An Evening at the Africa House

Last night, Kalonji and I attended a wonderful benefit fundraising dinner on behalf of the African Legacies Foundation and the  African Union-African Health Diaspora Health Initiative (AU-ADHI).  We really didn’t have all the details of the event before we went, but we were pleasantly surprised.

The event was held in Gallatin, TN at the Africa House — a former plantation home that is now owned by Dr. Arikana Chihombori (aka Dr. C – pictured below in green), a physician based in Murfreesboro, TN and her husband, Dr. Nii Saban Quo.  As soon as we started going up the very long driveway, I had to look the history of the home and quickly found a descriptive article from a Florida newspaper.  The plantation used to have many slaves, and what a striking contrast to it’s current use as a meeting place for people of African descent.

The purpose of the evening was to raise awareness of the health care needs in Africa and overall awareness of the health disparities in hypertension, diabetes and stroke among African-ancestored individuals. The stories shared were incredibly moving and greatly illustrated how important it is to increase access to basic healthcare services. The AU-ADHI has a new initiative to promote Vital Signs — that we all need to know our numbers (blood pressure, blood sugar, etc) and that health care facilities in Africa all have ways to collect vital sign information in patients, for as Dr. C noted, it is via vital signs “…that we enter the healthcare system”.

We also learned about Panafest Nashville, an event sponsored by the African Legacies Foundation,  and now I’m really looking forward to attending.  Panafest is a cultural event held in Ghana and the Nashville event (April 26th and 27th) is meant to celebrate it here also.  

Overall, we had a great time getting to learn more about the group’s work and their upcoming activities.  Though so much more needs to be done, they are doing a great job and helping to raise overall awareness!

Another Scarf Completed!

You would think all I do these days is crochet! Not really, but I am doing it quite a lot :-). I just find that it is a perfect activity to do in the car or evenings when I can’t bear to look at the computer screen any longer and I need to go “offline.”

So, my latest finish is a scarf I made for myself using the same colors as Kalonji’s Dr. Who scarf.  I call mine my “Dr. Who-inspired” scarf. The technique I used is called “Corner 2 Corner” crochet and I really like this style.

Here is Kaleya modeling it for me.

Kaleya models my crochet scarf

Yeah to another finish!




Loom Knitting Scarf Completed!

Our family has been working collaboratively on a loom-knitted scarf the past few weeks. The kids have been doing it as a present for their principal.  Sadly, the kids seemed to lose steam so yours truly ended up finishing it up, but it was such fun!

Here is Kaleya modelling the freshly-completed scarf. It was done with 2 skeins of Wool-Ease Quick Knit yarn.


Our 12th Anniversary

December 31, 2013 was our 12th anniversary and Kalonji and I had a nice, leisurely day. We hung out with Kaleya running various errands around town and finished the day with a fulfilling dinner at the Aquarium Restaurant.

Earlier in the day, I took this picture of Kalonji and Kaleya wrapped up in his Dr. Who scarf 🙂

And here is photo montage of our dinner. Yummy!

Merry Christmas!

It’s Christmas Day!

For my present to Kalonji, I knitted the Dr. Who scarf and I completed it just in time for the holiday. The scarf is ridiculously long; it took me more than 100 hours to knit – but I thoroughly enjoyed knitting it!  If you know anything about Dr. Who, this scarf was worn by the 4th Doctor. This is my Christmas and Anniversary present to Kalonji.  🙂

And, at home today we are having a quiet day. Kaleya has opened her presents – one of which is a digital camera so watch out for photos from her later on!

The Family that Knits Together

Knitting & crocheting extravaganza in our house this past weekend.  Since starting the Dr. Who scarf, the kids have all expressed interest in learning.  So, learn they did!

Miles has started a scarf. It will be red, black and green and the stripe pattern is based on the Dr. Who scarf.  It won’t be nearly as long though.  I’ll share pics once he get’s more done.

I learned how to knit on a loom and taught Kaleya & Q.  They are jointly working on a scarf and doing a great job! Jihad has done a few rows here and there, and plans to start his own scarf after they do theirs.  Looks like I have to make a trip to Michael’s to pick up another loom sometime. 🙂




And, I taught myself how to make crocheted granny squares!


I’m hooked. I want to make a bedspread now for our bed.  It will be a huge one too – king sized! I’m thinking a bunch of individual squares like this one – but with a different color scheme.

Meanwhile, I continued working on Kalonji’s Dr. Who scarf and have now made it 2/3 of the way through. I’m on Row 744 of 1042; that’s about 70% through – only about 300 more rows to go. Whoo-hoo!


I am enjoying working on his scarf so much, I decided to make another one – for me. Kinda funny since he’s the Dr. Who fan.  But, mine will not have the original coloring – instead, I’m going vibrant! And, I’m crocheting it instead of knitting it.  I am using Caron Simply Soft yarn and my colors are Iris, Off White, Limelight, Sunshine, Dark Country Blue, Grey Heather and Red.


Since I am crocheting the scarf, I’m having to figure out how many rows to do, and it seems that with my gauge, I can get away with cutting the knit row county by 4.  And, the yarn I am using is finer than the yarn for Kalonji’s scarf, so mine won’t be as heavy.  Furthermore, I reduced my scarf’s width to 8 inches.  I think I am going to love it when it’s done! Here is my first progress pic at about 11% complete.



My Return to Knitting – Dr. Who Scarf

In the past few months, Kalonji has become a huge Dr. Who fan.  And, he’s turned Kaleya into one too! It’s so cute.  Last night, he took her out on a daddy + daughter date to go see the 50th anniversary special “The Day of the Doctor.”

Then, this morning, Kalonji sends me a picture of the scarf worn by the 4th Doctor and told me he wanted one.  To which I replied – “I’ll make it for you!”

4th Doctor figurine

And, make it for him I will. I’m actually quite excited – I haven’t knit in about 12 years so it will be fun to return to it.  This will by my Christmas and Anniversary present to Kalonji.

A funny thing though is that when I showed the picture of the scarf to Kaleya, she recognized it – and, when I asked who from the show wore it, she replied “The 4th Doctor.”  Wow! Not just any Doctor – she knew it was the 4th one.  #smh

It may take me forever and a day, but I am going to enjoy doing this while doing my binge TV watching.  Tonight we went to Michael’s and I picked up the yarn for it. The pattern was easy enough to find and as colorful as it it, there are only 7 colors used in it – not too bad.  The colors as you see in the picture is not quite true to what they are in person, and the colors I’ve chosen are not quite “true” to the original – but it’s close enough for Kalonji.

I took the time to figure out my gauge and everything, so the final product will be about 12 inches wide and 12 feet long.  Vanna White’s Vanna’s Choice yarn by LionBrand (mostly- there is one exception). I am using size 6 needles (14 inch long) and the scarf will be 50 stitches wide.

Looks like most of my genealogy projects will have to go on hiatus in the month of December.  🙂

I Heart Snagit for Chrome

Over the weekend, I learned that TechSmith, the company that makes Snagit, a screen capture program, and Jing (another screen capture program and one I use often) has now released a Chrome extension and app for Snagit. Yeah!

Why am I so excited? Because I operate, as much as possible, in the cloud.  Though I have a few programs I locally install, I try to avoid them in favor of apps and Chrome extensions as the latter provides much greater flexibility.  Using apps and Chrome extensions makes it easy for me to do my work in a manner independent of a specific device.  So far, I have not been thrilled by the various ways in which I do screen capture as I end up bouncing back and forth between 3 different tools – Awesome Screenshot, Windows Snipping Tool, and Jing.

But this week, Snagit for Chrome was released and I have installed it and so far, so good!

What I like about it?

  • duh! it’s a chrome extension
  • when you capture, the image is automatically saved to a Google Drive folder that gets newly created – so, I don’t have to take the extra step to hit a “save” button
  • b/c the images are in my Google Drive – I have that folder linked to my Picasa Web and so I can manage photos in Picasa
  • just like Jing, screen capture dimensions are shown as you take the capture
  • just like Jing, there are tools to add text, shapes, and lines of different colors
  • u can quickly get a URL for easy sharing and the url is automatically sent to  your clipboard (thus, avoiding the need to hit Ctrl+C) – they get bonus points for using URL shortner 🙂
  • once you take the capture, if you start typing, your cursor is automatically in the title field to edit the image title
  • the “app” part of it allows you to quickly access your image library in Google Chrome

What I would like next?

  • the ability to crop images
  • ability to save the image to clipboard (in case I want to quickly import in a presentation — the Windows Snipping Tool does this)
  • ability to capture whole screen (below the fold) — Awesome Screenshot does this
  • the ability to screencast
  • would be nice to have a way to send to my Google online photo gallery (selecting a specific folder for it to go into)

Great job to the TechSmith team for making this available! So far so good and I eagerly look forward to future updates that will hopefully add extra functionality.

Yarn Braid Beauty

10 hours of braiding later, I have finally finished Kaleya’s yarn braids! This has been a long time coming. 🙂

I first read about yarn braids around a year ago.  I liked the idea of doing her braids with yarn as it looks natural.  We have not used any chemicals in her hair ever (e.g. relaxers), and as challenging as it is to do her hair in its natural state, we are very committed to not putting a relaxer in her  hair.

This summer, I put twists in her hair and it’s pretty much been in that style since. I have loved the twists – they are a great protective hairstyle and she’s enjoyed having them. So, I began to really consider switching to yarn braids as not only is it also a protective style, but the yarn would add consistency to the dimension of each braid and the yarn adds weight. Many thanks to Rory of the Chocolate Hair/ Vanilla Care site for all the tips and info she’s posted about yarn braid extensions – it was all a great help!

Between 10 hours of braiding last night and today, we are now done! And, Kaleya loves them! I personally love how they look – they do indeed look natural, and I made the decision to just tie them in a knot at the end and cut off the excess. These should hopefully last around 6-8 weeks. I could get used to this 🙂

loving her braids
back view
side view