rayna gillman's blog         improv quilts & an improv life

***NB - browsing on my iPad I found this post I started who knows when? It was still in draft form, so I suppose I had better finish it and move on.

Yep, I started as a traditional quilter. What else was there in 1974 when I started

making quilts? I don't really have any photos of my work before 1993 because I didn't realize that I should have been documenting my work that long ago. Anyway, I was making mostly baby quilts in those days.

In those days I was experimenting with trad blocks (what else was there??) and was using the fabrics that I had salvaged from the aprons and blanket covers that my Nanny had made from the scraps she had brought home from the dress factory where she had worked during and after The War. All of these are vintage 1940's and '50s cottons and I just loved them.

but I thought it was a better idea to catch up with you instead. NOT that my life is so interesting. I have been working in the studio as many afternoons as I can get there, but there are days when I haven't left the house or if I have, it has been for one of my thousands (it seems) of dental appointments. (too many to count).

Tomorrow is a teaching video day if the stars line up and the neighbors aren't as loud as usual. I have no distractions - Phil has gone back to snowy New Jersey so if I want a conversation I have to talk to myself. Not much of a stretch.

Earlier, I was flipping through my photos and found this, which is dear to my heart and one of my favorites. I don't own it - I made this Log Cabin in 1997 with Usha's Indian batiks and gave it to her to hang in her booth. I love this quilt.

On that note, vaccination fatigue is setting in. Got my second one this morning and am calling it a day.



It has to get better, right? We hope so, anyway. My friend in England has already had her first dose of the vaccine! My beloved New Jersey is already vaccinating people. I don't know about you, but here in Palm Beach County, where they are supposed to be vaccinating the "elderly", the hotline is down and nobody can get through to make an appointment. Typical Florida incompetence. Now I hear they are THINKING ABOUT sending out mobile units for people 65 and up (previously 75 and up). There are more than 17,000 seniors in the community where I live. 'Nuff said.

Moving On...

This past week I have taken a break from the studio to do other things. My live-in cleaning person hates to clean and is really bad at it, but she's all I have. She is grouchy but the upside is that she works for free.

This week, despite her horrible allergy to dust which left her sneezing, itching, and taking antihistamines while she worked, she vacuumed, dusted the widow sills and the furniture, and rewarded herself by escaping to the outlet mall to buy a few things to wear when she is not cleaning. As soon as this pandemic is over I plan to fire her and hire somebody good.

In the meantime, I have been mostly at home, cooking and baking: making soup, and trying out interesting recipes from the NYT Cooking app and the many Indian cooking websites and blogs. My little curry trees are thriving and I always have enough curry leaves for the South Indian dishes I make. I can't explain why these plants make me so happy, but they do.The little one is already having a baby (not visible in this photo).

I'm out of bread so I've resuscitated my sourdough starter and am waiting for it to bubble enough for me to use it. It's moving right along but needs a couple more feedings, so maybe tomorrow. I love semolina bread and I have several recipes, so I may try a different one later today.

The rubber band is where it started this morning after I removed ½ cup and added back the same amount of flour and water I had removed. See?? It's growing.

3 days later...update

The bread turned out ok but not fabulous, although it makes great toast. Think I will back to the original semolina bread recipe and keep sourdough bread as a separate thing.

Yesterday in the studio was a disaster. Screen mirroring not working on my phone or iPad -- apparent interference from a neighbor's AppleTV. And then my tripod, which I have had for 20 years, broke in a key area. I will try and glue the broken parts together with super glue but if that doesn't work I will have to replace the tripod. Sigh...never a dull moment at Studio78.

a few more days later...after the terrorism/attempted coup on our democracy

As many of you did, I watched the horror at the Capitol live on CNN - as it was happening. I have been glued to my iPad and CNN for days. No need for me to comment.

In the meantime, I'm still working on trying to get screen sharing to work in my studio. Impossible, since there is interference in that building. So, videos of the demos should work.

Tomorrow i plan to work at home.

Also, during this week, my beautiful curry plants dropped dead -- no doubt in response to the turmoil in our country. I am trying not to be heartbroken on all counts - but I have repotted the plants and unlike the lives lost in D.C., they may revive in time.

On another note, I was going through photos on my laptop and found (with much hilarity) this picture of me from 2005. Thought I'd share it with you, along with a more current photo.


Stay safe, stay well, stay creative. I love you all. Let me know how you are doing in this crazy time.

xo Rayna

 all text & images ©rayna gillman 2019