Tag Archives: cushions

Thrifty Thursday

I love my patio. It has a retractable roof and a retractable awning, so I can either choose to get full sun or as many degrees of shade as I wish. I usually opt for shade, (a) because I prefer to avoid direct sun on my skin as much as possible, and (b) a large number of my plant babies live there. They definitely prefer some protection from the ultra violets! Despite this, after two and a half years, the old couch was looking really bad. The kelim I’d put over the back had faded, and the cushions are pap (South African slang for flat and mushy), stained and torn in places. The whole thing is faded and yucky, actually, and it may well once have been a handsome piece of furniture but 2020 is not the year for splurging on having anything professionally reupholstered, so I’ve made do with recovering the seat cushions (using hand-me-down pieces of fabric and some sample books) and ramming some scrap pieces of foam down the sides for extra padding. I gave it a good vacuum (bloody cat hair) and turned the kelim the other way round. Before and after:

Still old and tatty, and my cushion recovering skills leave a lot to be desired, but (a) I managed all the sewing and stuffing in under three hours, (b) it cost me nothing but time and effort, (c) I can cross it off my To Do list, and (d) I’m happy enough for the time being. In my book, that’s four solid wins!

and cats

I’m still stuck on animal cushions. Here’s Cat Cushion #1, finished late on Friday night in time for Saturday’s market. It sold within the first hour.

kitten

I can be clever on occasion, so I knew what to do — make more! Here’s another one:

kitten 2

Another four cats are waiting in the wings, they’ll be finished and stuffed by this evening in time for the Made in the Cape market at Cavendish tomorrow. I’ve made 28 new cushions altogether in the last few days so, as it happens, it’ll also be me who’ll be finished and stuffed by this evening. Cushion collage

PS. The woman who bought the cat on Saturday phoned me yesterday to ask if I could make her another one (in a different colourway) so that she’s not without a cat cushion when the first one is in the wash. Purrrrrrr…..  

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.

Montebello

Last week, to belatedly celebrate Anne’s birthday on 1 January, we had lunch at the Gardener’s Cottage, on the same grounds as the Montebello Design Centre in Newlands.

montebello 1

I specially went early because it’s been so long since I was last there, and I was not disappointed. The grounds, the studios, the workshops, the nursery, the restaurant – everything was beautifully maintained, the staff were professional, the atmosphere was calming and also blissfully cool thanks to all the tree cover. The place is no hidden Cape Town secret, but there’s something about it when you’re there that makes it feel like you stumbled into another world.

montebello 4

montebello 3

The shops and studios are run by the people who are involved in making the products, and the range and quality was superb. It was like the best of Cape Town rolled into one.

montebello 5

montebello 6

The hand-embroidered and beaded cushions took my breath away. I would have bought them all if I could have afforded to because it would have been impossible to choose.

By the time I got to the eating side of things, I was too excited to take pics of the food plus I wanted to concentrate on talking to Anne. I’m trying to get myself in the habit of switching my phone off when I’m with someone, constant beeps and flashing icons are too distracting. I figure there’s nothing that can’t wait til later (barring an emergency, in which case I would presumably receive a phone call) – but it’s a hard habit to break. I’m getting there, slowly. I’m grateful for the upsides, but for someone as easily diverted as I am, this is one of the downsides of the world of instant communication in which we live…

Food. Right. I had the “hand-crafted” bagel with salmon and cream cheese – I was a bit concerned about its size when it arrived, because I have a healthy appetite and this chap looked to be on the small side, but I’d forgotten how filling and substantial a truly good bagel can be – and one of the best cappuccinos ever. I can’t remember what Anne had but whatever it was, she said it was very good :)

Since Montebello is about eight minutes from my home and I drive past it at least three times a week on my way somewhere else, it is ridiculous not to stop by more often. You guys come visit Cape Town, I’ll take you there for lunch!

All malled out

The ten-day Made in the Cape artisan market ended on Sunday. It was a big success on all levels, but exhausting — obviously to be expected, and this is not a complaint, but I hadn’t anticipated the draining effect that ten days (eleven hours each) in a busy shopping mall would have on me. You may or may not know this about me, but I am not a shopping-mall kind of gal. I will go to one of the smaller ones if necessary but far prefer to stick to my local shops down in Rondebosch village. The post office is also there, and the library, and a superb barista, and the bank. And there’s always parking.

Anyway, hard work never killed anyone and I’ve had three follow-up orders already, so there is also a good long-term effect of being on show, as it were. The patchwork cushions were especially popular.

thurs1thurs2

We also had some drama! A woman had had her cell phone taken out of her handbag as she was coming down the escalator closest to me. The thief ran past my table and slid the phone in between a pile of my cushions. This was captured on cctv so within seconds I had a swarm of security guards “helping” me go through all my stock. We searched in vain, which made no sense, so I suggested that she had probably had an accomplice who had retrieved the phone very quickly and made off with it in a different direction. Further cctv footage proved me right, and a ring of four women was eventually caught and arrested.

I was reminded of something in one of Ben Trovato‘s priceless blog posts about shopping malls and holiday crowds:

And remember that even though pickpocketing and purse-snatching is considered quaint and old school in this glamorous age of state capture, the pilferers and purloiners are still out there practising their ancient craft. Fleet of foot and nimble of finger, not for them the tedious complexities of tender rigging and money laundering. Handbags are their thing. This is why women should keep a small explosive device in their bag at all times. If the bag is stolen, they can detonate it with a remote control. This will not only teach the thief a valuable lesson but will also help thin out the crowds in the mall. 

So, be alert and keep your handbags zipped up tight !