Fresh from Mielieland 
Yesterday, I intercepted these beautiful clutch bags before they were packed.
It was a beautiful day with a bit more light than we've had in the past couple
of weeks, if a bit chilly. Perfect light for snapping bags at the Greenhouse,
the nursery at the Montebello Design Centre, where we are based.

If you are looking for some inspiration on the recycling front, look no further
than Ann P Smith's website. Oh my goodness, I'm in awe.

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Remember the wave bag I told you about here?

Well, sewn up it looks like this:

See what I mean about the pattern getting a bit lost? Oh well,
we'll just have to wait for the carpet version of this design.

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Losing weight 
Some news from the home front. For the past two years my eldest
son, Daniel (16) has been steadfastly working towards a dream of
going on student exchange to Germany. It's finally been arranged,
and Gregor, the boy with whom he will stay next year, is arriving
in two weeks' time. (Crazy panic, run around in circles waving
arms in the air.)

We have been very busy with builders and carpenters this weekend,
putting a shower into the boys' bathroom and converting my studio
into a third bedroom.

Oh, and I forgot to mention - finding a new home for my piles and
piles and piles of junk, which for years have been conveniently
dumped in the studio.

So this was the weekend of deciding what stays and what goes, and
also of rediscovering some treasures... like this Sarie magazine
that is two weeks younger than I am (from October 1964)

For the next two items I have two words: Burn them!

I also re-bonded with this mug:

When I was 10, my brother and I pooled our pocket money to
buy this mug as a Christmas gift for my father. We were so
excited because we just knew it was the perfect gift!
(my father rarely drinks even a glass of wine - certainly
never any poison!) Don't you just love the way the Skull
swings when you take a swig of rum?

Sheez, what were we thinking?
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Wamkilikeli,* Nolundi 

This cheerful face belongs to Nolundi, who officially started
working as Mielie's shop manager today. We've watched Nolundi
grow up from a bubbly teenager to a graceful, bright and funny
woman. Her mum, Nomthunzi is one of Mielie's most fantastic crafters.
Nolundi replaces Widaad, who worked in the shop for almost four
years. Widaad has moved on to pursue a career as a travel writer.
Thanks for everything, and good luck, Weeds!

Isn't this Contour cube just the most beautiful thing ever?
It looks like a block of multicolour wood, or a semiprecious
stone cut into a block. It's destined for Sweden. Lucky Swedes...

* Wamkilikeli = Xhosa for "welcome"

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Today the purple did govern* 
Was it pure co-incidence or did the lilac fairy fly over
Khayelitsha this morning?

While we're on the topic of colour, the Mielie Popcorn prize
for the most fabulous colour usage goes to Zoleka this week.
Her understanding of our Mielie colourways is an inspiration.

In her hands, she holds what will become a Tilted Blocks bag
in Lagoon colours. On the table are a Hot/hot, and an Africa

Zoleka originally hails from East London. She has two children.
More than anything else, she loves to have a cosy, warm and
welcoming home. She says her door is always open - so when
next you visit Khayelitsha, pop in!

Ok, I'll finish today with some strawberry-blueberry ripple.

*In the bad old days of South Africa's history, anti-apartheid
protesters were met by military vehicles with cannons that
sprayed indelible purple ink – an easy way for the authorities
to identify "trouble-makers". One of the best pieces of protest
from this era was the following piece of grafitti:
"The Purple shall govern".

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Inspiration & contemplation 
The bag of the minute:
…is this Aloe on black:

It was woven by this fabulous person:

There are lots of things we love about Phumeza, but the
gold star on her front tooth is right up there!

The thought for the day:
We've recently spent a lot of time working on our mission
statement,and have been asking ourselves some pretty soul-
searching questions. This sentence has been pinging around
in my head:

At Mielie we believe in the power of re-examination, in
drawing the potential from people and materials that most
would have overlooked.

The Xhosa word of the week:
…is godwa, which means "but". I love the dadooom sound
of it - like a bad omen.

Enough Inspiration for a lifetime:
can be found at Marimeko
well worth the time it takes to download.
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Inspiration is what you get when you don't get exactly what you were expecting 
When the woven bags arrive on a Thursday, we often refer
to them as pelts, because their shape is reminiscent of
the Genuine Leather symbol - you know the one. They then
get sewn up and have their handles and linings added.

Last week, this pelt arrived:

The design was, shall we say, a reinterpretation of this -

Hmmmm, not what I expected, but I LOVE it. Only problem is,
when it gets sewn up we'll lose most of the effect because
it will have a front, a base and a back.

So I think we should use it as inspiration and make a carpet,
maybe something like this -

I'll pop in a photo when the real carpet arrives.
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Dear blog, it's been a month 
Hooray! I've been blogging for a month and I have the
following to say about the experience:

I've spent a lot of time studying other blogs - especially
design blogs - and made a lot of friends who generously
shared their experience of the blogging world - thanks to
you all.

It's altered the way I live my life - in a good way. I've
become much more aware of my creative processes. It's also
given me an opportunity to re-evaluate and re-appreciate a
lot of things and people I've been taking for granted, and
a blog is a great forum to acknowledge them.

Thanks to everyone who has been reading my blog on a daily
basis. If there is one thing I can ask, it's more feedback
and comments. What would you like to see on MieliePeeps,
and would do you think should go?

In 31 days I managed 28 entries - that's an average of 6.3
per week. Impressive, if I say so myself, but in future
I'll aim for 5 per week - one of the best pieces of advice
my mom ever gave me is: "Be kind to yourself"

There's a lot I want to change in terms of the look of the
blog, so watch this space.

So far so good - I have a LOT more to say...I'm hooked

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Mielie story #1: Iphepa leswekile 

At Mielie we have been lucky to make friends with like-minded
people from all over the world, and so it came that our paths
crossed with those of Rick and Rosy from New York, who made a
short documentary about Mielie and some other innovative craft
producers in Cape Town.

Rick and Rosy spent quite a bit of time with us, and our weavers
became very fond of them, so when the time came for them to leave,
there were many fond farewells to be bade.

Noseko's wish was that they send us iphepa leswekile. Literal
translation: sugar paper. Real meaning: "Travel safely and send
us a note to let us know that you've arrived back home. Don't
let the fact that you don't have fancy writing paper stop you -
just send us a note - you can tear off a bit of paper from a
packet of sugar if you have to - just send us a note!

Sure enough, a couple of weeks later, a little note written on
a piece of paper torn from a sugar packet arrived - all the way
from New York. There was much cheering in our happy little loft.

OK, Noseko, next step is to email all your friends around the world!
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Zanele and Nomthunzi make a splash 

Zanele and Nomthunzi have been with Mielie almost since its inception
in 2002 and are two of our most dependable and creative crafters. They
also help to quality check all our weavers' work every Thursday, train
new weavers and serve as our hubs in Khayelitsha.

As if that is not reason enough to sing their praises, look what they
brought in this week: five exquisite Splash Daisy cushions in different
colour schemes.

We have now perfected the pattern of our Mielie cushions. They measure
45cm2, are backed with denim and have a zipper all the way around. I'll
post some more designs as and when they come in.

Thank you for everything you do, Zanele and 'Thunzi!

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