Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Some finishes, FMQ and an Award

Have you missed me?
I've not been hiking since my previous post, so didn't get lost in the forest or attacked by a wild boar! I have been extremely busy making some Christmas gifts to be sent to Norway. Every year my intention is to start early making the gifts, but it fails - always - I do wonder why?! Anyone who has an answer to it? :))
There are some Christmas gifts I can't show here! The recipients read my blog, and I don't want to spoil the suspense! So to you who know there's something coming your way; just be patient! :))

Well, there are two gifts I can show, because the two ladies who will receive these gifts, don't read my blog. I'm safe! One of them - an 84 year young lady - kindly sent me six quilt covers and a few other things, which I'm going to use for backing. I think the best way to say thank you, is to make her a little gift...
I've made two tablecloths, where I have used the same pattern and fabric. Very fun and easy to make.

Do you remember these table runners?
They have been on my "to finish" list for some weeks now, and finally now they are done!
I had some fabric left from the orange/green hibiscus, where I fussy cut some hibiscuses and leaves to applique on the table runner.

Here's the bigger table runner, with more applique.

Perhaps orange/yellow/purple is an odd color combination? I was advised to remove the orange border because it didn't match the purple, but I didn't do it. When it comes to colors, my personal opinion is that we should not follow any "rules", but do what we feel is right and not be afraid of doing something else. Perhaps the applique should have been orange, but I'm not good at drawing at all, so the "safest" for me was the fussy cutting. I've been lazy; did machine applique. I've used orange and green cotton thread (DMC) for the applique, turned out quite nice.
All in all; I love the table runners, and perhaps there'll be another quilt in the future with these "odd" colors together! :)

I've been hooked on FMQ (Free Motion Quilting) over the last days! It's all about practising, nothing else! I need to practise more on even movements. I have a tendency to move the project too fast, and I feel it goes a bit out of control. I used the Suprime Slider, which I talked about here, and Machingers Quilting gloves.  
When I googled for a photo of the gloves, I ended up at this blog; 365 Days of Free Motion Quilting Filler Designs. Perhaps you already know it, but it's new to me - I'll check it out...

Even if I'm a newbie, I think the FMQ turned out quite OK. This is the back of one of the small tablecloths.

I don't know if I should show only one tea coaster? :) It's a set of four (different patterns), but I have made one only.....

I thought I had the patterns here, but now I can't find them... The others are an apple, corn (maize), but I can't remember the last one....


Long time ago I received an award from Michelle, and last week (I think it was), I received the same award from Natima. Until I received it from Natima, I had completely forgotten about it - SORRY Michelle!

I am supposed to tell something about myself that you already don't know.... What should that be? I don't think I have that many secrets - lol!
I'm also supposed to pass it on to a few bloggers, which will even be worse. There are sooo many talented and versatile bloggers out there... OK, I'll pick a few then...

1) Sharon - L'Atelier and  Live Your Style
2) Elisabeth - Livet paa gaarden
3) Eva - Min Lappeverden
4) Peggy - Peg's Place
5) Bjoerg - Bjoergs Blogg

Please tell something about yourself we don't already know, and pass the award on to a few others.
I almost forgot to say a big THANK YOU to Michelle and Natima who selected me for this award!

Friday, October 8, 2010

La Marie to La Peyre - A hike in solitude

I'm not sewing these days - I'm hiking. :)
The last days have been perfect; blue sky, sun and suitable temperature for a Viking.
If you have read my previous post, you'll know we like to hike and explore new areas. Four days of "recovering" from the Black River Gorges hike, we set out for another hike. We had two areas in mind; Tamarind Falls (bus to Henrietta) or Mare aux Vacoas (bus to La Marie). On the way to the bus stand, we decided to jump into the first bus that goes to either of these places. La Marie (Mare aux Vacoas) won! :)

This is the part of the island where there are no buses running. To enter the Mare aux Vacoas area without car, one has to take the bus to La Marie and walk the 2,2km/1.3 miles to the lake.

Mare aux Vacoas is the largest lake/reservoir in the country - 600 meters/1968 feet above sea level.

After studying the map, our plan was to hike around the lake, but it turned out something else. While hubby was asking a couple of guys (workers, cleaning the road sides), I was busy admiring the gorgeous ferns.
From the workers we got to know it is impossible to circle the lake; big rivers and marshland; impossible to cross, for not to talk about the wild boars! Well, I have read somewhere Mauritians are very helpful (they are!), but it happens they tell a story instead of telling the truth - if they don't know.....
(No offense to my Mauritian readers!)
A couple of hundred meters down the road, we met a gardener at a visitor center (La Sophie Nature Walk). He could tell it is possible to circle the lake by following the bigger trails. He could also tell us he used to walk a lot in the area when he was younger - a guy to be trusted.

"Village Weavers" and their nests. Are you able to spot some yellows in the palm? Sorry no close up, my camera is not good enough for that. By clicking on the link, you'll see a much better photo.

"Village Weaver's" amazing nests.

Agriculture; small cabbage plants.

Road signs for hikers are scarce, we had to ask a third person for the trail leading in to the area. The road leads to Domaine des 7 Vallees - a so called "hunting paradise"! We met the owner on the way; asking us where we are going... Fortunate - yes, I say fortunate - because so many wonderful areas on the island are private and one need permission to enter... We didn't need any permission to go through the forest!
The forest covers an area of 4000 hectares, where more than 2500 Java deers and wild boars live freely.

Since I'm against mass-tourism, I love the idea of Eco-tourism, which is created in Domaine des 7 Vallees. We didn't visit the Domaine, where the reception etc are located. On the way through the park, we came to this place; idyllic little lake with a picnic area and one of the cottages one can rent.

An enormous bunch of bamboos! I didn't know it is bamboos before I had a closer look. :)

It was just after the Riviere Sitron (Lemon River), where this little lake is located, we should have taken a left fork (I believe), instead of doing the straight trail, to circle Mare aux Vacoas. Lack of road signs made us miss the right direction. It didn't really matter; after a wonderful nature walk of approx 15 km/9.3 miles, in tranquility and solitude, we ended up at La Peyre - not far from Curepipe and Nouvelle France! :)
We didn't spot any deer or wild boars - not even BIG rivers or marshland - lol! The nearest we came, were tracks of deer,  defecation from a deer and "something" that might have been a deer, moving in the forest - we just heard the sound of "something".

There are different ways to attract tourists; gorgeous beaches, now the latest; Eco-tourism, hunting etc. I have nothing against Eco-tourism either, but.... when there are hardly no areas on the island left for the locals; then I'm against any kind of tourism! To say it in one sentence; the island is sold to foreigners; all in the name of tourism/Eco-tourism!


It's the weekend! 
After lack of inspiration to sew over the last week, my intension for the next couple of days is to finish a few projects. I think I'll have to reset my brain from wonderful hikes into more creativity! :) The only thing I've done this week - craftwise - is to finish a bag (Christmas gift).

Wishing you all a CRAFTY WEEKEND!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Strenuous hike in Black River Gorges

Black River Gorges National Park  covers an area of 6,574 ha and protects a phenomenal concentration of gravely endangered flora and fauna. This area is a must for nature enthusiasts. There are several trails covering some 50 km (31 miles).
For more information, click here.

Some months ago we agreed with Elzaan to do a hike in the Gorges, but due to business  and other appointments we finally decided to do the hike Saturday.
We did the Petrin - Grand Riviere Noire trail.
Meteo predicted rain on the plateau during the weekend, and even if it was raining at Petrin in the morning, we set out for the hike. We had in mind if it didn't become better, there's no defeat to return home - which had been a pity though.

The road from Petrin to the picnic kiosk.

Gorgeous ferns growing on the roadside.

Part of the Gorges.

We started out from Petrin, and after 4 km/2.5 miles we reached the picnic kiosk and viewpoint. Thanks to the weather Gods - not meteo! - the sky cleared up and we had such nice weather the rest of the hike.We had lunch at the picnic kiosk before we continued.

Stunning view to the west coast; Grande Riviere Noire, Tamarin and Tourelle du Tamarin
(548m/1797 feet).

This point is about 600-650 meters / approx 2000 feet above sea level.

This part of the trail has lots of roots which were very slippery after some days of rain, almost dangerous to walk it downhill, but we did manage by holding trees and branches on the sides of the trail - just like a bunch of monkeys - lol! 

Finally on safer ground - the 4WD track, with the stunning view to the west.

Riviere Noire (Black River), at the base of the Gorges.

We could have crossed the river here, continued to an information center and further on to the coastal road and Grande Riviere Noire, but we didn't. We had a rest here before we had to return another 6 km/3.7 miles to Petrin - were we had parked the car.
It is said to be hard walking downhill, but doing first downhill and then uphill; it kills!!!
I won't say it was an easy walk uphill. GOSH I was out of breath (not fully recovered from the cold) and my thighs were already shaky and hardly moved even before we reached the steepest part - lol.

I compare climbing this part of the trail to climbing a ladder! That is how steep it actually is! I don't know if this photo gives a good impression of how steep it is... Hubby was so kind and thoughtful to cut walking sticks for us, which was needed for this steep and slippery climb.

The last meters before the picnic kiosk and the end of the climbing. My legs hardly moved the last meters - lol! :)) From here we still had 4 km/2.5 miles to starting point; Petrin.

Gorgeous flowers in the Gorges.

On our hike, we saw some birds; the Mauritius kestrel, some Parakeets and the more common ones; Red Whiskered Bulbul - called "conde" by Mauritians, Grey White Eye, and the majestic glider Paille-en-queue.
I think, the "highlight" of what some of us spotted, were two baby wild boars! They had hidden under a pile of dry branches and escaped when we came too near. They were so cute, these small babies! (Too small for BBQ though!! lol) Perhaps it was good we didn't meet their mom; they can be quite aggressive - I've heard....

We all were very quiet the last kilometers/miles to the car; sign of exhaustion! Hubby and I have done this hike from Petrin to Grande Riviere Noire, as well as the reverse hike 2-3 times, but never from Petrin and then returned to Petrin. It is a very strenuous hike (allow 6-7 hours return) - I don't think I overdo by saying; the "worst" hike on the island! :)) But it is worth the numbed legs, sweat, exhaustion, the day after muscle pain etc. I'll refer to Elzaan; "wonderful tiredness"... It's so true! Our muscles are darn sore today, it's hard to walk the stair etc.
After a couple of days the soreness and tiredness are gone, and we are left with the wonderful memories of the hike; away from pollution and noise, the stunning nature, lush vegetation, tranquility and solitude, fresh air, and not the least; hiking together with Elzaan and Allan!
Thanks to both of you for joining us on this strenuous and devilishly slippery (part of it), but wonderful hike!
A wonderful day in the Gorges!