Pa-pa-ta-DUM!! 


I have been BURSTING to tell you this for weeks now: today Mielie's new website went live! Coming to think of it, I can't believe I managed keep this a secret for so long! Me?!

It's been loads of hard work but so worth it. It's bright and fresh and happy - so Mielie, non? The best thing about our website is that we can update almost all the content ourselves. So go and point your browser to

www.mielie.com

and let me know what you think, but remember, we're only offically launching on Monday, so there are still some holes that need to be filled.

A huge thank you goes to Garth, John-Louis and Janet of Flick and to programmer extraordinaire, Julian of Marcorp. We are ecstatic!

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Generosity 


Thanks to all the generous offers of help and support (whether in kind or in cash!) with our organic veggie garden project in Khayelitsha. The good news is that we are setting up a bank account - I'll let you have the number as soon as I have it. Today the fencing started in all earnest, a big step for us.

We often meet people who are inspired by our Mielie story and are often asked how they can help us. Remember, if you like our products, then the best thing you can do is just to go out and buy, Darling! Like this wonderful customer, Marisa from Italy did today. She breezed into the shop with her friend Sarina, and, peppering the place with the spicy sound of her "Ai, carina!"s and "Che bella"'s, she promptly bought 17 bags as gifts for her chic friends and family back in Milano. Mille grazie, Marisa!
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Happy Bun Day, Finland! 


According to the one-and-only Outi, our distributor in Finland, yesterday was Finish Bun Day, the highlight of their winter skiing holiday. They bake very simple traditional finnish buns, cut those in half and put a lot of whipped cream and berry jam inside.

Wow, that looks delicious...
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Playtime 




Been meaning to show you this dress I made a month or so ago. I bought this beautiful Japanese pattern book that kept popping up on my favourite blogs on Etsy.

The instructions were in Japanese, which I speak... not. I am also not a great stitcher, so I was pretty proud of the result. I chose a soft linen and used some vintage blue polka viscose for the trim. Then I cut some very loosely felted, umm, felt into flowers and hand-stitched them on. Finally I felted them a bit more. As the dress gets washed, the flowers will shrink and the linen will pucker and gather a bit. Can't wait.
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New product! 


Look at these beautiful new round cushions that came out of the Mielie loft! Originally they were ordered as buddhist prayer cushions but I think they will work just as well on a stool or a sofa. They were woven by Sheila and Zanele. Beautiful, non?
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What a day! 


This morning, Nosithembele alerted us to the fact that the mystery mielie bag I told you about yesterday was again on sale for a pittance at a street stall in Claremont. Deon, Mzo and Mawethu marched down and rescued it! It turned out that the vendor had legitimately bought two bags from a good-for-nothing scoundrel. It was incredible to see how outraged everyone at Mielie was that this could have happened. Thanks, Nosithembele, Deon, Mzo and Mawethu - you are our heroes!



This afternoon was spent in Khayeltisha. Driving around we saw some pretty amazing things, none more astounding than these brand new shacks that were for sale on the side of the road!



Then it was time to visit a wonderful community-based organic vegetable garden in Harare, Khayelitsha. Oh boy, we've got such a long way to go! The good news is that we start putting up the fence next week. After that our most urgent need is water - hopefully we will get a borehole soon. Zanele and I will attend a Soil For Life weekend course next month, where we will learn about soil preparation and organic farming techniques.

Universe, I know you can hear me. We need more resources and money than Mielie can afford to get our organic vegetable dream going.
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Brand new stock 


Nolundi looks as pleased as punch with the new cushion covers that came into the shop. Many of them are inspired by the branding and packaging of favourite South African household goods we grew up with, like Lucky Star Pilchards, Bull Brand corned meat, Marmite vegetable spread and the likes. We've made them for customers around the world and have finally gotten around to also stocking our shop with some.

Speaking of getting around, I'd like to give Nolundi, Mzo and all our crafters a sincere thank-you for going the extra mile - often literally by foot - to get to work during the past week's mayhem of taxi strikes and violence. We had Mielie Thursday on Monday, so most of the weavers have also lost two days' work. The reasons for the strike are complicated but in my opinion it's unfair to take one's grievances out on people who are just trying to get to work.

Oh, and while I'm having a little rant, my car was broken into on Monday last week and, amongst other things, four Mielie bags were stolen. Would you believe that Nosithembele saw one of them on sale at a street vendor in Claremont this morning??! We rushed down to buy our poor lost lamb back, but it had already been snapped up by some discerning person. Oh well.
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photo-tag 

I've been tagged by Jessie of Jezzeblog. She asked me to open the sixth picture folder on my computer and select the sixth picture - here it is (I only cheated three times before settling on this one!).

The background is a stencil spraypainting that my son Niki made as a Christmas present for his brother, Daniel. The bokkie in front looked so contented to be basking in Liberty's love light, I just had to snap it.

Now I was supposed to tag 6 more bloggers, but I don't really feel like it...
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Mielie hearts Johanna 


Niki helped with the giveaway today. We wrote every entrant's name and email address on a piece of paper and then used the Mielie bag as the draw jar. And the winner is... Johanna (ryssanpelto (at) luuku.com from Finland.

Johanna, please email me on info (at) mielie.com so that we can send the bag to you.

Thank you everyone for participating - the response and your kind messages have been overwhelming!

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Colour theory 


Meet the African tortoise... mielie bag. Actually, the design is called tortoise and the colourway is Africa and in my opinion, it's a beauty. This is what I really love about what I do. You think you must have seen every possible combination of orange, deep red, brown, beige and mustard in the world, and then one bag sneaks up and says "take a deep breath. Right now".

Of course, working with recycled materials means that we're never really in control of what the world throws our way, which is why we designed our products in flexible colour ranges like Hot/Hot, Lagoon, Brights, Army and Neutral in the first place.

It was woven by the one and only Nomthunzi, whom you must know well by now, and it's destined for Finland, to bring some warm African love to a snowy world.
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