Because I’m hiding away from the dreaded Second Wave, I’m watching a lot of programmes on the Home Channel, and  I’m all fired up. Next year, friends and family will open their gifts and gasp: Did YOU make this? Yourself?  Whether  the gasps will be of horror or admiration remains to be seen.

How hard can it be? Knock up a batch of shortbread? Tick. Knock up a batch of Fir-tree shaped biscuits? Tick.  Bash out a couple of fruit cakes mid-October, buy a bottle of brandy, and tenderly dose the cakes at weekly intervals. Tick. These I can do. Easy peasy.

Ditto making chutney  when apricot and tomatoes  are plentiful. Tick.  Doable. Provided we aren’t plagued with load-shedding in 2021, hello Eskom, are you listening?

But there are other options: apparently all I need is  bunch of willow branches, a stout pair of pliers, iron determination and I will weave a batch of wooden placemats, or maybe  a small laundry hamper. The relentlessly enthusiastic   English TV anchor made it look so simple. Now where am I going to source willow branches? Do willows even grow in this province, I wonder? Maybe Karree  tree branches would work out? This is so exciting!

And then, I nearly forgot: Knitted items , and crochet whatsits. Why, I saw an adorable little crocheted snowflake in a craft magazine, only yesterday. Never mind that the South African Christmas season is blazingly hot, and not a snowflake in sight. Details, details!  Don’t be a wet blanket! Of course, I’ll have to learn how to crochet, but that’s all on YouTube, isn’t it ? No problem.

Or I can raid my trove of wallpaper samples, ( note to self: start collecting wallpaper samples); cut out floral bits and bobs and make individual handsewn greetings cards; or decorate the cover of the handmade book that I’ve conjured up out of thick manilla paper, and magicked up a cover out of an old leather coat that I’ve cut up. Must say I have reservations about cutting up an old leather coat. Even if it is Pleather. Is this a good idea, I wonder? Again, the TV anchor was amazingly nonchalant about attacking an old leather jacket with an enormous pair of shears. Mind you, it was a nasty shade of green, so what the heck.

Really, the choice is dazzling, and I haven’t even got around to the  knitted and sewn items. I mean, socks, scarves, beanies, dinky little purses.  Positively overwhelming.

Oh! the agonies of choice!  A greener, more thoughtful Christmas. Thoughtfully  curated gifts, personally designed and laboriously made; no more raids on the Chinese plastic shop.

The only thing between me and  a homespun Christmas in 2021 are the following: a glue gun, a craft cutting mat, a super-sharp craft knife,  an awl, pliers, a steel ruler, paint,  decorative trinkets, buttons, raffia,  fabric strips, a collection of wallpaper samples, fabrics samples, buttons, sequins, dinky charms, a ton of glass and ceramic beads, oh …. and a lot more besides.

My word, I’m going to be busy in the New Year. Alternatively I could just go online on Black Friday and press the plastic. could see me around the end of November. Watch this space. And if you don’t want a home-made gift,  I suggest you start planning your  home removal right now! You have been warned.




  1. Gosh, Alison… so many options! I can’t wait to read what projects you decide to do next!

    I have numerous tin cans that I’ve collected in the last months, which I’m hoping to transform into something useful/pretty/cute… I’m thinking of fairy houses for the garden, because who doesn’t need more fairies and angels in these harrowing terrifying times?! I’ve been looking at Google images of clearly very talented arts-and-crafters for inspiration, but all it did was give me performance anxiety and freeze me in limbo.

    At a Christmas market, in a fit of enthusiasm, I bought two small wooden owl-cutouts that are now waiting to be mosaiced… I’d clearly forgotten how mosaicing and grouting shred one’s fingertips.


  2. Eileen Turner

    Loved it, Alison. Well written and, no doubt, appeals to all of us who watch these programmes and have the same thoughts. I rushed out in between our lockdowns and bought more knitting wool. Then I decided that I would not allow myself to start knitting a new item until I have sewn up the two jerseys which have been hoping to be completed for about 2 years! ( I love knitting which can be done whilst TV is on but don’t like the sewing up) Good luck with your craft work, Alison xx

    On Wed, 30 Dec 2020, 14:47 despatchesfromtimbuktu, wrote:

    > alison41 posted: ” Because I’m hiding away from the dreaded Second Wave, > I’m watching a lot of programmes on the Home Channel, and I’m all fired > up. Next year, friends and family will open their gifts and gasp: Did YOU > make this? Yourself? Whether&nbs” >


  3. Dawn Rae

    Oh Alison, this is delightful 😂
    If you’re going to spend on all the things you need to make your gifts, you might as well save yourself the effort and buy gifts 😉👍
    But the foodie gifts are right up your alley. Maybe some small, single person Christmas cakes for your single friends… nudge, nudge, wink, wink 😁👍 and a bunch of shortbread would go down a treat too!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Elaine Edwards

    My sister in law made 52 little knitted dolls in the space of three weeks for a local orphanage. I’ll send you the pattern. You can take it slowly and only knit one per week. That should keep you occupied during lockdown!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. The road to hell….. except for the chutney.

    Liked by 2 people

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