Tag Archives: hobby

A New Wall Quilt with Healing Purpose



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This week I plan to complete a new Laurel Burch wall panel to put up in the master bedroom where I now have my very first quilt hanging. My goal is to get the new quilt completed and UP on the wall in about a week.

My husband Lenny is suddenly facing delicate eye surgery, scheduled for later this month.  Not a fun thing!  This will be done in Cuenca – we have a great surgeon.  It will occupy quite a bit of energy and some luck for a good outcome and to have an excellent recovery.  I am throwing my energy into getting the wall hanging completed, adding a healing image to our bedroom.


I have slowly been making the master bedroom in our casa more to our liking.  I had help from Gina at Artex Decor (located on Moreno Mora just off Solano about 1/2 block from Ital Deli –  they do GREAT work!). I took in photos and she made a chocolate-colored upholstered headboard with the antique silver rivets marching around the high arch.  It made the room warmer.

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Also Artex/Gina made a lovely bench for the end of the bed where Len and I can sit to chat or put shoes on. (at the bottom)

I painted the room a delicate blue which contrasts nicely with the dark woodwork and the dark brown headboard and bench.  Added a new light fixture.

We took down the old accordian-looking vertical blinds and put up a cream colored lightweight blind that lets daylight pour into the room while keeping our privacy intact. I will make drapes later.

quilt in progress for master bed

The quilt that will top the king size bed will be my next BIG project to complete.  This began, as I have reported before, as a “quilt block a month” 5 years ago.  A relative in my family was injured and I dropped out to help with care.  However, I had all the material and directions, which has proven to be much more complicated to do by myself in Ecuador.  I have about 8 blocks done, using shades of blue, eggplant, rust and cream. Making it a king quilt, large enough to cover like an entire bedspread, is a huge undertaking. It seems like I run out of one color I need.  Then I make a different block and run out of another color.

Massive amounts of fabric are needed for the backing as well as the quilt top itself.  I keep working on this quilt top and then putting it aside for months at a time.  But I hope to complete the top, machine quilt it and bind it by next summer.

Did I say I am a slow quilter?  I get sidetracked by other projects, a grandchild needs a quilt, other projects like preserving lemons I got from a neighbor crowd in for my attention. Moroccan and Lebanese food to make with preserved lemons.


I am calling smaller wall hanging at the top the Healing Goddess. It is full of rich color and movement. It will spread beautiful light and energy around the room where Len will recuperate. A positive attitude makes a huge impact on surgery outcome so I’m being proactive.

Two 1 yr old rescue cats keep me company.

Curry, left, and Butch (Saffron) also help keep us happy.  They are on the old “bedspread” quilt I made 4 yrs ago.

I was just taking some photos of the bedroom, trying to show the bench.
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The cats are fascinated by the bench.  We have to keep it covered to protect it from claws.
They think it is a) a cat bed for two
b) a springboard for waking the parents up
c) a scratching post, even though there are several others nearby
d)a place to hide before leaping on the other cat
e) all of the above
you KNOW the correct answer

Have a terrific week!!!


Cats LOVE Quilts – What’s Up With That?



Other readers send comments comfirming that their cats seem to “own” any quilt their humans work on.  Here are Curry and Saffron/Butch perched on a newly completed wall hanging I had folded and placed on my cutting table the night before.

Why do you think cats love quilts?

Well, quilts are warm…



quilts are soft.


The quilt may have been hair-free until the cats discovered it so its their job to make it look broken in.


And best of all, it is where the human(s) put a lot of energy, time and value so it is the best place for a cat to seek attention.


And the fabric stash is a GREAT place to hide for a secluded nap.

Best of all for this human is that the cats are a lot of company on my quilting journey.

Do you have pet helpers?

~~~Have a terrific week!


Quilting Alone In Cuenca, Ecuador


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Quilting for me is a solitary sport.  It can be a team sport often, in many locations around the world. But quilting is an  uncommon activity in Cuenca.  Although a number of ex-pats and the rare Cuencana say they quilt, I have not met many who are actively quilting.   This is just a fact.  I am very happy to have time, space and fabric to work on numerous quilts so I don’t mind this solitary sport.  In fact I LOVE being able to set my own hours and pace for quilting.

For several weeks, my main focus I has been a “purple and blues” quilt, above, laid over my king quilt so ignore the tulips and orange peeking through.  The quilt top is done and it is gorgeous.  I’m very proud of it.  My daughter, Tenley, will be 35 in March so I want to have a lap quilt for her in purple and blues, her favorite colors.  However, as I design a quilt, it sometimes grows as I mess around with color combinations and find some I cannot leave out.  So I am plan to make a second quilt for my daughter who wants a  lap quilt. The current  quilt top grew to be 98 ” by 74″ – almost queen size.

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Oops!  But, really, this “mistake” is fine with a great outcome because I became very attached to this quilt as it is evolving. I  will hang it at the top of my stairs or behind the living room sofa – wherever it seems to look best once it is completed.  I hope to have the quilt hung by Christmas. It is typical of any quilt I design that I end up with a larger project than first planned.  I need to learn to downsize!  Because the bigger they are, as all of you know, the harder they are to actually quilt on the machine. But I am determined to get this one up on the wall to enjoy.

There is the added bonus that when we have guests, I could pull the quilt off the wall, wash it and put it on the guest bed.  It’s all winners here.

There are no long arm quilters with a machine in Cuenca.  Note to interested parties: you would have some business, doing quilts for the people in the ex-pat community and no competition. The downside is that you would need to charge less than in the US, most likely, as this locale as a retiree economy cannot sustain current US pricing.  Just my thoughts.  But an argument could be made either way.

For my daughter’s lap size quilt, I have plenty of the same materials so it will be equally gorgeous but the size she wanted.  I have ample time to make her quilt after the new year – I will deliver Tenley’s quilt when we visit the US in June, 2014 so it is all good.

Back to the team versus individual sport of quilting. I am on record here saying I MISS my old familiar quilt store and my favorite quilt teacher, Victoria, very much.  The old store is gone now, a newer smaller one replaced it with much less to offer.  The old store had plenty of relatively clean floor space where one could lay out a quilt.  There were huge tables where one could layer a quilt.  And there were always kind, generous people who would put their own projects aside to help a person smooth out the layers of “the sandwich” of backing, batting and quilt top.

That is right where I am now in the process.  I have a great cutting table ( 72″ long x 45″ deep) where I am layering the quilt but I really miss having extra hands to make this sandwich thing come out right, without wrinkles.  That is my focus tomorrow.  I am layering a small section at a time on the cutting table.  I can hand baste about 3 feet of length at a time so that 95″ length will take me a bit.

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One challenge is that the young cats who live here, Butch and Curry, love to play wild games all over the house at a drop of the hat.  Last night, when I was away for a little bit, they had a wild wrestle on the loose parts of the quilt sandwich that are hanging down and gently folded onto the floor. Any thing that looks different gets a cat’s curiosity juiced up so…I came home from dinner and found a bit of chaos on the landing where the cutting table lives.  But it was all repairable and I”m retired so…there is time to do all things that hold my interest.

Kale crop continues into 6th month

Kale crop continues into 6th month

When I am not quilting or doing things away from mi casa, I garden, cook gluten free meals and hang out with my precious loving husband.

Spinach Frittata

Spinach Frittata

My friends think up lots of interesting things for us to do around Cuenca.  Here is Taylor by the only phone booth I’ve noticed in Cuenca.

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A LOT of fabric



I own a lot of fabric. I mean “A LOT OF FABRIC!”   I create a project when I fall in love with some fabric online or in a quilt store in the US.  I try to imagine the pattern, buy coordinating colors and work hard to not buy too much   But, also to be sure to buy enough fabric.  It is super frustrating to begin a project months (or years?) later and find I needed 2.5 yards, not 1 yard of a particular fabric.  But it happens and you find something else in your fabric stash to fill the need, right?

A tiny fraction of my stash.

I suppose that quilting can be a metaphor for life: a person wants to make a mark in the world in some way.  Most people love to get attention and praise.  A person wants to ACHIEVE, to create, to complete a task.  A person is drawn to some type of interest to occupy their time.  Quilting can meet the need and provide satisfaction for all of these needs  IF that person likes quilting.  Some people hate it.  For one of my brothers, the magic happens with fly fishing – catch and release – that fills these needs for him.  Another brother finds designing buildings and flying his own plane to be top notch rewarding. My 3rd brother is a serious gamer when he is not working on the land.  He interacts with people all over the world from a series of computers in his living room.

In life also, there are things you really like and things you really dislike, procrastinate about, put off. Maybe it is washing the dishes.  Maybe it is completing the end of a project.  Whatever it is, it says something about your life and how you approach every day living. What does the item you procrastinate about say about your life?

For me, at this stage of life, quilting is a favorite hobby. By living in Cuenca, Ecuador for the past year, I am pretty isolated from others who are actively quilting, cut off from my support group of other quilters and the resource for learning that comes with quilt classes in the US.  This has forced me to face some things I want to put off, like layering and quilting.  It has also led me to see what I REALLY dislike but must do…binding.  Putting the binding on a quilt is the last step, it is completion.  For some reason I really dislike that.  Is it that finishing means the end of that experience?  Or is it just that I’m not very good at binding. My corners never look as good as the books show. Ahhh well, it certainly gives me something to improve upon, to conquer my procrastination, and to accept whatever turns out and be happy with that.

Here is peek at a “quilt kit” crying out for my attention.  This project will be a new challenge and should result in a gorgeous quilt to hang in my new stairwell. My great quilting buddy Cindy and I had so much fun finding just the right fabrics for this project.  Many happy hours.  A shout out to my loyal friend Cindy in Tualatin, OREGON. I am selecting the color of paint for the stairwell to coordinate with the quilts I want to hang.  The red and caramel quilt will be beautiful there.

The Red and Caramel Basket Quilt kit is ready to start soon

On another note, Sunday I talked with two of my three children who are grown with families of their own. We skyped so I got to see them sitting in the shade at the farm where I grew up.  They were visiting my parents who are 94 yrs old.  There were also aunts, uncles, cousins and assorted others.  I talked with all 3 grandchildren and saw how they are growing.  What a joy…that also caused a pang of longing to be there with them.  I am going in November to Oregon and will also visit Idaho.  Seems a long way off.

This is my grandson Blake at 18 mos with my dad who is now  94, across generations there is a connection the camera caught. This is the little guy who will be 4 in a couple of weeks and will have a new little brother in a few months.  I have 2 other grandchildren in California – Emma is 9 and Andrew is 6.  I miss all of them and their parents, my extended family and friends!

OK, a word about living gluten-free (no wheat, barley or rye).  Tonight I made gf waffles from scratch: brown rice flour, quinoa flour, added some teff…turned out great! we were completely decadent and had strawberries and whipped cream on top.  A rare treat.  We ‘ve bought strawberries at the markets every week since we arrived – year around strawberries from the lower elevations of Ecuador.  Esta maravilloso!

Unusual flours I’ve found in the market: Banana flour, flour of purple flower, dry shredded coconut can be pulverized in a blender to a fine flour. And baking soda.  At the top is cornstarch. And pine nuts.

Plans for the “gluten-free user’s group” are moving ahead: First meeting slated for August 21 at 10:30 am.  If you are gluten intolerant or celiac or just interested in avoiding  gluten foods, please consider coming. Sharing resources and ways to be gluten free in a country full of bread made with white flour.  And other needs and sharing.  All of that plus tea or espresso and a gluten free treat.

Please send me an email if you are interested:  nature93@gmail.com

Hope the end of your week is magnificent. Thank you for reading my blog.


Just some thoughts about my hobby – Quilting


First of all, oops, I did not get that photo in the end of last post.  Will take the photo today.

But second, I intend this to be a fresh place about quilting, my own journal thoughts but I hope others will share about what quilting means to them. If you click follow or join, you can share your thoughts as we move along in this new blog about quilting.


This is the second quilt I made.  I still LOVE this pattern and use it often.

Quilting has become my active meditation.  It is a wonderful way to spend time  – except when I have to rip something out and I’m even getting more patient with that! It calms me when something is moderately upsetting, it rewards me when I need something to absorb my lively mind, it pleases me to see a good outcome – things like that.  What about for you?

Right now, I am making a couple of wall hangings.  The walls of our apartment are secure and relatively quiet from neighbor noise but I believe some quilts on selected walls will muffle sound we make as we live our daily lives.

What draws you to quilting? What goals do you have with your quilting hobby?