Tag Archives: needlepoint

step by step

My idea of opening up a room in the house (that I don’t use) as a showroom for the bigger items I make (bedspreads, floor cushions, etc) has still not come to fruition, despite my having made progress by painting walls, hanging plants, putting in curtains and new rugs, organising display, etc. I’m trying for an eclectic sort of look – not really hard for me, since my material world seems to be a collection of stuff that never co-ordinated to begin with. And ‘progress’ is a tricky concept – since the start of this year, the rate at which I am getting things done has been grindingly slow. Karen has been on at me to fix an opening date because she knows I usually manage to work to a deadline, but I’m resisting with surprising stubbornness. In January, the middle of February sounded good. But here we are in the middle of March and I’m still flailing.  I’m driving myself insane…

Anyhow. Whatever. It is what it is. I got two cute little tables from a friend who was throwing out stuff and they just got repainted. The legs of the rectangular table had all been chewed by Dolly, her rabbit, but I didn’t bother to sand them down. I figure Dolly must have worked hard at leaving her mark.


Fresh white and a bit of duck-egg:

aviv table 1aviv table 2

I have another lovely order for pillowcases from the Kalk Bay, the production of which I have managed to stretch out over an entire week! Arrgh!

I’ve been unearthing needlepoint cushions and unfinished pieces, and giving them a new lease of life. I’ve also started a new needlepoint design (outlined years ago) and I’m going to make a note of the time I spend stitching it. That should be interesting, right? I’m not sure what exactly nudged me back into cross stitch and needlepoint after so many years, but I’m welcoming the resurgence of desire (any attraction for any productive activity at all is welcome right now).

canvas 1

The rose is nearly finished. I went off course with the left side of the petals but, again, I don’t really care – the main thing is the doing of it – I figure it still looks sufficiently rose-like. And I will never ever stitch leaves again…I’ve been cursing over them.


That’s me for now. Back soon xxx

painting blues

There aren’t many colours I really detest, and so when I inadvertently buy paint that is one of those undesirables….there really is a lot of swearing around here. The sticker said Ultramarine Blue and it looked like a lovely smart navy, but this was the result. To me, this is royal blue and I’ve always steered clear of it.

bench 2

Like the professional I am, I realised it would be a good idea to finish the first vile coat completely but, while it was still drying, I’d already mixed in lots of white and a bit of grey to come up with a much more acceptable shade of sky blue:

bench 4

blue chair

Phew.  And in case you’re wondering why the bench is blocking the front door, it’s because part of my oregon pine floors and the joists in the entrance have gone vrot (vrot = rotten to the point of disintegration = flooring specialist to examine and give quote to repair = major bloody expense!) so, for safety’s sake, the French doors are being used instead.

I’ve also been painting inside the house, to very pleasing results. Pics to follow :)


change of plans, and a purple elephant

Scratch all previous arrangements. For the sake of mental equilibrium and in the interests of world peace, the house is on the market. Even better, today is show-house day. This is my worst nightmare – tidying and cleaning sufficiently so that potential buyers do not think the house is inhabited by pigs and weirdos. You will understand that this is hard for me!

My reward for this, and this is just today’s reward mind you, is a visit to the Gin and Tonic Festival at the Old Biscuit Mill this afternoon. Philip and I have been looking forward to this for weeks and, while he is more of a connoisseur than I am when it comes to all things alcoholic, I intend to make a damn fine effort to learn more.

Sorting through boxes recently, I came across this little needlepoint elephant. He was once in a frame but I decided he’d now look better on a patchwork cushion. I love it so much I’m going to be hardpressed to put it up for sale.

ellie 1

ellie 2.jpg

This is the original elephant cushion design, which comes from a wonderful book that I picked up in London some years ago. I can’t locate it right now or even remember who wrote it, but it’ll turn up eventually.


And so, let me procrastinate no longer. There is shoving-of-stuff-into-cupboards to be done…

National Pincushion Day

No, not really – I just made it up, but I like how it sounds.  I think I’ll keep it. Who gets to pick which things get national or international days, and which days those should be, anyway? I know the biggies are all taken, and lots of them are completely noble causes worthy of both our awareness and whatever we have left over from our monthly disposable income packs — but what about the smaller things? International Chocolate Day. National Blanket Day (ie. stay in bed).  National Junk Day (ie. turn an empty jar of Marmite into a work of art with 3 buttons and a dried mango pip).  International Zap-Sign-Bad-Drivers-Day (ie. obvious).  International Chocolate Week.  Oh yes.

Back to where I was.  Pincushions.  I made a very superficial garage run yesterday (I need to have my own National Garage-Clear-Out Day), and found these girls: I forgot how much I liked them once. And now that they’re going to be famous, I like them all over again.

I was into needlepoint and cross-stitch in an overwhelmingly obsessive way a few years ago. Thank heavens the phase passed – I’d never get any crochet done if it hadn’t. The little needlepoint ones were stitched with 6 strands of DMC embroidery floss on 18-count canvas. I used to kit them up and sell them. Gosh, must have raised enough money from those to pay for a trip all the way to Mowbray and back.

And here are some other pincushions, the real live leucospermum kind:

Spotted at my local nursery earlier today while shopping for compost. And at the prices they’re charging now for that shit stuff, you’d think it was International Compost Day.

To be continued…

Kirstenbosch 22 April

Jam Tarts live and unplugged at Kirstenbosch Sunday 22 April!

What a full day – from getting up at the crack to made sandwiches and coffee and pack car and do last minute stuff, including rummaging for easels at the back of the garage (that’s easels, not weasels), to getting home at 3.30 worn out and hungry but very satisfied with our second guest appearance.

There were some memorable moments: Karen managed to get caught up in Anne’s flower bunting and almost throttled herself (I was laughing too much to help and the gazebo nearly collapsed as the more Karen tried to writhe her way out of the noose the more she dislodged the poles that the bunting was tied to); the gazebo I thought I had been so clever to get cheaply through gumtree turned out to have one foot missing and a broken pole – luckily Michael found us a nice fat twig which Rob then bound across the broken bit with sticky tape and pink ribbon; and then there was a bit of a to-do with the Nazis German women with the jewellery stand next to us.  They felt we were too close to them on their side but the Afrikaans couple on our left were protecting their own territory so we couldn’t shift too far in their direction either.  We managed to make allies of the Boers eventually, but the Germans remained hostile throughout.  It’s hard to be as neutral as the Swiss when you’re being actively targetted, but after their second surprise attack we were forced to retaliate and then they stayed in their bunker. 

We were visited by the lovely Catherine, who picked out an original button frame, and the gorgeous Reid who graciously succumbed to the pressure to buy his beautiful wife Adrian-Gail a frothy scarf.  (If you get a mention in my blog, your name will automatically be prefixed by a glowing adjective!)

I found the perfect peace sign pendant for Jane to wear to her hippy party this weekend, and Rob got me a rabbit decal for my car.  I have no idea who the girl in black is, she was just someone with a great sense of style walking past and I admired her necklace. 

To be continued…


Needlepoint and knangles

I have just put together a little needlepoint kit for an old customer of mine; she saw a photo of the ellie bag and decided it would be a good project to take with on her overseas trip to the states, as a large part of her time will be spent with her mom in a frail care centre.  Always nice to keep one’s hands busy.

When I got back home yesterday from work and the supermarket (all so boring boring boring), I sat myself down to start and finish the idea that was in my head for that circle of foam. Yes, it was foam – Dawn and Janet were both right but in slightly different ways, and Janet gets the box of smarties for wry humour (“a foam rubber circle – you could make one of those cushions you get to sit on after the episiotomy”) !!!


It’s the inner foam ring that gives wool doughnuts their shape.  See above. The wool is Elle Elite double knit and it has a lovely texture but it’s quite a thin double knit so I end up using it with something else for extra substance. Anyhow, I got it into my head that a knitted bangle would be just the latest trendy thing, so I knitted up a storm while watching my soap, and here is the finished product:

I call it the knangle (KN-itted b-ANGLE). I used a chunky Elle Timber in a dark red with light flecks, and 5.5mm needles; c/on 34, worked 22 rows stocking stitch, and bob’s your uncle. It’s really nice and snug and soft, and makes a change from the collection of jangly metal bangles I usually wear and that makes such a clatter and racket when I type. 

Or maybe it could just be a doughnut!?

To be continued…

mini needlepoint gallery

Wow, I’ve never published a gallery before, that was quite cool! Reason I did, I got a phone call yesterday out of the blue from someone who used to give embroidery lessons in my old shop. She has a friend who wants to make a needlepoint cushion but only likes African designs and can’t find one anywhere. Since designing and painting canvases used to be my favourite thing to do, Jane thought of me. Her phone call led me to scuffle through the boxes of stuff in my garage, where I found three canvases that her pal might like. I’m not sure what I’d saved them for, perhaps I thought I might take needlepoint up again some day – but it’s been over 7 years and I haven’t felt the urge yet! I did so much in the past that I’m completely stitched out.

Anyhow, after finding the canvases, I embarked on a long walk down memory lane.  I dug out the finished cushions I’d made; they used to live on an old oak bench in the shop, all 24 or 25 of them, to inspire my customers. Here are some pictures, not great quality, but you get the idea.

So, what I’m now wondering is – are there still lots of people out there still needlepointing away (despite the high cost of the tapestry wool)? I had a look for handpainted canvases on Etsy, and there is very little available (that isn’t ribboned lavender posies and bluebells, at least) . Might it be time for me to look for my paints and brushes and stencils again…? Any comments from you crafty lot?

To be continued…