Spruce Salon in Morningside, Durban {Review}

On friday afternoon, I had the pleasure of meeting Katy, therapist & owner of Spruce 
{a delightful Salon} which she recently opened in Morningside Durban. 

Ladies, if you need a break from reality and love the thought of being pampered, surrounded by orchids while sipping on an apple & mint cordial, then why not book yourself in for a {treat}ment at Spruce.

First, a few questions to get to know the lady behind the brand...

Q: Where is your favourite place to spend a saturday afternoon?
Wherever family and friends are.

Q: If you could go back in time and tell your 5 year old self anything, what would it be?
Listen to your gut!

And now for a little more about Spruce...

Q: Have you always been interested in beauty? Has owning your own salon always been a dream of yours?  
Absolutely! I remember doing D.IY facials at home on whoever would let me, with all sorts of interesting concoctions from the fridge and pantry – those poor skins! Ive always been fascinated by hand-healing therapies, the power of good products and self-improvement in general, so becoming a beauty therapist was a bit of a no-brainer, and of course owning my own salon was always the ultimate goal.

Q:Tell us the story behind the name, Spruce.
It just came to mind when I Was brainstorming for names. I wanted something short, sweet and catchy that embodied what I do how I want my clients to feel when they’ve walked out my doors – spruced-up!

Q: What is your most popular treatment with your clients?
Both the ESSE and Dr. Babor facials and extremely popular – its a total head-to-toe pamper. And I cant keep up with the Shellac nails – its a life-changing product!

Q: Do you offer any signature treatments?
My facials are definitely unique in that I combine a whole array of techniques to create a very relaxing and beneficial treatment. I also offer a hot lava-shell massage which is similar to the traditional hot stone massage but so much more indulgent!

 Q: What skincare brands do you stock?
I use and sell ESSE (100% organic) which is an incredibly nourishing and healing product that anyone can use and it is extremely powerful in treating all of the common skin conditions such as acne, eczema, dryness etc. Im totally hooked! And then for anyone wanting to turn back the clock and totally transform dull, tired and aging skin Dr Babor is magic-wand of beauty products that guarantees instant results – you literally watch the lines disappear in minutes – its your botox and fillers without the needles!

I had the most wonderful Esse facial when I was there, a full head to toe treatment. All i can say is that Katy, in the few weeks before my wedding, I hope your schedule is free so I can see you for lots and lots of pre-wedding 'sprucing' up! 

Q&A with Sara of *LuckyYouHandMade*

I have loved getting to know the wonderfully talented Megan of ChinaDollIllustrations, and Jess of HelloThula. Here's a chance for you to get to know the creative soul behind the blog LuckyYouHandMade!

 Q) First of all, for those readers who have yet to see your blog, what is it that you do?

 I do many things but my focus is on felt brooches, lace and embroidery accessories and I also make paper mache dolls

Q) What materials do you use/prefer to use?

I mainly use hand dyed felt but I love using silk as well.

Q) Did you study your craft? Or did it come out of a passion for making pretty things?

I actually studied to be a chef but have always loved making things. 

Q) Is there anything in particular that you absolutely *love* making more than anything else? Why?

I love making my dolls because they always end up with such personality.

Q) You recently had work displayed at the Mr Price 031 Collection, thats incredible! What
was that like?

It was amazing to be involved with such a professional, slick show with all those talented designers- a real ego boost!

Q) Where can we get our hands on your awesome pieces?

I have some things for sale at Con Amore at the La Lucia Mall in Durban but anyone can mail me with any special orders - sara@luckyou.co.za

Awesome, now to just get my bum down to Durbs to get my paws on some of those hairbands....click here to check our Sara's blog and stay up to date with her latest offerings!

Q&A with Megan of *ChinaDollIllustrations*

A little while ago I did post on the  incredibly skilled jewelry designer and hand forger, Jess from HelloThula. This past weekend I was in Durban visiting Farmboy, and just had to pop in for tea with this pretty lady...

Here is what we got chatting about while sipping on fragrant tea and stuffing our faces with basil pesto and mozzarella pannini's.



Q. What is your favourite food/colour/animal/place in the world/way to spend a Sunday afternoon?

My favourite food right now is an italian pesto salad with mozarella cheese and baby tomatoes mmmmm.

My favourite colour changes all the time but I have salmon pink on the brain at the moment. Lastly my favourite animal has always been the panda bear, they are so awesome and pretty and cute all at the same time :)

I am so lucky to have traveled a lot as a kid but my most memorable places are Lake Malawi ( I don't think South Africans realize how close it is or how beautiful it is) and Yosemite (national park in America) the surroundings and views are spectacular there.
Call me corny but my ideal Sunday afternoon would consist of me at home in my pj's with teapots full of tea, junk food to the max and unlimited amount of movies.

Q) For those readers who haven't seen your blog, what is it that you do?

I am a freelance illustrator. I illustrate for magazines and I do a lot of commission work for birthdays, and Christmas presents etc. But my work mostly consists of my personal pieces, these are the illustrations I market the most on my blog as well as face book and flickr. I literally just can't stop drawing and I have a portfolio full of art which I print and sell at markets and online. My goal is to develop my own style and world of art that will be recognized by many and eventually become an independent illustrator. Thats pretty much the entirety of what I do.

Q) I wish I could just pick up a pencil and go for it, alas, maybe I can learn? Did you study illustration?

I actually studied Fashion Design where Illustration is a big part of the work you do. Thats where I really saw the value in being able to draw and illustrate forms, textures etc.

Q) How long does it take to complete one drawing from start to finish?

Thats a tough question, each artwork is different really. Some pieces I want to be super detailed which take up to 3-4 hours whereas others are a lot more simplistic and only have a few pencil lines and only take an hour. How ever I have realized with myself that the longer I take and the more work I put in, the better it will look. I guess thats how it works with most things. 

Q) Do you ever got so frustrated that you rip up what you're doing and chuck it in the bin? Or does that just happen in the movies?

There are days where I just don't feel it and land up scrunching up sketch after sketch in frustration, this mostly happens when there is too much negative thinking and bad self esteem. On those days I realize it is time to put the pencil down and get some positive inspiration weather that be from hanging out with friends, taking a walk on the beach anything to relax your brain really. Even sometimes washing the dishes can do the trick he he.

Q) Now we know your just human and also get frustrated with your own work, Where/who do you get your inspiration from?
My inspiration mostly comes from nature and animals, when I was younger I grew up having lots of animals from horses to hamsters and even chickens we also travelled a lot seeing so many places that changed my whole perspective on life. So naturally I have always been in love nature. But art in all it's forms also inspires me daily. On the web there are so many inspirational people, photographers, fashion, graphic and interior designers that produce phenomenal work. These people always push me to try to be better at what I do.

Q) What was the first drawing/illustration that you ever did?

 My mom was an artist so I guess she planted the seed, she had this awesome art room full of paints, canvases and easels, she always encouraged me to draw. Although I don't actually remember the first drawing I did, but the one thing my sister and I always use to do was draw rows and rows of girl figures in the best clothing designs we could think of, they would each have different hair colour, eye colour and each have their own outfit! We used to have a blast drawing them.

Q) What do you think about the future for illustrators in South Africa?

I think the world is full of talented people and that includes the people of South Africa. How ever I do think that we are a little bit behind and have not become aware of how we can use our skills to make money as well as become well known around the world. This is changing slowly which is really exciting as the potential for a community of successful artists is huge. I really hope to see some South African names in lights in the near future. It is totally possible for us to catch up with the international art and illustration community.

Q) Ultimately, where would you like to see your drawings/illustrations displayed? 

I would love to see my art in big magazines, children's books, design books, anywhere really. I always get a wonderful sense of accomplishment when I see my art featured and exhibited anywhere. I also hope to start my own stationary brand which will be branded with my illustrations and art one day, I would really love that.

Lastly, where do you see yourself in 5 years time?

I have absolutely no idea as to where or what I will be doing in 5 years time, I am the kind of person who takes it year by year. I don't really plan to far ahead but I would like to see myself in Hong Kong perhaps, maybe even somewhere else as an independent illustrator or even a part time illustrator, part time teacher. Teaching children is another big dream of mine. Marriage and babies will come in their own time but I see my boyfriend Dustin and I enjoying our lives either traveling, teaching and always always illustrating and designing. 

Thanks Megan for an absolutely wonderful morning! 

Q&A with Jess of *HelloThula*

I am always on the lookout for other inspiring/beautiful/creative blogs to use up all my mom's bandwidth (yes I am still one of those youngsters living at home and loving it!). It was just another one of those days, until I stumbled across HelloThula. I was so captivated by her blog, I just had to drop her a line. One thing led to another, and I thought the rest of you might like to hear what she is all about :)


Q. Where does the name Thula come from?

I was wanting to come up with a cool name for my jewelry, but nothing seemed quite right. I left it for a few weeks and all of a sudden thula popped into my mind, I liked the word itself, and I also like that its South African.

Q. So for those readers who have yet to stumble across your *shop*, what is it that you do/make??

I design, and hand make or hand forge sterling silver jewelry. I make jewelry from scratch. I buy raw silver in little like nuggets, and then I melt it down, roll it with a machine, knock it, hammer it, forge it into a ring.. earrings.. a tube for a stone... etc. 

I then sell my jewelry on my etsy store, mostly to international buyers thula on etsy and locally, to South African customers through my blog,  where rand prices are available. 

Q. What's your favorite item of jewelry to make and why?

I would have to say my hammered heart ring, I love to make this ring because it goes against everything I have been taught as a goldsmith apprentice. I'm used to making fine jewelry, but yet I love to make rustic jewelry like the hammered heart ring because it has its own character. I can make 10 rings look exactly exactly the same if I'm making fine jewelry. But with rustic jewelry.. something can look very very similar, but not quite 100%. That is because its not filed, and sanded, and made to look identical. The way the hammer hits the band, will not be exactly the same as another rustic ring. & because it is not being "cleaned" up/ (filed/ sanded polished) Its always going to be different, and that makes it interesting.

Q How long does it take you to make something, and where do you get your idea's from?

It all depends on the item of jewelry. A rustic piece of jewelry will obviously take a shorter time to make  than a fine piece of jewelry.
A hammered heart ring can take me 45 minutes. My clover ring is about 3 hours.
I get ideas from fashion editorials in magazines, I love looking at an outfit, and designing something that would really go with what the model is wearing. I get a lot of new ideas, from designing custom orders for people as well. 

Having to look outside of myself, and think about what someone else wants, someone else's style is always interesting and helps me to develop new ideas and pieces.

Q. What's the hardest part of being a jewelry manufacturer?

The hardest part of designing jewelry is probably trying to come up with something a little fresh, and different. Something people havent seen before. Working as a goldsmith apprentice tends to make you a bit narrow-minded when it comes to designing. Typically you just do custom orders for people. You do some designing, but thats more to please them, and to design somehting specific to their own style. Ive found that having my own jewelry range is more challenging, but definitely more fun.

The hardest part of actually hand making the jewelry, is when you mess something up!

You don't get a second chance if you make a mistake, you need to start the ring, or item over. This doesn't happen very often, but it can, and when that happens it can be frustrating, and you almost lose interest in the piece. The upside though, is that this when I really learn.

Q. What's the best part of being a jewelry manufacturer?

Being able to be creative, and see something through from absolutely nothing to something special.
Thinking, planning and designing something.. and then executing the plan of how to go about making it, then finishing it off. & having the finished product to actually see, and being able to enjoy it because its tangible, and not just an idea, or a drawing.

I love working the metal, forging it into what I want it to become. Its fun, and it allows me to be very creative.

I also really enjoy doing custom orders for people, whether it be a birthstone ring, or necklace. Or something very special that they want made. Its fun, and different, something I wouldn't typically make.

Q. You're from PE, If we had one day to explore the *windy city* where would you suggest we go?

You should definitely check out Richmond Hill.. if you are looking for some breakfast, or lunch, Vovo Telo bakery (the original) is just lovely... 
Otherwise late afternoon, early evening, Check out Charlie Superstar - amazing pizza, , Bain Street Grill.. or Fushin (if you into sushi).

Otherwise, sardina bay beach is a really wonderful place to go for a picnic, or walk. Its a beautiful beach, and just a great place I treasure.

Lastly, If you could design an item of jewelry for your favorite celebrity , what would you design and who would it be for?

I'd like to design something for Blake Lively. I really like her fashion sense, and there's something ethereal about her which I think is really beautiful.

I'd most likely design a very intricate, dainty and feminine necklace, with many fine chain, linked to one, with different size gemstones. All pale, and understated colored gems placed throughout the layers of chains. Something that could be worn with something very casual, or with something very smart and formal as well.

 Thanks for the inspiration Jess...it's not everyday you get to chat with someone who designs and makes their own jewelry, and one that makes such beautiful pieces.
Don't forget to check out Jess's shop, and of course her blog for her latest offerings :)

I hope you enjoyed my first *interview* post. Let me know if what you thought about it, and whether you would like to see more :)