Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Projek Bohemia...Trial Version

The end of the year is rushing up to me and I realised I'd quite forgotten to report on a few of my FO's!

In August, I started a trial version for my summer throw (at LAST I decided on something).  I absolutely loved the Sorbet & Lace square Cornel designed for Ideas magazine, and immediately all my other ideas for the summer throw flew out of the window.  First I tried it out a Elle Pure Gold, my favouite local acrylic (I had a ton of stash, and I had another idea for my own blanket...but first I had to master the pattern).

The pattern hooks up quickly and makes a nice, large square - great if you want to make a quick blanket :-) I wanted to try out some new colour combinations - bright, contrasting edges to each square, and also wanted to figure out the layout, which had to be seemingly random but not, ordered, but not.  That's the Gemini brain speaking.  Even when trying to work totally random, I'll still order around colours, as the lights and dark, cools and warms must balance.

Almost at the end, I made such an epic mistake, I still laugh at myself for it :-D  

But it was easily corrected and I could lay the blanket out, work away the ends and declared myself satisfied. 

A nicely sized lapghan

I used a different joining technique as I didn't want the large gaps of the original pattern, so used granny clusters of four stitches where I joined in the clusters as well as in the chains.  A friend and I sat over a coffee one day to look at the options, and decided that joining with SC's would look better than slip stitches, as it just give that tiny little bit of extra space to allow the join to lie flat.  

I don't try to block or even steam block acrylics, just gave it a quick wash, shake-out and let it hang to dry.  

This blanket was then donated to a hooky friend's charity group and will be donated to an elderly or wheelchair-bound recipient next winter.  

--- X ---

Sooo...in the back of my mind...was this, all along:

Colours of Grace, a 10 ply cotton, in the most beautiful colours. I bought more than a bag full and quickly had to try out a first square in this dusky pink:

It might be one of the most beautiful colours on earth.  And I'm not even a pink person.

It is available online from Beatrix at Btrix Designs or Hilda at Yarn in a Barn.  The autumn blanket by Pigtails in Simply Crochet 23 was also hooked up in this yarn.

I've made a decent pile of squares, but had to put it aside to quickly finish a few year-end projects, but come December, after unpacking in my new hometown, this is one of the first projects to pick up!

--- X ---

PS - a friend at Ons Hekel is using the same principle to make up a Bohemian Blanket, with a square of her own design, but also the colourful, contrasting joins, and it looks stunning so far.  She's using Vinnis Nikkim.

Look. At. This:

Gina's Bohemian Blanket.
I'm jealous.

Thursday, 20 November 2014

What to do with those keepsakes?

...like your parents' wedding telegrams?

You decoupage the inside of an old trousseau kist with it, of course. 

I am sentimental, and a hoarder, the combination of which makes for horrific storage challenges.

I keep things.  I still have my nursery school blankie, a little test book from Sub A, my Baby Love doll, books since forever.  Heirlooms like my dad's 2.4 m tall grandfather clock, his desk chair, my gran's dinner bell, my other gran's ring from an Italian POW.  I keep not-so-logical things, like my dad's uniform cap with his rank insignia on, the old tea tins my mom used for her curtain hooks (as I do), my mom's beautiful Bally shoes (not my size), an old anvil that was among the last things on my dad's mind as he lay dying - I still don't know where it comes from or the reason for his obsession with it. So I keep it.

And then I had the box with cards and telegrams of congratulations hat my mom saved after their wedding in October 1969.  It travelled with me from Polokwane to Pretoria to Brisbane to Pretoria and as I prepared now to move again, something had to come of it.   

Luckily I remember a pic of a decoupaged something, so the plan was made:

1. Take mom's old trousseau kist, one of those sturdy-but-not-so-pretty ones with the lacquered surface, that you store the linen in.

2. Lightly sand it down and paint with a non-drip satin enamel in a much better looking bone white...

3...While also cleaning the clasps

4. Modge-podge for the first time in your life and almost make a big bugger-up (luckily modge-podge is very forgiving. And luckily the wrinkles do disappear. Laaaaater).

4.   Lightly sand it down again et voilĂ , one better looking kist.

I used the telegrams on the inside of the lid, and more-or-less matching gift wrap for the trunk.  By then I also discovered adhesive spray, to make things a bit easier.

The rotary cutter...I was contemplating those edges, wondering how in hell I was going to cut it straight, when luckily (again) a Pin came past, advising me to fold the paper flat over the edge, and literally sand it off.  Beautiful finish, straight as a ruler, and just modge over it again. 

Done, I'm happy, can almost re-pack it!

Now to the list of twenty other things to do before we pack
(I also procrastinate...)

Next up: one retro wire garden set to de-rust and repaint.

Sunday, 2 November 2014

My Mzansi 14/10 - My Cool Pretoria

I took my boys out for a drive to Church Square, in the old city centre.  It is the site of one of the latest happenings of Cool Capital 2014, an uncurated, "guerilla" art biennale, by the citizens of Pretoria, for Pretoria.  

At the centre of the square is a large, bronze statue of former  Pres Paul Kruger, president of the Zuid Afrikaanse Republiek round the turn of the nineteenth century.  For Cool Capital, his statue was covered in aluminium tinfoil, rendering him sparking and brand new!  He will remain as such until 16 November.

My boys getting a dose of local history

The statue was commissioned by businessman Sammy Marks and sculped by Anton van Wouw, cast in bronze in Italy and erected in the 1950's.  It is surrounded by four anonymous Boer soldiers.

(I recently saw a photo of my grandmother here on a visit to Pretoria during the unveiling of the Voortrekker Monument 1938, before this statue was erected.  In this spot was a monument celebrating the crowning of King George VI. Amazing to see how Church Square looked then!)

Holding guard, the Old Raadsaal in the background

I could show the boys what real old vellies (velskoen - leather shoe) looked like.

Wonder what Oom Paul would have thought.

There was some murmurs of a crowd that did not like his new cover, but I think the old president might not have been disturbed too much.  Rumour has it, after all, that he has been known to sport a gold earring...

"I see you watching me watching you"

I think he looks splendid!

I've been living in Pretoria for 31 years now, and it's been lovely to see the city slowly shaking off its long-held image of a verkrampte, conservative bastion.  It still doesn't have a city vibe and feels actually just like a very large town (which is also great), but is home to academics, diplomats, refugees and us ordinary folk, making up a very interesting mix.