Month: March 2014

Grutas de Garcia – the caves

Only 36 km from the city of Monterrey, on the road that connects with the town of Garcia, is a place where the mystery of nature reveals a striking scene. These are the Caves of Garcia, an imposing mineral artwork  that exists thanks to the miracle of thousands of years of creation. To reach the cave is necessary to climb 80 meters high; you can make this journey by cable car or walking by a long narrow sidewalk. Grutas de García remained hidden for thousands of years until 1843. Priest Juan Antonio Sobrevilla discovered the caves during a casual excursion through the mountains. We chose the cable car. However, there were still 800 steps inside the caves to Navigate.The caves inside look like a rocky desert landscape . From the entrance two different paths emerge descending 105 meters: one is about 2.5 kilometers and has 16 different chambers; the other is 1 kilometer long with 11 chambers. Like most caves these maintain a temperature around 18°C (65°F). There was even a small …

My imagination takes a tumble.

When I was a little kid, we had this set of children’s encyclopedias, Arthur Mees. Encyclopedias. They were great big books for small hands,  red leather volumes  filled with everything from fairy tales to songs to the instructions on body parts.  My favorite volume was “Things to Make and Things to Do.”  It had wonderful illustrations on how to make amazing things out of toilet rolls etc.However, my projects always looked like toilet rolls and sticky tape not the intended project.The pages were full of promise and excitement and they had a particular ‘educated’ smell.I always felt very ‘wise’ reading them.They told of far off countries, and had photos of  people in places I could only dream of.I wish I kept them…. (maybe I do still have them somewhere) It was my version of todays iPad. Full of inspiration and adventure, as each page unfolded.I think every family had a set of Encyclopedias on their bookshelf.As we became a more enlightened family we added the Children’s Australian Encyclopedia.The man who came to the door to sell them …

March 26th, 2014

Buttercup yellow, turquoise seats, a red floor, a green and blue roof and my heart just about bursts with expectation as we step onto our floating barge and join a throng of other people  doing the same thing.It was  my day off and with friends I’m visiting  Xochimilco (pronounced, sochi-milko – in Aztec meaning ‘place of the flowers’) – to many, known as the ‘Floating Gardens’.  The day was warm and sunny, with very little breeze. Music surrounded us. A trajinera, a type of gondola was deftly poled in front of us and it contained a group of  mariachis  in full voice. The cheeks of the trumpeter looked as if they would burst with the pressure and the guitar player played with gusto. Every boat in the canal was a riot of color with flower designs and named for someone special no doubt. Patricia, Sylvia names of lovers or Mothers.In the past, the boats were decorated with real flowers, but today, due to cost and the …

Teach the children to quilt.

Artists in the modern world: be gift givers. Once you shift your thinking from “transaction” to “gift”, it opens up a new way of engaging with your peers and customers.  I saw this quote today. We have a lot to learn about giving. Sunrise Elementary School students from Chaparral stitch wall hangings from a pattern designed by Pam Holland, an international sewing instructor from Australia. “She was very impressed with their work and the program and graciously donated seven brand new Brother Sewing Machines for the students to use,” said Frances Campbell, with Las Colcheras Quilt Guild of Las Cruces, who hold an after-school sewing program for the students. Last summer, the students displayed their work at the Festival of Quilts show in Alamogordo. (Courtesy photo) Two times each week, Pat Mauer and Frances Campbell get in the car and travel about 70 miles round-trip to the small town of Chaparral, southeast of Las Cruces. There, they offer Sunrise Elementary School students the opportunity to share in their life experiences, as well …

March 19th, 2014

There is the clatter of knives and forks. I’m privy to a subdued conversation where the words are rolling like a stray chord and there is just a snatch of a single word.A crash of crockery and the sounds stop and hang in silence waiting for the affirmation of a positive outcome. A dapper man in his mid 60s sitting in a hidden booth  to the right has commanded the attention of one of the young waitresses. Their conversation is animated, maybe she is his daughter or a relative…. One can only surmise. My soda is almost gone, it’s hot outside and I forgot how thirsty I was.The waitress keeps turning to look at me in fast fleeting glances… Money changes Hands and is slipped into the pocket in her apron. It’s been 20 minutes and my hamburger has gone cold due to my  observations.  I’m embarrassed to say that I’m eating a hamburger in a traditional  Mexican restaurant, but two weeks of Mexican food increases the desire for a taste of normality.My coffee is cold and …

Walking the work / world. !!!!

Taking it one step at a time, by the way these are my new shoes. Keithy don’t have a heart attack. Its easy to let important projects slide when you are so busy.At times I feel the panic rise when I’m pressed to do four things at once. I just don’t know where to begin first, and I guess many of you have seem posts from me saying I’m pressured with the amount of work I have to do.But there is an answer.I’ve had a policy or prioritizing and then doing things in order and despite the blood pressure rising it actually works and I get the work done in the prescribed time. Are You Working Out Your “Done” Muscles?March 19th, 2014 by Morna A lot of us have problems getting things finished. Several reasons come to mind: procrastination, the need to be perfect, distractions by other things, failure to prioritize. Here are eight tips for exercising what I call your “done” muscle.1. Get clear about what it is that you are trying to accomplish. Once …

A miracle from the peanut seller.

For the past week I have been suffering with a very painful injury to my arm.I think I damaged it lifting and moving 100 lb in my two cases. I manipulate the two with my right arm and the hand luggage with the left and think I’m quite self sufficient and clever doing that…. but I sure came unstuck this week.It was like I had toothache in the hand and arm and the pain seemed to be coming from the tendon or muscle in the centre of my hand.I was unable to use my thumb and sleep was hard to come by.We have two nurses on the tour and we purchased a bandage and the support helped… simply because it was immobile. They were diligently watching that I didn’t use my hand and reminded me so in no uncertain terms if I did.My Friend Yoli, a resident of San Miguel Allende took me to the healer who had helped her husband when he had a bad ankle.She lives in a small shop front house. The room …

Happiness and Huipils

I purchased this antique huipil from Guatemala at a local folk art store Today I sadly say goodbye to our tour participants who return to their respective homes in the USA and Australia. The common comment amongst the group is “I just want to stay” This tour had  been  a  sheer delight, I don’t think the smile has left my face for a week. I, will be in Mexico for another two and a half weeks and it’s going to be a pretty busy schedule but I’m looking forward to meeting hundreds of new people, many old friends and enjoying the experience of the quilt expo.The sun is rising on yet another perfect day, its sunday and the Jardin (centre square) will be filled with interesting people. Local people, Mexicans, American and Canadian residents all visit the Jardin on a Sunday and just sit in the sun and chat. The air is full of the music of the competing mariachi bands. The smell of coffee and the Mexican food stalls complete the picture. I have …

How to draw on the iPad, instruction blog.

I’m trying to type with just my left hand…and it’s really difficult, so the blog has been a bit slow to produce over the past 5 days. I was able to illustrate on the iPad today as we travelled but it was a little difficult in the back of the bus. The roads are about as bumpy as an alligators back. We bumped and jumped for almost 4 hours…. However, I couldn’t waste the time we had driving, so I managed a couple of illustrations. Paint pots at the Talavera factory in Dolores Hildalgo. The first illustration below is a drawing in the iPad, its drawn as if I was using a paint brush and then I put it in a photo paint program. The second two are photos painted  and changed quite drastically to capture the a particular color I want. How do I do it? I did the first painting  in an app called brushes. Then changed it with a program called Paintmee. The video below demonstrates the app. In all honesty, I’ve …