Homegrown Creatives: Meet Caroline Kappers

Caroline is another wonderful Cape-based artist whose preferred mediums are wine-painted-art, oil on canvas and charcoal. Yes, you heard correctly: WINE ART! Need I say more…

Who are you and what do you do / make/ sell?

I am an artist living in Stellenbosch. I paint with red wine on watercolour paper as one of my mediums. My other passion is painting with oils on canvas as well as charcoal on paper.

Did you always know that you were headed in this direction – how did you get where you are today?
My creative journey stems from early childhood. However, it has led me down an unconventional path. I studied graphic design and my experience ranges between packaging, direct marketing, brand identity design and communication arts. 13 years ago and after the birth of 2 children, I felt the need to explore art on a much more personal level which has led me on this journey.

What makes my work unique?
My Wine-made-Art and my ‘Bokeh’, out of focus oil paintings have become my signature style.

Where do you look for inspiration?
My creativity is entirely centered around my own personal expression which I draw from my surroundings, and my family. I try to incorporate all elements that inspire me with a strong element of design. I create from my surroundings, travels, and photography. First Thursdays in Cape Town, has become my monthly outing and inspiration.

Who are your creative idols?
My creative mentors who I draw inspiration from are Marié Stander, Greg Lourens, Gregory Kerr, Kerry Evans, and then Alyssa Monks – Brooklyn Artist, Maria Kreyn, Jaclyn Conley, Sam French and Mark Dempsteader to name but a few of many inspiring artists. Gaugain, Chagall are the masters who’s palette inspires me the most.

Where do you like to hang out? What are your favourite spots in the city?
There is no one particular spot I like to frequent. I like exploring greater Cape Town, Woodstock and all the coffee shops and eateries in the surroundings. Kalk Bay is a firm favourite.

Given the opportunity, where would you like to travel/ explore?
Places less traveled; France, Italy, Spain. I would love to return to New York where I was part of a group exhibition last year – the Brooklyn Art Scene, Boston and Central Park in Summer.

How does a typical day for you play out?
It’s an early rise at 6am, kids, school, planning my week, art preparation, studio time…….my days are really full.

With a day all to yourself? (no meetings, distractions or to-do-lists) and an unlimited budget, what would you get up to?
I would start with an early rise, followed by a run with a friend with a rewarding stop at the end for a cappuccino. I would make use of that unlimited budget and order art supplies online. After which I would take a trip into Cape Town, armed with my camera and explore all the bespoke and hard to get to places where I would buy second-hand furniture for refurbishment, visit Truth Coffee shop, visit friends and family and shop for special clothing items.

If you could have any other profession, what would it be?
Travel writer/ reviewer

Where can we stalk you?

What does your workspace/ studio look like?
My studio; I have a small studio separate from the house at my home – a high ceiling and lots of light and canvasses from floor to ceiling that surround me on 3 walls. I am surrounded by the vineyards and beautiful views of the Stellenbosch mountains.

What is the project you are most proud of to date?
I am really proud of my last ‘wine painted art’ painting; Mother City, Cape Town, Design Capital 2014, which was part of a competition through Tokara Wine Estate. I have been included in their collection over 3 years. The current exhibition runs from 11 September until 30 January 2015 at Tokara Wine Estate, Art Gallery.

IMG_1123Pindima 3mb_DSC7066Absorbed by LightSunday AfternoonBokeh 2mbEWP_1325IMG_1295Like-on-Facebook


Mother Nature Showing Us Who Is Boss!

Most hectic hail storm I’ve ever witnessed just happened here in the KZN Midlands. Never thought I would care so much about the state of my garden but it is properly obliterated.

I don’t even want to talk about the veggie seedlings I planted recently < SOB! >

Beautiful and completely destructive at the same time. I just hope that everyone on the roads at the time was safe.


Screen Shot 2014-10-16 at 4.16.29 PMStart of the storm…

Screen Shot 2014-10-16 at 4.16.12 PMBelting down… Before the hail started…

Screen Shot 2014-10-16 at 4.16.51 PMRivers…

Screen Shot 2014-10-16 at 4.17.11 PM

Screen Shot 2014-10-16 at 4.18.09 PMVeggie garden no  more…

Screen Shot 2014-10-16 at 4.18.00 PMALL of the avos…

Screen Shot 2014-10-16 at 4.18.19 PMBlackpool?

Screen Shot 2014-10-16 at 4.17.39 PMCovered back patio…

Screen Shot 2014-10-16 at 4.18.46 PMFront garden beds…

Screen Shot 2014-10-16 at 4.18.52 PMThankfully my car seems to have survived…

Screen Shot 2014-10-16 at 4.20.15 PMFilth on the walls and broken awnings on the one out building…

Screen Shot 2014-10-16 at 4.18.38 PMFront entrance…

Screen Shot 2014-10-16 at 4.17.17 PMNot even safe inside – water and hail through all of the fireplaces!

And probably one of the craziest things I saw while staring into the chaos of my garden, was two huge brown boxers running through the hail! Seems that the panel fencing has come apart between us and the neighbours too!

Homegrown Creatives: Meet Illustrator Kirsten Sims

Kirsten was another lucky Pinterest find – fell in love with her scissors illuatration (see below – I have a thing for scissors!) and with everything else after that! I think what I like most about her work is that her personal style is evident throughout all her pieces, but each one is still unique and different – this is one seriously talented lady!

Who are you and what do you do / make / sell?

I am Kirsten Sims and I make pictures. I am also a student doing my postgrad in illustration at Stellenbosch University, and an illustration teacher at PJ Olivier Art School.

Did you always know that you were headed in this direction – how did you get where you are today?
No, not really. When I had to stop playing Barbies I started drawing these long necked stick characters, mainly because I still needed people to ‘dress up’.  I did a bit of art while at school though never as a school subject. I learnt the rules – how to draw in perspective, how to mix colour and that sort of thing. It was only after 3 years of travelling and working that I ended up at the Stellenbosch Academy where I first learnt what illustration really was. I had an amazing lecturer who really encouraged humour and storytelling in my pictures.  I never thought I could make a living from art – I was going to study journalism or teaching – I guess that is why illustration is great, every project has a purpose and whether you are illustrating a cd cover, poster or coffee cup there is always an element of storytelling.

What makes your work / products / services unique?
Well, I don’t really know, perhaps that I do almost everything by hand in a very digital era. I’d like to say that I bring a lot of personal experience and observation to my work – but I think most illustrators do that. I guess it comes down to having a unique mark and a sense of not taking my work too seriously.

Where do you look for inspiration?
Movies and books. Obviously I am influenced by day to day life and the people that come in and out of it, but if I specifically need  fresh influences I tend to immerse myself in the work of other storytellers by looking at pictures online, watching movies, listening to music or reading.

Who are your creative idols?
Wes Anderson, Woody Allen, André François, Laura Carlin, Maira Kalman, Jon Klassen, Edward Gorey, Quentin Blake, Pierre Bonnard, Joni Mitchell, David Hockney, Leonard Cohen, Audrey Hepburn, Roald Dahl, Dr Seuss…I’m sure that’s enough for now

Where do you like to hang out – what are your favorite spots in your town/city/country?
You can’t really beat a fish braai and a glass of wine on my parents stoep overlooking Mossel Bay. Most of the time you can find me in my studio or drinking tea in the garden. Libraries, harbours, cinemas and gardens are also places I find great comfort.

Given the opportunity, where would you like to travel/explore?
I’ve just got back from an amazing holiday in Tanzania – next up, probably New York.

How does a typical day for you play out?
At the moment it’s a case of juggling. Mornings are spent at lectures, doing admin and spending too much time online. Afternoons are spent teaching (Gr 11 and 12 Illustration at PJ Olivier Art Centre). In the evenings I try go to yoga and then sit up to the early hours working on freelance and university projects. Weekends are great because I can just paint without interruption.

If you could have any other profession, what would it be?
A folk singer or actress

Where can we stalk you?
Behance: https://www.behance.net/kirstensims
Blog: http://kirstensims.blogspot.com/
Pinterest  http://www.pinterest.com/kirstensims/
Facebook https://www.facebook.com/DrawingADay

What does your workspace / studio look like?
At the moment it is a sweet cosy space on the mezzanine level of the house I’m sharing in Stellenbosch. It’s full of books and paint and mess.

What it the work/design/product/project you are most proud of to date?
Recently I really enjoyed a collaboration I did with Anthropologie on a 2015 calendar called Imaginary Travels.487452_610456875689806_2118677336_n1890428_688429374559222_2771658955352864815_o



Dropping off our toy donation last Friday at Bridges of Hope for Children

Last Monday I spent a good part of my morning trawling the net to find a local charity that I could drop off all the toys we collected from Julia’s birthday party at.

I also spend a good chunk of it feeling sad and depressed about the fact that these places need to exist at all.

There are SO many worthy charities out there though – worthy people, trying to make a difference in the lives of others – it’s hard to even conceive how you begin to choose which one to support!

After a while, I finally settled on an organisation that I thought would best be benefited from the small toy donation we had on offer – and I’d like to share some more info with you about Bridges of Hope for Children – a Howick-based charity, run from home, by a lady called Sharon and her small team of helpers.

Bridges of Hope fosters and cares for orphaned / abandoned children, many of whom come from AIDs-affected / abuse-related backgrounds. Sharon also runs a day school from home and has up to 55 kids a day from nearby Mphophomeni with her on any given day. When we arrived it was nap time and I was amazed to see how many kids there were taking up every inch of the floor while some slept and others just pretended to ;)

Screen Shot 2014-10-08 at 12.56.53 PM

I could see from my very short interaction with Sharon (pictured above with her beautiful Abigail) that she is a fighter with a big heart – she shared a few details of the gruesome conditions and abuse some of her kids have endured in their short existence and I have to admit that I struggled to keep the tears in. I admire her for being strong while having to deal with these realities on a day to day basis.

If anyone out there would like to help, donations are always welcome and most needed – Sharon can be contacted via Facebook, email (bridgesofhopeforchildren@gmail.com) or phone 078 887 0337

Screen Shot 2014-10-08 at 12.57.08 PMOur toy donation above and some pics of the kids from the Bridges of Hope Facebook page below…

happy-ending1511988_633587006712946_301123204_oScreen Shot 2014-10-08 at 12.57.42 PMScreen Shot 2014-10-08 at 12.57.56 PM919993_489848444420137_1214810393_oScreen Shot 2014-10-08 at 12.58.07 PM





Homegrown Creatives Feature: Meet Jenny Parsons

I can’t remember what I was looking for on Pinterest recently when I came across a pic of a beautiful floral oil painting that led me to find out more about Cape Town based urban landscape artist Jenny Parsons, but I googled her immediately and sent off an email hoping she’d agree to take part in my Homegrown Creatives series, and here she is folks… I am infatuated with her beautiful portfolio of work and her style (I’m no art critic, I just like what I like!) and you can see more for yourself below, enjoy :)

Who are you and what do you do / make / sell?

My name is Jenny Parsons. I’m an artist and I make drawings and paintings of urban and natural landscapes.

Did you always know that you were headed in this direction – how did you get where you are today?
I’ve always been an artist. I was privileged enough to be able to go straight to art college after school. After college I held many art related jobs and have been painting full time for the last fourteen years.

What makes your work / products / services unique?
Like any artist, I see the world in a particular way and I share that in my work. I’m a colourist and I get a kick out of rendering my world in the colours that I see. I use landscape as a metaphor for the human condition, a place for the eye and mind to play.

Where do you look for inspiration?
I adore cities and their surrounds, the markings and the many layers of human inhabitation on the land. The visual world of light and colour intrigues and inspires me.

Who are your creative idols?
I’m inspired by many visual artists, but long standing favourites are painters Pierre Bonnard, Claude Monet, Richard Diebenkorn and David Hockney.

Where do you like to hang out – what are your favorite spots in your town/city/country?
I live in Observatory, Cape Town and enjoy the fact that I can walk up the road with my husband to one of the local eateries in Obs. Favourites are Café Ganesh, 1890 House Sushi and Hello Sailor. For total relaxation, Silvermine Nature Reserve.

Given the opportunity, where would you like to travel/explore?
There are so many cities I’d like to visit and revisit. My next new city is Buenos Aires, and although I’ve been there before, I have a yearning for London.

How does a typical day for you play out?
When I’m working on a series of paintings, I get to the studio early in the morning and work until about 3 or 4pm. Then I walk my dog on the mountain and go home to supper and series. I’m a fairly boring person when I’m in painting mode.

With a day all to yourself (no meetings, distractions, to-do-lists) and an unlimited budget, what would you get up to?
I’d walk on the mountain then swim in the sea, eat a good tapas style lunch with friends and go home for an afternoon nap. Wouldn’t need much of a budget.

If you could have any other profession, what would it be?
On my toughest days in the studio, I fantasize about working in the post office. But in truth, I cannot imagine doing anything else.

Where can we stalk you?
Website http://www.jennyparsons.com. Join my mailing list if you’d like to be notified about exhibitions.

What does your workspace / studio look like?
I share a studio with fellow painter, Mary Visser. We have made a creative sanctuary with the necessary home comforts (kitchen, bookcase and bed) but most of all it functions as an efficient work space for long days of creative exploration.

What it the work/design/product/project you are most proud of to date?
I’m just completing a Post Grad Diploma in painting at Michaelis UCT. I’ve really pushed myself to re look at landscape painting in contemporary art practice, to break old habits and take risks. It’s been a challenge!



Our Teddy Bears’ Picnic Party for Julia’s First Birthday

We held a Teddy Bears’s Picnic themed party this past weekend in celebration of baby Julia’s first birthday and it was AWESOME – despite rainy weather meaning that we had to have it indoors instead of outside in our beautiful garden!

So much fun though and wonderful that guests played ball and brought donations for charity instead of gifts (I may sound like a cruel mom but really feel that we are blessed to have more clothes/books/toys etc than we need – much better to share with those that need it more especially while Jules is so young and doesn’t know the difference!)

A few snapshots – pics not great sadly due to bad indoor lighting and lack of photography skills on my part! x

The Invitation

10707165_764730146922539_621688067_n copyScreen Shot 2014-09-30 at 9.54.50 AMteddy-bears-picnic-party-cleverbirdbanter-13teddy-bears-picnic-party-cleverbirdbanter-14teddy-bears-picnic-party-cleverbirdbanter-15Screen-Shot-2014-09-30-at-9.5510624538_736632166383821_2096036321_n copy
Most of the awesome food packaging I bought was from Fooodpak and Bargain Bin in PMB – some very lucky finds including my big beehive shaped juice dispenser for just over R200!

Grandpa on the picnic blanket with his three grandbabies

Birthday girl chip face!

10299868_635168243263789_1288632222_n copy
Beautiful cake made to spec by CupKate

Mom and babes + nephew josh

Big sister stealing icing off the cake while we sing Happy Birthday!

Dad helping to blow out candles x

I wanted the inside to be exciting so I ordered a choc-caramel-vanilla ombre layered cake specifically!

10522848_971272816232835_2064985742_n copy
Mmmmmmmmmm! Cake!

10691622_550760801723350_1883194289_n copy10369557_635613153225914_630525265_n copy
All the toys that were donated in lieu of gifts – have been in touch with a local charity, just waiting to arrange a drop off and will share more details!

Wish we’d thought to do this right at the beginning of the party and not at the end when there was loads of mess!

Tired but happy birthday girl, ready for bed!


Two Years Today Since We Touched Down in SA

It has been two whole years since I left London with my 5 month old baby and waved goodbye to hubby at the airport, not knowing when he would be back with us.

It has been two years to the day since we landed back in SA and delved into the unknown.

It has been two years of ups and downs, happy’s and sad’s and incredible adventures. I am constantly amazed by how time flies by in an instant, and yet it feels like eons have passed.

In those two years since we’ve been back:

I broke my leg

legsWe moved into our little townhouse in Hilton

dimsWe found out we were pregnant

number-2We went to some awesome weddings

hallWe celebrated one year of life

addi-and-daddyWe celebrated new life

I started Baby Bird Basics

cropped-bbb-new-design3We survived a family holiday to CT (just!)

ct-2We bought a house

I launched my freelance graphic design business website


We welcomed a fur baby into the family
10598648_1530350510511965_1253699674_nWe celebrated another first birthday


We have shared the journey with amazing friends, some old (my dear Jozi girls and SF come to mind) and some new – supportive like-minded ladies from my moms-group; online buddies who I haven’t even met and who show me so much love through the computer (!), and then those who started off as mainly-online friends but who have transformed into real life inspirations and motivators (Nicola, Colleen and Keri to name a few) – you guys all play a big part in our happiness now that we’ve settled back in SA… thank you!

I do miss London though, I wont lie. I miss it’s conveniences and variety. I miss it’s culture. I miss it’s unlimited cell phone contracts, gaaaahhhhhh! (Death to PAYG!) I miss my friends there and so much more, but all in all I think that coming back to SA was the best thing we have done.

To wake up each morning on this beautiful continent – UNBEATABLE.



One year on as a mom of two… Happy Birthday Baby Jules x


I cannot get my head around the fact that my tiny baby girl – Julia Quinn (known more affectionately as Baba by family and friends) – is a year old today! I can’t even describe the joy she has brought into our lives – if you have been fortunate to meet her, you will totally get it when I say she is the epitome of chilled out and happy. And at the risk of sounding cliched, we truly are so blessed.

Addi and Jules could not be more different… For one, their hair – while Addi sports a wild afro of curls, Jules has soft straight hair that still smells so gloriously baby-like. Secondly, their need for cuddles – Jules loves to hang out on mom’s hip or in dad’s arms while Addi is far more independent, and successfully getting kisses and cuddles from her usually follows on from some form of bribery! Jules has just learned to give kisses upon request and if you are patient you will be treated to a big sloppy open-mouthed snog!

As I’ve already mentioned, Jules is very laid back while Addi could easily be compared to a Tasmanian Devil on speed – not in a naughty way, just because she is always SO BUSY (it’s quite endearing), while little sister is quite content to sit with a goofy smile on her face and watch the world go by, preferably with a snack in hand… One thing that they do have in common is their ability to eat, loving food just as much as their mommy and daddy do ;)

One thing for sure is that they love each other senseless. Every morning Addi walks into our room (Jules is usually awake first) and the first thing out of her mouth is ” Heeeeeeeyyyyyyy Babaaaa!” and then the giggles and smiles commence from both parties. Julia’s little face lights up whenever Addi is around and I hope that their friendship and love for each other continues to grow as they get older.

Pats on the back for hubby and me for surviving Year One of being parental units to two babies a mere 16.5 months apart – I won’t lie, its even been easier than I expected!

Here are some snapshots from Baba’s first year <3

Screen Shot 2014-09-25 at 9.26.58 AMScreen Shot 2014-09-25 at 9.27.16 AMScreen Shot 2014-09-25 at 9.25.59 AMScreen Shot 2014-09-25 at 9.24.10 AMScreen Shot 2014-09-25 at 9.23.58 AMScreen Shot 2014-09-25 at 9.25.01 AMScreen Shot 2014-09-25 at 9.24.42 AMScreen Shot 2014-09-25 at 9.24.25 AMScreen Shot 2014-09-25 at 9.23.44 AMScreen Shot 2014-09-25 at 9.22.59 AMScreen Shot 2014-09-25 at 9.21.42 AMScreen Shot 2014-09-25 at 9.22.39 AMScreen Shot 2014-09-25 at 9.22.05 AMScreen Shot 2014-09-25 at 9.21.42 AMScreen Shot 2014-09-25 at 9.21.25 AMScreen Shot 2014-09-25 at 9.20.55 AMScreen Shot 2014-09-25 at 9.20.11 AMScreen Shot 2014-09-25 at 9.19.23 AMScreen Shot 2014-09-25 at 9.19.05 AMScreen Shot 2014-09-25 at 9.18.22 AMScreen Shot 2014-09-25 at 9.16.27 AM1599904_608068222646955_1932916644_nScreen Shot 2014-09-25 at 9.13.47 AMScreen Shot 2014-09-25 at 8.42.37 AMScreen Shot 2014-09-25 at 8.40.54 AMScreen Shot 2014-09-25 at 8.41.12 AM

Love you baby girl x


Recent Work: Rondavel’s Wild Mountain Range for Men

10636015_607547499354773_4049029893592660364_nI have been so privileged of late to work with the beautiful minds behind Rondavel – a small family-run business that produces the most delicious handmade soap, balms and more right here in the KZN Midlands. They use only natural, sustainable and local ingredients to make nourishing products and their packaging is biodegradable and often reusable. Kate is the mastermind behind their beautiful packaging (and often the illustrations/artwork involved in it too) while Chikondi is responsible for mixing up batches of glorious smelling soaps and other products that will delight your senses. Their three lovely sons provide entertainment and inspiration while they work from home up in Rosetta, near Nottingham Road.


Recently, Kate and Chikondi launched their first men’s range, Wild Mountain, inspired by their love for wild local plants and all the beautiful mountainous regions across South Africa. Kate came up with the overall look she wanted to achieve and together we brought it to life in the form of packaging specifically for the following products: Beard & Shave Soap, Propolis Deodorant, Face Balm, Aftershave Tonic and Beard Oil.


Scents include: Wild Dagga & Cedar from the Amathole Mountains, Rooibos & Buchu from the Cederberg, Cedar & Hemp from the Amathole Mountains, Cape Chamomile from the Cederberg, ‘High Grassland’ from the Drakensberg to name just a few! Ingredients are sourced from sustainable farmers in each of these regions and carefully mixed by Rondavel with other natural ingredients to create these amazing products.


10698478_617585468350976_3285136948806363201_nWM-FB-launch-graphics2WM-FB-launch-graphics6WM-FB-launch-graphics8WM-FB-launch-graphics7Hubby and my dad (and even I!) have tried some of these products and they are divine (not only because I was involved with the packaging design and am biased, but they really do smell good and feel great on your skin!)


Don’t worry ladies, there’s a special range coming your way soon too, keep up with the news by following Rondavel on Facebook ;-)



Courgette Pizza Crust Recipe – Carb Free

Last night I tried a new take on my usual carb-free cauliflower ‘pizza’ base and made a courgette / baby marrow / zucchini base instead – it was DELICIOUS. Definitely prefer it to the cauli base and there is one less step in the preparation which is also a bonus for busy work-from-home-moms like me! Since posting a pic on instagram / FB, people have been begging for the recipe so thought I would share…

For all those who haven’t tried a carb-free pizza, it’s definitely worth a shot if you are looking for a health-friendly alternative. Let’s be realistic though, it’s never going to taste/feel EXACTLY like a REAL pizza (I’d say the main difference is the stiffness factor, most of these carb-less pizza’s need to be eaten with a knife and fork unless you make mini bite sized versions – a small sacrifice) but let me assure you, the cheezy-ness factor and toppings you choose to use make it close enough to the real thing for you not to even worry!

I used THIS RECIPE that I found on Pinterest and the basic steps are outlined in the pics below.


Here’s a pic of ours, it’s by no means the most beautiful pizza in the world but it was damn tasty! (If you are interested, I didnt use baking paper underneath mine but used Spray & Cook on the baking tray instead, and I used Tussers cheese but think that a harder white cheese like Parmesan would definitely have worked better. Also didn’t cook my mushrooms beforehand and they came out perfectly…)

10666186_739214586143729_182143832_n(Hubby is the carnivore, Im the herbivore!)

Happy munching :)