Thursday, June 16, 2011

Smocking again

As I've alluded to several times, I have a problem juggling time and getting back to sewing and crafting but as I try to coax my creative side back to life, I feel my head start to swim with ideas and aspirations. Before I left on my recent trip to South Africa, I was determined to take some handwork with me so I put together a smocking project. I have several great nieces, but one is going to be three in July.  I decided I would make a little dress for her birthday.

Time to admit : I have a stash of fabric in my sewing room and I can reach in there at any given time and come up with a project {truth is many, many projects without leaving home and spending a dime}....but a few months ago I was in a quilting shop and I became excited about these "new" fabrics and I indulged in them. Now I'm curious to see how they will look as a finished garment.  I shall mention here that my niece, the mommy, is a lover of all colours of purple!

What does it feel like to have handwork again?  It's been years really since I had a sizable project but it's starting to feel familiar - like reacquainting with an old friend.  It didn't take long for it all to come back to me.  I started off looking at a pattern, but true to old form, I'm already off and doing my own design.

But here's the kicker, the pressure is on....the birthday girl lives in Perth {yes, as in "Down Under"!} and I need to allow at least a week to ten days to mail it.  In the end, I didn't have a lot of time to sew on my trip and I did not get very far.  I must get cracking this weekend and at least finish the smocking part.  Here are a couple of pics so far and I'll be sure to post a finished one later.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

A good start ... again

It’s been a long time since I wrote. Four days ago I returned from my 16-day trip to South Africa, mainly to see my mother.  I don’t know if it was the nature of the trip being that my mom will be leaving her little cottage on my brother’s farm and moving into a nursing home in 3 weeks, so there is much anticipation on the horizon, or if it’s just happenstance, but my trip was fraught with niggly things that went awry along the way, both there and back.  

The day I left, my flight couldn’t land in New York because of dense fog {at 7:30 in the morning} so we were diverted to land in Baltimore.  By the time we returned to JFK, we had missed our flight. There were 8 of us on the South African flight so we were in this together, getting rebooked for the next day, waiting hours for JetBlue to find us hotel accommodation and in the meantime, I was making a really lovely friend. She’s a young woman from Asheville, similar age to my Shannon. She and I had the best adventure.  We took the train from our hotel into the city that night, and had a whole boatload of fun seeing the lights of Times Square.  Then the next day, we sat together on the plane all 16 hour flight long. Since I’ve been home, we’ve emailed and talked on the phone and are making plans to see each other – so, really I take that and think: Lord, in your grand scheme of things, you meant it to all shake out that way, didn’t you?

When I arrived in Johannesburg, a day late, I made a Plan B as far as my car rental went, abandoned my connecting flight and drove to where I was meeting Shannon, who lives and works in South Africa. More on that in another blog one day. We had a fabulous reunion . The mother-daughter kind that warms the very cockles of the heart after a long absence. It was short; 2 nights and a day. The main purpose of my trip was to see my mom who was so unwell when I made my travel plans, so on I pressed. While America baked in the heat, I drove in my miniature rental car through sheeting rain, and then… yes, snow for a brief period, on a mountain pass! The rest of my time, several tall mountains in the area remained snow capped and the temperatures were frigid every day. I wore all my layers as South Africa presented one of its 3 coldest winters in history for me!

The shoe was on the other foot for the mother-daughter reunion with my mom. There are no adequate words to describe how special it was to see her doing so well after her poor health in March. And what unadulterated joy to be received with such love and happiness! There is no one else on this earth who loves to see me more than that precious lady and I have to treasure each and every nanosecond in her presence.

I intend to share some more about my trip, but for now this is a good start. I came home to a neighbor hosting a party last night. I took an appetizer and I have the recipe for Layered Spinach and Basil Cheese Spread to share here. It’s a recipe that I like to take to Christmas parties because of its festive colors, but since the basil I left growing in a pot desperately needed plucking, this was a very appropriate use.