Monday, December 14, 2009

Throwing away stuff

Yesterday I got that sinking feeling when I realised I had given away or thrown away two things I desparately needed for my DIY project. It was one I had been talking about for ages - turning my laptop (bought 2nd hand in 2000) into a digital photo frame... The lifehacker post Most popular DIY projects of 2009 had once again gotten me inspired. I started cleaning up (uninstalling all the programs I wouldn't require) and then when it came to transferring the programs I had downloaded it all hit me: I had thrown away the dialup modem attachments, given away the only USB stick drive I had installed on the laptop (it's running Windows 98 which requires USB drivers), and thrown away those good old stiffy disks (3 1/2" floppies). Arrrggghhhhhhhhhh.

Monday, November 30, 2009

City living is eco

I've been helping out the caretaker in our apartment building. He digs through the rubbish looking for cardboard and glass, and finally the body corporate has asked everyone to separate those and he will collect. Unfortunately this is purely a cost driven exercise for this bloke, so he isn't interested in anything else of limited value, but I was thinking of starting a compost heap (a friend of mine is organising a worm one in her block). This got me to thinking how it's so much easier to co-operate when you live in close quarters... city living can be eco sometimes. All we need is lift sharing or car sharing and then we're sorted. Hmmm..

Friday, November 13, 2009

Fabrics from Uganda

I had a work conference in Entebbe, Uganda this week which was great. I got to meet some people I have been working long distance with for the past month or so, and of course I managed to sneak in some fabric shopping in Kampala one afternoon!! See photo of my catch(es)

Friday, November 6, 2009

Summer time... hats!

The other day I mentioned making a sun hat for my little girl. It's summer here now, so having some protection is essential.

I know the current style is to make a tutorial with photos, but sometimes I find a sketch is clearer, so this is my first experiment.

Baby sunhat pattern ages 6 months to 2 years

By the way the photos is taken by a friend of mine who used the application poladroid to get the retro feel. Love it!

Renting toys vs buying

So I have been thinking about my earlier blog post where I wrote about a toy renting service. Some comments from friends and pondering lead me to conclude that it's not worthwhile for us. We don't buy our dear one many toys (after looking at a friend's facebook photo of her child's bedroom this was really obvious) and the ones we do buy have been a great success after we research carefully online (using the reviews on Amazon for example). My friend who was using the service said it was only until her child's first birthday when he would get lots of toys (we experienced the same). So if you're already spending R1200 on toys, then this service is for you, otherwise buying second hand, borrowing, swapping or making few careful purchases will be cheaper.

Monday, November 2, 2009


Halloween is not a big thing in South Africa - it's very alternate, so it's not surprising that this year we carved our first pumpkin. I also made pumpkin pie for the second time (it was delicious) - using a very traditional recipe. I didn't even need a tin of pumpkin - just used the stuff we carved out and boiled it for an hour or two. We had a braai for our friends who were visiting us from Ireland and enjoyed the great weather we are having. Now I can't bear to part with this dear pumpkin who is sitting on our veranda....

Monday, October 26, 2009

Tutorial: Ikea cushions

I finished the second (and last) Lillberg chair cushions on Sunday night. I made a mistake with the measuring of the patchwork on the bottom cushion and ended up with it vertically instead of horizontally like the others, but I think it looks quite nice. I also sewed these cushions with a 2cm seam allowance around the square edges so they are nice and snug and look much better than the first set.

I also took some photos while I was making them so I could create a photo tutorial.

What you need to make the set of cushions:
4 metres of fabric around 80/90cm wide.
2 x 90cm zip
1000m cotton thread

Cut out the following pieces for the bottom cushion:
2 x back/zip pieces - 90cm by 11cm
2 x side pieces - 61cm by 17.5cm
1 x front piece - 64cm by 17.5cm
2 x top and bottom pieces - 64cm by 74cm

Cut out the following pieces for the top cushion:
2 x back/zip pieces - 90cm by 11cm
2 x side pieces - 40cm by 17.5cm
1 x front piece - 64cm by 17.5cm
2 x top and bottom pieces - 64cm by 52cm

How to

1) Sew the zip on using the two zip/back pieces, effectively joining the pieces together.
  • First pin a 2cm seam along the longest on both pieces
  • Then pin a piece onto the zip - using the same pins you used to pin the seam. Make sure that you overlap the folded edge at least to the center of the zip.
  • Put the zip foot on your sewing machine and sew with the foot as close to the center of the zip as possible. Continue until one piece is sewn onto the zip.
  • To sew around the zip pull, I open the zip about 5cm, sew along about 4cm, then lift up the foot (with the needle in the fabric of course) and close the zip.
  • Repeat with the second zip/back piece
2) Sew the two side pieces (right sides together) onto the zip piece - using a 1.5cm seam allowance. Note: If the completed zip piece is too wide (wider than 17.5cm) then trim it using the side pieces as a guide.3) Sew the front piece onto the the two side pieces (also using a 1.5cm seam allowance) - so all the pieces are joined up into a circle/tube. Make sure you don't get a twist!

4) Pin the tube onto the top and bottom pieces, right sides together.
  • Start with the front piece because it is the only piece that matches the width of the cushion cover, then continue around the tube until you have pinned it around the top rectangle piece.
  • Sew along the rectangle, this time using a 2cm seam allowance (unless you want to top stitch or stitch in a cord).
  • To make the corners nice, sew up to 2cm away from the edge, lift up the foot - with the needle in the fabric, turn the fabric 90 degrees left, fold fabric underneath neatly and so it is out of the needle's new path (as much as possible anyway)
  • Repeat the same for the bottom cushion piece. It's a good idea to open the zip a few cm so you can turn the cushion the right way when you are done.

5) Optional: do a top stitch around the edge of the top and bottom pieces - you can also pin in a cord and sew the cord into the edge for a professional finish. Use the zip foot.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Dummy update

So the bye-bye binky story made it seem really simple - just poke-poke and snip-snip - end of story. Oh dear. The holes made one dummy really undesirable, but the other (our favourite) didn't seem to make a difference). When I cut the top off, it was all hell broke loose. Admittedly I did this just before bedtime, but we had hysterically crying for over 45 mins until I cracked and gave her the dummy I had been hiding in my handbag. Shame, poor noodle. Perhaps it is not so bad if she only has it for sleeping....

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Nabaztag in South Africa

A timely blog post from Elle Decoration on the Nabaztag (they are about four years too late, lol) reminded me I need to get my nabaztag (diggitybugs) out of the box in the garage and connect him to my wifi network I recently installed. At first he wouldn't connect which made me sad, but I changed the wifi channel to 11 and all was well. I changed the location to Cape Town and now I get the sunny weather flashes all day long. I had to take off my gmail notifier (he used to read out my email subject lines) because I didn't think the nanny would appreciate it :)

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Renting toys

As they say it - "tired of spending a small fortune on toys for your pride and joy only for them to be discarded to the bottom of the toybox" - then take a look at Rent-a-toy. They also do "holiday packs" and parties. The smallest subscription is R100 a month (for a box of toys with a retail value of at least R600), so I'm not sure if this is a good investment - any ideas on how to calculate that?

Monday, October 19, 2009

Shwe-shwe + ikea lillberg chair

I finally finished my first patchwork and made two sets of cushions for one of our Ikea Lillberg chairs. I had made one before - click for the blog post with a pattern for the bottom cushion.

The patchwork pattern I choose was fairly easy technically (just sew strips of rectangles together) but selecting which pieces go where is something that either you have a knack for, or comes after years of experience.

I am not that pleased with the results (although it looks pretty good in the photo I must confess). The cushions are a little baggy - I plan to re-do the seams with a 2cm allowance. And I don't like the patchwork arrangement - any tips are welcome. I'll post a pattern once I've done the second chair.

Incidentally, if you want a shwe-shwe charm pack, they are for sale in African cotton's Etsy shop.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Sewing is fun, sometimes

I like to sew, but I am not sure exactly why. I don't enjoy the mechanics of it (if I can avoid a zip or buttonhole, collar or lining I will) and I think it is the end product that makes me pleased. Nothing better than making something unique and special, or saving yourself money by fixing or making something yourself.

However, there is one part that I absolutely detest - cutting out. It always takes longer than you expect, and sometimes longer than the sewing itself. Unfortunately this is the part you normally start with, so it means a lot of my projects take a while to get off the ground. I recently got a new blade for my rotary cutter (thanks Helen) and it has made such a difference - cutting out is a lot quicker - now all I need to worry about is buying enough fabric!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Biodegradable is not always good

Biodegradable plastics sound good for the environment, right? You've heard how many years plastics hang around for in the landfills ... Technically yes, but only if you keep them out of your rubbish bins and plastic recycling because if these biodegradable plastics are mixed with regular plastic recycling they can ruin the integrity of the recycled products (i.e. the products would be weakened). This in turn will cause people to move away from recycled plastic products, which is not good for the recycling industry. Not only that but landfills 'mummify' our trash, so degrading takes centuries, not years.

So, what can we do about it - not too sure (avoid Tiger Brands bread or bury the bags in your garden?). This press release from SAPRO on biodegradable plastics isn't written for the layman. Their conclusion seems to be unsure and instead suggest reduction of packaging is a better way to go (I agree).

Monday, October 12, 2009


I've finally come to my senses, and will not be checking email on the weekend, well at least trying not to. I've always had a suspicion that being on facebook at 9pm on Friday or Saturday nights was desperately uncool, but now I am committed to going offline in my free time. I decided that I don't get many emails anyway, and actually turning on the computer and checking is a waste of my time.

And on a similar note, I will only be checking my craft and sewing blog reader sporadically -> an interesting blog post on The Simple Dollar about mirror neurons (sorry they are almost always interesting) alerted me to the fact that reading craft blogs actually reduces the amount of sewing I actually do. So true!

So now I am going to say goodbye and finishing sewing a sun hat for the little girl.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Dummy, pacifier, binky - what ever you call it

I just discovered the American for dummy is binky - love it! I'm researching how to get rid of the baby's, and after a lot of hard searching, I came across this site with a seemingly foolproof method of weaning bubs off their dummy. Some parents are lucky and it's as easy as just taking it away because they aren't that interested or the dinosaur stole it, but I know my little tiger...
What I like about the method is that it promises to be painless as possible and works subtly (if I can avoid giggling that is). Basically you prick a few holes in the top on day 1+2, then start cutting the top off until it's a stub - and hopefully before that stage they lose interest because the suck is gone. The PDF is worth a read - I like the author's tone and also because he references my first-3-month bible (baby bliss/the happiest baby on the block).

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

What do you consider to be rich

How much money does a person have to have before you consider them rich?
- Kelly

There’s no set dollar amount.

For me, a person is rich if they can wake up each morning and do whatever they want to do. It might be some kind of work or it might not, but the person has the freedom to choose between work and play and define entirely for themselves what work is and what play is.

That, to me, is what it means to be rich. It doesn’t mean a huge number of investments or a fleet of expensive cars. It just means freedom.

Best advice ever from The Simple Dollar

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Cloth napkins - rich or poor?

I always thought cloth napkins were something rather snooty and came out with your best crockery and the silver, so I was surprised to read on my favourite frugalista blog (the simple dollar) a comment that said people thought cloth napkins were cheap. Weird. Anyway, I love mine - especially because they are kind to the environment. They are burgandy and were a wedding present. Cloth napkins are easy to sew.

Scary chemicals

Have you ever taken a look at the ingredients on the back of your sunscreen, perfume, or moisturiser? If not, please do, and prepare to have a shock. Just because you aren't ingesting it doesn't mean it doesn't enter your system and can cause harm. Eeek. I must admit I'm terrified of my Mitchum antiperspirant, but the one I was using in Europe just doesn't cut the mustard here in ZA.

Here are some articles on a blog called the Good Human, which explain about some scary chemicals:
  1. What Is BHT (BUTYLATED HYDROXYTOLUENE) And Why You Should Avoid It.

  2. What Is Propylene Glycol And Why You Should Avoid It.

  3. What Are Methylparabens And Why You Should Avoid Them.

  4. What Is 1,4-Dioxane And Why You Should Avoid It.

Monday, September 28, 2009

aspartamine, for kids??

A comment from bridget b on my last post and this article on bbc health about sensitivitity to aspartame gave me fodder for a small rant - what the hell are we feeding our kids??? How can people think chemicals are better than the real deal (in this case sugar). If someone is gaining weight because they drink too much coke, why not drink less rather than add potentially carcinogenic chemicals to their body (aka coke light/zero/whathaveyou)? Just a thought - take it or leave it. Our latest buzz is full cream rather than low fat (heard the process to get milk products to low fat reduces the goodness), and the difference in fat content is only 1.5% - 3%.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

National Braai day

A great idea of how to spend your heritage day, but yet again I missed it due to illness. Next year, or perhaps all summer long :) The braai (BBQ) is one of the few traditions shared by just about all South Africans ... we love our boerrie (boerewors) roll.
Instead I celebrated Heritage day by going to a Ladysmith Black Mambazo concert at the ICC (actually there were loads of other Southern African bands and one West african desert blues band but they were the highlight). They decorated the stage with meters and meters of African wax prints and skirt panels. Made me want to go shopping the next day for my next major project. Watch this space...

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Preservatives, a rant,

I've been a fan of reading labels on things I buy from the store for a while (triggered by my convinction that artificial sweeteners gave me migraines) but since my husband is in on the vibe (he's a fan of Michael Pollen, author of In Defense of Food and the Omnivore's Dilemma) it's been open season.

Since we got back to South Africa I have been shocked by how impossible it is to get some foods without additives at Pick 'n Pay. For example, all yoghurts, except Bulgarian a friend told me, have pimaricin, which destroys all the good bacterial cultures that make yoghurts so great. Our cream cheese also had it in, so I have now resorted to buying all our dairy produce at Woolies.

Another thing that shocked me was the fact fruit juices called "Real Juice" seem to resemble a chemistry lesson rather than squashed fruit. Even our beloved Ceres has something called "Nature identical flavourant" - something that is chemically identical to the real deal, but is created in a lab ... no wonder their new Mango juice tastes so good! Pure Joy juice has a label with no suspicious ingredients, but dear hubby said it didn't taste as good - you just can't win against those flavourants.

So the question is - is this a South African thang, or was it just that the labels were in Dutch before?

Sewing tip of the year

I have to credit my sources and say I discovered this hack after my husband book his new jeans to be shortened at the tailor. I always find the chore a mission - I never have the right thread and getting the length right is a pain. When he got them back he discovered the neat professional trick - they kept the original seam and simply overlocked a fold off ... just above the stitching..

Today I finally was fed up with my turn-ups (somehow I always find the only jeans in stock are 34" long - instead of 32"). I made sure the folds were the right length and the same size the whole way around, then stitched as close to the original seam as possible. I didn't overlock to cut the extra off and discovered that this allows you two styles 1) I simply folded the cuff into the inside. You could also overlock along the same line, but this way you get both a turnup and the right length jean (pant).

Sunday, September 20, 2009

We need more green books

I couldn't help myself, I took a deep breath, let go of the organisation obsessive within and did it. Yes, I re-arranged my books by colours and realised we have a shortage of green books. Next week (al la Nick Hornsby) I'll be doing it by number of pages ;)

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Over the rainbow

I have now arranged the books on my bookshelf. Being a rational creature of logic, the system is loosely dewey decimal but what I would really like is to break free and go colour way. Doesn't the rainbow bookshelf look beautiful? Here are some more rainbow bookshelves on flckr.

Friday, September 18, 2009

High on craft

Well it's been a busy few weeks I can tell you. This time moving country seemed to be a smooth transfer, but it all eventually caught up with me.

The bookshelves were long awaited, and seemed to be victim to one unfortunate circumstance after the next (from the truck driver driving under a low handing wall, to the carpenter getting a divorce), but here they are... I am really happy to report we are now officially box free.

Then the birthday party was a great success, and mommy-me managed to bake and decorate her first birthday cake. I must admit to cheating and using a cake mix, but hey. To make the cat, I used a guide from the Betty Crocker site, which made it 1-2-3 easy.

Finally, I have been eco crafting - I re-used formula milk powder tins as storage containers. They are plain tin, so to indicate what's inside and make them look nice, I simply cut open some paper packaging, cut to size and glued it on. Hmm, not 100% sure if it's exactly the look I was after (my original idea was paper printed with a fake look at what's inside, like so), but it'll do for now.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

tshirt magic

I'm in love with smocking, and finding re-uses for old clothes, so when I saw this tshirt made into a toddler's dress on my craftzine facebook friend, I was wowed.

Monday, August 24, 2009

to make yourself

100 things you can make yourself, a title that jumped out at me from my daily newsletter, The Everyday Cheapskate (too much sneaky product placement for me to recommend this newsletter, but I like to credit my source anyway). From ice-cream, to socks to an entire house, it's inspiring.

Clara's song

It's the baby's first birthday coming up soon (when does she stop being a baby I wonder). Anyway, I'm busy compiling a photo album book for her (will post more about that later) and scanned in the cover art of her personal cd, which I thought I would share. Dad bought her her own song (at age 1 week or so) and with the cd art it came to a mere $15. A bargain. I just checked out the website and it seems the service is no longer offered (it seemed like slave labour) because the artist is working on the new Computerization album.

Friday, August 14, 2009

hot! hot! hot!

I feel strange saying "hot sack" but really have no idea what to call these marvellous things. So easy to make. Put in the microwave for 2-3 mins and lie down and relax while your aches and pains are eased.

Buy some long grain rice.
Optional: collect some dried herbs
Find 2 rectangular scraps of fabric
Sew all but 1 side of the rectangle closed right sides together and then turn inside out.
Sew a couple lines (I did three) down the breadth - but stop about 5 cms away from the edge on the one side - this makes pockets in the bag so the rice doesn't bunch.
Fill with rice, turn the raw edges of the fabric in (on the open side) and top stitch across to close the sack.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

A question

Monday was a public holiday here in South Africa and I went off to a baby shower. I had diligently made some denim shoes and a cute baby sheet (with a cartoon frog print) - unfortunately I forgot to take photos.

Anyway, I was super curious to know how my presents would go down... I am acutely aware of making stuff that looks homemade (it reminds me of the hideous tracksuits my dear mom used to make us), so I didn't know how my stuff would shape up to expensive shop bought items.

But before I could gauge a true reaction, a well meaning friend blurted out it was all handmade.... boom ... then the conversation was all about how clever I was (if only they knew I don't over challenge myself sewing wise).

My question is, how do you separate the wow-you-made-it factor from the wow-it-is-cool?

Monday, August 3, 2009

Throw out vs buying

A lot of my eco friendliness comes from my frugalista nature. For instance, we are buying formula milk for baby and every week we use up a metal container. At the same time we are stocking our cupboards and don't have containers to store flour, pasta, etc. Two and Two makes three, so I am using the left over formula tins for storage. It's not as handy as our old glass jars (left behind) because you can't see what's happening inside so my brain has been festering...
Anyway, to cut a long story short, I just washed a yoghurt tub which looked handy, and then I saw this sweet idea for making yoghurt luggage tags (on my igoogle 'craft' page of course).
A lot has been happening in my life at the moment (negotiating buying and selling a car, putting a cheeky offer in on an awesome house with a salt water swimming pool - we were too cheap/poor unfortunately, and organising an extension on baby's tourist visa. Oh don't forget about first week back at the office). Whew! See you on the other side...

Friday, July 31, 2009

Keeping up with all your favourite blogs

How do you keep up with all your favourite read blogs? I use IGoogle as my home page. If you would like to set yourself up, read on....

Once you have signed in (if you already have a google account), it is really simple to add content. Click on the "Add Stuff" link on the right (underneath the usual google search bar). There you can search through all the typical "gadgets", like weather, clocks, or email viewers.

Once you've got the standard start page up and running, now go to your favourite blog. To find the "subscribe" link is sometimes quite challenging in amongst the flashy pictures and text, so I do a find (ctrl button + f) and search for the word "feed" or "subscribe". Click on the link, select google (usually by clicking on another button) then on the "Add to Google" page, click on the "Add to Google homepage" button. Your igoogle page then loads up and you should see your new blog feed in the top left position.

Now, if you're adventurous, you can decorate and arrange your homepage , by dragging the gadget (blocks) around, adding tabs when you have too many on one page, and using themes to add some colour.

If you like this post and want more, please leave a comment :)

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Is it lame to copy Conrad Botes?

Just how cool is Conrad Botes' kid's room? Ok well the chair doesn't look too comfy, but the mural on the wall is fun and funky. Not only is he a succesful artist (we own a print called Pink Burden) but his wife is apparently a stylist. Anyway, my question is, is it cool to today copy him - he has published one of the stencils. [via Craftzine + Elle Decoration South Africa)

Edited 19 September 2009

Monday, July 27, 2009

Last day of freedom

Tomorrow I start my 3 day a week job, so it's my last day of freedom (and almost over).

Today I did two exciting things - set up my Bernina funlock 004 (which I inherited from my mom) and went to the Long Street Baths for a quick swim with baby C.

Threading the overlocker was not as hectic as I remembered (the diagram on the inside of the machine was pretty helpful as well as knowing the numbers mean the order in which they must be threaded.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Thursday, July 23, 2009

How I fixed it (or figured out how it works)

So the other day I couldn't resist buying two Priddy books for Baby C - Alien Al and Dizzy Dragon - they were on special at Exclusive Books for R15 a piece. When I got home later I realised why they were marked down so drastically - the sound on the last page didn't always play and for a few days it didn't work at all.

I asked my friend Google for the answer, but found nothing, only disgruntled reviews on Amazon. This seemed like a challenge for inspector Dagmar....

Having a closer look at the mechanism gave me some clues - instead of like those cheap musical cards, it didn't work on a trigger switch built into the spine, but if you look closely there is a little sensor peeping out a tiny hole, which looked like a LED light. I fiddled around and made sure the sensor was positioned nicely in the center of the hole. That didn't work.

Thinking a bit more (which hurt a bit I might add) I deducted that the sensor probably works on the amount of light - so when the sensor finds light it realises the page is open and plays. So, continuing with that line of reasoning, I opened the book somewhere where there was plenty of light (next to the window or next to a bright lamp) instead of the dim bedroom where I usually read Baby her books, and Bingo! It works! Every time. Until the battery runs out that is...

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

You have to click on this link

I would love to put up a photo of these great no-sew sock toys, but they are copyrighted, so you must just click on the link. They have bears, goldfish, snails, bunnies, dolls, basically more than you could have imagined was made out of a sock (or two). All you need are elastics, socks, stuffing, glue and a black marker pen.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Monday, July 20, 2009

postage spreadsheet

I've made my South African postage cost comparison spreadsheet (prices correct for today), available to everyone (via Google docs - no login required). It's still a work in progress, so let me know if you have anything to add, or if you see some mistakes. Thanks

50 buttons!

Today I am sewing the final touches onto the lovenest chair for baby C. I have to attach buttons onto the cushion. The original had 50 but I forgot to count both sides and only bought 25 - dope! I also did my usual trick and bought half a meter too little fabric (aaarrrggghh), so had to put a join on the back.

I wish I had a photo to share of me, in my pjamas, top stitching the piping, but try picture me standing hunched over at the sewing machine with a huge round cushion (diameter 1.32m, radius 4.4m) resting on the table and the adjacent couch.

I'll post a picture when it is done.

Friday, July 17, 2009

What to do when you have lots of cardboard

FoldSchool... i'm all over it when my boxes arrive from NL... cute kids furniture folded from cardboard. This is the rocker pictured left, their most advanced project.
It got me inspired, so I googled and found some more free guides:

Update on postage

Two days ago I wrote about postage costs from south africa and about the "large letter" category that I thought could make things cheaper. I got a comment from someone who said that customs wouldn't allow non-documents though. I checked myself at the post office yesterday and it is correct - the name "large letter" is apparently there for a reason - documents only. It seems some post office workers allow you to send small parcels as letters, but it's probably not worth the risk if customs will hold up your post.

I also have one other post secret to share with you. EMS - expediated mail service - a international courier service from the post office which, depending on weight could work out to be a better option (tariff calculator).

Another correction on my previous post. PostNet Global Mail is the best option if your items are around 50 grams, and you want to post them like a parcel (not in a plain envelope).

weight EMS (USA) PN (USA) PO small parcel large parcel (USA) large parcel (EU)
1 250 0.403 23.3 112.6 139.6
50 250 20.15 23.3 112.6 139.6
100 250 40.3 23.3 112.6 139.6
250 250 100.75 69.9 145.8 160.9
500 250 201.5 116.5 179 182.2
751 310 302.653 186.4 228.8 214.15
1001 370 403.403 256.3 278.6 246.1
1250 370 503.75 302.9 311.8 267.4
1500 370 604.5 349.5 345 288.7
1751 430 705.653 419.4 394.8 320.65
2001 490 806.403 489.3 444.6 352.6
1250 490 503.75 302.9 311.8 267.4
1500 490 604.5 349.5 345 288.7
2751 550 1108.65 652.4 560.8 427.15
3001 610 1209.4 722.3 610.6 459.1

(as before - weight in grams and money in Rands.)

Interesting stuff - If you have any experiences or advice, please do post a comment

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Make baby stuff!

Just found this great site to make baby stuff which said if you can operate a sewing maching, you can make wooden toys... hurrah - that gives me hope..

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Postage from South Africa, your cheapest options

Postage from South Africa always seems astronomically high, and it's tough to try compete with US based Etsy sellers. On top of that the people behind the counter at the South Africa Post Office (SAPO) don't offer advice on how to lower your costs.

My first revelation was that if you use an envelope sized 353 x 250 mm with a maximum thickness of 30mm and are posting something weighing up to 300g - it will only cost R30.65, but make sure they use the 'large letter' category. (This is in comparison to R23.30 per 100g (or part there of) for a small parcel - a saving of R39.25!)

My latest revelation was that PostNet could be cheaper - their Global Mail product uses DHL to the border, and then local postal services to your customer. Their pricing is also per gram (not per 100g) which made me suspect they would work out cheaper, but after creating a quick Excel sheet, I found out not:

weight SAPO PN (UK) PN (USA) PN (EU) PN (Else)
300 30.65 118.2 120.9 122.4 132.6
350 93.2 137.9 141.05 142.8 154.7
400 93.2 157.6 161.2 163.2 176.8
450 116.5 177.3 181.35 183.6 198.9
500 116.5 197 201.5 204 221
550 139.8 216.7 221.65 224.4 243.1
600 139.8 236.4 241.8 244.8 265.2
650 163.1 256.1 261.95 265.2 287.3
700 163.1 275.8 282.1 285.6 309.4
750 186.4 295.5 302.25 306 331.5
800 186.4 315.2 322.4 326.4 353.6
850 209.7 334.9 342.55 346.8 375.7
900 209.7 354.6 362.7 367.2 397.8
950 233 374.3 382.85 387.6 419.9
1000 233 394 403 408 442
Note: weight in grams, prices in rands (ZAR).

The real question now is, will your customer think you are weird if you send lots of small 300g parcels? It is undoubtably the cheapest, but I guess more separate pieces means more chance of them getting lost. Hmmmm

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

They've got their facebook presence

Two companies that I think have made a worthwhile Facebook presence - Wired magazine (my favourite internet/tech read) and Craft Magazine. They post relevant and regular notes, which I enjoy reading. Coincidentally, these are two magazine's (as opposed to my fan clubs for Flights of the Concord or Marmite, or Starbright girl jewelery, or the fabulous shop Mooi).

The note that inspired me to make this post - the circles quilt, pictured left.

Monday, July 13, 2009

tie your kanga

If you've ever wondered (like me) how to wear kangas, this website will reveal all (including this elegant dress tied with two).

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Shwe-shwe gift cards

How great are these shwe shwe gift cards (available on Etsy) from JacciR? She also has other stationary.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Bookshelves, which would you choose?

Our boxes are arriving at the end of the month, and we will have hundreds of books and records (eek). In the spirit of being prepared, I am thinking of getting some free standing bookshelves made. Which would you choose?


separate boxes


Friday, July 10, 2009

My sewing nook

As per usual, it takes me a while to stop procrastinating and get things set up. The boxes from Durbs have been mostly unpacked and organised, I bought fabric and supplies last week...
The soccer ball challenge got me inspired, now let's see what is next

Thursday, July 9, 2009

What is a truncated icosahedron?

Emme guessed correctly - a soccer ball, or otherwise known as a football. I will give Brendan half points for saying a hat - half way through it sat on his head and had a nice Davy Crocket tail.
My first edition is almost full sized, so next time my hexagons and pentagons will be halved (it is meant to be a baby toy in celebration of 2010 world cup being held in South Africa).

Truncated Isoahedron curtesty of Wolfram, developers of the newest, most exciting computational search engine - Wolfram Alpha. (sorry for the geek-out)