Monday, 9 March 2015

50 SHADES OF AFRICA

And 1 Great Tan!


On the 17th of February, in celebration (but more commiseration) of leaving my 20s and starting my 30s the Rents, the Brat and I filled a few suit cases and boarded a plane for Durban. Having spent the last few months slowly freezing to death in another "fresh" English winter the prospect of 30 degree heat literally had me skipping with glee. It was a loooooooong flight, and not much can be said for plane food at the best of times but eventually we landed......






 The Brat and I





It was so amazing to see my bestest and her two little monkeys, obviously I'm outrageously biased but just look at them, have you ever seen such cuties??

Seth the "Doffin"

Baby Nate

Having spent the morning watching all the dolphins, we then had to spend the afternoon swimming like dolphins in the pool. I can honestly say I am the most ungraceful dolphin that has ever lived, Seth informed me on a few occasions that I wasn't a very good "doffin" and  eventually gave up and let me be a mermaid instead!! The next few days were filled with shopping, eating, soaking up the sun and getting as many cuddles as I could from my two heart breakers. And if they weren't enough occasionally I had this little princess as well,



It's very hard work this sunny holiday lark, so Lauren and I had to go on a Spa day and have a wonderful massage, reflexology and pedicure courtesy of my amazing honoury Aunty Gill, Roxy and my parents, we also had to lounge about on leather recliners watching the outrageously beautiful Jamie Dornan on a very big screen....seriously England get on board with these seats in the cinema!!  



And of course I emptied a few fabric shops along the way, it just wouldn't have been polite otherwise right? There is a very different approach to quilting and fabric over there, a great deal of it is very tribal with strong ethnic prints and colors, the designs are often quite simple making the overall effect very striking and a refreshing change from the widely accessible fabrics I have become used to.
I feel so blessed to have such wonderful friends and family who spoil me like they do I had such a fabulous week and cried an absolute river having to get on that plane even if it was to go to even sunnier Cape Town.





For those of you who know my family, it will come as no surprise to learn that of all the planes flying to Cape Town it was ours that lost its windscreen wipers and therefore had a two hour delay, you also won't be shocked to hear that of all the hire cars in Cape Town it would be ours that "wasn't quite ready" resulting in a further almost hour delay!! But you will be thrilled to know that all four of us had our passports which had not expired as well as the much needed drivers license and therefore did not have to spend 30 mins driving around chasing the postman on his route (Dad!). For those of you that don't know my family count your blessings that yours isn't as loony as mine!!



Having lost 42 lbs in the run up to my birthday and this holiday I was in no way looking to put any of it back on again, however with High Tea at the Mount Nelson Hotel, lunch at The Potluck Club, a picnic at Boschendal Wine Estate, a morning at Neighbour Goods Market and a day on Safari things were not looking good....well actually they were, hence the problem!!










Having not previously spent any great length of time in Cape Town I didn't really know what to expect and being a true Durban girl at heart I wasn't expecting much and let me tell you I couldn't have been more wrong, what a truly magical place it was. I wouldn't say it stole my heart, as I said I'm a Durban girl (come on you Sharks!) but it really was a beautiful place to be.


























Happy Quilting
Kerry xx


Wednesday, 21 January 2015

TRELLIS CROSSROADS

A Popular Block Indeed!!


I have to say that when I first started my journey on this quilt bee, I wasn't really prepared for what it was going to entail or for the vast amount of talent, vision and creativity that I was going to come across. On first glance through the book there were quite a few that really didn't appeal to me, in fact out of the 12 possible blocks there were only 2 that really caught my eye. I started to think that I wasn't going to enjoy this at all and maybe had made a mistake in committing myself to not one but two quilt bees!! Luckily I couldn't have been more wrong, I have learnt so much from being part of this wonderful experience about fabric choices, color combinations and block choices. My eyes have truly been opened. 

One such block that really didn't appeal to me initially was the block for September - Trellis Crossroads, made for the purpose of this book by Jessica Kelly you can see her blog and her thoughts on her block/bee experience by clicking on her name.




This block has been a popular choice in a number of quilt bees all over the world, each one looking completely different to any other, some people used batiks or brightly colored prints whilst others have favored more muted, pastel tones.






I had to make 2 of these blocks recently, one in purple and blue florals and the other in black and white. The process is relatively straight forward and the instructions - when you work out what is needed for only one person rather than twelve - are well set out.






To start with you need to cut your selected fabrics into rectangles 2 3/4" x 5" and sew them together in groups of four, they then get cut in half so you have 2 columns of the same print measuring 2 1/2" x 2 3/4", the trick is to mix them up in such a way that when stitched together the same prints don't meet at the corners.







As well as the prints or 'main' fabrics, there is a background fabric to contend with - 1 long strip and 1 square which gets cut in half! One column of printed squares is attached to either side of the background strip and the square - now cut in half to make triangles- is attached to the middle of the printed squares...... admit it, I've lost you?! I've lost myself to but as they are not my instructions to share I thoroughly recommend you buy the book..... it explains all.









I escaped with only a mild disaster.......




Once everything is attached each section needs to be squared up to  6 3/4" by lining the 45 degree line of the ruler directly in the middle of the center strip, thankfully I had my wing woman - Kerry Q on hand to talk me through the muddle.






And then all the squares came together wonderfully and the blocks went together in a jiffy





Kerry Q also had to make Trellis Crossroads for her Queen Bee this month in lovely shades of pink and grey, it always goes so much better when you have a friend to talk it through with.






Monday, 19 January 2015

STILL FLIRTY AT 30?!

Happy Birthday Chantal

Christmas Eve marks the day that this wonderful human was born, and I'm thankful everyday that she was!! And this year (last year) she turned 30 and therefore by default is entitled to a rather special present in my opinion! It's been months in the making.....mostly down to laziness, sadness and sickness but I got there in the end a multitude of bright shiny stars, for my bright shiny star. When making a girly present to go into a home she shares with a boy, does one need to take this manliness into account?? Uuuuuuummm NO!! Sorry Mark, but it was flowers, flowers, flowers and hearts all the way.



I did however take into account the colours of the house and their decor, even though it is intended for Chantal, and went with her favourite turquoise in as many shades and varieties as I had (and bought) and mixed that up with 50 Shades of Beige!  
I trawled through many a book to find "stars" that lept out at me and even invented a few of my own, all with my bestest in mind and things that remind me of her.












We have been through a great deal her and I with enough chocolate to fill 3 Olympic sized swimming pools (that's no exaggeration either....scarily) and come out stronger the other side. We have laughed, dear Lord how we have laughed, cried, danced, dieted, Zumba-ed, run, crawled, passed out and everything in between. 






She helped me move into my house after she had been at work the whole day, without complaint and with chocolate in hand and on her birthday she brought me Lemsip, Soothers and Cellotape because I was to ill to get it myself. So it seemed only fitting that her quilt was made of stars, totally unique, beautiful and ever so slightly wonky stars!!! 







It was a great success and she totally loved it...lets be honest did she really have a choice?!! On to the next 25 projects I have to get done.....

Happy Quilting
Kerry xx