Monday, July 30, 2012

Weekend trip to our first International Quilt Convention in Africa

On Friday 4 of us ht the road to the big bad city of Johannesburg to visit our very first International Quilt Convention in Africa.  Now I stressed long before the time as I am quite satisfied with the hand I've been dealt but if I could change just one thing, it would be to have a sense of direction.  That little inner magnet people are born with.... I did not get one.  DH explains it best when he says "just because she found Pick 'n Pay today, does not necessarily mean she'll find it tomorrow" and that is truer than most people believe.  Here we stopped for brunch along the way, traffic, signs to read and follow still manageable but that was just the quiet before the storm.
f.l.t.r:  Karin, Me, Iessie and Angie (Karin's daughter)
Once we eventually found our lodge with Angie's help, there was no time to rest my stressed body as I wanted to visit my sis and mom in Centurion, so off to the Gautrain Karin and I went.  Now taking Karin along anywhere only confirms that more people than just me were born without that magnetic direction guide but at least I'm never alone and lost.  We are both lost!  At the train we basically had to remember 2 things, where to get off and on which platform to catch the next train.  You guessed it; we got off at the right place but just couldn't remember whether we had to be on platform A or B.  So we followed the crowd and they obviously knew where we were heading as we actually got to Centurion.

We only got back to our lodge after 11 pm dead tired but then next morning we were up early to experience the convention.  Clever this time, we contracted a taxi driver to take us to and from wherever we needed to be, so a lot of stress relief doing it this way.  I didn't take too many photos inside as one can never be too sure whether it is allowed or not.  I could unfortunately not take any photos of the quilts but heck these were stunningly beautiful and I thought a good mix of techniques to suit everybody's taste.  The best part of any festival and this convention is meeting up with old friends and seeing familiar faces.

After shopping as if we don't have shops in Bloemfontein Karin and I had time to explore the rest of Emperor's Palace which somewhere over the weekend was called Caesars Palace and Gallagher Estate!!  The bottom line being, we were not in Bloemfontein!

From my point of view our very first International Quilt Convention was well executed and done in a professional manner.  The people who did courses enjoyed it thoroughly and I enjoyed the vendors and variety.  I have so many new toys to play with!  A huge thank you to Angie who took over the driving back home.  Karin and I vowed that in future contact with Johannesburg will be done via the post unless Angie can come along and chauffeur us through the city traffic.

Monday, July 23, 2012

My baby is 21

My last major family event I had to plan for this year and I am glad this one is over and done with as well.  Everything looked stunning however, the venue, the cake and the blonde.

The barman we had was one of the best I've ever seen in action and so patient with the sometimes rude youngsters.  Just look how he decorated her welcome drinks without being told.

Some family poses with the 'big girl'.  DH and myself proud that we survived this blonde, very pregnant daughter-in-law, never too tired for a party and older brother shower his higher ranking but still refuses to drink anything stronger than caffeine, no matter what the occasion.

Known for her crying spells during happy occasions here the blonde could not stay dry eyed during the speeches.

Luckily the other youngsters were up for a party and the tears were soon forgotten.

The blonde says it was the best 2 hours of her life and I'd rather not go into any discussions on why she only enjoyed her own birthday party for 2 hours.  However I think she realized being 21 does not suddenly make you immune against shooters!

Monday, July 16, 2012

I can almost breathe again

My 50th birthday party is over and done with and I've never been more grateful for a Sunday just to unwind and relax.  Apart from it being bitterly cold outside and almost too warm inside the air conditioned room nothing went wrong and I enjoyed having so many special friends together in one evening.

DH had a nice treat for me in 3 amazing performers that sang while we ate.

I had my two confidants in life with me which made the evening even better.  Karin is well known to everyone who knows me or read my blog but a special treat the evening was Maureen, on the left, whom I met when she was only 6 and I was a mature 8 years old.  Friends for 42 years!!

DH gave a lovely speech and when I see my two kids dance it is always a tender moment.

I received wonderful gifts and the trouble some people took with their wrapping or cards blew me away.

Thanks to all who attended to make this evening memorable.

Now I only have the blonde's 21st to worry about next weekend.

Friday, July 13, 2012

One down, two to go

I didn't quilt a single stitch this week but I taught two evening classes and with me not getting behind the machine to quilt, I eventually fixed a pocket on one of DH's shirts and hemmed two of my own pants that have been shoved around in my sewing room for more than two months.

Then Thursday, on my birthday, we lured DIL to my fictitious birthday function which was actually her Stork party.  I have never in my life told so many lies in one single month but heck this kid was annoying.  Wanted to come over to visit way too much but what she didn't realize is that every time she came over we hurriedly had to hide stuff, shut doors and continue with our lies.
My son and DIL
Her sister came over to help decorate the room - another lie told to DIL in that I have one salon treatment after the other and that she really couldn't come over during the day to help with anything or to congratulate me.
Bianca, DIL's sister with the nappy cake she made

Then an even bigger surprise for DIL when her aunt flew all the way from Pretoria to attend the party and her mom and aunt quickly came by to check on her progress.
DIL's aunt, me and her mom
We planned well and the final work didn't turn out to be too much and we soon had the room decorated.

     Some of the finer detail.

Friends and family waiting for the guest of honor to arrive.

I do believe DIL was rather surprised as she apparently did not much look forward to her mother-in-laws' stuck up party.  As if I ever have these!!

Karin and I decided we weren't pregnant and doctored our orange juice with a little cane and relaxed in a corner on the couch.

Needless to say the more alcohol Karin consumed the friendlier she got and I think she also got confused with me and my husband as it got cozier the later it got!

Socks just had to check out the quality of all the new gifts for the baby and thought this to be the best of them all.

One party down, two to go and today major planning for my REAL birthday party.

Saturday, July 07, 2012

Saturday quilting group

While DH left to play golf early morning I tackled the laundry and ironing.  I have a rather hectic week ahead with no single day that I will have time to do housework. So I better stay on track every step of the way and not allow anything to become out of control or untidy.  I also packed all my stuff for the afternoons' monthly Saturday quilt group meeting.

It was a really cold, wet and miserable afternoon but we started working to stay warm and I almost finished two more Dear Jane blocks.

Friday, July 06, 2012

This week's activities

The blonde left for Cape Town on Wednesday with friends and even though she turns 21 later this month this trip just proved that she'll always stay our baby as both DH and I were rather tense about this 10 hour drive and to make it worse with the last part being at night.  When I got a text message from her at 1 am to say they arrived safely all my plans to go to sleep went down the drain and I tossed and turned all night.

Not feeling too chirpy the next day but started the day well with breakfast with fellow quilter Wilna at a quaint coffee shop called 'House of Breads.'  Seen this so many times driving by but never took the time to stop and enjoy so this suggestion from Wilna was rather welcome.

Went grocery shopping afterwards (with the blonde not here the pantry might just look full for half a week).  Back home fellow quilter Frances came by catching me nicely stretched out on the couch ready for the days' Wimbledon sipping Choc-o-chino (1 teaspoon hot chocolate, 1 teaspoon coffee, sugar and milk added as desired).

Only got to finish my Universal Beauty quilt top the evening and it turned out much bigger than I initially planned on computer.  I still had to add 2 borders but seeing this on a standard double bed it already reached the floor on 3 sides, so I ended it right there and then.

I do have a couple of urgent matters to attend to but do believe I will start the sandwiching and quilting process soon.  Today off to have a passport photo taken for my visa to Croatia!

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Old news

I've been running around planning events so much lately that I've fallen behind in keeping my blog.  It was bitterly cold in the Free State last week and we decided to bring the babies in from outside.  Now they can still enjoy a little sun and warmth in one of the guest bedrooms with Ash (the cat) taking good care of these quiet playmates.

Still working on my Universal Beauty quilt and in fact even though not shown on this photo I'm done with all 38 New York Beauty blocks and joined the sashing around the center piece.

For the first time since we started with this quilt and returned from Karin's cabin on 10 June 1 could clear my cutting table which looked like this while working on the blocks.

The past weekend however how weather turned really lovely.  Even the blonde got out of bed earlier than usual and joined me in my sewing room building a puzzle.  Ash didn't think much of her attempts.

Karin and her hubby came over on Sunday so the men could give us a Show and Tell with their photos taken in Thailand and look they even thought of us while there.  The silk they brought home to their quilting wives.

Today my sewing room will be thoroughly cleaned before I continue with any other stitching.