Monday, September 29, 2008


I always love to see someone re-using what we already have in our world, or maybe using something ugly and making it beautiful.

Ryan Frank is a Cape Town-trained product designer living in London, and making inspired furniture. Can you see the millipede in the ishongololo chair (ishongololo is Zulu for millipede) and the chicken in the inkuku chair (you can find chickens made from plastic bags sold everywhere in South Africa)?

I also like that Ryan used graffiti to create the Hackney shelf...

To see more of how Ryan uses his past and present to create new products, check out his website.

As originally seen on SA Elle Deco's blog

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Chew-sy News

As you may know, besides running my little blog, I also work as a graphic designer and am completing a night programme in graphic design... so one could say it is one of my passions. Imagine my extreme joy today when I discovered The Chews Magazine, a magazine run by three South Africans, featuring YOU. Yep, its all driven by content sent in by readers.

I love magazines. says the editor on the first page of their first issue, And I love design. It is because of these two passions that Chew was born. The Chew team is a small three man, or rather two men and one woman, show. But you know what they say about small packages. Our dream is to give people the opportunity to send in their contributions, whether visual, verbal or interactive, and serve it up in Chew. It allows folks to experiment, explore and above all, to have fun – making this a magazine for you, by you. More importantly, it is a testament that dreams can and do come true :)

Sounds like my kind of people. Anyway, the first issue, The Dream Issue, is a feast for the eyes. There are ideas on fashion, places to stay all around the world, film, blogs, magazines, bicycles, artists... the list ... goes on!

Besides the fact that the magazine is entirely reader generated, it is only available online. You sign up on the web (great way to get your readership demographics!) and download a 53-page PDF of visual gorging. Sign up here. Halleluja.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Kim Gray

I've been a fan of Kim Gray's website for so long, that I thought I had shared it with you already (I checked my previous posts, but if I have told you, please excuse my enthusiasm!)

I enjoy the visual feast that she serves up... Kim is a stylist, and has a wonderful eye for color, style, interesting shopping finds.

She shares persona stuff, like her home office (or, at least, one she styled in her flat)...

her work...

and whatever else catches her eye. Kim also has placed images on flickr to inspire us.

My Mom's maiden name is Gray, do you think we could be related? Oh, that would be fabulous! Head over to her site to see what she's showing us next!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Barefoot in LA

The New York Times recently featured the home of South African born Clive Wilkinson.

I loved the open spaces and social set up that the house encourages...

as well as the logic of concrete floors, where the outside becomes inside...

Turns out Clive redesigned the Google offices in LA, with those same social and interactive ideas.

I like what I saw of his commercial work, and appreciate his thinking in doing what he did, but I LOVE his house. Enjoy more of his story, and a slide show of the house and his work, here.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Ooh! Look What I Found!

Two of my favorite paper resources collided for me this afternoon when I opened Paper Sources' NEW page on their website. (Check out the two journals on the bottom right of the page).

Paper Source
has stock of Eco Jot's journals! Yay! Now I have to make less effort to get my hands on Carolyn's lovely work. These are the two Paper Source have on their website, not sure what they have in-store (but I hope to get there this weekend).

The write up:

Jotting can be eco-friendly with this playful notebook — it's 100% recycled and acid and chlorine free. The cheerful Eco-Jot Apples Spiral Notebook is ready to be filled with your most important and creative thoughts, ideas, daydreams, and — oh yeah, maybe a little homework. Write on!

Enjoy more of Carolyn's work on her website, and keep up with what inspires her on her blog.

Yay for Paper Source! Yay for Eco Jot!

Monday, September 8, 2008

Credit Where It's Due

I was recently reading the August '08 issue LivingEtc, a fabulous magazine, when I noticed an article on a house in South Africa. It's the home of actress Trevyn McGowan, who was born in Johannesburg but trained in the UK. The house is in Wilderness and is just gorgeous.

I particularly loved what they have done with the good old riempie dining room chairs... a little white paint and they are transformed!

The only thing missing is a couple credits to fantastic South African artists. I noticed some lovely ceramic bowls in the kitchen. Aren't those Hylton Nel's handiwork?

And the wire work on the wall of the office is definitely Heath Nash's "It's beautiful here"... I'd give you a link to his work, but the only current website I can find is this one, and it seems to still be in the works. Watch that space, Heath's work is always astounding.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Etsy Artist: The Wren

Today I'm continuing my features on South African designers and artists on the etsy website. I bring you (long overdue!) artist; The Wren! I have long been a fan of her lovely fabric designs (LOVE the bird pouches), which I keep track of on her blog, and you can see more of her work on her etsy page.

Who are you, and where are you located?

Wendren Milford from Cape Town, South Africa

What do you sell on etsy? Have you been doing that long?

Hand-bags, Bigger hand-bags (or as some call them 'totes'), a bag design I call the 'Tulip Bag' that is very much like a messenger bag and cute little bird pouches for your cell phone, cosmetics or any other small essentials.

I started with Etsy on 06 March '08. I haven't been on all that long but I have given it everything so it feels like a long time.

How did you come to creating what you sell?
Last year I needed a new day-bag and spent about six months looking for one that I liked. Eventually I decided to try and make my own. I really liked how my end product turned out (what is now known as the Wren Small Town Bag). Other people saw it, liked it and I started making more. I am now proud to say I have my own wonderful hand-made label called Wren.

What inspires you?
Nature and my surroundings are my primary inspirations. There is so much available in nature to draw from – it is the biggest visual library in the world! I often spend time outdoors or enjoy drawing inspiration from photographs, drawings or pictures of nature and/or things in nature.

What is your best seller? Why do you think it's most popular?

It has gone up and down. The Bird Pouches flew out of my shop faster than I could make them in the beginning but have also hit a bit low and are now not my best seller. The most consistent seller is the Big Town Bag. I think it is because it extremely practical and looks good.

What is your favourite material?
I adore natural fabrics: cotton, linen and silk. Shweshwe for it's unique handle, feel and smell also rank highly in my favourites list.

What advice would you give someone else who would like to sell on etsy?
Go for it...

Is there anywhere else customers could go to buy your work (website or actual location)?
I haven't gotten that far yet… If somebody would like to come and see the bags they should contact me and I can arrange a viewing. I am hoping that they will be at the Stellenbosch market and a few other studio spaces soon. Otherwise, etsy (US) and dawanda (EU) are my two main outlets.

Now, completely off topic! What do you never leave home without?...

I am not very good at remembering things. I usually always forget something at home. My to-do-list (notebook), cell phone and wallet are the three things I try and always have with me. I also always have my house/car keys with me (although I often lose these along the way too).

... what's your favourite place on earth?
In the bushveld (out in nature) or far-out at sea (on my surf-ski). Both these places are quiet and peaceful and the busy world seems far far away. I can relax, slow down and take a moment to simply enjoy being.

... and, if you could do anything else, what would it be?

Like every girl one dreams about being a princess, but now I'm not so sure. I dream of what I can do with my life rather than change my circumstances. I enjoy what I do so much and often I wish I could make many of my other ideas come to life – finances are usually the problem. I would like to learn to sculpt one day – I have always wanted to learn that skill…. This is a hard question.

You can visit the Wren at her blog, her etsy shop, and see her sketches and art on etsy too (a different page). If you're in Europe, you may be interested in this page, instead of etsy.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Spot the Skinny (as in, you know, "Where's Waldo?")

It seems that Skinny LaMinx has been in the news lately...

House & Garden magazine: in a feauture on Rooms on View (which Skinny was involved in). The issue is from May, so Rooms On View has come and gone. (The magazine took a while to get to Boston, okay!) That's Skinny's fabric in the top right of the page.

sfgirlbybay: One of my ultimate favourite blogs, sfgirlbybay (that's Skinny's fabric in the bottom right)

Oprah Home Magazine: I saw this while flying back from holiday a few weeks ago. Amongst fine company, Skinny!(See the bottom middle)

Elle Deco: The latest (kitchen) issue arrived on my doorstep a week or two ago, and what did I spot? An apron from Skinny!

Well done to Heather (aka Skinny). You deserve all the publicity.

I'll keep a look out for more South African artists and designers in the news. In the meantime, if you like what you see of Skinny's work, check out her blog or her etsy shop. Skinny is now also selling her lovely designs on mugs.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Out On A LIM

While perusing my recent find, the 10th anniversary South African House & Garden magazine (yum!) I came across these beautiful bowls and plates.

Love 'em, love 'em, love 'em. So I decided to do some research and discovered that they are from a lovely Cape Town shop called LIM... from less is more, and that is the whole approach of the store.

I love the openness, beauty and simplicity in the chosen pieces. Here are some snapshots of my faves:

Unfortunately, the closest I could find to the bowls and plates I saw in H&G, were the ones below... nice, but not quite as wow.

Better luck next time!