Wednesday, December 23, 2009

A culinary adventure

Cooked Cannelloni with my daughter this week. As usual Jamie Oliver inspired our kitchen adventure, or should I say Jamie at Home, with Taste Magazine – I mean who can help but be inspired to culinary greatness watching him conjure up family delights straight from the garden?

Is that really his garden, I thought he lived in London?

But, I digress, so it was into our summer veg garden to pick and choose from the fresh and simply mouthwatering array that has evolved this summer. A couple of baby marrows, some tomatoes, a green pepper – the onions are finally ready, so in they go as well – and herbs to delight. Thyme, oregano and basil. We are of course making and Italian inspired dish. Looking out over the garden it is clear that Italy inspired the choice of veg this year!

Oh and not forgetting the eggs, the Bantams are laying again…

I’ll let you in on a secret, if you are out of Cannelloni tubes, make pancakes, and roll and fill them as you would the pasta tubes, works very well. Anyway, Emma has made the pancakes, I have sorted out the filling, it is to be chicken (not from the garden) with the baby marrows, and caramelized onion. Together we work on making the perfect tomato sauce, a taste of summer with the herbs. All to soon the dish is assembled, into the oven, baked until cheesy bubbling alerts us to the fact that it is ready.

What an adventure, what a meal. The only thing that we think would improve this dish would be to have a set of Le Creuset Caste Iron pots to cook in next time. So please pick us, pleased, please, please.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Help to Find Madeleine Mccann

Click on this image to view in a wider format!

I have for the past 2.5 years followed, supported and prayed for the Mccann family after Madeleine disapeared from Praiz da Luz while the family where on holiday there. Today they asked for the help of the public, worldwide to spread this plea. They hope to touch the concience of someone who knows what happened to their daughter.

This computer generated image made available by Britain's Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (Ceop) shows how Madeleine McCann might look now, right, and with dark brown hair and tanned skin in case she has been living in north Africa, left. The images are taken from a one minute film by Ceop made available Tuesday Nov. 3, 2009. British police appealed today for internet users worldwide to spread the new video aimed at pricking the conscience of the key witnesses who know what happened to Madeleine McCann.
Ceop / AP Photo

Jim Gamble is head of the UK’s CEOP Centre and explains the rationale:
The person we are looking to reach is likely to be a partner, family member, friend or colleague of the person or people who were involved in Madeleine’s disappearance. It is also highly probable that they, or someone close to them, is using the internet to search for any updates that may suggest the police are getting closer to discovering the truth.

“Today we want to deliver a message to that person and we’re asking everyone who goes online to help us. We want the message to become so widespread that it becomes just one click from any Madeleine search as a constant reminder to that person that it is never too late to do the right thing – that it is never too late for that person to redeem themselves.

“So if you are a parent or carer, a student or member of the public who is a social networker, blogger or emailer, or if you run any type of online environment, big or small please look at the film today, link to it, share it with your friends and post it in the online communities you occupy. Do everything you can to spread it around the online world. We want to make it omnipresent so that the person we are trying to reach sees it and is prompted to do the right thing.”


Useful links:

Saturday, October 3, 2009

It's a dogs life...

This week has seen me starting a new project, thought I'd give you a sneak preview. I'm digitally drawing these cuties. I can imagine them chasing my two dogs on the greenbelt! In fact I have always dreamed of owning a white labrador. We have, though, got a black rescue dog, the people at the kennels told me she was a labrador, she is nothing like a lab, she is neurotic, not ever still. She has only one saving grace, her shining personality. No matter what she does, you have to forgive that face, those adoring eyes looking at you saying "Oh no, have I done it AGAIN???"

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

I've been printed!

Don't you just love to get a post office slip in the post? Well my surprise was the printed samples from my first batch of scrap pages!!!! It never stops thrilling me when something of mine gets printed. This just made my day! I've been working with Tracy from Queen Of Hearts Design.

Watch this space, weve got many more designs to come!

Our scrap papers are distributed countrywide by Paper Explosion.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

I'm Back...

Hullo there, I am back at last, my blog has been quiet 'cause I have been struggling this month. I have been overtaken by inertia, a symptom of the state I find my mind in.
The cause, no more just being able to design what I like, the jobs I think I will enjoy - oh no, this is not for me anymore... I have to push my design business to new areas.
New challenges.
I don't really do new!!!
I can design until the cows come home, but, sell myself.... this is the aaaarghhhhh that has been challenging me.
So Jacci, happy smile, no more procrastinating, get on that phone and be out there.
Oh, the drawing above is me, lipstick on, smile in place and ready to go.
Wish me luck!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Spring has sprung, the grass is rizzed...

Looks like spring is here, but is it here to stay? My front garden is ablaze with flowers, pink and yellow gazinias, salmon coloured watsonia flowers, white daisies, my fig has suddenly sprung to life with leaves and buds.

I will be gone next week, for a short stay in Pietermaritzburg, leaving the precious family in the capable hands of husband and treating myself to a holiday. Dear husband travels quite a lot with his business, he will be in Congo at the beginning of next week, feels quite cosmopolitan, crossing paths at the airport, very 'celeb' - a bit like the Beckhams! Without the handbags, OK - and the money... and the house in California.
So cheerio, see you in about 2 weeks, I'll post if I can figure out how to do it on my cell...

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Scrapping away... and a very clever idea.

I've been so enjoying doing these scrapbook pages, I am loving the old, yet urban feel of these. They are going up onto my Etsy shop today. I have decided that the postage from South Africa makes posting anything completely overpriced - is it just me - or am I not looking in the right places? So I will be concentrating on digital designs for a while. My stationary is still post-able within South Africa though, so might keep it on for local shoppers.

Back in the days when I was a 'wet behind the ears' teen I spent many a day listening to Bread, Abba or Bananarama on my trusty old tape deck. Wham, the Police and good old Billy Joel too. Remember how one had to place the tape deck next to the radio to tape the latest hit?
Well have a look at this clever little bit of upcycling from a company called Contexture Design
These guys are recycling old cassette tapes and making them into iPod Nano cases, the nostalgia of tapes with the convenience of iPod! Now that's my kind of intelligent design!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Where do the weeks go?

It's nearly 10 days since I was last here, what a week. I have been working on some scrap page designs and seem to get very little done in the end - but I work all day, I need to brush up on my concentration skills!!! I am working with a designer from 'up north' Tracy of Queen of Hearts. It is great to be working with someone who can advise, comment and push one to try new things! Thanks Tracy.

I am busy trying to decide what to order for my stand at the Hermanus Botanical Society Flower Show at Fernkloof Nature Reserve. It runs for 4 days from the 17th September, I would love to see you all there!

This is the first event that I am attending with my illustrations, stationary, linens and soft furnishings. I am seriously lacking in know how, what to bring? How much to bring? Questions, Questions Questions!!!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Make it Monday... exept it was Tuesday!!!

I had such fun yesterday, sewing these mini bags, I have had them in mind for a while and have been saving fabric for ever. My husband will be glad to see it put to use when he comes back from Johannesburg on Saturday!
I particually like ShweShwe and other african prints. The pink one, has fabric from a dress my mother sewed in the 50's when she was dating my dad. They will be appearing on my Etsy shop later today.
Elk's prize is on it's way! I will be doing another giveaway soon - so keep an eye out... and please comment so I know you are out there, it was soooooo nice to have new people come to the blog with this giveaway! Great to feel that one is not talking to oneself!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

And the winner is.....

Great excitement... my daughter drew my very first blog giveaway winner. And the winner in the "leave me a comment category" is Elk. Well done.
But that is not all... the second chance for winning was to send an email to your friends, copy me and get into the draw, Wanda Coustas from Urban Sprout won that one, thanks Wanda for spreading the word.

So Elk and Wanda I'll be in touch for your details. Well done and congratulations. I hope you enjoy the stationary collection.

To those who did not win this time, I am offering you a 15% discount on any items on my Etsy shop (excluding postage) I hope you will find something there that you like, and that the opportunity to shop with a discount will help to alleviate any disapointment!!!

Please remember to convo me if you order and mention that you won a runners up discount.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Christmas in July!

In designer world it's Christmas - in July... designing cards, wrap, and goodies to go out for the christmas season. I thought I'd give you a sneak preview of what I have be up to. As you can see I'm still loving the Shwe Shwe!
Don't forget to go to the GIVEAWAY blog and enter, there is still 1 week left!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

I'm on facebook... and twitter... and...

My friends will attest to the fact that I have always thought of this net presence thingy as complete geekery!

Ok so apologies to all geeks that I know, may I join the 'Geekgroup" now please? I am now on Twitter, Etsy, Facebook... (and blogger of course)

So, It's giveaway time. WIN ... 1x A5 50 page unlined jotter, 1x DL shaped 50 page unlined jotter and a set of 4 blamk cards with envelopes. All from my new Shwe Shwe inspired range of stationary.

In order to further expand this newbie geek's net presence I am proposing a giveaway. This will be a two fold operation. First opportunity is as follows, leave a comment right here and you will be in draw 1.

Opportunity 2 send an email to 5 friends, asking them to spread the word, and visit the blog, remember to CC me on combretum2 (at) and I will enter you in draw 2. Just remember that each email needs to CC me as it goes out. I am hoping to have - say - 100 visits (and some new friends...) from this. Closing date 31 July, winner announced 3 August right here.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Winter, Rain and Painting

Cape Town has had it's fair share of summery winter days lately, well, that is well and truly past! It's winter, soaking rain - 60mls overnight - cold and grey. We've had friends for lunch, a fire, champagne and home made Roti's. Life couldn't be better. I thougfht I'd share a painting, I think I did it 2 years ago and it still pleases me each time I go to the kitchen. I love the colours and the fluidity of the leaves, you might have noticed I like to draw proteas.
Next week I'll be having a give away, so please come back and take part. Details to follow!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Kommetjie, Shwe Shwe loving and summery winters.

My favourite place in all the world, Kommetjie, Cape Town, never better than on a summery winters day! I love the round boulders, stacked by some nameless person into walking giants. The snaking path, wood over vegetation!

My new stationary has been uploaded on Etsy. It is so inspired by Africa, some of it Makoti Wax prints, Chaka prints all of it inspired by my love of the original Shwe Shwe prints. I chose one of my protea illustrations to go with it and hope you love them as much as I do!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Project 90 x 2030

Did some illustration work this week for Project 90x2030 whose vision is to see South Africans from all walks of life reduce the impact that they have on the environment by 90% by year 2030. Take a look at the website through the link above.

I totally support this inniative and was glad to be able to illustrate these little cliparts for them!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

I haven't been this excited since...

I picked up a prize for designing the Pick 'n Pay Design a Bag Competition! .... since I had my kids! ....

Ok well that was a bit of an exaggeration,

but, anyhow I collected my Shwe Shwe inspired stationary from the printer today, and I am besides myself with delight. I wrote about them earlier here. It will be listed on Etsy by this weekend, and I want to do a giveaway on my blog as well, I thought a gift pack containing cards and a jotter.

So keep in touch and enter, I assure you you wont be disappointed. Details to follow.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Oils forever!

Prints of these little paintings are going to be for sale on Etsy this week, hop on over to my shop and have a look.

The originals were small - 30cm x 11.5cm painted in oil on masonite. The prints will be printed on A4 size paper. I love the warm spicy colours.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Listed on Etsy tonight

Tonight I am listed on an Etsy Treasury, here, thank you Lori. I found her wonderful photography on Etsy, here. Have a look. These are 2 of her pictures.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Shwe shwe me baby!

When my husband travels with his work to Mozambique and Tanzania he is always instructed to bring home fabric for me. I love it... the girls, not so much - he won't bring then bags of fabric again in a hurry again, but that is another story for another time!!

I have kept these in a basket waiting for inspiration! Last night I had it. These will be stationary before long! I just love the crisp clear designs of these wax worked fabrics and they have such evocative names. Nida Nzitom Kitinge 100% Pamba Tanzanian Giga Wax No1015 is one, yesterday I bought some manufactured under the Chaka name, like shwe shwe, but I know not, because real Shwe Shwe Fabric has the 3 leopard logo printed like a watermark on the back. The original company from Great Brittain, had a 3 cat logo and it is much a part of our history with reports of its being here form 1672.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Drawing inspiration.

Working, as I do, alone in a studio can be quite lonely, without the inspiration of others. This week I have happened on some truly amazing work on the internet. Work that has inspired and challenged me.

Have a look here, at Jezze. Her brooches made from fragments of ceramics inspired these artworks that I painted on shale fragments which came from a friends garden when they replaced their patio! Small, simple and recycled to boot!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Inspiration shared!

This past week I have been trawling the net - as usual - but have been so inspired by what I have found and I want to share some of these wonderful blogs and sites with you.

Drawings by Esti

First up was Esti, she lives in Bilboa, draws, takes pictures and writes. Go there and be inspired. her drawings are so simple yet they speak to one so effectivly. I love the combination of collage and pen drawings, simple yet saying much.

Drawings by Heather Jones Smith

Next, Heather Smith Jones' blog is just so different from Esti's, simply a record of life, the mundane pleasures that make up all of our days, recorded.

Hope you are as inspired as I was. I will over the next while add to this record of inspiration.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

There be GIANTS!

Each day I drive across the neighborhood to drop and collect my girls from school. There are some beautiful trees along our way. Today I stopped and photographed them. Like old dames they stand proud, dressed in finery only nature could create.

The tree in the middle of the road has bark that swirls around the truck - how did her skirt get so wind swept? Or the majestic gum around the corner, her trunk pitted and scared, but utterly beautiful. In the schoolgrounds are a row of figs. Trunks, thick, stocking'ed ankles, standing as matrons along the fence.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Having fun with scrap designs...

This weekend I was totally enthralled with designing for scrap booking. I love these protea designs, taken from drawings I did for cards and journals. All the designs come in 12" x 12" pages. The colors are so yummy, bright and sunny!

OK now I need to take a break or I will just nauseate everyone with corniness.

I am photographing my stationary for the catalogue... and my Etsy Shop, time consuming work. I was playing around in Adobe and managed to work out how to import multiple pages at a time which will make it much easier going. My Etsy Shop is coming along and I am so excited about getting all my goodies up and on show.

In the meantime the adored husband is in Tanzania for a week and it was strange to be seeing him off for such a short time - 2007 / 2008 he was up there for 3 months at a time! So this is good.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Looking at scrapbooking

These 'cat from next door' designs are making an appearance as scrapbook pages. I think they look really amazing, playful and bright. I will keep you up to date as we go down this path!


Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Winter Warmers and Cute Kids Cards!

Today is cold and rainy and grey, just the kind of day for a fire in the fireplace. I can feel it warming my back as I work... wonderful. Nigel and I have become real scavengers, no fallen tree is to big to be cut up and carted home. There is a real feeling of achievement in collecting all of those fireplace necessities that make winter so welcome, warm and toasty!

Have just been photographing my kids cards, prints and jotters for their catalogue page. I think they just look so cute and will be for sale on Etsy as soon as I have all the background details sorted.

A sneak preview of my kids page in my catalogue!