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Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Our Bush Lodge becomes a reality....

We are so excited! Yesterday we heard that our offer for the house in Olifants Private Game Reserve was accepted. We shall very shortly officially own our house in the bush! We should be able to go up next weekend already. We are fortunate that next weekend is the mid-term break for the kids at school so we have 2 extra days for the weekend.

We can't wait to go up and sort out the house, to see what needs replacing, repairing etc. We are looking forward to making it our home away from home. We already have so many ideas with regards decorating. Although it is fully furnished, we would like to put our personal stamp on it, making it our little African escape.

This has been Leon's dream for as long as I can remember. He always wanted to buy a farm, but after viewing Olifants, we decided that a lock-up-and-go is far more practical. Plus here we are in the bush, in Big 5 country, with no fences between our reserve and the Kruger National Park.
What more could you ask for? (Hopefully we won't have too many very close encounters with elephants!)

So this is now officially my first entry in the 'Olifants' category. The next one should be of our visit next weekend and should include loads of photos!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Back home again...

We did end up visiting Ian & Nikki up in Letsitele over the weekend. As usual Nikki cooked up a storm and we had to roll home! The kids so enjoy seeing each other. Shannon had to sleep in Cayleigh's room with her as she says Dee-Anne always gets to have friends to sleep over and she never does (she is only 4!). Shannon crept into the bed next to hers some time after Cayleigh was fast asleep in Dreamland and the next morning she asked Shannon if she heard her trying to wake her up in the night. (She hadn't). Obviously Cayleigh wanted to check to see that her cousin had in fact kept to her promise of sleeping over in her room!
On Sunday morning we took a drive up to Olifants nature Reserve to have a look at property there. We found a gorgeous place in Olifants North - what peace and tranquility! Although there hasn't been much peace and tranquility at home since as we have been debating eversince whether or not to make the purchase!

Here are a few photos:

The view over Olifants Nature Reserve from the patio

The game viewing vehicle in carport.

The boma adjacent to the house.

Shannon took these photos with her 'new' camera. When Leon bought his Nikon, he sold his Panasonic to my mom and she gave her old digital camera to Shannon. Shan naturally thinks she is the bees knees as she now gets to snap away at whim!
I am amazed - she isn't too bad! Occasionally she ends up with blurred shots but mostly her photos are in focus and some are quite good.

Here are a few photos I took at Buffalo Thorn Lodge on our game drives...

I love fiddling around with my photos in Photoshop once I've downloaded them. Sometimes I think, maybe it's 'cheating' a bit to tweak them here and there, but then again - if it makes for a better result - why not?

Here's an example :

Before :

After :

The result- a brighter image with more of the sunset hues moving down onto the trees and Impalas. This I did by adjusting the contrast, levels and colour in 2 different layers. I then erased parts of the bottom half to end up with a photo where the Impala, trees and the sunset are better exposed. I love the warm 'African sunset' tones in the resultant photo. I think there is an improvement- but that's just my subjective opinion.

Well I'd better go get some stuff done around the house now. The kids are back at school, so the holiday is officially over and I need to try to get back into routine!

Bye for now.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Baubles, Beads and a touch of Bling.....

After depleting all the usual school holiday activities like going to the movies, visiting friends, having friends over, a quick weekend away to a Game farm, hiring DVD's and watching them with freshly popped popcorn..... etc. etc..., I was stuck again.

Shannon was quick to suggest that she and I go shopping at our local beadshop and stock up on supplies and get creative.

We went to a new shop I discovered- not all that close to home actually, but totally worth the travel distance. Beads for You is a huge shop filled to the brim with all sorts of Baubles, Beads and Bling.

We filled our shopping basket with fresh water pearls and some gorgeous Swarowski crystals to make a pretty necklace and bracelet for my friend's birthday. Shannon would have chosen everything in the shop if she could, but in the end she settled for some pretty blue flower shaped beads with matching round ones and some linked silver chain.

She couldn't wait to get started on her new project. She made a necklace and bracelet, each with pretty drops of the beads hanging off of them.

We kept Reece busy by hiring a Playstation Game for him while we beaded to our hearts content. (Though he did find the small pliers quite fascinating!- Gotta keep an eye on those coz next he'll be searching for something to use them for.)

Yesterday Shannon wanted to show her friends how to bead, so they came over for tea, beading and lunch and then more tea. They really enjoyed the beading and we had a yummy veggie soup for lunch - perfect for the cold wintery day we experienced yesterday.

Now all Shan wants to do is bead some more! So I guess another visit to the bead shop will be on the cards in the near future. I must admit I'm rather enjoying it too. I want to make a nice little stash of completed beaded trinkets which I can grab in an instant as an impromptu gift. I think a handmade necklace, bracelet or even a key tassle is a great hostess gift to take along when invited out to dinner.

My maid, Judith, saw me beading earlier today and she is hooked! So I am going to buy her a few basic tools and some beads and thread to get her going. I'll give her a lesson tomorrow and she can then make her own jewelry which she can sell for extra money. She is so excited to get stuck in over the weekend and wants to teach her daughter too. I think Judith will actually make some gorgeous things, she is so interested in fashion that I think she will take to beading naturally - {watch this space!}

My poor husband is sick with flu. Leon has also been really busy at work this week so he hasn't had much time to feel sorry for himself. Today he only went in this morning for a bit and came home early to get into bed. We were supposed to go up to visit my brother and his family in Letsitele tomorrow, but with Leon being sick, we've had to postpone it. We're hoping we may still go up on Friday, but return early Monday morning. Fortunately the kids only go back to school on Tuesday, a day later than the other schools, so we'll have the extra day. Four hours simply too far to drive for just Friday to Sunday (well that's our opinion anyway- my brother has driven down here and back home again in one day before-crazy!).

Now I'm going to pack up the Laptop, run a nice hot bubble bath, and crawl into bed with my book.... Mmmm sounds good.

{Will post some pics here soon of the beading and some shots of our weekend in Pilanesberg}

Veronica xx

Sunday, July 5, 2009

At last the July school holidays are upon us. In fact, the kids have been on holiday for a week now already. We're off to Buffalo Thorn Lodge in the Pilanesberg this weekend for 2 nights. Really looking forward to getting away and also looking at the property there. We're going with Corné and Kevin and their kids, so at least the kids will be entertained and we can simply relax and enjoy the bush.

I'm hoping to get stuck into my photography next weekend too - crossing fingers I'll have some willing children to pose for photos! (Yeah, like that's going to happen!!)

The following week we'll be off to Ian & Nikki to visit them on the farm for a few days. We haven't been up to Lesitele for months - so we do owe them a visit!

Shannon's singing concert went off really well - her term mark was 84%. She has really begun to perform well on stage - I can't believe how she has changed from the shy little 9 year old singing "Tomorrow". Next term she has loads of work cut out for her.

She has the Centurion Eistedfodd starting 5 August until 17th August. Then September she has her Damelin Intermediate singing exam as well as the school concert.
Besides all this, she has to keep up with her school work! So I am definitely going to have my hands full this next term.

On Friday morning we went to see the Pretoria Youth Theatre's production of sleeping Beauty. The kids enjoyed it as Tayla Catterick and Tarryn James are at school and do singing with Shannon. The production was really well done and the kids really are talented. Their dancing, singing and acting was really superb and they put on a really enjoyable show.
I think it's something Shannon could get involved in quite happily, but we'll wait a while as she is still a bit young to handle all the reharsing as well as her school work.

I've done no scrapbooking at all since the PC bombed out. I simply don't feel the urge to scrapbook. And I'm amazingly ok with that! I seem to be enjoying my painting a whole lot more nowadays. I also visited a bead shop and made myself a string of fresh water pearls and swarowski crystals - quite relaxing - so I might just make a few more.

Off to get the day going.....