Monday, June 30, 2008

A green Monday

This is definitely not a blue Monday. I am thinking green today, which reminds me of warmer weather and spring, and other fresh and beautiful things. Like this roasted balsamic pear and rocket salad, which I am particularly fond of:

Slice one pear, sprinkle liberally with balsamic vinegar and less liberally with virgin olive oil. Pop under the grill. Toast some pine nuts in the meantime. On a bed of rocket leaves arrange little bits of blue cheese & some red kidney beans. Add warm pear slices and toasted pine nuts, drizzle with the warm dressing. Add ground salt and pepper. (If you are going to serve this as a starter, leave off the kidney beans & consider using toasted walnuts.)

I think I will serve this using these delightful potplant salad servers by Black and Blum, and then I will sit in my Tord Boontje Nest chair wearing my beautiful green turquoise necklace by Patricia von Musulin and page through Cool Green Stuff by Dave Evans (jotting down some notes in my Turn Over A New Leaf journal) while I nibble away at my salad. All of the above available at the MoMa online shop. (No, sillies, not the salad. ... )

Sunday, June 29, 2008

The Science of Tango

You wouldn't think that tango & science go together, would you? But look what I found in the latest Scientific American (Jul 2008) - an article about the neuroscience of dance that discusses a research study that was conducted using - wait for it - amateur tango dancers! I love how the lady in the PET scanner put on her fishnet stockings to get in the mood ...

A separate study found that tango dancing (in the form of a series of 20 tango classes) significantly improved mobility in patients with Parkinson's disease.

You can read the article (sans pictures) here.
Have a glorious week, darlings!

In Search of Bright ... or Kicking that Grey Away ...

I woke up feeling grey today. And although I think grey can be quite elegant in fashion and interiors, I do not enjoy feeling grey. What a good thing then that kendalee of Dance of A Painted Lady had just the thing to brighten my mood! Inspired by that, I skipped off to Kalkbay with a teeny bit of money in my pocket, to find some bright. And I did!!
I love proper linen or cotton napkins. But sometimes paper serviettes are so beautiful that one just cannot resist! And look, they put it in a beautiful polkadot carrier bag for me.
On the way back I took this photograph at a bus stop. Yep, that old Kung Fu Panda can just kick the grey away!!

A Tiny Tango post will follow later today.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Design VISI

One of my favourite South African interior and design magazines is VISI. (The other two are Elle Decoration and House & Leisure). I got the most recent VISI last week - I just love to sit in front of a fire on a rainy day and pore over a beautiful magazine, don't you? This issue has an Eastern theme. Look at the big Tretchikoff blow-up! Who would have thought 50 years ago that these prints would become so trendy! (You can download some Tretchi wallpaper here, by the way ...)

This issue also includes exquisite (as always!) photographs by artist Lien Botha. (They are of camellias, but you already knew that, didn't you?)

And now I must just find out how to get pictures next to one another in a post. If anyone wants to point moi in the right direction, she will be most grateful ...

Friday, June 27, 2008

Report-back - A Little List of Three Little Things

Well, how did it go with your lists? I must admit to having battled to complete mine. I left the two 'problematic' tasks to the very last minute, not because I forgot about them, on the contrary, they were very much on my mind. Unfortunately I have a slight Procrastination Problem - especially when the task at hand may cause discomfort. I fully subscribe to the sentiments of One Very Wise (and probably Procrastinating) Person who said: Hard work pays off eventually, but the rewards of procrastination are immediate ... !
Herewith my report-back:
#1. Batch of cookies / make friends / stretch myself right out of that discomfort-zone of social interaction: Dear friends, I failed miserably. I hang my head in shame. I DID bake the cookies (proof below). But this afternoon only. Then I phoned the neighbour. Who was very friendly. (But busy.) And who sent her housekeeper to the fence. Where I handed over the cookies. And consequently did not attempt to contact a second neighbour. (Yet. Tomorrow is another day.) On the positive side: I did meet someone new, didn't I? - the housekeeper, who is a very nice lady indeed. Marks awarded - 3/10 for starting task.

#2. Wear-The-Beanie-project: This one went slighly better. Although it took me a week to work up the courage, I finally (last night) wore my beanie and silver sequinned scarf. Yay! I took the beanie off as soon as I sat down inside the restaurant, and I did hide the sequins a little bit with a knitted black scarf, but I think overall I did well. I even got a compliment on my beanie - okay, from a Surfer Dude, but I see them as experts on beanies, not so? Marks awarded - 7/10 for effort.

#3. Starting my 100 ideas journal: Now this was real easy. This one was FUN! And although I am no artist (as my drawing 'White Van Screeching' confirms) I am really enjoying carrying out the ideas. I have completed three so far - here are some pages below. Marks awarded: 9/10 for enthusiasm, 4/10 for artwork.

New list :
#1 Start my succulents-in-rusted-tin-cans collection - unashamedly copying something I saw in a house in Prince Albert a while ago.
#2 Inspired by iCiNG - get an inspiration/vision board going in my study.
#3 Phase 1 of my very own Tiny Guerilla Art Project! Yes!! Let the revolution commence!!! (and here I am talking Good Happy Art Revolution, friends, and not the more hideous type that is currently being advocated by Certain Very Irresponsible Persons in my country).

Do you have a new list? Have fun! And a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

A package out of the blue ...

I was in a meeting this morning, at home, with the layout artist for a project I am working on, when .....

..... a white van screeched to a halt

...... and dropped a big bag
was ....

...... a rather beautiful box
box was .....

Oh, oh, oh!! The most beautiful pair of tango shoes!!!
To a dear, dear friend, who shares my love of tango, and who knows how One Girl coveted One Very Particular Pair of Tango Shoes.
A big, heartfelt, joyful thank you!!!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

The Silver Rule

I am gearing myself up to wear the black and silver beanie. I've taken it out. I've looked at it. I've tried it on. And taken it off. Why am I afraid of wearing it? It is not that I haven't worn beanies before, I have two: a grey one and a plain black one. See how I am excluding the black and silver beanie? As though I want to deny that I own it. It must be the silver, a colour which my mother has always denounced as 'flashy'. Or perhaps I am concerned that someone might mistake it for the fashionable version of the Aluminium Foil Deflector Beanie which I discovered via Daddy Likey. (Hey, you can learn how to make your own one here to keep those pesky mind-controlling aliens at bay!)
Perhaps I will wear it to my tango lesson tomorrow night. No dear, I mean my silver & black beanie, not the AFDB one. I will pair it with the silver sequinned scarf which also lies in my cupboard, unworn & discarded ...

I am wondering if you also have funny illogical rules - carry-overs from your childhood - that keep you from wearing or doing something?

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

I live by the seaside

pia jane bijkerk recently posted her rather lovely evolving wreath which inspired me to take a picture of the seaweed wreath I made last year. The most beautiful frilly seaweed washed up on our beach, with tiny little berries attached. I picked up a few strands, let them dry, and twisted them into a wreath-shape. A few stitches with needle and cotton kept it together. Then I stuck on seashells I had collected, and backed the whole thing with cardboard to keep the round shape when hung. Last year Christmas I spray-painted it white - and used as a front door decoration. I took the other three pictures on the same beach.

Monday, June 23, 2008

When I was green in judgment ...

I always thought that the phrase 'salad days' meant the happy days of one's youth, but was interested to see on Michael Quinion's World Wide Words (worth a visit if you love words), that it first appeared in Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra ( 1606), where Cleopatra says “My salad days, When I was green in judgment”, referring to her relationship with Julius Caesar when she was young. (See the full entry for salad days here.) So basically it means a period of youthful inexperience, which is perhaps not completely inappropriate for this post - I started changing my eating habits only 9 months ago. (About time.) One of the major changes was having a salad as a main meal every day. Here are two recent ones I've made:
Number 1: I always add beans (for protein) of some type, a little cheese, and nuts for crunch. The crunch-factor of salad is Very Important to me, to the annoyance of my husband. This one had: mixed salad leaves, half a chopped carrot, about 9 chopped raw almonds, 20g feta cheese, 1/3 tin of butter beans. Juice of half a small lemon, drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil, ground sea salt and black pepper.

Number 2: Eeek! No more chickpeas, borlotti-, butter- or red kidney beans in the cupboard! So I used a slice of bauernbrot (german farmer's loaf - half-rye) chopped and drizzled with olive oil. Added a chopped apple, almonds, and blue cheese this time around. My goodness, the bits of bread look humungus in my picture! Yummy yum yum. I could live on salad all year! What are your favourite salady ingredients?

Sunday, June 22, 2008

A Tango Obsession

I have a confession to make. I am absolutely crazy in love with tango. It is an obsession with many positives, but also a good few negative aspects to it. I fall in love with it for a heady few months, and then come down to earth (sometimes literally ...) feeling depressed and tearful for a horrible few days, only to be lifted to new heights of ardour and passion, and then down to the depths of despair again. Oh dearie me. What a roller-coaster ride! What shall I do? I think I shall plan a tango outfit for the next tango salon and go totally overboard! Yes, that is it. A Donna Karan dress, shoes to die for from Viecouture, a swarovski cuff, delightful striped stockings, and just to be contrary a fierce pair of diamante frames. Come back, Carlos Gardel ....

For my next tango-post I will tell a little about tango in Cape Town ... In the meantime, drool over these lovely tango-shoes available from GretaFlora

Saturday, June 21, 2008

I love beautiful things.

Enough of books, art and technology. Where is the design you ask? Where are the beautiful things you promised us? Well, dearies, I am not so adept at trawling the treasure troves of the web yet. But I do plan to have a weekly design feature which will focus on some theme (to be determined by moi & based on a combination of serendipity & moi's mood). Today I give you Weylandts - my favourite South African design store. Herewith some pictures from their new brochure (which is always exquisitely designed & a work of art). Their website is worth a visit. Better even, visit one of their stores! Living in Europe, the US of A, UK, Australia or Asia is really no excuse darling. Hop on a plane and come visit!

Friday, June 20, 2008

A Little List of Three Little Things

I love lists, don't you? Not the boring kind, of course. I mean the other kind of list that is more goal-orientated. The list that gets us off our comfort-zoned butts and inspires us to do something to make our lives more exciting! So for today you have a little homework to do. Ha!! You did not expect that, did you? Get out the pens and paper, my angels. You are going to make a Little List of Three Little Things that you will do over the next week to make your life a little more exciting. Not big stuff, so as not to stress you out. Now, we all have areas where we feel good and are coping. Then there are those areas where we feel less comfortable and need to stretch a bit. ( One of my uncomfortable areas involves social contact. I have to psyche myself up totally to engage with people. I've been living here for two years now and hardly know anybody.) So one of my goals will be to engage a bit.

(#2 has nothing to do with #1 in case you were wondering. I just need to start wearing the damn beanie. Because I really like it.)
That was easy! Next week Friday will be report-back time. One of the reasons I am so inspired is my discovery of Keri Smith' s lovely website via re:make. I downloaded her 100 ideas pdf file, cut out the little squares, put them in a bottle and randomly picked one. (#42 if you are interested). That will be my first entry of my new journal today! I also love her concept of 'no attachment to outcome' with regards to her morning collages, and the scary 'wreck this journal' (instructions for an ongoing project on creative destruction!) Have fun - be creative - and enjoy the weekend!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

A party! Yipppeeeeeee!!

Oh goody goody! I have been invited by Ez to a virtual party over at Creature Comforts. Go and have a look - you are invited too! It has been raining non-stop to day, I am in need of sunshine and inspiring people, so off I go wearing this fantastic outfit by South African designer Colleen Eitzen

and bringing with me a gift of strawberries and bubbly - picture by Michele Candela. (Check her other lovely photographs!)

I am already seeing many beautiful people here, with the most delightful outfits. Oh great, there are cupcakes too. Yum! Now let me go and meet some people ....

The Evil that is Email ...

And here I was thinking that fractured bones cause loss of productivity and other evils in the workplace, but it turns out I am wrong - fractured attention is the real culprit! See this article in the NYT.

(Well, I've tried to make my laptop look as evil as possible in the above pic, but I do not think I was entirely successful ... perhaps I need a better camera. Or photographer.)
The solution to Email Evil might be to communicate via RealSnailMail, recently Blogged aBout By Boing Boing (how cool does that sound? now they can change their logo to bbbbb -and give all the credit to moi ...) I have just sent a message to my husband by RealSnailMail to say that dinner is ready. I hope it arrives before the end of the month. Seriously though, I am all for Slow Art, Slow Food, but Slow Email? Not so sure about that ... In the meantime I will fall for the following escargotic lovelies - all available on etsy:
Bag from sugarlust

Pendant from sushipot

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Bottle or tap?

I have never understood the H2O-crazies, those people who walk around with a water-bottle permanently clutched in their sweaty palms and who have panic-attacks when these are misplaced. Water has never been my beverage of choice, but when I have to, I drink tapwater. See this review of Elizabeth Royte's Bottlemania - How Water Went on Sale and Why We Bought it. It made me think. (Then I poured a glass .... of chardonnay). BTW, don't you just love the photograph above? It is the work of macromaniac - have a look at her marvellous images at Flickr, which is where I found this one.