Wednesday, 23 September 2009

Camping in Oman

When most people think of the Middle East, this is not what comes to mind:

But this is exactly what we experienced this past weekend. We spent 4 days camping off the east coast of Oman. Oman is part of the Arabian Peninsula and borders on the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia. It is one of only a few unspoiled coastlines left on this planet. We were 6 families camping on this glorious beach with not another soul to be seen for the entire weekend.

The weekend consisted of swimming and body surfing during high tide and playing in the rock pools during low tide. The boys (old and young) fished from the beach or from the kayak, and the rest of the time we just lazed around. Life could not be more perfect even if it tried.

The fact that it is about 10 hours drive across the desert to get there, makes it even more special...

I mean, when was the last time you had to stop for a camel crossing the road?

Monday, 14 September 2009

Christmas mobiles

Yes, I know - it's still 3 months to go before Christmas (O my gosh! Only three?) but I am still talking about last Christmas.
It was the first time in two and a half years that we saw the family, so planning gifts was a big deal. Not only was everybody 2 years older than the last time we saw them, we also didn't know how their taste and style had changed in the mean time. And to top it all, everything had to go on the plane.
In the end I decided to make gifts for as many of the family as possible. My mother, mother-in-law and 2 sisters-in-law each received a handmade mobile. I have seen these free downloads on Futuregirl's blog last year and I knew I had to make it, so this was the ideal project for them.

Now, if you think this isn't very Christmassy at all, let me remind you that December is the middle of summer down in South Africa and a normal Christmas holiday for us is a beach holiday.

Alice from Futuregirl made her sea creatures from felt which makes it very easy (and neat, I might add) to edge them. I decided to use polycottons from my stash, which meant I had to put interfacing on to keep them from fraying.

I strung them all together with embroidery floss and added some beads and shells in between to give a more beachy feel to it.

The jellyfish at the bottom has small bells at the ends of their tentacles to give it some weight and to add a jingle to the mobile...

Unfortunately I was in such a hurry to finish it in time that I completely forgot to photograph it before I gave it away. These (not so good) photos was taken last month on my last holiday to SA at my mother's and mother-in-law's houses. The other two are as yet unphotographed.


I know I haven't blogged about anything I made for quite a while now, so just to show that I'm not doing nothing I can show you two sneak peeks:

Wall art in Anika's room...

The next crochet project, still in the design phase...

Tuesday, 8 September 2009

South African Handicrafts 3

Here are some more inspiration from the SA Handmade Collection at Decorex 2009. Another theme which came across very strong was the use of wire and beads in sculpture:

These wire and bead sculptures was part of the Cape Craft & Design Institute exhibit. They represent different artists and help them with the marketing of their products. The do some wonderful work promoting craft as an economic sector. Please click on their name to go to their website. It is well worth a visit if you like this kind of thing.
They are actively assisting designer-makers to produce a range of original and new designs for the 2010 FIFA World Cup being held in SA.

These lovely brooches are made by Mignon Hattingh from Mignonette's. She makes beautiful textile and beaded jewellery including felt earrings and necklaces. I am sorry I didn't take more pictures because her work is really lovely!

This applique, below, was one of my absolute favourites! Just look at the detail... that pumpkin on the roof, the chickens running around everywhere, the small houses built close together, and the children playing in the street... I absolutely love it!

This is just one of the artworks made by Vezokuhle Creative Textile Mosaics CC in Upington in the Northern Cape. Vezokuhle is a Xhosa word meaning "showing the beauty", and that is exactly what these industrious ladies are doing. As with so many other success stories this one started with one women wanting to make a difference to the lives of unemployed and under educated people. Again, click on the name to go to their website and let them show you the beauty...

My other favourite was without a doubt these embroideries from the Mogalakwena Craft Art Development Foundation (MCADF) Mogalakwena is a beautiful part of our country in the Limpopo Province in the north of South Africa, close to the Botswana border.

Look at the detail...

...and the way one picture can tell a whole story.

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These wire and bead fruit bowls are made by Bishop Tarambawamwe. He also make animal figures, other household items and even beaded paintings. Of all the wire and bead artist at the exhibition, he was my favourite - and a really nice guy too.

I looked at this orange fruit basket more than once, and I didn't buy it. I still regret it. I think it is one of the best beadwork baskets I have seen.

Well, this concludes my South African Handmade series. If you are inspired by these stories please visit all the websites I have mentioned. These people really do wonderful work and need all the support they can get. Supporting job creating incentives like these is the best way to combat the incredibly high crime rate that is crippling our country. People who work with their hands, who feel appreciated and loved and who are getting an education do not resort to crime.

New Yarn Stash

For the first time in my live I have a yarn stash!

I have yarn without a plan or pattern.

Such luxury.

As you can probably imagine, this desert city of mine is not overflowing with yarn shops. Very few people around here has a burning desire to knit a jersey/cardigan/blanket. So when I was in SA, I stocked up on yarn, just to give me some choice when I start my next blanket.

Which is in the "let's see what it looks like when I do this"- stage...

It might contain a few hexagons...

Saturday, 5 September 2009


I am sure anything that comes out of this fridge will just taste a million times better than whatever comes out of a boring white fridge!

Friday, 4 September 2009

South African Handicrafts 2

Some more great things I saw at the Decorex Exhibition. Unfortunately I didn't get the names of the artists who made these objects. So just enjoy the eye-candy with me:

A metal cut-out sculpture

A 'lamp shade' made from plain bath plug chains!

A beautiful hanging object

An aloe covered in silver paint

A flower arrangement made up of cattle-horn, feathers, protea flowers and porcupine quills

South African Handicrafts 1

While in South-Africa last month I had the opportunity to visit the Decorex 2009 Exhibition in Midrand. In the next few posts I will show you a few of the things that caught my eye.
My favourite part of the show was the South African Handmade Collection. Filled to the brim with creativity and imagination, it really made me proud to be South African!

A few very destinct themes emerged as I walked through the exhibition. One of these was the use of hearts in all sorts of decor elements.

The Heartfelt Project

The Heartfelt Project

TW Ceramics

More inspiration to follow...