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Needlepoint Newsletter - Samantha Taylor Needlepoint News


*I am now in Palma amidst palm trees - cedars - aloes - orange trees lemon trees - fig trees and pomegranates. The sky is turquoise - the sea is blue and the mountains are emerald ... In a word - life is delicious here.* - Frédéric Chopin



(As you know the *ll* is pronounced *y*)

Palma is the Capital of Mallorca - the largest of the Balearic Islands - which begin 60 miles off the coast of Alicante - extending northwest into the Mediterranean.

These islands - Los Baleares - were named ballo - (sling) by the Greeks.

So famous were the ancient natives for hurling deadly lead bullets with slings that the Romans later called the larger two islands Balear Maior and Balear Minor - today evolving into Mallorca and Menorca.

Necrópolis talayótica de Son Real

Necrópolis talayótica de Son Real.

Skeletal remains indicate inhabitants as early as 4,000 BC and architectural ruins are visible from the third millennium BC Occupied from 1,000 BC until the Roman conquest - The Talyotic Age - left many stone structures named Talyots - thought to be built by a people from the Eastern Mediterranean.

Strategic location and fertile soil made the Balearics coveted objects of conquest. The Carthaginians - (mid 7th century) - recruited Balearic mercenaries whose slings were the terror of the Romans. It was not until 20 years after the destruction of Cartage (146 BC) that Rome was able to subjugate the islands.


As the Roman Empire fell apart - the Vandals swept into the islands in 426 AD - remaining until driven out by the Byzantine - three hundred years later. The following Muslim domination - making a tributary to the Emirates of Córdoba in 848 - and leaving a heritage of place-names and whitewashed architecture throughout.


After the Christian reconquest in 1229 - the final evolution of the islands´ culture - fell under the influence of Catalonia - and to this day each island speaks a different dialect of Catalan.


An important trade route stop between Italy and Northern Europe - Mallorca produced great artists and craftsmen (13th century) - whose work may be admired in Palma´s Cathedral and the Castle of Bellver.

Artist colony

Mid 19th century - foreign tourists discovered the delights of these islands and a five month stay by Aurore Dupin - Baroness Dudevant (better known by her pen name of George Sands) and the pianist Frédéric Chopin attracted a following of others.

A Winter in Majorca by George Sands was the first of the now extensive travel literature - followed by Charles Wood - Gaston Vouillier and the eccentric Archduke Louis Salvador of Hapsburg Bourbon.

Miramar Estate


This errant descendant of Europe´s oldest family discovered Mallorca in 1867 - returning five years later with his yacht to acquire the Miramar Estate - settling with Catalina Homar (the Mallorcan peasant girl) he wrote over 50 books including The Baleares Described in Word and Picture.

A steady stream of writers and artists continued to visit Mallorca - Robert Graves stayed to write I Claudius and The White Goddess.

Painting of Palma

Painting of Palma

The Spanish tourist boom of the 1980´s turned Mallorca into the most advanced vacation center of the Mediterranean - housing and entertaining both the monied jet set - and the Spanish Royal Family and friends - who spend their holidays in the Marivent Palace near Palma.

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Luna y Bombé

Little Luna The Little Bombe Cat

A Dog named Pepa - Time for a Good Dog Story

We use to go out for an afternoon walk with our neighbor and her dog Pepa. Our neighbor - a very proper and well-bred lady (not a snob at all) - wanted Pepa to also be very proper.

Pepa is a very sweet pup - however too young to be wise - also a bit short on intelligence. Wrapping her elongated leash around just about every tree - our neighbor (very upset with this anarchy) - would intensely shout - *Pepa ... Pepa ... Pepaaaaaaa*

Well - half of the surrounding population in our part of town rapidly turned - to respond to these incessant - very loud - reprimands.

Yes - you guessed right - Pepa is a very common name here in Spain - so those who turned to look - were responding to her calls.

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Our Favorite Recipes - Restaurants and Chefs

Roger Vergé

*A recipe is not meant to be followed exactly - it is a canvas on which you may embroider - improvise and invent - add the zest of this - a drop or two of that - a tiny pinch of the other.

Let yourself be lead by your palate and your tongue - your eyes and your heart - in other words - be guided by your love of food - and then you will be able to cook*

Roger Vergé - Cuisine of the Sun - (Cuisine du Soleil) - Our favorite Book

Yes - we are taking you for a trip over to the French Provence. Our introduction to Roger Vergé in Mougin - while staying a week in his lovely Moulin de Mougin in 1981 - is a memory never forgotten - especially as we keep missing much needed holidays to attend to our web site - and all of your requests.

Moulin de Mougin

Recipes from the best chiefs of Provence and the Riviera

Cooking in the south of France is aromatic and naturally savory with its native products drenched in sunlight ... Discover southern French cooking with these recipes kindly revealed to you by the greatest chefs of the region.

Please enjoy some of these recipes we found - from the Grandest Chefs of Provence - by selecting the link

Moulin de Mougin

The 16th Century Olive Mill (Moulin)

Royal Sea Bream

Royal Sea Bream

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No nation on earth is quite as good at enjoying itself as Spain. There are so many fiestas that even if you could attend more than one a day you would not be able to see them all in a single lifetime.

Chulapos - twins

Mini Chulapos - twins

SAN ISIDRO, MADRID - On May 15th there is the Fiesta de San Isidro to the honour of Madrid's patron - one of the most spectacular events in all the year with numerous concerts and other kinds of public performances.

San Isidro is the patron saint of the peasants as well as the patron saint of the capital city of Spain > Madrid. On the day of the saint - the people of Madrid actively participate in a pilgrimage to San Isidro's meadow to celebrate his day and to drink the holly water of his fountain in his hermitage's patio.

Many people are dressed as chulapo or chulapa (Madrid's national dress) - and - despite its religious origin - it is a real country fiesta: people bring with them food for a picnic - and buy barquillos (rolled wafer) and rosquillas.

The celebration of Madrid's patron saint takes several days and many cultural events are offered to the people: contests of chotis - Madrid's traditional dance - concerts of folk music - or craftsmanship fairs.


San Isidro is also the most important feria (fair) of Bull Fights (corridas) in the World - the finest Matadores challenge the very best bulls (toros) - during one month of daily corridas - this year lasting from May 10 - June 7. During this time - it is impossible to find anyone in the afternoons - everyone in Madrid is at the Las Ventas Bull Ring. We listen to the music of the Paso Doble everyday as the team of performers enter the ring - that is as close as we usually go to this activity - although daily coverage is available on the Television - Internet - and other media.

El Julí - in the Huelva Bull Ring

El Julí - in the Huelva Bull Ring

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What to do When You are Down

Ignore the reason - or perhaps persons that have created this sense of "mal estar" (bad feelings) - think of something that you have always enjoyed doing - and - - DO IT.

For example - take out that box of photographs that you plan to put in order - one day.

Jan Voich

Look at your life - through these windows - remember the wonderful times - the people and the adventures. We just had a to digest a pequeño disgusto (little upset) and this therapy did wonders ... also remember:

*There is a time in every man*s education when he arrives at the conviction that envy is ignorance - that imitation is suicide - that he must take himself for better or worse as his portion - that though the wide universe is full of good - no kernel of nourishing corn can come to him but through his toll bestowed on that plot of ground which is given to him to till.* - Ralph Waldo Emerson

Life is two days long - at least when it is ending - you will need to know you lived it to the very fullest - do not waste another moment on feeling down!

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We Love to Hear from Our Friends.


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 select below and write - it is that simple. Make some time.

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Nice Thoughts from Our Friends.

*Hi Jan: Fabuloso Absolutely stunning. I just got San Sebastian and love it. This will be great fun to work on. I work with a variety of stitches and fibers so this piece will be perfect.

A few observations on this process of purchasing from you: I have lived and worked alot in Europe, Latin America and Asia. And purchased and ordered from all over. This experience by far has been the very best. You should be rewarded for the excellence in the quality of product, absolute ease of purchase, reliability, superb customer service, and living up to your word every step of the way.

The CD is a nice touch also. I will spread the word here and hope that you see more business from NY. It will take me a few months to enjoy and work through "San Sebastian" and then I'll send you photos. Thank you for creating such a beautiful piece. Best Regards,*

- From a very special friend in - NYC

This Very Seductive Note Just Arrived - from Our Neighbor

Jan - in the meantime - have you seen this?

If you tease her with the mouse pointer on her chest or stomach she will purr - and I got her to meow also - by rubbing her forehead with the pointer. If you make a slow circle around her body - not only will her head/eyes follow your pointer - but toward the top - her paw will go up - and when in front of her paws at the bottom - her foot comes out like she wants to play with your mouse pointer. (Don't hold the mouse down, just move it). - unknown author

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A look into the history of ceramics shows the decisive influence of Spain in the birth and evolution of ceramic tiles - adapting the contributions of the Arab culture from the 11th Century.

Cordoba - Mosque

In the Middle Ages - the Iberian Peninsula became the meeting place where different factors such as the rich Tardoroman and Visigothic ceramic tradition, the technological equipment and decorative repertoire of Egyptian-Mesopotamian tradition - together with the aesthetic Nordic and Mediterranean contributions to the new values of the Christian world would meet. The result was a kaleidoscopic - artistic panorama that - in spite of the disparity of the elements of origin - attained a surprising degree of aesthetic coherence equal to that attained in other areas of the culture - society or economy of Mudejar Spain.

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Favorite Sayings


Like nearly all languages - Castellano (pronounced Castiyano) Spanish arrived at its current state over hundreds of years. It had its origins in Indo-European and then in Latin before it became a distinct language of its own. Here you will learn more about the history of a language that is spoken by more than 300 million people.

The Spanish language is rich with refranes > sayings or proverbs that often become a shorthand way of conveying a thought or expressing a judgment - a unique form - yet a loving vehicle of communication.

Here you will find a collection of a sayings - one for each day of the month.

Of the literally hundreds of sayings that are a part of the language - this section includes some of the most common as well as a few others that were chosen simply because they are so charming.

Díme con quién andas y te diré quién eres.

Tell me with whom you walk and I will tell you who you are.

[A man is known by the company he keeps.]

Another ...

No hay mal que por bien no venga.

There is not bad from which good does not come.


This is all for now. ¡Hasta Pronto!... and Thank You for - again - for taking the time to read this.

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