Friday, June 29, 2012

Creative Inspiration

Do you need a little inspiration today? Here it is.

Do What You Love- Anna from The Panic Room Videos on Vimeo.

Rifle Paper Co. is one of my favourite stationers... the best thank you card ever? This one.
 I am heading out to see my American family today, in Wisconsin... I will be back next week! Happy 4th to all my American readers! xoxoxo

Wednesday, June 27, 2012


I was recently in  Godiva (obviously) getting one of their delicious chocolate shakes (perfection in a cup, you have to try them) and noticed these beautiful bags.

Handcrafted by women in Liberia, the purchase of a bag provides 10 school meals for children, which I think is one of the easiest and most effective ways to feed children, keep them in school and help them get a good footing in life. You can read more, and purchase a bag, here.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

West Elm Week!

I realize that it's become West Elm week on South of the Sahara, but I had to share! I popped over to a store yesterday to see things in person, and although not all the South African products had arrived, there were a few to check out.

The Ceramic Matters Thorn Vase is lovely in person - there is a change from matte to gloss glaze and its delightful.

The John Vogel furniture looked really great... I think the two little girls who were reclining on the Mantis Lounger while their mother shopped looked completely comfy.

And something that didn't even catch my eye online impressed me: the Loren Kaplan dinnerware was just super. A good weight in your hand, beautiful but looked completely durable.

My kudu lamp was not in stock yet, but it just gives me another chance to go back and look around!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

The List

I have a new wish list, thanks to West Elm's new South African goodies!

The Ceramic Matters aloe candle holder

the striped pillow...

and my absolute favourite... the table kudu lamp. On sale!!

PS: I'm going to do it and put it out there, like a nit-picky old woman, but West Elm has made one faux pas along the way - they are touting all these products on a page labelled "Discovered in South Africa" but they have Masai chokers and kuba cloth upholstered chairs. Although beautiful, neither of these are South African. Also the sculptural canisters are more likely from Malawi or Zimbabwe. Also not South African. Just had to say it.

So on that note, although not South African, I have wanted a traditional African wooden bench in my home since I first saw one in my great aunt's home. She was an adventurer and had lived in Malawi and Zimbabwe, as well as South Africa, and her home was filled with wonderful furniture and art from those countries, happily living alongside her Western things.

Monday, June 18, 2012

West Elm Heads South

After their introduction of Clinton Friedman a few months ago, West Elm is going South African.... lots of furniture, fabric, pottery and other deliciousness. Well done, West Elm!

Here's a snippet from furniture designer, John Vogel, who designs riempie chairs (riempie is when strings of leather are woven tightly to form the seats of the chairs. Can't get more South African than that!)

My favourite? The wishbone-inspired riempie chair. To die for in that red!

Tagged: I'm It

I'm a huge fan of Vintique Object - not only because I have learned so much about styling and photography and general interior design from reading Camille's blog posts, but because Camille is so lovely. We've chatted a bit and shared pins on pinterest... little connections like this is what makes blogging really fun!

Recently (okay, not so recently) Camille tagged me with 11 questions. There are some rules to post first, then I'll have at them.


~ You must post the rules
~ Answer 11 questions the tagger posted for you & create 11 questions to ask the people you tag
~ Tag 11 people
~ Let them know you’ve tagged them.

Now... the questions!

1.   Light and airy or dark and dramatic?
I think there's got to be some balance. Right now my apartment is mostly light and airy but one day when I own my own home I plan to have dark, dramatic spots to hide away in.

One of my favourite dark places is the library Meadowbroke. I really wish they were still blogging!

2.  What's your sign?  How does your flair for decorating relate, if at all?
Pisces. I have no idea!

3.  Introvert or extrovert?

Definitely extrovert but I try really hard to shut up when I should.

4.  Where and when did your love for decorating begin?
Hmm... I've read this a million times in magazines when decorators are interviewed but I really was one of those kids who re-arranged their bedroom every five minutes. My room was my sanctuary, and I liked to make it more cosy, less cluttered, more this, more that, all the time. Now I'm a graphic designer and I think the passions really speak to each other because both make you nit-pick over the smallest details that make the biggest difference. (I have also earned my living as a copy-editor - just a small pattern of obsessive attention to detail emerging!)

5.  What's your favorite project to date?
6.  What's your least favorite project to date?

Well, because I'm not a decorator by profession, my home is my canvas. I have really enjoyed watching my dining room come together - its been years of trying to find the right pieces and I think we've finally done it. You can check out more pics here.

And here's one of my favourite projects from my day job! A business card designed with a small clothing boutique owner in mind...

7.  What is one design trend you love?
All things ikhat (as you can tell from the design above!). LOVE it, even if it's over already. 

8.  What is one design trend you don't care for?

Well, this is a pet peeve that's more encompassing - having moved to the United States from South Africa, the design trend that I hate is how South Africans have to follow trends! The United States is blessed in its vastness and huge numbers of people, so if you want something, no matter how obscure, you will find it. In South Africa when small purple fluffy couches that are sticky are in, that's all you can buy! Awful. That really needs to change.

9.  Have you met any other design bloggers in person?  Tell us the story!
I'm going to take a bit of poetic license with this question too - I met a fellow blogger last year when  my husband and I travelled home to South Africa for a visit. I was so, so lucky to meet up with Hayley from Everything in Between, and her husband. It felt like we had been friends forever!

10.  What would we see if we visited your first place right out of high school?

My college was close enough to home that I didn't need to move out! So really, the question is how does a newly emerging adult furnish their childhood bedroom? I'm not sure when I painted it but my bedroom was definitely a strange greeny teel colour, but I did have some wonderful classics - a beautiful quilt made by my mother on my bed, a hope chest at the foot of it ... and then it goes down hill with a zen garden on the chest! I had some bells on a decorative rope hanging down the wall where you walked in and lots of paintings, images and photos framed. I suppose one way to look at it is that it was completely spontaneous!

11.  Which food do you consider an indulgence?

Desserts and sweets. I try really hard to avoid them but I have a terribly sweet tooth so would like to have them all the time. Chocolate is my downfall.

I don't have 11 bloggers to tag so I'll just pick a few.  I'll go with those from southern African shores to keep it interesting!

Hayley, at Everything in Between and queen of holiday decorating.
Kate, A South African in New York - who just had a beautiful baby girl and may not be up for participating but I'll tag her anyway. I have loved seeing the transformation of her New York digs.
zkv, or Zodwa Kumalos blog, a new favourite of mine.
Nikki, from The Baobab Telegraph
Black Zebra

My questions to them are (and I'll cheat and go with 6 only):

1. How long have you been interested in interior decorating interior decorating/ photography/ fabric design/ ceramics /writing/ whatever artistic endeavour it is that moves you?
2. How does this passion keep you energized about life? 
3. How does being African inform your art and passion?
4. I realize I bring Africa into my home without noticing. Do you? How?
5. What is your favourite indulgence?
6. Any words of wisdom you can share?

If you have any great answers to these questions, leave a comment!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012


The Daasanach are a tribe of over 50 000 semi-nomadic clans that live across Sudan, Kenya and Southern Ethiopia.

Read and see more on the incredible Afritorial website.

Monday, June 11, 2012


This one falls under the label of inspiring but nothing to do with art, design or decorating in South Africa. And why not.

When the Massachusetts Mental Health Hospital was slated for demolition, an artist called Anna Shuleit was tasked to memorialize the place and all the life that had passed through its halls. I think the final result is remarkable and moving.

Thursday, June 7, 2012


One of the best albums of all time. Can't wait to see this, should be interesting (hopefully one of the small artsy cinemas near us will play it!)

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Small Town Getaway

Another favourite of mine from the Perfect Hideaways website is one I first saw in a magazine (House & Leisure, May 2011): Whalesong. It's in Simonstown, which was probably my favourite spot when we visited the Cape Town area last December.

And some shots from the magazine spread...

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Beach Getaway

After my triumphant welcoming of summer, we had a few good days and then BAM! We're back in spring weather - tons of rain, and cool temps. For the record, today we had the same temperatures in Boston as Johannesburg - and that city is experiencing winter. Ugh.

To help me dream of the warm days ahead (they say the weekend will be back to normal but I'll believe when I see it) I've been daydreaming over the beach houses for rent on Perfect Hideaways. My favourite? Scrimshaw in Churchhaven: perfectly laid back.