Saturday, November 3, 2012

Our House

I thought I’d share a few pictures of the inside this time. These are all from the real estate brochure, so the furniture is not mine. Besides, mine won’t be delivered for another week or two. I’m not going to be in a huge hurry, since tomorrow our stuff from South Africa will be delivered. Looking forward to cooking with a complete assortment of utensils, pans and dishes!!! I had planned to make a chili for supper last night, but realized that I would be cooking in an aluminum pot- an that does not go well with tomatoes. So I switched gears and made Sloppy Joes in a non-stick skillet I purchased for cooking in the hotel. BTW- a note about cooking Sloppy Joes, it tastes just fine if you don’t have vinegar and make it anyway!!! Because of US Customs rules and regulations, bringing food into the US is difficult, I have to rebuild my pantry. Its amazing how many things you keep on the shelf that you don’t think about not having…. like white vinegar!

The house is 4 level, almost 5 because the garage and laundry are on a level of their own level. On the main level, we have the Living room, dinning room, family room and the kitchen as well as a half bath.

The interior is very formal. I will have to order some window coverings for the living room. I don’t know how anyone every lived in this house without some privacy! This was a model home…. when built, so the curtains at the front windows are just for show, they don’t close. I will be ordering some top down-bottom up honeycomb shades for these windows. Light plus privacy.Lroom

The dining room is next to the living room, and shares a fire place with the family room. I doubt we will ever use the fire place… because its gas, and well not for heat… on the other hand, it lights with just the flick of a switch… may have to rethink that!!!


The kitchen has some cool cabinets, very tall. The best feature if you ask me is the gas range!!! I have missed gas cooking. The second best feature is a cast iron sink that is deep and a disposal! I still find myself scraping plates into the trash, though. It will take some retraining. The cabinets are Brazilian Cherry as is the floor. It will show all the dust and dog hair.


The family room is also minus some window covering- there is a huge sliding glass door that leads out to the deck. The room is not huge, but it will do for when we want to stay in the same space…. and not go to our own project/hobby rooms/level!

On the bedroom level, there are 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms… nothing really special… well there is another fire place in the master bedroom.

On the lowest level is another family room. It also has a bathroom and a sliding glass door. Eventually a small concrete patio, will be put out there, for the dogs to land on when finished with morning and late night business. We are in the process of getting a fence, but that will take a bit of time too. We have an HOA, so everyone has to sign off on it. There is a 1/2 flight of stairs going down to it, and this picture was taken from the top. And yes that is fireplace #3.

rec room

The last and best space is the Loft! It is at the top of the house and is my sewing space. It is quite large and has lots of built in shelves, a walk in closet and a bathroom. All I need is a refrigerator and tea kettle and I could stay up there all day!


This picture was taken at the 2/3 point in the space. Just to the right is the stairway down and the last full bathroom in the house. To the left is the walk in closet, behind the photographer is an office area with glass French doors and more built in shelves! The window seat next to the bed will be removed so I have all the wall and floor space. Besides it is not really comfortable for seating. The table will become the cutting and all other things area… It’s at a good height and I have 2 stools that will fit the table height.

In the end, we will put a sleeper sofa in the lowest room and a futon up in the loft to accommodate any overflow guests. We haven’t tested the full capacity of the water heater yet… but I’m sure it could be managed.

More Later- Beth

Monday, October 29, 2012

Something to Report!

This has been the toughest 7 weeks!!! We arrived in DC on September 7 and made an offer on the house within the week. We have been waiting ever since for the house to close and move in. We nearly gave up more than once - considering rental instead.

But finally wrangled all the parties, lit a few fires (one or 2 will be singed when all is done) and moved out of the hotel on Friday October 26th into this: (the one on the right).
Yes, a townhouse. We didn’t find many (detached) single family homes that met our needs…. in a price range or close enough for DH’s commute to work without sitting in traffic 1-2 hours each way each day.

We are in Leesburg Virginia. A beautiful little city, with small town feel, well so far at least. Near the country and not too far from the city. We both have a little family in the area, so we will be connected again. We are sleeping on a borrowed bed… from family, otherwise it would be the floor!

The house has 4 levels…. and too many bathrooms. See those 2 windows at the top? That is my sewing space. Not as large as I had in Nebraska or Chicago, but much larger than I had in South Africa. It runs the depth of the house and about 14 feet wide. There are lots of built in shelves, a walk in closet, a desk and a full bathroom! The windows in the picture face east, and 2 facing the west, so there will be natural light all day. Only a few townhouses have 4 levels, so I will be in the clouds by myself… most days. DH has his own space on the lowest level of the house as well. The only losers are the dogs, as we won’t have much of a yard, but we can walk to the Potomac in nice weather (so they say) and we will try going to the dog park to keep them sane. Although we can see a huge difference in their attitudes with the added space of the house over the hotel room(s).

Tuesday, the house stuff from South Africa may be delivered (storm may cause us to push that back). With that the kitchen, sewing room and our bed will be here!!! Not sure when the house contents from Chicago will get here, but hopefully still a few weeks off. We would like to get the main level painted before the furniture arrives!

Since we have been back, we have experienced 2 tornado warnings and now ‘Frankenstorm’ is upon us. Originally news reports were that Sandy would make her landing in the Virginia area, but now the New York/New Jersey area will be hit hardest. The wind and bands of rain on the western and southern edges will cause us the most difficulty…. I have a camp stove, several cans of propane and lots of soup, cheese, bread and snacks to see us through a power outage.

As Always- More Later, Beth

Friday, October 5, 2012

A Little Out and About

Since we arrived in DC…. its been mostly staying in…. aside from eating out. We both have a bit of family in the area. I have an Aunt ‘S”  and the DH has a sister (and her family) that live a little off the beaten path. They have had us out to their house twice for a break from the hotel. It was very nice to be with family!!! They have even offered to let me bring the dogs. I haven’t seen my Aunt yet, but I plan to remedy that this weekend.

The only other 2 things that were on the ‘town’ was a Nationals Baseball Game on September 20th. DH has a friend that is also a baseball nut and he and his wife invited us to attend a game with them. Great Seats and wouldn’t you know it was the night that the Nats clinched a place in the Playoffs and a run toward the Pennant!!! DH has part of a Season Ticket , so, for the next few years I will be seeing some baseball again.


I also have attended a Quilt Guild meeting on September 25th. It was a chapter of Quilters Unlimited (click for more info). There are about 7 chapters, each functions individually but has a role to play in the big guild as well. It sounds very interesting. This group meets twice a month, one meeting is business and the other is program.

I picked the best night to attend!!! It was Program! The speaker was an amazing quilter, but not only that she is a surface design artist and she prints her own fabric! Yep amazing. Diane Rusin Doran (click on her name for more information) has some amazing quilts. She plays in Photoshop to create her fabrics, and prints them out using on her printer. Most of the larger quilts are 5 widths of fabric (8.5 x 44 inches) stitched together. Her work was just spectacular, my pictures do not do it justice.



The quilt (just a section) below was done as a collage in Photoshop and then printed. It was stunning and very bright.



Detail photo below!


All the photos in this post were taken with the iPhone 4s, most of the quilts were being handled/touched so some pictures are not the best.

More Later-Beth


Friday, September 28, 2012

Half Settled

Yes again I have been quiet, because I don’t have much to report.

We did make it back to the states and into a hotel in the DC area. This is where we are calling it “HOME”.


It’s a very nice place that allows dogs, even big dogs. Of course we are at the limit size… for big dogs. They have been very good for 2 dogs that have not been able to run and play for more than 2 weeks now. Some how, in transit, there vaccination records have been lost… and getting a rabies tag is not possible without them, so no opportunity for dog parks.

The hotel is a suite with 2 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms, living room, kitchen and a table for eating at. If we were going to be here much longer than the middle of October (we hope), then I would consider requesting all the furniture from one bedroom be removed, for a bit more breathing space for the ‘stuff ’.

We have made an offer on a house, it’s been accepted and now we WAIT. So more about that when it looks more like a reality, so stay tuned.

Our ‘air shipment’ is here, and thank the lord for family…. DH has a sister that lives close and has graciously offered to house the nearly 700 pounds of stuff… for bit.  

To keep myself and the dogs sane I take them for a couple of walks a day. There is a walking trail nearby, so we take plenty of opportunity there. One day we found this guy. I didn’t have the camera with me, but I did have the iPhone…


a turtle, don’t know what kind


and we found some of these. This one came towards us for a better view. 

There were several and a youngster, but since he was smaller than the dogs, I suspect he was questioning whose mealtime it was.

Today I am meeting my Aunt for breakfast. I haven’t seen her since 2007, so it will be a nice treat to see some of my family.

As always, there will be more later- Beth


Wednesday, September 12, 2012


Yesterday was the anniversary of 9/11 and I know right where I was. I was alone. I was in San Diego, CA - I was supposed to be getting ready for work and for some strange reason I turned on the TV that morning. Something I almost never did.
So yesterday, moving the time up 3 hours (East Coast time zone)… found me sitting in the hotel breakfast area…. It made me stop and think about the actual decade +1, and all the changes.
The first one that comes to mind is the TSA, especially after just traveling internationally. You get a pretty good pat down, (the first time coming back to the states in 2009 it was a “FULL” pat down, just let your mind go wild-yep, that full). This time more a controlled area at the gate, we had to take off our shoes and the carry-bags were searched by hand.
The second is all the changes in my life, and how fast life is moving. 9/11 in many respects seems like just yesterday, but then I look at all the things that have changed in the world, and all the changes that have occurred in my own life…. and it does feel like it should be much further in the past.
I watched a bit of some of the retrospective programs on the tube yesterday. I listen to some of the stories, from co-workers, wives/husbands and families, either recounting what they saw or the loss they witnessed. It made me sad.
Add to that the the murder of 4 members of the Libyan Consulate, over a perceived notion of a slight based on a MOVIE. Maybe we should retract our government, fortify the walls and pull the gates closed; and let the mob have at it. At least most of us would be safe.
More Later!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

A bit of Sewing!

I’ve been quiet, but not sitting still. This was our last week here in Pretoria, South Africa…. I had to finish a quilt. So between the Household Goods being packed and the packing of the Air Freight I completed a quilt for my housekeeper- Maria. Her favorite color is brown… I had to order the fabrics online and really need a variety, so I ordered a charm pack and a fat quarter bundle. I would have liked a bit more contrast…. but I made the best of what I had….. the back is a piece of ‘shwe shwe’ that the DH brought back from Rwanda for me. The color was perfect for this quilt.


The center was meandered, a medium size, straight stitching in the black border -2 rows and a vine and leaves in the outer borders. I also quilted her name and a sentiment on the bottom.


I hope that it brings here warmth and comfort, and reminds her of me.

Me, I have some quilty ways to remember South Africa as well. The Kwetterkwilters helped me celebrate my birthday a little early, since I wouldn’t be here for the ‘real’ occasion. I picked August 15 for the date. For the birthday blocks it was the receiver that chose their theme…. I chose ‘Africa’! Oh, did I get some great responses!!!! I have one more block but didn’t have the time to photograph it. I will post it later!


But the blocks I have are these, from Corrianne (giraffe & bowls), Lynnette (the African Elephant) and Leatitia the 2 strip pieced squares.


I also received a most marvelous block from Marina. It is all about South Africa and the Free State. It has symbols and words that describe the country and her love of her homeland! It is most wonderful. I am thinking it will be framed and hung in my future sewing studio!

We will be airborne in a bit more than 5 hours…. a very long flight (18 hours total) and we will be in Washington DC.

As always- MORE LATER - Beth

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Empty Space-s

To borrow a title from another blogger (thanks Wolfie). I have been busy lately segregating, sorting, and simplifying our stuff. Which has resulted in this.


The study being packed

and this


The kitchen being packed

and this.


This the sewing room and most of the guest room.

On Tuesday 3 gentlemen, Louis, Franco and Aaron, arrived to start the packing process. They got here around 9 and by 4 just about everything was boxed that would be going by Sea Freight.

Today, the same 3 arrived at about 8:30, I served them tea and then they got busy and completed the boxing by 10. Then the big truck came, with an additional 4 men. Stanford, Paul, Bob and Charles. Again I served tea and the business of loading the truck got started.


We arrived with 4 containers and we will be leaving with 4 containers.

By noon, the truck was loaded, the boxes were closed and labeled and tied down. I made them lunch… and that was it. 

We are Packed Out!


Sewing room on the left and guest bedroom on the right


The crew!

The only things we have left are the Air Freight and the luggage items. Simple living for the next 3 weeks and then the fun begins! House hunting, car shopping and worrying about the dogs and their adventure which is separate from ours. They will be leaving a day or so after us, stopping over in Amsterdam… for a ‘rest stop’ of about 8 hours and then continuing on to Washington DC, where they will be met by an expediter and whisked away to a kennel for a night and a bath.

More Later-  Beth

Thursday, August 9, 2012


We are having a true taste of weather!!! Here, where we are on the verge of the Southern Hemisphere spring and we have winter. REAL winter. Cold -bone chilling cold. Winds with a bit of ice in them… that make the cold air even colder and cuts right through to your bones. And snow! Yep, snow flurries.

There are places in South Africa that see some snow in the winter, every winter. But for Johannesburg and Pretoria to see snow flakes, that is a bit more unusual. Sort of like snow in San Diego California.


Taken with my phone… on my way home….

On Tuesday, when I got home… I let the dogs out into the yard. Axel, who has of course seen snow was very excited… he ran and rolled and played. Linzi, didn’t even notice…. Pretoria did not have any accumulation and the little that accumulated near Johannesburg, melted shortly after the sun appeared.

It is cold here! Not as cold as dead of winter in the northern plains of the USA. But here where the temperatures are milder, where homes are brick without insulation, windows are single glazed and weather stripping is non existent… central heat is not available and add to that high energy costs (and an overloaded energy grid)… well it’s cold inside and out! Burr.

More Later-



Friday, July 27, 2012

A Question Posed

This next week will be very busy, so I am going to try and see if I can setup a post…. to post while I am at IQCAfrica.

When I told my sister that I was moving back to the USA, she asked me what I would miss about living in South Africa. I gave her a couple of things…. but I can think of several more.

  1. The FRIENDS I have made. Those that sew and those that don’t.
  2. The WEATHER. It’s hard to leave a place that is warm for most of the year, and the few cold days are just that, cold, but NOT freezing.
  3. The VEGITATION. So many different kinds and something is in bloom all year long.
  4. The WILDLIFE. Birds and animals, just like the flowers, there are so many different kinds… and they are very entertaining.
  5. The opportunity to EXPLORE. New cities, places, people and customs.
  6. The VETERINARIANS. They practice old fashioned medicine, and know what they are doing. Axel has done very well here, and we are not looking forward to the difficulties in the USA, again.
  7. THUNDER STORMS. Not that we don’t have them in the USA, but the intensity is amazing.

Of course there is the flip side, things I am looking forward to having again.

  1. FOODS. I have missed Cranberry Juice, cottage cheese, apple sauce and cheeses.  They have these here, but they are just not the same!!!
  2. QUILT STORES. Not just the quilt shops, but the choice. We don’t know how lucky we are in the USA. The cost of the goods is much less and the choices are much larger!
  3. DRIVING. On the correct side of the car and road, again.

As you can see the list of things I will miss is considerably longer that the things I am looking forward…. to.

As usual, I’ll have More Later- Beth

Wednesday, July 25, 2012


Recently my friend Susara, was telling me about a group of ladies that she is working with at a church. These ladies have been making clothing and were finally tired of the same thing -so Susara was asked to teach them some quilting. She was so frustrated with the things she had to work with or I should say the things she didn’t have.


There are 2 groups of ladies at the church, those that make clothing and those that are learning patchwork. Notice the sewing machine in the picture -it is a hand crank sewing machine. Can you imagine sewing with only one hand… while the other turns the the flywheel, that makes the needle go up and down?

The fabrics they started with were more like decorator fabrics, the cutting implements dull -the rotary cutter and mat are Susara's personal items. Add to that only one iron and most of the ladies had difficulty threading the needles on the sewing machines due to eyesight.

So I went home and sorted through my fabrics. I removed most of the ones I just didn’t like, ones I didn’t use for the original project and therefore wouldn’t use in the foreseeable future…. etc. I pulled out about 40 pounds… maybe more I really didn’t weigh it.  Most were fat quarters, but there were several pieces of 1-3 yards. The next week I went back through my stuff …. looking a bit deeper. I found my cheater glasses (4 pair), lots of waxed hand quilting thread, some batting, patterns and the iron I dropped (still heats/no steam).

In the meantime I was emailing with Kelly at “I Have a Notion”, and mentioned my donation. Kelly insisted on helping and asked several of her friends if they had any items for the box. Kelly notified me that a box was on it’s way. Next hurdle was finding a date that I could get to the group to deliver the box. The day was yesterday.


Susara started to teach them making string quilts on a foundation. None of the ladies have a machine at home, so Susara has come up with ‘homework’, a hand piecing project. Here one lady is sharing her hexagons. Can we just say WOW! I recognize some of the fabrics in these too from my stash donation several weeks ago!  I have to say very impressive.



These are some of the string blocks.  And one of the first tops made with the string blocks. The border is also one of the larger pieces from my stash. Susara is having them all make string blocks so that they can all have a string blanket. These will be hand quilted, without a batting since they were done on a foundation.


I then interrupted to give them the box from the Kelly and Friends. This a picture of the ladies giving the goodies a quick look see. Margaret appraised the contents. Asked if it was for the ladies to share, and I said yes. She and one of the other ladies took the box to the corner…. and began to distribute. There are 7 ladies currently in the group, and they made 7 different piles…. and


put a piece of fabric in each pile until it was all distributed. One member, Rebecca was not there, but she will get hers next week! I must say that I got several very tight warm overjoyed hugs from these ladies. They could not believe their good fortune!!! These women are the working poor. They all have jobs, but their existence is hand to mouth and rarely have any $ left over at the end of the week. While this box doesn’t seem like much, it is truly a welcomed gift.


While the box was sorted, Susara showed the ladies how to layer a top and a backing, for sandwiching. Next it was basted. Susara asked if I would show them how to hand quilt. I didn’t have a thimble with me, but I faked it as well as I could.

I doubt if I will be able to get back to see the progress before I leave. Susara will be away in August, and I will be leaving Africa the first week of September. But if I can I will!!!

I am so glad that Kelly at IHAN and her friends sent the box!!!! These ladies will have so much fun stitching and creating. As I saw some of the fabrics being distributed…. I was drooling, since I haven’t seen many of them… in person or online either!


Don’t they just look over joyed and thrilled?

Thank you Kelly and Friends for helping me to pay it forward!

More Later- Beth


Sunday, July 22, 2012

Big News… no pictures

Well the date I alluded to in the last post is now a known thing!

I have another date to share first. Next weekend is IQCAfrica! The International Quilt Convention Africa. It’s a big deal for South Africa. It’s only a 3 day event. I don’t think there will be much in the way of a quilt show. But there are workshops and vendors (many from the USA). I am taking an all day workshop on all 3 days. I will be spending time with Susan Brubaker-Knapp on Friday and Saturday taking her “Dragonfly Sketching” and “Start with a Photo” workshops. On Sunday I will be doing the “Goodbye to the Grid” with Dena Crane of Kenya. I will be staying at the venue- something I wouldn’t do if I were in the states, but the traffic daily between Pretoria and Johannesburg is just too unpredictable…. and why should I waste 2-3 hours a day driving?

I am looking forward to a weekend to myself, sewing and relaxing…. no meals to cook, no dogs to look after (not that I mind), a small break before the pace picks up.

The other date? We have orders! That means we are now able to start the move. In just a bit over 6 weeks we should be back in the USA. Our next location is Washington DC…. Of course we will be in a hotel until we find a house, which might be a little iffy, since we have 2 dogs. Everyone ‘says’ they have good dogs… even if they aren’t. The good thing is, mine are -Good Dogs. Neither chews on furniture or digs in the yard…. and are generally well behaved. But we will have to try and convince property owners of their good behavior. So if you are a real estate agent; or have a house to rent or sell…. let me know!!!

To complicate things, the office I work for is being relocated to Johannesburg right now too. Next week I begin the physical move of our warehouse of parts. Not a small task!!! It took me and a crew of four workers to get everything palletized and wrapped to move. Next week we take the first load of shelves and pallets…. and begin to unload and shelve the stuff. I think it will take me 4 weeks to get it all moved, organized and situated….

As usual, more later!  Beth

Sunday, July 15, 2012

The Fast Lane

Since my last post about Mark…. life here has hit the FAST lane, well that is how it seems. Sure there has been down time… but not enough to do much with and certainly, nothing to write on the blog about, and the time thieves (those little things that eat up the time… but you can’t remember). Of course it doesn’t help when we are waiting for “The DATE”. I don’t think I have mentioned here on the blog…. that we will be returning to the states. 1 year before our tour is up, and a bit earlier than the 5 year plan we came with. The DH has been offered a new position, and of course he accepted. We will be returning to the DC area!!! Of course all the headaches that come with a move are now showing up. But more about those as they become more of a reality…. Once we have a date, it should move really fast.

One of the time thieves -one of my co workers was moving… and needed some assistance. She had some scheduling conflicts… so I volunteered to sit with the movers while they packed her belongings. The next week I took her to a medical test…. and picked her up later in the day. The other was Axel, since we have been here… his allergy thing has been much easier than in the states, but for some reason he has had 3 subcutaneous cysts burst. The most recent one was on his neck…. can we just say oh YUCK!!!! The physical part is easy, but it’s the twice a day meds that take up the time… and energy.

In the quilting department (and finally some pictures)… I have completed 2 more Birthday blocks for my friends and took my turn hosting the ladies. I nearly forgot that my date for hosting was at the end of June…. whew… I made Baked Ziti for dinner and strawberry short cake for dessert. It was delicious.

Corrianne-bday-blockAt the beginning of June we celebrated Corriannes birthday. She selected birdhouses for her blocks and provided a black background and a color swatch…. we could make any size of block…. She wanted ‘bright’ primary colors.

In the middle of the month we celebrated Laetitias birthday. Her block was very specific in size and background, which she provided. She has a plan and wanted a flower. If she had provided more background I would have made another!!!! Somehow I let that block out of the house without a picture!

The small group, belongs to the larger group, the Jacaranda Quilters Guild ofKwetter-block Pretoria. Each small group was asked to make a block to represent their small/home group. This was our block. We have all participated in the building of the block in some way. I did the quilting!!!

I also finished the last of the baby boy quilts. I was planning to ship it, but I don’t think I can squish it down enough to fit in the size box I can ship from here, (10” x 8” x 2”).

I also had to put a sleeve on the black, white & bright quilt, so it could be hung at a small show. So I spent a morning playing with a little Embroidery machine, a Brother, I bought before we left the states…. WoW how much fun can they be? I put the name of the quilt on the Sleeve, playing with several fonts and thread colors. I can see how and why some have the ‘super duper’ embroidery machines.

In between these few quilty things…. I have entered a baking contest at the Embassy 4th of July Party. And I won! THE Category (Brownie/Blondie), THE Extra Ingredient (macadamia nuts) and THE Overall Best Dessert!!! I submitted the Blondies and the Decadent Chocolate Brownie. Woo Hoo! I have sort of established myself as a baker here. I usually make something for the bake sale table and for the quilters, I take the dessert to the hostess. Sometimes its extravagant, like cheesecake, but sometimes as simple as snicker doodle cookies.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

All About Mark

Last year I told you all about Maria, the lady that keeps my house, and how wonderful she is. I also meant to tell you about the gardener that keeps our yard beautiful. I have a big yard, and it is on a hill, so it takes some pushing to cut the grass!
This is Mark. He is a very bright,diligent hard worker. He arrives here every time wearing a brilliant smile. I never have to tell him what needs to be done. He arrives in the morning and commences to work on the yards. I live in a compound of 4 homes. Mark cares for 3 of the 4 yards. He starts in one yard and works his way from yard to yard. He uses all the tools available to care for all of the yards. If I want something moved, arranged, dug, planted…. whatever -he does it. He keeps the limbs from the electric fence, keeps the leaves raked, the weeds at bay, he picks up after the dogs and waters the lawn twice a week.
Mark is from Botswana. He is 29 soon to be 30. He has a family; a wife, a young son 11 and a daughter 8, with a new one on the way. Due this month. He has a proper house in Botswana and goes home 2 or 3 times a year to see his family. He will be going home soon to see his wife and new baby. I gave him his baby quilt so that he would have it when he went home. It is one of the ‘baby boy’ quilts I completed recently. (Edit: Mark is the proud daddy to another baby boy, born 6/25/2012!)
Because of cultural custom, he will not be allowed to see his new offspring for 3 weeks, so it will be a long wait for him. Mark is open and is always answering my questions about him, his family and the life and traditions of his culture and country. Just recently I asked him about “Lobola”. Lobola is the bride price that the groom must pay to the brides family for the privilege of marriage. Mark paid his lobola in livestock, cows, goats and sheep, and is still paying. He still has several sheep and goats to go.
Mark, like Maria is industrious. In January of 2011 Mark asked me if I would hold some money for him. He wanted to save some money to buy a car. I said sure, no problem. Every month Mark would give me some money… and soon he had quite the pot of money. Cars here are expensive. Very expensive. You still see vehicles that are 30 years old on the road, and they are not vintage antique, but daily driving cars. In October of last year, he thought he found a car to buy, but was a little short. Mark came to me and asked to borrow some money. But unlike most of the South African help, who often ask for monetary assistance, without provisions for repayment and really have no intent to pay it back. Mark had a repayment plan. He did not buy that car. He did buy a car and now he is saving money again.
Last year Mark mentioned that some day he would like to open a photographic business in his hometown; near Francistown, Botswana. Something, his wife could do, from a store front. I formulated a plan to help him with that…. He would need a digital camera and a printer. Both are pretty expensive in South Africa. So I found a camera (Carrie another of his clients had one she didn’t need any longer) so she gave it to him. I told him to go out and take some pictures of his friends -like portraits. to play with the camera and get used to it. He is a natural with the camera. I wanted him to practice with the camera before giving him the rest of the gift-a small printer; that prints 4x6 prints. This gift is his birthday present for this year and last. He was so tickled that I had thought enough of him to give a gift he wanted. He kept telling me I was making his dreams come true.
I am so lucky to have found Mark and Maria. They are both warm and generous people and I have been fortunate to know them. I will also miss them very much when we leave here.
More later….. Beth

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Jacaranda Quilters of Pretoria

Yesterday was the winter Friendship meeting. There are only 3 a year. These meeting are the equivalent of the end of year meeting for a monthly guild in the US. There are lots of vendors, -many quilt stores are run from homes here, and going from shop to shop can really eat up a day. So the friendship meetings are for shopping as well. The meeting starts at 9, so the vendors have to get up awfully early to get here and get set up!


Like any quilt guild meeting there was a short business meeting and then, we had a program on color from a member of the guild. There are usually demonstrations at the meeting too, but this time we built a color wheel, that we used during her talk, when she would describe the relationships of color. A very useful tool.


The meetings are also a small quilt show. The small group that I belong to, Kwetterkwilters, and another, Frangipanis, were charged with procuring the displays. Each group showed off some of the things members made -projects, challenges or round robins. It was obvious once our display was up that the 7 of us are NOT afraid of color. Our group put up, last years birthday blocks (miniature log cabins), this years challenge (12x12 Word), miscellaneous small quilts, along with a few larger ones and the postcards that we have all received so far!!!


The postcard display was a favorite among the members. We each pinned our postcards to a ribbon and hung the ribbon over a black background. It really made all the colors pop.


The first stand has the Miniature Log Cabins (birthday blocks) and the last stand has some of the groups smaller pieces. Since I didn’t have much in the way of group projects, I took my Black, White & Bright quilt, and was surprised to win ‘Viewers Choice’. It was quite fun to win!!!

This may well have been my last Jacaranda meeting… The next one is in October. I have met some really wonderful, warm and very generous ladies through quilting. I am sure glad I am a quilter.

More Later!!!


Sunday, May 27, 2012

A Little More Quilting

I’ve spent a little time in the sewing room these last few weeks. Nothing monumental… like a huge quilt… just a bunch of small projects.


The first weekend in May the Kwetterqwilters went on a Retreat. They had a small cabin with 3 bedrooms, kitchen, dinning area and a living room. Not much eating went on in the dinning area!!!! I went up for the day, Saturday with one of the other members of the group. I was going to work on my postcards, but forgot to pack the silk. So I was the slave and did the chores…. pin basting, seam ripping and dishes.


The smallest project was postcards. Round 3 of the International Swap. There is a theme for those that need one -‘Where You Want to Be’… and this time I did not use the theme to make mine. The general idea… is the Sky or Aurora Borealis… I am showing just 2 here…. The fibers are silk tailings, from what I can’t remember the vendor telling us. They were acquired at the last IQF Chicago Show 2010, (before being relocated to Cincinnati Ohio in 2011). My friend Karen (she blogs here) and I saw these brightly stuffed bags of loose silk threads for $2 per bag. I bought two!!! I had fun attaching the fibers to the Peltex with a few anchoring stitches and then using beads and findings to hold more of the silk in place. These were fun. These postcards will need to be sent in sleeves.

I also made 2 Birthday blocks…. Both were houses.


Marinas was first. She had some specific requirements. It had to finish at 6 inches and the house had to have a red roof. The block is a little bigger, so Marina could cut this down and square it up herself. This is an original design and was lots of fun to make. I wish I had thought to cut away some of the fir tree so it wouldn’t show so much under the house.


The other house was for Hester. She didn’t have an restrictions!!!! This is a semi original design. I have a line drawing of this house, but it is about any inch big, so I had to redraw to a larger size…. and things changed a little. I did consider putting some smoke coming from the chimney and a door knob, but thought maybe that might be added with the quilting… so I have left that up to the recipient.


I have also been busy waiting for fabric!


It takes so long for it to arrive in the mail (2-3 weeks). But, when an online shop, takes the order and then waits a week or more to cut…. the wait becomes much too long. I have been waiting for blue fabrics. I thought I had picked a bunch that would go together, (even used the design wall of an online shop to see all of them together). Well When the fabrics arrived…. some major issues, so I had to order more. Once enough


arrived I got busy… making 3 baby ‘boy’ quilts. One of my favorite quick patterns is the Disappearing 9 Patch… although it really isn’t all that quick. It does make a really nice quilt. I got the tops done, but trying to find a crisp blue and white fabric for the back was a huge obstacle, to make matters worse, when I did, they were either out or didn’t have all I wanted. So 2 of the 3 are done. The first one goes to a fellow my DH works with. His first child was born last month… a whole month early. More about where one of the others is going…. in another post.

Waiting for backing #3, in 2 more weeks, (well and a few stash builders for ME!) I am still up in the sewing space, making another birthday block today.

More Later- Beth