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Monday, October 21, 2019

Go Plant A Tree in Africa!


One of the things I love about traveling with Craftours – it’s not just about destinations and locations.  It’s not just about shopping and sight seeing.

It’s about connection, about reaching down into your soul and waking it up to the wonders around you.

We break away from complacency and routine.  We realize that even though we hear such bad things about what is going on in the world today, that the people of the world are inherently good and all have their gifts.  They also have hopes and dreams and loves and losses.

We are far more alike than we are different.

Saturday, October 19, 2019

Karen Blixen’s Out of Africa


This house.  The ACTUAL house!

This is the beautiful farmhouse where Karen Blixen, author of Out of Africa, lived between 1914 and 1931, until she left Kenya after a series of personal tragedies. I haven't seen the movie in 30 years. I need a repeat. This was fascinating - The house contains many pieces of her original furniture and our tour guide was fabulous in setting the scene for us as to what really happened here.

The grounds are lovely and I wish we could have spent more time.

the downside?  No photos were allowed inside.  But it was truly wonderful.  Not a huge house, only 2 bedrooms and one bath – but the remarkable lives that were spent here.


Karen was truly a phenomenal woman!

Friday, October 18, 2019

Oh, the Naibrobi Rain!


It’s the rainy season in Kenya.

And with it, comes the coolest of breezes, delicate and misty on the skin.  The flowers are so HAPPY!

I admit it. With this being my first trip to Africa, all I could think of was “Hot, hot Africa hot!” and when I checked the 10 day forecast just prior to packing I was breathing a sigh of relief.  Temps in the 70s to 80s.  80% chance of rain – no HOT HOT HOT!

I am sure it is of great relief to the animals, too!

We started out our morning with a panoramic tour of Nairobi by bus.  Oh my word – check this out!

Thursday, October 17, 2019

The Way to Nairobi!


And there were 36 of us making our way to Kenya!

Ever since I was a teen – My heart has been focused on Africa. 

My Grannie and Grandpa John (Dad’s mom and step-dad) made a journey to Africa in the 1970s. Grannie LOVED photography, and was pretty good at it even with cameras before the computerized era – when technology dictated that you look for the right conditions, reset all the settings, set up the shot, take it – and cross your fingers until you could have the film developed never knowing if you caught what you hoped you caught.

Slides were the viewing of choice back then, and oh the evenings we spent with Grandpa John going into long winded stories with each and every frame – the click of advancing slides on the carousel interrupting his speech as he’d announce “Next!”

The giraffes.  Grannie loved the giraffes so much. And every time I see something with a giraffe, I think to myself how Grannie would love this one, or that one – or what would she think of her Bonnie Belle being here now?

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

On Our Way -



Sunset in New York.

It was an afternoon of hustle and bustle as I made my way to JFK, NY.  Just a day to get here – nothing big going on.  That all starts TODAY with the gathering of my Quiltville goes to Kenya peeps.  I can’t wait to meet them at our airport gate!

Several have traveled with me before – it’s going to be a fabulous reunion.  Some folks will be new, and I can’t wait to welcome them in and get to know them as well.

So many thoughts have been going through my head, wondering and pondering over all of the adventures that lie ahead of us – but we’ve got to GET THERE first.

Kenya Air flies direct from JFK to Nairobi.  That makes it REALLY nice – no layovers.  But it still makes for a very long flight.

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Something Quilty at the Top!


Isn’t this just SO lovely?

Yesterday’s 100 mile drive from Mouth of Wilson, VA home to Wallburg, NC was dotted with stops on the way.  And still, the only thing I’m missing is a wide brimmed safari hat that I can tie under my chin.

I think my departure to the airport in Greensboro may happen EARLY because there are a couple of places I can try before I check in.

But THIS beauty!

Monday, October 14, 2019

Three IronEZ Winners & A Whole Lotta Design Wall!


It’s time!

Let’s draw our three winners for the IronEZ spray bottle holders and get these off to our 3 lucky winners!

I’ve got one on my ironing board.  I’ve got one on my cabinet next to my machine-side pressing table -

And yesterday, I FINALLY recovered a big board ironing board, and clamped it there during the great flannel-pressing-design-wall-covering event of 2019!

Check this out:

Sunday, October 13, 2019

Duct Tape Queen! *Singing*


This is me in design wall land.

There are many reasons for covering every available wall space in the Quilting Quarters at Quiltville Inn with design wall boards, (Foam insulation board covered with flannel.) and the top 12 reasons are the 12 quilters the Quilting Quarters will hold! 

I can’t wait to see these walls covered with blocks and parts – dreams and possibilities.  BRING ON THE COLOR.  It’s far too “beige” in here as it is!

I have used foam insulation boards for design walls at my own home studio in Wallburg, NC.  Those I covered with grey fleece, and they wouldn’t hold anything of weight as the blocks got bigger and heavier with seams, so I am opting for flannel this time.

Some folks said they used staples in their own design wall experience to hold the fabric to the foam board, but I’m STICKING (see that pun there…punny! haha!) with duct tape. There are many reasons for this, but the duct tape lets me unstick and readjust until I’m certain things are a taut as I want them to be. I don’t enjoy picking out staples.

Saturday, October 12, 2019

Never to Old to Learn New Things!


Photos from my new Canon SX70 HS

Take pictures of EVERYTHING.  It’s not usually the first photo that turns out.

I took this photo while we were taking Sadie on an afternoon road hike – the steep drive down from the cabin, to the road and down a bit, and then all the way back up to the top.

Believe me, it’s much easier going down than up! 

The little house below our property proved to be a great photo op – the colorful laundry on the line, the shadows on the grass…The American flag on the shed porch.

Blue Ridge Mountains.  Appalachia.


Come on mom, you are lagging behind!


I know!  But zooming in on mossy rocks is so interesting!


And this drive is so steep!


And we still have to climb all the way – UP THERE!?

I think I’ll sit right down on the drive and catch my breath.
Click to Play:



I tried the video feature on the new SX70 just to see how it would work and how long it would take for it to wifi connect and transfer to my phone.  It was really pretty seamless actually, and I was able to post it to Instagram right away.

I’m afraid you are going to get a lot more test photos over the next while.

One of the hints I got, not even knowing all the settings, is to at least know where the SPORT setting is to catch action burst shots.  That’s how I was able to get Sadie’s wagging tail at a stand still in the photo above.


This however is cell phone.

At about 12 miles an hour.

I had Emmy Lou in the cat carrier in the passenger seat next to me so she could see me and I could reach my fingers in through the grate to comfort her.

THIS is an Appalachian Traffic Jam of amazing proportions  It usually doesn’t happen line this.  I had to call the vet to tell them why I was running late. The conversation went something like this: “Hi, this is Bonnie Hunter, I’m running a bit late as I am following a long line of vehicles at 12 miles an hour.  There is tractor of some sort heading up our slow moving parade, and in the mix in front of me are also a school bus and a dump truck full of gravel.  I’ll be there when I get there.”

The response was “Oh wow, that’s a trifecta of un-passability. Drive safely!”  LOL!

I showed her the photo when I finally got there. We had a good laugh.  These roads are steep, winding and narrow and there is nowhere to pass or pull over.  The tractor thing at the front finally turned off at a side road next to a church, and we picked up speed.


Emmy Lou in not her favorite spot.

The medicine helped with the yowling.  It did not help much with the pooping (You should have seen me at a rural stop sign grabbing Kleenex and flinging cat poop out of the window to the side of the road!) or throwing up.  (Which only happened once.  ON the towel. Thank heavens.)  After that she did settle down, got quiet, and I think she actually slept part of the way.  She was even better on the way home so the next time we have to do this? I’m giving her the meds 3 hours ahead of leaving instead of 2.

Diagnosis on the growing barnacle on her side?  Sebaceous cyst. The vet lanced and drained it (totally gross. Seriously. eww.) And shaved around it to increase the air drying it out. I’ve just got to wash it once a day.  As it is in a place she can’t reach we don’t have to worry about her licking it.

The Arnold Schwarzenegger voice in my head shouting “It’s a TUMOR!” can now be quieted.  We trimmed her nails while we had her there since she won’t use a scratching post.  She got a rabies shot and we were good to go.  For the 1/2 hour drive home.  Miss sweet thing.  For 19 years old she is in great health and we should have another few good years with her.  I’m so glad we didn’t get a “terminal” diagnosis on her.


Some sewing did happen -

But not much – just a set of 5 more.

You know how I love to switch machines out.  I do I do I do.  I also brought up my darker art deco cabinet from Wallburg, to sit opposite the blonde wood art deco cabinet that holds my 301 in its cradle at the Quiltville Post Office. I moved the beautiful mahogany cabinet with the 15 in it over to the Inn how that we are on the push to get everything set up over there.

The art deco cabinets have MORE LEG ROOM beneath as it is minus a front left leg.  The fold out table sections really do add a lot of workspace, and the three drawers for storage are so practical.


The machine in the cabinet?  My friend Nancy B brought several machines to me when I was teaching in Pennsylvania in September.  I spent some time cleaning up the 201 and placed her in the cabinet this week to give her a go.  Such a quiet stitcher, and so much power!  Her main task will be for binding, but I loved piecing the Crooked Log Cabin blocks on her.  Thanks, Nancy!  The little Singer 99 machines are going to live at Quiltville Inn as loaner/back up machines for retreaters. They are the perfect size and so easy to run. And no bobbin cases to lose.

And do you see what I see to the RIGHT of the cabinet?

My IronEZ #2 has found a perfect spot next to my machine-side pressing table!

I love that the clip has a wide range of adjustability and the thick rubber grips in the top and bottom of the clip won't harm my vintage sewing cabinet - where I've got it clipped here.

No more spray bottles will be taking long drops to the floor, and the holster fits numerous sizes of spray bottles including your Best Press, Flatter, spray starch in a can, fine mist flairosol bottles, and even a beverage water bottle! (Hydrate hydrate hydrate!)




If you'd like to win one (USA addresses only please) enter to win on this past Wednesday's blog post. Drawing to happen Monday!

And SURPRISE!  We will be drawing THREE LUCKY WINNERS!

You can order them directly at myironez.com and save 15٪ using coupon code BH15off on the checkout page!



October is still in full swing!

And so is the half-price sale on my Punkin Patch Table Runner pattern, only $4.00!


You could be stitching pumpkins by lunch time! NOTE - you do not need a PayPal account to make a purchase Paypal jus just my credit card processor.  You can use your regular credit card as a Paypal Guest.  You can also do an Echeck this way.  Just follow the illustration directions found partway down the front page of the Quiltville Store.

And with that, (and very slow internet this morning) It’s time to get this day up and going.  It’s Design Wall Saturday – I’ll be covering foam insulation boards and getting them ready to install – ONE STEP CLOSER!



Quiltville Quote of the Day -

Vintage broken dishes in a nine patch quilt found in North Carolina.

Every day is a brand new chapter. We can fill the pages however we want to.

The past doesn't dictate who we are becoming.

Welcome to the weekend, folks!