February 25, 2004

February 2004

I hope you have survived the holidays and that 2004 will be a peaceful and rewarding year for you.

Pray For World Peace..........
"When in dispair, I remember that all through history the ways of
truth and love have always won.
There have been tyrants and
murderers and for a time they can seem invincible, but in the end they
always fail. Think of it...always"
Mahatma Gandhi
I am looking forward to a quiet year with as few challenges as possible. Some people say that our Higher Power never gives us more than we can handle but hey! I have had enough and I really would like to ask for a recess! The sunset photograph to the right was taken in Alberta when we attended my fathers' funeral and signifies the closing of an era and the year for me.

We had a very peaceful and quiet Christmas with Jason and Brenda who came in from Oakland to enjoy a wintery La Veta. Old man winter was kind enough to wait till after they arrived to have a hizzy fit storm and that was great because it gave us an excuse to settle in and relax.

We had a wonderful Christmas dinner with Brent and Babz Seawell ( our brother and sister-in-law) and Babz' brother Lawrence.

We made a day trip to Taos which was fun. It is only two hours away and an easy drive. Brenda and Jason love to look through art galleries and book stores so we really enjoyed ourselves.

We saw some terriffic art work, poked through a couple of book stores. Of course I had to pop into my favorite fabric store "The Common Thread" and of course I just had to buy some fabric!
We stopped in to see the beautiful Felicia who owns "The Lumina Gallery and Sculpture Garden". She has exquisite taste amd her blend of modern art high lights the beautiful old Mabel Dodge home which houses the art. This gallery is always a must for us and it was Felicia who gave me the Mahatma Ghandi quote.
The sculpture garden is so beautiful that I made Jason and Brenda pose for this photo in it.
I always stop in to the Mobey Dickens Bookshop which has an amazing selection and seems to go on forever in the back. They are wonderful about searching for remaindered books.

Before we left we had to stop at our favorite New Mexico restaurant ORLANDO'S. As you are leaving town it is on the left hand side quite near the Taos Pueblo turn off. It is a small family restaurant painted in gay, riotous colours. They make the best posole ( hominy, pork and green chiles in a broth) in the world. That is saying something as I learned to make posole from one of the best
cooks ever....Grandma Montano.

So here is my family posole rescipe. We serve it Christmas Eve along with Ernest's turkey tostados. It tastes better the day after... You just might enjoy it.

Mary Montano's Posole.......serves 12

1 32 oz. pkg. Corn Posole ( The kind cured in lye, buy at Mexican grocery)
2 lbs. pork roast. ( cut meat into bite sized chunks, save bone)
6 quarts water
3 medium onions
4 cloves garlic
1 1/2 tbsp. salt
1 small can mild green chopped chile
Red New Mexico chile to taste
1 bunch cilentro
2 lemons

Add pork, bone and posole, to three quarts of water. Cover and bring to a slow boil for one hour.

Add remaining 3 quarts of water and remaining ingredients. Bring to a slow boil and then simmer over low heat for another 1 1/2 hours.
Now add the red chile to taste ( I usually leave this out but it is up to you)
Simmer for a few more minutes if you add the red chile.
Slice lemons in large slices....when serving, squeeze on some lemon.
Serve with warm flour tortillas.

We sold our home in Los Angeles and so on the 29th we drove out to Los Angeles to pack up. Ernest had a 34 year history in this beautiful old home and along with that came 34 years of stuff!! I'd like to tell you it was easy but I can't. While all the kids but Maddy took some furniture it still was not enough. Maddy informed us, in no uncertain terms, that when she grows up and has her own home she will collect her own junk, thank you very much!! When did kids get so smart. Well between Good Will, Salvation Army, family and neighbours we did get rid of quite a bit and then the Bekins Van showed up.

My sister Gloria Baker flew in from Nova Scotia, Canada to help us clean up and that took about three days. We did have time to spend time with our family and ate at our favorite restaurant "Taix" down on lower Sunset, several times.

The best part was seeing my beloved sister-in-law Wanda Washington who has made a remarkable recovery from the neurological disease Myasthenia Gravis. It is an insideuos disease that mimics a stroke but acts on the facial and throat muscles. She will always have it but can manage it now.
Here is a photo of us with my brothers -in-law Paul and Stanley. It was really nice for Ernest to be with his brothers and brother in-law, Lawson. Paul brought his famous fried chicken and Wanda whipped up the over lots of laughter and much political discussion, we had a wonderful time and figured out all the problems in the world. It was hard to say goodbye to them and even harder to say goodbye to our children.

Gloria travelled back with us and we made a promise to ourselves to stop at the Grand Canyon and Sedona. So we took four days to get back and had a great time but we were all so tired from the move that we were in bed by nine every night.

The Grand Canyon in winter is quite beautiful and the colours were more vivid with the moisture of the snow. The snow seemed to add a contrast. It was fun to see Gloria's reaction as this was her first time at the rim. It was also a sentimental return for Ernest and me as we spent our first holiday together at the Grand Canyon.
I want to share these photos with you because I think they would make wonderful fabric landscapes. Every time I take a photo I think about background, midground and foreground, the three most important parts of a good painting.
I offer you lots of photos in these newsletters in the hopes it will give you ideas for your own fabric landscapes or paintings.

We got home in time to greet the Bekins Van and to over-see the stuffing of things into my rented studio space. All I can say is that the two back bedrooms which are 12 feet high are now stuffed to the ceiling. Then it was a matter of moving furniture out of the house in exchange for Los Angeles furniture and then shifting more things around. I am afraid it is still going on.

My big plan is to build a studio and guest house this spring, in our back yard. I plan to hold three seminars a year. I will only take twelve students at a time and the seminars will be a week long. I will keep you all posted as we go along.

It was good to get back to La Veta and our family of cats. We really have slid down a slippery slope when it comes to the wild cats in our neighbourhood. We have adopted seven outdoor cats which includes four kittens.(Lucile, John Coltrane-My Main Man, Ricardo Montelbaum and Chuckie In A Fur Coat). We find good homes for them but it is hard not to fall in love. Luckily my sister Gloria is crazy about animals and took our kitten Lucile and a big old tabby cat named Big Mama. He has endured this name for over three years because he is always mothering the kittens. When he went for his vet check the vet imformed us that he is now to be known as Big Daddy!! What a shock...


Here is a photo of "Lucile" and her brother John Coltrane-My Main Man.
Ernest wants to keep Coltrane because he is a male and is black! Everyone else in the house is female so I have taken pity on him and said yes. He is a teenager now and is driving all the old lady cats crazy. They just want him out of the house and out of their lives forever.

Ernest is happy to be back in La Veta and into his routine which includes feeding scraps to our neighbours' chickens and one goose. Now this goose is quite in love with Ernest and will follow him anywhere. The goose is a big bossy old gander with a very opinionated nature. Ernest has to be very careful because that gander will follow him anywhere. Just the other day He looked in the rearview mirror and there was the goose waddling very fast ( just short of flying) down the middle of the road, honking plaintively after him. Ernest sped up and went to the Hardware about 1/2 mile down the road. When he was done shopping there was the goose waiting for him at the truck. So Ernest had to chase him home with the goose marching right down the middle of the road with a line of cars and Ernest slowly driving behind him...Only in La Veta!!

My sister Gloria and I went to Taos for two days and we stayed at my favorite place The San Geronimo Lodge which is owned and run by Pat Hoffman. Pat is a lovely lady who has a great sence of humour and wit. The Lodge has been in business since 1920 and was originally a private home. It is a large sprawling adobe with wonderful rooms. She serves the best breakfast ever. I like it because it is quiet and out in a residence area. Her phone number is 1-800-894-4119 and her email is

We also stopped in at the Taos Pueblo to see some of my old friends and to look in the various shops. Of course we had to stop and buy some fry bread and pumpkin cookies from the fry bread lady and warm our feet at her fire. The Indians no longer live in the Pueblo as there is no electricity or running water but it has retained its' beauty.

Travel to Taos is through the La Veta Pass and into the San Luise Valley. On this trip there was a freeze the night before and the whole valley was covered in hoar frost and it looked like a fairy wonderland. This lasted for the whole morning and with the land fog drifting along the mountains it was spectacular. Luckily I take my camera with me at all times... a shot like this makes it worthwhile!!

I am off on Sunday to teach at the Empty Spools Seminar in Asylomar, California. It is one of my most favorite places to teach as I have 20 students for five whole days. The site is gorgeous and the food is wonderful plus the classrooms remain open well into the night. Diana, Gayle and Suzanne of Empty Spools do a wonderful job. I will be sure to take lots of photos. I will be teaching a crazy quilt class and we will complete 4 squares to be put into a wall hanging or crazy quilt.

I want to tell you about a wonderful annual conference that occurs in Creston, British Columbia, Canada every September. It is the brainchild of a mother/daughter team, Jean and Beth Swalwell owners of the Quiltview Corner Quilt Store.
They have classes and seminars plus a one day quilt viewing in the downtown area. For the whole day the buildings are covered with quilt. Beth got that idea form Jean Wells of Sisters, Oregon and gives her full credit.

I adore teaching there because it puts me back among my fellow Canadians and Creston is a beautiful little town nestled among orchards in the mountains and September is the friut season.
The Next conference will be September 14 to the 19th. Here is a photo from last years' classes and you can see Jean and Beth in the back row, number two and three from the left.

The biggest treat for me is the place where Beth and Jean put me up. It is called Elspiri and is run by two wonderful women , Jerrilyn and Karen.
It is a Spa in which Karen is the massage therapist and Jerrilyn is the manager, beautician and great cook. The living area is upstairs and consists of three bedrooms, bathroom, living room and kitchen. The Spa is downstairs and can be reached by a stairway off the kitchen. Outside the kitchen is a hot tub with a marvelous view of the mountains.... Here is a photo of Beth, Karen and Jerrilyn at the Chambers of Commerce Wine Tasting Party.

Last year my room mate Mary McFarland ( a marvelous quilt artist) and I would get back from a day of teaching and a wonderful meal would be waiting for us. Then it was time to go for a massage or a sauna and then top it all off with a night time hot tub soak and gossip session. Most evenings we were asleep by nine. Every morning the Marvelous Jerrilyn would bring us fresh fruit and muffins. I highly reccommend it for a weekend get away or romantic rendevous. You can have the house to yourself if you book ahead.

This year my sister Karen Osatchuk who teaches for Earthly Goods in Edmonton will be teaching in Creston. We plan to stay at the Elspiri Spa and then take four days to journey back through the Crows Nest Pass to Calgary. I can hardly wait.
Maybe we will see you there!!

I managed to touch base with some old friends and favourite booths at the Houston International Quilt Show. My classes were wonderful and the calibre of student just gets better and better. Here are some sites of favorite shopping places I'd like to share with you.

Cosette Marbled Silk..I always buy a tie for Ernest and some fabric for me.

Gita favorite jewelry designer..I buy enameled silver fish from her

Marit Lee Kucera..dear friend wonderful dyed fabrics and clothing.

Flights of Fancy.,owned by Carol Cree who has a wonderful eye for trims.

Victorian Cottage Treasures, owned by Delilah Milne...Threads Galore

The Yarn Collection, owned by Connie James

Peter Brooks Graf, an amazing young photograher and artist

Besides my love for fabrics and threads my greatest passion is for books..I collect them like a mad thing and there is no hope for a cure. For those of you who suffer the same are some great sites... book sellers

Powells Bookstore, Portland, Oregon, Three stories high and one city block!!

Schuler Books and Music, Lansing, Michigan

Wave Books Store, Anchorage, Alaska

Pegasus & Pendragon, Berkeley and Oakland, California

Goodbye for now. I wish you love and laughter


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