Spring is in the air…

Spring has sprung and the August sale (and hopefully winter) has blown away, and we’re already getting excited for summer! Not as much as little Grace here showing off her cute little face and her Pretty Proteas nappy cover.

Thanks so everyone who supported us, and took advantage of our August Blows sale, it has been a (whirl)wind of a month for us. We are now off on a 2 week break so we have decided to extend the sale in-store for the next two weeks, so you can still take advantage just in case you missed it!

But before we head off, we would like to share some of the wonderful media love we have received over the past month.

Visi magazine celebrated the Brazilian Olympics with a Carnival of Colour including our Pink Flamingo Cushion Cover.

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Your Family magazine shared our Delft placemats as part of their 5 Best Delft Blue Buys.

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And in shop news this month, we had a very exciting feature recently in the Sunday Times Property News.

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In the shop, not only have we introduced lots of new Handmade By Me products lately, but we have also introduced our latest collaborative product with Windowsill, pressed plants. Even though we only have a few in stock at the moment we are very excited about all the different green and leafy possibilities that can be placed between 2 pieces of soldered glass.

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And do come and see our brand new Alex Snell prints which were created specially for our little shop – titled Gothic Africa, and inspired by our little part of the world. These prints are part of a signed limited edition and are available exclusively from us either framed in soldered glass or unframed.

And last but not least, watch out Joburg, we are coming for you! We are VERY excited to be exhibiting at the Sanlam Handmade Contemporary Fair at Hyde Park shopping centre in October. Watch this space for more details or take a look at their website.

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Find out more:
website: www.handmadebyme.co.za
facebook: www.facebook.com/handmadebymeblog
twitter: @handmadebymeSA
online shop: shop.handmadebyme.co.za
retail shop: www.facebook.com/handmadebymeandwindowsillshop

Celebrating Winter with Visi…

To be honest, right now we’re celebrating the exciting fact that our placemats are in the latest issue of Visi magazine : ).  While they, on the other hand, are celebrating winter (and what a day to do that too). We’re just so delighted and honoured to be featured as part of their “32 reasons to celebrate Winter…No. 7 because it looks great on paper.”

I love having people over for dinner, especially in Winter. Not only do you get to cook heartwarming and tasty tasty dinners, and use all the pretty bowls and plates you’ve collected over the years, but you don’t have to leave the comfort and warmth of your own home, and you don’t need to hold back on the vino because you aren’t driving home afterwards. For those who are slightly less comfortable with the idea of hosting a dinner party, look no further than our decorative placemats, guaranteed to make your table look so beautiful, again and again, even if the food doesn’t quite work out!

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Our placemats are available in sets of 4, in 4 different designs, and available to buy directly from the Handmade By Me online shop and various awesome stockists.

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We would also like to let you know that Handmade By Me is having a SALE!!! We need to make some space for our new range which is launching next week, so we are marking down any end of range items or bits and pieces we have lying around including a ridiculous discount on all our Vintage Aprons : ) which are going to be made-to-order from now on. Now you really can look and play the part of hostess perfectly!! Check it out here…only while stocks last!

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Find out more:
website: www.handmadebyme.co.za
facebook: www.facebook.com/handmadebymeblog
twitter: @handmadebymeSA
shop: shop.handmadebyme.co.za

some pretty (useful) placemats…

I am so very excited to finally introduce to you the latest addition to the Handmade By Me decor family…a set of 4 reusable placemats. Available in 4 different designs. R220 for a set of 4.

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The idea started when I wanted to have delft plates for the dinner at my wedding (I am obsessed!!). But I couldn’t afford to go out and just buy a whole bunch of plates, so I came up with the idea of printing the image of the plate onto paper, and then using that as a placemat so that the image would frame the plate and you would still get the effect. It certainly wasn’t as easy as it seemed…

Now my wedding budget couldn’t afford a full colour print, the size of the image was problematic etc etc blah blah….so I sadly had to go the one colour route. But atleast I got to have my delft dream, and well nobody probably even noticed. The real problem was that the placemats from my wedding were printed onto a very thin paper to cut costs (and we had to cut them out each manually) so unfortunately not many of them survived the party.

I then decided to turn my wedding idea into a better looking proper longer lasting actual product, that others could also use. And in full colour too…finally… I could print as many tones and hues of that beautiful indigo blue as I wanted, and then I decided to laminate them as well to make them stronger and more durable so they could be reused.

I asked my friend and (my wedding) photographer extroadinaire Stephanie Veldman (go check her work out immediately) if she wouldn’t mind sending me a few pics to show you how they looked on my wedding day. You see I am still waiting to see my wedding pics so it was as much for you as it was for me : ) but I just love the way they have turned out… and now I am just too damn excited about seeing the rest of them!!! Thanks for these Steph!

Just remember these placemats in the photos are not at all the same colour or quality as the ones for sale. But they certainly give you an idea of how pretty they can look!

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Photos by Stephanie Veldman, and a big shout out to my super talented friend who did all the plants and flowers, Alex from Windowsill (she is amazing!!).

** big happy sigh **

Handmade By Me’s new placemats are now available to buy online from the Handmade By Me online shop, Etsy, Hello Pretty, and various other stockists including SAM (South African Market).

Here they are up close…

Delft Plate Placemat

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China Plate Placemat

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Pretty Proteas Placemat

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Fly Away Birds Placemat

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Warm and hearty chickpea and vegetable soup

Firstly a big thank you to everyone who came out to the Flea Market in THAT weather yesterday! It was a great success and all your support was much appreciated!

And since this cold, torrential rain and gale force winds never seem to cease here’s something to help warm you up a bit! I got this recipe from the Marie Claire recipe book, Lunch. Its actually a chickpea and vegetable couscous soup recipe, but I don’t particularly like couscous, plus the soup is already so hearty, so I leave it out of my recipe. I highly recommend the suggested serving of plain yoghurt and shredded mint on top, which is delicious and totally makes it by the way, but I left it out this time as I was making to freeze. This soup is so tasty with all the spices and chilli and is alot heartier than your usual soups. It makes for a perfect chilled dinner with friends and you can add some fresh crusty bread with olive oil if you like.

The recipe: Chickpea and Vegetable Soup
Serves 4-6

Ingredients:
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 onions, sliced
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1 red chilli, finely chopped
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon allspice
1 teaspoon mild paprika
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 large potato, cut into bite size pieces
1 large carrot, cut into bite size pieces
1 yellow courgette, cut into bite size pieces
1 green courgette, cut into bite size pieces
2 slender aubergines, cut into bite size pieces
400g tin chopped tomatoes
400g tin drained chickpeas, rinsed
1 litre vegetable stock
2 tablespoons plain yoghurt
1 tablespoon shredded mint

Method:
Heat the oil in a large saucepan and cook the onion, garlic and chilli over medium heat until the onion is soft. Add the spices and cook for 2 minutes, or until fragrant. Add the vegetables and cook for 5 minutes, or until they start to soften.

Stir in the tomatoes, chickpeas and stock and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 20 -30 minutes, or until the vegetables are soft.

Remove from the heat and serve topped with the yoghurt and sprinkled with mint.

Unexpectedly delicious and comforting root vegetable soup

To be honest I wasn’t very excited at the idea of making this soup. But I had most of the ingredients in my fridge, and it was the end of the month, so I decided to give it a go. And… actually… I was really pleasantly surprised. Its so warm and comforting and the bright yellow colour made me feel like it was a bowl of sunshine. ( Thats what happens to you when you don’t see enough of it! : ) )

Anyways give this a go and see if you agree!

The Recipe: Avoca‘s Root Vegetable Soup
Serves 4-6

Ingredients:
1 onion, peeled and chopped
50g butter
2 potatoes, peeled and chopped
4 carrots, peeled and chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
2 leeks, washed and chopped
1 parsnip, peeled and chopped
1 litre vegetable stock
4 teaspoons double cream or créme fraíche (optional – I didn’t bother))
1 tablespoon chopped parsley

Method:
Cook the onion in the butter for 10 minutes without colouring. Add the potato, carrot, celery and leek, and sauté gently for 5 minutes. Add the parsnip and continue cooking for a further 5 minutes, seasoning with salt and pepper.

Add the stock, bring to the boil and simmer for 20 minutes or until the vegetables are soft. Allow to cool slightly and purée in a blender.

Reheat, check seasoning as you go, and serve with the cream and parsley.