Thursday, July 30, 2009

Lovely South Africa

South Africa is a country that is jam packed full of stunning things. The arts are a integral part of their culture, displayed beautifully on both the stage and every street corner. Almost every trinket is made by hand, which makes it that much more special and awe inspiring, and the flea markets in this country are truly awesome. I have vivid memories of those flea market family excursions and remember loving them as much as a child as I do as an adult. I'll admit that more than anything else, I remember the food and the smells...the rolled up pancakes coated with cinnamon and sugar, the mango icee pouches we preferred to consume in multiples, the vetkoek (an Afrikaans classic made of a fried dough filled with a beef mixture or a jam), or the Indian samosas that we craved. But on my last trip to South Africa I was accompanied by Phil and Parker James, then 20 months old, and I loved the kid's collectibles most of all. I have several objects that are my favorites, both from my life there and trips back to visit, and these little odds and ends add lots of color to our home. Occasionally I'll even find one of these items sold at a boutique or store here in the US for huge amounts of money. Actually, the bracelet that I'm wearing in the picture above (taken in front of Table Mountain) was purchased at the Cape Town store of SA jewelry designer, Philipa Green. We went there to custom design my best friend Raschika's engagement ring, a awesome ring she'd dreamed up with a very rock vibe (perhaps even a heart or flame engraved into the ring, if I remember correctly). Well, she eventually made a more "traditional" ring decision, though traditional really does not describe anything about her at all much less her final ring decision, and I left with a gorgeous engraved resin cuff. I spied that cuff in an In Style mag about a year or two later. The exact replica! Wild!

Bottles with beaded coverings. Stunning! Imagine the time and precision that goes in to this. And they're made with little effort, it seems.

A dream catcher that I made with Raschika in my teens (a stage of our lives that was ruled by fairies and any enchantment) which has a matching counterpart still over there in her cupboard somewhere, I hope. We decided to start by stringing our favorite sweets, Wicks bubble gum...which we chewed every single day of our lives for as long as we can remember. Then added among other things, a message in a bottle...not to be read until a predetermined date, beaded butterfly from Grahamstown festival...a very hippie and memorable week for us (my first experience at a rave; quite cooky), a feather from the back yard... she lived on a property bordered by the Botanical Gardens, film container from film using days with recent photo booth pics, and finally, our favorite jelly tots (a candy that later became part of a little love song for my kids) and licorice allsorts (tropical, I think) covered in clear nail varnish for lastibility :). Yum!

From the Cape Town flea market (Green Market Square, is it?). A painting that was so ridiculously cheap that I wish I had bought many more of M. Peter Mukendi's works of art. Lots of vibrant colors and a great images telling of the culture and heritage of the people of Cape Town.

From The Rooftop market in Joburg. I go on and on about my beaded fish all the time and I obsess over all the other animals I saw at this store and could never fit into my luggage. They were unbelievably gorgeous and ranged from tiny to life size; every animal you could want. I recently found them at the Animal Kingdom in Disney World and an elephant of the same size cost about $80-$100. Mine were about $15-20. I can't wait to get some more of these one day (a whole safari's worth!) but it seems that I may have to take several empty suitcases along.

My mom brought these home for me from her trip to SA about 5 years ago. They're also from The Rooftop, and so perfectly sweet. A kid sized dish set made out of tin and hand painted (and not to be eaten off of). Also, found them at Anthropologie's website last year!

Finally, the bathroom wall of a really lovely restaurant that Chika and Jurgen took Phil, Parker and I to. I believe it was owned by Jurgen's high school art teacher and she had decorated every single room of an actual house as well as a very beautiful garden, with every kind of whimsy you could wish for. There are so many restaurants in Joburg that resemble this. It's such a joy to eat out. Mmmm...they make the best toasted sandwiches, of all things. I took the picture with the intention of replicating this mosaic in my own home one day. Yet to happen...

There is no end to these sorts of beauties in South Africa. They're every where you eat, or shop, or stay. The people that live there have imaginations that know no limit and inspire me to no end. I wish I could live in a place that can move me and encourage my own creative ability every day. What a gift!

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Thanks for reading!
xx Kirsty

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