Monday, 24 June 2013

The Garden Party that nearly didn't happen

Last Saturday was the date for the St Nicholas Church, Keyingham, Garden Party. Every year this event takes place in the Rectory garden in June. We arrived home from our holiday in South Africa and had to do some serious grass cutting and digging of weeds to get the garden reasonably tidy for the day. Unfortunately, the weather was very unpredictable and rain and strong winds were forecast for the day. At 07.30 in the morning the organising committee made the decision to hold the 'Garden Party' in the village hall. In some ways, it was more convenient but there wasn't the same atmosphere - and it didn't rain but the wind did blow. Oh well...

A lot of people came and things seemed to go quite well. I had made a number of very simple shopping bags for the craft table, mainly from fabric that had been given to me over some time. I took nine bags and seven were sold. One lady said the two she bought were going to Hong Kong! Now I'll have to get on and make some more for a sale due to take place at the care home where I work.

Here are the bags I took last Saturday:


Wednesday, 12 June 2013

My mug

Today I received a lovely mug from my partner in the recent mug swap, Sarah-Jane Goode. She lives in Portleven in Cornwall and the mug has a picture of a building in Portleven on it. I love the sea so the breaking wave will remind me of being on holiday!

With the mug came some very naughty fudge made with Cornish cream! Yummy! I will ration that out at one piece a day!

Thank you to Hannah/Cupcakemumma for organising the mug swap! Here is my first coffee in my new mug:


Sunday, 9 June 2013

Holiday sewing

Three weeks without sewing? Not a chance! Thanks to my sister-in-law, Elaine, I enjoyed a unique sewing experience while on holiday in South Africa. Elaine attends bag-making workshops in her home town of Ballito and has made bags very different to the ones I make. She was determined to show me how to make a couple so arrived at our holiday cottage well prepared. She had done the prep on the bags: some of the cutting out, the quilting and the piping; all this to save time so that, basically, all I had to do, with her guidance, was to put the bags together. She even brought her small Bernina with her; just as well as it is far more up-to-date than the 40+ year old Bernina I use in Durban!

While our husbands went off to play the local golf courses, we set to work. Elaine is a good teacher and supervised while I did the work.

Some of the bag construction was quite tricky and I learned to insert an endless zipper with two sliders. The first bag we made was a plastic-lined toiletry bag and the second a matching overnight bag. Attaching the piping was a bit tricky but the most difficult part was attaching the gussets. We did the overnight bag on the second day but had spent part of the morning in the nearby village so I ended up working into the night. Eventually I was just so tired that Elaine came to my rescue and helped with the gusset. It was a comfort when she said that, when she made her first overnight bag, her teacher had come to her rescue as well. I didn't feel a complete failure!

Here we are with the completed bags:

This was a very interesting and enjoyable learning experience. However, I had another sewing experience that really warmed my heart!

We spent the last week of my holiday with our son and daughter-in-law and grandchildren in Durban. They had moved house a week before we went there and one day I was left with our grandchildren while the other adults were busy moving things from the old house. My daughter-in-law had said that the children could do with more drawstring toy bags so I found some fabric I had left there after another project and got out the trusty Bernina. Emily, my 7 year old granddaughter, was very interested and I involved her in measuring and cutting out a bag for her. She then sat on my knees at the machine and her foot just reached the peddle. With my hands guiding hers, she did nearly all the sewing on her bag. She kept saying how much fun it was to sew and how much she loves sewing. It made me so happy and I'd like to think that my Mother, her Great Grandmother, was watching us from heaven and enjoying the passing on of skills to another generation. Sadly, there was no-one around to take a photo of us but I think I'll remember the experience for the rest of my life!

5 year old Alexander was not to be outdone; he sat on my lap and, with my hands guiding his, zig-zagged the bias binding for the drawstrings on his bag. What fun!

Saturday, 8 June 2013

Mug swap

I joined a Mug Swap organised by Hannah, of Cupcakemumma. As I was about to go to South Africa, I decided to buy my partner a mug there. That turned out to be a good idea as, when I communicated with her, she said she likes elephants, collects teapots and likes the colour purple.

I looked for a mug with an elephant on it but couldn't find one I liked. Then, in the last shop I went to, accompanied by my sister, (which was such a treat!) I found a mug I really liked but it had an African hut on it. Then I found a cute little matching teapot with an elephant on it and then my sister spotted a handpainted card with a purple elephant on it! Now, what could be more suitable!!?

Here they are:


Sunday, 2 June 2013

Home again!

I arrived home on Friday after three weeks in South Africa. It was wonderful and I really feel as though I've had a holiday. It's been all 'go' since Friday as I worked last night and will do so tonight and tomorrow night. What with laundry, food shopping and opening mail, my time seems to be filled.

The house is very quiet as I've left the Great Golfer in Durban for another week. I haven't spent time alone for three weeks, which makes it more intense.

I still have to get all my photographs onto my laptop so, when I've done that, I will blog about some of them to highlight special moments of our holiday. But it was wonderful to spend time in the beautiful countryside of the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands, then with our son and his family in their new (100+ year old) home in Durban. We have enjoyed meeting up with friends from various stages of our lives and with all our siblings. I have been truly blessed! I would like to share this African Blessing with anyone who reads this:

May the African sun always shine on you.
May the rhythm of its drums beat deeply in your heart.
May the vision of all its glory fill you with joy, and may the memory of Africa be with you, always.