Monday, December 29, 2008


Last week Santa arrived at my doorstep with a special present, simply wrapped in plastic and bubble wrap. Santa's name was really John, and he was the kind messenger who delivered my new foot pedal to me. Of course I was getting nervous about whether or not he was actually going to make it out of Sea-Tac airport with all of the snow, cancelled flights, etc. After sitting on the plane for 3 hours, waiting for the de-icer, he and his family finally took off, leaving the snowy, ultra white state of Washington (and beyond!) behind, and headed for a warmer destination in Mexico. I'm not sure who was happier, he and his family to be here, or me with my new foot pedal. My projects were stacked high, waiting for binding, quilting, piecing, etc. My hand work has seen its limit for awhile and now I have my sewing station is back in action.
Christmas here was a quiet event and with mild weather, unlike many other areas north of us in the U.S. and Canada. A nice dinner with friends on Christmas eve followed the Mexican tradition of celebrating on the 24th and relaxing on Christmas Day. The local parties on our street went until the wee hours (5am) and we happily stuffed our window wells in our bedroom with classy 2" pink styrofoam that is our new sound barrier! It helped immensely and we'll be using it again on New Years. Parties among the ex-pat community have been abundant and we've had a wonderful share of holiday cheer and good food. Now back to sewing!
I send wishes for a happy, humble, healthy and humorous 2009 to all my family, friends and fellow quilters. We all need lots of laughter these days. And may projects abound!
(The rooster above was an attempt to use a good amount of hand stitching while I waited for my foot pedal. I had to try lots of steaming and stretching and gathering to size the finished product into something that resembled a rectangle. So much for my stitching, but once again there are lessons to be learned. He now resides above my kitchen sink and brings happiness to my home.)

Saturday, December 20, 2008


Every Monday morning, I head out to the local pharmacia and wait for a ride to a community center located on the outskirts of town, about 20 minutes away. The driver's name is Toy and she is a 70-something powerhouse who has been committed for years to a local group of women, Mujeres Trabajadores (Working Women). For me, their group's name is the Sewing Ladies, as sewing is their means of financial support. They meet once a week at the community center, and up until this year, their Monday meeting consisted of some sort of sewing lesson/tip, an English lesson, an Al-Anon meeting (as most have some sort of dependency issue happening in their family), and organizing their one or two selling ventures (at the cruise ship terminal or a local hotel) for the week. I have been involved with them for the past two winters and I have been trying to get them to step out of their comfort zone of placemats and aprons and add a bit more personal expression to their work. This year my friend Bev (their English teacher) and I have returned to find them immersed in personal development classes, with choices of art, cooking, singing, etc. They are loving these opportunities, and when we arrive Monday morning they are busy at the table with their paints and papers at hand. We observe from afar and chat in our simple Spanish with the the one or two stragglers who arrive late or who decide not to partake that day. OR Velma arrives with her new baby girl and we get to hold her for awhile. When the art teacher terminates the class for the day, they scramble with their stacks of donated fabric, plan projects, divvy up the pieces, and sign up on the schedule to sell their wares. Even Toy's Al-Anon meeting has taken a back seat. Perhaps in the new year we will be able to get back on track, but for now we are there as friends and supporters. Every week I am awed by their fortune to have been organized over ten years ago, and now they have evolved into a strong and sustaining network devoted to financial advancement, skill development, spiritual quest and friendship. It's inspiring to watch!

Saturday, December 13, 2008


Our nearby plazuela (Plazuela Machado) is once again the home of a most interesting creative endeavor - sand sculpture. These artists take this once sand castle activity to new heighths with their representations of lovely scenes that capture one's imagination and gives every viewer a sense of awe over the craftsmanship displayed.

This year we are blessed with a nativity scene, complete with rats and chickens and angels and perfectly crafted bales of hay. A week ago, the sand was delivered to a corner of the plazuela by dumptruck, and slowly the artisans sculpted, with spray bottles and delicate scalpels, this lovely scene. We watched the process with wonder and amazement. Now our nightly pass through the social scene of historic Mazatlan always includes a stop to see what new embellishments have been added. And every morning the scene is just as it was left the night before; daily we see grafitti added at every street corner, but this is left untouched.

Last year we were honored with a pirate/buried treasure scene. I think this rat was there too.
And what will next year bring?
It is interesting to think about working with a medium that disappears over time. It seems to me that for these artists it is all about the love of creating. It reminds me of another place I lived that touted a similar "disappearing" medium - the ice sculptures of Fairbanks, Alaska. Here today, gone tomorrow, never to be forgotten, and always viewed with awe and appreciation.

Sunday, December 7, 2008


Recently I was fortunate to be a part of local yoga teacher, Mo Geraghty's retreat "Embracing the Artist Within". It was a call to draw from within, to reach inside to our true selves, to be open to creative experiences, and to look at the strength and power of the written word in the form of journaling in our lives. As a facilitator of a class that taught silk painting to a group and also as a participant in the sessions, I loved the soul-searching and sharing that I experienced and was renewed in my own creative quests.

Yoga, writing, food, the peace of Stone Island, the comraderie of new and old friends, sharing my own creative journey, and a day at the spiritual grounds of Las Labradas were highlights for me.

Dianna, our animal lover, connects to a new friend on stone Island. And the petroglyph below, (one of many) connected us to the universal journey humans have experienced since the beginning of time. Thank you, Mo, for organizing and facilitating this inward journey.