Thursday, 29 October 2020

Holiday? What holiday?

 Hello, Lovelies!

I hope you are all keeping safe and well out there? I know many of you ( myself included ) are feeling Covid fatigue, wondering when, or if, life as we knew it will ever return. It will, but just a little differently I'm sure. For one, I think my perception about being around large groups of people has forever changed. I'll always feel a little uneasy, wondering when the next tiny invisible enemy will pounce! Naturally, I already tend to be a bit germaphobic, and anxious but my down-time over the past few weeks gave me a moment to take a breath and recalibrate my position in relation to everything that has transpired. 

It was a lot to take in. The enormity of this global pandemic is overwhelming and I realised it would only be at some point in the future, perhaps two or three years down the line, that we'd properly be able to integrate this experience. My conclusion for the time being: it is what it is. In the meantime, I am trying to live through this time consciously ( otherwise known as WOKE! 😆 ). Taking each day in both hands and doing the best with what I have, creating order, beauty, and joy. For me: fresh flowers, lighting candles, tidying clutter, listening to music ( not news channels ), using the good china, making healthy food, freshly painted walls, cleaning the roof gutters, skyping my kids, having fun on social media sharing funny memes and videos, zooming with a friend across the big pond, indoor air-cleansing plants, mucking around in the garden, taking many, many, many long walks in the woodlands of Cape Town. Like a mantra I chant under my breath; be grateful, be thankful, be kind. Practise makes perfect and the practice of appreciation and gratitude is ALSO so much harder to feel than to say. Especially when things spiral downwards rather than the opposite way. I happened upon this beautiful poem which moved me and made so much sense right now. Just watching Miss Augusta sleep peacefully in a sun-patch brings me a feeling of peace and contentment.

My grandmother once gave me a tip:

In difficult times, you move forward in small steps.
Do what you have to do, but little by little.
Don't think about the future, or what may happen tomorrow.
Wash the dishes.
Remove the dust.
Write a letter.
Make a soup.
You see?
You are advancing step by step.
Take a step and stop.
Rest a little.
Praise yourself.
Take another step.
Then another.
You won't notice, but your steps will grow more and more.
And the time will come when you can think about the future without crying."
- Elena Mikhalkova

One of my surprise revelations is that I am unable to " holiday ". I'm incapable of truly incorporating the concept of "holiday" into a workable situation without becoming antsy! Then I remembered ( since teenhood ) that I dreamed of doing what I love so that I would never have to work a day in my life, and that home would/should be where all of this happened. Like in the old days. My Scottish Granny had a fish and chip shop. She and my Grandfather lived upstairs and the shop was downstairs. Honestly, it does make sense, don't you think? Of course, that brings me to my latest ( and final ) cowl pattern which I have called Woodland. Homage to my beloved woodlands and the many walks I take there but also, to my little studio space, at home, which is an enormous luxury I am SO VERY grateful for.

The Woodland Cowl is a "holiday" make, haha. Also, it's Tapestry crochet in teeny sc's! Definitely not my forte if you've made any of my other patterns. But what a fun and absorbing technique! I learned quite a few tricks along the way about how to Tapestry crochet in the round which, of course, I share with you in the pattern. ALSO, it's definitely doable for an Adventurous Beginner. There are detailed video instructions throughout ( as always ) you cannot go wrong! The things we do and learn on HOLIDAY, right? 😆 PS: I made the cowl longer in height so that it can comfortably fit over your mouth and nose ( best over a mask! ).

Our GIVEAWAY today is the Woodland Cosy Cowl. I'll be giving away 10 copies of the pattern! All you need to do is remember to add your Ravelry name if you do comment below. BUT THERE'S MORE! Three of our winners will also get a copy of Noelene's gorgeously cute Sweet Strawberry Tassel pattern!

Lovelies, as always, I wish you well, I wish you love and joy and peace!

Take care,

💓 Jen

And as usual, Roxy insists on having the last pic. 😆

Thursday, 1 October 2020

Hello October!

 Lovelies, I bet you didn't expect a Thursday blog post, right? But I had to catch the first day of October! Not like in August and September where I couldn't seem to catch up with the days. I feel very accomplished now! 😆

It's a funny thing, but we are experiencing just about the same weather here in Cape Town as in the Autumnal northern hemisphere right now. It's still blinkin' cold, there is snow on the mountain tops and the wind is blowing things about! I love it. Although only this morning I did complain to Noelene that it's "getting a bit much" and "I'm tired of feeling cold". Of course, if you don't know, Noelene lives in Western Australia and she complains that there isn't enough rain. Our dams are already 100% capacity, and that's worth a celebration! But I'm hoping the rains will veer towards Noelene's patch of crochetland soon and allow me to hang the laundry outdoors for a change. 

But enough about the weather! I have been very productive ( to keep warm! ). I made another cosy cowl, because, let's face it Winter is NOT yet over from where I am sitting. I'm still making comfort food most nights. Waterblommetjie Bredie ( little water flower stew ) is an absolute down to earth traditional food here in Cape Town. It's basically a hearty stew made with meat, and the " waterblommetjies " are added in abundance. They are known as "pondweed" or more romantically, " water hawthorn ". In the past, they'd form part of a foraging expedition but these days you can buy them from vendors or in stores. 

THANKFULLY, for me, there are vegetarian and vegan recipe versions.

1. Vegetarian Version of Waterblommetjie Bredie HERE.

2. Vegan Version ( add veg stock ) HERE

2. Non-Vegetarian Version HERE

But I digress....😆

These little cowls are quick and easy to make and I've got so much pleasure seeing all the colourways used for the Nomad Cowl and the Duchess Cowl. They work up quickly and can be upsized or downsized very easily. As always, there are video instructions, so even if you are a beginner crocheter you should be able to manage. You can find the pattern HERE!

Also ( and I am so relieved ), I finally organised a Tester Group! Hooks 'n Tales officially has proper Testers! I'm very excited about working with these wonderful crocheters and it's going to relieve a lot of the angst I experience every time I put a pattern together. Especially since I am incubating another blanket idea.

The lovely Tanya is away again to help take care of her newborn Nephew so supermodel Roxy has once again agreed to take the gig. She is a total natural at this, don't you think? She stays absolutely still and gives me side views and front views without any prompting either. What a little poser!

Our Giveaway this week is another one of Noelene's adorable Tassels! This time it's the intricate and beautiful Clematis Cottage Tassel HERE
To stand a chance of having your name drawn from the Lucky Winners Hat, don't forget to add your Ravelry name to your comment.

I know things are still very crazy out there so I'm sending you all lots of good vibes, in buckets!
Stay calm, stay safe, and crochet on.

Happy weekend ( soon! ).
💗 Jen