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...

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 no need to drag all bags from domestic terminal to international terminal in Joberg! Not a fun place to be just 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 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 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 ask questions of people there....they were 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 was backed 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 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 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 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 was the wrong gate....had to go back to the inside 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 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 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 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 before 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 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 after tomorrow??? With no clothes????? Hope they find the luggage all my sweaters and warm clothes are in that bag. It was actually frosty here this 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 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 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 thrift stores...auctions..and even quilt shows! Yikes those are expensive! I had an antique frame held together by c 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 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 long as my hands work! I plan to try the Hoopless/frameless technique of Tonya at Lazy Gal quilting 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 need to get a move on!!!! Speaking of Baltimore...working on block no. 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 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 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 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 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 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 lights are not very nice here...and very 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 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 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 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 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 I can sew in afternoon is Friday night 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 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 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 out of the make sure he was breathing!!! just never know. At certain times of the day, many workers...will just lay out on the grass like 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 turns into pure d crap...that someone....USUALLY 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) 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 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 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 can't be wrapped or 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 / make into blocks this 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 I said there were a bunch of them! All dressed in traditional clothes. Not sure why for this particular 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 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 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 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 IF something can go 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'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 late Sept. It was from JUNE....taken by a camera... they actually posted the ticket as taking place ....when we were in the 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 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 in just a bit "unsquare" 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 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 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 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 the bright colors. What you can't see is that they used 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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!