Author Archives: Nice Piece of Work

About Nice Piece of Work

Screen printer, designer, maker, lino cutter, knitter, beader, crocheter, painter, gardener, reader, writer -- all the good stuff, basically (except cooking). Living in glorious Cape Town :)

slightly late scraphappy

Just as I was about to sweep up last week’s cuttings, Kate’s email reminder about ScrapHappy popped into my head. This is what the floor in the garage/workroom looks like most of the time!

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And here’s what I salvaged and stitched together:

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And here’s what it turned into:

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My favourite boho bag yet! Here are two of the others.

 

The scrappy bits take longer to sew into a bag than the ones with squares or strips, but the pleasure of creating a piece of fabric from all those chopped-off bits was enormous.

I officially had my first showroom last week – yes, Kate was right, I needed to commit to a date to make sure I carried through. And I wanted a slow start, which was precisely what I got. I’ve only notified neighbours, friends and customers from the Made in the Cape market, the idea being that only people who know and like the kind of things I make will come. So not an open house and no unknowns off the street! I had three customers, two of whom made purchases. The first step (is it always the hardest one?) is over.

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step by step

My idea of opening up a room in the house (that I don’t use) as a showroom for the bigger items I make (bedspreads, floor cushions, etc) has still not come to fruition, despite my having made progress by painting walls, hanging plants, putting in curtains and new rugs, organising display, etc. I’m trying for an eclectic sort of look – not really hard for me, since my material world seems to be a collection of stuff that never co-ordinated to begin with. And ‘progress’ is a tricky concept – since the start of this year, the rate at which I am getting things done has been grindingly slow. Karen has been on at me to fix an opening date because she knows I usually manage to work to a deadline, but I’m resisting with surprising stubbornness. In January, the middle of February sounded good. But here we are in the middle of March and I’m still flailing.  I’m driving myself insane…

Anyhow. Whatever. It is what it is. I got two cute little tables from a friend who was throwing out stuff and they just got repainted. The legs of the rectangular table had all been chewed by Dolly, her rabbit, but I didn’t bother to sand them down. I figure Dolly must have worked hard at leaving her mark.

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Fresh white and a bit of duck-egg:

aviv table 1aviv table 2

I have another lovely order for pillowcases from the Kalk Bay, the production of which I have managed to stretch out over an entire week! Arrgh!

I’ve been unearthing needlepoint cushions and unfinished pieces, and giving them a new lease of life. I’ve also started a new needlepoint design (outlined years ago) and I’m going to make a note of the time I spend stitching it. That should be interesting, right? I’m not sure what exactly nudged me back into cross stitch and needlepoint after so many years, but I’m welcoming the resurgence of desire (any attraction for any productive activity at all is welcome right now).

canvas 1

The rose is nearly finished. I went off course with the left side of the petals but, again, I don’t really care – the main thing is the doing of it – I figure it still looks sufficiently rose-like. And I will never ever stitch leaves again…I’ve been cursing over them.

rose

That’s me for now. Back soon xxx

a bum bag and other wips

When it comes to getting rid of old clothes, jeans have always been a stumbling block for me. I think, I might still lose enough weight to fit into these, or I might get fat again and then I’ll be sorry I chucked them out, or Now these would make a really great bag, I must never ever throw them away! With the help of this tutorial from Knotty Threadz, it finally happened.

denim bag 1

I decided not to make the straps out of denim but “cannibalised” an old bag (a great idea from The Snail of Happiness) so mine has nice leather straps.

denim bag 3  denim bag 2

denim bag 4

The front and back pockets are still in place for cell phone and keys, and it’s got a cotton animal-print lining. I left the labels in place as well, I don’t know why, I just like them. Without the scarf threaded through the belt-holders, and from the back, it looks like a bum, doesn’t it? The original bum that wore these jeans wasn’t a big one at all, by the way, but it was a man bum so maybe that’s why the bag looks so wide.

I found a little needlepoint cat that got stitched many years ago, it’s now part of a cushion that will be on sale at the Made in the Cape market from Thursday this week.

cat cushion And lastly, progress on the cross-stitch Guatemalan dogs is good. I’ve really enjoyed stitching these but I’m onto a new design already so they’ll have to get finished soon.

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What is everybody else working on?

cubes and black holes

I found this little cube stool thing on one of the zillions of facebook sales pages I scour every single day as a major work avoidance strategy I occasionally look at. I’m going to use it in the new room so it can be sat on if required, but I couldn’t let it remain beige and plain. As you may have noticed, I’m like fully into more of a groovy boho vibe if you know what I mean, so it had to get jazzed up.

cube 1

Finally sewed the seams this morning! The colours don’t show too well but they are lilacs and different shades of grey, all cut from upholstery swatch books.

cube 4

cube 2cube 3

It’s not 100% perfect but I’m happy with it for now, may get around to edging the bottom with something or topstitching the seams a bit later on.  At least it’s another tick on my to-do list. That list is supposed to keep me focused and busy, but in the last couple of weeks it’s felt more like an albatross round my neck.

One of my lovely blog readers recently commented that she guessed I was always an upbeat, positive kind of person. I haven’t been able to get this out of my mind because that is the absolute opposite of what I am really like, and it strikes me how well some of us hide behind our facades and manage to fool others. My mind is often restless and disturbed, and sometimes I don’t even have that – I just have a black hole where creative thoughts and emotions and initiative are supposed to be. It’s a zombie-like state, a symptom of depression, and can vary in magnitude. Sometimes it’s minor and passes quite rapidly and doesn’t get in the way of doing basic stuff, and other times it’s worse and I can barely function. It’s almost impossible to engage with other people, to find words,  and absolutely nothing gets done – no work, no reading, no nothing. I had one of these wonderful ‘episodes’ recently and it lasted about 10 days. I had to cancel social outings with friends, put off running errands, and try and switch off the voice in my head that was constantly telling me what a useless waste of skin I am. It sounds so extreme, doesn’t it? It’s not really that easy to explain, except perhaps to someone else who is familiar with the joys of that particular roundabout. I’ve started referring to it as “brain flu” because when I get flu or a bad cold or something similar, I don’t put myself under the same kind of pressure to recover. I just endure.

I suppose what I’m saying is that none of us can ever really know another person or their reality, and how they express themselves through their words or demeanour is sometimes just a social pretence. Most of the time I feel like a fraud because I wish I was naturally positive and well-balanced but, left to my own devices, I’d fold in on myself like a little house of cards.

cross stitch, broken glass and one for Rachel

I already had a frame for my finished cross-stitch but no glass. I went to Peacocks in Mowbray last week and had a piece cut to fit. It cost me R80. Today I fiddled around with getting the fabric aligned properly and thought what a brilliant idea it would be to use a staple gun to keep the folded-over corners flat at the back. So, yes, it worked – but it also caused the glass to break. Anyone else would have thought of that before they just jumped in, right? Tomorrow – back to Peacocks to cough up another R80. What a waste of money – I could have bought two bottles of cheap dry white for that!

 

cross stitch frame

I’ve made a bit of progress with the new cross-stitch, and am really really enjoying using my own selection of colours. I get to use up stash thread and just generally have more fun with the whole thing :

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And while we’re on colour, I had to stock up on cushion stuffing this morning. This bolt of fabric from riiiiiiiight on the far side of the shop starting singing my name, and I didn’t even bother to pretend not to listen. I should get three or four cushions out of it, just in time for next week’s Made in the Cape market (the first one of 2019). It’ll be interesting to see if they sell, or if it’s just me thinking Ohmigod I love this and must have it in my house!!!

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And here’s a gratuitous photo for Rachel in her Little Room – a close-up of the bottom row of the bookshelf that appeared in my last post. Nice mix, hey? – needlepoint, Ruth Rendell, some South African stuff, the incredibly funny Carl Hiaasen, even a bit of Salman Rushdie!

one for rachel

on the shelf

Someone once told me that, if you don’t do the things you plan to do within the first six months of moving into a new house, you never will.  For the most part he’s been right but this time round, happily, I’m proving him wrong.

I was left with a piece of pine flooring from a temporary work-around (so that no-one would fall through the floor when they came in at the front door!); I painted it grey, gave it a sand, had a friend drill four holes in it and then hang it up with rope and the help of reef knots. It’s probably high time I got my own drill and learned to use it properly, but in the meanwhile, well, I’ll just have to take advantage of clever friends….

wall for shelf

Blank wall above. Now this:

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I’m particularly pleased with the addition of a bracket for a hanging plant (I’ve been following the Instagram ‘boho’ accounts very carefully – plants are key!)

New cross stitch project underway, ‘Guatamalan dogs’ by Mary Norden. Originally stitched with wool on canvas as a cushion cover, but goodness knows I don’t need any  more needlepoint in my life. Cross-stitch is making me very happy right now.

Happy weekend, everyone :)

painting blues

There aren’t many colours I really detest, and so when I inadvertently buy paint that is one of those undesirables….there really is a lot of swearing around here. The sticker said Ultramarine Blue and it looked like a lovely smart navy, but this was the result. To me, this is royal blue and I’ve always steered clear of it.

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Like the professional I am, I realised it would be a good idea to finish the first vile coat completely but, while it was still drying, I’d already mixed in lots of white and a bit of grey to come up with a much more acceptable shade of sky blue:

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blue chair

Phew.  And in case you’re wondering why the bench is blocking the front door, it’s because part of my oregon pine floors and the joists in the entrance have gone vrot (vrot = rotten to the point of disintegration = flooring specialist to examine and give quote to repair = major bloody expense!) so, for safety’s sake, the French doors are being used instead.

I’ve also been painting inside the house, to very pleasing results. Pics to follow :)