characters from the first Michael Miller fabric I remember. Everyone we knew who was having a baby got one of these wacky character quilts.

close-up of the little fish that was quilted, and the fading.

Now that mine is all faded from numerous washings with my own grandchildren, Clyde has adopted it as his own. A wacky cat for a wacky quilt.

Oh, and if anyone is wondering how big Clyde is, do this math problem. If a cat is lying on a quilt where the blocks are 7" square and the sashings are 2" finished, how many more anvil blocks need to be made. I mean, how big is this big lunker of a cat?

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Warning! Multiple Personality Quilter

Warning! What you are about to see and read is a day in the life of a multiple personality quilter. Well, part of what you will see, anyway. The doll baby block was part of this documentation. There is such a flurry of activity, it is difficult to document it all at once.


  • So many different obligations, so many different styles, so many different fabrics are quite natural to the multiple personality quilter's brain.

    The warm, nurturing "grandmother" personality figure she calls Oma works on a baby quilt; at the same time, the friendly, "wacko" personality she calls Sharon works on wild black and bright house blocks. In addition, the personality figure she aspires to actually be cuts and sews elegant Japanese fabric anvil blocks. Interestingly enough, there is no name for this personality. It is probably a fleeting impersonation of a known associate.

    A heretofore previously undocumented personality revealed herself in the late evening hours last night. That "planner" personality sat down at the dinner table with a graphing pad, and drew out plans for yet another quilt, totally different than anything in the work room. Something called Happy Jack's Pumpkin Patch. Something about letters. For her to be planning something related to Halloween is obviously due to the excessive stimulation of various fabrics and the stressors of dull needles, lost rulers, and the clash of fabrics laying in a heap on the cutting table. There are no orange fabrics in the room, but the black must have stimulated her brain to veer off in yet another personality.

    And through all of this she keeps mumbling, "Wabi sabi", "Wabi sabi", "I gotta get those leaves on Wabi sabi".

    At times, all the personalities would converse amongst themselves, and discover tools laying about on the work table. Some were new inventions, and some had been used before, but now were being used in new ways, or perhaps the correct ways; only the quilter knows for sure.

  • Grandmother personality - Baby quilt

  • The baby quilt is now a quilt top 53" square, and the backing actually fits! The batting just needs to end up the same size, and it is ready to quilt. Because there is a Beethoven concert this afternoon to soothe the grandmother's soul, quilting will be delayed until another day.

  • Planner Personality - Happy Jacks Pumpkin Patch

  • Planning begins for Feb 18 stitch day with the Amazing Quilt Babes. Letters will be introduced for group therapy.

  • Wabi Sabi concerns

  • Fluffs of this fabric were drug out of hidden boxes, (dare I say bags from Joanne's were spotted from perhaps a forbidden purchase?) and tossed on the table with an onion (??). Nothing further was done with them except move them about from time to time.

  • New tool finding

  • A new tool was given to this quilter around Christmas, but it was not re-discovered until the frenzy of organization occurred last week. It is from Follow Your Heart, LaCrosse, Wisconsin. It was found to be a most excellent marking tool made wax chalk which disappears with heat.

    It was used to mark the lines for the house top in the friendship house block.

  • Prognosis

  • There is nothing to worry about regarding any of the personalities observed. The multiple personalities seem to work well together, and only occasionally do they seem to confuse their jobs. As long as this subject continues to laugh a lot, exercise, diet, and sleep occasionally, there should be great satisfaction with completed projects. Of course, more personalities could reveal themselves as well, but as long as they "play" together nicely, there is no reason to revisit this issue with any of them.

  • The multiple personality Quilter's diet

  • The Pasta Diet

    1. You walka pasta da bakery.

    2.. You walka pasta da candy store.

    3.. You walka pasta da Ice Cream shop.

    4... You walka pasta da table and fridge.

    You will lose weight!

    Friday, January 27, 2006

    Doll Baby on Parade

    Doll baby, doll baby, come out and play! I've spent most of today working on this cute little redheaded monster! Something so simple was made so terribly difficult by having to put my brain back to the 1970's and use templates - GASP!!!!

    This is one-fourth of a baby quilt being made, and the center sashings (not attached yet) connect the girls by holding hearts. The center sashing on this one will be where the pin is in her hand on the right side of the picture. Each doll baby's hair is different, too. It can be a bob, a little knotty, kinky style, or braids like this little girl. This little redhead was either playing in the dirt, or she has freckles all over her body. I think if one of the pictures is clicked, a larger view will show them.

    The eyes can be buttons or embroidered, but since it's for a small baby, embroidery probably will be the best. I really don't like doing embroidery if I can help it, though. So instead, I thought using Eleanor Burns' technique for machine embroidery would work the best for her eye circles and her mouth. I like the way they turned out, too. That only left the iris to embroider, so that wasn't so bad.

    Isn't she cute?

    In case anyone has never used the old fashioned way of machine embroidery, I've included a simple "how-to" picture or two.

    You simply draw the embroidery thread down through the fabric and back up, leaving both tails on top of the piece at the beginning point of the embroidery. Put the sewing machine needle through the ends and stitch a couple stitches forward, a couple back, stop with the needle down, then twist the thread one end across the other, left to right. Stitch one stitch through, stop, then twist the thread across the other way, right to left.

    It sounds tedious but it's pretty quick. I like to use perle cotton, and regular embroidery floss works well, too. I also use a piece of Golden Threads tissue paper or tracing paper under the work for stabilization. You can either use an invisible thread on top, or a thread that matches the embroidery floss. I like to use a shade darker just for a little bit of dimension in the embroidery.

    Wednesday, January 25, 2006


    Can you believe it? I actually got to make two blocks today. Of course, that was after running errands this morning, but all the same, I got some sewing time in. At this rate, I'll never get caught up to my other blogfriends and all the quilts they've inspired me to make!

    These two gems are nothing more than blocks I owe some groups who are making quilts.

    The first is a 9" is my on-line friendship group's monthly lotto block. I've included the fabric that was sent in this one. Not necessarily my cup-o-tea, but I think the Big T block looks pretty good with it.

    The second 12" Martha Washington Star for a friend's graduation shower.

    I like the way both of them turned out, and I was able to cut and stitch them up without having to change a bobbin, change a need, unsew anything at all, and I even was able to find everything I needed! LOL!

    The following is a definition for those of you who have asked about Wabi-sabi.

    Wabi-sabi (in Kanji: ??) represents a comprehensive Japanese world view or aesthetic. It is difficult to explain wabi-sabi in Western terms, but the aesthetic is sometimes described as one of beauty that is imperfect, impermanent, or incomplete. A concept derived from the Buddhist assertion of the first noble truth - Dukkha.

    Wabi-sabi is the most conspicuous and characteristic feature of what we think of as traditional Japanese beauty and it "occupies roughly the same position in the Japanese pantheon of aesthetic values as do the Greek ideals of beauty and perfection in the West." "If an object or expression can bring about, within us, a sense of serene melancholy and a spiritual longing, then that object could be said to be wabi sabi." "It (wabi-sabi) nurtures all that is authentic by acknowledging three simple realities: nothing lasts, nothing is finished, and nothing is perfect."

    Examining the meanings of the component words wabi and sabi, we find sentiments of solitude and desolation. In a Zen view of the universe, these may be viewed as positive characteristics, representing liberation from a material world and transcendence to a simpler life. Zen philosophy itself, however, warns that genuine understanding cannot be achieved through words or language, so accepting wabi-sabi on nonverbal terms may be the most appropriate approach.

    Tuesday, January 24, 2006

    I was supposed to sew yesterday afternoon. MY DAY!!!! Nope - no sewing! But I did play with some fabric about 8 PM to decide what I wanted to work on today. That way I could go to bed without my hands shaking, right?

    Instead, the wee boy and his very sick mommy came to the house. I put daughter upstairs with a heat pad and a Darvocet, and we played with the boy almost all morning long. After lunch, he got to take an indoor spin in his stroller and an hour nap. Later, hubby got to play Mr. Mom and picked up the girls from school, took one to her music lesson, the other to their house to let their dog out. Back to pick up the first girl, then home. He made chicken salad (one of their favorites) for dinner, and they all had baked beans, chicken salad sandwiches and fruit. Oh yes, they also had chocolate chip cookies for dessert thanks to Carol from the birthday stitch day on Saturday.

    Daughter was feeling much better by then, and they all left here about 5:30 PM to get one of the girls off to her musical performance at school. Whew! We were so tired! But it's all worth it, isn't it?


    this is an audio post - click to play

    Sunday, January 22, 2006

    To Be(ad) or not to Be(ad) - That was the question!

    I got these fabulous letters that look like they came from a small scrabble board, thinking they would be great beads. I sat down tonight, to start putting them on Wabi Sabi, and after much searching around, and changing the light, I discovered there weren't any holes! That's what I get for buying stuff in the scrapbooking section, I guess. I just got so excited to find the tiles in the right color and size! No holes? That didn't stop ME! I just pulled out the old drill and fixed them, that's what I did!

    And here's what I did with some of that pile of fiber I posted the other day. Just a small bit of it, though. I usually make a Sulky Solvable sandwich, but this time, I wanted the end product to be really soft and maybe even frazzled looking. So I used Bo Nash and I quite like the results. Bo Nash is a powdered fusible product. It is sometimes advertised on television to mend plastics and denims. Makes a nice adhesive, I gotta admit.

    The sparkle in the "hair" is Angelina fibers, one of my favorites. A tiny bit goes a long way, too! I think if the picture is clicked, a much larger and closer view of the fiber is available.

    Monday finds me driving cross town with Mother to the ear specialist, and then I the wee boy will be with us through lunch. Watch out in the afternoon, though. I'll be driving the sewing machine!

    Organization Plus

    After my father died, and Mother was ill off and on for several months, we decided to move her to our home. We have a nice walk-out basement that is finished as a MIL apartment, complete with a living room, small kitchen, dining area, bath, and bedroom. That's one of the reasons we moved to this house - in anticipation of one of our parents moving in, too.

    Of course, we didn't expect it to be as soon as it was, and when we moved in, I made this area into my sewing stewdio. I had custom cabinets built in for all my tools and supplies and "resource materials". I couldn't very well tell her that this was *her* space, and then use it freely as if it were mine, could I? I wanted her to feel that she hadn't given up her independence AND privacy, so I moved a few things upstairs to the sunroom along with my sewing machine. We moved a large sofa out, and moved a recliner there, too, so Mother could sit in the sun whenever she wanted while I sewed . Mother lived with us for about 18 months before she moved into a retirement community not far from here.

    When she moved, I was going to move all my things back downstairs, but after a bit of thought, I decided to just stay put. I love watching all the birds and the changing angles of the sun and weather. Here's how the sunroom stewdio was organized for maximum usage. Unfortunately, I missed my storage cupboards and how I used them downstairs, and they just couldn't be repeated here in the sunroom. I still keep my "resource material" (aka stash) downstairs in the cupboards, but I need to keep some of my stuff where it is easily accessible.

    Here's how I more or less kept my mess organized...until......

    I went to JoAnn's yesterday to find a bit of fluff for some leaves, and when I went in, I discovered it was Clean Sweep Day. Almost everything was 50% off, and many things were 70% off. I didn't look too hard to see these fabric covered boxes, either. When I walked into the foyer, they were stacked sky high, and they just fell over into my path. 70% off! Did I say they were 70% off? And I also have an AQS discount card for an additional 10% off anything at JoAnn's including sale items! Whooee! I loaded up on them! Got every one them but the hamper style and the circular hatbox style. I stayed up last night until almost 1AM just to get them organized. I moved the old stainless steel shelving back into the pantry, and moved the baker's rack into the room.

    Of course, I had all the help I needed, too!

    Here's all the boxes, labeled and ready to go!

    I even had enough left over for my small book rack. I used them to organize my notecards, my adhesives and fusibles, and plastic bags, and the biggest one has my resource of 30's repro fabrics that I am using for several current projects.

    Saturday, January 21, 2006

    Blended Babes Birthday!

    Back row, left to right: Shirlee, Carol, Carolyn, Vicky
    Seated: Quiltgranny Sharon, Ibby

    Today was the first birthday stitch day of the year for Amazing Quilt Babe Carol (the tallest and youngest one of our group). For a reminder of how this works, check this blog entry, or this one about *my* birthday quilt from last year.

    Carol had already made the little centers for this blended quilt, and had all the pieces for each block cut when she arrived about 9AM today. She and Shirlee (left, standing) had chosen the fabrics together last week, and I think they did a marvelous job! So we basically pieced 64 blocks that were like courthouse steps. The quilt pieces behind the group in the picture were all completed by noon, when Carolyn. The remaining 5 of us had lunch, talked about a couple of projects, and then sewed all the rows together. I think the centers will show up better if the picture is clicked for an enlarged view.

    Voila! Happy Birthday, Carol!

    Friday, January 20, 2006

    Winter is really still here!

    Yesterday I woke early to a ringing telephone. Ah, it's the Village Care (at my mom's retirement center) nurse telling me that my mother was ill and she was going to the hospital via ambulance, and that I should meet her there. While she was in ER getting the pre-requisite Cat Scan, and all the other tests, I managed to squeeze in my quarterly visit with my own doctor just next door to the hospital.

    Now, this doctor is one of my all time favorites. She really listens to you when you need to talk, and then she tells you "straight" how it is. She's never made me feel bad for the list of questions I bring to her, and I usually walk out of her office feeling better even when nothing is seriously wrong. She is in the same group of doctors who take care of my mother and my husband, so there's always a concern for my family members too. Of course, she knows that I am the caregiver of them both, so she's interested in how that affects me, too.

    She found out I was a quilter with a serious passion, when I asked to buy a roll or two of the paper that is on the examination tables (not the used stuff!) If I remember correctly, she gave me the paper, saying that it was an inexpensive thing she could do to help keep my blood pressure down. LOL! Ever since then, she always brings up the fact that she has a quilt that she started long, long, ago. Yesterday, she said she should maybe think about finishing it. Well, I found out that it was started so long ago the colors she was using for the quilt matched the bedroom where the quilt was to be used, and the bedroom has been re-painted a few times; AND now, she doesn't even live in this house anymore. She is my mentor on losing weight and getting healthier, so we decided that I would be *her* quilt mentor, and I am supposed to crack the whip for her to get started. I even volunteered for her to get out the box, give it to me, and I would "kit" it up in "bite sized" pieces for her to get going. Do you think this will happen? I told her to read the blog, because I would put her on the spot!

    And Mother? An extreme case of vertigo that caused her to be nauseated and very, very dizzy. They kept her overnight, medicated her, and this afternoon, she came home. So the last two days haven't been my own - not really.

    But that didn't really stop me from getting SOMETHING done! I will tempt you with this fiberlicious pile of threads that my local Pfaff dealer saves for me. Now, add some of it to Wabi Sabi (which I know hasn't been shown yet), along with the onion, and it will change again. Oh yes, throw in a little Angelina fibers for sparkle and a few golen beads here and there. Maybe tomorrow night, another piece of Wabi Sabi will become clear.

    Thursday, January 19, 2006

    Springtime and Onions?

    Thoughts of spring are in my head, even though I know winter isn't really over yet. I had the wee boy yesterday morning, and after we had a nice little lunch, we went for a walk in the fresh air. He rode the stroller, all bundled up in a little quilt, and wearing Oma's gloves on his little hands. Before we even got out to the street, he was sound asleep, so I took a nice leisurely walk through the neighborhood.

    The sun was shining, the sky is blue, and I can hear some of the birds calling to each other, and a wittle boy to love on. What more could a person ask?

    With these thoughts, I've pulled out Wabi Sabi again. This piece of work has been in my head for the last two, maybe three years. I won't show the enitire piece yet, since I am still stewing on it. I've tried a couple different things but I still don't have it where I want it to go, yet. It's on the design wall now, giving me a chance to study it as I get ready for a birthday stitch day with the Amazing Quilt Babes here on Saturday.

    But I will share the humble onion from whence beauty springs.

    Wednesday, January 18, 2006

    I Can See Clearly Now!

    Sing along, if you'd like with Bob Marley (or Johnny Nash)

    I can see clearly now, the tree is gone!
    I can see all the projects, so I can play
    Gone are the decorations that had me blind
    It'’s gonna be a bright (bright), bright (bright)
    Sun-Shiny day.

    I think I can make it now, the pain is gone
    All of the decorations have disappeared
    Here is the project I'veve been searchin' for
    It’s gonna be a bright (bright), bright (bright)
    Sun-Shiny day.

    Look all around, there'’s nothin' but quilted things
    Look straight ahead, nothin' but quilted things

    I can see clearly now, the tree is gone,
    I can see all the projects, so I can play
    Gone are the decorations that had me blind
    It'’s gonna be a bright (bright), bright (bright)
    Sun-Shiny day.

    Tuesday, January 17, 2006

    2 parts: Convergence sighting and "What was I Thinking!?!"

    Part One: Convergence Sighting

    When we go to Anguilla, we like to stop at some of the local galleries. We usually find interesting things made by local artists to either gift our friends or ourselves. This year's treasure were mahogany "touch form" hearts. We love the 8 different hearts we purchased.

    Each year at this gallery, there have been wall hanging sized quilts made of mixed types of materials. Interesting ideas for using different weights of fabrics, but I always wondered how well the artist sold, since I really don't think "quilt" on an island that is always warm.

    Our friend, Kris from the northeast, was bubbling about "her" find since she knows I am a quilter, and took me to her room to share it with me. I knew right away it was a Ricky Timms Convergence quilt, and I was pleased to see that the artist had written it's "history" on a card that came with the purchase. The artist has a common last name for the island, but I was surprised to read that she made several convergence "style" quilts - a technique which she discovered when she was in Baltimore. So you just never know where or how different ideas and techniques travel around the world.

    PART TWO: What Was I Thinking?

    So now we're home and Christmas is almost put away (still a naked tree in the corner), and I am starting on cleaning out my fabric stash - or resource center as my dear hubby likes to say - a little bit each night. I pulled a couple of banker's boxes out of the garage downstairs when I got the Christmas tree boxes out, wondering "what the heck are these?" And what did I find? Fabric and fabric pieces and fabric strips AND.....

    Crammed in tightly! " Jam packed" as my mother would say!

    Now, tell me what I was thinking when I saved all these shreds of fabric crumbs? Even Bonnie wouldn't save these, would she?

    Well, I do have to admit that I even had friends saving their shreds for me so I could use them to create textured fabric using a Solvy sandwich for embellishments on some of my "far out" quilts (like Phenomenal Woman's hair). But come on! Did I really need this much? And I have a sinking feeling that there is going to be more - lots more somewhere!

    I included a picture of the side of the bag to show that it is a larger bag, just jammed full of crumbs/shreds. I actually picked the crumbs out of a box with strips that I had saved to be sorted later. I'm afraid that there will be more as I clean through some boxes that just got put "out of sight" out of mind a few years ago. Am I nuts or what?

    This bag is trash destined. I really don't need it!

    Monday, January 16, 2006

    Christmas isn't over!

    Gosh! Has it actually been 7 days since I last posted? It's been a whirlwind of getting the Christmas stuff put away - and that's not all done yet! The Christmas tree stands naked in the corner waiting to be cozily boxed up. It's so heavy I need to have someone help me take it down, so it will have to wait until then. And of course, another wait until then thing is to get the stewdio back together so it can be effectively used. In the meantime, you'll probably still see some Christmas posts here. Like today.

    How's this for a tree skirt? It's 48" in diameter (for that big tree you know). It's all wool and nicely appliqued. The backing is wool, too! I was in a store that my mom likes to shop at, and while she was getting her things, I wandered to the clearance section, and there it was! It originally was priced at $69.99! I took it home with me for $4.99! I couldn't even buy the wool fabric for that! So now, I have a new tree skirt that I love for next year!

    And how about some gift bags? BIG'UNS????? For a $1.00?

    These next ones are for Tonya. I stood there and looked at them a long time before I decided to bring them home. They are BIG bags made of a heavy felt sort of material - they're about 36" long. I got enough for all the kids for next year, but I do think they need to be embellished, don't you?

    Monday, January 09, 2006

    Home again, home again!

    We are back, well rested and raring to start a healthy New Year.

    I haven't downloaded any of the pictures. Why? Well, we got a new camera while on St. Marten, shopping for produce, and I still haven't been brave enough yet to see how it functions in a download. I only had two pictures on the old camera, and this is one of them. And then - I also got a new iMac for Christmas!!! A new 20" screen iMac G5! So, I've been getting it set up, along with the wireless mouse and keyboard. Then I had to move my little iMac to K's office, so now he is officially a Mac-ite too! On top of that, he wanted me to set up a wireless hub so he could use his laptop upstairs or in the hearthroom.

    I started on that stupid escapade about 1:00 PM today, and finally pushed it all back to the starting point at 6:30 PM. That is to say, after two hours with Rashid who was in southern India, or at least, that's what I think I understood. After the last time he had me do the same thing again for the 10th time, I suggested that I just stop and call someone locally. This is NetGear. Blecchhh! The time it said on the package was that it would only take about 20 minutes. Yeah, right!

    And then, I backed out everything, redid my Lynksys router, and voila! NOTHING! NADA! No web connection at all! So then it was another 2 hours on the phone with our local ISP, Time Warner, Roadrunner. At least this time, it was Michelle from Canada who could laugh with me as I crawled along the floor with Clyde sitting on my back, and Bonnie meowing at my knees, wondering why mom was in "their" territory. Turns out that the Netgear had totally eliminated all my settings, and reset them with gibberish. So much so, I had to reset the cable modem, reset the Lynksys modem, and they had to reset everything at their end like I was a new customer. Of course, all this time, we were without telephone service too.

    Now, ask me if we are going to have a wireless hub or not? Hmmmmm?

    OK, enough whining about that!

    I weighed myself this am, and I see that I haven't gained any weight on the trip. Yahoo! Tomorrow, I start back at the gym, and today I was back on my 1300 cal meal plan. Our little Stephen came over this afternoon before his nap, bursting through the door on his own two feet! Little booger started walking while we were gone. Did he want his Oma? Nope...just went straight to Pa with his arms out and laughing all the way. So cute to see.

    So tomorrow after the gym, I am going to tackle the new camera for pictures to download, and start putting Christmas decorations away. I guess I missed the "nice weather" window yesterday and today to put away the outside wreaths, as they are calling for snow, starting sometime in the o'dark hours of the morning. I also want to get my thank you cards written and in the mail. When ALL that stuff is done, I am going to SEW SEW SEW!!!!

    Friday, January 06, 2006

    Star Sightings

    I wasn't really going to blog today, but I just had to post about the star sightings we saw yesterday and this morning!

    Mariah Carey is staying at the other end of the island in a $75,000 per week villa with her dog. We had heard she was here, and we finally saw her at lunch yesterday! Jeremy Irons and Robert DeNiro are also here on the same side of the island as we are. We've only seen them coming and going - no mingling with the stars for us. LOL!

    Anyway, we've had a nice relaxing breakfast and now, we are going out to the poolside to read. I've started Amy Tan's new book "Saving Fish from Drowning" and I can't put it down. I'll probably finish it this afternoon, then have nothing but embroidery to keep my hands busy until tomorrow morning when we leave the island bright and early before breakfast.

    I must say that we are well relaxed, and ready to start the new year right!

    Thursday, January 05, 2006

    Paradise End

    Well, we all knew that someday these wonderful days had to come to an end, right?

    Tomorrow is our last full day, and today we've re-visited parts of the island we hadn't seen for years and years.

    The villa where we always stay (La Sirena Resort) has been sold, and even though next year will probably be the same, nothing else seems to be standing still. There is a huge Greg Norman development (Tenemos) with golf course, and million $+ houses; another huge development next door to La Sirena by Viceroy (of Palm Springs). I think overall, the island still offers the tranquility we crave, and the people are still just wonderful. It's just getting to be a bit more commercialism than what we enjoy.

    The last two days have found us eating more fish (Red Hind, lobster and crayfish). Tonight will be another quiet night in the villa, probably with tuna fish. I've been working a bit on my redwork alphabet - having gotten to L, Lion makes me feel like I've made some good progress.

    I've started a list of things I want to finish when we get home, too. I've made a promise to myself that when I have the things finished that are on my list, I get to make a pineapple blossom quilt, too! I can hardly wait!

    Oh yes. I also called Empty Spools Seminars and switched my class from Laura Wasilowski to Gwen Marston. I think that should make Tonya happy!

    So that's the latest and greatest report from Anguilla, our jewel in the Caribbean. Pictures will be posted when we return home. And then let the quilting begin!

    Tuesday, January 03, 2006

    Goals and aspirations

    I haven't had much time near the computer due to the technoglib teenagers I described the day before.

    We've just had a nice breakfast by the pool, and now we are planning on taking a walk on the beach and then sitting by the pool for a while. The day I got a bit too much sun from the beach blast caused a few blisters on my forehead, so I am declining the stay on the beach for long. The Caribbean sun is quite fierce and as fair as I am, even the 70 rated sunblock isn't really enough.

    Yesterday's meal was lobster at Shoal Bay East. This island is only 16 miles long, and we stay on the West End where it is pretty quiet. Small hotels and only a couple of larger establishments, that are mostly self contained. Shoal Bay East is where the day trippers from St. Marteen come. A favorite place of ours, Elodia's, has changed completely to catering to them - with buffets and water sports etc. After we discovered that, we walked a bit further down the beach and had a lovely sit at the Sandpipers, a covered patio restaurant/bar type affair. Lunch was a Caribbean lobster (much sweeter and tender) with carrot slaw and a full 2 liters of cold, cold water. Kevin had a slighter smaller meal of just a club sandwich, but enjoyed it heartily. We stayed in last night, reading and having tuna salad sandwiches. A nice quiet evening, where the breezes blew quietly through the villa.

    I finished Patricia Cornwell's "Trace", and now I am in the middle of Michael Connelly's "Blood Work". He personally autographed it for Kevin when he was last in Seattle at a book store of a friend of ours. The book's main character is a retired detective who has just recently had a heart transplant, so he was happy to write "This one's from the heart, for Kevin". But I am happy to say that nothing is wrong with Kevin's heart, so we won't even think about that kind of transplant.

    I am slowly catching up on our small community of blogs. Contemplating the year ahead, I am slowly formulating how I would like to see the year unfold. This morning's read was Jean's goal - so similar to mine, but so aptly expressed. I am keeping my thoughts on the back of a laundry list, and will refine it over the next few days. I must say I am somewhat excited about the prospect of a year with no illnesses - of course, we never know what will happen, but I think this year might be a good healthy one.

    Tonight is dinner at Top of the Palms with the owners of La Sirena. They've sold the property, so this may be our goodbye dinner with them before they return to Switzerland. We'll find out the scoop then.

    Dreaming of the all the quilts in 2006 that might contain turquoise blue waters, various shades of green palms and white kernels of sand.....

    Sunday, January 01, 2006

    Ahhh, another book, another art gallery

    In my haste yesterday, I forgot to mention that I had finished another book, which was quite good. It is Lizzie's War by Tim Farrington.

    We also visited Devonish Gallery to take a look around. The Haitian art was delightful on the eyes - so bright and full of movement. You could almost hear the waves in the paintings, and the chatter of people shown in market places. Nothing but canvas art, however.

    There also is a quilter on the island by the name of Richardson. Richardson is a common island name, more or less like Smith at home. I was surprised to see her work as wallhangings being sold for anywhere between $200.00 and $500.00. Some were whole cloth batiks that had been sandwiched and then handquilted (about 6 stitches per inch). The one that my friend purchased was a Ricky Timms convergence quilt made with mostly African fabrics, with some shiny Hoffman fabrics that I think at one time were called "Fairy". At any rate, nothing organically inspired, and nothing Maverick about any of them. They were nice, but somewhat disappointing in an environment that inspires with color, shapes and tons of variety. I already have several sketches of things I want to try at home.

    I probably won't be back at the computer for several days. Tomorrow we are going to try to take a catamaran to a small island nearby for the day. There are day trips for lunch, and sun. I don't need any more sun, so I'll have to be sure there is a lot of shade off the beach (beach blast is BAD!!) if we go. There's also been a batch of teenagers arrived today and they've been one with the computer, their Ipods and their telephones !!

    And today, the book of choice is Patricia Cornwell's "Trace".