Welcome to American Homestead. I'm happy you have found my blog. Make yourself comfy and see what's been happening around here. I write about the things that interest me ~ creativity, travel, food, nature and a happy life. I'd love to read your comments.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Travel Tales: Ronda, Spain

 A Jewel in Andalucia

Early on a beautiful, quiet Sunday morning,
we left Estepona to drive up into the
mountains to visit the town of Ronda.

We took a dramatic route through the
mountains.  There was one lane up and
one lane down with constant hairpin turns.
Add to that guys on motorcycles that would
weave between us and the oncoming cars
and bank so far on each side that their
elbows would almost scrape the ground.
By the time the goats started hopping
on to the road I was ready to cry.

But once you reach the top of the mountain,
you will realize that Ronda is worth the trip.

We wandered through the deserted streets.
The Spainiards, no doubt, were still
recovering from their Saturday night revelries.

The morning light was beautiful.

After a while the town started to wake up
as people were heading out to cafes.

We walked over the Puente Nuevo or "new"
bridge which is from the 18th century.

The views into the gorge and out to the
Serrania de Ronda mountains was spectacular.

We sat in a lovely park and waited for
Sunday Mass to let out and for the
Medieval Market to open.

Then it was time for some food.

Lovely Spanish olives...

Spices of every sort.

These ceramics were by a couple of cute
brothers from Cordoba, all the work is done
by their family.  I have a few of their pieces
in my home and I think of them
when I look at their art.

We had plans for later in the day so it was
time to head back down the mountain all
too soon.  I look forward to returning to this
beautiful city ~ though next time I think
I'll take the train...

On a weather note, we are being told
to expect a horrific ice storm.  The ice
has begun and it is likely to take down
the power lines, so if there is no blog
in the next few days, you'll know why.
Please send warm thoughts our way.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Civil War Remembered ~ Block 5

Kansas Troubles

We are following along with Barbara Brackman's blog.
Already have five blocks done.

"Mother provided shirts, collars, drawers,
three pair home knit wool socks, several
pocket handkerchiefs and two quilts,

...sisters had provided an arrangement
(a housewife), containing buttons, needles,
pins, threads, yarns and a steel thimble.

I had provided myself with a large
pocket knife, 2 combs, towels and toilet
 soap and a pocket diary for recording
incidents of note.

...and the Messers. Jones had presented
me with a pocket revolver of six chambers,
saying the I might get into close quarters
and need it.  This was my outfit."
Billy Davis
Johnson County, Indiana

Check out blocks from around the world
at Dustin's Flickr site:

Saturday, January 29, 2011

In the Studio: Applique Design

Redbud Guild Mystery Quilt

The Redbud Guild is doing a Mystery Quilt.
For those of you who aren't quilters, a mystery quilt
is a quilt you will make over many months. 
Each month you are given new instructions.
You don't know what the quilt will look like
or where the the fabrics will go.
This is the point we are at and that center
area has an applique design.  The called for
design was not my cup of tea so I designed my own.

I start with a sketch.

Enlarge the design on a copier and
check to see if the size is right on the quilt.

I clean up the enlarged images.
I can hear people saying, but Ellen, you
could do this on the computer in minutes.
And yes, I could, but for me there is always
an unbridled joy of putting pencil to paper.

I make templates of each shape.

Trace designs to the paper side of an
iron-on bonding sheet.  Iron on to the
fabric and cut out the shapes, remove paper.

Place in position and heat set in place.
Finish edges as desired.  I'll post an update
on this quilt once we finish the "mystery".

Friday, January 28, 2011

A Year in Estepona, Spain

Dreams are like stars...you
 may never touch them,
but if you follow them they
will lead you to your destiny.

I'm a dreamer...
I used to dream about buying a little place
in some exotic locale and spending 6 months
there each year.

But the more I travel and find places that
speak to my soul, I realize I would have a
tough time deciding where to buy that little place.

So now the dream has changed.  When I find
a place that stirs me, I pick out a place to
live for one year. 

In Estepona, Spain it is here in the
Plaza de las Flores.
Estepona is located on Spain's
Costa del Sol but unlike many of the other
coastal towns, Estepona has retained the
feel of the quiet fishing village it used to be.

There is my flat, the top floor, the tower will be
my studio.  I'll sit at the window and watch
all that goes on in the square.

When I get hungry, I'll pop downstairs for
a lovely lunch.  Afterwards, I'll take my walk
along the Mediterranean which is only about
a minute away and then take my siesta.

I'll awaken to the clang of the church bells
and begin to plan...

for my night in the Plaza.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

A Passion for Blue

Today I saw 7 Eastern Bluebirds in my yard.
The beautiful blue of the birds against the
white of the snow was dazzling.
I wish they would live right there forever.

They certainly would fit in at our house,
there is blue everywhere...

Blue has been my favorite color ever since
I gave up my lavender obsession at about age 7.

I love old transferware.

I bought this on the street in Morocco.

Yeah, that's my engagement ring,
 a deep blue sapphire.

I use blue in my work a lot.
I have to force myself to move away
from the blue fabrics.
This quilt is called Rhapsody in Blues,
it is one of my favorites.
When Uncle Jamie was here last he called
it mesmerizing, & I have to admit
I stare at it often too.

And then there's my Japanese bowl obsession collection.
Whenever I'm in New York, you can find me
at Pearl River Mart picking up a few more.

What's your favorite color? And why?

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Where in the World?

Where in the World Are They Going Now?

Quite honestly, we don't even know yet.
But in the past few days phone calls and
emails have been flying back and forth
across the country and frankly,
around the globe. 

We could possibly see some of these...

and I'm pretty sure we'll see many of these.

For now, we are scanning the maps,
searching for the next location to
Explore, Dream, Discover...

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The Girl Who Likes Old Stuff

Oh, yeah, that's me...

There was a woman in my hometown that
 ran all the local estate sales.  And, of course
I went to all of those estate sales...

Whenever she saw me she would ask if I was a
 dealer and I would tell her no, I just like old stuff.

Finally, I guess she believed me....

...and every time I'd walk into one of her sales,
she would announced, very loudly,
"oh look, it's the girl who likes old stuff!"

And I still do!