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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...


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.

Monday, September 24, 2007

The MOUNTAIN KINGDOM and progress on the Baltimore Blocks...


For fun, I have added this photo taken at the mall...of a bank money guard...its just not every day you see a guy carrying an AK47 around!!!! This is a fairly common occurrence here....downtown...at the grocery store...wherever money is being transfered. Kind of scary to think what would actually happen if someone did try to rob the money truck. Would they just start shooting. Just wondering. We are just back from the MOUNTAIN Kingdom of LESOTO. It was a long drive up there...for the Rotary conference. Some of it was quite a bit of fun...but crossing the border was hellacious!Every time you went into the country of Lesoto, you had to stop on the South African side...to get passport checked...and stamped...and then back into your vehicle, to drive about 150 yards, to exit the car once again...and go into the Lesoto passport control area....AGAIN!!! And then get stamped again! THERE were also long queus ( lines ) that we had to stand in...waiting for the few windows of border people to get to us! Then when we were leaving the country we WERE supposed to go through this whole process AGAIN! I say SUPPOSED to because when we returned to the South AFrican side of the border that evening....on our way back to our B& B....we were waved through by some very Lazy border guards. We didn't realize this was a problem until we tried to enter Lesoto again the next morning! There was much murmuring...and gnashing of teeth, before we were dragged....er ....I mean escorted back into the very bowels of the Border crossing building!!!!!! Where I said to the gentleman....that indeed we had driven in and out on the same day...but that the guard had WAVED us through. At which point he became a bit agitated and said....MADAME, you must get out of your vehicle every time you cross the border...and get your passport stamped! Have I mentioned that my passport is almost full now.....with all the back and forth that has gone on in the last 4 years...and South Africa will not let me reenter the country....without at least 4 empty pages..???? Now I am not sure why this is their policy...but I beg every border person to please stamp an empty space on a used page on one of the first 16 pages in my passport...trying to reserve the last empty 5 pages in my book. I am scheduled to return to the US one last time near the end of OCT...so need to save that page! But if it meant getting out of the back rooms of this border crossing...I would have promised anything..including ALWAYS stopping at the border....as the law says...but which none of the signs at this particular border say!!!!! So we went on to our meeting....and Bob stopped at the rug factory..only to find out they don't sell to the public any longer...so no rug.... but we did buy a small handwoven wall hanging and some funky lesoto hats, a few little hand made dolls and about anything that any vendor offered to sell us at the border while we waited in the long lines!!!! I will post a photo or two after getting them off of my camera....still no cables for the old camera. I did manage to sew this evening as I listened to the cricket match....just 4 patches from all the leaders and enders...but have almost another 100 of them to put into a quilt...of some sort.HAve sewed on my navy schwe-schwe quilt squares...still have to do another step before start constructing the final block...but think I have about 20 blocks worth ready to be pieced ....soon!!!!! I did finish another Baltimore block, and am working on the difficult one with roses and rosebuds. It is coming along nicely.Just not quick enough.I have also been playing with some orphan things to hopefully get assembled into something usable.... :o) Lets face it...can then be donated..or sewn into a picnic quilt for the car!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

I hate unsewing.....


Since we are on the subject, I hate unsewing. I save odd bits of things I probably shouldn't, because I might be able to use it somewhere else. I was moaning about all the navy quilts I have made lately. Thanks to the kind remarks about the completed ones. August's photos were of my personal favorites so far! Yes, yesterdays quilt is mine...made from the afforementioned scraps. Not only did I have many leftover navy white half squares from a donated Shoo Fly quilt....but couldn't bare to do more shoo fly...so I sewed across the half squares....right side down on gold...then cut these apart...to make 1/4 of a pinwheel block. I then sewed these together with the leftover sashing strips of the first quilt I pieced that the handquilter sewed for me....the one that was stolen by burglars ...when we had been in South AFrica for about one year! Very sad indeed....but it is keeping someone warm somewhere...SO ALL is well will my soul! If you notice the corner blocks on yesterdays post....those were the same constructed 1/4 pinwheel blocks sewed together incorrectly....yes I only noticed after I had string pieced them all together ...... so as I really hate to unsew anything...used them that way ...in the corners! Now ....maybe its just me..... But I truly live by the motto.... "if someone doesn't see the mistake ....driving past my bedroom window ..... at 35 miles per hour....I refuse to rip it out! I am a quantity over Quality kind of girl. Remember I had given away every previous quilt I had ever made.... so the only way I can get any quilts is to make them ......and KEEP them. That said, I have enjoyed trying new takes on old scrappy quilts. The problem here is that mine all seem to be made in NAVY!!!! I did raid some friends fabric stash...to make a truly scrappy quilt... and it is in golds/ reds, yellows.... and all hand appliqued center. But didn't take a photo of the quilt before I sent it home with the hand quilter, Noluthando. I am putting another photo of her....to this post. It was taken of her sewing on my "stolen" NAVY quilt. I did love that quilt. She is more than my hand quilter. ... as I also employ her to clean for me, 2 mornings a week. The only thing here is that although she does some jobs very well.....she pretty much cleans what she wants....not necessarily what I want her to clean??? If that makes sense to you. I have tried lists....asking her to do certain things...showing her what I want. Nothing seems to go right! But I am thankful that She does LIKE to clean the kitchen floor tiles...and likes to iron..(which I hate) Of course she only irons what she feels like that day...on Tuesday she left the house for the day...and left a pair of my husbands trousers hanging on the ironing board.....UNIRONED....so she pretty much calls the shots. But I am not complaining...since she does dust...and she LOVES to wash windows??????? How crazy is that...but she never dusts cobwebs from ceiling or the ceiling fans...not if written down...or asked to????? My friends say that some of the children are carried on their mothers backs for so long that is affects their vision!In that they don't actually notice things above eye level. I wonder if that isn't true...because she does work very hard......JUST NOT DOING THE THINGS I WANT HER TO DO! She loves to dry dishes...even dishes I washed the night before and left in the drainer overnight. IT is TOO FUNNY sometimes! But there you go.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Baltimore and so much more!


Worked on the two Baltimore blocks from this week...no photos of those.Did manage to start sewing on my navy/white stash busting quilt. made about 50 small 4 patch blocks...enough for about 12 of the blocks I hope to turn into another top. Will work on marking off the half squares tomorrow.Also went to scrapbooking today...finished two pages.But very tired today...had a prowler of some sort in the yard last night about 5 AM. The alarm went off...outside infra red beam was broken...and both motion sensor lights were on when we flew to the window to see who might be there. Well it wasn't SANTA....let me tell you. Not sure, could have been a Big cat...I guess. But the security people came with their flashlights...after about 10 min.Glad we weren't in danger....but saw nothing. I couldn't hardly go back to sleep...so a bit cranky this evening. Didn't get as much sewn on my stuff....as I would have liked, but every little bit helps I think. At least my sewing room/ Husband's Office( used to be anyway) gets a bit messier....so something MUST be going on!!!! But hope to get some things sorted for early in the AM, get at least some more of red/white quilt going...or work on the black African embroidered squares....they are so pretty and need to be done. This is a photo of a quilt I finished earlier this year....more of the German Print or Schwe-schwe... which I have been using. The two maids are some of the neighbors...from her B& B another of the quilt tops I will hope to quilt when I return to the States for good. HOPE my husband doesn't mind all the navy that will be around the house. I think I have about 5 or 6 tops in navy now....not counting the stolen and donated ones. I still have enough to make at least 2 or 3 more!What was I thinking???? Never slept in a navy bedroom....ever! And there sure aren't any holidays with a navy slant???!!!!! Shame!

Monday, September 17, 2007

I don't mean to be envious....but.....


It has occured to me as I read and scour the other bloggers...that they MUST be prolific quilters! I mean, quilts for seasons???? some of these girls have the most gorgeous things for specific seasons. I have done many quilts...but they always seem to leave my home!!!! Most were gifts...a few got LOST in one of many moves...and some were stolen right out of our home...in South AFrica. But I don't know that I have ever done a quilt for a specific season..so I am way behind the curve. In fact I have always given away all of my quilts...when I came to South AFrica...I didn't leave one quilted quilt behind of my own! Yikes, what was I thinking. So I have become more selfish...and am making as many quilts for me....as I can. I have done a few donation quilts while here...but now I am inspired to try some doll quilts...and when I get home, will buy some wonderful fall fabric....( though I did buy some of those colors in Korea when we visited!) and make at least two smallish autumn quilts...because next to Christmas...I love Fall best! I did make a red white and blue quilt for the fourth of July, but lets face it...its the middle of the summer in the Northern hemisphere..so who covers up with a quilt?????? I have to admit I so am loving the quilts that Libby posted on her blog today....wow! I am pretty much stuck with primary geometrics until I return to the US as that is what is made here...and imported fabrics from the US or England can cost up to 30.00....yep....that is 30.00 US dollars a yard! Most is over 20.00....so just not worth using here. I actaully prefer the pretty geometrics....anyway. So am happy to take them home as unquilted tops...lets face it ...they weigh less that way!!!!! I'm posting this photo of a totally finished, hand quilted quilt....yes, it is bound but I took it to the US for safekeeping after the burglar stole the other ones.So no finished pictures. But so like the red schwe-schwe geometrics mixed in this particular quilt. Have been spending more time drooling over Finn's little quilts and reading the other blogs...than sewing. But tomorrow afternoon I sew ....ON THE MACHINE. I am having trouble not working on the new stinking Baltimore blocks...the one is so involved...a wreath of flowers....lots of pieces...and the simple one has 4o hearts in the shape of a heart...so lots more sewing.Trying to do both...and cut other block pieces out to take with us this weekend...as we are driving to Lesoto for a Rotary conference...and I will be gone Friday to MOnday...hate not being able to sew at all for those days...so have to do handwork. It should be fun as never been to that country before...it is several hours drive away..but supposed to be quite pretty even if poorer than South AFrica! Hoping to take many photos...while there...then save them to cd so I can load. I had to have left that old cord in Tennessee!!!! Have scrapbooking club with some friends in morning and then sewing in the PM. Hope you all are enjoying your fall...it is spring here...and getting prettier every day!!!! Yeah!!!!!!

Sunday, September 16, 2007

MAM blocks in progress....and so it goes


A quickie post, just found a picture of some of my MAM blocks....!!!!! But I purposefully picked the strips that were similar.Of course many of my scraps ARE the same colors. I refuse to buy imported American fabrics...when I can use perfectly good...South African geometrics!And they are in limited colors...brown, navy, red and deep green. The thick, heavy schwe-schwe also comes in burgundy...but it has to laundered so many times to make colorfast and softer!I avoid it. But these will go with some orphan navy and gold stuff from several other quilts! That I pulled out of the cupboards last week. Haven't started anything concrete..but it will come in time. IT HAS TO!!!!!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Finished Baltimore Cherry Block...whew!!!


Ok, finally finished the last cherry on the cherry block....thank goodness, before my fingers turned into nubs! And we have an all day class on Sat...to determine where we go from here. I have started another one....called the 200,000 dollar tulip block....man, don't think you could pay me that much to do it again. I am going to attempt a heart shaped...flower block as my next "independent" project. Only have a couple of months to get this finished...so I can hopefully have Noluthando, hand quilt as much as she can get finished of it before Bob leaves. I think I have decided that he can bring it to me. I am thinking of bringing back the batting from the states for this one.Get a warm and natural batting.Jen, may have to let me know where I can get. Will look for a quilt shop in the US when I go in Nov. At any rate, glad to be finished with this Baltimore block. My stitching has improved...but still not great! I am enjoying it more than at the beginning...and I love the colored background that I found at the Fabulous fabric mart, Jen took me to in South Korea. Just wish I could make one more trip???!!!! Shame, but I will use up every little piece of the stuff I did get! That place was wonderful. It has turned cooler here....I fear we are in for a cold front from Capetown. It is coming into our rainy season...usually Sept and Oct. is when most of the rains come....unless we get a hail storm....in Nov. They seem to be the really stormy months. Then little to no rain for a long time. It reminds me so much of WEst Texas, with the long dry summer...after the storms of Spring! The photo is sideways...forgot to rotate it before it was saved to the CD, But you get the gyst. You can see my ginger blooming in the background.It smells so nice outside right now. I am looking forward to sewing with the girls tomorrow, we meet every week, for tea and laughing! They are all retired...or have been retrenched ( made redundant) so we sit around for a couple of hours to do whatever someone feels like doing. Many are avid knitters....and I have been gifted with some beautiful socks....I adore! Since I have only every knitted scarves or a pair of mittens...many years ago....I am pitiful at knitting. But I so admire the intricate things they still knit. One of the girls has knitted king sized blankets! made on needles that looked like sewing needles...they were so thin! I am in awe of the skill these ladies possess. I need to learn how to follow a pattern...since I have never learned how to read a knitting pattern. Just know the basics.And that isn't much!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Finally got some quilt photos...Orphan and stash busting...




Well, the color isn't great...they seem washed out...but I at least can show I HAVE been doing something! This started at my "Craft" group when a basket of Orphan blocks was passed around. These were not pieced squares..but literally cut squares.I chose after everyone else had picked. But the blocks were heavier curtaining, and 7 1/2 " or less. I decided to add them to cream,then set them in the simple grid,added more fabric scoured from the "garbage" bins that some other quilters had donated to our group, will bring home to the States next month...with enough of the dark burgundy scraps to make as big as I need to finish. Have also, finally finished the center of my tesselation... made from my stash...of leftover scraps! Have no idea what to do now, since I did use scraps???? Will think on it. Then, have been trying to work on my Baltimore blocks....so have a photo of those....as well. I have a close up of the rose wreath, definitely the most challenging one I have done thus far.Man my old camera must have some damp inside the lens.It is blurry just in the corner.shame the burglar stole the good one of our old digital cameras! But you get the idea, We have an all day Baltimore class this weekend, to decide how we are going to proceed with our squares. I am hoping to find a couple of nice blocks...I am pretty much doing my own thing now, not necessarily what the other girls are doing.I think I have more time in the car maybe, for handwork???? Figure I will try to take several blocks with me when I go to the states..as I will be spending hours in the airport waiting for flights...just can't take scissors...a royal pain...when doing cutaway applique! I have to get going on these projects I know.Time is flying this week. The weather has turned wonderful...spring is definitely here in the mountains....of South Africa. I am so ready....actually haven't had to wear a jacket too many times the past week. There is a huge cricket tournament going on now....called the World Cup 20/20 and I ADORE cricket! Just hoping I don't get sidetracked in front of the telly too much! Not good for my sewing habit!

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Where can it be?????? And other questions????

I still can't find my camera cord..so guess will Have to take photos of this weekends projects in various stages of completion...and go to camera shop...then can post a new photo every other day!Maybe left the cable in the States....and only thought I brought it back here?????? I had a semi productive weekend.Did dig out several orphan pieces from prior quilt projects...but realized after working with them...will take a heck of a long time to get them to fit together in any cohesive way. Cut strips for a piece of cake quilt....have had bagged up for months ....ready to start. But I also worked on a semi orphan ....project. I belong to a craft (or as my husband mimicing my South African buddies, says, "CROFT") club. We meet once a month at various ladies homes.Last month, we met at Anike's home...and while there...she passed around a basket of ORPHAN squares of fabric.....most were cut from curtaining material...so a bit stiff/thicker than quilting fabric.I let everyone choose if they wanted some...several did...and when it came to me, I removed 32 blocks.Now these were cut anywhere from 6 and 1/2 " to 7 1/2 ". So I brought these home...and left them to sit...while I thought up what to do with them. Thought I'd make them into a car/picnic quilt.....but they looked pitifully small when I laid them on the bed. So I rummaged through some leftover pieces from the neighbors curtains.She has a b and b....and had put up all cream colored damasks...and jaquard curtains in her rooms. The extra length was cut off of them and I had several strips of cream about 8 -10 inches wide. They seemed to look ok...and were the correct weight...so I decided to square up the orphan blocks...then sew to the cream bits...to make half square triangles...I then sewed these into a quilt. But when I took it to the quilt sewing group this last weekend...they suggested I rummage through some of the scrap bags from one of the curtain makers in town....that just happened to be in our guild cupboard....awaiting our next project.I thought what the heck.....haven't purchased fabric since April...and this wasn't really Buying fabric. Well, there were some perfect burgundy strips that I cut down into sashing pieces...then there was a cream backed floral....that had to be added....and then the little quilt HAD to become a real quilt...because I fell in love with it!!!!! So back at home, dug for some more damask/bits...and found 4 pieces...but they are all different....I think it adds character. So that all got added....I also found enough of a large damask piece to make a tablecloth for the cupboard...and got it all hemmed. I also finished piecing the center of the tesselation quilt I had taught the girls to make a couple of weeks back. So that may be put in the how will I add enough to make a quilt out of it pile...or keep it at the size it is now???? A question I will ponder later????I did cut strips for a navy /white quilt...and will begin sewing sometime this week....just not sure which variation I will use to put it together. Know its 4 patches and half square triangles...but how to arrange????? Once I begin, it will speak to me I am sure. I have getting photos put to a cd...at top of the list for tomorrow. Maybe I'll get the car washed then as well. HEre we don't have automatic car washes.....you take the car out...to the mall....and around the back there is a car wash...where they wash by hand...with bucket and rags.... then you have to drive it over to the vacuum area and they have a hand vac to clean the interior. They do a good job...but it takes over an hour...which is an HOUR AWAY from my sewing machine. You also have to make sure there are no valuables...becauses as many as 5 people may be working on your car...and things will go missing sometimes. I always tip them...so they have even more people work on my car!Now I just have an amount that i am willing to tip them....then divide it by the number of people who work on the car. I mean the tip can cost more than the car wash if I don't! At any rate, I will get photos somehow tomorrow...and hope its not raining here so I can get the car cleaned out also. I hope you all have a great week....I am planning on it! This is the week....of finishing at least two projects for me!

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Another typically South African adventure.....

Ok....maybe getting a haircut back home in the US...won't go exactly like this...but felt like this may be worth sharing. I made appointment to get hair cut for yesterday at 11:00 (AM) in East london, a coastal town about a 2 hrs drive from here. I hate the drive on a 2 lane....National highway, but love the way she cuts my hair. So I set off at 8:15...AM... equipped with my latest Baltimore block, so that I could just sit in her sunny salon...and sew for few min. and have a cup of tea...and because you never know if the roadworks stop will be 5 min. or 20 min have plenty of time to make my appointment. You never know becaues of the road works projects...here they stop traffic, and there you sit in the car on the 2 lane waiting for the opposite traffic to come through!I had a full tank of gas...and Algoa FM on the radio...it was going to be a good trip. Now Bob and I have been leasing the same car for over three years...and I still don't know how to set the "limiter" on it.Its not cruise control...but not sure what it is ...so I am forced to pay attention to the speed...as there are several "SMILE" zones ( speed points where cameras are set up to trap speeders) between Queenstown and East London, without the assistance of a limiter.I should have asked Bob how this works...but haven't sorted it out on my own.Could probably read the manual...but way too much work.At any rate...I am driving along...noticing the usual....HITCHIKERS, Cattle and sheep in roadway....and even saw some initiates....preparing for the ritual of circumcision.....not the actual ceremony, but a man was painting up a few young men outside their homemade hut just off the roadway...so saw that! Just driving along...listening to radio, heard about an auto accident on the N6, the very road I am on...but they didn't give out details...just said there was lots of "mist" ( fog in AMERICAN)Well, I made it through the first little town on the HIGHWAY, and kept on going....I was making fabuous time...and could just imagine how much sewing I was going to get done.... drove another 40 kilometers...and heard another reference to the accident...it now said it was between the towns of Cathcart( the place I just drove through) and Stutterheim...(the town I was heading toward!) This was not good news..as it is only a two lane road..and could really slow traffic down! So I turned up radio hoping to catch more info...and about 5 more min. they added that the road was now officially closed....and would remain so for at least 5 hours! Now I immediately start looking for beside the road markers..to see exactly where I may be...and I reach into the door pocket for the map....WHEN is dawns on me...that my husband has removed the full sized map...to locate the street in Capetown he has to go for a meeting!Definitely not a good place for me to be....out in the hummadolas ( the sticks) without a map...further I have no idea how to go about finding alternate routes...and it, the accident is still up in front of me somewhere.Now let me add at this juncture that I NEVER drive around by myself this far...but really was hoping to see a movie and go to a store to get some good thread, (another hard to find commodity) and buy a few things at the mohair shop. Being alone with no idea which way to "detour", I get on my cell phone....and call a friend for directions. She tells me the only way to proceed is to return to Cathcart, now at least 30 miles back the way I had just come and to go to another town called Fort Beaufort, but that it is "a hell of a drive"! I figure I still may be able to make it...not knowing the exact distance of all this detour....so I head back to Cathcart.NOW, there are POLICE there to block off the road...why they couldn't have been there 20 min. earlier..I have no idea. So I turn off for FT. Beaufort, behind a line of very slow moving trucks, and the saga begins. I am driving under 40 Kilometers most of the time...because of these stinking 18 wheelers trying to pull their loads up hills(this equals about 25 miles per hour!) and another thing not mentioned until now..is that ALL trucks in South AFrica have limiters on them which keep them from speeding....or going faster than 25 miles an hour up hill! Hate trucks here! At any rate...I am driving along..very slowly...and then I see a road sign...(let me say that this road is even narrower than most farm to market roads back home...no shoulder...no place to turn off..or around) which informs me that the next town, Ft. Beaufort is 72 Kilometers away! Quite a trek with little chance of going fast. I am determined to get this over with and get my haircut...maybe I'll just be a few min. late...and I will call her to let her know. I finally make it to Ft. B....and actually after I passed several trucks could drive almost 50 MPH, I still thought maybe I might make it...just a bit late...and by now I have been driving almost 2 hrs...so I will have to drive 2hrs back the other way to go home the way I've just came....so I must carry on! I again call my friend to ask what road I am looking for now...then I realize in horror...that I have a pre paid cell phone...which doesn't have a lot of phone time on it...SO I TALK FASTER!!!! get the info and start looking. Oh, did I mention that I may have been caught in the "SMILE" zone...going 78 K.....will only know for sure in a few weeks if they send my photo to me. :o) I find the right road that I am to be on...only to find out that now I have to go through a "ROAD WORKS" stop....which last for 30 min. Stopped in the town of ALICE, stopped in fact for so long, that vendors come to sell fruit and drinks...which is NEVER a GOOD sign. I also noticed that hitch hikers were lining up along the side of the road.Now I have only ever had 1 hitchhiker in my car...with my husband along...but I was as frustrated as I could be. So I rolled down my window...spying a nicely dressed woman in a dress....and I hollered out the window, "Do you speak english?" ( South Africa does have 11 official languages... :o) So one does need to ask, she replies, "Yes". I say,"What do you do?", She says, "policewoman". I say"GET IN"!!!!!!!! I know today she is probably telling her friends about some crazy American woman...who scared her to death.... but I had had enough. She told me about the real crime statistics...I griped about roads, traffic, poverty...and anything else I could think of. She did save me from following the road signs which clearly say to turn right to go to East London....but which in fact take you through several "township villages".....the long way round....and she showed me the quick way to the wonderful 4 lane Proper highway which took me to East London ......FINALLY!!!!!! I made it to the hairdresser....who had a lady getting a perm, another waiting for haircut...and two more ladies show up "early" of all things for their haircut!!! They could all tell I was harrassed...and over an hour late for my appt. She said she'd do the best to work me in, quick enough for me to face another 4 HOUR journey home! One of the girls who came in, could see that Julie, the hairdresser was swamped...and offered to make all of us tea. She also offered to be the maid...and sweep up if that would help me get my haircut. The next girl to come in early, offered to call someone she knew in the police dept...to see when the rd would reopen...which I heartily welcomed. I really didn't want to have to face that drive home.What nice people South Africans can be! At any rate...Julie, true to her word, put solution on the Perm lady, then cut one of the other ladies hair....then she washed my hair, then blew out that lady, then she rinsed the perm lady, then began to cut my hair...before she finished my hair...she had to go rinse the perm lady, then got her under the dryer....then worked on my hair some more.....It was crazy, but she managed to get me through, I paid her double for the effort. It still wasn't quite 2:00...oh, and the good news came by one of my newfound friends that the road was now opened...so I could kill an hour before I had to start home....so it was off to the mohair shop...I ran in, grabbed my purchases(can't divulge as some are gifts...and don't want to reveal) and ran back to the car. A man flagged me down as I exited parking space...to tell me, I had an almost flat tire!!!!When it rains ....It pours!!!!!! He tells me the closest tire place is only a block away....so I put on my flashers and start up the street. DID I tell you that I am on the street by the mall....hugely busy street, so I am driving up the street, flashers going...pass the McDonald's but don't see the tire shop.BUT, there is a FIAT dealership. So I park there, and go in to ask someone (who speaks english) where the tire place. I think I must have had "HELP" written on my face, as the woman inside got up, came to me, patted my hand and said," let me get you some tea,I will help you!" AND she did, she called the tire shop, asked them to please send a man over...to remove my tire for me. I go out, the guy shows up, takes the jack out of the trunk, gets the donut tire out...as its not safe to leave car up on jack...by the sidewalk.So he gets car jacked up, starts taking the tire off....and YEP...the car falls OFF the jack!!!! He tries again....after finding a brick to put under the front tire. It falls off again..apparently this stinking Mercedes jack doesn't hold the weight of the car!!!!!A VERY BAd thing to find out when you have a flat tire!!!!! I'm thinking!!!! So he says, MAY I go and get the hydrolic jack from the store???? SO off he goes...and comes running back a few minutes later with the hydro jack!!!! He is pumping away...and gets it all up, puts the temp tire on, and I drive over to the store( about half a block away) and he is hauling the jack behind me. I arrive at tire store, he looks at bad tire and says that the tire seems to be non-repairable....as in buy a new one! But he does have it checked out...and apparently, driving those back crappy roads...must have been too much for the tire...as I have sliced it...or lifted up a piece of the tread...or something non fixable!!!!! So I BUY a new tire!!!!!! Now, this has all been too much for me...Instead of a two hr journey each way, I have spent over 6 hrs on all to crappy roads...damaged a tire badly enough it had to be replaced....didn't get to see a movie, or go to the fruit and veg place...or three or four other things I wanted to do, including picking up my airline tickets for my OCT 28 trip to the US!!!! How that could have slipped my mind???? I can't imagine.!!!! I also picked up a hithhiker, and last but not least MAY have a traffic ticket coming in the mail!!!!!!!! ANd how was your day???????Just hope you don't need a trip to the salon!!!!!

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Thanks for the quilt books....and other things.......


Had to post this photo of a herd of elephants we spied huddled under the tree during the hot part of the day...when we visited the Kruger Park....a long time ago. As spring finally seems to be coming...much warmer here since the weekend..... found this funny picture on computer of the Elephants hogging the shade tree! IT brings back good memories for me!Special thanks to the Pampa Texas quilt guild, your lovely quilt books arrived for the much appreciative Queenstown South African (Saturday strippers....as I call them) quilters. There is much excitement and anticipation by my fellow, "strippers". I picked up the books on Monday, thinking they were library books for my library, and when I saw they came from Pampa, realized they were from you wonderful ladies. I ran in quickly to a Monday night meeting at a fellow quilters house...( to give her money and the empty package of Bob's favorite saltine crackers...only available after a two hour drive...and she was going to said city on Tuesday...) and mentioned that the quilt books had arrived as a "pay it forward" gesture from you. There were several quilters present...and they got very excited about getting to peruse these new treasures. Thanks so much to you wonderful ladies. I am sure they will use them, pass them on to their maids ....several of whom have begun making their own quilts! So you are helping a community you can be sure. We also just finished a little girls quilt...with fairies on it, as a donation quilt to be raffled off for one of the local Old Age Homes. I am hoping to get some of the girls to do mile a minute quilts to donate to the local rape/trauma center for young girls here. There is a crisis room for children of crimes here...and several of my friends knit teddy bears to be given to the children who have to go through that area. Unfortunately there are too many of them. It is sad. There are also several street children being helped through a local church and the list goes on. We all recently made over 200 beanies, warm hats for the Illinge Childrens project...they are all aids orphans, and we have donated cloth to some of the local grannies to make up into bed throws. It is sad, but the Nun's who assist in this project actually collect opened lotions, soaps and shampoos, from several of my friends B&B's for these children. They explained to me that they can use just about anything. We found them a used tv and vcr to use during the after school /homework program ..... and then someone told me they had a bunch of good used towels..the nuns were thrilled to get those for the children. It seems that nothing ever goes to waste here....there is always someone who needs it! In fact the other day, I saw a man, with a toilet and a sink in a wheel barrow...walking over the bridge going to town. Who knows what he will do with it....but they are definitely into recycling. I so admire the things that they make from trash here..... I love it all. I think I will be much more aware of what we actaully need to be happy from now on. My list has gotten shorter as a result of living here that is for sure. I am still hoping to buy a little scooter to ride on when we come home....it makes so much sense for most of the year.... I am picturing myself riding on the thing....an old round granny with my hair blowing in the breeze, weaving in and out of traffic...heading to the fabric store..or craft shop...or grocery store....with my backpack to put my goodies in! I would buy one here....but finding parts might be a problem back home...so will wait until we return. I may have to sort some kind of umbrella hat...so I can ride it in the wet...but I am open to that. Told Bob, I'm not riding it in snow...but the rest of the seasons...I am up for it. Can't you just picture me doing it?????? Enjoy your day, hoping to sew....tomorrow...before I go to play cards with the girls... and after I get back from haircut....shame...Have to drive 2 hrs to get mine cut....EACH WAY.But haven't had it cut since late May, and it needs it! But did scrap several pages today with the girls....and made up chocolate chip cookies...used up all but one batchful of my hoarded chocolate chips. Don't know if I mentioned you can't get them here! Figured I will bring back a package or two when I return from stateside trip...along with Creamy Italian for Bob and chow mein noodles...another thing we can't live without! Unless one of the kids send us a couple of bags....Yikes...we are down to our last bag.... Bob must be eating them at night after I go to bed!