Category Archives: Craft

Spier Craft Art market

Late last year I joined the Craft Art Market at Spier. It’s a permanent set-up on the very exquisite Spier wine farm in Stellenbosch (the “wine route”) and run by Sue Heathcock Projects. There are 32 makers/traders in total, designing and producing an incredible range of handmade items.

Some of my new colleagues are Zimbabwean, so I have learnt how to say Hi, how are you? mhoro, wakadii?“, Thank you “ndatenda“, and Please cover for me, I’m going for a smoke breakndokumbira undivhare, ndiri kuenda kunozorora” in Shona. Okay, the last phrase needs a lot of practice and I have a long way to go. I’m pretty sure that what I come out with is more likely to be along the lines of I’ve just seen a spaceship landing near the railway line or Please help me, there’s a dead frog in my underpants. Whatever it is, everyone just smiles and nods their heads.

These photos really don’t do the place any justice. Part of the estate is wetland, so there are ponds and ducks and reeds; there are also restaurants, wine tastings, gift shops, coffee shops, play areas for children, and masses of huge trees with beautifully maintained lawns and garden-scaping. Naturally, being part of the “hospitality industry”, everyone has taken a huge knock when it comes to the consequences of lockdowns and bans on international travel. But we persevere, and there seems no end to peoples’ creativity and adaptability.

And, in the end, that’s what keeps us all going, isn’t it? It’s a little late but Happy New Year to all of you :)

ScrapHappy December 2021

Tassel time! I caught a glimpse of someone making tassels with bits of old saris on instagram but I haven’t been able to find it again so I can’t share the link. It stuck with me, though, so I had a squizz on youtube and there are loads of similar DIYs.

I’ve made two so far and have no doubt more will appear (as if by magic). With the first one I used only strips of cotton, so I’ve found that the lighter, filmier fabric in the second works better.

I have some ideas about how to use them, and think some smaller ones would work well on earrings. Bigger ones in Christmassy colours might be fun on a tree or strung across a mantelpiece as a change from the usual decorations.

ScrapHappy is open to anyone using up scraps of anything – no new materials. It can be a quilt block, pincushion, bag or hat, socks or a sculpture. Anything made of genuine scraps is eligible. If your scrap collection is out of control and you’d like to turn them into something beautiful or useful instead of leaving them to collect dust in the cupboard, why not join us on the 15th of each month? Email Kate at Tall Tales of Chiconia at the address on her Contact Me page, or you can also contact Gun via her blog to join.

Those listed below try to post a ScrapHappy make every month, I love seeing what everyone else gets up to!

KateGun, EvaSue, Lynn, Lynda, Birthe, Turid, Susan, Cathy,  Tracy, Jill, Claire, JanMoira, SandraChrisAlys, ClaireJeanJon, DawnJuleGwen,
Bekki, Sunny, Kjerstin, Sue LVera, NanetteAnn, Dawn 2, Bear, Carol,
Preeti, Edith, and Debbierose

fabric and yarn beads: update

I made another three-strand wrap-around necklace with my straw beads and rather like the effect of making them a bit chubbier and more shapely! I used some pink and purple DK acrylic yarn for the first layer of wrapping, which fattens them up nicely, then just a few strands of lime green embroidery cotton on top.

Just thought I’d share because I see there have been a lot of visits to my etsy store, so I added these pics to the tutorial as well :) In case you haven’t gotten around to looking yet, the listing is here: https://www.etsy.com/listing/1115954156/tutorial-necklace-with-handmade-fabric

Yes, I know, this is a bit of flagrant self-promotion, but you gotta try your best, right?

fabric bead necklace : make it yourself!

I’ve been quiet on social media lately, trying to cut down on the amount of time on which my brain is exposed to the world’s hogwash. It’s not all hogwash, I know, but I get sidetracked very easily so I try to stick to crochet pages and news sites (and have limited the latter to precisely two, because my view is that it’s almost impossible to tell who is telling the truth these days anyway). It’s all just become overwhelming and I’m sick of it.

I’ve been spending my creative time on fabric beads and crocheting another Granny Go Round jersey, and trying to get back into my books in the evenings instead of too much netflix or britbox (although I have to say I’m hooked right now on The Bay – those west Lancashire accents take me right back! I love them).

And I’ve also spent some time writing up a tutorial on making fabric beads from straws and using them in a necklace. It’s available on etsy: https://www.etsy.com/listing/1115954156 and is priced at US$4 (the equivalent of South African R65). My friend Kathryn proofed it for me and made some very useful suggestions. I make these beads all the time now and find it both enjoyable and relaxing, and of course it’s a brilliant stashbuster for fabric scraps as well as threads.

I’d be delighted if you took a look :)

ScrapHappy November 2021

It’s been a loooong time since I made anything with papier machè. And in this last week, I’ve been reminded of the reason for that: it’s a bugger. And I have no patience. But I had volunteered to make a pinata for a friend’s grandson, who has his sixth birthday party this coming weekend, so I had to stick with it.

My first two attempts were thwarted by shoddy balloons. They just don’t make them like they used to. A balloon covered in newspaper and drying glue that bursts at 7.30 in the evening right outside your back door isn’t funny. I thought it was bad people firing a warning shot. The second attempt was a less dramatic fail – the balloon simply detumesced overnight and I woke up to a shrivelled mess.

My third attempt was more successful because I followed my friend Kathryn’s advice: make two halves then machè them together. As you will know, the shape gets a little trapdoor cut into it so that sweets can be shoved in. I bought nine packets of sweeties – only 95% of which actually made it into the pinata. I had to be sure they were good enough, obviously.

I had no idea how many layers of paper I should use – I didn’t want it to be so flimsy that it collapsed before Quenton had a chance to give it a good couple of bashes, but I also didn’t want it to be so rock hard that he couldn’t break it at all. All I can do is hope it’s right. By the time I’d given it a coat of white paint, I hated the damn thing. I’ve made some odd stuff in my life but this would probably win first prize. I couldn’t face doing anything much about the general unevenness of the surface so decided my best option would be to glue on some long scraps of fabric.

Technically, the only non-scrappy things used to make this were the balloons. And of course, the sweets. I doubt this will inspire anyone to make a pinata but I hope it gives you a good laugh!

I’ve been inspired to write a ScrapHappy post by Kate at Tall Tales from Chiconia. Other people who often publish a ScrapHappy post on the 15th of every month are:

KateGun, EvaSue, Lynn, Lynda, Birthe, Turid, Susan, Cathy, Tracy, Jill (me),  Claire, JanMoira, SandraChrisAlysKerryClaireJeanJon, Hayley, DawnGwen, Bekki,SueL, Sunny, Kjerstin, Vera, NanetteAnn, Dawn2BearCarolNoreenPreeti
EdithJule and Esther