Category Archives: garden

I <3 Tulbagh

I took an impulsive, unscheduled break in beautiful Tulbagh this week. I am home now, but I think I left part of my soul behind.

This is what I found there:

1. A wonderful friend with a wonderful cottage in the middle of nowhere, a sleeper couch, peace and quiet.

2. A lot of cows. Early in the morning, this one didn’t seem to want to have her photo taken. But I was intrepid.

I felt like a genuine wildlife photographer getting this shot. I’d silently tracked her a good 10 metres along the garden fence, and was rewarded by this split-second itch-scratch.

3. Apparently I was being tracked myself. Mia kept a beady eye on me from the roof.

4. A thousand mountains.

(Don’t worry, I won’t show you them all).

5. A little girl called Lila-Raine, for whom I made a quick headband:


6. A peacock who, with a display like this, must have mistaken me for a peahen. I was flattered.

7.  Garden creatures that had my heart stopping with horror when I first laid eyes on them. Tina assured me they were grasshoppers, but they looked like prehistoric human eyeball-suckers to me.  I kept my car windows tightly wound up at all times for fear that one of these things would fly or jump inside my car.

8. An amazingly gorgeous shop that belongs to Susan, Tina’s sister, in new premises in Buitenkant Street. More about the Marmalade Angel tomorrow.

Now you see why I didn’t want to come home.

To be continued…


Weekend in review

Yikes, it’s Monday already.  I hope you all had a great weekend.  I had an averagely productive one.  Could have done more but, hey, what’s a weekend without a couple of afternoon naps in it, right?

Got started on a new set of mosaic crucifixes (jigsawed by Rob):


Came close to finishing the shoulder sack that Tamara kindly sent me the pattern for:

Crocheted a shawl for Rabbit, with flower by Doreen:

And even got my hands dirty in the garden, filling a couple of black bags with weeds and getting some cuttings ready to pot up and give as a gift to an ex-colleague with a new garden:

Right, that’s that.  New week – new list.

To be continued…

Tulbagh Weekend Part III

There was one thing about the weekend in Tulbagh that wasn’t much fun at all – Saturday’s weather.

We woke up before dawn to the sounds of a hurricane ripping through the world outside. Well, at first I thought it was a hurricane because it felt like the house was about to be scooped up and whooshed off, and the wind and rain were like demons unleashed from the depths of hell. (I was a bit scared, okay?!)

The gazebo that Tina had put up in her garden and decorated with turquoise silk, crimson ribbons and silver brooches like an Moroccan wine bar had disappeared completely. The chairs (wrought-iron so quite heavy) had been blown across the garden into the fence. Ceramic bowls and purple cushions lay randomly scattered. The hammock was a rag. The rain belted down and the wind shrieked like a thousand banshees. Tina howled and shook her fists at the sky. The cats and dogs trembled under the bed. I put the kettle on and made coffee. What else, really, was there to do? (It turned out that there was actually something else to do, but it seems that Tina is quite used to cleaning up dog poo and it doesn’t faze her any more.)

Things didn’t look good. I drove into town at 8h30 where I was to set up the Jam Tarts stuff in Church Street, but clearly that wasn’t going to happen. All the other traders had been moved to the church hall round the corner but Tina’s extremely kind sister, Susan, came to my rescue – she runs a shop (the Marmalade Angel) from her house in Church Street, and suggested I use her garage to set up. We both doubted that anyone would even see me, let alone actually walk up the driveway at the side of the house to get to me. But they did!

The Tarts ended up selling loads of things and having a really excellent day. I truly wish it had gone as well for the other traders, but apparently the church hall was pretty empty because people didn’t know about it. The lousy weather also meant that people in Cape Town and surrounding areas who would have driven to Tulbagh for a lovely sunny Festival day no longer wanted to venture out.

By Sunday the bad weather had cleared up. I could finally erect my gazebo. Or not. I had managed to leave behind a crucial piece of the structure, so no gazebo for me. I made do by stringing Anne’s bunting across the bushes and hanging my light fittings and bags from the trees. Blankets and shawls were cleverly arranged along the wall (Rob’s idea). Seems someone managed to get a pic of him doing just that:

One last highlight: a sweet lady from Namibia bought a necklace from me, and also seemed keen to buy a crochet flower brooch. She eventually decided against the brooch but as she was leaving I remembered that we once offered a free brooch to the first 20 purchasers at a Kirstenbosch market, so I ran after her and pinned the one she liked onto her bag. She was so pleased that she made her husband walk up and down Church Street two more times, waving at me as she passed, and the third time he surrendered and hauled out his camera and took a photo of the two of us with the flower! It turns out it was her 60th birthday so, in honour of that, I took a pic of Naomi myself:

It’s funny how there are some things one never forgets, even if they seem relatively inconsequential at the time. I have a feeling I will never forget giving Naomi that flower.

To be continued…

a wonderful saturday after all

Our Constantia Open Day was — exhausting, wonderful, and best of all worthwhile! Even the sun came out for us. Megan’s original illustrations were the biggest hit of the day, and she sold thousands of cards and notebooks. Jane and Mary provided home-baked choc chip cookies and red velvet cupcakes, which were so good they have been commissioned to provide the treats for a Womens’ Day lunch late this week. An interesting offshoot!

Some pics in slideshot format for speed:

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I would highly recommend holding regular Open Days for small, growing businesses like ours because they are an excellent medium for showcasing concepts and getting feedback (with minimal cash outlay). What might seem like a genius item when you first produce it at home late one night might not actually appeal to Real People at all – and things that you don’t think will sell can surprise you. It’s damn hard to know what people want!

Jam Tarts is grateful to Jane and Craig Butters for the use of their house and garden. Thanks, guys. (Same time next month?) (and Craig, thanks for ordering a knitted warmer for a certain part of your body, I’ll get onto it right away and will be sure to make it XXL).

To be continued…

home work

Only 6 more sleeps until our Open Day [for those of you in Cape Town, it’s at 3 Leith Road, Constantia, from 10h00 to 15h00 this coming Saturday 4 August.]

We have lots of gorgeous new crochet-y things to put on show, and Megan has been busy with her unique illustrations and cards.

We are working with another local business Gift Gardens on this one, so even if you aren’t into mosaics and blankets and footstools, you can pick up beautiful and useful things for your garden – plants, herbs, flowers, pots, fairy lights, solar lamps, sky rockets, gardening gloves…

Today the mini mosaic mirrors I’ve been busy with are getting their final touches. In my kitchen. No room anywhere else. No space to cook supper. Oh, what a shame. (McDonald’s, anyone?)

To be continued…