Tag Archives: craft

donkey work

I enjoyed playing around with those bits of left-over fabric more than I realised. And when it comes to enjoyable sewing, nothing beats the simplicity of straight lines. Someone I knew would have called it donkey work, in which case I’m having an Eeyore week.


The colours don’t show up that well in the pics, but they are a gorgeous mix of blues and creams and teals and greys and browns.

I like random, so I’ll never be one of those clever quilting ladies whose exquisitely thought-out fabric mosaics I admire so much! But I still felt I deserved a rotary cutter and a proper cutting mat – an early birthday present to myself :-)  My squares are so much squarer now!

bedspread-1       bedspread-3

rotary       eeyore

on the tiles

Over eight years ago (or 96 moons…or 416 weekends…or 2816 days..!!!) I was struck with the brilliance of the idea of mosaicing a large part of my bathroom wall. I got someone in to carefully remove the old tiles, and then I got to work. I was passionate about it – for at least two months. I tested different kinds of tile adhesive, found new tile retailers, gleaned inspiration from books, ruined my hands with the tile nippers and bits of broken glass… Then I got over it. Then years passed. Then I sold my flat.

This is the state of the mosaic when the (now) new owner put in his offer to purchase. I had expected that he wouldn’t have the slightest interest in it, and would probably even renovate the bathroom entirely (it’s a bit dated, and new owners like to do that kind of thing).

mosaic 1

I was wrong. Philip loved the mosaic and, in a most complimentary and encouraging fashion, even included a clause in the Deed of Sale whereby I would complete “the work” before the occupation date. To which I had to agree if I wanted the sale.

Shit. You know me and deadlines. But sometimes even I surprise myself!  Philip moves in on Monday (it’s Saturday here now), and here is the progress I’ve made:

mosaic 3

About 2.5% of the total remains to be tiled, and then tomorrow morning I’ll get busy with the grout. It’s going to be lovely, and of course intensely ironic – only my daughter appreciated the fact that I have managed to complete a big project after a very long time, for someone else’s bathtime enjoyment….


WARNING: Avoid moving house when you need to be more productive than usual.

I’ve reached the stage where I would go so far as to say Avoid moving house altogether, but sometimes moving is a good thing, and if the opportunity presents itself you can go along with it without too much disruption to work or mental equilibrium. (Okay, okay, we all know that that was a Big Fat Lie. I’m a terrible liar.)

But if you cannot circumvent the warning above, LIKE ME, here are some tips on preventing things from being most horrible:

  1. When you have packed a box in the old house, write its contents on the top as legibly as possible. A rough scribble can be hard to decipher at a rushed time when the movers are speeding in and out of the new house ….
  2. Make your bed as soon as you can. At the end of moving day, when you are exhausted and in the foulest of moods, you will be overjoyed to fall into your familiar old cocoon of blankies and pillows. And if you can locate the hot water bottle and keep it near the kettle, then you fall into the SuperMover category and earn extra points.*
  3.  Do not allow yourself to be tempted to do just one little thing in the new house, because once you start you won’t be able to stop. And then you can say goodbye to the fantastic notion of getting all your stock ready in time for Grahamstown. For example, the brass letter slot on the front door that is going to be so lovely and shiny when you’ve stripped off all the paint? … WALK AWAY FROM THE BRASS.
  4. Do not think about cooking, you don’t have time. If there’s someone around you who will cook, then count your lucky stars. Otherwise, be happy with peanut butter on toast or get in touch with Mr Delivery.
  5. Don’t try and unpack all your work-related boxes at once. You can’t sew, screenprint and crochet at the same time, so focus on one thing and stick with it until it’s done. It’s just taken me twice as long to get 30 beanies ready for an order (because of constant interruptions relating to plumber, agent, builder, electrician, cupboard man, painter, security people, conveyancing attorneys, electronic gate people, new neighbours, moving shock etc etc) but now that it’s finally in the post, I can give my full attention to the 360 pillowcases waiting for me. Try not to make yourself crosser with yourself than you already are by having chosen to move house in the first place.
  6. If someone offers you a tranquiliser, don’t try and be tough. Say thanks and swallow it immediately. It might slow you down a bit, but more haste less speed, right?
  7. If someone offers to help – it’s similar to #6 above: don’t try and be tough, say thanks and show them how to thread a needle or iron a stack of pillow cases.
  8. Remind yourself that you aren’t SuperWoman. It’s times like these that you feel more like SuperCretin, actually, but you’re not that either – you simply bit off more than you could chew. Just keep going – it’s not like you have a choice!

* Any and all points you award yourself can be saved up and spent in a single splurge at the local bottle store. There’s a crate of Tanqueray I have my eye on…

Night Market at Rondebosch Park

Yesterday’s Rondebosch Park Market is the last market I’ll be doing this year. There’s lots of planning to do for 2016, but I’m going to take a few days to catch my breath, do some admin, sew some stuff for my very own self, and spend time with the people I love. Might even fit in a trip to Dizzy’s!

Nici and Tonya have worked their little butts off this year to reenergise and revamp this particular market, and it’s now growing and evolving and doing wonders for our community here in the southern suburbs of Cape Town.

The night market ran from 3pm to 8pm, which is perfect in Cape Town because the heat starts to lessen and usually ushers in a nice cool evening. We had rain late last night, but luckily about 3 hours after the market ended!

Some random photos:

And some more…

Wishing you all a happy holiday season, with love from Jill, Rob, Jessie, Choco, Carol and Grommit.

introduction to silkscreen printing

I’ve always wanted to try my hand at this, and when I heard through the Cape Craft & Design Institute that Yda Walt ((her website here)) was going to be taking a couple of workshops in Cape Town I signed up immediately. Today was the day.

sp 3 sp 1 sp 2

Here are my first efforts. We started off learning how to make a design with ordinary paper and a blank screen, using standard fabric inks, and then using a photographic image on a prepared screen, and getting used to the difference between normal and opaque inks. I was far too busy to take any photos, but I will next week at the second workshop. Everyone came up with completely different interpretations of a single brief, which always fascinates me. People are generally more creative than they realise!

Yda also showed us how to combine different colours, either in a single layer or in mixed layers – so if you’ll excuse me, I need to go clear my dining table right this second so I can continue experimenting….

Thanks for all the fish

Thanks for all your ideas re the fish hats, you really got my creative juices flowing….but it was while I was fitting the latest hat on Carol for a photoshoot just now …

flying fish 3

… and the little fins were sticking out on the sides…

flying fish 4

that the perfect name suddenly came to me  — it’s The Flying Fish hat !!!

And that’s enough from me for now – I have a crochet lesson tomorrow afternoon to prepare for, and a Christmas-in-Winter market in Tulbagh on Sunday. I’m told there’s snow on the mountains out in that part of the world, so let’s hope everyone has a really cold head.

happy granny

I’ve been hoarding the pattern for Simone’s happy granny (here) for a long time and the other day, when I was looking for something else in an insanely disorganised bookmarks folder, I came across it again.  After a lot of Ellas and penguins, this looked like a perfect no-fuss quick make.

simone pattern

Simone’s hat is for a baby, but I wanted to go big.   I used a chunky Elle Timber and a 5.00mm hook, so ended up with a hat that fits Carol loosely.  I was going to follow the pattern exactly and have the same sort of beanie look but by the time I’d done the two brown rows, I realised that the wearer would have to have an unusually large noggin.  (Rob has quite a big head, actually, but I know he doesn’t like raspberry pink).

eben 1

So I just winged it after that – did 2 rows of grannies with some decreasing, then one row of dcs.  That’s given it a kind of puffy beret look instead.

We’ve had a really sharp and sudden icy spell in Cape Town- it’s much much colder than it usually gets in winter, and it’s started a lot sooner.  There’s even been SNOW on the mountains – we say that here with such genuine amazement as to suggest that the snow, surely, has picked the wrong country?

Back soon x