Sunday, 20 October 2013

Tea with friends

I've recently been exploring the ritual of tea making and am fidning it to be a truly wonderful and relaxing experience. What has been even more special is that I have had an influx of tea related gifts in the past month all from very special people which has prompted this post. To begin with I'd like to share about these beautiful tea cups my friend Sarah gave me and my new discovery of lemon grass tea. After coming across it in Kenya I just bought some fresh lemon grass and let it dry out, then added hot water. I think this is currently my favourite drink, and now I have these beautiful cups that make the expereince feel all the more delicate and gentle, thanks lovely Hutchie :)

This next won wins the award for most time and painstaking effort put in by the very special Di. This is just a sample, but she labeled every single tea bag in the box! She even sneakily resealed the box so that it appeared not to have been tampred with. Such a great surpise and a nice thing to go look up while the kettle boils :) Thanks Lady.

The next gift was from the ever thoughtful and fellow tea loving friend Jemu. This is truly so exciting, flowering tea! I dont really need to say more, I think the photos speak for themselves. Thanks Sister Lindsay :)

And just as I was beginning to wonder how I was going to keep all these lovely teas my Mom arrived from Kenya with this beautiful tea box full of wonderful suprises. The Kenyan tea really is wonderful and we tried many different types there. Thank you Mom for filling it whith such a lovely variety, they are all so yum!

And just before it gets too hot, we have sailing juice! Introduced to me by the most tea loving of them all, Lady Cath. Sailing juice is basically iced tea. This saved me last summer when we were trying to substancially cut down on our juice drinking habits. This here variety is green tea with a rasberry infusion. But we usually do Rooibos with a bit of honey and lemon. It is a perfect refeeshment of a hot Summers day. Thanks Mrs O!

And finally the most yummy pudding flavoured Masala Tea. Spicy Tea from Kenya prepared with hot frothy milk. For some reason Joe is super expert at preparing this and I don't mond at all. It's so lovely and warm and cosy. Thanks Love.

And so that is my tea story for now, and it will hopefully continue to be a lovely and ong journey of discovery :)

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Tree stump DIY

A few weeks ago a very lovely lady and her man tied the knot. In celebration of this special occasion they made a request for hand-made gifts. We were naturally very happy to oblige. There's nothing much to say about this other than it was pretty simple and loads of fun to make, and the Bride and Groom were well pleased :)


Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Glitter scissors and the justice system.

These are the scissors I have in my classroom, as you can see, they are fairly cheerful.
But these two, are the most coveted of them all. Daily friendships have broken over who gets to use one of these two, and it's not even just the girls. The boys also want to get in on some of that glitter orange scissor action.

At times it makes me despair a little, especially when I am trying to fascilitate an activity but instead find myself mostly dealing with (what feels like) unsatisfied little customers who are suddenly passionate about the concept of justice and who gets what. But in quieter moments I've come to realise that it is perhaps a good thing, and what they are really saying to me is that they care about aesthetics. That the look and feel of something can contribute to their level of happiness and directly affect their engagement. So I think I need to track down some more glitter scissors.

3 years with this lovely face :)

 I read a while ago that the third anniversary gift is typically one of leather. But we decided a tub of Haagen-Dazs would be first prize :)

Sunday, 1 September 2013

Before, After and the Three Months in-between.

A few months ago we spotted this old lounger in the 'throw away' section of our complex. I couldn't believe someone would want to throw it away, but then upon closer inspection I could see why they thought it probably wasn't worth trying to sell. Anyway, we saw it and thought, "Challenge accepted!" (And who doesn't love a free thing, right? Well we do, that's for sure.) So we picked it up and took it back to our flat - albeit a little sheepishly - it's always awkward scratching in the rubbish.

We sat on it a few times and realised that the seat wasn't going to hold out much longer, so we thought we'd just take it off.  Overly ambitious idea number 1.  It was back-breaking work, tedious messy and only mildy satisfying. Anyway, after much hacking and picking, we got it all off with just a few fingertip casualties.

At this point it did look interesting in a rather poetic kind of way, but now we had a large, obstructive metal frame that we could no longer sit on.

And so began the next phase, overly ambitious idea number 2. I thought I would just cut up strips of fabric and and punch them together with studs, to form the new seat cover. Cutting the fabric turned out to be a rather painful experience: I gave up trying to cut it straight or get the pieces totally even, and just decided it would have a bit of a rustic look - a stretegy never far from my mind when I take on new things - one thing I did get right though was to use fake leather, so I didn't have to worry about hemming the edges after I cut it. The stud idea also backfired a bit as I had never worked with studs before and hadn't realised how expensive they become when you need over 100...

So we settled on these things (in the picture below) - we needed so many I literally bought all the ones they had in the shop which meant they weren't all the same - but by this time I was whole-heartedly convinced that this was the look I was going for so it was ok. But this step turned out to be overly ambitious task number 3, as we needed to use a monkey wrench to clamp them together after forcing them through the tough fabric. I say "we", but actually it was Joe because I didn't have the strength for such a task.
Eventually we got it to this point, but the whole process had been such an ordeal that we stopped, for some time. And so for about three months we had this sitting in our lounge - which is not that big, it's worth noting. It kind of reminded me of a horse, so for a short bit I smiled at it and thought of it as our white stallion. But that lasted about a day, and then I hated it for a lot longer after that. And then it just sat there and stared at us for ages, after which I just stopped looking at it.

Then one fine day I woke up and decided we were going to tackle and finish this project, motivated by frustration more than any kind of creative inspiration. In fact, I think it was even a little angry as I cut the final strips.  I may have let out some sort of weak war cry when we finally finished it. At last it was done.
And now I must admit, I do think it's kind of beautiful. But even though the project was now complete we had one more problem, we realised we didn't have anywhere to put it. Overly ambitious idea number 4 - thinking we have space for a lounger in our flat.

And that is the story of this chair, and how sometimes ideas can be problematic and awkward. And that a few photos on a blog often don't reveal the frustrating inbetween aspects of re-working objects. So from now on, if we see anything that sparks ideas of reviving, we have to make sure we have a very clear plan of where that thing will go and why we think it will be a good addition ot our life.
Before and After, and that little white gap in-between that makes life look so simple.

Thursday, 22 August 2013

Comin' up roses

When we were in Kenya we had the privilage of being given a tour around one of their many rose farms. It was a really special oppertunity and amazing to see the process from beginning to end, and to learn about how many factors are at play to produce these beautiful roses. I really enjoyed taking photos there, and hope you enjoy viewing them :)

Grafting the new stems onto old roots...
A little bit more growth a few tents on.

 All the plastic pipes used to graft.

Reaching for the sky...

Appropriately named I think :)

Roses in cold rooms right after being picked.

Stem measuring...

Ready for delivery.

The beautiful roses in the reception - they cost about R15 there!

And here they are, just up the road from our home :)