Friday, October 31, 2014


Traditionally the last Friday of each month is "supper and sew", but this Friday was a bit different with our Mazatlan sewing ladies" doing the cooking. We expected 50 but with lots of competing events (Halloween,  the world series parade,  etc.), only about 20  showed up. Oh well, we now have tamales for 3 days! No cooking!  A highlight for me was my cousin Mary Ann and her friend joining us for the evening. Good food, good friends (and  family), lovely singing by Cecy! And of course more sewing lessons til the wee hours of the night.


Thursday, October 30, 2014


Today was a big day of preparations, as tomorrow (Halloween) we are having a big party where our sewing ladies are in charge of the dinner. We're having 50 guests so this is not a LITTLE party. We did a major shop for the tamales, tostados,  arroz con leche and other delicious things the ladies will be cooking. Then the ladies helped Linda set up her boutique of beautiful fabric arts that are right next door to where we are. This is where the accompanying photo is taken...of some of our amazing workers. We were treated to an amazing pot roast dinner from Jeanne,  a Quiltworks board member, and an earring raffle from Wanda, another volunteer. Dinner was followed by more quilting demos. We are trying to pack every moment with learning, fun, friendship, and new adventures. And we are!
AND, I thought I was through with driving, but now that I know the city, a little shopping trip across town is NOTHING! BUT, we are NOT going to the World Series parade tomorrow, so maybe I'll have a reprieve from the steering wheel.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014


The San Francisco Giants won the World Series tonight...and we were in the midst of all the post-game craziness as we drove home from a quilters' event at the Presidio. (And I was a driver...more white knuckles!)
Today was another FULL DAY of classes...AND Linda gave each woman a new sewing machine to take back to Mazatlan with them. She is so generous, and they were so thrilled. The photo here is of Linda giving machine lessons: taking it out of the box,  setting it up, proper care and operation, etc. Linda knows little Spanish but her warm and animated personality communicates so much.
We all finished our sweatshirts that we cut apart on Monday, then embellished with beautiful fabric designs. The women are learning so much and having such a good time. They are away from all their family responsibilities and able to just enjoy being together, sewing and creating, laughing and telling stories. I feel so blessed to be a part of this amazing group of women and this San Francisco adventure.
Please, no more driving for me!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014


Today we were tourists in the beautiful city of San Francisco by the bay. In our morning session to organize ourselves, Linda informed me that I was needed as a driver. GULP! It wasn't just that I was unfamiliar with the city, but my car has STANDARD transmission. I requested NO HILLS, but it didn't quite work out that way. Now that I'm back home after a long day and everyone is still alive and breathing, AND my car is in one piece, I can proudly say "I survived driving in San Francisco!" But yes, my knuckles were VERY white.
We started out at the breathtaking scene at the Marin side of the Golden Gate Bridge, followed by a cable car ride. Then to downtown to Union Square for a bit more sightseeing before we began our scheduled events.
Linda and her nonprofit Quiltworks are involved in numerous programs and organizations throughout San Francisco and she wanted us to witness how quilters and sewers can give back to their communities. The first visit was to the sewing program at  HPP or the Homeless Prenatal Program, focusing on maternal health. Here Quiltworks has been instrumental in setting up a sewing program for pregnant women. The women there were involved in their individual projects and welcomed our group of Spanish speaking women. We all were so interested in how the program was organized as we possibly could get something like this going in Mazatlan.  And our new friend, Linda,  wants to help to make this happen. The photo here is of one of our women, Dora, as she pitched right in and helped another with some pant alterations that she needed for a job interview tomorrow.
Now for MORE DRIVING!!! The next stop was to the embarcadero area to check out the Delancey Street program. This is a large residential complex for ex - offenders and other folks with similar issues and also provides good vocational opportunities.  We visited the sewing and upholstery shops to see the great works they are creating there. We followed up with dinner at Delancey Street restaurant (also run by residents at the program) where we were hosted at a dinner by the Soroptomists of San Francisco.  They had goodie bags for all of our women AND little coin purses which they couldn't open until we all finished dinner. At the signal, they all opened theirs and discovered a ten dollar gift, but for one lucky woman, she discovered one hundred dollars. She was thrilled to say the least.
It was another day of amazing hospitality, huge hearts, experiences in a most beautiful city, and sharing with our wonderful group. Linda doesn't want us to say thank you anymore, so we'll just stick with a great big "MUCHAS GRACIAS" every chance we get.

Monday, October 27, 2014


Linda's facility consists of four storefronts in South San Francisco - her four story home/quilting room, a fabric shop, a classroom, and a sewing boutique where our ladies have sold things in the past. Today was a classroom day, where Linda taught three different and ambitious projects: a basic quilt square, a fabric bowl (actually taught be a volunteer, Jeanne), and transforming a basic sweatshirt into a unique fabric jacket. All this was on top of learning how to use a different machine, AND absorbing a full day in both English and Spanish. Our ladies did great! We were super busy all day long, got so much accomplished, and now have an agenda and projects ahead of us (along with more lessons coming up). The women were exposed to so many new and different things. For one, they are learning to use rotary cutters and mats...something we "north of the border" sewers take for granted.Their eyes are wide open and they are taking it all in...with much happiness! The last three hours of the day were spent just straight sewing, being together, laughing and telling stories (me with my rusty Spanish), and helping each other with problems that arise. It was a bit like HEAVEN. In this photo,  Magui is showing us phase one of her sweatshirt transformation project. Muy bien Magui!


My 6 hour drive from Oregon was uneventful (except for the wonderful visits with family and friends along the way), but my Mexican friends weren't sure whether they were in a dream or reality with two flights (the first for many of them), and then a limo ride from the airport in SF to the fantastic home of Linda Hannawalt, who is making this amazing experience possible. Even though everyone was exhausted,  we gathered for food and a welcome/information session with Linda, translated by Toy, our fearless leader. We rolled into our bunks around 1AM, still a bit wired, all heading for dreamland in either Spanish or English,  all with similar content of great adventures ahead. This photo was taken the following morning, all looking more rested, at Linda's home.

Friday, October 17, 2014


 One more week before I embark on "Dream Trip 2014". I'm excited, but assuredly not as excited as my ten Mexican friends. Mazatlan's "Sewing Ladies", along with leaders Toy and Bev will be flying into San Francisco next Saturday night. I will be driving from Oregon to meet them, and we'll be spending 12 days there, all thanks to Linda Hannawalt of Quiltworks and her many friends and volunteers.
 Linda met them last spring on a trip to Mazatlan. She connected instantly and promised to send them supplies from her shop when she returned back to the US. That was just the beginning. A few months later, she wrote to say that her group participates in an international service project every year, and they had decided to work with our ladies this year. She offered this trip to them, full of educational and cultural opportunities, along with fun and friendship. Her generosity is mindblowing to say the least.

 Ten of the twelve women will be participating. One was unable to come, and another was denied a visa. I just about cried when I heard that. A trip to the U.S. is certainly beyond their wildest dreams, but I'm sure even traveling by airplane is a new experience for most if not all of them. Plus, this is a trip steeped in friendship. Bev and I have always dreamed of traveling with our Mexican friends, and now it's coming true.
What a smile on Dora's face! I think I'll be seeing a lot of smiles, just like hers, next week. Stay tuned!

Friday, October 10, 2014


What a great class we had last Saturday at Sew Creative in Ashland. "Improvisational Applique" produced eight wonderfully whimsical birds using colorful scraps and the ladder stitch. Take a look at what nested in our classroom!

Check the class schedule at Sew Creative to see when the next bounty of birds is coming to town!

Wednesday, October 1, 2014


September was a busy and emotional month. We sold and moved from our special summer spot in Refuge Cove, BC, and spent much energy sorting through not only material goods but also special memories made over the past fifteen years. Three days after leaving, we said good-by to our little Spike, who was the best dog ever. She had been failing quickly over the past year, and her time had come to leave us.
We had a two week period in August when the “new owners” came to spend time in “our/their” house and we temporarily moved to a tiny cabin in our community. I took along a small box of sewing items and as I watched the boats come and go, I also witnessed our Spike in her failing state, and began a journal quilt for the theme of “Animals”. With this came a poem:

Stitched to Death
I sit on the deck of this waterfront cabin,
            Small waves lapping at the pilings,
            Sun glistening off the water,
            Boat traffic and noise in the periphery,
While I stitch this cloth to death.
Browns and greens become the hilly earth shapes,
            A remnant of sky colors sit above the horizon
            And scraps of black are pieced together:
                        Four legs that have jumped up on our laps,
                        Two big pointy ears that picked up every move we made,
                        A lively black tail that was a signal to her moods,
                        And a tiny nose that ruled her life,
While I stitch this cloth to death.
It’s a time for reflection:
            A distinctive bark that signaled any visitors,
            The loyalty and friendship she gave us for sixteen years,
            The miles we traveled together – be it by boat or car or plane,
            The new friends we made just because others were so curious about her.
And further pondering her funny little habits:
            Waiting to eat her dinner when we ate ours,
            Sleeping with us but only under the top cover,
            Discriminately sitting on our left side, never on the right,
            And balancing so proudly on our folded forearms as we stood to converse with others,
While I stitch this cloth to death.
And now I wonder if she even knows us as she
            Paces through the night,
            Gets stuck in corners and tight spaces,
            Accepts her mashed up food in a bottle,
            And lets us carry her most places.
But the sweetness in her eyes remain constant, and I dwell on that
While I stitch this cloth to death.

This little journal quilt sat unfinished for a few weeks; I finally unearthed it last night to finish it.
In the meantime, I have been working on other projects, one in particular creating a “day of the dead” altar from cloth, and of course my first prototype was for Spike. It basically is a sleeve of black quilted fabric that I slipped over an inexpensive, free-standing 8x10 acrylic picture frame. The design work was mainly discharged and later colored in with bright fabric markers. Lots of buttons were added and also tiny ribbon flowers. I attached two lines of cording for displaying photos.
As you can see, we loved our dog a lot and really miss her.