Archive for the ‘Books’ Category

Thanks for all of your comments about my guild situation. Seems to be a common problem with guilds. I thought very hard about my course of action and have decided to resign from the committee and take a break from the guild. I’ll try again in the new year when there is a new committee in place. Most of the women there are lovely, and having the guild to look forward to each month has been good – especially when I have been feeling a little lonely or homesick.

I was going to resign from the guild effective immediately, but I decided to see the quiltathon through. It was my idea, and I feel some obligation to it. Besides, I know that it will probably die away if the two of us on the committee that were the strongest force behind it aren’t there.

I’ve been sewing for it in preparation for the day – I turned these:

Into these:

The first colour is more accurate.

These were really fun to do and I’ve just been gifted with a whole stack of muslin so I’ll be doing some for me in the near future. Probably with strips all the same width though. These blocks were a mix of my own and donated fabrics.

I’ve also made some more straight strip blocks, and packaged colour-coordinated kits for the day, and put together some 1 and 1/2 inch strips into sets that the ladies can take home and then bring back on the day. The idea is then that all the blocks will be put together and randomly sewn into a quilt top.

I sewed the buttons onto the charity sweater today.

I’m really pleased with how it turned out. I am sadly behind in my committment to 25 things for Charity this year.

Well it’s late and I’m tired so I will leave you with this picture of Gorgeous Girl. She loves feeding herself pasta.

This is the aftermath.

And, simply because she is so darned cute – here is Gorgeous Girl caught in the act of eating paper again.

There has been reading:

2008 Book List

26. Yoga School Dropout – Lucy Edge – a travel book about her trip to India in search of enlightenment. It was OK

27.  In Her Hands – Craftswomen Changing the world – Paola Gianturco and Toby Tuttle – this was interesting. It looked at women in the developing world who were earning a living through their craft, and in the process raising the status of women and achieving education for their children.

I haven’t forgotten about the pictures of how to wear your baby African style, I just wanted to show some crafty stuff today.

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Forgot to mention the other day that the pictures from the Quilting Guild’s show are up on their website. If you are interested in seeing what South African quilters are doing you can see some examples here. Click on the show tab in the menu.

Yesterday I had to head in to the office for the day. One of our Execs from the US office was out and he wanted to meet with the all the people in our department. Then we got to go out to a fabulous Vietnamese restaurant for lunch. The restaurant had AMAZING views of Table Mountain. Unfortunately, my camera batteries were busy charging, so no pics.

Thanks for all the feedback on the sweater. I’m going to continue (since the mother-to-be tells me that she doesn’t think it’s too girly), but I’ll leave the sleeves until I know the sex, and leave the decorative edging off if the baby is a boy.

No new sewing or knitting to show. I’m trying to get caught up with my blog reading and Gorgeous Girl is not having a good day as far as napping goes. She’s perfectly happy at the moment, but napping isn’t on the agenda.

I keep forgetting to update my reading list:

2008 Book List

25. Golden Deeds by Catherine Chidgey

Oh, yes, I’ve finally given in and joined f@ceb@ok. Love the scrabulous application :)

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So I did my white glove duty at the show on Thursday. Wow, there were some stunning quilts! There was beautiful embroidery as well, with some stunning hand dyed linen for sale. I don’t embroider, but I was seriously tempted by the linen! There were also lace makers. I had a go at making bobbin lace. I enjoyed that and could see myself doing it, but in the end what can you do with all that lace you make? So it’s probably a hobby that I won’t be taking up any time soon.  Especially because, you know, I’ve got so much time on my hands.

They were very serious about the whole no photo thing. I honestly don’t understand it because I had permission to photograph for the guild website – so it’s ok for me to take pictures and plaster them all over the internet, but it wasn’t ok for someone to snap a pic with their cell phone? Anyway so I’m there merrily taking pictures and the white glove ladies from the embroidery guild were so upset that I was nearly rugby tackled to the floor and my camera confiscated. Fortunately, I was able to explain in time :)

I will be putting all of the photos from the show on to the guild’s website – just not today since we have guests for dinner and I need to go and make soup before heading back to work (across the room on the other computer).

If you would like to see show and tell from the last 2 guild meetings you can go to the Helderberg Quilters Guild website and click on the gallery pages. But seriously those quilts pale in comparison to the quilts display at the show.

My little African animal quilt was there: displayed next to the most magnificent baragelloesque quilt done with stunning African fabrics, which made it look rather like the poor cousin.

I’ll let you know when I have created a page for the show. Ok PSA: if you want to create a website for your guild or club consider this company. It’s very easy to use – you don’t need any technical background and it’s free.

The Chocolate Cat has hinted that perhaps it is time for another picture of Gorgeous Girl:who am I to deny her fans lol

Destroying the shopping dockets.

There has been reading:

2008 Book List

24. Desert Rose – Mary Weijun Collins

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Thank you all for your nice words about my latest finish. I will get back to all of you personally, but it’s going to take me a few days.

Now that the quilt is out of the way, it’s time to return to my regular schedule of projects. You know the one where I work on a different project each day of the week. I have decided though to try and work on Gorgeous Girl’s quilt for at least an hour every day as well.

I never heard back from the store that sold me the kit, but my friend Kerin had a great idea so here’s the fix.

Blanket stitched onto some stronger fabric.

and the view from the back. It worked really well.

You know those challenges that go around where they ask you to show your pincushion? Well I never played. This is why:

Soon after I started quilting I realised I desperately needed a pincushion. So I whipped this one up out of a scrap of fabric. It’s under-stuffed, and Gorgeous Man complained that every time he picked it up he got spiked. Anyway, I now have a new one, which I’m proud to show you.

When Gorgeous Girl was born, Tracey sent a lovely parcel of things, including this fellow. She posted him flat so that customs wouldn’t know we were smuggling chickens. Well I finally got some polyfill and stuffed him. He’s great! Thanks Tracey.

I have a confession to make: I’m scared of chickens and so I work with him facing away from me. That way I don’t feel so bad about sticking needles in his back…:)

There is also new hair. I got sick of the two tone look as the red grew out and so opted for a 6 week rinse. It’s a little darker than I expected… My first time with dark hair.

There has also been reading:

2008 Booklist

23. Flash House by Aimee Liu

Gorgeous Girl is not having a good day, so I have to go now – talk to you later.

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I had a good run over the weekend and actually managed to finish three of my blocks. So I’m now down to the final 10! Here’s the latest block done.

The starburst was Gorgeous Man’s idea, and I really like it, so there’ll be a few more like this.

Not much else going on. Work is keeping me frantically busy, some parts of it are really interesting, and other parts not so much, but I’m learning a lot.

My ‘helper’ wasn’t able to come today and so Gorgeous Girl had to amuse herself quietly while I worked on the computer. Here’s part of what she got up to:

Into Mummy and Daddy’s recipes. I need some more bookshelves.

Finding the leftover fabric from the doorsnakes.

Finally, playing with her toys.

Stay tuned for exciting pictures of Gorgeous Girl taking her first drink from a cup!

There has also been reading.

2008 Book List

20. Saint Leibowitz and the Wild Horse Woman – by Walter M. Miller (boo hiss, this was a sequel that should have remained unwritten, in my humble opinion0.

21. Invisible Escort – by Rose Christensen

I’m slowly getting around the blogs. Speaking of blogs, my friend Kerin is a great scrapbooker and she enters a competition each month for her local scrapbooking store. She’s won at least once. Go and check out what she did with a picture of my mum and Gorgeous Girl for this month’s competition. It’s great. Even better, she’s going to post it to my Mum as a surprise. I love my friends.

Well, Gorgeous Man is at a meeting until who knows when. I’m off to update Gorgeous Girl’s blog for the grandparents and then surf the blogs for a while before settling down with a dvd and my hand quilting. I hope your evening is wonderful

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Last week, South Africa had public holidays on Monday, Thursday and Friday, so we took Gorgeous Girl on her first-ever camping trip.

We went to the Karoo National Park. This park doesn’t have a lot of big game, and doesn’t get a lot of international tourists (I’m pretty sure we were the only people in the campsite that didn’t speak Afrikaans) but is a lovely spot to get away from it all and relax. The five hour drive took us through the mountain (literally through a mountain via a tunnel) at Worcester. I love driving in this part of the Cape. I never know which side of the car to look out of.

Stunning isn’t it. It’s autumn here and in the vineyards the grapevines are turning red and yellow and just look so pretty.

It was quite cold out in the Karoo at night (and the early mornings), but the days were lovely. Here’s Gorgeous Girl enjoying an early morning with Gorgeous Man. She’s wearing her hat from The Secret Knitter.

That’s our little tent from Australia in the background. It’s been across the Nullabor, in the far north of Western Australia, Uluru and various other places in New South Wales and Victoria. It really has seen better days and this was it’s last camping trip, it’s also a bit small now that we have a Gorgeous Girl to accommodate.

The scenery in the Karoo is spectacular too, flat plains with high mountains with lovely flat tops, like someone sliced the tops off.

Gorgeous Man is a keen bird watcher and he spent quite a bit of time wandering around the park looking for birds while I stayed with Gorgeous Girl and knitted while she napped. We also did some drives slowly around the park looking for birds.

It was really difficult to spot, but I managed to find this one:


Because Gorgeous Man is wise to the ways of the knit blogger, he pulled over at the top of a particularly scenic spot and asked if I wanted a sock photo.

I give you travelling sock in Africa!

Please excuse the wild hair, camping (and a desperate need for a hair cut will do that to me).

We will not discuss that out of the 4 projects that I packed for only one came out of the bag. The sock was cast on in the car just after we left home. It is nearly finished though. We have a dinner party tonight and I’m planning on taking it with me to finish it off…the host is a knitter that I reconverted to knitting, so she won’t mind.

Finally the time came to load up the car and come home. Gorgeous Girl was very good and waited patiently in her car seat while we packed everything in.

I’m planning on creating a website with all of our holiday photos on it, (I need to familiarise myself with web-design for my new job and this is a good way of doing it), if you are interested I’ll give you the URL when it’s done. I have lots more pictures of Gorgeous Girl, and the fantastic scenery around the area.

Oh, nearly forgot the BIG news. Gorgeous Girl pulled herself into a sitting position for the first time while we were away.

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Don’t forget to enter my contest! You have until Thursday.

Well, it’s been really cold here this week and so I got out some hand knits for Gorgeous Girl to wear. These items were knitted long before she was even a gleam in the eye. I had some yarn leftover from a gift that I had made and I knitted it up into a little jumper and a not so little hat, you know for ‘one day’.

The hat is still a bit big, though the jumper fits quite well.

Yesterday we put her in this outfit from my friend Kerin.

In other news, I have the flu. Friday and Saturday were dreadful, but I’m feeling much better now and just have a runny nose and lingering cough.

I’ve finished quilting another block, I’m not really thrilled with the stitching (note to self, don’t stitch while ill) but I’m not pulling it out because so far I’m on-track for my self-imposed deadline.

There has been reading this weekend.

2008 Book List

18. The Secret Life of a Knitter – Stephanie Pearl McPhee (aka the Yarn Harlot)

19. The Yarn Harlot Casts Off – Stephanie Pearl McPhee

Thanks Beth! I really enjoyed reading them.

Well I’m off to wack on a dvd and do some more hand quilting while Gorgeous Girl is sleeping. Enjoy your weekend.

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A little while ago I won a contest on Beth’s blog for some yarn. Her parcel arrived yesterday, and I was overwhelmed. There was so much more in it than just the yarn I was expecting.

Beautiful malabrigo yarn (this is going to marinate while I ruminate on the perfect pattern – suggestions welcome), a book for Gorgeous Girl (which she thinks is hilarious, apparently Mummy making animal noises is very funny), some fabulous fabric and two Yarn Harlot books which are impossible to get here! I’m halfway through one already.

Thank you so much Beth!

I promised you a dahl recipe. This makes a ton of it, so I always freeze half.


2 large carrots

2 large parsnips

1 large onion

2 stock cubes (beef flavour)

500 grams of red lentils (about 1.1023 pounds) :)

fresh ginger (about 5 centimetres – 2 inches)

two tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil



Finely chop the onion and saute in a large saucepan with the oil.

Grate the carrots and parsnips (I use a food processor) and add to the onion

Grate the ginger finely and add to the pot.

Pour in the packet of red lentils and then add water (about 6 cups) it should be an inch or so above the vegetables and lentils. NB I use water I’ve already boiled in the electric kettle to cut down on cooking time)

Stir well, bring to the boil, then turn down to the lowest setting on your stove, cover with a lid and leave it until cooked.

Simple really. You may also wish to add salt, depending on the saltiness of your stock cubes. It’s great with fresh crusty bread, and is always better the second day. In fact I usually make it and then leave it overnight in the fridge.

2008 Book List

17. Trajectories – Julian Rathbone

Come back tomorrow for a big annoucement.

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This weekend I decided to participate in Judy’s quiltathon. The time difference between South Africa and the USA makes it hard to report in real time, but it was still fun to set aside time just for quilting. I didn’t get as much done as I’d like, but I remind myself that I do have a baby, and I’m battling the flu.

I finished one block on the hand-quilted quilt.

You can’t see the quilting very well, but it’s very, very wonky baptist fans. I also started on the zebra foot block.

I should be able to finish this one today, child and housework permitting.

I have a quilting guild committee meeting today. Where I will ask if there were complaints about Gorgeous Girl’s happy noises this month, mention the hostile glares and ask if the guild is willing to change it’s constitution (no children under 12) to accommodate the two young mothers (the other baby that comes is two months younger than Gorgeous Girl). If I can’t get a satisfactory response then I will need to resign from the committee and take some time off from the guild.

I made my favourite dahl last night and will try to post a recipe later today.

2008 BookList

16. The Last Samurai – Helen DeWitt

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Starfish suggested a tutorial for the dpn holder, and funnily enough I had taken some pictures as I went with that thought in mind, so here goes. It’s my first tutorial and I’m a self-taught sewer, in the spirit of all or nothing it is also my entry to the Sew,Mama,Sew tutorial competition. The key is to iron, or press, at every stage.

This is what you will end up with.

1. Choose two co-ordinated fabrics – or mis-matched ones if you so desire :)

Cut the fabric to the desired size. You will need:

* a main fabric, I cut mine 20 inches by 18 inches, this is folded in half and becomes the front and back (10 x 18)

* a top flap the length of your needle holder (in this case 18 inches) and double the height that you want it to be ( I cut mine about 4 inches high)

* a pocket for the needles (the height that you want the pocket to be plus 1/2 inch seam allowance), again, it is the length of your main fabric.

* ribbon, or a tie made from the material you are working with. A note on this: I cut a 1 inch strip sewed it with a 3/8th inch seam and pulled it through. I DONT recommend this – it took longer to do this than to sew the entire holder! Use a bias maker or cut 1 1/2 inch stip, fold both raw edges to the centre, iron and top stitch down.

Here are all of your cut out pieces. The piece at the top is folded in half ready to sew around the sides and the bottom.

2. Make the ties – see note above

3. Sew the main fabric together enclosing the unfinished end of the tie in the seam – the rest of the tie is inside the material not sticking out (I used my 1/4 inch foot). Go over the tie closer towards the edge a few times. Leave a 2 1/2 inch gap at the bottom for turning.

4. Trim the corners a few milimetres from the seam, turn through and iron/press well. If all has gone well it should look like this.

5. Roll up the fabric from right to left and mark where you want the second tie to go. Attatch. Unroll and sew on – I went back and forth a few times to secure it.

6. Iron a half inch seam on the pocket fabric Align with the bottom and side edges of your base fabric and pin on.

7. Fold the fabric for the top in half and sew together, leave a 2 1/2 inch gap for turning. Turn and iron well.

Attatch to the top of your base fabric with the gap at the top (you will have ironed it so that the seam allowance is folded into the opening).

8. Sew sides of pocket and base of pocket using 1/4 inch seam.

9. Sew flap on also using a 1/4 inch seam. NOTE don’t sew all the way down the sides of the flap. I sewed about 1/4 of an inch only.

10. Top stitch across the top of the flap as close to the edge as possible. Repeat for the sides and base of the pocket. This will close your turning gaps and neaten it’s appearance.

11. Using chalk or another removable fabric marker, mark where you want the needles to sit and sew down.

Remember to do a few stitches at the beginning and end of each row to secure it. I left two larger pockets to hold needle gauges and stitch holders.

12. Fill with needles and enjoy

Finally I can’t go without a gratuitous kid picture.

The Gorgeous Girl has discovered the cat:

His days of peace and quiet are over. Fat Boy is actually purring really loudly in this photo.

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