Monday, October 1, 2012

Spring has sprung! (A Photo Diary)

"Happy Spring!" to all those sharing the season with us in the southern hemisphere. Winter has finally moved on and I am grateful for the new life of this blossoming time of the year. Thought I would share some of the photos I took in our garden around the first of September (officially Spring day). It is my favourite season and I always look forward to capturing it's beauty...

These lovelies are the the wild plum's flowers. The wild plum is always the first to show life in our garden after the dry and cold weather of the winter season. This particular tree is one of the babies of the original tree we planted. We have another of its babies that is about waist high now.


My sweet furbaby, Daisy, loves to follow me around in the garden while I play photographer. Her favourite spot is...among the daisies of course:)

These tiny white 'rose like' flowers are from a flowering shrub we know as a Mayflower. In the springtime it is covered with white flowers and looks like a bride standing in the flowerbed.
Delicate Jasmine flowers are synonymous with spring. It wouldn't be spring if their sweet sent did not fill the air... It's one of those smells that activate memories for me. Saturday afternoons with the mixture of Jasmine, "braaivleis" (meat roasting on a fire) and the watermelony arome of fresh cut grass swirling in the air...comforting and so so yummy!  
The Jasmine buds in this pic came out very blurry but did help to create a good photo with Daisy as the focal point. The pinky hues of the buds, the pebbles and the faided teracotta color of the painted paving all blends nicely together...even Daisy's ginger stripes are toning in well here. 
Little Miss Sweety Pie cheking out the down pipe for creepy crawlies she can chase...
I take all of my photographs with my trusty little 2007 Sony Cybershot. My photos mostly come out good...with a few accidental brilliant ones here and there and then a bunch of "not so good" ones scattered in between. Losts of picture taking happens even though the lens is damaged (I dropped the camera in 2009 while taking pics of our Christmas fell on the lens. When I switch it on now I have to hold it with the lens pointing down otherwise the lens comes out skewed and then all the pictures are blurred. It's very tricky to get good pics 'cause some settings and zooming in or out switches the camera off). Hopefully, and despite Cybie's "injury", my pics will only improve as I have now signed up for a free mini digital photography secrets course ( I love macro photography and am looking forward to improving in that area and...well, ALL other photography areas.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Up-cycling Milk Bottle Plastic Into Beautiful Necklaces

What does going "green" really mean? (I'm a poet and I didn't even know it:))

I'm no expert, but in my house it means that we look a little closer at how we dispose of our everyday garbage. For me personally it started in 2010. My sister and her hubby were parents at a children's home at the time, and I was helping them come up with ideas for Christmas decorations for their house. All the houses at the children's home had to be decorated on the outside for the Holiday Season as part of a fundraising effort where in the public was being permitted onto the grounds of the children's home during the whole month of December to view the Christmas lights. It was the responsibility of the parents of every house to find sponsors for or make decorations themselves to decorate the houses with.

My sister and I make a great team when it comes to these kinds of things, but we were stuck. We didn't have a lot of time to prepare for it or to find great sponsors, and personally, money was tight.
So, what do you do in a situation like that? You pray and enquire of God. I heard a whisper on the inside of me saying: What do you have in your hands? (This is the wonderful way God works.) Looking around, what we could see there was a lot of at that house (a house where up to 20 girls at a time were being taken care of)...was garbage. A lot of food donations means a lot of plastic containers, cardboard boxes, egg cartons, etc. The garbage bins were overflowing. But we didn't really know were to begin. Next step...GOOGLE to the rescue!

My eyes were literally opened to a whole new world where words like 'recycle', 'up-cycle', 're-use', 're-purpose', etc. meant seeing the potential for beauty & purpose in things we usually discard and reject. The saying: 'One man's trash is another man's treasure'
came to mind every time I found another great way to turn some seemingly useless piece of junk into something lovely & beautiful. The bonus of it all was that, by doing our part and recycling and up-cycling, we were helping to clean up the earth.

Recycling, up-cycling, re-using and re-purposing has become a way of life for our family. For me it has breathed new life into my art and craft making. More and more I'm doing
'out of the box'-thinking...(or is it 'out of the bin'-thinking?)

To illustrate this...enter my range of
'Milk Bottle Plastic Floral Necklaces'...

Here's hoping I get a lot more customers for these "green" beauties:)


Sunday, April 8, 2012

Crochet Cutie Necklaces

So…it has been two months since I last posted anything (I just can’t believe it!). The rest of February and then March just vanished in a blur of activity and here we are…already well into April with the Easter holidays just over.

I’ve been a very busy little bee during the past months. Making and then exhibiting my handmade jewellery at a ladies creativity morning, came first. Then I received a last minute invitation to exhibit at a new arts and craft market, which caused me to immediately start producing for that so that I would have a full table of goodies to show. There really wasn’t enough time to do and make all that I would have wanted to for the market, because in the middle of everything, I left for a week away at the coast (a holiday invitation received from friends weeks before when there was nothing on my calendar yet). Between making more jewellery, some new paintings and pretty lanterns AND preparing for and going on my holiday…there simply wasn’t any time to blog. But I do intend on making up for it. A lot of picture-taking happened during this time to document all of my activities, so I now have many lovely & beautiful things to post about. Not only that, last week I received another invitation to exhibit at a market that forms part of a festival in May. It means, that in between having to catch up on blogging, filing away the growing heap of papers on my desk, some graphic design projects that is due and preparing for the next market…phew, I’m going to be a very busy lady during April as well. Here’s hoping everything on my To Do List gets done!

Ok…all the blah blah blah about why I haven’t been around is over. Now for the good stuff...

I found out that I like to crochet. Then I found out that you could crochet jewellery, and I like to make jewellery. The next natural step was to download a few free patterns and try them out with left over yarn. Results...ta-da!
When I received the invitation to exhibit at the arts and craft market, 'mass producing' a few of these cuties was at the top of my list. I went to a yarn store and bought what I deem to be shabby chic coloured yarns in 100 % cotton and 100 % bamboo. Bamboo yarn is such a revelation to me...SO soft everybody. Silky soft compared to the cotton yarn. It was just so much fun to make these necklaces and so satisfying seeing the end result.
The pattern for the big flower necklace above, can be found here:

The pattern for these budding beauties came from:

We're in the thick of Autumn here in South Africa...the weather is changing quickly and Winter will be here before we're really prepared for it. Wearing something as pretty as one of these dainty crochet necklaces, will brighten and warm up the coldest and most grey of days.


Wednesday, February 8, 2012

First Painting of the Year 2012

At the beginning of this year I promised myself that I would paint a lot more in 2012. So when opportunity came a knocking…I grabbed onto it with both hands.

The story goes like this…when my dad’s computer “blew up” at the technicians’ workshop where it was being repaired; his eldest brother and his wife were very generous and bought him a brand new computer. At 72 my dad isn’t one of those fuddy duddies that sits on the front stoop all day listening to the birdies sing. He’s our families’ genealogy buff and spends most days online in his “man-shack”, researching families and connecting with “long lost” and “never-knew-existed” members. He doesn’t just research our line (the Brink family), but all the little branches running from it. So imagine his distress when the main tool of his trade saw the end of its days. To tell the truth, he actually took it pretty well. I was so proud of him because something like that would really upset me a lot. He stayed so calm and told all of us that he was just going to remain at peace about it and trust God. That trust paid off because a few days later my uncle and aunt stepped up and bought him a new desktop computer.
We are so grateful to them because dad has never had a new computer to work on before. He’s always been using second hand stuff that eventually leaves him in the lurch. His brother is his greatest supporter and since last year has given him a new printer and a portable hard drive for backing up his family genealogy program. That brings me to the subject of painting again. I’ve been toying with the idea of doing a painting for my aunt and uncle as a thank you gift, but didn’t know what they would like. Then we heard about a framed photograph of my dad’s grandfather that belonged to my uncle and that was damaged when it fell from the wall in his son's house. It was sent to me to see if I could restore it, but that’s not really my thing. I was too afraid anyway that I would mess it up completely and cause a family feud or something, so I decided that I would rather do a completely new painting of the old guy for his grandson. I think it’s very special seeing as my uncle has his grandfathers’ names. On the one hand I was rather looking forward to making some art again, but I haven’t done any drawing or painting in a long while. Staring at a blank canvas or paper after so long can be very disconcerting. But I had a mission and decided to just plunge in.
So here’s how the painting of my great grandfather Daniel Stephanus Brink progressed. I think it turned out quite good despite the rusty artist.

Left: the damaged picture; Middle: the original photograph; Right: Daniel Staphanus Brink's portrait done in soft pastels.
In the olden days they used to take photographs and colorize and paint on them… My dad remember as a sixteen year old boy (1955) seeing this framed photograph of his grandfather hanging in his Ouma Marja’s house (838 Fitzgerald street, Belfast, Mpumalanga, South Africa ) in the sitting room. By then his grandfather had already passed away years before in 1947, so my dad dates the picture at 1945/6. The shabby chic chick in me really wanted to give that old frame a sparkling coat or two of white paint....but they'll never let me do it:(

The certain points I really felt like a fraud, but the end result isn't too shabby.

Hey there great grand pappy! My dad is so thrilled with this painting that he wants a copy. Here's hoping my uncle feels the same...


Sunday, January 29, 2012

Lovely Little Trinkets 2

A lovely lazy weekend...nothing but resting, eating, washing my hair (been using the dry shampoo too much lately:P) and a little light food shopping late yesterday afternoon. We got home just as the weather suddenly turned from sunny and mild to 'raging rainstorm'. Great timing! Nothing inspiring on the box...'Godzilla' for the umpteenth time. Somehow I got sucked into watching this disaster movie's like junk food, one bite and your hooked. I wish for a channel that's devoted to showing only Jane Austen  films and miniseries...all the versions ever made. Happily I own a few on DVD that I can watch over and over and over again...

Today was even more restful. I thought a lot about this new year and what I would like to accomplish. It was good to spend time in a peaceful atmosphere reading my Bible and praying about this and for my family and friends. The message came from Genesis 1:28 - "And God blessed them and said to them, be fruitful, multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it [using all its vast resources in the service of God and man ]..." AMPLIFIED BIBLE. This message was for me, as thoughts about what to do this year, finding creativity, earning an income, etc. has been filling my mind constantly lately. The knowledge that God has blessed me to do these things has given me a peace and also direction. The part about " the service of God and man ..." reminded me that it's not all about me and what I want. My plans for this year must include God and other people.

Another theme that came up was about having BALANCE in life. Balance means: having the right amount of:
1) healthy nourishment (addressing health & weight);
2) rest (sleep & relaxation);
3) work (purpose);
4) play (enjoying your life & exercising);
5) time alone with God (getting filled up spiritually everyday so that you can go the distance);
6) time to enjoy Godly relationships (blessing family & friends & others that cross your path).
I'll be praying about this everyday...

Friday night I came across a vimeo about 29 ways to stay creative: . It's really good, actually remember about 10 of them:
1. Take breaks (have really been trying to do that...God worked 6 days and rested on the seventh...He's the ultimate Creator!)
2. Sing in the shower (do that a lot:))
3. Get away from the computer (since getting my new laptop, this one's been tough)
4. Carry a notebook everywhere
5. Go somewhere new
6. Try free writing (blogging?)
7. Clean your workspace (can't work in a messy environment anyway)
8. Exchange ideas with others - Collaborate
9. Don't force it
10. Listen to new music.

Now for those other collages I promised. All this 'free writing' is revving up the creative juices...ha really works!

5. Recycled Hardware and Smokey Accent Bead Pendant

This one has a very modern feeling. I don't know what this piece of hardware used to be, but it makes quite a nice piece of 'bling'. Will go great with a snazzy black outfit;)

6. Recycled Washer and Purple Beads Necklace

I've wanted to try making something with washers for a long time and was happy to have had enough 'stuff' to make a matching pair of earrings for this necklace.

7. Wrap-around Bracelet and Deep Purple & Amber Earrings

See, everything I make isn't pink:)

8. Miscellaneous Earrings

What a joy it is to make can create something very pretty very quickly...and wear it directly! Those yellow ones are the cutest...they remind me of fat little bees or tiny angels. I recycled the yellow beads from a decoration that was around a hand lotion someone gave me once as a gift. (The gift that keeps on giving:))

Can't believe January is almost at an end...the time really flew by. Just the other day it was Christmas...


Friday, January 27, 2012

Lovely Little Trinkets

Hello Friday! Spent a wonderful morning photographing some of the lovely little trinkets that I've been working on since the end of 2011. After the photo session, which took up half the morning, it was time to start up my CorelDRAW Graphics Suite program and make collages of the different pieces.

Here goes...

1. White 'Milk Jug Plastic' Flower Necklace with Earrings (needs a prettier name?)

 Moi  is very happy with this little set...its 'belle belle!'. The flower pendant is made of milk jug plastic and a few crystal clear beads. Pretty cute hey? In keeping with the floral theme, different sized flower shaped beads were incorporated into the design.

Here I'm wearing said lovely creation...still can't believe a milk jug can be turned into something so beautiful. I plan on making lots more of them and do my part in keeping the earth green.

2. Pink&Pearl 'Soda Can' Blossom Necklace and Earrings

Making this necklace and the matching earrings was a whole day affair. Lots of cutting, sanding, embossing. My fingers were sore, back ached and eyes were crossed by the end of the day...but the result was absolutely worth it. An intricate, feather light, pretty and feminine piece of jewelry. Again, who would have thought a soda can could redeem itself and go to rusty death at a garbage dump for this one!

3. Recycled Hardware 'Pink Blossom' Pendant Necklace

This little project has been brewing in my head for a long time, then last week everything came together. METHOD: Take one big washer looking toolbox find; give it a good sanding with some fine sandpaper; clean with a soft cloth; cut small flowers in 3 sizes out of a soda can; sand that clean on both sides and mold it a little so that it will hold a small amount of resin; paint the inside of the flowers with a pink pearl coloured nail polish; let dry; instead of dropping small amounts of resin inside the blossoms, I used a clear strong adhesive (Pratley Quickset Clear, me thinks it's basically resin) which I bought for gluing things permanently in the jewelry making process; let dry completely; then mix another very small blob of the adhesive and very quickly glue the blossoms in place on the washer looking thing (this adhesive dries in 3 minutes and sets permanently within 24 hours); mix yet another even smaller amount of adhesive to glue rhinestones in the centre of each blossom...bling! (didn't have a third tiny rhinestone for the smallest blossom so used a small blob of silver glitter glue)...and 'ta-da!' you have a very stylish pendant. All it needs is a suitable chain. Mine is made of two strings of pink and clear seed beads. Très chic, no?

4. Salmon Pink Peyote Tube Bead Necklace with Flower 

There's a trend floral. Something new I learned this week...making Peyote Tube Beads with seed beads! I found a great tutorial here: <> , after seeing the merveilleuse creations Emma from makes.

I guess that's all for today, but I can't log off without sharing something very cute and very sweet...


Better late than never...

This is my very first post! Yeah! I wanted to start blogging on the 1st of January, but life happens and then here I am, better late than never. I'm still not sure I like the look of my blog but it will have to do for now. Hopefully in the days and weeks and months to come I will fill this blog with all the lovely & beautiful things I plan to make this year. Not forgetting lots and lots of lovely inspirational pictures I find on the net...I'm a serious serial image googler:)

So to start off with, I'm in love with 'shabby chic' and have been using up my internet bytes googling shabby chic blogs and downloading loads and loads of chicness to inspire me for making everything from jewelry to recycled 'tin food can lanterns'. There is just sooooooo many ideas out there. I've also been hoarding a mountain of 'junk' to up cycle and turn into cans, soda cans, glass jars, egg cartons, plastic milk jugs, those bread-bag-tie-thingies, etc. In the last week though I've been re-learning to imagine the big bulging file of free patterns that's been downloaded, everything from basic crochet stitches and easy crochet flowers for beginners to things I've never heard of...cowls & cloches...which turned out to be a kind of scarf and a hat. Learning new things all the time people!

So here goes some inspiration:
Beautiful art...Portrait Of A Lady As Evelina by John Hoppner
Hearts....I can never get enough of them!
Lovely jewelry...mmmm...I've made a few nice pieces in the past few weeks and will be posting pictures of them soon...
Glorious Lavender!!!
Roses in vintage blue jars...just perfect.
Burlap and lace.
White paint! I dream of a room like this...
Have white paint and old frame...will be making a notice board like this before the year is out.
Love the fabric, love the flower, lover everything...
 Paper roses... am I going to cut heart shapes out of them so neatly?
Faux mercury glass...very chic.
Irish Lace Scarf...downloaded a free pattern from
I can't wait to get all the goodies to make this's too perfect!
Will soon be posting my version of this crochet necklace. So stylish...

I think that's enough for my first post. Next time look for lots of pics of my own projects. I can't wait...