Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Stash shopping in Oslo

Bet you'll say; oh no, two posts in one day! :)) Today - finally - I have some time for blogging. You know how it is; visiting friends and all that doesn't leave much me-time - so that's why I do two posts in one day. Hope you don't mind?! :)

I was not supposed to buy anything during my stay here in Norway, but already I have excess luggage! Well, I'm exeggerating, of course I was supposed to do some shopping, but NOT stash shopping, because fabrics are very expensive here!
Those of you (Norwegians) who have visited Kathrine's Quiltestue surely know it is impossible to leave that shop without buying as much as a needle - ain't I right?? :)

Visiting Oslo - it is a "must" to visit this shop! 

Lovely, isn't it?!

Some of the fabrics...

I fell in love with the fabrics used in this quilt! Can you believe it; the fabrics were begging me to buy it - lol!
Here's what I bought;

I don't have any pattern in mind for these fabrics right now, but that shouldn't be too difficult!

I bought these fabrics too; 

These fabrics are for the Crabapple Hill pattern Over the River and through the woods. I don't remember when I bought the pattern, must be at least one year ago...

I don't know what to say.... If these kind of shops had been available in Mauritius, I'm afraid my wallet had been empty all the time! :))

More from the shop...

I stayed at my friend Elisabeth's (no blog) place in Oslo for some days when I visited Kathrine's Quiltestue.  I intended to do some more shopping that day, but with all the stash I bough it was too heavy to do more shopping! :)

I had a great time at Kathrine's Quiltestue. A big thank you to Kathrine (I think it was her) who helped me choose fabrics for the stitchery mentioned above!
I had a blast! :))

Having a blast....

...in Norway!
Yes, I'm currently in a freezing cold Southern Norway.
-10C / 14F - a little bit snow. -10C isn't that bad - when there's no wind - but add wind and it feels like -30C / -22F!!! Then it feels cold! And yes - coming from +28C / 83F - I am freezing! Not inside the house of course, but I do not like to venture out these days! Living in the tropics for 7 years, I have become such a coward when it comes to real winter. :) I even feel cold during the Mauritian "winter" too! :))

You may wonder what on earth I'm doing in Norway this time of the year.... Well, it's a kind of business trip I had to do; renewal of my passport, which is not an easy procedure living in a country where there's no Norwegian Embassy. Living in Mauritius, means that I either had to renew my passport at a Norwegian embassy - in my case; Maputo - Mozambique, or the nearest one in Antananarivo - Madagascar - or any other Norwegian embassies in the world - or at a police station in Norway.
Before April this year - I think it was - fingerprints were not required in Norwegian passports, which makes the process (living abroad) a bit more complicated. The Norwegian Consulate in Mauritius does not have the "green light" to issue passports and I doubt it ever will, because there are only a few Norwegians living on the island.

I love the 12-months summer so much that I had decided not to visit Norway during winter - but here I am!
When I still lived in Norway, I loved to travel and went abroad at least once a year. After I moved to Mauritius, I have settled - sort of - I don't have that urge to travel - lol! :)

I LOVE traveling by plane! Especially the Boeing 747! I love the take off's; the feeling of power from the engines, love to have a window seat to see how the wing works during take off and landing, the speed; approx 980km/609 miles/h, touch down at 200km/125miles/h. etc.  Amazing! It has always facinated me how such a "monster" takes off. :))

(Not my photo, it is from this link).

I was lucky to get a flight to Paris - Oslo.
Since I haven't travelled to/from Mauritius since I settled there, I'm impressed (a little bit - don't have too good experiences from immigration) by the improvements through check-in and custom at Plaisance (Airport Mauritius).
The weather condition over the African continent was perfect that day, so we landed at Charles De Gaulle in Paris before scedule. I had a day-flight, which I don't like that much - quite boring. By that I mean traveling during the night makes it easier to sleep. Yes, I don't have any problems sleeping while traveling! :)
Flights from Mauritius to CDG/Paris take approx 12 hours. I had transit in Paris - to Oslo - and had to go through two security checks; passport and hand luggage check points. I'm not very happy about some of the rules; liquid not allowed! I bought two 50cl bottles of water at Plaisance, but was forced to throw the one I had left at that hand luggage check point! I didn't feel for having the small bottle of red wine I got on the plane, so I decided to bring it - but NO! Had to throw it too! Not even allowed to buy alcohol at Plaisance because I had a connectiong flight!! :(( OK - lesson learnt!!! Not that I HAD to buy alcohol, but it had been nice to bring a bottle of delicious rum (local made) to my friend. (Idiotic rules, if you ask me!)
CDG/Paris is one of the biggest airports in the world - if I'm not mistaken. I had to go from terminal E to F by shuttle bus and it took ages. Flight to Oslo was on scedule, and we landed at Gardermoen/Oslo on time - after approx 2 hours.
BRRRRRR!!!! -8C / 17.6F - SNOW!!! It was a shock! Leaving sunny Mauritius in +28C / 83F - it felt so darn cold!!!!!
I've stayed here for a couple of weeks now - soon going back to my tropical paradise.
Norwegian winter IS beautiful, no doubt about that, but I do prefer 12-months summer!

It's WINTER - and I haven't forgotten where I'm coming from! :)

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Our garden

I didn't intend blogging today, because I don't have anything crafty to show. I haven't been lazy though; I've done quite a lot, but it is top secret - until Christmas! :)

I was looking at some photos taken in our garden over the past 2-3 weeks and thought I'd share some of the beauties with you.

Clerodendrum thomsonae - Bleeding Heart vine.

Callistemom citrinus - Bottlebrush tree

Nerium Oleander - Laurier Blanc

The amazing Bougainvillea - one tree with at least three different colors.

One of our Passion Fruit trees.

Alpinia zerumbet - Fleur de mon ame/Shell ginger
Not a very good close-up, but if you click here you'll get some better images.


"Pistache Malgache".
We don't know any other name on this tree. I've searched the net without success. Searching for "Pistache Malgache" gives groundnuts......, but this is a tree nut. It's a tall tree with stunning flowers. When the big nut is ready, it "explodes" into 4 - or is it six (?) parts, and the eatable nuts inside are spread everywhere. There are about 16-20 nuts inside one huge nut.
I thought I had photos of the flowers or an open nut, but can't find any.
If there's any of you who knows this tree, please let me know.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Deepavali (Divali) 2010

Deepavali - or Divali as it is called in Mauritius - was celebrated November 5th this year. It is a public holiday and is celebrated by Hindus all over the world. In India the celebration goes on for 5 days. Divali never falls on the same day each year, it depends on the position of the moon (lunar calendar). You can read more about the history of Divali by clicking on the link above.

It is also called the "festival of lights" - or "good over evil".

In earlier years only clay lamps were used to light up around and inside the homes, but nowadays many people decorate their houses with electric lights, which reminds me of the American decorated houses for Christmas. There are some stunning decorated houses in this area, and as late as 9 - 10 o'clock in the evening the road next to us was jam packed with cars. We're living on a slope with stunning view over the town, so not so strange people come here for the view.

The original clay lamps. These are a bit bigger than the usual smaller ones. I prefer these, because they burn longer and is easier to handle.

Who has said clay lamps have to look boring? Nowadays these lamps are painted and decorated nicely. Last year I painted a few lamps just to give it a try, and I did a few more this year.
These are first sanded, then painted. I have used some leftover decoupage from many years back (while still living in Norway). Several layers with sealer and then a layer of glossy spray.

Another of my "art" lamps - lol - burning outside the entrance. Perhaps you don't know how it burns? Cut a suitable piece of wick, then add cooking oil and light the wick with a matchstick - so simple! :))

There's no Divali without tons of (sickening) Indian sweets! OM Gosh - I have eaten too much and most probably gained some grams too!
A couple of weeks before Divali I told DH I won't make any of these sweets! But even if we don't celebrate Divali the BIG way as most others, it has become a tradition for us too.
We didn't make a lot, but enough to distribute to the nearest family and a neighbor. Divali is about distributing sweets to family, friends and neighbors, and it can easily become too much! MIL next door can't eat too many sweets, so what she got ended up our side! I don't exaggerate when saying we got more than 1 kilo of sweets!

Here you can see what we made.
In front left (dark brown) is gulab jamun - one of the sweetest of Indian sweets, but so yummy! After frying the balls in oil, the balls are soaked in sugar syrup. In front right is besan laddoos, made of chickpea flour (besan). The half-moons are gato patate - the dough made of sweet potatoes, filled with a mix of freshly grated coconut and sugar, fried in oil. To the left - in the pan - is a healthier choice; date squares; chopped dates mixed with melted butter, crushed sweet biscuits and chopped peanuts.

You may wonder what is in the little bowl? It is offerings to the dead ancestors, and has to be offered before tasting the sweets.
I didn't know that is important, so I did taste the sweets before the offering....

Once quilter - always quilter - isn't it?
After the candle lights burnt down, the different colors of the lights made a stunning pattern and mixes of colors in the tray. The darkest color is dark blue, then it turns to turquoise and light green...
I have decided to make a quilt using these colors - hopefully I'll get these colors from the Moda Marbles collection. It won't be this year though, but it is great to have some planned projects next year too!

I made this tablecloth approx 4 years ago - one of my first quilts. I was a newbie at that time and haven't used batting; only the top and the backing.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Marion's Quilt FINISHED!

I couldn't believe I've not posted for more than two weeks! We always have some excuses for not doing what we intend to do, don't we? I don't have many excuses; I've been extremely busy, in addition to a very slow PC/Internet connection. I find it very demotivating when I'm not able to read blogs etc properly; photos don't load, impossible to watch videos/demo's etc. I googled speed tests, and out of 185 countries, Mauritius is #178!!! Hurray! Almost at the bottom; 0.56 Mb/s download speed and 0.16 Mb/s (#180 on the list) upload speed - compared to #1 on the list, South Korea; 36.03 Mb/s and 20.38 Mb/s!
I have to add to it that Blogger isn't the worst, I seldom have problems loading photos for my posts. E-mails are the worst, especially Yahoo! I hate spending valuable time on slow Internet connection - I'd rather do crafting!
Dear crafty blogging buddies, I hope you understand it is not always easy for me - due to that darn Internet connection - to read and comment on your blogs. Usually I can read the posts, but don't see the photos. At times it's impossible to make a comment too. Months ago the service provider notified the modems will be upgraded, but didn't say when or if that will have anything to say on the speed - at least let us hope!

Sidetracked! I was going to tell about a few finishes I have done over the last two weeks.
First of all - here's Marion's quilt - finished! :) This is a gift to my dear friend Johnny's mother. I've used polyester batting (don't get wool or cotton batting here), and the backing is gray flannel. Very comfy.

My intention was to give these two place mats as a Christmas gift for my friend Elisabeth (no blog) in Norway, but decided against it. It is a gift though, but not for Christmas.
Elisabeth collects everything sheep, so I thought a couple of cute lambs will make her happy! :) One of the lambs is fishing, the other one working in the garden. I have also added the letter "E" - as you can see - for Elisabeth.

Another attempt on FMQ (Free Motion Quilting). I've used Superior's King Tut variegated quilting thread. This time I tried some circles. I have to practise much more, that is what it is all about. As a newbie, it didn't turn out that bad - I think?! :)
It should be possible to click on the photos, to see better the FMQ.

I've finished some other projects too, which can't be shown now. :)