Monday, October 14, 2013

Bangle Bling

I made this on elastic with silver seed beads between in Montees. The thin bracelet look likes a tennis bracelet but without the cost. I had a chance to wear it to a dance formal a few weeks ago and it was lightweight and didn't catch on anything :)

Saturday, September 7, 2013


I finally got hold of a fringe dress to practice in! I was very scepticle about me being able to dance in fringe, I've heard some awful stories about the weight of the dress and making a person look fat.

I was pleasantly surprised by this dress that I bought online (One size really does not fit all!). I got to wear it for the Vaudeville Circus show a few weeks ago. In the process I learnt a lot. Fringe on a diagonal are rather flattering, thin fringe is very light, and you need a lot of it to get the full effect.

Thanks AM Photography for the awesome photos :)

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Adeventures in Sewing: Batwing Top

For the UCT Vaudeville Circus, one of the dances I did was a Tango to fit into a medley of the Phantom of the Opera music. The colours were red and black, a colour I don't own in a ballgown.

Thankfully I had some red fabric stashed away for a rainy day and red stretch lace, the result, a batwing top with lace insert in the back and lace basque. I paired it with my ballroom practice skirt and a some improvised floats made from the scraps. The best part was it only took an hour and 4 seams!

I now have a batwing top to practice in for Latin while my new dress takes shape :) 

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Adventures in Sewing: Bunting

In the near future we are throwing a baby shower for a friend. With Spring approaching, the vibrant colours have inspired a rainbow/colourful theme of sorts.

To capture that Spring-time feel I thought I would make some bunting to add to the decor. Having never made bunting I consulted the internet, which gave a variety of answers, many time-consuming, involving doubling the fabric, hemming it, etc.

The material I used comes from Kolnick's Linen, who produce linen for a number of department stores in South Africa. Their factory shop regularly sells off their off-cuts in bundles for R2. I used half a bundle to make all the flags (all 60 triangles), the other half went to Barbie clothes for my young cousins.

I am taking the lazy approach to this sewing whim. I drew a shape of 20 cm for the based of the triangle and 25 cm for the height. Make a few templates and cut out the shapes roughly. Take Pinking Shears and add that beautiful zigzag edge to the sides of the triangle and presto, a flag is made.

I'm all for cheap and easy. I inherited a lot of my gran's sewing supplies, including rolls (and I do mean rolls) of bias binding in a multitude of bright colours. Instead of getting ribbon and folding in half and then pinning etc., I merely slipped the short edge into one flap on the bias binding and zigzagged over it to hold the flag in place.

Now that all the bunting is made, I might be able to get back to the sewing project lurking beneath of the bunting

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Leave a little sparkle wherever you go

When I look around the sewing machine at the moment, all I see are sequins and more sequins and some rhinestones to complete the sparkle. Later when I go somewhere else I seem to be leaving a trail of them behind, which reminded me of this:

This is the material I am attempting to sew with, sequinned mesh, its not nearly as easy as I thought it would be. The mesh is also see through, so a lining is next on the list. Let us hope it works!

Friday, August 30, 2013

Evolving into Dancers

I saw this on the Boogie Back Dance Co.  facebook group today and it made me smile, we have evolved into DANCERS!

Monday, August 26, 2013

UCT Ballroom Vaudeville Circus

The UCT Ballroom Vaudeville Circus show was a great success, especially since it was put together in a few week by amateurs and on a tiny budget.

The 6 Acts were littered with guest performances and a number of solo and groups dances by members of the UCT Ballroom and Latin Dancing Society. I performed in 2 Ballroom and 2 Latin solo numbers.

I haven't been doing much Ballroom recently so it was quite crazy doing a performance Quickstep and Tango with so little training time (4 days!). But we survived, as always :)

Thanks for the sneak peak photo from AM Photography! Haven't had a chance to wear my ballgown in a few years.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Adventures in Sewing: Horse-hair Braid

In my adventures into sewing a dancesport dress, I have come across are variety of sewing items that can make an outfit flounce, curl and create volume, the latest of which is Horse-hair Braid or in South Africa: Mesh Tape.

The pictures below are of the tape that you can buy at material shops that sell bridal haberdashery. This one is an inch thick.

While exploring the various tutorials I came across this tutorial that showed how to sew the tape to the bottom of the skirt. This their case, they folded it up again to create a hem, but in my case I left it exposed to add to the effect.

Unlike the tutorial, I did not pin it before sewing, as I stretched the Lycra as I hemmed it.

Each ruffle is two full circles to make the many curls needed to create volume in the skirt. In my case I could only get hold of white mesh tape, so the dress is decorated in silver crystals to match.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Adventures in Sewing: Crystal Designs

Every Latin outfit needs to be bling, the word opulent springs to mind, and the best way to do so is to apply a LARGE number of rhinestones to a dress, but cleverly, to suit your design.

I have a Hotfix applicator wand that heats the crystals and the glue on the back of them. Each crystal is applied by hand, following a design of some description.

Some advice I followed for the large crystals  "Make sure you glue AND sew your large sew-on stones! The larger Swarovski stones are now available in a wonderful variety of shapes and colours, and they can really add a great look to your stone design on your dress. But be sure to remember that these stones will stick the best if you glue AND sew them."

My dress half way through stoning:

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Latin Bangle Bling

I've been experimenting with making various bracelets and bangles for dancesport competitions (Latin) and following advice from the wonderful interwebs and Pinterest, I have finally got a set of 4 bangles.

The set of 4 bangles are made from (plastic) boning and crystals. The plastic makes the bangles lightweight and the thinness of the boning means it is not ungainly to dance with. Boning is also hard enough not to break, but not stiff enough that you cannot bend it into a shape (secured obviously).

I vaguely followed this tutorial. I didn't wrap my fabric around the boning and glue it, but made lycra tubes and threaded the boning into it. Seems to have worked out, especially since the threads can't rub against my skin.

Each bangle took about 130 SS20 Swarovski Crystal AB Hotfix crystals. I prefer the Hotfix, as the glue takes ages to dry and the crystals can fall off. I've never lost a Hotfix crystal yet (I've probably jinxed myself).

I tend to use a cork board (or anything heat resistant and not fabric) to layout all the crystals to make it easier to pick them up with the applicator wand.

The first 3 that I finished

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Chiffon Flowers

Chiffon flowers are great items to add as a flower in the hair, added to a dress as a strap (about 6 make a single strap) or as a brooch.

  • Cut out circles of chiffon and fold into quarters.
  • Start with four sewn together into a base, then add another folded up circle layoured until you get the volume you want.
  • You may want to decrease the size of the circles are to get to the top layer or add beads in the centre for 'pollen'.

If you are looking for a tutorial, try the Ideas Magazine.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Third Times a Charm

As a bride you should not need to wear a watch, its your day to shine, why worry about the time, others however may wish to keep charmed when waiting for people or in queues. The watch face is attached to a chain and charms are added to create a charm bracelet.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Studio 47 House of Fashion Fabric

I got a chance to explore Studio 47 House of Fashion Fabrics in Woodstock this weekend and its large stock of fabric. I found spandex for R20 cheaper than the rest of Cape Town and a couple of other awesome stretch fabrics. They also have some wonderful lace and a large selection of stretch satin. You must however be prepared to browse and hunt down what you want!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Hair Pins

Beautiful hair accessories are hard to find in pearls and crystals. The hair pin featured is centred around a clay flower and wire is twisted to create fronds.

This particular pin is made with Czech crystals and glass pearls but can be made with freshwater pearls and Swarovski crystals.

These flowers can also be made into brooches to wear on a blazer lapel.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Earring Commission

The other day I was asked to do a pair of earrings to match a necklace the person had been given and had been unable to find anything suitable.

The result was two pairs of earrings, one medallions and the other rhombics?

As I side note, I love photographing jewellery on Hessian (burlap), it provides an interesting background.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Touristy Weekend in Cape Town: Part 2


Butterfly World is a wonderful outing for adults and children. For a measly R 48, one can explore the tropical enclosures filled with exotic butterflies in beautiful blues, greens, oranges, reds and blacks. There are roughly 20 species in the garden at any one time, depending on the season and availability of pupae that they can import.

yum banana
The place is kept at 70% humidity for the butterflies, which takes a while to get used to, especially when the air outside is rather dry.

Surrounding the garden is a series of other enclosures filled with lizards, snakes, bird and spiders. I loved exploring and had a chance to say hi to the Iguana that was lazing about on the path :)

Outside there is a Meerkat that watches the traffic go by and greets people parking for Butterfly World

Fairview is an old favourite, though we just popped in a bit to restock the cheese supplies, no lunch this time :(

I love this Steampunk(ish) sculpture that sits outside the tasting room, makes you want to sit on it and go vroom, vroom.

Chapmans Peak is a beautiful scenic drive from Hout Bay. If you are only planning on picnicking or taking photos, you can ask for a Picnic Pass and it is FREE! (Please excuse the terrible photo taken with my phone, it was slightly hazy)

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Touristy Weekend in Cape Town: Part 1

This weekend has been a whirlwind tour of Cape Town to introduce a family friend to the delights of the Mother City. Our itinerary was rather packed (and I wasn't feeling great), to include scenic routes, interesting new things and vistas of the city.

  • Cape Town CBD
  • Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens
  • World of Birds

The World of Birds is the only place I haven't visited in the last year. I originally thought the R 75 entrance fee was rather steep, but realised by the end that with running costs of approximately R 500 000 a month, for vets, food, staff, maintenance etc., it is actually rather cheap.

The place feels slightly neglected, in need of some serious renovation and cleaning, however the variety of birds to see is phenomenal. There are circular walks for General Aviaries, Birds of Prey, Owls etc.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

PhD: Chapter 6, 7 & Conclusion

Chapter 6: Decision Frameworks for Added Information Use

Chapter 7 & Conclusion: Seasonal Forecasting Decision Frameworks

Monday, April 15, 2013

PhD: Chapter 4 & 5

Chapter 4: Constraints for Seasonal Forecast Use

Chapter 5: Mobile Dissemination of Climate Information (mClimate)

I've been playing around with the direction of the text, the font, colours and excluding various words. It seems that the program cannot distinguish between common nouns or phrases such as et al.

Sunday, April 14, 2013


The menu changes daily

Terrior is situated in the Klein Zalze estate outside Stellenbosch and is featured in the Eat Out book, voted Top Ten in South Africa for the 7 years (only been open since 2004).

The menu is highly seasonal and is written up daily on a number of chalkboards that the waiters lug around to each table.

Pork snack

The food was rather strange, we needed Google Search to decipher some of the menu items, but we eventually got there. The portions look quite small, but are rather rich, which means one cannot eat very much of it.

The starters were split among the table and the chicken liver pate won. The avo sorbet was interesting but not really worth eating, the beetroot bland and the labne average. 
Chicken liver and faie gras parfait with apple compote

Terrine of beet, avo sorbet, rye crumbs and Labne
Roasted Belly of pork with rhubarb and truffle mac

Angus Beef with black truffle sauce, leeks and cepes (and bacon foam)

Loin of lamb with chemula sauce fondue, Pommo Anna

Klein Zalze

Klein Zalze is a wine estate and golf course just outside of Stellenbosch. We took a drive to the wine estate to have lunch at Terrior and I took a few snaps of the scenery before we stuffed ourselves with French Cuisine.

Entrance to Terrior

The pond at the edge of the golf course
There is a garden at the back of the restaurant with herbs (I assume they are used in the kitchen) and some beautiful flowers, especially the wheelbarrows lining the egdes (notice the corks as fillers?)