Thursday 26 January 2023

 Happy Friday and happy Weekend, Lovelies, how are you all? 


All very well in your patch of Crochetland I hope, in spite of January feeling as if it's six months long? Hopefully, it's not been a Januworry for you? 


One of my 2023 resolutions was that I'd blog on a regular basis...but LIFE keeps coming at me! Ok, it's actually DOGS and CATS coming at me (coff, coff). Our little foster senior, Miss Betty, passed over the rainbow bridge just before Christmas. Poor little thing was on her last leggies when she came to us and even though she'd forgotten by then how to 'go toilet' outside, we didn't mind the mess and made her last days as loving and comfortable as possible. Caring for a senior anything (inanimate or living) takes hours out of a day. Of course, we had to fill the gap left by Miss Betty, so we sprang Madame Carla-Walla-Bing-Bong from the SPCA  just before Christmas. She's nine ( so sixty-three in human years ) quite deaf, half-blind, possibly has a hare-lip, and is missing most of her teeth but she has a massive personality to compensate for her, erm, shortcomings (she's even tinier than George Tweeny)...in a nutshell... ADOooRABLE! As always, there is a period of adjustment...and that too, takes hours out of a day, right? Four active Dogs and two fussy Cats are the equivalents of six three-year-old humans...except they never grow up (the fur babies that is). My hands are full (of dog hair and such).




However, in between the business of being a Dog and Cat Mom, I've been keeping a little secret under my belly (nooo, I'm NOT pregnant, sheesh! lol!) but it is a baby of sorts. Tadaaaaa, it's a brand new throw pattern! I've called this 'baby' The Marigold Desert Throw. And much like falling pregnant when you least expect it, the inspiration literally flashed into my brain completely by surprise and unannounced. Inadvertently, the throw inspiration had something to do with my DNA profile, which is ...that I share 0.75% of it with the Khoisan. Anyway, one thing led to another; googled Khoisan ( read more about the first humans, the Khoisan HERE and HERE  ) which led me to Namibia and Botswana, both countries that are largely made up of the Kalahari Desert. Have you ever seen images of this vast space? It is an otherworldly beauty. Within these coppery desert sands, I saw (with my mind's eye, of course) a multitude of Marigolds in all their goldy, sunny, brassy, honey, lemony hues. With this vision of sorts, floated images in my head of succulents and other greeny things that survive in this arid terrain. Thus, with all of this rich imagery swirling about in my brain, it was no effort to pick the colourway and immediately put hook to yarn. I would love to visit the Kalahari Desert, but for three minor inconveniences; it's hot as Hell up there; I live faaar away on a tiny south-western peninsula that looks like a willy dangling over the Atlantic ocean; my furry tribe will insist on coming along. Which sounds exhausting. I'll stay home and crochet instead. Which in itself is an adventurous journey, right?






The Prelude, released today on Ravelry (HERE) includes some useful information to help get you started. You'll have three weeks to decide on your own colourway (or you can follow mine) and gather, or order your yarn. The Marigold Desert Throw is not Hook or Yarn specific. You can make it bigger or smaller by changing your hook size and yarn weight. Pictured is the Marigold Desert Block. As this is an informal MAL (Meander-Along) as before, with some of my Throws, the Extension will follow later. Take note that the Prelude is on a 50% less special at the moment. This once-off purchase of the Prelude INCLUDES the entire upcoming pattern for the Throw. As always, we'll be hosting this MAL at our wonderful, friendly, fun, and helpful Pattern Workshop Group on FB







                                                           (image credit: Thomas Noitz)


If you're wondering what that strange nesty thingy is to the left, it's a Socialable Weaver's Nest. These tough little birds build a community nest for optimal survival in a harsh landscape. You can read more about these clever cuties HERE


                                                                (image credit: Wikipedia)







Rifling about in Marigold Land I discovered that, yes indeed...there is an African Marigold (find out how to grow this beauty HERE). Suffice it to say I've always loved these firey-coloured little flowers (aka Calendula) and have a great appreciation for their usefulness in ancient traditions, gardening culture, and for their medicinal value (HERE is a handy list of the many ways Marigolds are beneficial in healing, and in the kitchen). And did you know (I didn't) that the name Marigold is derived from Mary's Gold, an association with the Virgin Mary? I'm not religious, at all, but I am somewhat of a Magpie when it comes to collecting religious imagery. Specifically, Mary, whose image I always find comforting in a motherly sort of way. These beautifully rendered 'Mary's Gold' cards do make my heart beat a little faster. Pinterest, oh lawdy, the Marigold embroidery! Don't even get me started.


                                              (image credit: ALYSAgraphique on Etsy )


                                                          (image credit: Tina Horn/Pinterest)


To THANK YOU for popping by, I'm giving away copies of the new design to 10 random Lovelies from the comments section. Don't forget to add your Ravelry name!



                                                    (African Marigold - tagetes erecta)





Take care, lovely Yarnarinas. It's crazy out there these days, oh my goodness.

See you soon on another Floral Hook adventure!

Hugs and much love as always,

Jen

PS: click HERE for a free Marigold embroidery pattern.






Sunday 1 January 2023

Tadaaa...I'm back, Lovelies! Happy, healthy, and prosperous 2023 to you!








 Last year, is so...last year, right? It whizzed by incredibly quickly. Even two young friends who live on our road remarked, "bro, what's with this year just flying by, like, yoh!". We must have all, in unison, laced up our running shoes at the beginning of 2022, on our marks, ready to GO as soon as that clock struck 12. Were we trying to catch up, or maybe forget what we'd collectively experienced by cramming as much 'living life' into each day after so many dreary, scary and confusing lockdowns? Not to mention recuperating from the bug? In 2022 many have shared stories of a grueling year. "Emotionally, mentally, physically and financially exhausting" is what I have heard over and over. It's no surprise considering what the planets were/are doing. Those/these darn Retrogrades! We've also sadly waved goodbye to some stellar human beings, some personal connections, and many others in the wider world: The Queen (the one and only), Angela Lansbury, Dame Vivienne Westwood, and Jean-Luc Godard. And Julie Powell, who inspired an entire generation to blog about absolutely anything in the hopes their story would become a famous movie, was sadly among many other notables to reluctantly wiggle free from their mortal baggage. I've watched Julie-Julia so many times the CD disk eventually gave up the ghost. Furiously frustrating though, those creating havoc, misery, and suffering and who continue to fuel hatred, division, and chaos ...are still with us. Ce la vie.


 Anywhooo, the reason I have turned to blogging again is that I seem to have dropped a very useful and mentally healthy habit, which was journaling (the pen-to-paper kind). Not because I didn't have anything to write about but because my journals turned into scrapbooks (bits of bark, pressed flowers, fabric scraps, paint colour swatches, you name it!). Not intentionally, mind you. You'll know if you're already a scrapbook journalist exactly what I mean. It pulls you in, it's incredibly time-consuming and it's tres addictive!  The crochet life took a sulky second place. I had to cold turkey or else start a scrapbook journaling channel on Youtube, change my name and emigrate to Iceland...or something. Which felt like an awful lot of work and upheaval. 

 I'm a 'lists' person, I mean literally genetically (I cannot BUT make lists) not only shopping lists (those too) but rather thinky thought lists about colours, seasons, fabrics, design, kitchenalia, birds, flowers, crochet, fashion trends, interesting people, quotes, poems, books, buildings, cultures, travel, homes, paint, upcycle or repurpose ideas...ideas, ideas, ideas...and ideas (and sometimes OPINIONS) about those ideas. Well, in short, I'm gonna dump them ALL here, 'kay? I thought it would be fun (probably only to me) to do this 'dump' on a monthly basis (possibly with some bits between one month and the next). This gives you an entire month to avoid this blog and read someone else's less lengthy and more flashy posts. OR...you'd have an entire month to wade through my lists and perhaps pick up a useful takeaway? Heads up... in an article recently, I read about how people very seldom read text these days. Especially on social media. Commonly, we lazily consume bite-sized information through short Instagram or TikTok reels, memes, and quote posters. This is messing with our ability to concentrate for longer periods or absorb or even know ALL the information presented in these 'flash cards'. The Age of Misinformation is here...hopefully it won't be a long stay! Right, now on to my random list for January. In a nutshell. This post won't contain distracting images (to make a point...lol), however, I have added lots of links if you'd like to explore further.


JANUARY 

1. The January Birthstone is a Garnet. I've been following a lovely and very interesting account on Instagram which delves into gems. It's absolutely fascinating. The January Flower is the Carnation. If you'd like to know how, where, and when to grow gorgeous, fragrant Carnations, find out more HERE.

2. This January, use your Microwave. I recently bought a Microwave after giving mine up to a neighbour many years ago believing it was basically the spawn of something nasty or the other. However, Jamie Oliver (bless that wonderful man's good, generous, creative, and kind heart) recently made an ENTIRE Butternut and Chickpea Curry, from start to finish...in the microwave! Now I'm sold. Also, use frozen veg from a reputable company (maybe your organic shop?). Good quality frozen veggies are every bit as fresh as, well fresh...and also a lot more economical. Times are tough, people. Veggie snobs, look away. 

3. A gorgeous, uplifting selection of essential oils for January: Rosemary, Peppermint, Orange, and Lemon. Add a few drops to your diffuser, to your bath water, or to your air purifier. Use a small glass spray bottle, add 50ml of vodka then add a few drops of each essential oil, and top up with 50ml of water. Shake well before use, then store in a cool dark place. Bliss. HERE are another 20 recipes for essential oil blends.

4. Pantones Colour for 2023 is...Viva Magenta. Vogue did a whole article about Magentaverse HERE. It, the colour, reminds me of school uniforms. Should WE pick a January colour? Let me know your preference in the comments. Unless Magenta is your thing.

5. My book(s) recommendation for January is: The Story of Art without Men by Katy Hessel. Also, if you don't already have this gem on your bookshelf (or nightstand), Devotions by Mary Oliver

6. It's the Chinese Year of the Rabbit! What's in store for us? To be honest, I'm just happy to be here and I couldn't be bothered with worry or expectations for 2023. I hope you didn't make any New Year's Resolutions? It's more than enough that you are HERE, getting by each day, doing your thing. I'm proud of you. Keep doing what makes you feel good about yourself, inside and out.

7. Your Inner Artist Dates for January: Have you taken yourself on a weekend away? Do it! When last did you visit some FREE (or cheap) local treasures? For example, your local public Library, the nearest theatre or cinema, a botanical garden, a natural history museum, or a night-time market? Visit your local vintage or animal rescue thrift shops and antique shops. What about some simple daytime window shopping, or enjoying a packed lunch at a park? Sit on the grass. Discover, or rediscover your urban or suburban green spaces and use them. Your local council will spend more money on spaces they see people use frequently. Plant nurseries are lovely spaces too. You don't have to buy anything. Just look, and learn. When last, if ever, did you leave your phone in your bag and write a few pages in your journal at a fab coffee shop, or sip in peace and people gaze? I love stationery shops and always leave with a little bag of soul delights...small post-it pad shaped like a daisy, a pen that writes in gold, a bee eraser, and a pocket-sized watercolour visual diary. The idea is to find simple, inexpensive, enjoyable outings, items, or activities aimed at pleasing yourself. Make 2023 the year you finally decide to put yourself center and front in your life. You can't water anything from an empty watering can, right?

8. This January, get your personal spending and finances in order. It's important. Check on your Subscriptions and cancel those that are infrequently used. Just because you might sign-in is not a good enough reason to keep a sub. Toss it. The same goes for any clothes you absolutely don't adore, and those you haven't worn in months. Toss them too (animal charity shops will love your donations) While you're clearing out you may as well expand this action to your kitchen cupboards and the 'fridge. Now that you're well on the way to feeling lighter inside, wash those windows and curtains. You can do this, honey!

9. Dial down the news, quit doomscrolling. If you insist on making New Years' Resolutions let this be the first on your list. More than 90% of events (aka clickbait) you read, see or hear which make the news, are specifically there to target distracted mindsets and generate capital for the media outlets. If it's hateful, derogatory, misogynistic, insulting, degrading, demeaning, sexist, ageist, exclusionary, elitist, classist...or any of the other foul 'ists'...steer well away. Keep your mind free of these dirge pitfalls. Staring into the darkness will give you nightmares (at the very least). The world, our world, is filled with incredible beauty and many good and kind people. Look up. Look to those who inspire, strengthen and support our best selves. Look to The Helpers. They need us. Find your Muse. Aspire to be the best version of who you want to be. Nothing is written in stone. Reinvent yourself as and when necessary. Don't accept survival mode. Thrive!

10. This year, if you haven't done it yet, adopt an animal in need. Even if it's a Budgie. There is a very special, largely unexplored area of what we know as The Human Experience, which is the magical bond with other nations, other kingdoms...specifically The Animal Kingdom. Make the effort to truly connect with your animal companion... as equals, not owners, masters, or mistresses. I see my relationship with Nisha, Augusta, Lally, Roxy, Tweeny, and Carla as 'a Mother-and- her- children' but my aim is to develop our relationship to one of deeper mutual understanding, and to see them as individuals with personal agency. Wish me luck (they still widdle in the house! I won't name names) 

11. This is specifically for those of you who moan about all the tail ends on some of my patterns. You may not believe me but they're there for your own good. Hand sewing, the literal action itself not the end result as such, has been shown to be every bit as beneficial to your mental and physical health as meditation. There are many articles online to back me up. HERE is one for starters.

12. Lastly, don't forget that NO is a complete sentence. Stick to your healthy boundaries. It will get easier to enforce them. If you dissolved boundaries last year because you were moving too fast ( literally and figuratively ), became distracted, overworked, scattered, and frantic with trying to get your or your Fams life back on track to pre-covid times, don't stress. Make that Artists Date with yourself, take a deep breath when you are in a calm space, and very gently whisper back your boundaries. If you must, write them down. Do this mindfully. Remember, words are powerful, and you'll be casting your own personal protection spells. 


 And because this is a Crochet Blog (kinda) I'm back to gifting one lovely free crochet pattern from a talented designer, so don't forget to leave your Ravelry name with your comment.


May 2023 be all you hope for it to be.

Take excellent care of your dear selves. 

Chat soon!


Love,

Jen xx


Monday 31 January 2022

 Good morning, Lovelies!

Welcome to the Chinese Year of the Tiger...which means it's still OK to wish you all a VeRy HApPY NeW YeAr, right?! Mr Floral Hook is a Tiger so I'm expecting great things from him this Tiger Year.😁



🌸 Some of you Lovelies may recall my last blog post... which was in October last year. I simply ran out of fuel after that. You can say and do only so much before a pitstop is in order. I went through quite an odd phase though. Definitely had something to do with all our lockdowns where I became hooked on the bad habit of bingeing on Podcasts and Vlogs...to the point where it didn't feel healthy anymore. What I mean is, and you might disagree, but watching so much of what other people are doing, is weird? LOL! It struck me, suddenly, as incredibly weird and dare I say...voyeuristic? To boot, and this is no critique on Vloggers and Podcasters...but seriously, why was I watching someone chat endlessly about themselves, sometimes day in and day out ( even if it was about crochet, or whatever ) I literally watched a Vlog of someone cleaning their shabby ( but charming ) kitchen and it wasn't even a lesson in cleaning or renovation! At that point, I knew I was waaaaaay too far down the wormhole. The only way out was to immediately, without another thought, go cold turkey. Crikey, easier said than done! I've definitely developed a new understanding of Voyeurs! And also, for those who feel the necessity to be constantly seen and heard, lest they disappear into a perfectly normal and largely uneventful existence. It's been 122days since I watched a Vlog. I should get a medal or something?πŸ˜†



🌸 So, that was the conclusion of my first set of thinky-thoughts. The next set of thinky-thoughts ( now that I was a recovering Vlog voyeur with TIME on my hands ) involved crochet and my obsessive compulsion to always be busy with hook, yarn and notebook while simultaneously, and with so much longing, daydreaming about watercolour florals, drawing, botanical-inspired walks, ocean wave and/or cloud gazing and other similar delightful escapes into the realms of forbidden pleasures. I say "forbidden pleasures" because the "work ethic" has been well and truly branded into my hardworking backside! Ordering a new watercolour paint set, a clutch of deliciously rounded paintbrushes and a cold-pressed watercolour A5 pad felt absolutely illicit! I could just as well have been ordering a plain brown- paper wrapped package ( nudge, nudge, wink, wink )


Some of you may know that my real job was once helping people get their heads shrunk. So I'm not totally rubbish at self-therapy. To cut a long story short...that's where I am at the moment...on the beach with Roxy and Lally, or crouched under cooling tree canopies watching Ants drag bits of insect carcass into their sandy parlours ( oh, lawdy, am I an Ant voyeur? ), or frequently traipsing around the green belts of our beautiful Cape, or on a cool morning, sat quietly by the garden fishpond sketching and painting dragonflies and wildflowers ( ok, the garden weeds if you must ). In short, I am having a wonderful time. I highly recommend shutting off all your devices for a meaningful period of time and looking up, or down. It's amazing what's going on while we think we're engaging with "real stuff" via our social media accounts.



🌸 I'm not entirely away with the fairies. I am crocheting, but vicariously through our Group members. I can't see myself picking up a hook until April ( at least ) when the weather turns squarely to face late Autumn. All that thinking made me acknowledge ( and accept ) that my brain really only works properly, for crochet that is, at 23 degrees Celcius, and lower. I'm dead serious! Must be all that Northern European and Finnish DNA, right? You'd think six or so generations of life under the African sun would have made a difference to how I adapt to heat. But no. In the immortal words of Monty Python's famous Parrot skit; I pine for the Fjords ( still )



🌸 The background to all this thinky-thought stuff, the traipsing, the sweeping leaves, the watercolour floral flow, and gazing at nothing, in particular, is that I am quietly percolating new ideas. It happens naturally when you let yourself off the "busyness train". I highly recommend it! In fact, stop reading this right now and go find yourself an Ant to observe.πŸ˜„




( Our very old Gumtree at the bottom of the garden sheds like a shaggy dog! I'm endlessly captivated by the gorgeous colours of the dried leaves which I sometimes sweep into a pile but then allow the wind to blow them around again )



( Be as happy as Roxy on the beach, covered in sand )


( Will sun-gazing through the branches of a tree EVER get old? )



( Or watching Miss Augusta dreaming that she's a super-cat flying through space? )


( Lally, our Beach Diva...LOVES the ocean, and knows how to strike a pose for the Puppyrazzi too )



( Mr Floral Hook promised me a yacht for Xmas...oh, well, paddle-boats are good for the legs, right? )



( Up and down mountains )



( These two! Up, and down, for anything! )



( An attempt to become one with the foliage. Our day trip to the Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens )




( Come for a visit...it's only a number! )



( Playing with your fur-babies is the best free therapy )



( Mind-less enjoyment with paint and brushes. Just do it. It's SO GOOD for the soul )





Lovelies, take special care of your precious selves. Don't forget to stop and smell the Roses. These beauties opened in a day because of the heat. I can't stop looking at them each time I pass by. I've placed them in the parlour ( entrance hall? ) so they are hard to miss. Make sure that wherever your eye stops, there is something gorgeous there that lightens your day.

Hugs,
πŸ’— Jen

PS: The REAL reason I'm not crocheting at the moment.



PPS: If you'd like to win a surprise FREE pattern from an amazingly wonderful crocheter ( NOT ME, lol ), then don't forget to leave your Ravelry name in the comments section below. I'll pick 5 winners in a random draw and send your prize to you on Friday 11 Feb.😁


🌸🌸🌸



Friday 8 October 2021

Blogtober... post#2!

 Happy Friday, Lovelies!🌸

As many of you already know...we have our lovely group back on FB. It took eight days and countless protest forms to FB from so many of you Lovelies ( THANK YOU x millions )! Finally, the powers that be ruled in our favour. You know that feeling when you've had a close call with some random nasty event? That feeling afterwards of GREAT relief? The feeling of joy, appreciation and gratitude to have what seemed lost forever, come back to you? Ok, well all those feelings descended on me in bucketloads. It felt like I'd won the Lottery and simultaneously found the item I was looking for in the supermarket after they had changed all of the shelves around!

πŸ’›

It's sooooo silly I know, and Mr H&T's keeps sayings "it's ONLY the internet" but to me, each and every person I interact with in Internetland is a very real flesh and blood person ( no, not YOU, Trolls!! ) with lives being lived, heartbreaks being experienced, illness being fought, families being nurtured, furry-kids being walked and pampered, trials and tribulations being met and overcome...or not. In my mind's eye, I see you on the other end of our communication. Our lovely Group is "home" to 1000's of real people and losing it, even for only eight days, was devastating to us ( the Admining Team + me ). Judging from all the emails and messages... to so many of you too! We all need a GROUP HUUUUUG!πŸ˜†

πŸ’›

Anyway....before I start getting way too mushy let's chat crochet! It's been a month since I have been without yarn to continue with the Extension for the Harvest Moon Throw. Finally, my yarn arrived! Yippeeeee! All the lockdowns and restrictions meant that Styecraft Special DK was having to labour through MANY hiccups to get to our local South African yarn suppliers. For some odd reason...EVERYONE loves the same colours as I do for whichever design I'm currently working on. Murphies Law? But * happy dance * I'm finally back at " work " and hope to have the Throw done and dusted ASAP! Keep those hooks warm!




The weather has warmed up gradually over the past week. It's still fresh and crisp in the mornings, which is lovely. I've been walking the girls early before "work" and seeing as we're fortunate to live within spitting distance of several lush "greenbelts", it's been an absolute delight! The rivers are still gurgling, the wildflowers are still twinkling... little pops and stars of joy amongst the still-green foliage. But, I can already feel the dry edge on the wind. Our Cape Doctor is good for blowing away colds and flu but does nothing for the landscape. In a few short weeks, we'll be parched. And HOT ( not in a good way though ). I'm trying to not think about that and live in the moment.











While we're still betwixt seasons indoor sun patches are fought over. 

Miss Augusta won this one and is making sure she takes up ALL the space.




Tadaa! GIVEAWAY time ( finally! ): I just loved this festive throw HERE and of course, who doesn't love a man in a kilt. It's also a bit of a nod to my Scots DNA ( my paternal grandmother was a Pringle...no, NOT the crisps! The Pringles originated from the southern parts of Scotland and have their own tartan. Blue and Green just happen to be my favourite colour combo. I should design something, right? πŸ˜†





Should you feel inclined to comment, don't forget to leave your RAVELRY NAME if you'd like a chance to be the one to win the fabulous Sholach Throw.

And on that clannish note...please do everything you can to have a fabulous weekend!
In Yarn,
πŸ’› Jen

PS: Just look at this gorgeous Delft blue bag made by Johanna Cornelia using the Chrysalis Block HERE for the frontispiece and the Chrysalis Square for the sides! 





Sunday 3 October 2021

Blogtober...a bit of a late start!

 Dearest Lovelies,


As usual, I'm unfashionably late to the Blogtober party. To compensate, this will be a three-day's worth blog post and then I'll be all caught up, right? So grab a cup or a glass of your fav beverage, curl up in a comfortable spot and let's catch up?

I can't believe it's been almost two months to the day that I last posted a little catch-up. I rambled on last time about taking a winter break...which I totally did. August was also my B'day month and as always I like to slow right down and take stock of the past year. I do this because, and I'm sure you would agree, THE DAYS WHIZZZZZZ by so quickly. It feels as if nothing of any importance was achieved. Yet, when you sit down and actually have thinky thoughts about the year, it turns out lots and lots of all sorts of things did occur which you can confidently slap a  " progress " label to. I've always been progress-orientated which has historically driven my nearest and dearest MAD! Is there no rest in you, Mother, shout my kids. Oh Lawdy, not another " bright idea ", groans Mr H&T. Sorry ( not really ) it's in my genes!


Speaking of which; I've always wanted to do one of those DNA Ancestry kit thingies and finally a full bells and whistles test became available at an affordable price tag. So, spontaneously, as a B'day prezzie to myself, I purchased the 9-in-One kit, did the early morning mouth swab routine ( first the inside of one cheek then the inside of the other cheek ) with the giant earbuds provided, then popped my questionable DNA into a huge test tube! A short while later a courier arrived to collect the sample then sped off with what felt like a very personal piece of me for analysis at Stellenbosch University. I had flashes of being cloned and got very excited at the thought of having a few extra arms to crochet with. Every crocheters dream, right? After a longish wait ( close to eight weeks ) the results are in! As you know, I'm always banging on about how much I hate the long, hot, humid African summer months? Well, it's all the fault of my DNA! Turns out, 60% of my DNA is a mash-up of Scottish, from the Orkney Islands specifically, Dutch, French and British ancestry ( no surprise there ). The next bit was a surprise though, wait for it....30% FINNISH ( what!? no wonder I pine for the icy tundras and frozen fjords!! ). But here's a laugh; 10% Italian, specifically from the island of Sardinia. Made sense, as anyone can tell by the way I expertly and in record time polish off a bowl of linguine. My oldest son on learning this, quipped, NO surprise there at all, Mumsie ( I have no idea what he's talking about ). My !!!!!! could be a dead giveaway though? Of course, I'm rounding off the %'s here. The remaining 2% DNA involved Northern Pakistan, an ancient nomadic tribe situated in the region between The Black Sea and The Baltic Sea, the bleak vast plains of Siberia and lastly, a horticultural tribe deep in the Amazonian forest of South America ( what WERE my distant ancestors up to? ). The kit went into loads more detail which included a handy meal plan for my specific DNA make-up. In all, fun, revealing and quite helpful.


Mr H&T and I have been escaping the city almost every other weekend for the past eight weeks. Always to our off-grid "pandokkie" ( aka the hovel ) in Riebeek Kasteel. I took full advantage of these escapes while the snow still sparkled on the surrounding mountain ranges and the valley temperatures plummeted to zero degrees Celcius overnight.  Mostly, the little village is quiet throughout the deep Winter months. Even so, because it's only an hour and a half's drive from the centre of Cape Town, there are just enough visitors to keep the Hotel, Bakery and Restaurants open for business. We're early diners so we'd have our usual favourite spot to ourselves ( and the roaring fireplace ) at The Bay Leaf and Thyme. Which felt deliciously luxurious. We've both been twice-vaxxed, but we're still cautious around crowded spaces ( we pointedly avoid them ). Also, just to up the fun-factor on our trips, Mr H&T researched all the scenic back roads, many of them dirt roads, which make our journeys seem longer and definitely more adventurous. With plenty of rain over the season every farm dam, duck pond, winding river and roadside ditch was filled to capacity. Which contributed generously, at the beginning of Spring, to the spectacular display of myriad wildflowers for which the Cape is world famously known. Every now and again we'd get a bit lost but we always seemed to end up at some quaint little eatery that just happened to serve excellent snacks and coffee! It's always a delightful surprise! This prompts us to high-five each other every time, like two weirdos. Two pretty happy weirdos!πŸ˜†


Wild Pear Trees in bloom!


Unspectacular wildflowers in a roadside ditch. 



We always stop along the way so that the doggies can smell the flowers. The fields were covered in yellow canola blooms. My phone camera does this scene no justice.




Inspired by two early morning cappuccinos and icy temperatures, crawling up the side of a mountain above the mist shrouded village. I'm getting too old for these challenges. πŸ˜‚




Oooo'd and aaaaaaa'd over this gorgeous Camelia "tree" blooming on the main street of Riebeek Kasteel.










On another note altogether, but to keep everyone in the loop; recently, in between all the galavanting around the countryside, there's been a bit more drama-related goings-on in my social-media "space ". Remember all the hullabaloo in May around the sudden closure of the original HooksnTales Pattern Workshop Group? Well since then, this Blog has been hacked eight times! Less dramatically, Google blocked eight attempts. Inexplicably, I find this hilarious that anyone would think I'm worth a hack! It's a backhand compliment, right? Heehee. Then a few days ago, Facebook mysteriously disabled our lovely "new" HooksnTales Group. The thot plickens ( or it could just be Mercury in Retrograde? ). The reason sited was that we had violated several of its Community Standard Rules, repeatedly, relating specifically to...wait for it..." nudity and soliciting 53X "! Oh, I can tell you the Admin Team and I laughed our heads off between the inevitable "Hooker" jokes, and so on. However, this dragged on for three days with dozens of our Members protesting to Facebook via a handy complaints form that is not readily available ( you have to hunt it down ). This made us sad. Finally an email from FB ruling ( tentatively ) in our favour. However, an investigation is now underway as it appears several "culprits"  falsely ( maliciously I'd say ) fingered ( sorry, LOL! ) our lovely, friendly, helpful and fun Group! To those of you Lovelies who find yourselves "Groupless", we can't say for sure when we might get our Group back. To accommodate everyone, the Admin Team and I quickly set up an "emergency" Group HERE.  I fear we may, for some reason or the other known only to untouchable FB, never get back our lovely crochet group. But, no worries...we will keep going. It's the darndest thing though. Since all this uncalled for drama, I've been filling my art journal with sketches of design after design. I close my eyes and literally see new designs dancing across my mind. Strange, right? One thing, for sure, the Universe works in mysterious ways. It's a universal law that Creation is an inevitable by product of Destruction. There's a very strong feeling of being in a deeply regenerative space. I know, sounds artsy fartsy but, I have a HUGE smile on my face.


Finally, I'm getting around to crochet-speak! My LYS ran out of several Stylecraft Special DK colours that I'm using ( specifically Sage, Gold and Denim ) to continue on with the final two sections of the Harvest Moon Thow. As many of you already know. I live at the bottom end of Africa. Sometimes we have to wait a loooong time for things to reach us. But good news, my colours are already at the courier warehouse and, fingers crossed, their arrival at my front door is imminent! I'm SO excited to get back to this project! Mostly because there are other designs in my head clamouring to materialise. It's getting crowded "upstairs ". Below are some gorgeous colouways of where the Throw is at right now.


By Kris Price



By Nana Razpoush



By Urooj Umar



By Marjolijn Zweeren



THANK YOU all so much for your support, for your encouragement and your kind, kind words through yet another HooksnTales drama. I'm positive we will get back to a place where no one gives us a second thought as far as false reporting or other silly shennanigans are concerned.


To get properly back on track, it's GIVEAWAY time again! As usual, we'll randomly choose five lucky Lovelies to win this beautiful free pattern, The Blooming Moss Scarf HERE by Dutch designer Christina Hadderingh. So, don't forget to leave your Ravelry name if you do comment!


See you in crochetland and please stay safe but make sure to have loads of fun time too.

Hugs as always,

πŸ’› Jen


PS: Miss Augusta makes me smile every single day. She's such a funny old girl!