Saturday, April 30, 2011

Israel I

I could probably spend 10 blogs or more sharing pictures from Israel. (Don't worry.. I won't.) It may be a small country, but the diversity of the land and its people was really striking.

The first picture is at the airport itself. It is an incredible airport that is full of people from every ethnicity you can imagine.

When we first landed in Tel-Aviv, it almost looked as though we were landing in Southern California.. but the feelings that one gets upon landing in this country is definitely not a Southern California feel. Tel-Aviv was nothing like I thought it would be, but yet I don't know what I was really expecting either.

Tel-Aviv is the most populated part of the country. Jerusalem may be the largest Israeli city with 450,000 people, but taking in the whole or greater part of Tel-Aviv encompasses 2.000,000 people.

We walked along the Mediterranean Sea where King Herod had originally built Cesarea. One could see right away why he chose this spot... the beauty of the sea was simply breathtaking! What he built and how he built it is incomparable, even by today's standards. I never realized what an incredible architect he was... unbelievable!

The Sea is so blue and so inviting that you just wanted to wade in.. but the weather was way too cold. I could have spent forever there.

This is the place where Jonah was thrown up by the great fish. And the place where the apostle Paul spent 2 years in prison.

We are still right there next to the Sea in this picture, but I wanted you to see one of Herod's hippodromes that he had built for his many chariot races. The center of the hippodrome was used for the entertainment between races. One of the entertainments enjoyed? The killing of Christians by people or wild animals.

Here is a look at one of the buildings on the side of the hippordrome where people or animals were kept. You get a partial glimpse of the seating and the center of the track in this picture. The emotions that come to the forefront when standing right there is nothing that I can express... such sadness.

Thursday, April 28, 2011


Last month I had the wonderful privilege of going to Turkey and Israel on an archaeological/historical/biblical study tour. It was the trip of a lifetime. I realize that this is a sewing site, but I hope you will indulge me in sharing a few insights and pictures in my next couple of blogs.

The first picture is of the Blue Mosque. I'm sure you have seen this in several movies... especially James Bond movies. It is said to be the most beautiful mosque in the world. Not only do the blue tiles stand out, but it has six minarets covered in gold, unlike any of the other mosques that have been built. Unfortunately, it's difficult to see all six in the picture below. (Most mosques have only two or four minarets.) It took seven years to build this mosque and was completed in 1616. Sultan Ahmet I, who was only 19 at the time, commissioned the building of the mosque and often worked on it himself as he was anxious to see it completed. He died shortly after the mosque was finished at the age of 27. He is buried nearby next to his wife and three children. The mosque is truly beautiful.

Here's a peek inside St. Sophia's mosque. It's too bad that you can't see just how exquisite it is. Such detail is beyond description.

We then took a ride along the Bosphorus River before we left Turkey. It is also known as the Istanbul strait. The shores of the strait are heavily populated... in excess of 11 million people! There are two bridges crossing the river that forms the Trans-European Motorway. The bridge shown in the picture below is the border between Asia and Europe. This River has great strategic importance and control over it has been an objective of a number of hostilities in modern history according to Wikipedia. Its importance to the oil industry is also a huge consideration by many nations.

It was very cold and windy while we were in Istanbul and I was not prepared for the cold... the week before we arrived it had snowed. I never thought of snow in Turkey.

I wanted to share this satellite view of the strait so that you can see why it is so important. It connects the Black Sea with the Sea of Marmara. (which is connected by the Dardanelles to the Aegean Sea, and thereby to the Mediterranean Sea.) Very valuable indeed!

Tomorrow.... Israel.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Back To Yo Yo's

I didn't want to leave the yo yo quilts behind without sharing a few more thoughts. Anne Sutton, from Bunny Hill Designs, has a wonderful blog that I follow. Her web site is equally delightful to view and I find myself wandering over there on a continual basis. You will find that Anne's site, along with the Vintage Spool, Hill Studio, and Fig Tree Quilts offer an array of the most gorgeous and romantic quilts that are offered on the market today. Simply stunning! I have thoroughly enjoyed visiting these gals' web sites along with reading their blogs... I hope you will too.

Anne has a very sweet yo yo quilt pattern by the name of Yoyoville.. take a look below. For someone like me who doesn't necessarily want to make an entire quilt out of yo yo's, this is definitely a wonderful alternative.

Having shared with you my yo yo monkey that I call Charlie, a couple of posts back, I must confess that I used Clover's little gadget, a yo yo maker. Talk about a life saver!! These little gadgets come in all sizes and shapes and make the job of sewing up yo yo's much easier.

Now that you know my little secret... you should go out there and purchase your own set of yo yo makers and start making yo yo's for yourself.. or someone you love. Everyone will think you're so creative.... I'll never tell. ;-)

And if you get a chance to look at Anne's site, you'll notice that she shared some beautiful flowers from her garden on her last post. I enjoyed her pictures so much that I thought I would share my own. Have a glorious day!

Monday, April 25, 2011

For the Kids!

Every year Jim and I hold an Easter egg hunt for our adult children and their spouses who live here in town. We take plastic eggs, fill them with money, then hide the eggs out front. The main rule however is this... you are only allowed to find ONE egg. (For our children who live out of town, we want you to know that we are going to be placing even larger amounts of money in bigger eggs with each year that passes because we want to honor your siblings who have been faithful to stay here in town with us... instead of moving away.) Back to the hunt... Jim and I take great joy in watching our children hunt for these eggs. Watching them try to cheat is especially fun. This year some of them actually held their eggs up to the light to see if they could tell just how much money was hidden inside their egg.. Once all of the eggs are found, we take the time to allow the kids to make any exchanges if they want, but no one was willing to give up their egg this year. Hmmmm.

It was pretty obvious who found the egg with the most money. See if you can tell. ;-)

Michael and Chris were looking everywhere!!

The girls did pretty well... except I did have to narrow it down for a couple of them... I won't say who.

John was the last one to find his egg... I had to flat out tell him where it was!!

Looking at the picture.. guess who found the best egg?

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Joyous Easter To All!!

This picture says it all..... along with these profound words. Blessings to each of you!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Yo Yo Quilts

I have always been fascinated with yo yo quilts. I have never made one but I've been intrigued by those who have. Just like crazy quilts, there is so much handwork involved that I appreciate more than ever, the time people have put into making these gorgeous quilts. I always want to know everything about each quilt that I have had the pleasure of seeing first hand... not only who made it, but who it was made for. Where did the fabrics come from and why was it made in the first place. In other words.. I want the full story.. if there is one. Quilts that have extensive handwork along with embellishments, get my full attention and admiration.. along with my curiosity.

Here are a few pictures of those beautiful quilts I have longed admired and wanted to make that I found on the web. Aren't they beautiful?

So the other day, I thought that I would begin making my own yo yo quilt. Do you know how much time those things take to make?? Ladies, I salute you. Let's just say that I didn't end up with a quilt.

So do you want to see what I did end up with? Meet Charlie.. This little guy was made by using Indygo Junction's pattern, Yo-Yo Monkey IJ 862 a Karen Kotte Design. Thanks for saving my hide Karen and to the quilt shop where I work who carries this adorable pattern.

I think he's pretty cute!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Quilting again....

I love quilting.... it keeps me sane. I not only adore fabric, I love it! I love the smell of it, the feel of it, and the mesh of color that fabric designers pull together so that I can purchase it simply to create a treasure of my own. It brings me great joy to cut, sew and design my own projects, using their designs, to either keep or give away to those I love. Love it!!

Below is a quilt that I pieced together by using fabric brought home from Pomegranate Quilts after it closed in November of 2006. I think that I have half the shop in my sewing closet and I felt that it was high time that I started using it. Since there was no rhyme or reason to my fabric gluttony at the time, finding patterns that match up with what I have hidden in my closet has been the real trick. Toni, the former owner of the shop, had such wonderful color and fabric sense that people still to this day talk about the collections of fabric that we carried in the shop. (She's amazing!) Having said that, the fabric that I gleefully brought home is truly beautiful and I am very grateful to have it... but again, the amount of each collection that I do and/or do not possess, make it slightly difficult to bring my project to the completion I am longing for. Trying to match what I have to what is available on today's market is a challenge, to say the least! Some of the fabric, like the one in this quilt below, had never had a cut taken from the bolt because we hadn't had it long enough. Finding a two color quilt that required the amount of fabric I had was rather fun. The fabric feels and looks like flannel, but it is not. I'm so happy that I ended up with all of the bolt because I was able to make a queen size quilt from it.

The borders on this quilt were quite large so I decided to add some applique and hand embroidery in the opposing corners.

As always, being the label freak that I am, I had to add this label to my finished project.

Now off to make some kids' clothes... my other love. Happy sewing!

Friday, April 15, 2011

So, so, sorry

Between my husband having to have emergency heart surgery and then me going to Israel, I've been rather late on getting out a post. So.. for right now I am at least putting this out there so that you won't think that I vanished in thin air. Until later....