11–20 of 28 entries from the month of: July 2006

Sunshine and Sewing

July 21st

Gina is visiting her folks in Tucson this week. I took advantage of the very reliable and lovely US Postal system and got her wristlet done in time to be shipped just 120 miles south of my home. It arrived yesterday, before she returns to France.
The lucky girl lives in France. And has an adorable French boyfriend. Oooh la la! And is one of the nicest bloggers I’ve met — the sweet silver lining to organizing a swap is getting someone you truly want to spoil.

My Arizona Wristlet:

Sun pouch for Gina

It’s a bit messy, but so is the sun. I love it. My mama would be proud I attempted to applique/quilt something in the first place.

I thought while I had the sewing machine out (as if it has left my kitchen table in the last six months), I’d whip up a summery tote and needle roll too. I stole Amy Butler’s “In Town Bags” idea of using ribbon and two buttons for the closure. Such a smart woman, that Ms. Butler.

Gift for Gina

The items that didn’t make the list: postcards (darn it, I forgot!) and chocolate. Right. Why did I buy chocolate to be shipped to Tucson? It is going to be 115 here today. It’s just a shame it had to stay at home. With me. Waiting in all its dark chocolate glory in the freezer to be inhaled at a later date. You can imagine how truly bummed I am.

It’s a Wristlet World Participants — you should be chatting with your partner and sewing by now. You’ve got less than a month to get them to their final destination!


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Arizona, Domestic Art, Swap
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We Be Jammin’!

July 20th

I truly love living in the desert. Yes, the weather is brutal this time of year, but if you stop to smell the cacti, you’ll be amazed by the colors and adaptations living things must make this time of year to survive. Everything has an attitude in this heat. It seems while the rest of us are running from our air-conditioned houses to our air-conditioned cars to drive to our air-conditioned offices, all while sipping the largest, coldest drink possible, the cacti surrounding the city are looking at the sun and saying, “What? Is that all you’ve got? I’m just warming up down here. Bring it.”

Purple cactus

You think I’ll shrink in this heat? No way! I’m going to turn a beautiful shade of purple instead. Take that, burning star in the sky.

Cactus barrel

I don’t need no stinkin’ water. My friend Agave has been slipping me some wicked tequila anyway. All’s well in Barrel Cacti land.

Purple cacti

Sunscreen is for wimps.

In the meantime, I’ve been inspired by these savvy succulents.

What to do when it is 110 outside?

And call me crazy, but I’m harvesting prickly pear fruit this weekend and taking a stab (and more than likely a poke or two) at making jam. From cactus. And maybe a pie! Yes, I very well may have a case of heat-induced crafting craziness. Yes, indeed.


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Arizona, Domestic Art, Recipes
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July 19th

I proudly introduce to you a new drinking game. Or at least it was new to me until this weekend.

Sloshball, aka kickball for adults with a keg on second base. The rules?

Travis runs

You must hold a beer in your hand at all times.

Sweet first base surprise

Pick up a water balloon at first base and use it as you please.

refilling on second

Chug a beer at second base before moving to third. If you do not drink beer, (ahem) be prepared to take the full wrath of 30 people you just met and be thrown out on third.

Go jesse go!

If you reach third base, ride the scooter (holding your beer, don’t forget) to home. Then run the scooter back to third base.

Better group shot

Oh, and don’t forget to get “sloshed.” There’s no coincidence I’m not in that photo. The thought of keg beer gives me a headache and a stomachache at the same time. Plus, I had doggies to take care of. With my record, there’s no room for error.


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Woah Nelly!

July 19th

I’ve had an incredible response to my request for film. So much so that I’m going to take the favor off the table. I should have enough film for both the South American and African adventures.

Mil gracias! Thanks so much!

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Journal, Photography, Travel
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The Polaroid Project: South America

July 18th

Mozambique, Polaroid Project

Blog world, you’ve been so generous to me. So, I feel a bit sheepish asking you for a favor.

But I’m gonna anyway.

I’m preparing for another big international adventure. This time I’m taking South American by storm. I leave one month from today and will spend three weeks in Bolivia, Peru and Ecuador. The bulk of the trip is work related — I’m traveling with a volunteer surgical mission to rural hospitals in the region. (There is also a bit of cheap, quick vacation thrown in to end of the itinerary. Machu Picchu! Amazon! Buses, hostels, lots of hiking, oh my!)

I truly can’t wait.

Back to my point: I need a favor. One of the most fulfilling and heartbreaking aspects of my job as a public health worker is spending time in the hospitals. They are miserable, decrepit, crumbling buildings where only the luckiest receive treatment. My favorite place to find refuge is the nursery, with the newborns. I’m a sucker for babies, what can I say? I’ve hauled my Polaroid camera to Central America and Africa to take photos of mothers with their newborns. Nothing makes these women happier than to have a photo with their new child. There is no onsie provided. No roses, balloons or other regalia commonly seen in celebration of birth in the developed world.
You can imagine the importance of a simple Polaroid — some proof this baby made it into the world safely, often against all odds. Trust me — they love it.

The favor: film. Polaroid film is muy expensive. If you’ve got some hanging around, or feel the inkling to swing through the film aisle at Target, I’ll happily make you a wristlet in return. Let’s swap, shall we? I’ll even stuff your wristlet with fun goodies and send you a photo of these happy mamas when I return. Don’t like wristlets? How about an apron? Purse? Cake?

Email me: africankelli at gmail dot com. And heaven forbid I receive too much film to take, I’m off to Africa in November and promise it will go to good use there too.

I’ll be forever thankful,


Posted in
Journal, Photography, Public Health, Travel
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Against their better judgment…

July 18th

Some friends asked me to house-sit for them this week. They have two dogs on the opposite ends of the life spectrum. Mary Lu is a 15-year-old golden lab who is blind and deaf. She is sweet and very slow moving.

Mary Lu headshot

Esther, on the other hand, is the embodiment of an Apache Junction crystal meth user who’s just had a Sonic 44-ounce limeade for breakfast. On top of her Captain Crunch. The year-old weimaraner literally bounces off the walls. It’s like taking care of a cartoon dog — one that simply never stops moving.

Esther in action

Thankfully she is damn cute. Otherwise the whole “waking me up at 3 am to play thing” would be a lethal mistake.

Esther black and white

I told Shanlee and Tom of my previous dog-sitting adventures. There was the time the Basset hounds got into the homeowner’s bathroom (which I was supposed to keep locked. My bad.) and ate her makeup. What they didn’t eat, they spread all over themselves and the rugs. There is nothing like coming home to two guilty dogs with purple sparkly eye shadow covering their snouts — canine coke feigns.

Then there was the time the lab puppy I was watching got into a Costco-sized container of chocolate-covered espresso beans. That error led to the house being recarpeted and a very expensive vet bill. Thankfully the pooch didn’t die. I nearly did of embarrassment when the owners returned.

Shanlee was amused by my stories, but still wanted me to stay. I happily agreed. Their home is incredible and she gave me free reign of her craft room and wine fridge. (A one-way ticket to my heart.) The woman’s got supplies. Lots and lots of supplies. These paired with a nice white wine and a I was a card-making machine.

the benefit of being a dog sitter

Her workspace has left me very envious. I’m thinking I need a peg board. Imagine the organizational opportunities…

Off to care for the doggies,

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Cupcakes and Calm

July 17th

tray of yummy sweets
Carrot cake 2

I have two options today: freak out about Israel vs. the world, or bake. I’m picking the sweets. I cannot for the life of me understand the differences between Hamas, Hezbollah, and Al Qaeda. Does this make any sense to you? The real kick in the pants is apparently these groups hate each other too.

If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times — it is so much easier to throw a punch than to work for peace. World leaders: we expect more. We want more! We want you to talk about this, not immediately react with violence. Take your fingers off of the triggers and sit down for a conversation with your “enemies.” (Are we really all that different? Ultimately, don’t you think Jews, Muslims and Christians alike suffer when a family member is killed? Is there any difference in this emotion because your religious views vary? There are some basics universal to humanity, including the desire to be loved and to live a healthy, happy and peaceful existence.)

I’m telling you, these cupcakes are peace-makingly good. Carrot cake with pineapple and raisins, with cream cheese/cinnamon frosting. To my friends in Israel, Lebanon, Palestine, Iraq and Mr. Bush — let me know when and where this peaceful tea hour is going to take place and I promise to bring the baked goods. You won’t be able to resist.

“The world is my country, all mankind are my brethren, and to do good is my religion.”
— Thomas Paine


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Domestic Art, Recipes
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Dreaming of Fall

July 14th

Nappy bag in fall tones

An Amy Butler Nappy bag for Ms. Woof Nanny. We’re swapping for one of those great vintage patterns she collects. It will be my first adventure in sewing clothing. Ay!
The fall tones of the bag are my way of nurturing Mother Nature. Hint, hint.

In other news, a very healthy 9 pound 2 ounce Rory Joy was born yesterday afternoon. Mother and child are doing well and are beautiful! Baby R arrived with gusto!

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Domestic Art, Swap
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BackTack III, Version 2.0

July 13th

I’ve lamented that my first Backtack III package to Kerrie never arrived. Alas, it truly never arrived. I worked on version 2.0 last week and it is in the mail with 4-6 day delivery. It should be arriving Monday at the latest, fingers crossed.
A sneak peek:

The third, bunny bottom button

I went a little crazy with the pink in this package. I must admit. Somedays I just feel pink. Anyone else feel a color from time to time?

In other sewing progress, I picked up some more Martha Stewart tea towels the other day. They aren’t necessarily cheap ($10 for 5), but the designs are great. I always have a hard time figuring out which ones to purchase because I like them all. I made some of my favorite aprons from the last batch.


These will become knitting needle rolls.

Matching ribbon for needle cases

Paired with a pretty ribbon for the closure, this is a simple project with clean lines.

Pretty pinned fabric

Man, I love to sew. I know, I’m such a dork. But there are days I wish I could sit in front of my sewing machine, pairing fabrics and creating from sunrise to sunset.


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Domestic Art, Uncategorized
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Baby “R” Arrives Today!

July 13th

Tiffany, with just a few days to go!

My friend Tiffany is having her first baby today. It’s a little girl and we are very excited. Baby “R” has grown with such efficiency that she’s nearing 9 pounds with a week to go. A C-section will bring her into the world this afternoon. Good luck Tiffany! I know she is going to be a wonderful mom. (I love this stage of life. I feel such joy to watch my friends becoming parents.)

I can’t wait to meet you, “R!”


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