Tag Archives: Made in the Cape

loving Edward, home and work …

I thought it was only dogs who liked to dig holes in gardens and uproot plants. Apparently, Edward is dog-like in that way. I have a beautiful peperomia in a pot on the dining room table. It has just been mauled to near death and there is soil everywhere. I shouted at the little villain and took him outside to the Naughty Corner, where he proceeded to continue with important excavation work….

Teddy 2

Maybe he’s digging for gold or diamonds? It’s hard to be cross for long with a pet (or a person) you love, isn’t it?

Teddy 1

In other news, some felicitous arrangements have been made and I am delighted to say that I will be keeping my home. Not only have I grown fond of it, funny old house that it is, it is also my work space. I am so very lucky to have this much room for work and equipment, a sweet garden, lovely neighbours, proximity to everywhere important, and all the other good things that have come my way.


I will be trading at the Made in the Cape artisan market in Cavendish Square from this Thursday for four days (yay!), and have lots of half-completed cushions and bedspreads to attend to today. No more procrastination!! The sewing machine will be put through its paces shortly and work may have to continue well into the evening…

And in other other news, I had a lovely order last week for my screenprinted pillow cases from a gorgeous shop in Kalk Bay called Casa Boho. It’s one of those shops where it’s advisable to shred your credit card before entering, unless of course you are simply very rich and can have everything you want. Not only was I thrilled to get the order at all, what was also heartening was that my invoice was settled in full within 24 hours. I know from experience that small producers like me often have to battle to get paid, it’s a risky business sometimes. This efficiency was such a morale booster! Big thanks to the wonderful manager there, Mymoena, and her son Tauriq. xxx



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.


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 !

getting stuffed

I seem to be making a lot of cushions lately so I needed to get my hands on a lot of stuffing. My friend Suzette orders her unicurl stuffing from the wholesalers and they deliver directly to her house. I asked her to order some for me; she said “Sure, how much do you want? It comes in 20 kilogram bags”; I said that sounded just fine. Yesterday I drove to her house in Durbanville to pick it up.

Luckily I drive a Hyundai Tucson. It can fit in a LOT of stuff, but even my poor Teddy (the car’s name) got quite a shock at the size of the bag.


The pic below doesn’t really do it justice. It took three of us to squeeze and force and wodge it into the car, whereupon it immediately reshaped itself and bits of unicurl started coming out of a small hole on one side. That stuff is nasty, man, and it has a life of its own. The pressure on the stuffing inside the bag forced more and more out through the hole; it was like being in a confined space with an alien form of very fast-growing fungus that attached itself in clumps to the nearest object. Which, at the time, was me.

It was unpleasant: I couldn’t see out of the rear window at all, and couldn’t listen to music because I didn’t want to be distracted. It’s dodgy enough, these days, on Cape Town’s highways with the way people drive … I couldn’t get it out of the car on my own, either, so had to wait for Peter to come today. It is over 2 metres in height, and the circumference is 3 metres.



a close-up of the foul stuff

Anyway, now I have now taped closed the holes (we managed to make a few more as we dragged it through the house to the back patio) and have been decanting it into smaller bags for easier storage. I also stuffed these:

red 1

three knitted/crochet cushions in various shades of red and purple. I made them years and years ago, and they fell out of a box the other day when I was looking for something else. I figured I could take them to the market (Made in the Cape, starts tomorrow for four days at Cavendish Square fyi), and use them to add some colour to my display, if nothing else.


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.


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:


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


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…

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)!