Saturday, August 31, 2013


What's a girl to do, when the homesickness just wont go away .... make something that tastes of home !!!
Bar One Chocolate Sauce ...... it is EVERYTHING a chocolate sauce should be .... warm, rich (very rich), sweet and just altogether out of this world delicious !!!!

We buy our Bar Ones (a South African chocolate bar), at The British Emporium in Grapevine. Any shop that sells international food stuffs would most probably have them.
You chop them (about 4 bars) up into small pieces, pop them in a pan on low heat, and add some cream ...... I just eye balled the amount of cream. Stir it all up, until it melts ..... I had to whisk it a little, to mix in the nougat bit of the chocolate.
The result ......
Heaven In A Bowl !!! I could drink this stuff up through a straw, it's that good !!!!

Enjoy your Labor Day Weekend.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013


Never again will I need to buy another seam ripper, measuring gadget or pair of little scissors ...... well, here's hoping anyway !!!!
Isn't this owl just THE cutest sewing buddy ever ..... loyally she stands by, holding all your "Have To Haves".
She's weighted down with a cup of rice in her bottom, so she sits exactly where you want her, and wont tip over. I found the pattern and tutorial HERE. It's a great tutorial, that takes you step by step through your creation .... the best bit - it's a free tutorial !!! Now who doesn't like free !!!
She gives you two options - a single color body, or a two tone body (like mine). Just something I found, and I thought I'd mention it, should you wish to make your own friend ...
- If you make the two tone owl (like the one I made), before you cut the pattern piece apart, cut a back piece using that pattern piece (I had to cut away at the back piece, used for the single fabric owl).
- When you cut your pattern piece apart, don't forget to add 1/4" seam allowance to each edge.

I am always very grateful to people who put a lot of hard work into producing a tutorial, and then offering it very generously for free.

I'm certain this will not be the last one I make of these .... they're useful, rate very highly on the cute scale, quick, easy, and a great way to use up little bits of fabric you have lying around.

Go ahead, give this cutie a try ....... you know you want too ...

Tuesday, August 20, 2013


Freezer paper - I've had a roll of it lying in my craft room for years. I've seen so many wonderful projects where it's been used to create a stencil, but truth be told, I've always been a bit skeptical .... it's only plastic coated paper after all !!!
I had seen THESE on Pinterest, and thought they were very cute. I had a little time on my hands yesterday, so decided to give the idea a try ...... and I'm very pleased I did. I for see lots of freezer paper stencil projects ahead !!! That stuff, when ironed onto your fabric, sticks like crazy .... no color bleeding goes on that's for sure. It does peel off with no problem too.

The color in reality is a bit bolder than what it's showing in the photos. I used  SEI TUMBLE DYE to spray my bag. I knew I kept them for a reason, all of those projects ago :-) I pulled the bird template off the internet and used a little scrap of fabric I had for him. I couldn't resist the little, blingy crown. I made the organza flowers, by ruffling up a length of organza ribbon, and secured them to the bag with little white seed beads.
I did sew together a quick lining for the bag ...... seeing the embroidery thread when I opened it, bugged me. I used a cheerful bird print for the lining.

I know we're not ready to think about it just yet, but for those of us who like to hand make as many of our gifts as possible ....... Christmas will be here before we know it !!! My kids head back to school next Monday, and I always find, that from that point on busyness reigns, so my plan is to be way more organized and on top of gift making this year, than I have been in previous years. This bag would make a great gift .... think teachers, babysitters ....

Until next time, take care ...

Sunday, August 18, 2013


My inclination to create anything, really hasn't returned yet. That being said, I had a deadline to meet, and had to get going on 3 projects ......I'm really glad I did :-) It definately reignited my love of sewing. I don't do nearly as much as I'd like to ...... my promise to myself - once the kids head back to school a week from now, I'm going to dig out some patterns and fabric, and I'm going to get creating :-)

Item number 1 ..... I love Daisy Kingdom sewing patterns. I wish I had discovered them, before Girl Child grew to big to wear them. Thankfully I have a little niece !!! This is Simplicity pattern 2716. It looks a whole lot more fiddly than it really was.
So very cute. The underskirt has little black dots on the red fabric ..... works perfectly with the ladybird fabric. The skirt has a handkerchief look to it. I like the tie detail at the shoulder too - it's a drawstring fed through casings in the back and front bodice pieces - very clever.

Item number 2 .... Who doesn't love an apron, and these colors are just so gorgeous !!!
I bought this pattern off Etsy - I was drawn to the pointed skirt. Again, a very easy, well written pattern, that makes use of 8 fat quarters. The pattern didn't call for the flower, but I just felt it needed something on the bib. I found this beauty to enhance it. I put the flower on a pin back, so that it can be removed before the apron is laundered. The perfect apron to throw on and bake up a batch of something yummy !!!

Last, but not least, item number 3 ..... this tote bag !!!
This is my own pattern, one I created a while back, and change up by adding a little here or there, depending on how I feel. This fabric, makes this bag. It was a remnant of duck cloth I found at Hobby Lobby, teamed with plain black duck cloth, and a sunflower yellow cotton lining, it's just perfect !!! I use webbing for the handles, and I used a chunky, metal zip for the pocket. It also has a welt pocket in the lining.

My urge to create will return in full force I know ...... let's just hope that it's REALLY soon, because I have a long Christmas gift list, that needs to be completed well ahead of time !!!!

Saturday, August 10, 2013


We've visited the bush, and we've visited the sea, all of which were wonderful. We loved every minute of being in those places ..... the fun we had, the memories we made, being in places that were just simply familiar. There's much to be said for being somewhere, that just feels comfortable and right .... the sounds, the smells, the food, the way things work ..... you know them all.
Today's post is all about the reason for visits like this one ........ it really is plain and simple ..... FAMILY !!!

I am a family orientated girl to my core ........... it's THE most important thing in the world to me. I firmly believe that if we were to set aside all of life's trappings, the things that us as a human race spend a lifetime chasing after ..... wealth, recognition, the next best thing, and made our families central in everything, the world would be a much happier and better place.

On our way home to South Africa, we stopped over for 12 hours in London, to spend a little time (we'd have loved for it to have been longer), with my sister, her hubby and my niece and nephew. An extra special, cherry on the top surprise, was that my cousin (who currently lives in Vienna), was there spending time with my sister, before leaving on an adventure of her own ..... a trip to The Galapagos Islands !!!!
 The oldest and the youngest cousins !!! This was the first time that Girl Child and Boy Child had got to meet my nephew. I adore these little people .... nothing beats 2 little people jumping into your arms for kisses and cuddles as you arrive at the front door :-)
 My sister and brother in law, with all of the kids.
 My cousin joins in the photo shoot.
We made the most of the time we had with them ..... we were shown every plant in the garden by my niece (definately learning from her daddy). We were introduced to the chickens, and were given a quick lesson on how best to catch them ..... not bad, to say she's only 4!!! Boy Child and my nephew collected snails .... and more snails .... and more snails :-)
 On arriving home, we went to lunch with my folks, brother, sister in law and my one nephew (the kids in SA, were not on school holidays while we were there). Within the first 10 mins, my nephew and Boy Child, had decided that Craig was going to come and spend the weekend with us. The boys had a blast ..... they fished, they shot pellet guns, and just had a great time.
 Dinner ... the boys were happy to get their own table.
My oldest nephew is 2 years older than Girl Child ..... they got on so well.
My only regret, is that the cousins didn't get to spend more time together (they all said they had wished this too). I can only imagine how much fun they'd have all had at the beach together ........ there's that small issue, called school though, that got in the way :-)
 We had a family lunch, on our first weekend home. My Aunt (affectionately known as "Aunty") was there. My other cousin (brother of the cousin we saw in London), as well as my brother and his family were also there. I love, love loved it !!! The chatter at the table, the laughter, stories being retold, plans being made ...
 Lunch break in the Kruger National Park .... there were some very cheeky Vervet Monkeys, that were not shy to steal the food out of your hands !!! We sat quite entertained (I'm sure the owner of the Kit Kat didn't find it as funny), watching one of the monkey's unwrap a Kit Kat (that he had snatched), just as we would, and eat it finger by finger (he broke off a finger at a time) .... quite amazing really.
The monkeys are a problem though at the rest stops ...... unfortunately the problems came about, after people started feeding them, thinking it was entertaining.
Granny and the kids ...
 Sharing experiences ..... (at our campsite in Kruger)
 Spending time together ...
 Walking and talking along the beach ...
Mom and Dad ...
 Grannies are great for passing on culinary skills !!! Granny teaching Girl Child how to make crepes. The laughter and giggles that eminated from the kitchen, were just precious.
 Pappie needed to add his bit of advice ...
 They were delicious, and made the perfect Farewell Dinner Dessert.
I believe each generation benefits from the teaching, experiences and presence of previous generations. I cannot teach my kids from the experiences of my parents - only they can. Cousins share unique bonds and commonalities, that are special only to that relationship.  Aunts and Uncles are extensions of us as parents, to our kids ....
I think that "Scattered Families" - and lets face it, there are many of them, more so than at any other time in history - are a sad part of life today. Thankfully though, modern technology, has made it easier to stay connected ..... what would we do without Skype !!!

Thank you Mom and Dad for THE most amazing holiday.... For everything you did and continue to do for us. We love and miss you so very, very much.

Thursday, August 8, 2013


Today, we pack our swimming costumes, and best beach attire, and head off to the coast !!!

We spent a wonderful week at Umhlanga. Our accommodation was first class. We stayed at a wonderful resort, where we had a duplex facing the sea. Our unit had 7 balconies, with sea views from each of them ...... it was Utopia !!!!
The weather was fantastic - we spent days on the beach, and everyone swam in the sea. To say that it is mid winter in South Africa :-)

 On our last day there, there was a light on shore wind ..... it blew all of these little nasties up onto the beach, and into the shallows ..... Blue bottles. These ones were tiny, as they can grow quite a bit larger. They pack a nasty sting though, and there were a number of little kids, who ended up in the lifeguard tower being treated. Girl Child was determined to touch one ...... she later ended up being stung on her feet and legs by them, when she went into the sea for a swim.
 Boys deep in conversation .... I do love this picture :-) This is how it's meant to be.
 My Dad with the kids ...... It makes my heart so happy looking at pictures like these. I love that Dad and Mom love to be right in there with the kids. They were helping the kids learn to boogie board.
 Boy Child LOVED boogie boarding. He would become a beach bum (Girl Child too), at the drop of a hat.
We stopped for sundowner drinks and snacks at an African inspired resturant at the end of Durban pier. It was perfect. Warm and oh so pretty :-) Corn and onion samoosa's, snoek pate, borewors with 3 dipping sauces and mince samoosa's ............. absolutely, mouth wateringly delicious !!!!
We visited the U Shaka Aquarium in Durban one of the days ..... a world class aquarium for sure. It's right up there with some of the best in the world. They have built it in 3 shipwrecked ships, that have been pieced together to look like a complete ship.... amazing !!!
 Upside Down Jellyfish
 Just plain cute !!!
 They had even kept the old toilets, plumbing pipes and washbasins in the ship. The toilets are obviously sealed shut, but what a unique and original idea for seating.
 The outside of the aquarium.

 We spent lazy days, walking on the beach and promenade. Eating delicious food, at a myriad of different eateries. Boy Child did a little fishing. We all love rock pools, so a fair amount of time, was spent hunting in the rock pools for treasures.
 This is the view we woke up to every morning. Isn't it magnificent !!!
 Girl Child strolling on the beach .... wide, open spaces .... I love it :-)
 Family photo, with the pier in the background.
 My Mom and I ....The tide was coming in. Girl Child waited to get this picture, as the water caught us unawares.
 I know I'm biased, but she's gorgeous !!!!
 Man vs sea !!!
 Some of the pretty seaweed in the rock pools.
 A rock pool treasure ..... a little Gobie. We caught lots of these.
 Girl Child quickly learned that these tubular sponges spit water out at you.
 Rock pooling.

The pier at night ...... with a beautiful full moon peeking through the end.

It was a fantastic week, that went by soooo fast. Girl Child did mention to Granny and Pappie, that she though our duplex would make the perfect apartment for her ...... cheeky little thing !!!!
Tomorrow we'll make a quick visit to my Sister London, and I'll share my very special family with you .... I miss and love them all so very much !!!
Until tomorrow ..... Have a lovely day :-)