Monday, May 04, 2009


I cannot even begin to explain where I've been for these last couple of years. It is ironic, however, that I stopped blogging when my father became ill, and am now blogging again only after his passing this past November. Ironic may be a strange word to use, you might think, but that's because you didn't know my father. He was the picture of health, even to the last day. He never complained of any pain because he never complained about anything, so we really didn't expect him to leave us, even though on some level I obviously registered it could be the beginning of the end.

My father was a handsome, brilliant, civil engineer, a man's man, as I've never seen him cry or even tear up until 6 years ago when his father passed away and he was eulogizing him. My grandfather died at age 99.5, and, my father told the meager crowd (because Grandpa outlived all his friends and all contemporary relatives (and he used to say God forgot about him!)), it wasn't enough time. I guess it's never enough. My paternal Grandma is still alive, God bless her, and is now 100. With genes like that it was hard to believe my father would pass away at 74. It wasn't until I saw my strong father succumb to cancer (CMML) that I fully appreciated what a devastating disease it is, depriving otherwise vigorously healthy people of precious time with loved ones. Even my father's doctors and nurses had been impressed with how well he tolerated chemotherapy.

While he was a strong man, he was an incredibly gentle one. He had the patience of a saint, but the old adage "Beware the anger of a patient man" was certainly applicable during my childhood. What most impressed me about my father was that he was one of those people who really perfected himself, overcoming emotions to the point where I don't even remember the last time I've seen him angry.

He was well loved wherever he went. As someone who visited us said, "People always say about the departed that he/she was a well liked man/woman, but in your father's case it was really true!" His coworkers all came and even the men teared up when they met us. But what we'll miss most about him is that he loved perfectly, completely, and deeply, and never hesitated to say so outright ("I love you so much it hurts!") or show you with gifts (of hats with our initials, mugs with beach scenery, and so many shirts!). All of these items are now sacred objects, elevated to holiness from material things which barely represented his love.

We were kindred spirits, he and I, often laughing uncontrollably because of some pun or situation, to the dismay of even my mother sometimes! By the end of such a scenario, we'd just laugh because the other was laughing. I never had that with anyone else, and I suspect never will again. I told my children, with whom he was incredibly close and adored with all his might, "Your father loves me, there's no doubt, but no one will ever love me like Grandpa."

I know that I am extremely lucky to have had a father like that, and to have had time to get to know him as an adult. By design we lived in the same neighborhood. I still talk to him every day. It's hard to pray for a long healthy life on the one hand, knowing that, on the other hand, it means I won't see him again for an excruciatingly long time. It is an extreme consolation to me to know that it's not an end, just a separation, and that any good deeds I do here on earth elevate his soul in heaven.

Saturday, August 18, 2007


I went to that Bay Ridge fabric store again, and found some felted wool suitings for 50 cents a small scarf-sized piece. I bought nine of them, and felted them some more in my washing machine. I've been "itching" to make a project of wool for a long time now, and it was fun. It's based on a design I'd drawn in my journal for a quilt back in December, but I altered it somewhat and came up with this. It's going on my dining room wall. Doesn't it make you want to sit down and have a drink?!?

Saturday, August 11, 2007


I finally became settled enough to begin quilting again. It's been a long time between preparing for, being on, and recovering from, the trip. I decided I wanted to make a portrait. The only objective that I had was to get the shadows and highlights semi-correct, so that it actually looks like a person. And, Oh, did I mention that I wanted to do it in red and yellow? I just really wanted that, well, because, that's why! I am no where near done, but here it is so far...Don't you just hate that it is so hard for the camera to capture a quilt's true dimension? I hate the way the quilt looks in the photo, but I do like it in person. Weird.

It's nice to be back on the beach again, too, and I decided that just because I was outside didn't mean I couldn't be artsy...

Mom got some special tools for sand castle making, so we gave it a whirl.
It finally started looking like a castle when a wave reached it. So we abandoned the project, but learned alot for next time!

Monday, August 06, 2007


Hi everyone, it's good to be back home. Sorry it took me so long to post, but I'd forgotten how much work it is to go on a trip for so long - and then to return. Not to mention the jet lag and the 12 - that's twelve - hour flight home with 4 misbehaved children.

Our last outing included the following sights - I'll give you shots from the car as we approached the city.
Jerusalem is an elevated city, and you can feel the car working harder and harder as you get closer. When you finally arrive, you see the stone wall above, and the welcome sign below. Welcome in Hebrew is Brucheem HaBa-eem, literally translated it is "blessed be those who come." This greeting used to be spelled in flowers, but I guess it was too much maintenance. I prefer the flowers.
Within the city limits, one still needs to drive a bit to arrive at the old city, and here you can see the old city wall. It is such an awesome sight. The old city is divided into four quarters - the Armenian, Christian, Muslim, and Jewish.

Once inside the old city walls, the roads are narrow and busy with people walking all around - a real challenge. I was surprised they still allow cars to drive through. We went through this tunnel to get to parking for the Kotel, or Western Wall.

We got these insider directions from friends,with whom we visited and found this terrific mosaic:

Finally, the Kotel,
where we bumped into friends from NY! The sun was so bright and it was hot, even in Jerusalem. (It's much cooler due to it's elevation.) But after three weeks in Israel, I did get used to it, somewhat. Now when everyone's complaining about the heat here in NY, a measly 90 humid degrees, I just laugh. It ain't no thang.

Then it was back to my favorite part, the city center and the midrachov, a stone paved strip only open to pedestrians, where we ate dinner and my son stole the show from these mimes with applause. Night life in Jerusalem is very kid friendly, and the shops are open late. Shopping here is just AWE-SOME! In addition to great clothes and shoes and jewelry, this is where everyone gets their best souvenirs, and there are always entertainers practicing.

While the mimes kept the kids occupied, wouldncha knowit? Another friend from NY...

And it was a good thing we met up with him, too. We'd parked our car in a lot, and being from NY, we never thought that a parking lot in the very center of a very large city would ever close. 9:50pm to be exact. So, without toothbrushes or a change of clothes we followed our friend back to his hotel where we stayed for the night. I didn't care. I was happy in my favorite part of Jerusalem - the part where I'd lived for 3 months when my oldest child was a baby. I inhale and can only remember the smells - the evergreens, the night, I don't know what it is, but I love it.

For those of you who guessed Israel, you were right, of course. The zoo was the biblical zoo in Jerusalem, and that oasis? That was Eilat, Israel' southernmost city, closely bordering Jordan and Egypt. The coral reef was in the Red Sea, and those are Jordanian mountains in the background. We drove through the Negev desert, and that crater, the Ramon. On the way back, that was the Dead Sea I showed you, and what looks like snow is of course salt. I think I covered all of the pictures I posted.

Anyway, thanks to all of you who posted, I had fun with it!

Monday, July 23, 2007


I hate to taunt you, but I am having a bit of fun with this. OK so maybe I do like to taunt. Last time I posted pictures of my vacation and asked for guesses as to where you readers think I am. I have more pictures for you - and yes, I am still here. These pictures will pull it together for some, and throw some of you off. Let's have some fun, shall we? PLEASE DO POST YOUR GUESS!

This place intrigued me. It is almost in the middle of nowhere, but it's near the house where I am staying, which you could also say is almost in the middle of nowhere. Every time I pass it I am in awe of it's beautiful architecture, and how the gardens are a perfect compliment. This angle was the best I'd seen of the structure, taken from a very unlikely place, a museum of historical and military accomplishments. Here's a close up...A few days later we met up with another friend from high school in a mall for a quick dinner with our misbehaved children. In the mall, there was this great mosaic which I thought would make a terrific quilt block...They sure do love their mosaics here. A family down the block has this cute one in the middle of their porch, just begging me to photograph it - so of course, I did...

Then there was this fabulous one, in another mini-mall in another up and coming city, also nearby...

Just outside that mini-mall was a playground with the most beautiful sunset...

I digress, back to the hints. Last week we went on a mini vacation within the vacation, and we drove - I should say, I drove, because hubbie hurt his foot - through intimidating, winding roads that were really in the middle of nowhere. For a native New Yorker like myself, this was a little freaky because I am not used to that, and all I could think about was how long it might take someone to find me here if God forbid something went wrong! It's terrible, I know, I can't really fully enjoy the quiet of a vacation but hey, it's survival back home to have the mind constantly aware of surroundings and permutations. So picture this, I am driving in the middle of the desert, winding around mountains, descending and ascending, and all of a sudden, I come around one arbitrary bend and saw this...

This is a magnificent sight, the R____ Crater, which legend says was created by a meteor but in reality was formed by water. Mind boggling gorgeous was this humongous thing. I didn't want to leave. The pictures just don't do it justice. It's quite humbling to see something so vast. I haven't been to the Grand Canyon but I suppose I'd have the same feeling there.

Why would I drive through a huge desert? Am I out of my mind? Well I may be, but it was to arrive at this resort, nestled in the desert hills. The resort was quite unique and had "Tuk Tuks" (essentially, glorified golf carts) take you up and down the mountain from your room to wherever. Yes, that is a shoreline you see, fish and coral all around.

Before you commit me, check out this view from the lounge. Still think I'm crazy?When we drove back, we took a different route. Aside from getting this great picture (that's two camels, in perfect symmetry)...

We saw this...

Here's a view from the dashboard. This is a two way highway, folks, travelled by huge double trucks and tour buses. To pass someone, one must go into oncoming traffic. To complicate things, you can't see around the bend and have no pick-up going uphill!

Slowly but surely, plant life, and then forest green as far as the eye can see...

For my next post, I'll show you what I did yesterday. I can't show you that without giving it all away :)

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Wednesday, July 11, 2007


Hi everyone, sorry it's been so long again. Things have been a bit hectic around here. Where is here, you may ask? Well, I did receive my passports in time for my trip, thank God, and I am far, far away from home. I thought I'd make it interesting by asking you readers where you think I am... of course, I'll give you hints.

Here is the family seated at "Pizza Meter," where, you guessed it, you order by the meter. The owner is posted in the Guinness Book of World Records as having made the longest pizza in the world. We met Charlie, this blue and yellow macaw, in the zoo. Charlie is on record as being the oldest parrot, 104. It said on the card next to the cage that he likes to curse the Nazis, using words he learned from one of his former owners, who legend has it was Sir Winston Churchill. We tried getting his attention but perhaps he had heard the war was over...
Here, hubbie stops to smell the weeds. Rosemary...
And one picture of scenery...
Look at this stained glass window. I thought it would make a beautiful quilt!

We visited friends we've had for over 20 years and had a lovely evening BBQ, using only wood, not charcoal.

So, what do you think? Where am I?

Wednesday, June 20, 2007


I have been one of those victims of the passport agency's demand woes. I sent applications in for me and my kids in April, only to find that while they were efficient enough to cash my checks back in the beginning of May, that is where the efficiency ended and chaos began. I have been calling the agency for a few weeks already only to find out that while they know where my application is and were able to (finally after several calls and three weeks) expedite it's process, my kids' passport applications are in New Hampshire but not "batched" yet so they cannot be expedited. What this means, to my mind, is that they're in a big unsorted pile somewhere - for a couple of months.

Now, understand something: I am not the shopper who screams with a sense of entitlement, nor the diner who demands better food or service, nor the driver who pushes herself ahead of the pack. With rare, bad day, once a year exceptions, I am courteous, patient, and more understanding than anyone I know when I employ some one's service or interact for a simple purchase. This, my fellow Americans, is nothing short of RIDICULOUS. The person responsible for this should be tortured as I am when I call to make an appointment at a regional passport center with the automated system that cuts you off, falls silent, and is antiquated at best. I have been trying for a week to get through to said automated system, and if it weren't for my daughter's tenacity, I'd be up the proverbial estuary without a paddle.

At first I thought, OK, I just need to be a little more patient, but now I see this problem is way out of control. We should be required to carry a passport to Mexico, Canada, etc, and this requirement is way overdue. But who is the idiot who didn't anticipate the surge in applications? Do we not know how many people cross the border into said lands every summer? Can we not calculate how many of said citizens use the minimum vital documents or passports, and therefore how many more may be required? TOTAL TRAVELLERS MINUS THOSE WHO USE PASSPORTS EQUALS THOSE WHO STILL DON'T HAVE THEIRS. And while I'm at it, who is the moron who designed the menu for the telephone system? (If you make a mistake, there is no going back).

By the way, if we don't have the above information to fill in the formula, then our borders are way too porous, and that's frightening. It would be a good idea for people to carry identity cards for that matter. There are people trying to kill us, you know. I for one am willing to sacrifice a little privacy for safety, but I digress.

I know I'm not alone, based on the telephone system not accepting my call due to high call volume. Where are you, fellow victims, and what do you think?

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Monday, May 28, 2007


My gosh, I didn't realize how long it's been since I posted! My sincere apologies to those of you who were looking for me and wondering if I am OK. It was really thoughtful of you to inquire, and I guess for a while I thought I was blogging to nobody! Silly thought, when I have great co-quilters and quilt lovers like yourselves who write me regularly.

I am OK, everyone is fine, I've just been very busy preparing for a very special trip. Details to follow. One of the reasons I haven't posted is because all I've done quilting-wise is to sew half of the rows for the star quilt together. It is extremely time consuming, back-aching work. This is not to say I haven't been working with fabric at all. Actually, I re-upholstered my kitchen chairs with a great home dec fabric I purchased for $4/yard, and covered that with plastic so I can wipe it clean. 4 chairs cost me $24 including the staple gun for $10! But of course for that price I purchased lots of extra fabric which I am now using to make a bag. I also made a comfortable leopard print cotton (only, always) knit skirt which is so comfortable it feels like pajamas. And I just tonight finished hemming a stretchy cotton and spandex knit top for myself that I copied from my favorite-fitting top. This was a first for me. I am tough to fit up top, so copying a shirt I already owned and loved became the perfect solution. It's an Ann Taylor Loft top that I purchased years ago, made of polartec. Now I have that perfect fit in a lightweight, comfortable top - so delicious, smooth like butta! I have read many articles about copying patterns but never thought I could do it. This turned out to be easier than following a commercial pattern, which thrilled me. So many of my garments go unworn because they just don't look right. It still needs some tweeking but I'm happy with the way it turned out.

Comfort is a main objective in all of my (albeit limited) garment sewing. Ladies, why shouldn't we be comfortable? Of course, there is nothing wrong and I much enjoy dressing up for a special occasion, or even just dressing funky for no occasion but my mood, but why should we torture ourselves just to project an image to others - I'm cool, I'm sophisticated, I'm hip - whatever the case may be. Really, when you boil it down to the minerals, it's insecurity, isn't it? Worrying about what others see when they look at us can take so much time. And Lord knows, we quilters need all the precious time we can get!

I have no pictures for you today, but wanted to post to let you all know I am still here. One of our cameras has been dropped one too many times by my daughter, so I guess that contributed to the lack of blogging. Now with the trip planned, I hope to purchased another one soon and get lots of sewing done before I go. I'll try to post the pics of the aforementioned stuff I've been making. Stay tuned!

Sunday, April 15, 2007


We had that terrible Nor'easter today - all day. Isn't it great to have quilting as a hobby on a day like today? We never feel stuck indoors! The kids were surprisingly content with the nothingness, but once in a while I had to play referee.
I put a real dent in that quilt today. I didn't sew a stitch because this quilt goes together in rows and I have to concentrate on which way to press the seam allowances, which always get mixed up anyway. Instead I focused on color and placement, cutting and pressing and starching my fabrics over and over again. It would be so much easier if the pattern were one dark, one light, and also easier if I could sew it color by color, but it must go together in rows, or it may not go together at all in the end!
I began the colorway having in mind that it would be strictly adhered to - that is to say, there is a 2 row surround of each color. You can see the red is strictly bright rainbow red, and the light is a very pale pink in order for the red to stand out even more. With the oranges, I simply didn't have pale oranges, and couldn't even find too many in stores, so I had to bend my rules and use some light medium oranges. I even turned some of them to the other side to get the color lighter!
The yellows are still proving to be the most difficult. I could have kept them all dark yellows to enhance the stars and keep the pattern, but there would be no bright rainbow yellows (making up the star itself, anyway) and that is what I really wanted. So yes, the design does break apart a bit, but that break gives the eye a focus on the center, then outward and in again, and the design to search for in the yellows. Keeps it interesting, I think.
I had a very fun time putting the greens together today. I own plenty of them, which made it easier, of course. What I love the most is the use of yellow greens primarily in the inner layer, to blend better with the yellows, and blue greens in the outer layer, to blend better with the next blue layer. This is a complete departure from my strict hexagonal colors I envisioned in the beginning. I even started using an extremely pale green to fill in some of the missing yellows, which enhances the blending even more.
All I need is a few more storms (not too intense!) and I may actually finish this quilt!

Thursday, April 12, 2007


I've finally gotten to the point where I wanted to write this entry, and missed blogging and all of you! I'm hoping this means my blogging rut is over. Now that Passover is finished, I have time to show you what I had been working on all this time. Remember my post about my design wall, and the Bat Mitzvah quilt I started for my daughter? Well, she just turned 12, but the quilt is no where near finished. I have, however, made good progress, and here is the so far...
Each of these triangles are only 3" tall, and they have to be sewn individually because I select each one and wait sometimes days to see if I could live with it. Reds were easy, orange a little harder because you'd be surprised how few light orange fabrics there are around - or perhaps it's how few I can live with. The yellows were the most challenging because the pattern was in danger of disappearing with that layer. Dark yellows are not rainbow yellow, really light yellows are almost white. I decided that a slight loss of design is a slight advantage, in that it helps the focus go in and come out again, brings in luminosity, and any lack of "perfection" in fabric choices can be charming. Let's hope I'm right. We'll probably be able to tell after the next layer.
I hope your holidays were happy, and most importantly, that your quilting is happy!

Thursday, March 08, 2007


My uncle Stu - the best dentist on the planet with the tooth quilt I made for his office:
You can see in the picture he collects all kinds of dental paraphernalia - see the "DENTIST" framed pic to his right? And the Garfield behind him on the shelf?

Those of you who had trouble with pics last post it wasn't you. I finally figured out how to add multiple pics at once. For some reason the pic files are too large to process all at once and I have to go back to adding them one at a time. Nothing like blogger issues when you are in a blogging rut, huh?!

Elaine, doll, thanks for inquiring about me and my well being. I'm doing well, actually, socializing, going to fundraisers (one in the Marriott times square!), having 3 neighborhood families over for lunch this Saturday. All happy stress, right?! I just remembered that we took a pic before leaving for the Marriott...

Some of you like my New York stories, so how 'bout another one. Now that I mentioned the Marriott fundraiser... We were pretty late, but since it was late I figured we'd save the $60-100 for parking and make an attempt to park on the street. For those of you who know NYC, you've seen the signs that say, "Don't Even THINK of Parking Here." Well, we circled around a couple of times and found a block that seemed to have half a dozen spots! Is this right, or are we missing something? Both hubby and I get out, and read and re-read the three signs posted vertically. They went something like this: from 8am-6pm no parking any time, from 6pm-8am 2 hour parking with meter (which was down the block), sat/sun/holidays something else I forget, and there were a myriad of stipulations such as "except deliveries." It seemed too good to be true. Slightly up the block a police car idled, double parked. We approached, and the cop reluctantly lowered his window, as it was the coldest night of the year. "Excuse me, officer, I'm sorry to bother you but is that legal parking?" my husband humbly inquired. "What does the sign say?" was the gruff response. My husband explained that in the maze of sign language it seamed OK, but we just wanted to make sure. The cop's response was something like, duh, if it seems OK and you read fluent English why are you bothering me? No, he didn't say that, but it was implied with the, "Well I guess it's OK then." We walked down the block a bit, and hubby said with a smile, "Tough job to be a NY cop in Manhattan, huh?" Why the smile, you might ask. I can't explain it but I understood it. When you're a proud New Yorker you understand that there are territories - you respect that. This was the cop's territory, and as native NYers we're expected to be self-sufficient enough to park our car. In my neighborhood, for example, it's understood that street parking in front of my house is my domain, and unless there are no other spots available, courtesy dictates one should not park there. Of course, only neighborhood people understand that, so I don't expect someone from out of town to understand that. There is the shmuck across the street, however, who has "taken" my husband's spot out front when it's been dug out from snow, despite the fact that there's one right behind him, not so neatly dug out by us.

Am I making any sense? I surmise if you read my blog long enough you'll start to get a feel for NYC and it's "street sense." That is my goal here. A person can come to NYC a thousand times and see all the sights, but you won't see this - this pulse.

About my sewing machine - it's still moody, and I think it has something to do with a cheap-o thread I put in it. It rebelled both times. So guess what I done did? Yep, I bought a new one! Designer II on Ebay baby! It's risky I know, but thank God it all worked out, and I got a great deal. If I liked my Viking dealer I probably wouldn't have done it, but I don't, and it's an extra bonus that I bypassed him :)

Monday, February 19, 2007


Sorry it's been so long since my last post. I very much prefer to read updated blogs and so I try to post weekly on average, but it doesn't always work out that way. I've been a bit bogged down with the mundane lately, and I needed a break from the pressure of blogging, too. Most of the time I find the blog a terrific outlet, a great way to get feedback from people who are interested in quilting, and a means of connecting with people I would not have the opportunity to meet in "real" life. I have been sewing, but felt the picture taking lately was getting in the way of my creative process, so I decided for once it was OK to put the camera down and just swim in the process, enjoying every drop of creative juice and with no pressure that my work will be seen. Elaine left a terrific morsel on her blog that I will never forget - "Quilt like no one's watching!" and ever since reading that I've started to think about how much the blog work gets in the way sometimes. Conclusions: I am more creative, less nervous, accomplish more when I sew and no one is watching. What I mean by all that jibberish is that I am torn, but am feeling myself land on my 2 quilting feet. I will blog, but I surmise I will show finished products more often, leaving the camera in another room during the process. So what have I been up to?

I've made a skirt, a bag, and mended kids clothes that have been piling up. I suppose I could post pics about that, but I am rebelling, you see. Purhaps when things settle down in my head.

Now for a few of my favorite things:
First, there is this towel. The colors are not as perfect as when I first bought it, but love it so much I'd design a bathroom around it if I could! I hadn't been shopping for towels, didn't need towels, it doesn't match my bathroom but I couldn't resist. There was just something about it. One day I'd love to make a bargello quilt with just these colors (by the way, those dark specks are navy, not black)...

Then, there is this spoon. It has absolutely no function. In fact, my son broke the top off the day I brought it home. No matter, I just want to look at it once in a while...

Ahhh the soft wool scarf. One of those "finds." I love it because of the quilt-like pattern, but I would have loved it long before I knew about quilting. There goes that colorway again. Notice a pattern to my madness?

Then there's this. It cost too much when I first saw it so I didn't buy it. Then I bumped into it again, it wasn't on sale, but I had thought about it over and over and just decided nothing could take it's place. I love this thingy...
Now for some quilting photos. My uncle is a dentist who lives almost a 2 hr drive from my home. I've tried other dentists, there is none like him. Although I've insisted on paying him, he refuses to take it, and after hubby and kids made the trek today I decided to make him a quilt. He has a lot of "chatchkes" in his office relating to his profession, so I'm sure he'll love it. There's only one problem. My sewing machine...

After going back and forth to the dealer 3 times, it was purring, but then I noticed a little "ping" every time the needle went down. No big woop, it happened once before, I'll take it to the dealer again. But then I started to notice the top tension getting stiff again, and worse, that the zig zag stitching was inconsistent in width, plus the machine would slow and speed up ever so slightly. That's bad news, I think. But this machine is 12 years old, a Viking, and supposed to last forever! It has served me well, and I hate my dealer. If he weren't so overpriced and a little bit nicer I'd be throwing my money at him. The repair man I went to is much cheaper, but perhaps he doesn't know quite how to fix it? I think it's worth another try, I just hate the down time. I used to make fun of all the ladies with multiple sewing machines. What's the point? I get it now, and I think I'll be becoming one of those ladies.

Today I did the following. It is unfinished, please don't look at the inconsistent zig zag stitching - it really was the machine and not me!

That's as far as I've come. I had to stop - the machine was depressing me. Kind of like when you visit someone who is sick who used to be vibrant. You hate to see them that way. Likewise, I hated to see my machine that way.
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