Friday, January 30, 2009


The home of Alex Van Ness, in Cape Town. As seen in House & Leisure Magazine, January 2009. *Sigh* Every photo in that article is bliss.

Thursday, January 29, 2009


So, although I did not find exactly everything my little heart desired (see Monday's lament) when I was on my trip, I did get some lovely gifts and goodies that I'd like to share with you. I am always astounded by people's warmness and generosity.

The first were a lovely gift from a couple who have been friends of my family since time began. They are tea spoons and cake forks, with protea detailing. I love them! Not only are they gorgeous, but cake forks are a hard thing to find in the States. They're not really used around this neck of the woods!

They live in my hutch now, along with my other little treasures.

My boet (that's brother, for my American friends) and his wife also spoiled me and the hubster with crystal liqueur glasses... perfect for Amarula. I couldn't help myself but cap them off with little glass charms, beaded in true African style to depict little bugs. Perfect!

I really appreciate how people go out of their way to get me South African inspired things while I'm living away. Thank you for everyone's thoughts, time and gifts while we were in South Africa.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009


So, last week we had about 6 inches of snow. It looked like this.

And tomorrow... yes, another 6 inches forecast. Phew. Another winter in New England. It does seem we are just being inundated... and I know, this is a terrible link from one subject to another, but I learned something earlier tonight. There is a river in South Africa, near the Northern border called the Palala River, and the word palala is from the SeSotho work lephalala, which means to inundate.

I learned this because I was looking up the place where one of my favourite Christmas presents came from. My lovely mom-in-law spoiled me with this apron, that came in a little bag. With Mandela-inspired shwe shwe, how could she go wrong!?

The apron is from a fantastic project called the Palala Club. Set up by Peace Corps volunteer, Rachel Johnson (who is originally from the area in Wisconsin where my American in-law grandparents live), the Palala Club is an organisation which has a primary aim of educating school age children in a rural area about AIDS, as well as teaching them skills and providing mentors to help them get through their teenage years.

As part of their work and skill-building, the Palala Clubs are now producing these fantastic aprons. Each apron comes in its own little bag, and you can choose from an astounding array of fabrics. Truly individualised!

So, if you're stuck for a gift idea, want to contribute to an outstanding project that is making a difference in many lives, or just want to check out Palala Clubs' stories, take a look at their website.

I'm off to wash my apron... gotta use salt so the colours don't run... yes, yes, think it's going to look beautiful when I put it on!

Monday, January 26, 2009


I saw this gorgeous tealight holder in the House & Leisure Magazine from December 2008. It's from a fabulous store in SA called @home. When I was in South Africa over the holidays, I rushed out to see if they had any, especially in white. Ah, but it was not to be. I suppose the magazine came out earlier and they were all gone. It's really pathetic but I'm sad that one got away.

I should just go meditate and be one with the missing. Har har.

Friday, January 23, 2009


My enjoyment of the magazines I picked up in South Africa continues... as seen in House & Leisure Magazine, January '09

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


Before I move on to more exciting art, design and craft from southern Africa, I wanted to share a little of my recent travels with you. I was in South Africa for a couple of weeks, which I haven't really documented too much with photography that I'll share because I take a lot of photos of family, family pets and things like my folks' old Christmas tree.

However, on the way there the hubby and I flew through Frankfurt, and there we did take photos. What a treat! We enjoyed the best bratwursts ever at the Christmas Market. Being used to boerewors rolls, I was surprised to be handed a sausage that had a tiny roll in the middle. We figured it must be that in Germany the roll is simply to hold the brat while you eat it. It's not really such a big deal... because the sausage is so delicious!

My husband did take some photos when we were down at the beach when we reached South Africa. These gorgeous moments recorded at Thompsons Bay Beach.

I also got a chance to enjoy the wooden boat my Dad has just finished renovating. I haven't sailed in a while, so I just watched (we went out later on one of his bigger boats) and it was a good thing: the verdict? Dad said it was like sailing a barrel of monkeys!

On our way back we stopped in Zurich for the day. I had stopped there before on a very short lay-over and it was really exciting to be back. Zurich is such a beautiful place... hopefully next time I stop there it will be summer! It was a smidgey cold (and I had not packed properly, just thinking dreamily about the beach in South Africa!) so we didn't dawdle too long in the city. This shot from the window of the little cafe' we grabbed (expensive!) sandwiches in.

What a Day

Often, when I speak with fellow South Africans, I get flack for living in the States. And then I try to pass on some of the America I know: a beautiful place, with regions so different each of them has its own feel and style, people who are as multi coloured and cultured as that which I've seen in my own melting pot of a country... a place where anything can happen, and often people with the will, courage and guts to get those things done.

Today I witnessed something phenomenal. It is a new era, just like the news is saying... how wonderful that finally the rest of the world will see that America is not just old white people (and I say that with a wink), but a vibrant place where anyone can move beyond expectations. Yes, America still has race issues, and sexism, and that unnecessary stuff, but what a step in the right direction! I am so happy to have been a part of this awesome day. I look forward to seeing Americans putting side the differences I've seen in the last six years, and moving forward as one to resolve the challenges that face them.

Now, all that emotional stuff aside, here's something fun that I have to share: the tradition from Africa of placing leaders' faces on fabric.

This one by Heidi Chisholm (read more over at SA Elle Decor ) and this next one thrown quite beautifully together by Skinny Laminx)

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Textures, Prints and Patterns

While browsing through one of my new loves, the SA House & Leisure magazine, I came across Maya Prass and she completely blew me away.

(Click on the pics to get a close-up of those amazing fabrics!)

Her work is filled with colour, textures and fabrics from all different cultures and places and put together a beautiful way. On her website she says, "I offer an alternative to the mass produced looks of the season. If commercial trends are the main road, then I'm on the sidewalk". And that's exactly what I like about her style... it's unique, and a culmination of a lot of influences.

When I was in South Africa I noticed something I had taken for granted when I lived there: everything is so trend orientated. Perhaps it is because the market is so small but magazines feature what we should be wearing, what our houses should look like... I don't find that here in the States, and I think it is because each region is so different in terms of climate, culture and taste that that would never work. It just seems a pity that South Africans should pay heed to that stuff when there are talented artists and designers like Maya, who have such unique visions, and more to offer than what is offered everywhere you look in commercial stores.

Maya's work is handmade and she has kept her workload small so she can keep that personal touch... you can see more of her work (both fashion and her new homeware collection!) at her shop in Contantia Village or, for those of us further afield you can check out her website (I think her layering and lined fabrics are perfect for the in-between seasons for us who are in colder climes). Her Cape Town fashion week show was also shown on Vogue UK, enjoy seeing it here.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

I'm Back!

Hello, my dears! Well, yes, I am back. I hope you all had a fabulous holiday season, no matter where or how you celebrate. And all the best for 2009, may it be a happy and constructive year. Please forgive me taking a week to write, but the jetlag has been merciless. Plus, I am still adjusting, having gone from this

to this

Until a couple of days ago I was still shocked to see snow when I went outside! Anyway, we recently bought a snowblower, and that is certainly helping the re-adjustment!

I have some lovely things to share with you in the next few weeks. To start, here is a little something that caught my eye in an out-of-date Elle Deco I found on a shop shelf.

A Belgian couple found a for sale ad for a house on the Cape, and snapped it up. I loved what they did with it (see more on the Elle Deco blog) but my favourite thing was this beautiful Eames chair. Love it!

Funnily enough, I found somewhere to buy one, when reading a magazine that had been delivered when I was away. Hmm, fate methinks! Only problem is, it's a UK supplier... anyway, I digress. Go check out ZenSA Lodge. It's lovely.

Now, I'm off to bed. Can't believe it's after 9:30 and I'm still awake!