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Needlepoint Newsletter - Samantha Taylor Needlepoint News

TNNA show

As you probably know - The National Needlework Association (TNNA) hosted their annual trade show in San Diego, California last January.

We are still resting after the double jet lag (going and coming from Spain) as well as the excitement of the show itself. It was wonderful meeting people from all over the United States and other Countries - but a tad confusing with so much happening at once. After filling all the orders for our Needlepoint Kits and Canvases as well as other pending obligations - we are back to the newsletter. We hoped to do a monthly - however this is not always possible.

Baja California

Baja California - View from the House

We enjoyed our hotel in - and exploring the - Gaslight District of Old San Diego and our weekend in Baja California - staying with our best friends in their beautiful home and waking to the sounds of the Pacific Ocean waves.

Of course - we suffered culture shock as well. Although the geographical similarities between Spain and Southern - Baja California are remarkable - the mentalities are very different.

For example - in Spain and Mexico - people love people and the generations freely intermingle. It is typical to visit a Feria (local fair) and see the grandparents - parents and children all together and enjoying the activities at two in the morning.

The outdoor cafes are a grand leisure time activity as well. Without much money to spend - these people choose the art of conversation to entertain themselves. The competition is to outwit the previous comments - and this practice produces extremely imaginative scripts.

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Luna y Bombé

Little Luna The Little Bombe Cat

The main problem between Luna and Bombé is that Bombé absolutely loves to hug Luna - however Luna does not like to be hugged. This sounds silly - yet the fights go on all day long.

The worst is when they both look out of the studio window - one of their favorite pastimes.

Bombé becomes so excited about the birds that she starts to hug Luna - and the daily fight has just begun. Again and again (Bombé - still very little - becomes excited about many things) - we see Luna trying to rid herself of the loving hugs.

Well - the trials of preparing state of the art needlepoint kits to perfection do not need these distractions - however the kitties just do not truly understand any of that - ¿do they?

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Our Favorite Recipes (and Restaurants)

Tapas: A Delightful Culinary Tradition from Spain

The Italians call it antipasto - the Chinese dim sum - the Turks maze - the French hors d'oeuvres and the Spanish tapas. However - unlike their cousins around the world - tapas are more than just appetizers.

Tapas Bar

Tapas Bar

Limitless Variety of Tapas The ingredients that go into the making of Spanish tapas are limitless - and the combinations can stretch as far as the imagination. Vegetables - seafood - poultry - dairy and meat are all part of this grand culinary experience. The key to quality tapas is freshness and prime ingredients.

Tapas may be served hot - cold or at room temperature. Most are not difficult or time consuming to prepare.

When savored at dinnertime with a glass of sherry - a full array of these tasty miniature morsels can be a meal in themselves.

The word tapas means lids or covers - and one of many stories say that tapas were originally pieces of bread or cured ham placed on top of a wine glass to keep dust and flies out. The Spanish do not think so.

From the Smallest Villages

Throughout Spain from the smallest villages to the largest cities - you'll find tapas bars and restaurants offering dozens of tasty varieties - served in individual ceramic oval dishes and accompanied by a glass of sherry.

In Spain the tapas experience goes hand-in-hand with hospitality - friendship and conversation. Guests traditionally linger for hours in an atmosphere that encourages friendly interaction.

We are very spoiled as one of the finest tapas bar is just downstairs. Josë Luis prepared trays for us and we bring them upstairs. Our favorites are Caviar - Chatka - Solomillo and then raciones ( portions ) of chopitos - baby squid.

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As you know - in the Spring the days become longer. Our very favorite season - Spring is preceded by Carnaval.

Carnaval (February 27-March 4, 2003) is a holiday that kicks off a five-day celebration of the libido before the Catholic lent begins on Ash Wednesday. Beginning the weekend before Lent - Carnaval is celebrated exuberantly with parades - floats - costumes - music and dancing in the streets. Carnaval is equivalent to Mardi Gras in New Orleans.



The festival of Carnaval is celebrated as a last indulgence of carnal pleasures that Catholics must give up for 40 days of fasting during Lent, from Ash Wednesday to Easter Sunday. In fact - the word Carnaval is derived from Latin - meaning take away or good-bye to flesh (meat) - and strict Catholics will give up meat eating during Lent.



In many countries, Carnaval is officially celebrated for 5 days - leading up to Ash Wednesday - with the most vigorous celebration taking place over the one weekend. The wearing of masks during Carnaval is said to be a pagan practice as protection from evil spirits - but most likely evolved as a way to participate fully in the celebration with some anonymity.

Carnival in Cadiz - Spain is said to be the third largest Carnival celebration in the world (after Rio de Janeiro and Trinidad). Both European jet-setters and local lowlifes know and crave the intense energy that pervades the city during the ten days leading up to Shrove Tuesday. It seems that all the freaks and fools within a thousand-mile radius show up to partake of the fun. Many visitors choose to snooze on park benches or stay up all night instead of booking hotel rooms.

Cadiz is a quiet and serene city on the Andalusian coast - except when it plays host to Spain's ultimate party. The fun began in the 17th century when the city of Cadiz tried to keep up with the decadent carnival celebrations in Venice and Genoa. The crews of the Spanish galleons that brought back gold and silver to Cadiz from the New World also brought back a variety of musical influences that are still evident at today's Carnival revelry. African and Creole rhythms - sambas - rangeuras and rustic Colombian tunes all intermingle in the streets with local Andalusian jaleo songs and traditional flamenco music.

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What to do When You are Down

This is a very difficult time of the year to be down. The promise of Spring beginning March 21st is so exciting. We cannot wait to see the new growth on the trees. Madrid plants fresh flowers all along her main Avenue - La Castellana. Sometimes - when Spring is not quite around the corner - we spend time in the Atocha Train Station.

Atocha Train Station

This beautiful train station - also known as Estacion del Mediodia - serves Portugal and points south. The exterior structure - built in 1889-91 - was designed by Alberto de Palacio Elissagne - with assistance from none other than Gustave Eiffel.

The interior concourse received a facelift in 1992 - when the Spanish high-speed AVE trains began service.

Architect Rafael Moneo accomplished the makeover largely in metal - glass - and polished stone. Travelers waiting for trains overlook a water lily pond and may sit on benches flanking a tropical garden - misted at regular intervals by slender metal stalks. The garden dates to the original station - and was referred to as "the winter garden".

Now - we know you do not have this train station - but there must be a similar haven nearby - investigate!

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We Love to Hear from Our Friends.

Hello Samantha

Please write to us. If you like - we will publish your correspondence in our next newsletter and web site. Tell us about yourself - your needlepoint "addiction" - what you would like us to add or remove from our newsletters ... or any of your favorite anecdotes!.

If you prefer to remain anonymous be sure to include this at the end of your note. Just click below and write what comes to mind - it is that simple.

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Boston Terrier

Nice Thoughts from Our Friends.

Needlepoint Sampler

*My name is Hannah - the lovely lady who lives with me stitched your Blue Needlepoint Sampler seen above - and I am very proud of her !

Her husband (he lives with me also) - took this photograph for you. I am very proud of both of them.*

- Hannah, from Connecticut

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Favorite Sayings


Do not expect pears to grow on Oak trees*

Basically - to tell you that - he is what he is - and do not expect him to be what he is not.

The Spaniards have a grand sense of tolerance - or perhaps - fatalism is the proper definition - as our neighbor pointed out.

This is all for now - - ¡Hasta Pronto!

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