rayna gillman's blog         improv quilts & an improv life

Don't fall over laughing - no, I changed my mind - it's fine to fall over laughing. Shooting yourself (which I am ready to do) without another person to deal with the camera is not only a learning curve, it is a TIME CONSUMER. This is about 3 days worth and I am totally not going public with it -- it's a run-through and at this point, I can't remember what it says or doesn't say. And you will hear all the noise when I move the camera down. ARGH. It's the real me (as my mother used to say).

BUT - it's only for you, my blog readers because it's a practice piece for a new video editor. (they are all awful, IMO). Not dressed up, no makeup, and in need of a haircut, this is the way I am in a classroom and I simply don't know how to be a "buttoned up" teacher or anything else. What you see is what you get. Have fun!

Oh, you should know that I have not been able to decide what the first thing I teach should be, so you can help me out here. This link will take you to the list of workshops on my website, although it probably needs updating. Let me know in the comments what catches your fancy and which ones you'd enjoy taking on line with me. It will help me make some decisions on where to start. http://www .studio78.net/workshops (and I don't need a critique on this video. LOL)

Thanks and I love you!


I went over to the studio earlier than usual yesterday. I have a small apartment in another building about 5 min away by car which I use as a studio and overflow guest space if I have more than 2 people visiting. (Fat chance to have anyone these days). After a couple of hours I smelled something burning and thought I heard an alarm. It wasn't mine. Long story short, smoke was pouring out of the apartment downstairs, we had to run for our lives and stay outside. I grabbed my purse but left my computer, my iPad and my phone. The fire department came and eventually put it out. The individual (who is very strange and honestly, non compos mentis, put eggs to cook on the stove and then either left the building or went visiting a neighbor, or fell asleep or who knows what. Smoke and rotten eggs - yum. Fortunately, nobody was hurt but his apartment was pretty much destroyed and the building smells awful. SO, I am working at home for the next few days or however long I feel lazy enough to stay home. Late afternoon I went back to grab my devices and the squares I had cut to make samples for the video and I am now set to work on my kitchen counter and the bridge table in my living room. I have a 6' design wall in the studio but non at home, so I grabbed a leftover 24"x48" piece of insulation foam, brought it home, and wrapped it in cotton batting. It will do.

This little quilt was made with leftover blocks from the one on the cover of Create Your Own Improv Quilts. Honestly, most of my best pieces started with leftovers from another quilt. I needed to see if I could do a different setting with the leftovers and I'm really happy with it. Someday I might get around to putting the facing on.

This is such a fun class to teach and to take. Strips (no ruler) squares (ruler ok when you cut them and trim them at the end, but that's IT!) Here's a closer look.

I have taught this so many times and it's never the same twice. (In fact, nothing I teach is ever the same twice - at least in the class room).

Here are a few student pieces on the design walls. No two alike!

I was thinking about offering this as an online class because people love it. But as I was going through my photo folders I found some 'WHAT IFs" that I had experimented with as I was writing this book. I never put them in the book because I was in the early states of 'let's see what happens when I do THIS" and I didn't have time to keep going. But I think this has good potential and I'm going to play around, see where it goes - and it's another riff on strips and squares (or rectangles).

There are so many possibilities with strips - and I love working with them because you really don't have to think. I am ready to start playing again.

I have several classes to put together for the guilds that have suspended in-person classes till we see what 2021 holds. But I have a couple of other ideas to follow up on. Everything leads to something else, don't you find that?

So I'm off to play and hope you will do the same. One of these days we'll play together!


עודכן ב: 9 אוג 2020

Finally have my new Mac book pro set up but it's a bit of a learning curve with their new operating system. Nonetheless, here I am, feet up in the living room, looking at the temporary setup for what will become actual online courses (if I live long enough).

Phil has gone to New Jersey for the month so I won't have any distractions from my work. Some of my time will be in the studio, but probably most of the video for the classes will be done at home. The studio has a very loud air conditioner and when it is on, you can't hear me speaking. When it's off, the place is 90 degrees: this is Florida! The apartment where I live has central air, so I will be working at home doing most of the filming and on Zoom, when we do the intro part, as I always do in the classroom. But I am getting ahead of myself...

In the studio I have been picking out stitches and restitching the purportedly straight but lopsided lines. And I've been experimenting with improv log cabin blocks. To be continued.

At home I have been taking care of my plants on the kitchen windowsill.

Ignore the pot on the left. I have already transplanted the green onions and the rest are cilantro seedlings. Next one is cabbage. Really!

I planted the bottom of a cabbage some months ago and it is sprouting. I don't even love cabbage, but it is just so cool to see how far it gets. In the middle, my sweetheart of a curry leaf plant. It has taken a year to get to this point and I love the fragrant leaves which I use in my South Indian dishes. If I want to feel happy, I go talk to my little curry tree. On the end, mint and basil.

The good news is that the hurricane, which was heading right to West Palm Beach, changed its mind and all we got was a tropical storm. When it was over, there were four avocados on the ground. Still small and with some teeth marks from the squirrels (see them?) but we will let them ripen. We gave two to our neighbors. These are Florida avocados, which are not nearly as wonderful as the Haas avocados. But they are free. My mother and her friend planted a pit in the 1980's and it is now a big tree right outside my window. But there are poachers around, so I have to keep my eye on it.

Have, of course, been cooking as always. Monday I made fish for dinner. Last night I made chowder with the leftover fish and a couple of shrimp and scallops from my freezer.


This chowder is a no-recipe recipe from Sam Sifton, editor of the NYTimes cooking app. I l love no-recipe recipes because that's mostly the way I cook, anyway. You need this one for when you don't feel like cooking. It makes itself!

Finally, today I made another semolina bread -- different from the one I made last month. Just out of the oven and I will let you know how it turned out. It looks good, but the test is in the taste. The apartment smells SO wonderful.

Between all of this fiddling around I am managing to work on the preliminaries for one class. I'm doing some for the guilds who have postponed (optimistically) for 2021 but I will probably offer some of them to the public. If you have any of my books, let me know what you'd love to see as part of my online teaching schedule in the future.

I miss you. Sending my love - stay safe!

 all text & images ©rayna gillman 2019