Sunday, 27 March 2011

Once upon a time ...

That's how long ago, it seems, that I made this quilt. It was a Thank You to a very special friend who helped me when I'd needed emergency surgery to remove a renegade ovary and was home within 24 hours, stuck in bed with no help. She selflessly came to see me every day and made sure there were meals, made cups of tea, got my laundry done and generally made sure I was OK.

While I lay in bed, only able to read, (and think,) I was able to formulate the pattern. In one of our many conversations she'd said that she wanted a new quilt for her round kitchen dining table and when I heard this I knew what had to be done. To ensure that it was something she would be happy with I would engage her to 'help' with colour choice, fabric choice and layout decisions every time she visited. Whereas I've always been a little conservative with colour choice, it would be fair to describe her as bold.

This quilt has been witness to many early morning cups of tea, bacon and egg sandwich breakfasts, bright sunshine streaming through the windows, quilting group get togethers, summer salad lunchtimes and soup and toast in winter, sociable evening buffets or her particularly delicious oxtail. Mmmmmmm, she is a good cook and wonderful hostess and it pleases me to see it, faded, but still well loved, gracing this corner hostess trolley in her conservatory.

Tuesday, 8 March 2011


In 1997 this cushion was a birthday gift from my old home group in South Africa. It has three dragonflies embroidered in the middle and the names of the members of the group around the sides. The day I unwrapped it, it made me so heartsore and homesick and reminded me of the special people I miss so much. (Yes, I cried.)

At an inaugoral meeting of the group many years ago we decided to call ourselves 'The Dragonflies'. In Afrikaans, a South African language that is most similar to Flemish, dragonflies are called 'naaldestekers' which directly translated into English means 'needle sticks'. So whever we go back to South Africa on holiday I try and make a point of getting to see them, usually at the fortnightly get together at someones home.

If I remember correctly, this is Maureen's quilt (she is always smiling!). Looks similar to the Bento Box pattern. Maureen is one of those disciplined people who are able to do only one thing at a time and finish each project before starting the next one. Oh, looking at my pile of UFO's I so wish I could be like that.

This brightly coloured quilt is by a new(ish) member, Lorraine. I had only met her once before and she just seems to have fitted in seamlessly into the group. I'm so pleased because in the last year 2 of the original members have 'retired'. More on them later.

This quilt is Penny's, she is on the right. Apparently Maureen (on the left) also made a similar quilt. Maureen told us that they have a book with a whole load (about 100) of block patterns and they had each made a quilt using blocks from the book. I don't know the name of the book but will email her to ask if anyone is interested. After the Show-and-tell Penny explained that the quilt on the left was made using a Jelly Roll that had been a gift to her.

These ladies are very gifted and have produced some really beautiful quilts. I'm going to see if I can dig out some old pictures to show you in future posts. I was the baby in the group and they were always so supportive and caring when I was having 'single mom hiccups' all those years ago.

Edit: Maureen tells me that:

"the book is called:
Sylvia's Bridal Sampler from Elm Creek Quilts, by Jennifer Chiaverini.
ISBN 978-1-57120-655-8

There are 140 blocks. I only made 41 and Penny made 42 - difference is mine was on point and hers was not."

Thanks Maureen

Saturday, 5 March 2011

With permission

While showing Mrs P, my animal loving chum that we stayed with while on holiday in South Africa, what Flickr was all about and braggingly showing her all the lovely mug rugs you've all made, we came across the original of this one. Mrs P loved it and loved the concept of the mug rug as well so we wrote and asked permission to copy it and before long we received a reply from Lena saying "Please do!"

Mrs P produced her salad bowl of scraps (yes, she keeps them in a humungous see through salad bowl) and while she quilted a quilt for another friends grandson, I ran this one up. It was fun and now lies on her bedside cupboard ready for her morning mug of tea while she reads her scheduled 50 pages of one of her latest book club book before getting up.

Thank you Lena.

Thursday, 3 March 2011

South Africa in bloom

Visiting in the summer meant we got to see most gardens at their very best. The warm and dry weather conditions mean that keeping your garden colourful and in flower is not the easiest task and you need to water often. These bougainvilla which come in many colours and have a papery feel to them thrive in the heat.

The Cape Doves take shelter on the bird feeder which is hanging in dappled shade underneath a large oak tree. The plant behind them is commonly known as an air plant. This one is hooked onto the branches of the oak tree. It grows by taking moisture from the air and doesn't harm its host or surroundings at all.
These beauties are commonly referred to as Everlasting flowers. They come up after the rains and the flowers are either white or pink. It is illegal to pick them although many folk do. As their name suggests, they do last a long long time. I know because when we were children we picked some and I still have them.
The last piccie for today is of these beautiful frangipani. It has the most awesome, albeit sweet, perfume and is so delicate. They look like marshmallows that have been cut up.

Till next time, xx

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Long journey

At the beginning of February this little Fokker took us from Yorkshire to Amsterdam where we boarded a Boeing 777-200 aeroplane that seats 318 people and flew to Cape Town. We left home at 4am and landed in Cape Town at 11pm the same day, taking the time zone change into account it took 12 hours to cover the 9697 kilometres between Amsterdam and Cape Town. The moment we stepped off the plane a wave of really warm air hit us. It was a great feeling and very different to the weather conditions we left behind in Yorkshire.

There were many people that I wanted to see but my son was top of the list. It was wonderful to see him again and chat face to face, catching up on where his life is headed. I'm very proud of him.

We were also very lucky to spend time with my Mom and Stepdad. This photo shows us together on their Wedding anniversary.

We chose not to travel around as we did last time, but stay and enjoy our immediate surroundings while relaxing. Enman took this photograph of Hermanus, a seaside village on the coast of the Western Cape Province, approximately 2 hours from Cape Town.

I took lots more photo's of flowers, landscape, sunsets, quilting, friends, crafts, food, stitchery and sights I don't want to forget, and will share them with you in the coming days.


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