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

Pixar light 3

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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Interesting people I see on the bus everyday

Public transport: {Conveyance for passengers, mail or freight}

Bus: {A vehicle carrying many passengers; used for public transport}

Although his face looks moderately young, he could be my father’s age.  He has a friendly face that reminds me of Madiba. In fact he looks like Nelson…like he could be from that generation.  The gentlemen of that time would still make a point of dressing up when they had to hit the streets.  He looks like he could wear a hat, one that he would tip up as and when he would greet someone.

Nelson Mandela

 

He makes his way from the front of the bus and scurries to find a seat before the driver pulls away. He comes to sit opposite me. I cringe as he accidentally steps on my toe while trying to wiggle in his seat. He nods my way, and then shies away. His hands give away that he might have had a hard life. The calluses on his hands indicate that he could have used it for hard labour in the past.  He looks down mostly…almost like he feels intimidated. The bus is filled with busy office workers, managers and young people, all about their own business.  Some of them sit and stare into nowhere.  Some inadvertently (or maybe not) shut out any possibility of conversation by meddling with their phones or listening to music.  There is the odd girl who dares to whip off her heels and put on her flats, to prepare herself for walking from the bus stop. Some people quietly whiff and look with disapproval at her. Maybe it is the quiet and stiff environment that we are in that makes him shy away.  I want to ask him about his life.  Where does he work? I see him often.

I want to ask him about his family and where he lives. But he doesn’t look up. Sometimes our eyes meet and just when I want to strike up a conversation, he looks away again. Maybe I should also just be bolder. Maybe tomorrow…I will talk to him tomorrow.

 

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My new fad: Shadows

Shadows: {Shade within clear boundaries}

Are they not beautiful? They are like artworks.  The only reason we can see them is because the sun moves across an object and it casts a shadow.  Take in mind that we generally associate shadows with darkness and evil. But they also remind us of the past and that does not mean it is all bad.  Take some time out today and reflect on the good and blessings.  We need to the past to review life lessons and improve on who we are today! Do you have beautiful shadows in your life?

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DIY: Easel shelving unit

Easel: {An upright tripod for displaying something (usually an artist’s canvas)}

I have recently started writing for an awesome magazine: Green Home. I focus on what I love: Recycling and DIY.

The segment is aptly called “Talking Garbage”.  

Adequate storage is a much needed aspect for a good, working home. You can never have enough storage space. A working home also needs decorative elements and you can merge the two. I made

a decorative shelf for use in a private library or lounge area. I used 2 old artist’s easels and build them like a long ladder. I then used old pine off-cuts as the shelves. It looks pretty cool and is super
practical!

I love the addition to our living room! It cost me nothing but 2 hinges (R4,00 ea) and some elbow grease!

Old artist’s easels

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Take easel apart and construct it like a ladder

A-frame shelf 4

I used off-cut planks as the shelves

A-frame shelf

It is done!

* Cheerio!

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DIY done! Spice up your kitchen

A few weeks ago I previewed my progress on making a spice rack for a client of mine.

Finally I have had time to actually post the pics of the completed product!

75% done

75% done

Pop of yellow

Pop of yellow

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I am quite proud of it…as it is made with off-cuts I found on a dumpster.  Love going green! Client is extremely happy…that makes two of us!

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DIY: Spice up your kitchen!

Spices ~ { Aromatic substances of vegetable origin used as a preservative}

A friend of mine recently asked me to make a spice rack for her.  Now, although I am quite nifty with the power-tools, I do not really have the correct tools for the job.  However, I could not say no to the challenge!

She briefed me and this is more or less what she required:

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So those of you who know me, know that I recycle.  I found loads of off cuts at a local carpentry.  So I didn’t have to spend a fortune on buying the wood.

Let me get cracking!

Material list:

Supawood (MDF), cut to size

Super-strong wood glue

Wood screws

Panel pins

I started off building a block.  Then I proceeded to add the shelves on the inside of the block.  I also added the small blocks that creates the interest of the otherwise boring rack.

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This is all I could complete today.  Next is the finishing and painting.  Canary yellow it is!

Stay tuned…I will post completed product later this week!

 

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Letter to an unsuspecting thief

Thief/skelm/trouble-maker/ bandit/crook/outlaw _{A criminal who takes property belonging to someone else with the intention of keeping it or selling it.}

Dear thief

Thanks to you, we now have electric fencing.  My fellow Joburgers cynically frown and me when they hear we have been living without all this time.

 

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Ironically the ticking of the energizer box is lulling me to sleep.  The very same thing I have been fighting is now a source of comfort.  Who would have thought that we would go to measures this extreme?  After all, I am just a girl from the Winelands.  Where I am from, people don’t even have security bars on their windows. People literally don’t lock their doors at night.  And why should that be unusual?  The thieves I encountered back there were literally small town fry.  They would steal my broom or a few logs of wood from my pile in the back yard to make a fire for the night.  Sounds harmless yes, but it still doesn’t make it right.

What would bring you to the place that makes you think it is ok to steal, or to commit a crime? What happened in your life that would incite you to break and enter a stranger’s property and invade their privacy? You convince yourself that I am better off than you, and at the time of going through my personal belongings, you do it because you feel a sense of entitlement…you feel it is ok to take from me?

Have you ever considered that I am just also the average South African? Trying to live an honest and respectable life? I am also just trying to give my children the best life I can. And yes, I realise you will try and defend your actions and justify it by saying I am more privileged than you.  What does that mean? How do you define privileged? Yes I was privileged to have parents that cared for me. My parents have always lived a modest life.  They have always tried their best to give us a good life.  They reared us to be honest and hardworking.  We never lived lavishly and my father still makes an honest living as a builder.  He believes in using his skill and trade to put food on the table.  And if you knew his background…he had all the reason in the world to become a criminal.  But he chose not to.  Let me focus on the words chose, or choose, or choices.

You see, life consists of making decisions and choices every day.  It is a part of life.  Some are so trivial and insignificant, we don’t even think about making them.  Others are life-changing; choosing your life partner, where to live and what job to take.  And yes, maybe you haven’t been offered a job.  But maybe you haven’t really tried to work your God-given gift? I am sure you are nifty with your hands.  After all, you managed to swiftly break my security gate’s lock? You have a very clever and crafty mind.  So crafty, you manage to escape our wonderful enforcers of the law time and time again.

You chose to steal from me on three occasions this year alone.  And every time you caught me off-guard…totally unsuspecting (and maybe naive).

You think to yourself: “Aaah man, they have insurance…they are sorted!” It is not that simple.  Have you considered how your acts of violation have affected me and my family? Did you stop to consider how your actions would affect the mental well-being of my daughter when she found out you took her school shoes that her aunty bought for her so lovingly? And the stupid act of taking her well-deserved Certificate of Achievement she received earlier this year for academic progress? Have you considered that her name is on the piece of paper and that unlike the TV you took, you cannot sell it?  It is of absolute no value to you!

As a 1st grader, she took part in the athletics for the first time in her life.  And you had the audacity to steal her bronze medal she received for 3rd place.

Have you considered that she is just a child?  How long do you think you can keep up this dishonest lifestyle? Do you ever stop to consider that the choices you make have repercussions? And yes, you haven’t been caught.  Unfortunately you will get caught one day.  Have you thought about how that would influence the family you support by living your dishonest lifestyle?

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Think about how your children will grow up without their daddy because he is in prison. They could end up resenting you for putting them under the same curse and cycle. Children need their fathers to affirm them and their self-worth.  Without your verbal affirmation, they might become a statistic just like you…a person with no positive social impact…an outcast.

I know your life is a mess.  I know you think I have no clue what you have been through.  You think I have had it easy.  Boy, you have no idea! Life is challenging!  We all make our way on this highway of life, and we all get thrown curveballs, but we all choose how we want to live it.  Sometimes we make mistakes…but there is always grace to correct it.

In short…I get you.  I hear you.  I want you to hear me…I choose to forgive you.

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Hopefield wind farm – hope to 70 000 families

My family and I had to travel home about 2 weeks ago to attend my Granny’s funeral.  Ryce Phillipa Damonse (nee Ryan), passed on at the age of 100.  At the same time, it is a sad time for our family as well as a celebrated one.  I will write more on her life as time goes on.

So we had the opportunity to visit our beloved Cape Province again.  It will always be my home. Wow…it is breathtakingly beautiful.  You have to see it, to experience it.  The towering mountains, the rolling hills, the rusty-colored vineyards…truly magnificent.

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Our backyard…this is the view from the house my hubby grew up in

On one of our day trips we went to the West-Coast.  We were pleasantly surprised to find an enormous wind farm just outside Hopefield.  It was so impressive, almost eerie.

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Enormous wind turbines

As we came closer these tall structures in the middle of nowhere, almost intimidated us.  They gently, but productively whipped in the wind, apparently generating enough electricity to power 70 000 low-income homes, or 29 000 medium income homes!

This is extraordinary for South Africa.  We face so many socio-economic challenges, and times have shown that we need innovative solutions to eradicate poverty.  This is the first of a few such farms that will assist in decreasing the demand on the national electricity grid.  Exciting news!

Read more about this fascinating project over here.

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Wimbledon in Jozi (A world in Jozi)

@ I was driving around again.

Around Jozi you can experience all kinds of sights. As mentioned before…I am intrigued by  the different styles of architecture.  We as a city have been influenced by cultures all over the world.

I have heard someone mention once that Joburg is a melting pot of cultures.  I agree.

I saw this colonial-style house for the first time a few years ago as we renovated for a client just opposite the street.  It immediately transported me to Wimbledon 2005.  Hubby and I backpacked through Europe and found ourselves meandering through the leafy streets of the village of Wimbledon.  It was inspiring and surreal.

This home immediately transports me to that memory:

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I love the well-kept grounds and garden.

Wonder what treasure I will find next!

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A world in Jozi

It is wet in Jozi.

* I mean really wet!

It has been raining for days on end…and the roads are extremely congested and flooded.  This morning while on the road, I sat it out for nearly 2 hours waiting for the rush to slowly go by.

It is interesting to drive through the streets and observe the different styles of homes.  It is particularly interesting to see how some homes look like they do not really belong…but they conjure up imaginings of either previous era’s or distant places.

This one grabs me everyday:

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This villa is less than 2 kilometers from my home, but instantly transports me to Tuscany, Italy.  It is dilapidated and rugged…almost like the owners forgot about it.  Or maybe left it to decay on purpose.

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It is mysterious and illusive.  I always wonder what lie behind those blue-grey doors.  Maybe I will stop one day and find out.

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A giant is awakening…

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LillyLoompa has been quiet.  Gently awakening after a deep, deep sleep.

Check out my plastic spoon mirror featured on www.craftley.com

I am back!

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Good Morning

Good morning {A conventional expression of greeting or farewell}

GOOD MORNING!

 

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What a way to start a morning! Sunrise on the patio of one of the homes we stayed at a few years ago.  Incidentally this village, called Philadelphia (on the Cape West Coast), was featured on a TV program this week.  Nostalgia all around!

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