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.
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…
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?
I hope you didn’t think from the heading that today’s blog was going to be about anything other than these wonderful chameleons, indigenous to the western Cape. Anne took this photo in her garden in Mowbray this morning, and it reminded me of two cushions I designed and stitched many years ago, and which now live in Rob’s lounge.
I have the occasional chameleon visitor in my garden but my neighbour Isabella tells me that they used to be much more regular and frequent. I suppose cats and birds go for them, seeing through their clever disguise, but they are also vulnerable to the insect and snail poisons that people use these days. I haven’t used snail bait for ages and put out a saucer of beer every now and then instead, which does the trick, and I’ve also been known to prowl around the garden at night with a torch when it looks like they’re really taking over. Boy, have I got off the track here!
Years ago, in a different life, I had a little needlecraft shop in Rondebosch. One of the things I did was design and paint tapestry canvases, and I used to stitch up my own samples to encourage people to buy them. I think I made about 30 or 35 cushion covers in the end, and all except one are currently packed away at the top of my wardrobe. Yesterday I found the photos that I was going to use to set up a website, but this was shortly before I closed the shop so I didn’t use them in the end.
I particularly liked stitching this elephant with his little dancing feet, because I could add lots of glittery shiny thread to his howdah blankie. I also used some thin silver cord to make stars. I remember we called him Geoffrey, because it seemed like a good name at the time, but I think he is more of a Phillip.