Author Archives: Nice Piece of Work

About Nice Piece of Work

Experimenter, screen printer, designer, maker, lino cutter, knitter, beader, crocheter, painter, gardener, reader, writer -- all the good stuff, basically (except cooking)

cushions and houses

On the working side of life, I’ve been making cushions using the designs I usually print on pillow cases. I was keen to maintain the patchworky random look, so no two will ever be the same.

Still experimenting with sizes and layout – but it’s a brilliant way to use up small pieces of fabric left over from the bedspreads. The Kalk Bay shop has expressed an interest, but they would want the cushions to be a standard size. “Standard” – hmmm, a strange concept for me, I’ll have to give it some thought….

On the domestic front, we received three offers on the house within 24 hours of it being on show. We happily accepted the best one, and transfer is scheduled for the end of May. Aaaaaaannnnd, best news of all, Philip and I are now the proud new owners of a beautiful house in Claremont (a suburb of Cape Town about 10 minutes drive from where we currently live). It’s green and leafy and quiet, and the house is perfect for two people who both work from home and who like to entertain (on a relatively modest basis). It’s been wonderfully and attractively modernised, in pristine condition, and we don’t have to make a single change. So, 1 June will see quite a few removal trucks rumbling along in various directions between Mowbray, Rosebank and Claremont – housewarming to follow soon after :) Deep sigh of relief, gratitude and contentment!


cross stitch progress

Last week I had the opportunity to indulge in more cross stitch on my train trips to and from Johannesburg, with a night at a hotel in between. Starting out:

cross stitch 1

Arriving home:

cross stitch 2

Thanks to the inability of Shosholoza Meyl to keep to any kind of $#@*& timetable, I had more than nine unbudgeted-for hours in which to stitch. And read and nap, of course. Unpropitiously, the kitchen ran out of water a few hours into the return journey so there was no coffee to be had. Now that was a real test of endurance.

Not sure when I’ll have a chance to carry on with this piece but one thing is for sure – it certainly won’t be on a bloody train!



change of plans, and a purple elephant

Scratch all previous arrangements. For the sake of mental equilibrium and in the interests of world peace, the house is on the market. Even better, today is show-house day. This is my worst nightmare – tidying and cleaning sufficiently so that potential buyers do not think the house is inhabited by pigs and weirdos. You will understand that this is hard for me!

My reward for this, and this is just today’s reward mind you, is a visit to the Gin and Tonic Festival at the Old Biscuit Mill this afternoon. Philip and I have been looking forward to this for weeks and, while he is more of a connoisseur than I am when it comes to all things alcoholic, I intend to make a damn fine effort to learn more.

Sorting through boxes recently, I came across this little needlepoint elephant. He was once in a frame but I decided he’d now look better on a patchwork cushion. I love it so much I’m going to be hardpressed to put it up for sale.

ellie 1

ellie 2.jpg

This is the original elephant cushion design, which comes from a wonderful book that I picked up in London some years ago. I can’t locate it right now or even remember who wrote it, but it’ll turn up eventually.


And so, let me procrastinate no longer. There is shoving-of-stuff-into-cupboards to be done…

pocket cushions

I scored a whole stack of readymade jeans pockets in a box of imported textile samples. And so we have – the pocket cushion!  Ideal for your tv remote, glasses or bar of chocolate, or – as a customer volunteered recently – for your condoms. Yes, I was surprised by that, but then maybe that’s just showing my age.

remote cushion  IMG_20180210_111314

pocket 1   pocket blue

The embroidered star on the pocket of the greeny browny one got added on Saturday morning, free style and very quickly, because a customer wanted it like that for a friend who had been a big help to her recently.


And the unfinished pinky grey one is for Jessica, a teenager from Australia whose sister bought a blue and white one on the weekend. Can’t let a sister have something the other doesn’t, right?

I was going to say a couple of other things today but IT’S JUST STARTED RAINING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! THERE’S EVEN THUNDER AND LIGHTENING so I have to go outside and watch the beautiful drops falling ……………………….

loving Edward, home and work …

I thought it was only dogs who liked to dig holes in gardens and uproot plants. Apparently, Edward is dog-like in that way. I have a beautiful peperomia in a pot on the dining room table. It has just been mauled to near death and there is soil everywhere. I shouted at the little villain and took him outside to the Naughty Corner, where he proceeded to continue with important excavation work….

Teddy 2

Maybe he’s digging for gold or diamonds? It’s hard to be cross for long with a pet (or a person) you love, isn’t it?

Teddy 1

In other news, some felicitous arrangements have been made and I am delighted to say that I will be keeping my home. Not only have I grown fond of it, funny old house that it is, it is also my work space. I am so very lucky to have this much room for work and equipment, a sweet garden, lovely neighbours, proximity to everywhere important, and all the other good things that have come my way.


I will be trading at the Made in the Cape artisan market in Cavendish Square from this Thursday for four days (yay!), and have lots of half-completed cushions and bedspreads to attend to today. No more procrastination!! The sewing machine will be put through its paces shortly and work may have to continue well into the evening…

And in other other news, I had a lovely order last week for my screenprinted pillow cases from a gorgeous shop in Kalk Bay called Casa Boho. It’s one of those shops where it’s advisable to shred your credit card before entering, unless of course you are simply very rich and can have everything you want. Not only was I thrilled to get the order at all, what was also heartening was that my invoice was settled in full within 24 hours. I know from experience that small producers like me often have to battle to get paid, it’s a risky business sometimes. This efficiency was such a morale booster! Big thanks to the wonderful manager there, Mymoena, and her son Tauriq. xxx


running on (almost) empty

One way of looking at the impending crisis of a waterless Cape Town is that we are certainly getting a crash course in disaster management. I am enormously impressed with the City of Cape Town’s media release** yesterday, about how things can be managed for the best, who is ready and able to get involved (eg. retailers, traffic police, etc) and what each of us can do to avoid Day Zero altogether. It’s most likely that none of the people now involved in crisis management were responsible for allowing this major f%#k-up to happen in the first place, so their efforts are especially laudable.

** In case anyone is interested in reading it,  here’s a link to the release: CITY OF CAPE TOWN

Realistically, many people will not sufficiently reduce their water consumption and it’s a matter of a few more weeks before the taps run dry. We will then each be allowed to take 25 litres of water a day from one of the city’s 200 wellpoints. It won’t be nice, but we won’t die.

I saw this post from an American citizen on a friend’s facebook page this morning, and it struck me how spot-on he is about this being a wake-up call for the whole world – we must never ever take any natural resource for granted again.


I hope you don’t mind me sharing my beloved city’s problem here. I believe the issue has made the news around the world so I thought some of you would be interested.

considering options

After weeks of ghastly sorting, my lounge, dining room, work rooms and bathroom all look much more like the kind of rooms that human beings can actually live in :)

new 1

new 2

The lounge still has to accommodate (for now) my market display stuff and all my stock, but it’s a big room (originally two separate rooms) plus there are two large items of furniture in it that are not mine – they will soon be leaving the building, so to speak, and then there will be more space.

My bedroom still has crap in boxes under the bed and containers of fabric and beads, but that is the last stop; the deadline for that is Sunday. The jacuzzi bath is now empty and may be replaced with a shower – why replace it at all if the house is going on the market, you may ask? Well…another option has been proposed to me recently, and I have been giving it serious consideration (with the help of my accountant and an objective adviser). It is an option that affects more than just my financial position so I must think carefully and honestly about myself and what works for me. I’m still keeping an eye on houses for sale in beautiful little towns outside Cape Town, but am very happy to have a viable alternative to work with – not to mention the lovely man in my life who came up with the idea :)

It’s going to be a good day. I have etsy orders to get to the post office, six heart cushions to finish in time for Saturday’s market, a kitten to play with, and a date for dinner at my new favourite Italian restaurant. Here’s to good days – may you all have one, too, and many many more.