Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Seidel's Grocery Store

The mysterious building I was talking about in my latest post is located on the south side of the house where Jerry grew up. On the north side, there was another building, this one made from wood, which is the most common way around here.

That building was Seidel's store until the late seventies, right before Sally Seidel passed away. After that, it was sitting there, distressed by the inclement weather and waiting to just fall down.

It always saddens me to see how something that was once so important for somebody gets abandoned for whatever reason. I think of all the dreams and effort that were put in it and I wish there was somebody to care about it. But that is not always possible.

So there it was the old Seidel's store, ready to be hit and blown away by a storm. We purchased it and demolished it, so there was no chance that anybody could get hurt by a flying board. Before tearing it down, though, I went in and found many things that had been there for all those years.

For some reason, the past has always had a powerful attraction to me. Looking at the remains of those people's lives, even though I never met them, I felt connected.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

That Mysterious Building

Right next to the house where Jerry grew up, there was this beautiful old brick building. Nobody lived there. I was very curious about it and tried to see the interior through the windows, but they had shades and the door glass was painted. The door, of course, was locked.

On the doorstep, there was a plate that read "US Coast and Geodetic Survey Benchmark. Elev. 2333.178 Feet Above Mean. Sea Level. $250 Fine or Imprisonment for Disturbing This Mark. 1925"

The building started being the Bank of Belvidere, and later was a Post Office and a grocery store at some point. Jerry's family had owned the grocery store for a while many years ago.

The more I knew about it, the bigger was my curiosity.

Would I ever see what those walls so zealously kept?

Monday, July 29, 2013

Belvidere, South Dakota

When you look out the window in Belvidere, you see the prairie.
When you get out of the house, you are in the prairie.
The prairie is your yard.
The whole prairie.
The entire prairie.
Prairie all over.

Photo by Guillermo Villasante

Monday, March 25, 2013

Leroy's Cloud

It all started here. I had read the 15 minutes play blog and decided to start making blocks. I had an 8.5 inch square ruler and thought 8-inch blocks would be just fine. I made a block here and there, but one day, I don't exactly remember when, I believe it was last fall after I came back from Spain, I could not have those blocks hanging around anymore. I had to make more and finish a quilt. So I opened my scraps box, which was packed with scraps and started stitching them together with no selection of colors or patterns, just the way they came out of the box as long as their size was good.

While working on this project, our beloved cat Leroy passed away. He was 18 years old and his life had not been pleasant for some time, so we decided to give him rest. With much sorrow, we buried him in our backyard up on the hill, so he is still close to us. We miss him every day. I wanted to dedicate this quilt to him, as he has been very present in my thoughts while I was sewing.

The number of blocks kept growing and I put them on my design board. At some point, I had to think about the final size of the quilt and decided I would make 54 blocks with an off-white sash and a border consisting of the same off-white and smaller squares. One day, I was looking at my design board with the composition and Jerry said it looked like clouds. I believe he was talking about those small squares on the border because they seem to be somehow floating on the white. Whatever the case might be, the name of the quilt was set that very moment: Leroy's Cloud.

There is a mystery that I do not understand with this quilt. (Of course, if I understood, it would not be a mystery.) Here is the thing: all the top of the quilt is made of scraps, and it is a large quilt, there are a few yards of fabric there, but my scraps box is still full! I just cannot imagine how this can be. I look at that box and think that I will not need any more fabric for the rest of my life, all the fabric I need is there, as it looks like the more I use, the more is left. Do not worry, though, that is not preventing me from buying more fabric, that would be silly.

This quilt is machine pieced and machine quilted. The quilting part of it has given me more problems than I want to remember, so let's not go there. The main thing is that the quilt is finished.

I hope that Leroy is happy resting on his soft, cheerful cloud.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013


When I first started quilting and joined the Black Hills Quilters Guild, there was this acronym that I kept hearing, UFO. I was familiar with it, but I could not figure out how Unidentified Flying Objects would pertain to the quilting subject. At that time, I had only been in the United States for one year or so, and I was trying very hard to make sense of all I saw and heard and learned. This UFO was beyond me, I just could not get it! I asked, then, and the light was shed: UnFinished Object. There you go!

Over time, I learned that UFO were some sort of a nightmare for most quilters. They started a lot of projects but at some point they did not feel like finishing them. Maybe they ran out of inspiration, maybe what they were so excited about that particular project was not there anymore, maybe something very appealing crossed their way and had to follow it, a variety of reasons were preventing them from finishing their projects. And they did not seem to be very happy about it.

Recently, one of my customers, a lady who purchased a gorgeous piece of fabric from my shop, told me that she really liked the fabric and did not know what she would make with it. From her words, I could gather that same UFO sense of guilt, that same feeling that there is something wrong in not finishing that what has already been started. That was the seed for this post.

Why is it that quilters feel wrong when they do not finish their projects right away? Where is it written that there is a schedule to finish a project? Who sets the rules about the right time to complete it? Isn't quilting something to enjoy? Where is so deeply rooted the idea that there is a moral obligation to finish everything we start? And why is it so very well spread across different cultures?

I do not have any UFO. I work on different projects that sometimes share a specific period of time. Some take longer than others. There are projects that will take years to be finished, and meanwhile shorter and faster ones will be completed. I have a box full of stripes already sewn for a project that I started some years ago. Is that a UFO? No, it is a project in progress. When will it be completed? I have no idea. Did I give up with it? Absolutely not. What is the project waiting for to be finished? Its own time. Some day, all those pieces will tell me where they want to go, how they want to be together.

Why would I force them to stay together in a way that they do not like? Just because I am in a rush to finish? No, I refuse to work that way. My brain is not a straight narrow line where only one idea can happen at a time. Just look at a neuron and you will know what I am talking about.

Drawing of Purkinje cells (A) and granule cells (B) from pigeon cerebellum by Santiago Ramón y Cajal, 1899. Instituto Santiago Ramón y Cajal, Madrid, Spain.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013


When I place an order,  Vlisco sends me a couple of calendars made with their fabric. As I do not own a fabric and mortar store, I have no room to display them, so I keep them as just fabric. I got two calendars in 2011, and they have been sleeping on a shelf for two years now, waiting for their opportunity to make an appearance to the world.

A few days back, I had an epiphany. Duh!, if they are fabric, why don't I use them as fabric. Said and done, here is the first actor in this show.

And as luck as you have, it is available here!
Thank you for your visit.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Back in the Mood

Yes, it has been a while since I posted here. I have been really busy trying to revamp my Etsy shop. I have had that shop for some time now, but the truth is that I was not paying attention to it as I should have. Why, I wonder. Well, maybe it had to do with some other life events that took my attention. Last February, my granddaughter Marina was born and I made some quilts for her. I spent some time in Spain, too. Then, Máximo, my grandson, was born in October. A quilt for him, too, and a comforter sham for the bed he will use when he grows up (not far from now, though, the boy outgrows his little pajamas at a fast pace). I spent some time in Spain for that event, too. There is also the work, let us not forget that important part of life. Geez, I am a busy bee!


During the last part of 2012, I started looking at my Etsy shop differently. I have spent many hours taking new pictures of my products, listing new fabrics, learning about SEO (Search Engine Optimization), improving my descriptions, networking within Etsy, translating my shop into Spanish (this is a work in progress), thinking of new ways of doing things and new ideas for products.

Are you exhausted at this point?

I am not, I am exhilarated. I must be doing something right, my efforts are getting some results. The views have increased significantly, the sales are still slow, but they are coming. And most important, I am having fun and a sense of purpose. I think I know where I want to go, the direction I want my business to take. In other words, I think I know what I want to be when I grow up (still more).


I am introducing a new line of products designed and handmade by me. Here is the first member, its name is Victoria and you can find it here. I am back in the mood!