Using what I learned

Earlier this year, I talked about wanting to try a bunch of new free-motion quilting designs but being scared of doing them. Then I decided that I was going to start my own “FMQ Boot Camp” to make myself learn some new things.

Well, I have worked hard at learning to “Move It” and have been able to use a bunch of these new designs on the baby quilt that I am currently working on.

Check out yesterday’s post for the first steps on this quilt.

Now that the ruler designs were quilted it was time to start filling in the spaces!!

I started with a design that I called U-Turn….

…and used it to fill in around the elephants…..

It was super fast and a great start to my quilting!!

Next I needed to fill in the small strip that was just above the elephants and I chose the ribbon candy design…..

It was perfect…..

Actually, the quilting was NOT perfect, but it fit well into the spot!!

For the first really big area, I jumped right in and tried the paisley meander….

It took me a while to figure out that I needed to GO BIG but once I did, the space filled in quickly!!

Come back tomorrow for more of the quilting of this sweet top!!!

AND…..if any of these designs look interesting to you, I will remind you that I turned my personal Boot Camp into “MOVE IT”…..a free motion quilting course. To join me for 8 weeks of new designs to try, sign up HERE.

Remember that it is free and you can join at any time!!!



After 5 months of income tax season and 3+ weeks in Africa, I am back home and getting to spend time in my studio. It is SUCH a wonderful feeling!!

The first order of business is to quilt the first of two baby quilts that I need to get into the mail. I made the tops at our guild retreat back in May (you can read about it HERE)

I knew that I wanted to keep the quilting fairly simple and I also wanted it to be FAST. But, I was concerned about how to fill in ALL of that space and keep it interesting!!

Somewhere along the line, I got the idea to use some of my Westalee “Spin-E-Fex” rulers to quilt some large-ish designs first and then fill in with other quilting.

So, the first step was to decide on placement of those designs and get them quilted!!

I chose to add a few half-designs to some of the edges as well……

I used several different rulers in the Westalee Spin-E-Fex series, including #11, 15 & 16.

I have previously posted reviews, videos and information on each of these rulers and you can check them out here…..

Spin-E-Fex #11

Spin-E-Fex #15

Spin-E-Fex #16

Now that the ruler work is done, it is time to move on to the filler quilting!! Come back tomorrow for more…..

And so it continues…..

Check back here for the first post in this travel series……

The next morning we took the bus to the airport, making SURE that we had the carry-on bag in tow!!

Our flights were all great and, honestly, the time went quickly.   I had one moment of “oh no” when I realized that we had only been in the air for 5 hours of our 13-hour leg!!  But I pulled out my I-Pad and started playing with some drawings and the rest of the time passed by!

I loved both of these…..

We arrived in Addis Ababa with a short layover time and a lot to accomplish to get Michael’s firearms checked and approved for the next flight.  But Ethiopian Airlines was ready for us (and all the others traveling with firearms), and we were quickly at our gate and waiting to board.

This second flight was on a smaller and older plane and we laughed at the recorded announcement that said, “since the pilot has turned off the seat belt sign, we are free to use our electronic devices such as calculators, CD-players, and personal computers!!”  We figure that every 15-year-old turned to their parents and said, “what is a calculator?”.

Also, the safety video had a REALLY creepy guy on it…..

The video did not do much to encourage us of the safety of the flight!!

At one point the pilot announced that we could see Mount Kilimanjaro…..someplace new to add to my travel bucket list!!

We landed in Malawi but never deplaned.   It was interesting to look at the landscape there since it was flat, dry, and mostly treeless.   Except for the small, pyramid-shaped hills, it could have been Abilene, Texas!!

Our next landing was in Beira, Mozambique.  The VISA process and firearm permitting seemed to go on interminably, but we finally walked out with a VISA secured in our passports.

We were greeted by Pete, our helicopter pilot for the final leg of the trip.   He was urging us to “HURRY” because in 15 minutes it would be too late to start the trip and we would have to overnight in the city.  We responded by quickening our steps and we left the ground with 5 minutes to spare!

The flight to camp was so interesting.   It was especially nice to be in a helicopter (as opposed to a fixed-wing airplane) because we were closer to the ground and could see things easily. 

As we left Beira, the landscape was more sparse with little pockets of green….

But as we traveled further in, great clumps of trees started appearing and soon we were flying over forested areas…..

We asked when we would start seeing animals, and Pete told us that we would make about half of the trip before we would meet anything wild.  Our first sighting was a herd of antelope, but the highlight was a herd of Cape buffalo.  Pete did a 360 around the grouping so that we could enjoy seeing them in their glory.  The addition of the white Cattle Egrets shining brightly in the sinking sun made the scene perfect!!

I greatly enjoyed the first of my many African sunsets!!

We landed in camp with drum fanfare and greeted by the camp workers and Poppy, the woman that runs Mungari.

After she showed us our palatial tent home, she invited us to join the crew at the fire pit for drinks and appetizers. 

The appetizer turned out to be Reedbuck LIVER!!

 When I asked what we were eating, and she said “liver”, I pasted on my “oh that sounds wonderful” smile while inside I was thinking how glad I was that we had brought snacks!!

But the snacks were unneeded!!  The meat was tasty and did not have that liver-tang!!  It was served in a creamy sauce with thin-sliced toast to sop up the gravy.  I went back for seconds!!

Soon the drums announced that dinner was served, and we trouped into the covered pavilion that serves as the meeting place.  The main table holds twelve people and we were soon enjoying grilled chicken, fries, stir-fried vegetables, and coleslaw.  As I was holding my stomach and thankful that dinner was over, the server brought cake and custard for dessert.   How could I say NO!!

Because the camp runs on solar power, there is only one area to charge up electronics.  Many of the other guests were part of a film crew and there was an IMPRESSIVE array of charging batteries!!

After dinner, Michael and I stumbled back to our tent and fell into bed to sleep the sleep of the jet lagged.

As often happens when we travel, I woke up sometime during the night, confused about where I was.  But when I heard the night sounds of the frogs I realized that we had made it to Africa….a dream come true!!!

Come back next week for more……

And so it begins…..

This is the first story from our recent trip to Mozambique. I plan to post one or two installments each week and then finish it out while we are back there in July. I hope that you enjoy your travels with me!!!

As I sat at the fire pit….

…..listening to the five conversations going on around me, I happened to glance up to see the moon’s glow filtering down thru the trees above, and I couldn’t help but thank God for allowing Michael and me to come on this trip!!

Mind you, it got off to a rocky start!!  As we were driving to the Atlanta Airport on Thursday morning, a gentleman in a BIG truck pulled out in front of us as Michael was traveling 50+ miles per hour.  Fortunately, there was no one in the oncoming lane, so Michael pulled one of his “Andretti” moves and managed to get around the truck before it hit us!!    Okay, we thought that was THE trip problem!!

We arrived at Dulles airport and found the bus that would take us to the hotel where we were overnighting.  After a 7 minute drive, we hopped out of the bus, gathered our suitcases and said with one voice, “where is the carry-on rolling bag”….the one that has ALL of our camera and video equipment totaling $5,000!!  At the same time, we both realized that we had left it at the airport bus stop!!!’.

The bus driver noted the panic in our faces and said, “hop back on and we will go back there”.   I stayed at the hotel and prayed mightily as Michael rode in the bus with the driver going as fast as he could go.   There was a collective sigh of relief when the lone bag was sitting just where we left it!!  OK….so THAT was our one thing to go wrong!!!

That Thursday was also Michael’s and my 44th wedding anniversary and, since we were in DC, we made reservations at our favorite restaurant….The Capital Grille on Pennsylvania Avenue.  We asked at the hotel desk the best way to get there, and she said “UBER!!” 

Now, I know that we are well-traveled but we had NEVER used UBER before.  Fortunately, I had set up an account years ago but had never had a reason to use it. 

Since we were still a bit shaken by the suitcase incident, we were leery to try something new, but finally, Michael said, “just book it”!!  I hopped on the App and 5 minutes later we were winging our way into town.  It was a great experience, and we had an interesting conversationalist for a driver.

Our dinner at CG was marvelous, starting with cocktails…..

…..and moving on to Caesar Salad, followed by Lamb chops, Parmesan fries and grilled asparagus….

When it came time to order dessert, our waiter brought out a sampler platter with small servings of two of their desserts served on a specially decorated plate. 

He definitely increased HIS tip!!

We left the restaurant and walked down one block and strolled along the National Mall, stopping to take a few photos of the magnificent buildings…..

When we were tired and ready to head back to the hotel, we pulled out the App and our car arrived in  just a few minutes.   I may never drive anywhere again!!

Come back tomorrow for the rest of the trip…..