Monday 25 May 2009

Polly Patches in Progress

I spent some of the last two weekends making "Polly Patches". She is not complete yet. You can see a picture of the Pattern Designer's version (Jan Horrox) at

Mum and I are going to a workshop held by Jan Horrox during the first weekend in September. We will be sculpting faces.

The armature - made with coat hangers because I couldn't find the garden wire. Paul had to help me with it, I just wasn't strong enough.

The armature wrapped before dressing.

I may need to redo the head - the eyes are different and too high up.

She just needs a skirt and hair.

Sunday 24 May 2009

Shopping in South Africa

One of the nice things about going to a foreign country, even in these days of globalisation, is the ability to purchase things you might not find at home.

I had a mishap on the way home, South African Airways wanted to charge me £200 for being 6.75 Kg overweight. I called my friend back (they were already out of the car park) to take some things away. The carrier bag she took had a lot less that £200 worth of stuff in it. She is keeping some things and sending the rest surface mail. It will take six weeks to arrive but will cost significantly less than £200. Anyway, these are photos of things that did make it to chez nous.

I think these rubber stamps are made from forma foam which you heat up and then impress objects. The butterflies are hair slides but I want to use the wings on dolls. The tiny doll was purchased at the sea side, in Kalk Bay.

Willow and I collect and share serviettes to use in collages.

The Guniea Fowl is South Africa's national bird. This one has a bobbing head.

This is some African fabric. A lot of the fabric I bought had large designs so I think I shall use them to make bags.

Willow's local shopping centre has a second hand book shop. New books are expensive in South Africa. These were very reasonable. I purchased each of them on a different visit to the shop. They are from the seventies and I think they are American. They cost about £2.00 each.

This was my second trip to South Africa. On my first visit, Willow gave me a copy of the book below. A couple of my art teachers have wanted a copy and I have not been able to find them on the Internet. We arranged to visit the author so I could get a couple of copies. I hadn't been able to find them on the Net because she is distributing them her self. Luckily I found a couple of copies in Kalk Bay. It is a lovely book of illustrations of Cape Town. A good inspiration for a mixed media artist.

May 15th - Last day South Africa

Willow has a lovely studio and a very large collection of dolls. I took several photos of them; here are just a few.

May 14th - Penultimate Day in South Africa

I am home now, it is a glorious day here in Blighty and I am sitting outside, taking the opportunity to add the rest of my photos to my blog.

We went to a butterfly farm just down the road from Willow's house. It was a photographic expedition, she has become the owner of a very good Canon digital camera and wanted to try it out, and of course the Blythe Dolls accompanied us because they wanted to show off.

If you like these images of the gnome and fairies and would like to use them, please feel free. Click on them to see a larger size.

There were two coach loads of children visiting the Butterfly farm. They were excitedly looking for things because they had worksheets to fill in. One of them told us with glee that if you upset a Marmoset it would pee on you.

I'm quite pleased with this photograph of the moth, the moth is clear whilst the background is out of focus.

I don't remember if the butterfly was really this colour, I think it was more vibrant in real life.

I wouldn't mind one of these snakes in my garden.

There were two Meerkats outside. One was always on guard. I watched a few "Meerkat Manor" programs on the BBC and I reckon these two must have been knackered. They take it in turns to be on guard and they would hardly have got a rest.

This paper butterfly was in the restuarant, it was at least four feet across.

We had lunch in a very nice country restaurant which has a craft shop attached, and this warning before you enter.

Sunday 17 May 2009

Books I Read

I read quite a few books whilst on holiday, it was a very restful tiime. I can recommend all the books.

Last Rituals - Yrsa Sigurdardottir
Whispers of the Dead - Simon Beckett
Ritual - Mo Hayder
The Death Maze - Ariana Franklin
When Will There be Good News? - Kate Atkinson
The Ignorance of Blood: Javier Falcon - Robert Wilson
Big Stone Gap - Adriana Trigiani
Child 44 - Tom Rob Smith

May 10th - Day 9 in South Africa

This Guinea Fowl (and a couple of others) were on the wall of Tranquility Guest House when we left. The Guinea Fowl is the national bird of South Africa.

We went shopping in Kalk bay before returning to Stellenbosch.

View Larger Map

kalk bay is full of art, antique, craft and second hand shops. I love it!

May 9th - Day 8 in South Africa

Clicking on any of the images in this post will let you see a larger and more detailed version.

We went to Boulders Beach to see African Penguins in their natural habitat.

The penguins got really close to her.

This was an interesting direction sign just outside the restaurant where we had lunch.

Views from my Balcony

The image below was taken with my Pentax camera on a tripod. I swept it to the right for 60 seconds and then back to the left for another 60 seconds.

May 8th - Day 7 in South Afriica

We spent the weekend in Fish Hoek which is a small seaside town near Cape Town. We stayed at Tranqulity Lodge. I can recommend it. It is a lovely guest house, the views are great and the host is very hospitable - tranquility guest house.

The guest house is labelled "A" on the map.

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Willow is a collector of Blythe dolls and likes to take photos of them. I was the one handy with the camera at tea time.

We had our evening meal at the Fishermans Galley Restuarant. There was a board of money at the entrance of the restaurant.

I had a seafood platter, it was gorgeous, but far too much.

This is a view out of the restaurant window.

The restuarant is labelled "A" on this map.

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May 7th - Day 6 in South Africa

My hosts in South Africa have a son, Juan. He is 2 years old and had his first sports day today. His class had one race and they went first. They were very cute. Because he is only 2 years old, Willow and I were instructed to ensure that he didn't see us so we viewed the race from the car.

Sports day was held in Paradise Park on the outskirts of Stellenbosch. Stellenbosch is surrounded by mountains and is quite often cloudy. It ensures a damp climate which is good for wine growing. Willow tells me that most people who live in Stellenbosch have sinus problems because of the weather.

Wednesday 6 May 2009

Mad about Junk

We went out for lunch on Sunday to a farm. It houses a junk shop called "Mad about Junk" and also a craft market. It was beautiful day. We ate lunch on the farm and I bought a seed tin with a picture of Roses on the lid. Willow bought a bird cage and other bits and pieces.

There were pictures drawn on wooden doors, a shop model (head and top torso) collaged with dress patterns, rusty white iron chairs and all sorts of other interesting objects.

One of the shops

Buckets for Sale

Rusty Iron Chair (Click on the image to see it full size. Save it and use it if you wish).

Travelling to South Africa

I made a friend, "Willow" on the Internet a number of years ago. We finally met in person in 2006 when my mum and I visited for a three weeks and Willow and her husband, Roche, met my DH, mum and I in London.

I am now a few days into my second visit to SA. Juan has entered the world since the last visit, he is just over two years old and is a delight.

I left the office just in time last Friday and took a coach from Bristol to Heathrow. I then had to wait hours for the plane. It was a bank holiday weekend in the UK and I left plenty of time for traffic woes. I decided that the book I was reading was too serious so decided to purchase a current pot boiler from W.H. Smiths. The plane left from Terminal 1 and I can remember at least 3 Smiths shops. They were selling 3 for the price of 4 so once I had 2, then the third and fourth were just asking to be purchased.

Harrods was in lights

And I really fancy one of these. Click on the image to see more detail, including a description of each model.

The flight is about 11 hours long (overnight), but the clocks are only one hour ahead during the summer. I arrived safely on Saturday morning, not as tired as I expected to be.

The journey was on an airbus flown by South African Airways. They fly from Heathrow to Cape Town once a day. The plane was full. Last time we travelled to Johannesburg on a Boeing 747.