Image: ‘A Drifter’

These images from ‘A drifter off to see the world’ remind me of the pink neon bowl by Kerstin Eser and Kim Bougaardt that’s part of the current installation at the Freeworld Design Centre.

Installation by Kerstin Eser & Kim Bougaardt – currently at Freeworld Design Centre

The story about ‘Saffron Sunsets‘ is lovely. So is Kersti and Kim’s colour pod at Freeworld Design Centre. A little neon, like a strand of saffron, makes a big impact.

The current installation comes down today in preparation for the next exhibition opening on 26 June, called ‘Street Style’ – in collaboration with Ed Suter’s book Sharp Sharp.  Save the date.


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.


These boots are nine years old. In boot years, that’s really old, especially for boots that get worn often. They have loads of scuff marks and paint splashes, and one of them has a gash in the side. I even dropped a chocolate milkshake on them once but after a light kiss of shu-shine, you’d never have said.

One of these days soon, I’m going to force them walk to the Zabalaza Art Faktory. That’s the working quarters of customisation king Atang Tshikare, whose job it’ll be to make them kick customised boot butt. Atang customises anything – sneakers, furniture, stilettos, machines, whatever you can think of. He was at Design Indaba last week showing his stuff and he currently also has an installation of customised sneakers and furniture at the Freeworld Design Centre. He says he doesn’t do fashion, but ‘loves mad style’. I can’t wait to turn my boots in – and see what I get back.

I’ve always been a fan of coloured floors. A few people have asked me for the colour of the concrete painted floor in that shot of my boots. This is it: ‘Been Around’, from the Midas 300 colour collection at Paint&Place or Midas Earthcote paint shops. You can pick almost any colour from that palette and ask to have it mixed in one of their tough, scuff resistant floor paints.


I take back what I said earlier this week about seeing the derriere of summer. Yesterday and today both laughed in the face of my scribblings on Monday.

But still, there’s no harm being mentally ready for that first day, when the sky drops its load on your head. Then it’ll be time to dust off your best iron casserole pot, like the pretty fudge-yellow one from you-know-where, and get your stew act on.

When I thought about the idea of making a stew on a coolish evening last week, it made me remember the series of shots done by the Elle Decoration team last Autumn. I was involved in this collaboration between Freeworld Coatings and Elle Deco, and Maranda Engelbrecht gave us the art behind the pictures.I love how the cheeses, the persimmons, the pumpkins and their flowers pull a golden thread through the Vermeer-like picture store. It makes me want to do winter things like bake aubergines and caramelise pears in port, and get out my mother’s recipe for oxtail. I start to think of toad-in-the-hole and butternut fritters. And the killer rice pudding and bread & butter pudding that my husband Ian makes, using day-old Danishes and almond croissants from our local baker next door.

If I get myself one of those yellow dirndl skirts, like the one worn by the model up at the top, then I’ll be able to spend the next six months cooking and sampling all of the above – and more – and nobody will notice.

PHOTOS: Elle Decoration  PHOTOGRAPHER: Antonia Steyn. DECOR CONCEPT PRODUCTION: Anna Loubser. FOOD CONCEPT & PRODUCTION: Maranda Engelbrecht. WARDROBE: Christopher Strong.

Midas Envirolite Zero VOC colours – eco-wise paints available from Paint&Place paint shops in South Africa.



Our travertine-coated mall of fame in the leafy suburbs of Cape Town has caved in to a spot of indie wall love. The bird installation by Keri Muller is what you’ll see when you step out of the lift on the third floor. It’s lovely. The individual paper wheels are made of old books. See more of Keri Muller’s work at – and in the Fringe Arts pod at the Kidult Expo, Freeworld Design Centre, Cape Town.

GREAT IDEA: is from the palette of dirty greys and taupes in the MIdas Envirolite range of eco-wise paints. From Paint&Place paint shops in South Africa.


"OH VINCE" installation by Francois van Reenen

It’s so unnecessary to be boring.

My friend Neil pointed out that the Grammys was full of fun new hair last night. Rihanna arrived with blonde hair. And Katy Perry’s hair was blue. The celeb gossip said everyone was angry with Katy for turning up with that hair. Why? Are they cross because they think she’s spoiled her prettiness?  Or was it just that Katy makes them feel dead dull and boring?

It’s only hair, for heaven’s sake. Tomorow it can be something different. Or it can go the way of the ear of Vincent, and be chopped right off.

Changing small things like your toenails or your hair is highly recommended if you’re in a zone that feels like the ferris wheel has stopped with your buggy at the top, and the operator has gone home.

Nothing has to be what everyone expects it to be.

Like blood, for instance. I like what Francois van Reenen did to Vincent van Gogh’s blood in his “Oh Vince” installation at the new Kidult Exhibition at Freeworld Design Centre in Cape Town. Go see it. It’s fun. Blood trickles out of a tube coming out of Van G’s head, which then drips over a pile of chopped off ears. It’s blue blood, nogal. Blue blood is easier to deal with than red. And I love the neon orange beard and hair. Must get some. (To see the blood-spurting installation in action, click here, on the blue line.)

For more blues that I like, see below. But please, not for your wall. For your ceiling or your floor, maybe?

Blues from the Midas Envirolite ZERO VOC range or environmentally friendly paints.


My friend Neil is making sculpture this year, with his friend Di.  Tessa, my friend who is a potter, is having so much fun, she found another colour in the rainbow last week (scroll down for that). My sister’s been putting up surprise messages on my kitchen blackboard walls and the 13-year-olds in the backyard are doing cool things with spay paint and dinged old surfboards.

So it looks like everyone’s decided to have wake up and smell the candyfloss. Like the person from who decorated the lovely donut up at the top with Froot Loops. (Kelloggs doesn’t even make them anymore. Well, not in South Africa. Too much fun?)

If you want the adult to meet the kid in you halfway, circle 9 February for a trip to the Freeworld Design Centre in Cape Town. The designers at FDC are lining up their KIDDULT exhibition to run from 9 Feb. Yesterday I snuck a look at the work in progress inside the concept pods. Mint frosting had descended on the walls of one of the pods, and the painter on the job looked like he was having yards of fun doing it.

KIDDULT exhibition will showcase the beautiful  i-Jusi Portfolio and clever stuff by Atang Tshikare, who can customise your shoes with paint. Francois van Reenen will be there and The Fringe Arts will be doing workshops to keep us all feeling creative.

Sneakers customised by Atang Tshikare

Ok, enough. It’s Friday afternoon and the sun is still hot. Time to play.

FREE is from the Midas Envirolite range of Zero VOC paints - available at Paint&Place paint shops in South Africa.


Fresh orange and naartjie is nice. But how about Fanta? And when last did you have a Fanta float? Yowzer, those were  nice.

Today I ran into this Fanta mini-me, first cousin of the dinky Stoney Ginger Beer bottle. Gimme a fridgeful of these, please, for my playroom. Both come in glass, and are returnable for a coin, just like it was back in the day when recycling, reducing and reusing was what people always did anyway.

Effervescent orange is coming at me in waves of Fanta and OJ. Art director Penny Waterkeyn and I are busy working up some paint storyboards for Autumn. We’re looking at pairing earthy, gravelly textured paints in stone, khaki and taupe offset with flashes of hot high gloss orange. All of this happens al fresco, on beds of sage and vertical walls of pennyroyal.  And it’s taking me to some cool garden shops where I’m being reeled in by gardening accessories like garden forks, hoes, spades and rakes. All orange and black and workmanlike.

I love bubbly colour and I’m looking forward to seeing what the Elle Deco team have cooked up in the latest issue, Issue 82, titled the Colour Issue, onshelf soon. There’s a taster up on the Elle Decor blog today. It makes me want to change things.

More orange clips from my visual notebook include this room from a hammock shop called Relax in Kalk Bay. And below, an installation from one of the pod series in 2011 at the Freeworld Design Centre. The combination of hot colour, organic rock, and a Victorian etching in an old black frame, feels inspired.

Orange feature wall paired with a cerise floor – 2011 installation at Freeworld Design Centre, Cape Town

Mandy Allen, guest blogger for Freeworld Design Centre, recently posted a fascinating piece about octogenarian Japanese artist, Yayoi Kusama, whose primary form of expression is the polka dot. Go see what happens with dotty colour here. It’s a kind of madness I can understand. Lovely weekend project for the whole family.

image from

Hot oranges, persimmons and pumpkins from the Midas Envirolite Zero VOC green paint range – available at Paint&Place specialist paint shops in South Africa


Today, while lurking purposefully in the frozen foods section of Pick ‘n Pay, this was on my mind. I kept thinking how an installation of lace chocolate would survive another day of 40 in the shade.

There’s aircon, koeks.

I know, but what if Eskom does what they say they gonna, and the aircon stops. The chair and the lace bowl and cloth will dribble out the door.

And I’d be standing at the door with my spoon to catch it.

The chocolate room – by food artist Maranda Engelbrecht and photographer Gerda Genis – will be on view for a few more weeks at the Freeworld Design Centre in Cape Town.



What’s with the sweet little paper rabbit? My son made it years ago, using unwanted old newspapers from the Japanese embassy. Simplicity is the rockingest idea, especially at Christmas time. I’d rather find one clever bunny in my Christmas stocking, than a pile of stuff I can’t use, or that I look funny in, or already have enough of.  The 3-day Freeworld Designer-Maker market starts in Cape Town today. I’m looking for things I can eat, drink, plant or read. Anything that won’t be landfill in Christmas 2015, or that might have been landfill in 2011, but resisted. I’m going early because Jacques Erasmus from Hemelhuis will be there with his parrot tulip bulbs. A couple of months ago he mentioned he was considering making some of these hanging hessian grass balls, with messed up hair.

'Watching grass grow' by Jacques Erasmus

'Wrapping Paper Red' is an environmentally friendly option from the Midas Envirolite palette of 300 colours - available in Zero VOC, glycol-free, no-fume acrylics.