Category Archives: Cape Town

and wine not?

An old friend asked me to accompany him yesterday to Simonsvlei, the wine farm in Paarl where he collects his weekly monthly quantum of red wine. This blackboard caught my eye, and I have to admit that #3 is beginning to strike quite a chord with me :)

Simonsberg

Happy Monday, everyone xxx

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crossing the lino

They say you should try everything once. Whoever “they” are. So, here we go wiiiiiiiith…..PRINTMAKING with LINO 101 !!!

There’s this brilliant (and patient) Cape Town artist called Judy Woodborne who offers classes for beginners, so Rob and I signed up.  I forgot to take a pic of his first print, which was actually a really lovely and unusual design. Mine, less so:

lino 1  Lino 3

I know what you’re thinking, it’s okay, you don’t all have to laugh at once. This was the first “design” I managed to scrape up off the top of my head – a tulip-y thing with leaves inside a very squonky box. But, hey, everyone has to start somewhere. And I have a whole week to practice before the next workshop.

Judy’s studio, Intaglio, is in the old, previously-abandoned Bijou Cinema in Observatory, and her space has been converted from what was once the projection room. Interesting in itself: curved walls with little windows at intervals for the projectors, and loads of exquisite etchings and extraordinary works of art on display.

PS. We also got freshly-brewed coffee and orange cake. It was a really lovely evening, well-spent in practicing patience and quiet thought.

back to business :)

It looks like the most disruptive part of that messy business is behind me, so I’m back home and getting back into a productive work routine.

I’ve found knitting has helped me keep calm, especially since I am really really slow at it….  I’ve been trying out different hat patterns so my knitting ladies have samples to work from.  (I have another one on board now, and I didn’t even have to look for her, she found me!).

knitted hats

I also fitted in a pair of shark slippers for the girlfriend of a customer’s son, who is having a birthday today and is mad about sharks. Her boyfriend is treating her to a shark cage diving expedition… some people are craaaaazzzy.

shark slip 2     shark slip 1

Apparently they were all ecstatic about the slippers, but I have to say I wouldn’t make them again in a hurry. Too fiddly for my liking!!! I like more instant gratification.

I have also been sewing, which is fast becoming my preferred activity right now. I have boxes and boxes of leftover bits of fabric from Suzette (who makes cushions) and decided to make them up into patchwork bags.  I love mixing different colours and textures, but what I love most is making something useful out of someone else’s discards.

patchwork 3   patchwork 1 patchwork 2

They’ll get a lining and a bit of velcro to close but nothing fancy because I’d like to keep the price as low as possible. They’ll be coming to the Rondebosch Market with me on Saturday, so we’ll be keeping our fingers crossed for another sunny winter’s day.

dare I use the f word?

I was a trader at a big event in Cape Town in February. In advance of the event, I read through the list of stallholders. Two other people would be selling hats, one as a reseller of mass-produced straw hats and fedoras, and one as a crafter selling her own makes.

During setting-up time, I introduced myself to the crafter and said I’d looked for her website or facebook page to view her stuff, but couldn’t find anything. She said she doesn’t advertise at all because she’s already so swamped with orders that she wouldn’t be able to cope if more people saw her products. Knowing the kinds of difficulties that a small hand-made production business faces, as I do, I was amazed and impressed by this. I couldn’t wait to see her hats, and thought perhaps I could even learn something from her.

The event opened, and I beetled off to ‘network’ as soon as I could. As I approached the row of stalls on the other side of the park, I saw a display of animal novelty hats and hoodies that I recognised from a school event last year, which stood out for their uniformity and unmistakable mass-produced nature and low prices. They are also readily available at various pavement stalls around Cape Town and in the Chinese shops.  So, no problem – you can buy and sell what you like. Good for you (and you’ll see below, I do it myself sometimes). — but it turns out that this was my fellow crafter! I greeted her and said something along the lines of wow, you’ve got quite a range here – are these the ones you make yourself? And she said Yes. And looked away.

I’m so mad that someone does this. Claiming cheap imports as your own work is – what? fraud? or just a big fat stupid insulting lie? And I don’t understand why someone would do this. There’s nothing illegal in being a reseller of hats, after all.  For a big event, working on my own, I’m not able to produce enough stock by my own hand.  I buy in about 30% of my stock, and either modify it by adding handmade flowers or a band or a crochet trim, or resell it as it is. If I haven’t made an entire item myself, I don’t put my label on it and pretend to have made it. I don’t not put a label on an item and pretend it’s my own work.  I point out which my own handmade items are, and which are not – and, frankly, the difference is very evident !!

I wrote this post a good few weeks ago, and was going through draft posts when I came across it and got all riled up again and decided to publish it. I’m trying to work out why I actually care about this – presumably Imported-Animal-Hat Woman wants people to think she is a creative genius, and what do I care if she is or isn’t?  People are still buying my hats and asking for special orders. There’s enough work to go around. Am I so morally above reproach that someone else’s lie rocks and jolts the foundations of my innately faultless nature? Um….no, hardly!!  hahaha    Is it because she’s just stupid and thinks everyone else is as well? Aha, could be that.

Okay, rant over. F is for fraud, by the way, not the four-letter word beginning with F and ending with K. But that too.

hotting up

We are helpless in the heat here — the temperature is soaring and many of us are helplessly lethargic in its sick clammy grip.

blog

Tragically, our mountains are in flames as well. They’ve been on fire for over three days, and the firefighters and emergency services are doing incredible work.

fire

Right now, there isn’t much I wouldn’t give for some snow.

happy granny

I’ve been hoarding the pattern for Simone’s happy granny (here) for a long time and the other day, when I was looking for something else in an insanely disorganised bookmarks folder, I came across it again.  After a lot of Ellas and penguins, this looked like a perfect no-fuss quick make.

simone pattern

Simone’s hat is for a baby, but I wanted to go big.   I used a chunky Elle Timber and a 5.00mm hook, so ended up with a hat that fits Carol loosely.  I was going to follow the pattern exactly and have the same sort of beanie look but by the time I’d done the two brown rows, I realised that the wearer would have to have an unusually large noggin.  (Rob has quite a big head, actually, but I know he doesn’t like raspberry pink).

eben 1

So I just winged it after that – did 2 rows of grannies with some decreasing, then one row of dcs.  That’s given it a kind of puffy beret look instead.

We’ve had a really sharp and sudden icy spell in Cape Town- it’s much much colder than it usually gets in winter, and it’s started a lot sooner.  There’s even been SNOW on the mountains – we say that here with such genuine amazement as to suggest that the snow, surely, has picked the wrong country?

Back soon x