the Karoo and us

….and this year we did it again, but a little bit different.

Our 2017 crochet getaway* took place in the beautiful Karoo, specifically in Richmond, and to pin point our exact location…the lovely charming Richmond Cafe and Rooms

I cannot describe in words how absolutely beautiful and special the experience was.

Our hosts, Klaradyn, Nicol and their whole team, made us feel so welcome and the saying ”being spoiled” is an understatement.

We will be sharing some of our favourite moments over the next few weeks with you,

like where we sat on this couch a lot……



Cornel worked on her gorgeous African flower blanket,


Anisa started knitting a fun shawl pattern from Hedgehogfibers and…


…and I started Stephen West’s Marled magic shawl.


…and Liesel (who doesn’t crochet, but cheer us on from the sidelines), sitting here with her needlepoint project.

 In the coming weeks we will share what we made over the glorious 5 days and all the links to the patterns.

Wishing you a lovely day

love from Elsbeth


PS: Visit our instagram accounts for more of the Karoo and us

Richmond Cafe and Rooms

Cornel, Anisa, Elsbeth and Liesel

PSS: *we did a lot of knitting too!

top fashion designers use knitting, crochet and embroidery for Spring/Summer 2016

ralph lauren october 2015 hellohart_com

I’m always on the look out for the latest fashion with a touch of handcrafted goodness. Fashion week in London, New York and Paris (about 3-5 weeks ago) did not disappoint me! There were MANY outfits with knitted detail, crocheted touches and free style embroidery to drool over. Here are a few of my favourite outfits (with some notes on what caught my eye) by some pretty famous designers for Spring/Summer 2016.calvin klein october 2015 hellohart_com

norma kamali october 2015 hellohart_com

lemaire october 2015 hellohart_com

prada 1 october 2015 hellohart_com

gucci 1 october 2015 hellohart_com

gucci 2 october 2015 hellohart_com

christopher kane october 2015 hellohart_com

more christopher kane october 2015 hellohart_com

dolce and gabbana 1 october 2015 hellohart_com

dolce and gabbana 2 october 2015 hellohart_com

dolce and gabbana 3 october 2015 hellohart_com

dolce and gabbana 4 october 2015 hellohart_com

Have a fantastic weekend!


PS To explore more of the latest fashion click HERE

empty nest kits and making

empty nest kits and making brochure request on hellohartdotcom_the gentle art of making

empty nest kits and making announcement stitched 2

The Empty Nest Kits & Making brochure is ready to be sent out to all of you who are eager to be a part of

The Gentle Art of Making.

Remember that, by making a kit, you will be part of the movement (to make the world a happier place).

Instructions for sharing your making is included in every kit.


We are SOOOOO excited to send out our first kit orders on Friday this week


simply can’t wait for our making to start on Wednesday 5 August!

Thank you thank you thank you to every one of you who have ordered, showed interest, congratulated us or booked for

The Gentle Art of Making.

empty nest kits and making announcement stitched

Please request a brochure WITH PRICING


book for our August, September and November 2015 get-togethers BELOW:

empty nest kits and making announcement stitched 2

With anticipation,


PS The brochure will be sent out to everyone who has already requested more info. And again, THANK YOU form the bottom of our hearts!

the secret is out

empty nest kits and making announcement

Emma (in the picture above) couldn’t keep the secret any longer!

Do you remember the announcement last week about 2 teenage daughters leaving their nests and Elsbeth & Cornel sharing their creativeness with the world in a more tangible way?

Well, from Wednesday 5 August 2015 you can join the two of them (and Emma) for a fun experience where a little bit of crochet, knitting, embroidery and paper craft is explored through hands-on learning.

Everything you need to finish a lovely gift for yourself, your daughter or a dear friend is supplied.

empty nest kits and making announcement stitched

“We place special emphasis on having a good time” – Elsbeth

‘’We believe that with a little bit of guidance you will discover how easy it is to create happiness with your own hands” – Cornel

empty nest kits and making announcement stitched 2

Get together with them on Wednesdays at  1219 Prospect Street in Hatfield, Pretoria


If you can’t be with them in person, explore their fabulous fun-filled kits (see list below) with easy to follow instructions and make something beautiful.

If you are curious, a novice or even a beginner, allow yourself to be part of

The Gentle Art of Making.

empty nest kits and making announcement stitched

“Embrace your creativity even when you’re convinced you don’t have a single creative bone in your body” – Elsbeth

“The Gentle Art of Making is a movement that allows you to discover your hidden creativity in a small intimate group” – Cornel

LOGO for empty nest compact


STEP 1: BECOME A MEMBER FOR A MONTH (4 sessions/get-togethers each focusing on a certain part of making)

STEP 2: PICK ONE OF 10 KITS (see below)

STEP 3: CHOOSE A TIME SLOT ON WEDNESDAYS 9:30-11:30 am, 14:30-16:30 (scholars/students VERY welcome) or 18:30-20:30




empty nest kits and making announcement stitched

Here’s a list of kits they’re putting together at the moment:

Kiki’s fingerless Mittens

30cm Frida Kahlo Doll

30cm Custom Doll (like Emma)

Granny Hannah’s Cosy

Poppy Pin Cushions (2)

Bessie & Bella Pin Cushions (2)

Merry Meadow Handbag

Celebration Bunting

Very Cherry Pencil Case

Blossom Ipad Cover empty nest kits and making announcement stitched 2

“We can’t wait to start this journey with you!” – Elsbeth & Cornel

Send a message in the form below or phone 0825716485 to book

Make it pretty

It was just a normal Sunday. I was catching up on some series but my boring socks kept bothering me.


Why am I wearing such boring socks when I could be wearing amazing socks?
I took some of my favorite colour yarns, an embroidery needle and started to play.

(It should feel like playing otherwise you are doing it wrong)


You now have spectacular socks! I embroidered a very simplistic flower with buds and leaves in the center of my socks.


It is the perfect project for adding some colour into your day and wardrobe.

Can’t wait to take my goodie two socks out today.

Hope your week will be spectacular!

Love Elsbeth xxx

kiki’s fingerless mittens

cornel strydom hellohart dot com kikis mittens 1

The one who’s hands I’m holding is flying the nest on Monday. Literally. With a plane.

cornel strydom hellohart dot com kikis mittens 3

She’ll spend the next 6 months in the UK.

cornel strydom hellohart dot com kikis mittens 8

 We call her Kiki, but her name is Christi and she’s my eldest.

cornel strydom hellohart dot com kikis mittens 5

I’m extremely sentimental and wanted her to take something with her for “warmth”. Real warmth and her mother’s love.

cornel strydom hellohart dot com kikis mittens 6

I love best in very practical ways.

cornel strydom hellohart dot com kikis mittens collage 2

I believe my “collage of crafts” (crocheted grannie squares, knitting and embroidery) will make my love for her tangible.

cornel strydom hellohart dot com kikis mittens 11

We’ll spend this weekend celebrating, reflecting and loving.

cornel signature

PS Inspiration for my colour scheme is from Haafner, yarn used is Protea from I Love Yarn. I used a 3,75mm crochet hook and 3mm knitting needles. My dear friend Elsbeth cheered me on as I tried my hand at my first “woolly tattoo”, inspired by the über talented Dotty Angel.

hello fancy pansy

This weekend was spent sorting out my yarn stash. My daughter wanted to knit a scarf for the cooler Johannesburg mornings, and while looking for something suitable, I found the beautiful Pierrot Linen Yarn that I got as a gift at our crochet Weekend last october.

I decided to make a small Pansy Flower brooch for myself.


I love to crochet brooches- I usually make them when I want instant gratification. Its easy to start and quick to finish and feels amazing to add something new to your outfit.

The natural linen yarn has a very interesting texture- it is stiff and takes a bit to get used to, but once you start the texture becomes amazingly soft.

The way my little leaves and flower kept their form and how the hit of shimmer from the yarn played with the light just won me over.



fancy pancy brooch by elsbeth

If you can remember from my previous post, my dog played with my precious Malabrigo Silkpaca yarn and I promise you, I tried to unravel it but it was just impossible to wind back to a ball.

So now I have messy leftovers and most of my projects that need a little bit of yellow amazingness will get the silkpaca treatment. I added some french knots in the centre of my crochet flower with my silkpaca.

fancy pancy brooch by elsbeth

fancy pancy brooch by elsbeth

I highly recommend this yarn for making necklaces and little accessories or any project where you want texture and a natural feel.


Lucy also loves the brooch and couldn’t wait to try it on!

fancy pancy brooch by elsbeth

Have a great week!

love from Elsbeth

PS: My daughter ended up knitting a scarf with some Vinnis Bambi.

She is going for a colour block effect. How sweet!


my mittens

Winter is coming…..

and its getting cooler here in Pretoria.

I love the cooler weather because it means I can wear coats, pretty knitted and crochet scarves and some of my cute stockings to keep warm! So to celebrate the start of cooler days I  decided to make some mittens.

I have never knitted anything like a mitten and I loved this project!

mittens by Elsbeth

Apart from starting over like 5 times, I eventually got the feel for the pattern and enjoyed it so much.

I used the beautiful Rowan Wool that I shopped with Cornel.

mittens by Elsbeth

I used this free Ravelry pattern by Tincanknits but didn’t follow the pattern word for word  stitch for stitch.

I simplified the pattern so that all the stitches are knitted with the easy plain knit stitch. I only purled a bit at the ribbing.

mittens by Elsbeth

I know that my stitches are not consistent and that I can improve my overall technique but I am super happy with the end result!

The Ravelry pattern is for adults and children and also gives instructions for how to knit a finger-less mitten.

Definitely going to make some of them for my loved ones.

mittens by Elsbeth

mittens by Elsbeth

I embroidered a flower and some twigs on the one mitten and will do the same on the other mitten.

I used some Italian cotton and silkpaca from Malabrigo for the embroidery details.

Hope your week is fantastic and that you are using your special knitting and crochet skills to make the world a warmer place!


ps: if you were wondering why all my yellow Malabrigo silkpaca is in such a mess it is because I had an assistant aka Lilly, my dog, who put my wool through a rough play session behind my back!!!

My lovely woolly ladies

Spending a little holiday time at home is one of the best holidays for me because I am surrounded by all my “stuff”.

So this Easter holiday while staying at  home in Pretoria, I designed and made some Woolly Ladies.

I always paint little ladies and it was so much fun to translate my art into three dimensional pieces.

I have bags and boxes full of fabric off-cuts and pieces of vintage ribbons and all sorts of little things I stashed away during the last 20 years, and finally I played with it – not to mention some of my beautiful yarn!

lovely wolly ladiesart doll by Elsbeth Eksteen

Here is Lucy.

I made the body with some off-cut fabric that I used to cover my couch with. I filled her with my left over bits of wool.

Her hair is from some black wool roving that I bought 7 years ago when I wanted to try felting, but never did.

Her arms and legs are made from off-cut cotton fabric.

…… And then the serious fun started!

I knitted her dress with the the beautiful Moya organic cotton yarn I received as a gift and some yummy  yellow Malabrigo silkpaca wool for a wispy lacy border. Lucy’s scarf is also made with some Malabrigo silky merino.

Her little granny square handbag is crochet with some amazing shimmering Italian Filati Torro Rubino cotton that I bought at I love yarn in Pretoria.

Lucy is so sweet she even made some friends.

art doll by Elsbeth Eksteen

Lucy and her closest friend, also in a knitted dress with the lovely Moya and some I love yarn wool.

art doll by Elsbeth Eksteen

…and some other Woolly Ladies.

I really enjoyed playing around with all my bits   and pieces and especially with the beautiful wool that I have. After making these I really feel happy that I’ve kept all these little off-cuts.

The very shinny lady (left) has a navy dress made from a sequenced fabric I bought to make a dress for my daughter for a Valentines ball when she was 16- I just loved all the memories when I worked with the fabric again.

Anisa wrote a beautiful article about nostalgia here, where some yarn lovers share some fond memories about their special knitted and crocheted items….even the amazing Stephen West took part in the article!

Have a great week


PS: I might sell these lovely woolly ladies so let me know if you might be interested!