Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Long time no see

Hi there to you all.  I know its been ages since I last wrote on my blog, but sometimes life just gets in the way.

I have just returned from a 7 week holiday in South Africa........yes, 7 weeks!..I have to say that I honestly didn't know how I felt about being away from home for that long, but as it turned out it was great.  We spent the first couple of weeks in Cape Town with my daughter, her hubby and our two grand children.  There is always a list of things the children want to do and this year the top of the list was a trip to 'Ratanga Junction' with the "Cobra" being at the very top of the list of rides, but my favourite (and one that we went on about 8 times) was Monkey Falls (you really should click on the link and enjoy).
By the time this photo was taken we had both worked out where the camera was 

Mr D and I then had a trip up to Durban to visit some friends that have both had a rough year.  The weather was very mixed (although always warm), the first week was so hot and humid I even developed a heat rash - mind you with temps. of 36 deg C it wasn't surprising.  After a few days  we left my friend V and travelled just a bit further up the coast to Salt Rock.  We arrived there on the Sunday, and Monday it started to rain. By Tuesday we had caught the tail end of a Cyclone and in all the time I lived in Natal I don't think I have ever seen it rain so hard and for so long   I believe that in 24 hours over 12 inches of rain had fallen!

cool pools 

Cool Cocktails 
Our next stop was Victoria falls.  In all the time we lived in S.A we either didn't have the money or the time to visit this beautiful tourist venue.  Getting into Zimbabwe was a bit of a trial because although we knew we needed a visa and had checked online, there was some confusion as to how we could pay (the web site said we could pay in US$, Rand or credit card, but web sites can be out of date we were told!).  We were the last folk in the airport and getting a bit frustrated but eventually managed a card payment...Phew!!!  The driver that picked us up gave us a few hints and tips about visitors to the Falls and also said she would take us to the bank for US$  but unfortunately the banks had no money (nothing unusual we now know)  so we managed with Rand and credit cards.   The falls were magnificent and well worth the effort of getting into the country.  You just cannot believe the spray that rains down on you as you wander through the rain forests, and unbelievably its warm so locals call it a free shower.

Photos can;t show the volume of water

Before we got absolutely soaked
Can you see the rainbows? 

Having a rest on the way down to the gorge 
We also decided on a Sunset Cruise on the Zambezi river.  We thought a small boat would be more friendly, and rather than a full meal we chose a boat that offered snacks and drink.  I think it was a little African style, but the guys on the boats were brilliant spotters.  We saw hippos, crocs, and an elephant (which was unusual as there had been so much rain they didn't often come to the water as they had plenty inland)
Nice and relaxed 

This is the Captain and the Bar!!!!!
There were so many 

 And such a beautiful sunset
Afternoons in Zimbabwe were spent around the pool.

Love empty pools

This part of the holiday came to an end and we had to return to the airport - and what a surprise that was!  Firstly there was an exit tax that nobody had informed us (or any of the other passengers about) and at $50 each it wasn't a cheap escape.  I couldn't believe the airport, as there was not a soul to be seen!....... beautiful airport but empty!  The biggest surprise was when we realised that there was only 10 passengers on the Airbus 320 back to Joburg!

Terminal 1 

The restaurant 

Our departure Lounge 
Choose your seat 

Our last stop before returning to Cape Town was to see friends in Johannesburg.  Oh how the area has changed since we lived there!  I cannot believe the amount of shopping malls and designer shops, not that we spent much time in them, we were off to the Vaal River for some R and R.  Time was spent relaxing by the river, bit of fishing and then trips in the boat looking for Monitor lizards and fish eagles and other wild life. 
Personal tour guide and spotter 

Lady Muck!!

I did of course get some sewing, knitting and crochet done while sitting around 

This was a DIY birthday gift from a friend 

Christmas gift 

A friend was battling to get this finished so I took it over.   
Then on our last weekend, back in Cape Town, our daughter Jan and I had a "girly" sewing time as the men and children were off to a 'Dads and Kids Camp'.  What a lot of sewing got done!!

Cardigan for granddaughter Issy coming up 
I cannot believe that this was from the daughter that had no interest in sewing!

Jan made two of these 

I also made two

Two pairs of leggings 
Not bad considering we only had Friday afternoon and Saturday..  
Our last day in Cape Town was spent at Noordhoek Cape Point Vineyard.  A picnic and lazing in the shade......just the ticket!! 

What a view 

Hope you have enjoyed my holiday.....

Wednesday, 31 August 2016

Busy doing not much at all

I wonder if it is the sun that has chased away my enthusiasm for sewing but all I have to say is there has not been much of any going on in this house.  I did manage my Mini Mania Challenge for this month, but even that gave me a few headaches ....... I decided to make a few different size plates and to try something new.  I started with the largest plate and sewed three different fabrics together to make a multi coloured plate, but what I didn't realise until I had sewn them altogether was that if you only use three colours the middle blocks will obviously be all the same...bit of a Derrrrrr! moment, still live and learn as they say...

This one measures about 7" from point to point 
back at the sewing machine to make a smaller one, but only two colours this time

each blade was 3" at this stage
now for the fun bit

Points sewn 
got the yellow and green together nicely, but then tried even smaller and goodness knows what happened to them but they certainly didn't make a plate...

Something definitely wrong here 
bit of jiggery pokery and finally got there

don't look too closely at the quilting...I was tired! 

I am still playing with beaded baubles. 

Love making these 

Just a few more...

and finally this should be all about my scarf/wrap.........I must have spent about 4 days knitting a pattern row, then the next row, only to unknit these as something was wrong.  I finally gave up as I always seem to have the correct number of stitches (261 at this point) and just couldn't get the pattern to work...and life's too short!  I'd like to think the pattern was wrong, but I very much doubt that so as a last resort .....

needles out and unpicking begins 
I have often shown you photos of my Tuesday evening country walks, but the evenings are drawing in now and the sunsets are more difficult to capture, but this is what we do half way around - when the evenings are as warm as they have been in the last couple of weeks...

Not quite Champagne flutes, but these will do nicely  
Enjoy the last of the summer sun.

Monday, 15 August 2016

Not much sewing going on, but keeping busy

I really am falling down on my blogging lately, but I think I might have lost my mojo for sewing as well. I might blame it on the stunning summer we have had, but that wouldn't be true as we have had a rubbish summer really.   There have been the odd days of sunshine and I have tried to make the most of those days with some long walks and the occasional bike ride.......no photos sorry?

I did sew last month's challenge but can't say that Seminole quilts are my favorite - still you always  learn a few things along the way, so that's a bit of a consolation.

Learnt a lot along the way

I have also spent time watching the Olympics (which I am really enjoying) and knitting up the yarn I dyed with L   If you remember we only dyed 50 gr. hanks and there's not a lot you can make with just 50 gr, but fingerless mitts work very well.  All the patterns came free from Ravelry....  If you want patterns, Ravelry is a good place to look.

4 skeins ready 

Ready for winding into balls 
and after a few weeks those hanks turned into these 

gifts ready and waiting.

I had a trip back to Lichfeild and Spellbound beads 😱😱 gilts got me again.  I bought mainly beads this time, and as soon as I got home I started playing.   My sister in law S had bought a pattern for the Emperor bauble a couple of years ago at Alli Palli and neither of us could get our heads around it at the time, so it was pushed to the back of the pile and forgotten until this visit to the shop.  I thought I would try it again as this is one of the patterns in the.book I bought.  Would you believe it, this bauble is no more difficult than any of the others so I have been busy and started whipping up the tassels.   I have to say I am really enjoying beading at the moment, even to the point of buying myself a new box to (hopefully) keep them all together

These are the tassels 
and the tassels turn into this

Emperor Bauble 

and just a few more that I have enjoyed making

Not great photos but gives you an idea 

Friday, 29 July 2016

'Bits and Bobs'

I feel I have been neglecting this blog recently, but life has been getting in the way a bit, so apologies all round.

My sewing machine has also been neglected, but I have managed to get this months Mini Mania Challenge completed, but more about that after they have been shown on Flickr .... End of the month is show time!

In the past I have made quite a few pairs of socks and there's always about 35 gr. of yarn left over and as I hate waste, these bits are kept. "Low and behold"- just the right project came up and this little shawl was born.  I did think I had enough yarn to finish the lace edge cast off in one colour, but soon realised I was going to run out - so even the lace cast off is made up of two different scraps.  Think it's turned out OK -  it's used up scrap, cost me nothing and kept me out of mischief....winner all round I'd say!

I have been dying to knit up some of the yarn that L and I had fun playing with a few weeks ago.   We only dyed 50 gr. in each dye lot, so I thought I would make some fingerless mitts as they wouldn't need much yarn.  I have chosen two different patterns and soon realised that some patterns just don't show up when knitted with variegated yarn, but who cares when they look like this.

So exciting

Little bit of yarn left

Can you see my deliberate  mistake?

After my mistake on the second pair of mitts I did take a break and beaded up a bauble or two.   I had a head start, as when I made one a few weeks ago I had made an extra bow tassel - so only two to make this time (usually three bow tassels)   I have to say I love making these, but they are a bit fiddly and terrible to photograph.  Still did my best.

Love this pattern
This one is a practice one, using some old beads that I had..... note they are not all regular size beads so look a bit scruffy.  Note to self .... if you're going to spend the time, make sure you have decent beads !
Not too shabby

Happy crafting

Thursday, 30 June 2016

Mini Mania Challenge June #16

This months challenge was Stars.   Easy you would think!  The first problem was the 3 colours that we were told to use being Yellow, Aqua, and Purple!  As you can imagine there was much discussion on what is Purple and what is Mauve!  Eventually, it was agreed that the Purple police would not be visiting, so just use what we had in our stash.  We could use as many shades of these colours to make our quilt, and there had to be at least 4 Stars and we could choose a different background colour.  My first thoughts were to make scrappy stars, but that didn't work for me, so I decided to play.

I started with a 12" block which I increased in size to give me an 18" finished block.

Then I started to reduce the star pattern, and tried to work in my colours

 I started with the smallest star, which measures 2" finished.   I then added that to my 4" finished block, hoping that my decreasing worked, and that it would all fit together.

  I  got a bit nervous after joining the first two so chose to make the big Daddy size star next.

It looks like its coming together
Just have to fill in the gap now..... that's three, now for the fourth.

Phew! that seems to work.


The finished block is 18" square, contains the three colours, and 4 stars are (almost) 'present and correct'.  You can't see, on the photo, but each star is shadow quilted and  the outside of each star is quilted with a free motion vermicelli stitch. 

Go over to flickr to see all the other ladies mini quilts, and don't forget you can always join us.  I wonder what next month will bring????