Thursday, December 23, 2021

I wish I was a bird...

Then I could fly on my own. I won't need a plane or a boarding pass. I could certainly bypass the visa requirements and security checks.

I would not have to deal with unnecessary and cumbersome regulations. Stifling laws and changing policies would not ground me. 

Too chunky?

Alas I am not a bird. And we are in the middle of a pandemic...which is not going away anywhere for a long time. So here I am, in spite of doing all the things I thought I had to do, still grounded.

On Sunday, December 19, 2021, after Paul dropped me at the airport and I had been in the check-your-bags line for an hour, some official checked my passport/visa only to tell me that my visa is no longer valid. I could not fly home to see my mom.

Me: I have a multiple entry visa that is valid till 2026.
Official: All those visas have been suspended.
Me: What can I do?
Official: You have to apply for an e-visa. You could get it in two days if you hurry and fly out on Wednesday. Of course there will be charges.
Me: I understand there will be visa application fees.
Official: Yes, but also flight rescheduling charges.

Fighting tears and suppressing rising sobs, I called Paul to pick me up.  Then I called mom to cancel the taxi she had ordered to pick me up from the New Delhi airport. 

Once home, I called the airline to reschedule the flight for the following Sunday, adding few days to be on the safe side.  While on hold I navigated to the e-visa application site and began filling out the online form. While I heard Covid safety guidelines on the phone in a loop, the e-visa site rejected my application because my passport validity was less than six months.

Forget the visa and the flight, I must apply for Passport renewal first. Of course rapid services are available by telephone appointments only - Monday to Friday, 8:00AM to who the hell cares by now!!!

Even if I got a rapid passport renewal, followed by a rapid e-visa, and a rescheduled flight (with charges of course), will all those things come together magically by Sunday?  Further, I would have to adjust my return date too, which had its own ramifications for work. 

It was still mid-morning and Paul was taking a necessary nap after two unnecessary airport trips. 

In that moment, I felt alone and wept. If only I was a bird...

Too flat?

Adding insult to injury, the airline kept me on hold so long that the call timed out. THRICE!!!  Finally, Expedia called confirming the cancellation and refund minus cancellation charges. It may take 8-12 weeks, she added. But I bought Travel Protection, I insisted. I should not have to pay cancellation charges. The Expedia representative was kind and supportive. She suggested that I reach out to the Travel Protection agency to file a claim against cancellation charges.  

That was Sundaze. Welcome to Mondoom.

On Monday, I tried to make an appointment for an expedited passport renewal. 
Agent: When are you traveling?
Me: As soon as I can after my passport is renewed and I can get a visa.
Agent: I need an itinerary number, confirmation number or ticket number.
Me: But how can I book my flight if I don't have a valid passport or a visa.
Agent: Those are the rules ma'am. Please call us back once you have a booking.

So I make a booking, buy travel protection, cross my fingers (and toes) and call back, all in the next 20 minutes.
Agent: When are you traveling?
Me: December 28, 2021
Agent: I need an itinerary number, confirmation number or ticket number.
I do as asked.
Agent: The next available appointment is January 3, 2021.


It took me two hours to cancel the just-booked December 28, 2021 flight.  
Eventually I accepted the fact that the universe did not want me to travel to India at this time.  
Why could I not be a bird?

I like this color

Paul: You should unpack, babe.
Me: That is difficult - like taking apart my dreams
Paul: Then just take out the cake and cookies.

I eat too many cookies.

Wednesduh :-(
I go to CVS for a new passport picture.  
The first one was horrible - I looked murderous. 
I tried to barely smile in the second one. It was barely acceptable. 
I showed it to Paul. He laughed. 

Paul: You look pissed but trying to hide it.
Me: You know me so well.
Paul: So what is next?
Me: I apply for passport renewal tomorrow.
Paul: Perfect. That's my girl.
Me: I love you.
Paul: I love you too.

Fly home, little birds

And here I am Thursday morning... writing this blogpost.   Thank you to everyone who wished me safe travels and a fun trip. I wish you an "uneventful" holiday season and a happy new year.

Friday, December 17, 2021

Goodbye 2021

I have a new finish!!!  Let me show you a few process pictures before the final reveal.


A Grizzly and a Polar Bear walked into a quilt!!! 

Quilting Slowly

And here is the finished quilt. Hanging from Mari's Balcony. We got together for lunch and quilty chitchat last weekend.

We make these RSC blocks a few every month and then set them aside. On one hand it is not a surprise or a grand finale because we have been seeing these blocks come together throughout the year. But (and this is a big one) the visual impact of seeing all those blocks all at once is just Wowzers!!!

Oops - it is sideways

Much Better :-) 

When Mari laughed at something, I had to forget the quilt and take her picture, instead. 

Thank you Mari :-)

Quilt Models - Mari and Larry. Yes it needs two!!!

Treading on Stars

Oh my!!!

Oh those colors sing!!!

Mari's Favorite

Stark Background - Sharp Colors

Floral Backing

Love the Backing, Island Batik Aqua Binding

My former co-worker Maureen has claimed this quilt and I have named it Maureen's Stars. Maureen's Stars finished at about 78" by 93".  This is my last finish of the year and I am thrilled for two reasons.

1. It is a gorgeous finish and has been already claimed.
2. RSC 2021 was successfully completed in 2021. 

I am exploring ideas for 2022 RSC now. Are you in? I will be sharing with all  my favorite linky parties including Angela's Linky Party. See full list on the sidebar.

I leave for India on Sunday, returning early next year. That is why this blogpost is a twofer - RSC finish and Best of 2021.

A large part of my life is made up of quilting and related activities. A very large part of my quilting life this year was dedicated to Island Batik. I made 20 quilts including one tree skirt and two table runners using Island Batik fabrics. I also made a set of placemats, one backpack and several zippered pouches.

Backpack using Island Batik Fabrics. Pattern byAnnie

Playful Placemats, Island Batik Fabrics

Clearly, my Island Batik efforts this year could keep a large household warm (with quilts), organized (with zippered pouches) and ready to entertain (with table runners and placemats). 

Zippered Pouches, Island Batik Fabrics

I can hardly say the same for my own. It is messy (read creative) but cozy, because there are quilts everywhere. Here are  my top five projects this year.

5. Gul Mohar - I am glad I tore myself away (thanks to some scathing comments from Paul) for this workshop with Gloria Loughman. I am thrilled with the results. I recommend Gloria's class. She is an amazing artist and an excellent teacher. I will try my hand at this technique again - just unsure when :-)

4. Konark - Working with a limited number of fabrics I chose to create the gradation from the lightest in the center to the darkest in the corners. The challenge was to make sure that within each block there was sufficient contrast between the star fabric and the background fabric.  The resulting quilt seems to glow. I am glowing too :-)

3. Spring Broken - Spring Broken happened because my plans to see the Cherry Blossoms were dashed and I vented my disappointment on fabric using improvisational piecing. She was my problem child that blossomed (pun intended) into a fine young woman. I love her. According to Kelly, it is the prettiest pout she has ever seen :-) Rebecca gets the credit for the beautiful quilting.  Read her post here, with absolutely gorgeous pictures.

2. Iberian Lynx - This was the toughest challenge of the year. And therefore the most gratifying. Sponsored by Aurifil Threads, we had to create a piece inspired by an endangered animal. Mine was Iberian Lynx - an absolutely majestic cat. We want to belong and we want to stand out. With this project I felt I managed to do both as a member of the Island Batik Ambassadors Group.

1. Remembering RBG - The legacy of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg will live forever and no quilt can do justice to her legacy.  I started making this quilt on September 19, 2020, the day after her passing.  If I did not occupy my hands, my heart would've exploded with grief. Justice RBG was the true champion of gender equality in our country. Much work remains. Inequality (racial or gender) hurts everyone. The freedoms we take for granted are hard won and those freedoms are now at stake. Let's remember that when we go to the polls in 11 months.

But wait there is more!!!

My Our (Bernie's and mine) first QAL (for Mercyful Quilts) was a success. It started here

The last time I checked Bernie had received about 22 quilts. This does not include the quilts made in other countries that were donated to local causes. Here is a glimpse.

By Janine

By Mary

By Roseanne

By Sylvia

"Let's do it again, Bernie", I said. "I am in", Bernie said. 

It is official. Positivity 2.0 is coming.  I will provide the free tutorial/pattern with a lazy schedule. Bernie will coordinate sponsors and we hope that you will join in the QAL.


When I was down in the dumps, burning with rage, you soothed me. You restore my faith in humanity again and again. I asked for a hug and I received so much love, kindness, encouragement, affirmation, support and hugs.

Courage (quilted by Rebecca)

This was the longest and tightest squeeze ever!!!  My Personal Favorite Blogpost of 2021. No contest!!! Also notable for maximum number of comments for a post without a giveaway. I am thinking of you, Kate and Kelly


In 2021, I started an Etsy Store. Thank you for your love, likes and supports.  80 sales is nothing to frown upon, I was told. Also sold two quilts. Animal House has found a new home, waiting to bring joy to a new baby boy.  

Wild and Mild traveled across the ocean to reach its new home.


New Patterns are coming!!!


And one last update - 2021 was also the year when I bought EQ8. I have so much to learn but I am enjoying playing with it. Last week I discovered the "Swap Color" feature and I am beside myself with exhilaration. Rebecca and Kathleen - it is all because of you.

Paul: Good morning babe
Me: uh huh
Paul: You ok?
Me: In a zone. Leave me alone.
Paul: EQ?
Me: YES. I am hooked. Look at this.
Paul (viewing my latest attempt): Impressive. 
Me: Sorry, you are not getting any breakfast today.
Paul: I made myself a sandwich...
Me: Love you, bye.
Paul: What will you do in India?
Me: hmm...
Paul: Without your EQ and your machine and your fabric, you will be miserable.
Me: YIKES!!! Guess, I must play some more before I leave.

I heard Paul's laughter as he left me to my devices.


It has been a difficult year beginning with a deadly attack on the very heart of our democracy.  While many Americans resist vaccines, masks and distancing guidelines, the virus continues to evolve with strains that are deadlier and more contagious, resulting in an increasing number of breakthrough infections. The assault on our democracy, our voting rights and our bodies continues. It seems like a helpless situation and I don't have any answers. But we do have choices.

In every situation we have a choice - to speak the truth and do what is right. I promise to do both.

As I put 2021 in the rear view mirror and the road ahead seems unclear, I pray for goodness to overcome evil, wherever it may be.  I hope you will join me.

Monday, December 6, 2021

Island Batik December Challenge

 The guidelines for the Island Batik December Challenge were simple

  • Project Type: Any

  • Size: Minimum size 12” x12”

  • Any fabric 

  • Technique: English Paper Piecing

And here is my simple response. This cutesy little table runner finished at 12" by 52".

Paul, the model

I used Island Batik Neutral Yolk for background (and binding) and various Island Batik fabrics to create the hexie flowers. Neither too big nor too small, I was going to name it Goldilocks but then...Paul suggested that it was "Too Hexie for My Table" and the name stuck.

Did you notice the touch of whimsy? It is in the binding :-)

Too Hexie for My Table

Disclosure: The fabrics, thread, batting and needles were generously supplied by the following companies:

I will be sharing with all my favorite linky parties. See full list on the sidebar.

Speaking of sharing, the winners of the giveaway are Comments #31 and #67. That is Mari and Nann. They will each receive five fat quarters of Island Batik fabrics from the Bellingham Bay collection by Deb Tucker's Studio 180 Design. The winners have been informed.

Mari's Winnings

Nann's Loot

Speaking of Island Batik fabrics, I bought some from Hancock's.

Paul: Didn't they send you two large boxes?
Me: Yes, they did.
Paul: And they also sent you fabrics to make your Masala Box?
Me: Yes, they did.
Paul: So?
Me: I bought other collections. They were on sale :-)

Melody FQ Bundle

Summer Fields FQ Bundle

Melody and Summer Fields are two yummy collections from Island Batik. At discounted prices, I'd be silly to not get them.

Paul: Was that your Christmas present?
Me: Yes. From me and from you :-p
Paul: How much did you buy?
Me: Two FQ bundles, one pack of 10" squares and some yardage.

Island Batik Mystery -  10" Squares

Island Batik Forecast - Sunshine Ravine

Speaking of Christmas presents, I received an overstuffed package from Bernie. It was so stuffed that it looked like a small travel pillow.

And here is what spilled out...

Yummy Scrappy Goodness!!!

I don't have to be rich when I am blessed with generous friends. Thank you Bernie. You know I will put these scraps to work right away :-)

Speaking of scraps, I completed my RSC2021 quilt.  No, I did not choose pink binding.
It is turquoise but none of the initial choices. You see, the light was too light and the dark was too dark.  

Too light

Too dark

I found the perfect Goldilocks color in my Island Batik box.  It is 
Marble Aqua.  

Island Batik Marble Aqua - Just right :-)

I will be taking pictures of my newest finish this weekend. That blogpost is next. I am so excited!!! 

But enough about me. How are you feeling? Overwhelmed with the pressure of impending holidays or relieved that the year is over? Do let me know. Your comments are your Christmas present to me :-)

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

From Miamas with Love

I have a new finish, a giveaway and an announcement. But first I must tell you about this book - "My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell you She is Sorry" by Frederik Backman.

My favorite!!!

Full of heart, hope and more...

Elsa, who is seven, (almost eight) had a bad day at school.  Three older girls tore her Gryffindor scarf and threw it in the toilet. The very same day, Elsa's Granny breaks into a zoo and throws turds at the police when approached.  The following conversation happens.

“I didn’t want you to remember this day because of the scarf. So I thought instead you could remember it as the day your Granny broke into a zoo—”

“And escaped from a hospital,” Elsa says with a grin.
“And escaped from a hospital,” says Granny with a grin.
“And threw turds at the police.”
“Actually, it was soil! Or mainly soil, anyway.”
“Changing memories is a good superpower, I suppose.”
Granny shrugs.
“If you can’t get rid of the bad, you have to top it up with more goody stuff.”
“That’s not a word.”
“I know.”
“Thanks, Granny,” says Elsa and leans her head against her arm.
And then Granny just nods and whispers: “We’re knights of the kingdom of Miamas, we have to do our duty.”
Because all seven-year-olds deserve superheroes.
And anyone who doesn’t agree needs their head examined.

(This is an excerpt from "My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell you She is Sorry" taken From Simon and Schuster website).

From Miamas with Love!!!

Miamas is a kingdom in the Land of Almost Awake and that is where all the stories come from. And that is exactly where this quilt comes from. I have named it "From Miamas with Love". 

Shall we count the sheep?

Penguins and Puppies

The Birds whispered to the Llama...

How many cats does it take to make a quilt?

A Monkey and a Panda walk into a quilt...

I heart you

Kitty with a Ball of Yarn :-)

Sunny Days


Scientifically Speaking

It is a zoo in here...

Scraps from Bernie - Put to use

Scrappy & Happy

Pieced over many months, I sewed scraps in between projects. As the year draws to an end it was time to wrap up this storybook of a quilt.  It isn't easy to put together blocks of varying shapes and sizes. But that is exactly my superpower :-) 


Purple Backing + Turquoise Binding

Walking Foot Quilting - Squiggly Lines

Pieced Backing

Clearly I am in love with this book - "My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell you She is Sorry" by Frederik Backman. I cannot recommend it enough. After I had listened to the audiobook thrice, I bought the physical book. It has made me think and laugh and cry - often at the same time. 

Paul: So you are a quiltmaker from Miamas?
Me: No, I am a knight from Miamas. Quilting is my superpower :-D My quilts tell my stories.
Paul: How big is your quilt?
Me: It is multi-dimensional.
Paul: Multi-dimensional? How?
Me: It has four sides and all four sides have different lengths.
Paul: Don't you mean crooked?
Me: You could say wonky but I prefer multi-dimensional.

Like Granny said in the book, "You have standards and I have double standards. So I win."

Paul: Who is getting this multicolored and multi-dimensional quilt?
Me: Mom. I am taking it to India with me.
Paul: I am sure she will love it.
Me: Also she can show it off to others and she won't even have to say - "my daughter is so talented"
Paul: That is what others will say...
Me: Exactly!!! You are so smart :-D 

I love this shot!!!

I love this model!!!

"With Love from Miamas" finished at about 68" by about 77", but let's not quibble about exactness here.  Its multi-dimensional aspects are perfect for family snuggles :-D  
I will be sharing with all my favorite linky parties. See full list on the sidebar.


I am thankful for your love and support.  But when you leave me a comment, oh my goodness, you make me giddy with gratitude.

To celebrate Thanksgiving and promote my giddiness, here is a giveaway for you. Two FQ bundles (5 fat quarters each) from Island Batik's Bellingham Bay Collection, designed by Deb Tucker’s Studio 180 Design.

Prize Bundle 1

Prize Bundle 2

To qualify for a prize, please leave me a comment, telling me your favorite book this year.  I will announce the winners on December 5, 2021.


RSC Progress - The flimsy is completed and basted. 

Basting my Lovely

As I am quilting it now, I am also thinking about binding choice. 

Quilting in process

I am thinking turquoise will look lovely with the floral backing. But light or dark? What do you think?

Floral Backing

Binding Choice

I am leaning to the light one, which is so not me. May be I should go with pink instead :-p

I will be sharing with Angela's Linky Party


My Etsy Store - All items are 20% off from Wednesday, 11/24/21 through Monday, 11/29/21.