September 08, 2006

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Hello Everyone! Oliver and I hope that you have had a wonderful summer.
My spring and summer have just whizzed by and now I am sitting here in stunned amazement because I must start to prepare for the Houston Quilt Show.
Oliver is doing very well for an old gentleman dog and considering that he is missing several body parts!! He is my constant companion and best buddy.

I am loving my new studio space. I keep threatening to move over to the Studio/Guest House but Ernest says if I do that he will stop cooking!!

My crazy quilt "Victorian Theatre" was juried into the Houston International Quilt Competition! I just got word that it was one of 324 quilts accepted out of 860 entries. That is a thrill! Not often a crazy quilt gets in so I am really pleased.

ROBERT KAUFMAN FABRIC LINE_____________________

This summer I have been working on my new fabric line for ROBERT KAUFMAN CO. and it has been soooo exciting and soooo out of the box for me.
I spent a whole day with Evie Ashworth, the Director of Design, a very special lady and so very talented. I met lots of interesting people including Ken Kaufman and his uncle Harvey.

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It was an artist's dream to just watch the process from idea to design to fabric.
In another life...that is where I would like to start. I thought of my daughter Maddy and her Graphic Design background and how she loves creating from ideas to concept. Most of all I noticed that everyone at Robert Kaufman seemed happy and involved in their work.... that is a very good sign.

My fabric line for Robert Kaufman Co. will be out March 2007.. We are trying very hard to come up with a line that can be used for Crazy Quilting, Quilting and Fashion. They have a few surprises coming out with this line such as a silk cotton blend and marbelized fabric. I know you are going to love it!!!!
Here is a photo of design sheets that we are working on. The different patterns will be presented just as I work in pastels, dusties and jewel tones.

GRANDMA MARY MONTANO________1912 -2006_________________

We lost Grandma Mary Baca Montano in late May and it has been a very hard
adjustment for everyone. She was the matriarch of the Montano family and she was loved and admired by everyone. She is irreplaceable. Everyone misses her so very much.

She was the epitomy of the "strong" woman and worked so very hard all her life.
Mom Montano was a wonderful mother who was always there for her children. Fred (my exhusband) has nothing but wonderful memories of his parents. Mom and Dad Montano were married for 75 years..(Dad Montano died at the age of 97, November 30, 2004)

She loved music and to sing. Many times Dad would play the fiddle and Mom would entertain us with folk songs from northern New Mexico. As a dancer she could out dance all of us. She also loved to play cards and usually won! She often cheated but with that twinkle in her eye you never could be sure.

(This photo was taken in April of me with Fred, Mom, Jason, Brenda and Chip)

Above all she was the most marvelous grandmother and for that I will always be thankful. She was always there for Jason and Madeleine. They were fortunate to have her for so many years in their lives. Jason summed it up when he asked "Who will send me cards with a dollar in them now?"

Grandma Montano was so proud of them because they stuck it out and finished University...something she always dreamed of for herself. The kids always joked that if Grandma Montano had gone to Uni she would be the CEO of a fortune 500 or running the country.

She was a wonderful mother in law and even after our divorce...she was still my mother in law. I always admired her for that.

(This photo was taken last year of Mom and Maddy. She had just returned from having her hair and nails done)

Mom and Dad Montano moved to Oakland, California after many years in Pueblo, Colorado in 1946. ( She was born in Sabinoso, New mexico) Mom worked as a store clerk at Swans Dry Goods and in 1952 opened her own 2nd.hand shop "The Bargain Center" in downtown Oakland. She was a marvelous retailer and could sell you two left shoes. She ran the Bargain Center for 35 years. For a college student it was a haven for funky clothes. I still remember a navy peacoat I wore for years.

I was lucky to have a great visit with Mom and Fred in April along with Jason, Brenda and Chip. ( I was on my way to teach in Asylomar) Fred had returned to Oakland ten years ago to take care of his parents. We had a great meal together and played Uno. Of course Mom won!

Fred and Mom were planning to attend the Montano family reunion in August and then come down to visit with us in La Veta. Little did I know it would be the last time I would see her. I got the news of her death while working in Australia.

He did come out for the reunion and came down to visit us. Fred is a wonderful jazz musician and serinaded us every evening. Ernest and Fred could talk about jazz for hours. We enjoyed lots of stories about Mom and Dad Montano too.

Mom was near 95 years old when she passed. I will always be gratetful to the wonderful woman that adored my children and was always there for me.

THE FIRST SEMINAR__________________________________

July in La Veta saw a record heat wave which was going full throttle during my first Studio Seminar!! But in spite of the heat it was a great success and I am going to keep doing it again and again.

In 2007 I will hold six seminars and already they are a third booked!!!

The first seminar at my studio was a wonderful experience.....It was a basic crazy quilt class and covered the Montano method of piecing, use of colours and fabrics, embroidery and silk ribbon. The most pleasant surprise for me was that everyone in the class was a previous it was really fun.

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Here we are in the photo on the right. Rhonda Perry from Boulder, Colorado, is seated left. Cindy Gibson from Wichita, Kansas is on the right. Freda Butler from Chicago, Illinois is standing with me in the back.

The studio worked out beautifully but I can see lots of room for improvements.
Luckily everyone was very good natured and put up with the heat wave which hit extreme temperatures in the late afternoon. They came up with lots of great ideas of how to make the seminars even better.

I was really glad to start out with three students instead of the expected five (two students had a family crisis and had to put off till next year.) Rhonda, Cindy and Freda made the first seminara positive experience.

The table space worked out well in the Studio and I have invested in padded chairs for more comfort. The girls came back every evening and worked several hours on their projects.


Rhonda and Cindy stayed at the Inn at the Spanish Peaks and regaled us every morning with the glorious breakfasts. Towards the end they were practically rolling in the door, muttering about someone trying to kill them with great food!!

Freda stayed in the Studio Guest house but her breakfast was a different experience. She was greeted with a fridge full of bread, fruit, bacon, eggs, milk, coffee, tea, oatmeal and granola!!! Then she was handed a toaster, coffee pot and a fry pan!!!


They worked so very hard to get their crazy quilting to look collaged or mosaic.... It wasn't long before they mastered my few "Tricks of the Trade" such as convex and concave circles; the dyslexic mitered rectangles; sliced pie shapes; bouncing cools against warms and filler fan shapes.
The goal was to complete four 12" squares and while that sounds quite easy...believe me it is not!

Over the years it has become clear to me that a one day class just doesn't make it for crazy quilting because piecing and use of colour is the most important step to a good crazy quilt. I see so many attempts that look like string quilting or a bulls-eye of lights and darks. These simply are not crazy quilts!!

I admire Rhonda, Freda and Cindy (great crazy quilters in their own right) for coming to my seminar and really concentrating on their piecing...... and working out of their comfort zone.....As you can see they came up with wonderful squares. They are all well on their way to a wonderful wall hanging or the beginnings of a crazy quilt.


Cindy loves to work in warm dusty tones and she is very good at it. By working with more cool and extender colours her work just sparkled. I have known Cindy for many years and it was lots of fun to have her in class and to introduce her to La Veta. Cindy is a wizard with the embroidery needle and I am looking forward to seeing her completed project.


Freda had quite a time because North West lost her luggage and did not seem to give a toss about it...So that is why she has only two pastel blocks finished and one Jewel tone. I lent her the fabric for the Jewel tone. She did really well on the piecing techniques and I know she will not have any problems coming up with more blocks for her pastel piece.


Rhonda loves to do silk ribbon embroidery and is a whiz at it. She came to master the piecing techniques and worked so very hard at it. I was thrilled with her efforts and the finished piece will be marvelous. It was a pleasure to be with Rhonda again and I know she will be back to La Veta in the near future.

I worked on four blocks along with them and it was very enjoyable. They worked very hard to mastered my piecing and colour techniques and I can say they really got it!! The studio was put to good use everyday and night!!!!


As usual Ernest was a great host.
He was kept very busy in the garden
and picking cherries!! This summer
our old cherry tree in front of the Studio
was chock a block full. He picked buckets
of cherries for his many lady friends and
our good friend and neighbour Dulaney Lingo
came over several times to pick cherries.
We are always glad to have Dulaney come
for cherries because it means we will get
a big cherry pie....we were not disapointed.
We all agreed it was the best cherry pie
we had ever tasted. Pie, pie, pie, I love pie!

Dulaney Lingo is a marvelous artist and works in many mediums. She is a computer genius and her home is all of her own design. It is an amazing structure of glass, metal and cement and is a working studio and home combined. She makes beautiful jewelery, and combines photography and computer to produce marvelous prints.
She was very kind and invited the ladies over for a tour of her home. They all thought it was one of the highlights of the seminar. Thank you Dulaney.

Sunday evening we went to the Dog Bar in Cuchara...It was a beautiful clear evening and the girls were able to take photos. I never tire of that wonderful windy drive up to Cuchara. The deer were out grazing along the ditches.

Ernest and I managed a couple of dances and then it was down the mountain to la Veta and the Studio. I could not keep the girls out of there.
The following three photos were taken on the drive up to the Dog Bar.

The Juahatoya Mountains are known as the Spanish Peaks or Breasts of the Earth!! La Veta is nestled in the cleavage.

This meadow is one of my favorite views. It is always lush and green and peaceful looking. It is on the Cuchara road.


The Dykes are a geological phenominum that only occurs in this area. Huge plates of rock were forced up through the earth and to form huge rock walls. The appear to radiate out from the Mountains....

Ernest made sure we had lots to refreshments and snacks. He cooked us a beautiful barbique on the back porch and even went with us to the Dog Bar on Sunday evening. It was a struggle to keep the pets out of the studio as they were so curious and really enjoyed all the petting and attention. I will have to work on that problem a little more!!!

Because the seminars have a one and a half hour lunch break.... the girls were able to get around town to look through the art galleries and shops.
One evening we even fitted in an art opening at our new pottery gallery.

A special thank you goes out to Joan Hanley who had us all up to her home and studio. Joan is a good friend and an outstanding artist. It was exciting for the
girls to see some of her works in progress.

Thank you to Karen of the Two Old Goats Quilt Shop in La Veta.
She makes the most marvelous hand lotion I have ever used. It has many different healing oils which keep your hands feeling marvelous. She was very nice to my students and sent us all home with a bottle. It retails for $6.95 and does not have a greasy feel at all so you can get right back to your needlework.

Last but not least thank you to the Ricky Tims Art Quilt Gallery and to Robin at the local art gallery for bringing in her beautiful jewelery.

AUGUST HAPPENINGS____________________________

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I love August because we get lots of visiters. Best of all our daughter Tara and grandchildren Rie and Gen always come for a week! They are faithful visiters all the way from Yokohama, Japan!

To see how much our grandchildren have grown was a big shock.
Tara always brings the children home to the states to go to summer school and to be with family. When they come to La veta they have two is to go dancing and the second is to go out with their Uncle kevin on the lake. As you can see they really love the water!

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This was the first time they had seen the Studio/Guesthouse and really enjoyed using it. I also have airport so I can use my laptop anywhere on the property and that really was a hit with the kids.

It was sad to see them leave but they were off to great destinations. They all stopped in Oakland to visit Jason and Brenda and to meet Chip. Then Rie flew to Vancouver for two weeks of dance lessons. Gen was off to Mendicino to Clown School and Tara drove to Portland to visit friends and to stay with Maddy. It made me feel so good that the girls had some time together.

Last summer I met a wonderful jewelry designer, Brad Jackson, from Still Water, Oklahoma. I was waxing on nostalgic about several diamond rings (results of romantic mistakes!) that were wasting away in a safety deposit box. I wanted to combine them into one outrageous diamond ring....a real Mrs. Gotrocks.... but one that I could wear while gardening!!!! Brad agreed and asked if we could barter because he really loved my work. No time limit was set.

Last March, the day before my birthday. Brad delivered my ring in person....Words cannot express the delight in opening the box and discovering the most wonderful ring I could imagine.....
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In New Zealand I purchased Kaffe Fasset fabrics featuring roses and morning glories and based my crazy quilt project around them. I loved working in such brilliant jewel tone colours. It was even more fun because Kaffe is a dear friend and I have always admired his work.
It was delivered to Brad and his wife Pauline in August. When he called he said "I think I owe you more jewelery!" Now that is what I call a perfect barter.


We had a short visit from our friend Patrick Morrell who we first met in Menerbes, France. Patrick is a wonderful film maker and a very interesting frenchman!
His visits alway create a reason to have a dinner party. He was on his way to film for the 2nd. time at the annual "Burning Man" celebration. I always enjoy his visits because we go out to photograph and film together. This time we went out to photograph Gimmer's Butte from the west slope. A big storm was just clearing and the evening light was glorious.
This butte is very interesting and stands out for all to see in the valley. Off in the background you can see various dykes with the light highlighting them.

I enjoy having Ricky Tims and his partner Justin Schultz in La Veta. Mainly because we have been friends for many years but they are the only people who appreciate what I do and know what it is like to be on the road!! We are always passing in the night but we were both in town long enough for me to judge the Au Naturale, Visions of Nature quilt show for them. The them was nature and we had so many beautiful entries....I finally chose the winner which was a combination of a painted scene and quilting. Go to their websight for a visual treat.

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Shortly after the quilt judging a group of Bernina agents came to La Veta to hold a seminar at the Tims Gallery. Ricky sent them over to my studio for a short visit and was wonderful. Justin brought them over and just stood back while they
bought books,threads and ribbons. I was just expecting a visit.....It was great


Not long after that Ricky called to see if he could
come over with a surprise visiter. I had been out
photographing old sheds and barns in La Veta
and I was a mess. There was a mad scramble....
Imagine my surprise when I came around the corner
and there was my old friend Alex Anderson!
We have known each other for years and years
and I have enjoyed being on her T.V. show.
I took them for a tour of our yard, home and studio
and it was wonderful to be with Alex again.
She has a wonderful sense of humour. Years ago
we were on a Caribean Cruise with our husbands
and had such a great time. Notice the tiny dog
standing in the front. Ella Fitzgerald is now 164 pounds of gentle love.

August 25th. I drove to Denver to teach for the Denver Crazy Quilt Group and it was a lot of fun. They were a very enthusiatic group and it was fun to see Rhonda Perry again. I never teach locally but Holly VanKleek who is an old friend...(even went so far as to buy my catalogue business years ago and to do some lawyering for me) said it was something I needed to do. I also used to trip to stay with my cousin Faye and that was fun. Here is a photo of the group.....

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As I was packing to leave for Santa Monica
Ricky called again with another surprise visiter.
This time it was katy Pasquini!!
She had been in town to judge another
quilt show at the Tims Art Gallery.

Katy and I have known each other for years.
I have really enjoyed watching her art quilts evolve.
I especially love her fractured landscapes. We always see each other at quilt events but we never have time for a visit. So it was fun to show Katy around the compound.

SEPTEMBER NEWS_______________________________________

It is now September and I have just returned from Los Angeles. I went out to teach for the Santa Monica Quilt Guild. It was a full class of 25 ladies and the evening lecture had a great turn out. They were very nice to work for.

It is always a treat to get back to the Los Angeles area because it means I can see some of my family!!

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I flew in two days early to stay
with my beloved sister and brother-in -law
Wanda and Lawson Washington.
It was wonderful....we did nothing except talk
and laugh and watch television... just what the doctor ordered.
We even met up with my other brother-in-law Stanley
and went out for a fried chicken dinner.... yumm yumm!
Wanda and Lawson have just celebrated their 20th.
wedding anniversary!!

They drove me down to the gament district in Los Angeles to MICHAEL LEVINE INC., the largest fabric store ( 60,000 sq. ft., retail and wholesale)) I have shopped in.
I always head for ninth street and then go down Maple.

I had half an hour but because I know that place inside out I was able to purchase about $500.00 worth of silks, satins and velvets for $195.00!! (that included tax!!) The address is 920 SOUTH MAPLE AVE., LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA, 90015. The phone number is 213-622-6259 or 622-6316.
Levine's covers two large blue and white painted buildings on opposite sides of the for fashion fabrics, trims and notions and the other for upholstry, curtains and designer fabrics.
There are even better bargains along the street if you have the time to search.

I have a tip for shopping in any wholesale garment or fabric district. I always carry a Bic Lighter!!!! Often it is hard to tell the content of fabric and if you are looking for silk there is a simple test. Ask the shop keeper for a small sliver of fabric....walk out to the street....flick the Bic and hold the fabric to the flame!

Pure silk fabric will not flame up but will burn evenly to form a soft brown edge with a bit of ash. There will be a distinct smell like burning chicken feathers!

Polyester will melt forming a liquidy, edge which cools to a hard brittle and wavy edge. When you pull it, the edges will crack. (don't touch the hot edge as it will stick to your fingers and burn!)

Cotton will flame up and have a very distinct black edge. It is easily extinguished by pinching the flame. The black sooty edge will leave black marks on your fingers.

Holding a Bic lighter and asking for a sliver of fabric brings out the truth in every fabric dealer. They realize you know something about fabrics and cannot sell you that poly blend as silk!

Get to the Los Angeles Garment District if you can. Save up your money and make a day of it. There are blocks and blocks of fabric shops....just over the way is the Flower Mart which opens at 5 a.m. There are blocks of bead, embellishment and lace is a crazy quilters paradise.

If you get hungry there is Operetta's which serves the most wonderful breakfasts and lots of other good stuff.....all along the way are little eateries with wonderful food. If you love shoes as much as I do....there is block of shoe shops.

After Santa Monica, I spent two days with my daughter Dana, Eric and Kelse. We had a great visit and it was wonderful to be with my youngest grandaughter Kelse. I even went to her Girl Scout meeting. (Dana is one of the leaders)
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Here are the girls. They are a wonderful group of girls who have been together since Brownies. They really enjoy each other and have a great attitude.

I forget just how busy young mothers are.... the car pools, sports, music, dance, recitals, home work, etc. I look back on those years and it seems like a distant night mare..... revolving around endless car-pooling, sewing costumes for recitals; digging holes along a trail for an eagle scout project and grooming horses for a 4H show...... then I wake up and give a cheer!!!! Yeah!!! I am Grandma now, I am free and I can do anything I want!!!


One of the things I miss very much since
leaving Los Angeles is our weekly meal
friend Bernard who has won the Los Angeles
waiter of the year award so many times
he has stopped counting.
It is situated at 1911 W. Sunset Boulevard, Los Angeles,
California, 90026, phone213-484-1265 There is a
valet parking service and you must make a reservation.
They feature a quality wine list and wonderful country french cuisine.
They are famous for the roast chicken dinner.

Taix is a family owned restaurant est. in 1927.
Several waiters have been there for three generations
and they are amazing. It reminds me of the real France.
We had a wonderful meal there and it was
good to see Bernard again.


Our oldest Daughter Kristin was able
to join us for two evenings. She is a very
busy teacher and head of the english
department for Marshall High School.
She always keeps us entertained with
stories that keep us laughing.

Here is a photo of Kristin and her
dog Emma. The photo of Eric, Dana and
Kelse was taken at Taix. Kelse is always
so good about eating out with the adults...It has to be boring.
We did have fun together when we went out for
a manicure and pedicure. Such an L.A. thing to do.
Kelse chose blue sparkle nail polish and I went for clear
on my nails and red on my toes!
Eric is the genius who keeps my websight
looking so good (he is an editor with Disney)

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PRESENT PROJECTS____________________________________________


I am currently working on a series of watercolours that can be used as prints, post cards and silk-prints for embroidery.

I go out and photograph old homes in La Veta as well as sheds and barns. It has become a passion! La Veta is a charming old historical and most of the homes are lovingly restored but some of the sheds and barns are disapearing and I want to record them.

Here is a wonderful old adobe barn just down the road from us. It is owned by Bob and Irene, a lovely couple who spent 42 years on the Gimmer Ranch. They have lovingly kept it in good condition.


Here are four cottages that I have finished. I love this process and if you would like to try my method from photo to watercolour.....go to the very first newsletter where I have outlined the process for you.
I love painting the La Veta houses and adding fantasy gardens to them.


The top left cottage is our home and is known as the Old Carver Place.
It was built in 1876 and has a colourful history.
To the right is the Pink House on Main Street. It always has lots of annuals
in the front yard.


Here is Jonathan's Cottage which a charmingly restored adobe. The owner has done all the work himself...a real labour of love.


This little cottage is owned by a young man who purchased it with money earned with his lawn mowing business. Luke is currently in university.It is rented by a well known musician Ken Sajdek and always has flowers on the porch.


Last but not least is our fantastic crop of Concord Grapes!! Ernest and I cannot believe how delicious they are. Maybe it is because we grew them.

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I wish you could all have a taste. We have grapes planted at each pillar of the Studio/Guesthouse porch. After seeing how much a single plant spreads I can see that we will have to rethink the plan.

I will be very busy next week with my Landscape Seminar. Three Canadians will be here along with two ladies from Waco, Texas. I am really looking forward to metting them. Ernest is happy because the Canadian from toronto is bringing her husband.

Take care and I hope our paths cross in the near future....Love Judith

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