Monday, November 23, 2009

Need your advice...

Normally I don't show you guys my Xmas photo's till the end result is finished.... but I am in a dilemma about 2 of the pictures. So I would like your advice! Please let me know which one you like best. I find it hard to choose!





Even if you don't comment normally, please DO this time!! I really appreciate your input! Before I print 150 cards...

Have a lovely day,
Mireille

Friday, November 20, 2009

It is supposed to be SUMMER here in South Africa!! But it is fr#@king cold!! Normally we have temperatures around 30C/86F and now it is 10C/50F, and not only is it COLD, it is WINDY and RAINING. It feels like I am living in Holland!!

But as my friend Heidi said: at least this is the weather we usually have during the Thanksgiving weekend!! So we will have a Thanksgiving dinner this weekend (since next weekend most people are away) in style... with cold weather!!

Although it is cold, windy and raining it doesn't affect my beautiful day! I will have a fitting today... we finally found a team of designers/tailors who used to make clothing for the catwalk here in Joburg and they are making skirts, dresses and blouses for us from our new African fabrics. We bought meters of Woodin fabrics they had left over from the Woodin store in the Soweto mall that is closed down and now they belong to us; my friends Dunke, Candice, Martha and Tehmina... I am sure she is going to buy today as well!!

Last week the tailors came to our house and we gave them examples, so they could copy our designs with our new fabrics. I am so excited to see my 2 new skirts, a blouse and 4 dresses I ordered for the girls. How fun is it to live in a new country and find all these new goodies?? I LOVE IT!!

I am sure my girls will love the new dresses they are getting soon!



I read this phrase, and wanted to share it with you, on this website where you can buy the most beautiful African fabrics.

"Nowhere in the world is street life as staggeringly colourful as in the markets of Africa. A dazzling mix of rich and vibrant colours is a feast for the eyes.
Clothing in Africa is certainly not intended to cloak one's personal feelings. In Africa you wear your heart on your sleeve.
Passion, meekness, unbridled joy, deep sorrow, pride, admiration, impassioned protest - clothing reflects all these expressions."


LIFE IS GOOD, even when it is raining, windy and cold!!
Have a Fabulous Friday!!

Mireille

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Glass beads making

So yesterday after I picked up the photo's from JJ & Jezz's photo shoot in Pretoria for the Xmas card I am making (more about that another day), I was meeting my friends who where creating some glass beads at a studio nearby.
They still had 1 hour to go, so I joined them in the class and tried for the first time to make my own glass beads. They are using the ancient technique of lampworking (melting glass and shaping it over a gas flame).

So you have a tube of colored glass and with holding it in the flame it goes back to its molten state and then you form it around a kiln and you start to create your own glass bead. Applying vibrant colors and forming interesting shapes you can create the most gorgeous beads! Well mine, they had the weirdest shape, not that I wanted that... I was more looking to create a round bead. And you can go from that weird shape back to round again by holding it longer into the flame to take it back to a round bead... if that is what you want!

Since I only had 1 hour, normally the class is 3 hours, I only made 4 beads, and believe me it looks so easy when the teacher does it, but then you have to try yourself and it aint easy at all!!

You have to wear these funky glasses to see the flame better and to protect your eyes! And you keep the glass rod in one hand the kiln in the other, both you have to keep them turning around in the flame. A steady hand is needed!!



Then if you are really good at it, this can be the result... I definitely need to practice more. I will add my beads later, they are not as pretty as these ones!!



Well, now I understand why these handmade glass beads are so expensive! They can go up to $50 for a set of 4-6, but it takes you at least 15 minutes to create just a single bead!! The more colors and dots on it the longer it takes!!

I enjoyed learning yet another new skill, but I think I will just stick to making my own jewelry and just buy the handmade beads from another artist. That way we both keep in business!

Today I am off to go to an Art & Jewelry show, all handmade arts & crafts, I LOVE it!! What are your plans for today??

Have a Terrific Thursday!
Mireille

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Busy learning more about photography...

I am in the middle of all my photography lessons, and Wow it is intense!! I am doing at the moment a course named: Photographing with Impact, Basic Photo shop, although it is not so basic anymore to me! and yesterday I started People Photography.

I am very impressed with the lecturers, they are great! Knowledgeable, inspiring and motivating!! Love to go to class! Yesterday I did 2 classes, each 3 hours and for each class I have to drive 45 minutes one-way, so my whole day was swallowed with Photography. So for anyone who is living in SA and want to do some Photography lessons, go to the College of Digital Photography in Saxonwold! Here is their website.

A few more weeks and then I'll have a break, will start again next year. I need that break to practice all the tips and tricks I am learning now. It is one thing to see your teacher do it, now I have to practice, practice, practice myself!!

Below some shots I did for my last lesson: I call it Macro in the kitchen and added some extra blue and red lights to make it more interesting.... I am not impressed with my own work yet. Was kinda running out of time and totally not inspired... got interrupted the whole time with telephones, people visiting etc... not good for my concentration! But that is the thing, I have to do this in between my life and working with deadlines isn't always easy... But hopefully I will look back in one year and see the improvement I made, that's why I am posting these, so I can look back soon and think: Wow I am so much better now... can't wait for that moment :-)

In all the shots I added a blue and red torch light, to give it an extra dimension. And these are not done with a Macro lens, unfortunately I don't have one... so just my regular lens Nikon D80 18-135mm. But I just went as close as possible.









This is actually the only one that I like; a shot from my kitchen drawer. I tried it with different lighting, with and without the blue and red torch light, see the difference?





Can you guess what this is? Photography from different angles...



Well, I hope to improve a lot more, but I can tell you already that I am looking different at things, more from different angles, thinking about lighting, so at least I am improving in that way... now just waiting for the results to happen :-)

Are you looking different now to your kitchen items after seeing my shots??

Have a Wonderful Wednesday!
Mireille

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Twilight

Jasmine is totally hooked on the movie Twilight, she has seen it at least 15 times! When we were in NYC in July, that same weekend Robert Pattinson was there, and she was hoping that we would run into him.

Of course... we didn't.

But then later when we saw news clips from him in the City and he was mopped by people, Jezz told me, that he doesn't like that because Edward is really sensible mama!..... she means sensitive, because that is what she heard in another interview where Bella talked about her co-star being sensitive!!

How cute is that! She is really concerned about him!! I guess you can talk about the first celebrity crush here... :-)



Soon New Moon is coming out here, and Jasmine can't wait to see it!! Of course I need to see it first to check if it is OK for her to see it, that's what I did with Twilight... I don't mind... not a bad job, he is rather easy on the eye! LOL

How about you? Do you have a crush on Edward??

Have a great day y'all!
Mireille

Monday, November 16, 2009

African fabrics with a twist

As maybe some of you know, I LOVE fabrics. I have a hobby room in my house where I have hundreds, but I mean hundreds of meters of Vintage, Western, Asian & African fabrics. When I lived in the USA I started collecting them from all over the world, with the idea of starting a small business in children's clothing with vintage fabrics. Well... I am getting closer to that dream, since I am learning more to sew.



Today is my second attempt here in SA for sewing lessons. I mean I can sew the basic things, but I want to be better at it before I start selling.

I was already very interested in African fabrics and love the ShweShwe fabric and also love the West African fabrics, so when I met my friend Dunke who is from Nigeria she taught me more about the West African wax print that I like so much and now I am even more into it!!

What I like to do is give the African fabric a twist and make something with it that is not the usual, like these examples from Tokyo-based designer Serge Mouangue who was born in Cameroon. Look at his gorgeous website: Wafrica. It is such a cultural blend, I find that is just plain brilliant!! An African Kimono! How gorgeous is that?!



Not that I am going to do something that intricate, but you get the idea, a typical African fabric but then a girl's dress say in A-line, or a skirt with a mix of different fabrics. My dream is getting closer! I am working on it, yes, on a slow pace (because I am doing already so many other things ;-) but it will happen some day!!

However, to me it is more than just a beautiful fabric. It's the mix of cultures that are represented in these works of art. Saying out loud to the world that it is OK to mix and match. Giving our children the message that every culture is beautiful, worth exploring and above all excepting each other as they are.

So for me it goes deeper than just a beautiful fabric, and that is the same for Serge Mouangue; he is African, his wife Australian and he lives in Japan. As his children and our children, what do you tell them what they are? Dutch, Thai, American... it is a question hard to answer, so with giving them a sense of belonging through food, fabrics/clothing, festivals, cultural upbringing I hope that my girls grow up knowing who they are but more important embracing every culture they will experience by living as an expat child!

So today I am going to create an African apron, a simple design to start with but soon, if I practice in between lessons I can create a little bit more fun stuff!!

Watch out this site, it's coming!!

Have a Marvellous Monday, and tell me what are your hobbies, secret dreams you want to become a reality? Share it with me!!

Ciao Bella's!
Mireille

Friday, November 13, 2009

Happy Bday to my sweet hubbie!

Congratulations to my dear husband!! Dirk turned 42 today!! And he just arrived from a business trip from Europe, so we have all the time to celebrate!!

Here he is as a little typical Dutch boy of 3 years old, with his white blonde curls... aww.. even sweeter than now ;-)



I am not very big on mushy words, but he is my best friend, confidant for 18 years now. We have traveled the world together, seen our ups and downs, but he has stuck with me through thick and thin, for richer or poor! He is the best and sweetest dad to our twin girls, let's me shop till I drop... almost without a limit LOL!!!

I love him very much!! And I hope he will have a grand day and even a better year ahead of him!

Let's go for sushi Dicky D, since the girls have a sleep-over party!
See you later alligator!
Mireille

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

They have chosen their favorite!

When Winter, our rabbit, was pregnant I promised the girls that we could only keep 2 out of the litter, one baby each. Since I had no clue how big this litter would be I thought I better keep it safe ;-)

So now out of the 5 babies the girls have chosen each their favorite bunny. And I mean after just a few days, about 8-9 or so when the fur started to set in and you could recognize that these small little animals were indeed bunnies the girls immediately took to one. I still can't see the difference between all 5 but the girls can!

So Juliet took this one; his/her name is Thumper, after the old Thumper we had.



And Jasmine chose Scratchy, because he/she scratches her chest all the time when he/she tries to climb closer to her face when she holds him/her.



And here they are both with their favorite!



I told the girls that they have to give equal attention to all FIVE of them, because otherwise the others feel left out! So when they go and play with the bunnies, they pet the other ones for a short time and then they take their favorite out of the cage and play with them ;-) .... not really equal attention, but hey.. the other ones will go to one of their friends and I am sure they will get all the attention they want... just a bit later! Because at 8 weeks we can give the other 3 away, this will be about 2 weeks before Xmas. So hopefully we will find a good home for them!

And then I have to go with the 2 we keep to the vet, to make sure what kind of sex the bunnies are. If these are boys we have to 'snip' their little balls otherwise we will end up with many bunnies and that is not what Mireille wants!!

PS: I normally don't buy the same outfits for the girls anymore, but these shirts I bought in Thailand when they were 3,5 years old. It is size 4/5, but now at age 7,5 it fits them! JJ and Jezz didn't like the Tweetie face on it... and I can imagine by now... but they still wore it to school that day... just to please their momma ;-) Such a sweet girls!

Dirk is gone to Switzerland (business) and the Netherlands (partying) for 10 days and we really miss him, but on Friday he is coming back and it will be his Bday as well, so double the happiness!

Have a Wonderful Wednesday!
Mireille

Monday, November 9, 2009

November; National Adoption Month

November is National Adoption Month in the USA, a month set aside to raise awareness about the adoption of children and youth from foster care.

This years theme is "Answering the Call - You don't have to be perfect to be a perfect parent. There are thousands of teens in foster care who would love to put up with you."

The main focus of National Adoption Month has been and continues to be foster care adoptions. There are approximately 129,000 children in foster care in the United States waiting for adoptive homes.

There is a strong need for adoptive families for older children, teens, children of color and sibling groups. The 2009 focus is more toward the African American community.

So if you are thinking about adopting and just need a bit of a push, I just tell you GO FOR IT!! It is one of the greatest decisions in my life. It is so rewarding to love a child, to hold and promise her a forever bond, love and dedication to make sure her life will be fine... and even if things don't go always the way you have planned it, it will be fine because you have each other forever!

It is such a win-win situation, my life got so much richer with my 2 little angels in it. They are the true love of my life! My life would be so much different if on that day... July 27, 2002 I would have said no. My life would have been so much emptier, I can't even think about living my life without these 2 beautiful, sweet and precious girls. But also, how would their life turned out? Think about it, and give another child a chance of a loving family life! It's worth it for both sides. You will receive so much love and you will have so much love to give!



So open your heart to another child who is waiting out there for you!
Go for it, it will enrich your life... I'LL PROMISE YOU!! You will find there is enough space in your heart for another child that desperately wants to belong to a family like yours!

And if you still are contemplating, check out this link and maybe that is the push you need to make that call!

Email me if you like to talk privately about adoption, it's a great thing!

Have a Marvellous Monday!
Mireille

Friday, November 6, 2009

into the studio today...

School is out early on Fridays, and today we are going into the studio to take some pictures for our Xmas card project. Every year I have a theme and the next year I have to come up with something different. A few months ago I already saw something that caught my eye for my inspiration.

I hired a make-up artist and we go and take some shots of the girls... then we do some photo shopping, add some text and go to the print shop and print our cards... hopefully we will find some matching envelopes and then the project is finished and we can send it out, at least 3 weeks before Xmas so that it arrives on time at your house!

It takes much more effort here in South Africa to do a project like that, you don't have a Target or Walmart where you just drop off a nice picture and this machine prints out the chosen Xmas design, or order at Shutterfly... no we have to do each individual step ourselves... but at least I like to do these kind of things, so that helps!

Here a hint of what I am going to use, although only parts....



Remember my card from last year? I really liked how it came out, so I have to find something that is at least so much fun!



Are you thinking of Xmas cards and decorations already?? It is only 7 weeks from now!

I am sure that in the USA it is Xmas everywhere... in the shops, malls, restaurants etc..
See here in SA you don't get bombarded with that. Even the children have no clue what they want for Xmas, since they don't see much TV and there is not much commercials in between the programs, no toy flyer's or huge Toys R Us catalogs... the kids have no clue Xmas is coming soon... such a different world out here! Although they celebrate it, but the marketing for it you can't compare to the USA. And in a way I am glad about that... it's not so much about the stuff but more about the celebration to be together, have a nice meal, mostly a braai=BBQ since it is mid-summer.

But I still have to work on my project :-)
I will keep you posted.

Have a Fabulous Friday!
Mireille

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Macro shots from Botanical garden

As you know I am doing several photo courses this year. I've started with the Fundamentals, now I am doing Photographing with Impact, Basics Photo Shop and this month I also start People Photographing. So a few different modules to learn more tips and tricks to take better pictures.

I really enjoy it! There is still so much out there that I don't know about Photographing, taking my old hobby to a new level. And I get a lot of inspiration from the people around me who are giving the courses and the other ones attending it. The different view/ideas others have about a subject is just inspirational.

So last Sunday we went with the whole class to the Walter Sisulu Botanical gardens here in Joburg and the plants, trees and shrubs are just amazing. Very different than I am used to and especially when you look at them from such a close distance. We were there at 6am to take advantage of the better light. What also makes it more attractive is that there is still dew on the plants and leaves, much more vibrant and alive that way!

See here some of my pictures I took that morning.





















These are taken with my regular lens; Nikon D80 18-135mm, so not a macro lens, otherwise I could have gone even more close-up and then the results are more spectacular, it becomes more abstract which I really like, so maybe I am going to try that next.

Which one do you like best?

I am giving an Indonesian cooking class to some of my friends today, so have to rush off and start preparing! More about that another day!

Have a Terrific Thursday!
Mireille

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Juliet and her bunnies

Both the girls are totally in LOVE with our newborn bunnies. Here Juliet wanted to tell us about her new favorite little Thumper, she named him/her? in honour of the Thumper that died a few months ago.

She also shows us the mother Winter with her 5 babies, that all look alike to me, but NOT to the girls!! The spots are SO different mama!! Well... I don't really see it, to me they are identical quintuplets!.... wow, twins and quintuplets in the house... that is asking for trouble! LOL.

video


video


How cute are they?!

Have a great day,
Mireille :-)

Monday, November 2, 2009

I ♥ Faces, week 43 ~ "Balloons"

My friend Suzy and I just planned to start working together as a photographic team, she would do the photography and I would do the ideas, styling & make-up. (Little did I know that 4 months later I moved to South Africa!) So to make a fly er and to get some promotion for our new small business we had the idea for a Valentine shoot. Who else than the girls we could use ;-)

We let the girls play with balloons, run around the yard, jump on the trampoline, let them blow the balloons and then let the air out in their faces, we got some cute shots while doing this photo shoot and I even did a few try-outs with my camera as well... since I am a budding photographer... still learning and loving it!

Jasmine and Juliet are almost 6 years old here. When I look back now, and it is only not even 2 years, but they look already so much older!





Go to the I ♥ Faces website and see all the other entries for this week!

Have a Marvellous Monday!
Mireille

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Halloween '09

We had so much fun this year with Halloween, first the party at school which was fun, creative, hot and lots of kids in great costumes!! They had all kinds of activities planned and of course a parade with trick 'r treating at the end. They even got a toothbrush and toothpaste sponsored by Colgate, how thoughtful is that!

Then on Saturday we first went to the Theatre to see CATS! Wow, that was so much fun, the show was amazing and the girls just LOVED it!!

Then in a rush we got dressed and went to my friend's house where the kids did their rounds of trick 'r treating with the nannies/maids and the adults had fun at the house with all kinds of international food and drinks, since we did a potluck party while in the meantime lots of kids entered the house to get some treats.
Dirk joined in later with the Halloween fun, he first went to a Rugby game in Pretoria, they even do tailgate parties before, but here they call it a braai with Boere rol and steak. And the Bulls won, so he was a happy camper as well!

Juliet's class


The girls only


And the boys


Juliet in action, filling a pumpkin with popcorn as fast as possible


Jasmine's class


2 of her friends, Emma & Jeongwoo


Jasmine in action as well


The nice thing about celebrating Halloween in a warm country is that you don't need layers underneath your costume, makes it a lot more fun! I was wearing a funky dress and my 'infamous' purple wig, went as a Wacky Woman! Unfortunately have no picture ;)

Do you celebrate Halloween? And how did you enjoy it this year, were you dressed up?
Enjoy the weekend!
Mireille

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