Shell mobile

A mobile we made with broken shells picked up on the beach.Image

Shells separated with clay beads.




Yellow Patchwork Curtains

This piece I patched together some time ago. Pulled out of a box of unfinished pieces in storage. It makes a gorgeous patchwork curtain for the window in our sewing room. 




Here is it drawn closed. I love the stained glass effect.



Here it is hanging on the washing line…



A close up of it hanging outside. So pretty.


The squares I bought at a Rotary Flea Market – already cut out – in shades of beige. I patched them together and painted the whole piece with yellow fabric paint. Beige/cream weren’t my favorite colours at the time.

Mum’s Garden

I have been spending time with Mum. Enjoying her springtime garden.   

Cool fountain in pool

There are some really huge tadpoles in this pool.

(right click on images and open in new tab to view as larger image)

Bench under Jasmine covered arch

Early morning view while drinking coffee.

Lonesome arum lily

This arum seeded itself in the stones in the pathway.

Ceramic sculptured head

All the plants bursting forth with new growth.

Blue flowers

I love the colour of these flowers…such a pretty border.

Yellow pansies

Yellow Black-eyed Susan's



Pink daisies

Mosaic bird bath

Close-up of mosaic bird bath

This bird bath Mum made (the mosaic) It is so pretty. The birds love it too. Especially a particular Robin who comes several times a day for a pre-longed splash.

Ceramic sculpture peeping through the Rue.



Bedroom view

Especially for you Rog and Shari!

Pink flowers


Late afternoon

Such a pretty light in the late afternoon. We love to sit outdoors and watch all the birds visiting the garden.


This particular orchid has four fronds of flowers like this!


My favourite!

Tree tomatoes

This plant is laden with tree tomatoes. We are soon in for a feast! I will bring some home for you guys!

Walk way to the bottom of the garden.

Furry tree-fern


Lovely lawn for romps and runs with Coco.


Dietes Iris




Native to South Africa
A common name  is a bird of paradise flower, or crane flower.


The birds love this plant. The branches are continually bobbing with birds landing and taking off.


For you Marti! Your daisies’ petals seem sparser and thinner.

A cabbage-like succulent


White rosebud

This rosebud is one the first of literally hundreds of white roses that will be opening over the next few days!

Everyday the garden has a new surprise.

“From all this peril here at last set free. In the garden all find security” Sufi Poet (unknown)

A place of comfort, nuturance and colourful insights.

Supportive, peaceful and uplifting.

Chain Stitch.

Chain stitch is one of my favourite stitches. One of the first stitches I learned, and so simple to do. I love to do an outline in quilting or  in chain stitches and embellish with more rows of different colours, or sew on a few beads and or  sequins.

Apart from yoga, reading, meditation and gardening, embroidery is one of the most serene things to do. The more stitches I add the more excited I become to see it grow. It is so absorbing that I lose all sense of time and space. Important though to keep awareness on the  needle as an accidental prick is a nasty jerk out of bliss!


As I was musing over the colours to use with this fabric, my friend Marti posted this picture of her Cotoneaster bush. A picture taken in her beautiful garden in England. This picture was an instant YES to putting this together the way I did. Thank you Marti for your inspiration unbeknownst to you! The other thing that excited me was the fact that these colours are Dad’s favourite hues!


This is the caption Marti wrote below the photograph.

“”Cotoneaster horizontalis” has tiny flowers the bees love, followed by tiny berries that the birds eat. It really does grow horizontal, in a herringbone pattern. Ours was in the old Stanley garden when we moved here, so I guess had been a favourite of the previous occupant for years before. Little seedlings pop up too. The leaves are as tiny as the berries, no more that 10mm.”

(rather synchronistic she described the plant growing in a “herringbone” pattern…..another embroidery stitch)

Full strip

Embroidery is the art of enriching a fabric with stitchery.

This piece of fabric was given to me by Annegret. It is an overprint/misprint – a reject. (Printed on the fabric as they were cleaning the rollers) The feint pattern suggested the shapes to me while embroidering. You can just make out the smudges of gold print on the fabric.

I used thin batting sandwiched between muslin and the fabric worked on. I love the spongy feel to it and it makes puffy raised pieces in between the stitches.

“For myself, I find I’m never happier than with some kind of needle in hand, designing or completing some kind of needlework; when not doing it, it calls to me like a siren.” AJ Barnett, Needlearts Design

Back view purse.

I made it up into a simple press studded purse…bound with bias binding.

Closed front view.

These “weeds” grow in our back lawn. The flowers are pretty in the spring.

Perfect to carry a cellphone.

This little purse is the perfect fit for my cellphone. This wasn’t planned….just a perfect coincidence! A nice snug protective fit.

Row of daisies.

A row of daisies on another section of the fabric that the misprint suggested.

“Embroidery has a natural affinity for flowers.  It can also, of course, represent nothing at all.”  –Chris Rankin, Splendid Silk Ribbon Embroidery, 1996

Single daisy.

More daisies.

Work in progress. Tacking still in place.

Purse made up.

Another little bag.

All this stitching I did quite a while back.

This post is to inspire myself and anyone who reads this to do more hand stitching. To make time to find the pleasure of hand work.

“It is not that artistic power has left the world but that a more rapid life has developed itself in it, leaving no time for deliberate dainty decoration or labours of love.” Mrs. Orrinsmith 1877.

……and that was a quote from 1877!!!!

Sewing was a part of the curriculum at school for me. Nowadays there is no such thing. I was so fortunate to belong to a family that loved sewing. Many an hour was spent in  companionship while stitching.

“So, we should encourage our children to sew, not as the mind-numbing experience it was for many of us, but to lean the satisfaction of creating and experimenting, with definitely no mention of the word ‘perfectionist’ (because therein lies madness).”  –Carole Berman/Jennifer Lazarus The Needlepoint Collection

Here is a link to very clear “how to” on chain stitch.

This is my first post in the embroidery category. I look forward to posting many more!

emblems before

Self Watering Planters

Cuttings planted in self watering planters made from recycled 2 litre bottles.

  • Cut the top third off a two-litre plastic bottle.
  • Drill a small hole in the cap.
  • Pass a string through the hole.
  • Fill the bottom of the bottle with water, reaching just below the cap.
  • Place the top upside-down in the bottom half of the bottle and plant your cutting.
  • The string will pull the water up the string wick into the soil.
  • As you can see it works very well for cuttings.

This is so true..

“Half the interest of a garden is the constant exercise of the imagination.”  ~Mrs. C.W. Earle, Pot-Pourri from a Surrey Garden, 1897

A lot of the herbs established in the garden are cuttings taken from selections of cut herb packs bought in the supermarket. Rosemary, sage, thyme and mint are all doing well.

As you can see any size or shape bottle will do. Sage cutting in small bottle. Seeds in a large empty vinegar bottle.
Rosemary, Sage, Lemon Verbena, Rue, Wilde Als (artemisia indigenous to South Africa) amongst others all thrived in these planters.

The link below takes you to a lovely clear picture of a planter….

Self explanatory diagram….

If you study this diagram you get a pretty clear idea what to do.

So easy and very effective.

Have fun. I love growing from cuttings.

“Gardening is a kind of disease. It infects you, you cannot escape it. When you go visiting, your eyes rove about the garden; you interrupt the serious cocktail drinking because of an irresistible impulse to get up and pull a weed.”  ~Lewis Gannit.

….or in my case an irresistible impulse to get up and take a cutting!!

Circle Gardens

I would like to share this idea with anyone who might live in a dry area, not have easy access to water or who might simply be forgetful about watering plants.

Due to water restrictions on this property I am unable to water my garden. This is a brilliant solution that Bob, my good friend, neighbour and fellow growing enthusiast emailed me.

It is a wonderful article titled “Circle Gardens: a discovery par excellence!” (pdf format) written by Pat Featherstone of “Soil for Life”. It contains simple and concise instructions on how to make a circle garden.

Thank you Pat for kindly giving me permission to use your delightful hand drawn diagrams to insert in-between my photographs. They brought special inspiration!

A discovery par excellence it certainly is! This Circle Garden

Link to download the pdf

“No unemployment insurance can be compared to an alliance between a man and a plot of land.”
~ Henry Ford

This is a diagram of the first step..

Measuring the circle.

Using a stick and a piece of string measure a circle 1 metre in diameter. (The size of a hula hoop if you have one!)

Removing the soil.

Remove 20-30 cm of the topsoil and place in a neat pile beside the circle.

Placing the subsoil and topsoil in separate piles.

Remove 20-30 cm of the subsoil and place it in a separate pile. The hole will now be knee deep (50 -60 cm deep)

Making 16 holes in the bottle with a hot needle.

Stick an old sewing needle into a cork to insulate your fingers – heat it in the flame of a candle – and push the needle into an empty 2 litre plastic bottle. Melting 16 holes in vertical rows as shown.

Covering the bottom layer of the hole.

Place a layer of cardboard, newspaper or egg boxes covering the base of the knee-deep hole. I added a layer of kitchen refuse.

Using the subsoil to fill the lower layers.

Place the bottle at the bottom of the hole, in the centre of the circle. Add a 2 cm layer (one finger) of compost (or well-rotted kraal manure, kitchen waste or dry grass, or cardboard) in the base of the hole and cover this with an 8 cm layer (four fingers) of subsoil. Water these two layers well.

Bottle placed in the hole.

Continue replacing the subsoil, layering it with compost (or the other materials mentioned above) and watering each layer as you go until all the subsoil has been replaced.


After replacing the soil with added layers, I flooded the hole thoroughly in-between addition of layers.

By adding organic matter and watering each level in turn a sponge effect is created which will retain water below the surface so that plant roots are encouraged to grow downwards, giving them greater strength. Surface watering tends to make plant roots stay near the surface.

The sponge effect is maintained by the burying of the bottle (or alternatively a tin can with holes in the bottom) into which water can be poured so that all the plants in the ecocircle can be reached with one watering session.

When the top soil is replaced it will be higher than the surrounding ground, forming a raised bed.

Having added all the subsoil, replace the topsoil. The surface of the bed will be higher than the surrounding ground. This creates a raised circular bed.

Scoop the soil towards the outer edge making it a basin shape - lower in the middle.

In areas of high rainfall, the surface of the bed should be flat to prevent water-logging. In dry areas the basin shape promotes the sinking of water.

Filling the bottle with water.

Fill the bottle with water (it is only necessary to do this once a week if the bed is well mulched. This means that you are using only 2 litres of water per bed per week. Tighten the cap and then loosen a little but so that no vacuum is created once the water drips out into the soil.

Deep watering encourages good root growth. A strong, well-developed root system will ensure a healthy plant.

Newly planted circle.

Mulch the surface of the basin and plant seeds or seedlings on the inside of the ridge, in circles.Very young seedlings planted in the centre of the circle are protected from wind. Keep the beds well mulched to retain water. One bed can accommodate 10 lettuces or 5 to 8 cabbages, or 4 rows of beans or a variety of different crops.

Five lovely cabbages.

Five cabbages, interplanted with faster growing lettuces that were harvested earlier.

Records on planting and crop rotation can be kept easily and accurately to ensure good soil, and therefore, good plant health.

Stripped of outer leaves.

“Prevention is so much better than healing because it saves the labor of being sick.”
~ Thomas Adams; 17th century English preacher

Circle garden expanded.

I have now prepared 5 circle gardens in total. I have found that the surrounding area of the circle gardens has retained a lot of moisture, and is looking quite lush so I have decided to link them with “no dig” beds.  They are prepared permaculture style – I have made spokes joining the beds. The layers of cardboard and mulch will be soon ready to plant up. That will be my next update.

I hope you have enjoyed reading this post and are inspired to make your own!

“There can be no other occupation like gardening in which, if you were to creep up behind someone at their work, you would find them smiling.”
~ Mirabel Osler

Please leave links to your circle gardens (or other good gardening ideas)  in the comment box…..I would love to hear from you.

This is a link I really enjoyed on planting a spiral garden.

And this link to a Ugandan Keyhole garden posted by “Garden Castle” on face book. Thank you.

“A garden is a friend you can visit any time.”

My first oil paintings

“Creativity is the mother of all energies, nurturer of your most alive self. It charges up every part of you. When you’re plugged in, a spontaneous combustion occurs that ‘artists’ don’t have a monopoly on.” Judith Orloff.

Oil painting is new to me. Fortunately I was introduced to my teacher by a friend. She lives close by, so I walk to my painting class once a week. It took a lot to muster the courage to attend my first painting lesson. In fact I was absolutely terrified walking to my first class. The fear of expressing myself in a new medium.

All the way there I pondered this quote …… “You must break out of your current comfort zone and become comfortable with the unfamiliar and the unknown.” (Denis Waitley)

Cape cottageThis is my first oil painting

I have completed 3 paintings and I am loving it. We use a palette knife to paint with, which I love because of the simplicity of using one tool….. and it is easily wiped clean.

Boats on river with willows

I am so grateful for the guidance my teacher offers. It is wonderful being in a class of painters as we learn so much from each other. We are at varied levels of skill, so it makes class very informative. It is wonderful to share the feeling of satisfaction of a finished work after being part of the ups and downs of the creative process. My teacher has a magical skill of guiding us to transform our vision onto our canvas.


I always feel recharged and content after a class. I have a feeling of completeness.

“Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.” Pablo Picasso.

A good thing to know is I will always be in a good mood on a Wednesday afternoon. And that elated feeling endures over the weekend until my next recharge. Creative expression is not about perfection….It’s about the way it makes me feel!!

Thank you for dropping by. I hope you enjoyed your visit to this first post on my blog as much as I enjoyed putting it together! The reason I decided to start this blog is to remind myself of that which gives me a happy heart and to inspire myself to do what I love. I hope it does the same for you!