Proposed container home floor plan

House Madeline

CONTAINER FLOOR PLAN

Ashley drew up this plan in January this year. So far we are right on track with following through. The plan illustrates how the home will consist of 4 shipping containers on the bottom floor. We have plans to build another floor…but that is only later.

I have highlighted in green the section that is completed.

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Change

Change~ {Undergo a change; become different in essence; losing one’s or its original nature}

People, it is official…I am getting older! As scary as it seems sometimes…I am changing, and my body  too!

These pics were both taken at my dear friend Jo’s parties. The one in 2012 was at her 40th, and the one below at her daughter’s 8th birthday earlier this year.

March 2012

March 2012

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Skin problems were cleverly disguised with the wonderful art on my face! Check the big pimple on my eyelid! I personally prefer the curly hair!

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Living in a container house: Photo essay

It has been 3 months since we moved into our dream home. Ironically it looks far from dreamy right now…but I can tell you for certain…I have never felt prouder. Our dream to build an off-grid, bond-free home, requires patience and sacrifice. Admittedly it is really tough some days without the usual luxuries, but other days you are reminded of the vision and you carry on happily!

I thought I would keep you in the loop with a photo essay:

Empty lot

Window gaps cut out

Window gaps cut out

Bedroom walls are up using the cut-out steel from the main walls

Bedroom walls are up using the cut-out steel from the main walls

Before moving in

Before moving in

Front facade with polystyrene panels on roof

Front facade with polystyrene panels on roof

Bathroom windows

Side view bathroom windows

 

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Polystyrene panels being mounted

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Side view panels up

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Front view

 

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Kitchen view

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Study

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Little hallway

 

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Dining area – open plan

 

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Sitting area

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TV + lounging area

That’s it for now!  I am hoping to give you another update on some new changes very soon!

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Weekly Photo Challenge: From Every Angle

Angle ~ {The space between two lines or planes that intersect; the inclination of one line to another; measured in degrees or radians; A biased way of looking at or presenting something}

Better late than never hey? I have been neglecting to post for a few weeks now…:(

Here is my entry for this week’s challenge. It was taken last year at a kiddies birthday party.

A great recollection of my Daughter playing putt-putt with her Dad.

Chelsea put-put 1

Chelsea put-put 2

Chelsea put-put 3

Chelsea put-put 4

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More red – DIY palm frond lamp

Frond~ {Compound leaf of a fern, palm or cycad}

These palm leaves are found almost all over. I picked up one a while back and immediately knew I wanted to make a lamp with it. It is really strong and takes forever to decompose. Thus this is a good way to re-purpose (except use as firewood!)

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Palm frond light in Ashley’s office

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Palm frond before painted (excuse quality of pic)

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Bare frond (taken with phone, excuse quality)

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Before I mounted it

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View from the bottom

It makes a great night light and it adds to the red pops of colour in the decor. We celebrate our first month in our new container home today! That explains the boxes under the table! Remember our project is constantly in progress. But I am glad to say we take it one day and dime at a time. Debt-free living requires sacrifice and patience!

Till next time!

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DIY side table – love red!

I have learned to love red. It is my husband’s favourite colour…but not really mine. But I do admit, it has wonderful qualities I have realised. So when I design, I try and incorporate hints and accents of red, as it is a really strong colour.

I scored a bunch of pine off-cuts from my local carpentry a few months ago and as you might know, I have a fascination with building tables with puzzle pieces or blocks. As seen here. So I decided to make a cute side table.

I started off by taping down a square using masking tape.

Off cuts

Build within the masking tape square

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Pack blocks tight like a puzzle

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Number the blocks

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Start painting

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Needs some colour…almost done!

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That pop of red just did it!

Table done

Beautifully accented table done!

Done and dusted! Beautiful and practical!

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Living in a shipping container house – Moving week

After about 10 days of being on site, our shipping container home was ready to move into. Now when I say ready to move into…I mean liveable, but not near done and complete as we want it to be.

We have big plans to overhaul this building to something spectacular. And with that said, our vision is to do this without a bond (or mortgage). We are going cash all the way. Now to create a warm and cosy home, you will have to provide essential components and rooms within the building. For now, we only have 2 bedrooms (one for us, the other for our daughters, and one big open living space which doubles up as dining room and kitchen. No bathroom inside yet! Eeeek!!!!

Outside bathroom

Outside bathroom

We use the outside bathroom (with shower) of the adjacent main house which our neighbour occupies. At least it has warm water! We have cold-water supply in our make-shift kitchen and basic electricity to power 3 wall plugs.

Our plan is to be off-grid by the end of 2015. We have started in our small way by using a gas stove and oven and solar lights in our outside bathroom.  This lifestyle is nothing new to us, as we lived without electricity for a whole winter in 2013. Although uncomfortable initially, it became a blessing in disguise. Our lifestyle became significantly slower and our quality of life improved tremendously. As a family we planned our days better to get optimum of the daylight and evenings were spent reading the Bible by candlelight. We learned to do our chores efficiently and had much more time to talk to each other. We intend doing the same now.

But until we find the best solar and water-harvesting systems, (budget-friendly and efficient) we will continue to live on  the-grid for the next few months.

So last week Monday, was our first night in our new place. Wow…it was cold! I am not exaggerating when I say; I have never been so cold in my life! It was like sleeping in a freezer! From our experience we know insulation is essential when living in a container, and it is a must-have. But the pressure was on for us to move in. We couldn’t find a reasonable price for the service and we wanted to test some alternatives.

Before moving in

Before moving in

So on Tuesday, in between packing out and settling, we started packing polystyrene panels on the roof. We found them by coincidence at a great price from someone who dismantled a cold-room. They have already made a huge difference in keeping the house cosier, but it is not yet perfect. This coming week, we plan to mount the rest of the panels onto the external walls before we clad the building.

Front facade with polystyrene panels on roof

Front facade with polystyrene panels on roof

So we have been in the house for 7 days now, and every day we are settling in better.

Newly upholstered couch

Newly upholstered couch

TV corner

TV corner

Make-shift kitchen

Make-shift kitchen…cannot wait for my real kitchen!

Dining room

Dining room

We are truly blessed!

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Building a shipping container home: Week 3

Although the last few weeks have been extremely busy, it has certainly been the most exciting time of our lives. My husband and I have build numerous homes for clients in the past, and finally we have the opportunity to build our own. A debt-free, off-the-grid house that will be home to ourselves and our children. Now although we have some experience with this kind of build, we still have a lot to learn. Our motto has become: “Trial and error…we learn as we go along.”

The build of a shipping container home should be fairly quick as it is a building block in itself. As a rule, we do not work on holidays and weekends, thus yesterday was our 10th actual day of working on the structure.

In this time we managed to get the house livable. We now have all of the following:

  • Running water (pulling from main house until we have a suitable off-grid solution)
  • Basic electricity (also pulling from main house until we have found the right solar solution)
  • 2 Bedrooms
  • A mini-kitchen
  • Painted walls and floor
Bedroom walls are up using the cut-out steel from the main walls

Bedroom walls are up using the cut-out steel from the main walls

Tinted floors and painted walls

Tinted floors and painted walls

Gas stove

Our big purchase this week was an entry -level gas stove

Solar lights

We bought a basic solar lighting system for our outside bathroom

Polystyrene

Polystyrene pieces we are buying for insulating the roof

My design philosophy has always been one of recycling and re-purposing. We are negotiating with the owner of these polystyrene pieces above which is currently unused. It was previously used as a refrigerator. We will be using it as insulation for our roof. During the coming week we are hoping to source major items such as insulation, exterior wood cladding among others.

Guys about to paint exterior feature

Guys about to paint exterior feature

Keeping in mind our inspiration:

Our inspiration house

Our inspiration house

We are happy to say we are moving in tomorrow! Whoop-whoop!

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Week 2

After 5 years of dreaming and conceptualizing, it almost seemed unreal when the containers were delivered last week.

We share the land with another couple who lived on the adjacent land, exactly the size of our plot. During last week, we continued completing the pre-cast wall, to create a boundary between us and the neighbour. We had to remove a tree and some branches in preparation for the trucks to deliver.

Container hit a tree

Container hit a tree

The delivery company was scheduled to deliver on Wednesday and when they arrived they realised the truck won’t be able to turn on the land as it had a super-link fitted. The next day we had more problems with the tree in the driveway and to cut a long story short, on Thursday late afternoon, after 2 days of logistical challenges, it was finally in position and level. The work continued during the days that followed with cutting out window openings and making the frames.

My beautiful aluminium window frames was delivered and will be installed today. As a designer I hate the idea of burglar bars on the windows, but due to our unfortunately high crime rate in SA we will have to. So we just opted for a plain design with horizontal bars.

Bathroom windows

Side view bathroom windows

Windows

Front view

The structure is positioned at a noticeable angle to maximise the northern sun.

Cutting out the inside panel

Cutting out the inside panel

We intend completing the building in 3 phases. Phase one consists of two 40’ containers. This will house me and my family comfortably. The home will have 2 bedrooms, 1 and a half bathrooms and an open-plan living area and kitchen. It will be 60 sqm in total. As the project progresses and funds become available, we will add another 2 containers which will double the living space to 120 sqm. For the next few weeks we will use the bathroom facilities on site, while we research off-grid water and toilet solutions. It is not ideal, but its ok as a temporary solution.

If all goes according to plan, we will move in 9 days. Yeah!

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House Madeline ~ Week 1

Progress ~ {Gradual improvement, growth or development}

Any progress is good, albeit little or not according to your plans.

Panhandle adjacent to main dwelling. This will become our driveway.

Panhandle adjacent to main dwelling. This will become our driveway.

Preparing ground for precast waling.

Preparing ground for precast waling.

Hubby consulting with the electrician on the land

Hubby consulting with the electrician on the land

We've opened up the driveway, to prepare for delivery trucks coming next week.

We’ve opened up the driveway, to prepare for delivery trucks coming later this  week.

We started preparing the land this morning. I will try and post a progress report weekly…watch this space!

 

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House Madeline – a concept house

Concept:~ {An abstract or general idea inferred or derived from specific instances}

It is finally happening. At long last we are going to build our dream home! At times it seemed like our dream was just going to stay that…a whiff…a dream. But even when all the odds were against us, we managed to persevere and push through.

Our fascination with this build started 5 years ago. Read about it here and here.  We fell in love with a tin can…a shipping container…and knew this was part of God’s plan in sending us to Johannesburg. Container housing was still a fairly new concept in South Africa in 2010, although in certain countries it was already rife and accepted.  The whole concept of debt-free and off-the-grid living immediately struck a cord with us.

Earlier this year we secured a piece of land in Florida, Johannesburg, and if all goes according to plan…our first 2 containers will be delivered next week! I wish you can understand how excited and thrilled we really are.

The land in Florida

The land in Florida

At long last we can build a concept home that could be a solution to our country’s dire housing problem. Have you spared a thought to the destitute and homeless lately? I haven’t lived on the streets thus I cannot fully comprehend how bad it must be.

We are humbled. We feel blessed and grateful that God chose us for this work. Everyone has a work to do. Each one of us must fulfill our God-given purpose. I cannot wait to finally start on mine!

I have started a new blog for this specific purpose. It is new…I should upload a few pics shortly.

www.housemadeline.wordpress.com

Be sure to follow us!

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Early Bird

Early bird~ {A person who gets up very early in the morning}

I must confess, I am not a morning person. As of late, I have had to get used to waking up at 05h00am.

I agree that daybreak is the most beautiful time of the day. With the dawning of the first light, the promise of a new day breaks.

Job 38:41 (God’s confronts Job)

“Have you commanded the morning since your days began,
And caused the dawn to know its place,”

Phillie early morning

 

One of my favourite pictures taken early one morning as I just worked through the night completing my final assignment while studying.  It was taken in Philadelphia, Western Cape.

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Afloat

Afloat: ~{Aimlessly drifting; Borne on the water; floating}

Visiting water bodies…especially the ocean will always remain a favourite pastime of mine. Here are a few of my absolute pics in submission of this week’s challenge:

The following two pics were taken at Churchhaven, Langebaan, Western Cape. It is a tiny fishing village located in the West Coast National Park. One of the most serene places I have been to.

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Dreamy days spent fishing

 

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Fishing boat floating on turquoise waters

This one was taken on holiday in Nelspruit or now known as Mbombela, in Mpumalanga. We regularly visit this wonderful place. Floating in this picture is our friend’s daughter, Kenya. 🙂

Sunny days spent floating carelessly in the pool

Sunny days spent floating carelessly in the pool

Take care!

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DIY: Bed-side table that will turn heads

Many retail shops revamp at least once a year. They regularly throw out very usable items that can serve as storage solutions or furniture pieces. A few months ago, one of our leading pharmaceutical chain-stores got rid of some of their old shop fittings. I got quite a few things, but the two aluminium table frames were my favourite. I also got some supa-wood off-cuts at a local carpenter recently. With it, I made a very cool dual purpose table. It is a side table that can serve as a bed-side table with a lamp fixture.

Bedside table

I love the slats in the supawood

 

Here is how to do it.

What you need:

Aluminium table base

Wood off-cuts

MDF backing

Lamp holder kit (with wall plug)

Round energy-saver light bulb

Drill and hole- saw

Screws

Start off by cutting the off-cuts to size, to fit on the table base. Also use the MDF board and cut to size. This will serve as the back support board. Use screws to secure the off-cuts to the back board.  Also secure the whole wood unit to the table base with screws. Using the hole-saw, cut a hole in the corner for the light fitting to rest in. Make sure it fits snugly. Assemble the lamp and light fitting kit. Fit the bulb, plug it in and switch on!

 

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Perfect table for reading

It has been featured in the Jan/Feb issue of Green Home Magazine, on the shelves now. Once again proof that recycling does not mean you have to compromise on design. I am really proud of this one…it is functional and beautiful at the same time.

Till next time!

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DIY desk lamp: Looks like a Pixar character

Deciding to live green does not mean you have to compromise on design. In actual fact, recycling discarded goods, gives you the ability to revamp and possibly improve on an existing design, without spending a fortune.

Reading increases knowledge. Thus visiting the library is always beneficial. It is a Mecca of knowledge and is a great place to unwind and get lost in a good book! My daughter’s school re-organised their library recently. They threw out the old bookends and I could not resist! They represent the rich history of the school and I like the worn look of the yellow paint coming off. I decided to repurpose the block into a desk lamp. It almost looks like a character from the Pixar movies and I like the contrast of the contemporary steel against the old, worn wood.

What you’ll need:

Wood block (size in relation to the lamp-base)

Lamp base (I used a stainless steel base)

Drill and hole- saw

Lamp holder kit (with wall plug)

Energy-saver light bulb

Screws

Discarded book-ends

Discarded book-ends

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Reminds me of a Pixar character

Doesn't it?

Doesn’t it?

Pixar light 2

Start off by cutting a big hole in the wood block using a hole- saw. Once you are done, change the size of hole-saw to a smaller size to accommodate the light fitting. Flip the block so it stands as a rectangle. Drill a hole on the inside and centre of the big circle you made earlier. This hole is for the light fitting to rest in. Once again, flip the block to the other end. Use a normal drill bit and make a hole for the electric wire to fit through. When done, pilot the electric wire through the hole and connect the light fitting. Test if the connection works. Connect the block to the metal lamp base and flick the switch!

I love it! Till next time!

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EAT your DIY

I am so excited and happy for my sister, Ame and her husband, Edmund who recently bought their first home. They got married in 2011 and I featured some snippets of their wedding. Read about it here.

We went home last week for another family wedding and I decided to make a gift for her. Something small, but with character, I decided to make her some letters for her kitchen, using off-cut supawood.

What you need:

Wood off-cuts

Jigsaw

Wood-glue

Paint

Sandpaper

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I decided to give it a country chic look by sanding it down in between the paint layers. Ame loved it at first sight…she actually thought it was store -bought…which I view as a compliment!

Re-use – Recycle – Love

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Scale

Scale ~ {The ratio between the size of something and a representation of it}

I love this week’s theme!

Last year October, we visited the Union Buildings in Pretoria, our nation’s capital. It is always a heartwarming experience.

Besides the majesty of the Union Buildings, an impressive statue of Mandela regally stands in the gardens below.

The statue of Nelson Mandela at the Union Buildings in Pretoria stands 9m tall. He has one leg slightly in front of the other to demonstrate a nation on the move, and his arms are outstretched as if embracing the nation

Read more: http://www.southafrica.info/news/mandela-statue-181213.htm#.VNzzM-aUcUU#ixzz3RYcyVTwY

Mandela and my girls

Mandela and my girls

Mandela outstretched

Mandela outstretched

 

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Easy 2-minute DIY

It is Saturday morning and true as can be, I have to fit in a DIY-project. It promises to be a busy weekend, so I do not have much time.

I do not like chucking out usable goods…and have been collecting our empty roll-on containers. Here is an easy way to re-use them as storage:

Materials

Empty roll-on containers

Glue gun

Empty roll-on containers

Empty roll-on containers

Remove packaging stickers and separate the components

Remove packaging stickers and separate the components

Remove the stickers and separate the components. You will only require the transparent section. Rinse them in hot, soapy water to remove any trace of the deodorant.

Then, use the glue gun and join them together. You can either do 6 pieces or half them.

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For all your bits and bops.

 

 

Easy DIY

Easy DIY

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Shadowed

Shadowed ~ {Filled with shade}

Sunset - A city beyond

Sunset – A city beyond

This picture was taken at sunset in Graskop, Mpumalanga during the holidays. We were visiting the Panorama Rest Camp. As were driving out, this breath-taking view caused us to pull over. I had to get a picture. The silhouette of the clouds almost looked like a city skyline. The sunlight and absence thereof cast wonderful shadows. I wonder what lies beyond.

“I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband.” Revelation 21:2
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The perfect holiday

Holidays could possibly be the best thing ever. Perfect vacations are meant to be care-free and unworried. It could be sunny days spent in some exotic place…far away from the norm of life, or even cold, snowy days warming up by the fireplace.

Some people live for the December or Christmas holidays. They are typically very special times spent with family and friends. Some of us go home (if we live in another city or country), or some of us choose to travel to a holiday destination preferably close to a body of water.

We just had a perfect holiday. When we left Jozi for Nelspruit, our faded skins were craving the cool splash of chlorine or salt water. We fought the scorching hot days by lazing in the pool and allowed the sun to kiss our skin. We slept in most mornings and had late nights eating good food with good friends, laughing and sometimes debating current issues. I started reading several books but haven’t finished any. I ate whatever I wanted to, whenever I wanted. I hardly checked my phone or replied to messages…not to mention social media. Some days I brushed my hair, other days I didn’t. In fact, how silly of me to pack my hairdryer and straightening iron to a hot, humid province like Mpumalanga. I am not ashamed to say, I went curly the whole holidays. Isn’t that the point of a holiday…breaking away from the norm?  Travelling is meant to broaden your mind…and also giving it a rest.

Although I am sad that I didn’t spent the holidays with my family (who I will see in a few weeks time), it still was perfect. I am grateful for our hospitable friends who have now become family, and so graciously opened their beautiful home to us Jozi-slickers. 🙂

Holiday snapshot

Holiday snapshot

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Me, the wannabe writer

I’ve always liked to write, since I was at school. Pity I didn’t pursue it professionally…but as they say…it is never too late!

So my blog is my outlet, for my creative outbursts. One of my goals is to write a book. So when I do have one of my creative days…I prefer to stay in my pajama’s and lounge around the house…attempting to write.

Rainy days are the best to write. I found myself in one of those moods the other day. It was a foggy morning and I had absolutely no reason to leave the house. I lingered around in my nightgown and was quite comfortable. I had just had a light breakfast and was finishing it off with an apple. As I started writing I finally got my groove on when I realised my pose looked strikingly similar to a scene out of a movie!

Diane Lane in Under the Tuscan Sun

Diane Lane in Under the Tuscan Sun

Might I add…one of my favourite movies! Now obviously I do not look near as graceful as Diane, but nonetheless:

My version

My version

Haha…check my teeth…I look like a bunny rabbit! It made me feel good. I think I’m becoming a fully-fledged wannabe writer!

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The daily storm

Storm ~ {A violent weather condition with winds 64-72 knots (11 on the Beaufort scale) and precipitation and thunder and lightning}

The storm brings mixed emotions to my door. Customary to the Joburg summer weather, the morning fetches sunshine and within hours the sky turns black. The darkness sometimes brings feelings of sadness and maybe a hint of depression. If I had any doubt in my mind, the thunder and lightning reminds me that there is a God…a powerful being behind all of creation, the ultimate reason why I exist.

the storm is coming...

the storm is coming…(taken in Kuilsriver in 2008)

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Get ready

The trees sway in the wind as the rain pours down…it sometimes gets violent.  Hurriedly I close the windows…and immediately my late Grandma Ryce’s words come to mind: “The Lord speaks to us through the storm. Sit still and listen.” She was wise. She understood authority and surrendered her life to Him long ago. Her life speaks of honor and the fact that she passed at the ripe age of 101 this year, is a testimony to His Word. What is He trying to say to me through this storm? The daily storm is a reminder of His greatness. It is also a reminder of His daily grace. Just as the rain brings life to the parched ground, His grace is to me. As I turned a year older this week, I believe I have become wiser and as I sit still and listen, joy overtakes me and I am grateful all over again.

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DIY: Picture frame tray

Picture frame: {A framework which a picture is mounted}

Tray: {An open receptacle for holding or displaying or serving articles or food}

* The holidays are almost here! Yeah!

Chances are you are expecting some visitors for the holidays. You might have your parents over and you would like to surprise them with breakfast in bed. Use an old picture frame and turn it into a beautiful tray to serve them and make them feel extra special.

What you need:

  • Big square picture frame (with glass still intact)
  • Beautiful fabric in the same size (I used a printed plastic place-mat)
  • Handles
  • Cordless drill and screws
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Gather materials

 

Sand down the picture frame to reveal some of the old paintwork. Use the handles and measure where you need to drill the holes to secure the handles to the frame. When done, slide the glass into place. Then after neatly lay the fabric on the glass and cover with the backboard.

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Beautiful and functional

 

Easy and practical

Easy and practical

Easy and your family will love you for it!

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Guess my favourite colour…

Turquoise: {Is the name of a greenish blue colour, based on the gem of the same name. The word turquoise comes from the French for Turkish, as the gem was originally imported from Turkey. The first recorded use of turquoise as a colour name in English was in 1573}

Turquiose

I fell in love with this colour a few years ago…and I cannot seem to shake it. I think it is the freshness and pop that attracts me. I probably have loads more turquoise items in my cupboard…but this is what I could find.  I even incorporate it into my décor and design whenever I can.

What is your favourite colour?

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Going home…

I love going home. I love the familiarity of the breath-taking surroundings…and believe me, it is truly beautiful!

My mother must be the most excited of all about us coming home. She eagerly anticipates it, weeks before. She will send me weekly messages to announce her excitement.  Then, as the weeks go by…it becomes daily.  I love getting these messages.

We usually drive…it is a 14-hour trip.  Then, when we finally reach the Boland Mountain Complex, we already feel at home. We slowly meander through the pass and as we emerge from the Huguenot tunnel, the longest road tunnel in the country, we reach our beloved Paarl.  We breathe relief and a sense of peace as we make our way home.

Huguenot tunnel

We pass rows of colourful blocks of flats of a nearby suburb called Amstelhof. This suburb in turn houses smaller districts with strikingly foreign names like: New York, Dallas, Las Vegas, etc. Maybe named so as a reminder of the locals and their dreams of travelling and a better life.  As we drive we marvel at how much we missed our beloved mountains and valley.

Paarl

The girls literally start jumping up and down in the backseat and you can touch the surge of hullabaloo in the air. We enter the street where my parents live and see familiar faces; some people are working in the garden and others sitting on the stoep (porch). We notice some neighbours have painted their houses and some neglected them. We try and make a subtle noise by hooting as to not disturb the late sleepers. In a flash my Mom appears and rushes to meet us by the car. The sheer expression of joy on her face is priceless. She squeals with delight that all her chicks are back in her nest. This must be one of the most beautiful and emotional encounters of my life. We exchange hugs and kisses and shed some tears of joy. It feels great to be home.

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