13 December 2011

Christmas decor

I want to try to achieve this on a similar ceiling light that we have at home.
Wish me luck. (image from here)

06 December 2011

Australia rules

My Package Project partner, Madi, is from Australia. She's such a cool cookie who makes the most adorable goodies for kiddies. {Like this babygro and ruffled bloomer set available on Etsy}:
Madi also has a lovely Facebook page and a blog so you can follow her wherever you choose.

As so often happens, a synchronicity is taking place where a whole lot of my newly discovered influences are turning out to be Australian. What I'm loving is that their seasons are at the same time of year as ours which means I get to read blogs which say Ok summer, I am almost ready at Lost Cabin Vintage (a blog I learned about from Madi) and read Adore Home Magazine with their summery table setting ideas.

And then with more inspiration, along comes a post from the folks at the i heart market championing the posters for the Finders Keepers market held in Brisbane!

Today at CNA I saw some beautiful Japanese-style sticky notes made in... Australia!

24 November 2011

23 November 2011

13 November 2011

Don't miss this...

Ez at Creature Comforts blog has created this (free) magazine filled with gift ideas. It's also got a few really lovely (free) downloads for anyone to use at Christmastime. Yesterday I spent a happy few hours browsing through the magazine (excellent layout, by the way) and today I'm going to be taking a closer look at some of the suppliers showcased in the magazine. Here http://www.creaturecomfortsblog.com/gifted-magazine you can enjoy some relaxed and easy Christmas shopping and inspiration. No crowds, no queues, no noise, no problems!

08 November 2011

Cable spaghetti

I'm sure I've mentioned in previous posts that clutter is not exactly on my "happy place" list. Well yesterday we bought a new laptop and because it's all fresh and new (like the day after a big celebration when all the streamers still have to be swept up), we have a cable spaghetti situation that looks like this: 

I remember a Douglas Adams essay on the subject of computer cables and connectors and I have to say that I am wholly in agreement with him. He was of the opinion that there should be greater compatibility between cables and connectors so that we didn't have to keep track of so many of them with each new device.

I feel however that I should claim full responsibility for the hairdryer and its cable. Leaving it lying around is my weakness and it is only on the floor because there is no room on the dressing table (which has been temporarily reassigned as a second desk).

06 November 2011

Christmas joy

Do we really remember what it was like to get excited about Christmas? Not just the presents we asked for from Father Christmas but the tree that was so tall that one of the grown-ups had to put the star and/or angel on top, the setting of the table for extra guests, with crackers and achingly embarrassing paper hats, the huge meal out of all proportion to any other meal served all year, Christmas pudding, Christmas mince pies and Christmas cake all somehow to be consumed on the day, watching TV with the flashing lights of the tree reflecting in the screen. I really try to enjoy the season right from when the shops start the oversell on Christmas decorations. Even with the crazy preparations and the pressure to include everyone and spend time with everyone, it all helps to remind me to show a few people that they are not alone, that someone out there cares about them and values their happiness too.
Merry chrysanthemum
"The Computer's First Christmas Card" Edwin Morgan, 1968

26 October 2011

Poor Toby bear

It's less than two months to Christmas (altogether now: aaaaarggh!) and nearly a month since my last post and this picture image illustrates just how I've been feeling. 

Nevertheless, I keep reminding myself of the self-help catchphrases that my father taught me. Firstly CYB - Count Your Blessings - and secondly PMA - Positive Mental Attitude.

My other self-help technique is to keep myself busy (a.k.a. distracted). 

It seems that some sort of synchronicity occurred resulting in poor Toby lying face-downward staring at the carpet as though all the cares of the world were weighing him down. When I found him there I knew just exactly how he was feeling and I cuddled him until he felt a little better.

30 September 2011

Friday Favourites

First an old favourite (old as in I have been following since I started blogging). Tania Kindersley is a woman with the most exquisite turn of phrase. Her blog is a daily delight and now I find that she has a second more "instant" blog, here, with one-liners and magnificent pics like this one:

Secondly, I have found (at last) a maker of ragdolls I can truly love. Her name is Angelica Pelati and she makes a range of speciality cakes and custom homemade plushies. She'll be at the i heart market on Saturday and I'm hoping to get my paws on one of these:

28 September 2011

News just in - i heart market's new location

Ladies & gentlemen (trumpet, drumroll etc): the i heart market has a new home at the Moses Mabhida Stadium north podium (oops, nearly wrote North Pole!). I'll see you there on 1 October 2011 between 9am and 2pm.

23 September 2011

Vintage fan club membership cards

How sweet is this? I found it on Hurricane Vanessa's blog here. There are quite a few including The Beatles Buddies and the Barbie Club.
I always thought the Lone Ranger said "Hi-Ho Silver".
We live and learn.

20 September 2011

The Magic Faraway Tree

I was talking about The Magic Faraway Tree by Enid Blyton and could not remember the name of the fairy. So I googled her and here she is...
Illustration by Dorothy M Wheeler from the first edition.

19 September 2011

Shopping and writer's block

Today, right in front of me and blocking my way, is writer's block. My mind is very very busy and stringing together a coherent sentence is proving to be an impossible task. So instead of the usual text-supported by image, it is my pleasure to present (as the circus-master says) some images supported by text.

Last Wednesday, while out looking for new Globe chairs (the centre chair in the photo below)...
I popped into Caboodle at 106 Bulwer Road and got a chance to catch up with Denise from Freshly Found. She has so many charming crochet items and I fell in love with this excellent crochet bracelet which hopped into my bag and came home with me. 
Talking with Denise got me all fired up about the i heart market on Saturday where I bought this ceramic trinket box with the little heart and miniature roses. 
To my surprise and delight, the inside of the lid has a repeat of the pattern that is embossed on the outside of the box.
The market was wonderful. We were treated to music and singing while we shopped (what could be better) and the whole school was buzzing with activity.

14 September 2011

Mid-month I Heart Market

This Saturday, the 17th, there's a bonus i ❤ market. It's at Chelsea Drive School upper campus on Northway in Durban North. The school is holding an arts festival so there will be music and singing and dancing (would that there were "music and moonlight and love and romance" but since it's raining today, just sunlight will be welcomed).

12 September 2011

Creativity in bucketfuls

These birdie characters are handmade by Abigail Brown in London. Her website describes her as "creature textile designer extraordinaire" and her bird sculptures are so lifelike and characterful that I have to agree. They are made with a fabric body, a wire frame, wire legs and feet and their feathers are coloured scraps of fabric. I found out about her through a lovely article in the September 2011 issue of BBC Homes & Antiques magazine (the magazine itself receives a rave review here on the Cuptake Couture website). These little fellows (particularly the robin) are at the top of my Christmas wishlist.

09 September 2011

And to start off your weekend

A drunken elk in a tree
From BBC News today at http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-14842999, a drunken elk was discovered in a tree by a homeowner in Southern Sweden. Drunken elk are not an uncommon sight in Sweden during autumn, when there are plenty of apples about. Mr Johansson said the elk appeared to be sick, drunk, or "half-stupid", the Associated Press reported

How could I have missed this?

Funny bunny made from locally-manufactured shingles
Thanks to Coelho Culture, today I've been introduced to another awesome (do I use that word too often - answers on a postcard...) made in Durban website called I Love Bokkie. Not only does Wendy stock lovely lovely creative goodies, she also posts inspiring images like these sculptures by Florentijn Hofman.
Monkey made from 10000 flipflops

08 September 2011

I'm so excited...It's time for The Package Project 2011


Nadia from Cupcake Couture is calling for participants in this year's project which basically creates links between bloggers in realtime and via snail mail by swapping packages that are put together with thought, love and care. As an experiment in social networking, last year's project was a huge success and was featured on the Frankie blog, PSFK, Google Blogs of Note and Trend Central to name a few. This year the lovely Nadia is aiming to go international, so I'm alerting friends, family and blog followers worldwide!! I've sent her my email (deadline 15 October - check out her website for comprehensive details) and I'm already dreaming up possibilities to go in my package...

07 September 2011

Cuptakes - awesome and cute!

It is possible to be girly and also love tech stuff. Last night I found Cuptakes and I'm hooked! 

Lauren, of Restored 316 Designs, has created a fabulous iPhone, iPad and Mac application that offers a selection of exclusive wallpapers called, “Cuptakes”. She says: “My goal was to offer something I wanted myself, and that is, true original girly girl wallpaper designs for my Desktop and that complements my iPhone and iPad. The Mac has been such a joy since I switched, and I just wanted to complement something that’s already awesome!”.

There are matching designs for your iPhone and iPad home screen and lock screen and now also your Mac Desktop (all screen sizes and the app auto-detects your screen-size). The whole app is really easy to use and the designs are too cute. My favourite for today is the screenshot on the right.
One of the reasons that I like the app such a lot is that it has quite a few "text" designs and I like words. For example, these cushions that I had made for my wedding (right), and this wallpaper from "Cuptakes" (left).

There are also calendar pages that co-ordinate with the home screens and lock screens and a selection of Christmas themed "Cuptakes" including my favourite that says: "Have a Holly Jolly Christmas"

06 September 2011

It has arrived... at last!

Electronics kit from Adafruit Industries
Limor Fried (check out this month's American WIRED magazine here) is my personal female empowerment hero. She's GORGEOUS & GEEKY and today excitement reigns in our home because the electronics kits from Adafruit Industries have arrived. My husband ordered them on the 29th of August and we've been counting sleeps (well almost) until they arrived. Stay tuned for progress updates...

20 July 2011

W.I.P. - Work In Progress

This one is practically a "guess what it is" not so much because it's a bad photo (I console myself) but because it's a photo of a door painted black. It's my new kitchen blackboard.

I have so many many "projects" begun and ideas streaming through my head that I'm now wantonly starting new projects before completing old ones. I still have the bedroom door panels to paint but that requires copious stirring of the paint and a fair amount of surface preparation (so dull). So instead I'm doing an easier and more enjoyable quickie in the shape of creating a blackboard on my cleaning cupboard. Today is the day for coat number two. Keep your fingers crossed that I don't get completely covered in paint this time around because I have a lunch date to keep with my husband.

In other news, I've just found out that my oldest friend (from nursery school days) is finally on Facebook. Hooray for the internet for keeping me up to date with the people in my world. 

18 July 2011

My new sweet addiction

I haven't eaten these for years and years but today I bought a bag for the jar on my husband's desk.
They are really sweet, really chewy, really fruity and really yummy. Five stars for Beacon sweets for keeping up the tradition.

15 July 2011

Another Awesome Tea Party

Lovely, lovely, Pippa at The Thrift Collection is having a tea party on the 27th August. And she says: "If you've got any unwanted clothes, accessories, shoes, bags and general awesome stuff you'd like to get rid of, bring it to the tea party and we'll buy it off you then and there!"

So you get to get rid of your unwanted goodies and use the cash to buy some awesome stylish vintage clothes. And she's got cool clothes for girls and guys. Way to go, Pippa!

See you there - and if you're not a Durbanite, let your Durbanite friends know!

12 July 2011

Owl imprint from BBC news

From BBC News, this almost perfect imprint of an owl that bumped into a glass window. It is presumed that the owl survived the impact because it could not be found in the area outside the window.
The silhouette was left by the bird's powder down - a substance protecting growing feathers

11 July 2011

Copyright Royal Botanical Gardens, Kew

In the shop at Kew, they had carnivorous plants for sale. I would have loved to buy some but of course there are customs restrictions on bringing plants into South Africa. What I really enjoyed was this sign on the shelf in front of them. So much more delightful to read than the cliched "lovely to look at, delightful to hold, should I be broken, consider me sold".
Royal Botanical Gardens, Kew: sign in front of carnivorous plants in the shop

10 July 2011

Where WAS sanehelen?

Mystery house name
On 31 May I posted a question with this photo. The answer was that I was on holiday in the UK, staying near Kew Gardens. This sign was just on the gateway of a house that we passed on the way to the post office. 

Our trip took us to London (the flat in Kew Gardens), Suffolk (postcard-perfect, rural England), Whitby (also postcard-perfect, a seaside town), York (where everything is within walking distance, and old and new are side-by-side) and back to London. There were many times that I had to pinch myself to check I wasn't dreaming. 
Scrumptious pie in Kew

Near the Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew was the most wonderful café that served tea and scones and delicious lunches as well (just look at the photo of the pie I had for lunch one day). The area around Kew Gardens is so beautiful and restful. The streets are tree-lined and there are loads of restaurants and interesting shops. The Kew Bookshop took up a lot of our time. There are so many bookshops in the UK and as a book-lover and newby-writer, spending time in bookshops is a favourite pastime of mine.

Narrow side-street in York

In York I spent some time just wandering around the streets of the city. It is one of the few walled cities and the city centre is a meandering maze of streets which cross over two rivers. 

07 July 2011

Learned something good today

The i heart market is on this Saturday, 9th July, just at a different venue (see right).  I feel like it has been arranged just for me because I wasn't home on the 2nd of July and thought I was going to miss this month's market. Yippee!

06 July 2011

Make do and mend

Ever since I was given my first cross stitch kit, I've loved sitting quietly and stitching. I bought this kit at Hampton Court Palace where the Royal School of Needlework (who did the lace for Catherine Middleton's wedding dress) is located. 

I'm itching to get started on the kit but first I had to do a little bit of housework. Because I love stitching, I don't mind patching things that need to be given a little extra lease on life. My stitching is very mediocre but I do enjoy it. I have to be very careful darning socks though because I tend to make a lump in the sock that is worse than having the hole!

An old friend once told me that she enjoyed making bead necklaces because she found it relaxing. So on the strength of that I bought my own beading kit but found that it wasn't so relaxing for me. Doing cross stitch or mending does hit the right spot for relaxation for me so I guess it's different strokes for different folks.
These are my stitching housework bits and bobs. I had to patch two bags (left, and below left) and while I was away I had to add some extra velcro onto my bag (right) to keep it closed more easily.

04 July 2011

Back at home (and so glad to be here).

Well, we are back at home and I am so relieved to be here. There really is (as Dorothy said) "no place like home". We had a truly wonderful holiday but to be back in my own bedroom and my own kitchen with familiar possessions and kitchen utensils is like a holiday in itself. The sense of comfort from what is familiar is impossible to achieve anywhere else but at home. 

06 June 2011

Guess again

Thanks for guessing, Jess, but it's not the Western Cape (good guess that it might be a wine farm) it was just a house name that I came across and liked. Here's another photo - this time a major tourist attraction in the same city. Clue: Northern Hemisphere! 

31 May 2011

Where is sanehelen?

I'm on holiday at the moment. I'm afraid there are no prizes for guessing where I am but I'll accept all attempts at guessing most graciously.

29 April 2011

Today has been delightfully event-filled

Lunchtime today was at Vida e Caffé, Gateway and opposite was the iStore with the queue for the new iPad (iPad 2) going out the door and down the passage.

When I visited my parents this afternoon there was great news in the Mercury. Madame Zingara's circus (and the fabulous food) is coming back to Durban. Check out www.madamezingara.com and take some friendly advice: don't hesitate before making your booking, tickets sell like hotcakes!

And then this evening my husband brought home the cutest "Royal Couple Cookies" - so named by his colleague who bought a "couple" for everyone on their team.