Tuesday, November 18, 2014


We had tons of fun at the Improvisational Applique class last Sunday at Sew Creative. Thanks ladies for a great day...love those birds! 

graceful bird by Jeanette

water bird by Sherry

perching bird by Peggy

snuggling owls by Summer

balancing bird by Grace

wild bird by Valerie

hungry bird by Mary

Wednesday, November 12, 2014


The last few days of our "dream trip" to San Francisco were hectic to say the least: EVERY woman creating and completing a quilt (with mini-lessons for each step-by-step), finishing the many simple projects that were started throughout the week, last minute shopping, and lots of packing. Bev and I were constantly dropping not-so-subtle hints that everything needed to fit in the suitcase and weigh NOT more than 22 kilos. I kept looking at Vilma's "Barbie Glam Vacation House" that she brought for her daughter Sarah and wondered where it was going to fit.
The amount of learning that took place during these ten days was phenomenal: I saw incredible growth in sewing skills, in quality control, in design, in color use, etc., etc.. Most of these women had not been exposed to modern kitchens, and after a week with a variety of appliances and conveniences at their fingertips, they were navigating with confidence. They were attentive, receptive and full of gratitude with each lesson and experience. Their senses of humor rose to the top; they were delightful to live with.
At the beginning of this trip, I imagined that we'd have a few homesick souls, but that never happened. As time went on, I realized they probably have never had a time like this with trusted girlfriends, a sewing room and fabric at their fingertips, with the ability to sew into the wee hours of the night, laughing and sharing stories. And all of this was happening without family members interrupting their focus with requests for meals and the like.Don't we all love retreats from life!
On one of our final days, Linda allowed them to collect their packing materials - fabric cuts of their choice to fold and pack around their new sewing machines, filling up every nook and cranny with goodies to sew and create with for a very long time to come. Linda's generosity was GI-NORMOUS and she and this amazing opportunity will not be easily forgotten.
Many thanks Linda and all her many volunteers for all you provided for us. Many thanks to my fantastic traveling partners, Bev and Toy...we are such a good team! And to our lovely "sewing ladies" from Mazatlan, thank you for being dedicated to your craft, working so hard at all you do, being my friends, and being the reason for all of the last two weeks to happen.
Now, for a bit of breathing...

Monday, November 3, 2014


Now you may think this picture of our dear leader Toy looks as though we're having a fun and leisurely time...and half of that is true...the FUN part. We are down to our last 24 hours and Linda still has an encyclopedia of projects to teach us. She is busy on her longarm quilting machine with our eleven quilts. Meanwhile we are in the classroom learning more new things: a 10 minute apron, how do a proper binding,  a purse from an 18 inch square, and their first attempt at free motion quilting. THEN, to top it off at the end of the day, they began filling their boxes with cuts of fabric from an amazing selection from her fabric store. These ladies are going home with a year full of projects. And yes, we are tired tonight. One more day of fun! Thank you to our teachers today, Dorte and Janet...muchas gracias.

Sunday, November 2, 2014


The "sewing ladies" from Mazatlan have been VERY busy. Yesterday they began a full size quilt project and today many have already finished, minus the binding. As they complete the top, Linda puts it on her longarm and quilts it beautifully in not much more than an hour. They have gotten so much practice in design work, color work, choosing threads and the like. These last 7 days have been packed with incredible learning experiences.
But that's not all that's been happening. Since the Mazatlan group is leaving this Wednesday,  the ladies want to get in some shopping for gifts for their families. I've done a lot of shuttling to local centers and have had to rein them in from frantic spending...mainly because everything needs to fit into two suitcases...including their new sewing machine, all their projects, and the many materials that Linda will send home with them. The packing will be an adventure.
Two of the women had special visitors today. Norma met with her best teenage friend, Jessica, who she hasn't seen for almost 20 years. They talk every year on their birthdays, so have stayed in contact, but today they were able to physically spend the afternoon together. Dora Alicia's sister and family drove 3 hours from Merced, and they have not seen each other for 15 years. It was a special day of special gatherings and connections. Today was also Day of the Dead, remembering those loved ones who have gone before us. We made an altar earlier this week which hangs in the sewing room.
Linda treated us to a fun and delicious dinner at the local bar down the  street last night, which we also shared with a few of of her volunteers. Saturday night on the town! There are some amazing volunteers associated with Quiltworks. They have spoiled us, coming in to help cut fabric, teach lessons, or show off their wares. Today Vivian, master appliquér, brought in an incredibe dragon that she designed and appliqued, and also quilt squares she created for The Twelve Days of Christmas. So unique and beautiful . Thank you Vivian!
Two more full days for us...very full I am sure.