Category Archives: inspiration

Yesterday, today and Tamara

Funny how sometimes a person can get right inside your head, even if you’ve never met them (even if they aren’t actually real, like a character from a novel). That has happened to me with some of the friends I’ve made through blogging, one of whom is Tamara from Crochet with Tamara.

I have a beautiful bag that I purchased from her earlier this year, it is hanging on my wall in my bedroom where it is a source of inspiration to me.  One day, when I’m ready,  I’ll take it off the hook and use it, but not just yet.

I have a couple of garments in my wardrobe, waiting for me to have a Tamara moment and renovate them into the kind of funky and striking clothes that I know they can be. You know, for my funky image!!! ha

I also love Tamara’s shoulder sack “purse” (what we call a “bag”), and she’s posted a couple of photos of ones she has made recently.  There is something about the shape of the bag that appeals to me, so she kindly shared her pattern and I made one myself. Not the greatest crochet success, as it happens, because I got the bottom a bit wonky and may also have decreased more on one side of the strap than the other. But, hey, I finished it, right!?


And what’s a bag without a flower?

Now it just needs a lining, but that’s for future Jill.

To be continued…

Beautiful Blogger

And again to Jane at Rainbow Junkie Cornerthank you for your continued encouragement and interest with what I get up. I really appreciate all your comments, and I also love the things that you make with such care and attention to detail. I’m thinking of the snowflakes in particular!

I am to:
1. copy the Beautiful Blogger Award logo onto my blog (will do that just now);
2. write something about the blogger who nominated me and link back to her blog (done);
3. write 7 things about myself (ok….), and
4. nominate seven other bloggers for the award (done).

This time I have deliberately nominated bloggers that I haven’t ever nominated previously. Not everyone blogs every day, or even every two days, which doesn’t mean they don’t deserve lots of notice. I love all these blogs, everyone has a slightly different take on everything, and they are all inspiring in a number of ways.

Crochet Again
From Steph with Love
Made by Yours Truly
Mary Mary quite contrary
My Creative Spirit
Nice Things in my Life
The Nutrition Guru and the Chef

About me:
1. I spend far too much money on my hair because now I have to go every five weeks to keep the grey at bay.
2. I haven’t seen my daughter (except on Skype) since the end of January. This is a very long time when you only have one child and you love her to death.
3. I am very interested in psychopaths and their behaviour. At the moment I am hooked on Dexter (am only on Season 4), but usually I just read about them.
4. My new best friend is 82 years old, and I am hoping to be just like her at that age. Actually, I am merely hoping to reach that age at all, never mind what condition I’m in when I get there.
5. My dad died when I was 17. I still miss him every day. He was four years younger than I am now.
6. I am currently 3.5 kgs above my goal weight. I am ashamed of the flab that hangs over the top of my jeans.
7. I don’t think I always show my friends how much I love and appreciate them. I need to rectify this and take them all out for dinner and shower them with expensive gifts. Or at least phone them more often. Actually, I’ll just phone them more often. The dinner and gifts can wait til I’m famous.

To be continued…

Passing the baton

And just when I was wondering what on earth to blog about next…along comes Rainbow Junkie Corner with a little gift for me. Thank you for this, I’m so glad I got the nod!

This is the Wonderful Team Member Readership Award.
The rules are:
1. The nominee of the Wonderful Team Member Readership Award shall display the logo on her blog.
2. The nominee shall nominate 14 readers they appreciate over a period of 7 days, all at once or little by little.
3. The nominee shall list her Wonderful Team Member Readership Award nominees on a post or on posts within 7 days.

Here are the first of my nominations.  I have tried not to repeat a nomination that is already on Rainbow Junkie’s list because I think it’s nice to spread things around, but my list would not be complete without some of you.  You know who you are.

Alison, Craftytrog’s Inky Adventures
Alison, My Weekly Wine
Carly, Happy Little Kiwi
Dilly Tante
Francine, Creative Mummy
Janette, Green Dragonfly
Lisa, Yarnchick 40
Maryanne, Woolhogs
Trish, Made by Patch
Rachel, The Little Room of Rachel
Rowena, Reading and Writing
Tamara, Crochet with Tamara

I learn something different from all of you, and you all inspire me in different ways. My favourite thing ever  (well, almost) is to log on first thing in the morning and see who’s been doing what out there and read your comments. It’s great to be involved and engage with you all.

To be continued…



A bit of relief

I was taught a new stitch yesterday by Doreen, who, at 82, has been a crafter all her life and is still busy as ever with her hook.
She was shown this stitch when she was a new bride at 19 in Zimbabwe (then Rhodesia) by her neighbour, Tannie Hannie, who took Doreen under her able, ample wing and trained her in the ways of domestic business and homemaking.

Neither of us knows if this stitch has a name. I’ve looked in the Reader’s Digest Complete Guide to Needlework, and the closest I can find is Relief Stitch or Open Ridge Stitch, but I’m sure there are many many varieties of these.

It works up really quickly. Doreen uses it for pretty much everything but especially bags and blankets, and can do it in her sleep with her eyes closed.

This is one of her bags that she has given me as inspiration:

So, I’m currently busy with Tamara’s shoulder sack and will make every attempt to finish it before starting something new with the Doreen. (Guess that’s its name, now!)

To be continued…

Making assumptions

I have just finished a three-day training program on Victim Empowerment (as a trainee, not a trainer). As a content developer and trainer assessor, it was fantastic to receive such well-planned workshop notes and material scenarios, and also to be led by two such experienced and vibrant facilitators as Evelynne and Catherine. As a new Victim Empowerment Volunteer (old title = trauma counsellor), it was essential learning and understanding.

But as a person living in the incredibly diverse society of Cape Town (and doubtless any other city in South Africa today), it was an eye-opener. And a reminder that no-one should ever judge anyone else on the basis of their clothes, the car they drive, their language, their level of formal education, or the area they live in.

Noma is a small, plump, motherly black woman who does voluntary work at the Gugulethu police station. She was quieter than the rest of us and didn’t contribute much — until she felt able to speak in her home language instead of English. In Xhosa, she was up and running, and another member of the group translated for those of us who do not speak Xhosa. Turns out she isn’t a wallflower after all – this woman is dynamic, involved, and very experienced in assisting those who need help.

Raylene is a coloured woman who works in Kommetjie. She has purple braids, long maroon nails, gold fillings, fur boots, and speaks in a confusing mixture of English and Afrikaans. She was only at school til she was 14, and she works as a cashier at the supermarket. But of all the people there, I would have picked her to go to for help if I was a victim of crime, because of her gentle and patient manner, and incredible listening skills.

I could go on – one could stereotype Riaan as a racist Afrikaner from Durbanville with his blue eyes, blonde hair, and military bearing. But he is actually a qualified trauma counsellor working in the poor and predominantly coloured fishing community in the southern suburbs, where he helps victims of rape and domestic abuse. Nomvuyiso – too young to have any insights? Wrong. Jenny – too ‘larney’, privileged and white to have empathy for a young black girl being abused by her father? Wrong. Cilla – too overtly Christian to have enough understanding to be able to help a Muslim person? Wrong. Tracy – looks down her re-modelled nose at prostitutes with missing teeth and a drug habit? Wrong. Geoffrey – Congolese, male, French-speaking, tertiary-educated, would he be able to work positively and productively with homeless people? Yes.

It’s hard to get rid of one’s prejudices, and even when we try, we don’t always succeed.  But acknowledging them is the first step to changing mindsets.  So, next time you think I’m too ‘posh’ with my British accent and manicured nails to listen to what you have to say, let’s have a beer together at the pub down the road and discuss it properly.  We might both be surprised at how much we have in common  (and you can also tell me where you got those fur boots, I’ve been dying to get a pair!)

To be continued…

Tulbagh Weekend Part II

…as I was saying, I stayed with Tina for the duration of the Festival.  She lives with two dogs and three cats in a magical cottage at the far far end of a farm a couple of miles out of Tulbagh. I say “magical” because Tina is an artist in every way – her home, her work, her clothes, her sense of style, her gorgeous eccentricity, her personality and perspective on the world. She makes magic, she sees magic in everything – she is magic!

I first knew Tina when I was 19 and she was 22; we were part of a group of friends living in Braamfontein (Johannesburg), young, foolish, risk-taking, trying to get a grip on who we were and how we wanted to live.  (None of us got it right, by the way – it seems to have taken a good twenty-five-plus years for some of us to even get close.) We lost touch, moved cities, married, demarried, developed new careers, grew up a bit – and found each other on facebook a year ago  (gotta love facebook).

Here are some photos I took of Tina’s home.  They convey her sense of the exotic and the baroque far better than I ever could with words.

The bedroom I slept in:

An early self-portrait:

Reflections of fantastical visions:

And a tiger mirror from Paraguay that I covet:

Tina’s house was part of the art exhibition side of the Tulbagh Spring Arts Festival.  Ribbons and signs along the road indicated the way and, once visitors arrived, they could follow the ‘golden nuggets’ through the garden and round to the gazebo for snacks and a wine-tasting.

As we say in South Africa, local is lekker!

To be continued…



It’s cold and grey and wet in Cape Town today, folks. Luckily I have these nasturtiums on my kitchen windowsill to add some cheerful colour.
I love nasturtiums because they are so damn persistent and self-reliant. Any flower that manages to grow in my neglected patch of garden (I hesitate to use that word, actually) is a wunder bloom in my book.

And as of today I now also have this:

This is big for me, and not only because it’s also my age. It means there are FIFTY people Out There who were once inclined to click the Follow button and be notified every time I post. I know the world’s population has almost reached 7 billion, but it is still wonderful to me that 50 of those 7 billion people get to be here regularly :-) Perhaps it’s time for another give-away to celebrate?

To be continued…