Monday, November 30, 2020

Neighbourly Sewing


I seldom sew for people who aren't members of my family, but there's a time for all things, so here I am, sewing for my neighbour. Cynthia wanted kaftans, loose and cool and easy to wear in Summer. I browsed through Pinterest for ideas and how tos and then made it up as I went along. The top one is cotton, easy enough to work with. I added ribbon to the sides to match the ribbon neatening the neck opening.  The bottom one is a jersey knit, fabric I'm not familiar with. It doesn't fray and it seemed to me that the more I sewed it the more I got kinks and curls, so I didn't neaten the sides or the bottom. The fabric drapes well but is quite heavy, so I hope the kaftan won't stretch out of shape. It's not a fabric I would normally choose to work with, which is the good thing about sewing for someone else - I was forced out of my comfort zone! 

Thursday, November 26, 2020

Rhubarb And Ginger


Jack planted rhubarb in early September and has just had his first reasonable harvest, 1,2 kgs or just over two and a half pounds. He asked me to turn it into jam. I added apple and lemon juice to enhance setting. I've given away one bottle already, these lot are to go in the pantry:

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

To Dye Or Not To Dye


Is that the flip side of  'to be or not to be', do you think? My plan was to dye curtains and bedspreads like the curtains for the office I dyed in July.  I don't know...  I quite like the cream bedspreads. They might show dirt rather quickly though. I think I'll leave them for now and perhaps ring the changes with a dye job later. 

I learnt a lot, making the bedspreads. Not least, sewing from the right direction so that the bulky fabric was to the left of the machine and didn't have to be shoved through the arch of the sewing machine. Duh, I know. 

Do you want to see the inside of the cover? The top consists of two layers, sandwiching the raw edges of the frill, which keeps it neat:

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

The Second


I finished the first bed cover and am working on the second one. Metres of fabric in my lap. It is easier second time around, if only because I know it's possible! Last time I tacked the pleats by machine and they slipped badly, so this time I've tacked them by hand. Hopefully they'll stay in place when I put everything together. 

Monday, November 23, 2020



That's what I sold at the fair on Saturday, absolutely nothing! I did make one purchase, this cotton fabric that was made in Nigeria. And since there's no restocking of beadwork to do, I have plenty of time for sewing. 

Friday, November 20, 2020



I'm taking along a half finished bracelet, work in progress, to a fair today so that I can show how the beaded crochet rope is made. Assuming anyone is interested of course. I'll take along my leaf braid tatting too because it could be a long day. 

Thursday, November 19, 2020



I sold some child size bracelets at the last fair I went to, so I've been making some more for the next fair. Someone wanted a blue one that day, so I've made sure there's a blue one! 

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Nearly Done


I still have to hem the frill, but the bedspread has basically come together. I'll do the other one to match, but I've discarded any idea of doing a double bed cover. I think to do the job properly I'd need the right equipment - a bigger sewing machine, a larger cutting table, a gathering foot... I should probably stick to dressmaking! 

Monday, November 16, 2020

A Seriously Large Pot


We don't have a pot big enough to cook the ingredients for brawn (don't ask!) so we borrowed one. It's a very large pot! The lid is as big as my dustbin lid. It wouldn't fit on my stove top, so we put it on the braai (barbecue) outside and kept it stoked with wood for over three hours. This morning I duly made the brawn. The trusty butter containers came into play again as moulds. I've put four of them in the freezer and one in the fridge to eat this evening. It should be set by then. 

Of Chewing

 You've heard the expression, 'She's bitten off more than she can chew'. I hope that's not the case with my latest sewing  project. Weeks and weeks ago I bought 17 metres/yards of calico to make curtains and simple bed covers for a spare bedroom. But I made a plan B and altered some curtains I was given to make them fit that room. Which meant I had 17 metres for bed covers. How about making bedspreads with frills instead of simple rectangles? I drew a diagram and cut the pieces I need, using up almost all the 17 metres. Hmmm. It soon became clear that my plan to gather the frills wasn't going to work. I started with the smallest side and my thread broke! Plan B was to make pleats instead. I like gathering because you can just pull the longer bit up to fit. Pleats have to be more exact. I thought I'd worked out the formula, but really in the end I resorted to trial and error. I now have the frills for one cover done and have to put the whole thing together. It looks like an awful lot of fabric, so I hope I can chew sufficiently to get it all assembled! 

Thursday, November 12, 2020

And Onions


A few months ago, a friend came to lunch and brought a bottle of curried onions. Hmm, I thought, that would be a good way to make use of Jack's onion crop. I couldn't find a recipe that sounded anything like Jenni's curry, so I adapted a recipe for Curried Green Beans. The first batch went down very well, so I've made some more. 

On a side note, I lost my recipe for curried green beans in one or other house move. Luckily I had shared it with friends and was able to get it back from one of them. Which goes to show the advantage of sharing recipes! So... I'm going to share my recipe for curried onions here, for anyone who wants to use it, and to act as a back up for me. 

Curried Onions

Makes 8 jam jars full


2 kg onions

1 Tablespoon oil

1 Tablespoon butter or margarine

50g hot curry powder

4 chillies (optional)

1 cup sugar

1 Tablespoon salt

1 Dessert spoon turmeric

750 ml vinegar

750 ml water

3 heaped Tablespoons cornflour

1. First sterilize the jars and lids. I use baby bottle sterilizer or bleach, one teaspoon to one litre water.

2.Peel the onions, cut them in half and then in slices, not too thin or they'll go to mush.

3. Heat the oil and butter, add the onions and cook them over a low heat until they are soft but not brown.

4. Add to the pot the curry powder, chillies, sugar, salt, and turmeric, mix well and continue frying for a few minutes.

5. Add the vinegar and water. Bring to the boil and then simmer while heating up the jars and lids.

6. I put jars in the oven to heat, at 110 degrees celcius, putting them in a cold oven and then switching on and leaving them until the  temperature is reached. I use boiling water to heat the lids. 

7. Mix the cornflour to a paste with water, add to the pot and stir until the mixture thickens. Pour into hot jars. I use a funnel made from the top of a 2 litre bottle to aid bottling, it helps keeps the jars clean. Wipe mouth of jar and put on lid. 

8. Keep for three weeks to mature before eating. 

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Tomatoes Small And Large


I'm rather relieved that Jack's cherry tomato crop is now finished, the plants removed and something else planted in the bed. I turned this lot into three and a half jars of jam. Then there are the bigger tomatoes:

I cooked them up with onions, also from the garden, and dried herbs and then put them in plastic butter containers. I froze those and then tipped them out, which felt like making sand castles, so that I could use the containers again. 

These tomato plants are still bearing, but there will be a gap before the next crop is ready, so I will be glad to have these in the freezer. 

Monday, November 9, 2020

One More


This Christmas bauble uses the last of my saved deodorant balls, so that'll be it for a while, unless I can find a substitute. I have five baubles for the next fair, which is fine. The threading pattern for this one was very easy, so I didn't need a chart. 


I redrew the chart for the bauble, added notes to remind myself what's what next time I use the chart, and then tried it out. Hooray, no need to fudge anything, the chart is correct. 

Saturday, November 7, 2020

Blue Bauble


I rethreaded the beads, forgetting any thought of taking shortcuts. The bauble is done. However....I had to fudge a bit because it turns out that my chart is wrong. The little tetris shapes you can see on the previous post are wrong. I think I had better redraw the chart, write myself notes and then make another bauble to test them! 

Thursday, November 5, 2020


I sold a Christmas bauble on Saturday, so I thought I'd make a replacement. I have the pattern that I drew, so off I went, threading blue and gold beads. I didn't give it a lot of thought. When I started crocheting, I realised that I had followed the pattern in the wrong direction. It won't work. I could just start again, but I think I'll restring row by row, because that means I'll be able to use the plain rows that have no gold beads in them. First of all I need to write myself notes on the pattern about the direction to follow! I tend to forget that the beads need to be threaded in the opposite order to how they will be crocheted. 

PS I've just realised that rethreading row by row will mean cutting the thread numerous times. I had better start again. Or perhaps leave it until next week! 

Tuesday, November 3, 2020

An Order


I sold this necklace at the fair on Saturday and the buyer asked for a matching bracelet. There was a time limit because she is going on holiday soon and wants to take it with her. I was getting a little agitated yesterday when various people popped in for coffee and my time seemed to disappear! I got going early this morning and finished the bracelet off, in plenty of time to meet the deadline. Here's a view of the other side:

Monday, November 2, 2020

It Went Well


The little fair I went to on Saturday went well. I shared a table with Sarah, who makes soap. There was a lot of interest in soap! But both of us sold enough to make the day worthwhile. The interesting thing was that I sold a little bit of everything, from keyrings to a necklace. Sarah and I are going to do another fair together on the 21st November. I need to make more children's bracelets and Christmas baubles before then. At the moment I'm working on an order for a bracelet.