Monday, March 7, 2011


This is a small town in the Karoo. It has been a main sentre when wool production experience a flourishing period. Today the town is run down, many of the old houses is in a poor state and the prosperity of the region and the town has sharply declined.

Amidst this is Nelmarié van Eeden and she makes a difference! This remarkable woman have squashed 3 lives into one. She can write several books about her life, but she choose to live the one given to her right now. She bought this building in the main street and opened her patchwork shop "Laslappies". She plan to make Philipstown the "Patchwork" centre of South Africa and she is on her way to do so.

I was in the fortunate position to go to Philipstown last week to teach the wonderful, interesting and diverse group of women new tricks! Due to Nelmarie's hard work to invite all the leading teachers in South Africa to Philipstown, these women can do a lot of things. For instance, Louise produce 4 quilts a month. So I had to go and mesmerized them with some intricate piecing- to make the 1000 km trip worth their while (and mine). My loyal friend Rita, went with me and took the photographs in this post. (I will write about Rita at another occasion again)

Nelmarie and her husband Anton housed us on their farm Brulfontein, 12 km outside Philipstown- on the Colesberg road. This is a wonderful farmhouse in the Art Nouveau style and probably built around 1950. The wide "corridors" has several Persian carpets and the walls are hung with art collected from South African artists, but also French and English artists. This is the tastefull selection of Anton. What a privilege it was for me and Rita to be surrounded with such wonderful pieces.

Nelmarie imported porcelain vases from China 25 years ago via England through a friend of her's. There was a boikot against South Africa at that time and she made it possible for a few people to own this vases. When she sold enough to cover her costs she took the rest for herself. (Her patchwork shop is also a "charity" effort to bring fabric to people who otherwise would have to work with polyester type fabrics.)

Another speciality of Nelmarie is her garden. A formal "English" Garden near the house take into account that the area is rocky and basically impossible to dig some flower beds. Her garden does not end here- it goes on and on into a previously sheep "kraal". Here the sheep manure enrich the ground and roses and spinach grow next to each other with friendly tomatoes growing all over.

The lovely sheep dog is there to greet one and make sure you feel welcome at all times.

And our beatiful bedroom------

Around the house, the Alpacha's add to this perfect picture. The Van Eeden's have only a few but are saving the wool- it can become a lovely quilt batt!

Anton and I studied the USA atlas to determine exactly where Paducah is- perhaps next year in Paducah!

A spectacular Day break- and the Battery in Rita's camera lasted just long enough to capture this.


  1. What a great trip! The shop looks fabulous! Hope you got everything you wanted.


  2. Lyk of jy 'n fantastiese tyd gehad het. Sjoe, wens ek kon saam met jou gegaan het.

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