Tag Archives: cape town

mixed berries scarf complete

Right, it’s done. The scarf that I started knitting up here with Lisa’s gorgeous yarn has just had its ends woven in.

It’s all garter stitch, and I simply cast on two stitches then increased one stitch at the beginning of every row. So wonderful just to be able to pick it up and put it down whenever I needed a little break from more strenuous activity. The longest side of the triangle measures 90cm, and I just stopped when I ran out of yarn. It’s not long enough to go round my neck on its own (unless I tuck it into the jacket or coat collar, if I’m wearing one) without being pinned at the front, but I love brooches so this suits me perfectly. You may notice the very beautiful silver, jet and mother-of-pearl gecko above, which came to me from a dear friend in Colorado (originally met through blogging). It is one of my most precious possessions, plus I have always had a soft spot for geckos. She didn’t know that when she sent it to me!

Now, somewhere in this house there is a bag with a chunky garter stitch tank top that needs to have the shoulders stitched up. I must find it soon because I can feel a necessary break coming on…  Moving day is only 5 days away – you won’t hear from me again before then, so see you on The Other Side :)

PS. The weather for tomorrow looks to be like the last perfect autumn day for Cape Town, so I’m looking very forward to the Kirstenbosch Market – the neck cushions to be given away have been allocated (via this blog) to people who became customers over six years ago. They remain customers and have always been wonderfully supportive of my various nutty ideas, but they’ve also become friends. Life is good.

 

 

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cushions and houses

On the working side of life, I’ve been making cushions using the designs I usually print on pillow cases. I was keen to maintain the patchworky random look, so no two will ever be the same.

Still experimenting with sizes and layout – but it’s a brilliant way to use up small pieces of fabric left over from the bedspreads. The Kalk Bay shop has expressed an interest, but they would want the cushions to be a standard size. “Standard” – hmmm, a strange concept for me, I’ll have to give it some thought….

On the domestic front, we received three offers on the house within 24 hours of it being on show. We happily accepted the best one, and transfer is scheduled for the end of May. Aaaaaaannnnd, best news of all, Philip and I are now the proud new owners of a beautiful house in Claremont (a suburb of Cape Town about 10 minutes drive from where we currently live). It’s green and leafy and quiet, and the house is perfect for two people who both work from home and who like to entertain (on a relatively modest basis). It’s been wonderfully and attractively modernised, in pristine condition, and we don’t have to make a single change. So, 1 June will see quite a few removal trucks rumbling along in various directions between Mowbray, Rosebank and Claremont – housewarming to follow soon after :) Deep sigh of relief, gratitude and contentment!

considering options

After weeks of ghastly sorting, my lounge, dining room, work rooms and bathroom all look much more like the kind of rooms that human beings can actually live in :)

new 1

new 2

The lounge still has to accommodate (for now) my market display stuff and all my stock, but it’s a big room (originally two separate rooms) plus there are two large items of furniture in it that are not mine – they will soon be leaving the building, so to speak, and then there will be more space.

My bedroom still has crap in boxes under the bed and containers of fabric and beads, but that is the last stop; the deadline for that is Sunday. The jacuzzi bath is now empty and may be replaced with a shower – why replace it at all if the house is going on the market, you may ask? Well…another option has been proposed to me recently, and I have been giving it serious consideration (with the help of my accountant and an objective adviser). It is an option that affects more than just my financial position so I must think carefully and honestly about myself and what works for me. I’m still keeping an eye on houses for sale in beautiful little towns outside Cape Town, but am very happy to have a viable alternative to work with – not to mention the lovely man in my life who came up with the idea :)

It’s going to be a good day. I have etsy orders to get to the post office, six heart cushions to finish in time for Saturday’s market, a kitten to play with, and a date for dinner at my new favourite Italian restaurant. Here’s to good days – may you all have one, too, and many many more.

have a heart

Experiment in patchwork heart-shaped cushion: relatively quick to make, enjoyable to stuff and hand-stitch edges with perle cotton while watching a Season 2 episode of Top of the Lake, make sure the bottom lines up properly next time. I plan to make a batch for the next Made in the Cape market, just in time for Valentine’s Day.

heart

The bathroom took longer to sort out than I’d anticipated so no worthwhile pic to show you yet. I’ll be moving on to the sewing room next, but the week has been interrupted – very happily – with more overseas orders for pillow cases and the discovery of a fabulous new Italian restaurant in Observatory. Forneria Italia doesn’t have an alcohol license yet, so take your own wine. Best.pizza.ever. Thanks to Gwenni for the recommendation.

And the last thing for today, particularly for Cape Town readers: Level 6b water restrictions will be coming into effect from 1 February, as you probably already know (and we’re all trying not to panic too much) but how useful is this from EyeWitness News:

50 litres

RAIN. PLEASE. SOON.

time out

I am here: on a farm just outside Ladismith, in the Klein Karoo.

Klein Karoo 3

Klein Karoo 2

Klein Karoo 1

It’s hot and dry, as you can see, but there is no shortage of water because there’s a private dam and a windpump system set up to pump water straight from the surrounding mountains. So, YES, I can run a deep bath without guilt and even extend shower time from 45 seconds to any length of time I feel like….. The exact opposite of what it is like in Cape Town now, as we get closer to DAY ZERO. Level 6 water restrictions will be implemented from next week and we will all be paying a drought levy from February 2018 onwards (based on the value of one’s property). I have mixed feelings about this – on the one hand, Capetonians are all in this together and have to do the best we can to save water, and on the other, 66% of residents are clearly not doing their bit and don’t care that there’s extra cost involved because they are wealthy enough not to feel the impact. The arrogance! I’ll be very amused to see some of those high-and-mighties impatiently queuing at the nearest mountain spring to fill their empty containers along with the rest of the hoi polloi.

In the meantime, from a cool cottage in the Karoo (about 4 hours out of Cape Town), where you must keep your eyes open for cobras and boomslangs when you go for a walk and the doors bolted when you go out because the baboons are way ahead of things like locks and keys, where the loudest sound is the silence of this extraordinary mountain country punctuated by bird calls, and where I am finding some wonderful peacefulness both within me and without, I hope you are all having happy holiday times.

I never said I was an artist…

…but I’ll have a bash at some freehand stuff when the need arises. The need just did, when one of my favourite customers phoned to ask me for a blue bird in flight on the corner of a pillow case for her granddaughter. For tomorrow. Yikes. I don’t have a screen with the right kind of bird to use, so it had to be a quick work-around.

100_3242

Print picture of bird. Cut out shape. Add bits of paper here and there where you don’t want the ink to go through, including the background, stick it all together with tape, have a practice run on a piece of waste fabric (actually, is there ever such a thing?) and give it a go! You get this:

100_3244

Then you play around with some different shades of blue and a teeny weeny #1 paintbrush…

100_3247

Okay, it’s true that this resembles no bird in the real world, but I think it’s fair to say that it most definitely is a bird, and it’s blue, and it’s on the wing.

Right, back to sewing. The October Made in the Cape artisan market opens again on Thursday, so I need to have everything ready by Wednesday night. I never learn, and I always panic…

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%…