all puffed up

No, sorry, this post is not about puff adders – although we did go for a long walk last week in Pringle Bay and, halfway along, very far from the road, Andrew casually remarked that I should keep my eyes on the ground in case of puff adders.

I immediately froze. No, keep walking, he said, they can feel you coming and will simply move away. But what if it’s asleep? I screamed, and I’m the one to wake it up??? Just back away veeeeeery slowly, he said. I reminded him that my mother had recently woken up to find a cobra in a corner of her kitchen and I was still getting over the trauma, but he just laughed. I’m not sure it’s kind to laugh at another person’s fears so I yelled SPIDER SPIDER SPIDER and did my impression of a black widow to get back at him before continuing through the fynbos, stamping as hard as I could to scare off serpents as far afield as Mpumalanga.*

But I’ve digressed. The reference to puff is my lovely new Paddington top, designed by clever Sarah-May of French Navy Designs in Cape Town. She sells her patterns on etsy but this top was a free pattern from Peppermint Magazine and, for some unknown reason – because I’ve gone off machine-sewing lately – I had the urge to make it. The big puffy sleeves were the main attraction.

I used a piece of cotton from West Africa that someone gave me years ago, and which may have previously been used as a tablecloth. I have horrible arms – bingo wings, I believe they are known as in the north of England – so am always happy to cover them up as much as possible. The design was great and I’m so pleased with the result that I’m considering making a dress from the first pattern I ever bought when I was 22 and had just got my first sewing machine. It was navy cotton with tiny white dots and I wore it until it fell apart.

* Happy to report that no snakes or spiders or even baboons were seen, just a very fat mongoose and a tortoise later that day while sitting on a bench looking out at the sea.

ScrapHappy September 2021

I recently bought a motley collection of old beads and findings from someone on Facebook who was selling off her late gran’s bits and bobs (for the ridiculously give-away price of R150). I like that kind of thing – you often get a few fabulous surprises. To my amazement there was, in fact, a broken string of beads that looked suspiciously like garnets. I took them to a friend who used to work in a jeweller’s shop and she confirmed that they were indeed the real thing. I phoned the young woman I’d bought the beads from to let her know about the “valuables” but she said she didn’t want them and I was welcome to make them into something and wear it. I still haven’t decided what to do with them, but how lucky was I with that score!?

I thought I’d use some of the other stuff from granny to make something for this month’s ScrapHappy. There were a lot of little glass beads on wire and some pretty varnished shells with holes in them. I decided to turn it all into a scrappy boot wrap.

I’ll probably give this one to Karen. I started making the wraps with just two strands of beads to go round the ankle but I prefer the look of three (or more). She already has one of the first ones I made so she can add this to her collection. I’ve managed to list a few on etsy, will see if anyone finds them appealing!

Here are the links for everyone who joins ScrapHappy from time to time (they may not post every month but their blogs are still worth looking at): KateGun, TittiHeléneEvaSue, Nanette, Lynn,  Lynda,
Birthe, Turid, Susan, Cathy, Debbierose, Tracy, Claire, JanKaren,
Moira, SandraLindaChrisNancyAlysKerryClaireJean, Jon, Hayley and Jule.

back on etsy

The Kalk Bay market at the Brass Bell on Wednesday was cancelled – management decided it was too quiet to be viable (mainly due to lockdown regulations which still include curfew restrictions) until at least the summer comes and more locals start going out again and more tourists are able to visit Cape Town. As more people get vaccinated and case numbers fall, perhaps the curfew will be done away with completely. We can only hope.

I used the time I’d saved on Tuesday and Wednesday to restart my etsy shop. It’s something I’ve been meaning to get around to for ages, ever since I started working mainly with beads and playing around with fabric jewellery.

I’ve only got five items listed right now, but I aim to add three to five a day including some boot accessories. Perhaps you’d like to visit? Perhaps you’d like to favourite my shop? All fans welcome! The more the merrier!

this and that

I had my second Pfizer vaccination yesterday and had been warned that there might be some adverse side effects. But, apart from feeling flat and tired last night (which may have had nothing to do with the jab at all), I’m 100% this morning. A surprising number of people I know (and know well) are opting not to have the vaccine. I’m not going to judge them but based on what I’ve read I believe that it’s the most sensible thing to do under the circumstances, and I wish they would change their minds.

In the Western Cape province of South Africa, the provincial administration (under the Democratic Alliance, i.e. the official opposition party) has begun rolling out vaccination programes for homeless people, many of whom do not have ID documents or birth certificates. The pilot session was in Cape Town two weeks ago, and was very efficiently managed. This is really really great news! *

On Saturday Loraine has invited Vicki and me for a get-together at her home in Durbanville to drink a toast to our mutual friend Shona, who died on 25 June. Loraine and her husband Raymond arranged for Shona’s beloved dog, Cayley, to be flown from Port Alfred to Cape Town so they can adopt her. Cayley is now firmly entrenched as part of the family, which makes us all very happy. Loraine has long covid (well over 15 months now) and is tired most of the time. She sent us this gorgeous pic of Cayley giving her a get-well kiss.

All I know about Saturday is that (a) Raymond has been instructed to cook prawns; (b) there will be wine and whiskey; and (c) Vicki and I will have the use of the two guest bedrooms so we will be taking our pjs. The only thing missing will be Shona.

I’m not sure what possessed me at the time but I’ve booked to take part in an evening market at the Brass Bell in Kalk Bay next Wednesday. I’m a bit over lugging tables and chairs and boxes of stock around, and am really hoping that they provide the basics. I’m going to keep it simple – just my fabric necklaces and boot accessories. Karen and I did a recce at the beginning of August, which ended with whiskey and coffee (not respectively). It’s a stunning venue, as you can see, and attracts a great mix of people. I think most of them are under 25 (for the market, at least) so I’d better leave my walking stick at home.

If it’s a flop for me money-wise, at least I’ll have made some new contacts and also get to make sure the old pub has remained un-revamped. That’s important, to keep some things as they are. Especially pubs, right?

  • Molly, Rolinda, Freedom and Dubs all gave their permission to be photographed.

ScrapHappy August 2021

Time for something completely useless…

On a recent scavenge through the garage on the search for an 18cm beige metal zip, I came across this little plywood bird at the bottom of one of many boxes. Presumably I’d bought it years ago when I had mosaic on the brain but at some point had decorated one side with pale blue and floral fabric. Glued on. A bit of gold paint. A dot for an eye. Other side blank. No idea what the plan was. Most likely no plan. Still no plan, but I decided to quickly do something with the blank side so I could use it for this month’s ScrapHappy.

Clearly Bird was calling out for some Jekyll and Hyde treatment. I stuck on a scrap of metallic black fabric, some sequins that were in a box donated by a friend (getting rid of her unwanted craft supplies), and 3 snippets of narrow silver ribbon. I strung some beads on a bit of transparent sewing thread and Bird now hangs on a cuphook above my desk as a permanent reminder Not To Buy Anything Unless I Have A Clear Purpose In Mind.

And that, my friends, is my contribution for this month.

* ScrapHappy is open to anyone using up scraps of anything – no new materials. It can be a quilt block, pincushion, bag or hat, socks or a sculpture. Anything made of scraps is eligible. It is hosted by Kate and Gun. Email Kate at Tall Tales from Chiconia at the address on her Contact Me page, or leave a comment on her ScrapHappy Post. You can also contact Gun via her blog to join.

PS. I found 172 zips, none of them the right colour or length.