Showing posts with label Giveaway. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Giveaway. Show all posts

Saturday, 3 December 2016

Back from Ghana Giveaway

Wow, it is December and the countdown to Christmas has started. When did that happen? My last blog entry was on the 1st of November. Having been AFK for a month feels somewhat strange. I enjoyed an intense 20 day holiday in Ghana and just slowly am getting back into the swing of things.

Ghana was all at once overwhelming, exhausting, fascinating, enjoyable, buzzing, challenging and just very very different. It was my first trip to West Africa and I could fill pages with the descriptions of sights and sounds and smells and the details of life in Ghana.

The food was great; water is still scarce but the previous government installed a well in each village, which helps; lack of waste management – rubbish being burned everywhere and clouds of plastic swirling in the ocean; all pervading red dust (still scraping it out of my ears a week later); roaming bands of knee high goats running into the house compounds trying to make off with food from the cooking places; hopelessly congested road systems; cocoa and cashew farms; armed robbery – yes, one of our party fell victim to that but came out if it physically unharmed - thank god; sighting of scorpion and a black cobra – the latter was not so funny; tropical climate; bustling market activity; drinking coconuts and eating chicken feet; watching swarms of bats against the sky at dusk; hand hewn fisher boats at the coast and so on and so forth.

I do not even know how to start describing all my impressions but as this is a sewing blog rather than a travel log, I will concentrate on one of our mutual all time favourite topics – FABRIC.

One of the first things you notice about Ghanaians are the colourful cotton cloths that make up their clothes and some everyday items. The fabric – or material as it is locally referred to – is usually bright and shows big ornaments. The cotton has been wax block printed and can be bought in yards. (There is a traditional form of weaved fabric 'Kente' too but I only got to see it in passing) As store bought clothes are forbiddingly expensive to the local population, clothes consist either of red cross type clothes donations shipped to Africa and (still comparably expensively) sold on the local markets OR of sewn and fitted items made to order from those amazing colourful fabrics.

Sewing shops are virtually everywhere and most woman would know how to construct clothing items. I have refrained from going overboard taking pictures as I do not think it right to treat any local culture as a sort of Disneyland, forever invading peoples privacy with my camera, no matter how alien or fascinating a subject matter might be to me – but made a few snapshots having asked the booth owner for permission.

Here is what a sewing ‘shop’ or booth typically looks like. Some fabrics, some posters showing types of dresses to be had and typically hand or foot operated sewing machines that do not depend on electricity to work. As rolling electricity blackouts are part of life in Ghana it is just as well that the population makes provisions to do without it.

Have you seen the iron that is still operated with charcoal? It is humbling to see how these women go about their business of sewing beautiful clothes with what little equipment they have access to.

I was also endlessly fascinated by these hand-operated Chinese made ‘Butterfly’ sewing machines that are also being carried around town to provide mobile repair services for people.

The colourful fabric is part of many aspects of Ghanaian life. The same big piece of cloth might serve as a blanket, to tie a child to the back of its mother, as skirt, hung across a string as shower curtain and later as towel and so forth. They are as omnipresent as the sun and the red dust and of course I wanted some for myself.

Thus, I bought a few yards of each print, some to keep as beach blankets and some to give away as a present. Yes I know, how lucky are my friends right? Of course these fabrics will not be cut into in any way. I will keep them just as they are.

Furthermore, I envied the women their fabulously fitted dresses and asked Maggie, the woman that was cooking and washing for us, who also happened to be a seamstress to sew me a dress. I chose a style from one of her sample posters and then set out to market to find the perfect fabric. I bought four yards of fabric with an ombre effect and am in love with the result. Unfortunately, it is winter in Germany, meaning I do not get to wear it at the moment (meh).

We subsequently spoke about sewing a bit and I showed her some pictures of my patchwork pieces. She looked at those somewhat puzzled because to cut apart perfectly good fabric to put it together again piece by tiny piece, cannot seem anything else but frivolous to her. The women there lead such a hard working life that they would not have the time for such pastimes. While bigger leftover pieces of material might be combined into yet another garment, the idea of patchwork for relaxation would not occur.

As a result Maggie allowed me to root through her ‘discard’ bag of leftover cottons and gave permission for me to take some away. Therefore, I am happy to share a tiny bit of my Ghana holiday with all of you. I will give away a scrap bag of delicious Ghanaian wax block printed cottons.

This is my first attempt at Rafflecopter and I hope it works as intended. To enter, simply leave a comment beneath this post and tell me, how you feel about using big bold prints in your sewing? Me, I am still cautious as how to best employ them. While I feel that I am increasingly getting better at combining colours and prints, big prints are still a bit daunting  =)

I will draw a winner on Tuesday the 6th of December, in time for St Nicholas Day.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Leave a comment to enter the givaway. (If Rafflecopter does not work, we will go by random number genarator =)

And the winner is: Rhonda the Rambler. Congratulations! I will be in touch regarding your address. 

Monday, 15 August 2016

All The Lovely Things - One Lovely Blog Award

Oh my god! (bounce, bounce, bounce... blushing...bouncing some more) The lovely Jen @ 'A Dream and A Stitch', whom I met through the 'New Quilt Bloggers' Blog Hop 2016, nominated me for the 'One Lovely Blog Award'. I am gobsmacked and certainly did not expect nor truly deserve it.

To me this feels like an early blog Birthday present! (bounce) The actual Birthday would be the 25th of August when it will be my first full year as a blogger. I am fairly proud of having managed to continuously look after my blog on a regular basis for the last year. I immensely enjoyed the blogging journey so far and have met many a wonderful person I would not have gotten to know otherwise. For someone to think my fairly new blog worth a nomination is no small thing and I am touched.

So thank you Jen and thank you Lisa for that matter. Lisa @ 'Sunlight in Winter Quilts' also wanted to nominate my blog but was beaten to it by Jen   =)

I have tried to find the origin of this award but had no luck in finding its source. Maybe it does not matter. Maybe all that matters is that people use it and make time to show appreciation for another.

The Rules:
*Thank the person who nominated you, and give a link to his/her blog
*List the rules
*Display the image of the award on your post
*List seven facts about yourself
*Nominate (up to) 15 bloggers for this award, and notify them to let them know you have nominated them

7 facts about me:

Does anyone else find it difficult to write about themselves? I do. I ususally write about sewing progress rather than personal matters or me as a person. The seven facts requested now almost feel like the continuation of the 'New Quilt Bloggers' blog hop a few weeks ago, where we were also asked to share details about our person. OK, I will try to be honest rather than deflecting attention away.

I love reading and especially enjoy Urban Fanatsy and Sience Fiction - or Speculative Fabulation to use the correct term. In that I enjoy an original idea and strong believable characters. A real turn - off  are book announcements that go: the first installment of an exciting new 3, 7, 8, 9 book series by the first time author...   Authors seem to increasingly under pressure to churn out series rather than writing a book and take care to write it well. I do read series too but, more often than not, series get progressively worse with plots and writing deteriorating along the way. 

I love cats. I want two black or chocolate coloured kitten with bushy tails. I also want pets to be well. Therefore, no cats for me at the time being, as keeping them in a small 2 bed room apartment without garden access would not confirm to my ideas of adequate animal welfare.

I love eating (provided it is well prepared food) and do more of it than my plump self probably should, especially, as it is not counteracted by an appropriate amount of excercise. My friends and I enjoy cooking nights and are especially fond of cooking Chinese. Amongst ourselves we probably own most of Fuchsia Dunlop's cookbooks by now though she just published a new one, I did not yet have time to check out. We make our own codiments, chutneys, flavoured oils and vinegars as well. Currently, I am infusing vinegar with elderflowers and mature a Portuguese style Piri Piri sauce.

I enjoy a good costume party. There has not been one in forever. I love to dress up und do the make-up and decorations. My best costume effort to-date: The red-eyed fruit fly. And yes, I do have pictures  =)

What I do not love is impoliteness. Don't get me wrong, I am not a stickler for form or refined manners. I am speaking of basics like making eye contact, acknowledging the presence of another person, saying 'please' and 'thank you' and 'would you mind' and 'sorry' where appropriate when moving in public spaces populated with other individuals. In the last few years I have noticed that that buffer of basic manners and respect for another person in public spaces is rapidly dwindling. The tone and feel is more agressive and tempers flare more easily. And yes, people do not even make eye contact, partly because those are glued to the smart phone screens, but partly as deliberate attempt not to have to interact with people. I find that development worrisome.



I think we leave it at that. The length of this blog post is getting out of hand already. 

On to the nominations:

First and foremost, I would like to nominate the generous women who helped me earlier this year in making a cancer relief Polaroid quilt for a small boy. Without knowing me they jumped to my aid and were fantastically supportive and made me feel a whole lot better about what was essentially begging for help.

Laura, Jenn, Mary, Renae and Karin - THANK YOU. Please get a blog going so I can award this to you.

Carrie @ 'the zen quilter'
Maja @ 'betyipiernaty'
Liz @ 'Lizzi Clips Design'
June @ 'Quilt Quest'
Lisa @ 'Sunlight in Winter Quilts' (you are right on this list again as I bow to you and your generosity in supporting young quilting talents and helping those in need through your guild. I guess, as you had been nominated already, there is nothing else to do for you just now but to enjoy =)

I also would like to nominate Rachel @ 'Stitched in Color'. Rachel is an inspiration to many people including myself. Not only is she a gifted quilter offering wonderful events, like mosaic contests or design challenges to the sewing community along with tutorials and free patterns, she also has a very true blogging voice. Rachel shares her life and the many challenges she and her family face(d) on her blog. To do so is a very brave thing. I know for a fact that many people draw strength from Rachel as they read along with her. In sharing herself, Rachel makes others feel comforted and understood and connected and grounded in reality. Hat's off to you Rachel.

And otherwise?

Many other beautiful things happened. I was one of two winners for the 'Holiday Wishes' book by Sherri Falls of 'This and That Pattern Company', compliments of The Fat Quarter Shop, via a giveaway hosted by Jen - yes, the same as above =) It is the first time I won anything in my adult life. I did not have time to look at the book in detail yet but it looks promising.

I also got some sewing done, namely the test block for the Cloud 9 Fabrics 'New Block Blog Hop'. and it turned out beautifully. (No, no, no mustn't spill the beans just yet. Have to keep it mum until September...phew) Next I need to write up the tutorial and sew the block again, this time in the sponsored fabrics.

A few weeks back I got ice cream money!!! I felt so special. When is the last time you remember someone giving some to you? Well, I was a child still. It was part of a many staged Birthday present (from last year, I had to wait 8 months(!) to be allowed to open it) that consisted of prettily wrapped boxes in prettily wrapped boxes, each coming with an envelope containing various tasks and in one case: ice cream money =)

The final box sent me to a meeting point, where my sister, her partner and my best friend waited to take me to a tree parcour climbing adventure.

So many things to be grateful for.