Thursday, September 30, 2010

Tallinn, Estonia

The third and last of the Baltic countries was Tallinn, the capitol of Estonia. It was a beautiful medieval city with an upper town and lower town.

A view from upper town looking down on lower town.

We encountered some of the biggest cobblestones we have ever seen. These are about the size of a loaf of bread. Not made for easy walking, but then we all had on sensible shoes.

We ate at this beautiful restaurant, Gloria, one night. It was part of our tour, but we could eat whenever we wanted.

The food was as elegant as the room. Some of us had borscht again for an appetizer, but this time it came with an enormous garlicky pop-over on top. I wish I had taken a picture. We all ordered different things and we all loved what we had.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Riga, Latvia

Our next city was Riga, the capital of Latvia, known for its beautiful Art Nouveau buildings, many of them by the famous architect, Mikhail Eisenstein. I had a hard time trying to select just a few from the many photos I took. I could only get a small part of each building in the photo and some of them were huge, covered with these fabulous designs.

These pictures are smaller than what I usually post, so please click on each one to see the amazing detail.

This face is so serene......

and this one is in anguish.

Toothache, maybe.....

There were two turrets on this rather plain (by comparison) building and each had a cat in a different pose.

I especially loved the big faces on the top corners of this building.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Vilnius, Lithuania

Our tour started in Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania, one of the three Baltic countries. Since a small part of my heritage is Lithuanian, I was very interested in seeing it and learning about it.
We had a walking tour of Old Town, which was full of beautiful Baroque architecture, some from the 16th century.

St. Anne's Church, made of many different kinds of brick, was thought so beautiful by Napoleon that he wanted to carry it back to Paris in the palm of his hand.

Just one of many pretty views of one of the streets in Vilnius.

In the afternoon we took the coach to medieval Trakai for a delicious lunch and a tour of the castle. We walked over a bridge to get to the castle and were able to see the inside. We learned the difference between a castle, a fortification, and a palace, a home. This was the only castle we saw, but there were many sumptuous palaces on the trip, especially in St. Petersburg.

The thing to buy all through our tour was amber. I did my best to help the local economy and bought a necklace of large chunky beads and two pins.

We had great food with Tauck every day. But on days when you had a large lunch, dinner was on your own. And if you had a big dinner, then lunch was on your own. This day was a large lunch day, so we decided to try some local Lithuanian food for our dinner. It was the only bad meal we had on the trip. Those white things in the picture were zeppelins, made from potato dough and meat filling. The locals love it, but we did not. We also had to sample pig's ears, also a local favorite that we found inedible. The potato pancakes were pretty good.

A beautiful sunset somewhere in Vilnius. Does it matter where?

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Baltic, Russian Trip

No, I really didn't fall off the face of the earth, but I was away for two weeks on a fabulous Baltic/Russian tour. Here I am with my travel companions: L to R, my sister, Ruth, me, Claire, Liz and Mickey in front of the iconic St. Basil's Cathedral in Moscow at the end of our trip. I took well over 500 pictures and I won't bore you with them all, but will try to show a few each day for the next few days in chronological order.

The trip far exceeded my expectations, being full of history, culture and beauty. We had great weather, Fall-like and no rain and even the food was wonderful. This was a Tauck Tour, so the hotels were 5 star and the restaurants the best. And the five of us had such a good time together. This is the same infamous group that terrorized Japan three years ago. So many laughs and so much fun. Oh, yes, the funny gray earmuffs we are wearing are the listening devices used by the tour guides. They really are terrific, since you can even wander away a little to take a picture and hear what the guide has to say.

Please come back tomorrow or the next day to see what we were up to. I still have to label my pictures and try to remember what was what.

Friday, September 3, 2010


I've written several times before about FANE (Fiber Artists of the North East). We meet monthly under the tutelage of Jane Davila. We share our latest work, ask for and give advice, and discuss the ins and outs of art quilting. We have put on two shows and we have had several mini challenges. This quilt was made for our "Word Challenge" We chose words at random and put them in a basket. In another basket went the names of all the people at the meeting. I chose Natalya's name and she got to choose the word, which was "pain". We each had to make a quilt of any size (Natalya and I decided on ten inches square) and work on them separately without consulting each other.

For some reason, high heels came to me immediately. I just love them, but can no longer wear them..... just too painful. Anything over 1 1/2 inches is too high for me. So I just drool over them in the stores, catalogs and magazines.

I started with plain white cotton that I coated with acrylic medium. I then drew on the shoes with ultra-fine Sharpies and colored them in with very watered-down acrylic paints. Next I put it on Timtex (a very stiff interfacing). The quilting around the outline of each shoe was done with Jeans thread, a very heavy thread. The words were also written on with Sharpies. A black button-hole stitch finished the edges. Click on the picture for a bigger view.

Natalya hasn't posted her quilt yet, but all the quilts will be posted on the FANE blog next week. Hers was very beautiful and very much in her ethereal style, so different from mine. There were some very interesting and creative pairs. Some of the words were "extrapolate" "peripatetic", "poignant" and "solitary". I thought I got off easy with "pain". Check the FANE blog next week to see them all.

Also, in case you think I have been frittering away my time (well I do that, too), I have been working on things that could not be shown, like this quilt. But I also made three quilts to enter into Quilt National. They only want new, fresh work that has never been exhibited or published anywhere. They just take 83 quilts out of over a thousand entries, so my chances are very slim. But I am happy with the quilts I made and will have them to enter into other shows. We don't find out if we are accepted until Oct. 8. Wish me luck.