Monday, 21 June 2010

Garden envy

We often pop over to visit with one of our neighbours, exchange the latest news and have a mug of tea or coffee with him. Recently we had a braai (barbeque) with him and I got to snap some pics of his garden. He spends quite a lot of time in his garden. Being retired he has the time and boy does it show. It's not that I want our garden to be a carbon copy of his it's just that it's so neat and tidy and established. There are secret spaces all over and it's always wonderful to take a walk around the corners and see what's flowering. Hopefully, one day, we will get to the point where there won't be so much work and we can just plonk ourselves down on chairs in the sunshine and enjoy it all as he is now able to do.
The details are lost in keeping the photograph in downloadable size, just believe me it's magical and the colours are amazing.

Sunday, 20 June 2010

How does your garden grow?

The first flowers of our oldest clematis have opened and they're as big as a mans hand.

The pansies self seeded from last year and the lillies were being thrown away at one of the grocery stores. Enman has such green fingers that I took them, brought them home and voila.

See what I mean! Aren't they just beautiful.

I had originally wanted to get some butterfly stickers to put on the greenhouse doors so we know when they're open or closed but could not resist these gnomes that we found at a recent car boot sale in Esholt. The packaging shows that they're actually supposed to be stuck onto your dustbin but I think they look so much nicer on the doors.

Charming mini quilt wip

While waiting for the signups of DQS9 to be announced I came across another new little swap on Flickr, and hell, I just could not help myself. Basically each person that signed up is paired with someone and you swap not less than 30 x 5" charms plus a FQ. We have a month to make a mini quilt for our partner. My partner sent me the most fab pack of charms from the Moda French General range called Rural Jardin. She asked for something not fussy and modern. Found this pattern that is called the 'bracelet block'. Still need to sew on the binding but am really hoping she likes it.

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Rainbow spiderweb in progress

All the lovely blocks have come back from my fellow Quilting Bee ladies and this is what it looked like a few days ago. Slowly but surely the missing blocks have been constructed. Well, all except one that is. Enman said he also wanted to be able to make one and his is 3/4 made and when done is goes in the top right hand corner. It was interesting to see someone else sew the block in a completely different manner to the sewing routine I developed when putting them together.

The photo is a busy one with Enman's tumbler quilt on the one side and a crocheted granny blanket on the other. When he was a young boy and needed a blanket his older sister crocheted it for him and it has stood the test of time really well. Apologies for the darkness of the photo as it was taken in the light of an energy saving light bulb and we all know they don't exactly give as much light as the old fashioned ones.

Now that the quilt has reached this point I'm actually wondering whether to add a border or maybe a few extra blocks to lengthen it and then just bind it. What do you think?

Thursday, 3 June 2010

My psychologist ....

..... is my Bernina, my sewing bee, fabrics, needles and thread.

This afternoon I picked up the pile of envelopes with my name on and started going through them and there was an fat envelope from the US; from Cilvee (no blog); it's her turn this month in our quilting bee.
It didn't take much pursuading to get stuck in and very soon switched the sewing machine on, and wouldn't you know it in no time her blocks were done. With the first one there was a close shave as I didn't read the instructions to the end and almost cut into the fabric when I shouldn't have. Phew ... that would have been a disaster.

Cilvee asked us to make the Dutchmans Puzzle and gave us licence to use a number of different layouts for the blocks.

I hope this blocks layout is not too boring. In real life the colours are soooo much more alive and really were great to work with.

Drat and darn ... would you believe someone else has made an identical block! Cilvee did say these blocks were going into what she hopes will be a big quilt so I'm hoping she won't mind having a duplicate. The finished blocks will measure 12" square and each little flying goose measures 3" x 6".

My feet are tapping ... that's a good sign .....

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

Lost Mojo

Ever since that never to be forgotten phone call I've kinda been lost. I remember immediately after walking around aimlessly saying 'I don't know what to do' over and over again; making and receiving phone calls from various family members and friends; phoning travel agents and booking flights and bus tickets; going to work to try and block it out; packing without a plan; doing grocery shopping without a list for those staying behind; sleeping but waking tired.

Since then I've been to Rusty's hometown in White River, South Africa. With only a few days to go before the World Cup begins building work and road repairs are being attended to at a frantic pace. Shops are selling branded t-shirts and vuvuzela's at daylight robbery prices. In the midst of this madness my sister-in-law and cousins had arranged his memorial service and in the run up to this much dreaded gathering I was priviledged to meet many of his friends, and there were many! They told tales that made us laugh and cry, opened their hearts, and created many impromptu get togethers.

(My sister and I with his boots and camouflaged helmet, some poppies in a vase and a tin helmet with candle that was heartbreakingly put out at the end of the service.)

At the service there were (at a conservative calculation made by the stewards) not less than 200 people. As a member of the Moth (Memorable Order of Tin Hat), a military veterans organisation, the Moth(s) White River honoured him by hosting his memorial service in their hall, which it turned out was too small and many stood outside listening and paying their respects. His friends flew in from Belgium, India, UK, Afghanistan, Kazakstan, Georgia and all over South Africa. Those that lived closer drove up to 12 hours to get there. It was very humbling to see just what a big impression he had made on so many people's lives.

On the daytime flight going there I was once again awe struck at the beauty of a desert. The face of the Sahara changes every few minutes, from being able to see dried up river beds leading to dried up dams and the dust storms. Then on the journey back home (an 11hr night flight) we flew up the west coast of Italy,

across the Swiss Alps,

via Rotterdam into Amsterdam where I had to wait 3 hours for a connecting flight home.

Now, I'm back home but my rhythm is gone. The ironing pile is getting bigger, my back is playing up, I'm having an arthritus flare up, last night I burnt the peas ..... how do you burn peas??? Greeting cards lie unanswered, ready to sew patchwork is just lying there.

Our four legged children are wonderful - their love just remains unconditional and the garden continues to grow while the sun shines. There are 799 blog posts to get through (well there was when I started this morning). Reading about everyone elses ups and downs and successes is helping in improve this sombre mood and BGT is on telly ... me thinks it's time to be entertained while drinking a big cup of tea Enman has just made me.


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