Monday, December 24, 2012

My Home: Season's Greetings!

Well, you just saw my living room... and here it is, ready for Christmas day! It's going to be a good one - we have a little bit of snow forecast for tomorrow. Can you imagine? A white Christmas! Magical!

I absolutely LOVE decorating for Christmas - what a wonderful excuse to brighten up the dark winter days, and to make things cozy and warm! This year I restricted my tree decorating to only ornaments that are red, white, glittery or wood. I love how my new ornaments (starfish and sand dollars, again my little sea-inspired theme, with Milagro hearts) mix so well with wooden snowflakes from a Christmas market in Germany, a beautiful angel from Bolivia, guinea fowl feathers from South Africa along with my glitzy bear and partridge from a big commercial store here in Boston.

I also have a new pysanky snowflake egg in the Ukrainian tradition, thanks to my wonderfully talented friend Andrea, and a shell from my family visit to Maine earlier this year. I love ornaments that remind me of people and places that I love.

And of course, I have the same Christmas angel on my tree that my Mom has, and my Grandmother.

So Merry Christmas and season's greetings to all of you, I am always humbled and inspired by your visits to my blog, and just love being able to share my life with you,  and my passion for South African art and design. Best wishes for 2013, I have a feeling it's going to be an awesome year!

My Home: Living Room

So we started at the entrance to our home, and also checked out the loo. Now, onto the living room, or as we say in South Africa, the lounge, if you'd like to see.

If you read more blog regularly, you'll know my husband and I lived downstairs in the same house before moved up into this apartment. It looks exactly like the apartment we're in now except all the molding is painted white, so I was worried all the warm wood would feel busy. I still kind of feel that way but it look much better than I thought it would and we've settled in...

We also got an extra floor when we moved upstairs (woohoo!) so we could space things out (no more guest room - office - game room) so the arrangement in the pics above is pretty much the same as downstairs. But on the other side of the couch is a bit different - we could move our bookshelf into the adjoining dining room, and in its place we put a table. A gorgeous table that we found in the basement! And our landlord was kind enough to lend it to us (actually, I think the truth is that he had forgotten it was down there!)

There a few little spots around the room I'd like to share with you - my re-covered floor cushions that act as extra seating when we have children visiting, or I use them to sit next to my husband when we check things out on his laptop, and my little locust that I bought last time I was in South Africa (from Julian Decor in Parkhurst, Johannesburg, if I remember correctly)

When we buy our house one day, I have ideas about some curtains (maybe like this) with bamboo blinds underneath but I can't be bothered to spend the time and money on a rental. I like where everything is now, it feels comfortable and like home... of course I would always love a new couch and I would love to have it look a little like this, which I think is a pretty perfect living room.

But because its Christmas, things look a little different today! These pics are from November. Check out my next post for what it really looks like today.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Christmas Spirit

It's that time of year and so I'm loving the festive feeling in this Tennessee cabin from Country Living

But my favourite room? The bedroom - the mix of colour and texture (and stripes, of course!)... and the perfect cherry on top - a Skinny Malinx cushion.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Jo'burg Artist: Nicola Taylor

If I was a painter, I would want to be Nicola Taylor.

She was born in Johannesburg, like me. Studied in Italy (can you imagine? How amazing) and had a residency in the Tower Bridge in London. She now paints at home in South Africa.

Her main medium is oil on canvas and paints the beauty in everyday life. I think I would want to do that if I painted as a job. And for her, "Above concept, the process and the act of creating artwork is her focus. She says that an artwork should not mean, it should be."

I like that.

"Taylor has an overarching interest in revealing what lies on the edge of visibility, that which is mere potential. Taylor paints the space between what can and can’t be seen- imagining the possibility of invisible things taking form.  Matter breaks down from solid matter to liquid matter, and eventually into gas- then it disappears altogether. The natural phenomena of mist, smoke and light reflections are examples of matter in the final stage before disappearing or reappearing and these are the elements that intrigue her most as a result. " (Words in quotation from her website)

I love everything she does, even her sketches...

You can watch her work, too, on this video. She was painting at Londolozi. I can't imagine how you could more inspired than that!

 Makes me miss painting! So inspiring...

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Cape Town Culinary Tour

If anyone is heading to Cape Town any time soon and would like ideas on where to go for some good eats, check out this article in the New York Times. Tummy is grumbling just reading it!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Christmas Wish List

I know everyone else in the entire blogosphere is doing gift lists for Christmas. That's not really my speed but there is one thing I'd like to mention before Christmas, because I just think it's something special. 

Halimatu is a little company that is doing great things - making fabric products from around the world (starting with West African wax stamped fabrics) in a fair-trade and ethical way.

The clutches? Divine.

Halimatu was started by Alexis, who was inspired by her time spent living and working in Senegal, West Africa. While there, she fell in love with the brilliant colors and exotic designs of handcrafted fabrics, and came to understand the importance of this craft for the local men and women working to support their families.

The first Halimatu line, which features stylish/modern handbags and adorable stuffed animals (pics after this!) made from fair-trade wax stamped and hand-dyed fabrics from Mali, West Africa. The fabrics are purchased through the Hèrè Jè Project, in Mali. This organization takes women off the streets and gives them an opportunity to earn a fair wage, while providing them with an education, and counseling on family nutrition. 

Halimatu is dedicated to providing high quality products made from unique, fair-trade materials from all over the world. The goal is to create sustainable partnerships with organizations working to make a difference in struggling communities by providing artisans with a marketplace to sell their goods. 

Which is all good - plus the bags and the stuffed animals are to die for. 

So you still have some time to get something amazing for someone special (maybe a son? Niece? Godchild? Yourself?) this Christmas.

Monday, December 10, 2012

My Home: My Favourite Room

Guess what? My favourite room in our new place is the downstairs bathroom. I think it's because it's clad in white tongue and groove, and our landlord was happy to paint the walls in a lovely blue for us.

When our friend Emily heard I was looking for a white, or white and black, shower curtain she very kindly gave us an old one of hers. I think it fits in beautifully - wait to see you see what it matches with.

One of the most gorgeous things in the room (because there can be so many in a bathroom, right?) is this soap dish the hubster bought me at one of my favourite Boston shops, Hudson (you should go there! Its divine). I have no idea how he chose between the anchor, and all the other lovely options.

Here you can see how the beadboard runs around the room... I have a couple of little starfish (yes, I live an hour from the ocean but a girl can dream, right?) and in the reflection is Johnny Cash. I wish I could say our Johnny pic was an original idea but Mark D. Sikes did it first.

And I keep a little Hudson matchbook, if um, it's needed. I love the tiny punch of red in the white, black and blue room. The candle is soy, and smells like the woods (in a good way).

And just like the rest of the house, there are lovely details like the deep, swirly black door knob and the beautiful radiator (which, of course, I neglected to photograph). It's a great place to take a nice long soak in the tub.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Congrats to Skinny laMinx!

Psssst! One more thing! How fantastic is this stop motion video from Skinny laMinx to celebrate her shop turning one?

Congrats, Heather! And well done to your team, your work is always beautiful :)

More Ardmore

A year ago I posted about the amazing work of Ardmore, an exceptionally talented and unique group of ceramicists based in the KwaZulu-Natal region of South Africa. Led by Fee Halsted-Berning, the group's work has grown from strength to strength and now has branched out into fabric, cushions and tableware. Such fantastic news, because if you are like me and unlikely to be able to afford these beautiful creations, maybe you could afford a swatch of fabric, or one special tea cup, for your home.

Aren't these just magnificent?

And here are some of the fabrics...

And my favourite? This one!

You can see the rest of the lovely things here (like this crazy and amazing couch)

 Have a wonderful, dreamy weekend!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Return to Me

Spotted via Elements of Style today - just love their illustrations, but this return address label from Felix Doolittle just felt right. I wonder why?

Monday, December 3, 2012

James Mudge

Love these gorgeous tables and desks by James Mudge in Cape Town.

Did you notice the little signature on the bottom right side of the last table?