Summer Tees & Tops

Warmer weather is on the doorstep and MRP.com is totally winning with their summer tees & tops range! Im a big fan of keeping it casual (name a mom who isn’t!) and love these monochrome numbers available online and instore now :)

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Anything goes when it comes to tees, and this season, RT brings you the hottest prints and coolest fits at very bank-account-friendly prices – put a fresh spin on the jeans and tee look with ladies fitted tees from only R35.99! Tuck your tee into your favourite distressed denims, or pair a crop top (from R45.99)  with a midi skirt or dungarees and you’re bang on – these are the tops that make casual cool!

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HAPPY SHOPPING!

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Big Love for The Counter

Today I dont have a Homegrown Creatives post for you all, my bad, life got in the way this week so forgive me!? I do have a story and some pics to share from my recent weekend away, and I’d personally include it in the ‘creative’ category anyway, so meet the kids from The Counter!

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I met Meg Pascoe many years ago through a mutual friend (cant remember when or how, but pretty sure there was alcohol and laughter involved) and reconnected with her on the Twitterzee after long time, no see while I was still living in London… I’ve watched from afar as she brought her little dream to life, partnering with her friend Ian, and have cheered along on the sidelines ever since The Counter was born. I have been drooling over pictures of the now-famous brownies for LITERAL years and finally – FINALLY – I got the chance to taste one (and more) after a quick trip up to Jozi this past weekend for an epic wedding (thats a WHOLE other story!)

All I can say is WOW – totally worth the wait – AND – hands down, BEST BROWNIES IN THE WORLD (this is a big statement to lay claim to but trust me!)

I had a raging hangover when I visited The Counter stand at Market on Main so unfortunately couldn’t stomach more than a bite of my friends burger (delish, obviously), but I took home a whole bag of treats which didn’t last long between post-hangy-hunger-pangs / being padkos for the trip home / mistakenly allowing hubby to catch sight of it all…

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The white chocolate fudge. I die. (It didn’t even see the light of day long enough for me to get a photo of it!) The brownies, need I say more:

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Their new Love Bar – seriously – layers of brownie, fudge, marshmallow covered in chocolate, hello?!

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Dark Chocolate Oreo Fudge!!!!!!!

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Also, dont you just love their new branding and website by You & Me Design?

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So proud of everything you have achieved <3
Follow The Counter on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for news and updates :)

 

Homegrown Creatives: Meet Carmia from Clementine Creative

Welcoming Carmia to the blog today to share her passions, inspirations and background as a fellow freelance graphic designer in SA – check out her online shop if you are after budget friendly, professionally designed and instantly downloadable printable goodies :)clementine-creative-cleverbirdbanter-weekly-featureWho are you and what do you do / make / sell?
My name is Carmia Cronjé and I own a graphic design studio called Clementine Creative. I specialise in designing brand identities for female entrepreneurs, and I also sell printable paper goods like calendars, planners, wedding stationery, and more in my online shop.

Did you always know that you were headed in this direction – how did you get where you are today?
I studied Graphic/Web Design in college and always thought I would get a job like everyone else after graduating. I went for a few job interviews but it just never felt right. I couldn’t picture myself working in an office from 9 – 5. But I was lucky enough to get to stay with my parents while trying to start my own freelance business. After giving up a few times, I decided to start believing in myself more and to work harder. I finally got my business up and running last year.

What makes your work / products / services unique?
I don’t really follow trends and prefer to do something unique to me – simple but quirky. Lots of designers are following the “hipster” trend right now, but I like to do something with more thought and feeling.

Where do you look for inspiration?
Like most designers, I love Pinterest. I also find inspiration in magazines, books, blogs, etc.

Who are your creative idols?
There are many designers that I admire, but I don’t really have specific idols.

Where do you like to hang out – what are your favourite spots in your town/city/country?
I don’t go out a lot, but when I do I like to get an ice-cream and go to the beach. Other than that, my favourite spot in Gordon’s Bay is The Garden Kitchen, which is a nursery/restaurant with great food, atmosphere and cute things to buy. And I love visiting the penguins in Betty’s Bay. There are many other places I love in the Western Cape and Free State (where I grew up), but too many to mention.

Given the opportunity, where would you like to travel/explore?
Europe! Especially France and Italy. I have a little obsession with the Eiffel tower and other French things. And I’d love to visit the museums and explore the architecture.

How does a typical day for you play out?
I get up, have breakfast and get dressed. At 9 AM I’m in front of my computer checking and responding to emails. I then work on designs for clients, renew my Etsy listings, work up proposals, send invoices and check social media. I take regular breaks in between and also a lunch break. Then it’s back to work until 5 PM or so and then I’m done for the day. I used to work at night and check emails but I stopped doing that when I realised it was causing me lots of stress and unhappiness. Also, I don’t check email or do any client work on Sundays, but reserve the day for blog reading and other fun things. Checking emails on Sundays just made Mondays even more stressful than usual when I thought about what I have to do, to whom I should respond, etc.

With a day all to yourself (no meetings, distractions, to-do-lists) and an unlimited budget, what would you get up to?
I’d probably sleep late, have breakfast at a nice place, go see a movie (haven’t been to the movies in ages), and just hang out with my boyfriend.

If you could have any other profession, what would it be?
I love animals, so I probably would have liked a job related to animals.

Where can we stalk you?
My portfolio website: http://design.clementinecreative.co.za
My printables shop: http://www.clementinecreative.co.za
Twitter: @clementinecreat
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/carmiacronje
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/clementinecreative

What does your workspace / studio look like?
I work at a desk in my bedroom. It’s nice and sunny in the winter mornings, and yes, my desk is always this tidy. My brain cannot function in a cluttered environment.(Photo attached).

What it the work/design/product/project you are most proud of to date?
I really enjoyed creating the airmail-themed branding (see below) for English Express, a small English language school in France. My client and I share this obsession with airmail and stamps, so it was the perfect partnership. As of writing the website isn’t live yet, but I hope it will be soon.

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Homegrown Creatives: Meet Sam from Elephantshoe

Where do I begin! Over and above the amazing work that Elephantshoe produces, and the lust-worthy treasures they sell in their online shoppe – I’ve had a couple of interactions with Sam and all I can say is that she is really just one of the loveliest human ever, and I think she’ll win you over too with the fab interview below, so inspiring <3

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Who are you and what do you do / make / sell?
Hello there, my name is Sam Schwikkard founder, dreamer and creative director at Elephantshoe.com. Together with my husband James we design and create custom stationery for wonderful celebrations and important events. We specialise in small business branding and love to see new ventures succeed with their new brand styling. From logos through to directing beautiful shoots we heart it all. Last year we launched our Elephantshoe baby – our online shoppe where we make and stock a range of paperie and styling products that lead to a life more lovely. Our passion lies with simple, beautiful and honest solutions. “To Life” we say as we raise our glasses.

Did you always know that you were headed in this direction – how did you get where you are today?
As a child I was in my element when I was crafting or creating homemade gifts. I loved to stamp, cut up magazines and make greeting cards for friends and family. (Looking back some of my creations were really awful!) I guess at the time I always thought I would follow in my sister and brothers career paths, a chartered accountant, a Microsoft software genius and an actuary. It was only in high school that I discovered that it was possible to have a career in the creative world. I loved art lessons and along with my studies at the Red&Yellow School in Cape Town, I learnt to be a “Sponge”. To really look at the world and be inspired by everything around me. This way of thinking has fueled most of my choices, from working at Saatchi & Saatchi in advertising through to opening my own business in design.

What makes your work / products / services unique?
We love to work closely with our clients to create a custom solution. We listen to their needs, their ideas, and their dreams and try our absolute best to insure that they are ecstatic with their personalised design or product.

Where do you look for inspiration?
As they say, “Inspiration is all around” from the wonderful things that people say to interesting things I see on a daily basis. My starting point is always to chat with our clients either over e-mail, Skype or a cup of coffee to work out their design needs. This helps me to be inspired by their end goal. I look to old magazines, spaces and places around me and of course reference imagery which I like to document on my iPhone, iPad and iMac . Yes I love apple :-)

Who are your creative idols?
Artisans from years gone by. I have a huge respect and I guess a little obsession with the way things were done in the old days. Letterers and sign writers, seamstress and tailors, calligraphers – anyone who creates beautiful things with their hands and without the modern technology of today.

Where do you like to hang out – what are your favorite spots in your town/city/country?
Anywhere that serves a good café latte. James and I love to chat away and plan new exciting ideas in small coffee shops here in Jozi.

Given the opportunity, where would you like to travel/explore?
If bucks were no problem, you would find me spending a year in France learning to cook and bake delicious things or I’d be walking with James into a cosy café in Boston city above our apartment, (a base for all our American travels.)

How does a typical day for you play out?
James is always the first up, he makes the tea and pops it next to my pillow to help me make sense of the day. We’ll eat breakfast together, get ready for the day and head to our home studio where we start with a mini meeting to discuss the plans, designs and deadlines for the day. From there we e-mail, brainstorm, design, print, create and package our Elephantshoe goodness. A trip to the gym is generally on the cards except for those crazy days where we work on some of our projects till the early hours of the morning.

With a day all to yourself (no meetings, distractions, to-do-lists) and an unlimited budget, what would you get up to?
I am a huge fan of DIY projects, (I’m sure you will see some of them on our Ellieshoe blog). There are so many cute ideas that I would love to create for James and my home that I don’t often get the time to get to. With an unlimited budget I could spend a fortune on tools and supplies and with all my free time I could make some of my dreams.

If you could have any other profession, what would it be?
A photographer.

Where can we stalk you?
Website : http://elephantshoe.com/
Stationery Portfolio : http://elephantshoe.com/collections/portfolio-paperie
Blog : http://blog.elephantshoe.com/
Email : sam@elephantshoe.com
Twitter : @Elephantshoe_
Instagram : @elephantshoelove
Pinterest : http://www.pinterest.com/elephantshoeluv/
Facebook : http://www.facebook.com/ElephantshoeStationeryStudio

What does your workspace / studio look like?
Our Elephantshoe Studio (the Ellieshoe factory)  is a large open space on the 2nd floor of our home. Mix a little bit of classic with a dash of new, fill a jar with love add a dollop of vintage, sprinkle some whimsy and tie it all together with loveliness. With two long wooden tables, James and I sit opposite one another. A few things you’ll find around us are; printed orders, packaging tape, washi tape, brown paper, bakers twine, envelopes, cutting mats, printers, apple macs, rulers, craft knives, pinwheels, double sided tape, scissors, paper, paper and more paper.

What it the work/design/product/project you are most proud of to date?
Our Elephantshoe online shoppe and website. It took months of dreaming and many hours to launch our new look and create a place where we could showcase our favorite projects and a shoppe where our Ellieshoe followers could arrive inspired and leave inspired.

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Loving Mr Price Sliders + Win a R1500 Fashion Voucher

Fashionistas, listen up! Mr Price have just launched the new version of their website which now also offers a ‘click and reserve’ function giving you another great option for securing your basket before its too late!

Personally lusting after a pair of Sliders – first saw them on Emma Jane Menteath’s blog, My Life In Pink – and they are basically a bank-account-friendly version of the good old Birkenstock.

I was actually looking at some Birks a couple of months ago at the Gateway store, until I noticed the price tag (!) – and ya – we just bought a house so that’s not going to happen any time soon! These Sliders are the perfect solution to my problem seeing as they cost MAX R80 a pair (you heard me!) depending on the style you choose (will you hate on me if I say I really want the leopard print ones?!)

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And lastly – I have news of another great competition coming to you from the good folks at Mr Price – stand a chance to win a R1500 shopping voucher (redeemable online or instore) by clicking HERE

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Homegrown Creatives: Meet Ali & Rich from The Block Shop

How To Turn A Common Kitchen Item Into An Object Of Desire 101!

Have a look at these really clever and beautifully crafted wooden boards, brilliant gift ideas for a special occasion and definitely something for everyone…

Love to see a fellow Old Girl making waves in the design world – big congrats to Ali and Rich on launching The Block Shop recently – after the success of your Dippy Egg Boards, I can only see a bright future ahead for the two of you.

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

Rich and Ali Perks. Ali is AKA Alice May.

We have recently launched ’The Block Shop’ online shop after the success of our famous little invention ‘The Dippy Egg Board’. Rich’s background is designing and manufacturing wooden furniture, kitchens and wooden exteriors of houses. My history is graphic design and shoe design. When I left the shoe industry in 2011 after 6 years, I began a Wedding stationery label ‘Alice May’. Of course my husband had a factory in woodwork at the time which is how ‘The dippy egg and soldiers’ board was born. From the demand of these little boards we found a gap for functional different bamboo boards that can be personalised as a special gift with names and dates or corporate logo’s. With the fast growing ‘green’ and ‘foodie’ culture out there, these bamboo boards are going to fit right in.

What makes your work / products / services unique?

Every product in our shop can be personalised. Clients can supply a logo to us to engrave on their block, or we have lovely templates to engrave names or initials and dates onto our products. It is a very thoughtful gift for a Wedding, Birthday or special occasion. These gifts are for life.

Where do you look for inspiration?

We are inspired through people’s lifestyle, trends in food culture and try to fit our products in with what is needed more than just another dust collector. Rich and I love food and love to cook. We find inspiration in our own kitchen and how we can make a kitchen a better place for a true foodie. We love to make something functional, beautiful :)

Who are your creative idols?

Creative genius’s whose work I love would be Missibaba (Chloe Townsend), Kirsten Goss, Alex & Thatch (Lexi Stavrides) and lastly but most importantly my mum (Ann Davenport). My mum is one unbelievably talented creative soul who patiently shared her creativity with me growing up.

Where do you like to hang out – what are your favorite spots in your town/city/country?

We live on Salt Rock beach, so our deck is a firm favourite when it comes to hanging out and I love a vino lunch in the pretty setting of Sage or a little business coffee at Salt Pizza. Both chilled local spots we love in our town.

Given the opportunity, where would you like to travel/explore?

Both shout out at once: the Pacific Islands! Rich is a surfer. Need I say more :)

How does a typical day for you play out?

Wake up to cappuccino in bed (best hubby ever!), most days we have a walk on the beach with the dogs or Rich surfs and I walk. Generally, backwards and forwards between my home office and the factory, a meeting here and there. It is flexible which I love…

With a day all to yourself (no meetings, distractions, to-do-lists) and an unlimited budget, what would you get up to?

Rich would be in and out of the water all day surfing and stand up paddling! No budget needed! I would love a big long lazy family and friends lunch on our deck with beautiful food and lots of expensive wine if the budget is unlimited ;)

If you could have any other profession, what would it be?

A Professional all around the world 5 star hotel secret shopper if ever there was a job title like that! Otherwise you wouldn’t be able to drag me away from my life and job.

Where can we stalk you?

Facebook : www.facebook.com/theblockshopsa
Instagram: @theblockshopsa
Twitter: @TheBlockShop
Website: www.theblockshop.co.za

What does your workspace / studio look like?

Simple, wooden desks made by Rich, Nguni rug, lots of boards everywhere always!

What it the work/design/product/project you are most proud of to date?

The dippy egg board for it’s unique twist on eating a modern day eggie and soldiers; and The Carving Block because it is so different and functional. Never again will we battle with meat juices overflowing all over our kitchen!

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Photos by: Derryn Semple
Food Styling: Tam Kirkwood from Zak & Tonic

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Some snaps from my recent pottery classes

For the past few months I have been attending a weekly pottery class, hosted by local potter Garth Hoets in his home studio in Hilton. It’s such a great way to unwind and beat out the days frustrations through the use of clay as a punching bag ;) I really look forward to every Wednesday night (my escape from work and the kids!) and find that I am constantly on the look out for ceramic inspiration these days…

Garth’s classes are not too structured which is awesome – once he’s shown us the basics, each student gets to decide what they want to work on and we learn as we go along (everyone is at different levels anyway so this approach is much more suited to the individual).

We can also choose between hand or wheel work – I have done mostly hand to date, not for any particular reason other than because I’m having fun with it! I tried some wheel work the other day (made a few small bowls) and am definitely keen to do some more in the near future, and to build on my throwing skills.

Sharing some pics here of the studio and my work – if you’re local and feel like getting creative, come and join us! If you’re not from around here and would like to find a class near you, visit the Ceramics Southern Africa website which lists numerous potters across the provinces and more info about the craft in general.

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Recent Design Work: Soul Naturals

Thanks to a recommendation from a friend, I’ve had the pleasure of working with new clients Nahtalie and Lonneke on some logo and packaging redesign work for their business, an online shop called Soul Naturals, which sells unique and carefully sourced baby-related products (think gorgeous clothing, natural baby products, nursery decor, adorable toys and baby accessories!)

The ladies felt that the original logo and product labels didn’t reflect their business adequately, so we reworked the fonts, graphics and colours to something more contemporary, child-friendly yet still appealing to adults, and nature-inspired. The new logo and colours are easily adaptable, recognisable and legible for use on many mediums – website, business stationery, products, packaging etc.

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new-labels-soul-naturalsCant wait to see these printed and in situ!

Anyone out there looking for some lovely baby stuff for your own little ones or as a gift, be sure to visit www.soulnaturals.co.za for some great ideas and products :)

AND! If you haven’t already, take a look at my new graphic design website: andreabarras.com

DIY Orb Chandelier Lighting Update!

A few weeks ago I posted about my idea for making a budget-friendly version of some beautiful feature lights I’d seen in a local shop… With a little vision and some help from my very clever, DIY-king of a Dad, we achieved THIS:

LightsBeforeLightsAfterHigh ceilings afford me the opportunity to really go big with lighting in this house and I’m super thrilled with how these turned out! They’re modern, but still in-keeping with the style of the house and BOTH lights came in at just under R400 for the pair – compared to nearly R10 000 for two where I’d originally seen the idea (original ones obviously are different in structure and materials but the idea is still the same)

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Lights2 Dad doing his thang…. High ceilings require very tall ladders!

Lights4Lights5Lights6Lights1What do you guys think?! I reckon this DIY was a complete winner and a great illustration on how you can really get creative with lighting! Now need to come up with some ideas for the rest of the house…

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Parkrun: I survived!

Despite not starting my planned running regime courtesy of a feisty cold last week (and being totally unfit in general) I hauled my ass off before 8am on Saturday morning (along with Keri and Nicola) to the 2nd local parkrun event held weekly at Piggly Wiggly here in the KZN Midlands – AND IT WAS AWESOME!

The weather was lovely, the people were friendly, the course was do-able (okay, not so much the GIANT hill towards the end but overall it was good) and I cant believe I’m even saying this (yes, me – non-runner-extraodinaire!), but I thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience and cant wait to do it again!

I obviously didn’t run for the entire thing – my time was 46 minutes (5km course) and I don’t really care about that except for having a measure to improve against – but feeling DAMN PROUD (!) that I went along and tried it out.

The cool thing about parkrun is that there is no pressure and it’s really just about like-minded people of all fitness-levels getting out into nature and getting active. And what would a blog post be without any pics…

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all dressed in appropriate sporty attire

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nuts and cranberries for brekkie

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before leaving home, acting like an asshole

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view from the first part of the course

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taking pics along the way like a regular TK ;)

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the Polly Shortts of the Midlands

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pro runners Nicola and Keri – my inspiration to one day run next to them and not miles behind ;)10511127_10154412403675511_6526466860916849476_n

post-run-pre-coffee selfie {these last two pics were taken by Keri!}

Going to be starting this basic running schedule from tomorrow, found it on Runners World and seems pretty beginner-friendly – Tash from Raising Men has just published a great post on the benefits of running, check it out HERE!

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