Tag Archives: jam tarts

Made in the Cape

Made in the Cape is an artisan craft market that happens over four days every month in the middle of Cavendish Square, a high-end and bustling shopping mall in Claremont. It is a much sought-after trading venue, so I was delighted when Dale, who initiated the concept five years ago and continues to organise the market, found a spot for me at the June market. And July. And August. That one is coming up on the 3rd…and yes, I’m sewing up a storm…..

This was my first set-up, around the escalator circle in the centre ground floor:

made in cape 2

And last month’s, in the same escalator circle but on a different side.

July 2017

I already knew quite a few of the existing traders, and have since got to know more. They’re a friendly and innovative and hard-working bunch! (Special shout-outs to Theresa, Marie, Dale, Aviv, Francesca, Tina, Geoff, Wanda and Zee). They all make absolutely exquisite items, from jewellery to ceramics to foodie stuffs to textile work and upcycled products, which are all delicious and inspiring. I can’t think of anywhere else in Cape Town where you would find that kind of handmade quality all together under one roof any more – not to mention close to the Seattle coffee bar and plentiful parking :)

I’ve been experimenting with a new product and, after three weeks, a lot of glue and mess, and pins and sewing and cursing and muttering, I finally have a workable prototype. Watch this space.

PS. The first half of 2017 has been rather challenging and debilitating in a number of different ways so far, but I do feel now that I’m slowly getting back to being more creative and focused and calm and, basically, more human. Let’s toast to that, and hope not too many people even noticed (heh)!

National Arts Festival – coming up

Every winter, Grahamstown in the Eastern Cape hosts the National Arts Festival for ten days.

south africa

And this year, Jam Tarts will be trading on the Village Green. I’m very very excited about getting accepted for this: everyone I know has told me what a brilliant market it is, and how many people attend from all over the country, and how cold it gets in July. (The colder it gets, the more people will want hats, right!?)

It will take us at least 9 hours to drive there, and we’ll be renting a trailer to carry all my stock.  I have worked out how much money I need to make to cover the costs of the trip, the market fee (not insubstantial!), and miscellaneous expenses, before any income even goes directly into the bank account. To generate this amount, I need to sell 800 hats. Eight hundred. That’s a lot of hats.

pixies 3

But I’m top of this. Last night I finished off 3 pixies, all they need are some beads and pompoms. Three down, 797 to go.

Saturday’s Plaasfees

Saturday was the Durbanville Plaasfees*, held at Diemersdal Wine Estate. A much hotter day than the weatherman had predicted (he’s a moron sometimes) but, hey, that meant more people needed sunhats. Here are some pics:

sunhat baby

 

plaasfees 3

 

 

 

First sale of the day – this cute little guy’s dad (who’s also pretty cute) got him a new sunhat.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

These crappy little puppies from China were at the stall next to us. Charged up with fresh batteries, they yipped and yapped from 09h00 to 17h00. I was tempted to buy the whole lot and throw them under the wheels of the nearest tractor.

plaasfees 6

 

 

Making use of a couple of random bales of hay for bird display.

 

 

plaasfees 5

 

Crafty Beach – wonderful handmade wooden items made by a lovely couple from Gordon’s Bay. I have three of their frames in my lounge.

 

 

plaasfees 4

 

 

Friends Suzette and Antoinette tucked away at the back, cushions and soya candles respectively :-) Suzette shouted at me that she hates having her picture taken.

 

plaasfees 8

 

 

Funky Ouma

 

 

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Some crochet inspiration

 

 

plaasfees 2

 

 

Hats you might recognise.

 

 

 

It was a very good day, and I got to practise my Afrikaans a lot.  We slept like logs that night.

*Farm Festival

growing up

I’m starting to feel very grown up. Not me Jill but me Jam Tarts:

  • The big order for the preschool went off well and full payment has been received (they were also going to put in an order for winter hats so I’m still hoping on that one)
  • I’ve been accepted for the Durbanville Plaasfees (thanks for all your finger-crossings)
  • I’ve been invited to trade at the annual Community Carnival in February (now in it’s 63rd year and with 80,000 feet expected over 4 days)
  • I have customers who can’t get to my markets trying to organise coffee dates with me so that I can show them new hats
  • I have engaged a lovely lady called Berenice who will be knitting hats for me (like Eunice who still crochets for me), and…………………….
  • I am now the proud owner of a tagging gun. How retail is that!?

tag gun    tag

There are going to be a lot of late nights and early mornings spent sewing, but I have to say I’m really happy about all this. I won’t be competing with Kangol any time soon, but I never wanted to be big anyway, I just want to be busy and generate income and not have to work in a corporate environment until honourable retirement age.

And speaking of markets, Rob and I are off to Sedgefield for a few days soon (it’s near Knysna on the Garden Route, for those of you who aren’t local). One of the main attractions for us always taking our holidays there are the two really amazing markets on the Saturday morning called Wild Oats (the food part) and the Scarab (arts and crafts). We usually spend all our money there, in one extravagant frenzy. So Rob says, Why don’t you see if you can trade at Scarab when we’re there? I say, Oh sure like they’re waiting for an out-of-towner to just pitch up and grab a spot? Rob says, No harm in trying. I say, No man, it’s supposed to be a holiday, remember? Rob says, Just try. So I do. And they say, Lovely products, love to have you. See you on the 14th. So there we are then, in for a penny in for a pound….

approval day

Today was approval day for the annual Plaasfees (Farm Festival) in the northern suburbs in March. Usually it’s only the bigger and longer markets that one has to get approved for, but it’s no bad thing to review one’s offerings and think about quality control and labelling, etc.

You don’t have to do a whole set-up, the organisers really just want to see your range, and also want to make sure there isn’t too much duplication. I am happy to say that no other hats were in evidence this morning, but that doesn’t automatically mean they will accept me.

approval 2

approval 1

I made sure I took quite a few different styles of ladies’ caps, not just newsboys, and also kiddies’ sunhats – generally those are always popular (especially on a hot sunny day in Cape Town!)  Fingers crossed, please.

lightbulb moment, and what I can do with scraps

On Saturday at the Somerset West market someone picked up one of my stinky fish hats and tried it on. While she was admiring herself in the mirror (which Rob always hangs from the nearest plane tree), I thought what a shame it is that it takes so long to crochet them – everyone loves them, and I’m sure I’d sell more if I had them to sell. Then I had one of those l-bulb moments. I could SEW a stinky fish.

So that’s what I’ve been having fun doing. Here is Design Attempt #4. Instead of attaching fins, I’ve run some bits of netting along the three upper seams, and also let them drift a bit from the tail. I might go back to the fins, though, I’ll see.

fish1

I’m working out how best to do the lining, and also have plans to incorporate some glittery fabric liner, buttons and beads, bits of lace, and dried chicken bones. Okay, just kidding about the chicken bones. The netting is from a bag of scraps passed on to me by a sewing friend, Gail, because, as we all know, nothing need ever go to waste. Here it is next to the couch after I’ve scrabbled through it….

scraps gail

Super scorching sickly hot in Cape Town today. My experience with heat is that there’s no point trying to fight against it, better just to go with the flow. And what better way to do that than allowing a nap to hit on me….

nap