Monday, 31 October 2011

Project Life | Last week of October

This week was photo rich and I had difficulty choosing / leaving out images. I tried to go with what best tells the story, but some days have many everyday stories to choose from.

I don't usually do much editing (beyond brightening and sharpening) to my photo's. But I was recently inspired by the dreamy images in this photobook: (found via Ali Edward's twitter updates. She takes her pictures on film. I love the grainy look. Just something about it. Then I stumbled upon this tutorial (while downloading a christmas printable actually): . I wasn't motivated to go and figure it out on Photoshop, but - for the left page/ main photo- tried some of the suggestions in my Microsoft Editing program. Not perfect, but I enjoy the effect.

Happy Monday!

Friday, 28 October 2011

Double the bubble

We are really into paint at the moment. Me and my youngest, my "last term to stay at home in the mornings" son. But I know that he can tire of drawing and brushwork, so we looked at a really fun art project today. Something that had the wow factor for him.

We discovered this project, via Pinterest (where else!), at Familfun (a great site for things to do with the kids), and here's the link for the homemade recipy: I wasn't sure that I knew corn syrup (I live in South Africa), so just used Golden syrup and it worked just as well.

And here is what the artworks look like:

I'm not sure what he enjoyed more, the bubble blowing or the artworks he proudly created, or the excitement of printing them before the bubbles goes. But it was a great project.

PS: You need a lot of liquid to get good bubbles. We ended up saving the remaining in glass bottles.

Wishing you a good weekend!

Thursday, 27 October 2011

Bestest easiest chocolate cake

I just love this recipy because it is so easy to make and requires such basic on-hand ingredients. It is really a huge brownie, and can defnitely be made as such. People always think it contains chocolate, (and you can certainly add some chunks, but it is not neccessary. I either make it with the heart stencil icing sugared on the in or outside (just remember not to knife-test the middle of the cake if your icingsugar is going on the outside! I have, when we just moved into a new home with a "new" built in oven, doubled this recipy and made it twice, creating a 4 layer cake for my son's 4th Birthday. So. easy.

Here's the link:

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Project life | 3rd week of October

I'm really so fond of this project. I don't see myself ever not doing a Project life in one form or another.

About the underwater photo, bottom right: No underwater camera? No problem. I used my small Canon, switched on the self timer, placed it in a glass jar and sealed the lid on top. Then I placed the jar underwater, with-out fully immersing it (lid part still above water). It was probably very fortunate timing, but we snapped this photo with the first attempt, capturing his new diving adventures.  

Monday, 24 October 2011

This weekend: Strawberry picking

One of my favourite things to do is explore new places. Another favourite is to give our kids a taste of country life, even though we live in a big city. If we can do both of these with an easy 45 min drive out of town, then even beter.

This week-end we headed for Tangaroa farm near Hartbeespoort Dam. It had a picnic area next to a duck pond, and wide open fields with rows of strawberry plants and some mullberry trees full of fruit. One is allowed to go in and pick and eat as much as you like, but, because crops are not that abundand yet, not allowed to take anything home. It was quite hot- you're only allowed in after ten, so we preferred the shade of the trees. The strawberries are organically farmed which meant that you could pick them and eat them. Juicy and sunwarmed. I loved the feeling of space and quietness as you walked, looking for ripe strawberries. And that the kids had space to safely explore.

We had lunch on a blanket next to the pond. Only later noticing that we were within arms reach of a nest of white duck eggs. The parents were quite mellow, more interested in some bread bits. Later we noticed another duck sitting quietly on a nest inside a barn area. We walked past her a few times before noticing her.

On the way home we briefly stopped at a Dutch cheese farm (Van Gaalens). I loved all the names of the Dutch imported sweets. There were packets of those old fashioned heart shaped candies saying "modern" things like "Fax mij" -fax me, and "bel mij" - phone me.

Here's a lay-out I did of the day, using a Katie Pertiet (Designer digitals) template. Other products are also from Designer Digitals.

And a link to the Strawberry farm's website: .

Friday, 21 October 2011

A morning at Brenthurst gardens...

A friend of mine invited me to a fundraising walk at a garden, with some tea at the pool to finish it off. Still being fairly new to Jhb, I had no idea what to expect, except for an approximately 3 hour walk (so it must be a big garden, I thought). It was 16 hectares big actually.

When we arrived at the parking area this morning, we drove past Strilli Oppenheimer. I recognised her from a magazine article I once read about her groundbreaking indigenious gardening. I was amazed that she took the time to personally welcome us (a little group of 20 Moms geared with broadbrimmed hats and sandals) to the estate that's been the home of Oppenheimer family since 1920. I enjoyed how natural and unassuming she came across. There were (understandably) no camera's allowed, and I surprisingly enjoyed just walking and enjoying without needing to photograph the beauty around every corner.

The walk was an absolute feast of sights, fragrances and interesting stories, our guide having been in charge of the gardens for a few years (hope I have that right!). Like the story of how the 2000 year old Cycad (carbon tested), was swopped for one of the Oppenheimer horses (since no money in the world could buy either one).

I especially loved the sculptures and their stories. The Renoir sculpture, {yes, I saw a Renoir!!!, yes, he sculpted too!} was done towards the end of his life, sitting in a wheelchair, and using a bamboo stick to point a student to what needs to be carved away. Her cheekbone is done is such a way that she looks like a young woman from the side, but as you come around the corner, she looks much older.(That's a photo of her in the brochure at the top).

 The sculpture of Scott's (think South Pole expiditions) son, done by his mother. Loved this because my husband has such an interest in the story. And the 6 metre high man and woman scullptures, expressing both the story of Eve made from Adam, and the deeper (and for years not known ) story of the artist's pain of losing their firstborn to adoption was quite moving too.

I loved the old trees: the purples, blues and deep reds. The grasses with little bell shaped flowers, tasting a sour "spekplantjie". The organic vegetable garden, how they work with nature. The arches and little paths. The changing moods of the different gardens. The fact that it is allowed to put on a seasonal coat. Birdsong and butterflies...I loved hearing that by not fertilizing your plants, it's allowed to become stronger.

The pool at the end of the walk was of course nothing like the picture I originally had in my mind. It wasn't blue or square :) It had lillies floating on the water, and irisses flowering in purple. We quenched our thirst with homemade mullberry juice.

I love natural gardens, and I love stories. This garden for me is the story of the power of a woman. From that first Eve who misused her power, or didn't realize the extent of her power, to the power of the Lady (don't have her name now) who rode her horse to the top of that hill, loved the view and persuaded her husband to build a house there, resulting in the sought after Parkhurst neighbourhood. To the creative power of renowned garden designer  Joanne Pim, and Mrs Scott, who made the statue of her sun loving son, to the power of a mother's love portrayed in the Man and Woman statue. To Strilli Oppenheimer who used her power to create something so beautiful, something that reminds us that our view of what beauty is have been corrupted, and taking it back to what is natural, as God intended it. It reminds me of every woman's power, that God calls us (His Bride) a garden (Song of songs 4 & 5). That He made us for delight. "Let the beauty and delightfulness and favour of the Lord our God be upon us.."! Ps 90 v 17.

If you would like to go feast your eyes, visit their website here:  and take the time to look at the gallery and also the descriptions of the statues, and various wild, informal and formal gardens.

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Paint on...

I recently (via pinterest) discovered a great site for art inspiration for kids. Link here:

So yesterday we tried one of the projects. The idea is to divide your page into blocks and paint varius sized circles and rings in the three primary colours, and then experience colour mixing as you go. I painted along, hehe. But as you can see below it was Liam's artwork that is oozing with creativity and expressive confidence. He also had the trait of a real artist to know when to stop and call it good!

  I just felt so thankful for how colourful my life became since becoming a SAH Mom. My wardrobe became so much more colourful (I used to wear a lot of black back in my boardroom days), the washingline is an explosion of colourful kids clothes, painted projects everywhere, new colourful (in the best way) friends...

Ps: You can check out Ali's Thankful thought series here:
A great way to document the things you're thankful for.

And talking about paint, this is truly just awesome:

Wishing you a colourful, gratitude filled day!

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

T-shirt project # 2 : Image transfer.

I recently rather innocently bought a little bottle of image transfer stuff. I ended up being very excited about the possibilities. Here's our project:

You'll need:

1 bottle of "Picture perfect" by Dala (got mine at Westpack at Lifestyle centre)
"Blank" t-shirt
A photocopied picture.

For the picture I used some word-art that I downloaded from somewhere. Unfortunately I didn't manage to save where I got it from when filing it away. But one can even create your own using interesting fonts. Remember to horisontally flip your image in your photo editing program before printing it, as you 'll get a mirror image transferred onto the fabric.

Apply the glue onto the front of the image, then aligning it well, place your picture face down onto the t-shirt.
Using a rolling pin, press down the image. Leave overnight. The next day: First iron the paper. Take a damp facecloth and place it on the paper for about half an hour. Remove and start rubbing the paper. (Paper works much better than cardboard). Keep rubbing till you've removed all the paper, dampening the paper as it dries again, untill you only have the image left over. Be carefull not to rub off any of the image. Apply another layer of glue (you'll end up using very little from your bottle). Iron again, using a cloth. And that's how easy it is to make a unique t-shirt.

Monday, 17 October 2011

Project Life | catching up.

I'm still quite good at finishing up my week's documenting at the end of every week. I just love this project that much, that it is one of those things that I actually keep "working" on. But I didn't get around to adding finishing touches and posting them. So here's my Project Life for the last 3 weeks:

You can click on an image to enlarge it. The cute text bubbles were a freebie from Audrey Neal (Every  Day Celebrations) at Design House Digitals. If you sign up you get weekly and monthly freebies.

The photo frame is from Carla Dudley, also Design House Digitals,, the tags are from Katie Pertiet, Designer Digitals. Read more about Project Life here:

Friday, 14 October 2011

Seen and heard around here

I've had an Elise Gray diary for most almost every year of my adult life. It's purpose has evolved somewhat from a place where I wrote long pour-my-heart-out "dear diary" paragraphs, to a place now where I keep track of our months, and schedule in commitments and dates.

But I also now use it to note down things the kids say. Those things that make me smile or grin or laugh out loud. Those gems I want to remember for years to come, and especially in years to come.

Some of the things noted in the past month:

Liam (4) when he did something right : "Say thank you to Super Liam!"

Reuben (6) making up his own worship song. ("He has the biggest dinosuar in his hands"... etc)

Liam, repeating (incorrectly) something heard on tv "Ow, a crowmoach (iso cockroach) in my house. I don't think so!"

Reuben, when asked what is his hearts desire " He wants his tooth to fall out, so he can get some money from the toothmouse".

Liam, while waiting for 2 minute noodles: "Why is it taking so loooong?!"

Reuben: " Mom, you must have done something right somewhere. I'm takingthe washing down for you."

Liam, after we read the story of Jesus walking on the water and me explaining that there is nothing impossible for Him, with big eyes asks:  "Can He shoot out of his fingers?"

I've also seen Reuben's excellent report card.  His grade R Teacher's comment at the end describes him as independant and responsible, with good manners. He is cooperative and is a pleasure to have in class.

Going through the report I explained to him what I was reading. When I told him that it says that he can take leadership, he was so excited as if he just got permission to be a leader. That was the best part to him.

They are such a joy!

Monday, 10 October 2011

This weekend | The Circus

Hi Blog, I haven't been here for a while due to internet problems. Blogging for a month now, I don't love the amount of time it takes to upload photo's, but I do love how it tells our story and also inspires me to live more creatively.

As evident from the heading we had a very exciting weekend. A visit to the circus as a holiday treat.
I already did a lay-out of it, so I'll just post that. It contains all my favourite photo's of the day.

Ok, I know I'm supposed to say something about the products used (all Designer Digital freebies I think) but I'm just really tired of my computer right now - it's just no fun to work on at the moment, and it took the best part of the afternoon to do this lay-out on Mr Superslow. I'm off to catch what's left of a beautiful day outside... 

Monday, 3 October 2011

This weekend | Through my lens

I am a life documenter. Inspired by incredible "Life Artists" like Ali Edwards, and Project Life'rs like Becky Higgins, I document our story with a lot of photo's. I've taken a serious amount of photo's since becoming a Mom. That doesn't mean I always carry a good camera, or know anything about the technical side of photography, or are very interested in it for that matter. But I do try and keep things interesting.

This weekend I wasn't in the mood for a SLR and big lens, so I just carried my small Canon. When I looked at the photo's I realized that I subconciously used a few simple go to "techniques".

I look for colour and interesting angles.

Strong shapes

Framing my subject(s) (and drawing the eye)

Taking a photo from behind

Looking for a solid colour background (nice for journaling on later)

And doesn't those strong lines on his shirt also work well?

And when you've taken a really bad photo (that you love), you can always turn it into a "Poladroid" , a downloadable "gadget" that turns ordinary photo's into Polaroid looking ones.
We happened into a kids costume shop and Reuben tried on this prince outfit. We didn't buy it, but the image is precious. Just Google "Poladroid" and you should be able to find and download it for free.

I do love taking photo's.