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Life has definitely taken me to places I never thought I would go to....but nothing more exciting than where I am right now! Welcome to my world...


Sunday, December 30, 2007

Life's blessings, family, friends, and fun!

Our dear little grandaughter, was born this week up in Arkansas....Mom and baby are doing well!Think Dad is hanging in as well. Short quick delivery. For which I am most thankful. New life makes me especially wonder at God's good works!
Wow!!! Time with friends is always good. Seen most of this before, but there is nothing quite like seeing animals in their natural environment! We have spent two days driving through the Kruger Park, and even though we DIDN'T go at PRIME viewing times! Saw giraffe, warthog, zebra,water buffalo, lots of different buck...my personal favorite is Kudu...with the beautiful stripes on their back...even saw the black Rhino...but just as we were leaving the park....saw lots of activinty on the crocodile bridge....and there sunning themselves....most likely before the "KILL" sat several lions! I don't even know if I got a great shot...since the bridge was packed with people.....INSIDE their cars of course..... and I was taking the photos through the bars of the bridge.And my old camera has a pretty crummy zoom...so still from far away. Have not retrieved them from camera yet...but will and will post then. But we have had a fabulous time with our friends from the UK, they do the same thing my hubby does here...so we are all scheduled to leave in May of 2008, but I get to go early for the delivery of the next grandbaby. Whew time is going quickly now. Have to sort packing/shipping of stuff....never shipped internationally ....and very nervous about the stuff making it.We don't have a complete container...so checking into all of our options. If you have suggestions...never had to clear anything like this with customs before. Love to have anything to help me through this. Colleen

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Merry Christmas ....to Everyone!



Ok, leaving for our last Christmas vacation in Africa early in the morning. I'm not sure how much time or access to internet I will have. But if I see anything really cool...will try to post. We are going to the Kruger Park...hope to see the crocodiles at the crocodile bridge, maybe a lion? Must admit we saw so many Elephants and zebras last time....we got jaded" ah....its just another elephant walking next to our car! "Or standing next to the road.Then when we visited uhluhlui ( Shishlouie) we got the same way about Rhinos...they were everywhere ...but not an elephant in sight!You just never know what you are going to see?Then after the Game reserve...we are going to the Indian Ocean, to Port Elizabeth....or lately renamed Nelson Mandela Metro, to stay at the ocean. Can't wait....just hope no rain.Its been crazy weather here.Today was a really nice day...about 93, but a cold, wet front is coming from Capetown...so it will probably be crummy weather tomorrow. I hope you all have a blessed wonderful Christmas....and if you are interested...and leave a comment between now and Jan. 11,2008 when we return home.... I realize I need to do something for making the 50 th post...(yesterdays) not sure...what yet,but at least some African fabric... I will draw some lucky persons name....then bring back to the US...the beginning of February, and send from home....just to be certain it makes it ok! Plus it would have to be quicker than sending from here. Last time I sent off an important document, our IRS forms, 5 WEEKS after sending them, the postman showed up at my door, asking for more money as he hadn't charged me enough....but he was asking for about 50.00 US more...for speedy ( 2 day) delivery!!! Now does this strike anyone else as crazy? I had sent it off air mail....I thought... 35 DAYS EARLIER, and it was returned back to me for more postage...because someone at the post office had put the wrong info on it...as In SPEEDY COURIER! And they had the nerve to ask me for more money to send it on SPEEDY!!!! I was livid....grabbed the envelope right out of the guys hand.Don't know who was more shocked?Him or Me....or the neighbor's hearing me screach like a banshee at the guy. I did keep a copy of the request for more money.... for my scrapbook. :o) AHHHHHHH ......good memories!!!! At any rate....it will most likely be quicker and way cheaper....to send from the US. The last time I sent a small box (4 1/2 pounds) to the grandkids, it cost me about 50.00 US!!!! Shame! So leave a comment and get your name in a "lucky draw"! Had to post photo of giraffe at our little game reserve at the edge of town... yep....giraffe and zebra just hanging out. And some store employee Santas at the Crazy Store. Merry Christmas. Colleen

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Crazy South African sign....


Ok, wasn't going to post today...been very busy preparing to leave for the Christmas holidays on Sunday. Also sewed on a quilt half done when I went to the States. But felt like I had to post this photo of a sign I saw at the Joberg airport in the ladies room...as I was exiting...it caught my eye....the missing letters made it have a little more impact .......HANGING IN A REST ROOM!!!!! I think I needed a little laugh as well! Maybe it was just me....but it hit me as a silly sign. Hope you all have a lovely day and maybe a little laugh!

Monday, December 17, 2007

South American squares and ....Christmas Lights!!!!



















I have had these closeups of some handwork from South America for several months. Got them the day before I left...and Tonya at Lazy Gal Quilter asked for the closeups...so here goes.
























My camera isn't great...but these at least show some of the detail. I thought they were so pretty. Would love to have some for my very own...but these were my friends from a dear son who lived in Brazil I think.







They are so bright and lively.






I am not sure how long Izette has had them, but she has begun to feel that they need to be sewn together into some sort of a wallhanging. I think they are lovely.


The detail is cool...but the amount of hand applique is amazing. I think some of these have a touch of some of the Mexican handwork...is it Molo ??? can't remember at the moment. But they are stunning.



I would like to think I might attempt something someday...but alas reality is that there is so much work in this, don't think I would ever be up to it.

I hope you enjoy them. Wish I could incorporate some of the fish into my grandbaby's quilt...but know its beyond me if I want to finish by end of February! Enjoy your days. It was a balmy 83 here today. Lots of rain last night...which actually shorted out my Christmas lights. Must have gotten into the leads (extension cords) so they blew the breaker about 9 last night. But we had a whole bunch of visitors to the garden tonight. I always give them all an American candy cane...which are not available here. I brought back 200 little ones in my carry on ....was it only last week. It seems ages ago.....and I'm walking on sunshine!!!! Wo---OH!!!! Loving the sunshine....and South African summers. You gotta love it! Colleen

Saturday, December 15, 2007

The latest Baby quilt.....delivered even if baby isn't here yet????










Ok....just wanted to share a photo of the finished quilt I made for our soon to born grandaughter. It needed to coordinate with the lady bug layette that she had selected for the baby's room. I broke a darning foot quilting it....but was able to get a replacement in Arkansas while I was there.
Thankfully...though the green didn't match perfectly....it still went pretty well with the rest of the crib things. I managed to make this and work on a sweet little blanket for the other grandbaby to be born in late Feb. I have never knitted following a pattern before....so this was a challenge. But it turned out ok. Still have to bind it off....left it attached to the needles...want to finish last skein of yarn. DD seemed happy with it....and now it will be off to the races for his baby quilt to be done in time. DD wants an UNDER the SEA theme. Been looking at sea creature books...for ideas. Wish I could watch Nemo...but don't have it on dvd here. Just waned to share the pics...to show I did do something besides look for luggage. Baby Chloe is due in another week or so. So its all good. We got our lights up...and had a wonderful turnout for a Rotary fundraiser. The guests were served sausage, salad...and ice cream, and given a map to travel to several homes here who had lights up. Now in South Africa, not many people put up lights, so it is a treat even if the lights aren't great. I will try to take a photo tomorrow. Last year they didn't turn out very well. Not sure how to get enough light...without too much light. My camera is old....and night didn't work well....all blurry lights....with flash dark and couldn't see anything. So will have to experiment with the other options. Any suggestions? Have a great day. I am going to. Colleen
If Sam Allgood sees this....email Bob and I at colleeneskridge@hotmail.com as I can't find a way to email you...although you did post a comment on the blog.??? I am just not very savy when it comes to this. Bob was surprised that we had heard from you too.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

My Traditional Xhosa Costume.....




Ok, figured out how to use the card reader I got for the old camera....must have stuffed those cords for the old digital camera in something.....that is not here! So resorted to a card reader which my dear sisters' husband gave me.....a nifty thing for someone who has more than one camera and no cords! This is the traditional Xhosa costume I had made here. the black is all sewed on in ind. strips, then there is some beading on it as well. Unfortunately I didn't have the cool beaded hat...(it was inside missing luggage...and the matching shawl...and handbag. All pretty cool...so I tied on the funky hat...the way some of the "locals" do theirs. It worked. I think it is pretty cool...and when I come home for good...hoping to display it on a mannequin in my South African room. I am also hoping to post a photo of my current quilt project being done at the hand quilters soon. I am still recuperating from my travel...then putting up the Christmas lights in my garden...for a Rotary fundraiser in our garden tonight. So been too busy.....had actually forgotten I dropped my sewing machine off for servicing. Only noticed today when I walked into the office briefly! That is when you know you are too busy....so no sewing in several days. But have started planning....for Daughter's under the sea baby quilt...as per her request. Can't wait to start it.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Something good....from a crazy situation!

Ok, been gone for ever so long....maybe no one will even read this. I returned to South Africa yesterday...my thoughtful husband arranged for us to remain at the coast for a nice quiet rest in our favorite hotel...and for me to get a much needed haircut. Haven't had one since the "rib" incident! But let me first bring you up to date about my journey. Had a fabulous time in the States...even minus any clothes....except the ones I bought. Yep, I made it through the entire trip...all 40 days without my missing bag of clothes!But I made the best of it...bought mix and match...basics that could layer!Saw all the family, well....all 8 sisters and 5 of the brothers, as I missed my brother who came to see me, while I was gone, by the time I got back he had already driven back to his home about an hour away. I was able to spend some good time with my Mother...who recently underwent colon surgery. Spent time with my daughter in law, which gave me a chance to get to know her better, and was able to spend some time with my daughter...not as much as I would have liked. And Thanksgiving was great at my mom's....most everyone of the brothers and sisters were there and most had their families as well(grown kids) It did take about 5 rooms to house all of us, but the conversations were so varied you could pass through any one of those rooms and pick up about 10 different ones in each room. It was crazy. I so enjoyed that. Now, back to the whole missing suitcase issue. I know YOU KNOW I flew 3 airlines from 4 airports and landed on 3 continents, South African Airways to Johannesburg, Virgin from Jo'burg to London, then United from London to Chicago, then United to Nashville, TN. Well, when I arrived into Chicago....only one suitcase...at least the one WITH my quilts and blankets made it through, but there was no second case with ALL of my clothes in it! I discovered it in Chicago...then when I got to Nashville filled in all the lost baggage reports I had to and began that day...calling every day to check up on the "finding the bag process".Calling the special help number where I had difficulty understanding the person on the other end and she had a hard time understanding me???? Maybe its my accent? At any rate...all I basically got from the telephone line...was we are checking....and thank you for your patience, but that started wearing thin...after the third wearing of the same t shirt in one week. Then I was informed they were willing to reimburse me for some of my expenses....so I WENT SHOPPING. I didn't go crazy, but bought basic necessary items...like bras and panties!(Actually bought those the third day, sick of rinsing out!) But did get the things I needed to work with my sister, who was facilitating an EPA convention in St. Louis, ( I wanted to make some extra Christmas money) So got two work suits( in missing bag...so replacements) and several sweaters as the cold snap hit the area, a pair of work shoes...and few bits. Not too bad.....and after several more flights in and out of Chicago and Nashville....where I continued to check on the process of my Bag search...finally got from a woman (on the telephone...) that the bag had been identified by a United agent in London.So now I am sure its Uniteds FAULT, so I fill out the paper work for reimbursement...and lost luggage. I send it off....then prepare to fly back to the US.I check once more in Nashville at the baggage dept. and she suggests I check in the Chicago baggage area ....just to be sure its not there. So there I am in Chicago.....running around looking for the United baggage dept. Found it finally, waited in the queue( I thought things took a long time in SA!) only one guy working.....only one guy in front of me...but it took over a half hour for him to get helped! Then when I asked the guy to help me, I was passed off to the manager...who took more time, then said the bag wasnt' there. So it was off to London, where I went again to the baggage services...to check the possibility of the bag being there. Virgin was helpful...but said I needed to go talk to United baggage. So off to United...where For the first time, felt like somone really listened. Of course I had decided that it was their problem as THEY LOST THE BAG!. But they not only checked on all the bags they had...but described the contents of every bag that matched the color make of mine! Then before the guy finished, he said you know I don't actually have the bar code for that bag showing up as having arrived into London! That got the juices flowing...what do you mean it didnt' arrive? Then where else could it be???????? ONLY in SOUTH AFRICA?????!!!!!!! I became a woman on a mission! As soon as I could get to the domestic terminal in Jo'burg, I asked the SA agent about my missing bag...he directed me to the baggage service area in the basement. There they said they only keep bags there for 7 days...so sent me to the 4th floor office. I walked in, explained the situation...they not only let me personally go into the baggage area....(lost and found...of course) but showed me the 6 long shelves of October bags. YIkes!!!! Lots of missing bags....I walked carefully through....but didn't find my bag...so the guy said again...what day was that missing? I replied it would have been Oct 28th ...so he showed me the November shelves....and then he added that there was also a Domestic missing area??????HMMMMMMMMMM I had flown domestic to Joburg...so I started down the shelves.....nothing on the top shelf...nothing on second ....and nothing that looked like mine on the bottom. SHAME.....no luck...but as I walked back through the shelves....I decided to look very closely.Good thing...as .....there on the bottom shelf....MY BAG!!!!! I think I shouted for joy....... the guy, was most kind....and asked if I needed anything else. I asked him how that bag was going to be sent to the US??? It was full of my winter clothes which I will need in Feb. when I return to the US....and since my bags will be full of summer clothes/etc. NO ROOM and I certainly don't want to pay for another bag to be shipped home. EXCESS baggage is so expensive going through all those airports! He said they would of course let me take it in Feb.....but I know how this works...I get to the airport...and nobody will actually let the extra bag go through...so I asked if they couldn't send it on to United( who had already admitted their guilt..... :o) POOR GUYS! and that they would then deliver it to my daughter's home. So I quickly went down'stairs to have the bag wrapped in cellophane....didn't want to tempt fate....( or any baggage handlers who might be "Christmas shopping" in the checked bag dept. ) and then whatever was still in the bag...would be delivered to DD's home. I hate to admit it...because of the time crunch to catch my flight...I never even opened the bag.....just went on sheer joy....to have a reasonably heavy bag....similar to the one I had checked. It feels so good to know that the bag is finally on a plane for Home.! Now Just hope it doesn't get LOST!!! Later, Colleen

Friday, November 2, 2007

No news.......MAY NOT be good news!!!!!

NO luggage yet.....5 days and counting.....been shopping three times to repurchase items as needed. I have been busy visiting with my family....be back in a few days!!! Hugs to all of you. Lots of photos to share.Colleen

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

3 Airlines....4 Airports ....and 3 continents....WHAT A MESS!!!! How would Erma Bombeck handle this????

The good news is that I ARRIVED SAFELY. Very tired....there were several delays. It all started out smoothly....was able to check my bags all the way through to Chicago...from our little local airport (2 1/2 hrs) away...on South African air...so no need to drag all bags from domestic terminal to international terminal in Joberg! Not a fun place to be just now...as they are doing SOOOOO much construction for the 2010 World Cup at the moment. At any rate...nice flight to Joberg...except for the lunch....unflavored cous-cous, shredded carrot with raisins and a piece of sandwich beef.No choices...that was what we ate. So I ate the shredded carrot salad....and bread with butter then as soon as I hit Joberg....RAN to the FOOD court and grabbed some wonderful Indian chichen curry! YUM! Then it was off for a walk to the international terminal next door....where my Virgin Atlantic ticket counter would open at 5. It was 3:45 when I arrived....nothing much to do....no shops....so stood there ....first in line. Figured that would be good.....maybe get great seats! Unfortunately...from there it was pretty much downhill! They didn't open the ticket counters until 5:50..... and never having flown Virgin before....they couldn't enter my "Virgin club card" for the reward miles....as I WROTE THE NUMBER DOWN incorrectly.....but I thought somewhere else in my paper work it had to be correct...I'd look for it...then get it done online. She was able to give me an aisle seat...but no Bulkheads were available....shame. I collected my boarding pass...and went through..... made it through passport control....SA actually stamps you...much like Ireland....when you come into the country and WHEN you LEAVE! Got to my gate....a heck of a walk....and got to looking at my boarding pass....then realized that I only had 1 to England!!! Not all the way through. So I went to the gate counter.....to ask questions of people there....they were delta...still....so not their problem! When a VIrgin employee came....told me he was only gate person...I might have to go back to the ticketing side....beyond security..and passport control to get info.??????HMMMMMMMMM now how does this work????? They never let incoming passengers into departure areas????? So I headed toward...passport control....and as I got there...it was backed up...like you wouldn't believe????HMMMMM ....I have to be inventive....well.....when in Africa..... do like they do....break the rules!!!! So as a BUNCH of dark suited CREW MEMBERS walked past me....going through Passport Control.....against traffic!!!!! I decide that I will follow...in my brown pants and beige linen jacket....I didnt' think I stood out that much???? As we walked past security who were searching people...pulled from passport line...the last PILOT in front of me glanced my direction...but said nothing!!!! SO I SAfely made it through!Now on to the quest... to make it through the security checkpoiint just beyond that...I must have looked like I knew what I was doing, because I breezed through that part....through all the open and closed doors... marked for CREW ONLY! Until I ended up back at the ticket counter....well, the little girl apologised that ALL my boarding cards for the next airline were not there...said they should have come through automatically. But then she actually looked at my ticket...and saw that I was changing to UNITED ....she called over the counter manager and asked what I needed to do. WELL, SHE said that I would have to go to the TRansfer desk in Heathrow ....to get the next segments of my boarding cards.THEN SHE asked the right question!!!!! "HOW DID YOU GET BACK HERE TO THE TICKET COUNTER?????" I knew by the expression on her face....I had done something terribly wrong???!!!! So i fessed up.... now she was horrified....but very helpful. She informed me that she was afraid I might not get back through.....without a major problem, as in totally missing my plane!!!!. SHe then offered to walk me back through to see if she could smooth the way. She spoke to people at security scanning....I am assisting this customer through as she had a problem with her boarding card....they smiled and waved us through. Then it was on to the "PULL THEM OUT OF LINE" security room, she once again explained that there had been a boarding card problem.....and that I had walked through security unstopped....they looked puzzled, smiled and told us to carry on. Now for me the longest part of the journey occured now....with the 20 feet or so to go....past all the passport control officers...with my back to the "pullem out of line security people" behind me.... I kept picturing them letting me get almost to the end of the glass tunnel....and hearing "Madame, please come back!!!!!" but as we got closer to the final doorway I began to relax....then I heard it...."Madame" I kept walking....."Madame" at this point me and my partner in crime turned..... and realized that they were ....pulling another person from the line for further questioning about their papers!!!! WHEW, this adventure probably cost me about 10 yrs off my life...as the adrenalyn was definitely pumping!!! So I hugged my helper...thanked her again and again...then ran back to the gate...did I mention I had left my hand luggage with a very kind woman who was emmigrating to the UK. We met on the East London plane....and that helped trememdously! THen it was onto the plane....and off to London.... a fairly uneventful flight....except for leaving South Africa over an hour late...someone had to be taken from flight...sick....or MAYBE THEY BROKE THE SECURITY RULES???? :O) And their luggage had to be taken off as well. The pilot made up most of the time but when I arrived into London...still had to clear security, get my new boarding cards...and get to the gate. The new ticket coutner person found an anomoly on my SA air luggage tags...they hadn't checked them to Nashville...but only sent them as far as Chicago! Since we were short on time...he phoned baggage...and asked they be further ticketed to Nashville by hand.....and it was off to the races....could I possibly make a rest room stop first. I have been traveling for about 22 hrs at this point! I did a quick pit stop...ran to the gate posted ....it was the wrong gate....had to go back to the inside terminal...to find the correct posting.....then back to the correct gate....ANOTHER 10 yrs. gone from my life I am sure! The plane is late in leaving....an accident on the road to Heathrow.. has delayed our flght out! Not all crew are here! Yikes...... so I sit and sew....manage to get another rose on Baltimore block done! Finally board....and we sit some more..... pull out of gate....then back to the gate..... something not working proplerly....NOT WHAT YOU want to hear when flying over the ATLANTIC ocean! They get sorted....but now we are leaving an hour 15 min. late. I have to go through passport control in Chicago...get my luggage.... and clear customs...with about 2 hrs and change. But the flight was great...service...and smooth...had two seats to spread out on. WHAT A PLEASURE at this point. I did get a little sleep...and when we arrived into Chicago....ran to passport control. I made it through there just fine...as MY GUILTY FACE hadn't been broadcast for breeching SECURITY checks at Joberg airport YET!!!! I am off to collect my luggage...and I see the WRAPPED duffle containing my quilts....yeah...it was one of the first off the plane..... but I wait and wait...and WAIT...until there are no more.... the man at the baggage informs me that there are no more coming?! What does this mean. His supervisor collects my baggage ticket claim stub...then they enter it onto a scan machine....It never was checked into UNITED system. So my 19.6 KG bag containing....ALL MY CLOTHES, gifts for various people..and worse yet.....ALL THE BABY GIFTS KNITTED AND SEWN FOR MY 2 soon to be born grandchildren are gone!!! There were also several hand knitted scarves for myself and the girls....and beautiful hand knit socks for me and my daughter and the baby!!!! So cute. A Very sad day let me tell you...I started to cry....cried all the way through customs....and while rechecking my bags....AND cried back through security. I hoped it was a mistake...but it appears...that the bag went missing before it was entered into United's computers...so before London...as in Joberg or at Heathrow ...while in transit! I am sick about it all....and I arrived with what I had on, a pair of jeans...and a shirt...with one extra pair of underwear. Not even an extra bra!!! So today...as day number two ends....with no word on my bag...I broke down and went to walmart...bought a couple of shirts, a pair of black tracksuit like pants and unerwear and bra! Bare minimum...but necessary, Did I mention that I am flying out to my mothers in Pennsylvania on Thursday....day after tomorrow??? With no clothes????? Hope they find the luggage soon...as all my sweaters and warm clothes are in that bag. It was actually frosty here this morning...so getting colder...but hey today is HAlloween. Now I didn't mention...but I have half of my traditional costume....the hat and purse are in the missing bag.But will be passing out candy in whatever I have....I will post photos later.It is so cool looking...very pleased with how it turned out. I can't access any photos to share at moment....so this will have to do.Have a lovely day....I am planning on scrapbooking as the first place I headed for when I arrived was to replace some of my scrap items. Today I am off to fabric store....YIKES...I may not be able to afford any clothes after that!!!!! Pray that they find a large black American tourister bag full of my goodies, so I can add back a few years of what I lost in the past couple of days!!!

Friday, October 26, 2007

My bags are packed, I'm ready to go...Leaving on a jet plane.....



Hard to believe that the time has gone so quickly but it has!So my bags are packed...maybe a little too much so...nervous about being overweight....the BAGS that is! So have started doing the "traditional" unpacking... Do I really need that? Can I live with only 2 pair of underwear till I can buy new???? How many pairs of socks do I have to take? Does my mother really deserve this souvenir???? All legitimate questions.And the answers could determine being under/or overweight.....The bags of course. I actually have packed up all pieced quilt tops and the finished queensized one that is hand quilted and done.....don't want any more to go "missing" and it is almost Christmas "shopping" season here...what we half heartedly refer to, when things go "missing" during the Holiday season....could be the wash from the line....or the hose pipe...or MY water sprinkler...or MY chairs to my patio set. They all disappeared during the Festive season...Hence "Christmas shopping!" Speaking of Christmas season....its so different here.... I can tell you from my own experience, that as I walked through the Mall in East London...with a friend during my first November in the country....I asked her, " Jean....when do the Christmas sales start here?" She very politley said, "Why my dear, they start AFTER Christmas of course!!!" I was HORRIFIED!!!!NO SALES....NO THANKSGIVING FLYERS TO MULL OVER.... NO SALES OF ANY KIND!!!!In fact it was only during the actual season...I realized they have very little MUSIC playing, NOT a lot of LIGHTS or DECORATIONS in the stores. BUt we do get people with a sense of Humor about the whole thing. As in the attached photos of the checkers at the Pik n Pay supermarket, in their blue Santa hats.....Or the street vendor sellng ??? in his Santa hat. But the best may be the South African Baywatch in his santa hat...talking to his girlfriend, quite a ways from the beach...but maybe he was on break. I have to admit...very refreshing in some ways to not be caught up in all the hoopla...but it is all about going to the beach. In fact some here believe they will have good luck if they make their way to the beach...Christmas day...or New Year's. NOT DAYS I want to be at the beach. This "baywatch" photo was taken on Christmas day..of last year...just outside of Ballito...a beautiful place, with several restaurants ...one of which we had Christmas Day dinner at. IT is CRAZY, but the restaurants here are open...and you book your dinner...there....especially if you don't have family coming. I must admit...some of the food was wonderful...but sometimes...not so good. We haven't made reservations yet this year for Christmas dinner...Think we are going to Nelspruit...for the Holidays...but not thought about the rest. I leave for the US on Sunday....for a visit....and am planning several things to work on. Will have pics taken...soon of what I've just finished..and get posted soon. Enjoy your weekend. Colleen

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Am I a quilting snob????



As I perused several blogs today...noting who is working on what, I actually came to a question...Am I a quilt snob??? Do I appreciate Hand quilting over Machine? Which do I personally prefer? Why?What about quilt frames???? Hoops???? Until I moved to South Africa, I could count on 1 finger...yes...1 finger the number of quilts I had quilted on a machine....I didn't like it....I didn't appreciate it....would never voluntaily do a quilt by machine. Every quilt made prior to July 2004,save for one, had been done by hand....including about 75 baby/cot quilts....Did I mention that my friends and family seem to be prolific breeders!!????? I also had tried just about every imaginable quilt frame...I came across....at thrift stores...auctions..and even quilt shows! Yikes those are expensive! I had an antique frame held together by c clamps...to quilt my first quilt in 1985....I had done a quilt the year before...but not used a frame...rather the large hoop. The large rectangle c clamp frame seemed rather cumbersome...and of little HOME DECOR VALUE!!!! The next quilt I went back to the hoop...but this one was a large oval...from the goodwill. It worked but was a bit flimsy...and constantly had to be readjusted. Next I found a plastic clamp on frame...from another thrift store...That one was more compact...but the batting could really make for an ill fitting quilt and it would loosen up very quickly. I also tried changing how I held hoops...in the lap...propped up on the arm of the sofa... on my knees sitting on the floor? I thought I had a fair quilt stitch...but everything got so sore when I quilted very long. I have to admit...that having had two surgeries on my right elbow, I haven't done much hand quilting of late...and here I taught a girl how to hand quilt...bought her a portable frame...and she does all my hand quilting for the moment. I personally love seeing the designs appear under my needle...and the patterns giving depth to the project. Not sure how you feel, but I think even if I do get my Long arm someday....I will always have at least ONE quilt being hand quilted all the time...as long as my hands work! I plan to try the Hoopless/frameless technique of Tonya at Lazy Gal quilting http://lazygalqulting.blogspot.com/Maybe its just the tactile feel of the fabric under the hand. I am sure its not the sore fingers. Since there are quite a few handquilters out there, I 'd love to know what your best thimble /protector is???? I cut off fingers from old ladies leather gloves bought at the thrift stores/antique shops...even at a couple of bucks..I get at least 6-8 leather thimbles from one pair. Sometimes all 10. Now this true for home sewing machines...always had a dream of owning/using a long arm of my very own...that machine quilting I did value. But long arms are few and far between here in South Africa, so I noticed that many of the quilters here did lots of vermicilli...meanderning on their quilts. I had never even done that on a machine! Although that isn't something I aspire to do...I did try it...and had some disastrous (thankfully....those projects were donated...or went to family members who didn't know the difference...and that puckers on the back....weren't SUPPOSED to be there! I am somewhat ashamed that I sent them anyway...but the thought behind it was genuine! Now I must admit...that some outstanding quilting seems to be going on...with HOME sewing machines...and amazing things can be done with the longarms. Never compared these...if any of you have a particular machine...or long arm. I am in the market for one of each...so am open to suggestions. I have included another small baby quilt that I finished...there always seems to be someone pregnant in my family!!! And a queen sized one...before it was hand quilted...a hunter green and white chain.It is fully handquilted and stored in the US for now. Have an amish bars quilt on the frame...but not taken a stitch in it. Maybe over Christmas will work on it a bit. Had to include a photo taken of a young man, who was sitting in the back of a bakki here...at the Mall ..waiting for his ride to finish shopping. He is studying to be a Tsongoma ( sorry for spelling...the SA girls can correct me) a traditional healer. It still strikes me as funny when I see these very unique individuals in every day life. Since leapord is endangered, or it could be economics...he is wearing leapord cloth! No animals were harmed except whatever he is wearing on his ankles. He also had bright orange clay paint on his face and body. Enjoy your weekend, I can't beleive that its almost here.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Dorothy I don't think we are in Kansas anymore!!! And not an actual "cracked" rib!!!!



Ok...because I felt so crappy this week....I finally went to the Dr. here....never been to him before except to get malaria pills..when we went to the Kruger Park back in 2004....but the good news after an exam...and being sent to the hospital for x ray......VEry wierd here...as they send you with a note..(kind of like going to the principals office) to the specialist or hospital. Then you get into the gown to get the procedure done....then you leave and have to go back to the Dr's office?????? Did I mention that they chased me down because I didn't know to TAKE my x-rays with me back to the dr's office????? It was crazy, I have never touched my very own x-rays before, felt kind of wrong in so many ways. But the girl told me to put my clothes back on, so I left. Which reminds me that the last time I had a chest x-ray, in the US, the very kind young man, taking my pictures asked me to Please LIFT AND SEPERATE the "girls" as they obscured the Lungs too much!!!! Now this girl took x-rays without asking me to adjust anything...but her x-rays didn't look all that great...so maybe they did need seperating! At any rate....they do the x-rays, then send them off to Bloemfontein to be read by a specialist, but you have to take them back to the dr. office....and then he holds them up to the light...says how difficult it is to read x-rays and then explains that he has been taught how to.(Did I mention that my dr. is Croation????) So I have difficulty understanding him at times...but he did get the info...that I tore the cartilage...holding the ribs to the sternum...a costocondral( sorry about spelling) cartilage tear. All I know is that I have been given several good meds...to help me while I travel this coming Sunday back to the US....about 34 hrs...straight through London..Chicago, then Nashville. I also developed a lung infection...hence feeling kind of crappy past couple of days. But will be right as rain once meds kick in. No sewing today...just didn't feel like it. I am including a couple of quilts made and delivered to various friends. Nothing special...just little lap rugs.These were made out of bin scraps that I scratched from the Overage...seconds bins, at the fabric store...and you pay by the kilo. Hoping to go by there tomorrow to pick up some blue schwe-schwe. Cathi at Celtic Knots sent me a photo of a dear jane quilt made from navy ( and I have a bunch of it already) schwe-schwe. Wow, I am hooked. Bought the book years ago....no time like the present to get started on one!Since I am hoping to have my Baltimore about finished when I get back from the US....well at least by Jan. I want to start the DJ as my next big Project. I will have access to the fabric for a while...so need to get a move on!!!! Speaking of Baltimore...working on block no. 12....so finally getting there. Just may have to incorporate more blocks than I initially had planned on. Hoping to get the next three squares all cut out...and put into baggies...so that I can take on the plane with me. To sew while sitting around. I am including a photo of something which stuck my children as pretty crazy when they visited here..... don't know that this is a sign that you really want to see when you are visiting a casino!!!! Yikes!!! Really want to send this to Jay Leno....for his crazy photos section. Maybe it is just me....but never seen anything like this back home! Have a great week. Hoping to post at least once more, after I go to the stinking camera shop to get photos put on cd....dang, where did I put the Nikon cord to my old digital????? It is such a pain....but the only way I can post new photos! Have a great couple of days. I plan on it...long as the Wizard doesn't send me back to Kansas....where things seems to make more sense!!!!

Friday, October 19, 2007

Things that go bump in the night???



Well, Hubby and I were all tucked up in bed last night...visions of ....Who knows what going through our heads. When the outside security beam must have been broken...probably by the neighbors cat...as only 1 motion sensor light came on and the alarm wailing like a screaming banshee!!!! Now I will digress a moment and tell you about my first encounter with this cat as it came almost three years ago. We had only been in country for a few months, and at the time, not having been burgled yet, we slept with the doors open( not the outside doors, just the bedrooms) and most of the windows in the house also. October 31, 2004, Halloween, I decided I couldn't go to sleep early and DH was already tucked up in bed, so I sat up watching a scary movie on the satellite dish. Yes in keeping with the mood, I was sitting in the dark...and it was a cool evening...so I had a blanket on my legs. I was sitting on the couch facing the hallway to our bedroom when all of a sudden, I saw some glowing eyes coming down the hall toward me. I was so scared, I admit it, I did have visions of wild monkeys, or worse, some sort of slithery creature coming down the hall with glow in the dark eyes!!!! All I could do was pull the blanket up around my face...and hold my hand over my mouth so I wouldn't shreik. I was terrified....but as it came out into the light of the TV I saw it was the cat!!!! Then I let out more than a scream, but a string of words to go with it. The cat ran back to our bedroom and out the window. The next day, the neighbor told me that when her MOM lived in our house...the cat would come and sleep on the bed. So THEN I knew that I would have a frequent visitor. Now this cat still comes into the house...mostly to see what we may have left out from dinner, but occasionally she does come to visit late at night...I guess out of habit...SO maybe she did try to come in last night...and when she walks up on the front porch, through the burglar bars...she breaks the Infra red beam...that lets us know we may have an uninvited visitor! Technology is grand, because with the beam...we can still sleep with our windows open...and feel somewhat safe. There are burglar bars on the windows...and on the front and back doors....but you never know. When they broke in both times( we were not home)...they just kicked in the window bars. Another good thing to know...if we ever have a fire! I know I could get out just fine! At any rate, about 3:30 AM the alarm went off...but all was well, a quick call to the security company to tell them that we were fine ( I have them on speed dial now....ever since I accidentally dialed the wrong number and woke some poor guy up...at 3 AM!! Yikes!!!) Its just so hard to go back to sleep. I slept fitfully after that...and everything I planned to get done this AM ...got done much later. I was in slo-mo all morning.So I will blame that on the mid-night visitor!!! I've posted photo of our humble abode...the front door...with last years Christmas lights being turned on.Another thing I have brought from the States. I brought about 50 strings of lights back..as lights are not very nice here...and very expensive...as in about 20.00 US for each string!!! Cheaper to import and buy voltage adaptors!!!! My neighbor and I both decorate with my lights...and we are raising money for Charity lighting up our little corner this coming Christmas for Rotary. Mine isn't near as impressive as hers. I only have a little garden and no big trees near to any plug.I have a much more limited electric supply...only put in one outside outlet this past year...so can only do about 25 strings of lights in the garden...tops. I also pass out candy canes, which they don't have here???? How is that possible??? No candy canes or chocolate chips??? I had the girls for tea and sewing this afternoon...and served Chocolate chip cookies....thanks to the care pack from Dana or JEN...not sure whose choc. chips got used this time. The girls adore them.Some things you just take for granted...back home in the US. At any rate I did some "stripping" tonight. I cut strips for a quilt I am hoping to get pieced this next week...will take photos.Blocks are done...just need to get squared. That is the dilemma as they were embroidered by some rural women here...very colorful...but they didn't cut their black backgrounds square...so they are all wonky and I have to do something to square them up. What a time consuming job. Just wish I'd have known...since it would have been much easier to have cut the squares and GIVEN them to embroider. If I make headway, will take photos to share later in week. They are really cool I think. Also posted a small baby quilt....I did for a nephew's baby.Enjoy your weekend...and hope you have no "uninvited" visitors of your own!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Guild quilt and a sample of traditional costume.

OK, the "orange hair " picture isn't the most attractive...and I do look very drained...I had cried all the way home from the hair dressers place as well! Now, that is why I choose to do it myself!Why pay when my wash out color is much more me???? I have to say that I hang out with mostly retired ladies here...or at least those who only work part time. We meet every Thursday to sew, knit,chat, drink tea...coffee...and have a good laugh. Now these ladies had me laughing so hard, my chest hurt badly by the time I got home today, so not much sewing going on. There was much chatter about the upcoming craft market this Sat. morning.It is going to be held on the grounds of the B&B I live at.So there will be much activity going on this weekend. I am helping the "Church ladies" do the tea and scones for the event. I had planned on selling off some of my scrapbook stuff...but have sold a sizable chunk..and need to save the rest to finish up pages I have to work on when I come back to SA in Dec. from my mini vacation to the US. So I will gawk and enjoy the offerings. One girl showed us her latest hand made/fitted bra......especially nice if you are a wierd size ...or very uneven!A girl about two hours away...fits you and makes them. They are quite pretty...keep thinking should try to have her make a few for me. Maybe someday I will go for a fitting.I haven't sewn as much as I would like this week, but have been putting together leaders/enders in reds/tans/creams.Have a small top pieced together, will hope to sew on a few blocks to make at least double sized tomorrow. I am posting a photo of me wearing a friends traditional costume...mine will not look anything like this one...as mine has color! But have no idea how it looks exactly as I gave her carte blanche to make mine!I think I look stunning of course! I am also showing the last quilt top our guild did together. They saw it in a magazine, showed me the photo...we drew off a graphed image of the finished size of blocks...gave everyone a block to make, we all scrounged through our stashes to get the fall fabrics...then made it. There was much gnashing of teeth, when the blocks didn't fit together as planned...not having any concrete patterns.... But we made it work. Then after it was pieced, we decided that each would hand quilt the block we made....and raffled it off amongst ourselves! What a pleasure. I didn't win it...but was thrilled that one of the girls who put in the time on it, DID!!!!! We each put in a pre-agreed upon amount to add to the coffers of the guild and it really was fun.This was taken just before we added final borders, and began the quilting process. Hope to get to camera shop and run errands in morning...so I can sew in afternoon tomorrow...it is Friday night stripping...so will try to cut strips...if ribs agree with me!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Thanks for the well wishes...someone else had a much worse day than me!


Many thanks to the well wishes and concerns about my rib! I am still a bit redfaced about that one! But it is still sore....especially when my friends have me laughing about whatever! Now a certain friend whom shall remain unnamed...has a daughter...who had an even worse day than me. I received a text yesterday, telling me that J, my friend, had her car stolen...from the mall in the UK.In broad daylight, full of the kids toys, registration papers...everything gone!!!! My friend J, who lives here in South Africa....was beside herself.The daughter who had been driving the car( and my friend bought it about 6 months before they moved here...so it is for all intense purposes...a new vehicle!) came out of the Mall to find it gone. I text back with the obvious question.
"How did they get in???? "She texts me back, "must have been a professional job...since the car had keyless CODE entry!" I text, "what has dd done?" She texts, that "DD had called the police, contacted the insurance...and under much duress, called her husband...", who was now enroute to the Mall to collect her. I text, "Shame, she must be beside herself....how terrible". She texts, "Its worse, the insurance company won't let Daughter talk to them about car, since its in J's name". So now she must call from South Africa to UK to speak to insurance. I text, "Keep me informed". She texts, "Fine, I will....what a mess?" But about an hour later...I get the really crazy text......
"Husband picked up Daughter at mall, and as they were leaving the parking lot, spotted the car........SHE HAD BEEN CHECKING FOR HER CAR IN THE WRONG LEVEL OF PARKING GARAGE!!!! DD is very embarrassed, husband is waspish, police were snickering, in general...not a good day!!! " This so could have been me...... How about you....??????? I have posted a photo of a guy, who just decided to "rest" half on and half off the roadway???If you look closely, his feet were in the road. I actually did a u turn...drove up...got out of the car...to make sure he was breathing!!!Yikes....you just never know. At certain times of the day, many workers...will just lay out on the grass like this...to have a nap...during their breakfast(which is during work hours) during lunch (which is also on the clock) and often tea time...(during work hours) South Africa is a WHOLE OTHER COUNTRY!!!!! Enjoy your day!

Sunday, October 14, 2007

A do it yourself kind of girl....BAD HAIR DAY...and the trouble it causes me!?







Ok, I am a do it yourself kind of girl...and sometimes it works out great...and sometimes..it turns into pure d crap...that someone....USUALLY ...my husband has to bail me out of. Well, today...I decided that I really needed to touch up my greying roots.This is only because I have had not so good results from salons here...NOT all...but enough BAD experiences to make me gun shy( which explains the orange hair in the above photo...DS# 2 informed me I looked like Marion Cunningham..from HAppy Days after this fiasco) ..so I mixed up the wash out stuff I brought from the US (redken) and put it on my hair, then put the "plastic shower cap" over it to CURE! All went well, nothing turned green or heh...heh...Burgundy ( thats a whole other story)!!! As I went into the bathroom to rinse...and thought, I had showered this morning before Church...so figured I'd just hang over the edge of my tub to rinse. Now as I began to lather up....I noticed the bright red/brown droplets appearing on bath, and bath wall...then I remembered that although I had put on my Texas A& M AGGIE mom shirt( which is indeed burgundy and a very safe shirt to wear when dying my hair!) I still had a pair of White (YIKES!) pants on. I wear them with lots of stuff...and it is too late to back out of this whole hanging over the tub thing. So DECIDE that I MUST tip further into the tub...to protect my WHITE pants! Big mistake....NOW I think you MAY be thinking I did something silly like fall INTO the tub....but let me tell you that I am way to BIG to tip into the tub...but as I SQUIRMED, WIGGLED, TILTED....AND TRIED DESPERATELY not to fall into the tub...I BUMPED THE EDGE OF the TUB a bit too hard....and I heard the crack! I actually cracked a rib. Now my husband is a miracle worker, but he couldn't fix this "HUMPTY" up!!!! So tonight am feeling the STING when I breathe...and when I accidentally bend ...or when I get up off the chair, or cough, giggle, sneeze... YOU GET THE PICTURE! Not on my agenda of things to have to deal with this week. BY the way....MY HAIR LOOKS GREAT!!!! But I definitely cracked the rib, unfortunately it is up high...so can't be wrapped or anything...so I am just going to have to scale back a few of my goals of things to get done BEFORE I was to leave for the US on the 28th of October. That said, I did have a good week, almost finished Baltimore block no. 11, and did finish a couple of works in progress. Have many 4 patches made with leaders /enders...to make into blocks this week...so may just get one more quilt done before leaving for the STates. Will get a few photos from camera to post in next couple of days. Have to deliver books to my township library...more that were donated from home...so need to get that done.I have posted a photo of two little girls who were in the library when I delivered books there last year. My generous friends have sent every book you see in the photo.These shelves were empty when I first went to the library. It was pathetic, my home in Texas had more books than the Children's section at this township library.But another box has arrived from Pennsylvania...thanks to my brother and sisters, nieces and nephews. I am so blessed to have people who care about others in my life. Who knows maybe I will see something fun to take a photo of on my way out there. The photo of the shanty type of house was taken across the street from the Library. They are now in the process of building a better shack I am happy to say. Probably won't have running water in it...but it will most likely have electricity...which is better than not!I hope you all have a great day...I certainly plan to...as long as I don't snicker, sneeze, cough or laugh!!!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Halloween... South African style!

We live in a fairly tight knit community and one thing that we do several times a year...is get together with our neighbors.Usually for a theme party, Christmas, Mongolian stir fry, Valentines' and Halloween! Now besides wearing masks,they knew nothing about Halloween.So last year...we all got together at the neighbor's house for a dinner...and everyone brought something to share. They had never seen a scarecrow...I stuffed one up...and had to put a Texas cowboy hat on him of course. The kids had a good time with the scarecrow...and everyone took turns getting their photo taken with him!I know pretty silly...but it was fun.They do not trick or treat here.It could be because of crime or just its not an African tradition. Its a shame as I think it would be fun.But it was fun having a party with the neighbors. I am excited as I am flying back for a little visit and I will be home for Halloween and Thanksgiving! How lucky am I?I am going to be giving out candy in Clarksville,Tennessee in a traditional Xhosa African costume! Can't wait...as it is being made right now for me. Will have to get photos of that for sure. I am so getting excited about coming back to the states for a visit!!!! Just over two weeks to go....need to get sewing. I just finished a very simple full sized navy /white quilt flimsy, and a scrappy bright twin sized...piece of cake flimsy.Will be bringing home to store until we return for good. Will post pics of those later....when I get them saved to CD at photo shop....still no cord for this nikon...WHERE CAN IT BE??????

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Caught in the act... and the protesters.....






OK, as you know we went to the sea a little over a week ago...and it rained the whole time we were there. I did walk to the village museum the first day...while it was cold ...but at least dry...but I have to admit...I did have a bit of an attitude as I really didn't want to go for three whole days! Now being the somewhat stubborn person that I am...I insisted that if dear hubby took golf clubs...I was going to take my sewing machine. Well, he caught me....not a very flattering photo...and the room looks way messier than I remember it being...but I was sewing on string blocks as you CAN SEE! Unfortunately I didn't think to bring a lead ( an extension cord) so I had to sit at the only plug in the room...far away from what little light came in the sliding doors onto the veranda..but hey...IT WORKED for me! Since there wasn't a desk...to move..it had to be the little stool for the vanity. Again it worked. It did get me started on one of the two quilts I finished up today....whew....another goal accomplished. Maybe I can manage one more before I leave for the US in just over 2 weeks.I started working on my leaders/enders red /tan/cream one. Hope I have enough 4 patches to put into a small quilt. Started cutting strips to go with those last weekend..now need to start putting together. I also have included a photo of the "Funeral Bakki" ( pickup) not sure if this is for the coffins??? as if very well may be. Never seen a funeral pickup in the states. For all I know it could be an African limousine of sorts....since people do ride in the back of these camper trucks all the time...as you can see from the picture of the protesters I snapped...they all kept crawling out from the back of this "bakki". About 20 people in all. It was amazing. I don't think it should be a Chinese fire drill...cause Africans have them beat any day of the week!
They do love to get their photos taken though! I never have to ask twice! Here are some more of the protesters....like I said there were a bunch of them! All dressed in traditional clothes. Not sure why for this particular protest...as usually people wear t-shirts with slogans...they love them!!! But they sure were colorful! I love the bright things they wear sometimes. I love the way they tie up their hair...when I let my hair grow out...I may have to take this practice up on bad hair days! You will notice the woman on the far left...skirt is made up of strips of the schwe-schwe I have used in several quilts. Blues, browns, greens and reds! Hope you have a very productive week...I plan on it!

Friday, October 5, 2007

Too tired to "strip" tonight...but will be stripping tomorrow!!!


Helped a friend with the wedding flowers for her daughters..wedding tomorrow.I only did the bouquets, corsages and buttonholes (bouttinieres) ...left the chapel flowers and reception to the other girls.There were 5 of us working on flowers....and I wore myself out...not used to doing that anymore. I have to take it easy....just can't do flowers all day...like I used to??? But I did come home with the intention of actually "stripping" for tomorrows SEW fest!!!! But was so tired...that just sewed a few leaves...(machine applique) on a scrap quilt I am hoping to finish by next Friday. Better get a move on. Will cut strips in AM...sew a bit....finish my Navy/Indigo White schwe-schwe quilt top.Think it is road to california...or Jacob't ladder blocks??? Can't remember at moment. I have been asked to talk to a farm wives group here next Friday, I am demonstrating a Texas "Baby" Door Badge...much like a Homecoming Mum! I guess most of you don't know what that is either...but I will try to get a photo of it...then post. AND they asked if I would bring quilts too....shame most of mine are in the US already. So have to put the pedal to medal and finish the two almost finished ones. More later.....after a nice long sleep!!!!Had to post this photo!!It does represent the kinds of challenges we see regularly....UNFORTUNATELY....here. IF something can go wrong...it very often does. This is the second time that we have had no diet drinks...this year...... seems like a crazy way to run a business....and I took this photo the week before last....WE STILL have NO DIET drinks!!!! There was even an occasion when they ran out of ....YIKES..... BEER!!! They are often out of the beer in bottles My darling husband prefers... happens every month....you'd think they'd make MORE????? Shame..... I think it is evidence of the general efficiency.... of many things here. In fact...Dear husband received a parking ticket last month...in late Sept. It was from JUNE....taken by a camera... they actually posted the ticket as taking place ....when we were in the US....so think it must have been from even earlier????!!!!!! Very crazy!!!! Its just the way things are!!!! And like Forrest Gump...thats all I have to say about that! Later!!!!

!!

Thursday, October 4, 2007



Have to add another photo of our Seaside adventure. Even though it was overcast...we did manage to see whales and dolphins...swimming off the coast. This coastline is called the Dolphin coast...and many of the hotels along the Indian ocean...have bells to ring when you spot one. I have seen dolphins several times...but never seen the whales before. There were two swimming together...how do I know...because two blow hole "plumes". Of course I couldn't get a great shot of the PLUMES....but a trace of a plume and the dark humps of their backs!!!! That was good enough for me!
The plume is located just in the bottom left hand part of photo..and the dark splotch is part of one whale. Wish I had a better one to share...but you get the picture. I swear I had a better one than this one...but may have left it on the camera. I also finished a little orphan block quilt. This was a true orphan as I had the blue/white check 9 patches...made in my typical wonky style..as in just a bit "unsquare"...so I had abandoned them. BUt I needed a quick baby quilt...and the daughter of a friend ....didn't want a totally yellow quilt, which I had already cut out...so I went to see what I had...that was soft colors like she already had in her nursery. Found the blue check blocks and the soft blue...all fabric scraps...and even used the batting from a scrap. I needed borders...so took apart several of the 9 patches...sewed back together to make the simple pieced border. She appreciated it...and I was glad to use up an orphan. It is about 38 " square..and I machine quilted in ditch for speed. The baby had been born..so I was desperate!It has been labeled and delivered!WHEW! Also sharing some of a lucky friends beautiful South American embroidered blocks.She showed them to us at the last quilt class. I am quite jealous...love the bright colors. What you can't see is that they used polyester...fabric...like old fashioned polyester.... to back these blocks. Her wonderful son sent them to her as a gift. I think they are stunning!!!She is trying to figure out how to put them together into a wall quilt. Just know that they are quite pretty. I am off to do wedding flowers tomorrow morning...so need to get some rest. Hope you all have a great weekend. I am stripping tomorrow night...see Sept posts) :o) and then we have a 70th Birthday party to attend on Sat. We also have company coming on Sunday after church...so another busy weekend. Hope to finish one of two quilts going at moment.Actually have 4 or maybe 5 more...going...but 2 that can be finished with one days sewing...barring protracted ....interruptions!!!! Hate those days...when I want to sew. Hoping Jen and Dawns sewing day was productive....and that they manage to find some of my Baltimore fabric in the South Korea fabric mart!I need more..More....MORE!!!! In order to finishe my quilt to bed size! Holding Thumbs! As they say here in South AFrica! ENJOY your weekend. Colleen

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

latest Baltimore and by the SEA!!!!













Well, I finally got some of my photos uploaded onto a cd at the camera shop...so can share a few today. This is the gorgeous unspoiled coastline we visited last weekend. It was only cloudy the first day...but rained continuously after that. I managed to get a few photos to post during the next couple of days/weeks. This village is located on the Wild coast of South Africa..and it only had two streets...so very few homes. The hotel had its own pub and a very nice dining room to eat breakfast and supper. I enjoyed the buffet, varied foods....and the fabulous cooked puddings!!!! I love the puddings in South africa...kind of like a cake with a gooey topping poured over it as it comes from the oven. I have mastered a few. YUM!!!! LOve them!!!!! This was the view from the veranda of our room. The gardens were quite pretty...and we were right on the ocean. Very nice. I am also adding a photo of the two completed blocks for my Baltimore project...although I have a dilemma....I purchased the lovely background fabric in South Korea...no markings on selvage...and only enough for 3 more blocks. I really need more. If Dawn or Jen see this...can you search the fabric mart for more???? Have no idea which floor I even bought it on????Again what was i thinking not buying the remainder of the bolt!!!!! That was in April...not much chance of me finding more. So I have to come up with some way of making the quilt size expand to fit a bed. Any ideas?????? I am stumped...as to how to proceed. I'll have













about 12 blocks I think....measuring between 14 inches square to 15 inches. Sorry for the condition of blocks...they need a good pressing...but you get the gyst.I am also showing the more difficult block in progress....I have used unusual choices...fall colors for a Baltimore! So this will be my first "Autumn" quilt. Forgive my foot...but wind was blowing terribly...much like my beloved West Texas wind!!!! Will post more later. I taught a scrapbooking class to some lovely farm wives who live about 45 min. away...and I am just plain tired out tonight!!! Hope you all have a lovely day. Colleen

Monday, October 1, 2007

My ME-ME challenge...and a picture you won't believe



Sweet Finn, from Pieces from my scrapbag...I don't know how to add the sidebar shortcuts... tagged me for a Me-me(explanation is on her Sept. 30 post) but I use the initials of my name to describe me????? May have to think on that...the L is EASY!LOUD!!! But I have to think.


C-challenged by perfect piecing...*&%$*
O-optimistic...the glass is never less than half full....for me
L-loud ( though trying to tone it down)
L-laughs a lot
E-enjoying every new thing I get to see, do or experience
E-excited about coming home to the US soon!even just for a visit.
N-never dull.....EVER

I'd like to tag someone else...but have to work out the SIDEBAR challenge first!
I also am sharing a photo taken in Taegu, South Korea, at the Dongwaso Temple. It was a lovely day, and the whole family went to see what we could see. You may notice my son, Rob, and two of the grandkids just to the bottom of the statue.
My husband and I went to the Indian ocean this past weekend...and went to the Wild Coast of South Africa.It is called the Wild coast as much of it lies within what used to be Traditional homelands. It is not very developed, and we drove a long way on dirt roads to get there. I mention this as it rained most of the weekend. I did enjoy the peace and quiet, not many people there, and some gorgeous scenery. I did cut strips...on Friday and some more on Sat. Am hoping to go to the camera shop tomorrow...so I can share some of the photos....from the past week or two actually. We have traveled two weekends in a row now...and I am glad we have a wedding and a 70th birthday to attend this weekend. Maybe I will get some more things done. I am actually going to do the hand flowers for the wedding, and have been asked to teach a scrapbook class this week too. So it will be a busy time.


I decided to share this photo...which is pretty much self explanatory. But let me say that I have often gone to this used furniture shop...and never noticed these things standing up against the side wall....until this particular day. I will also say that now .....I think I have seen everything in this country! I mean....it really was a ONE STOP SHOP!!!! If you know what I mean!!!!! YIkes....coffins in a USED furniture store!!!! Now if I could only get a good photo of one other wild crazy thing...... sure there is something else I haven't noticed before...that would make me smile!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Stripping on Fridays!!!!!

I have decided to start "Stripping on Fridays"!!!!Because I live in South Africa...and there aren't Friday night football games to go and see, it makes sense to jumpstart my sewing goals and projects by cutting some strips...could be for string quilts....as most of my strips are too fat...kind of like me....a little on the plump side! Or it may be for the next few days sewing projects. But it makes sense to me...to take my free day as we usually go out to eat ...... to cut strips on Fridays. I started last week...and it was amazing that my sewing machine seemed to call me for the hour a day I have been trying to sew, because I had things ready to sew on already cut...whether early AM or later in the day. It just may be the kick....that I need to get with the program.Since we are going to a village by the sea for the next three days...and I don't feel like taking the sewing machine to a hotel????? I am going to take my cutter...and mat along...to do my strips. I can fit one big bag of scraps...or maybe will start on a MIP ( masterpiece in progress!!!!) Of which I have several fabric pieces...all organized and ready to grab in nice little packets! may grab two...get them all cut...and ENCOURAGE myself to get busy. This is a photo of a white on white quilt which was finished just before Christmas last year. I had always wanted to do/have one so the time seemed right.For fun I've included a photo of me petting an elephant after I had walked him!!! Now what you can't see or SMELL is the ...er....stank.... he left on me...as he drooled all over my hand!!!! Those things are massive up close....and my husband Bob, is feeding his little fella. He was way more brave than me....I didn't like them grabbing at me. It was ok...walking them...but ....man I was afraid I'd trip and then be stomped all the time he was tramping behind me. Very adrenalin rushing....let me tell you! And their hair...is very spiky....wiry. They even make Elephant hair jewelry over here. I have a bracelet but it feels almost like plastic...it is so tough! Have a great weekend... I plan to!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

How does my garden grow...and quilts?



Today was not a particularly

productive day....as we woke up to no hot water. So off to Mr Landlord to ask for assistance. I add that this occurred AFTER Bob took his very cold shower!!!! Mr. Landlord, called the electrician as the circuit breaker...kept tripping for the "geiser"( hot water tank as they call them here) Well the electrician assistant came in...asked where our Box was...I showed him the wall behind the lounge (living room) door...and as he pushed the switch up...A very loud pop!!!! And a huge flash of light emmitted from behind the "box". He then left the breaker switch off...and climbed up into the attic...to check out the situation.He returned a few minutes later to tell me that the "geiser" is leaking...and needs a new element...and we now need a plumber! So off to the landlord to ask for that. He sends a maid over to tell me that the Plumber will be here about 12....so I rush off to send off the Keys....yes ...real keys to our room at the B&B we stayed at when we went to Lesoto last weekend.He found them in the pocket of his shorts. Yikes, I apologized...and asked for her mailing address when I spoke to Ruth, the lovely lady from Scotland who ran our B&B. She said it was ok...to just post them back. So I went to the dreaded post office, stood in the queue, and when I presented the padded envelope to him he asked how I wanted to post it? I replied regular mail was fine...so for some reason...he held it up to an envelope chart...which made it a certain price...by size...not weight???? And I only had a 100 rand bill(about 16.00 US)...so I laid it on the counter.When he saw the bill...he then asked if I wanted to send it overnight delivery? Well, I wasn't born on a turnip truck...and I know that probably 1/3 of the time mail takes forever to get anywhere in this country...or maybe not at all!!!! So I am not paying 10 times the price to send something that may take a month..to get there.( I am still waiting on one of the five bags my brother sent to me AIR MAIL in MAY!!!!....That is a whole other story!) So I quickly said no...just send it regular. That done, I quickly popped to the grocery store..to buy some bits for the next day or two and off to the house to await my plumber! He showed up in good time...but after putting one new part on the water heater...it still wasn't fixed...so another part was added...then there was no power...so he said he'd try to sort that out and ...that took another 35 min. or so...and finally at about 3:00 i had hot water so I could finally do the dishes and a load of laundry! But it started to rain before I got the laundry hung out....so it is hanging on the inside wooden racks I have for such occasions. Man do I miss a tumble dryer! ON rainy days!!! At any rate, about 4:30 I finally sat down to sew for a few minutes. I did get all the half square triangle strips sewed and cut and pressed...before we got ready to go to dinner with friends. Not near what I had hoped to finish today.But the rain was most welcome, and I am thankful for hot water....and the beautiful things growing in my garden. I have included a photo of the clivia growing in my little side garden. They are too pretty this year. We are going to Haga- Haga, a village by the sea on Friday...so I am hoping to cut out some Baltimore blocks to take along. I just about finished number 10 and am about 1/3 through number 11. I am including a photo of the Ladies of the Nation quilt I made last year...it is nothing especially fantastic by quilting standards...but what can't be seen is that I took it to the Aids Farm ladies and they beaded the ladies....headpieces and necklaces...so it has beading all over the ladies. It will be difficult
to quilt...but I didn't have time to quilt it...and then get it beaded. I will have to make it work. The ladies are cut from cheater cloth...and I pieced the sashings and did the diamond borders....Hope you all have a lovely weekend.

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