PlanetJune Craft Blog

Latest news and updates from June

burgled (update)

I just wanted to say thank you to all of you who took the time to leave me a message after my last post about the burglary. Reading them has meant a lot to me. These days, so few people comment on blogs, and it feels good to know you’re still out there reading what I write. I really appreciate all your advice and messages of support – thank you.

I still feel sick thinking about how lucky I was to be unharmed – at least physically – and how this could happen again (with far worse consequences) at any time, but here’s a quick update on my situation in case you’ve been worrying about me.

Fixing the Damage

All our belongings that were taken have been replaced. We’ve actually done quite well out of that: everything was insured, and having 2-4 year old laptops and tablets replaced with their current equivalents means nice shiny new models in place of the old slower ones.

But, in a great example of the relaxed pace of ‘Africa time’, I still have no front door! The company our insurance contracted to fit the replacement door and security door finally came to measure for the new door on Friday (9 days after the burglary…), but it’ll probably take another 2 weeks before the new door is made and can be fitted. In the meantime, our old door has been boarded up and screwed into the frame, so don’t worry: this delay isn’t a security problem, it’s just a bit frustrating not having a front door that opens.

Home Security

Thank you for all the advice – I’m definitely not considering buying a gun, but I’d like a dog, if I can figure out if Maui would be happy with that, and if we can find the right dog for our family. I’ve been considering getting a dog for several years, but it’s a big long-term commitment and I’ve never felt 100% sure that I’m ready. Maybe this will be the push I need, so I’ll have the bonus of a barking alarm as an additional burglar deterrent…

I live behind high spiked gates, with bars on all the windows and metal gates over all the doors. I assumed that would keep me safe, but it’s obviously not enough. I’m hoping the replacement doors will be more secure, and we’re also going to see if we can change how the alarm system works so I have more protection against intruders while I’m working from home all day.

Data Security

One excellent thing has come of all this: I’ve had to seriously address the issue of protecting my data with some sort of offsite backup, so I don’t lose my business files (or personal documents). Several of you suggested cloud storage, but I don’t feel that’s a secure solution for sensitive information. I already use Dropbox for saving ideas and sharing files with other people, but I’m not convinced it’s sufficiently safe for important private data such as my business files, tax records, etc.

I now have an excellent solution (thanks to Aleksandra’s recommendation) – I’ve created my own private, secure, cloud storage on my own web server. It works exactly like Dropbox, so all my files are automatically synced whenever I update them, I have access to all my data from any computer or mobile device. The difference is that my data is all encrypted at my end, so only I have the decryption key, and it’s only stored on my own server, so there’s far less risk of a security breach. And, because my server lives in North America, it’s 100% safe from South African burglars 😉

I know this probably won’t help many of my readers, but in case anyone googling for secure offsite data backup and file synchronization finds this post, I’m using Seafile for my own private cloud storage. A one-sentence review: it’s open source, completely free if you have your own server, and so far I’ve found it very easy to use: my files are auto-syncing from my computer, and I can easily access anything I need using the Android app on my phone and tablet. (I also found a similar solution called OwnCloud, but I haven’t tried it, so that’s not a personal recommendation, just another option you could consider.)

Moving Forward

Well, I’m trying to, at least. I’m still very jumpy, and every noise sounds like an intruder preparing to break in and attack me, but I have a plan for that: if I see anyone on my property, I’ll hit the panic button to set off the alarm, and hopefully scare them off before they get into the house. I feel a bit safer knowing I have some way to protect myself if I see anyone coming.

I’ve also made lots of progress on several of my big long-term projects – trying to take my mind off being scared – although there’s nothing to see yet, as I haven’t been able to do any final quality checks while I’ve been too exhausted to think clearly. But this means there’ll be lots of new PlanetJune stuff coming very soon…

Things are getting better. Thank you for caring. 🙂


  1. Good to hear most of this. Ja, Africa time is unreal! Advice: if you get a dog, it should sleep indoors to more strongly bond with you and “inside” becomes its personal territory – its den if you like – so the dog will be very protective. GO for training with your dog yourself, because you are alone at home in the day.

  2. Deanna said

    June, I am just now learning of the awful experience you had. My heart goes out to you. Of all the traumatic things that can happen, this one must be one of the worst. I’m thinking of you and sending best vibes for your healing. God bless.

  3. Cheryl said

    I am so very glad to hear you were physically unharmed and that you are taking steps to protect yourself, your family, home, and your lovely creations that bring so many of us joy. As a victim of a carjacking and years later a terrifying freeway accident, I still jump at loud sounds. But I am more careful and vigilant now, and more grateful. Take care, June, you have many people who think of you as a friend.

  4. Jacqueline said

    June just read your blog..I am so so sorry to read of the terrible experience. Feel better, know you are not alone but part of a larger connected world. You have brought me such joy over the last few years in my isolation I wish I could give back to you.

  5. Barbara Caudill said

    I just now saw your news about the burglary. I am so glad you are safe and that you are feeling a little better. I cannot imagine what you went through even though I have experienced one break in to our truck and another one when burglars attempted to break into our home. I think that one was foiled by our new puppy whose crate was sitting next to the sliding glass doors the burglars had worked loose. But seeing the burglars, well that had to be so scary. I will be saying a prayer for you each time I see your emails and any mention of you online…which is quite frequently. You are much loved June.
    Barbara from Florida

  6. Daisy said

    I’m so sorry to hear about this — it must have been terrifying. I had a break-in many years ago, and I remember how unsafe I felt afterwards, even though I wasn’t in any physical danger and nothing was actually taken. (I woke up in the middle of the night to find someone digging around under my bed — it turned out a neighborhood kid had broken in, eaten half a package of cookies, stacked up a bunch of CDs by the back door to take with him, and then apparently decided to look for anything valuable in my bedroom, where my husband and I were sleeping. I yelled because I didn’t know what else to do, and my husband woke up and managed to scare the kid enough that he was able to keep him there until the police got there.) It was hard to fall asleep for a while after that, just knowing that someone had invaded my space — I can’t imagine how scary it must have been to walk in on multiple burglars like that. I hope your door gets replaced soon!

    I’ve been using Duplicati to do encrypted data backups to my web host’s cloud service, but the interface is a little clunky — going to check out Seafile and see if it supports the system my host uses.

  7. Peggy said

    Hi June – So glad you are ok. Guns make me nervous, although I do know how to use one. My main method of protection inside the house is a can of “bear spray” mounted just inside my front door, within easy reach. Doesn’t make me nearly as nervous as a gun does and I know it would definitely send an attacker into spasms of pain. I know this because my sister accidentally sprayed herself with it once! Oops. Much stronger than Mace.

    We also have an alarm system from SimpliSafe – much cheaper and easier to use than the conventional alarm companies’ stuff. My husband can monitor everything in the house from his phone. We love it.

    Blessings from Texas!

  8. alicia said

    glad you are stating to feel more in control. Wow 2 weeks for a door seems outrageous!

  9. Simone said

    Hi June! *waves*
    So glad to see you’re feeling a bit better. The steps you took to improve your surroundings (digital and otherwise) sound great.
    Wishing you all the best!

  10. Aine said

    Hurray! This is a bit of good news that you have some control over your life again.
    I personally hope you do get a dog.
    Be safe, Be strong

  11. .: petrOlly :. said

    I’m glad my backup suggestion works for you 🙂
    I hope everything else will do, too – even if it happens at a much slower pace.
    I look forward to everything you accomplished in the last days to keep yourself busy – and even though you are still jumpy, you seem much happier now than a few days ago 🙂
    Go June! 🙂

  12. Megan said

    So glad you hear you are doing better. My parents have an in home and away from home function on the alarm. The biggest difference is the out of home system includes a motion detector. When in home (they usually have it on at night) it still monitors doors and windows being opened, but one can move freely. They can also crack certain windows open up to a certain width. Hopefully you can figure out something similar.

  13. It sounds like you are doing all of the right things to move forward practically as well as emotionally. Keep hanging in there. Hugs!

  14. Cathleen said

    I was sorry to hear about this horrible burglary happening to you! Unfortunately, we know all the negative stuff it causes, but I for one, am just here to offer my support as one of your many followers, along with your many family and friends. Somehow, as you are already realizing, a lot of positive comes out of something like this (unfortunately, I know from personal exp).

    I will also take this opportunity to add how much I love your website and your wonderful creations (adorable)! I am a crochet fanatic myself of many years and I am so happy that the art has made such a beautiful “comeback” in the last several years (and with the help of the internet)! Although I’ve crocheted all but the first 6 years of my life, I am always learning a new twist on crochet stitches I already knew (thanks to your website for one). So, just wanted to say THANK YOU for your fantastic work and I’m sure you will be stronger every day!


  15. Jessica Lee said

    Thanks for the update. I am so glad you have found solutions that will help you, your family and your business. Thanks for the info about the OwnCloud, I think I might see if that will work for our family too. You are a strong and resourceful woman, you will become stronger because of the trials you have been through.

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