Changing pace

Kate’s posts about cross-stitch have long tempted me to take up the last cross-stitch project I started and pick up where I left off. Of course, I had to find it first. And in the Bermuda Triangle that is my house, this was no easy task. But find it I did, eventually, and just in time to take on our train trip to Johannesburg last week. Two days en route, two days there, then two days en route home, viewing parts of this amazing country that we don’t often get to see, giraffes and buck and wildebeest, our berths made up for us with fresh cotton sheets and blankets, no televisions or radios, no domestic concerns – what utter bliss. I say “our” because I ventured forth not alone, but with Karen, my friend of over 42 years. She had been appointed Food and Bedwear Manager, and I’m happy to report that she took her responsibilities very seriously.

twins pyjamas

Twins

Matching pyjamas and silver slippers (although her feet were cold so she insisted on socks as well)! Ciabatta, crackers, butter, ham, English mustard, salami, gherkins, olives, crisps, nuts, Camembert, cheddar, blue and brie, and of course chocolate. Reading, embroidery, a coupe to ourselves, and the rhythm and pulse of a train – that is my definition of bliss.

Karen 2

Karen on top

Oh right, the cross-stitch…sorry, I got carried away. I started this about 11 years ago. Last week I was here:

cross stitch 3

and now I am here:

cross stitch 2

Not sure when I’ll have a chance to pick it up again in 2017, but at least it got dusted off :)

PS. The “best” part of the train journey? Being told, on booking, that as women older than 55, we were entitled to the Senior Citizens’ discount. This is not a category I had thought of myself as belonging to quite yet, but the shock wore off when they reduced the fare by 25%…

Advertisements

Taking stock in September

Inspired by Rachel, inspired by Pip

Making : two patchwork cushions for an order for Lindi

Cooking : there’s a photocopied recipe for Julie Sahni’s green bean curry on the kitchen counter, but so far no actual shopping has been done with the making of it in mind

julie sahni

Drinking : coffee. without sweetener because I forgot to put any in and I can’t be bothered to leave my desk now and go back to the kitchen

Reading: The Steep Approach to Garbadale by Iain Banks

Wanting: my unsorted boxes from the house move last year to disappear into thin air

Looking: through the French doors at the sparrows outside on the patio

Wishing: that my unsorted boxes from the house move last year would disappear into thin air

Enjoying: the spring days and the cool nights

Waiting: for Thursday, when Karen and I get on the train for the long trip to Johannesburg and switch off from our normal lives completely

Liking: my slowly improving sense of well-being

Wondering: how long the Guptas will be allowed to run our country, and where all the good guys are

Zapiro

Loving: my garden and how much everything has grown in the last 16 months

Pondering: quantum physics. I read In Search of Schrodinger’s Cat by John Gibson, really slowly, and still can’t understand any of it

Listening: Jim Croce (in the car only)

Considering: whether or not I deserve/can afford to splurge on new cosmetics from Mac

Watching: The Daily Show with Trevor Noah (on youtube, in bed, on my phone, late at night)

Hoping: for a lucrative 2017/2018 market season – my bank manager is also hoping for that, on my behalf

Marvelling: at how fat both my cats have become, despite being given the correct amount of Dr Hill’s Science Food at meals

Needing: already have everything I really need

Smelling: being a smoker, not that much!

Wearing: old jeans and an old hoodie of Rob’s with black and white skulls on it

Knowing: that first I have to be content with myself before I can find happiness in a relationship with anyone else

Bookmarking: hair tutorials on putting my hair up

Feeling: optimistic

Dreaming: of independence

Hearing: yes, it’s occurred to me that I should go for a hearing test but, in general, selective hearing makes for a more harmonious home life. A lesson I learned from my ex-husband :)

Anyone else out there taking stock today?

crossing the lino – final episode

We’ve come to the end of the four classes now, and here are the results of the last two. I was keen to think about birds and trees, plus Judy showed us how to experiment on different kinds of paper (the leaf is on rice paper, and the trees below are on different shades of tissue paper).

Rob has a very different style, his images have much more impact than mine do (not that it was a competition of course!) and he put a lot more effort into certain aspects of cutting than I did. As you can clearly see, our interests also vary widely:

Rob lino

The last pic was taken with my cell phone, the blurriness is due to my shaky hand.

Now that we’re in September, with the summer market season about to re-open and much sewing and screenprinting to be done, I can’t spend any more time on linocut printing experiments, but I will definitely return to Judy’s studio next year. We met some great people, drank some great coffee, and expanded our creative horizons. What’s not to like? :)

hitting the shower

Okay, so there’s clearly a problem when the damp in your bathroom wall starts blistering and crumbling the plaster and paint right off. You call in people to find the source of the trouble, and then pay them to fix it.

shower floor

Our old standbys, Andre and Coralee-Ann, came to the rescue. The shower floor had a crack in it plus the sealer round the edges had worn off – basically, every time I showered, I was causing more water to be sucked up into the wall. The solution was to rebuild the shower floor, and scrape down, replaster, re-tile and repaint the walls.

The work was finished yesterday, but not before I had woken up the night before to use the bathroom, didn’t bother to switch the light on, staggered around in the dark on my way back to bed trying to avoid the linen basket and the towel box and other things that had been temporarily moved, misjudged where the bed ended and so threw myself like a sack of butternuts into the narrow space between the bed and the displaced bathroom stuff. I cracked both knees, one arm and my head in the fall. It was a very rude shock to my system, especially at 2.30am. When I realised I hadn’t actually broken anything, I heaved myself up and into the bed proper. I lay there cosily thinking how lucky I was to have gotten away with just some bruises and that now would be a good time to embrace sleep again, when one of the cats lurched in and proceeded to vomit copiously all over the carpet. A metre away from me. Twice.

I guess not every night is bound to be peaceful and restorative…

patchwork pinny

So, the patchwork pinny that I made last week for Karen caught Sharon’s eye via facebook.  She asked for something outrageous, and she came for coffee and to collect the pinny this morning:

pinny sharon 3

I had thought of adding some applique flowers and/or a few buttons and beads, but decided to leave it at a mix of leopard print and florals, with purple ribbon and pink lace. And a bit of orange lace around the crimson pocket. The inside is lined with shweshwe. Nothing matches. She loves it <3

We were laughing about how she should pose for the picture, which accounts for the lack of focus, and it really doesn’t do her justice – she has a flawless skin, stunning red hair and beautiful blue eyes. She’s beautiful on the inside, too. xxx

and the seasons change again – sort of!

Yesterday it was cool (14 deg C) and Cape Town was treated to a lovely gentle rain for most of the day (I swear I could hear the roots of the plants stretching and yawning out of their hibernation). The day before, however, it was 32 degrees C and the sun was strong – not hot enough to fry an egg on the bonnet of the car, but enough of a signal of summer to book a pedicure and check the use-by date on my tube of sunscreen.

Level 5 water restrictions have just been implemented in the Western Cape so we know the overall water situation is serious, especially as we’re now officially in spring and have many rainless months to get through. In spite of that, and because I’m careful to keep my water consumption below the prescribed limit and use only grey water for watering, my garden is green. Very green. Too green? Is that even possible? Where is some colour??? Yesterday – the bleak, grey day – a tiny splash of cerise against the back wall caught my eye. I decided to investigate further, and find as many new pops of colour as possible.

Orange and lemon black-eyed susans; purple Myrtifolia; three shades of lilac simultaneously on the Yesterday, today and tomorrow; tangerine clivia; egg-yolk and white erigeron; purple lavender; ivory Arum lily; red-leaf spinach*; cerise bougainvillea. This cheerful evidence of survival and renewal has filled me with optimism.

* I forgot to mention that about a third of the spinach I used in the pie on Monday night was harvested from my own garden. Disclaimer: any edible produce is due to Peter’s efforts, not so much mine!

 

a pinny and a pie

Dexterously combining two themes in one post here: (a) a further attempt at cooking in the oven, and (b) a Scrap Happy project for Kate’s collection.

Sean's pie

Last year, staying with Sean and Melinda in Grahamstown, Sean made this fabulous spinach and feta pie for our supper one evening. It’s not vegan because the recipe calls for eggs, ricotta and feta – which means Melinda couldn’t have any – but I guess she was used to that, Sean usually going big on the carnivore side of things! Anyway, he sent me the link and it’s been lurking on my bookmarks bar ever since. Last night = girls’ night at my house = chance to make pie and graciously accept amazed compliments on having made something both edible and attractive.

karen apron

Theme #2: Karen mentioned that she could use another pinny for her work at the Service Dining Rooms.  I made this for her last week, from leftovers of fabric from cushions and bedspreads, and a bit of lace and some orange bobbles at the bottom left over from who the hell knows what.  Here she is, trying to give a realistic impression of a happily domesticated woman about to dish up the pie, but looking more like someone who’s watched The Shining too many times. Perhaps she would have been happier with an axe.