Remember the designs of the new collection that came in last week? I was a bit disappointed when bag 1 and bag 2 came in last week. They were supposed to sport the Herringbone design but I felt they looked too similar to the Wave design. I decided to give it one more week, and was pleased with bag 3 and delighted with bag 4. I am so excited about the fact that the three-dimensionality comes through so well. It was woven by Mboto, pictured below with her daughter at our Christmas party last year. Earlier this year she also gave birth to a beautiful boy.

Thanks and well done, Mboto!
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Growing up in Cape Town, we didn't really know about Hallowe'en, but Hollywood seems to have fixed all of that, and today there is great anticipation for tomorrow's dress-up and trick-or-treating.

Deon and I recently went walking on some Constantia wine farms and discovered two very different monuments to the memory of those no longer with us, five minutes walk from each other.

The first was the neatly limewashed walled graveyard of the Cloete family, who must have owned the land a couple of centuries back. Some of the tombstones date back to the late 1700's.

The second was the Islam Hill Kramat, a burial site of a long departed Imam, or spiritual leader. There are several of these spiritual sites dotted around Cape Town and they are regularly visited by our local Muslim community.

A Constantia wine farmer once told me that in the days when slavery was legal at the Cape, it was not permitted to own a Christian slave. For this reason, wealthy land- and slave-owners actually sponsored Imams to come to the Cape from the East Indies to ensure that their slaves kept their Islamic faith. Perhaps this chilling fact has contributed the vibrant role that the Muslim culture and faith play in life in Cape Town today.
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stop the world! 

Yikes, it's been a crazy week/month. Without boring you with too much detail, we've been:
- developing a couple of brand new products and designing a new collection (way too late in the year - what were we thinking?)
- finalising the design of our new website - out next month
- spending a lot of time focusing on business matters - agreements, projections and other mind-bogglers
- oh, and did I mention getting out all our Christmas orders in between?

I saw this chair, happily chilling under a multilingual "No dumping" sign. It make me think that every now and then you need to just STOP and take a a deep breath, in a field, on a chair - wherever. Altogether now, deep breath in... and out. Better?
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the cure for pain by beautiful distractions 
Today was completely overshadowed by the pain caused by stupidly slamming my finger in the door. So to distract myself I thought I'd show you some inspiring pics...

I found these beautiful photos on showstudio. They were taken by fashion photographer Sølve Sundsbø. The parrots really do look like models strutting their stuff and showing off their fine feathers, don't you think?

Meet Chris, a Dutch legal student who is doing an internship at my husband, Deon's office. Chris and a couple of his friends came to visit us at Mielie. His t-shirt has a real tie stitched onto it... cool or what?

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New Mielie laptop bag & glamour time! 

This is a sneak preview of our new simple - but methinks beautiful - laptop bag. It needs some tweaking, but we're pretty chuffed with it (chuffed: safafrican for pleased). My thanks to Elna for helping me to channel this vague idea into something tangible. Elna is working on her Masters degree focussing on environmentally sustainable product development and approached me a while back to collaborate on some new Mielie products. The laptop bag is the first, but there will be more follow.

... and this is me with the rest-of-the-week team, minus Mzo, who was sick today. Our weavers meet on Thursdays, and this team comes in every other day of the week to sew up and finish the bags. Ideas magazine interviewed me for an article about entrepreneurs and came to take photos - with make-up artist et al. In front (l-r): Phumla, Marina & Nolundi. Middle: Nonqubela, Sheila & Nosithembele. Back: Mawethu, Malibongwe, Thaka and moi. Don't we look pretty?
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Snakes and flip flops 

I sketched these flipflops from a holiday photo and today Morgan interpreted them in his embroidery medium. I like. But the prize for the wackiest flipflops go to Nomthunzi, who arrived at Mielie sporting these beauties yesterday!

Living on the side of the mountain brings a lot of floral inspiration, and the odd bit of fauna that inspires new products. Like this baby puffadder we found in our garden yesterday morning! Made me think of the Majola snake we made a while ago. I was recently asked to make another one, and I think this photo of puffy might just come in handy.

Have a great weekend everyone!
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Dream vs Reality 

The sketches on the left are what I gave the Mielie weavers last week... and on the photos on the is what they did with them! The inspiration for this collection is A Midsummer eve garden party. Think patio parties with glam evening gowns in strong designs. Up hairstyles, big earrings, eyelashes. Very Liz Taylor in the 70's.

Some of them worked better than others and we've still got a lot of work ahead of us, but all in all I'm very happy. Thanks ladies.

Oh and do yourself a favour and read Heather's hilarious account of the how the new mini Skinny shop came to be.
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Babushka shop 

Here's Nolundi in front of the new mini Skinny Laminx shop, which is inside the the Mielie shop! I think it's so cute! It still needs a sign and I'm hoping to convince Heather to make us some of her beautiful egg cups and aprons too. Puhleez, Heather..?

Tomorrow we'll see the first samples of our new '09 Mielie bag collection. I handed them out to the weavers last week and can't wait to see what comes out. I'll snap them for you tomorrow, ok?

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Skinny + Mielie 

OK, I just can't wait any longer to tell you about the new mini Skinny Laminx shop, which we're opening inside the Mielie Shop in Newlands, Cape Town. I spent Sunday morning with the lovely Heather Moore of Skinny Laminx and her husband, Paul, zhoozhing up this little kitchen dresser - isn't it cute? We even inserted rope lights to light up the products better. I'll upload a pic when it's fully stocked in the shop, ok?

Oh, and those pretty little toes belong to Heather too - in the spirit of the generous shoe fairy, I passed these summer clogs on to her. I love the idea of them, but they just clomp around too much.
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tin time 

I don't know what it is about circus graphics that delight me so. I've had these circus and carousel tins for ages. And what better thing to fill them with than some home made...

Peanut Butter Cookies!

1/2 cup butter or margarine
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup peanut butter
1 egg
3/4 teaspoon bicarb
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/4 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon salt

Cream sugars, butter or margarine, and peanut butter. Beat in egg, then stir in remaining ingredients. Shape dough into a small balls; place on lightly greased baking sheets then press the dough balls down with a fork to make ridges down the center.

Dip fork tines in flour the fork each time before pressing a cookie. Bake at 350° for about 12 minutes. (Bake for a little less time for chewier cookies.) Makes about 2 dozen peanut butter cookies.

This is the bag worn by Vanessa Hodgens (Gabrielle) in High School Musical 3. It was woven by Zanele this weekend just so that you could see a decent picture of it. Thanks so much, Zanele!
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