Showing posts with label Scrap Bag. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Scrap Bag. 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. 



Sunday, 4 October 2015

Surprise, Surprise - A Scrap Bag Treat

My birthday is coming up and so I thought I treat myself to a little extravagance.  I ordered some Anna Maria Horner studio quilting cotton scrap bags. Have I mentioned that I love surprises? Not yet? Well then - I LOVE SURPRISES! Good surprises anyway. Thus a fabric swap or scrap bag always holds some allure for me. Yes, of course it can go horribly wrong (and has gone so) but I figure it is still worth the risk occasionally.      =)

Anna Maria Horner Studio Quilting Cotton Scrap Bag Puppilalla Mail

What I like about scrap bags and swaps is that you are being pushed out of your comfort zone by being confronted with fabrics that you might not have chosen yourself necessarily. Unless the fabrics received in this manner are downright horrid (no danger with Anna Maria Horner fabrics there), the relatively small amounts of fabric add to the variety and liveliness of any project, by getting in the mix of the fabrics I might have already pulled from my stash. So lets unwrap some goodie bags, shall we?

Anna Maria Horner Studio Quilting Cotton Scrap Bag Puppilalla
Here we go. Three solids and sixteen prints, of which I only had one in my stash already. Albeit having been a pricey foray considering the relatively small amount of fabric received, I like the result. Again I found a few prints, I might not have chosen myself whilst fabric shopping but that I can see scope for now that they found their way to me. The green striped print with flowers, the yellow flower print and the purple suggest another pillow case to me. 


Anna Maria Horner Studio Quilting Cotton Scrap Bag unwrapped Puppilalla






















Keep your eyes peeled for those pretties popping up in future sewing projects.

Surprises. Yeah!