My un-Christmas cookies and my Christmas story

When I got back from part 1 of my new shingles shot and a trip to Trader Joe's, I had an urgent need to bake my favorite Black Pepper & Cumin cookies. It's been several years and although I don't like to have cookies around, these are sweet, savory,and spicy -- for me, perfect because I don't really have a sweet tooth.Recipe is in NY Times cooking app - let me know if you want the recipe. So - it's Christmas Eve as I write this. The holiday has good memories for me. When my grandparents emigrated from Poland in the early 20th century, they thought Christmas was an American holiday. They had never encountered it in Poland. While they celebrated the minor holiday of Chanukah with lighting t

cookies, quilts, computers

The cookies are from my downstairs neighbor in honor of the holidays! As she handed them to me, she said "if you like them, I made them; if you don't like them, I bought them." LOL. The quilts are more for the Improv Gallery, which continues here. Three of these pictures arrived today and one has been waiting for my next post. IMPROV GALLERY PART 2 Els Gachotte, one of my wonderful French students, sent me this improv quilt for which she used a limited palette. The yellow is an unexpected and effective touch. Juli Jarvis surprised me with an email today that contained 3 quilts! She started the first two in my Wyoming classes and I am delighted that she finished them. These improv paper-piece

our improv gallery

What fun to see the improv quilts waltzing into my inbox! I'm sure there are more out there, but these make a good start. Joanna Mack sent two. This one is Damask and Denim. Clever use of the muted blue and shades of gray. I wouldn't have thought of doing that, but it works so well. And here is Big Red 2. Fabulous 3D effect, and the quilting really makes it! Joanna said she was inspired by a quilt in my book, but this is so different that I had to think hard about what it could have been. You can't tell from this photo, but Joan Delony used a black dot fabric as a background and it works really well! IMO, so much bet


I'm always delighted when people send me finished pictures of pieces they had started in class. In October I taught in New Jersey. Today, Lenny Van Eijk sent me an Instagram-worthy photo of the finished quilt. On October 7 I posted a picture of Lenny and me with her piece in progress. Here is the finished quilt! The quilting is perfectly suited to the piece, too! Thanks for sharing it, Lenny. A month later I taught the same class in New York and Meg Mooar did something totally different. She filled the negative space with outlines and called it "Not a Fan..." because she's not a fan of negative space! LOL - I love Meg's sense of humor and look forward to seeing it when it is quilted. F

domestic bliss-- or, what I did today

Rainy day in West Palm Beach - which is actually what we need. The lagoons are down so far that the hat that was in the water last week is now on dry land. Oh, dear. I stayed home today, which was not what I had in mind.I was planning to go to the South Florida MQG meeting this afternoon, but since my car has several problems, I was afraid to drive it down the Fla Turnpike at high speeds. And low speeds are out of the question. I couldn't get an appointment at the dealer until Tuesday, so much to my dismay, I had to spend the day doing chores: laundry, tossing stuff, and organizing my clothes closet...something I have needed to do since January. Ha - I can finally find my shoes! I also fi

Life in the slow lane

A month or so ago I decided to see if I could find any quilters in this village so I could get a group together. What I discovered was that there is already a small group, disguised as something called the Sewing Club. They meet at the clubhouse weekly and while the once large group has dwindled, they have been making charity quilts for 18 years. Who knew?? On Wednesday I went over and by request, gave them a demo of working improvisationally. I got them started with showing how I cut up ugly blocks and made fresh, new, quilts by adding fabrics. You know the drill. They have so many leftover blocks that there is no end to the possibilities for improvement. Meantime, I have been going thro

Hello! I'm back from Israel

It has taken me a week to catch up on the time warp and sleep, and to upload the myriad photos I took -- but now I can post. Internet was sketchy in our Airbnb(s) and even if it hadn't been, we were so nonstop busy that there was no time. What an amazing and fun time we had, Thanksgiving week. "We" includes my two daughters, two of my grandkids, and my son-in-law. We did most of our sightseeing together and met up for a fabulous Thanksgiving dinner with my brother, sister-in-law, and nephew Harry who were there for my great-nephew's bar mitzvah. In case you didn't catch my Instagram posts, here is our celebrity chef's menu. It cause much merriment at our Thanksgiving table! My sister-in-

 all text & images ©rayna gillman 2019
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