Thursday, January 31, 2019

I Like/Love #24

This is the first gratitude post for 2019 for me. I join in with LeeAnna each month at Not Afraid of Color. She hosts a weekly link-up on Thursdays where you will find many like-minded, gratitude-aware peeps. I just link up once at the end of each month. It's not that I'm not being grateful the other three weeks, au contraire, I am always aware of how many blessings I have (just ask my family, who get annoyed by me in a loving way when I often acknowledge my gratitude and loves aloud). I try to limit my monthly list to ten items.
1. I love my kitchen. I love early morning, and I love these fairy lights, and their warm, soft, golden glow. On a bitterly cold morning like today, it makes me feel even more cosy in my little house. Yep, I still have a sparkly silver-sprayed wreath in my door to the deck, and four red berries twig wreaths in each window; I like them all and the ambiance they create. A few of the pics in this post are taken in that warm golden light this morning.

2a. I love a cup of coffee in the morning. I usually just have one, maybe one and a half. When we were in Mexico, we made a point of shopping/buying local. This coffee is excellent! We didn't use it all at our Airbnb home, so I am enjoying a cup as I type this. Those are the smallish shells and a piece of coral I found (there were tons, but I have tons here already from the Gulf but the Florida side), and brought home from a beach near 2b: Celestun, which I loved. The resort was the strangest place, one our guide, Franck, from a previous day who became our friend, took us to: a beautiful resort, complete with shimmering pool, polished floors, pristine furniture, a staff of.... two. Three cars in the lot, not a guest to be seen, and a deserted, not as pristine, but still beautiful beach where I found the biggest conch:
Sadly, I gave it to Franck's mum, who is from Corsica, and lives both there and in Nice. It was too heavy (but now I wish I'd just gone for it) to take home, so I settled for another I'd found that was about 2/3 this size.
Ah! Shorts, tank and flipflops...seems so far away this morning! And such clear light, right? I loved that special day, tootling around with a couple of locals who have lived in Mexico for over 12 years, one French, the other Iranian, and their parents, one Corsican, the other Iranian! Languages ranged all day from French, to Spanish to Farsi (aka Persian) to English, just marvellous. MacGyver and I loved it.
Main purpose of the excursion that day: flamingos! Thousands. I have four or five different pics with equally as many of these glorious birds.

3. I just love this handmade/painted reindeer. Maybe it's an antelope of some kind from the Yucatán? It's a reindeer to this Canuck anyhow. I love the artwork, how meticulous and precise it is. I got it at a small authentic art made by local artisans store in Mérida. He's sitting on one of the shelves MacGyver made for the kitchen along with other treasures, beach-themed. I do also like the two snowman stitchery 4" minis I made in '05 I see. They're up there for the winter in front of the coral bookends. One of these days I will write that before/after kitchen reno post...

4. Another of the couple of souvenirs I brought home was another authentic, handmade item, this bowl I got from a vendor in Chichén Itzá. The outside and bottom are all painted/glazed, and it stands on four little 'feet'. I love the sparkles, and the navy or royal blue with the turquoise!

The main, most famous temple of the site. It's actually a temple over a previous one! It works as a calendar, so incredibly amazing, so sophisticated, so humongous. Look at the people in the distance on the left side of the temple.

Quilt and design inspiration abounds. Again the precision, and no technology, no cranes and diggers and laser etchers, is so impressive.
5. I don't know if love is the right word, more 'was awed by' or 'completely blown away by' the Mayan city (I'd thought it was just one temple, the famous, most-photographed one, but no, it's several, a ball court twice the size of a football one, and many other edifices). The mathematical and engineering precision, the size, the astronomical precision and purposes, the unbelievable, purposeful echoes one can make with claps or yells or a single word, the cultural practices, all just rendered me pretty much speechless and yes, in awe. I am so glad we went, and grateful to have had an excellent guide to walk us through the city, which took two hours and covered four kilometres.

6. This is Union Station in Toronto, about 5:15 am Tuesday, (good times 'sleeping' in the airport Monday/Tuesday) where we caught our Via Rail train home to Windsor. Our flight was cancelled, and we were rebooked for one yesterday morning, 36 hours past the original one. Again Instagram has a post of what we could (barely) see outside my airplane window on Monday night after the most harrowing landing of my life. Interestingly, a few others were on the train, and said the same thing, though they'd come in from different cities. Little planes couldn't handle the winds, so the majority of those short haul flights were cancelled. Because the visibility was next to zero, we sat on the tarmac in our jet for nearly an hour before being allowed to move to a gate. We definitely lived the 'planes, trains and automobiles', not forgetting the beautiful coach (big bus) we took from Mérida to Cancún airport, to get home! I wish MacGyver had calmed down, stopped a bit longer, to allow me to snap a better photo, but, I'll be back there one of these days. It reminded me of Grand Central in NYC, or Kings' Cross-- I half-expected to see platform 9 3/4 where I could melt through the wall to catch the Hogwarts Express! Union Station was built in 1873. A quick Google search tells me Grand Central was built in 1871, but by a different architect, but clearly the period is right.

7. I love (and missed) my design wall. Here is Fawn's quilt, one of my Q1FAL goals, going up.  I like Amanda Jean Nyberg's 'Good Neighbors' fabric line, so cheery!

8. I love the happy bright colours in which many of the renovated colonial-style homes and buildings are painted. That white trim is such a pleasing pop! This is one of the many neighbourhoods in Mérida we walked to. This is either near the Parque San Sebastian, or the Ermita de Santa Isabel; I can't remember but they're in the same vicinity. We walked a ton through the city, one of the safest in the world, at all times of the day and night, and never once felt in danger. The people melted our hearts, so friendly, helpful, hospitable, patient with our lack of Spanish. Yay for my French as it helped tremendously, but it also got in the way, as it would pop out, as in 'merci!' or 's'il vous plaît' instead of 'gracias' or 'por favor'.

9. I love these signature chairs, "Tu y Yo" design dates to 1915 and they are all over Mérida, and people use them all the time!

Taken with Franck, our guide's, GoPro. Used with permission.
10. I just love the colour blue, as you know. This is a cenote, (pronounced say-no-tay), a pool of water (this one was 70 m deep and yep that's the bottom, that's how clear it is), in an underground cave, created by the asteroid that hit the earth in the Yucatán area some 65 million years ago which wiped out the dinosaurs. These are linked by underground rivers, and I think, because of the limestone rock, they are these incredible, unbelievable shades of blues and turquoises. The 'rods' of light is the sun's rays that happened to be shining through the hole in the ground. There are 6000+ cenotes throughout the Yucatán. I swam in three of the ten we visited. All were swimmable but two in Chichén Itzá ruin area because they've recently discovered human remains (offerings to the underworld gods) in those two. Lovely. The above cenote was the first one we went in, in a remote area that belongs to the nearby Mayan village. I snorkelled here for the first time in my life (LOVED) and ate one of the two most delicious meals prepared with love by a Mayan family who has become friends with Franck and his girlfriend Dena for the day (Franck and Dena took us with Franck's parents to Celestun).

11. I love flowers, as you know. I took lots of pictures of various fabulous flowers and trees.
Incredible bougainvillea near our Airbnb home

Inner courtyard of the Chaya Maya Casona, a great restaurant where we had a pretty amazing breakfast on our first morning. So lush isn't it?

12. We visited the pasta tile store, Mosaicos La Peninsular, which was only a few blocks from our home in Mérida. Wow!!! I knew about these thanks to my brother, who is building his retirement home in Mérida, and has some pasta tiles, as these are called, in the original building he's renovating, and is adding in many more. Each tile is made by hand. You read that right. We saw them in so many of the buildings, museums, old homes, mansions, palaces, restaurants we visited or walked by. Talk about quilt inspiration extraordinaire, right?

Used with permission.
13. Finally, but not least, I love this quilt. This was made by a reader, Michele, and her friend. Michele wrote to me with this photo:

 I have a girlfriend who is a 2.5” square freak.   Back when you showed the quilt on your blog that you were working on; I feel in love.  The idea that this could be a great way of using up some of the squares she has been collecting struck a cord.  Before she would just sew sew sew them all to each other.   I showed her the picture of the quilt you made and began explaining to her what to do.   We worked strictly from your pictures.  She and I worked on it together.   After many crazy life events (husband having several strokes, her Corgi passing away, new pastor at Church, etc...) we began to focus on your quilt as something to meditate on.   And wha la!   This was the result.   We actually plan to make another one using darker colors next time.   Thank you again!   

We will be adding a few ties to it so it can be gifted as a pray quilt for one of our friends who is having a mastectomy this week.  

Stories like this just warm my heart! I have another that I haven't shared, because I'm saving it for when I release the pattern for Freefall/Windfall. We really have no idea how many lives we touch, how much inspiration we provide, when we write our blogs, do we? I, in turn, have been inspired by so many as well. That is why I feel it is so important to support bloggers by buying a pattern, at least once, from them, as so much information is given freely. I have a post coming probably in February as I'm under a tight deadline for a couple of projects, about this whole idea, and the experiment I did in November/December on Craftsy...which is now bluprint, as you know. Affiliate link in the sidebar.

Well, as usual, this went a bit longer than anticipated, both in words and in time it took! Speaking of free, be sure to visit my Getaway Blog Hop post for a chance at three items I'm giving away, and the Island Batik blog, for a chance of one of their two fabric bundles!

And check out my Instagram for lots more Mexico pics. You don't have to have an account to view my account.

Linking up


  1. What a wonderful post, I loved hearing more about your vacation. I just adore old train stations - I think it's that sense of history that lingers about them. It's like time almost stops and you can almost see all the people that have passed through in years gone by. Glad you made it home safe and sound!

  2. so much to love starting with your homey kitchen. I'd like to sit there every day too.

  3. I love that someone got away to warmer climes ... even if it wasn't me. lol Even the freezer has charms, though; I've loved watching the downy woodpeckers and the redbelly woodpecker enjoy the suet in this freezing cold. AND I loved seeing a trio of bluebirds this morning on my balcony ... such beautiful creatures.

  4. Isn't it wonderful to see flowers blooming in January? That would be a wonderful part of a trip to Mexico this time of year! Looks you had a great time - thanks for sharing all the sights. Isn't that neat that Michelle and her friend were inspired by your quilt to make one similar to yours?! Definitely heartwarming!

  5. Looks like such an amazing trip! I can just feel the warmth in the photo with the flamingos. And of course, your kitchen looks like a super cozy spot to spend winter days. Hope you have a wonderful weekend!

  6. Hi Sandra! So much goodness in this post. Those tiles!! And the temple!! Seeing those people in the background, if you will, really puts the size of this temple into perspective. WOWEE! I have always wanted to go visit these since I studied about the Mayans in middle school. Years and YEARS ago! Fascinating. You kitchen eating area is so calming and soothing, and those little fairy lights just add the perfect light for a winter morning. And those quilts!! How cool. ~smile~ Roseanne

  7. Great post, Sandra! Those tiles are definitely full of quilty inspiration! Thanks for sharing!! And I love your room. Though I see the snow and know it's cold, it looks so warm and inviting with those lights! We were threatened with snow on Tuesday, the governor even called a state of emergency because it would have been had it happened, but we got notta! Ripped off I tell you! Today it's 65! Can we say roller coaster?!

  8. I love your Kitchen too! So much inspiration just reading your Blog and seeing all the amazing places you see and do. Thanks for sharing a piece of your heart with us. ❤️

  9. Chichén Itzá is one of my favorite places. What fun! Looks like a really fun trip. Those tiles are cool (and so are the quilts). Good stuff. :-)

  10. What lovely photos, recalling a lovely trip to a warm and welcoming country! We always enjoy Mexico; the people are just the warmest, humblest, generous folks. And now I want to make that pasta tile sampler quilt...

  11. I've always wanted to go to Merida. Now more after reading your post. Those pasta tiles, wowza!

  12. This is a most uplifting post Sandra. I love your kitchen and the ambience you've created there. A trip to see the Mayan ruins... well, I can't begin to say how much I'd love to do that! Quilt inspiration from tiles, flamingos, bougainvillea, and a fan quilt..... this is an epic list of blessings that made a delightful start to my day.

  13. WOW you must be on inspiration overload from your vacation! What a wonderful warm post from your kitchen and all it's wonderful feelings to the final photo!

  14. What a wonderful trip! My Guy really wants to go see those temples, maybe once the SIT is out of college we'll be able to take a few trips like that. Hope your corner of the world is warming up just a bit.

  15. A lovely post.
    Your kitchen looks so warm and inviting.
    Oh all that sun, sea and sand looks wonderful just now.

  16. I loved this whole post, Sandra! Your trip to Mexico looks like it was simply amazing and I do enjoy getting to live vicariously through you to explore, so thanks for sharing :)

  17. I love snorkeling and have always thought that the cenotes in the Yucatan would be special to get to visit and swim in. It's fun to live vicariously through your recent trip!

  18. Love seeing the little things you picked up during your travels. I am very much the same way. The blue plate is gorgeous. I have only ever seen flamingos in a zoo. The Mayan temples are so amazing!

    Thank you so much for linking up the photos on Wandering Camera, Sandra and for sharing the image :)


  19. I loved this blog post. It was so positive and fascinating. Now I want to visit Mexico. Thank you for sharing, it was inspiring.

  20. Sandra - where to start? I feel like I have been around the world with you, what with the beginning in a cozy kitchen and then all of those wonderful Mexico pictures and mentions of French and Spanish and Corsica and … I was amazed by the flamingo picture, and entranced by the lush restaurant environment. I worked in Mexico for three years, and I have a real hankering for some authentic Mexican cooking!


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