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Simone Balman shadow top
Simone Balman portrait

Simone Balman

Simone Balman owned and ran an online mosaic supplies store and had produced several craft pattern eBooks before deciding to focus on baking and sweet making.

She has been an amateur baker for a number of years and produces cakes and baked goods on request for friends and work colleagues on a regular basis. Her baked goods and candy have become so popular that she registered the Cape Cake & Candy Company, now also supplying corporates. She is a member of the South African Cake Decorator’s Guild. She discovered the world of sweets and candies when commissioned to make an obscene amount of branded lollipops for a corporate. Sweet Memories is the result of much experimenting, fun and creative flair. Simone’s first book, Cupcakes with a kick, is hugely popular both locally and internationally.

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Kathleen Barry shadow top
Kathleen Barry portrait

Kathleen Barry

Kathleen Barry started beading for the first time as a young schoolgirl, like many of us. Making jewellery for friends and family was a favourite hobby.

After the birth of her son she decided to turn her jewellery making and teaching into a full-time career. Kathleen is often invited as a guest teacher to prominent craft and corporate events, having taught many students in Cape Town and surrounds. She has done extensive work with local magazines presenting a large variety of workshops. Designing is still a passion and she manufactures once-off jewellery for boutiques and exclusive ranges for formal wear fashion designers. Kathleen’s bead studio is in Claremont, Cape Town where she designs, teaches, consults and advises her clients. You will be able to find her jewellery, project kits and favourite beads from around the world there.

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Richard Bird shadow top
Richard Bird portrait

Richard Bird

Richard Bird, an expert on gardening and plants, has written many books, including FLOWERING TREES AND SHRUBS, ORGANIC GARDENING, FENCES AND HEDGES, THE SCENTED GARDEN, THE KITCHEN GARDEN and BEDS & BORDERS. An enthusiastic gardener, Richard Bird maintains a large garden at his 15th-century cottage in Kent.

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Hazel Blomkamp shadow top
Hazel Blomkamp portrait

Hazel Blomkamp

Hazel Blomkamp has dabbled with all the needlecrafts since childhood. When her children were babies she developed a passion for embroidery to break the tedium of life with toddlers, using it as her evening reward for having got through the day with her sanity intact. Her children are now young adults and she still embroiders in front of the television every night. She has been designing for the past 18 years.

Preferring to design projects which appear to be traditional, she pushes the boundaries by introducing other forms of needlecraft into traditional techniques, exploring further in everything that she does. Along with designing, she runs a busy website from home. She teaches at her home studio, in Pietermaritzburg, KZN, and travels throughout South Africa and to Australia teaching embroidery and fine beadwork. She is a regular contributor to South African and Australian embroidery magazines and is a columnist for South African Stitches Magazine.

Hazel Blomkamp has an active mail-order business for all embroidery and bead requisites related to her designs. It is possible that, from time to time, bead and thread colours are discontinued. If you are unable to find specific threads and beads for any of the projects in this book, please email Hazel at and she will be able to send requisites to you or, in the event that they have been discontinued, will be able to suggest viable alternatives. Screen-printed fabric panels, bead packs and thread packs for all of the projects in this book are available from her website.

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Tracy Boomer shadow top
Tracy Boomer portrait

Tracy Boomer

Tracy Boomer is one of South Africa’s foremost craft authors. Her best-selling books with co-author Deborah Morbin include Stylish crafts, All new decoupage, Baby & toddler scrapbooking and Mosaics – decorative ideas.

This dynamic duo’s scrapbooking classes were immensely popular owing to their teaching style and ideas (which they bring through into their books). They continue to experiment with different crafts, often using interesting techniques across media. In all their applications they have always followed a less-is-more approach, believing that over-decorating detracts rather than enhances. All their books have prooved to be very popular thanks to their elegant and stylish projects.

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Nicky Brecher

Nicky Brecher is a born cook. From an early age, she was fascinated by what went on in the kitchen. The flavours of her grandma’s scrumptious boerekos and her mother’s freshly baked bread are among her earliest food memories. And to this day, she still uses her grandmother’s hand-written rusk recipe. From her father she learnt that every part of an animal’s carcass could be turned into a flavour-packed dish, so nothing was wasted.

She is a sought-after caterer for functions and all kinds of celebrations, and is widely known for her inventive party food. Nicky enjoys developing her own recipes, and generously shares her skill and recipes with others. Her husband, Laurie, is her trusted right-hand man when it comes to meat dishes, and she has made sure that her three sons are equally at home in the kitchen.

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Gail Brown shadow top
Gail Brown portrait

Gail Brown

When Gail Brown’s husband was transferred to Zambia, she decided to make this the time to do everything she had never done before. She joined a craft group and had learnt several crafts when Penelope Mills offered to teach the group the art of stained glass.

Gail took to it like a duck to water and continued learning the craft once she was back in South Africa. She soon started teaching others and eventually joined Jacqui to develop Classy Glass Art into a busy studio. With her husband, Henry, she spent a lot of time developing original designs.

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Melanie Brummer shadow top
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Melanie Brummer

Melanie Brummer started experimenting with dye more than 20 years ago and also learnt how to block print. For several years she manufactured and sold her hand dyed T-shirts and dresses at flea markets. Soon she began to sell custom finishes to the fashion industry and went on to supply designers like Marianne Fassler, Stoned Cherrie, Black Coffee, Marion & Lindie and many others.

She has produced custom dyed fabrics that have gone all the way to the New York Fashion Week. Currently she teaches fashion designers and others about production requirements for dyeing and printing so that they can produce their own custom finishes.

The focus of her company, Slipstream Fabric Finishes cc, is on training, products and books. She also teaches into the skills development and educational craft space through NGOs, skills centres and colleges. Working all around South Africa, Melanie uses her “show and tell” culture to share what she knows with others. She writes articles about printing and dyeing for craft magazines.

In addition to a South African edition, her first book, Contemporary dyecraft, was published in both North America and Russia, attesting to its wide appeal.

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Janice & Judy Bunce

Mother and daughter team Janice and Judy Bunce come from a very creative family background where most gifts are made, not bought. Judy started giving craft classes about eight years ago when the American craft magazines became freely available and woodcraft items started making their appearance at the craft markets. She teaches from home and most of her students have been with her for years.

Janice first joined in and later helped with the teaching until she moved to East London where she soon started her own classes, as well as offering a wood-cutting service. Her own creations are sold at a local craft store and Christmas markets. With no formal training themselves, Janice and Judy have become adept at creating new designs and adapting and changing templates, styles and techniques to suit the project they are working on. They are always encouraging their students to follow suit and develop their own particular style, and this inspired them to write this book. Their students have been their main driving force, demanding and expecting the impossible, and then getting it.

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Nikki Bush shadow top
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Nikki Bush

Nikki Bush is a creative parenting expert, inspirational speaker and author on child and parent development issues.

She is passionate about helping parents connect with their children. Nikki is highly regarded among parents and educators alike and is well-known for her many dynamic presentations including Future-proof Your Child©, Parenting on the Run©, Connecting through the Noise & Clutter© and more. 

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