Spreading the love 

One day, a couple of years back, we were visiting our weavers in Khayelitsha when an elderly gentleman asked us if we would take a photo of him. We followed him to his home where we were delighted to find the tiniest creche ever! Lovingly overseen by tata and his wife were some twenty little ones, varying in age between a couple of months and four years. When their two daughters are on school holidays, they also help at the creche. The yard in front of their home is tiny and there are very few toys, but it is clear that the children are well fed and very well cared for.

We visit the Nosiyanda creche often and last year we were happy to be able to give them some beautiful children's clothing collected by Laurie, a Mielie friend in Nantucket.

Mielie recently established a not-for-profit foundation so that we can better help those in need. To begin with, these are the projects on our agenda:

- Properly establish the Mielie food garden
- Support established pre-schools like Dora Tamana
- Make life just a little better for children in creches like Nosiyanda.
- Make the homes of our weavers and the greater informal settlement community more wind and waterproof, especially with winter around the corner. A bit of insulation will also make their corrugated iron homes much more bearable both in winter and in summer.

So, if you have any ideas or want to join us on this fantastic journey, please mail me. We'd love to have you on board!
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Street encounter 

She ambled up to the veggie sellers in Khayelitsha with a chicken slung casually over her shoulder. I jumped back when it squawked at me.

"Are you afraid of the chicken?" she asked.

"Well, I'm not really used to live chickens. I usually buy mine in a packet at the supermarket", I tried to justify.

"I like my chicken fresh", she said with a smile.
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Botanical inspiration #1: protea 

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Strange Fruit 

The Mielie soccer tree is simply hanging with beautiful multicolour fruits!

It's been a long journey to perfect them, but we're there. We ship them flat with a gym ball inside, and when they arrive at their destination, they just need to be pumped up. Clever huh?

Speaking of fruits, let's not forget the vegetables! Thanks to everyone who supported our market this morning - especially close friends who made the trek from the comfort of the city bowl. Next Friday is a public holiday, so we 'll be taking a break.

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!
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Girl power! 

Fezeka brought her beautiful baby daughter with her to Mielie Thursday. The stork has been very busy on planet Mielie - Phumla also had a baby girl last week, and both Gcobisa and Nosithembele are due to have babies soon!
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Wear your art on your sleeve 

While they were packing up their old house, I received many treasures from parents, including this beautiful book, Folk Costumes of the World by R. Harrold and P Legg. It reminded me of one of the talks on the TED website by Wade Davis in which he makes a case for the preservation for the disappearing cultures and languages of the world - listen to it here. TED is one of my most exciting recent discoveries.

I am fascinated by notions like culture, belonging and skills that are handed down from one generation to the next. It seems to me that every stitch on every dress has a story, that every colour has meaning.

By the way, Zanele and I will be visiting Finland early next month to take part in an exhibition at Fiskars Village. I can't wait to be greeted by Outi, our Finish distributor, in her beautiful folk dress!
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The art of multi-skilling 

Thembisa made these exquisite fluff balls last week. They are filled with a pilates (gym) ball, making them easy to transport and re-inflate.

Besides being one of Mielie's butterfly queens, Thembisa is also very adept at sewing up Mielie bags, and also at stitching in linings. She also makes beautiful felt, but draws the line at actually weaving a Mielie product! We encourage our crafters to acquire more than just one skill, so that they are still able to earn an income even though one stream of orders has slowed down a bit.
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Friday = Market Day 

Remember to visit our Organic market every Friday at Montebello, between 9.00 and 1.00. All proceeds go towards establishing Mielie's food garden, which is coming along beautifully, thanks to Mielie's enthusiastic weavers, Richard and teacher Ben of Urban Harvest and his team of helpers. We meet every Wednesday and in the past two weeks we have even had some Mielie friends from Germany who were happy to muck in and help - thanks so much, Veronica, Philip, Claudia, Melanie, Christoff, Emma, Lilly, Fannie and Lila!

We hope to be planting our first seedlings next week.

So, if you want to:
1) eat the most delicious organically grown veggies
2) support a community garden in Khayelitsha
3) help us establish our Mielie food garden

... then see you on Friday morning!
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Planting a seed... 

We have just received an order to make these large ottomans. They measure 45 cm x 75 x 75cm, which is good, because it means there's lots of work to share amongst our weavers.

This week we'll prep the hessians, next Thursday the weavers will begin to weave, and if all goes well, the week after next we'll sew them up, so you'll have to wait till early next month to see them in their full woven glory, ok?
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Happy spring, people of the north! 

By pure coincidence Noseko, Marina, Felicia, Zanele, Phumza and Nosipho all arrived at work wearing delicious shades of spring green. We thought that this would be the perfect excuse to wish everyone in the Northern Hemisphere a happy spring. Oh, and little Buhle features because he's so darned cute.

In Cape Town we're enjoying the most exquisite balmy days... long may they last!
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