Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Designex tradefair Auckland: launch of fabric

Well I'm back from Auckland and I had a fabulous time there! It was great to meet Lynn, Nick and Mark from Hemptech and to catch up with them and their rep Colin, who is always a hoot. Their stand looked great and all their linens and hemp products are crisp, clean and wonderful New Zealand. I'm very proud to be one of their designers.

Hemptech donated material for a fashion design competition held for 4 years fashion design students from Whitecliff Art school, as did other fabric houses. Beverley and I liked the one from Hemptech and the one from Warwick I believe, which dress was sculpted like a vase with huge petals at the top. Really well done. They had about 4 hours to come up with an idea and to make it I think. I had a chat to the two designers who did the Hemptech dress and they were bouncy and intelligent girls.

I saw some great pieces of furniture also , including the stand from Essenze gallery in Parnell (pic above and below) that really impressed me. They showcased the work of New Zealand designers, including David Trubridge, and I'm a huge fan of his work. Stunning, drooling, jumping up and down stuff, that sort of thing. Isn't that cloud light amazing? Beautiful gallery. Catherine and Claire are wonderful ladies and I enjoyed talking with them. I have to show Nico all the lights they have we can choose from for our kitchen and in other areas.
Bev and I also paid a visit to Newmarket's the Poi room which is a design art store that stocks only New Zealand made pieces. Melanie was lovely and we had an exciting time looking at all the art works and the unique and sometimes whimsical bits and pieces. Very inspiring and fun. Wonderful place and I came away carrying my muse, a funny creature called Fairy and she is part of the http://www.freakeyfrienz.com/ crew, made by Becky Stott and absolutely sparkly, stunning and original. Love my fairy.

To top it all off I went to see the Auckland showrooms of Kovacs and Montreux, both furniture makers now also opening in Newmarket and Parnell. I had great chats there and tried pieces I hadn't seen before. I couldn't stay for wines and nibbles as there was a plane to catch to go home again.

Designmade at 2 Leek street, Newmarket that has Montreux furniture and also Trelise Cooper fabrics.

Kovacs showroom that's shared with furniture store Perfect Pieces in Parnell, just around from the Essenze gallery it turned out. My work stocks both Kovacs and Montreux pieces in Dunedin.

Friday, June 26, 2009

What is this life?

What is this life? Michael Jackson probably wondered. Your life can be over sooner then you realize. We seem to think that it goes on forever. The fact there's an end to it is what we don't like to think about.
As Michael Leunig has drawn above: life is a holiday. I like his philosophy. Can my holiday have some warmer weather please? I like it over 10 degrees... but hey it's cool.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

the 10 commandments

Jonathan Adler is a man and brand. He embodies the wondrous mix of style and whimsicalness and he carries it off with dashing aplomb.

Here follow his 10 commandments (applying to interior design) which I find hilarious.

#1 Thou shalt embrace maximalism.
Thou wilt find minimalism to be something of a bummer in thy abode. Thou wilt grow tired of an endless sea of beige and thou wilt long for a splash of color & a dollop of pattern! Bargello pillows, Furnace bottles, and rustic modern lamps - these shalt be the accessories that add some panache to your pad.

#2 Thou shalt not deny thyself hotelish comfort at home.
Thou shalt furnish thy rooms with paw-pampering, hand-loomed llama wool rugs, luxurious lighting and our fabulous furniture.Thy rooms shalt feel like the most opulent hotel rooms in which thou hast ever stayed.Thou art worth it.

#3 Thou shalt buy an X-Bench.Then, thou shalt buy another.
Thou shalt use them in pairs, perfect under thy console or placed near thy sofa. Thou shalt rest thy feet upon them & so will thy guests. In fact, thy guests might even fight over who gets to rest upon them. Therefore, thou shalt establish house rules about thy X-Benches. Perhaps thou should consider a sign up sheet.

#4 If thy nest needeth zest,consider thy crest!
Thou shalt emblazon with thine initials wherever possible.

#5 Thou shalt mix fancy with frisky.
Thou shalt not be overly formal, for if thou art, thou will be sad. Conversely, thou shalt not be overly whimsical, for if thou art thou will not feel chic. Therefore, thou shalt embrace a mix, pairing the chic classical foundation - excellent proportions, classic furniture - with a layer of playful punctuation. Then thou shalt rest.

#6 Thou shalt honor the funsters of yore.
David Hicks, Alexander Girard, Piero Fornasetti, Bonnie Cashin, Bjorn Wiinblad - if thou dost not knoweth them, thou should. Thou can use Google Images to learn more about them and thou shalt channel their fun, idiosyncratic, playful spirit in thine own interiors. Thy home will be fun, happy, and chic.

#7 Thou shalt not commit murder,unless thou art murdering for a decorative accessory.
If thou should find thyself at one of our stores and seeth the last bird bowl on our shelf, thou shalt feel free to use whatever means necessary to obtain that special something.

#8 Thou shalt not be afraid of orange.
Thou shalt use orange copiously in thy interior, whether it beeth in an orange breakfast room or via the zing of an orange lacquered box. Thou might even consider painting thy front door orange to pique thy neighbor's curiosity. Thou shalt also covet chocolate brown.

#9 Thou shalt play ping pong.
Better still, thou shalt have a ping pong table in thy living room. Then, lo, thou shalt play ping pong with thy spouse rather than sitting around watching thy tv.

#10 Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's house.
In fact, after following these 10 commandments, thy neighbor might covet thy house. So there.

Applaud the man and his crew, theyr'e freakin' genius. Love it.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Keep it simple

To get to the heart of things, one needs to just do this:
Listen to the silence and to learn to let go.

I had the flu last week and my head was FULL of stuff. Information, ponderations, questions, memories, music, all sorts. It was getting too crowded in my whirring brain it wasn’t funny. I felt I couldn’t shake it, the noise kept continuing and I was starting to get grumpy. The cure came in the manner of raking goatie manure in their enclosure. It often does the trick for me. Different environment, doing practical stuff, working with animals and simply being away from distractions, demands, work etc. It always creates a shifting to the task at hand and being in the Now. After the Big Clean I went inside to have lunch and crash into bed. Here I found the haven of rest and the silence within.

Once the mind is clear and void of the usual fluffy-noise, things start to make sense again. There is room where before there wasn’t. I can highly recommend to detox, de-fluff and de-woolly. The so called important stuff vanishes overnight.

Let go of substance that is not good for you
Let go of things that are unnecessary or burdensome to you
Come back to the essentials. Slow down the vocabulary. Live simply.

“Most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.”
Abraham Lincoln, 16th president of US (1809 - 1865)

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Getting un-bored

Ever have that moment of boredom where you’ve been down the same path too often? A solution: do something that makes you happy and which makes you feel you’re contributing to the world.

It could be, to:
1. Write a blog
2. Volunteer
3. Help a friend
4. Look after a pet
5. Change the status quo
6. Make a decision instead of procrastinating
7. Build a snowman
8. Go on a trip
9. Clean and tidy up: organized inside and out
10. Exercise (feel good and act good)

Now yesterday, I made a snowman with Nico. My husband and I were unable to travel safely down the road to work as we were inundated with over 120mm of snow. We built a snowman instead.
Today we did make it to work through snow and slush. I’m doing number 6 and 9 today. I did number 10 earlier this morning when I fed the highland cattle, the goats and the dog. Right now I’m finishing number 1. Next weekend I’m going to do number 8 and coming weekend I’m hoping to carry out number 5.

Point being: it makes more sense to me to work with what I’m given opposed to being frustrated by what I have come across. It has been quite a few things which detracts from my normally sunny me. No, I don't think it's the fact it's winter over here. Aside the points above I ask myself the question which always helps, but which I forget to ask myself all too often:

What if this is all ok?

(I refer to Susan Jeffers’ website as she’s very good with this sort of thing.)

Get un-stuck. Get going before you get un-glued, un-clued or catch the glummy glumness. Have some coffee or hot chocolate with it while you develop new ways.

Monday, June 15, 2009

The Fond

Do you have a favorite brand, friend or -wink wink- lover? You CANNOT go without the shoes, the coffee, that special friend, those rendez-vous, your partner? They ‘make’ your day? Having our fetishes, our hobbies, our play mates, our satisfaction from an experience, why would we let go of it. Why would ‘it’ let go of us?

Being fond of those shoes, Trelise Cooper wear or mochachinos is a good thing and can be innocent and simply enjoyable. Being fond of something or someone is great, as long as it doesn’t become an addiction or an obsession as that puts you in the Freud department. So how fond is your fondness? How easy are you to get fond of? How excited are you to fond? Let go of insecure limitations and extend the hand to both chocolate and friend. Both in moderation (the first because of the calories, the second because you require your own space as well, and the friend needs some time off now and again ok.)

To sum it up:

The fondness is round
Like water rippling outwards
Every day it rises and sets only with sleep
We cherish the inner softness at heart
We love to Fond.
Especially each other.

(Not to confuse with Fondle as this is another matter, even though both may incorporate the Fond.)
Go out ye sailors and raise the flag of Fondness. It’s needed out there in these days stormy waters. Let it shine like a beacon.

(Above poette was inspired by the writing of Michael Leunig, Australian author and writer of the travels of Vasco Pyjama, one of my favorites.)

Friday, June 12, 2009

Into the wild

What's one of the best things? Releasing one's creation! I'm hoping for some sunny weather in the weekend to do some photoshooting of my finished pieces. I'll show you next week with any luck! The DesignEx tradefair is looming and I want to lug a portfolio around with my new jewellery. And it's crispy kinky groovy alright. I'm very excited. The feedback so far has been extremely positive. I'm running it past strangers, friends and people 'in the industry'. The idea is to do some trial runs (done 2 now) and see how they're received. I intend to change my bonvivant.co.nz website and make it an online store. All in good time of course. Aside the woman accesories I'm thinking of expanding in other areas too. I have to start somewhere! Goodie goodie.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Same new, same new

How often do we do the same? We get up at the same time, work the same way, do the same things, see the same people and that’s where the word ‘treadmill’ comes in.
I came across above picture today on dutchcowgirl
and man, it’s a complete hila. I started laughing big time.

Truth is: we find it refreshing and invigorating to do something else. Give it a try: instead of approaching work or your partner the same way, twist it. Show up in a hula hula outfit complete with musical instrument (don’t forget the tree) or come to work dressed in one colour only unfolding an umbrella that’s got loud big lettering on it stating: today we changed! You get the picture. It’s not for the lazy. I’ve been postponing to hang wacky artwork at work, truth is I’ll just have to bring some canvasses and attack them with conviction. Turn conventional stuff upside down. Try to make this place more a talk of the town in a good way.

If you find it hard to cocadoodle every day, aim for once a week to do something completely off the wall, to regain your flexibility muscles and to find your originality vibe once again.
Ah viva la revolucion! It can start with just a little pony. Inspired?

Tuesday, June 9, 2009


We are human therefor we desire to connect: we talk, we smooz, we joke, we support, we listen, we are there.

I decided yesterday to dust off my LinkedIn and send invites to connect to people I know. For some reason I ended up sending invites to 88 people but was pleasantly suprised by the amount of them accepting me on their network as yet. One mate send me an email saying, thanks, but I have enough trouble keeping up in the real world. He is right.

Why do we enterain the fact to connect online if we have so much on our plates already? Interesting point. All of us like to belong, in my case, to share, support and help. I like getting to know people and if I can do something for them, I will, as it's in my nature. I like learning from others as I'm quite aware I do not have all the knowledge or experience.

The people I seem drawn to in connecting with have the following attributes:

The Values of Entrepreneurs
Insatiable desire to Success
Confidence and Self Belief
Loss Averse
I will add: alternate way of thinking + sense of humor

The ability to commit (to their vision) is a core character trait. They don’t care what anybody else thinks. Confidence attracts, and most people can sense it. They must be clever in a quick-witted way, with a mind that refuses to accept barriers and that can solve a multitude of problems within seconds. Everyone has their own expertise and strenghts because all of them are talented.

Going over the networks I'm part of:

Facebook, Linkedin, Flokka, Twitter, it's no wonder you get to a point where you think for the love of God, why would I want to join up with ANOTHER one? Good question. I'm waiting for Google WAVE (+ sign up). It's a new product and should make life easier, as it makes emailing a different experience and basically throws together a whole bunch of aspects these networks have. (It's coming out later this year and they're finetuning now to eliminate possible bugs.) Trust me, in this day and age, like my mate said: it's about making life very very simple and back to basics. Family time is the top priority along with our passion for our work, our vision. Time simply goes too quickly and we can't do all, or we'd go bonkers. So that means also being able to say "NO". (Remember that word? I'm using it now. Finally.)

So why the heck bother with networking? If you're interested in people it's a neccesity. Also, I think it's worthwile for me to keep reading up on what's happening out there in the world, the market place, and also locally. One of the topblogs is ofcourse Seth Godin's. Then I visit Hugh McLeod's Gapingvoid, Aunty Cookie, the Style Files, Chris Guillebeau's posts I get by email, DutchCowgirls, and a few more Design blogs to keep up. As I get to work at 8 am and officially start an hour and a half later, this usually works out fine. I don't need to read them to be able to design something, it's more to see what the demands are out there and what products are hot, juicy, working and succesfull. I'm focussing on what's happening here in NZ and Oz, the US and Europe as they are the main players for me.

So as you can see, enough to do. Time to get busy again. I'm excited about my accesory line for women. The pieces need scouting for the appropriate chains before I can do some photoshoots etc. It takes time, but better to get it right then launching it half assed (as they say here).

So what does it keep boiling down to? Be organised and as they say, it's not what you know, but who you know, that is important. Remember the fun aspect. Get that serious frown of your face, you will be nicer to look at and it saves buying expensive facial products.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Take over the world

Today my dear fellow readers and readerettes, I will tell you about an American guy called Chris who’s a professional writer and traveler. He does both fulltime and they coincide happily. His goal is to have visited ALL countries on this planet by his 35th birthday in 2012. He’s visited 111 out of 197 so far. Check out his site ‘Art of Non-conformity’ at www.chrisguillebeau.com/3x5/ I have found it inspirational.

Chris has written 2 Manifestos (love those) which you see listed on his site, if confused click here for the 279 DAYS TO OVERNIGHT SUCCESS: www.chrisguillebeau.com/3x5/overnight-success/ which is an inspiring read about goal setting and reaching it. Click here for his ‘a Brief guide to World Domination’: www.chrisguillebeau.com/3x5/a-brief-guide-to-world-domination/ which relates about your choice to be Remarkable and make a big change.

Basically the whole concept for me is about standing for what you believe in and to endorse it actively. Do what you love and don’t make excuses for it. It’s the path of rejecting convention.
“If you want it badly enough, and are willing to make some changes in your life to cause it to happen, you too can take over the world… or do anything else you really want to do. Yes, you really can have it all. The only things you’ll need to give up are assumptions, expectations, and the comfort zone that holds you back from greatness.”


Saturday, June 6, 2009

Strong suit

For a week I lost the writing bug. I wanted to but was unable to come up with anything positive or productive. Reason: our calf had died a week ago and there were other things I was mulling over. The broody brain shortcuts any inspirational feed. Zodiac had somehow developed a calfy kids disease (as our vet put it). Long story short: our muppy made his journey to the eternal grass lands on Tuesday and we had to say goodbye to him. He was only 5 weeks old. The vet said we did all we could with the knowledge we had, but reality still sucks, pardon the phrase.

I miss the wee beastie and get too philosophical for my own good. I know he had a good time with us and we learned a lot by looking after him. Bottle feeding at 6.30 am and 6.15 pm. It was weird now not having to warm up his milk and that his enclosure his empty. I miss him because he was a curious and extremely gentle fuzz ball. We buried him in the pet plot under the stars. I can feel he’s gone home and that he’s ok, but burying is not my idea of a hobby.

So there you go: I write when I feel better. When I write a lot I’m happy. They go hand in hand like candy floss sticking to your hands. The writers’ block bug has set off in the wild again, grunting and muttering, leaving me in peace.

Truth is, I like coming up with some clever stuff now and again but let’s face it, I’m not a genius. I know this. I definitely have my moments, but I’m not nearly as smart as I like to be. I feel my 130 IQ should have a repolish. I can feel enormously blond at times which makes me feel embarrassed. At least I’m living and enjoying most of what I do so I’ll have to take the doh! streak in my stride. Have you ever had that?
I appreciate feedback: how have you found my lettery concoctions so far and what topics do you think would be good to write about? What do you think are the strong suits of this blog and what am I better off leaving alone? Thanks for that. I like getting gritty feedback, it keeps me on my toes.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Hunger for growth

Aren’t we funny. We strive, we work, we have this hunger for growth, for development, for excitement, for joy. The experience, amigo, is everything.

Right. Groovy. But. Why?
Well, if we don’t we get stuck, we get bored, we get unsettled, we get stunted, we forget why we do what we do, we wonder about our purpose, about our value, the getting out of bed thing could become very challenging. Better to have enjoyment and satisfaction, it’s more fun really. How hard do we work at it though?

The need for expansion can be questionable or a battle. For growth and expansion there has to be space to expand into, but also a NEED for it in the first place. This is where it gets interesting. Who decides there’s a need for ANYTHING? We do, other people do. The market does, the ‘out there’. The feedbackus magnificus. There has to be a thing called demand, if you want it to be fulfilling. So, the thing to do:

Whack on the head to make sure there’s 200% motivation aka reality check
Plan-plan-plan again
Get results supporting the growth
Continue to build

Most of all the hunger for growth is about self experiencing and development. It’s in the fun, the learning, the whole 9 yards. Sometimes it can be wise to pull the plug on something we have done for a while and call it a day. That too, can be part of a growing experience, be it in a different way than expected. I guess the only thing that matters is:
Do you know what you want and why? That in itself can take years to work out.

My feeling is that it’s better to do something and explore a new subject then to sit on our hands and save ourselves from learning opportunities. They say it’s better to have loved and lost then to not have loved at all. I think the same applies to business or work choices. It’s better to have tried and learned, then not to have done a damn thing. Reading my own words again is amusing as I have written this post above many months ago. It is more apt today then it probably was earlier on. It can be challenging to work out what to do when. The timing is both crucial and natural. It's essential to work hard but also to be wise and decide to be patient to let things unfold. Ideally we should be looking back thinking: good thing it all happened the way it did because the whole process was perfect from start to finish. That way there are no regrets or red faces. Even creating duds from time to time can be helpful to explore our potential.
A toast to dashing attempts I say and here here to those that boldly continue on when the outcome is uncertain, but the vision is clear. Oh, and just do some homework, that sorta helps.