Thursday, December 3, 2020

Yarn along December

I am participating in the December 2020 Yarn along, so join me as I share what is on my hook and bedside table. 2020 has quite possibly been the wierdest year that I have ever lived through. I am an essential worker and have had to continue working throught the hard lockdown imposed on us to prevent the spread of COVID. Driving down deserted highways and seeing the wildlife flourish was quite eery, far to reminiscent of the apocolyptic movies I have always enjoyed.This year those have been shelved, as a pandemic brought the world to a halt and fiction came far to close to reality for entertainment.

 I have managed to keep my sanity through COVID lockdown, a new job and a move to a new house at the height of the lockdown by crocheting and reading. My progress has been slow as there have been days when my crojo has vanished complety or when the lure of Lily's Garden  , a Google app game, calls and my tired mind can only focus on zapping little flowers and bursting bubbles.

It has returned long enough for me to have participated  in two CAL's this year. I say participated, as I am a long way from completing wither CAL. The first one was the  VVCAL 2020 hosted by Rachele at Cypress Textiles. Lockdown restrictions on any imports and  as well as  finances meant that I had to make do with what I had in my yarn stash to complete the CAL. I loved doing it and while it is still a WIP ( all those borders to crochet!!) I am very proud of myself for completing all the squares. I have  learnt so many new techniques and Racheles's instructions were easy to follow. I have a very bright and colourful blanket to show off and it will remind we of a year that was chaotic but also heartwarming, as communites across the world supported each other as best they could during lockdown.

VVCAL 2020- a work in progress

My second CAL that I am still busy with in December is the Scheepjes 2020 CAL. I could not obtain Scheepjes yarn, so substitued it with a local yarn called Eco- Cotton by Nurturing Fibres. I love the yarn, it works easily and the natural colours suite the pattern of the CAL perfectly It is hugely challenging and I am literally following the video instructions stitch for stitch on Youtube. The CAL is also a read-along, as the creator of the CAL,Christina Hadderingh from  A spoonful of Yarn , was inspired by All the light we cannot see , a novel written by Anthony Doerr. I devoured the book before the CAL began, such are my delayed gratification skills when it comes to new books. I highly recommend both the book and the CAL. Although the CAL is finished it is still availalbe for free so go to A spoonful of yarn if you are interested.

Scheepjes 2020 CAL worked in Eco- Cotton from Nurturing Fibres

I am frantically trying to finish both CAL's as well as two Christmas Gnomes from the Bramble and Clover Etsy shop. Are they not too sweet.

I have little hope of finishing them but will persevere none the less.
In between the crocheting and game playing, I am reading Elinor Oliphant is completely fine by Gail Honeyman, a book that has been recommended repeatedly on my Facebook reading group. It is quote heartwrenching and one can only have compassion for Elinor, as she struggles to find her place in a world that does not seem to have space for her. I am only a third of the way through the book but it is beautifully written and I can reccomend it if you are looking for a new holiday read. I have also recently bought a copy of 3D granny squares, which I cannot wait to try out.

As the weather gets warmer, the wild and cooling South- easter outside reminds me that the year is ending, slowly, gently. Christmas is around the corner and with the announcement of a vaccine for COVID19, the next year looks a little brighter and more colourful. Here's to a new year filled with yarn, crochet hooks and gorgeous patterns just waiting to be discovered

Thursday, January 18, 2018

My miniature adventures in the Fairest Cape

I have had a lifelong love affair with miniatures. I cannot remember when my obsession with miniatures started. Maybe with my swimming teacher’s daughter having an extensive and enviable collection of Barbie furniture. Maybe with my Smurf collection that I spent countless hours building villages for in our extensive rockery.   I loved building rooms out of boxes as a child and have wonderful memories of a Berenstein Bear craft book that I received as a gift. I loved making the treehouse and other crafts in the book. I spent hours building Barbie doll houses out of pretty much anything I could find. I loved collecting anything tiny and have a whole box of printer’s tray items that I have been collecting since I was a child and that has been packed and unpacked more times than I can remember.

I grew up in Pretoria and the closest miniature club is in Johannesburg, an hour’s drive away. I have always had very dodgy cars and very little income so going through to Johannesburg on my own was not going to happen. The one time I did go I had a very lukewarm welcome and felt very klutzy and way out of my depth. For a really shy introvert this was not an encouragement and I did not go back again. After I got married and started having kids, all my time on focus was spent being a mom and raising a family.  The only hobby I really had time for was reading. I got my mini fix from the internet and paging through the miniature catalogue I had, dreaming about “one day” when I would start making miniatures.

Printers tray
In April 2017 we moved to Cape Town. To my great delight I discovered that the Miniature Guild of Cape Town met twice a month not even 2 minutes from where we live. With my heart in my throat and with a great deal of encouragement from my husband off I went to my first meeting. I loved it. The people were warm, friendly and so encouraging. My first workshop entailed making a printers tray complete with nest, eggs, flowers, butterflies and precious stones. Nearly all made by myself. I was so proud of this first mini. It was really nerve wracking but thanks to my excellent teacher I managed to finish.

During the past six months I have completed a tiny Raggedy Anne doll, a wedding cake,a brass
 Christmas angel, a letter rack with letters, a 144th scale shop  and a lovely Christmas tree.

 I was also encouraged to enter a room box in the Annual Miniature Fair which took place in September. The theme was Any Cape Town street. I was very hesitant about entering as my miniature experience is very limited but I eventually completed and entered a pet shop. It may not have won any prizes but I am so proud of what I accomplished with so little practical experience
Start of my pet shop
Pet shop exterior

Pet shop interior
I have also become interested in micro miniatures and am busy with a 144th scale gypsy caravan. What started out as a packet of bits and pieces is now nearly a complete caravan. It is very challenging and I have no experience working in such a small scale but I have nearly completed it and hope to take it to our first show and tell meeting of the year.

Where do I start?
My gypsy caravan is nearly complete
 I am so looking forward to what 2018 will hold in terms of my miniature making. We are doing bookends as a group project and I am also tackling a conservatory as one of the classes. I had hoped to complete a replica of The Old'e English Shaving Shop at the Waterfront to enter into our fair in September. If you are ever at the Waterfront in Cape Town you have to go and pay them a visit, even if it is just to see the décor. 

I had plans to start building my own dollhouse. These are all large projects and for a newbie such as myself are definitely more than I can tackle in one year, considering I have two children in Foundation Phase as well as a house to run, a husband to love and a blog to keep up with as and when I can. I will see how I go. One thing is for sure, I love making miniatures and having taking the first step I look forward to many happy years ahead. I will sure these adventures with you from time to time so pop in when you can for an update. 

If you are in Cape Town and would like to join us at the Miniaturia Guild of Cape Town, please contact one of the committee members and pay us a visit. We meet every second and fourth Saturday of the month in Pinelands and would love to see you.
Happy crafting

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Dressing an Our Generation doll on a budget

I love American girl and Our Generation dolls. We live in South Africa and as such any imported dolls are horribly pricey.I am also between jobs ( such a polite euphemism) so dressing my daughter's Our Generation doll April has had to be done with a large dose of creativity. April was a birthday present and is a lovely Our Generation doll, with pretty soft red hair and lovely pale blue /green eyes..
I have made a few outfits and accessories for her so far and I am loving being creative with dolls again. I am including photo’s of some of my creations and links where necessary, so that you can add a few more outfits to your dolls’ wardrobe without breaking the bank this Christmas.
These two lovely outfits can be found at PA Country Crafts . The patterns are easy to follow and they can be sewn together in a few hours, depending on your skill level.She has another few free patterns for 18 inch doll clothes.

The pattern for these lovely warm PJ’s can be found at All with a purpose.

 This pretty pink and blue dress was made from a pattern called Butterfly Kisses by

 Little Miss Muffet.

A girl needs a place to sit and this pouf was made using bits of leftover material with a button in the centre to cover up my less than perfect meeting of the centre pieces.

Some reading material and toys just right for an 18 inch doll.
The bed was made following ( more or less) the designs for the  Be Chic Forever DIY Garden bed.Please excuse the mess in the background but my creativity tends to spawn chaos. I still need to make bedding for the poor doll but this is on my to do list.

 This cat pillow was  a copy of one of the Our Generation pillows.

 The strawberry and bubble gum milkshakes were inspired by those made for The Unicorn Café at Brandy’s Happy Home, although mine are not nearly as yummy looking as hers with all their added extra’s. Time and money may be needed to crate the entire cafe but I would love to tackle this project in the new year.

The pink cardigan was made using the ABC knitting pattern for the American Girl Doll Country Style Autumn Cardigan. 

 I cannot remember where I go the pattern for the ballet jersey, so please forgive me for not giving a link. If this is your pattern I will be more than willing to add it.

The table lamps are my own design and light up ( tutorials to follow so watch this space).
Thanks for joining me as I share these creations.
Happy crafting.

Friday, October 27, 2017

Our Generation dolls at Toy Kingdom .......and my new sewing machine

A year ago I discovered the world of Our Generation and American Girl dolls. It was love at first sight. There are few places in South Africa that stock Our Generation dolls , so when I find a new store I get rather excited.

 We were at the Waterfront in Cape Town yesterday and decided to visit Toy Kingdom and Hamley's. Toy Kingdom is now stocking Our Generation dolls. YIPPEE! There are so few toy shops that do stock Our Generation dolls and accessories so I was very excited to find a new one. They also had a number of new dolls that I have not seen in store. My daughter fell in love with Sia.

I think it is her red hair, as my daughter is a red head and there are not many doll brands that carry red headed dolls. She also loved the great accessories that come with Sia. Another doll she really liked was Meagann. She told me that she thought she was very pretty and she loved all the accessories.

I thought Nia was lovely. She has a beautiful ballet outfit, soft hair and the sweetest expression. I just wish I could find more clothing and accessory sets in store. Neither toy shop had much to offer except the very large accessories like the camper van and retro cruiser. There are one or two online shops in South Africa that one can order from but I prefer to see something in store before buying. I think I am very much a touchy buyer and prefer handling an item before I spend money on it.
SA Girl doll has some lovely clothes which are not too expensive. They also have a very limited number of American Girl dolls that I am so tempted to buy….or would be if I had extra money on hand.

My other exciting news is that my new sewing machine has finally arrived. I cannot wait to try it out and start making dolls clothes for my daughter’s Barbie’s and April, her Our Generation doll. I even splurged on some pretty material, including two pieces of netting for tutu’s as well as some very soft pretty pink tulle. I am not sure what I want to do with that yet but I cannot wait to start playing with patterns and material.

  Happy crafting.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Cape Town

 So here I am, posting from the fairest Cape, the “Mother City”, the city on the southernmost tip of Africa. I never thought I would be writing those words and some days I still feel as if I am dreaming. It have wanted to live here since I first visited when I was twelve years old. I fell in love with Cape Town as a child and have wanted to move here ever since then, although I was born near the Highveld gold fields and have lived my entire life on the dry, hot, grassy plains above the escarpment with thorn trees and red dust and the blinding sun all I have ever known.
What a culture shock this move has been. We have lived here for the past six months and I am still seriously homesick for the Highveld. Cape Town is a beautiful city but it is so foreign to all I have known growing up. I now live a two day drive from where I was born but I could just as well be living on another continent. Life is slower and more relaxed. People spend serious time on leisure activities. The scruffy man in the bank queue who looks like a beach bum turns out to be a business owner talking in millions about profit. Long hair and casual clothes have replaced the army style haircuts and business suits of Gauteng. The languages are different, with Xhosa clicks heard everywhere, Afrikaans is spoken with a Cape accent which nothing like I am used to and the slow drawl that identifies a Capetonian is soft and foreign to my ears. Donkey carts, squirrels in the trees, seabirds flying overhead. The taste of the sea on my lips if the wind is blowing in the right direction. The gnarled and slanted trees growing in defiance of the Cape winds. And always the magnificence of Table Mountain dominating the skyline.
This is now the city that I call home. Yet my heart still longs for bone chilling winter frost, the still, deep hush before a Highveld thunderstorm breaks, the red earth and purple Jacarandas. The granite copies and harsh cry of the Hadeda Ibis.
We have made the decision to move and there is no going back but I am still a Valie at heart and it will take a long time before I will think of myself as Capetonian. I feel very much like these tourists in Fish Hoek beach, far from home and everything is foreign.
Please keep reading and join me on this new adventure. When I decided to start this blog I decided to call it seasonal sanity because at the time there was a great deal of craziness in my life. I was battling to with being a mom to two very young children and having to go back to work. My life has changed so much and I am now in a different season of life. My children are both at school and I am, for the time being, a housewife. We live in a beautiful city and I look forward to sharing our adventures with you.
Happy blogging

Saturday, February 18, 2017

New books and storm lily

The rain is falling intermittently as I am writing this post and it reminds me of God's grace in watering our lives with gifts that grow our soul. New books by good authors are on of these ways.New books by favourite authors is always something to get excited about. When the authors in question happen to be friends that is even better.

Lisa-Jo Baker is mom to three children and blogs at Her first book is called Surprised by motherhood and it is excellent. If you are a mom or know someone who is, I highly recommend this book. She is about to bring out a second book called Never Unfriended, the secret to keeping lasting friendships.

It deals with friendship between women and uplifting and devastating these friendships can be because, quite honestly, women can be quite savage with others of their species, leaving scars that can hurt for decades. She is giving away the first two chapters for FREE, so go on over to her blog and sign up. I have already started reading the first chapter and I can tell you it is excellent. Never Unfriended will be published on 4 April 2017, so do yourself a favour and pre-order your copy or keep an eye out for it on the shelves.

The second book I would like to recommend is Walking in Grace by Dalene Reyburn. Dalene is mom to two awesome boys and has learnt the hard way about walking in grace. I have an enormous amount of respect for her and her husband and God is using both of them to bless others. Walking in Grace is a 365 day devotional and if you want to deepen your walk with God, then get this devotional. It is already on the shelves, so do yourself a favour and get a copy. 

Dalene and Lisa-Jo have been wonderfully blessed as authors and write from deep experience with words that reach deep into your heart.

 On a completely different not I would love to share this beautiful storm lily with you. It was one of four given to me by a friend and it is the lone survivor.

It flowered for the first time this summer and was so beautiful while it lasted.

Thanks for stopping by and happy reading!