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Tuesday, December 31, 2013

New Beginnings

Time for another challenge over at

and this fortnight it is

#8 NEW YEAR - NEW BEGINNINGS

We are onto the second week of the challenge so there is still plenty of time for you to enter and win the fabulous prize of $20 to spend in the IKEsWORLD store.  To win the prize or be voted in the top 3 you MUST use and IKEsWORLD digi, lots to choose from so why not pop on over to the shop and have a look around.

For my creation I opted for the forever useful, greeting card and used the digi Scheherazade.  So how I linked this to the theme of New Beginnings, well I see this as a Birthday Card or just a card to be given to somebody to encourage them through a tough time.  I live in Saudi and really could not resist this digi and knowing how some of the female species here, especially the  younger ones, are so longing for more independence and chances to learn about the world outside of the Kingdom my link for New Beginnings was born.  It takes courage to 'step out', to find out who you are, to not conform to other's wishes, to be YOU.  There are many 'New Beginnings' happening in the Middle East at the moment!!!!!

I first placed a sunrise photo I took in Kenya on my recent adventure there, behind the digi so it would show through the arches.  I digitally coloured the arches but left the rest to be completed with Promarkers later.  Two copies were printed, the one for the background and th second so I could fussy cut the beautiful lady and attach her with foam tape later.  Next I took orange card for my base layer and added a black velvet matt.  With the digi coloured and fussy cut I then added this double layer.  Next I added an orange card die - Joy Crafs Middle Fleur De Lys  which I embellished with blue Liquid Pearls to match the blue gates in the digi.  Next, I  added a veil to one side of my card, not because I personally 'cover'  it is something I am far from comfortable in doing but because there is a sense of the mysterious when you see a veiled woman, what is hiding behind, why are you hiding and in many cases when only beautiful eyes are visible a (and I don't mean to offend) sense of the erotic. Lastly I added some blue gems to cover the glue dots I had used to attach the veil.


Ingredients:-
  • Orange card from Craft Creations
  • Scheherazade by IKEsART
  • Promarkers - black, cool grey 3 4 and 5, burnt orange, starfish, caramel, cyan, sky blue and pastel pink
  • Flex markers - blush, dusky pink, linen
  • Die - Joy Crafs Middle Fleur De Lys
  • Blue Liquid Pearls
  • Black velvet, gems and material from my stash
I am entering this project into the following challenges:-

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

White Christmas

Just a quick card so I can say I had a White Christmas here in Saudi Arabia lol.

For this card I used the Mistletoe Kiss digi by Delicious Doodles.  With White Christmas being the them I chose not to colour much of the digi, just the mistletoe leaves and her lips.  For the fur trim I used Sea Foam embossing powder for a bit of texture, finally I used White Lace Stickles for the mistletoe berries.  The card is multi layered, the background being white lace, the next layer a collection of white glitter paper snowflakes, I also used the same glitter paper to mount the digi.  White feather bits were added to the back of the digi and this was then attached to the card with foam tape.  White organza ribbon was attached to the bottom of the base mount and a bow added, white glitter text Merry Christmas stickers used for the sentiment.  This base layer was then attached to the card also with foam tape.  Yes, a very white Christmas card :) :) :) :) :) Must say though, not the easiest card to photograph but I hope you get the idea.


It is not really clear but here is a close up of the Merry Christmas text in the bottom right corner of the card
Ingredients:-
  • Digi -  Mistletoe Kiss by Delicious Doodles
  • Promarkers - Moss, Marsh Green, Pear Green, Antique Pink, Poppy and blender
  • Seafoam White embossing powder
  • Cratime Glitter card for die cuts and digi mount
  • White organza ribbon, stickles, gems, sentiment sticker and feathers from my stash.
Challenges entered:-

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Christmas is Coming

Time for another challenge over at
and this fortnight it is
Christmas is Coming

We are onto the second week of the challenge so there is still plenty of time for you to enter and win the fabulous prize of $15 to spend in the IKEsWORLD store.  To win the prize or be voted in the top 3 you MUST use and IKEsWORLD digi, lots to choose from so why not pop on over to the shop and have a look around.


For this project I have decided to alter an old note book I had lying around (yes, it is an unused one!!!). I thought this would make the perfect homemade gift for my Mum who loves her birds and always needs a wee book to write her shopping list in so this is just a little something extra to open on Christmas Day.  Using a craft knife, I separated the hard cover from the paper bound book section.  To go with the digi 'Blue Tit Rowan' I designed a couple of backing papers in the same colours.  I then digitally placed the papers and digi and printed.  I have deliberately kept the front cover pretty flat and strong so it is not destroyed easily lol.  After cutting out, I then sprayed the front cover with permanent adhesive and attached the cut out cover.  I then re-attached the inside of the book with double sided tape and used some butterfly DP from my stash, can't remember the company sorry.  Butterflies for winter I hear you say, well why not, sure somebody somewhere sees butterflies in their winter and I love butterflies lol.  Red ribbon with a 'Friend' charm was added as a book marker and  finally, for a bit of dimension and some bling I added some gems to the front cover (sorry not showing very well on the pic).  

Front of book


Inside 

Ingredients:-
  • Blue Tit Rowan by IKEsART
  • Design paper by me for the outside and from my stash for the inside
  • Book, gems, ribbon and charm from my stash
I am entering this project into the following challenges:-

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Butter Green

Hello folks.  We have another challenge at One Stitch At A Time so how about popping over to see all the fabulous creations by the design team.

Challenge #194

Theme 'Anything Goes'

We are having a short break folks so this challenge is a little different and will run for ONE MONTH so plenty of time for you to add your wonderful creations :-) We will recommence our weekly challenges on January 12th.

The sponsor is StitchyBear Digital Outlet with a complete set of digi images that the team used in challenge #192. To win main prize you MUST use an Image from our store. Runner up prize for person using none store image is $3 to spend in the StitchyBear Digital Outlet. So everyone can win something ;O).






Ingredients:-
  • ???
I am entering this card into the following challenges:-
  • ???
NOTE - I have just overwritten my post, not the best senior moment I have had today hahaha.  This card was entered into several challenges but I can't recall them.  If you are coming to this page from a challenge that is still active please forgive me for not showing your link or if you prefer, delete my card from your challenge.  Sorry folks for being a pain in the b**t :) :) :)
Thanks for looking and hope you have a happy crafting day:)

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Kenya Adventure - Day 23

Up at 4:30, on the road by 5:30 a.m. hoping to miss all the traffic in Nairobi. Hard to believe the roads are already filling up, folks trying to get to work on time and even school busses out and about. I guess by 6:00 a.m. there will be grid lock. To many people, to many cars, grrrrrrrrrrr, but the same everywhere, same feeling as I have in the UK, feeling like a sardine packed into a tin with lots of other sardines.

We watch the sun rise from our car windows, and continue on the road east, the coast road. Now I have a request, to stop at Hunters Lodge for a then and now moment. This is the place Carolyn, who was my bridesmaid and I stopped when we came down to Mombassa in her little yellow car called Budgie. The first holiday my folks let me go on without them, a real adventure and when I met Alan :) :) :)

Hunters Lodge

Alan all ready of his coffee :)


A then moment - Vivien and Carolyn (my buddies in Kenya in 79/80) having a break at Hunter’s Lodge. The three of us were on going on holiday to Mombassa for 9 days. Vivien’s dad worked for Cabdury Shweppes and they allowed employees to use the company flat in Mombasa. Viv’s dad booked the flat for us, Carolyn did the driving in her little yellow car called Budgie and the three of us set off on our own wee adventure.


Now - I think I got the right spot here lol, really is just the table, Carolyn and Viv missing :)


Back on the road again heading to our destination for the night, Kipalo in Tsavo West Conservancy. The Conservancy is new, still in development, not development in the way you are thinking with buildings etc. but in development by nature. The small local shambas (small holdings/farms/gardens) are vacated, the building are still around, they are not allowed to be taken down, just have to wait for nature to do her thing. Thankfully the buildings are not made to be permanent structures, not concrete, not deep foundations, not man made products, but clay brick, wood fences etc. items that will, in time, decay and become part of the land again, living nothing behind but their footprint.

We eventually find Kipalo, as we so often do, we took the long (wrong) route lol - nothing wrong with that, such fun and having to think on your feet and you never know what you are going to find. We made good time and reached Kipalo around 12:30 p.m. just in time for lunch.

Another stunning lodge (I will grab some photos tomorrow before we leave), run by Craig and Flo, a young couple and lovely too. Iced tea and wet cloths greet us as the entrance, a common practice and very welcoming when you are hot and sticky.

Now what a surprise for me, Kipalo has WiFi - hurray, awesome and all the rest. Can’t be bothered to check my emails and only a quick look at FaceBook to see what my friends have been up to then onto Blogspot and get another post uploaded, just nice to be able to do that during the day, relaxing instead of trying to get it done at night, in a hurry.

4:00 p.m. and time for tea and a sweet nibble before heading out on a game drive. Seems to be what I usually say at this point - what did we see :)

Eurasian Bee-Eater


This is a butterfly lol


The vegetation here is very different, very overgrown, no ellies to clear the shrub away, poached!!!!!!! We hear of another elephant, a big one, destroyed for his ivory the other day - no I won’t go there again, you already know my feelings. I am just so saddened to hear the same thing wherever we have gone, every park, every protected area. So heartbreaking even to hear the humans who are trying their best to protect these wonderful creatures and Kenya’s future talking, to see the emotion in their faces, the anger, the frustrations the sadness. With this also being a new conservancy the animals are still learning it is safer than it was to re-enter the area, it takes time but it will happen. I doubt it makes much difference to the rhino or the ellie, they will be hunted for a bit of ivory or a hair horn no matter where they are but other animals will return, the lion, the leopard, the antelope etc. gradually some of the land taken from them for human habitation is being returned to them - as it should be.

To be fair, I know I don't have many folks and we have not seen much but generally folks who stay here will be taken further a field for their game drives, right into Tsavo East where the open plains are and plenty game to be seen.  Our drive was a quick one, just around the camp area as we are only staying here as a stop over before continuing to Tiwi/ Mombasa tomorrow.

Back at the lodge and all dark now and another special treat, to hear a leopard call, a sort of rumbling, throaty whoop, a sound that travels distance, a call, a message to say “I am here”. Another piece of the jigsaw fitted into place for me :)

To end the day the sun set from Kipalo Lodge


Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Kenya Adventure - Day 22

A travelling day for us today - back to Nairobi, time to leave the Highlands, time to say good-bye to my beautiful lady, Mt. Kenya. Having debated whether or not to take one last photo of Mt. Kenya I have decided the answer is no, yes she was visible but somehow taking a last photo seemed so final and I would rather leave her with 'until we meet again’.

Breakfast demolished, car packed and we are on our way by 9:00 a.m. for a leisurely drive to the main gate and back onto tarmac. With the rain the night before some of the park roads could be challenges so we have left ourselves plenty of time to exit, we have to be out the park by noon, we paid for three days and it works on your time of arrival, and so, as we arrived around noon we have to be out by noon. Nice and simple, just the way I like things.

So, on our drive out who was out and about enjoying the morning with us :)

Ah, this guy is a Black Stork, he is not resident, only having his visitor visa, just stopping by for a break on his migratory journey from North Africa to South Africa or some other country in that vicinity.


Out of the blue, the totally unexpected, hardly seen. Two zorilla (also know as the Cape Polecat or African Skunk), nocturnal creatures, related to the skunk family. I have never even heard of these treasures, did not know they existed. Just goes to show, we learn something new all through our lives and brings to light just how much we don’t know. Just a thought, do we need to know everything, does it become information overload!!!!!!

Alan was so quick with the camera, his was packed away and he had hold of mine in the front of the vehicle. Pete just said - WOW - quick - look and Alan grabbed the camera, click, click, click through the front windscreen, just on the off chance a picture was captured. Awesome.


I have cropped the photo here so you can get a closer look at these wee beauties :)


Again the vehicle stops, this time Pete picks up my camera, from his side he is in the right position to capture the old man again, the Colobus Monkey


How about this for a reclining chair :)


The last four legged creature we saw was my wonderful hyena, come to say bye-bye and another smile on my face. No photo, just one captured in my memory box.

We made really good time, the roads were fine, a little muddy but what the heck, that is what 4x4 vehicles like, lumpy, uneven terrain with a few muddy patches so ice-slaking techniques can be practiced. Just after 10:00 a.m. we passed the TreeTops gate and a few metres further on our exit from the Abedare National Park.

An uneventful journey back to Nairobi, all in daylight, far safer to be on these roads at this time of day, hijackings etc. still occur. After stopping at Nakumat, the all over the place big supermarket chain, the equivalent to UK’s Tesco, ASDA and the likes to grab some fresh bread and more mangoes to take to Mombasa we headed home. OK not our home, but Pete and Mo’s, it does however, still feel like home to us too :)

Not here for long, our plan is to be away by 6:00 a.m. tomorrow morning for our next adventure to the coast with a one night stop-over at Kipalo in Tsavo West.

Early to bed, early to rise as they say so that is where I am heading now - time to go horizontal. Chat to you tomorrow. xx

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Kenya Adventure - Day 21

I was a good girl this morning, trying to sneak out the bedroom to go and join my beautiful lady as she awakens for a new day. From the bedroom window I can see the sky is clear and just make out her outline against the still dark sky. Last night I put all my clothes in a pile, in order of what would be put on, no lights to help me in the dark morning, having to experience what it is like to be blind, trying not to disturb Alan to much. Forget the walking boots, girly pumps will do fine and they look great with walking socks hahahahaha - who on earth cares about fashion in wonderful places like this, it certainly does not impress the animals!!!!

My camera on his tripod is by the verandah door (yes, my camera is a boy ) ready, a flask of hot water from last night, a tea bag in my cup and I am totally ready to make myself comfortable, in my own little world, ready to start my day.


We can feel rain in the air so change our plans, instead of heading out for a game drive early we have decided to have breakfast first and then go exploring around, take lunch with us and stay out as long as possible. Yesterday we went through the bamboo forest area, today we are heading to the plateau.

Ahhhh look who who we see first, good morning hyena.


Then the baboons enjoying the sunshine, this guy more curious than skitty.


We reach the plateau area and this loan elephant is about. Now this guy was not in the least impressed to see us, I recon he did not get his oats last night, such a grumpy fellow. He stops, glares at us, you know that glare people give which signals to you it is better not to speak to them. We have the engine off, we don’t speak, hardly move. He turns to face us, his trunk sniffs the air, then the ear flap and he does the head wiggle. That is our signal to remove ourselves from his space, he is letting us know we are not welcome in his garden today. As we pull away he does the same and vanishes into the bush. How can something so large, so easy to see, become invisible in a matter of moments? I would love to have the ability to be invisible, can you imagine sitting in on corporate board meetings, government and big business deals and the like, a very different world from what the media tells us I am sure.

A little further on to our right a majestic Water Buck


Now I wonder how many folks have see a Fresh Water River Crab in the Abedares, eyes normally looking straight ahead or up in the trees but the land underfoot so often forgotten.


OK, I do look at the trees as well. Here we have what I think is a Palm Nut Tree, out of place, a gift to the land from a passing bird no doubt.


A caffeine top up is required and although we should not have stopped here we know we are in good hands. Buffalo are far from the friendly milk cows, yes those ones who provide milk that is put into containers and then makes it to the supermarket for us to buy!! These guys are more like the bull who you know not to wave a red rag to, buffalo, being one of the Top 5 - due to how dangerous they are. You have to keep your eye on them, their mood can change any time. All the same, respect demands respect much as it should in the human world - yes kids, the way forward for you is to learn respect for others, for yourself, for life!!!!

Alan checking out the herd


Fancy a pamper session, a mud face pack maybe or go the whole way and have a mud bath. This guy got his for free lol.


Amongst the buffalo the Wart Hogs mingled, two different spices in harmony. This one did not have a chance to run away, her babies made sure of that hanging on tightly, enjoying their breakfast.


Coffee drunk and everything packed away, no trace of us being here but the footprints we leave behind. We potter around, just enjoying the here and now when we spot a couple of male Bush Buck on the road in front of us. Such shy beauties.



Further along and in the trees a Sykes Monkey


The Old Man of the Forest - Colobus Monkey, with his majestic black and white coat. This is who I wanted to see in the Abedares :)


Back in Samburu I captured this bird stealing chicks and eggs from nests. Not good photos as he was way in the distance, but still worth taking for memories sake. His agility was something else, how he managed to fly between the branches and tree trunks, hang upside down, fly again from a stationary position blew my mind. I guess this is where the British Forces Harrier Jump Jet gets it name.

African Harrier Hawk

Male Water Buck with the rain clouds behind, time for us to start heading home. We don’t mind the rain, African rain is like no other I have experienced in the world, it is what I refer to as ‘proper rain’ big drops so hard they bounce off the ground, not the light rain that just seems to go on and on making everybody miserable.


The first Colobus Monkey pic in this blog post was taken by Peter, I was on the wrong side of the car to get him. Here is my effort - not bad, this guy was about 500 metres away, across a valley. In the full photo he is pretty small but as you will have gathered I have done a fair bit of cropping. All the images in this blog are 500 pixels on the longest side, kept small for obvious reasons!!!!


A Silvery-Cheeked Hornbill


When you have an itch you just got to scratch it :)


A just because photo - a posing Wart Hog


I just love the speed of my camera, to be able to capture birds taking off or landing, to be able to see sequence shots of the motions they go through before becoming airborne, fascinating stuff.



As we get closer to home the heavens darken, raindrops appear on the windscreen. There is home, just around the corner, just before the downpour or so we thought. Pete parked the car under the mabati (corrugate iron) roof and as we opened the doors to get out - hey presto - clatter, clatter, clatter - the rain had arrived. Now decision time, should be stand here and remain dry or make the 30 metre dash to the house. A lull, cameras under jackets to stay dry, we head indoors.

When we left this morning the ellies had decided to stop by and look who is back, the ellie from this morning, still here, still having fun.


Then his pal arrives, stretching his trunk to sniff his buddy or is he trying to pinch the salty mud I wonder.  Look at the grin on the face of the ellie in the background :)  Do you sense a bit of mischief in the air????


Have you ever wondered what ellies do in the rain. I guess I always assumed they would head for shelter. Assumption is not a good thing, it can so easily mislead us, take us up the garden path, take us in the wrong direction. Maybe some ellies do head for shelter, I don’t know, but these two had a ball, they were like children having a mammoth play session. During the next hour or so of the deluge they did nothing but lie in the mud, spray mud, play fight, tease each other. So many photos taken, so hard to know what to share with you :)


To our right, a beautiful rainbow, a area where the sun managed to sneak a peek through the rain clouds - how spoilt we are with the sights nature is providing for us.


Back to the ellies for a couple more ‘Ellie’s Playtime’ pics




Coming home early today has been magical, normally we get back around 6 or 7 p.m. today it was 4 p.m. or 16:00 hrs if you prefer . To see the ellies playing like this, natural behaviour which I think is rarely caught on camera, another special moment to add to the memory bank. There is one thing in photography which is missing, a great shot with action in it can be captured but the whole story is still lost. With this in mind I put up my point and shoot and switch to video so now you too can share the ‘whole’ :)

video

After my video (my arms were to tired to hold the camera any more) Alan picked up his camera and captured the two ellies, still at it, still playing. Listen toward the end of the video and you will hear these guys pretending to be Russian’s - lots of ‘popovs’ or passing wind to be more polite hahahahahahahaha.  At the end you will see the larger third elephant trying to stop the kids playing and taking charge before they saunter off.

video

By now you would think we had been given more than our fill of fun for the day, but no, there was more to come. In fact it continued till we eventually went to be around 10 p.m. - by far the best soap opera I have ever seen, the antics of the visitors keeping us entertained, so much better than any comedy I have seen on T.V.

The ellies left and the buffalo move in, not as many as the other night, only about seven of them, amongst which were two mums and their young. They munched on grass, walled in the mud, licked the salty earth, just did their thing. Now there is one more resident of Rhino Park - not the usual Genet Cat most places have, here we have a pair of White Tailed Mongoose. We have decided tonight to try a get a photo of them, they are a bit quick and nocturnal but worth having a try. In order to tempt them into the spot lit area we kept our chicken bones from lunch and lamp chop bones from last nights dinner, it will be like a Christmas Dinner for them.

Here comes one now - ‘ooooooooo, yummy bones’ you can almost here him say. We are sitting inside at the moment eating our dinner too but can’t resist keeping one eye on this elusive creature. He grabs a bone and heads off into the bush to enjoy his findings. Back again a few minutes later, another bone snatched, then scarpers to eat in peace and quite. The buffalo don’t batter an eyelid, he is not threat to them, they let him be.  Poor guy is soaked through with all the rain.

I have mentioned before Pete has eyes like a hawk, always looking to see what should not be there and from nowhere he says ‘what is that?’ blow me I can’t see anything, the he adds ‘a hyena’ - WOW a hyena, my favourite has come to visit. The hyena saunters through our garden, from right to left, not pinching bones en-route, on a mission, and disappears into the bushes, into the night. The smile on my face is from ear to ear, what a treat. But, we are not finished yet. Not long after the first hyena passed through a second appeared, a young male, far to late for him to be out on his own but just like kids these days, trying to be adult before ready and ending up looking rather stupid. At least he was not like some kids I see, young girls, in high heals, with makeup on, hair all prettied up acting 20 instead of 7 - yes children’s parents are springing to mind - no can’t go there, to much negative to say, better button my lip and go back to my hyena. This young guy was desperate for one of the bones we threw out for the mongoose, he chases the mongoose who in turn dropped his bone for the hyena to retrieve- round one to the young hyena (but that was the only round he won). Mongoose back agin, grabs another bone, the hyena watches, you can almost see his brain trying to work out where the bones are coming from. Mo comes up with a good point, maybe he thinks he has to put a penny in the slot to get one out lol. The hyena is struggling, he really wants a bone but they are to close to the house and he is not quite brave enough to explore - the bones are only about 2 metres from where we are sitting. While he is trying to make his decisions, to built up courage, the buffalo have spotted him from their sleeping place, alert now, two standing and then - enough of this, they chase him away. He is no real threat to them but they do have two young with them. Three of the buffalo move into position as guards for the night, facing towards the bushes, blocking entry to our garden. Meanwhile the mongoose is backwards and forwards, grabbing yet another bone before scarpering off to enjoy his find. Things go quiet for a while, then, lurking behind a bush, inside the buffalo guarded area the young hyena slinks out - dem bones are really teasing him, shame his brain is not working’ :) He manages to come right up to the pile of bones, we are so sure he will grab a few, but no, it is as if he is not quite able to put two and two together. Maybe it is because they are lamb chop bones which have been marinating in all sorts of goodies for the past few day and he can’t place the smell.


His loss, the mongoose’s gain. After about an hour of these antics repeating, hyena chasing mongoose for bone, buffalo chasing hyena away, hyena trying to outwit buffalo to chase mongoose for bones, things eventually go quiet for a while. Time for us to dry our eyes, removing the tears of laughter, catch our breaths and go make another cup of tea.

There are still some bones left, we really did have a pile and now things have gone quiet the second White Tailed Mongoose appears to take her fill. Ahhhh how sad, no more bones, then Alan remember we have some biltong left from our time in Lewa. The same biltong which I swapped with this guy called Jeff for Alan’s 1980 Kenya Safari Rally pics. Alan toddled off to the bedroom to get what was left. Now it is just as well we have a home for this biltong as it has gone green, something not quite right there. The dried meat is placed on a flat stone, wonder who will eat it :)

I have to admit, the mongoose was a little dubious too, sniffed the air and bypassed the biltong. A little later, sniffed the air again, came a little closer, then backed off. Eventually enough courage was mustered, he slowly made his way to the stone, sniffed the biltong and then backed off to think - wondering if it was edible, smelt like meat but ………… At last, he took a piece, then another, then another, half an hour later it was all gone. I wonder if his wife will let him sleep with her tonight, I know there are times when Alan has eaten certain foods I would prefer not to be in the same room hahahahahahaha (sorry love could not resist :)

I do wish I had more photos to share with you of this wonderful soap opera but with the rain making photography in this light difficult and not wanting to break the magic by using flash we all decided to watch and record in our memories instead.

All quite in our garden now, hyena gone, buffalo thinking of sleeping, mongoose and wife hunting in other locations for moths and other delicacies or maybe Mr. Mongoose has rather a sore tummy, I hope not. Time for some shut eye for us too, we leave the Abedares tomorrow and return to Nairobi for one night before an early start on Monday morning to ……. (tell you later).