Saturday, 15 December 2012

How to paint with no paint

My daughter is four years old. She has just recently moved halfway across the world with us to settle in a new country.  Part of moving to a new country is throwing out lots of stuff. Unfortunately her water-colours were one of the things which ended in the bin.  It was old and well used and needed to be replaces in any case.
Now we have settled in the new house, we have unpacked all our stuff and she wants to paint. No paint. 
My excuse of waiting till we go to the shop to get new paint, didn't go down well. She wants to paint now. She will make her own paint.

Here's here plan:
She cuts out small pieces of paper, colours them in with her colouring pencils and then soaks them in small amounts of water until the water turns to colour. Then she paints with the coloured water. 
No problem.
How's that for problem-solving skills?

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Flower Feedback: Three Rondavels 4 and Mac Mac 13

I received an email with several photos from Paul and Elsabe Finch. They are from Rietfontein Farm in the North West Province. They came across my flowers at Mac Mac and Three Rondavels.

It was such a nice surprise to get a stack of pics.  Thank you for sharing.

Flower Feedback: Mac Mac 8, 9 ,10, 11 & 12

It seems Mac Mac is a favourite flower spotting area...

My name is Hanita and I am with my family and friends at the Mac Mac waterfalls. Our story today is about taking time out to appreciate the finer things in life - enjoy the company of our friends and family and recharge our souls.

A short message from Dorette and David Pienaar:

  Passing by on a cloudy day.

A lovely message from the Netherlands:

We are Iris & Pieter from the Netherlands, traveling around SA for 3,5 weeks and enjoying wonderful nature, golf, SA wines, etc.  Really enjoyed Blyde River Canyon and spotted your flower at Mac Mac falls viewpoint.

And a beautiful story from North Carolina:

Hello! My name is Amy Martin and I am a 38 year old single mother from Durham, North Carolina, USA. I visited South Africa in mid October with G Adventure. Although I was with a group, this was my first time traveling abroad alone, and it was the longest period of time I'd ever been away from my three children. My experience on this holiday will be forever embedded in  my mind. Someday I plan to bring my children to South Africa so that I can show them this amazing country.
When visiting Mac Mac Falls, I saw your flower and read the note and thought it was a very cool idea. I had  a fellow traveller take my photo so that I could send it to you.  I wish you best of luck with this project!

Aslam Watson send me this pic of their beautiful family. There was no message attached.

I find it so cool that people from all over the world are connected by the flowers. A chain indeed.

Flower Feedback: Franschoek 5, 6 & 7

Whoo-hoo! THREE messages from Franschoek!

My friend and I came across your flower and I've attached a picture of us. I'm Tamsyn Jethro (left) and my friend is Fahtiema Ohlson (right) both from Cape Town. We met at work two years ago and became firm friends. We share spontaneity and a love for our province. We've done the Route 62 and Garden Route trip together.

When we both moved to other jobs, seeing each other became difficult. So we planned a 'reunion' date and nothing was more fitting than a road trip. So we followed the road signs and found Franschoek and your flower. Really amazing. 
Regards Tamsyn

What a great story.  Road trips are the best.

We escaped to Franschoek on a relaxing weekend getaway. It was a beautiful, warm day. We ran for shade and that is when we discovered your flower. Happy Spring!!
M Raath

We currently reside in Port Elizabeth. We were on a family holiday and sight seeing trip. I am originally from Cape Town but my boys had never been (not what they can recall, that is!) Jarryd, the fairer of the two is 13. Chad, on the right, turned 12 in Cape Town.
Tanya Cuthbertson

Happy birthday Chad!

Flower Feedback: Three Rondawels 3

I received this wonderful photo of two sisters from Brazil. 

We're sisters from Brazil, and we were visiting a family of friends in South Africa and traveled all over the place this September 2012!
We took this picture next to the Three Rondavel viewpoint, and I just realized that it was on my birthday, September 11th!
It was a really great experience to finally visit South Africa and discover so many incredible places... I can't even tell you how many thousands of pictures I took! LOL It's gonna take FOREVER to sort it all out and edit it from print.
I thought it was a really cool thing to do this! Hope many other people sent you their pictures!!


Flower Feedback: Witsand 2

I am still getting great feedback from the African Flowers.  I am so happy to know at least some of them are still up there!  This one is from Witsand.  I only had one previous message from there so I assumed the flower had disappeared. I was wrong.

I am Irma Roets. On Monday 19 November 2012 my husband, Sarel, and I came across a crochet flower at one of the view points at Witsand in the Northern Cape.  We are from Kimberley, the Diamond City, in South Africa. A three and a half hour drive from Witsand.

Thank you, Irma!  When we passed through there in August, it was freezing. It looks like you guys had a bit more sunshine than we did.

I'm Back

...with only a few minor tweaks. 

We live in a small cul-de-sac street with parks on both ends and stream flowing by.

Our bedroom window looks out over the stream and we can watch the ducks get ready for the day while sipping our early morning coffee.

I walk past the pond in the park on my way to and from the metro station every day.

The ducks share the pond and the stream with moorhens, gulls, cormorants and the odd pelican.

It is a true joy to be surrounded by nature while still living in the city.

Sunday, 11 November 2012


As you can see I changed the background of the blog to... well, nothing.

I am in transition. The blog is in neutral. Some days I feel like it is in park. But it is not. I just stopped quickly to have a look at the map. I am not very sure where I am going at this stage. I wouldn't say I am lost - I know where I am. It's just that I am not very sure where it is I'm going to next.  There are lots of options. Each one as exciting (and  a little bit scary) as the next.

I will soon start a new job. I have not had a full-time, paid job in many years. I am super excited, and a bit scared. My days will not be my own anymore. My hours will now belong to someone else. The job will be really creative, I will be surrounded by talented people and I will learn a lot. I hope and believe that I will also contribute a lot. 

Adelaide is still new to me, but everyday I am surprised and delighted to see how much are happening here in the line of fiber art, needlework and creativity in general. I am surrounded by talent and I can't wait to dig deeper, to meet artists and to get involved in the 'scene'.

I want to concentrate more time on writing. Since I started writing it was always the 'extra' thing I 'also' do. I want it to be more of a focus - to take it more seriously and to devote more of my time and energy to it. I am still figuring out how this blog is going to fit into this new focus. 

But I will never stop making. I have unfinished projects, unstarted projects and millions of ideas. To quilt, to knit, to crochet, to embroider... 

So over the next few weeks, as 2012 winds down to it's end, I will figure things out and come up with a new strategy. A new vision. For myself and for this blog. Sol y sombra. 


Friday, 19 October 2012

Flower Feedback: Union Buildings 4

Another lovely message from Pretoria!

I’m Lesley van Essen from Hoofddorp in the Netherlands.
I was in South Africa from 24th Sept till 14th October and traveled from Johannesburg to Cape Town. We traveled with a group of 34 people and went to  Pretoria, Soweto, Kruger Park, Swaziland,Lesotho, Port Elisabeth, Panorma route, Garden route, Cape of Good Hope.
Seeing all the animals in the game park was a lovely experience.
We enjoyed ourselves the whole 3 weeks and think South Africa is very beautiful.

Flower Feedback: Franschoek 3 & 4

It seems like they all come in pairs!  Here are another two from Franschoek:

First up is Amanda Hamman:

During October 2012 I've taken my husband, Dani, to the Western Cape for his 41st birthday because he haven''t been to that part before. He was bowled over by what he saw and experienced. He would definitely go back. We went to visit the Hugenote monument in Franschoek where we saw this flower and took the picture. We are from Lydenburg in Mpumalanga. I'm a teacher at the Primary school and my husband is a farmer.

Hi - my name is Susie and I'm from North Yorkshire in the UK. I was visiting South Africa in September with my husband when we stumbled across your lovely flower at the Hugenot monument in Franschoek.
After being on safari in Botswana the previous week, and paying a brief visit  to Victoria Falls in Zambia, we spent a fabulous few days exploring this region. The monument was a quiet peaceful place and flowers were coming into bloom all around on the pleasant Spring day we visited. We also travelled along the coast to Hermanus and were blessed with the sight of whales joyfully playing in the surf nearby. We had a great trip - our first to south Africa - and will definitely be back one day as I left a little piece of my heart here.
Peace and Love...

Thank you to both of you!  Isn't it great that people from different sides of the world can find peace and beauty in the same place.

Monday, 8 October 2012

Flower Feedback: White River

This is a special one.

These are my four cousins. They came to White River from Johannesburg, Somerset-West, Great Brak and India to celebrate their grandmother's 90th birthday. While there they visited my aunt, uncle and mother at the shop where the African Flower is. 

I love it.

Flower Feedback: Mac Mac 7

I have received another message from Mac Mac, the first one from non-South Africans.  It is so cool to see and hear how people from the other side of the world also enjoy our country.
Thanks Nils and Lucia!

we are Nils & Lucia from Hamburg, Germany. We visited South Africa for the first time this year and found your flower at Mac Mac Falls.  We enjoyed our stay in South Africa very much, we have seen fascinating animals in Kruger and Hluhluwe National Parks and went hiking at Drakensberg. St. Lucia and the Indian ocean were also very impressive. Unfortunately we had not enough time to visit Cape Town, but one day we will return...:)

Saturday, 6 October 2012

Flower Feedback: Mac Mac 6

This time from Haley. 

I am Haley Rieckhof, born and bred in Johannesburg South Africa. Our first family vacation as we have all just been reunited after 2 years, with toddler Ariele Nova and Gerhard Koekemoer. So this holiday will be remembered for ever... and this photo will make sure of that! 
Thanks :)

I love every photo and message I receive, and it makes me really happy to know the flowers put a smile on people's faces.

Friday, 5 October 2012

Flower Feedback: Groot Brak 2

I received another email from my friend Christelle.  
She was flower hunting on the Garden Route...

On the last day of a very short visit to the grandparents, we went
flower hunting was cool and windy on the bridge to Groot
Brak island! My boys Reinhardt and Gideon , with MIL Alta Botha of

You're a star, Christelle!

Flower Feedback: Mac Mac 5

I had no idea the Mac Mac Falls is such a popular place!  I have received another wonderful message from there.  This one comes from Michelle du Toit.

We are visiting family in Lydenburg and did a day trip.  This was one of our stops. On the photo is my husband, baby and I.  My husband was last here when he was 4 years old(he's now 29). Our daughter is 11 months, and its a first for me and her.

 This is such a nice thing that you started.

Will definitely look out for more flowers on our next trip.

Thank you Michelle!

Thursday, 4 October 2012

Of Beginnings and Endings and the little things inbetween

We left Dubai in July, we traveled through South Africa in August 
and we arrived in Adelaide in September.
We've been living out of our suitcases for almost three months now.

During the past three months we have said "Goodbye", we have said "How nice to see you again" and we have said "Please to meet you". Our four year old has met more new people in the past 3 months than she had met in the previous three years. No more shyness: Every new person is a potential new friend.

We are in the process of settling into a new country. In the past few weeks we have applied for bank accounts, tax numbers, medical aid and driver's licences. We have looked for and found a school, a house and a church. We have made a few new friends, visited a few new shops and figured out our way around a new city.

If all goes well, we will unpack our belongings next week and we will begin to turn our house into a home. And we will turn a new city and a new country into our city and our country.

Life is good.
We are blessed.

(leaves photographed in the Singapore Botanical Gardens)

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Flower Feedback: L'Agulhas 3

Another lovely message from L'Agulhas:

My name is René Kasselman(23), I'm a student from Bloemfontein (kovsie) and I'm on holiday in Struis Bay and we were just walking on the boardwalk, when my mother saw the flower, and we took the photo, its a really nice flower.

Thanks Rene!

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Flower Feedback: Mac Mac 4

Another message from Mac Mac!  This time from Bronwen.

We were at Mac mac falls.

Its our 7 years Anniversary and we decided to come here for it.

Good choice, Bronwen!

Flower Feedback: Union Buildings 3

One of the best things about the flower at the Union Buildings is that I get messages from people I know.  This message is from my friend Erika.  We've been friends since primary school. 

This photo was taken on Sunday afternoon 16 September. We stopped for a stroll at the Union Buildings with a visitor from Cuba. What a surprise to find one of your flowers! In the photo is of my daughter Xera with the flowers....

Saturday, 29 September 2012

Flower Feedback: Mac Mac 2 & 3

It seems some flowers just draw more attention than others.  This week I received two messages from Mac Mac Falls.  The first one came from Sonja Botha, who sent me this lovely photo of her two children:

Hi! We are Marco an Chante Botha and we were sight seeing for our holiday. The sights we saw were wonderful and it is an experience we will remember always!

The next message came from Igmar Grewar:

We visited Mac Mac Falls yesterday and found your flower at the lookout point. Here is a picture with my two daughters, Karla, Lisa. The photo was taken by my wife, Karin. We live in Henley on Klip, Gauteng, and we are on holiday in the Hazyview area. All the best to you and your family. 

Two lovely South African families in the same beautiful place.  Thanks Guys!  I love hearing from all of you!

Thursday, 27 September 2012

Flower Feedback: Malgas 3

I just love it when I get messages from flowers I've planted weeks ago!  This beautiful photo and message comes from Belinda Britz.

Hi, I am Belinda Britz. I came to Malagas Hotel with my husband Alan Britz and son Jack Britz. My husband came for work reasons and we just came with to enjoy the beauty of the Breede River. What a beautiful and relaxing visit to the Malagas hotel.

I agree, Belinda, Malgas is such a tranquil place. 

Monday, 24 September 2012

Flower Feedback: Union Buildings 1 & 2

On one day I received two different emails from the Union Buildings!  I am so happy to see that local people still visit the place.  The building and the gardens are so beautiful,especially in Spring.  When I was there I only saw tourists.

The first message came from Kyra Scheepers and her husband:

We are the parents of 3 children. We come from the West-Rand and have come to Pretoria for the day. We came to the Union Buildings to pray for our government. Thank you for your efforts.

My pleasure, Kyra.  Thank you for praying. And for the message.

The next message comes from my friend Christelle. We met via Facebook where she is the driving force behind the fantastic group called Ons Hekel (We Crochet). We have since met in person and know we are kindred spirits.

Here is her message:

Today I took the Dad and the Boys on a treasure hunt at the Unions
Buildings.  We live in the valley behind the ridge on which the Union
Buildings are located - the President's "backyard" :-)

It was a cool, crisp spring morning in Pretoria, with some thunder in the
air and the rain already chased us away after breakfast at the farmer's
market. Since your photos already show the beautiful buildings, I went for a
view over the city.

A lovely day to find an African Flower .

Fantastic! Thanks Stel.

Friday, 21 September 2012

African Flower Chain: Link 24 - Final Flower

Back in Pretoria. 

Before we started I knew I wanted to put the last flower at the Union Buildings in Pretoria.
 When my husband and I first got married 21 years ago, we lived in a small apartment in the bottom of the Union Building's garden. We lived in a building which was used to house the people working on the construction of the Union Building - before 1910.  It consisted of 8 one-bedroom apartments. It was in the days before cell phones and we had a ticky-box (pay phone) in the stairwell, which was right outside our window.  We all used it as our home phone and whenever it rang (especially late at night) we had to get up, answer the phone and then go and call who-ever the call was for. We could hear all the conversations going on in the stairwell and knew exactly what was going on in all the other tenants lives!
Sadly the building does not exist anymore. But the memories do.

I made 30 flowers and the plan was to plant one every day. In the end things didn't work out exactly as planned.  Some days passed without any flowers being planted and on other days I planted more than one flower.  I tried to only plant flowers in places which 'felt right'. I had all sorts of 'rules' I made for myself before I started, like I would not plant it in commercial places like shops and malls or on private property, and I would plant one everyday, etc.  

In the end, the chain - like life - took on it's own path.  There were places where I thought I would like a flower, like in Namaqualand, but it rained so much we couldn't go where we wanted to. There were other places where I never meant to plant one, which just felt right. A few of them are in commercial places and a few are on private property. Because that is where they are meant to be.

I planted 24 flowers on route.  While we were in Reebok with our friends form Dubai, I gave one flower to my friend Kine.  She has a special place she wants to plant it and one day she might want to share that with us. Or not. 
That meant I had 5 flowers left, which I tied into a garland and attached to a lamppost in front of the Union Buildings.

The chain is now complete.

We traveled for 28 days over 6800km's.  We passed through all 9 provinces of South Africa. We saw beautiful places, met wonderfully warm and friendly people and fell in love with South Africa all over again.

South Africa is still the country of our hearts.

African Flower Chain: Link 23

It was the last day of our trip. We had to be back in Pretoria by evening. We did not want it to end. We wanted to keep on driving and driving.  There is so much more we still wanted to see.

The night before we discussed our route: shall we take the obvious route over Lydenburg and head straight back to Pretoria on the N4, or shall we take the long route over Tzaneen and Polokwane? We decided to take the shorter route.  But on the day, when we came to the T-junction, guess which one we took?  The long route. 
Of course.

We passed through the J.G. Stydom tunnel, where we met more local crafts people. The lady below were weaving mats with rolled up strips of magazines and news paper.

Just past Magoebaskloof we came to the small village of Haenertsburg

We stopped in the main street at a quaint little coffee/book/antique shop called 
The Pennefather for a cup of coffee. Here we met the owner, Beth Green, who introduced us to her pet potbelly pig whom she says is also the Mayor of Haenertsburg!

When I asked her permission to attach my flower to her windmill, she insisted that she (and her pig) should be the first people to be photographed with the flower!

May I introduce you to Beth and the Mayor.