DIY hipster – Banana fibre dolls and wire cars.

I was asked by a friend a while back if I did any D.I.Y’s that were not sewing related as she presented me with an exciting opportunity to write a column for her paper. It got me thinking…even if I’ve been trying to not label myself as one thing, other people are going to, so I might as well try to influence that, right? So I decided to think real hard on what I’d like for people to see me as; a seamstress, crafter, designer? To be honest, I still haven’t figured it all out yet. I figure this whole thing will just evolve on its own. One thing I do know though, is that I’m happiest, most focused and most fulfilled, when I make something myself (It doesn’t always have to be on my own, sometimes its even better to work with other people and mash up ideas). I also know that I have always been this way.


Talking about ninjas for the quiet book made me reflect on my childhood alot and it made be realise something; this whole crafting thing isn’t a new thing at all, the seed was actually planted a very long time ago. Like I mentioned, we didn’t have a lot of money growing up so my mother very rarely bought us toys, but that was completely okay because we loved making our own toys. I feel bad for my youngest siblings because by the time they were born, we had moved to the house my mom had built and they never got to experience the type of adventurous childhood my brother and I had. They played Prince of Persia on an old PC my mom had bought in the hopes that she would one day open her own stationary shop. I did not generally play with dolls, but I got irritated when my friends made wonky ones, and I’d take them, fix them and give them back. A little Doc Mcstuffins of sorts 😀 They were made of dried banana fibres and looked like this.

source: google search

source: google search

Sometimes we found discarded hair extensions from local salons to give the dolls hair.

Because we were pretty much free range children with very little supervision and roamed the neighbourhood freely, all the local tailors knew us and they let us collect scraps of fabrics for outfits for our dolls, and the girls would ask me to dress their dolls up and I recall really enjoying that.

We also made these cool wire cars out of scrap pieces of metal, we cut up flip flops for tires, old tires cut up to create long rubber bands e.t.c. These wire cars were so sophisticated they even had “shock absorbers” (it was a spring we added to allow the cars to navigate all those potholes with out falling apart.)We just pretty much used everything and anything around us that worked.

And one of my favourite play things  was a “butidda” or a slingshot/catapult. Some of the local kids used pigeons as target practice and got really good…poor pigeons. I hid mine from my mom or she’d kill me if she found me with one. I mean it! Good times 🙂



And don’t get me started on the hair! The girls would have you show them how well you could do a braid on the grass, before they’d let you touch their hair. That is how I learned to cornrow, in the grass.

So let me go figure out what to make next. Mama needs to get her mojo back soon.



One thought on “DIY hipster – Banana fibre dolls and wire cars.

  1. Pennie!!! this story is owesome,
    i just time travelled back there!!! l.o.l trust u, ur so artistic and creative ul figure out exactly wat 2 focus on): and by the way, when we were 18 u taught me how to do the hair twist at your uncle’s supermarket in Ggaba. every tym i do a twist i cant help but time travel to those quiet lovely quality times we spent together, Kikazzi is blessed to have you, The sky is the limit for you my sister, sooo Go there.


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