rayna gillman's blog         improv quilts & an improv life

Both, but it's more like an 90/10 split. It has been a long couple of months. The 90% was spent in my studio working mostly alone, taping (and re-taping and re-taping and re-taping) videos and getting my materials ready for online classes. The other 10% was recovery time, such as it was. It has been a long couple of months.

The happy part was seeing both of my daughters, who came separately to visit me. Jessica came for my birthday week. We spent evenings together but she spent most days on the phone working from home in a series of nonstop meetings. We also had fun cooking together.

On my actual birthday we ventured out to have a lovely dinner outside and distanced from other people. It was the first time I'd been out for a meal since February or even earlier. What a treat and what a special birthday week!

Then Hilary came for Thanksgiving week! I was able to spend more time during the day with her because, although she also worked from home, her job is more flexible and she spent time loafing at the pool. I hadn't seen any of my kids or grands in a year, so this was a treat. Hilary and I had a very lovely lunch at an elegant rooftop restaurant - also very distanced from anybody else, so it was fine. (my one dress did double duty in November). Another happy week for me!

But all was not sunshine and roses: a very close family member spent all of November and almost half of December in the hospital with Covid-19, much of it on a ventilator when he was admitted. Scary because early on it looked very bad - and even with daily updates, it was extremely worrisome for the whole family. But he was lucky: he had the best doctors looking after him and he was able to come home in mid-December. Still coughing like crazy and it will be a long time until he is back to full health. But we are all thankful.

Ok, you are caught up - and so am I. Have done no creative work for myself and haven't had time to even bake bread lately. I have a quilt ¾ quilted that has been lying around for many moons. Here's a smidge of the quilted part. I simply don't have time, so it will wait.

Then there is this one, made from rectangles leftover from when I was writing my book. Still not done. Don't ask! These columns have been on the wall in various permutations for a year. No rush, right?

And finally - a glimpse of some blocks made with my No Pattern Paper Piecing method, which I will probably teach at some point online. Do you recognize the black/white/green scraps in the blocks below? Yep, I have a lot of leftovers from that book. Isn't it wonderful how new work springs from leftover scraps and bits of blocks that didn't get used? My favorite way to start something new.

Meantime, I have to get back to work and accomplish something in the next week or two.

My target date for teaching is sometime early in 2021 but that depends on a number of variables that are out of my hands. It will happen.

Stay safe, stay healthy, stay creative and leave me a comment so I'll know you haven't completely given up on me. And I wish you a Happy New Year as things get better in 2021

love and big virtual hugs,


I don't play poker but I have been very busy for the last couple of weeks making phone calls to get out the VOTE in FLORIDA, which is a key swing state in this (and every) election. I am not saying which party I am volunteering my time for, but after today's craziness I had two martinis! People are certainly interesting.

Lots of hang-ups, a 98 year old woman who couldn't hear me, a man who voted in Texas (he's a snowbird here), a woman who won't vote because she says she can't get a babysitter (really? Take you kid to the dropbox with you). And a man who is not voting because he is leaving the results up to God. (I guess he can't make a decision). Never a dull moment.

I am recovering with a strong cup of masala tea with ginger, cardamom, cinnamon stick, and black pepper. YUM. I expect to be up late tonight.

Been editing demo videos because my iPad refuses to screen share with Zoom - but we'll be fine. Because of the holidays, I expect to be ready to go in January. Will keep you posted.

Things are looking up. I'm excited that my daughters are each coming to visit me (not at the same time). Jessica (left) arrives on Saturday for a week (she is my birthday gift) and Hilary (right, obviously) is coming for a week at Thanksgiving. Oh, joy! I haven't seen them for a year. I hope they have good weather while they are here - it is cold in New Jersey.

And Phil is coming back to Florida on Sunday, so Jessica, Phil, and I will spend election night all biting our nails together.

So - what have you been doing to keep yourself sane for the last 7 or 8 months? Reading? Baking? Gourmet cooking? Therapy sewing? Binge-watching series on Amazon Prime (The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel) or Netflix ( I binge-watched Mad Men, which I had never seen because I don't watch tv.). Whatever you are doing, I hope you have voted and I hope you are staying safe.


First of all, it has been raining nonstop in West Palm Beach, so yesterday I chose not to leave the house (well, it's an apartment but I call it a house because I live here). The studio is also an apartment, so I can't call them both by the same name. BUT I DIGRESS.

I was home anyway and It has been too long since I have baked bread. I have had a jar of sourdough starter ripening for what seems like a week with not much action. Day before yesterday when I came into the kitchen, it had overflowed the jar and was all over the counter. Yeccch - what a mess. It was ready to use.

If you've baked sourdough you know it is a process. Add flour and water, leave for 4 hours and then into the fridge for overnight.

Next day, add more flour, knead, and leave for more hours, stretching and folding the dough every hour. Shape, let rise again, and finally - BAKE!

This loaf came out looking very pretty, so it was worth all the time. The other loaf is not as pretty so I sliced that one first. The sourdough flavor is wonderful - the best I've made. And there is a nice open crumb. This went into the freezer. I will take it out next week when my daughter Jessica arrives for a visit.

Now I am done procrastinating and will get back to work. The studio is calling.

xoxo R

 all text & images ©rayna gillman 2019