Recycled tea bags makes decorative bags

    After moving to South Africa in 1996 with her husband and 2 daughters, Jill Heyes was horrified at the overwhelming poverty and apparent hopelessness in the local informal settlement of Imizamo Yethu in Hout Bay.

After teaching one local resident the hand craft of making paper mache products, the interest from the local community in learning these skills increased.

Although the market for her paper mache products never took off successfully, Jill and her group started working with alternative materials and concepts and in 2000 their first successful product - a greeting card made from tea bags - sprung forth other new product ideas incorporating the tea bag theme.

Success came from there and today they have a team of Imizamu Yethu township residents working with Jill and Christine Sadler (a successful decoupage entrepreneur) to make unique tea bag products - or what they call 'Functional Art'.

The used tea bags are dried, emptied, ironed and then painted. Each artist has their own individual styles and patterns that they imbue onto their product - there may be similarities, but no one painted tea bag is identical.

These miniature works of art are then applied to block art canvases, stationary, bookmarks, wooden items (like boxes, trays and coasters) and even fabric items like bags, table cloths and cushion covers.

For a group of previously disadvantaged people in Hout Bay near Cape Town, South Africa, one cup of tea has indeed provided community, love, excitement and financial security.

Source: Original T Bag designs

Hout Bay T Bags

Lighting solutions - LED sculpture

Sill (a UK based company) develops susttainable LED and high performance metal halide projector systems for complex lighting requirements using optics and thermal engineering and environmentally friendly materials.

One of their popular projects - the Bleigiessen sculpture - can be found in the western atrium of the Wellcome Trust Gibbs Building in London (a global charitable foundation dedicated to achieving extraordinary improvements in the health sector).

The Gibbs Building shows successful engagement with the contrasting urban London conditions on its busy Euston Road frontage and opposing quiet Bloomsbury elevation. The atrium is unusually comfortable and uplifting as a ground-floor street, as volumetric space, and in relation to both the adjacent office space as one rises up the building and the roof. The atrium elevations demonstrate a useful alternation of permeability and enclosure and a refined use of materials and palette.

The stunning Bleigiessen sculpture is a fine commissioned sculpture positioned to offer viewing interest to building users and passers-by. It is a fluid, cascading form of 142 000 glass spheres suspended along steel wires from the 6th floor.

Its scale and position poise it to enrich the experience of building users (who see it in a dynamic way as they move around this part of the building) as well as attracting the interest of people outside the building, who can enjoy its shimmering luminance through the glazed elevation.

The lighting design accentuates the undulating form of the sculpture, representing the intriguing pattern created by dropping molten lead into water and complementing the architecture that surrounds it.

This stunning effect is enhanced by Sill's 141 and 140 high efficiency projectors and warm white LEDs that penetrates the wires and emphasises the shifting colours and brightness within the glass.

The sophisticated lighting causes the spheres to disappear into darkness and reappear, increasing the expressiveness and complexity of the sculpture.

Using LED light fittings with 0-10V dimmable control options has cut energy consumption by over 60% in the Gibbs building, and while the projectors in the nine-storey atrium require specialist rope access, the longevity of the LED fittings will ensure that maintenance requirements are minimal.

Source: Sill UK

Edible flowers of popular herbs

Flowers are an integral part of our lives and are associated with some of the most poignant moments of human experience, like celebration and grieving. Their beauty and scent are woven into our consciences from early childhood, whether we realise it or not, and form associations that evoke in us memories of which we as adults are dimly aware.

Flowers bring memories of happy experiences, love, friends and laughter flooding back, as well as helps to make life worth living. Using flowers in ways other than the traditional showcase of flowers in a vase (eg. in cooking) extends those memories into our physical bodies.

Flowers often give a more delicate taste and texture than the leaves of the plant itself, and it is worth using them for their beauty and their ability to restore the energy and vitality of which we have been robbed of by our frenetic lifestyles.

  • The coriander flower (Coriandrum sativum) has been used as a medicinal and culinary herb for over 2000 years. The leaves of the coriander plant is popularly used in indian (known as danya) and asian dishes. In parts of Europe, the root is eaten as a tasty vegetable, and the seeds can be used in curries, chutney, soups, sauces, vinegars and vegetable dishes. The pretty lace mauve-white flowers can be added to salads, stir fries, fruit salads and stewed fruit.

  • The flowers of the chives plant (Allium schoenoprasum) can be chopped, mixed with grated carrots, celery and parsley and lettuce to create a health booster salad.

  • Mustard flowers (Brassica alba & Brassica nigra) are a marvelous alkaline circulatory stimulant and compare favourably with other leaf green vegetables with the added advantage that they do not rob the body of nutrients. The flowers can be added to a salad, or can be simmered with its leaves, celery, parsley, beetroot leaves and a squeeze of lemon juice to make a tonic mustard soup.

  • The sage (Salvia officianalis) plant has antibiotic properties, which is why it is so effective in clearing a sore throat and excess mucous from the nose, throat and chest. Sage tea made from fresh flowers and leaves with a touch of honey and a squeeze of lemon juice three times a day will soothe away a cold or sinusitis.
Note: Never use a plant or flower unless you are 100% sure of its identification, as some plants or parts of the plant can be poisonous. Also be aware of which plants can be used while pregnant, if unsure err on the side of caution and do not consume.

Read another article on edible flowers.

Source: Margaret Roberts Edible and Medicinal Flowers

Yummy chocolates in Tulbagh

Just over an hour away from Cape Town is the town of Tulbagh - reknown for its unmistakable setting nestled in an exceptionally beautiful valley surrounded by majestic mountains.

There is no better way to enjoy a sunny weekend than to take a lazy drive to the Schoonderzicht Farm - a historic farm in the Witzenberg mountains of Tulbagh - relax after the drive with a drink, soak up the view, enjoy the company of others and satisfy that crave for sweetness with some decadent chocolates.

Moniki Chocolatier (based on the Schoonderzicht Farm) creates a range of yummy handmade Belgian Chocolates that can be tastebud tested in a chocolate tasting inside by the log fire, or outside on the balcony depending on the weather.

Moniki's emphasis is on making handmade high quality products using only the best raw and fresh ingredients, like butter, fresh cream, nuts and herbs and spices like lavender, rosemary, cardamom, saffron, ginger, black pepper and cinnamon. A good chocolate distinguishes itself by its cacao percentage - Moniki uses mostly Belgian couverture chocolate that contains 70 % cacao and is in line with the European style of making chocolate. The result is a chocolate with an intensive flavour and a lingering aftertaste. A feast for the taste buds!

Juice, coffee, tea, brandy, port, Amarula or Hanepoot can be chosen to accompany the chocolate tasting (the price is a reasonable R35 for 3 chocolates and a choice of drink). Wine and chocolate lovers can do a special tasting paring of the two, while real chocoholics can book in advance and join a truffle-making workshop. Groups are welcome to do a high tea or any other gourmet treat.

It is a place that is definitely worth a visit if you love chocolates or just want to take some beautiful scenic pictures. The road is gravel, but in good condition and accessible with a normal vehicle.

The opening hours on weekends are :

    Monday - Friday : 8.30 - 17.00,
    Saturday : 10.00 - 16.00
    Sunday : 10.30 - 15.00

But do contact Moniki Chocolatiers first to make sure they are open : (023) 230 0673

Hot News

Living Matter in SA Home Owner

Cheral Kennedy of Living Matter - Landscape Styling and Design features in SA Home Owner Magazine's article on "Irrigation systems" in their October Issue of the magazine.

SA Home Owner magazine

Featured Plant

Felicia Echinata

Felicia Echinata
(Dune Daisy)

Family :


Description :

Indigenous sub shrub to 0.6 m with mauve daisy flowers.

Flowering time :

Autumn Spring

Conditions :

  • Sun
  • Average water
  • Evergreen
  • Warm sheltered position
  • Some frost resistance
  • Well drained soil

View more detailed information on this plant in our plant directory.

Wine of the month

Wine of the month

Merlot 2009

Winery : Dombeya
Winemaker : Rianie Strydom

Description :

A 100% Merlot from Stellenbosch planted in dry-land soils which include rocky clay, allowing for good water retention.

Aroma : Ripe fruit notes of black cherries and plums along with savoury tones.

Palate : The layered nose follows through to the palate including Christmas pudding, and ending with glazed red cherry sweetness. Fruity tannins are well integrated with wood tannins.

Winemaking : Parts of vineyards harvested at different times. Wine is barrel matured for 16 months in 30% new oak with the balance in 2nd & 3rd fill barrels. With an ageing potential of 10 years, decanting is advised.

Food Pairing : This would go well with venison, lamb and even well matured cheese.

If you want to purchase or require more information on this wine, or if you are interested in a private or corporate tasting, please email Karen or visit her website.

Planting Guide

Herb or Veggie

Seeds can be sown or plants can be planted for the following herbs and veggies this month:


  • Beans
  • Beetroot
  • Broccoli
  • Cabbage
  • Carrots
  • Celery
  • Cucumber
  • Eggplant
  • Lettuce
  • Mielies
  • Peppers
  • Pumpkin
  • Radish
  • Squash
  • Sweetcorn
  • Swisschard
  • Tomatoes
  • Turnips
  • Herbs

  • Basil
  • Coriander
  • Chives
  • Chamomile
  • Dill
  • Mustard
  • Oreganum
  • Parsley
  • Rocket
  • Thyme
  • Watercress
  • View our full planting plan in our resources section of our website.

    Brain Teaser

    We all love a chance to test our own brain capacity with brain teasers. Try see if you can figure out this one...

    Brain Teaser

    September's Teaser Answer :
    "Head over heels in love"


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    Contact Cheral:

    Cell: 082 82 509 82