Category Archives: blanket

easing up

I wasn’t exactly nimble this morning when I got up, but at least I didn’t have to grunt and stagger like I have the last couple of days. Clearly I’ve got off quite lightly with this slipped disc thng, and I think I’ll be ready to drive again by tomorrow. Just one more day of compulsory rest…. haha

I did manage to get a couple of things done while laid up: made a colourful doily, made some flowers for brooches, experimented with edging a baby blanket, ordered a Sharp crochet hook online, started Cindy’s babydoll top, made lots of lists, read lots of Hiaasen, allowed myself to be driven (in a reclining position) to friends for a braai yesterday, and made a resolution to finish what I start. Probably my biggest failing. Or one of them. Definitely up there with making impulsive purchases and not vacuuming regularly.

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Thank you for all your kind thoughts and sending happy back-recovery messages my way.

To be continued…

Testing testing ShopLocket 1…2…3…

Two evenings ago I read Amanda’s blog post about ShopLocket. The little smous in my head elbowed me and said, Hey, this looks cool, let’s investigate!

[* smous = Afrikaans word for hawker, pedlar, trader]

Sometimes I’m a bit slow when it comes to new technical things but I generally get there in the end. While I was still mulling over the possibilities of ShopLocket, a mail popped up in my inbox from a chap called Dan Kalmar who is the product’s Community Manager in Canada. This impressed me no end. How the hell did he know I was alive and even at my pc, let alone frolicking around on his app? Oh to be a software engineer…

Anyway, this is how far I’ve got: I’ve got the ShopLocket link on the Jam Tarts facebook page:

and this is my first ShopLocket product: salt and pepper set

It turns out that what they say is true:
1. it is really really easy to get one of your items up and out there in the ShopLocket format
2. it doesn’t cost anything until you sell the item (and that fee is as reasonable as any other online marketplace)
3. the tutorials on YouTube are easy to follow
4. they have the financial/payment side of things all worked out (streamlined with PayPal)
5. the staff are real people who actually respond to your queries.

I really like that you can position your ad directly and strategically where you want it, as opposed to the potential customer having to wade through a million ads for similar items in a huge online shop.

The only slight drawback for me is that WordPress dot com blogs and ShopLocket don’t go together. With facebook, websites and other blogging platforms, the ShopLocket ad gets embedded into the code, but with a wordpress dot com blog, you either have to post individual links to the item/s on your blog posts (which is what I did above), or host the WordPress blog elsewhere (and I’m not keen to get into new hosting issues right now).

I’m keen to know what you all think about this – have any of you tried it? I guess the proof of the pudding is in the eating, so I’ll give this some time to bake and get my custard ready in the meantime.

OK, next ShopLocket ad coming up. But first, more coffee. Oh, and the bikini top. More about that tomorrow.

To be continued…

what i like

I can’t help it – every now and then while I am at work, some fleeting thought flits by or I get an email alert about someone’s new post and the next thing I know, I am window-shopping on the internet.  Or should I say windows-shopping? Heh. I try and save all the gorgeous, inspiring ideas in one of two folders – KNITTING STUFF and CROCHET STUFF, and go through them every now and then when I am on my own time.  

I just came across this pic, which I think is a brilliant idea because I love knitting as much as I love crocheting and sometimes feel like the former rather than the latter. Depending on mood. Day. Time. Place. Whatever.

I want to knit a zillion hexagons in stocking stitch in different colours. I will not want to sew them altogether when they’re done, but I will. I like the way the rows are at different angles. I like it when things are skew.

To be continued…

 

 

A day in the sun

Our first Jam Tarts stand at the famous Kirstenbosch market!

Please take note of our beautiful new business cards, we are very proud of them! (Thanks, Anne, for organising). That’s Anne in the white top with the money bag optimistically round her waist, me in the middle, Karen on the right, and Megan rearranging everything a hundred times more appealingly after we’d set it all out.

When we arrived, as ‘guest stallholders’ we had to check in at the office and find our location. Meeting the organiser in person after a protracted email correspondence was a strong reminder that Cape Town really is a village – Tessa and I used to work together at the Argus newspaper 26 years ago when I first moved down from Joburg! We had a quick chat, mainly about the shortage of decent men in Cape Town, before getting down to business. She told me not to expect to do well on our first day because it takes a while to ‘get noticed’ and build up a customer base. A bit spirit-dampening but maybe she was right.

Ant and Rob set up our gazebo (borrowed from Faiza – thanks, friend), which didn’t seem nearly as enormous as the unpacked weight of it suggested it would be. I couldn’t even lift it, it was so heavy, and on Friday Sizwe had kindly trundled it on a trolley to my car for me. I hope I can find him when I go into work in two hours time.

The Kirstenbosch market is a very old and well-known one in Cape Town, it’s probably been going for over 30 years. The setting can’t really be beaten, situated in the meadow around the 18th century Stone Cottages built by the busy Dutch, across the road from the botanical gardens. On one side, you can buy fresh farm veggies and fruit, honey and jam and biltong, and have a ride on a horse. In the middle (sort of) you can get teas, coffees (choice of filter or nescafe), and ready-made grub. Sit at a table or plonk yourself on the grass in the shade of an oak tree. The side closest to Newlands Avenue is a sea of colourful gazebos and umbrellas and bunting, with all the crafters and their wares.

The general consensus was that yesterday was a quieter day than usual, but there were still stacks of people (some with dogs – yuck) (sorry dog lovers, but if you all carried poop scoops with you I’d be a lot less anti) and we made enough sales to cover our costs and still be keen to go back next month. I was the unofficial networker of the group so did quite a few laps handing out our cards and making new stallholder friends and yakking away like the sociable chatty friendly person I have to try to be in situations like this.

Of course, with so much gorgeous stuff around it was hard not to want to spend one’s money at other people’s stalls. Karen was very strict with me and I wasn’t allowed to buy anything until I had sold at least one thing of my own. She changed her tune a bit after she’d had a trot round and found some garnet earrings that she felt were entirely essential. Anne was very disciplined and mostly sat in the shade with a cup of tea and a cheese sandwich, crocheting the pink and lilac flowers for a new baby blanket.

The items which drew most people to us were Karen’s and Anne’s blankets, which really are works of art. They aren’t ‘cheap’ because they’re made with best-quality wool and cotton and a lot of practiced work and new design ideas, but they are realistically priced and we believe they’ll find good homes soon :) As did we, after 3 o’clock when we’d packed up and done the reckonings.

Next Kirstenbosch market = 22 April.

To be continued…

With friends like ours…

…Jam Tarts will be a great success! Hoo ha.

It was hard work, a bit of stress, a lot of tidying up (thank you Karen and family), some biscuit making (thank you Lyndall), some moving and lifting and arranging (thank you Rob and Ant), and a lot of encouragement from a lot of friends. Thank you so much – for liking what we make, for pitching up to show your support, and for buying stuff. Please don’t stop :)

I took a few photos.

Here are some frames, and that’s Anne behind the glass with her arms full of blankets:

more frames and mirrors (South African readers will recognise the old burglar bars now cunningly put to new use – what South African doesn’t have a whole stack of old rusty ones in their garage…!!):

blankets and bags and scarves:

more blankets and bags and scarves:

table mats, button jewellery, paper hearts, blankets and beanies:

more frames (and Anne’s mug of half-drunk tea), and more blankets:

tea cosies, shrugs, blankets (no, really?) and crucifixes:

Dawn models her new flower scarf – hot off Anne’s hook:

Every single visitor commented on Karen and Ant’s beautiful Victorian
house. It was the perfect venue. It was the perfect day.  We think we might be onto a good thing. Like I said earlier, hoo ha.

To be continued…

Hue and cry

I made this blanket for my neighbours, Jo and Jurgen, when they were expecting their second baby eighteen months ago. I knew it was a boy, but I loved the bright pink so much with the other colours that I couldn’t leave it out. I was fairly sure that neither J nor J would be so conventional as to refuse to allow pink or anything else ridiculously (in my opinion) classified as “feminine” near their boy, but one can never be entirely sure.  Sometimes people still believe in the oddest things, and it bothers me enormously when antedeluvian notions like that are unquestioningly upheld. I had a quick squizz at a couple of articles about gender specific clothing and colours, this one is worth reading:

http://www.smithsonianmag.com/arts-culture/When-Did-Girls-Start-Wearing-Pink.html?c=y&page=1

But who am I to care what other people do and don’t like for their own children? Just leave me out of it, and colour me different.

Funnily enough, this blog was originally going to be about trying to make a similar colourful and stripey blanket to Christopher’s in time for the Jam Tarts open day on Saturday.  Guess that’s not going to happen, unless I forego a couple of nights’ sleep.

To be continued…