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Talavera de la Reina - Toledo

Talavera de la Reina - Spain - Ceramic Flower Pots

A day trip from Madrid Talavera de la Reina and Toledo - both hark back from the Middle Ages.

Toledo was a meeting point for different religions and cultures - playing a prominent role in Spanish history ever since the peninsula was inhabited. She was the capital of Spain and home to the Romans - Visigoths - Moors - Jews and Christians.

Today - Toledo is a small provincial capital - however she has been declared a national monument as a tribute to both her beauty and her glittering past.

Only 45 miles from Madrid - a great starting point for a visit is the neo-mudéjar train station - if you decide to travel by train. There is much to tell - Toledo is a true gem - so we will do this - - very - - subtle and - - slow.

Talavera de la Reina - Spain - Ceramics and horse buggy

Talavera de la Reina - Spain

Talavera de la Reina - is the city of Ceramics. As you approach - the streets are decorated with tiles - flower pots and everything else imaginable.

Spanish Ceramic Artist

The fun part is trying to document the history of these ceramics - because - within the Spanish tradition - and their love of improvisation - each story is very believable - yet does not coincide - AT ALL - with the last one ...

... everyone here is an artist - just a simple conversation with a waiter is a masterpiece of wit and words.

Most of our research ends up in a - very - good - - laugh.

More about Talavera de la Reina Ceramics and there > tiles

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Luna y Bombé

Little Luna The Little Bombe Cat

Luna Has Problems with Her Attention Span

She - we are worried lately ...

We have noticed that - - Luna has a very - acute - short and - - wandering - attention span - lately.

For example - while drinking water - she hears a tiny little insignificant - noise - you know - - the kind that no one else would truly notice - yes like - -

- a teeny drop of a flower petal - - and looks for it*s source ...

After - not figuring out where this noise came from - - because she was distracted by another noise

- what were we saying - - oh yes - she follows both ...

Jan and samantha - and it*s a bird - no - - it*s a plane - - no - - it is - - - - time for the siesta (nap) - perhaps she is just suffering a - blend of overworked - and not enough sleep ¿?

Be right back !!

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Our Favorite Recipes - Restaurants - Chefs ... and Writers about these -

Three - - Very - Important - Subjects

George Semler

George Semler - if his site is still down - check it later.

Coming back to Barcelona - we forgot all about Our friends The Semlers. Imagine forgetting friends that date back to 1973 !! Sorry Semlers.

- a world renown writer- and journalist - - women everywhere flirt shamelessly - in any language available (they speak 3,000,918 between the six Semlers) - - - with George - who is - just perfect at 60 - (Lucy is used to this)

- - read his excerpts on tapa bars - >

*A giant soirée and movable feast to which everyone is invited - the tapeo - or tapas-bar spree - invents itself as it goes along > conversations with strangers - spontaneous introductions - the unexpected appearance of an old friend or ex-lover ... Anything can happen on a tapeo - and often does

A couple in the corner seem intent on sharing an olive - while a father and his look-alike son debate who knows what.

The tapeo reflects the Spanish approach to life. This itinerant tasting and tippling stems from an unabashed love of - play - and - pleasure.

And because home entertaining is uncommon in Spain - tapas bars serve as de facto living rooms > places to eat - relax - meet friends - watch a soccer game - have a quiet drink - chat with the owner.



In small villages - the local bar or café is even more important. Visits are built into the evening paseo - the ritual stroll with no particular destination - other than a favorite tavern - or two - or three.

In the Basque country and other regions of northern Spain - the tapeo tends to be a kind of barhopping - Basques - for instance - typically order only a few tapas at each stop - with shots of wine or shallow zuritos of beer.

As much as I love the frenetic Basque bars - Andalusia has won my heart - or at least my palate. *

Read more about George*s > Tapas Bars

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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.

Carnival in Tenerife

The Carnivals are one of the funniest features of Tenerife - and comparable to those of Cadiz or Rio de Janeiro. All the islanders from this Canary Island in - - a massive outburst of collective gaiety - gather together to play.


More Carnival Photos from - Around the Worlds

The best Salsa groups lend their sounds to the dancing near the port in Santa Cruz de Tenerife - while the inhabitants are NOW preparing their fancy dress to show within these festive days.

The election of the Queen - street band competitions - processions and the incredible cavalcade spin *European* and *Caribbean* into a cocktail of colors and show for twenty seven days.

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What to do When You are Down

Yes - when you run out of milk - and it is the - morning coffee - time ...

Jan Voich Skating School

Select to Enlarge

Jan Voich - © Photographs by Francisco Morera

NOW -- Shall - - We - Dance ?¿

Ice Dancing - fun - skate alone - or do - - a - - - joint venture - - a smooth - Tango - - fits FINE - - with someone (your level of course). If you prefer walking - jogging - or - - polo - this will also - get - your adrenaline rolling - - and these are - - of course - - acceptable terms - within the negotiations ...

... if not ...

dress your kitty up for Carnaval ?¿


Thanks for the photo - from San Francisco !!

Yes - Carnaval - is coming up again. Now you should be preparing your costume.

We have a friend who dressed in a Spanish Suit of Armour - and walked around the slick and modern Financial Center of Madrid - all - day - l - o - n - g

Suit of Armour

A German businessman mistook him for a fixture in a cafeteria - until Juan asked for a coffee. The poor German fellow spilled - his - - down the front of that - very - tailored - shirt !! - Great job Juan > we are all looking forward to this years surprise.

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We Love to Hear from Our Friends.

Jan Voich in Ice Skates

Jan Voich - in the - Middle of the Winter - - Our Highly Trained Artist -

Designer and Performer - - does have - her - moods -

(we think - all that spinning has something to do with this - although she did hit her head - -

lots - ripping out ALL - those - spread eagles).

© Photo by Rafael Loraque de la Hoz

More Skating Photos - here - from > Harlick - - - Wonderful Site - Just discovered this today - feels like we are all back in the Polar Palace - Pickwick - Arctic Blades (only the Zamboni Family would name their rink *Paramount*) - and the rest of the route - (at 5 am - burr) !!

Love the photos of - Mabel - Jo Jo and Ken - Tai and Randy - Jill Shipstad ( too funny - Jill ) - where are the Frank Carroll photos ?? - here are some we found of Ken and Patty Shelley in Sun Valley - fun times !!

Yes - we do all miss - Ricky - John (we will place your photos soon) - and Jim - of course - - this photo of Shirley Winters is a bit much - yet so Shirley !! - - I will send some more - from my collection - very soon (tons - look at little - Randy Gardener > little Dr. Do Little - used to drive us all - batty) ...

... and - - THANKS - for making all of my Boots - and this historical site - Straight 6.0*s - for you !!


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.

Dictionary Help < start there - for example - wonderful words - play.

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Nice Thoughts from Our Friends.

Jan - One of our cats is getting senile (they're brothers) - It's a perfect relationship - he can't remember if he has eaten yet - - and I can't remember if I fed him.

- from Our great Friend. . . . Dog ... who writes us - sleepless in XX - yes - - we all miss her.

Dear Folks, Will you be at the TNNA show in Long Beach? I have a customer who is interested in ordering some of your canvases. Thank you. Jody, for Needle in a Haystack

Deco Dance - Needlepoint Canvas

As you already know - we missed the TNNA Winter show this year and - do hope to see everyone next year - - - ( and also - spend time in Baja California - YES )

Jan Voich

In the meantime - please write us for any - information about our products - needlepoint kits or canvases >

or just to chat ... again - - Spain is 98% small commerce - and we promote small businesses - throughout the world. There are very few psychiatrists here !!

Napoleon II - stitched canvas

Jan - I need more #8 for the completion of Napoleon II. Not a full skein. My kit # is 0711. Hopefully this will be my last request.

- from one of Our Favorite Friends in Minneapolis - whose puppy must steal wool

Let US know if you need - - MORE - Nice stitching - Very !!

Singing Bird

Dear Jan,,,,,,,,,,, I again have so enjoyed your new newsletter .............. I LOVE ANDY ROoney ,,,,,,,,,, and the animals ............. made me SMILE .......... I am sorry you are not going to be in Long Beach ,,,,,,,,,, I am bringing a girl who used to manage Barbara Russell store in Chestnut Hill, Pa...........she has a "real job" now,,,,,,,but can take the time off.........I figured she can give me some advice !!!! Would love to see your catalog ............. I am not sure if some of them would sell in the Philadelphia area though ...... I love the country people ........... look like Quimper people .......... let me know your thoughts ........... Sorry it has taken a while to get back to you .......... I think I was getting overwhelmed in the store ........ with all to do ....... but I now have a book keeper ,,,,,,, some new great help, so hopefully I will not be tied down 24/7 .......... Keep up the newsletter ...... I LOVE IT >>>>>> Trish Reilly Trish's Place Spread Eagle Village Strafford, Pa. 19087

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12th and 13th Century - Arabesque tile

Some of the first examples of glazed ceramics to be used in architecture are from the end of the 12th century - and you may connect the techniques used - as well as their profuse application - with Persian architecture. The potters who emigrated to Al Andalus (Andalusia) may have influenced the development of arabesque tiles in the fourteenth and fifteenth Centuries (after the invasion of Gen Gis Khan in Iran).

Usage of tiled paving - walls and ceilings developed into an extended custom in the south of Spain - the writer - Ibn Said (c. 1240) - referred to the ceramic tiles made in Andalusia -- *it had a wide variety of colours and replaced the coloured marble used by the Orientals to embellish their homes.* Andalusia - - where tiles were used in the facing of houses called a-zala,iyi (tiles).

Tiles from the Alhambra Palace in Granada

Arabesque tiling shows how cultural elements developed and their designs became progressively more complex - meticulous geometrical shapes - requiring more virtuous elaboration - as you may see from the tiles that decorate some of the rooms of the Alhambra Palace in Granada (above).

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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.

Suit of Armours

Help me Out of Here !!

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.

Hot Dogs - Hot Pretzels - photo by Jan Voich

Hay amores que matan

There are loves that kill - - this saying is applied tenderly - when one has had a disagreement - with someone they are truly - - very fond of.

little puppy dog

Del dicho al hecho - hay mucho trecho.

From the saying to the act - there is much distance.

[Saying something and doing it are two different things.]

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

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