Friday, 24 July 2020

Princess Leia, welcome!

Good morning and happy Friday, Lovelies!

How are you all managing so far with your various Lockdown regulations? I know that every time I feel isolated and frustrated it helps to know that we are all in this together, in one way or the other. Troubles shared and all that. And a common thread connects us, which of course, is Crochet!
TGFC ( = Thank Goodness For Crochet/Craft ).

Last time, I promised I'd introduce you all to Princess Leia ( aka Lally ). First, her bandages and stitches had to be removed and some of her scars properly healed. I'm sure she didn't want anyone seeing her not looking her best! She's a rescue who's been through the mill judging by old scars but you wouldn't know it by how sweet, playful and smart she is. We've had so much fun getting to know her little peculiarities of character. She loves playing with her ball ( she's frequently stocked up seeing as they regularly disappear to Ball Heaven ), she ADORES Roxy and Roxy has been an absolute angel with her new sister. It's as if Roxy knows she herself is very privileged and generously shares her time, her toys, blankets, space in the car, walks, river splashes and treats with a very deserving little soul. Leia looks a lot like an Alsation but she's half the size ( if not smaller ) possibly a result of malnutrition in her puppy years. A MAJOR bonus: she loves the Cats ( even if it's not reciprocated...yet ). She has amazing hearing...can you tell?

Also, I promised I'd share images of the snow-capped mountains that enclose the beautiful Riebeek Valley where we have our little off-grid "retirement" cottage on the outskirts of one of the villages. I'll be spending ten days there, in August ( a birthday present to myself ), and will make an effort to snap more gorgeous scenes from this lovely part of South Africa. Thing is, once you arrive, it's as if the air and pastoral scenes of vineyards, olive and fruit groves, surrounded by mountains like a warm and welcoming hug intoxicate you, and you are properly enchanted! A day feels like a week there! It's always a rude awakening to arrive back in fast-paced noisy Cape Town which truly is a city that never sleeps ( not even in lockdown ). And so it happened. I did not capture one single scene on my weekend away but gazed at the clouds drifting overhead while lying on a blanket under the Almond trees. You could say I was away with the Fairies but in a good way.  Thankfully, and no surprise, the Valley is home to artists galore and I've taken advantage ( once again ) of Mary Walker's keen eye and professional skills as a Photographer of the area.

I wish you all a very peaceful and relaxing weekend with lots of fun crochet projects at hand. I'm finishing off another large cushion block pattern! I wonder when I'll ever get tired and/or bored of making them? THANK YOU so much to all of you who have been sharing your gorgeous finished pieces. I never get tired of seeing an Amanzi through new eyes or a new colourway for the Mandalas. I say this often, many of you Lovelies are AMAZING colourists!

                                           Botanica made by Vassiliki-Vicki Geordiadou

Wildflower made by Nieke Ruhulessen

Thank you so much to all of you who commented on the last post. It's always like chatting with old friends. I really enjoy your comments! For those of you whose names were picked out of the Hat for last Friday's GIVEAWAY pattern by Rosina'll find your free pattern at Ravelry! 😊

I'll be giving away 10 x FREE patterns for the new cushion block ( actually not a square but a cushion round ) so be sure to leave your Ravelry name if you do pop in to comment. I'm not exactly sure of the release date but definitely soon!

Take care, stay well, stay safe, stay calm and happy crocheting!
💛 Jen

Friday, 17 July 2020


Hello, Lovelies!

Honestly, I have been feeling a bit down in the dumps ( as I'm sure many of you have too!). It definitely has nothing to do with Winter. I'd live in the arctic north if I could! Another lifetime ago, when I travelled and lived in Europe I was waved off with dire warnings about European winters and how I'd be back in South Africa as soon as I couldn't wear flip-flops all year 'round. I bought my first EVER pair of winter lace-up boots, blue Sketches, in Amsterdam. My new friends taught me that snow, sleet and icy rain was " just weather " and no excuse for not bundling up and going out in -10C. I adapted and thrived! What a shock for a 6th generation African! Must be my Scots-Dutch-Danish-French ancestry? Mongrels are always hardier than purebreds, right?

The first thing I saw this morning, through the steam of a 5am coffee and after feeding 2 x Cats + 2 x Dogs + 3 x Apple Platys + 1 x Neon Tetra + 4 x Phantoms + 3 x Algae Eaters + 3 x Goldfish, and after I fired up my computer, was Noelene's version of the Arcadia Floral Square! Oh my, Noelene does have a fabulous way with colour placing!

To clear away the stormy clouds in my head I've been taking advantage of every sunny day so far, which haven't been many. I don't wish for sunny days though ever since we experienced that awful drought in 2017 where Cape Town City almost ran out of drinkable water! Last year, our Winter rainfall was above average but still, the entire month of July 2019 saw not a drop of rain which makes "rain in July" very welcome! Anyhow, my point is...the front steps of our cottage make a perfect spot for some winter-sunbathing and crochet. You'll find me here if you stop by, listening to The Fall of Civilisations Podcast by Paul Cooper...just to cheer myself up you know?

We've been watching the skies of late! Combine smoke from chimneys and rain clouds and you're in for a spectacular show. I snapped this with my lowly cellphone one early morning from the steps of the cottage, looking East.

This coming weekend Mr HooksnTales and I, plus the two Dogs ( did you notice I said TWO? ) are heading West to our off-grid Housie to see if it's still standing after last weeks epic storm. Next FriYAY, I will post some pics as we hope to see snow on the mountain peaks. Also, I'll introduce you to our new rescue called Leia ( as in Princess from Star Wars ). If you want to see our little Housie just click on the OFF-GRID LIFE tab under the cover pic above.

I'll be working on a new pattern, sat on a blanket under the Almond trees, while Mr HooksnTales mows the lawn and makes me cups of coffee ( just kidding!! I'll make coffee as long as he makes dinner! ).

Reading Material already packed:

1. Latest IDEAS magazine.
2. The Litte Book of Hygge by Meik Wiking.
3. The Art of Making Memories also by Meik Wiking.
4. Making Winter by Emma Mitchell

But before I wrap up ( heehee ), THANK YOU all, so much, for your lovely comments on the previous post! I've randomly chosen ( the old names-in-a-hat method ) 3 x recipients for the gorgeous Jasmine Sweater by Ana D  so please check your Ravelry inbox if you left a comment. This week, our GIVEAWAY is Spring Posy by Rosina Plane . If you do comment, don't forget to add your Ravelry name!

I hope you all have a lovely, peaceful and productive weekend.
Stay safe, stay calm and crochet on!
💙 Jen

PS: It's been bitterly cold and our old girl, Roxy spends most mornings wrapped up like a little sausage.

Sunday, 12 July 2020

In search of Arcadia.

Dearest Lovelies, hope you are all well and staying safe and sane in Crochetland?

I'm typing this from my little studio as icy rain lashes the garden, windows rattle and gusty gale-force wind apparently wants to pry the roof off the cottage! I've been awake since midnight unable to settle down with car alarms being set off and strange thumps and bangings going on outside. I'm dreading going out into my garden later! The kitties and I have been cowering under the warm bedclothes while Mr HooksnTales took to the spare bedroom room with two very nervous doggies ( our bed is not big enough for the six of us! ). You know I bow to the mighty Stormbringer. I'm a Pluviophile through and through. But this is unnerving! I think we're all a little unnerved these days, right? Dramatic weather or not.

THANKFULLY, in all sincerity, so very thankful that we who craft have a creative outlet to help us process and traverse these very troubled times. We can make all. the. things while the sun doesn't figuratively shine. We can create silver linings around dark clouds with actual silver thread. We can construct where there is destruction and I'm reminded once again how creative souls continue to create, in myriad ways, through the worst of times. We create our own Arcadian idyl if we can. Oh, look at me going all mushy on you all! But you get my drift?

It's still dark outside but I can imagine for now that all the flowering plants and bushes have been stripped of their winter blooms. The garden will look as if a stormy wedding party whirled by shredding every blossom and leaf for confetti. There is some terrible beauty in that too. Anyhoooooooo...before I make you all cry into your chilled Chardonnay or steaming hot chocolate ( depending on which hemisphere you call home ) let me take a jump to the left and announce ARCADIAAAAA ( drum roll ). So, it seems Helen Shrimpton also released an "Arcadia " pattern but honestly, I live under a rock and had no idea until Noelene told me after the fact! I'm going to stick with the name because now more than ever I want to imagine that sometime in our near future we can enjoy a more arcadian reality. Let's raise our glasses to that!

 But hang on...there's more!😸

I think it's time for another GIVEAWAY from another Designer! I fell head over heels for the adorable Jasmine Sweater by Ana D Designs. Leave a comment below and don't forget to add your Ravelry name.

Until next time Lovelies...stay calm, stay safe and take good care of yourselves!
💜 Jen

PS: the furballs made me laugh! Miss Nisha-Li completely unaware that she's sitting next to her doppelganger! 😹

And sulking in the pot plant because I'm sitting on HER cushion.