Meet Toadie

In my office slash crafty room I have packets of yarn for projects I am busy working on or planning. A couple of bags full and two baskets. Luckily everything is kept wrapped because Rosendal is a very dusty place. I noted that this room is decidedly free of spiders, moths, and other insects. At first I thought that maybe it was because I’m always cleaning it, but then I discovered a resident. Meet Toadie.

Toadie is a badass. He looks at me with immense disdain when I discover him in a bag or basket, nestled on top of the yarn. I am clearly bothering him. And we are involved in what seems like a game to him. He is gently released outside each time I find him, to an ever further part of the property. Toadie is having absolutely none of this. Before I wipe out my eyes, he’s back. And more badass than ever!

This morning while taking some Stonewashed out of a bag who do I find? Yep. It’s pretty cold here, and I cannot bring myself to relocate him outside. He has been relegated to a pot plant elsewhere in the house. He is bristling, as he believes he does a rather stellar job of keeping the crafty room insect and arachnid free. He feels this is rather heavy-handed.

I reckon he’ll be back by tonight. And we’ll meet in the passage when he goes for a hop and swim in the dogs’ water. You have to love living in The Mad House in the wilds of the Free State. I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

Lockdown: time for reflection and creativity

I didn’t think I’d really write anything about the Corona virus, but as it’s spread across the planet, it is front and centre on most of our minds. From midnight tonight the whole of South Africa will be in lockdown. This is already the case for people in other parts of the world. In the shops there is mass panic buying, and the overall mood is one of great stress. While this measure will most certainly cause financial hardship, I firmly believe it is the right thing to do to arrest the upward curve of COVID-19.

Speaking to my brother on the phone yesterday he said something that really resonated: the world will be a very different place after this. I really reflected on that, and believe he is right. We are faced with a huge crisis, and that will no doubt change us all in ways we might not yet realise.

Crafters are in a position where we can keep our hands busy with our beloved craft, whatever crafts those might me. For me it is crochet, and less often it is knitting. I find the meditative nature of crochet (and knitting) soothing, comforting, and it allows me space and time for thought and reflection. While I am very worried about friends and family members I realise I cannot control that which is beyond my control, but I can do what I can to make a difference. I can start with myself, and ensure that I act in a way that respects myself and others.

Being at home for 21 days gives me lots of time to finish up the redoing of my crafty nook slash office. I get to finish my WIPs before the Fruit Garden CAL begins. I can have much needed afternoon naps, and I can read those books I’ve been meaning to. I can cook, I can bake, and I can spend time with my most beloved person, my husband Matt.

To all my blog readers I wish you the strength and fortitude you need to get through this time. Please take good care of yourselves and those you love.

Jane Crowfoot’s Fruit Garden CAL

I’m excited to announce that you can now order your kits via The Funky Sheep Shop at You can pay by EFT or credit card using PayFast. If you have any questions or need more info, please email

Important update: There has been a delay at the Stylecraft factory which means kits will be delivered to The Funky Sheep in the 2nd week of May, after which they will be dispatched as quickly as possible to all customers.

I will be selling official kits for the new Jane Crowfoot Fruit Garden CAL. The CAL begins 28 April 2020. The CAL will be released in 8 fortnightly instalments on the Stylecraft website.

There are two options for the kit.

Colour recipe 1 (Parchment & Caramel) is made with Stylecraft Batik, and Stylecraft Life DK. Both yarns are 80% premium acrylic and 20% wool.

Finished Size 128cm (50 1/2 in) square.

This kit is R1050 plus R125 for delivery to your door via The Courier Guy.

Colour recipe 2 (Night & Dusk) is a darker version and is made using Stylecraft’s exciting new Naturals cotton and bamboo blend.

Finished Size 112cm (44in) square.

This kit is R1500 plus R125 for delivery to your door via The Courier Guy.

Should you wish to purchase a kit, I have a few more places for colour recipe 2 on my order already placed, and will take new orders which must be in no later than close of business on Thursday 26 March 2020 SAST.

Please contact me, Gina Shepherd, at or by phone / WhatsApp to 082 515 7313.

All images courtesy of Jane Crowfoot and Stylecraft.

From Start to Finish

I am a very good starter of things.  I start projects like the ADHD (which I have genuinely being diagnosed with, as well as a mild case of OCD) person that I am.  My concentration flits from one thing to another with astonishing ease and speed.  As I’ve blogged about before, this results in a rather large number of WIPs.

I must, however, digress and tell you about my word for the year.  My word for 2019 is less.  Less everything.  I’ve been decluttering for years, but toward the end of 2018 and beginning of 2019 I really got stuck in and did some pretty brutal decluttering.  Even my yarn stash wasn’t immune to my fervour.  You see, 2018 was a dreadful year.  My husband had an intestinal issued that nearly killed him, eight times. He had eight surgeries in four months.  He spent nearly five months in ICU and most of the rest of the year in hospital and then a step-down facility.  The doctors were quite astonished that he survived, and said it was quite miraculous.  It felt like the year was out of control.  I really got some practice in how to manage my feelings about being so totally out of control.  I got to face the possibility of loss head on, and made friends with people who ended up not being as lucky as I was.  And we really leaned on each other.  I learned about the kindness of strangers, the disappointment in people I thought would be there and weren’t , but more importantly the huge number of people who were so incredibly kind and stepped up when I needed it most.  Back to the decluttering.  I think that with everything feeling so uncontrollable, I felt the need to exert some measure of being in charge of my life, so as a start I took control of my things.

Our home is pretty minimalist.  Despite this, there was still a fair amount of stuff in cupboards, drawers and the store room.  I was getting tired of it.  It starts to feel like possessions own you and not you them. I got stuck into books, clothes, papers, yarn, absolutely everything.  I first read “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying” and “Spark Joy” by Marie Kondo, when they first came out in 2011 and 2012 respectively.  They made an impact at the time and I started and stopped the process many times.  During my decluttering I came to realise that there was a series based on her books on Netflix. I really enjoyed that, and the timing was simply perfect.  It spurred me on further.  All I have left is the kitchen and some sentimental items (which isn’t much at all) and I’m done.  Having said that, I don’t think you’re ever completely done.  You will likely revisit your things many times in your life, but the process gets easier, and the base from which you begin gets smaller.  Decluttering yarn was pretty difficult.  I’m generally not very materialistic and rarely get attached to stuff, but I really liked my yarn collection.  I had to fess up to the fact that there were yarns in there, bought on impulse, I was never, ever going to use.  Lovely though they may be, off they went.  And I actually felt more motivated than ever afterward to use yarns in my stash for projects rather than buying new yarn.

So, with this being the year of less, I thought I could extend that to fewer WIPs too.  Keep just a few WIPs about:  one complex, one easy and portable for out and about, and one for the list of gifts I’ve made.  And I’ve been pretty good.  These are my first three finished projects for 2019, not bad for nearly the end of Feb.  Furthermore they were all made with yarns from my stash:  Win!


I’ve been battling a little with the rheumatoid arthritis in my hands (not to mention the lupus everywhere else), so there are a couple of lovely projects in the works, but they’re taking longer than I’d hoped, but hey, I’m doing better than expected.

Our evenings in Rosendal are beginning to cool, as are the early mornings.  We are slowly but surely heading for winter, and I reckon it’ll be a cold one.  Not a bad thing since it means cosy crochet in front of the fire.  That sounds pretty awesome to me as the blanket projects come out then.  Yay.