January 13, 2005


I want to wish my Grandaughter Kelse a very special Happy Birthday. Ernest and I had planned to be with her and the family for her big day but had to change our plans.

Kelse is a wonderful grandaughter and she is our youngest grandaughter. Kelse is a girl scout and a math whizz. We miss her very much.

It seems like just yesterday when her mother would rush her down the freeway so she could pick the ripest strawberry in the garden ( she was two then)....... So dearest Kelse this is for you;

Happy Birthday dear Kelse

Happy Birthday dear Kelse

Happy Birthday dear Kelse

Happy birthday to you!!


Hello Everyone!!

I hope you have had a wonderful holiday season and that 2005 will be a peace filled year for you. I hope that you have good health and that your families will do well. I also want to thank you for your support and good wishes.


I am really looking forward to 2005 because it is a big transition year for me. I have decided to cut my teaching down to just five contracts this year. I will always be at Houston when it is my rotation and I will always teach at Asilomar in March of every year as long as they want me. I will also continue with my annual Australian tour because I love the country and I miss my friends down under too much not to go!! Other than that it will be first come first serve.

I will only sign contracts one year out because I am no longer willing to be tied down two years in advance. For 18 years now I have had my life planned two years and more in advance, but now I would like to work differently.

Since 911, travel has become a nightmare and I do not feel safer... in fact it is just the opposite. Until every airport is consistant and every passenger is treated the same...I won't feel safe.

Now we must be at the airport much earlier which makes for longer travel days and these are lost days for a teacher. We have been limited to two 50lb. bags and one carry on which makes it even more difficult for a teacher like me who wants supplies and lots of samples for the students.

I have designed a studio guest house which will be started this spring. I am very excited about it because it is my dream studio...It will be an adobe Northern New Mexico style two story with cement floors and a tin roof. The studio will be 26' by20' with floor to ceiling shelving on two walls. There will be closets along with a sink and cupboards. The guest house side will be a livingroom/kitchen and bathroom downstairs and upstairs will be two bedrooms and a bathroom. The building will be a total of 28" x 40" with a porch along two sides. I have been collecting photos of two story adobe farm houses for several years now and buying books when I find them.

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It will be wonderful to just walk across the yard to work and I can hardly wait.
Our children and their families come home every year so it will be nice for them to have their privacy and yet be able to talk from one porch to the other without raising a voice.

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If all goes well we will break ground in May. Maybe in the future I will open the studio up for classes and have students come to me. It would be nice to limit classes to five or six students for four day sessions. Would you be interested in private classes with me in LaVeta? Let me know through my websight and I will look into times and cost.

I had a busy but wonderful summer. The weather this year was marvelous and our yard was gorgeous. Our roses bloomed three times and the perrenials were still going strong in November.... The drought was but a memory this summer and we had lots of lovely moisture. That reminds me of a quote by a rancher friend up in Alberta this last August as we stood there huddled in coats and scarves while a cold wet sleet drizzled down our necks...."I don't care how the moisture comes just as long as it comes...I'll take it any which way".

So I do not mind when my back yard looks like a winter wonderland because it means moisture!!


I no longer let the water run while I brush my teeth and I jump in and out of the shower!! I do not take water for granted anymore....The drought of 1993 cured me of that.

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This summer we had an office/garden shed built by our neighbour and friend Phil Chambers. He was great to work with as he wanted the office shed to match the house and went to a great deal of trouble with the trim. Once it was painted, I rushed out to my favorite Garden shop and bought some old wrought iron gates and fence pieces.....Phil then attached them to 4" x 4" painted posts and I had instant antique trellis.

Brenda and Jason came out from Oakland for a few days and we were so glad to see them. We managed to get in some dancing at the Pub and Grub and just hung out and just hung out and enjoyed each other. Of course it went by far to quickly but we know they will be back. Thanks to my friend Martine, they were able to fit in a horse ride. It was Brenda's first time on a horse and she really loved it.

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In July we became the proud parents of a Great Pynenees puppy named Ella Fitzegerald. She really belongs to Ernest and this is his very first dog. She has changed our lives for the better and gives us lots of smiles. We love her so much that when she started chewing up sprinkler heads in the garden we didn't even flinch. If you have never seen a great Pyreneese...let me tell you all about the breed.

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The Great Pyreneese come from The Great Pyreneese mountains of Europe and their chief duty in life is to protect sheep,Llama, goats and Alpacas. They are extremely gentle but when their flock is threatend they can single handedly kill a coyote or wolf. They have a beautiful thick white coat and can weigh up to 140 pounds. They bond very closely to their humans and are extremely loyal.
Right now Ella is 9 months old and weighs 90Lbs!!

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She is a wonderful companion and traveller. We took her to Alberta in August for a two week stay and she did very well.
Here she is with the Kent Kids on their couch no less!! She went through a really geeky period and never had a good hair day for two months! The Kent Kids are the children of Bernadette Kent who owns Traditional Pastimes in Calgary. I taught at her shop and Ella and Ernest hung out with the kids.
She has bonded with our many wild porch cats and our indoor cats. She patrols the yard morning and night and seems to keep track of all the cats...much to their dismay!! At night she sleeps in her big bed with the two youngest is hilarious!! but sweet. This last photo was taken at Christmas by Madeleine. She doesn't realize that she can jump over the far it has not occured to her!!


In spite of cutting back on my teaching tours..I still had a very busy summer and it was fun because I fulfilled one of my big dreams to get together with my cousin and sister and to travel back to our childhood haunts.
I combined a teaching tour with a holiday this last September and it was wonderful. My cousin Fay and my sister Karen were raised together until we were seven(me), six (Fay) and five (Karen). Here we are as little kids in Cowboy outfits in front of our Grandma Baker's home and here we are now. We aren't in the same order though....that is karen on the left, me and then Faye. That was one of our best days!!

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Fay and I flew up to Calgary and Karen met us there with her little car. We spent two days at Jim and Karen Baker's ranch and we had a great visit with them. Jim is my brother and he is an actor as well as a rancher and he was home from a busy schedule for the weekend. Their daughter had just been married a couple of weeks before so we had lots of photos and memories to share. Her photo is in the September newsletter.

We spent the day visiting family gravesites and old favorite spots. We even met the present owner of Grandma Baker's home, a young professor Rendal
who is an expert on Primates....It was wonderful to go through the house and we were able to tell him about the history and the old layout of rooms.......

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Next we spent an afternoon with Marie and Henry Walters at the Cayley Hutterite Colony. Marie and Henry were dear friends to my Father as well the family and it was so good to see them again....Here is a photo of them with their son Jason's family. Their little grand daughter is so cute and I managed to take lots of photos. The last time I saw Marie was at our father's funeral where she got up in front of 600 people to talk about him....very brave for a shy Hutterite lady. Ever since I can remember the Walter's family has been part of my life.

We took two days to drive to Creston, British Columbia stopping at the Frank Slide and taking the Crow's Nest Pass road. If you ever get the chance to travel along this will never reget it. You have a panorama of mountains, lakes , rivers and forest.

Our stay in Creston was wonderful as usual. Beth Swalwell and her Mother Jean owners of Quiltview Corner are wonderful.....The convention was a great success and we had great classes.

One student, Evelyn Poppy, brought two finished crazy quilts and I want to show you one of them......She is a marvelous grandmother who is a breast cancer survivor. She is is working on a series of four crazy quilts and so far has completed these two beautiful quilts. It was wonderful to have her in my class. In my next newsletter I will show you some details of her quilts.

We stayed at a small spa/bed n' breakfast that is the best kept secret in Creston. Check out last years newsletter for more details. Faye kept us on our no sugar - no flour diet and was in charge of cooking breakfast and making snacks. It was great because she had breakfast on the table before we went to work and joined us after class for more food and fun. All in all we were in Creston for five days and the whole experience is wonderful.

Next year Karen and I are returning to take - yes take! classes from Hollis Chateleine and I can hardly wait. It will be the first time in 18 years I have taken a class. I love her work and would like to learn her techniques.

Beth's father is a most amazing gardner and people come from all over to see it. He and Jean live high on a bluff overlooking the Creston Valley and his garden is hewn out of stone!! I never get tired of photographing it. This year I got some wonderful poppy seeds and I sure hope they do well in La Veta.

I am working on an article about this wonderful gardener and his "rock" garden and hope to get it published this spring. I took over 30 photos in the garden.

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So it was goodbye to the Creston Valley and hello to the Rocky Mountains.
Next we were off to Radium Hot Springs and then on to the Columbia Ice Fields and Jasper. The mountains and Glaciers are simply breath-taking and it was wonderful to be with my sister and cousin. We made very slow time as I wanted to constantly stop for photographs. Here are photos to give you an idea of the beauty. I really can't describe the wonder of it all in words.
The beauty has to be seen in person. Sometimes the water in the lakes were so smooth they acted like mirrors. It was fabulous.

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Five days later we were in Calgary and stayed with Bernadette Kent who ownsTraditional Pastimes. I taught for her in August when I was up for my nieces wedding. I was able to visit with my niece Carol Hays and to see her two precious daughters Theo and Ally......Here we are at a restaurant.....That is our niece Kendra on the left and my niece Carol on the right.............

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Soon we were on our way up to Edmonton where I taught at "Earthly Goods Quilt Store". My sister Karen works and teaches there and it was great fun. The students were super. So be sure to stop in a say hi if you are ever in in the Canadian north land. Edmonton is a very pretty city and very cosmopolitan.

Even more special was the fact that cousin Frances, (Fay's sister came up for four days) and that was great fun. We had a family get together and it was good to see everyone again. I stayed with my neice Regan at her brand new condo and even shared a bed with two cats...That's how much I love her!

The rest of the year just whizzed by with lots of classes and lots of work.
Houston this year was marvelous and it was bigger and better than ever, if that is possible. I stayed with my dear friend Mary Fisher and that was a real treat. She had a marvelous display of her amazing Aids quilts. The show is called Abataka which means nurture and care. Not many people can get through the show without tears.

Thanks to Mary, I was in walking distance from the Center. I even managed to see my old friend Pat Rogers (we met 26 years ago when our children started kindergarten together)For years Pat and I were part of a three-some that included Carol Moderi. We lost Carol two years ago so it was wonderful to enjoy a dinner with Pat and Carol's daughter Jennifer. We were joined by my cousin Jessica Walker and her boyfriend so it was a wonderful evening for me. I have taught three years in a row now at Houston and will take next year off. I plan to go for sheer pleasure next year and will have time to play with Pat.

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I left Houston early in the A.M. and flew to Denver to join Ernest and then on to San Diego to board the Ryndam Cruise ship for a teaching Cruise down the Mexican Riviera....It was a wonderful cruise and the students were lovely....I really enjoy teaching on the cruise ships and Holland Smerica was a new experience for me. The ship was much smaller and I really like that because the staff and passengers mingle more.
Mexico is alway beautiful and I spent a great deal of time photographing old buildings, windows and doors.


The cruise was sponsored by American Express Banking and the co-ordinator is Faye Doyle I highly reccommend these teaching cruises because they are exciting and a wonderful excuse to dress up and to eat beautiful food and to dance til the wee hours.

We had some time in SanDiego and I did some shopping in a wonderful store called "The Store On The Corner". The phone number is 619 297 0848

Ernest and I then travelled up to Los Angeles to see our beloved family and it was so good to be with them again..... We stayed for four days and it was so good to be back in Los Angeles again. Nicole and I even put in a few hours of power shopping at the discount stores.

We had dinner with our family every evening and even took in an afternoon barbique at my sister-in-law's. That is the majority of the Shealy Clan on the left and they are simply the nicest family anyone could have. I really miss my family on the west coast and it seems to get worse as I get older.

The smaller group pictured below consists of our daughter Kristin and Dana with their families at our favorite restaurant Taix on lower Sunset. We have been going to Taix for years and years. It is a country french restaurant with beautiful food at a good price. Plus the sexiest frenchman in the world works there. His name is Bernard and we are very loyal followers and will wait to be seated in his station. Bernard has worked there for over thirty years.
In the photo from Taix we were celebrating Nicole's birthday in advance. She turned 20 on the 29th of Novemeber two days after Grandpapa's birthday. Her red Jacket was part of her marathon shopping trip at Loehman's.

We reluctantly flew back to Colorado where I had one day back in La Veta and then it was off to my last class for the year in New Braunsfels, Texas. Everyone there was so nice and the students were terrific.

This year Madeleine and Brian came home from Portland,Oregon for Christmas and it was almost too good to be true!!! We had a wonderful visit. They arrrived on the coldest day of the year and then it warmed up to spring like conditions , then it snowed and the day they left there were 40 mph winds......Welcome to Colorado!!!

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Brian and Medeleine are both computor graphic designers and thanks to them I now have a retro fitted office.I also took in a four day crash course on Photo Shop 7....and I loved it. The hardest part was putting it all into practice...but I have been hard at it. The other night I looked up and it was 4:30 a.m.!! I am loving the freedom to choose my photos and the process of preparing them for publishing.

It was wonderful to have my baby at home...She now has a wonderful job as a graphic designer for Daimler Chrysler in Portland. I am so very proud of her. She manages to keep up with her ballet too. (brag, brag, brag)

Ernest gave me a Cannon, six colour printer for Christmas and I am really enjoying it. The kids have it set up so that I can operate everything from the kitchen table with my lap top if I choose not to walk out to my office.


I want to tell you about a charity that is very special to me. HEIFER INTERNATIONAL is a group that provide farm animals to poor people in order to make them self sufficient. They teach the families how to take care of the animals and how to set up a breeding program.

I first heard about Heifer International through a friend Marta Moore who owns Valley Winds Cltothing Store here in La Veta. She raises Alpacca's and spins her own yarn. She gives 25% of all her yarn sales to Heifer International and is passionate about their work.

This year I made crazy quilt stockings for all my children and grandchildren and then bought an animal in their name for Heifer International. I purchased a pig, a goat, a Llama,a sheep, three flocks of chickens and three honey bee hives. It felt sooooo good and everyone in our family was so pleased.

Just last week there was a special on 60 Minutes about a young African girl who went to college in America all because of her goat!! (a gift from Heiffer International) I really think this is a wonderful way to give and yet the receiver retains his dignity by becoming self sufficient. So please look deep inside and see if there is something you can give.....Check out their websight at

I have also looked into relief for the victims of the Tsuname....and have decided to work through OXFAM and Heifer International...It seems that the majority of their money goes to hands-on work with the victims.

When you do your research...check out the percentages that go to administration and fund can be a real eye opener. You want your hard earned dollars to be used properly.

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I want to acknowledge the passing of my father-in-law Steve Montano. He was a wonderful father, a caring husband and a very special Grandfather to Madeleine and Jason. He always had a kind word and five years ago at the age of 92 he danced us all under the table at Jason and Brenda's wedding!! I loved him and above all I loved him for being such a wonderful grandfather to my children. Here is a picture of Mom and Dad Montano on their 50th. wedding anniversary. He had a very full 97 years of life and made us smile so many times...he will be missed so very much.

Goodbye for now. I hope you have a very good month.

My next project is the outline of a new book which will be titled "Mixed Mediums" for now. I am really enjoying the process and now that I am becoming more computer might be easier this time around!!
Happy stitching......


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