evidence

Work in progress: bedspread with 14cm-squares. Taking a bit longer than usual.

14cm

Experiments in fabric pots. Yes, pots. That is the word I have chosen.

fabric-pots

The view from my sewing machine. Note the little pile of bird seed on the tiles. Yesterday I had three sparrows, two pigeons and an olive thrush. I am happy with these humble visitors. If the sunbirds want to spurn me, it’s no skin off my nose.

bird-seed

and, lastly, some growing things: the clerodendrum had to be relocated because it was getting more shade than I’d realised (like 99%). After two weeks it was close to death. Peter replanted it in a sunnier spot and I have hovered over it every day since, even giving it a side dressing of bonemeal. It seems to have found some inner strength.

clerodendrum   plectranthus   osteospermum   dietes-grandiflora

What’s the equivalent of bonemeal for humans?

Ruth’s bedspread

I was very disappointed to discover that the grey-water system in the new house only links to two bathrooms (one of which is seldom used). I couldn’t understand why so little water was coming out every day, as the washing machines (yes, two of them!) are in near-constant use, and also a hell of a lot of washing-up gets done around here. (Don’t look at me, and don’t ask. Just don’t).

So, under even tighter water restrictions, Rob fiddled around with some of the water outlet pipes and we now have an efficient – albeit rudimentary – “system”, involving lots of different-sized buckets carefully positioned over various drains. Twice a day, I decant from the bigger buckets into smaller buckets and go staggering round the garden with them trying to keep the plants alive. It’s very bad timing to have tendonitis in my right arm but how can you not use your right arm ffs, so I keep on regardless.

I don’t know how I got started on this, actually, but clearly I am obsessed with trying to get my garden growing the way I want it!! — I was planning to show you Ruth’s bedspread, which still needs a backing but will be ready in time for the market on Saturday.

ruth-1

She asked for shocking pink and navy, with a lighter blue and some grey here and there. I didn’t have anything useable in bright pink, so bought 2 metres of mediumweight linen and spread it out over the kitchen counter to break the solidity of it with some printing in whites and grey.

printing

She’s also asked to make some little fabric containers – I guess something like this (found here), so I’ll have some fun playing around with that idea today.

fabric-baskets

mixed blessings

The good news is that Andrea loved her bedspread, this is the picture she sent me of her guest bedroom.

andrea-guest-room

She has now asked me to make cushions with guinea fowl on them, and some pillow cases. She brought her friend Ruth (also Swiss) along on Saturday morning to the Country Craft market, and she has ordered a patchwork bedspread for her guest room (luckily the bed is more realistically sized than Andrea’s). I love Swiss people.

Other good news is that the gooseberry bushes are doing well – one better than the other, since it gets more sun, but good to know for next season. (All grown using grey water, fyi).

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After Friday’s big rain, we had two hot days, and then another good rain during the night. February is usually the hottest month in Cape Town, but we at least have some water saved up now. I have had to relieve the tomato plant of her two offspring: she is completely drained and withered, and these girls clearly used up all her energy. Mothers of young children may remember this feeling well.

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They are kind of beefy and dark and, let’s face it, are unlikely to end up in a salad. But they are something, and as such will sit on the kitchen counter for a while.

Other news: yesterday, at Kirstenbosch Market, a dog urinated on my leg. I was standing on my side of the table talking to a woman about pillow cases, when I felt a warm liquid running down my right leg. She had two dogs, on leads, and one had nosed under the tablecloth and, well, just made use of me. She apologised profusely and handed me her bottle of sparkling water to wash off my jeans and foot and sandal (I used it all!) and then we all sort of laughed. Her mother came along and told us that the dog had once lifted its leg against a woman’s shoulder while she was sitting on an otherwise-empty beach with her husband. Dogs. This is why I can live without them.

And not-so-good news: my phone got disappeared yesterday, while I was at the market. I’d either left it on the table (for maybe two or three seconds) or it got removed from the pocket at the front of the body bag I always wear. If something had to get nicked, I’d rather it was the phone than my cash, but it’s disheartening all the same. First errand of the day: get into nearest Vodacom shop and get a new sim card. I would hate to lose my number, I’ve had it for fourteen years.

 

even Ken is excited

We have woken up to a wonderful downpour and the sound of good solid drops of skywater crowd-smacking onto the roof. The sky is a beautiful steel grey and it’s a cool crisp 16 degrees. I rushed outside to feel some water on me, and there I saw Ken had beaten me to it – that’s him doing his happy little rain dance, albeit on his side.

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It isn’t due to last long but it certainly is marvellous right now.

Here’s a bedspread I started last night, after finishing the neutral Swiss one. I was desperate to work with some very vibrant colours :)

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Back soon x

When in neutral…

Andrea’s bedspread: this afternoon I finished stitching the panels together (12 by 13 of them, to make 300 by 280cm) and topstitching, and tomorrow I’ll tackle the back. I had to spread it out over the dining table and chairs to get it all in one photo, and even then I couldn’t manage it.

andrea-1

There are some guinea fowl in grey, and some in brown, and a few proteas, and a bit of other handprinteds here and there, the rest is a combination of light to medium weight upholstery fabrics, mainly cottons.

andrea-2

This is for Andrea’s guest bedroom, and she specifically wanted neutral colours. Did I mention she is Swiss? Am I the only one who finds this amusing?

andrea-3

getting by

When big, stressful things in life threaten to overwhelm me (especially when two or three of them coincide), I have to go looking for small morsels of pleasure, things to be grateful for, as affirmation that the world isn’t a volcano of shit about to erupt!

So today, we have (1) work: I have been commissioned to make a 3 by 3 metre patchwork bedspread by a Swiss woman who particularly wants guinea fowls and proteas dotted around (because who doesn’t LOVE South African stuff!?), but I’m also using some other designs of my own. I’m having fun with printing today.

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(2) Ripe granadillas from the front garden. Just perfect. And a few hundred more, close to readiness…

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(3) Zimbabwean flame lilies from Shona’s garden, with roots, ready for a bit of nurturing. If nothing else manages to do well here (and our water restrictions have just been upped another notch – Cape Town only has sufficient water for another 85 days -gak!), surely these will?! I’m not going to list any of the plants that have given up the ghost in the last couple of weeks, because this is a POSITIVE post.

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(4) and if all else fails — false nails!

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a dung beetle walked into a bar…

What’s going on around here? Not a whole lot of anything especially exciting, which is why I haven’t posted for a while. There’s the usual stuff – making patchwork bedspreads, screenprinting this and that, trying to survive the heatwave, etc – and a bit of new stuff – doing some freelance content development for a community upliftment project. I’m enjoying it and it’s forcing me to manage my time better. That can only be a good thing, right?!

juggling

So, I feel I should tell you a joke, in lieu of interesting news.

A dung beetle walked into a bar, looked around and said, Is this stool taken?

Cheers!