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Pushing the envelope with trendsetting ideas

Pushing the envelope with trendsetting ideas
Elsje Designs creates fun & functional gifts, stationery and table decor with a true South African touch


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Tuesday, September 21, 2010

New range of ribbons in stock

Sage green and dusty pink - the perfect palette for a vintage celebration! For prices, please contact Annemie at

Love Sonnet XVII
by Pablo Neruda

I don't love you as if you were the salt-rose, topaz
or arrow of carnations that propagate fire:
I love you as certain dark things are loved,
secretly, between the shadow and the soul.
I love you as the plant that doesn't bloom and carries
hidden within itself the light of those flowers,
and thanks to your love, darkly in my body
lives the dense fragrance that rises from the earth.

I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where,
I love you simply, without problems or pride:
I love you in this way because I don't know any other way of loving

but this, in which there is no I or you,
so intimate that your hand upon my chest is my hand,
so intimate that when I fall asleep it is your eyes that close.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Trendsetting Stripes

The perfect mix of classic and contemporary

“Fashion is not something that exists in dresses only. Fashion is in the sky, in the street … fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening.” Coco Chanel

Staying abreast of international trends is high on the to-do list for Elsje Designs, and following fashion trends from the runway and interior decorating into the world of stationery and wedding invations, is a must. Stationery is dictated by fashion.

A delicate pinstriped look is a way to instantly modernize your design, and will make invitations stand out. Bold stripes of color in the envelope liner will give your invitation a contemporary edge. Many of these latest designs will only use two colors, it's always best to keep it simple and elegant. You want the main focus of attention to be on the information that the invitation carries.

In contrast to the softer more subtle shades of last year, the forthcoming trends for the new season will be brightly coloured and – believe it or not – almost luminous! However, any bride who wishes to strut her stuff in style, needs to make a bold splash of colour if she wishes to remain in-line with other fashionistas!

Whilst we at Elsje Designs keep an eye on overseas trends, many don’t fit in with our own style of creativity. We don’t like to follow any particular themes - as we get inspiration (fashion, décor etc), we try to utilize these concepts for styling and stationery for various magazine shoots.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The simple life.

One of my friends, Annelie Smuts, was recently in the Woman and Home magazine for a reason that I also feel very passionate about: Living off the land. We clutter our lives with too many deadlines, texting, meetings, traffic jams and all the stress that comes with our normal work day routines. The solution for this is actually quite simple, start a small garden on your patio, back yard or garden. There is nothing more satisfactory than harvesting your own peas for supper. Food tastes so much better with fresh herbs. Imagine picking your own avo's, lemons or figs!

There is actually proof of the healing power of nature... After time spent in the garden (or outdoors for that matter) many of my friends say they've been doing "gardening therapy." And now there are studies to prove it works.

Scientific tests were done on researchers who actually gardened while their brainwaves were studied electronically. Dr. Young (mental health specialist) says, "What they found was that the people who were gardening had brain waves that were very similar to people who meditate."

These medical tests conceded that gardening actually helps your body relax so it can heal because, she says, "It's a very healthy and healing state to be in."

Then, Young cites yet another study which found that hospital patients who are in a room with a view of a garden - actually recover faster!!! Their wounds heal about twice as fast as patients without a garden window. She says, "I think there's nothing more calming than and soothing than the smell of flowers and the earth."

Not that being part of a trend is ever a good reason to start or learn something new, but if it helps you move forward by being part of the “in” crowd, then you really need to plant your own edible garden this year!

Another survey done by the American Gardening Association showed a 19 percent increase in new hobby country farms and urban edible gardens in 2009 over 2008.

So, aside from its popularity, do you need some other reasons to grown your own food?

• Working in the garden reduces stress and makes you feel good.
• In the current recession a good reason would be to save money. There is nothing more local (yes, we are still in love with local) than food grown in your own backyard, your windowsills, or on patio containers.
• Growing your own fruit and vegetables means that you know exactly what does and does not go into your food and exactly where it comes from.
• You will live healthier in a number of ways. Not only will you end up eating more fruits and vegetables, but you will be getting added exercise. Did you know that you can burn as many calories in 45 minutes of gardening as you can in 30 minutes of aerobics?
• You will get a bigger variety of your favorite fruits and vegetables because you can choose from hundreds of different varieties and you can grow the things you like the best.

So here's the cheapest psychiatric advice you'll ever get: Get out and garden... It clears your head and heals your body.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Vintage Post Cards

In vogue for summer celebrations, are vintage post cards. We recreated a variety of these antiques for a recent Pasella shoot (either to be broadcasted this week or next week). For the shoot we used them as seating cards combined with table gifts (and of course they do look stunning on a table), tied together with postage cord and a tiny tag. Oh so beautiful!

Over time, we have built up quite a phenomenal library of vintage images, from old fashioned brides and grooms photographed in the 1920's, to hand painted birds, dainty ballerina's and my favourte, the Eiffel Tower!

These post cards can be used as part of your table seating, having a dual purpose, both as a decorative table gift as well as a place card.

For a wedding Save the Date, these old fashioned brides and grooms are divine and will really give your guests something to talk about!

The post cards are very inexpensive and when you do several images, all your guests are likely to converse about their various images.
The possibilities with these vintage beauties are limitless, they can be used for Save the Dates, a menu, table seating, table gifts etc.

Another great idea is to have a stamp made at your local stationer. Which you can use for your Save the Dates or menus. Alternating between large and the small fonts, to create a playful effect.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Welcome Spring!

Top photograph from Flights of Fancy, bottom right Christine Meintjies.