Meet the wonderful Jesse Breytenbach

Meet the wonderful Jesse Breytenbach

“Without craftsmanship, inspiration is a mere reed shaken in the wind.” Johannes Brahms

Jesse Breytenbach had completed a Master’s degree in printing and comics in university, when the South African Curriculum changed. She was given a wonderful opportunity to work as a freelance illustrator, to assist in remaking all the school books. After a few years of illustrating, Jesse’s hands were itching to make pretty things again; with craft blogs becoming popular at the time… it isn’t difficult to see how Jesse got sucked into the crafting world.

Linoleum-block
Jesse has always been interested in textiles and in textile design, block printing was the quickest way to test the designs and soon enough block printing had become Jesse’s passion. “Every woman in my family seems to have a trunk filled with fabrics, buttons, ribbons and lace”

Ribbons-and-cushion
The block printing process is slow; each print is done in small batches by hand, using hand-carved linoleum blocks and non-toxic inks. The blocks are inked and carefully placed on the fabric, the fabric is then heat cured to set the design and each item is then sewn by hand to perfection. Although slow, Jesse insists that the process is extremely satisfying.

bag

Jesse is quite the inspiration, her creativity and talents are endless. Visit Jesse on our shop to view her full range of vibrant and beautiful designs. For a 15% introductory offer please use the following code: JesseB, valid until the end of August.

Two Simple Salads

Two Simple Salads

When planning the menu for Vicky’s party I knew we were having a hogroast so I thought I’d go with a bit of a German theme and create two easy salads; coleslaw and potato salad. Since we have a few egg allergies in our family we’re not big on mayo and I think both these salads taste way better without it! Here is my take on two old favourites.

This coleslaw is an old family recipe, the way my mom used to make it, and is sort of a fresh version of sauerkraut. The trick is to get the perfect balance between sweet, salty and sour.

Simple Salad - Coleslaw
Coleslaw
½ head Green Cabbage
½ head Purple Cabbage
4-6 Carrots
Bunch of radishes

Chop up the cabbage and grate the carrots and radishes.
Dressing: 1-2 glugs Olive Oil, 2-3 glugs Spirit Vinegar (Or any other but spirit vinegar gives it a nice tart taste), 1 Tsp sugar and 1 tsp salt. Add all dressing ingredients gradually and taste as you go until you have a perfect balance. If you eat this salad straight away it will be nice and crunchy and you’ll be able to taste the different dressing ingredients but this salad keeps well too, if you leave it for a day or two the flavours all meld together.

Next up, potato salad, my secret ingredient is crème fraiche (it’s actually a secret ingredient in pretty much everything I make, I love it!). This recipe changes every time I make it depending on what I have on hand but here is the basic recipe.

Simple Salad - Potato Salad

Potato Salad
Baby or Charlotte Potatoes (as many as you need)
2-4 Tbs Crème Fraiche
Juice of 1 Lemon
Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper

If your potatoes are on the big side chop them into large bite size chunks. Boil potatoes. While your potatoes are still warm dress them with the olive oil, lemon, crème fraiche, salt and pepper (I usually do this in the pot and give it a good shake with the lid on to coat all the potatoes in the dressing). Here’s where you can get creative and add some other interesting ingredients: shallots, spring onion, cornichons, celery, thyme leaves, fennel, dill or chives. (Not all at once, just pick a couple).
I made mine with spring onions, dill and chives. This salad is delicious warm or cold so you could eat it straight away or make it in advance.

Hope these two simple salads inspire you to try something different at your next summer barbecue!

Setting up shop

Setting up shop

The forecast for Saturday was thunderstorms and rain throughout most of the day, we packed our wellies and waterproofs into the van along with all our stock and headed off to Richmond for the Green Cup Charity event. We set up stall under a towering Broadleaf tree, hoping it would give us cover when the expected downpour arrived. Of course, it never rained and we spent most of the day trying to cool down while watching the cricket and meeting all the spectators, residents and visitors of Richmond. The event itself was a great success with an attendance of over 2000 people. Our most popular product of the day was our Space bunny figurines; several customers had questioned the mystery behind the gold lustre faces. We packed up as the sun set, leaving the jovial revellers having fun on the green while listening to the wonderful acoustic sessions.

Cricket-pics
Early the next morning, we were up with the sunrise and heading off to Cowdray Park in Midhurst, West Sussex for the Veuve Clicquot Gold Cup Polo. The weather was kind to us and, once again, our wellies didn’t have to leave the van. The polo was a very different affair from the cricket, with the spectators sporting brightly-coloured dresses, blazers and designer loafers, while sipping on champagne and enjoying the sounds of the Big Brass Band. Picnics were the order of the day, and our Indigi picnic blankets were popular with families who had left home in a rush and forgotten this essential summer outing accessory. I thought the event was a great day out for families; children were spoilt for choice with a great variety of rides and games at the fairground, while the adults mingled, browsed the trade stands, and danced the day away in the Pimms tent.

V-&-A-@-Polo
With all the sunshine and flowing champagne, I’m sure there were a few sore heads the following day – luckily not for us!

Polo
Keep an eye out on our blog and shop on where to find us next…

A Weekend in Wales

A Weekend in Wales


You may all be wondering when my 30th birthday celebrations will finally end? I’m glad to say that our weekend in Wales was the third and final celebration (or was it?). The original plan was to book a glamping site and have all of my closest friends join me for a weekend at the coast. Unfortunately, this didn’t work out after our booking was lost…but more fortunately, we found this gorgeous 17th century cottage in Carmarthenshire, Wales. I have always wanted to visit Wales and almost made it there once after taking the wrong turn from Bristol and ending up at the Severn Bridge.

Wales-and-barry
The drive down to Wales was just as one could expect on a sunny Friday afternoon. After 6 hours of driving, the occasional burst of road rage and general moans, we finally made it to our 17th century cottage on a cattle farm in Kidwelly. We were greeted by the lovely Mrs Jones and her delightful horse, which we named Barry Jones or ‘Barry, the photobombing horse’. The cottage was intriguing with all sorts of nooks and crannies, the garden was simply beautiful with the most amazing vegetable patch and the views of the surrounding farms and countryside were just out of this world!

Wales-final
Although the weather wasn’t what we had hoped it would be, we made the most of our time in Wales. We drove up to the Brecon Beacons for a country walk, but torrential rain meant we ended up having lunch at a gastropub instead. The rest of the weekend was spent wining and dining, with a fun night out in Carmarthen.
We made memories that will last us a lifetime; with so many great stories, really bad jokes and great ‘cowmoonication’…I couldn’t have asked for more and am simply grateful to each one of my special friends. We have since decided to make an annual girls weekend away and I simply can’t wait till the next!

Welsh-sunset

Meet the Chapel Team

Meet the Chapel Team

It always seems impossible until its done” Nelson Mandela

Caleb Pendersen from Cape Town established the Chapel brand in 2009. After taking up cycling and not finding a suitable backpack, he saw a niche in the market. A backpack was designed, tested on friends and soon after The Rider Backpack was born.

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The Chapel Team hand make every single product in the range and all the materials used in the design process from the leather to the cotton linings are locally sourced in South Africa. “The idea of locally sourced material is our foundational value and governs the whole design process

Local-produce
The Chapel designs are made in small batches, to ensure that all products are kept up to date with current trends and the needs of customers. The Rider bags are available in a variety of bright colours for the adventurous and neutral for the more conservative customers. Other products include luxury leather satchels, sleeves and holdalls, great for the young professional.

Leathers
With all the excitement from the Tour de France, it’s time to get on our bikes and keep fit while making a statement…Grab your Rider at www.shopatva.com or click on the shop button.