Sunbonnet Sue dances flamenco in sunny Spain!

With the clicking of her castanets, Sunbonnet Sue is dancing the flamenco while she visits the sun-washed Andalusian plains of Spain.   She’s outfitted in colorful clothing and has put on her bright green dancing shoes just for the occasion.   With a flower and mantilla in her hair, she’s ready to stomp her feet to the soulful sounds of flamenco.  This Sunbonnet Sue brings all the passion, romance, and color of flamenco to life…is she dancing to urge the  matador to use his cape and sword to vanquish the bull with the same fire and skill that she uses to vanquish the dance?  Or perhaps she’s dancing to celebrate his successful bullfight, drawing his amorous attention with her flashing eyes, coquettishly hidden behind her hand-painted fan, and swirling her colorful skirts to give him flashes of her well-toned legs?   Well, we’ll never know because this Sunbonnet Sue is certainly not talking, but it is fun to think about…

If you visit Madrid, you’ll find ample opportunities to see a flamenco tablao.  Flamenco is the baile (the dance), the cante (the song), and the toque (the acoustic guitar music) of Andalusia.   The women wear brightly colored, full-skirted dresses that swirl and flash around their feet as they stomp out the flamenco rhythms.   Behind them, a guitarist plays  to the accompaniment of rhythmic stomping feet, finger clicking and clapping, while a craggy faced cantador sings soulfully and colorfully.   Flamenco is sometimes called the “gypsy blues” or the “European blues” in comparison with American blues, and it has its roots in the musical influences of the Romany gypsies, Phoenicians, Greeks, Romans, Eygptians, and Moors.  When you listen to it, you can hear the voices of these ancestors calling to you.   If you’d like to hear some wonderful Spanish flamenco guitar music, I suggest that you check out Paco Peña — lovely lovely music.   And of course, always follow your flamenco evening with tasty churros dunked in sweet hot chocolate.  Yummm.

So I hope I’ve left you inspired to listen to flamenco music, to get up and dance, or to embroider or applique your own flamenco dancer.   Here’s a photo of pink hydrangeas from my front yard.  So pretty….

Sunny Sue rides the pampas in Argentina…

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If you’re like me, you love a good-looking cowboy.   Well, this Sunbonnet Sue fits the bill dressed as an Argentinean gaucho with a love for soccer (pattern from International Sunbonnet Sue book).    If you’ve been around Argentina at all, you won’t be surprised at this depiction of Sunbonnet Sue.   Gauchos were the nomads of the South American pampas or chacos — similar to North America’s great plains.   The gauchos moved with the cattle herds, just as cowboys in the American West did, and they carried with them the same reputation as honest, proud, strong, and silent characters, capable of killing a horse thief in a dry gulch while catching the eye of the prettiest girls with a tip of their hat and a wink at a hoedown.  What was the reality?  Probably lots less romantic than we want to hear about….and a lot dirtier and smellier…yikes!

Argentineans are passionate about soccer too.  Argentina’s national football team has one many world and regional titles, and soccer consumes the interest of much of the Argentinean population.  In fact, if you’re at a bar or cafe while an important game is playing,  you might as well pick a team and join in the fun!   Hey, I hope I’ve inspired you to kiss a cowboy or play a game of soccer.

I’m leaving you with this lovely fuschia geranium from my front yard to enjoy.   It’s a beauty!   Have yourself a great day!

Sunny Sue Applique & Quilting Starts A Blog!

Welcome to this first posting on my new blog!   I decided to create this blog in order to motivate myself to create an appliqued/embroidered quilt.  My quilt is going to be based on this book, International Sunbonnet Sue, by Debra Kimball, MD, from AQS Publishing.     I’ve been a member of the U.S. Foreign Service for more than 20 years, living in more than 9 countries and visiting more than 60 other countries during this same period.  So while Ms. Kimball’s book will be the basis of my quilt (her designs are very cute, by the way!), the quilt will be the story of  my nomadic life…well, in a Sunbonnet Sue kind of way….   In any case, it looks like I’ll have to draft many of my own Sunbonnets for the countries I’ve visited – I guess that will be the tricky part.  I look forward to hearing your comments and suggestions.

>Let me show you my first square, which is Sunbonnet Sue in England (see book for pattern).<

I think she turned out cute, although I used a fancy satin fabric for the spy glass and shoes, and it shredded a bit (I’ve trimmed it up a bit so it looks better).  The pattern pieces are fused and then embroidered.   I have a few of these Sunny Sue blocks already finished, so I’ll be sharing them over the coming days.  I hope you join me on this trip around the world.