Saturday, August 29, 2009


With spring officially starting next week I can see it's effect already. There are more and more people about, everyone in Dunedin is getting out of careful hibernation. I see more excitement in peoples faces and cheerful smiles. Lams and calfs jump through the paddocks. Our goatie girls are getting rounder and rounder and generally things are looking up. The weather has been increasingly pleasant.

I was reading an interesting article about design (here, through DesignDroplets). Should we be more critical about what we make? Where we set the bar, scutinize our level of competence? Interesting stuff. Mostly it's about the usefulness of Design and its merit in the world. Hm. I can see where the writer John Barratt is getting at. We can certainly muddle along and 'just do our thing' but to compare and understand our evolutionary growth you need a benchmarker to set it off to. The hilarious thing to me is that the purpose of Design is questioned and whether innovation is usefull? Oh oh. It's like saying to an overexcited toddler: no you can't run before you learn you can't run everywhere. See what I mean?

So too is the life of the wee lambs. They just get up and rush around. They might lose their mum in the process. Ofcourse monitoring and understanding is valuable. When do we know if design actually progresses in a span of a few years? Still, let the benchmark not become a governmental guideline to stop designers going forward as innovation depends hugely on the opinion and results of the one carying out the study. Design becomes excellent by thinking outside the box. It may be far harder to determine what the rules will be to judge design, then to just observe it's evolution.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

the things we do

Do you think as well sometimes: hey isn't it awesome how things work out? I do. And yes sometimes in the most interesting ways. I'm always mightily impressed with how they seem to organize things upstairs.

My dearest and nearest, Nico, is doing a propagation course this year. After the beekeepers one last year he's on a roll to get the farm all snazzied up with eco stuff, being self-sufficient and sustainable. The thing is that he's had his eye on having a glasshouse since before we shifted to the farm. As you know, stuff always takes time and usually a lot longer then one is comfortable with. About a month ago he showed me an advertisement in the local newspaper. It showed a section of 580 m2 and it also showed having these mega glasshouses on it. I said you're joking! He said: no, not really. So off we went to have a look...

After looking, we (ofcourse) ended up seeing our lawyer and doing all the homework stuff a common sense person is able to. After having done that it's now officially ours. Now the work begins. (Did I mention we have enough to do already? Never mind eh. All in the spirit of fun and growth!)

So there you have it: never stand in the way of a Dreamer, they usually end up getting what they want. And to be honest I quite like the beaming smile on his face.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009


Every day we may be running around trying to all on our 'to do list' and by the end we always feel we have forgotten something still. We collapse in a chair, either with wine in hand, watching some funny sitcom or falling asleep.

Tonight though I will be doing something different: I will be trimming Harry's hooves again (pic above). They have grown so quickly that he's been having some troubles. Aside the fact that I know how to trim goat hooves (yes all the things you don't think of when getting on a lifestyle block but eventually get the hang of anyway) it's good to have a 'refreshing course' on it. It's actually not always so simple to clip them right back as the goat may have developed a funny shape hoof over time, so it's better to get the right shape back by continuing to clip them with a few weeks in between the pedicures.

So too after winter I think, looking at my physique and squeezing some extra bits around the middle. I had started running again in the weekend. The next day I was so sore I could hardly walk properly and Nico was making fun of me. Of course our sheepdog Glennie who had accompanied me was fine and keen to go again!

The necessity of maintaining both hooves and my shape made me realize the importance of keeping up with things regularly which is not my strong suit. There for I have been scribbling things on a board in our hallway and in my diary to ensure I keep more consistent tabs on re occurring activities. Because if I don't it creates more hassle and soreness...

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

the online addiction

Nowadays the real world translates into the virtual global maze of networks. Since I've started tweeting (here) there's a whole new dimension to being online for me. Compared to facebook I find tweeting more fun and the interaction immediate. (No games and gazillion quizzes to do.)

The weird thing is that people we do or do not know are accessible and we can talk practically to anyone on the planet. How weird is that? It's surprisingly easy to chat to someone who's into the same line of work or has the same interests. As we work work work it makes it harder to see friends offline.

How do you communicate? Have you dived into Facebook, Hyves, as well as write a blog or follow others? What do you read? Online newspapers/magazines or blogs? Both? Are you on twitter too, do you run an online business? How does typing away everyday make you feel better? Why do you do it? One connection on my twitter professed to be hooked and wondered why no one was sending him a tweet for 18 minutes! Communication moves at an ever increasing speed nowadays. We wonder whether we can we do without the tool that is the internet, as it is practically everywhere.

As we have friends online and off, how do relationships develop? Have you got the feeling you're being listened to online? Do you feel the need to connect to others and is that why you're there? Making or having the time is the question. How does your real life connections compare to the ones online? I've noticed that a few of my friends have the habit at the moment to talk a lot but not to necessarily have the patience to listen as they're in a hurry to tell their own story. Why the need to talk so much? Is it harder and harder to just "be"?

The forward momentum of communication technology hasn't reached it's high yet and it will be fascinating to see where we're all heading towards. Let's hope that we can separate the online world to the "old fashioned" offline one and remember what our own and the actual reality is. Getting connected is a great thing, but if the power goes >>PLOP<<> that's it, we're on our own again.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Fabric & Jewellery Design revamp

Well I have finally finished shushing and updating my (fabric & jewellery) design website Bonvivant. Hurrah! A big thanks to James my webmaster for getting it all to work. The orderform is the last to join the party, will be up soon.
The feedback so far has been wonderful: "bubbly and playful" was one of them, as was "funky" and "cool". I can live with that!
What is probably funny is that most Kiwis have a very hard time pronouncing the name. Ok here goes: bonn-vee-vahn. Wrap your vowels around that. Yes it's French. The meaning of the word Bonvivant is a person who is enjoying living the good life. Sometimes it's also used in a sort of bohemian cheeky kind of way. Again, I can live with that too. Should it have been a Dutch name on account of my genes? Maybe, but DROOG was already taken.... ;)
Anyhoo: thanks for letting me know what you think. The plan is to create an online store within 6 months that accepts paypal so this will be the go in the meantime!
Have a good one, bon chance, bonjour, bon vivant etc.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009


On Linkedin I was answering a question regarding design briefs and also I was remembering a question I had asked a few weeks back: to what extent do you identify yourself with your work? Do you still respect yourself if you have no work to go to? Would you know who you are if you didn't work a 9-5? Who are you really? Mostly we don't think about this much, it's either too hard or it would freak some of us out. What do you mean who am I? Jeez girlfriend, I'm not into that stuff. You know, get real.

To some this may seem like an outrageous stupid question: who am I? That's fine, but you'd be surprised how many people link their abilities and personality straight to their work. Even our 'talents' are put up against our work to show we did well. Work has become 'proof' and a means to measure on how well we are doing in life. Would it matter really? To a lot of us work is related to status so yes it does I guess. I know I get excited myself if a fabric design takes off.

I think it definitely helps if we have a self esteem regardless of what we do in life. If you like yourself and have a fair idea of who you are chances are you will do a heck of a lot better should you be made redundant, then someone who identifies too strongly with their work. So are we talking attitude again? Well yes that's always got a lot to do with how things go in life. Funny that.

The design brief question I was answering was about how to respond to clients who basically determine your paycheck and who like to be in control. I felt the question related was about power play, the pulling of strings and the resentment this causes the puppet. We all have people in our lives who effect us and who's opinion we could choose to be dependent on. What it boils down to is: will you let them or do you go with your gut feelings and stand your ground too if need be? Will you have the confidence to cut the cords?

It would have been very unlikely we would have heard of Nelson Mandela if he had chosen not to do anything about his imprisonment. Being remarkable is, to do something for yourself as well as others, that sets the bar higher then what is accepted at the time. Having a standard cannot only be a good thing, but necessary as well.
Here's to the comeback of ethics and moral fiber. Celebrate your uniqueness while you're at it: there's only one of you. Cool or what!

Friday, August 14, 2009

showing your stuff

Lately I have found people coming up to me and there's a relation between what they do and what I do. I do not go out and track them down and smother them with my product, they simply find me. They listen and get excited; I listen to them and am interested and thankful for what they say.

I have chosen not to promote my jewellery products actively but let it simmer for a bit and when I come across someone I think would be suitable to show it to I find it works better. One step at a time.

Sometimes in the desire of making our product(s) succeed we are too much in a hurry or get too dependent on SOME people's opinion. Truth is, SOME people's comments do not matter, only those that have our respect, and the respect in the industry. Their assessment contributes to what is generally heard and accepted. If we choose to listen to everyone, we get nowhere but to dock at the mediocrity station.

As I have told a good friend recently, in whatever situation you find yourself it may be tempting to seek others council but have you considered that you yourself may be the best advisor you ever had, once you stop doubting yourself?

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Cozy and cushy

Today it's raining. The end of winter, the end of grey... we hope. The thoughts of wanting to nest ourselves under a duvet by the fire snoozing. So! I thought right: it's a deep pink-tangerine orange and plummy-red kind of day! Definitely. Don't you? I can just tell....

The interior world has the same ideas. Osborne & Little came up with their latest Sariskar collection...

Marimekko's classics still rock the kazba...

Always heart warming, and

Celapiu's scarves too when it does get nippy still.

Ah for the love of pink-red..... sleeeeeeeep......

For the little sleepies among us Jonathan Adler made this room wonderfully arty farty groovy. You can tell that girl is loving it!

So what are you waiting for? Kick winter's butt with a big dose of fluffy cuddly cushy cozy warm stuff. (That and a glass of red) Have a good one!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Learning through Experience

Have you read the Secret and thought: presto, I’ll read the book, try and change the way I think and next I’ll:
  • Be changed and all dandy: it's all attitude right?

  • Win lotto!

  • Find the perfect man/woman (you know they don’t exist right….. oh you still hope …ok )

  • Retire and buy an exotic island and drink martinis

  • Make millions with your own company

  • Have the perfect figure and wear a bikini again

  • Have a massive walk in wardrobe and lots of shoes. Finally.

  • Learn many languages and travel and travel

  • Live blissfully ever after.

But…. If you DO want to learn, how about listening to what the people around you think? (if they have the guts to tell you. They might and also say things which can surprise you.)

So here’s a fun exercise to learn how others view you: feedback
Select 3-5 people and ask them to send you a written reply and give them a promise you will not pummel them no matter what the outcome will be.

Questions to ask others who know you quite well:
1) If you look at my life up till now, what can I:
Be proud of? (Qualities, attributes, accomplishments)
Be happy or pleased about?
And why do you think that?

2) If you think about my future
What do you think would be good for me to experience in regards to:
Personal development,
Challenges to overcome and
Give time and attention to?
Why did you think that would be good for me?

3) Why do you think it could be hard for me to realize all the above?

So: do you really want to know what people think about you or rather not? Do you look in the mirror from time to time or does it freak you out? Do you want to know? Or happily not to? I think I'll try this exercise just for the sheer fun of it. There's always stuff to learn, whether it's about me or others as well. I don't know but I reckon it could be hilarious.

With many thanks to the Dutch magazine Flow and the website If you need a coach (in Holland that is) go check them out.

Friday, August 7, 2009

the good work

I have great appreciation for a pasta dish. However, if I end up needing a bib to prevent my tagliatelli drooling all over me I might change my mind... I appreciate being able to eat in a decent fashion, being looked after in cafes or any time someone's happy to see me. That's just nice.

Do we stop and realize what we can be appreciative for on a daily basis? Probably not. We tend to forget as we're in a hurry or we focus on that which doesn't pan out as we anticipated.

Appreciation is an interesting word. It's sounds huffy snooty wooty but means 'liking something and being grateful for it'. It was enjoyable this week to see a lot of different wonderful people and get an idea of what they are working with, thinking of, struggling with or are dreaming about. I like listening to their stories and understanding why they do what they do and what they love doing in general.

People are so diverse and interesting. How come we may set goals and more often then not we find we can't quite reach them? Have trouble realizing our dreams or find when we are doing the work we wanted to do that it may not be what we anticipated? What happens when we had a perfect job only to be forced out of it and now having to adjust to new circumstances? How do we guard our 'me' time? (This is a biggie especialy for women who fret over husband, family, work, juggling it all.) Do we even have me time? Do we worry too much? Do we say 'thank you' enough? Are we considerate or thoughtful? Do we like ourselves? Do we feel valued by others? Are we taken seriously by others? Is it important that we are?

What's most important for each of us to happen in our lives that makes us smile and keeps us going?

I like to know how things are going in the worlds of those I know. If I can help them, with whatever it may be, I will. It comes down, again, to simply do what can be done to help out, improve their situation if that's what they're after, to refer work, or to email them something of use, to make them laugh, cheer them up or remind them about their potential. I don't know about you, but it makes sense to me. I'm not out to help others simply to climb up their brownie points ladder to score points. I do it because for me it's a very natural thing to do. I used to not even think about it, where I do more now (as I have learned not to throw my energy out the window or waste it where it's wanted not.) I don't understand how some people I've encountered in the world of business seem to be strategic fluffers, they seem to treat socializing like it's playing chess. I don't get it and I don't do it. Playing games only means something like getting out the Scrabble in my book.

Appreciation, whether its regarding our work, a person, activity or of our own state of mind is always a good thing. It contributes, shares and builds. It grows, it's positive and I like that. I'm very much a positive builder. I like people, mostly those who are genuine and have a sense of humor.

Right it's friday so I'm wrapping up. Go do some one on one appreciation this weekend and keep up 'the good work'. Thank you for reading -and hopefully enjoying- my humble wee blog.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

the sexy Niche

Allure and temptation are one of the ingredients that spice up your life. Or can do at any rate. Today I bring you 2 companies who play into the 'playing'. I'm not talking sqeaky sextoys, but matters concerning interiors.

A company in the US sepcializes in 'shushing' and transforming pads for educated single men. The guys haven't a clue or do not particularly care how their place looks, but generally they DO like company at night... so what to do? How to fix the predicament? Get an interior designer in who specializes in creating sexy bachelor pads... the solution to fizzy and cuddly bliss. Their website reads: "Sexy bachelor pad is a full service design firm, working exclusively with male clientele in the nyc metropolitan area." (Brilliant idea.)

Talking about niches in kinkiness.... Jonathan Adler has been amusing the world with funky interior pieces (as photos above show). I enjoyed his mailing today and also the referring to his other range of vases if one is trying to find something more 'straight up'. Hila.
Have a bit of zest in your life. A bit of kinky goes a long way and you might as well have fun while you're at it.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Business and friendship

Why do we network? To increase business, relations and get to know people ‘like us’.

Steve Pavlina: “First and foremost, I look for shared values. I seek out people who are happy, growth-oriented, open-minded, self-actualizing, and willing to try new things. People who are unhappy, inflexible, immature, or highly judgmental don’t make good friends or contacts for me.”

I’ve tried different networking routes and decided: hey I’m not going to join ‘a club’, a group or whichever else for quite a while. I’m momentarily “grouped” out. Naturally it makes sense when you sport, have a hobby etc to then meet people who are ‘like you’.

Thing is I have a problem: I enjoy meeting people, who are also “not quite like me”. Why? We learn only from someone who is not like us and from situations that force us to push our boundaries and think. The famous ‘point of difference’ comes to mind.

Meeting people ‘you know’ or who are ‘like you’ can be comfortable, cozy and great fun, but may also be limiting. Friends for example are beneficial if they have the guts to be in your face and say hey do you know what you are doing? Have you thought about this? Why do you do that? They keep us on our toes bless them. Networking is not about friendship, but it is about mutual respect and wanting to know what the other person is about and to exchange and learn.

On there was a discussion about whether friends can limit your business growth. This I found interesting because yes, generally speaking: don’t involve friends in business and if you do partner up with someone you get on with well: get a lawyer in and the paperwork sorted to the max. Otherwise ‘no way gose’. Things can get too complicated however tempting.

Charles Caro:
“One of the Ferengi (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine) "Rules Of Acquisition" goes as follows: #123 - A friend is only a friend until you sell him something. Then he is a customer. Another one of the "Rules Of Acquisition" states the following: #21 - Never place friendship before profit.
In the Star Trek series many people thought of the Ferengi as "over-the-top" capitalists, but there is a lot of truth to many of their "Rules Of Acquisition". When people are faced with conflicting loyalties they frequently wind up doing harm not only to those they are trying to help but themselves as well.”

Consider for yourself whether indeed your networking is the arena for work, benefit, exchange of knowledge and mutual growth. Are you being professional or friendly? Where do you put your boundaries?

Monday, August 3, 2009

visual conversation

It's all about the conversation these days, whether I read up on things that are current on Seth Godin's blog, read Idealog magazine and a few others, surf international blogs and websites: the trend du jour is all about talking - the interaction that matters - rather then just following and absorbing. It's also about checking out that which interests us and what is genuine. No more fibs of advertising thank you, we'd rather discuss things on forums or at the pub which confirms our opinion. We tend to believe 'people like us' more then what we are told by organizations (read Idealog about more of this).

Adding on to above I'm going to bowl you over with something else entirely: language is generally not so much the words, it's what's being shaped in our mind when we hear and see, that draws the associated emotions. What is our inner radar telling us about what we're witnessing? What are we interested in? What is our make up? What really matters to us? Who are we really?
Have we ever considered that there may be other sources of information available to us, even if we do not consciously can verbalize what the message is, what the conversation is about? We can pick up more then we think and it seems scientifically proven that our consciousness does not reside just in our brain, because when we're declared brain dead, we can still observe and 'live'. (Read more about Pim van Lommel's research here and here.)
I've been interested in Crop circles since Nico and I literally stumbled over one during a holiday in England in the mid nineties. Nico and I were so impressed with the discovery in a wheat field that we ended up cruising around finding all these other designs. Walking through them was quite an experience. It was a bit of a hype at the time and I did a lot of reading up on it upon returning home, even communicating with professors and the like in the Netherlands getting down to the nitty gritty science of it. Heck I even ended up doing my art essay on cropcircles and land art in my senior year, comparing the two and discussing 'virtual language'.

For me the various 'explanations' of how crop circles could be physically made were interesting but not the most fascinating. What is incredible is the science and the visual aspects of it: over time the crop circles have increased to manifest in intricate and ever so complex patterns. The assumption that they are man made as an 'of course' seem doubtful when you realize the enormous size of them and the fact it would be a humongous and impossible task to manufacture them in the dark using rope and the like without denting the surrounding stalks and also without being caught. I'm not advocating some fluffy daisy theory but rather am open minded about alternative sources and the possibility and likelyhood of things happening in our world we may not yet comprehend. (It wouldn't be the first time and it would also be more interesting.)

Nowadays the attitude towards crop cirlces have been oh yeah whatever, some green hippies playing tag, but which ever it turns out to be, I have continued to find the images intriguing. They are a language, in a virtual form hat we are not as yet accustomed to. It's not so much about who the storyteller that's important as the effect, the visual image that is so compelling. It's not so strange that branding consist of a strong logo, excellent story and blow-me-down product.

Whatever technical evolved society we may end up in living, the basics are always, the human story, the interaction, the effect it has on us. The Power of Visuals in a nutshell.

So, what images are 'talking to you' lately?