At my friend Alexis’s house this afternoon, I cast my eyes down towards the window.

“Oh look Lex! Big ants.”

I feel like I’ve tripped and fallen into a Lewis Carroll rabbit hole.

“Yes, Stefan’s,” says Lex.

Cape Town sculptor Stefan Schoeman makes beautiful things out of discarded stuff. His ants are made of wire, old DVD tape and avocado pips. Lex and I are big fans. He also makes incredible sculptures out of plastic flex.

‘What Alice Saw’ is one of 300 colours from the Midas Envirolite Zero VOC range of paints, available from Paint & Place paint shops in South Africa.


When I was little, we were often taken on holiday to visit our granny who lived in Cradock in the Karoo, in a house with a sign on the gate that said Carrington Lodge. It was lovely to sit on Granny’s lap. But if you weren’t on her lap, Carrington Lodge felt a little bit creaky and a lot spooky, for some reason. Maybe it was just that I was very small.

Out in the yard there was a row of cold unventilated garages which once were used to park carriages. Inside one of these, there were even remnants of an almost working carriage that nobody wanted to get rid of. Then, in the garden, there was the chicken run. From time to time, there’d be a ritual killing of chickens for supper. After the chicken was beheaded by Granny’s gardener, we’d watch, stunned, while it ran around till it dropped into the petunias. Running around like a chicken without a head. Isn’t that how the saying goes? All completely normal.

It was always wintertime in Cradock. I remember it being cold much more than it being hot. In wintertime in Cradock it was hard to get out of bed in the middle of the night. If you had to get out of bed for a pee, you had to walk down a passage past Granny’s room, over ice cold slippery old mosaic tiles, under the gaze of a stuffed kudu staring you out from above an archway with a velvet curtain. I was scared of the kudu, and I thought something would jump out from behind the velvet and give me a big skrik.

So I never did go down that passage until after sunrise. I always stayed in my room.

Granny believed in potties.

I wish Granny had had a friend like Jacques Erasmus from Hemelhuis Restaurant in Cape Town. Jacques might have encouraged her to do a friendly thing around the kudu trophy. It would have been so much easier to go down that passage if there had been tear-outs of Barbara Barnard from Fair Lady, and some unwanted sheet music, and the comic pages from Farmers Weekly or a Prince Valiant annual. Maybe a poster of Four Jacks and  a Jill, or something.

I love how Jacques recently put up wallpaper around his friendly reindeer who presides over lunch at Hemelhuis.

I like walls that earn their keep. Have a look at the ‘plumbers’ wall’ done in Fresco here, or the plants-behaving-like animals trophy wall here. And the wall made not of bricks, but of ferns, here.

Walls don’t have to be plain. Or boring. Or scary.

Grandmother’s Room – from the Earthcote Heritage Collection.


I love how these teen bandits just went right ahead and did what they said they were gonna do ie. composed and produced a foot-tapping tune, then headed down to the beach near the train tracks in St James, to shoot it. It’s cool what you can do when you’re 16, and you have a voice, friends, a camera and school holidays to kick up the dust.

In the band: Jed da Silva, Michael de la Hunt, Troy Korevaar, Ryan de Kwaadsteniet

The film was shot & edited by Jack Mason

St James White is from the Earthcote Heritage Collection


Angel in flex, by Stefan Schoeman

An artist by the name of Stefan Schoeman (who sometimes arrives in our area dressed in a full kilt) works between Kalk Bay and Woodstock, selling his flex sculptures of angels, rhinos, buffalos and things. I had to buy the zombie angel.

Zombie angel is now on my dishrack. It can stay there until I have to wash up after Sunday lunch. Maybe lunch will be more of a success with this presiding over the cook-off.
Angel - one of 300 colours at Paint&Place, available in Midas Envirolite zero voc paint

More by Stefan:


Bench by Stokperd:

When my children were totlets, I was obsessed with the idea of not allowing baby kit (car seats, bottle warmers, bibs, changing mats, walking rings, that kind of stuff) to be infected with anything like a teddy bear print. My ban also included all the cousins and half cousins of teddy bear prints, like kites, ice creams, syndicated Disney characters and bunnies. (Although some bunnies I was prepared to make an exception for. Some bunnies are art. So are some birds.)

I wasn’t going to collect plastic toys in colours that screamed louder than the infant himself on a bad colic day. Nor was I prepared to carry a baby bag that told the world “I am Jack’s nappy bag.” I’d rather have printed a T-shirt that said HOW DO YOU KNOW I’M BREASTFEEDING? AM I LEAKING OR ARE MY 36D’s JUST GETTING IN THE WAY?

I remember looking for a baby bed with toy storage drawers underneath. IM.Possible. Eventually I did find one, but it was big, and white, a little soulless, a gnat too glossy and much more expensive than it needed to be. Seeing as it had no teddies carved into the headboard, and no primary colours, and it was at least inoffensive, I ended up buying it.

Back in the day, there was no Monya Eastman. Monya is a girl after my own heart, who has had similar obsessions about standard issue furniture and things that don’t cut it in her scheme of things. Monya’s company, Stokperd, will make what you need, how you need it. No bears, kites, or engraved Toy Story characters. It will have a great abundance of soul, and be sensible and well priced.  Pictured above is a supernice bench by Stokperd, and below, The ‘Forever Bed’ with a chunkiness that’ll last a few generations. Stokperd also makes a version of the toddler toy storage solution that I wanted ten years ago. I found that on the website.

Go for more.

THE FOREVER BED, by Stokperd

 Says Monya:
“I used to be a corporate girl, stuck in an office, daydreaming about making beautiful things. Then one day we renovated our home and I finally got my chance. Frustrated by not being able to find the kind of furniture I was looking for in the world of shops, I made a few drawings and got someone to build my ideas from scratch. And that’s how Stokperd began. 
In addition to creating beautiful things I generally just like to get my hands dirty. I grow stuff; I have a garden full of cherry tomatoes, rocket, fat purple aubergines & loads of vetplantjies. I’m also partial to winter, old things, small towns & the Karoo.”

Colours by Midas Envirolite, Zero VOC paint.


Jaco Janse van Rensburg's house of gold

What a floor. Jaco used Earthcote Shalestone - a gritty coating that contains beach sand and other bits of marine material. Great foil to the elegant exotica.

A Fall of Copper - by Tracy Glass and Lindy Cohen. Love the rain of leaves against a backdrop of Midas Envirolite soft buttery yellows, in earth-loving Envirolite Zero VOC.

Kim Boogaardt and Kerstin Eser used flashes of neon to punch through a misty, winter-white and foggy grey theme. These seductive bowls were coated in pure white Earthcote Skimfill, then given a stunning, eye-blinding neon treatment inside.

This pod showcased the work of Amy Ellenbogen, Katherine Spindler and Dale Lawrence's. I loved the panels of cut-out wallpaper (all done by hand) and the forest themed 'floorpaper' below, overcoated with clear epoxy. I want that floor.

It’s been a big weekend, and it’s not over yet. No malls, no retail bump and grind. I refuse to spoil it by shopping on Labour Day. We will eat bread and eggs and linguine until Wednesday. Nobody complain, please.

What I do want to do, though, is a little window shopping and art-scoping. I’m thinking an outing to the SA National Gallery – maybe – then a walk down Bree Street to the Freeworld Design Centre, where I’d like to have a second through-the-window scope-out of their latest design-decor exhibition. (Note: they’ll be closed on Tuesday, I’d say, but everything that’s beautiful can be seen through the glass on Waterkant St in Cape Town and stored in memory.)

I’ve posted a few snaps of the four new pods that recently popped up there. The latest exhibition is called Soft (Im)Possibilities. Go here for more pictures and the whole story on the FDC’s blog. Visit Freeworld Design Centre, 71 Waterkant St, Cape Town. See the blog for opening times and other details.


Lovely little R10 lunch snack.

While security was changing shifts yesterday, I let one of these deep fried numbers slip through the gate. I shouldn’t have. But who can resist a freshly fried chilli bite, or five. These and other burny lunch time snacks can be sampled at the Eastern Food Bazaar in Cape Town. I especially love the colour of tumeric in food. So show-offy. 
Go there if you get the curry urge and you’re in Cape Town. Like the chit says, you’ll find it on Longmarket Street in Cape Town, in a tunnel that runs under an entire block. The smell of curry will totally get up your nose, but in a good way. If the food doesn’t make you sweat, the extra hot red ceiling will. It’s fun, for a change. Go. Tomorrow is Friday, dammit.

Colours by Midas Envirolite environmentally friendly paints




Rivers of peacefulness and calm. Giant tributaries of prettiness.

In an earlier post this week, The House of God & The Office of the President, I promised to send a postcard or two of Groote Kerk in Adderley Street, Cape Town, a few steps away from where my desk is in the city.

The ceilings look like they were iced by someone who does wedding cakes. This church is hundreds of years old. It is beautiful.

The interior and exterior walls of Groote Kerk were recently repainted in no odour Zero VOC Midas Envirolite.


My favourite building in all of Cape Town is a church that dates back to sometime in 1700’s. Groote Kerk, in Adderley Street. I’m fresh out of adjectives to describe this place. I love churches. Love the history, the scale and the idea that men with names like Anton Anreith spent years and years of their lives carving their art into them. Sitting under treble volume ceilings makes me feel strangely small and peaceful.

Across the road is another kind of wonderful.
Diagonally opposite Groote Kerk, in a gap in the wall, is the official home of design agency The President. And downstairs from the office, there’s a shop called The Church.
Gotta love the gold padded walls, the comics, Popeye books, the memorabilia and the doilies. I have a soft spot for doilies, especially ones like these which look like they’ve been around since fridge tart and banoffee pie were invented.
The Church is a great place to shop for gifts. My friend Sue bought a mug with a cup printed on it as a gift for her friend.  Clever. And the books are amazing.
Coming soon, some beautiful big kerk shots, to show you what I mean.