Wednesday, June 30, 2010


To work with lace is a beautiful thing.
If the lace is old there is something magical about it. Old lace has often a special smell because usually it has been well protected and well preserved against insects and the teeth of time by it's previous owner considered as something precious and delicate only to be used for certain occasions. 

Sometimes it has not seen the light for years stored away in some chest or box in a dark cupboard, folded and stacked away neatly.
When you remove it from it's shelter it smells of celebrations of the past.  
Hold it against the sunlight and it will start shining and telling you stories ( that's what I think you are by no way obliged to believe it).

These are our cards that are adorned by lace. 
The lace pieces that I find and use are left overs of lace trimmings that have been used for wedding dresses or ball gowns. Often dating back to the Victorian period.
In the picture you see some of our wedding cards and wedding invitations. 
Each space is cut out by hand and the lace is carefully glued in or sewn in depending on the type of card.
For these cards we have used some exquisite pieces of ivory colored lace that were once part of an old wedding veil. Each card is adorned additionally with small beads in different colors.

The structure of lace is very important. Some lace types are as thin and delicate as hair flowing in the wind and others are of a rougher but also striking texture.  

For each lace character the right paper has to be chosen to create something remarkable. To match a material like lace is not easy. 
The old saying " lace with lace only "  has it's truth. 


Monday, June 28, 2010


Shades of the water is inspired

by my love, admiration, respect and deep longing for the sea.


Shades of the sky is a range of handcrafted envelopes and cards

inspired by the ever changing and infinitely large number of nuances of blue of the sky.

 Of course I am aware that my attempts to reproduce some of these nuances is inadequate.
And cannot compare to the essence of the color " true sky blue". 

Sunday, June 27, 2010


The same wine that uproots trees
makes the grasses shine

The lordly wind loves the weakness
and the lowness of grasses
Never brag of being strong

(Jelaluddin Rumi, born in the year 1207 in Afghanistan)


On your long way through the forest of life you will find a small summer sun somewhere

that shines all through the night to lead you the way

Just look for its glow when its dark and night and keep on walking.
This sun is only for you

Saturday, June 26, 2010



A color has been named after the shell of an egg. 
Or vice versa. May be the egg-shell has inspired the creation of a color.
I don't know.
Looking at it one understands why.
 It is not beige, not sand, not brown, not caramel, not cappuccino or cafe latte.
Just egg-shell.
When description fails comparison has to take it's place.

Friday, June 25, 2010


Design and Art are personal and when I create a greeting card I look for things that resonate with me and my experiences. I have found this old German black and white postcard, still blank, in a Junk a shop and immediately it talked to me and a new design idea for one of my cards was born.

And here is the story:

I have beautiful memories of holidays not so long gone, at a time when air-travel was not yet on the menu of our family. 
I remember six adults and two children sharing the space of two cars, a Volkswagen Beetle and a Ford Taunus and " hitting the road " to venture into new and unexplored terrain for weeks.
On the roof racks of the cars suitcases were piling up, not were much different from a Bush-taxi in Mali. The suitcases not only contained clothing and personal belongings, but also linen, feather pillows, blankets, cups and plates and other necessary things to beautify the holidays homes and make them " homely" that had been rented at some coast in some far away country.

Inside the cars where of cause the adults, as well as cooler boxes, filled to the top with dozens of hard boiled eggs, sardines, cookies and cold meat, and stored between the legs of the passengers. 
Tea flasks, cameras, toys, tents, sleeping bags, road maps, hats, sunglasses, towels for the beach and not to forget my grandfather's transistor radio with a truly huge transistor that he held close to his ear. 
My grandfather did not hear very well. No radios in the cars yet.

" And the child can go in the middle !!!!." 

When this exclamation was made it was time to leave. The child was of course me and I was always seated last. I have to say I was a thin child at the time. I had to be a thin child. My little brother had to travel in the other car. 

The travel was slow. But things were observed and looked at. And frequent stops were made to see the beauty at the side of the road.

And so the cars crawled either through the Alpes, made their way through the sunny southern lands of Italy, France, Spain or moved north to countries like Holland, Denmark and Sweden where a lot of fish was to be found in the North Sea and where the beaches were still rough and the water cold. And even Greece and Turkey was not too far.
It took days to get to the destination and often Camping sites where our overnight location.
And Cafe Espresso was just coming into fashion then. 

Here is to great travel and great memories. And Cafe Espresso.


White corals growing on a rock.
White has been identified by many nations as the color of purity and virginity. Not by all.
Peace and bliss. Spiritual protection. Often an new beginning or a fresh start.
Are you not feeling clean when you look at them ? I do

White corals on the sand
White as a canvas for projection of fantasy and new born ideas. 

like white ruffled gloves
for a white wedding

Thursday, June 24, 2010


I want to show you a special tree in my garden.

that has been diagnosed with a soon death by many people many times.

Ants reside in it and use it as their home and shelter. 
Here you can see them coming out of their castle. 
It has been said that this is destructive and will kill the tree.
I was told to kill the ants to save the tree.

I don't like killing ants.
The tree is of rather human figure and appearance.
 It reminds me of Jesus and the cross.

I think forgiveness.
I also call it the tree of hope and I know it will live many years still. 

Monday, June 21, 2010


At the sight of you everything else pales.


The fern has survived all stages of the Earth's evolution and it will do so again in the future.
It is one of the strongest and most resilient plants on earth.
And although incredibly beautiful in it's appearance it is considered as invasive in South-Africa due to the fact that it overtakes other plant's territory in no time.

If the Earth should encounter a scenario of total and devastating destruction, a cell of the fern will survive and it will be one of the organisms to germinate, grow and reproduce on new territory again in old and shining beauty.

The fern is as resistant as the earth itself.
This set of handmade envelopes is called the " Colors of the Earth " shown here with a fern leaf.

Sunday, June 20, 2010


A Young Elephant bull in high grass, nature photography by Chocolat Negro
A young elephant bull

Everything is linked. 
The mental state of being " individual and alone " is an illusion of the mind. There is just one universe and in it everything is linked. 
During life some things and beings are stronger linked in their essence and have a deeper bond than others but everything and everybody is connected.  

My consciousness is and has always been broadened by African landscapes. 
When looking at them I was more capable of being aware of the" linkedness " of everything than usual. Looking at the breathtaking diversity of nature is a personal bridge for me that helps me to be more careful and considerate in my life. Remembering that what I do to someone, I do to myself.

Someone once told me: " When you talk about one thing and mention another that is linked to it then you should talk about the second thing as well ".
I have been talking about Elephant grass. So, here is one young elephant enjoying his life in high African grass. He does not have to try to remember the fact that everything is in connection with each other. He still knows it.

Saturday, June 19, 2010


In the African winter the sun goes down between four and half past four in the afternoon. When the sun has disappeared behind the horizon it gets dark very soon and by 6 o 'clock it is night. 
In this picture a beam of last sun light is caught in long two meter high African grass with feathery white heads. This grass is called Elephant grass. Some call it Buffalo grass. From it's names you can guess that those two animals like it because it is high and mighty like they are. Grass and animals share the same nature.

The ray of dying sunlight had a beautiful warm reddish color. 
Sometimes we use the fibers of elephant grass to make a special kind of paper. It grows naturally and in abundance in the north of the country. But in our region it is used more as a decoration in landscaping and gardening.

Just before it disappeared  it enlightened the grass from the inside in a magical  moment.
The wind had stopped and like a lantern the grass radiated a warm glow as if it wanted to show the way to the late traveler in the night. Like in a fairy tale of old.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010


When I started this project I spent a lot of time on the look- out for suitable accessories that could adorn the cards and the paper bags that we are creating.

Living in a South-African coastal town with a long settlers history, with many old people and many second hand shops to browse through, this was quite a pleasurable endeavor. 

I found many old and beautiful buttons. Some of them even hand painted and hand carved.

And then I learned that pretty buttons, many years of age, are sought after treasuries in other parts of the world and that one has to think twice before gluing them onto a greeting card.

And many are collectors items themselves.

Since then I have established a little collection of my own.

One very special darling for me  is this pink transparent button with a rosette of white plastic leaves inside . 


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