Sunday, July 4, 2010

Family Visits and Fabric Books

One of the best parts of our summer experience involves visits from family members who live far afield. The past several days were spent catching up with my wonderful brother Peter, his youngest daughter Kate and fabulous wife Elise. This is truely a family in transition, even more so than they usually are. For the past 5 years they have all been living in Dar-es Saalam Tanzania, where my Sister in Law has worked for USAID and my brother has been training Peace Corps Volunteers and developing an amazing system of Permagardening for agriculture on an individual family scale. My neices Kate,13 and Mali, 18 have been flourishing in their schooling and enjoying an amazingly diverse and exciting international lifestyle.
This year big changes are afoot however.!!! Elise is off to a year in Kabul, Afganistan, where she will serve as the Deputy Director in Charge of Women's Health and Women's Education. She will leave at the end of the week and is excited to be participating in a theatre where she hopes that she can really make a difference. Ther is absolutely no doubt in my mind that she will make a big impact.
(my daughter Becca with Buddy, cousin Kate, Peter, Elise, Son Matthew)

My brother Peter and neice Kate will be returning to Dar , where Peter will continue to grow his individual agricultural permagardening, with training programs all over the continent and Kate will happily settle in to a wonderful 8th grade year with her school friends. During August, Peter will return to the US with Mali, my eldest neice, to settle her into her Freshman year at Colgate University. I am incredibly proud of my amazing brother and his wonderful family and I am looking forward to doing whatever I can, albeit remotely, to help them all navigate this next year!!!
We consider ourselves wonderfully honored to be squeezed into their very hectic schedule before the grand scatter begins!!! In thinking about the long periods of separation to come for this very close family, I decided to create some simple fabric books with very recent family pictures, for Peter and Elise to carry along on their travels. I do plan to make two more similar books for the girls to have as well.

Peter had just posted a series of family photos taken a few weeks ago in Dar-Es-Saalam, on his FaceBook page. I modified the black and white shots a bit to allow for compact printing on fabric and then created small fabric collaged pages around the images, to be bound into very simple books. Here you see Elise's book in red, embellished with beads and trinkets, and Peter's green book embellished with decorative free motion stitch work. I used bits of my hand painted fabrics as well as of bits of sari silk ribbons and trims to jazz things up a bit. I am looking forward to creating two more books for the girls, once I replenish my stock of printable fabric.

I basically made two double sides pages and then stitched them together down the middle to form the simple four paged books.

Of couse having beautiful photos to work with, made this project an extra treat for me. Above you see brother Peter with his beloved dog Nala, having a Moment of Mind Meld. Each morning they enjoy a marvelous walk and along the sea cliffs overlooking the Indian Ocean before Peter begins his day of composting and peramagardening training. Quite a nice life full of very hard work full of the knowledge that he is making a huge difference in the lives of so many people who have seen their home garden yeilds grow by 800 % using several very simple gardening practices. Hard to beat the impact of his work!!!

My children are especially proud of their Uncle Peter and these visits are always a high point of our family experiences. He has a great sense of humor, is a wonderful story teller, and has a wonderful ability to reach out and communicate with just about anyone he meets. My dogs are also thrilled to see Peter, as they know that they will get lots of attention and at least several morning massages as He enjoys his morning coffee on our deck.!!

Becca and cousin Kate will be able to enjoy some beach time at the end of the week, when we travel up to the Cape, before Peter and Kate return to Dar-Es-Saalam. We are all so very lucky to have these wonderful times together!!
Happy Fourth to all of you here in the States, be safe !! To those of you in other parts of the world , I hope that you are enjoying this wonderful day, whatever your pusuits may be!!!!


Anna said...

Hey Elizabeth, I really enjoyed meeting your extended family. Amazing that you were able to complete those beautiful books despite the busy visit!

Mary said...

Lovely, heartfelt post. Thanks for sharing your family with me, as well as your gorgeous books.

Marilyn Rock said...

Great post Elizabeth! Beautiful photos to include in your awesome fabric books!

Claudine Intner said...

Best wishes to your family on their endeavors! The books you made are wonderful, and I am sure they will treasure them!

Createology said...

A wonderful family and your pride shows through. Very nice treasures in the fabric photo journals you made for their world travels. Happy creating...

Ro Bruhn said...

What beautiful books, such wonderful keepsakes.


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