Monday, August 10, 2009


Here are couple of pictures that we took after we unpacked our suitcases.  These were the things on my parents shopping list.  The things they needed from America.

Photo #1 shows - cinnamon gummy bears, non-perils, rootbeer barrels, zantac, motrin, tylenol, sweat proof sunscreen, crosheen, beads and socks for making cute little bead socks - you know - real important stuff.

Photo #2, 6  one and half pound bags of chocolate chips (a necessity in life), brown sugar, mapleine flavoring, hershey kisses, and the last 3 books in a series my mom was reading - hardback of course.
Photo #3 - A years supply of Avon creams and lots and lots of Leggs brand panty hose.  Apparently South Africa does not make a decent pair of hose so import you must.
I was happy I was able to bring them things that brought comfort and familiarity.  I was also happy I had all that extra room in my suitcase so I could bring home lots of cool souvenirs.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Day 1 Continues

So back to June 23rd - after we left the church offices we headed up to Montecasino.  The Casinos in Africa are more like flashy malls.  There is tight security, lots of shops and restaurants and other added bonuses like amusement parks or aviaries.  There is gaming going on but it's kind of hidden in an area all to itself- you almost have to go looking for it, NOT like here in Vegas where you walk one foot into the casino and there are 100 slot machines with 10 feet of you.

The Bird Gardens were very fun.  It was a good activity to do since we were so tired.  The price was extremely reasonable and since we were there in the middle of the day on a Tuesday, it wasn't crowded at all.  Here is Chase with an uncaged African Gray Parrot.  His feathers were amazing.  We have a close up on video and he just has layer after layer of beautiful white tipped gray feathers.
One of the best parts was their lorakeet cage.  When you purchase your tickets they hand you a little plastic dish of what looks like minced garlic floating in a watery solution.  This is lorakeet food.    You take this with you into the lorakeet cage where the lorakeets are free to fly around with you.  They will land on you - on your hands, shoulders, heads.  They will chirp VERY loudly in your ears and peck and pull at your hair, nibble on your sun glasses, hats or ears and poop when and where they need to.  This experience was not for the faint of heart.  Chase was a bit skittish at first and when he was swarmed by the first 3 or 4 he dropped his food dish and they had to eat it off the ground.
MacGregor was much more comfortable with the birds and had many eating right out of his hands.  Their faces get very messy and sometimes they peck and push each other out of the way.
Daniel had one trying out his glasses and hat and ears.
The admission price (like $4) included a bird show.  It took place in an outdoor amphitheatre.  Again we got front row seats because there were few people there that day.  We saw a wide array of birds that we have never seen.  They did tricks and flew about with prompting from their trainers.  There were a few that were misbehaving and not doing the planned performance but we enjoyed them too.  We have the whole show on video and I will need to watch it again so I can hear what the names of each of these are because I can't remember.  So just enjoy the picture of these unusual and (some of them) endangered birds.
Some sort of osprey or falcon.
This is the South African National Bird.  I believe it is called the Blue Crane and I believe that is is endangered. 
There were several hawks too.  This is one of them.
I thought this picture was funny because the palm tree leaves look like feathers poking out all over.  Like he is the indian chief or something.
Here's a little Barn Owl.  We also saw a giant eagle owl that had a mind of her own that day and the poor trainers were running after her and climbing walls to get her down etc...  
The boys got to have their pictures taken with the little barn owl.
After the show we walked around all the other exhibits and saw many new varieties of ducks and birds.  We mostly got that on video.  But we did get this saddlebilled something or other.  He is very unusual.
We also got the Lilac Breasted Roller.  One of my all time favorites over there.  We saw many of them on the game reserve.  These first 2 I believe are the females.  Their colors a bit more muted.
I believe this is the male.  His colors are much more pastel and bright.  When they spread their wings in flight the colors are wild and amazing.
And here is the Glossy Starling.  They were also all over the game reserve.  Their colors are iridescent and unnatural.  And their yellow eyes are creepy.
After the aviary closed at 5 pm.  We headed inside and shopped a bit. Finding Ainsley the stuffed Hippo she had asked for.  It was a "build a bear" type hippo and we found a T-shirt with the South African Flag that it could wear.  I was a bit worried about buying her souvenir on the first day but later I was glad because we never saw another stuffed hippo the entire trip.  

We then ate some average food at one of the restaurants and headed home to my parents one bedroom apartment to go to bed.  The boys slept on a queen size air mattress in a small space right in front of the front door.  You could not open the door when the mattress was on the floor because it filled the entire space from wall to wall and from the front door to the kitchen.  Dan and I slept on the sofa bed that was about the size of a twin bed + maybe 3 inches.  After no real sleep for about 31 hours, we went to bed at 8 pm and slept until 8 the next morning.  AHHH.... needed that. 

Monday, August 03, 2009

It's In The Mail

Ok - so it took me two weeks from the time this was completed until I actually sent it.  It was very hard for me to give up.  It's a creation that I made (not too unlike my own children) that I  labored over for many months.  When the creation is completed I like to see it often, constantly admiring it and showing it to anyone who comes to the door.  So when it is sent away - I am left with a hole.  I guess I will have to start another one to fill that hole.

So here's the story on this quilt that I made for Cash Peterson and completed July 2009.  I first bought the 2 darkest blue fabrics independently at two shops just because I liked them.  I then found this pattern that was put out by a fabric company to go with a new line they were selling.  The fabric that they sold came with 4 strips of the same color fading from light to dark - all on the same bolt.  The deal was that you use this pattern with this fabric just buying the 3 colors you wanted to use and you'd have the perfect gradual fade.  I like the pattern but wasn't wild about their color options which were all solids.  I wanted prints since it was for a baby.  So I picked up the pattern, figured out the correct yardage for each fabric while I was shopping (not easy and a lot of math) then I hand picked the prints trying to get the same faded look.  I was really happy with the end result although the yellow was REALLY hard to find in the faded tones and I don't love the middle square.  I've found there is always one fabric in a quilt that I don't love.

Close up - Blue Square
Close up - Yellow Square
Close up - Brown Square
I then took it back to the shop where I had picked up the pattern and had her long arm it.  This is only the third quilt I've had long armed but I absolutely love it.  I now want them all to be long armed but the wait is so long and the expense is pretty high.  My friend is thinking of buying a long arm machine and I really hope she does.  I would love to learn how to do it and maybe she would rush my projects and I wouldn't have to wait so long to get them back.

Back and Binding - Quilting detail
The back is Ultra Soft Minky - Long Arm Detail
Detail - Yellow Fabrics
Detail - Brown Fabrics
Detail - Blue Fabrics
Here's one last look.  I love the geometric look and how it appears to be layered one square atop the other.  Hope Cash likes it.