Handy tips from Constantia Handcraft Club

Have you heard of a sock monkey? Neither had I until a week ago when I spent a fascinating morning with members of the Constantia Handcraft Club at their weekly meeting place in the Dutch Reformed Church Hall on Ladies Mile.

On arrival I was surprised to find rows of women at long tables all busy with their hands.
Some were knitting blankets for charity. Others were pinning together felt “ears” to make teddy bear heads. The woman next to me was sewing tiny quilt patches and another was knitting a 12-square jersey. Four squares make up the front and four the back and the remaining four go into two sleeves which are extended by using smaller needles to taper the sleeves.

I was relieved to hear no ribbing was involved…

When I was about 9 I took a whole term to rib eight miserable centimetres for a baby’s cap because my one plain one purl kept turning into moss stitch which meant unpicking and starting again. The blue wool was navy by the time the garment was finished.

What’s great about this handcraft club is that even if you don’t know that découpage comes from the French verb découper, “to cut out” the club’s chairlady, Elaine Cleghorn, and her deputy, Karen Steinhofel, will find somebody to teach this technique enabling you to personalise almost any item in your home.

The process involves cutting out pictures, glueing them on to boxes, cups, vases etc. and coating the pictures with layers of varnish. The finished item can look as though it had been professionally painted.

The list of handcrafts made by the club’s members is virtually limitless.

The goofy sock monkey has been a favourite of children and adults for years. The first step is to turn the sock inside out and to draw a line down the middle to create the monkey’s legs.

Next you sew up one side on the line and back down the other before cutting the line. With a bit more sewing, cutting and stuffing you should end up with an adorable monkey, complete with a tail.

To be inspired by the skill and imagination of the club’s members do visit their exhibition on Thursday October 25 to Saturday October 27 at the DRC Church hall on Ladies Mile.

You’ll be amazed at the variety and ingenuity of their creations over the past two years.

Loads removed

It was good to hear from Fine Music Radio’s station manager Mark Jennings that the Coastal Clean-up on Saturday September 15 of Milnerton’s beach and lagoon with Plastics SA and refreshments from Pick n Pay had resulted in 2.32 tons of wet waste.

Though it sounds a lot, it is minute in terms of the estimate of Professor Peter Ryan, director of the FitzPatrick Institute of African Ornithology, that there are 51 trillion pieces of micro plastic currently smothering our ocean.

Patrollers needed

There were both good and sobering news about crime from Ian Basset when he chaired the meeting of the Tokai Neighbourhood Crime Watch on Thursday September 20 at the Tokai Community Church.

“Though there has been a 63.3% drop in burglaries of residential premises between June to August 2017 and the same period in 2018, the need to fight crime has to continue.

“Police resources are stretched as they are deployed in areas where there is far more crime than in Tokai. So we need more patrollers as well as blue lights in the valley and two new cameras. New initiatives are being considered to raise the funds so a monthly debit order of between R50 to R100 from our members would help us fight crime.”

The favourite day for criminals has been identified as Wednesdays “bin day” when people on foot, taking advantage of the presence of “bin men and women” enter Tokai through the green belt.

A sobering fact he raised was that in more than half of the burglaries in residential homes last year the alarms and beams had not been set and may not have been working anyway.

The good news is that Ria Verhoef, TNCW’s incident manager, has offered her services to help residents check their security systems for the low cost of R200 for TNCW members and R400 for non-members.

This money will go to other fund-raising initiatives.

Social media dangers

The guest speaker at TNCW meeting was Advocate Deon Ruiters from the National Prosecuting Authority who gave a riveting talk on the “Dangers of social media and cyber bullying”.

It had been recommended that parents brought their children along to listen to this “eye-opening presentation”.
However with his 20 years’ experience specialising in legal support for women and children survivors of sexual abuse; I think it was the parents present who got the biggest shock listening to what dangers lie in wait for their precious chicks who secretly get involved in sharing their lives with evil strangers through social media.

WhatsApp has become a favourite port of entry for these predators.

He made the point that children are quickly learning how to switch from a bad site when their parents approach so they appear to be doing something innocent on their phones.

His talk was an important wake-up call for parents. Hopefully they were reassured to hear Advocate Ruiters’ frequent references to the laws which are in place to take action against those who are intent on abusing, “grooming” or bullying young children for their pleasure. Thank heavens for people like him and those in his team.

Dolphins are smart

Did you know that dolphins are so smart that within a few weeks of captivity, they can train people to stand on the very edge of the pool and throw those fish?

fionachisholm@iafrica.com