Monday, 30 December 2019

2019, thank you and goodbye!

Hello, Lovelies ( Ladies and Lads alike )!

It's been a year, right? And to be blunt, I'm relieved to close the door on it. I'll take the lessons learned, the love and tears ( darling Alfie! ), the triumphs ( Nisha surviving a vicious dog attack, fostering Freya and Pups ) all liberally peppered with a bit of magic in between but also some trollish moments. Thankfully I am made a bit like an Animal shaking water off its fur,  moving forward regardless, treading as lightly as I can manage on this good Earth. It's all too easy to get bogged down in what if's and should have's. Besides, it takes up space for new design ideas!
And so, here we are at the backdoor of 2019! Hurray, we all made it so far, we all survived 100%, even through the worst days. Congratulations!

I'm not going to do a boring overview of all the Crochet Projects I made this year but suffice it to say it was  A LOT! THANK YOU ALL SO MUCH for your astounding support! You motivate and inspire me to keep going ( not that I could actually stop, at least not yet. My Hook is like the Red Slippers tale but hopefully with a happier ending! ). I'm still hoping I'll wake up one morning and find I've sprouted at least two more pairs of arms!

Anyhow, before I start getting all teary-eyed and sentimental about you lot and gushing about how wonderful you have all been, your encouraging comments, your compliments and positive, constructive advice I'll veer off sharply to a fun weekend I've just had. It was on my Summer Hygge list to spend three days with Mr HooksnTales and Roxy at our off-grid Housie in Riebeek Kasteel. It was SOOOOOO HOT that I spent two days lying in the shade of one of the Almond Trees reading If The Cat Fits by Chrystal Sharp, literally prostrate with heat.

Roxy did this most of the time.

And this. 😁

5am is the coolest time of the day during our African summer months. 
Roxy and I made the most of this but others were already up!
 Early morning song of my people! 😁

For the most part, Mr HooksnTales and I napped, drank ice-cold cocktails ( Strawberry Virgin Daquiries for Moi, Margaritas for Mr HooksnTales ) and tried to keep cool at some of the local Eateries.

Bay Leaf and Thyme in Riebeek Kasteel. Lovely!

Krem-A-Tart in Riebeek West. The view!

On the third day, we gave up and drove back to Cape Town. I'm always a bit sad to leave the Valley which is incredibly beautiful. Our drive over the Bosmanskloof Pass feels like mounting the ramparts of a secret fortress back into the bustling world of noisy urban living.

Back in Cape Town, doing what I do best on my Hols: lolling about in my pyjamas, taking snapshots of Roxy,  Augusta and Nisha, drinking Coffee and Crocheting on this last day of 2019, which is, I think, exactly how I started 2019! The bit in between then and now got a bit hectic but that's all in the past already.

I think what I'm trying to say is HAVE A WONDERFUL, relaxing and peace-filled last day of 2019. You made it through this year which has for many of us been turbulent on so many levels. As each year passes I am getting so much better at letting things go that no longer make me feel at peace with myself. I'm also learning to up my game when it comes to seeking out those small joys and quietly happy moments in every day rather than gloss over them in search of the Big Thrills.

Now, for a lovely cup of coffee, a cuddle with the Cats, a tummy tickle for Roxy and a spot of simple Holiday Crochet. Secret Garden granny squares ( Scheepjes Secret Garden ). 

Wishing you, dear Friends, all the Very Best of All Good Things for 2020! 
πŸ’— Jen 


Wednesday, 18 December 2019

Lights on, Lights off, Lights on! Part 2.

Hello, Lovelies!

I am happy and relieved to report that the lights are still on!
We have been given a promise by the Powers That Be that there will be no rolling power outages until January 13!
I'm not even going to think about that right now. I mean, what a way to herald in a new year?

This means that I have been jotting down a strategy in my notebook, a way forward in the dark, so to speak.
Laptop fully charged up at all times. Check.
Solar Torch Lights fully charged. Check.
UPS fully charged. Check
Gas Bottles filled! Check
Phone battery charged. Check.
Candles and Tea Lights. Check.
Vodka to help me cope! I'M KIDDING! You all know my hardtack is Coffee!

If you can think of anything else I need to add to that list please let me know!
There are silver linings though. At least I don't have to charge up my Hooks or Yarn! 😁

I'm looking forward to Friday 20 December when most large companies close for the Christmas Holidays. Our normally crazy busy noisy road will quieten right down. What a relief! Now, just to find a way to get Mr Noisy Neighbour to leave town for a few weeks.

I'm also looking forward to more outdoorsy holiday time. Designing is quite an isolated loner type occupation which keeps me in my little workroom most daylight hours. That's why I tend to move things around in this space. My attempts at a change of scene, I think? Of course, when I am away from this workspace, studio, atelier, crochet-cave...I MISS IT TERRIBLY! Luckily Roxy insists on walks, and lots of them and when Mr HooksnTales is home there is no skipping those. My outdoorsy holiday project is TO.GET.OUT.MORE!

A short clip of another walk with Roxy...very windy though!

Mr HooksnTales and I have been chatting about spending some weekends away, but in our own neighbourhood. Short drives ( under half an hour ). We live in a very popular Tourist destination so there are lovely places to stay and things to see and do right on our doorstep.

A few weekends ago we spent two days and two nights at the AMAAAAAZINGLY comfy, beautiful Inn At Castle Hill in Kalk Bay. In fact, it was a happy mistake...or rather, a frowny experience turned upside down. I'd booked our weekend away at another Guesthouse only to arrive and find we'd been booked into the worst room! Also, they were totally unapologetic and I lost the full amount I'd paid in advance! Crikey, talk about an upset. I almost cried right there. They didn't have another room available either.  We tried a few other Guesthouses but everywhere was fully booked. As we left ( so disappointed! ) to drive back home we passed the Inn at Castle Hill. They had one room available and from there on everything was perfect.


THE ARTWORK ( this was my favourite )!





We'll definitely do this again.πŸ’—
All we did was walk, eat and sleep on repeat. It was lusciously relaxing so much so that I forgot to take more pics!

Vegan omelette ( made with Chickpea flour ) at The Courtyard Cafe!
So YUM I added a recipe  HERE! 
Definitely a MUST TRY.

Roxy spent the weekend with her nieces and nephew, Stella, Laya and Paul... and had a ball!

Back to reality!

I have managed to almost fulfil my own target of making six Mandalas to fit the 6 x 10" embroidery hoops I found when I was decluttering my workroom. I've completed five. It was more challenging than I thought it would be to design in a 10" radius! And in a set timeframe. I wanted to pack it in after #5 but I think I might squeeze #6 in before New Year? So much for doing nothing but eat, sleep and walk for my little Summer Hols!

So, tadaaa...#5, called MidSummer Solstice. Again, I dived into my little stash of Scheepjes Catona 10g minis, and again, I'm not sure the colours I chose measured up to what I saw in my mind's eye. But Noelene loved them! Although my personal favourites are these yummy shades.

MidSummer Solstice is also our new GIVEAWAY! This time I would love to hear about your New Years resolutions for 2020! I'm a great believer in Resolutions. Lots of people make them and then quickly break them but I like to stubbornly stick to mine. In many ways, it does help me to keep on track throughout the year. How about you? As always to participate in this GIVEAWAY,  leave your comment and Ravelry name in the comments section below and I will choose 5 winners! 😊

And that's it from me for now!
I will make one more Blog Post for 2019, just to wrap things up, and then...whooohooo, we'll be entering the Roaring Twenties!

See you in Crochetland!
πŸ’— Jen

Friday, 13 December 2019

Lights on, then off, then on: Part 1

Gosh, Lovelies it's been a whole month since I last popped in here!
I hope you are all doing well in Crochetland?

It feels very much like returning to a favourite hideaway spot. I love my little Blog that was home when I first arrived in Crochetland. Back then, in 2015, it was just me, myself and I, with a suitcase of crochet ideas swirling about in my head. I had no clue that in the not too distant future I would be meeting so many other like-minded Crochetlandians. Or that some would become friends who I have come to appreciate so much. Or that I would become a citizen of Ravelrylandia and Lovecraftsia too. Mr HooksnTales always reminds me that life is full of good surprises and just this once, I'll admit that he's right.

Since I last posted, I've made several attempts to Blog but many, many unexpected things got in the way. Rolling power outages for one! There was also a Xmas Tree and decorating involved. I don't care that it is Midsummer here. Or that our traditional pastime over the Festive Season involves flip-flops, swimming pools, buckets of iced-drinks, outside BBQ's, sunscreen, salads and sunburn! I am going to well and truly water my wintery European ancestral roots. It's in my blood, literally!

While I'm on the subject of Summer Heat...this situation... pretty much with all the Fur-Babies!

Roxy and I have been enjoying our daily walks at our beloved suburban green belt, the Alphen Trail. The water is still running in the stream, which is surprising seeing as it hasn't rained in weeks.

I don't know about you but I'm a human Magpie on walks! I have to collect All. The. Things. Yesterday it was these bushy-tailed grasses! Aren't they just adorable!?

And on the subject of collecting things. I ordered two pairs of much-longed-for embroidery scissors from Be Inspired. A Christmas prezzie to myself. I had a real problem overcoming my reluctance to actually put them to use because they are so pretty! Lesson: USE THE PRETTY THINGS!

In keeping with my Summer Hygge attempts, I've been working outside on cooler mornings, under the shade of our verandah roof. Thing is, I keep getting distracted by the Birds and the Bees! I see now why office blocks and cubicles were created. As a species, we are easily distracted! out comes the Tree, and the little box of ornaments ( passed down from my late Irish Mom in Law). I light candles every night ( on gloomy days too ). I watch Christmas movies on Netflix ( last night it was Home For Christmas, in Norwegian, with subtitles of course ) and Vlogmas's ( Potter and Bloom, Nordic Stitches and Crafternoon Treats ).

At the beginning of December, I attach a festive wreath to our front door. It's this celebration especially ( and Easter ) that makes me reflect on and feel close to my mixed English, Scots, Danish and Dutch roots. I am fiercely and proudly South African and I love my country deeply, all the more for its incredible people who are woven together like a precious cloth. But it's our diversity that makes the experience of being South African so immensely rich. Especially how we celebrate our unique traditions.

I'm going to wish you a very merry Christmas in 10 of our 11 official languages:

Afrikaans: GesΓ«ende Kersfees
IsiNdebele: Ukresimusi omnandi
Sesotho: Keresemese e monate
Northern Sotho: Mahlogonolo a Keresemose
Setswana: Masego a Keresemose
SiSwati: Khisimusi lomuhle
Xitsonga: A ku ve Khisimusi lerinene
Tshivenda: D’uvha la mabebo a Murena l’avhudi
IsiXhosa: Krisimesi emnandi
IsiZulu: Ukhisimusi omuhle

Tongue twisters right? πŸ˜€

In Part 2 I'll share a little of what I've been making, what 2020 will look like, design-wise and a new GIVEAWAY!

See you then!