Friday, June 29, 2007

Places to Stay

Thanks to Spray Glue I recently discovered Design Hotels, a website featuring hotels "united by progressive design". Talk about day-dreaming!

Featured were three hotels from southern Africa. The Outpost in the Kruger National Park (my fave!), the Metropole in Cape Town, and 10 Bompas in Johannesburg. Now, enjoy these photos and rela-a-a-ax...

Now, where have I seen those cow-hide ottomans before?

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Snow in June

Well, it is actually winter in the southern hemisphere right now, so cold in June is not such a big deal... but it snowed in Johannesburg yesterday! Crazy! Just for those of us not familiar with the no-snow situation in Jozi... when I was three, or there-abouts, it snowed enough for there to be snowmen. I wouldn't go outside. Then, in my final year of high school, it flurried. For a second. That's it!

Since moving to Boston, and all the winter snow, I've grown to love, love, love the stuff! Glad to know my peeps at home got a little share (even if it was only a few inches and was mostly melted by noon).

Um, and a note to my mother-in-law... I'm sorry you got stuck at the airport because of the snow. Maybe we should club together and get them a plough, for any future inconvenience!

(Photo of snowy bird-feeder from the reader's gallery on

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

...and then there were three.

Congrats to my fellow blogger, Angry Chicken, on her new arrival.


I am so excited! After much complaining about how little web presence South Africa has on the web, yesterday I came across the fun blog of an illustrator in Cape Town... and she sells her wares on etsy! Wahoo! Finally, I can use my well-honed online shopping skills to purchase South African textiles... although, let's face it, even if skinnylaminx wasn't South African I'd be buying, buying, buying!

I do love the textiles, but there are unique and interesting magnets for sale, too. I love the colors, the textures, and Heather's attention to detail (check out the back side of the pillows).

Heather, I think you're going to have a very busy Thursday packing up my purchases. Just give me a couple days to decide which I want... otherwise I think I'd simply buy them all.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Wish List

If only I could get my grubby paws on...

Wild Animals of Africa, one of the six copies made by Lyndi Sales; woven plastic mat (found everywhere in SA, but this one is from Art Africa), and Zen Zulu baskets (from the BAT Centre, in Durban).

(All products as seen in various issues of Elle Decoration).

Friday, June 22, 2007

Happy Trails

The photography on Apparently Nothing is simply hauntingly beautiful.

Cape Town, a walk on the beach.

(Thanks Lorissa!)

Thursday, June 21, 2007

African Salad

I am super excited to share a beautiful book with you today. It's called African Salad, but it has nothing to do with salad. Well, maybe just a little.

The book is a photographic exploration of everyday South Africans and their food. The gorgeous pages show pictures of the people, their homes, and of course, their food. Inside you'll find a Mielie (corn) dish, Tswana-style Morogo (Tswana are a people of South Africa, and morogo is wild spinach), carrot jam, Mrs Hick's Christmas cake, curried chicken, and oodles more. But more importantly you'll be invited into the homes of some very beautiful, colourful people. This is all wrapped up in a very tactile fabric cover. Ah, bliss!

I am a huge fan of good books, and would love to meet the people who spent a year and a half trekking across the land getting people to let them into thier homes. The original concept was from Stephan Le Roux, while Stan Engelbrecht took the photographs and Tamsen de Beer wrote the text. Wonderful, thank you so much.

African Salad is, unfortunately, not available in the States yet, but it is available in the UK (check out and you can see more detail on their website.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

A Short Skirt and a Long Jacket

I'm a big fan of Spray Glue, a fellow South African's blog which consistently features simply fantastic bits of design all over the place. Recently, Gary brought Petticoat to my attention.

Petticoat is the work of Suzannah Garland, a Cape Town native with an eye for timeless style.

Can I have the green coat NOW!?

Tuesday, June 19, 2007


As someone who has recently been on the lookout for a chic recliner (I was pleasantly surprised to see these actually exist) I noticed a wonderful furniture shop in Cape Town... er, I noticed it online, of course.

I absolutely love this! The shop is Klooftique, and they are situated on Kloof Street. I could easily welcome any of these into my home... I'd have to do some asking, though, about where these hides came from (I'm a bit of a bunny-hugger, you see) but I think the Nguni (cow) skin rug would be perfect with the new recliner I did end up getting this past weekend.

As their website says, Klooftique is "home to a decadent collection of superbly crafted handmade furniture".

Monday, June 18, 2007


While recently browsing through Country Home magazine, I came across their "Collect It" page. This is always filled with inspiring stuff. Personally, I am never at an end as to what to collect, or what useless stuff to buy. I am just a plain ol' sucker for anything lovely, or just down right interesting.

Anyway, Country Home featured antique beaded flowers and fruits as a great thing to collect (June 2007). They had some gorgeous watermelons, and tactile pears. They, and the other featured fruit, dated from the 40s through 50s.

This reminded me of a gift someone sent me via my mom. A little sparkly something from home. The friend sent a protea, which is South Africa's national flower, and just a really handsome bloom. They also sent along an aloe, which is one of my favourites thanks to the huge variety of birdlife that are attracted to them.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Happy Trails

If, one day, you find yourself travelling the North Coast of KwaZulu-Natal, be sure to stop in at the Oyster Box Hotel and watch for whales and dolphins.

You may be lucky enough to enjoy a sunrise, too, on Umhlanga beach at the lighthouse. With thanks to Grant at for the sunrise.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Inspiration From All Over the World

Like many in the blogosphere, I've recently read about Florence Broadhurst, a fascinating woman who re-invented herself throughout her life and lived in interesting times. The focus of the book is the wallpaper company she founded, that was the pinnacle of her work. I would recommend it to anyone interested in design, or anyone who is interested in the tenacity of the human spirit.

Her work made me think of a South African whose work has really inspired me. Her name is Maira Koutsoudakis, and she is at the helm of life Interiors+ Architecture+ Creative Direction. Her work has been shown in South Africa and abroad, and her products have been sold in the Conran Shop in London and elsewhere; at Kelly Hoppen in London; As’art gallery in Paris; and in Germany.

What made me think of her while I was reading about Florence Broadhurst, besides the obvious incredible talent that both display, is that Maira has created a wallpaper of her own. It's called JHB (which is the abbreviation of Johannesburg) and it incorporates the heritage of the city: everything from giraffes, protea, elephants, the Drommedaris (the ship that Van Riebeek sailed when he "discovered" the southern tip of Africa), diamonds, aloes, and people. It's fascinating to look at, there is always something more to find.

Maira has been a speaker at the bi-annual meeting of South African creatives, Design Indaba (more about that exciting subject at a later date). You can read more about her and her work on the Design Indaba website.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Shopping in SA via London

Last year I was lucky enough to go to London for a weekend with a great friend of mine. We had a superb weekend, squeezing in everything from hitting the tourist spots to seeing a Christmas service at St. Paul's cathedral.

Along the way we stopped in at a pub for lunch, just off of Regent Street (bangers and mash? delish!), and then we went over to the shopping that's around Carnaby Street. We found a cute little shop, and inside I found this.

It's a necklace adorned with labels from South African brands, like All Gold sweetcorn, Sunlight dishwashing soap, Rooibos tea and Lucky Star anchovies. I could not resist it! The only one that may be familiar to readers not living in SA is the tea. You can now find Rooibos, also known as redbush, at tea shops, and now it's being made by Snapple (kinda hard to taste the redbush tea due to all the fruity-ness, but it's there), however I digress.

I've only worn the necklace once (it's like that gorgeous red dress that everyone remembers) and I got so many compliments.

Friday, June 8, 2007

Happy Trails!

You gotta love the google. I randomly did an image search one day and came up with this gem. This is a shot of an area in Cape Town called the Bo-Kaap. On a website dedicated to the area, the writer describes it as, "Hidden in central Cape Town, just beyond the hassles and bustle, you will find this little treasure which is an attraction for many holidaymakers.

What is Bo-Kaap? It is a multicultural area, tucked safely into the fold of signal hill. Use the cobble stoned streets as your guide and you will be lead into a lively suburb filled with brightly colored houses from the nineteenth and seventeenth century, Muslim saints shrines ("kramats") and many beautiful Mosques including the first established Muslim Mosque in South Africa."

I can already feel the sun on my face, enjoying a cuppa on someone's stoep*.

*SA slang for verandah or porch.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Recycle, Re-Use, Reduce

In honour of Environment Day, which is June 5 (yesterday), I'm going to share a delightful little car with you. It's a jeep!

The little jeep is made from an old insecticide can. Hmm, not that glamorous! But it works in its new incarnation... and funnily enough the can-car has a recycle symbol on its side.

So! Don't only recycle... re-use! Make something beautiful. And what about reduce? Well, cut down on paper. Read blogs. Like mine!

Monday, June 4, 2007

Cape Town Letterpress

Those who know me know that I am a huge letterpress fan. In days when email rules, the tactile beauty of great paper and gorgeous design is something very special. I've been lured in by the likes of port2port press, Satsuma Press, and Pancake & Frank's thanks to Etsy. (That's pancake's design, followed by Satsuma's, and then port2port.)

Locally I love the work of Albertine Press after enjoying some time with Shelley during the Somerville Open Studios here in Boston, and also Goosefish Press, who I discovered during the Fort Point Open Studios last year. (Goosefish first, below.)

The other letterpress company that I am very excited about (although I haven't seen their work in the flesh yet) is The Letterpress Company, which is based in Cape Town.

Their work runs the gamut from business cards and stationery to what I've seen called broadsides (poetry, and other wonderful stuff). I love their work!

Friday, June 1, 2007

Happy Trails!

Friday is here! Bet you'd like to be visiting... Inhambane, Mozambique.

Thanks to the very talented Leslie Macmillan for the pic from her trip to southern Africa recently. You can enjoy more of Leslie's travels and photography at her website, but you'll definitely be seeing more of her view of Africa on South of the Sahara.

Have a super weekend!