Monday, March 31, 2014


This YouTube video about background quilting is about to be removed from my YouTube channel.

WARNING:  the video is a little blurry.

The camera was attached to my longarm machine so it was a little shaky.  Also, I remember filming this at around 4am with terrible lighting in my studio.  Doomed.  This poor video was always doomed and now it can rest in peace.

Hotel Tour of 2014 -- night 29

Another night, another airplane seat. 

I left Dubai after midnight and this was the view for the next 7ish hours:

I am now in Paris for 6 hours. The airport isn't super busy right now:

But they have cool sinks in the bathroom:

I should be home in less than 18 hours. Dubai was great but I will be happy when the travel day is over!

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Hotel Tour of 2014 -- Night 28

This is my last night in Dubai.  The show has been wonderful.  I have classes full of eager students from many different countries.  I hope that they are learning as much from me as I am from them.

The hotel restaurant had a special table this morning where a chef cooked omelets for the guests:

Yes, please!

I tasted papadom at lunch and hope that I can find them somewhere near home.  They look like nacho chips, are made from lentils, and taste like heaven.

I tasted lamb freekeh at dinner and must. make. this. at. home!!!  Freekeh is a barley/bulgur-type grain.  I will not stop until I find a way to purchase this at home.  Thankfully, I live in New York and the chances are quite good that it is available near me.

I've been here long enough to figure out the money, so it's obviously time to go home.

3.67 Dirham = $1US

I will teach 2 more classes tomorrow and then start my long trip home at midnight.  

So long, Dubai!

(In case anyone is counting, I have spent 4 weeks of 2014 in hotel rooms.)


I recently finished a huge project that I can't share with you.  This is what was left after about 35 hours of work:

No empty spools, but these spools and cones are much skinnier than when they started out.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Hotel Tour of 2014 -- Night 27

I am enjoying the Inernational Quilt Festival of Dubai!  I am busy teaching and am not seeing much outside of the venue.  I spent my few spare minutes today snapping pictures of some of the beautiful touches all around me.

The floor in front of the elevators was striking:

And so was the floor inside the elevator:

The lobby floor, as seen from above:

The carpeting in a long hallway:

A close-up of the corner:

One of my favorite chairs:

My bed had some intricate woodwork all around the headboard:

And more elegance at the bottom of my dresser drawers:

My closet was gorgeous:

My hotel door was even pretty:

A close-up of the wood inlay:

Today, Friday, was their day off work, so the vacant lot next to the hotel was a playground!

I hope that you enjoyed the tour of my hotel in Dubai.

Going Places: "Tut-tut" said Christopher Robin

I travel a great deal and have learned a trick or two over the years.  One trick is to keep part of my suitcase packed at all times.

I always have a folding umbrella in the side of my suitcase.  I usually don't use it, but it is there when I need it.

Like this week in Dubai:

Yes, it rained in the desert and I.  Was.  READY!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Hotel Tour of 2014 -- Night 26

Greetings from Dubai!

I've posted pics of the bed, the sitting area, and the washroom. It's time to show you this hotel's FOOD!

This is the buffet area for breakfast and lunch.

They serve a mixture of food from all over the region.  It is an interesting mix and I hope to have sampled it all before I fly home.

Mid-morning and mid-afternoon we are served tea:

There are other goodies on the tea table -- fruit, cakes, sandwiches.  Tell me again why we don't serve tea twice daily in the States?

That was the food I ate at the hotel.  I had a great meal out tonight.  I ordered:

Zaater & Cheese.  It was served looking like this:

And it tasted like a party in my mouth.  Melted cheese + spices = mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.

My dinner hosts insisted that I try a sweet, so I obliged.  You know how much I *hate* chocolate (wink):

It wasn't chocolate cake with layers and frosting, but it was pretty delightful nonetheless.

I stopped at a few other food places for photos, not food.  Do these look familiar?

Good night from Dubai.  More pictures tomorrow!

Last Chance

I'm cleaning up my YouTube channel and will soon take down this video about quilting background designs with templates.

Somehow the light on this video was a little better than the others in the series.  The camera was a little more stable, too.  Still, the video will soon sleep with the fishes.

Leave the gun.  Take the cannoli.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

A Quick Trip to the Store

After work tonight, I headed out for a quick trip to the local mall.  The Dubai Mall.  THE MALL, apparently.

This mall had it's own aquarium:

Fun shops:

Beautiful chandeliers:

There was a stage below this chandelier with a string group playing delightful music.  "Bittersweet Symphony" was one of the songs I heard.

If you were tired of shopping, too tired to walk, there was help.  Taxi cabs inside the mall:

There was a five-story water feature:

Please be impressed that I got close enough to the railing to take this photo.  I'm practicing not being afraid of heights in case I get to go to the Burj Khalifa (aka the tallest building in the world).

I had dinner at a divine Lebanese restaurant.  Look at those fluffy pitas:

The queue for taxicabs was really long, so I decided to drive this car back to my hotel.

Or was it this car?

So yes, this place was just a little bit fancy and I'm so glad I got to see a bit of Dubai tonight!

Hotel Tour of 2014 -- Night 25

Yesterday, I showed you some things that I probably won't install in my home (cough*potties*cough); today, I want to show you some of the things I wish I could take home with me:

1.  The Key-Card Energy Control System.

I first fell in love with these in Russia and used on in my hotel in California in January.  I think that this feature should be in my home now that I've broken up with my clothes dryer.  It would definitely help the "they just doubled the cost of my electricity" problem.

2.  This sitting area:

Don't you want to curl up here and read a book?  Or knit?  Or quilt?

I would probably skip the ashtray.  Pleasantly, this room doesn't smell of smoke at all!

3.  This bathroom accent tile:

Isn't in pretty?  My bathrooms are original to the house and a laughingstock to anyone who has visited us.  Someday, hopefully soon, we will finally be able to replace one of our bathrooms and this tile would be lovely.

4.  My students.  I don't have photos of them because I was teaching instead of snapping photos.  I finished my first day of classes here in the hotel and I had an amazing time.  I learn so much from my students and hope that I am able to teach them a tenth of what they teach me!  I taught expats from the US, UK, and South Africa as well as women from Dubai, India, Kuwait, Oman, the Philippines, Pakistan, and Saudi Arabia.  All of us hail from different places and have different accents, ways of dress, customs, and cultures.  What did this diverse group of women do?  How did we interact?  We talked quilting and shared pictures of our grandchildren, naturally. 

A Forever Home quilt

I know a family who recently adopted a little boy.  As an adopted child, I am a big fan of the process and make a lot of quilts for adopted children and adoptive families.

This is AJs quilt:

The pattern is from Missouri Star Quilt Company -- Disappearing Pinwheel Tutorial on YouTube.

I heard a bunch of my students at Road to California talking about it and wanted to try it.  When I got home, I grabbed out a few bright squares of fabric from my stash.

I made the blocks, but I wasn't too happy with them.  The edges are all bias and the result isn't as accurate as if I had cut and pieced each section separately.

I think the idea is a cute one and I applaud their creativity.  I decided to only make nine blocks, though, and don't plan to make any more.

AJ won't know any of this and I'm sure he'll love the quilt.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Hotel Tour of 2014 -- Night 24

WARNING:  This post may contain Too Much Information.  Turn away now if you don't want to learn about what I found so very fascinating today.

My first full day in Dubai was lovely.  It's 80*F and sunny and delightful.  I think it's snowing at home.  I enjoy taunting my husband with photos of me in the sunshine, playing in the desert while he is getting ready to shovel snow.  Good thing he likes me, right?

Since this is a post about my hotel room, I wanted to show you the beautiful hotel washroom:

I am a simple girl from suburban America.  This hotel bathroom was a bit different that bathrooms back in the States.  I was impressed with the difference, but then I visited the toilet while on a desert safari and became seriously impressed with the difference:

Notice the hose?  And no toilet paper?  Yeah, I noticed that too.

To redeem this post and move the ratio of potty pictures vs. non-potty pictures from 2:0 to 2:1, I want to share this photo of a camel.

Camels are very, very tall and they live in the desert.

Just a few things I learned today.

I start teaching longarm quilting classes in the morning.  Maybe I will be able to post pictures that don't have potties in them?

Going, going, GONE!

Another YouTube video is about to be erased.  This one is about stitching ribbon candy around a star block.

Warning:  the camera is mounted to my longarm machine and the picture is shaky.

I filmed this video a little over three years ago.  I was working at a show in New York City and had to commute every morning.  I filmed this in the wee hours of the morning before I left for work.  It was dark.  I was tired.  Not the best recipe for success.  I know this now.

Dubai: First Impressions

I've been in Dubai for less than 24 hours, but my friends are relentless with the "How's it going? Send pictures" emails.

My love for Dubai started when I realized that I didn't need a visa to travel here.  That's huge!  Dubai doesn't require customs forms, either, but I didn't realize that until I got here.  No customs forms?  Huge-er than no visa!

As soon as my plane landed in Dubai, Akbari met me at the gate holding a "MR DEBBY BROWN" sign.  I introduced myself and she took a minute to process that I was not a "MR" but was still me.  She walked me through the airport, took me through the fast lane at passport control (yes!), arranged for a porter to carry my luggage, and took me to where the hotel driver was supposed to meet me.  He was a no-show so I ended up taking a taxi to the hotel:  a pink taxi, because I'm a girl.  It was the prettiest, cleanest and nicest-smelling taxi ever.

I slept really well in my bed-that-was-far-superior-to-an-airplane-seat and woke up to this view from my hotel window:

This was my hairdryer:

I've used one like this before and it's not my favorite, but I didn't think my little pink Hello Kitty hairdryer could handle 220 volts.

I am fascinated with my collection of outlet adapters.  I have plugs for Russia and plugs for Australia, and I had to buy new ones for this trip.  They are very big and chunky:

I helped set up the Handi Quilter classroom this morning and will spend my afternoon touring, so expect more photos soon.

Monday, March 24, 2014

It's About Time:

I have a lot of ideas on time management and how to get more done in a day, but today's post about time is different.

Not all time has to be productive.  This might be news to tightly-wound folks like me.  But sometimes, after planning and scheduling and doing the best you can, you just have to let go and see what happens.

Sunday, I had an afternoon flight from Newark to Atlanta, then a three hour layover before my 14 hour flight to Dubai.  That was the plan.  The plan turned a little bit sideways.  Not a lot, but just enough to bother a schedule-oriented person like me.

There was a traffic jam on the way to the airport.  My first flight had a mechanical delay.  Then it had a second mechanical delay.  There was a mix-up with my transportation from the aiport to the hotel.

To sum up:  my travel time was 100% effective because I landed where I was supposed to land at nearly the right time.

Days like this teach me to:

  • make a good plan
  • build in a time buffer
  • build in even more of a time buffer
  • sleep when you can
  • eat when you can
  • carry the travel folder for quick access to necessary travel details
  • enjoy the adventure!

Hotel Tour of 2014 -- Night 23

What a difference a day makes!

Tonight's hotel room:

In case you forgot what last night's hotel room looked like:

I am teaching at a quilt show in Dubai and will have a lot of photos to post, but first... I must sleep in that delicious bed.

Good night!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Hotel Tour of 2014 -- night 22

Tonight's hotel is actually an airplane. I will spend tonight and tomorrow here:

Looks comfy, doesn't it?

No, I don't fly first class. No to business class as well. 

How many movies will I watch in the next 14 hours, I wonder?

Dubai: The Adventure Begins

I braved NY/NJ traffic and am waiting for my first flight of the day. Travel is always fun and interesting and I always learn new things. 

I have no idea how my blog app will place my photos so use your imagination as you read the captions

I park at The Parking Spot because their signs are impossible to miss. Yes, that is a good enough reason. 

I am always impressed by innovation in the restroom. A faucet & hand dryer combo:

The soap dispenser was across the room, but I'm certain that is in the next model. 

Airport food is never a bargain but in the NY metro area, it's even higher. So high, in fact, that they post these signs at the checkouts:

I doubt I'll get a first class bump today but at least I board in zone 1. It's a small thing but it helps. 

Stay tuned ...