Thursday, July 30, 2009


This morning I drove to work and stopped at the lights of a large intersection coming into Dunedin. There sitting on the corner, was a friendly looking Maori gentleman on a camping chair accompanied by a very large cardboard sign. It read: "Hi, my name is John and I'm looking for work to support my family. Please show your support". I tooted my horn and waved excitedly to him. This seemed to cheer him up. I gave him the thumbs up and drove away at the green light.

Now normally we think about this a minute or so and say well good on him and that'd be that. I thought there must be more I can do for him. Going through my contacts in my head thinking whether there'd be someone who could help him. I also decided to ring the local radio station More fm and tell them John was sitting there and whether they could mention it on the air to help him out. I will also phone someone in the building industry who I needed to speak to today anyway and mention it.

Small gestures can make big differences. If we don't do anything we will know for sure nothing will happen. I think it's very courageous of John to sit at an intersection exposed to the whole city asking for work. It may not be an easy thing to do. People might say funny things. We simply don't know. It take s a lot of humility and possible desperation to do what he did.
But the simple truth is: we are best to help each other out as all of us can fall on hard times. If you know you could make a difference, why decide to leave it alone? Make your small difference today, it may lead to much more tomorrow.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

It's about you

Seth Godin had another excellent point regarding the fact that to other people, it’s never about us, it’s all about them. We know this, but don’t always act on it. (I find it especially good to remember when writing a blog.) This is true in friendships, work relationships and others like talking to the neighbors. Of course it’s kind if someone’s actually interested in my life or in me as a person, but if I’m not bringing something of value or interest (also value) to the table, many people will get bored or annoyed and are more likely to leave me alone.

It's fun nowadays with superficial relationships (like the ones we enjoy online) and the real ones because: how can we tell who that someone in cyberspace really is? It will still be about exchange, about value and about assessment. I guess it’s all up to interpretation. Why do people listen or care? Because you add something. Offering value in some way always helps.

How then do you make a distinction between having a relationship, bringing knowledge, products, support or whatever to the table, and not being taken advantage off? This is one to check out. I’ve seen it before and I’m sure you have too. Not that I’m advocating you should put roadblocks in any relationship and ‘measure’ the give and take ratio, but I do suggest to be ‘aware’. Marketers know this, hard sales people do too. Pounce. Ouch. Whack with handbag in retaliation? No. You should have seen it coming.

When we are being nice we will have a very high change of being trampled on. This is clear as day. It’s good to remember to be less naïve, but still loving. There’s a difference between genuinely giving without expecting anything in return and to give knowing we are stacking up brownie points to get somewhere. Also there’s the thing about whether we demand things from others or if we nicely ask for it. The good ol’ famous balancing act is what it boils down to and the respect we have. Some people use the guise of friendship to clean you out. Others simply try and smooth you over until they no longer need your valuable assets. We learn from experience.

To me it always comes back to the following:

  • What goes around comes around: people attract what they send out. Be the “most optimal” you can be and it will reflect well on you.
  • If you’re being yourself and know where you’re at including setting boundaries it should be quite good sailing. Be clear to others and they are more likely to be clear to you. Well they have to don’t they?
  • Never exchange or do business with someone you don’t trust or don’t even like.
  • Always give people the benefit of the doubt but take the pink sunnies off. Everyone makes mistakes.
  • Keep smiling but show yourself, there’s no harm in that. If you don’t have anything to hide then there’s nothing to be afraid of.
  • Whatever you do: make sure you do a regular system check: make it neither too neurotic nor too fluffy ducky. The funny thing is that you don’t even have to say something sometimes: just backing off might be all it takes.
  • Trust your instincts always. Any time I talked myself out of it, it turned out to be a mistake.
  • Last one: we forget to like ourselves sometimes if we’re too critical. Love yourself in whatever way you feel best.

Have a life. It's worth having.

Monday, July 27, 2009


Today the theme is cows people. Above is a design I did, made out of 6 mm thich whiteboard. Moooooh!

And that's one of the cushions released of my 'cows and couches' design .... there's a new release in the pipeline featuring a New Zealand native bird so I will keep you posted. If you're a retailer and keen to stock it order fabric here and if you like to get the cushion yourself you can order them from your local interior store. I have discussed designing something for a lady who owns a fashion boutique in town so will see how that goes. I'm keen to do a lot more fabric designing and have met some wonderful people recently. My work continues to be quite busy so will see how it all pans out. I'm trying to streamline more activities as things can get a little hectic owning a lifestyle block, working fulltime in a furniture/interior store and also trying to get my necklaces and fabric designs off the ground. The good news is: the weather has been fabulous for winter in the last few days so everything feels more like spring!

We had a wonderful weekend hanging out with the animals. (Pictured above is Cutie one of our half breed highland girls.) Poor Kuddles the 4 month old wee mancalf got castrated by us. (To clarify: that doesn't happen with nasty cuts and blood gushing everywhere, it means getting a steel scissors like tool and using that to put a rubber ring around his bits. It's still not very pleasant but beats the old fashioned way by a 1000 miles.)

So onwards and upwards! And not to worry, whatever happens, I'm not going to use transport means a la above in future.... I know it's hila but I'd rather ride a quadbike.
So have a great week and enjoy. Moooooooh.....

Thursday, July 23, 2009

creative thinking

After a bout of the flu I'm back and still slightly fuzzy in the head. I think that's more to do with the Monday-itis feeling then anything else. Still: it's good to be back, it's sunny, the heater is on and there's plenty to do. I'm taking some time out now to 'munch some lunch'. I'm reading that apparently it's usefull to 'act' like a creative person. Ah. Some people seem to think that artistic or (in other words) 'chaotic' behaviour is unlikely to achieve major productive and measurable results. We might be onto something here if it does...

From Copyblogger: "Think of creativity as a muscle. The more you use it, the stronger it gets. To increase your creativity, you simply need to “act” like a creative person. Not surprisingly, people recognized as creative tend to share common traits." (Remember the 'act like' piece Steve Pavlina wrote a while ago? Exactly. Same applies here.)

Highly creative people:
  • Have the COURAGE to try new things and risk failure. Every big breakthrough starts as a harebrained idea. This doesn’t mean you should constantly go off the deep end, just that you should balance your routine portfolio of solutions with an investment in the new and untried. Over time, the risk is usually worth the reward.

  • Use INTUITION as well as logic to make decisions and produce ideas. When Matt Drudge designed his Web site, he listened to his gut instead of the Internet gurus. He kept it simple, small, fast, and some would say ugly and primitive. But it works for him, making The Drudge Report one of the most recognizable and popular sites in the world.

  • Like to PLAY, since humor and fun are the ultimate creative act. Which is to say you just have to lighten up. We all have goals, and quotas, and deadlines, but it’s not life and death. When you enjoy yourself, your brain relaxes and is able to produce more and better ideas. One of those ideas may be just what you’re looking for.

  • Are EXPRESSIVE and willing to share what they feel and think, to be themselves. Blogging is the ideal arena for injecting your personality into your work. People are emotional creatures and respond better to people who appear real, honest, and open. Not only is it more interesting, it can also be more persuasive.

  • Can FIND ORDER in confusion and discover hidden meaning in information. Research and critical thinking are key tools for the creative person. Information is to the brain what food is to the stomach. So-called “writer’s block” or creative burnout almost always results from a lack of fresh information and having nothing meaningful to say.

  • Are MOTIVATED BY A TASK rather than by external rewards. You must like the challenge of writing, explaining, teaching, and persuading. Sure, you can make money along the way, but if you’re in it just for the money, you’re not going to be a fountain of new ideas.
  • Have a need to FIND SOLUTIONS to challenging problems. Even the most creative writers won’t have a solution for everything. If they claim to, they’ve stopped thinking. Highly creative people are those whose eyes light up at a question they can’t answer. That’s the opportunity to learn something new and produce remarkably creative content.

  • Will CHALLENGE ASSUMPTIONS and ask hard questions to discover what is real. Writing, blogging, or business rules aren’t really rules, only rules of thumb. If you want to wield true creative power, you will always take what others advise with a grain of salt. (That includes all of us gurus who love to don our pointy wizard hats and pontificate on the secrets of success.) If you don’t know something from personal knowledge or experience, you don’t know it at all.

  • Can MAKE CONNECTIONS between old ideas to produce new insights. Combine the little doodles you make on a white board with online video and you get CommonCraft, a new approach to explaining things to people in a way they can easily understand. Sometimes the best solutions are simply two old ideas jammed together.

  • Will PUSH THE ENVELOPE in order to expand the boundaries of what is possible. There was a time when no one thought you could make money on the Internet. Now it’s a huge, multi-national business platform. Instead of dividing the world into the possible and impossible, it’s better to merely divide it into the tried and the untried. What have you not tried yet?

  • Are willing to TEST new ideas and compete with others based on results. Isn’t that what they mean by the “market of ideas”? Isn’t that what business competition is about? If you’re afraid of being wrong or losing, your creativity will suffer.These are certainly uncommon traits for most people. But they’re not difficult.

Watch how the creative people you know solve problems and deal with projects. You may choose one particularly creative person you admire and, when faced with a problem, ask yourself, “What would so-and-so do in this situation?” As you begin to “act” like a creative person, you’ll find yourself actually becoming more and more creative. And likely, more and more successful.

Wit thanks to Copyblogger for the above article. About the Author: Dean Rieck highly creative and successful direct marketing copywriter.

And if you have lost the plot entirely: read this That may help also.

Saturday, July 18, 2009


The fabricn and design continue. I'm sorry: if you're NOT into Design then please feel free to go to Youtube and watch this. (Monkeys outsmarting tigers - always a hoot.)

Ah there you are! You are still with us bless you - good on you.
Today my dear readerettes I give you the good and famous Marimekko.

The new designs by Marimekko spring 2009. In case you thought they sound like a whimsical winemaker brand, alas no, it's a fabric manufacturer instead. The best Finnish one on the planet and they have been around since 1951.

Below are some of the designs they are renowned for the world over. So who the heck are these guys?

Marimekko Corporation is a leading Finnish textile and clothing design company that was established in 1951. The company designs, manufactures and markets high-quality clothing, interior decoration textiles, bags and other accessories under the Marimekko brand, both in Finland and abroad. They have developed fabric for Ikea as well (below).

Most of their designs are very bold, big swooping clear lines and bright colours. I have found a few more deinty ones among them.

Sanna Annuka is one of the designers for Marimekko.

I mean.... that's awesomeness right there.

She says about her work:

" I’m an illustrator and print maker with a love for nature and folklore. I’m half Finnish and half English. I spent many summers throughout my childhood in Paltaniemi, a village in Finland, swimming and fishing in Oulujarvi and exploring the forests. I also travelled to Lapland, camping by arctic rivers enjoying the midnight sun. The forests, lakes and wildlife of where I grew up heavily inspire my work. Lapland is one of my favourite places on earth.

Another major influence is Finland’s national epic known as The Kalevala, a collection of folklore songs that are quite simply magical. My Spring/Summer 09 collection for Marimekko depicts some of my favourite parts of the Kalevala.

I graduated with a BA Hons in Illustration from the University of Brighton in July 2005. My speciality during the final year of university became silkscreen printing. During this time I created a range of limited edition silkscreen prints of my ‘Maiden’ designs (now every year two new ‘Maiden’ characters will get printed as an ongoing range).

I started selling prints at a design shop called Hygge in Islington, London. From one lucky sale to a friend of British band Keane led me to my very first commission which was to illustrate Keane’s second album ‘Under the Iron Sea.’

I have since joined creative agency Big Active and set up my own company printing limited edition silkscreen prints of my artwork. Over the coming years I will look to expand my product range from fine art prints to other printed goods such as fabric wall hangings, other textiles (including clothing), wallpaper and stationery. I’m also working on my first picture book."

Obviously we are looking at the works of a multi talented lady.

The bag...... Ok : I'm going to keel over now with admiration. Beautiful work.

So there you go: fabricness fabs!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Complaining is branding too

Complaining is negative personal branding: you help create your own negative image by whining. Yessirree. This also means that positive branding occurs when you are shining the white feathery light of upliftiness.

So what’s groovy today? Well, for me: tons. Life is good people. And to top it all off again: Today is Friday. Woohoo. Always a good thing!

So how about 'uncomplaining'? Good question. I think once you’ve said whatever you did, it’s like turning the tap and water flows. You can hardly put a cork in there can you? Better to be aware and try not to start doing it.
The opposite of complaining is 'appreciating that which is'.

I have moments of yippee-ing and groaning. I blamed lack of vitamin c and b but there’s only so much you go on about it, besides: the blaming game doesn’t get me anywhere. The other day someone told me “you always look at the positive of everything don’t you?” Well the truth is, I try to. I’ve noticed people are more inclined to hang around me when I make them laugh and am helpful. Especially the cracking of jokes seems to do wonders. I’m reminded of this by en elderly client who’s an expert at that - which reminds me to see the lightness of things. I think it helps all of us when we explore avenues of laughter as this is how you stay young at heart. Let’s face it: complaining is just SO boring.

So what do we do? We do not try to erase our previous tantrums or woopsiness.
We start “Behaving ‘as if’”

“What if your life is going differently then you intended? What if all falls by the wayside leaving you in tears? Would it be the end of the world? Of course not. But it may feel like that.

Confidence, gratefulness and behaving ‘as if’ can help you greatly in reshaping the experience of your life. Find that place of peace inside you and picture you’re whole being filling with Joy. When you are feeling this sunny side up feeling there will not be room for doubt, worry or fear.
So! On we go, exuding this aura of happiness and give it to others. By lighting our own candle (and not burning it at both ends) we can help people as well. We remind them of that which they may have forgotten.

Hello, how are you? What can I do for you? What do you need today? Listen to them. Make them feel better if you can. The world needs more love and understanding, less judgment and alienation.”

Give it a whirl:

1. Be grateful for your life and what is in it, many people do not share your luxurious surroundings or feel safe, have enough to eat and have friends.
2. Behave ‘as if’ your life is the way you’d like it to be. You’re happy at home, your work is going well and everything is starting to fall into place. Just roll with it. Make changes if you need to but act as if it’s all according to plan.
3. Confidence: feel it and act like it. You have got many talents. Try not to be someone else, being yourself is all there is.
Source: Steve Pavlina

Hello world! Here we are. Feels a lot better doesn’t it? More fun too.

Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.
Mahatma Ghandi Indian political and spiritual leader (1869 - 1948)

When you relinquish the desire to control your future, you can have more happiness.
Nicole Kidman in The Scotsman

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Generation M: stuff that matters

Sharing with you today:

The Generation M Manifesto
by Umair Haque

"Dear Old People Who Run the World,

My generation would like to break up with you.

Everyday, I see a widening gap in how you and we understand the world — and what we want from it. I think we have irreconcilable differences.
  • You wanted big, fat, lazy "business." We want small, responsive,
micro-scale commerce.
  • You turned politics into a dirty word. We want authentic, deep democracy — everywhere.
  • You wanted financial fundamentalism. We want an economics that makes sense for people — not just banks.

  • You wanted shareholder value — built by tough-guy CEOs. We want real value, built by people with character, dignity, and courage.

  • You wanted an invisible hand — it became a digital hand. Today's markets are those where the majority of trades are done literally robotically. We want a visible handshake: to trust and to be trusted.

  • You wanted growth — faster. We want to slow down — so we can become better.

  • You didn't care which communities were capsized, or which lives were sunk. We want a rising tide that lifts all boats.

  • You wanted to biggie size life: McMansions, Hummers, and McFood. We want to humanize life.

  • You wanted exurbs, sprawl, and gated anti-communities. We want a society built on authentic community.

  • You wanted more money, credit and leverage — to consume ravenously. We want to be great at doing
  • stuff that matters.
  • You sacrificed the meaningful for the material: you sold out the very things that made us great for trivial gewgaws, trinkets, and gadgets. We're not for sale: we're learning to once again do what is meaningful.

  • There's a tectonic shift rocking the social, political, and economic landscape. The last two points above are what express it most concisely. I hate labels, but I'm going to employ a flawed, imperfect one: Generation "M."

  • What do the "M"s in Generation M stand for? The first is for a movement. It's a little bit about age — but mostly about a growing number of people who are acting very differently. They are doing meaningful stuff that matters the most. Those are the second, third, and fourth "M"s.

    Gen M is about passion, responsibility, authenticity, and challenging yesterday's way of everything. Everywhere I look, I see an explosion of Gen M businesses, NGOs, open-source communities, local initiatives, government. Who's Gen M?
    Obama, kind of. Larry and Sergey. The Threadless, Etsy, and Flickr guys. Ev, Biz and the Twitter crew. Tehran 2.0. The folks at Kiva, Talking Points Memo, and FindtheFarmer. Shigeru Miyamoto, Steve Jobs, Muhammad Yunus, and Jeff Sachs are like the grandpas of Gen M. There are tons where these innovators came from.
    Gen M isn't just kind of awesome — it's vitally necessary. If you think the "M"s sound idealistic, think again.

    The great crisis isn't going away, changing, or
    "morphing." It's the same old crisis — and it's growing.
    You've failed to recognize it for what it really is. It is, as I've repeatedly pointed out, in our institutions: the rules by which our economy is organized.

    But they're your institutions, not ours. You made them — and they're broken. Here's
    what I mean:
    "... For example, the auto industry has cut back production so far that inventories have begun to shrink — even in the face of historically weak demand for motor vehicles. As the economy stabilizes, just slowing the pace of this inventory shrinkage will boost gross domestic product, or GDP, which is the nation's total output of goods and services."
    Clearing the backlog of SUVs built on 30-year-old technology is going to pump up GDP? So what? There couldn't be a clearer example of why GDP is a totally flawed concept, an obsolete institution.

    We don't need more land yachts clogging our roads: we need a 21st Century auto industry.
    I was (kind of) kidding about seceding before. Here's what it looks like to me:

    every generation has a challenge, and this, I think, is ours: to foot the bill for yesterday's profligacy — and to create, instead, an authentically, sustainably shared prosperity.
    Anyone — young or old — can answer it. Generation M is more about what you do and who you are than when you were born. So the question is this: do you still belong to the 20th century -
    or the 21st?

    Umair and the Edge Economy Community"

    A bit about Umair:
    Umair Haque is Director of the Havas Media Lab, a new kind of strategic advisor that helps investors, entrepreneurs, and firms experiment with, craft, and drive radical management, business model, and strategic innovation.

    If you like to read about his thoughts and about what responses he received because of this Manifesto: click here
    photo by Devianart

    Monday, July 13, 2009


    "In the world of Parisian fashion, the term 'Le Bobo' (short for Bourgeois Bohème), which also had political connotations, was applied to "typically discerning customers who are left wing and left bank"; or, put another way, "that subset of thirty- or forty-something-year-olds who don't allow their socialist leanings to interfere with an enjoyment of material pleasures".
    "Les Bobos are creative and imaginative about how they shape their material environments and their sense of 'Quality' transends and defies conventional boundaries and hierarchies. "Le Bobo" is someone who enjoys and perceives qualities in both extremes from the low cost mass-produced and playful to fine crafted luxury items."
    by Doshi Levien, a Brittish Design couple

    "Doshi Levien is a London based design office led by Jonathan Levien and Nipa Doshi. Nipa and Jonathan bring together two distinct and complementary approaches to their work. While Nipa’s work is strongly influenced by Indian visual and material culture, Jonathan’s approach is rooted in design for industrial production.

    Together, their work celebrates the cultural hybrid and explores the synthesis between technology, story telling, industrial design and craftsmanship. Doshi Levien was established in 2000 and their work includes (..) insight and design direction for Nokia, product design for Tefal, furniture design for Moroso and bespoke shoes for London based “aristo” bootmakers, John Lobb."

    Doshi Levien do wicked designs AND she designs shoes....

    "The language that interests me, is that of the hybrid. The visual language that cannot be placed or defined. The language that talks about plurality of global culture and ideas." Nipa Doshi.

    The designs of today are cross overs, incorporating stories that are telling, and they relate that what peoples -or groups- have in common. Materials are shared too and thinking outside of the box is not new, it's essential. Hybridisation thus comes to life.

    Friday, July 10, 2009

    design bug

    Okay, there's things like bugs, the flu, the virusses and the tamiflu. I've got the design bug! It's those persistent ideas that keep cropping up, too much energy accompanied by a stupid heehee grin on my face. What to do, what to do, well enjoy it I guess!

    I have found little time so far to work on my Bonvivant website, but at least there's a new landing page and some jewellery to view and I'm still working on the accesory and fabric design parts. One step at a time, etc etc. Above design for a cushion I twiddled between doing other things. I mean, I have to be practical with the time I have available. It needs a bit of tweaking but the idea is good.

    New Zealanders have different make up, different ethnicity, history of roots. This gives a lot of other ideas too. Will work on it.

    In the meantime: it's weekend! (Nearly) woohoo. Doo da doo da.

    Thursday, July 9, 2009

    for the love of Ply

    Nishimura restaurant interior by Hong Kong based CL3 Architects. The restaurant is located inside the Shangri-La Hotel in Beijing, China
    I didn't want to bore you to tears with more stuff on interiors, but this is kinda 'hot':
    the world of Ply.

    The grindy tech info reads:

    "PLYWOOD was invented in the 1850s as a combination of three or more layers of wood. Cheap and easily accessible, it has been an important medium for experimentation by modernist designers from the 1920s onwards. Many important examples of modernist furniture were made in plywood as it's cheaper and more easily accessible than aluminium or steel.

    Plywood consists of at least three layers or veneers of wood which have been plied together with the grain running crosswise to add strength and resilience. The earliest examples of plywood furniture date back to the 18th century, but it was not until the 1850s that it was put into commercial production by John Henry Belter, a German emigré to the US."
    source: designmuseum

    Always those immigrants doing their stuff.... (wink wink)

    Well in these days, climate, atmosphere, worldly turbulence, we go back to the basics. I'm sure you've heard this before but today we are onto Ply, the so called P-factor (not to confuse with the amphetamines.)

    To be precise: Design loves Depression

    "Design tends to thrive in hard times. In the scarcity of the 1940s, Charles and Ray Eames produced furniture and other products of enduring appeal from cheap materials like plastic, resin and plywood, and Italian design flowered in the aftermath of World War II. "
    New York Times

    Charles and Ray Eames chair 'Lounge chair wood' from 1945

    Charles and Ray Eames 'Lounge chair and ottoman' 1956

    French kitchen, from loftmagazine
    Will today’s designers rise to the occasion?
    Here in New Zealand ply is looked upon as a structural good timber, but generally not as the 'showing' material to use but that seems to be changing. Below's art work is by Shane Hansen's; "Buzz" available from the Poi Room in Auckand (where I first spotted it in the flesh - love it), and shows what else we can do with plywood. His work is clean, striking and makes you look again. Iconic kiwi-dom.

    Roger Kelly's Speed chair is made of ply and the back of the chair incorporates a small shelf for book storage. Nifty hey. (He's another Clever Bastard.)
    David Trubridge is also not afraid to use ply as it's one of the materials he likes to use a lot, in his latest work he's switched to bamboo. His work has shown at Milan and his pieces are available nationwide from his stockists, for example Essenze gallery in Parnell, Auckland and from Whiteroom here in Dunedin.

    So for the love of Ply: admire it's simplicity, its' ability to bend and it's colour and lightness. Essentials baby.

    Tuesday, July 7, 2009

    the moods

    What is your immediate reaction when it starts to rain? When your boss tells you off? When your partner gets upset with you? Does it say a lot about you or how you react? Maybe both. We have mood swings, chocolate or beer cravings, or simply go off our rocker.

    "Our brains are busy processing chemicals that internally change our moods, but find a way to rationalize those mood changes based on events (..) in the outside world. We often act as though money can buy joy, but of course, it works better when we're joyful in the first place.

    We don't say, "I'm genetically pre-disposed to mild depression," or "I haven't exercised in a while and I spend a lot of time watching TV," instead, we say, "I'm disappointed because I don't make enough money and my boss is mean to me." And yet, someone in the very same circumstances seems much happier than we are. And somehow, nothing ever happens in our career that makes everything all right forever.

    We don't say, "I'm grouchy because of hormones." Instead, we say, "He deserved that outburst. He was being a jerk." Of course, he was the same guy last week and you sort of liked him.
    We don't say, "When I dress and act like the people around me, I can feel safe as a member of their tribe." Instead, we think, "I feel good when I'm with my friends."

    We don't say, "I have a very complex relationship with money because my parents spoiled me." Instead, we say, "Hey, the bank gave me a credit card so it's okay to buy things that I deserve."
    We don't say, "I eat to drown out the way I feel about my mom," instead we say, "Hey, if it's on a salad bar, it must be good for me. And anyway, next month is my birthday."

    The external world is remarkably consistent, and yet we blame it for what's going on inside of us. People who think the world is going to end always manage to find a new thing that's going to cause it to end. People itching to be bummed out all day long will certainly find an external event that give their emotion some causal cover. The thinking happens long before the event that we blame the thinking on."
    Seth Godin

    So all of us have moments when we moan, gripe, make excuses or blame others. Does us it get us anywhere? Really? No. Does it help to give other people a hard time just because you think you're 'right'? No. It just makes you difficult to be around.

    Why is it so hard to admit we are fallible? Yes I have a problem with critisism, I can't handle stress well, I'm afraid I'm not worthy enough or to say I deserve and need more loving. Then we don't have to lash out or blame others for a mistake we made or to simply hide something we are ashamed of admitting.
    Every time you use your anger or temper with someone else you lose out as it NEVER gets you any brownie points. Blaming others works against you. Have you considered it helps when you decide to hold yourself accountable? Think how come you can't handle a situation or why you react the way you do? It's a funny thing but we rarely do. We tend to point the finger at others because it's simply more convenient to do so.

    Monday, July 6, 2009

    Outside of the box

    I remember someone telling me once you can be a Jack of all Trades but Master of None. I think in this day and age it pays to put that aspect which you enjoy -and excel at- to mix with other territories. This way you will develop and grow to find your own niche eventually and thus, become a master.

    "Tinker Hatfield is the renowned designer of many of
    Nike's most popular and innovative athletic shoe designs, including the Air Jordan III through Air Jordan XV, the twentieth anniversary Air Jordan XX, the final numbered Air Jordan, the XXIII, and other athletic sneakers including the world's first Nike Air Trainer. (wiki)

    The air max Tinker designed and that has been renowned, despised, idealized etc for 22 years now started with a visit to Paris where Tinker went to see the
    Centre Pompidou. He was invited to design a shoe for Nike. "All of the functional structural elements of the building are color-coded: green pipes are plumbing, blue ducts are for climate control,electrical wires are encased in yellow, and circulation elements and devices for safety (e.g.,fire extinguishers) are red." (wiki)

    The design is totally different from the French traditional buildings that are sitting around it, displaying only small windows. This French museum gave Tinker, who worked previously as an architect, to look at concepts differently. This building gave him the idea for the Nike Air Max that launched in 1986, to show the inside of the shoe. It was a controversial idea at the time and several people within Nike had to come to terms with it as they thought it wouldn't sell. There have been 19 revisions of the Air Max since and it's still a popular shoe.

    So how do great products come to life? They start with ideas that may be derived from other ideas. "Make a better mousetrap, and the world will beat a path to your door." -Ralph Waldo Emerson

    "Imagination is more important than knowledge.” Albert Einstein. (wiki)

    Let no one take you away from your ideas or vision to create. When you stop imagining and creating, you stop living. (You can quote me on that.)
    ps: of course I'm assuming here it will be something that will benefit others and not harm them in any way.

    Thursday, July 2, 2009


    For those who are wondering where I get my inspiration from: my history, background, experience, roots and personality would sum it up, but here are the main players at the moment that influence what I design:

    In furniture:

    David Trubridge: (New Zealand) clean crisp lines. Lightness and essentials. Very much New Zealand. You could say a down under scandinavian look but that would probably tick some people off. Like I said, very New Zealand. Beautiful.

    Ligne Roset: (French)
    Unexpected lines and round heavy shapes. Not your standard cup of tea. Especially when they place their futuristic pieces in a totally different environment it appeals more then when they place it in a modern house. The contrast makes it zing. To be honest their furniture looks quite ugly at first glance, but it's very much the statement factor in its heaviness that I like. Funny enough I would prefer another type of settee in our own house.

    Actually the settee that I do want is this one, below, the Alcove settee from Vitra: sells for $12500.-, say 5000 euros. Nico said, one could pay a car for that. Yep. Love it though. Man it's comfortable, as I have tried it.

    Moooi: (Dutch)

    What can I say, Dutch Design to the mega max. Strong, bold, sometimes slightly creepy, like you're watching a thriller, and a magnificent ability to work with black and white. The highest marks. Very edgy. And yes I like the animals too of course.

    In interior design:

    Kelly Wearstler, (American)
    Her use of colour and glamour are beautiful. She does the whole modern hollywood thing down to a t. Eclectic but smart. She posesses the ability to mix different styles and textures which create the most of striking interiors. I'm less traditional furniturial inclined but find her bold combinations very clever and effective. Great finesse and you can spot her trademark easily.

    In home decor/interiors:

    Jonathan Adler: (American) zest for life and whimsicalness, colour, colour, colour. How come gay men always seem so talented and creative? I've never met a gay man who wasn't!

    At home/ farmlife: my animals

    My kune kune pig Spunky (believe me she does her name credit) is so zesty and full of personality that even the highland bull Carlin goes out of her way when she ambles along. Power to the Piggess I say! Our goats are inquisitive and always have a happy friendly nature. The highland cattle have shaggy lines, thick coats and big horns. They cannot be tamed but are lovely to be around. I'm always happy to see all the animals and hang out with them. They put things in perspective and enquire where the food is at. Most of all they make me laugh. I love animals, they are easier to deal with then humans more often then not.

    My grandmothers:

    Both my mum's mum Margaret and Bep my father's mum were creative strongwilled women who didn't take no for an asnwer. Apparently Bep was the kind who loved parties and dancing on tables. I never knew Bep as she died when dad was 6, but I did know Margaret very well. She was what many people would call, an eccentric lady. Always well dressed and her make up on, ready to go out. A real flair for life and liking quality and living the good life. Very much the lady who loved her furcoats and trips to their home in Switzerland, discussing which restaurant was good and which one wasn't. Her and granddad were always going on about manners and we had to eat properly, behave properly and not be a nuisance. I got told off a few times for running off with brother Rene or being loud and feisty on the swing. Of course she was very human as well and probably not always the easiest to live with but heck she was fun. I have very fond memories of her and when granddad was being strict with us she would wink that we could have another cookie when he wasn't looking. She had a good sense of humour and I still remember how she would chuckle and sniff.

    So that sums it up in a very small way as of course as there's always other things that work for me.
    I like a combination of kiwi/scandinavian, smart and bold, colourful and black & white, a touch of the good old glamour with a dash of slightly unhingedness, all exuding great creative panache. Go figure...


    I'm excited like a baby babboon letting loose in the thick jungle. Woohoo. (Ok, maybe I should use a different animal here but what the heck.) I'm working on new designs for the Design stores as I noticed that my kiwiana related designs would do really well there, and keep the women fashion styles I've already developed for gift and home decor stores. There's tons to do, revamping my bonvivant website, making more designs and also making them by using different materials. Then I had ideas for Hemptech about cushions and other home decor products so basically the brain has been popping like an overexcited popcorn machine. You get the idea.

    Two stores in Auckland have expressed interest in stocking my products so I better get my bootie on. This leads me to Seth Godin's blog of the day. Growth is not done safely nor neccesarily logically. My husband is wondering whether I can make a fortune by investing modestly and starting with virtually zip but I know I will have to allow for some experimenting and investing otherwise the set up will be a half hearted attempt with little results. So all out baby, but using the realistic ballbreaking caution guide.

    " It's easy to to adopt the policy of avoiding risk at all costs, that whenever possible, the products you launch or the engagements you have should be flawless and without downside. Here's the problem: in most endeavors, a small increase in risk can double the reward. It's the second doubling of reward that brings serious risk with it. But the first leap is relatively painless."
    Seth Godin
    I'm in the first stages so this would be the relative easy part and I'm aware of that. It's the continuing beyond the first orders that will be crucial. I'm dedicated to keep this process going and share my whimsical uniqueness with the world. I do want the quality to be way up there so have to raise the bar again. It will be hard work, but gee whizz I'm not going to sit on my hands on this one. Stand clear... prepare for take off.

    Wednesday, July 1, 2009

    Behind the scenes

    My friend Beverley invited me to come see the final preparation run for the theatre play 'Scenes from a Seperation' at the Howick Little Theatre in Auckland. She does the props and helps out behind the scenes as one of the stage managers. I hadn't been to theatre in many many years despite my art-loving parents taking me to every show and play under the sun since I was a small kid. I still love it but forgot about it as my daily schedule now involves working and then looking after live stock on our lifestyle block. There's only so much one can do when days are long and animals need feeding. So here I was, dragged behind the curtains into the dressing rooms and chatting to the actors and crew. They are a talented switched on familylike bunch that loves their theatre with a passion. Each had their own way of preparing and all of it was peppered with enthusiasm and playing pranks. They value Bev and I'm not surprised. For 68 years old she's energetic and fully equipped to handle anything making jokes right left and centre.

    When they were about to start I was ushered back to the front and up the stairs to the seats. I have to say I was very impressed. The whole combination of life theatre, music and lights always makes a huge impact. Howick little theatre is relatively small but cozy. Life Theatre beats a dvd any day of the week by a very long stretch. The Molyneux family in question had a whole array of issues (don't we all). The couple that were in full swing of getting close to seperating each gave their version of events, before the break his and after the break hers. I have to say that some things that were played out or mentioned hit close to home. The actors were superb. I couldn't believe I was watching what they call 'amateur theatre' as what they showed being capable of had nothing to relate to that, and I've seen a lot of shows in the Netherlands with the best national actors and actresses you can poke a stick at.
    So if you're in Auckand, go see this play 'Scenes of Seperation' as their opening night will be this thursday I believe. The next time I go up north I will be most happy for Bev to stuff me in her car and take me over there again. We sometimes forget that we have a lot available to us and that it's just around the corner. An eye opener for sure and I really enjoyed being in a theatre again.