Monday, December 28, 2009

Marine Life

I love the renovation of South African hotel, The Marine.

Situated in Hermanus (a beautiful town nestled between the glorious ocean and sweeping mountains), you can view whales and their calves swimming by from the cliff tops.

I was lucky enough to stay there years ago, and then it had a more worn but still warm, old-world charm to it. I look forward to one day going to back to enjoy the renewed hotel.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas!

I really love this mish-mash of Christmas/Hanukkah/pop music, so I thought I'd share it for this special, magical time of year. I love it not only because it mentions Christmas down in Africa, but because they are so damn good!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Casual Elegance

This past week the nytimes Style section featured the beautiful home of Mufti interiors owner, Michael d'Souza.

I'm drawn to his home because its a beautifully restored old building, but also because he incorporates warm accents from his home country, India, and his travels (which, lucky for us, are also for sale at his online shop!). My particular favourites are the porcupine quill lampshades from South Africa (of course!), which must be an absolute gem to look at when they are turned on.

Here are some that are available in the Mufti store

I may bookmark that page for some new year's shopping for me.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

NeedleCraft Bridging the Gap Between the Traditional and Modern

I love my blog because, amongst other things, I get to meet so many wonderful people. Ansie is one of those people (and just so co-incidentally the person to win the Christmas tree decoration) and I was so impressed with an article she recenlty wrote for the brand-spankin' new magazine, Needle.

An African Rainbow talks about how South Africans today are using age-old needlepoint traditions to make livings for themselves in ways that accommodate raising families whilst fighting poverty. Its a great read, and I wanted to showcase the work of some of those people (as a magazine - even an online one - only has so many pages but this blog is mine, so I can do what I want ;).

Mielie is the first organisation, that allows its members to be at home and work on products, while getting together only once a week to collaborate.

You'll notice, if you live in the Northern hemisphere, how colourful their work is. Part of my experience of living in Boston is that I've noticed how different the light is here compared to South Africa...I decorate here with less colour, but even so, who would so no to a gorgeously colourful rug, or fantastically organic cushion?

Moxy is another enterprise Ansie mentions, and I've chatted about them before. I love their work and hope one day to have at least one of their cushions in my possession... they also work mostly at home.

Kaross is the last group that is mentioned, and they differ in that they are a collaboration of over 1000 people belonging to the Shangaan group, who share their culture through needlepoint. They create everything from bed linen, to cards that show the beautiful designs they create.

Thank you to Ansie for sending me the link (you can read the magazine here). I definitely have a few more things on my Christmas list, for years to come if I don't get them this year!

Monday, December 21, 2009

And the Winner Is...

Ansie! I know she is off to Thailand for the festive season, so I'll keep her decoration safe until she gets a chance to email me with her address.

There will be more give-aways in the new year, so don't be a stranger.

Shwe Shwe for Festivities

Here's a little more from my trip... and later this week we'll be back to seeing what other people are up to, promise!

I saw my aunt while I was in South Africa and she mentioned how she had a shwe shwe table cloth.... it got me thinking! We both have white dinnerware, and we both love blue... I thought I'd make my own.

I went off with the hubby and my mama, to find myself some shwe shwe! We found a great stash at a local fabric store, and the hardest part was finding the patterns we liked best! Because shwe shwe is traditionally used for dress-making, the bolts are not very wide. We decided on two fabrics that complemented, and my mom found a third fabric to match the first two.

At home, I put the fabric on the floor to see how they looked at full size... Monty the cat liked that!

But, as you know, visiting your home town often means running around (a lot!) to see everyone and get everything done you'd hope to on your trip. I helped with the pinning, but most of the sewing fell to my mom (thanks Ma!).

As you can see, the main part of the tablecloth is a small diamond pattern, and then we have a circular pattern on the two borders. Mom's third choice was to make adorable napkins from... I only used cloth napkins, and these make a great addition to my collection!

It looks a little shabby right now as my iron decided to stop working two days after we got back, but with a little ironing, some using, the fabric will get nice and soft, and it will smell lovely (shwe shwe has a really nice smell to it) for years to come.

PS: Today is your last chance to enter to win the holiday tree decoration. Don't forget!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

More News from Our Trip

So, its snowing outside... we could get up to a foot or more today. I'm staying warm inside for a while so I thought I'd take the opportunity to share a little of my trip with you.

The wedding I went home for was near Hartebeespoort Dam. It was beautiful... the dam is situated in a valley surrounded by mountains, near Johannesburg (click on the double pic to see closer). The wedding venue looks over the dam, and they have wildlife on the property (I think mostly game, nothing dangerous). There are some beautiful nooks and crannies around the place.

It had been rainy and cold for days before the wedding (as you can see), but on the day the rain stopped and it started to clear when the wedding started in the afternoon. The butterflies flitted around the bride and groom as they said their vows, and after they went inside to sign the paperwork, the sun came out gloriously.

And later, the water looked beautiful as the sun went down.

It was a lovely wedding, with great company and good food. A good trip.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Holiday Give Away

I'm here! I'm here! So sorry on taking over a week to get over the jetlag (bed at 8:30 almost every night!!) and get my ducks in a row... but here I am. I have lots to share with you, I had a lovely trip! We had a couple of rainy, cold days but then the sun came out and we were treated to some beautiful summer weather. I'll tell you more later.

But first, I have a little something to share.

I have a little give-away, and if we're lucky, the winner may have it to hang on their holiday tree before the season is over. It's a beautiful white beaded heart, lovingly turned and twisted on metal wiring. It feels lovely to hold in your hand but is even nicer to see hanging on your tree during the silly season, or perhaps even nicer on your kitchen window, all year round.

It comes encased in a lovely packaging in the leafs of an old book. Love good packaging, don't you? (Well, as long as its not tons of plastic.) I'll even leave on the price tag because it just adds to the character (but I promise to black out the number!)

Now, what do you need to do to get your grubby paws on this delightful ornament? Just leave a comment on today's post. YES. I know, I know, you lot are known around here for your quietness, but I know you are there and if you're brave, you may be lucky enough to be the winner. So don't hold back! I will randomly select a name next week Tuesday (Dec 22), and pop it in the post. It may even reach you by Christmas, if you're close enough. But I will send it to wherever you are. So get commenting!