New year, new work.

Happy new year and a warm welcome back to you all! Here’s hoping your 2020 is already off to a great start.

As most of you know, last year was a big change for me, trying to make my business more about design rather than production, and even though the lines are still often blurred, I feel like we are heading in the right direction.

This year I would like to try and take on some more exciting design jobs, so if you know of anyone looking, please send them my way, or send on their details. Here is a link to my online design portfolio. First prize would really be to partner up with a client or small business who needs regular ongoing work 2-3 days a week, basically something to pay the bills so I can continue with my other creative work in the meantime. But this might be hard to find, so I am just putting it out there to see.

Here are some of my favourite design projects and highlights from 2019. Please click on the main images and links to find out more about any of them if you are interested.

Of all the projects I did last year, this has to be my favourite! It is also something I have always wanted to do. I created a Delft plate inspired illustration for a carpet for The Tasting Room at Vergenoegd Low Wine Farm outside Stellenbosch in Cape Town, South Africa.

The brief was to create a unique Cape Dutch style plate illustration inspired by the landscape and traditions of Vergenoegd Wine Farm. The illustration incorporates the original Vergenoegd Cape Dutch homestead and it’s infamous Indian Runner Ducks who help keep the farm pesticide and pest free, which is also represented by the snail who indicates a healthy farm, the grape vines of course which are used to make their famous wines, the local Robin Chat who represents a fertile farm, and all the beautiful indigenous and local blooms found in and around the farm such as the Protea, Bladder Hibiscus, Arum Lily, Aandblom, Moraea, Angustifolia, Marguerite, Oxalis, Peacock flower, Sour Fig, Romulea Hirsuta amongst others…

I designed a logo, identity and branding for a nail, brow and lash bar called Briyé.

I designed a range of bespoke products for well known ceramicist Anthony Shapiro for his Ant + Linda COLLECT ceramic range.

For the designs, we shot the ceramic patterns which had been carved into the clay so you can see the handmade marks and natural texture of the carving on the fired clay, and turned them into repeat patterns to be printed and used on the various products.

I created some placemats for Spier Wine Farm in Cape Town, South Africa, for their farm-to-table restaurant called EIGHT. They are well known for their ethical farm-sourced produce, and for their chickens!

I made some placemats to go with an overseas customer’s collection of Minton’s Cockatrice plates.

I designed a foliage inspired pattern for some fabric for a customer who wanted to make her own dress for a special event.

I created two different designs for fabric for a client looking to start her own fashion range. 

The first brief was to create an “indian block print” looking design which had to incorporate something floral (ideally local) and a bee. I used a South African flower called a Wurmbea Elatior, also known as a salt & pepper flower, and created this repeat pattern below.

I was then asked to create another pattern to compliment, but also offset the first design. This time the brief was to include beehives and/or beehomes as well as the same bee. 

We created a peaock inspired print for a client starting their own range of home decor products.

We also added some new products to the range we currently make for The Trading Co at Spice Route and The Yard

Wishing you all a happy, healthy and creative year ahead.

Sera

Find out more:
website: www.handmadebyme.co.za
facebook: www.facebook.com/handmadebymeblog
twitter: @handmadebymeSA
instagram: @seraholland
design portfolio: sera holland (behance)

Italian Chicken and Lentil Soup

I found this recipe on eatbetteramerica.com’s website and decided to give it a try. I have been looking for a chicken soup to make as I haven’t posted one up yet. I normally avoid chicken soup recipes as they usually involve a whole chicken which you have to cook first and then add and I just personally couldn’t be bothered. This recipe uses chicken thighs which are alot easier to manage. I also love lentils so it was already a good combination. The original recipe involves a slow cooker which I don’t have and american measuring units whcih I can never get my head around so I have transformed this recipe into a much easier good ol’ “put it all in pot on a stove” kinda way.

The recipe: Italian Chicken and Lentil Soup
Serves 6

Ingredients:
Olive oil
454g boneless skinless chicken thighs (I used boned ones)
1 medium onion, chopped
1 medium courgette, chopped (2 cups)
4 medium carrots, sliced (2 cups)
230g dried lentils, soaked overnight
4 1/2 cups chicken stock
85g sliced mushrooms
1 tin diced tomatoes
1/4 cup chopped fresh or 1 tablespoon dried basil leaves
Shredded Parmesan cheese, if desired
Salt and pepper

Method:
First remove the skin and fat, if any, from the chicken thighs. Heat some oil in a pot and cook the chicken and the onion slowly for 10-12 minutes. Add the rest of the vegetables and mix well for a few minutes. Then add the lentils and do the same again. Add the tomatoes and stock, bring to the boil and simmer gently for around 20-25 minutes. If you are using chicken thighs on the bone, you can now remove them from the pot and shred all the chicken off the bone and return the meat to the pot. Give the soup a good stir and add any extra seasoning. Pour into bowls, add a good bit of chopped basil and grate any parmesan on top, and enjoy!