Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Muji Love

My mom and daughter just got back from a trip to London! They are so clever - because look what they brought back for me! Paper Shredding Scissors from Muji! I have had fun cutting this paper fringe with it!I LOVE Muji and wish we had some Muji stores here in South Africa!
This pair makes an interesting and useful addition to my scissor collection!And I have the catalogue to drool over too!
Thanks Mom and Chris! You rock!

Monday, June 29, 2009

Blue Sky, Winter Trees

The Plane Trees in the Avenue that runs past our house have lost their leaves and are down to their beautiful strong bones! Although the trees are bare, I find the silhouette of the trunks and branches against the blue sky uplifting!
Charles was once similarly inspired:

But, for all that, they had a very pleasant walk.
The trees were bare of leaves,
and the river was bare of water-lilies;

but the sky was not bare of its beautiful blue,
and the water reflected it,

and a delicious wind ran with the stream,
touching the surface crisply
.
Charles Dickens

Friday, June 26, 2009

Parcels

I have some parcels ready to post. Kendalee and Anairam each won an LP origami box! Packing these for posting was a challenge, so I have partially unfolded them and wrapped them flat with instructions as to how to re-complete! Here the envelopes are in the early morning light - ready to go!Why the set-up?
Because I have recently seen and been inspired by the work of the architects and designers TAF - Who’s 'aim is to make ordinary life less ordinary through subtle but effective changes in how products and architecture appear and function. A recurrent departure point in TAF projects is that everyday objects by their very commonness can be made uncommon'
So I decided to give the little parcels a quick creative send-off!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Very Adventurous Dressing

Sheena Matheiken has pledged to wear 1 dress every day for a whole year. Fortunately she has 7 identical versions of the little black number, which was designed for her by Eliza Starbuck. Her aim is to raise funds for the Akanksha Foundation, a movement involved with education in India.
I have enjoyed following her journey as I see how she creatively re-interprets the dress everyday with a variety of handmade and vintage finds! Can you see the little crocheted button surrounds on one version and the vintage black doily she wore to a wedding? Follow her website here or on twitter here.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Adventurous?

I am far more adventurous with my surroundings than I am with what I wear. I love quirky decor but am quite classic in my clothing choice!So I am wondering if I will ever pluck up the courage to wear this sequined vintage top I found last week? Kendalee's online summer picnic today might be the perfect opportunity![The orange fabric in the top pic is from a new blouse which I just reconstructed. What was I thinking buying a blouse with ruffles. It's all unpicked, restitched and quite classic now!]
The freshly painted frame from yesterday has already come in handy!!!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

White Paint!

Yesterday my eldest daughter took some leave! Our day together was filled with things I love to do! We did some thrift shopping, fitted in coffee and a late breakfast and then came back home to paint.We had a few vintage finds which needed some white washing. None of them are going to be high wear and tear, so we used a good quality acrylic paint. I love to paint things, especially white. These are some of my secrets to successful painting -
  • Prepare well - Find the rollers, paintbrushes, paint, newspaper, cleaning cloths, sandpaper, etc before you start.
  • Lightly sand the item and wipe down. It is not necessary to sand down to the bare wood if you are painting. As long as the surface is clean and fresh!
  • Put on your painting clothes. I even have a pair of shoes I keep specially for painting.
  • Use a brush to apply the paint and get into all the odd corners and a small sponge roller for a smooth finish
  • I try to do a few items at a time - it makes all the setting up worth while.
  • Enjoy. I love to transform old and dull and stained into new and vibrant and fresh!!!!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Expressionist Stories!

On Saturday we went to our local Farmer's Market at Shongweni. It is always a pleasure to go and join the growing crowds of early morning risers. This time we met the artist and expressionist story teller Nicky Chovuchovu. We were so struck with his work and enjoyed the lively motion in his pieces. I bought 2 greeting cards. Each card is personally signed on the back by Nicky himself. Hopefully we'll go back and pick up one his oil paintings some day! See more about him and his work over here!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Dinner!

Our dinner club is coming to our house tonight! We are a group of 4 couples and we rotate homes. The host does the main course and the other couples bring starters, dessert and chocolate! I wish I had these serviettes [or napkins] from Hector Serrano!
I do have this recipe from Nigella for an old fashioned favourite with a twist! I'll serve it with this sauce and this on the side. Lots of cooking, cleaning and prep to do!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

The Answer!

Thanks for all your thoughts and head-scratching for yesterdays question! ....Ok, so this is what I have made! Lots and lots of Origami boxes from vintage LP covers!It has given me SO much pleasure to give a second life to these beautiful covers .Anairam, you will win one of them, because you came the closest by guessing that I was making boxes! Here they are on my coffee table in the afternoon sun:Burl Ives, Linda Ronstadt, Barbara Streisand, Neil Diamond, Funny Girl, etc! I'll choose one for you or let me know if you have a favourite!
PS. Kendalee, you posted your comment as I published - you hit the nail on the head, so there will be 2 winners!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

A Question and a Prize!

Do you have any idea what I have been up to this long weekend? If you can guess, I'll send you one as a prize!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Bunny Chow!

Last week I ate my first 'bunny'! Not a rabbit, but the South African dish which originated in Durban!It consists of hollowed out loaf of bread, filled with curry. It came into being as an easy form of take-away for labourers in the 1940s. The bread contains the curry and pieces are broken off and dipped into the stew.
My daughter and I ordered Quarter Bunnies [1/4 loaf of bread]. I had deboned mutton and she ordered chicken. I don't do hot stuff well, and we choked and cried and laughed and blew our noses and drank milk and water in an attempt to make progress!I am glad I did it! Not sure that I will try it again though!

Read more of the history of Bunnies here and here! See Kath's story about an upmarket Bunny place here!
Tomorrow's a public holiday here, so I'll see you on Wednesday!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Pleasant Patterns!

I was so tickled with this:
Do you think it matters when man changes the natural patterns of his surroundings?
The importance of our surroundings affects us more deeply than we realise. Mountain people are very different from people who live in plains. Country people are different from town people. When the patterns of his surroundings are changed, man too is certain to change. It may take a long time, but it is inevitable. That is why we must be careful in altering our surroundings if our natures are not to be changed for the worse. Do you ever wonder how the pleasant pattern in the first picture was changed into a pattern so unpleasant? It all took place gradually. This series of pictures show us how it probably happened.Great wisdom to mull over for the weekend - from the 1960s text book Pattern and Shape by Kurt Rowland

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Crocheted Rhythm!

My spoon collection has been crocheted together into a garland! I love the rhythm created by counting the same number of chain stitches between each spoon. Each spoon is different, which makes a lively pattern! A quick first project with yesterday's cotton knit!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Delectable!

Textured balls of Cotton Knit. A thrift shop find! My crochet hook is drooling in anticipation!

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

I Cant Believe - This One is Mine!

I want to introduce you to my very own piece of Ardmore Ceramic Ware! I was so keen to visit this studio-with-a-story a few weeks ago. And then my husband completely surprised me and offered to buy me this! I felt nervous - it didn't come cheap and my home is mostly adorned with very precious junk and vintage finds - what if it chipped or broke?
We risked it - and it is very happily at home here now. The whole experience was so heartwarming. If at all possible visit the studio yourself on the farm in the Drakensbergor their exhibition at South Africa House in London, which opens today and runs until the 12th June!
In the meantime browse Neville Trickett's flickr set of Ardmore Ceramics and enjoy!

Monday, June 08, 2009

Wonderful South Africa

Wonderful South Africa is a 512 page vintage book I found last week. We have enjoyed paging through this thick pictorial volume from the 1930s. Not only are the pictures interesting and entertaining, the captions polite and naive, but much of the terminology used is so politically incorrect today. As we enjoy living in a post apartheid South Africa now, this book was published before apartheid was legislated, which makes it an interesting social study.
A first for me was to see this picture of Zebra inspanned on the mail coach!The caption states that "Patience and persistence must have gone to the training of the team, for the zebra is notoriously difficult to domesticate and refuses to show sympathy with man in any way!"

Friday, June 05, 2009

Plenty of Pincushions

Following on from my pincushion yesterday, I have found a few more remarkable ones out there...
Fashion Fugitive made pincushions into a trendy thing to wear
Tiogruppen's design's are really coolI admire Jen Segrest's creativity, but .....
I just couldn't! If you could, there's a tut here.
Jen really is a pincushion queen and her flickr is full of beautiful tuts and examples of her talent!

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Pincushion

I have lived without a pincushion for too long, so...I made this one with firm woven fabric from a vintage tie, and an old flower pot!Inspired by Jesse!

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

'Freshly' Freshly Found

Freshly Found is expanding and exciting stuff is happening. It is a bit too early for me to reveal all yet, but here are some glimpses to whet your appetite: I have updated my blog header with a local crafter's beaded interpretation of the new logo. Soon Freshly Found will include some interesting people, their stories and their beautiful handwork.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Scissor Collection!

I could not resist some well worn scissors I found at a charity shop the other day. I added them to my own collection and have them displayed on top of this wooden box in my living room now.
I have some questions:
This pair of scissors comes apart completely. It has little wheels on each handle- one serrated and one smooth, some notches and plier-like grips. Any ideas about it? This pair are tweezer-like with a small rough birds-beak gripping edge:The pair of nail scissors above it are what I used to cut nails with as a child. Included in my collection is a pair of pinking shears passed on to me by Granny!
I love the movement and line of handles and blades!

Monday, June 01, 2009

Rural Living

I love this bus stop! It is in fact a skeleton of a bus stop in a rural Inchanga - quite close to my home!My daughter has made a number of expeditions to Inchanga because of a creative project at college. She snapped both of these last week.
The simplicity of this low cost housing development made me think of how children draw their first houses - a rectangle with a roof on - a door in the middle and 2 windows to the side!
I have enjoyed going along with her and seeing this neighbouring area with new eyes!