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 :)

closed for business

It’s depressingly quiet out there. Very little traffic on the main roads and highways, a restaurant with only three tables in it last night, empty school grounds, and all events cancelled. Including the craft markets, which are my main source of income. Fun times.

I have no time for people who panic and, even if I was selfish enough to want to stockpile toilet paper and tins of sweetcorn, I wouldn’t have room for it all – my fabric and sewing stuff will always have priority. The regulations in South Africa about what to do and not do are very clear, and are in line with international best practice. If everyone accepts them for the time being, that’s the best we can hope for right now. I also have no time for conspiracy mongers or prophets of doom.

Talking about doom….I spotted these in the gift section of my local nursery last week. Rather ironic and incongruous items to have displayed on the shelves, I thought. And no, they didn’t come home with me.


Take care, everyone. And if you feel like watching President Cyril Ramaphosa demonstrate the elbow greeting, have a squizz here or here.

ScrapHappy March 2020

I think I’m just in time for this month’s ScrapHappy , prompted as usual by Kate down under. It’s only 10h42 here in South Africa, so perhaps for some of you it’s not even Sunday yet.

door snake

A very very quick make! A draught excluder, or door snake if you prefer, about 75cm long and about 34 cm in diameter, made from nine pieces of offcuts from cushions. It’s filled with cat litter because (a) it makes it nice and heavy, and (b) I didn’t have anything else at hand. It’s turned out a little too short for the width of my front door plus the side panel, but no draught gets under the panel bit so I’m not bothered. A finished make is a finished make is a finished make, right?! :)

Lots of other people make gorgeous things from scraps. Please see Kate’s link above, for an update on her amazing scrap hexie quilt, and for links to other creative people.


Mend it Monday (Thursday) 2

A pair of lovely leather Green Cross sandals, bought by Karen about 6 years ago and then rapidly handed over to me because they didn’t make her feet happy: they’ve made mine happy all this time, and the soles and straps are still in perfect condition. But the surface of the upper sole, not being leather, has worn away.

These are perfect sandals to wear when one is going for a pedicure, as an alternative to flipflops (which I detest), and I knew I would be sad to see them go.

sandal 2

Determined to figure something out, I traced around the sandal onto a piece of black fabric, cut out the shape, cut a straight line to the in-between-toe bit so the piece lay flat, and stuck it all in place with a lot of glue. Here you can see (a) where the glue is still drying at the front, and (b) some fabric fraying on the edges.

sandal 3

I trimmed the frayed bits as best I could, but with hindsight I realise a non-fraying fabric like felt would have been better. Still, here they are on my fat little feet, and I’m not ashamed to wear them to the beauty parlour any more :)

sandal 1


statement chair?

It certainly was a statement when I first got my hands on it – or at least, it had lots of random words printed on the fabric, not all of which made sense, either seperately or together. Consequently, it was dubbed the Donald Trump chair.


It’s surprisingly comfortable and I thought would be pretty simple to recover (no arms or fiddly shapes). Please remind me to never ever underestimate a piece of furniture again!

But, the job is finally finished and I am definitely pleased with the result. I was able to make use of a beautiful piece of embroidered Indian fabric, the rest is upholstery fabric. There’s also some shocking pink lace.

chair 5

chair 6

The back:

chair 4

Not sure what kind of statement it makes now, but one thing is for sure – it wouldn’t find a home in the White House! I’m hoping it finds a good home somewhere near me, though, and sometime soon. Keep your fingers crossed x

Mend it Monday 1

Inspired by Jan at The Snail of Happiness, this morning I spent some time mending a beloved old army bag belonging to Marc, a friend and neighbour. He brought it round three weeks ago, so I should have attended to it long before now (forgive me, Marc, procrastination is my super power).

marc 1   marc 2

The bag was made in 1942 and belonged to a Corporal RC Clarke. It’s well-used and a bit tatty round the edges, but still sturdy and useful. I couldn’t help wondering what Cpl Clarke’s experiences of WWII might have been, as I was doing the repairs, but I’m sure he never thought that an item of his military kit might still be going strong in 2020…

marc 3

marc 4

I made it clear to Marc that, however the repairs got done, the result was always going to look like an old bag with a big patch stitched onto it. No invisible mending or dainty stitches! I added two patches, one inside and one on the outside, just for extra strength (maybe this bag will survive another 80 years!) using a khaki cotton, and a bit extra in two places on the strap for reinforcement. I managed to break two needles in the execution (and this on an industrial sewing machine, not a domestic one) because it was fiddly fiddly and the original canvas is four layers thick in some places.

But it’s done! Something to tick off the list… I do believe I am now deserving of a second glass of wine ;)

ScrapHappy February 2020

Holy crapoly, can this really be me — actually early with this post, having only received Kate’s nudging email to post about a scraphappy project by the 15th an hour or two ago??? I am on time with things less regularly than a double lunar eclipse, but to be ahead of schedule – well, it’s a first.

It’s also a quickie… If you’re like me, you have a million empty peanut butter jars all over the place with cuttings in water, growing their little roots. I like hanging things, so I thought if I made some fabric holders with straps, my space would look a lot tidier.


I made this with two strips of fabric sewn together then sewn onto a circle for the base (just measured round the bottom of a jar and cut out the circle slightly bigger).  The strap is an old piece of silver corded ribbon from I don’t even know what, stitched down twice very securely (don’t want any water getting collapsed over my keyboard!)

holder 1     holder

I’m happy with this. Thanks, Kate, for the nudge and the inspiration.  Kate and lots of other people make beautiful scraphappy projects, go and have a look here.

ScrapHappy January 2020

I see I haven’t posted for a long while! It’s no excuse that my working Christmas season was extra busy – I usually somehow manage to find the time to fit in those things I really really want to do – I just somehow couldn’t find the impulse to write. I kept up with my facebook and instagram accounts, but those don’t really count because they are so quick and easy. Not sure if the inspiration to write has fully gripped me yet, but an email from Kate re ScrapHappy has enticed me to the keyboard, so here we go!

I forgot to take a before pic, but I got this little oak chair from someone on facebook, who is emigrating to Germany. She used this as her desk chair and it had little felt stickers on the corners to prevent it knocking against her rosewood desk. I removed those, gave the wood a clean and a lick of linseed oil, removed the seat (it lifted out very easily and turned out to be a new one that the owner had had specially made) and covered it with seven pieces of leftover fabric sewn into a square and stapled down at the back. I covered the raw edges at the back with a piece of shweshwe that was leftover from something Karen had made. I have a pic of that (it looks really sweet) but WordPress says there’s a problem uploading that particular file so I’ll have to not bother with it. Instead, let me hit the Publish button so that I can say I’ve finally finished a post.

Happy New Year, everyone :)


PS. Forgot to mention, I posted this on instagram on Friday, just after completing it, and it sold (via ig) on Saturday to a lovely friend and follower, who plans to use it at her desk in her workroom. Very gratifying!