Itching for change: the dining room {lighting}

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

I have a confession to make: we have been living in our house for nearly two years now and we still don't have a dining room. So last night, while watching Sarah 101 on the Home Channel, Flip and I had a few light bulbs go off. We have the space for a dining room, but never knew how to implement it. And then we got a few idea, I grabbed a few magazines and knew exactly what I wanted, where and how.

Oh, and FYI, Sarah Richardson might be the smartest woman on the face of this earth. Okay, and Candice, from Candice tells All. If they were in South Africa, I would force them to work together and make my dream home come true. They are my idols in interior decorating.

So, this morning, I messaged my mom and told her how excited I was about redoing my dining room - well, in a sense of the word, as I don't have a dining room to start with. I also compiled a very badly compiled moodboard, with low res pictures that would make any person cry, et voila.

Horrible, isn't it? That is why, over the next few days, I am going to use my blog as a massive moodboard. And now you may be asking why I'm not using pinterest to do this? Well, on pinterest, you just pin ideas and they never come to fruition. This will be a personal challenge to me, as soon as the wedding is over, to come back to my mood board and carry out these ideas.

And it also allows for feedback. I want you guys to tell me what you think about every idea I post.

Today, I am touching on lighting. I am in love with pendant lighting these days, and feel that it adds character to any room. What do you think?

I love that pendant lights are used to highlight certain spaces, such as an island in the kitchen, or the dining room table, and when you have family and friends over in the evening, it will also add to the atmosphere, or ambiance. It also adds an extra design element and can make you feel like you are in some grand cafe, dining out, instead of in.

The key to pendant lighting,  I think, is probably to figure out how many you want in your space. According to the most basic rule that isn't really a rule is something called 'The Rule of Three'. "Essentially, The Rule of Three states that an easy way to achieve balance is to repeat an element three times. I like to think of it as the rule of odd numbers. Human brains are pattern-recognition machines, and the most basic pattern there is an odd number," Paul Anater states.

So there you have it, three is the golden rule, that isn't really a rule.

Now, tell me what you think? Yes to pendant lights? What are some of the things you would apply to this style?

fraai meRaai Ontwerp {feature}

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. 
If you love what you are doing, you will be successful - Albert Schweizer.

These words couldn't ring more true about today's featured artist - Cornea from fraai meRaai Ontwerp. I am very excited to share this post with you as I have known Cornea for a very very long time - from grade one. In fact, I think we were in the same home class every year as our surnames both started with W - and I have just loved tracking her progress from small beginnings to her now opening her own shop! I love a good success story and showcasing how truly awesome the South African design scape really is. Enjoy!


Fraai MeRaai started when you started planning your own wedding, right?  Please tell me more about this.

When planning my own wedding last year I went to the a very famous Bridal Expo - the idea was to tie down some great suppliers and spend big bucks on all things pretty and totally unnecessary...BUT to my disappointment I was overwhelmed with wedding planners and photographers bombarding me with flyers, brochures and business cards. 

As a graphic designer i was very annoyed and cought myself wondering what I would have done differently. We had some cake, entered a few competitions and left with a bag that could - on it's own - be responsible for global warming! Yes - a paper trail to be ashamed of...

Since I was already designing my own wedding stationery and DIY gifts for the bridal party, I thought I might as well fill the gap in the market and start advertising it. Believe it or not - this idea aided in funding my wedding! YAY! Now, the little idea has exploded into a business I never would have thought possible. 

I am so overwhelmed with the interest, but so thankful as it forced me to quit my day job and persue my passion! My only regret - not having the products and ideas (I currently have) for my own wedding which was in February of this year. Haha

What sort of products do you make? Do you also provide services?

 The main attribute is that I do custom designs for each client. This means that I design all their chosen products to suit their theme and colour combination of the event. Some products include Tank tops & T-shirts, Carry Bags, Drinky Cups, Badges, Boutonnieres, Vintage Sashes, Garters, Dresses and underwear.

Where do you find inspiration for your creations?
My inspiration? Well a simple answer will be: "in all the pretty vintage things". I love DIY, so I am always on the look out for new ideas in magazines and on websites, also my clients have the most wonderful ideas and sometimes a simple "Meraai can you make something like this" enquiry can be responsible for a whole new product line!  Most importantly, when I see something that inspires me to create a new product, I ALWAYS try to do my own concept -  in my own style to make sure it is unique to Fraai Meraai Ontwerp.

You recently decided to do this full time. What are some of the challenges of being your own boss?
True. This is all new to me. People don't always understand that I am one person responsible for everything from admin and invoicing, to marketing, designing and actually producing the handmade products. It's a big learning curve and I struggle to prioritise between when I should pay attention to what. I trust that I will master this in due time, and that having an assistant of sorts would be a great help to myself  and the business.

How do you perceive the South African creatives/design landscape?

I must say, since starting Fraai Meraai Ontwerp I have been exposed to local talent that I never even dreamed of seeing in SA. We are a nation truly blessed with original thoughts and ideas - in my opinion - the mass produced products of America and China will never portray the love and passion we as South African designers capture in our work.

What is your favourite colour/ material to work with, and why?
Oh hello turquoise! It's my happy colour! Materials...hmmm...I would most definitely have to say the Pertersham and Cotton ribbons I use for the boutonnieres :) I don't like working with Satin, but in some cases it really adds that special shine to a product made for a wedding.

What would you do if you won the lotto?
I have a big dream of having my own wedding venue. Designed in my taste and according to what I was looking for when searching for venues. It will be the perfect "one-stop-bridal-spot" and OOPS -  I have already said more than I should! I am currently working towards the dream :)

Where to from here?
I hope to move to a bigger premises and employ more staff. This will also allow me to expand the product line and open franchise studios all over SA for design interns and students to gain experience,helping me help them through job creation and exploring the local talent.

What has been your proudest moment since you started?

Proud moments are those when I am asked to be featured on blogs or websites. I will never get tired of that - it's such a compliment! PROUDEST moment...when a client emailed me saying the following "On a flight for a business trip to Cape Town, the air hostess noticed my Fraai Ring and asked me: "I love your ring, where did you get it - from Fraai Meraai???" I know it's something small, but being noticed means the world to me!

The food of Juta - part 1

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Neighbourgoods Market

I've heard a lot about this market in Juta street, with people raving about the food and the vibe - I found it a bit tooo overcrowded - perhaps I'm a hermit, but one guy did say that they were counting the people as they went inside the abandoned parking lot, where the market now finds itself, and that there were about 1 500 people inside. We were standing in a queue of about 100 people, waiting to get in. Eventually, we walked up a ramp, under some pretty bulbs and then Flip and I wandered - ahem, more like forcibly pushed our way through - swarms of people boasting black frame glasses with no purpose, scarves, leather shoes, funny hair and beards that look like they belong in a German competition. I had no problem with the latter - love me some beard.

Beards aside, there were also a lot of old people - which irked me, because Flip did something inappropriate and I said For fuck sakes really loud, and it felt like every old person at the market turned around to give me a scathing look. Seriously, you never heard a curse word before?

 While there were load and loads of food stalls that I just wanted to burrow my face in and die a happy, fat death, I didn't take too many photos of the options - one, because of the aforementioned crowd and two, because I didn't feel like asking every single table permission to snap a pic. While Flip was a little overwhelmed by all the people, as you can see below, I was enthralled by all the little tasters some of the stalls had to offer. And dammit, did I accidentally taste the Ooh La La Artisan Confectionery's Chocolate Pecan Pebbles! I had to buy it, it was sooo good. Can you just imagine this taste - pecans, set in salted butter caramel enrobed in couverture white chocolate? It was just the best tasting thing ever.

Flip opted for a more meaty option, going for Hilda's Pies. Now, Afrikaans people and 7de Laan fans will now that you shouldn't willingly eat a pie by someone with the name Hilda - and with equally strange combinations, such as beef and red wine pie, you should really just turn the other way. But am I glad we didn't! Her pies go for a whopping R38 a piece, but it's worth every penny, because it was packed with meaty deliciousness. Definitely a stall I would recommend, especially when the queues start forming for burgers and pizza. Someone should just tell the lady to smile. Grouch.

 As far at the drinking options went, I saw a margaritha bar, a fancy champagne soiree and some beer bar. Flip got himself a coffee beer that someone else ordered, but presumably this person walked away and he got it instead. It tasted just like COFFEE and BEER. Mind boggled. And that's us.

Tomorrow - Food of Juta - Part tweede!

A day in Braamfontein

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Today I found out that Braamfontein means blackberry fountain. Ironic, as there are no blackberries (except for those in peoples' hands) or fountains in this inner city district of Johannesburg.
I've, by chance, driven through this suburb (well, according to Wikipedia, it's a suburb but I wouldn't likely call it a residential area) a few times, but have never really stopped there to explore.

Lately, with the rejuvenation of the city's inner 'burbs, a lot of people have been flocking to the area and with good reason - there's 72 Juta, a little hive of artisanal cafes and designer shops; The Great Dane - a restaurant that serves the most amazing looking chips on earth; the Neighbourgoods Market; Toms music shop; the Joburg Civic Theatre aaaand a whole bunch of other things that you would just have to go out and explore yourself - like the Eland statue - or the guy who sells shoes out of the back of a van.

Ah, and of course, it also boasts with the Nelson Mandela bridge, which is sort of a cultural landmark for every new movie or advertisement that is made in Joburg. We only have one bridge in Joburg guys. For reals.

It made for some really nice shots with my iPhone. Anyway, you guys must now non-stop watch every single television station available in South Africa, because there was a filming crew there and I accidentally walked into their shot the whole time - I'm practically a soap opera star now.

Coming up tomorrow -  I share the food of Juta. 

The animals of San Cha Len

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

No, I'm not referring to our camping group, even though we were a bunch of animals. But there was some real animal there. Legit, four-legged ones.

The first night, as we were huddled around the fire in the early hours in the morning, one girl in our group grabbed her daughter and started running in the other direction. We all thought someone had approached our camp with a semi-automatic gun or something. There was a big commotion. Turned out to be a Nyala bull. An old one, everyone guessed. It was the coolest thing, he was so tame! And he grunted the whole time, looking for food. We took some pic of it in the night, but the day ones look so much better.

There were also some rabbits, which we tried to catch - but they were too fast. And geese that went off like a well-timed alarm, almost every fifteen minutes - even at night.

Camping at San Cha Len

Monday, August 5, 2013

Back in June, my friends and I took a little break from the city and went camping, which is a bit of a crazy feat, if you consider that June is one of the coldest months of the year and camping in tents provides very little protection against the elements.

However, despite not knowing what to expect from this place -  a recommendation from someone at the office - we were warmed by the lovely camping spot we got, along with the amazing firepit and the beautiful bathrooms - with warm showers - something we really did not expect.

The best thing about San Cha Len, is that it only hosts about ten camping spots, with space for two tents each. This means that it isn't overcrowded, with very little people to bother. I could be a hooligan all I want, until the hours I wanted to be.

No manners me.

There was also a great little underroof heated swimming pool that we commandeered for an afternoon. We apparently made a lot of noise playing pool tennis. Oh well.

In all, one couple enjoyed it so much that they booked a chalet - to avoid the pains of camping - the very next weekend. And took some family members along. It is definitely a place I would visit again, despite the fact that there isn't a lot of amenities. It's definitely a place you have to go to with people you have loads of fun with, or at least have ways to keep yourself busy. Ahem, I did mention in a previous post that I burnt myself after playing Never, Have I ever  - so there's one activity you could try. The game, not the burning.

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