I just wanted to say a big THANK YOU for all the support for my Coronacommissions Postcard Series that I am busy working on to help raise funds for South Africans in need during the Covid 19 Pandemic.
I have finished my first 10 paintings (shared below) and I have another 5 to go before the first round is complete. Just a reminder that all proceeds have been donated straight to charity, and so far we have raised much needed funds for Ladles of Love, Coronacare and Care for Wild (because Rhinos need our help during this time too).
The paintings have been such fun to do, and I am really enjoying the challenge. And I am totally overwhelmed by the amazing response to them. I am busy confirming another round so please get in touch if you are interested.
You can follow my series on Instagram using the hashtag #coronacommissionspostcardseries or use #coronacommissions see which other artists are doing something similar in their own styles.
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.
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…
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.
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.
Spring has sprung and all kinds of floral motifs are in the air : ) We specially liked this one from Livingspace magazine featuring their Ed’s Choice. This is our favourite time of the year and we can’t wait for the warmer weather to arrive. And along with it, all the beautiful plants and flowers that we are so inspired by!
And our table runners are now available in both Foliage colour ways as well as our Blue Willow Pattern.
If you are looking for inspiration you can also have a look at how some of our happy customers have styled their own photos of our products. We’d love to see what you do with our things, so please feel free to share your home or DIY inspiration with us, or tag us on Instagram.
And while have been having a rather quiet time over the winter months, it is so great to see some others have been very busy at it.
The CDI (Craft & Design Institute), along with their new name because they are now a national enterprise, have just launched their new Design Directory 2017-2018. We were so happy to see ourselves included, and in such a big spread, alongside such a wealth of national talent. We are delighted to let you know that we have a few copies of the Design Directory on sale at the Handmade By Me + Windowsill shop if you are interested. They are R290 each. You can also order a copy online here.
There will be gin, there will be gift wrapping, and there will be 20% off everything in store so don’t miss out on this exciting one-off event!
This event is open to the public so please feel free to share it with your family and friends.
We are also offering free gift wrapping on any orders from our online shop. Feel free to browse our product range from the comfort of your own home, order and pay online, email me what you would like to have gift wrapped, and then collect your order from our retail store (we have parking) at your convenience.
We have been so fortunate to have had such wonderful media love this November that we have decided to turn it into a kind of gift guide of sorts. See what some of SA’s finest media thinks of some of our products.
Food & Home magazine chose our online shop as the Editor’s Pick in their round up of favourite online shops.
Fair Lady magazine looked to nature this month with some lovely gift ideas inspired by floral and foliage. So happy to see our Prickly Pears tea towel made the cut.
Spring has sprung and the August sale (and hopefully winter) has blown away, and we’re already getting excited for summer! Not as much as little Grace here showing off her cute little face and her Pretty Proteas nappy cover.
Thanks so everyone who supported us, and took advantage of our August Blows sale, it has been a (whirl)wind of a month for us. We are now off on a 2 week break so we have decided to extend the sale in-store for the next two weeks, so you can still take advantage just in case you missed it!
But before we head off, we would like to share some of the wonderful media love we have received over the past month.
And in shop news this month, we had a very exciting feature recently in the Sunday Times Property News.
In the shop, not only have we introduced lots of new Handmade By Me products lately, but we have also introduced our latest collaborative product with Windowsill, pressed plants. Even though we only have a few in stock at the moment we are very excited about all the different green and leafy possibilities that can be placed between 2 pieces of soldered glass.
And do come and see our brand new Alex Snell prints which were created specially for our little shop – titled Gothic Africa, and inspired by our little part of the world. These prints are part of a signed limited edition and are available exclusively from us either framed in soldered glass or unframed.
And last but not least, watch out Joburg, we are coming for you! We are VERY excited to be exhibiting at the Sanlam Handmade Contemporary Fair at Hyde Park shopping centre in October. Watch this space for more details or take a look at their website.
Sorry if we have been a little quiet lately, but we have been so busy with all kinds of new product development. It is all worthwhile when we literally feel like 5 year olds when the new products turn out as good as our new melamine trays have! Finally they are here, and ready to buy directly from our retail store and/or online shop. We are so in love with the way they have all turned out, we kinda want to keep all the new stock to ourselves : )
All the trays and pot stands/decorative trivets are locally made here in South Africa. The trays are made using solid melamine, they are durable, stain and scratch resistant, food safe, heat resistant up to 120degrees Celsius, and dishwasher safe. The pot stands/decorative trivets are made using a melamine surface which is cork backed. They are durable, stain and scratch resistant, food safe, and heat resistant up to 160degrees Celsius.
Whether you favour a pot of tea for two, a TV dinner on the couch, or even brekkie in bed, we have a beautiful range of trays on offer that will suit any occasion.
The round trays are available in both our Delft and Imari designs. They are 370mm in diameter.
Our rectangular trays are available in these 4 designs and in 3 different sizes, small (300x215mm), medium (400x250mm) and large (445x350mm).
Pot stands are available in 5 designs and in 2 different sizes, small (225mm diam) and medium (275mm diam).
And look what we spotted in the latest issue of Visi magazine : ) Our lovely fabric collaboration with Thandiwe Muriu at Picture Africa at 100% Design Cape Town earlier this year. Our Joburg friends can see the full exhibition at 100% Design South Africa which will be on shortly at the Gallagher Convention Centre, Johannesburg from 6 – 10 August 2016.
I must say it feels a lot like Christmas at Handmade By me at the moment with all the new exciting products and samples that we have been trialling and testing of late. Now that we have our own retail space, we get to explore all sorts of different products which we can stock and display at the same time. We also love to make sure that we have lots of lovely new things in our shop to keep our loyal customers coming back for more.
One of the most exciting things we have started making (maybe it’s just the cute baby photos) are our muslin baby blankets. Made with a beautiful soft 100% cotton muslin, these blankets are 1m x 1m in size, and are available in 3 designs – Prickly Pears, Pretty Proteas and Pink Flamingo. Whether you use it as a swaddle, sunshade, nursing cover, play mat, or burp cloth, these blankets, quite literally, have you covered. You can order directly from the Handmade By Me online shop or pop into our store on De Lorentz St in Tamboerskloof.
We are also busy making some small muslin bags and squares that can be used for cooking. Muslin is a handy piece of material to have in the kitchen, especially as it can be washed, dried and continually reused. The cook’s muslin is a natural, finely-woven fabric often used when filtering or straining.
Straining liquids to filter out any impurities (such as stocks or consommé)
Hanging cooked fruit to separate out liquid, essential for creating quince or apple jellies or marmalades
Making cheese; squeezing liquid whey from the cheese curd
Filtering aged wines or port for decanting, removing any sediment
Soak muslin in butter and cover turkey or chicken breasts while roasting to keep them moist
Strain yoghurt for a few hours to thicken it into labna (eaten in Lebanese homes for every breakfast)
Wrap grated zucchini, potato, beetroot or carrot in muslin to easily squeeze out all excess moisture
Straining peppercorns, herbs and shallots from vinegar in a classic béarnaise sauce
Muslin cloth is essential when creating your own tofu from soy beans
Combine cream cheese and ricotta and strain into a classic Coeur à la crème
Wrap lemon or lime halves in muslin and place in the centre of the table for easy squeezing without pips or pulp
Make your own tea bags for an interesting morning tea spread
Line your bowl with muslin when proving bread dough to eliminate the need for excess flour or oil
Create a muslin bag filled with herbs and aromatics, for easy retrieval after making stock, soup or a classic sauce
We have also introduced a new product to our range – greeting cards. We chose 10 of our favourite designs, printed them onto A6 card, and then packaged them into individual sets together with a plain white envelope. Have a look at the full range here.
We also found out recently that our phone covers are now available in a clear plastic option which takes any white or light colour used in the design and prints it clear. Here, you can see below, we tested out our Geometric Monochrome design for the iPhone 6. What do you think?
This week we tested our first samples of melamine trays and pot stands in our designs, and we are SO impressed with how well they turned out! Not only are they so pretty and useful, they are also practical, and can handle up to 120C (248 F), are dishwasher-safe and scratch and stain resistant! These will be available to order very soon.
We finally managed to shoot our Prickly Pears and African Aloes tote bags and purses and upload them to our online shop.
And while we are talking about all things new, our first Handmade By Me + Windowsill collaboration products, in conjunction with the talented Alexis Snell, are ready and available to buy exclusively from our shop in Cape Town. These beautiful limited edition linocut prints come all the way from the UK and we are selling them framed (in soldered glass) or unframed. We just LOVE them.
And speaking of our shop, for this week only we have a new special on offer: the perfect gift – an aloe potted in to graphite glazed terracotta and an orange squares tea towel for only R350. Only while stocks last! For more special offers, sales and events, follow us on facebook.
So it’s taken us a little bit longer than we anticipated, but finally we are able to show you some of the product shots of Handmade By Me’s newest range of designs and products.
For the Prickly Pears and African Aloes range, we have introduced these designs across our full range of products including our beautiful LUX Panama Cushion Covers which we sold out of at Kamers recently.
We also teamed up these two designs with our Pretty Proteas and Striking Strelitzias designs to bring you our full Cape Floral Kingdom range.
The LUX panama cushion covers are our premium range of cushion covers made using our luxurious quality 100% cotton panama fabric. This fabric is thick and soft, and we have cushion covers available in 60x60cm, and 60x40cm on request. We can also supply you with feather/down inners on request.
We have also introduced a little something for our favourite teeny tiny little customers, Nappy Covers. These have been made using our beautiful soft 100% cotton. They are available in 5 designs and in 4 sizes: 3-6 months, 6-12 months, 12-18 months and 18-24 months.
We are also very excited about our new reusable placemat designs, Birds of Paradise and Victoriana, which will be available alongside our Delft and Imari placemat designs in December. Please note that these are available to pre-order in the mean time.
You may have seen some pics of our Big 5 range for kids on our social media feeds lately. In Africa, the big five game animals are the African lion, African elephant, Cape buffalo, African leopard, and White/Black rhinoceros. The members of the Big Five were chosen for the difficulty in hunting them and the degree of danger involved, rather than their size.
The Big 5 range is available in 50x50cm cushion covers and reusable placemats at the moment, and we will hopefully be introducing these designs in the nappy covers shortly.
For the reusable placemats, each placemat has been laminated so you can use them over and over again, and then when you finally get sick of them you can turn them into face masks in just 3 easy steps. Each set of 5 contains one of each of the Big 5 animals. How fun would a kids party be with these guys!
To make sure that the placemats can easily be turned into face masks, I had to test them out and make a face mask out of each placemat design. Here’s how its done:
Living and Loving magazine looked at choosing which colours will work best for your nursey and decided our Orange Squares cushion cover would be a perfect match. “While red is a fiery, volatile and energetic colour that should only be used as an accent colour in small amounts in a nursery, orange offers a similar look that’s friendly, welcoming and vibrant.”
We have just launched some exciting new products here at Handmade By Me which I am so excited to let you all know about, and show you the photos from our recent product shoot!
First off we have just introduced our beautiful new LUXURY panama cushion covers. They are 60 x 60cm and made using our luxurious thick upholstery-weight 100% cotton panama. We are particularly excited about the velvet options – we just LOVE the feel of it, and the colours! For those not a fan, we do have an option with the print both sides, and a more economical option with the print just 1 side and either backed in plain white or black depending on the design.
Our other new exciting new product we have just launched are our beautiful new pillowcases! They are made using a beautiful soft 100% cotton poplin (1 up from the usual percale) to fit a standard size pillow 70cm x 45cm. This is such an easy way to transform your bedroom, and what with so many designs to sleep around with, you’ll be spoilt for choice to find the perfect combination!
We have these 4 designs below readily available to buy, but we are planning to slowly introduce more designs as we go along so feel free to place an order with us for the design of your choice, or just let us know which your favourite would be!