Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Tiny, delicate, gold.

Hmm, I think I need to start with an explanation about how I read other people's blogs. I love reading blogs, read them constantly, but I don't - can't - do the Google reader, feed, catch up with "my" blogs every day kind of thing. Too much clicking, too few words. Reading is like oxygen, I need large amounts. Instead I like to read them all in one go. I'll find one that catches my eye, and follow it back and back until I lose interest or run out of posts. Then I'll start reading a new one, and try to forget about the old one for long enough for a good number of posts to build up before I check on it again.

That's how I came across this post, from October last year, by a super cool Australian called Hannah-Rose Yee. (What is it with these Australians and fashion, all the Country Road clothes in Woollies are calling my name. I hear them at night.... Wait, what was I talking about?)

Anyway, although the phrases "Olsen twin" and "fashion icon" do not belong in adjacent areas of my brain, Hannah-Rose's genius is such that as I read the post I found myself remembering certain things - like how much fun it was aged 12 or so to run around with my best friend in matching anklets, also, that I have a pair of jeans that exact length hiding in my wardrobe that haven't had nearly enough wear lately, and lastly, that in my jewellery box lurk at least three thin gold chains dating back to the time when thin gold chains were the thing to give to a little girl of a certain age, only I never wore them because I was running around in purple leather anklets instead. That, in other words, a pair of delicate gold anklets had become suddenly, inexplicably, desirable - and, unlike those Country Road clothes, well within my reach.

It seriously took me less than half an hour to turn one of my old chains into these. Most of that time was spent picking out the beads - I wanted them to be similar but not identical, and a sort of gold-ish neutral so that the whole thing would be a bit understated. By the time they were done I was having way too much fun to stop there, so naturally my next thought was "so how will they look if I wear them as a necklace?"

The answer was "pretty good, although the second clasp in the front looks just a little superfluous." Superfluous, huh? My inner voice thinks it's all educated and stuff today. So I made it non-redundant - take that, inner voice! - by adding a brass star charm (stolen from my charm bracelet) on an extra bit of chain (hey, I'd already cannibalised the findings from the second chain, it wasn't about to miss a few more links).

Then I realised that the extra length of chain would be just enough to let me wear it as a bracelet as well. It took me a while to figure out how to loop it through, but it worked. So here I am, feeling all smug and thrifty, with the ultimate Transformer piece of jewellery (It's a bracelet! Now it's a necklace! Now it's two anklets! I feel like I should be selling it on some over-excitable home-shopping show). I'll probably end up wearing it as a necklace most of the time, as I'm a necklace person through and through.

I found it the tiniest bit intimidating to try and hack fine jewellery like this - that pesky inner voice was all like "I can't do this, it's proper jewellery", but it's actually the easiest thing in the world to do. You just have to note that although the links in these fine chains can't be opened and closed, all the slightly larger ones used to attach the findings (clasps and so on) can be. So you have to cut the small links, maybe you lose one or two; but for the rest it's just opening and closing jump rings like anything you can buy in the craft shop.

So, what's hiding in your jewellery box?

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Chrissiesmeer photos, part two

The one evening we went frogging. Frogging - it's like blogging, but with more frogs.

That was awesome. There's not much I like better than running around in a swamp chasing small animals. Kind of like all the best parts of my childhood.

Also, cows:

And this gorgeous crablet I found climbing through a ditch in search of these:

(We were both in the ditch. I think I was the only one interested in the pineapple flowers, though.)

Tuesday, February 7, 2012


I started this painting almost exactly a year ago, stomping around in the rain with my mother at the bird sanctuary looking for guineafowl to photograph. My mother's a bird whisperer, or possibly a magician, as after a completely unsuccessful morning we were walking back to the car when she decided to call one (not any sort of proper bird call, just, you know, "come along, guineafowl") and lo and behold, one appeared out of nowhere, came right up to where she was throwing imaginary food at it, and posed for pictures. He was the model for the left and middle birds, while the one on the right is based on a stuffed one from a museum!

I apologise for the bad photo quality - I have a dreadful habit of finishing things at the last possible moment, making it impossible to get proper scans done.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Chrissiesmeer photos, part one

Even if you live in these parts, I think, it's quite likely that you've never heard of Chrissiesmeer. Here's how to find it. Grab a map, and look just left of Swaziland. If you're on Google maps you'll start zooming in and there will suddenly appear, or coalesce, a scattering of lakes like a little blue rash - or perhaps, more poetically, like the Pleiades. West of Mbabane, north-east of Ermelo, south-east of Carolina.

It's very... countryside. Most of the time if you head off into the wild blue yonder, you're going to the bush, but this could never in a hundred years be called bush. It's grassland, wetland, pine plantations, farms. Countryside.

Rode on those horses around that lake at what felt to me like a flat-out gallop, although it was probably only a brisk canter. There were seven horses and although only four had riders, the others kept up with us anyway so it felt exhilaratingly like riding with a herd of wild horses, thundering through the long grass and reeds at the water's edge.

In the foresty area we saw a few shy duiker and a pair of new-to-me buck which I think were possibly reedbuck. It's such a treat to see an animal you've never seen before! All of them were too quick for my camera, sadly. But Chrissiesmeer is mainly about flowers and frogs. Oh, the flowers!

Why, yes, that is a couple of the fattest, healthiest Agapanthus inapertus you have ever seen, with a Eulophia leontoglossa orchid (yellow) and Brunsvigia natalensis in the background just for good measure.

And yes, that is a frackin' great field of the same agapanthus. What is this I don't even.

More botanical madness to come, but I'll leave you with this picture of the sweet pups belonging to the guest farm where we stayed (I highly recommend it). The border collie is my favourite, as he has heterochromia and can keep up with a herd of wild horses, but the pointer reminds me of Nosy in this book so I adore him (her?) too.