Hey I'm featured on the awesome blog http://sprogsndogs.co.za/

Real Mom Story: Fable Fairy

Real Mom Story: Cal Volks of Fable Fairy 

It’s the turn of counsellor, accessory designer and mother to sweet Leila and Kiera – to share her story

Check out http:sprogsndogs.co.za

whimsical projects

These girls' father was an artist.
They made a paper mache giant horse.

This is the list the girls and I have for their school holidays:

* Perfect the art of  building boats that float in a tub of water

* Build the perect house for a grass hopper to come in and while away an hour (door remains open)

* Use acorn cups and tiny flowers to build a fairy garden

* Be able to hang from the basketball hoop by one's knees (trapeze style)

* Have a race off with the teddys: Clarabella; Bowie; Maxie and Gilbert.

Only a week and a half left of school!

Love Cupcake Couture Giveaway Winner

Look what Nadia from http://lovecupcakecouture.blogspot.com/sent me:

A beautiful present like her beautiful blog!

Look at the doily envelope and the washi/sticky tape and the clip that came with the awesome book. The girls started playing: Make a package and send it; The Doc started baking banna bread and I changed my outfit to match my white clip!

This is the most amazing book and I will post about the recipes and pictures inside. I LOVE the way this book was put together. What an awesome win!

Thank-you Nicole and Nadia!


I aint afraid of no snakes

The girls went to a snake birthday party. The Doc and I were terrified and were as far away as we could be, but the girls showed NO FEAR and queued with the boys to have the snake curled around them.

I felt such an oxymoronic mix of pride and horror.


15 authors that stayed with you

 The Rules: Don't take too long to think about it. Fifteen authors (poets included) who've influenced you and that will always stick with you. List the first fifteen you can recall in no more than fifteen minutes. Please tell me yours. Here are mine:

Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Anne Michaels
Ayn Rand
Carl Gustav Jung
Tennesee Williams
Emily Bronte'
Eugene O'Neill
Samuel Beckett
Bernhard Schlink
Kahil Gibran
Martin Buber
Augusto Boal
Clarissa Pinkola Estes
Paulo Freire
Martha Beck
John Irving
Barbara Kingsolver
Isabel Allende
Barbara Trapido
Edwin Cameron
Alex Garland
F Scott Fitzgerald
John Steinbeck

Ok so that's more than 15 and I only gave myself ten minutes. I know I'm going to spend the whole day kicking myself as to who I left out. Murakami! Hanif Kureishi! Anna Gavalda! Mario Vargos Llosa!;
 Jhumpa Lahiri! Peter Carey


Cape Town Bloggers Get Together

Please Join us at Field Office, 52 Barrack street, on Wed. the 8th Dec. from 6 -9 pm for the Cape Town bloggers gettogether.

Amazing raffle prizes to be won including Nomu gifts; Furniture from Vamp; Le Creuset crockery; Tashkaya clothing and more.

Blog about this function and bring friends.


Fable Fairy's bucket list on www.beingbrazen.com

Check out how lovely Brazen made Fablefairy's bucket list:

Bird drawing by Lauren Fowler. http://www.laurenfowler.com/; Photo of my grandmother's best friend by my gran. Other pics from http://www.weheartit.com/


What an extraordinary life Suze. Rest in peace.

My grandmother Suze passed away in the early hours of this morning. I read this piece at her funeral, written by her nephew.
Wald, Kenneth D. "The ghosts on the wall. " Midstream.  54.2 (March-April 2008): 18(5). General Reference Center Gold. Gale. University of Florida. 2 Apr. 2008

Full Text: COPYRIGHT 2008 Theodor Herzl Foundation

I grew up in a house full of ghosts. The spirits were not formless apparitions floating from room to room but strong images in elegantly framed photographs, tethered firmly to the dining room wall by history and memory as much as by wire and hook. Posed formally in the fashion of their day, stiff and unsmiling, they did not haunt me. Because of their vast distance from my life, they were my father's parents, not in any sense my grandparents. They were flesh but not blood.
All that began to change on a sunny spring afternoon years later as I stood in the kitchen of my Florida home, leafing through a bulging folder rescued from my father's files after his death. The folder held almost two hundred letters and notes his parents had sent from Germany in the late 1930s and early 1940s. Faced with a disordered pile of papers written in German, a language I was proud not to read, I sorted idly through the mound of yellowing documents.
I had never asked my father about his parents because my mother had warned me not to open old wounds. Even so, a few things had slipped out over the years. His parents, Curt and Regina Schonwald, were native-born Germans… After the war, Curt and Regina moved to Grossrohrsdorf, a small city just a few kilometers outside Dresden in Saxony. They were dry goods merchants with a small but prosperous textile store. The only Jews in town, they raised a son, Heinz (my father), and a daughter named Suze. ...
In March, 1933, the very month Heinz successfully defended his thesis to earn a university degree in accounting, Adolph Hitler was appointed chancellor of Germany and acquired emergency powers that ended Germany's postwar democratic experiment. In short order, civil liberties were abrogated, the Reichstag reduced to a Nazi puppet, anti-Jewish riots instigated across the country, and a network of concentration camps established to house dissidents, communists, and other political prisoners. After five years of increasing repression, a policy of random harassment and persecution evolved into a systematic plan to isolate and then drive out the Jews of Germany. The plan was baptized by the Kristallnacht pogrom in November, 1938. In Grossrohrsdorf, the church bells summoned a mob that hurled rocks through the windows of the Kaufhaus Schonwald, the family's department store. Heinz and Curt were arrested, deported to Buchenwald, and released two months later.
As the rising tide of antisemitism closed in on the Schonwald family, the first priority was to save the children. My father managed somehow to get out of Germany in 1939, coming to the United States by way of Switzerland and England. His sister, too, fled with her husband to Rhodesia not long after. The parents moved to Berlin where it was thought to be safer for them.
That was as much of the story as I knew. Of Curt and Regina, I knew only that--to quote my mother's refrain whenever I asked about any of our relatives--"They died in the war." Although nothing was ever said, I understood clearly enough they were not warriors or Resistance fighters, heroic figures firing on Nazi convoys from ambushes, throwing hand grenades during pitched street battles with the SS. In my young mind, if they could not be heroes, they were ... nothing, people defined more by their absence from my life than their presence in another time. As I got older, it became easier to imagine them as a respectable, sedate couple in late middle age, forced into premature retirement by the Nazi seizure of their store in 1939. Bereft of children, isolated, harassed, threatened on a daily basis, it must have felt as if the walls were closing in on them. I pictured them sinking into torpor, surrendering to their ordained fate as Holocaust victims.
Just a few letters into the musty stack of documents on my kitchen counter, something happened that shattered my image of their fatalism. My father's mother, Regina, suddenly switched from German to the English she retained from a childhood in Manchester, England. I read the words she had written to her dejected son in April, 1939, during his second month of American exile:
   I would like to correspond with you in English, you must of course
   write German so that Father [Vatel] can read it himself. Your
   letter I have read many times, for god's sake don't lose hope ...
   Think [of] ... the Easter week last year, then enjoy everything
   [that] comes across your way. Father and I take our long walks and
   we enjoy it very much, we have beautiful spring days. On holidays
   and Sundays we walk in the forenoon[,] on other days in the
   afternoon. Very often we meet Uncle & Aunt and we see the old
   Berlin--trees and old parks that we knew 35 years ago. Our flat is
   now very nice and so comfortable. Everything has found a place and
   the nice furniture is also very practical....

   With fondest care to you and all relations, a kiss, my dear boy.
In my Holocaust-decimated household, that moment of contact across the generations counted as a family reunion. With a brief message intended only to cheer up her son, Regina dispelled my notion that Curt and Regina had given up on life as the Nazi regime pressed down on them.
As the full set of letters revealed, Curt and Regina did not stop living even as their world turned upside down. Who would have blamed them if they had succumbed to despair as a poisonous set of laws reduced them to servile status?
Within months of Kristallnacht, Jews were banned from sports grounds, public baths, parks, swimming pools, theaters, cinemas, libraries, concerts, exhibitions, and music halls. Soon, they would be ordered to surrender radios, typewriters, telephones, and house pets, forbidden to purchase tobacco or flowers. In a blend of martial law and house arrest that amounted to internal exile, local officials could proscribe Jews from certain areas and order them off the streets at will.
One would not know any of that from the restrained letters sent to Heinz in New York by his parents in Berlin. No doubt mindful of the censor, they betrayed only oblique references to the aftermath of Kristallnacht, the confiscation of their store in 1939, or the other humiliations visited on them daily. There is no self-pity in these remarkably forbearing accounts of daily life. As shopkeepers rather than intellectuals, social critics, or journalists, they resolutely avoided the big picture and simply told their son what they were doing….
There was not always a lot to tell. While Regina assured her son that "we are doing something all the time," Curt confessed with remarkable understatement, "We don't have many diversions here." From time to time, the reality of Nazi restrictions on Jews broke through the otherwise even tone. "I sometimes long to have a shop again," Regina wrote late in 1939, less than a year after the "Law for the Exclusion of Jews from German Economic Life" prohibited such activity. Curt dreamed in April, 1940 about how wonderful it would be to drive a car again. That was only a dream because the Reich had confiscated drivers licenses from Jews two years earlier.
Curt and Regina betrayed emotion only when their children's welfare was concerned. As Heinz' sister Suse prepared to leave Germany for southern Africa, Regina aptly characterized her mixed feelings. "We are witnessing this," she wrote of the impending departure of her daughter, "with one laughing and one crying eye." Still, she told Heinz that their safety was paramount. "I am so happy when I think of you all and how you are mastering your situations," she wrote. "It would be too good to be true to think of a reunion but I still hope for it." As Curt affirmed, "The only wish your mother and I still have is to be able to be together with you. Hopefully, we will live to see the day."
The general tone of the Schonwald letters from 1939 to 1940 is not upbeat to be sure but is better described as hopeful and in its way, defiant. Heinz' parents looked forward to the next phase of their life, the time when they could join him in the United States. They asked his advice about how best to equip themselves for a productive life in America. Regina wondered whether she should concentrate on "cooking and baking, or flowers, or sewing aprons." while Curt, who had been a distillery apprentice in his youth, vowed to refresh his knowledge of liqueur production if his son thought it would be useful after emigration. Apparently, Heinz encouraged him, for Curt reported a few months later, "I'm now attending a distillery course, and things are slowly coming back to me." Apparently there was some false modesty in this brief report as Regina noted with pride, "Everybody receives home-made eggnog from Father now, and they all love it."
Regina similarly threw herself into self-improvement. "I go to our cooking course every afternoon, almost the whole day," she told her son. "I am learning a lot of new things, and hopefully I will be able to use it some day. I have really perfected my cooking skills. It's serious business for me now when the pots hit the table." ...
This correspondence occurred amidst the passage of compulsory labor laws that forced Jews to work for the Reich, the slamming shut of gates to Jewish refugees around the world, the German invasion of Poland and, an event not even mentioned in the correspondence, the outbreak of war with Britain and France. I do not think Curt and Regina were oblivious of this climactic event. Despite censorship, as Victor Klemperer's celebrated diaries revealed, word about what was happening did get back by stealth to German Jews. The Schonwalds were neither insensitive nor unmoved by the plight of their brethren. The letters report the desperate circumstances of relatives, friends, and acquaintances. Recognizing they could do nothing about the situation writ large, Curt and Regina worked assiduously on what they could control, their preparation for a new life in America….
Whatever happened, both parents assured their son, they would take any work that came their way. When Heinz complained about starting over in yet another trade, Curt reminded him of his own experience:
   Just imagine, I started out in a distillery and moved to
   distribution, then changed to a spirit and yeast factory, then to a
   mill, back to the distillery, then sold greeting cards, changed to
   being a traveling salesman for cigar-holders, and then carpets, and
   finally became a textile merchant. As you can see, I changed my
   careers eight times and never lost courage.

If the best they could find in America was minimum wage work with long hours, Curt assured his son, that was no problem. "Mother ... [and] I would love to work with you, even if it were 15 hours a day," he declared, and Mother confirmed to him that "you can count on your parents when it comes to working hard." Regina assured him they would not become a burden in the United States: "I am well conditioned by my housework, so that I can work in any household and do just about any job there. I've always held the belief that no type of work is degrading, even the most undignified chores."
At worst, they would simply make him a good home. "When we're living with you and you have to work so much," his mother promised, "you'll be able to come home to find a comfortable space. I'm longing so much for the opportunity to do everything for you. You've really earned it."
In April, 1940, Curt declared rather casually, "We will have to think about emigration soon." The low-key tone was apparently meant to disguise some urgency, for just a year earlier, Curt had announced a three-year extension of their apartment lease. Perhaps he had heard the news from Eastern Europe about the mass deportations of Jews and the mobile killing squads that followed the German war machine as it swept across Poland. The impulse to leave could have arisen from something closer to home, cuts in pensions and food rations for Jews, new and confiscatory tax levies, or, more ominously, the first German efforts to gas the mentally handicapped. Whatever the source, Curt and Regina now devoted their time to identifying options, making plans, tracking down and evaluating every rumor.
For almost two years, they explored every potential lifeline no matter how remote it seemed. Although Shanghai, Santo Domingo and Africa were explored as possible destinations, the Schonwalds concentrated on obtaining visas to join their son in the United States and thus entered a labyrinthine American immigration process made even more feckless by the war. They became subject to a world where something as trivial as a delay in mailing a package or a misplaced signature could set the process back by months or years. "Please don't think that my requests are unfounded and based on my imagination," Curt assured his son, "... rather [they are] drawn from experiences with acquaintances whose efforts have all in one way or another failed, whether due to missing or falsely sent documents." In this anxious if not Kafkaesque atmosphere, talk of affidavits, security deposits, financial guarantees, quotas, and case numbers increasingly dominated the correspondence….
They never boarded a ship. On June 19, 1941, responding to the expulsion of German diplomatic personnel from the United States, the Reich closed American consular offices in Germany. With that decision, Curt and Regina lost any prospect of securing the necessary visas quickly. As Curt admitted in an August letter, "Our chances for relocation are slim [but] we are still going to continue to hope for the best." He was philosophical about the delay. "We can't fight the facts," Curt counseled his disappointed son, "and simply have to deal with things as they are. There's no sense in crying about it; that won't change anything and just depresses everybody involved."
They began to explore a more complicated plan involving a tourist visa to Cuba. About seven months later, on November 22, 1941, Curt wrote with the good news. Thanks to Heinz' hard work, they had secured immigration authorization to Cuba, a way station before their eventual landing in the United States. As soon as their new passports arrived, they would book passage. A worried Heinz could now finally relax and accept his father's heartfelt thanks for all his sacrifices. It looked as though the story would have a happy ending.
As far as I know, that was the last communication Heinz ever received from his parents. The Reich had stopped issuing passports to Jews, reflecting the 1941 change in policy from expulsion to extermination. For a brief time, Curt was ordered to work as a slave laborer in a Berlin electrical factory. A Gestapo memorandum dated March 28, 1942 reports that Curt and Regina Schonwald (nos. 10326 and 10327, respectively) were transported by train to Trawniki labor camp near Lublin in Poland. The Gedenkbuch, a postwar archive compiled to document the fate of German Jews under National Socialism, confirms the transport but is silent about what happened next to my father's parents. The Encyclopedia of the Holocaust notes that many Trawniki inmates died of starvation and disease while others were sent to the Belzec death camp for extermination. Possibly, they were among the ten thousand Jewish inmates of Trawniki shot on November 5, 1943 following an uprising in the Sobibor Camp. For bureaucratic reasons, Curt and Regina's official date of death was May 12, 1945, the day the war ended--and Heinz' birthday.
Through these letters, those ghosts in the photographs that hung on the wall of my childhood home have shed their spectral cloak and assumed human dimensions. Curt and Regina have reached out to me across time, space and memory. But the most important thing I've learned is that the Schonwalds did not surrender in the face of crushing reality. They did not join the Resistance but Curt and Regina resisted by refusing to shout lamentations or succumb to despair, by the heroic act of imagining and planning a life for themselves in the New World. My grandparents never got the chance to live that life, except vicariously, but the vision sustained them in the darkest moments. I was wrong when I assumed they were led meekly as sheep to the slaughter. I know now that my mother was wrong when she said they "died in the war." As I learned from their testament, my grandparents died fighting the war.
"The Ghosts on the Wall" is a Holocaust memoir of a sort.
KENNETH WALD is Distinguished Professor of Political Science at the University of Florida. He co-founded the Summer Holocaust Institute for Florida's Teachers (SHIFT) and serves on the Commissioner of Education's Taskforce on Holocaust Education.
My grandmother Suze carried these hopes and dreams of her parents – lived a life of what we call a “memorial candle”. In burying her today, I hope we can bury some of the pain and trauma of her life.


girls just wanna have fun

Practice round for dressing up like Fifi and the Flower tots

                         Thoughtful Fairy plus gleeful princess.


The Life of a Harper's Bazaar, London Dep. Art Director

The talented, smart, succesful and divine Abigail Volks upped and moved her life to London this year. I asked her to share a little of her life with us.

1. Where do you work and what does your job involve?

I work for Harpers Bazaar, London. My  job involves co-ordinating with relevant section editors (fashion, travel, art & culture) and picture editors to compile and design pages of the magazine.

The infamous tube station

2. What is the best thing about living in London

London = freedom, 'safety', anonymity and independence. Over & above that, being spoilt for choice! 

I also love the fact that people are out & about all the time (even when it's 5 degrees)....
(ask me again in 3 months when it drops to below freezing... maybe the answer will be different). 

I like knowing that life is happening out there even when I'm asleep.

Ab's office in Carnaby street

3. You were previously art director at Cosmopolitan South Africa. How is this different?

Different country, different magazine, different target market, different culture, different aesthetic.

4. What are your sanity saving tips in your field?

Listen, think and learn fast! (while smiling all the time)

The sublime Tate Modern

5.You work for a fashion magazine, how do you manage to look stylish on a budget?

(Mmmmm I think i was more stylish in Cape Town when I could wear heels, drive my own car, 
and only walk 2 minutes to get to the office.... I wear flat boots or trainers every day and save the killer boots for special occasions!) 

The London high street stores - really do cater for style and for one's budget. 
The quality is super good too! And when they have sales... it's really a SALE!

Abi's flats

What fashion trends are coming up for us in Winter 2011?

You'll be seeing : leather & lace, camel tones and shearling.

I love shearling. Can't wait. Thanks so much for sharing a little of your life. Give London our love.

Slip sliding away

The Doc took the girls on a sunset walk last night as it was beautiful weather in Cape Town.

Sometimes I can't believe this is "our back garden"

While looking for tadpoles,

the little one slipped down that smooth black rock  and bounced a good fwe metres to where the doc was playing with the camera.

"She didn't slip," says the doc, "She was training to go surfing" :)

By the way, don't you love how my daughter wears fablefairy alice bands even in her PJs and even on a sunset walk.

Fable Fairy plans to look like this this Summer


Swimsuit search cont.

I went to try on swimsuits today. Disasterous!
I used to look at my mom and her mates bathing costumes with the cups inside and think why are they wearing fuddy duddy old lady costumes?

Well after birthding and breastfeeding 2 littlies and NO TIME for anything but a sunday cycle I need a costume for a 50's kinda girl.

I'll take all of these and how happy they are. Pics from http://www.chronicvintage.blogger.com/

Ideal swim suit summer 2010

Need to get me one of these. The divine Greta Garbo http://vintageweardaily.blogspot.com/


Japanese Animation

  I love japanese animation by studio Ghibli and my favourite film director of all time is Hayao Murazaki.

My favourite in the Ghibli stable is no surprise: Kiki's Delivery Service [ I have have a daughter called Kiki and cat called Jiji (Jinja)] and Kirsten Dunst does Kiki's voice over in the movie.

It all started with watching Heidi when I was 6. I loved the way the mouth moved, the way they ate bread and the sound of their feet running.

I also love: My neighbour Tortorro

And then there's Yesterday.  I'll save all the others for another post.

On Sat., we got to watch one of the Ghibli stable not directed by Murazaki: Whisperer in the Night.

Freakin Fantastic

Win with Tashkaya!

To celebrate the release of Summer 2011 collection Tashkaya
Fashion is running a competition on Facebook and Twitter.
The competition will run from Monday 15 November 2010 to Monday 6
December 2010. The winners will be chosen by a random draw on
Wednesday 8 December 2010.

The total prize is valued at R4000. The prize will consist of
Tashkaya clothing to the value of R1000. If you have "liked"
Tashkaya on our Fan page or follow us on Twitter you double the
size of your prize to R2000. If you win you get up to 5 bonus
prizes (Valued at R400 each) to give to any of your friends who
also entered the sweepstakes via your invites.

If you enter via Twitter then for every person that enters
through the link in your tweet you get an extra entry. So make
sure you re-tweet your entry, the more people who enter via your
tweet the better your chances of winning!

To enter go to the Facebook or Twitter page below page

You are allowed to enter via Facebook and Twitter simultaneously.
Remember you get an extra entry for every person who uses your
tweet to enter, this will increase your chances of winning even

Clothing comes in size small, medium or large.


Nic Wells Bladen, Jane Eppel and The Homestead

I was lucky enough to go to the open day today at the magnificent 200year old home of sculptor & jeweller Nic Wells Bladen and painter and print maker Jane Eppel. They and their work and their home are just lovely.

Both artists draw inspiration from the natural beauty of the Cape Peninsula, especially the fynbos of the Kalk Bay mountains behind their home.

"Most recently Jane has completed the 'Clovelly garden' series, (created for the forthcoming exhibition; 'Casa Labia In Bloom'), in which she juxtaposes delicate insects (cut from copper entirely by hand) with monoprints of weeds and flowers growing in the cracks of the old garden steps. Jane is currently showing work at 'Print: an exhibition of etchings' at These Four Walls Gallery in Observatory" (http://www.janeeppel.com/).

I love how her paintings and prints depict things that I so relate to & am inspired by - alcoves that are so comforting; open country roads; chidlren on swings; week-ends away with dear friends, prayer flags..

"Nic's work as a jeweller and sculptor entails casting actual plant-matter in precious metals. As bespoke jewellery or as freestanding sculptures, Nic's exquisite botanical work is widely acclaimed both in South Africa and Europe (www.nicbladen.com)".

I kept trying to walk out of Nic's exhb room, but it was like leaving dear family in a war torn country, they were pleading for me to take them with me.

So for my birthday and our 10th anniversary my darling Doc with his huge generous heart bought me white milkwood earings and a pendant AND a pink Jane Eppel print.  Thank-you my lovely. I will post the photos I took tomorrow.


Vintage street open this Sat

This is to let you know that from now on Vintage Street will be open every Saturday and Wednesday. 
Yes, indeed.
This Saturday is Lucy Jordan day. Remember her? "At the age of thirty seven / She realised / 
She'd never ride / Through Paris / In a sports car / With the wind blowin' / Through her hair ..." 
We at Vintage Street refuse to realise any such thing. We have silken summery scarves to wear in top-down sports cars 
and crisp Breton stripe T-shirts to wear on yachts in the Riviera ... everything on the rails is summer-inspired -- 
that means extra-dreamy -- and, as you would expect from us, extra clean and fresh.
Come for coffee and a browse this Saturday between 10 and 5 -- or any Wednesday or Saturday thereafter. 
Vintage Street
5 Lock Rd
Kalk Bay
Daisy 083 704-2123


Artist Melanie Hillebrand

PE ceramicist and gallery director Melanie Hillebrand is currently on show at the Irma Stern museum until Sat only. Her art is such a wonderful blend between African, Asian and European. It made my heart beat fast and the cells in my body so enlivened. Her worked is also so generously priced.

She writes of imagining her English grandmother moving to South Africa and her English crockery eventually all breaking and having to commision pieces from people who make beer drinking pots. What results is a squat low shaped beer pot with a design on the top of the vase showing influence from French and English styles, but sometimes with an African theme.

This one is the doc's favourite one

Look at this divine "vuvuzela vase"

There are also some influences from historical Japanese painting

I love this Mexican looking one!

and this Middle Eastern looking one

And these gourgeous colours on the plates.

On show only until Sat 13 Nov. 2010.