Friday, 27 January 2017

From wine bottles to vases

I bought every bottle of wine in the Protea wine range, I want to drink them, then cut the tops off and use them for something else. But my friend sent me a tutorial on Instagram where they added concrete to the tops. The next day my first attempt failed but I made these two and I was very happy with them.

Sunday, 15 January 2017

Failed breakfast bars

My failed breakfast bar tray makes a great bowl of baked muesli.

Early morning, in the garden

1. Piggyback. 2. He loves me, he loves me not. 3. A banana leaf unfolds in the rain.
4. Here come B----J---. 5. Borage. 6. More rain, yay.
7. Miss M waits for me to catchup. 8. New rose. 9. Rain, again.

Hustle and bustle of an African market

Hustle and bustle of an African market is the idea behind this quilt. When they say it's so busy, I reply: it's an African market. All movement is from left to right and back again, so I have added the beads to echo the movement.

I included some strips of Chinese silk fabric to represent the influence that China has in Africa. The machine stitching reflects African design and motifs.

The top visual shows a close-up detail of the quilt, the bottom visual is a full image of the quilt on a purple background.


I was telling Nadine about the Zuckertüte because she is so worried about her son starting preschool. Will he adapt, will he cry, will he scream Mama all day? Well at least until lunchtime.

I told her that in Germany it is tradition for children to be given a Zuckertüte on their first day of school, a cone-shaped structure filled with sweets and treats to make the day brighter (sweeter). She said she wants one. Okay, then, because her son is starting school and she is starting a new job I made them one to share.

When my nieces started school I should have done one for them, but I never thought of it. I never got a Zuckertüte either, and I could have really done with some comfort that first day of school, the first year. A German child put in an English school, with no prior exposure to the language. It wasn't easy.
Dhuh khat sat on dhuh mat. I will never forget.

UFO sighting

In 2015, while I was travel along the Cape coast I spotted this interesting house perched on a dune and I wondered what it looked like up close and I was curious about the interior. It's on that strip of road between Keerboomstrand and Enrico's. You just manage to catch sight of it through the lush fynbos. And it was called K Cottage, more intrigue.

So imagine my delight when, in this year's spring issue of Elle Decoration, there is a 10-page feature on that house. So I get my glimpse inside it after all. You'll see the house exterior and interior is a synergistic concept, with no compromise. So beautiful.

I quote from the article: Architect Lesley Carstens compares it to a whale bone eroded by the sea, and yet from other angles it resembles a ship.

Elle Decoration (Oct/Nov 2016) page 126 - 135.


Land reclaim

I realise that nature is trying to reclaim the space my house is occupying in bolder moves. It started off slowly, and I left it because it looked so pretty but now the more I try to push it back the more aggressive it is in claiming the house.

Have you noticed how quickly an abandoned house breaks down, how quickly nature covers all trace of its existence? ;-)

Frog prince

From the book Your Answers Questioned by Osho. Ain't that the truth.

Tuesday, 10 January 2017

Completing projects

The weekend started with rain. The sky was this one tone of grey, as though coloured by a lazy designer who couldn't be bothered to add contrasts or vignettes, who believes simplicity works best, and chose the colour to fit his mood. So a bubble bath, a cup of tea and my book. The benefit with this weather is you stay in and get all your projects done OR you watch movies all day. Hmmm, haven't decided yet. But I had already completed one task this morning before I went out for breakfast. A day like this requires something warmer and more nurturing than muesli, like chilli con carne and fried eggs on toast. I didn't need another meal all day. 

Returned home and finished another project, yay. I am so happy with how my tie-dyed throw and pillowcases turned out. I got the idea while I was at Weylandts, basically I copied what the had, made it up in different colours, I think mine looks way better, sorry Weylandt. My grandmother would be able to turn the pillowcases inside out and not find fault. She always said the inside should look as good as the outside. Because I don't have an overlocker I have to do a French seam. When I sewed things up for others I use the French seam but if it's something for me I just use the zigzag stitch. Sorry, gran. Tut mir lead, oma

After that the rain and Nora Jones set the mood for the rest of the day. We read and dozed and drank tea. Later watched a DVD and then sorted my DVDs and CDs. Tackled another project but didn't know should I add a patterned strip, should I keep it plain. So went to bed instead. 

Thursday, 5 January 2017

Final days of 2016

On my first day of leave I went to work. But for the morning only. I had to do a handover and sweep everything on my desk into my top drawer, leaving my station neat and tidy. At 12:26 I abandoned work and went to have lunch with a friend. We both made healthy choices and enjoyed our meal, so we said. However, we both drooled over the hamburger and chips that was served at the next table.
N told me about the new bake shop so I popped in there on the way home. I just wanted some sprinkles for the Christmas cookies. Okay, so being there I realised I like to bake but I don't like to decorate. Lots of things to decorate cakes with, mostly made with sugar. At home, when we were children, cakes were plain and delicious, no icing and stuff like that. A fancy cake would be layered with whipped cream and cherries or strawberries or my mom's baked cheesecake.

On the second day of my leave I worked in the garden early morning, transplanting and trimming. We had wonderful rain with a storm the previous evening. Then I started to put up the decorations on the patio which I had to stop because the sun was so hot. I was sweating, yes we had gone past perspiring, sweating like a hot water tap left running and reaching boiling point. I lay exhausted on the day bed and discarded all my plans for the day. Let's watch a movie. The Martian. While in the kitchen my washing machine does it's own space-station-impersonation and puts the bedding in orbit on the spin cycle, freshening it up for our guest who arrive later in the week.

As soon as there is shade on the patio I continue putting up the decorations but it makes no difference, it's just too hot to work. I carry on  because stopping will mean I have to take down what I have already done and would really take the same amount of effort. 

The bats come out as soon as the evening star is visible. I watch them dart across the garden while I float on my back in the pool. I stay in the water until I am cold, until my body is chilled and I forget the day was hot.

I eat badly all day - cornflakes, oven chips and 2-minute noodles. To eat something good I would have to go to the shop but as I said before; it's too hot to do anything. I also had sliced apple with pecan nut and some special chocolate I have been saving the past two months for Christmas but found I could wait another four days.

On my third day of leave I wake up just after midnight. Actually it was 17 minutes past midnight. I used to hate the way John Robbie told the time. I always wanted to phone in and yell: get a digital clock if you can't work it out yourself. He'd say it's just after seven twenty nine. So is it 7:30 then? Or he'd say it's almost eight twenty. So is it 8:19? Argh. Anyway at 00:17 I wake to the sound of a storm building kilometres away, but the wind is already here. I fear it will tear my decorations off the patio and drag them into the pool. The lightening is flashing against the curtains like a faulty torch, on again, off again and the thunder rumbles with the same rhythm and keeps it's distance. It starts to rain softly and I decide to go back to sleep.

Up early as always, 4:36. What I really want to do is get a cup of tea, sleep another hour or two, then get more tea, toast with honey and lounge about all day reading a book. Meanwhile in the real world I have to clean the house and do the shopping because my family arrives tomorrow.

A lemon tree that I had moved from a pot to the garden died during the drought we had. Procrastination prevented me from digging it up and throwing it out. I see now with all the rain we have had that the dead sticks have sprouted new leaves. I can't believe it, nature is truly awesome and resilient.

On my 14th day of leave I woke up and it was 2017. Happy New Year.
You ask what happened to day 4 to 13? Sloth. That's how I would describe it. Lazy, lazing days, one after the other. Granted my family was here day 4 to 7, so that was wonderfully nice but not hectic, not too much energy expended.

Day 4 made up all the different doughs for the Christmas biscuits, the one day 5 we baked them, day 6 the kids decorated them and we packed them into boxes. One for them, one for granny, one for Trish, one for me and then one extra one, for just in case. By day 9 I had eaten my allocation.
We slept, we ate, we swam, we ate some more, we watched kiddies DVDs, we ate. We had a lovely Christmas eve with a very simple meal and bags full of presents, German Christmas carols and stollen. My sister-in-law bakes the Stollen ever year and I look forward to it every year. I mean we ate again.

Anyway, we are already back at work now and it seems pointless to try and capture days that have slipped away, all over too soon. But I am sure you got the idea - eat, swim, TV, books, naps, family.
(I have established that you cannot get slim if you watch series and snack all day). It was a fabulous few days.

Wednesday, 4 January 2017

25 squares make one square

I tie-dyed each square, trying different styles, then I sewed it all together and after six months I still don't know what to do with it. Giving it away today to someone who is redecorating their home using grey, with natural wood and fibres. Hope they like it, hope they use it.

Tuesday, 3 January 2017

Book review

Over the past few months I have read this pile of books.

A colleague at work asked if I had read A man called Ove, but I hadn't. It was obviously the flavour of the month because it was sold out everywhere. My colleague had downloaded to his Kindle but I'm old-school, I want to hold the book, feel the weight of it and turn the pages in anticipation. Eventually I found it and enjoyed it so much . A loveable, grumpy character with a heartbreaking story. As must-read, a book you lend to everyone you know.

As I read Nataniel's Zip I hear his voice recounting the stories. As lovely as always, humour with truth and sadness, a well-balanced combination.

Since I have enjoyed Matthew Quickest other books I bought this one too, Love may fail.

I have been waiting and waiting for the next Kopano Matlwa book and here it is at last - Period Pain. That great underlying sadness that was also present in Spilt Milk, with the catch-your-breath ending. I loved it, but not for everyone. 

Circling the Sun by Paula McLain was recommended by the Facebook group The Good Book Appreciation Society. A wonderful read, a book of fiction based on a real person, Beryl Markam. It kept me at home one weekend because I didn't want to interrupt the flow of the story by running errands. Amazing.

Argh, and now for the most disappointing book Hitman Anders and the meaning of it all. Boring, repetitive, shallow. Oh my word, after The Hundred-year-old man and The King of Sweden this is a huge letdown. It's not one of those books where you say: That's just my opinion, read it and judge for yourself. No, don't buy it, not worth it. I don't know if I will buy another Jonas Jonasson book. Ever.

Monday, 2 January 2017

Christmas Eve

Well, Christmas eve is over but I have only just downloaded the collage app so that I can create them on my phone.

My theme this year was Mainly White, so that it would be possible to have a white Christmas in Africa after all. I was afraid it might look too much like a wedding but it did not.

I had started to purchase all the items in July, I know, crazy. As well as the presents, I gathered things I liked and then decided who I would give them to, that way I seemed to have ended up with quite a few presents for myself, ha, ha.

The stars for the table I cut myself one evening and the twirly-wirlys took me a number of evenings to make up. The indoor tree was decorated in gold, silver, copper and bronze or as some prefer to call it, strawberry gold. I bought those white garden refuse bags and packed all the gifts inside, tied it up with a bow and so everyone's bag was placed under the tree. We baked the cookies when the girls were here so they could decorate them. My sister-in-law bakes the Stollen every year. It is absolutely delicious and I ate mine before I thought to photograph it. Oops.
I crocheted some white flowers and added paper snowflakes to make up a Christmas tree on the patio.
And so, another magical Christmas is over.
Thanks to my family for making it so very special.


My butternut plants are doing very well in our vegetable garden. They are growing beyond their allocated area, climbing over the rest of the garden. The flowers remind me of Seymour from the Little Shoppe of Horrors. Some butternut have started to take shape but thwre is no need to plan a menu yet as they are only about 4cm in length. Growing the garden from seed is a test in patience, but everyday offers something delightful. For example, finding the angels singing under the shade of the giant leaves.