Hurricanes and Sewing

This is the view from my San Juan classroom several years ago.  I’m sure it looks very different now.

UPDATE:  Luis and his family were safe in Orlando when Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico.  He was trying to get a flight home but I have not heard from him as to his location.  Now I see that there is a dam breach near Isabella, the site of his home and one of his stores.  They have evacuated  70,000 people from the area.  Lord have mercy on the people of Puerto Rico and the Caribbean!

Since I last posted some three weeks ago, so much has happened–lots of sewing and lots more blowing.

As you all know, hurricane Maria  has devastated Puerto Rico and other  Caribbean islands.  The loss of life and property is gargantuan.   The conditions are horrific.

My two teaching trips in San Juan caused me to fall in love with this tropical paradise and its delightful people.  Now I am heartsick with worry about my gracious host and hostess, their family, and the talented students who embraced me with a warm welcome, helpful classroom translations and sincere invitations to visit their homes.

The ladies were all accomplished needleworkers.  Just look at some of their beautifully stitched projects here.   They all loved sewing and they loved their Brother sewing/embroidery machines.  Now, I fear, they may have lost it all.

I was able to send a facebook message to Luis Medina, my host for both events.    It is my fervent prayer that my Puerto Rican sewing friends as well as Luis and his family are safe.   I desperately hope to hear from him that this is the case.  Still, 4-6 months with no electricity is unimaginable.

A week before Maria, hurricane Irma  hit Florida.  We prepared as best we could, boarding up the house, testing the generator and making sure we had ample fuel and food.



After Irma blew through, many Floridians were left with floods and major damage.  The hardship for our neighbors was significant, particularly one whose generator failed as it was turned on.  She is almost bedridden and totally debilitated with cerebral palsy, asthma and rheumatoid arthritis.  The heat, lack of running water and electricity was almost more than she could bear.   The 94 degree weather put her epileptic son at risk for more seizures.   Floridians suffered so much hardship. But neighbors helped neighbors.

A huge fallen oak tree blocked her driveway.  My dear ladder climbing husband removed most of that before his chainsaw broke and another neighbor finished up the job.

We are so grateful to have had no structural damage and were left with just yard debris–3 acres of yard debris like this.


8 month old Samson and Delilah were puzzled by the mess in the yard.


It doesn’t show here, but there seemed to be enough Spanish moss to cover most of Spain.

We were without power, internet, cell service or our house phone  for 7 full days. Generator power kept everything working normally except my beloved  the stove.  I could not cook–oh darn!

Instead of cooking, I spent time stitching.  Another kitty cat dress is nearly finished for 4 yo granddaughter Vivian Rose.   MaggieB’s smocked Ode to Joy smocked is a wonderful pattern. Another project, started before Irma barged into our lives was new embroidered pulpit vestments of loden green silk dupioni for our church.    With hurricane preparations and now clean up, I haven’t yet taken photos, but will post them soon.

Before Irma, this Disney/Pixar Cars 3 boy bedding project was finished for Brother.


The set includes a pillowcase, top sheet and fleece blanket.


The pillowcase features racing stripes with embroidered characters Lightning McQueen and Cruz Ramirez.  Different designs of the same characters embellish the sheet while yet another design is centered at the top of the gray fleece blanket.

The designs are so beautifully digitized.  Available from for Brother Disney machines,  they would make any boy happy to go to bed.  Well, maybe not, but boys would enjoy these designs on anything.

There are more sewing projects for upcoming posts.  But the hurricanes have been heavy on my mind and heart.   Please keep Puerto Rico, the Caribbean islands and  struggling Floridians in your prayers.



8 responses to “Hurricanes and Sewing

  1. It’s all so sad for sure. I have a friend living in St. Croix. Her house is liveable, but no power anywhere. We’re just hoping she has enough supplies. She made it through Hugo so she knew how bad it could be.
    I’m glad you could sew. I cannot focus when the weather is bad, or so much going on.
    Praying for your neighbor.

  2. The hurricanes and earthquakes have been unbelievable this year. Our prayers continue and hope everyone feels the love and support many have provided.
    I think the Pixar group is precious….any little boy would love.

  3. Shirley, thanks for your comment and especially for your prayers for my neighbor. I will pray for your friend in St.Croix, that she can manage without power for such an extended period. Actually, I did not sew during the storm and could not have focused on anything but Irma. I just smocked (slowly) through the night of the storm. My sewing was after the winds were calm while the power was out, but we had generator energy.

  4. This year’s weather disasters have been mind boggling! But again and again I see acts of extraordinary kindness, neighbor to neighbor and stranger to stranger. That’s the only good news I see in all this.

  5. I’m so glad that you didn’t suffer any damage to your home Janice and I’m so sorry to hear about your neighbor but so thankful that your husband and others could help clear paths. I hope she is better soon. I’m hoping and praying we don’t have any more disasters; my heart goes out to the people of Puerto Rico and the Carribean Islands. I can’t imagine what they are going through facing months before electricity is restored and just some conviences for them.

  6. Betty, we are so grateful to have been spared the worst of Irma’s wrath. I am so grateful for a husband who is so capable as he takes care of us and who is so ready and willing to help our neighbors and others. I wish we could do more than pray to help those in the Caribbean Islands who fare dealing with the terrible conditions from Maria.

  7. Shirley Boyken

    After losing another computer to another mysterious “crash” I’m finally back online with a quick fix with more work looming ahead……but I’m so happy to hear you escaped a great loss of possessions and that you and your family is safe. You mentioned some religious embroidery designs that you had experience with, could you share that site please? I’m always looking for good ones. Thank you so much…..

  8. Welcome back to cyberspace, Shirley! Now you can check out the spectacular offerings at Windstar Embroidery Designs. I can’t say enough good things about this site and the owner Deb Schneider. The designs are flawlessly digitized and Deb offers the best customer service ever. Now, check it out and share your wonderful new projects with us!

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