Wednesday, 31 August 2011

August Mosaic

As thoughts turn to children returning to school and longer days for those of us in the northern hemisphere, we wave goodbye to August...

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Dare to be Square at the Block Party

Firstly, thank you to all those who left such lovely comments on my birthday post.  They made me smile and re-affirmed (if it was necessary) why blogging is such fun and how many wonderful creative people you meet across the blogosphere!  I received an email from my uncle who titled it `All the 4s, Droopy Drawers`.  While I never knew he was a frustrated bingo caller, I realized this would have been a much better title for my birthday facts post!

One of my presents from my lovely mum was this book, The Modern Quilting Bee block party by Alissa Haight Carlton and Kristen Lejnieks. Another lovely quilting book to add to my collection. 

The book is modern quilting eye candy and features twelve projects, one for each month in a year long virtual quilting bee, featuring uber talented women in the quilting world such as Rashida Coleman-Hale of, Jacqui Gering of and Elizabeth Hartman of!

These are a few of my favourite blocks...

Miss December (Megan Rise of, The Confetti Block - simple, random and very beautiful.  Great for using up all those little scraps of beautiful fabric, which you can`t bear to part with.

Miss September (Sarah Johnson of Uneven Coins block or as I prefer to call it the Stacked Books block..and...

Miss November (Elizabeth Hartman of Wonky Stripe block - a strip of stripes showing off the different colours and fabrics.

Having never been to a quilting class, the clear and simple instructions and illustrations for each block are great for me, but I`m not sure it will teach those with more experience anything new. However, the book certainly serves as a source of inspiration - this is definitely the direction I lean towards. I love quilts made from squares and rectangles. I`m not so much a triangles girl. I guess I`m a bit of a square.

Having never been in a quilting bee, it was fun reading about how one is run and the experiences of the women involved.  I watch with a certain amount of envy each month as some of my quilty blogging friends receive fabric for that month`s block and plan their own. If anyone has any tips about how to get into one (it can be difficult when you have no previous experience of one) do let me know.

In the meantime, this book is available at all good booksellers or if like me you don`t have one you can pick it up here.

I love quilting books.

Sunday, 28 August 2011

44 Facts About Me Me Me

 I`m not normally so wordy.  Especially on a Sunday. Indulge me or speed`s up to you.

I share my birthday with  Leo Tolstoy Shania Twain.
Green is my favourite color.
I can read and write Arabic script...very slowly.
I'm not so hot at speaking Arabic but I can speak French (ish).
Musical instrument of choice as a child was the violin.
My mother wanted to name me Roxana.
I love the beach on a winter`s day.
When I was 19 I was robbed on The Spanish Steps in Rome.
I went to school in Stratford Upon Avon  - Shakespeare`s birth place.
I have been both a lawyer and a teacher.
Living in Morocco I miss book stores, fabric shops, cheese, weather and my family.
In 1984 I named my pet kitten 'George'.
I am the same age as Nicole Kidman - I ask myself, `Who`s wearing better?` 
If money was no object I would own a house overlooking over the sea.
As a teenager I saw David Bowie, Madonna and The Police in concert.
My beautiful boy was worth the wait.

I swim but I don't like putting my head under water.
I would love to go back to university and make better use of my time there.
My husband and I married in London on a cold but cloudless sunny February day.
Pet peeve - moodiness and inconsistency in 'friends'.
In a chemistry lesson, I once set fire to a boy`s jumper by keeping my bunsen burner on the white flame. It wasn`t intentional.
My eyes are green.
On this day in 1994, Charles and Diana divorced.
My mother has been a huge influence in my life.
I often think I would be happy as a vegetarian.
My middle names are Jane and Louise.
'sociable' is teacher speak for 'chatty'
I was always the youngest in my class at school and amongst my friends - that's not the case now.
I met my best friend when I was 13 and we are still best friends.
My husband and I had known each other for a very short time when we decided to get married.
My music tastes are eclectic.
I try to believe in half full not half empty. It`s not always easy.
I'm still trying to get my husband to remember that I like white roses - not red.
Favourite takeout is a curry.
I like the idea of holistic medicine.
I love pearls.
Teaching gave more satisfaction than practicing law.
As a young child my teachers described me as 'sociable'.
This year we celebrated our 11th wedding anniversary.
Looking after my son is a joy.  Most of the time.
 I don`t really `do` St. Valentines Day.
I`m currently reading Freedom by Jonathan Franzen.
First holiday abroad was camping in the South of France.
I never dreamed in a million years I would live in Africa.

But sometimes I`m very glad I do. Wishing those on the eastern seaboard of the US as uneventful as possible days ahead.

Thursday, 25 August 2011

The Sky at Night

I could show you some photos of the sky in the day but that would be a little dull and repetitive.  That's because for 360 days of the year it is bright blue and cloudless.  You would much rather see clouds at night, no?

I took these shots while staying at my in-laws this week.  They live about an hour and a half hour's drive north from Marrakech.  The area is very agricultural. It was 7.15 PM, about 10 minutes before sunset.

Joining in with Sky Watch Fridayy for the first time and with The Kat Eye View Exploring With Camera Night Photography.

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Wordless Wednesday - Steps Up to the Kasbah

The walk up to Kasbah du Toubkal
It's Wednesday already so that must mean linking up with Faith Hope & A Whole Lotta Love and Heidi has a Hobby.

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

The Postman Always Rings Twice

...and he really did this morning. Far better than throwing my mail over the wall or cycling off forcing a trip to the post office.

A couple of weeks ago I was lucky enough to win one of Di's blogaversary giveaways.  Di doesn't have a birthday but a birth month and her blog is no different. The giveaways are so well thought out and are ongoing...I believe so head over there.  I won the first giveaway prize which was a mug rug.  I confess I didn't really know what a mug rug was but thought it was like a coaster.  Something to rest your mug of tea or coffee on.  So I was looking forward to seeing one.  It turns out they are much bigger!

Well today the postman delivered my prize - all the way from sunny California and in a record breaking 12 days. Well done Mr.Posty.

As I knew it would be, it is beautifully made and in lovely sunny Marrakech colours.  It even came with a beautiful pink porcelain mug...Di and I share a love of many things including baked goods, food and well FOOD.  I used to live in Chiswick in West London where there was a wonderful butcher, a fabulous fishmonger, a patisserie full of mouth watering cakes and a deli packed with jars and cartons of the yummiest things.  One day as I was looking at the lobster in the fishmonger's window my mum said to me, "I can't work out whether you are a gourmet or a gourmand."  Thanks mum!

Anyway, I digress. The theme of my love of food continued with a gift of Di's homemade tomato jam.

...beautifully packaged (do you remember that 1980s film about the workaholic mum who reluctantly raises her dead best friend's baby and she starts an apple sauce business?) and look at the ingredients.  Full of yummy sun-ripened Californian tomatoes, spices and I especially love the last ingredient.

There was even something for my beautiful boy, still looking sleepy...

He says thanks too - it made my day and feels like an early birthday present!

I also have a belated thank you for my bloggy friend Susan who sent me some wonderful rocket fabric in her 'ugly' fabric giveaway so that I can make some PJs for Zaki and it arrived shortly before we went away.  I am very grateful and will be running them up soon and winging it I think.  I can make clothes although it's been a while..I will of course post a photo as soon as they are done.

Thanks my friends!

Warding Away Evil Spirits in Parisville

So we arrived back home yesterday after our lovely week away...and I was reunited with my fabric choices for the Across the Sea QAL.  Time to make some inroads into my `ambitious` To Do List. It is ambitious but I`m seeing it as more a list of future projects, which will probably take several months to complete.

I had intended to use this pretty fabric for the QAL - Kumari Garden.  It`s bright and fresh and its Indian design and colours would fit in well here in Morocco. However, from across the other side of the room where my humble fabric stash resides, my Parisville FQ bundle was winking at me.  So I walked over and took a closer look. Parisville is warm and has autumnal reds and golds as well as greens and purples and blues and perhaps it was hearing about the changing seasons or I was flattered by the wink but they were appealing to me...and Parisville it is.
Parisville by Tula Pink
The eye design in several pieces of the fabric and at the bottom right reminds me, when turned round, of the eye you see here in Morocco believed by some to ward away evil spirits. The eye is usually contained with a hand with the fingers pointing downward. I hope I don't have anything to worry about on that score!  So now to get cutting...

Linking up with Fabric Tuesday.

Sunday, 21 August 2011

A To Do List

I am longing to return to some sewing. It is weeks since I did any. What with moving house, a two week holiday, 3 months of scorching temperatures and a 3 year old to care for, it has been tough to get motivated. My photography has been my creative outlet and I have loved every minute of it. I love the memes I join in with every week and I have found some incredibly talented photographers along the way.

However, after a week at my in-laws where the temperature is a good 10 degrees C cooler, I am feeling quite rejuvenated and ready to take on something else. Last weekend, I signed up to Jennifer and Sarah`s Across the Sea QAL. I am super excited as it means I will be doing some virtual sewing for the first time with lovely bloggy friends Di and Susan. They are both prolific bloggers and quilters and I get inspired every time they create so I`m looking forward to learning more from them and having some fun along the way too.  Susan also twisted my arm (she`s very strong) to enter this swap, which should be a lot of fun too!

Now I am not a person for lists (preferring to keep everything in my head and promptly forgetting everything) but I have compiled one highlighting just what I have to do and what I have committed to. I can`t wait to get started.

So here`s the list!

tie this quilt
baste, quilt and bind this quilt
post fabric choices for the Across the Sea QAL
make Zaki a pair of  PJs from Susan`s `ugly` rocket fabric
buy fabric and design a quilt for my mum (colour duck egg blue hues)
make a quilt for Baby `George` arriving November (fabric winging way from the States)
make goodies for the swap
make a coin quilt using Parisville fabric

I think that`s it...if I have forgotten something, someone let me know?

Saturday, 20 August 2011

Shadow Shot Sunday - Under the Shade

I took this photo at a local cafe in Marrakech. I don`t like leaving a cafe and feeling ripped off. I had that feeling leaving this one. I`ll vote with my feet. I won`t be going back again. However, the shade provided some pretty shadows and I feel better for that. At least they couldn`t charge for the shadows.

For more shots of a shadowy nature head on over to Tracy`s.

Friday, 19 August 2011

Joy Pockets

a smile from the eyes
finding you`re listed on the acknowledgements page of  a friend`s new novel
feet in cool glacial waters*
watching a child play
looking for land by the ocean
contemplating a new project...perhaps

*summer only joy pocket

For more joy filled moments, head over to Monica`s

Thursday, 18 August 2011

Rush Hour

Time sometimes flies like a bird
sometimes crawls like a snail
but a man is happiest when he does not even notice 
whether it passes swiftly or slowly. 

(Ivan Turgenev)

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Wordless Wednesday - Wash Day

The Ourika Valley in the foothills of the Atlas Mountains
Head over to Faith, Hope & A Whole Lotta Love for more wordless posts and to Bella over at 52 Photos Project where the theme this week is black and white.


Saturday, 13 August 2011

Shadow Shot Sunday - Ouiskra

 a couple of years ago
the people of Ouiskra in the Atlas Mountains
celebrated their new school house..
..and the school bags and supplies donated for the 5 year olds so that they may go to school
and the village getting connected to mains electricity
it was a day for clapping and dancing...and drumming

Linking up with Tracy over at Hey Harriet.

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

52 Photos Project - Reflections

Palm trees in the lily pond - The Majorelle Gardens, Marrakech

Joining in with 52 Photos Project here.

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Wordless Wednesday - Catching Up

Make sure you catch up with an old friend this week.

Linking up with Faith, Hope & A Whole Lotta Love.

Sunday, 7 August 2011

Frame Within A Frame

Street in Essaouira, Morocco
Today I`m linking up to Kat`s prompt to use the compositional technique of a frame within a frame in her Exploring With a Camera series.

This is a photo I took back in April when my friend Deborah and her daughter were visiting from Paris. We spent the day in the coastal town of Essaouira - about a 2 hour drive from Marrakech. If you ever come to Morocco (and you should - it is beautiful, colourful, interesting and a photographer`s paradise) head to Essaouira - put on the map by Jimi Hendrix back in the 1960s, it  has a laid back arty ambiance.

The frame within a frame technique is something I shall try out more in my photography.. perhaps using plantation or people as my inner frame next time. Take a look at Kat`s blog. She is an incredible photographer and teacher of e-courses, and organizer of the Liberate Your Art Postcard Swap. I know that 2 of my postcards have arrived at their destinations (both in the US) and I`m still waiting for my first 2 swap postcards to arrive here in Morocco.

For more Black & White photos of Essaouira, click here.

Saturday, 6 August 2011

Shadow Shot Sunday - Beer Beach

Beer Beach, Devon

Beer Beach, Devon
As I fantasize about cooler climes, that`s exactly where I`m taking you for this week`s shadows. Beer Beach in Devon is where I spent a glorious hour in May with my mum and Zaki - the sun shone, it was warm but not too warm, we ate locally produced ice-cream and sat on the shingle beach looking out to sea. 

For more images of Beer Beach, I first blogged about it here.

Linking up with Tracy at Hey Harriet.

Friday, 5 August 2011

Joy Pockets

It`s been another hot and fairly non-eventful week here in Marrakech so I have had to dig deep for some pockets of joy but they are there if you look hard.

 Joy Pockets
 an unopened big fat envelope from the States
finding inside a tower of new pretty fabrics
Kumari Garden fabrics by Dena Designs for Freespirit
comparing my 3 year old`s efforts at removing his T shirt to Houdini extracating himself from a straitjacket
sitting with my husband on our bedroom balcony late at night
generous comments from incredibly talented women
the stillness of normally busy streets after the fast breaks
my son`s capacity to siest anywhere
 a lovely recipe book and feeling inspired to cook something new
 a cool shower in the heat of the day

Joining in with the weekly fun over at Monica`s.

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Wordless Wednesday - The Shipwreck

A shipwreck from 1984 off the coast of El Jadida, Morocco
For more wordless posts, take a look at Faith, Hope & A Whole Lotta Love and also joining in with Heidi`s Hump Day Hollah!

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Monday, 1 August 2011


A cockroach found on the street
My heartbeat actually increases as I look at his photo.  I find him quite vile. My 3 year old son on the other hand thinks he is `great` and would happily give him house room. Oh what is it about little boys?

Well if I`d titled the post ``cockroach` you might not have hopped over and visited! But thanks for doing so.

Linking up for the first time in a while with Macro Monday.