June 2011

In this edition:


Books for sale at kalahari.net

Designs Galore by Angie Franke and Monique Day-Wilde
Was R195.00, Now R165.75

Holiday Fun! by Ladybird
Was R59.95, Now R55.75

Pewter it! by Sandy Griffiths
Was R165.00, Now R140.25

Red Hats and the Women Who Wear Them by Lark Books
Was R150.95, Now R128.31

Just Hats by Lion Brand
Was R110.95, Now R94.31

The Mosaic Artist's Sourcebook by Teresa Mills
Was R227.95, Now R193.76

Scrap-metal craft by Alet Genis
Was R120.00, Now R102.00


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Got dreams? Chase them!

If you've been toying with the idea of turning your hobby into a business, maybe this edition of the Gazette will be just the inspiration you need. Our feature article this month is a guest piece by Capetonian crafter Lila Richter, and it's all about getting out of your comfort zone in pursuit of your dreams.

Lila is well-qualified to talk about dream-chasing: in addition to her day job as a copywriter, she started up Lila Richter Millinery to satisfy her creative urges and her need for bigger challenges. As the name suggests, Lila's craft business is about hats, hats, and more hats. You can see a couple of samples of her colourful, whimsical work pictured in the article below.

Share your craft events with us

If you're involved in a craft event of any kind, do add the details to the Red Balloon Events Calendar. You can use the calendar to advertise your craft market, an exhibition you're hosting, a craft class you're offering, a sale or special event at your craft store, or your monthly craft club get-together. And don't forget: we select a few events from the calendar for inclusion in each edition of the Gazette, as well as on the Red Balloon home page.


Security is a lazy man’s dream

By Lila Richter, fellow crafter, and creator of Lila Richter Online Boutique.

Is there anything worse than coming to the end of your life only to realise you haven’t lived the way you had dreamt when you were young? As I’m not at the end of my life, I don’t know for sure, but it’s easy to imagine. There is no better time to make your dreams a reality than right now!

I am one of those people who don’t do very well in the structure of a nine to five job. I do my best work late at night – I can work through the night on a project and not be tired in the slightest. I thrive on little challenges, like making a hat that I’ve never done before, or approaching a fancy schmancy boutique to sell my products. These are the things that make my blood pump faster and that give me the thrill that I need to do what I do. Not to mention a great feeling of accomplishment.

Being stuck in a comfort zone is the worst thing that could ever happen to someone with a dream. As some famous person once said: “Anything worth having is right outside your comfort zone.” If it wasn’t a little scary to get there, it wouldn’t be worth it in the end. There’s nothing scary about sitting in your office, working for your next paycheck. We often let ourselves get distracted and let things get in our way but, unless we decide to change our priorities, we won’t get where we want to go.

Take my situation as an example. As my full-time job, I write copy at a big agency in Cape Town. The challenges are great, but there isn’t enough to challenge me creatively. So I decided to do something about it - and now I make hats as a hobby.

My dad was a cartoonist for almost 30 years. Before he decided to become one, he worked at a bank. He says it was a secure job with good pay and great benefits but that his spirit died a little every day because he wasn’t doing what he wanted to be doing. After six months at a major investment company, he decided to resign. As he handed in his resignation, his boss said to him: “Johan, security is a lazy man’s dream.” That will always stay with me.

Why do we consider “security” to be more important than happiness? Sure, we won’t be very happy without food or a roof over our heads, but if you can live, even if only frugally, while living your dream, shouldn’t you do it? Shouldn’t happiness and self-worth be above a fancy house and five cars?

I ask myself this question frequently (not that I am anywhere near a fancy house or five cars) because this is how I would like to live my life. Rather by doing something I love than waking up every morning loathing the thought of going to work.

It’s easier than you think to follow your dreams; it truly is a matter of just doing it. Don’t come up with any more excuses. It’s easy to let other things rule your life. The power to change your life is in your hands. Start with your dream, make it a plan, do a ten step to success list and go for it. If you want to do something creative, you probably don’t need much money. Let your business grow from there and most importantly: let it grow organically. Don’t borrow money to do fancy things that aren’t essential. You don’t need fancy business cards or a sophisticated website from the word go. See what you can do for yourself, and when your business has generated enough money you can seek the services of professionals to give your business the edge.

I don’t believe in destiny or “a plan” but I do believe we are each made of many different elements. We are all here to make the bigger picture a better place and we need to get out of our ruts to do that.

Strangers are much more supportive of a good idea than you could ever imagine. If you’ve got a plan (or just a dream), run with it. If it has what it takes, people will help you get there. If it doesn’t have what it takes, they’ll help you along. You need to be able to handle criticism for any plan to work, even if it is unfounded. Never let anyone rain on your parade though. Listen to advice and consider everything, but don’t act on it if you don’t believe the change will be good for your plan.

So stand up, and do what it takes to make yourself happy! There will always be lots of reasons not to do something, but your happiness should trump them all!

Have a look at Lila’s online boutique.


What's on

Get more info on these and other events on the Red Balloon Events Calendar.

  • Fees van die Ganse (Western Cape)
    Come join the fun at this winter festival. You will find many stalls to browse, a fynbos flower show, entertainment, and kids' activities.
    Dates: Friday 8 July - Sunday 10 July 2011
    Venue: Sports ground, Gansbaai
    Trading hours: 9am - late
    Get more information on Fees van die Ganse here.

  • Wintermark 2011 (Western Cape)
    This typical Christmas-in-winter market is full of handmade goods, home-baked products, jewellery, a restaurant, clothes and more.
    Dates: Friday 1 July – Saturday 2 July 2011
    Venue: St Andrew Street, Oakdale, Bellville
    Trading hours: 9am - 5pm
    Get more information on Wintermark 2011 here.

  • Fabric sale at The Quilting Bug (Western Cape)
    The Quilting Bug is currently running a special on all Da-Gama fabric at R45 a meter. Be sure not to miss out on this great offer.
    Date: Until 1 July 2011
    Venue: 53 Dreyersdal Road, Cape Town
    Time: Tuesday to Friday 9:30am - 3:30pm and Saturdays 9am - 12pm
    Visit The Quilting Bug's website for more information.

  • Artists Under the Sun (Gauteng)
    With over one hundred artists offering around a thousand works of art, this is a truly unique experience that no art gallery can rival.
    Dates: Saturday 2 July – Sunday 3 July 2011
    Venue: Jan Smuts Avenue, Zoo Lake, Johannesburg
    Trading hours: 8:30am – 4:30pm
    Get more information on Artists Under the Sun here.


Can you help?

  • Lyn is looking for a supplier of plastic canvas, needles and yarn in South Africa.

If you can help with this request, please email us at info@redballoon.co.za, and we will pass the information on. You can send any requests of your own to the same email address.


On the bookshelf

Quilt a Gift by Barri Sue Gaudet

Reviewed by Dale Sandberg

Published by Metz Press

The author sets exactly the right tone for this book with her insightful foreword: in our fast-paced world, it is more important than ever to remember that simple joy is found in acts of creating, and giving. With years of experience and her own pattern company, author Barri Sue Gaudet has poured her heart into this book, which is full of gift projects.

Apart from the blessings you’ll be passing to your friends and family with your quilted wonders, you’ll be able to build your needlework confidence with this book. All skill levels are covered, so whether you’re new to the sewing scene or a master of the art, you’ll find something that suits you. Quilt a Gift is also fun because it doesn’t only have strictly traditional quilting designs: nearly all the projects incorporate felt, appliqué and whimsical embroidery too.

Projects are carefully grouped according to special occasions and themes like Birthday, Thank you, Wedding, Baby, Mother’s day, Hearts and home, Friendship, and Christmas. Visually, the book is wonderful, containing large colour photos of each creation, as well as smaller ones of stitching details. After seeing the sweet pin cushion beside a sprig of blue forget-me-not flowers, I was ready to get sewing.

What I really liked about this book (apart from all the charm) is its reader-friendly layout. For example, above each project Gaudet suggests how long it will take to complete. This makes it so easy to page through and find a project that fits the amount of time you have available. I fell for the cute little felt cupcake gift tags that only take 2 ½ hours – perfect for a last-minute gift.

All the patterns are included at the back of the book, as well as “General instructions” to help avoid making silly mistakes. A really useful feature is the page full of local supplier details for across the country and online. So, you’ll be able to stock up on threads and fabrics without a fuss.

Quilt a Gift doesn’t just offer many striking and beautiful patterns; it reminds us to value the people in our lives with personal expressions of gratitude and love.

Get more info on this title.

Find more book reviews in the Craft Compendium.


Opportunities for crafters

Get more info on these and other places to sell your crafts, in the Craft Outlets section of the Red Balloon Craft Junction.

  • Gordon’s Bay Indoor Market (Western Cape)
    There is limited space for original artists and crafters at this market, which takes place in a beautiful setting on the water’s edge at Harbour Island.
    Dates: Friday 1 July to Sunday 3 July, and Sunday 31 July 2011
    Venue: Gordon's Bay Boat Angling Club, Harbour Island, Gordon's Bay
    Contact: Mickey at 076 733 8855

That's all for this edition. I hope we've inspired you to take the next step in pursuit of your crafting dreams, whether that means starting a business, approaching a store to sell your products, or just trying out a new craft!

Till next month,