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A Taste of Africa: Gages - Eggplant, Tomato and Onions - Oh My!

By Mustafa Salemwalla on Tue, May 15, 2018 @ 02:46 PM

Getting to know Africa includes experiencing the vastly different - and yummy - expressions of each culture through food.

Gages is a deceptively simple vegetable dish that originates in Sierra Leone. We say "deceptively simple" because the taste is extraordinary!

Topics: Recipes Food
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5 Misconceptions About African Art and Culture

By Penny Baldwin-French on Wed, Apr 25, 2018 @ 02:37 PM

Shop By Regional Map

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Make the Best of What’s Underfoot - Criteria and Caring for Area Rugs

By Mustafa Salemwalla on Mon, Apr 23, 2018 @ 12:57 PM

Area rugs offer many practical benefits, from providing cushion underfoot to warmth to protecting floors from scuffs and scratches to separating cold, hard surfaces from tender bare feet. Area rugs also offer aesthetic value by framing a space and adding color and interest. Of the considerations when purchasing an area rug, two in particular stand out: criteria for selection and caring for the carpet.

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B is for Bowl - The Most Versatile Vessel Ever

By Penny Baldwin-French on Sat, Jan 20, 2018 @ 11:30 AM

Almost every definition of a bowl goes pretty much as follows . . .

a round, deep dish or basin used for food or liquid

But we beg to differ!

Pangoli

Pangolin Bowl
Tsandza Colle

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T is for Teapot - A Brief (but Fascinating) History

By Penny Baldwin-French on Mon, Jan 08, 2018 @ 08:30 PM

We've been using teapots for thousands of years.
No kidding, thousands!

Ardmore Goose Teapot

Ardmore Goose Teapot
Tsandza Colle

 Teapots were invented back in the Yuan Dynasty (in China). The design likely progressed gradually from ceramic kettles and wine pots made of metals. Prior to that, only cauldrons were used to boil tea which was then served in bowls.

By the Ming Dynasty, use of the teapot was widespread in China

Early teapots were small in comparison to what we use today, as they were usually designed for a single tea drinker. Believe it or not, once the tea was brewed, they usually drank it straight from the teapot spout! If I'd done that as a child, my grandmother would have clipped my ear! Different strokes for different folks, indeed.

They might have actually been onto something, as single portions of tea are easier to control with regard to flavour and are easier to repeat consistently.

From the 17th century onward, tea was shipped from China to Europe, along with exotic spices and other luxuries.  Porcelain teapots, often painted in the familiar blue and white we associate with many Chinese ceramics, were also shipped out.  

Here's a fun fact! Because porcelain is completely vitrified, it can stand subjection to seawater without harm. Therefore the teapots could be stowed below deck.  The tea, however, had to be stowed above deck in order to remain dry.

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Got To Go There - Swaziland - One of the Last Remaining Absolute Monarchies

By Penny Baldwin-French on Thu, Dec 28, 2017 @ 08:30 PM

Swaziland is a small, landlocked monarchy in Southern Africa - best known for its wilderness reserves and festivals.

Source:  Creative Commons, Labeled for Reuse

The borders of delightful Swaziland are shared with Mozambique and South Africa. The Lebombo Moutains, Mlawula Nature Reserve and the Hlane Royal National park are all fascinating spots to visit. Diverse wildlife including lions, hippos and elephants can be spotted throughout Swaziland.

Swaziland is known for civility and peacefulness, making it a great place to begin to experience Africa.  

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Got To Go There - The Magic of the KwaZulu Natal

By Penny Baldwin-French on Fri, Dec 01, 2017 @ 11:55 AM

The KwaZulu Natal is about as eclectic a place as you can find. That's part of what makes it so interesting.

Source:  Creative Commons, Labeled for Reuse

Rough and magical, smart and sophisticated, rural and urban, the KwaZulu Natal is a symphony of differences. Shabby suburbs nestle cheek to cheek with upscale malls.  Beautiful beaches contrast with dramatic mountains and dry savannahs.  African life beats a vigorous counterpoint in markets to the quieter and more pastoral settings in the rural areas.

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What's the Appeal of Handmade? A Renaissance of Taste

By Penny Baldwin-French on Mon, Oct 30, 2017 @ 02:13 PM

We encounter handmade products in trendsetting boutiques, and view them as artfully arranged emblems of good taste. So, why do we think that?

Giraffe

Giraffe TeapotThe Ardmore Collection

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Slow and Steady Wins the Race - The Benefits of Slow Fashion

By Penny Baldwin-French on Fri, Oct 27, 2017 @ 11:50 AM

That venerable tale of the tortoise and the hare isn't just an amusing story. It's a lesson in making the right choices - in the long run!

Image Source: Creative Commons, labeled for reuse

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How Natural Fibres Benefit You and Your Planet

By Penny Baldwin-French on Fri, Oct 20, 2017 @ 12:02 PM

Natural fibres are a great advantage when selecting fashion accessories.  Add to that the beauty of hand weaving or knitting and you get gorgeous, long-lasting fashion pieces that are uniquely different.

When production of  fashion accessories also achieves minimal impact on the environment, productive employment and skills training, it is a Win/Win for everyone involved!

Tsandza Handweaving produces some of the most beautiful, gorgeously hued, bespoke quality fashion accessories we've ever seen.

Tsandza Collection

Natural fibres are more comfortable, are less allergic to skin and production processes are less harmful to our environment. All wins as far as we are concerned.

We avoid synthetic fibres as they do not absorb perspiration and, for the most part, have a rough texture and feel we just don't like.

First established in 1979, Tsandza Weaving, formerly known as Rosecraft Weaving, is a social enterprise that produces high quality products, handwoven in pure natural fibres by talented artisans in rural Swaziland.

Consumers seeking ethically produced items that make an impact to a bigger purpose when making their purchase will find "forever presents" that not only represent beauty and skill, but also contribute to a more sustainable future for us all

MADE BY HAND

Every step of Tsandza’s production process is done by hand. From the dying, spinning & weaving to the knotting & tasseling. Even our sewing machines for labelling are manual! This means every item we make is unique and exclusive to you. Our impact on our environment is greatly reduced, and it also means we need many hands, ensuring we continue to be a vital source of training and income generation for many rural women.

It is quite a complex process requiring patience, skill and a lot of work!

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