South African Design

A Very Pretty Blogger Secret Santa

So we like getting presents.  Our whole job is proof of that. (Plus buying online and having your stuff arrive all packaged up is kind of like mini me-to-me prezzies)

So we eagerly jumped on the #bloggersecretsanta bandwagon, organised by Kelly of Sunflowers and Spears, and I am SO glad we did.

When our package arrived, I squealed like a lunatic in the Post Office - which is fine because it was a Christmas rush kind of day, and everyone in there was feeling kind of crazy anyway - and stormed out, fighting the urge to rip it open in my car while I was still in the parking lot.

Over and above the excitement of receiving a Secret Santa gift, there was also the added excitement over that fact that it had come all the way from South Korea. I mean. How cool?

Roxy Hutton of citygirlsearching was our Santa, and boy did she hit the nail on the head.  Aaaalll of the cute pink cat stationery in the world seemed to spill from that envelope.  Every single detail was given thought and a great deal of love, and as a result it took over half an hour to unwrap (I had to take photos of everything to show you all, otherwise there’s no proof it actually happened.  You know, like yesterday’s latte art or this morning’s Eggs Benedict.)

Many thanks Roxy - you are a gift giving genius and I am in love with everything you sent and the considerable effort you put in. *hug*

Ohohohoh!  Also, if you love this stuff, Roxy is now SELLING it!  You can now also be the owner of pastel cat stationery from South Korea! Check it out over here.

How to open an online store with Happiness is...

The lovely and talented Fathima of Happiness is… has recently done a great post on the ins and outs involved in opening an online store.

As a part of the Creative Business Series kicked off by Caitlyn de Beer, Fatima acknowledges that t’s all quite a bit to consider, and we also offered some advice on how to (hopefully) make the ecommerce gauntlet seem less daunting, and break it down into manageable pieces.

We love this initiative, and are really inspired by all the ladies contributing to the series. It’s a phenomenal line up, and I highly suggest checking it out - you will undoubtedly walk away feeling inspired!

For this reason, we are offering all you creative business owners two free months on our Standard selling plan!  Check out the post over here for all of the details - we can’t wait to help you in your creative business journey!

And with that I wish you all a happy and creative Wednesday!

Win with Hello Pretty and Antique Fusion Jewellery! (Closed)

Spring has sprung, and what better way to celebrate it than by winning something beautiful? Antique Fusion Jewellery thinks that’s a great idea, and so do we. That’s why we’re giving away one of these stunning sterling silver leaf or twig rings.

Here’s how to enter:

  1. Like Antique Fusion Jewellery on Facebook
  2. Leave a comment on this post telling us which one is your favourite - the leaf or the twig design.
  3. Get an extra vote when you share this post and tag us on Facebook, and on Twitter

Antique Fusion Jewellery creates delicate, whimsical pieces that fuse the old and the new. Check out our interview with Anne-Michelle here.
Winner announced on Friday 29th November. Winner is selected by means of a random number generator. Please note that only one extra entry per channel will be allocated for Facebook and/or Twitter shares.

Pretty Personal with Anne-Michelle Dooley

Every antique once started out as someone’s favourite new thing. Antique Fusion Jewellery makes beautiful pieces that you’ll love now, and someone will treasure years from now. We caught up with Anne-Michelle to find out her story.

  1. Hello Anne-Michelle! Tell us a little about yourself.
    I’ll skip all the boring “I was born in” and “went to school at” stuff, and tell you what matters about me. I love to create beauty in whatever I do! Deciding to become a jewellery designer was the result of a long chain of events with a single goal in mind - find something creative to do and make a living from it. Not as easy as it sounded at first, but well worth my efforts in the end!
  2. We agree! And how did Antique Fusion come to happen?
    After studying jewellery design at Ruth Prowse in Cape Town, I worked for a small jewellery business. In 2007 I decided to quit my job as a jeweller’s assistant, and go it alone. The decision came at the price of some serious hard work and many unforeseen difficulties along the way, but I like to think that’s how I knew it was right. When you know what you want, you are often tested, just to be sure. Almost 7 years later, I am proud to look back at what I have accomplished and excited to look ahead at what’s to come. Antique Fusion is in every way an extension of who I am, it has grown as I have grown, changed as I have changed, and learned as I have learned. I have kept every notebook and documented most of my designs over the years. I often sit and read through them. It’s like reading an old journal. You learn so much about why you are who you are and where you are today. It inspires me to work harder, and encourages me to trust my talent.
  3. Wow, 7 years. That must be a really interesting read. Do you tend to see patterns or repeats of things that inspire you?
    I have always enjoyed the intricate, delicate detail and exquisite craftsmanship of antiques. Fascinated from a young age by these treasures of the past, their influence exists naturally in my work.  The concept of Antique Fusion is to ‘fuse’ the old and the new, so as to create a visual synergy of the two.
    It is difficult as a creative, not to be influenced by the world around you and the things you see. I have chosen to live in a very special place, deep in the heart of the Eastern Cape, high up in the mountains of the Amathola Mountain range. Hogsback is a magical place, and the influence of the abundant nature that surrounds me here, often finds its way into my work.  
     Although now days I enjoy creating with other influences too, my true passion will always be my ‘fusion’ pieces.
  4. Tell us a little more about the pieces you make.
    Antique Fusion specialises in antique inspired contemporary pieces, and we are passionate about custom designed one-off pieces. Working mainly in silver and antique found objects, Antique Fusion pieces often explore unusual combinations of materials for visual impact. Our designs are whimsical and light hearted, but elegant and feminine. All our pieces are handmade to order.  Making each and every piece by hand means putting individual loving energy into every item. We like to think that makes the piece you order special. :) Antique Fusion is primarily an online business. We have an extensive online catalogue and easy to use ordering system, all available from our website.  
    We also have a very active Facebook page where you can enjoy monthly giveaways and specials as well as the latest products straight from the Antique Fusion studio.
  5. So what’s the “Antique Fusion” in your life? What are your favourite things old and new?
    My favourite new things would have to be my husband Brandon and our golden Labrador puppy Baxter, clean white socks, new white vest tops and sparkly crisp white linen (an unfortunate passion for someone who lives so closely with nature) and our very own new house in Hogsback, YAY! (Incidentally, if I wasn’t busy making jewellery all day, I would definitely be a housewife! Making home is my thang!)
    What are my favourite old things? Our house is filled with antiques (as you can imagine) and I adore ALL of them! But if I had to choose just a few, I would have to say my exquisite white antique dressing table,  my old Singer sewing machine and our baby blue 1979 Bay Window VW Kombi (even though she gives us a bit of trouble from time to time).

For gorgeous pieces that will undoubtedly be someone’s future much-loved antique, head over to the Antique Fusion Hello Pretty store. You can also get in touch on Facebook and Twitter. Plus, pop back here on Monday and we may just have a little something to give away…

Win with Hello Pretty and Dor&Kie!

We’ve always thought of our fans as being ahead of the curve - anddor&kie agrees! That’s why they’re giving you the chance to get your hands on this yellowwood, brass, and clay necklace before anybody else!

Here’s how:

  1. Like dor&kie on Facebook
  2. Leave a comment on this post.
  3. Get an extra vote when you share this post and tag us on Facebook, and on Twitter

Dor&kie blends art and science together with a beautiful range of geometric rings and necklaces. Check out our interview with Diana here.

Winner announced on Friday 22nd November. Winner is selected by means of a random number generator. Please note that only one extra entry per channel will be allocated for Facebook and/or Twitter shares.

Pretty Personal with Diana James

Fans of sculpture, 80s video games, and geometry, rejoice! Dor&kie Jewellery Objects has managed to take all three and combine them into a range of wood-based jewellery that’s both chic and unique. We found out the story behind the name, and more.

  1. Hello Diana! Tell us a little about yourself. 

    I’ve always had a love for art, but I felt that my natural talent wasn’t good enough to pursue a career as an artist, so I ended up studying Jewellery Design and Manufacture at CPUT, mostly due to my fascination with the detail of everyday things and the “small scale” world.

  2. And what led you to use wood as a primary medium?

    Dor&kie happened by chance - we were moving house, and ended up building a lot at our new house, so my jewelry workshop/tools were in storage for a long time.  To keep myself busy I started experimenting in the space available to me, which was a woodworking workshop, and just fell in love with wood and its potential as a sculptural material; and being a jeweler I started using it in my work.

    The name dor&kie references a lot of things: firstly a door and a key, and since I’m a total dork and a Afrikaner, I’ve decided to use only one “o” for door to reference ‘dork’, and the Afrikaans “kie” instead of the English “Co” for company.

  3. Hahahahaha! That’s certainly an original name! Your pieces are also very distinctive - tell us about them?

    My favourite pieces to make are the rings.  I try something different with every ring, and doesn’t matter how much I design and sketch before hand, the final piece is always a surprise. I’ve recently started working with Polymer clay, to add some colour to my pieces, and I’m also trying to incorporate more metal.

  4. You decided to use wood as a material after spending time in the workshop you mentioned - what influenced the decision to use geometric shapes?

    As a jeweler, inspiration can come from a broad range of things, such as nature, fashion, architecture etc. Mostly my work resembles geometric structures that reference the field of gemology and the of cutting stones.  So in a way my work references a field parallel to jewellery, but by using wood it changes the quality of the overall piece.  Gemology focuses on obtaining the most brilliance from a stone by cutting it into facets to ‘capture’ the light entering the stone, but by replicating these facets in wood the piece becomes sculptural - not adding a function to the material used, but a general sculptural look and feel.

  5. What’s your favourite thing about doing what you do?

    Pushing the boundaries of the material I’m using, and also my capabilities as a manufacturer/craftsperson.  I love exploring the relationship of jewellery and how it fits and interacts with the body.  This aspect of jewellery is another reason why I love using wood in my work.  Wood is soft on the skin compared to cold hard metal and due to its weight, I can play around with the scale of my pieces.

I have a dor&kie pendant myself, and it’s one of my favourite things. You can get your new favourite thing in the dor&kie Hello Pretty store, and get in touch on Facebook and Twitter. And, if you check back here on Monday, we might just have a little something to give away…

Pretty Personal with Anna Raimondo

A smith is defined as someone who works with metal - but the lovely Anna from SMITH Jewellery does so much more than that. With Hello Pretty since its inception, she makes pieces that strike a balance between whimsy and elegance - much like the vintage orange MG we’ve seen her zipping around town in!

  1. Hello Anna! Tell us a little about yourself. 

    I was born and bred in Cape Town. I was fortunate to have a very creative mother, and an environmentalist for a father. This meant that I led a very varied life, from ballet performances to walks in the bush, from lace making to Namibian diamond fields. As you can imagine, I was allowed to explore my creative side through art, music and dance, as well as develop a love for nature. I suppose this background meant that there was no way I could not continue to do something creative when I grew up.

  2. That sounds way more interesting than most of our afterschool activities! How did you end up starting your own jewellery range?
    After doing art at school, I studied jewellery design at Stellenbosch University - a 4 year honours degree. Then, I won a scholarship to do a Masters in Design at the Richemont’s school of design, The Creative Academy, in Milan. I spent a year learning about luxury design, and even got a 3 month internship in Chloé's leather department. Feeling the need to travel a bit, I worked and lived in London and Sydney for the next two years. In 2010 I came back to Cape Town to set up SMITH Jewellery.
     
     
  3. Wow - after ricocheting around the globe, you must have experienced so many different things. Where do you get your inspiration from?

    At the risk of sounding corny, I really am influenced by anything around me. As I mentioned before, I grew up with a wide range of interests - this has led to me producing many different collections for both my male and female ranges. Having said this, I inevitably find inspiration in any jewellery, fashion, architecture from 3000BC to the 1900s - basically any old cultures.

  4. We can actually see that a lot in your ranges at the moment - you have some very tribal influences, as well as more delicate pieces. Tell us a little more about the things SMITH makes?

    I design jewellery for both men and women. I specialise in silver jewellery, but lately have been using more brass and copper (which I then gold or rose gold plate) as well. I try to create easy-to-wear, conversational jewellery. My women’s ranges are bold, beautiful and lightweight, while my men’s ranges harp back to the Victorian gentleman with a more humorous tilt. Everything I design is then hand made - this ensure that no two pieces are the same.

  5. Variety being the spice of life. Speaking of which - Will Smith, Maggie Smith, or Patti Smith?

    Definitely Maggie Smith - wise, humorous and feisty!

We couldn’t agree more - Downton’s Dowager Countess is our spirit animal. You can find fun and feisty jewellery in the SMITH Hello Pretty store, and get in touch on Facebook and Twitter.

Love affair with black gold: my #seedtocup tasting experience at Factory Cafe

It all started with a plan hatched by a fellow blogger, to smuggle me into an event…

With a history of being teachers pet, the plan wracked me with guilt until I came clean, and worked up the courage to just ask, hey, you guys are cool and I like you - can I come to your event?

Naturally my fears were unfounded.  The lovely people at Colombo andThe Factory Cafe welcomed me with big smiles and open arms, and I found myself rummaging through my closet early last Saturday morning - what does one wear to a coffee tasting filled with super trendy bloggers?

I arrived at The Factory Cafe (best coffee in town, and I’m not just saying that because they invited me to their party) and immediately spotted the bloggers - gorgeous swanky cameras littered the table, and made me swear to myself that my next purchase would be a proper camera!  After introductions were over, everyone settled into an easy chatter, as though we had all known each other for ages.

When Arno, Colombo’s resident coffee aficionado, tried to get us to all settle down and take a seat, I have a feeling that he may have been able to compare it to herding cats - so many fabulous people! And fabulous conversations and pretty things to Instagram! (The Factory Cafe is exceptionally instagramable.  Also, if you didn’t Instagram that coffee, did you even really have it?)  Eventually we tore ourselves away from the banter to focus on Arno, and that turned out to be an exceptionally good decision. This guy.  He knows his stuff, and his passion for coffee is contagious.  He introduced us to Dan, who took over while Arno got to work grinding coffee beans - Dan explained the origins of coffee (from #seedtocup) while the coffee aromas swirled around us, making us feel like those old cartoon characters that got lifted off their feet and floated towards the delicious oversized lamb chop.

Dan told us about where coffee was grown and the most suitable climates for it to thrive in, (known as the “Coffee Belt” - that’s an accessory I can completely get behind) the planting process and different types of harvesting.  The point that stuck with me the most, and impressed me to no end, is Colombo’s commitment to sustainable harvesting.  Not only that, but their support for farms that give back to their communities.  The folks at Colombo have hearts you guys, and they’re pretty much golden.

After timing it just right, we used spoons to crack through the grounds that had raised to the top of the glass, and sniffed away while swirling it around three times.  Again the smell of the coffee changed – it’s kind of amazing to notice the progression of the coffee in such a short time. Arno gave us a particularly useful nugget of information at this point – “Don’t burn your nose.  That’s never cool.”

This is when things got really fun.  Note that the coffee is particularly concentrated at this point, and we got to taste it.  Queue central nervous system hyperdrive!  After removing the froth from the top of the coffee, you have to slurp it as hard as you can from your spoon, so that it sprays over every part of your mouth.  I learnt something about myself then – after only drinking coffee for a year, it turns out that I really enjoy super strong coffee.

And then they plied us with more coffee and food and gave us treats!  We all left with tummies full of the best ciabatta sandwiches and I had my first ever flat white (You can all call me a proper hipster now, thanks), as well as a goodie bag with some coffee to take home, cute stationery and the best biscotti (that lasted for about five minutes).

 

I had such a great time, and am really glad that I was able to go – so many many thanks to Factory Cafe for having me, and for a great event.  I have this philosophy that unless you teach me something or make me smile, I probably won’t follow you.  The Factory Cafe and Colombo provided both smiles and knowledge in spades.  So if you’re in town, you should DEFINITELY get in on the action – they endeavor to provide coffee that’s so good that it doesn’t need to be altered by milk and sugar, and they’re putting on repeat performances free and gratis every Friday afternoon at 3pm.  To get involved, pop Arno an email at arno@colombo.co.za to book your spot.

You can also show them some online love by checking out The Factory Cafe’s websiteFacebookTwitter and Instagram, as well as Colombo’s site,FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

Coffee for everyone!

Pretty Personal with Robyne Cowling

They say that home is where the heart is - and that couldn’t be more true than in the case of Robyne’s jewellery line, Home Is Where The Heart Is, which has absolutely stolen our hearts. With designs ranging from geometric Aztec pendants to cute and cuddly cats, we were sure there had to be an interesting person behind the pieces, and we weren’t wrong!

Products shown:
  1. Hello Robyne! Tell us a little about yourself. 

    Hello hello! My story goes back a few years. My passion for jewellery started when I was just a little one. My mum owned jewellery and accessories shops in Natal, and I spent my childhood behind the counter ringing up sales -loved the clicky buttons on the till! Some might say child labour, I just call it starting young! 
    After school I tried out a few different interests and passions, and was in the fashion industry for a few years doing make-up artistry and hairstyling. In my spare time I did jewellery and painting hobby classes, and at the age of 23 decided jewellery was my calling, so back to school for me! 

  2. And from there, how did HIWTHI happen? 

    "Home is where the heart is" started out as my final year theme. I put my exhibition on Facebook for friends and family to see what I had been working on all year, and from that a budding business was born.

  3. So your business is actually barely a year old? Amazing! How do you find inspiration for your pieces?

    I love that I am passionate about what I do, and that keeps me ‘topped up’. I’ve become obsessed with dogs, in particular my sausage Lucy, they are the best kind of housemate! Pretty quiet and happy all the time! 

  4. Hm, wondering if it would be possible to swap some of my teammates for sausage dogs. (Kidding guys, kidding…) So, tell us what’s special about the things that HIWTHI makes?

    Well, for starters, each one is handmade with love! <3 
    I think my products and my brand incapsulate me as a person - I deal with each client personally and build a relationship with every one. My brand definitely has that ‘let your heart feel at home’ feeling. I love making people feel comfortable buying jewellery, and more importantly, buying jewellery online without ever having seen the piece. I also enjoy working with clients on their designs and making their jewellery dreams come to life.

  5. We think we know the answer to this one already, but, cats or dogs?

    DOGS DOGS DOGS DOGS DOGS DOGS DOGS DOGS DOGS!!!!!

    So, we’re thinking you might be a dog person, but we really can’t be sure….One thing we are sure about, though, is how much we love her jewellery. Get yours from the Home Is Where The Heart Is Hello Pretty store, and get in touch on Facebook.

Win with Hello Pretty and Secrets Unearthed!

Pretties, we have a secret…but we just can’t keep it to ourselves any longer. Secrets Unearthed is giving you the chance to win one of these absolutely stunning pendants.

Now that the secret’s out, I’m guessing you want to know how to enter, right? Here’s how:

  1. Like Secrets Unearthed on Facebook
  2. Leave a comment on this post telling us which piece is your favourite.
  3. Get an extra vote when you share this post and tag us on Facebook, and on Twitter.

Secrets Unearthed draws inspiration from nature to create pretty pieces you’ll love. Check out our interview with Gina here.

Winner announced on Friday 1st November. Winner is selected by means of a random number generator. Please note that only one extra entry per channel will be allocated for Facebook and/or Twitter shares.

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