Friday, September 04, 2015

Makaranga is a Must

Our local *Studio Union group visited Makaranga this week.  It’s a hidden haven in beautiful suburbia west of Durban.
This bountiful garden is home to a vibrant hub comprising a luxury lodge, conference rooms, childrens’ play area, outdoor concerts, pampering spa and gourmet restaurant.
The lovely name – Makaranga – comes from a Zimbabwean tribe of the same name and Wild Poplar trees called “Macaranga Capensis”.  It was bestowed on the beautiful botanical garden, previously knows as Fern Valley in 2002 by Chick and Danna Flack.
Billionaire plantsman Lesley Riggal started the journey in 1976 when he bought  20 acres of property in Kloof, KZN.  Over the next 26 years he planted an amazing garden.  He slowly bought up adjoining pieces of land until it was 30 acres in size.
The Flacks have built on this base and created a quality venue with the aim of bringing restoration to body and soul with each visit.

Makaranga - Pink Lily
“The Garden specializes in camellias, rhododendrons, azaleas, magnolias, orchids and bromeliads.A large number of Orchids are grown on trees and logs with many in the ground. The garden comprises exotic & indigenous flora. The latter come into their own in the winter months with many different types of Aloe & numerous succulents serving to attract beautiful sun birds. Erythrina trees with their red flowers also bloom when the weather cools. In summer large beds of sky blue agapanthus & hydrangeas are a delight as are the many coloured day lilies. Hundreds of clivia miniata light up the forest areas in spring ranging in colour from deep orange to pale cream.”

Makaranga - Nonna Restaurant
The Restaurant is open from breakfast in the morning through to dinner in the evening. –
Our Victorian Warehouse, NONNA, spills out onto a pergola-covered deck which offers, we believe, one of the most beautiful views in the world. Guests have the option of dining inside NONNA or out on the covered all-weather deck while enjoying fresh Mediterranean cuisine and soaking up the views.
Every time I go to Makaranga, I wonder why I dont go there much more often.

Makaranga -
*Studio Union – We are a groups of home-based creatives who meet together for inspiration, input, community and collaboration.  Our group is based west of Durban, where we meet in a home once a month, and go on a relevant outing once a month too.  If you are interested in joining us please contact me or if you would like to start your own group, and would like some info on how we run ours, please contact me too.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Sari Garden Decor - Tarpaulin for Lunch Event

My passion for collecting saris is no secret.  I have a huge collection, neatly coiled into shelves in my studio.  I have used saris to make bags, to create furoshiki wrapping, to make necklaces and brooches, tablecloths, cushion covers (blue cushions above), curtains, Christmas decorations and more.  For the first time this past weekend we used a beautiful long pink bordered sari as a tarpaulin for a special Garden Party.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Forests Full of Potential

We’ve just spent a wonderful week in the Cathkin Valley with a gorgeous view of the Drakensberg Mountains.
It really did not seem like a good time to go away.  We had so much on our plates.  Yet once we were there, it was just so good to let the busy-ness of our day-today lives fade and be rejuvenated by family relationships and wonderful natural beauty.
The Drakensberg Mountains are majestic, and we had a clear view of them from our holiday spot at Champagne Lane. Everyday the mood of the mountain range changed from sunrise to sunset, on sunny days and cloudy days.

Wednesday, August 05, 2015

Safety Pin Jewellery – Earrings

Safety pins possess good qualities as material for jewellery, being shiny, delicate and easy to come by.  In my endeavours to live a more artisan lifestyle, I gathered some beads and bits and pieces to make myself a few pairs of earrings.  (I have just about no jewellery making experience) The glint of the pins in my craft supplies caught my eye and I decided to see what I could do.  Twisting, curling and bending these wiry gadgets became quite addictive and I made a number of pairs.  I threaded beads onto some and used the fox-nose and flat-nose pliers to manipulate the wire.  I was delighted with the result and the cost was next to nothing!

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Workshops and Courses

The Story…

Freshly Found began it’s life as a blog in 2007.  Quite soon it branched out into an etsy store, and then a few years later the online store was born at

We ventured from our online platform to wonderful face-to-face contact at local markets, pop up stores and the Design Indaba in Cape Town.

Change for all of us is the only constant, and so the focus over the last months has been to fine tune the focus in the online store to a few boutique designs and quirky finds, and upscale the emphasis on tutorials and inspiration.  At the beginning of this year and the Freshly Found blog merged into a single website. The invitation to host the 2015 DIY workshop for the etsy party came at the same time as plans were happening to launch Freshly Found workshops and courses as the next organic progression. Bespoke and custom workshops are available as well as an Artisan Lifestyle Course.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Flower Fables – Intellectual Property Exhibition

The Intellectual Property Exhibition opens tonight at the KZNSA Art Gallery in Bulwer Road, Durban.  Freshly Found is so excited to be a part of this exhibition.  I’ve been working on and off for most of the year so far on this floral piece – named Flower Fables as a reference to the high percentage of book papers that have been used in its creation.  The recycled book, map, envelope and backing papers have been hand cut, folded and coloured with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Tatham Tour with Friends – Extraorinary Ordinary

Tatham Tour with Friends – Extraorinary Ordinary

A huge blessing in my life is being part of a local group of home-based creatives.  We call ourselves Studio Union and we meet together regularly.  We plan interesting outings too.  It’s so special to visit local attractions with like-minded people

Tatham Tour with Friends

Thursday, July 02, 2015

Crochet Bud Vases

Crochet Bud Vases
These soda vases are a great way to re-cycle glass bottles.  They are covered in a simple parcel string crochet.  The string can be left plain or dip dyed to create a gradient of colour. (Pattern below)

They are great for decor around the home and ideal for events.  Brides and bridesmaids can collect bottles and simply crochet covers in the months leading up to a wedding.  The vases can be filled with anything from leaves or painted twigs to roses or lilies.  They make sweet Thank You gifts for significant friends and family after the event.

Monday, June 29, 2015

A Tale of Two Cardigans

Today’s story is about 2 warm and fluffy pullovers that have been converted into cardigans – projects perfect for our chilly Southern Hemisphere weather right now.
A Tale of Two Cardigans

Friday, June 12, 2015

Button and Thread Bracelets

Button and Thread Bracelets – Finally!  The tutorials are up for these button bracelets.  They are a fun, quick project and a good way to use up a leftover buttons and crochet cottons.  I’ve  shown a few variations of colour and techniques.  Mostly, I’ve used crochet cotton like J&P Coats Knit Crosheen or Elle Crochet from my own collection. I buy my cottons from Wool and Weave in Hillcrest – An inspiring place to visit if you are a local Durbanite.