February 18th, 2012

Planet Bao Bab sits at the edge of Makgadikgadi Pans and is a beautiful resort made with love and care. It is managed by a South African couple and truly is eye candy. The campsites were amazing with a little grass roof gazebo to set our tent under and the bathroom facilities were the best of our travels. Every little inch of the place was beautiful. The huts were made to represent Botswana`s traditional homes with mud walls, grass roofs and walls painted in beautiful designs. The pool, the bar, the washrooms were inspring to the eye.
 It`s also considered the Bao bab capital of Botswana. If you`ve ever seen a bao bab tree you would know that it is big and impressive. It`s also known as the tree of life,  bottle tree, upside-down tree, and monkey bread treeĆ©  Some have been around for 4,000 years.  They are fascinating and their branches can hold up to 120,000 litres of water.  At 5 to 30 metres high and at a diameter of 7 to 11 meters this tree is to be reveared.   Their trunks are fire resistent and mature trees are hollow and can provide shelter for humans and animals alike.  Although we didn`t see it, we did hear of a bao bab tree that was once used as a jail cell. 

The staff at Planet Boa Bab were super friendly and nice.  One waiter told us that in his little town of Serowe there is a legend about the bao bab tree that says that if one climbs it`s trunk up to the top they will not return as they will join their ancestors.  The tree itself bears fruit and right before leaving the lodge we got to taste it`s sourness.  
These trees are ancient and have stood their ground before the egyptians, the greeks, before Jesus and way before we ever came to be.  They were here when people were living primitively  along side nature, living in sync with the Earth.   The indigenous people of Botswana are called the San people or the Kalahari Bushmen.  Very few remain as the government has located them from the desert to small villages.  In a weeks time we will be visiting these amazing people and learn how to live in the dry, arid climate of the desert.

February 19th, 2012
We are camped in Kasane at the very edge of Chobe National Park in northern Botswana.  Our tent is but 200 meters from the river where crocodiles and hippos live.  From where I sit by the camp fire I can hear the hippo`s laugh and at times some splashing.  Although they are not visible from where we are, we definitely can hear them.   The only thing that separates us from Chobe national park and it`s animals is an electric fence that does not work.  A guard comes around every hour to make sure that we are safe from any predators.  Back in Maun we heard a story of a man camping at the same sight our tent now sits.  Unfortuantely he decided to set up his tent right by the river`s edge and that night a big crocodile had him for supper. 
We are here at the peak of the rainy season but have been really lucky so far with only minimal amounts of rain.  The guide books we`ve consulted all say that the best time to visit Botswana is in the dry months of May to September.  We are finding that being here in the rainy season has it`s advantages.  For one thing it is not busy and there is no need to book a year in advance for camping sites, lodges and a permit to visit the parks.  The other reason being that everything is so lush, green and vibrant.  This also has it`s disavantages as wild life is much more difficult to spot through thick foliage. The animals are also dispersed  as there is water everywhere. In the dry months of winter, animals gather at water holes which makes wild life viewing so much easier.  Despite these disadvantages we are seeing plenty of game and #having a fantastic time.  I must admit that it being summer it can be extremely hot. It can get as high as 45- 49 degrees!
Travelling reminds me that we are always taken care of, that things always fall into place.  On our drive to Kasane we discussed doing a self-drive into the park.  Since we have no 4 x 4 experience we did not want to do it alone.   When one ventures out into the park they have to be very prepared with extra food, water and fuel.  The roads are sandy and during the rainy season can be very muddy with water coming right over the hood of the car.  These conditions  make getting stuck very probable and if you get stuck on a road that is very quiet you could wait a week before anyone comes by.  We have heard stories of people getting stuck in the mud  or breaking down and to never be seen again.  There is a rule here in the wild`s of Botswana and that is to never be more than a certain disatnance from your vehicle.  Rule number 2 is `Whatever you do, don`t run`.
One story really stands out in my mind.  An elderly couple went out on a self drive adventure, they broke down and the husband decided to get help.  He got help and on the walk back the rescue party got mauled by a pride lions.  I realize that stories don`t always stem from truth and regardless the moral of the story hits home;  don`t be stupid,  the wilds of Africa are bigger and stronger than you.

Tonight as we were setting up camp we met a couple of South African blokes that are traveling here with their wives and families.  Hine is native to South Africa but him and his wife have been working in the Okavango Delta managing a 5 star lodge.  Conrad lives in South Africa with his wife and 2 children and manages a small game farm. Both men have great knowledge about the wild and we were very honoured to have them invite us to do a game drive in Chobe naional park with them in the morning.  So there we were hoping for a self-drive through Chobe and our wish was granted with a convoy of three vehicles through the sands of Chobe national Park.
February 20th, 2012
Today`s game drive was awesome!  Jay naviagted the Land Cruiser through the sand with no effort and found it easier than we  had thought.  The smile on his face denoted the fun he was having and my smile matched his.  So far we have met lots of South Africans and they have all been very nice, friendly and ready to give a helping hand or information.  Hines, Conrad and their families were wonderful to be around and had great stories.  What really stands out for me is everyone`s passion for the bush. 

We ate lunch at a designated picnic area by a river with stone picnic tables surrounded by small biting ants.  We had to put our feet on the chairs to save our skins from the stinging bites.   We ate under the shade of tress and conversation flowed easily.  It was our hang out spot for the better of an hour.  Off in the distance we could spot an elelphant grazing in the field and as the minutes passed more and more epiderms revealed themselves.   Soon they were but 500 yards away not giving us any notice.  Conrad``s wife was scared because she had been charged 3 times by an elephant in the past.  These elephants didn`t want anything to do with us and it was awesome to just sit back and observe these massive beasts.
February 21rst, 2012
Victoria Falls is one of the seven wonders of the world.  It is double the size of Niagara Falls and we took a day trip to Zimbabwe to have a look at the most beautiful expanse of water ever.  

February 22nd, 2012
We spent a night camped under a tree at Savute Camp in Chobe National park.  The minute we arrived and started unpacking the car a yellow hornbill perched himself on our food box and started picking our bread bag apart.  With a piece in his bill he flew up to the hole in our nearby tree and poked his head in.  I immediately picked up the book entitled `Whats `that bird and leafed through the pages to find out the following: ``When she nests a femael hornbill uses mud and droppings to seal herself into a tree cavity with the help of her mate.  She leaves only a small slit into which food can be passed.  While incubating the eggs she depends on her mate to feed her as she undergoes a complete moult of her flight feathers and is temporarily flightless.``  We then observed that our hornbill kept flying from the hole in the tree and off to get food.  He was not bothered by our presence what so ever.
The  drive here was super fun.  We drove convoy with a German couple that we met last night.  We drove at 30 km an hour, the car fish tailed as we made our way through sand tracks.  The best was when we splashed through great puddles of water and mud.  The sound of our laughter could be heard over the sound or our wheels splashing through mud and water.  The Germans drove a fully equipped land rover and startled a few elephants so that when it was time for Jay and I to drive by he or she was quite agitated.  She raised her trunk and belted out a warning trompette sound of anger.  We were as startled as she, She was hiden by a tree and we didn`t notice her until the very last minute.  She could have rolled the car over she was so close.
Our other elephant encounter happened in the same fashion.  Robbie and Suzie (germans) ahead of us startled an elephant and by the time our vehicle passed the epiderm was angry and showed his emotions with a big trumpet and charged towards us. He was so close that his trunk could have went through the window and given Jay a big kiss.

Chobe hosts approximately 120,000 elephants so we got to see many of them.  This afternoon after setting up camp an elephant came and walked right through our camp site.  We stood near our car doors just in case we needed the security of our car.  He walked but 10 feet from where we stood and rubbed himself up agains the same tree which the hornbills inhabited.  This elephant was huge like double the size of our land cruiser.  As we watched him rubbing himself up against the tree I was grateful for having moved our tent from under the tree.  We thought the tree gave perfect shade for our tent but a park official came to us asking if we could move our tent as elephants liked to rub themselves against the tree.  Phew.

That night I had the scare of my life.  Our elephant friend came to visit us again.   We were snug as a bug in a rug in our tent when we heard his rubblings.  He was right by our tent and I was soooooo scared.   We sleep in a 2 man tent which seems so small compared to this big beast.  I pictured him stomping on us, sitting on us and basically killing us.  We could hear a noise and it sounded like he was moving our chairs and tables outside but we soon realized that he was rubbing himself against the tree again.  He stuck around for what seemed forever and I was shaking.  I don`t know how Jay could fall asleep but he did and I woke him up stating that i wanted to go sleep in the land cruiser.  Of course that wasn`t an option.  The only possible thing to do was to lay still and listen to the activities jsut outside the vynil of our tent.   I was litterally shaking.  He left and throughout the nigth I could hear him walking through the stream that was but a few yards away.  As scared as I was it was amaizing to be so close and to hear all his sounds of grumbling and even gurgling.  I had never felt so intimiate with an elephant before.  I slept on and off that night and was sad to leave the next day.  I really wanted to stay another night and get comfortable with the animals that surrounded us.
On our way out with drove through the Savuti Marsh and drove through a zebra migration.  There were thousands of them dotted along the road and it lasted for about 2 km. 
The next part of our story will have to wait.  We did spend a night with the Kalahari Bushmen and it was amazing.  The tale will have to rest until we come back from our mountain bike safari.  Until then here are some pics.  love,
Annie and Jay


We are back in Maun and staying at Island Safari Lodge.   We drove down from Kassane through Chobe National Park.  It  was mind blowing and amazing.  The park inhabits over 120,000 elephants, loads of hippos, zebras, wildebeast and more.  I do not have time to say the story here as night is falling and I must get into the shower as we are camping and showering in the dark in Africa is not my cup of tea.  I hope you are doing well.  I am doing amazing.  Enjoy the pics below and check in again soon.  I can`t wait to tell the tale of our Chobe adventure. I am on cloud nine.  Love Annie Bananie and JBong.

African Sunset in The Delta

One Tooth the Pool Water Drinking elephant we saw on the way to Planet Bao Bab

Drifting in a Mokoro in the Delta

Zebra spotting in the Delta

First giraffe spotting.

Jayman my great, wonderful travel buddy.


Hi Everyone!!! I have been trying to download pictures to go with this story but the internet here is not as responsive as back home.  I could only download 2 photos.  Enjoy!

Okanvango Delta

But a few days ago we escaped in time and drifted through the long reeds of the Okavango Delta in a mokoro (dug out canoe). We bought our tour from Island Safari Lodge a very beautiful lodge set on an Island with monkeys, horses and a variety of birds, a little paradise of sorts. We relaxed here for a non travel day, recharged our batteries and booked a tour into the channels of the Delta.

Our journey to the Delta began with a motor boat ride to Buffalo fence. Buffalo Fence is a big fence built to separate the locals live stock from the wild animals. It`s a balance between the survival of wild life and local life. It is also our meeting point for our mokoro trip.

The drive to Buffalo Fence was beautiful with many differnnt bird species. With every bend the boat saw birds perched in a tree, in flight or standing in the reeds. Cobra our driver would slowed down so we could appreciate the beauty of these flying beauties. We spotted white swans, an open bill stork, copper tailed Pooka, African data and more. The beauty that surrounds Botswana is majestic and takes my breath away. Everywhere we go, I am captured by the sounds of birds creating a symphony of bird song.   Everywhere I look, I see vegetation of different shades of green, animals in the wild and so many different varieties of trees. I am Annie Bananie in wonderland.

Cobra`s boat ride to the Mokoro`s also gave us a glimpse of the local people fishing, washing their clothes by the edge of the river. As the boat passed we waved in aknowledgement. We were greeted with smiles and waves. The people of Botswana are a and friendly folk.

Traditional mokoro`s are dug out canoes but the Botswana government has banned the making of new ones in order to preserve trees. The mokoros are now made of fiberglass and painted brown. They are quite long measuring about 15 feet in length and about 2 feet deep with no seats just a flat bottom. Thamus our guide packed the boat so that our bags became our back rest. I sat in the front and Jay in the middle with Thamus (guide) standing up balancing the boat upright (think of standing in a canoe) propelling us forward with his long wooden pole. The experience was awe inspiring. Imagine sitting close to the water being propelled through corridors of papyrus, reeds and tall swamp grasses. Imagine lilie pads and white lilies dotted along the way. Imagine tranquility, serenity as the mokoro slowly makes it`s way through the crystal clear waters that is home to crocodiles (yikes), hippos (double yikes), fish, frogs and more. Before our tour we were instructed to relax and let the poller be the guide and to not panic if frogs or spiders fell into the boat. And that is exaclty what we did. We just sat back and took it all in.

This is Jay`s second time through the Delta. He came many moons ago and on that mokoro trip they came straight into a hippo pool. The hippo`s were not happy with the intrusion and with mouths gaping they started right for his mokoro. It was a near death experience and I am glad that he is alive to tell the story.

The Delta covers an area of 1600 km and is a paradise and a reminder of the importance of conservation. Wild life such as Zebras, elephants, lions, buffalo, anteloppe, bush bucks inhabit the land.

We arrived at our camp site and it was just maginificent. The trees on the site were like umbrella trees and gave great shade from the hard African sun. We set up camp, read had a snooze and went swimming at a nearby swimming hole. Our swim was more like a dip for we did not want to be lunch for any crocodile.

At 4pm we went back out into the mokoro and drifted to a nearby island for a game walk. We walked through tall grass and feilds, our first sighting was of 20 Peclicans wading in a nearby wather hole. Our walk continued for 3 km and the closest thing we came to seeing big animals were lion tracks and a buffalo skull. The sun was getting lower into the horizon and I knew we would soon have to head back. I kept my fingers crossed that we some animals would be seen. Just when I thought maybe we wouldn`t see anything Thamus says ``over there`and points off into the distance. Jay and I looked over and both had that look of ``over where!`` With more squinting of the eyes and direction from Thamus we saw movemt off in the distance. As we got closer the black and white stripes of a herd of Zebras became more apparent. We slowly walked closer and closer, they were so cute and kept looking at us while we looked at them. Suddenly we heard snorting sounds and to our right was a pack of wildbeast. Zebras and wildbeast like to roam together as the wildebeast have poor eyesight and zebras are their eyes.

It was so amazing to be in the wild standing in the same feild as these beautiful animals. After 15 minutes of watching them walking around and playing they got bored of us and gallopped away. The sound of hundreds of hooves hitting the ground at a high gallop was a big moment of wow. As they gallopped off into the sunset, Thamus says `` over there through the trees``. Again we struggled to see what he saw so clearly and lord and behold the grey skin of an elephant!!! It was a big mother of one to. He never came out from behind the trees so visibility was not that great. Nevetheless it was an honour to be watching him or her having a late afternoon snack.

We soon walked the 3 km to the mokoro and Thamus stayed alert to the sounds and movements around us and pointed out bush bucks, birds and I don`t even remember all of them. Thamus was an amazing feild guide and was akin to an animal in his awareness of his surroundings and his alertness to the workings of the jungle.

We barely made it back to camp before sun down. Sunset was magnificent. Supper that night was a baked potato, carrot, onion and garlic jumble in aluminum foil and baked in the fire. While our food cooked and darkness envelopped us we could hear a lion`s roar off in the distance, crickets, frogs and hyenas. The sounds were almost deafening. It was close to the dark moon so the sky glittered with stars, it`s brightness and vastness reminded me of how small I am in compared to the cosmos.

The next morning we went out for another game walk on the island we were camped on. We first walked to a hippo pool and spotted about 6 of them. They were hiding behind some reeds so they weren`t too visible but we could hear them moving in the water. Two popped right out of the water and seemed to be wrestling with their big mouths wide open. Thamus said one was being disciplined for being obstinate. A few minutes later two hippos made their way away from the pack and Thamus informed us that they were mating. I cannot express how wonderful it all felt. When we left the hippo pool we spotted the same zebras from yesterday who had moved onto our island over night to get away from the lion. We were able to walk about 40 feet away from them. There is something about standing so close to wild animals in their own habitat that touches me in a deep way. A part of me comes alive, like a connection to all that is.

After our game walk we mokored back to Buffalo Fence, got picked up by Cobra in his motor boat and went back to Island Safari Lodge.

We have since left Maun, and the Delta and driven 200 km west to Planet a Baobab a great little resort in the middle of nowhere. The drive here was amazing. When driving through Xai Pan Nationl park we saw ostrichs, a great big elephant munching on some grass. We stopped right in front of him and got really close. Later when we got to Baobab we learned that his name was one tooth and that he had been banished by his tribe for being too old. He has been known to go to a nearby resort and drink all of the pool water. He is known to be a grumpy old elephant. Later just at the edge of the park we saw a giraffe. It was so exciting to see wild life just on the side of the road like we might see a bear in Canada.

Next stop is a drive up to Chobe National park. Stay tuned....


February 14th, 2012

Here we are driving on the A14 bouncing in our Prado land cruise heading towards Maun. Maun is up north and the gateway to Mokoro (small dugout canoes with a `poler`at the back that drifts through the Okavango Delta) and safaris to see large aninmals. It`s not exactly our vehicle but Geoff and Sophie`s who live in Mahalpye. They are friends from Canada who are living here in Botswana and one of the reasons we`ve jet setted here. Unfortunately Geoff`s dad has passed away so they are back in Canada and we are here. Furtunately they have left us their vehicle and camping gear. Thanks Geoff and Sophie and we send you hugs and kisses.

We have put 276 kilometers behind us and heading towards our first landmark of Serowe. Driving in Botswana is easy save for the fact that everything is ass backwards. We are driving on the left side of the road as opposed to the right, the drivers seat is also on the right which is completely the opposite of Canada. When we go to put the signal on we activate the wipers they are also opposite from what we are use to. Every right turn is a metiuclous maneuver with great concentration to avoid going onto the right side of the road. We have both landed on the wrong side of the road into oncoming traffic. We are there for one another helping to stay on track. Drivers seem to respect the other vehicles on the road.

 What one needs to watch for is the speed limit as it can change from 120 to 60 with no warning and requires a quick slow down. This quick slow has to be done as we have heard that the police are on hand to provide large pay on the spot speeding tickets, even 5 km over the limit will give you a steep fine. So we are each other`s co-pilots making sure we spot the signs and slow down in appropriate times. I love that we can move at 120 km an hour. It`s lovely to zoom along at high speed watching the scenery go by.

The only wild life we have seen so far are donkeys, beef cattle, and goats which aren`t really wild life but they are just roaming freely compared to their Canadian friends. They graze along the highway, sometimes butt in the road, head in the grass grazing away with no cares as to our approaching. We have no illusions as to who owns the road here. Donkeys are so cute and I am reminded of Eyeore, Winnie the Pooh`s friend with his head bowed down and ears low. I`ve been told that boys between the ages of 7-10 learn to ride donkeys as they are a mode of transportation and we have witnessed wagons pulled by donkeys. Donkeys also till the soil and are well taken care of. The people seem to have a great respect for the animals of their country.

The landscape is beautiful with long sprigs of golden green grass, and evergreen leaves. The land is mostly flat, scattered with low umbrellas and baobab trees, the earth is a beautiful copper red and in some areas light sandy brown. We are riding tarmac roads but there are lots of off road options which we are opting out on. To off road one must be really prepared with food, water, gasoline and you need to know how to get out of sand traps and whatever else might occur in the wild. If you get in trouble you might not see someone for a couple of weeks. So we are staying safe on the tarmac, avoiding animals, obeying speed limits and having a lot of fun. The big African sky is filled with dark grey clouds with breaks of sunlight. We are graced with sun for the moment but all around us we counted 10 rain clouds downpouring towards to the earth. The scene is beautiful and ominous. We are headed towards a wall of grey and figure that sometime along the way we will be navigating through a storm.

The PeopleBlack people are beautiful and kind. Their skin glistens and their smiles show perfect white teeth, the kind of teeth that we pay thousands of dollars for back home. Everybody has been but nice and friendly. It is awesome being in a beautiful country with amazing people.

We have been lucking and getting lots of guidance. Richard and Liz are friends of Geoff and Sophie`s and last night they helped us chart a route for our adventure. With a map of Botswana spread on the kitchen table they spoke with passion of their homeland and it`s wilderness. They have lots of camping experience and a love for the wild. They spoke of a scorpion bite tale that made me cringe. Liz had been bit by a scorpion and Richard had to use spark plugs above the bite to break down the protein and fend off the poison``s travels up her arm. Scorpions like to hide in shoes and bedding and we will definitely be checking those before feet enter footwear and bodies enter blankets.
Although the tale of their friend being bit by a deadly snake was left untold it stayed cemented in my mind. Their tale of their drive to Chobe game reserve in northern Botswana was also hair raising. It was 3 a.m. when they spoted eyes shining through the darnkness, the eyes of a lion who jumped their car. Neendless to say they had a fright. That being said lions attacking cars is not the norm. I have to be honest that run ins with snakes, scorpions and lions does make the hair on my arms go up. This is Africa and there are lots of potential dangers from little mosquitoe bits that bring the dreaded Malaria to a variety of snakes, lions, charging elephants and more. This is all very exciting and nerve racking and partly why I am here. I love learning new things and getting my adrenaline rush. It does make me feel alive and who doesn`t like to feel alive.

It was our good luck to meet Richard and LIz as they gave us contact infomation for people all the way to Maun and around. Their son lives in Maun and we are going to meet him tonight or tomorrow. He is a guide and will be able to guide us towards some great adventures.
Later...still on the road 100 km from our destination. I am in control of the steering wheel, Jay is finding music on the ipod. Rain is pelting down around us,lightning crashing from the sky, clapping thunder startles and rattles us. Wipers are on full pushing the rain away helping but not enough, visibility is almost nill. Pot holes are hard to avoid but we are managing.

My jaw is tense with every passing car as the car hydroplane in the big puddles and I fear a head on collision. All of a sudden, 100 meters away I spot four shadows heading our way. At first my mind assumes it`s donkeys or cows but then I notice the smallness of the forms and the stubby legs of it`s owner. I peer over the steering wheel squinting my eyes through pellets of rain. I almost leap out of my seat when I register that running towards us is a mother, father and two baby wart hogs. In my excitement I yell: ``wart hog!!! wart hog!!! wart hogg!!! With my right hand on the steering wheel I grab for my camera and take some shots of them scrambling off the tarmac and into the tall grass. At this point both Jay and I are yelling ``WART HOG! WART HOG! WART HOG!,` our first sighting of wild life and my African totem is the wart hog. Soon they are gone and I regain my composure and get back to the task at hand, getting us to Maun where more animals await. Akuna Matata...Don`t worry be happy.

February 15th, 2012

After much driving we arrived and staying at the Island Safari Lodge which is a beautiful little getaway along the Thonolo River at the edge of the Okavango Delta. Tomorrow we leave for a mokoro camping expedition in the Delta. Hippos, Zebras, elephants here we come! Today is a day of rest and shopping for supplies for the next few days. We will be camping and need to get ourselves self sufficient. Stay tuned as the adventures will only keep coming. We hope that you are all doing well. Zoe and Owen I think of you every minute of every day and love you deeply.


London England

Landed here in London England from Montreal. We have  few hours to burn so we are looking into taking the tube to Picadilly circle and coming back.  I love sitting on public tansit and listening in on other people's conversations especially here where everyone has a beautiful singsong for an accent.  So as I step away from this computer I will walk onto the tube platform to find an adventure.  With all the British accents swirling around me I feel like Hermione in Harry Potter looking for platform 9 3/4! I hope all of you out there have a great, wonderful, super, duper day!  I know I will :)


 My Secret Revealed
Good morning! It is indeed a good morning.  I told you   a little while ago that I had a secret and never did get around the announcing what that mystery was all about.  Well today on February 13th I am ready to let you in on my little announcement.   This afternoon at 14:30 I am climbing into a rattling tin can which is also known as a plane and jet setting into the atmosphere to wild Africa.  Where in this big continent might I be setting foot onto?  The answer is Botswana.  I am going with Jay my friend and lover.  I am so excited as I have never been to that part of the world.  We will have a vehicle and bounce around through the desert observing wild life and sleeping under the stars in our very cozy tent.  I can't believe that I will be seeing big elephants in the wild, hippos in the Okavango Delta and tigers and lions and no bears. We will also be visiting friends who are living there.  You can check out their blog here.

This adventure brings me much excitement and conflict all in one breath.  Funny how life can be like that full of contradictions.  The conflict arises when I think of leaving my children behind. I so wish that I could bring them with me but alas this is not in the cards. I will miss them dearly and what's harder is that they will miss me even more.  Throughout the weeks Zoe has stated how much she will miss me and this breaks my heart.  As my sister says leave the guilt behind as it's not worth going on the trip otherwise.   This year I embark in my adventure to Africa and next year I vow to bring Zoe and Owen to Thailand where we can spend a month away from the western world and learn about life outside of Canada.  But that is a year away and for now I must focus on the now...

Double Digits
Zoe turned 10 on the 10th so we celebrated her champagne birthday with skating on the canal and a girl's sleep over. I really enjoyed spending time with Zoe and her friends.  They are growing up so fast and their awareness of the world is really growing and I can't believe it.   Zoe is my first child so my first experience will all this growing up. 

These girls were a pleasure to hang around with. They have a great sense of humour, help each other out and are kind and helpful.  I love the messages they left on my front window.  If you were to drop by you would be able to read:  "Help endangered animals" - "First nation need equal rights, it's the law".  I love it and I love you Zoe!

Getting ready for this trip has been a lot of work.  I have had to get my shots; typhoid, Hepatitis A and B and got my Malaria pills in my bathroom kit.  Had to organize daycare, finances and so much more. Zoe and Owen will be staying with their father which I think will be nice for them to stay at one house for a concentrated amount of time instead of this bouncing back and forth from home to home.  I am grateful that they have a good father and wish for them a great time with him.

We will have a little mini computer with us so I will take loads of pictures and update this blog as much as I can.  Below I have left you with some affirmations written by a class at Lady Evelyn Alternative.  Last week while I was leaving the school I saw these posted on the wall and my heart gave a little skip.  I am so glad that my children go to a school where these messages are posted on the walls.  Where the messages are written by the very children themselves.  Read the messages below and assimilate them into your heart because even as adults we need to be reminded of these positive affirmations.   Take care and see you soon!


Wet Felting

 Wet Felting Workshop
Sunday was a day for wet felting.  All daycare toys and furniture came out of the big red room and were replaced with felters and wool.  It was a day for creative play and play we did.  We started with a small meditation and then got right into the felting process.   Everyone agreed that the soft wool is a pleasure to work with and gives a feeling of healing and comfort.  

Special Guests
My special guests were Jordan and Brian which you can see in the pic to the left working in tandem on their art piece.  You might remember the couple from Project Priceless who got married last year by relying on donations from local crafters and businesses.  Their experiment was a great success and now that the  big wedding day has gone by they have launched a new blog entitled The Nest

I have a soft spot for this couple. They are so sweet and I love how they create opportunities for themselves in creative ways.  If you read their blog you will find honesty and a love to support local crafters and businesses. What is there not to like?  In the next week or so you should be able to read up their take on the workshop.

Wet Felting
Is the process of using raw wool, hot water, soap and friction to make a piece of felt.  This technique has been used for centuries.  For example nomads in Mongolia felt their yurt roofs and walls out of felt pieces.  This technique lends itself to many beautiful results from wall hangings, 3 dimensional structures such as vases, boxes, play houses, to coats, hats, playmats and so much more. 

 Step 1
Layer your backround first starting with white which becomes your canvas.  Then layer your background colours as you can see Sue doing to the right.  You have to make sure that layers are thick so not to have holes in your project later on. 

 Step 2
Now it's the fun part, creating your design.Choose your colours of choice and place them on your white wool canvas with shapes, forms, lines, and swirls. Let your imagination take you.  Whether you came to the project with an image in mind allow the creative process to deviate and stay open to whatever else might manifest.  Have fun with colour and add lots of contrast colours.  
Step 3
Squirt work with hot piping water and lots of soap.  I use a dish soap bottle for this. Notice how the wool becomes squished down and changes.  It is a time of letting go and allowing the project to take a life of it's own. 

 Step 4
Put bubble wrap over soaked art piece and begin, pressing on it with hands, feet and even use a rolling pin to squish it down.  It is this friction that starts binding the wool together.  Check your work on a regular basis so that your fibers don't move around too much. In the beginning before your work is not too felted you place stray wool back in it's place.  Once you've notice that your fibers have started to bind you roll the whole thing up in a huge sausage and start rolling back and forth.  This is where the hard earned work of wet felting begins.  It is hard work!

                      Look at Jordan and Brian's finished piece.

Once you get the consistency of the fibers that you want.  A good way to know if you are finished is with the pinch test.  If you can grab some fibers and lift them up you need to do more felting if the fibers stay together you are done. Sometimes I cheat near the very end by putting my work in the washing machine but beware it can shrink fast.  Keep a very close eye on it as it tumbles in your appliance or you might just cry for all that hard work lost!


Daily Grind

 Wednesdays are my days where I spend time at Zoe and Owen's school from 08:00-09:30, teach baby and mom yoga at 10:00 and then have the rest of my day to do errands or meet people.  This past Wednesday I met a beautiful woman by the name of Suzanne.  She had contacted me a few weeks prior, itching to pick up a felting needle and learn to sculpt wool into creations of her own.  We met at the Daily Grind for my very first one on one workshop.  It was most fantastic.  We had a nice conversation about raising children and our life experiences.  As conversation flowed we created our little gnome creatures.  For Christmas Suzanne and her friends give each other handmade goods and this workshop was an inspiration towards next year's goodies.

 The Daily Grind art cafe was a great place to meet and get creative.   Situated on Somerset very close to Shanghai it is a quaint little cafe with creativity in mind. Other than creating a feeling of a home away from home it offers gluten free goodies, great food, drink and aims to support local artisans which is right up my alley.

As we sat felting and chatting moms and babies came and took up some space around us, talking about parenting and  a nice atmosphere of friendship and community ensued.  I love that feeling of connecting with others and truly believe that connecting with fellow human beings is a way to bring happiness into our lives.

The wheel behind this cute, comfy cafe is  Krissy a mom of 3. She had dreamed of her cafe for over 10 years and she has now manifested her dream.  Congratulations Krissy you are doing one fine job!