Friday, March 6, 2015

Baby Blankets and Swaddle Blanket

Babies are so exciting to have around! It gives you a great excuse for making all of the cute things that you pin all the time and can't handle their cuteness. 

The new baby in my life is getting lots of cute things I have wanted to make. First off I am staying in the swing of using up scraps and made some squares. They are simple and easy to get a fun quilt topper done. The beau picked out the fabric because it is for his nephew. 
4"x4" squares 

I put these squares end to end randomly and sewed strips then sewed the strips together making sure to lock in the stitches. 
Locking in stitches: when you sew squares this is a great way to keep the corners together and flush. First you make two strips then you iron the strips down making sure that the back newly sewn seems are going in the same direction. The next strip will have the seems ironed in the opposite direction. Before you pin the seems together to be sewn you line up the corners. With each of the seams going in opposite directions they should slide together and kind of lock in like puzzle pieces. Sometimes this takes a little rolling of the fingers over the seem until they fit into place. 

Here is the border to make a good contrast for the squares. 

Then I backed it with flannel and did the stitch in the ditch method. 
I then found some fun flannel for the backing and finished it all up. When I got done I realized it was leaning toward the hipster side of baby quilts. I guess that's okay considering the baby is on the West coast, I suppose he needs some hipster stuff to fit in :) 

The next thing I made was a swaddle blanket. It was kind of a trial run and I used the advice from:

To form a pattern and see if I liked how it worked. I think it turned out really well. The real test will be if we can fit a 9lb baby into it for long enough to make it useful! 


Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Aluminum Reflections

The other day I was doing a fairly common task of feeding the dogs. When much to my surprise I was reminded of Edward Weston's green pepper photos. I grabbed my phone and snapped a photo of the great refractions of light and thought I'd share. 

It's those little things in life that make it great. We just need to keep our eyes open, because they come when we least expect it... even when we are feeding the dogs. 

Monday, January 12, 2015

Frosting Days and Unbelievable Sunrises

It's been a frosty winter full of snow and cold weather. With each passing day the desire for me to trade in my front wheel drive car for any four wheel drive vehicle increases. Apart from the snow drifts, icy roads, tire chains, and tow ropes there is beauty beyond compare. It is kind of fun living in a winter wonderland every now and then... 

A small explanation of the above photo: my grandpa's cows like to rub on the barbed wire for a good scratch. Hair gets onto the wire, just like any of our hairbrushes. The cool thing about this is that it looks about three hundred times cooler when it frosts over. 

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

First Round of Pictures

The red dirt that so easily clung to our feet. 

Learning to make bio-sand water filters. 

Putting up more solar panels.

Bubbles for the first time. 

Giving out some reading glasses. 

Painting nails. 

On Safari

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Back from Africa

I am back now from Africa and have been now for a few months. It seems like I was just there yesterday. Alas it's been a few months and it has taken me this long to get on here and finish up where I left off. 
The last part of our Africa trip went really well. We had some good days hanging out in Jinja and visiting the shopping area to get some fun gifts. There was a lady who had a wood shop that was amazing. It was a touristy shop in the front but I heard some chiseling in the back. I walked back and she said I could go all the way back if I wanted to. So I did. And I found a man hand carving ebony and making these beautiful sculptures. It was awesome! I took some pictures of him and went through the building to his workshop to admire his previous work. Needless to say I spent nearly all of my souvenir money at her shop. 
Everyone also told us that they never got rained on in Africa when they came in January. Well during our two/three days of shopping in Jinja it rained/downpoured on and off the entire time! I beg to differ that there isn't rain in Africa in January. :) It was good though and a fun experience for sure. 
After getting some business things done in Jinga we headed to Kiunga. There we helped out at a sickle cell clinic for a bit and got to see Tender Mercies new orphanage. It was a really neat building. They even have a lavish garden started. Those kids will be eating right for sure! They had passion fruits, casava, other greens, not to mention a bunch of chickens. 
We flew out after and headed on our way home. The flights went relatively well. On our second long flight towards the end I got sick. It wasn't the greatest of all experiences, but it was an experience to be had. I was thankful at that time that I was traveling with a bunch of medical professionals! 
All is well back here in the US. It is always an adjustment to get back into the 'normal' way of life while putting into play the lessons you learned and experiences you have added since being away. I'm working on getting some photos edited to post here soon! I promise! 

Tuesday, January 29, 2013


We arrived in Kalango on Thursday afternoon. It was a nice drive apart from
the fourth of a mile stretch that was quite possibly the worst stretch of road
I have driven on. Even the boda boda (motorcylce taxi man) was laughing at our
treck across this path.
When we arrived we were given a good lunch and then a tour of St. Bahkita
technical school. It was a great school run by the nuns of the Gulu order (I think
that is correct). Sister Tarsissia showed us the back enterance and the air strip
where people had to come, in order to reach the hospital during war time.
It was an interesting little city. On Friday we were given a tour of the hospital.
It was a sight to behold. For Africa it was really nice. Each patient there was
cared for by their care-giver (as far as the bathing and feeding went). It was
very interesting to see how they ran the place. We talked with the CEO of the
hospital. Stephano Santini was a tall skinny Italian man who had lived in Uganda
for 23 years. Coram, Canon and I all realized right away that he was the dopple-
ganger to Doug. It was crazy how similar they looked. We made sure to get a
picture of them together before we left for the remainder of the tour.
That afternoon we headed to Wipolo. It was a fun village that has benefited
greatly from the training and encouragement that Nadine has provided over
the years. We stayed and gave them things for village health and for their drip
irrigation of a second garden. Before we knew it, it was time to head out so we
didn't have to drive in the dark.
On Sunday, I was able to talk with Fran the Peace Corp. worker who is placed
 in Kalango. She told me to look into the Peace Corp. because I would be perfect
for it. I told her I would think about it. It's funny because I have thought about
that quite a bit before. We shall see where life leads for sure.
We are now in Jinja and getting a little bit of adventure time in the markets to
pick up some gifts for everyone. It should be pretty fun. My goal is to find a
carved wooden giraffe :)

Monday, January 28, 2013

Travels from the farm to Gulu and Kitgum

We have moved on from the farm and we hit the ground running so to speak. We left and took a 'two hour' drive to the game park. We ate chipatis and had some spreads on top for lunch. Then we entered the park and headed to catch the boat. The 'forty-five minute' drive (aka two hours) took us through the dirt roads of the park, ridden with baboons and exceptionally colored birds. It wasn't long before the road t-d at the Nile river. We caught our boat to Murchison Falls. It was much warmer and more humid on the Nile. A group of us rode on the top deck of the boat and listened to tour guide David as he explained all of the animals and birds. There were trees with giant pods hanging from them, David told us these pods fermented inside and the elephants eat them to relax. If they eat enough they become drunk. Another tree along the river was a type of palm that had bright orange fruits. These were also treats for the elephants. They would eat these fruits and when the seeds passed in their stool they germinated and grew another tree. Needless to say, the park has many groves of these types of palms. On a side-note, we got one of these fruits to try: they are stringy inside with three giant seeds per each fruit. Most often they are cut open, pealed and placed in water to create a juice. They are also good for cleaning teeth because the string parts act as floss.

As we continued down the river we saw much of the wildlife the park had to offer: hippos, elephants, crocodiles, Goliath Herons, Red Throated bee-eaters, and all types of egrets.

David told us that the movie African Queen starring Audrie Hepburn and Humphrey Bogart was filmed on this part of the river and next to the falls.

Our group hopped off the boat near the falls and hiked to the top. The water rushed with roaring force, we all watched in awe. From there Richard picked us up and we headed back to our lodgings for the evening. We stayed just off of the Nile a little ways and had warthogs and baboons sharing the camp. In the morning we were told that there was a hippo hanging out in the middle grassy area of camp.

We awoke and headed to the Nile to catch the ferry across and head off to see the remainder of the animals of the park. We had a guide who showed us the Jackshom Altabeast, Water Buck, cobs, giraffes, elephants, jackals and Crested Cranes. Unfortunately we didn't see the lions, though we did see one of their kills.

When we left the park we took the 'two-hour' (three and a half) drive to Gulu. We made it to a restaraunt to eat 'lunch' around 2:30pm and ate at 4:30pm. After picking up supplies we headed on our way to Kitgum. It was a long day of driving on the dirt roads of Uganda. It amazes me how well Rogers can navigate the roads and know precisely when to hit the brakes so we don't bottom out or tip the bus. I would relate most of these roads to the road that leads from Bridger, MT to the top of the Pryors. I am thankful for my driving experiences out there because it has well prepared me for these trips here.

After about 14 hours of driving we made it to the hotel. We lived like kings, we had internet and running water.