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Category: Home & Decor

Why being selfish when buying a gift might not be entirely bad

Posted in Home & Decor

Humble ceramicsMy dad inherited his father’s business which, if not exactly what he would have wanted for himself, was highly profitable; so he spent most of his adult life dealing in bone china and precious crystal. I grew up in a house filled with them and, to this day, I can tell a Daum from a Baccarat or a Lalique a mile away, a useless talent that came in handy when, one Sunday afternoon in Palm Springs, I discovered a Wedgwood set at the back of a consignment store. No longer in production, and matching the one my mother has, which holds memories of many a meal, I realized the asking price was just a fraction of its market value – it now sits in my pantry and gets taken out for every special occasion. 

Flower power – the floral paintings of Claire Basler.

Posted in Home & Decor, and Life & Love

clairebasler022Yesterday I had to arrange flowers in a house I am looking after. The owner’s brief had been: “Make it look homely, but no ugly flowers”. So I used local fynbos – or the indigenous flowers and greenery that grow in the Cape. And contrasted that for a little softness with Tulips (imported) and St Joseph’s Lilies (imported). I avoided the roses (imported) because I never get it right with roses. They sag their little heads after a day – regardless of how carefully I have treated them. And they don’t smell like roses anymore. Sad really, that in a country like SA we don’t grow the range of cut flowers our soil would seem ready to embrace.

The house was expecting a man – so I kept it simple. The big glass vases I found suited the scale of the fynbos and I bought a couple of inexpensive vessels for the tulips. Nothing was arranged – just transferred from packaging and fluffed. I thought it looked pretty good. Of course, no-one commented but for one of the building contractors, who was in attending to some last-minute snagging: “Looks like a magazine,” he said, “only home-made”. The greenery did make the space feel like a home, so I took that as a compliment.

How to organize your kitchen properly (you did ask)

Posted in Home & Decor

Kicthen organization
If space or cabinets are at a premium, there are tons of cute ideas to keep evertything neat

Nearly twenty years ago, when I still lived the single life in a sunny apartment I mostly saw during the night hours, an unlikely book caught my attention. Even more unlikely, I shelled out $35 for a nearly 900 page tome titled “Home Comforts – The art and science of keeping house” by Cheryl Mendelson.

Itchy hands and creative juices

Posted in Baking, Food, and Home & Decor

One of Houzz Kitchen
One of Houzz’s Kitchens

My Belgian friend Sylvia, a do it yourself whiz, interior decorator and even plumber extraordinaire, turned me on to Houzz about a year ago. “It’s fabuluuus – the only probleme is I keep on bookmarking things” she enthused.

Unbeknownst to me, sofagirl also signed up for Houzz’s weekly updates and, when I mentioned it to her, she was already a veteran.

Party tricks – simple tips for a stress free holiday dinner

Posted in Food & Entertaining, and Home & Decor

Becoming a chef allowed me to marry my creativity with my compulsive need for organization. It’s impossible to keep it all together when you are dealing with multiple dishes, different…

Inside art: improving on the X-ray.

Posted in Home & Decor, Life & Love, and Relationships

Xray2 Philadelphia-based artist Matthew Cox layers embroidery on top of medical x-rays to create these wonderfully weird pieces. The mix of clashing mediums appeals to me: one quick, technical and impersonal, the other labor intensive, tactile and hands on. I like that one strips away and reveals while the other covers and enhances.

From Como to Mallorca, with a Riviera in between – Paola Navone’s idea of a party

Posted in Home & Decor

It’s been impossible to leaf through a design or fashion magazine in the last few weeks without coming across the news that Italian designer Paola Navone had created a tableware…

A holiday-house … to buy or not to buy: that is the question.

Posted in Home & Decor, Life & Love, and Style & Travel

I don’t want to go far anymore. I like that my grocer, hairdresser, favourite coffee shop and chemist are all in the same place. Once upon a time it would…

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