Saturday, 23 January 2010

Design Indaba Superstars

Since 1995, Design Indaba has been committed to a vision that is built on the believe that creativity will fuel an economic revolution in South Africa.

This year the Design Indaba Superstars Competition is looking for 11 South Africans to make up a creative team.

The brief is to take a photo of yourself in profile and then fill in the profile in any creative way to showcase your individuality and creativeness.
This is what my entry looks like.

The judges will choose 10 winners on creativity and originality and the 11th winner will be chosen by popular vote.
What I now need from you as a reader is to go to the Superstar website and vote for me. Please.
Click on my photo to go to the voting page and then click on the stars to cast your vote.
I am one of only a very few entrants who uses needlecraft as a medium. I believe that it is a medium that needs more recognition in the art world. It is time for needlecraft to be elevated from it's humble place as a housewife's hobby to a fully accepted and recognised art medium.
I hope that my entry will not only receive votes from people who want to support me, but also from people who support the craft as a medium of expression.
Thank you for your support.

Tuesday, 19 January 2010

Creepy crawlies

My daughter has a green rubber toy which she calls "Gogga". It is the Afrikaans term for insect or 'creepy crawlie'.
I have a pin-cushion which my mom made from a toilet-roll-holder, some batting and leftover fabric. My daughter has now named the pin cushion "Gogga".

So now we both have Goggas.

Can you see the family resemblance?

Monday, 18 January 2010

Countries I've visited

I've mentioned before that we as a family love to travel. It is one of the reasons we do the expat thing - it makes live so much more flexible and mobile. My husband's aim is to visit as many different countries as his age. That means once he is up to date he has to add one new country to his list every year. It sounds very ambitious but it is a great dream to have. I've just counted and he already has 30 countries on his list (he is 43). I have 16 on my list, so I have some catching up to do! (See my list in the sidebar)

Hindu Kush Mountains - Afghanistan

During 2009 I was privileged to visit 5 different countries (UAE, where we live, Oman, South Africa, our home, Italy and Thailand) but 4 of those were countries I have been to before, so I could only add one new name to my list (Italy). For 2010 we plan, if finances allow, to visit Australia and India. We've been to Australia before, so only India would count for the list.

Outeniqua Mountains - South Africa

Some evenings when I lie in bed and think about all the places I still want to visit, I almost start to panic. There are so many unexplored places and so little time! As you can see from my list I haven't even touched the Americas yet, and most of Europe is also still foreign to me.

Hajar Mountains - Oman

Life passes so quickly and the next thing you know you're old and your list of missed opportunies is longer than your list of dreams. That's why I like the idea of New Year's resolutions. Even if you don't do it at the beginning of the year but on your birthday or some other significant time, it is important to take stock of your life. Write down what you have achieved during the past year as well as what you plan to do in the coming year. And I am not just talking about travel or big projects but also the less visable/measurable stuff like spending time with your children, spiritual growth and taking care of less fortunate people.

So, as my list of visited countries grow, I hope my list of caring/loving also grows.
What is on your list for 2010?

Sunday, 17 January 2010

A soccer ball is not round.


A soccer ball (or football if you're from Europe) is a spherical polyhedron or spherical truncated icosahedron. It is a shape made up of 20 hexagons and 12 pentagons. It has 32 flat sides, but because of the elasticity of the material, the air pressure inside pushes the flat sides outwards so that it appears round.

So why would I be interested in the shape of a football?

Everybody who follow football will know that the 2010 FIFA World Cup will be held in South Africa in June and that football fever has gripped the country. As expats we often feel left out of national celebrations like this, and therefore I decided to do something to make me (us) feel part of the hype.

Because craft is my thing I am planning to make soccer balls in all the different mediums that I love to work with. So far I have a quilted, crocheted and embroidered ball planned...

Before I can start with the actual balls I had to make a test ball to try out different methods of doing the seams and to make sure I have the size right. (The straight edges of the hexagons and pentagons has to be 4.5cm to make a size 3 ball.)

I first tried to sew the sides together with the sewing machine, but the corners were a mess, so I ended up sewing them together by hand. It looks much better.

I used a contrasting colour thread for the test run, but for the real thing I will use something less obvious. The fabric for the first ball is ready for cutting, so watch this space...

Friday, 15 January 2010

2010 - dreams, plans and intentions...

When I decided on the name of my blog way back in April 2009, I chose it because to me it implies a process, a growth and movement. My intention was to document the whole creative process of a project from initial idea to finished product. Looking back at previous entries, I realise I mostly just blogged about the finished object and not the preceding sol y sombra. This is partly due to the fact that I forget to take photos of all the different stages of a project, and partly because I get so involved in the thought process that I never stop to write about it.
I plan for this to change. In 2010 this blog will be a journal of the process instead of a record of the finished projects.

Since I started this blog, our laat lam* baby turned into a toddler, and anybody who has ever had a toddler will know your time is never your own again! So, although I love spending time with her, it meant that my productivity took a dive in the latter part of the last year.
She will hopefully join a playgroup for two mornings a week from next month. This will give me back some of my creative time. I already have a list of ideas lined up...

*laat lam is an Afrikaans word meaning late lamb. It is a term used to describe a youngest child born several years after his/her siblings. In our case the age difference between the first two is 16 months. Between the second and third it is 9 years.

As I mentioned in my previous post, meeting other creative people is one of the perks of blogging. During 2010 I hope to nurture and grow some of these relationships by sharing other people's work and ideas through this blog.
I will start by introducing some of the wonderfully talented people I know personally and then move on to my virtual friends. Let's see where that leads us...

As you've probably figured by now, travelling to new and interesting places is a priority for our family. Dubai is so centrally located that with a five hour flight we can go to Europe, Africa, Asia and all of the Middle East. We try to take advantage of this by travelling as much as possible and we already have a few exciting travel plans for 2010...

People who use craft as a means to reach out to and uplift under privileged communities really inspires me. It is such a great way to teach people to take care of themselves as well as restore their dignity and selfworth.Teaching people a craft and the business skills to turn the craft into an income-generating project is one of the best ways to make this world a better place.
During 2010 I hope to get more involved with these kind of endevours and to help raise public awareness of these projects.

Thursday, 14 January 2010

Friday, 8 January 2010

Through blogging I learned about


I am no photographer but I am excited about learning. Every new blogger will admit that the most daunting thing about blogging is learning to take quality photos. I am far to impatient to plan my photos properly and to take the time to get the lighting and background right. I just want to snap away and show off. Usually with terrible results.
But I am learning, and I have discovered that all the help I need is out there - usually for free...

Embroidery and needlecraft

I love needlework and I am not doing enough of it. This will definately have to change. I have been thinking a lot about the direction I want to go: craft market or fibre art? I am leaning towards fibre art... Let's see where this year takes me...

Creative bloggers

I have met some amazing people through blogging. With some of them I have made personal contact through email, comments, etc and others I have only met through reading their blogs and admiring their work. I am continually amazed at how generous everybody is with knowledge and how honest and respectful (almost) everybody is about each other's work.

Internet tools
It surprises me everyday how many free tools are available on the internet. Everything from photo-editing to blogging and drawing tools are out there and ready to use. In a future post I will tell more about the ones I use regularly.

In the next post I will look ahead at what 2010 has in store for me, my craft and this blog...

Tuesday, 5 January 2010

Looking back...

This blog was born in April of 2009. As this is the first time I have the opportunity to look back on a year past, allow me to reflect on where this blog has come from...

I blogged about...

things I have made,

some handicrafts from South Africa, that impressed me,

and my travels...

I did not blog about...

the article I wrote for the first edition of NEEDLE magazine,
(It is the first time I got published and hopefully not the last time.)

the 2 giveaways I won on other blogs,
(2 e-books about craft-blogging by Diane Gilleland of on and a lovely beaded heart from

and my family. I love them very much and although most of my life revolve around them, they are not part of this blog. Firstly because I believe that if they want their lives and faces on the internet, they can put it there themselves, and secondly because this blog is where I am the me that's not a wife and a mother but just me.

In the next post I will reflect on what blogging has taught me over the last nine months.