Sunday, December 2, 2012

Inspiration: My city Amsterdam (and running)

Amstel Hotel on one of my early morning runs taken with Instagram
City of Lights PC Hooftstraat

Amstel river 
One of my store windows with the Graphic Daisy collection

View from my store on to the Singel canal
Storefront in the evening
I often get the question where I get my inspiration from. The better question is: what does not inspire me! I am a walking (and talking) sponge. Of course travelling, museums, the usual suspects...but I also find inspiration daily just from biking around in my beautiful city, meeting up with friends for a coffee or dinner, people walking in the park, running along the Amstel river....simple daily life reallly...
Before I started my Flagship store in the historic centre I was bouncing all over the planet and I didn;t really know yet where I was heading to. Starting the store has given me a foundation, more structure and focus but it also keeps me more 'in town', but no worries I still do travel enough :).
Here are some snapshots of the last week or so which I hope will inspire you!

You can follow me on Facebook, Instagram and/or Twitter for more regular up-dates (oh yes and I do have Pinterest too :)) and for running I use the Nike app click here if you want to know more.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Ground Rules (and Homes&Gardens YEAH!!)

Feature in Dutch magazine ELEGANCE (Dec issue) shot in my house
Author and producer Eva Posthuma de Boer with actor husband
 Frank Lammers looking glam with my lampshades as back drop

On the bed surrounded by my pillow designs
Snapshot of my store today lamp by Matthieu Challieres,
Painting: Lemon Tea, oil on canvas (Mariska Meijers)
MILESTONE! My Ikat traytable in British Homes and Gardens
"With" Snoopdogg at the PAN Artfair :)
At the PAN Amsterdam art fair #inspiration!

Meeting up with no 1 DJ in the world Armin van Buuren
(and he is a lawyer too like me :))
According to the Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English 'ground rules' means 'the basic rules or principles on which future actions or behaviour should be based'.
Reason to write about this was triggered by yet another email from an aspiring designer wanting to know HOW I DO IT (building a 'successful' brand etc etc etc).
By nature I am a person that loves to help others but as there are only 24 hrs in a day I just can't give the individual attention to everyone (and I have had to promise a good friend to stop apologizing for that :)).
So here are some of my ground rules that I like to share.
(1) START NOW, take action. A lot of people talk about their dreams, keep pondering but don't take actual steps. I know it can be really scary, but
(2) FACE YOUR FEARS, put your teeth into them, swallow and digest...
(3) FOLLOW YOUR GUT FEELING and don't let others put you down.

It all may sound too simple and I know it just isn't simple because if it was, less people would ask me how I do it :). And lets face reality what you see (of me) is the result of endless effort, trying, failing and trying again, over and over. There are days that I feel that I am getting nowhere, there are disappointments.... But still it makes me smile sometimes how people can even think things come easy to me. I only wish.....  (4) IT IS HARD WORK. So press on, dedicate your time but make sure you do it al with (5) PASSION because where there is no passion there is no joy. (6) LET GO and enjoy the ride because life is too short to linger and look back. Make your own ground rules TODAY!

And above some snapshots from my last 2 weeks including a real milestone, my first publication in British magazine Homes and Gardens and 8 page feature in Dutch magazine ELEGANCE. And as you can see work also includes fun, going places and meeting inspiring people!

I thought I couldn't go on, I forced myself to keep going. My succes is based on persistence, not luck.

Estee Lauder

Sunday, November 11, 2012


With the Bauble I designed for Margot Janse
For David Higgs
Bauble for Claire Clark being installed. Heavy duty!
Jerome Nutile in the court yard of The Grand
Having a laugh with Clair Clark (one of many :))
Margo Janse with charming Carsten Klint
David Higgs and Andrew Gaskell. Great team work in the Kitchen!

Jerome Nutile in progress at Social Sofa!
Bauble for Ron Blaauw (** Michelin stars)
For Claire Clark!! (hey they tell me you cook for the Queen :))
Relaxing after dinner with Joe Barza and Lise Timmer
With Vincent Farges
Women power! With Margot Janse
Kiki Moya admiring his Bauble with Andrew Gaskell
an impression of my sketches for the 11 designs
Impression of Sofitel the Grand with the 'Christmas" baubles
For Vincent Farges
For David Higgs
Regine le Brun and Lise Timmer admiring "Athul Kochar" 
GM of The Grand  Robert-Jan Woltering (Bauble for Frank Rosin)
For Joe Barza
For Wolfgang Becker
"Living is tasting and tasting is living" in Dutch "Leven is proeven en proeven is leven". Such a true quote from Margot Janse! Dare to taste life and go for your passion, take risks and yes there is a price to pay (sometimes). I know all to well :}} and that is why I felt so at home last weekend!
Since a few years I have been lucky enough to attend the amazing annual Stars, Food and Art event organized by my friend and partner in crime Lise Timmer (Goeman Borgesius) of Clafoutis. This event started in Amsterdam about 6 years ago at the Hotel Legend Sofitel The Grand in Amsterdam (but has now become a worldwide Sofitel event). This wonderful hotel also happens to be a client of mine for who I provide designs and artwork. For the event of last week I was asked to design 11 "Christmas" baubles representing the 11 Chefs participating at this spectacular culinary event.
It took me quite a bit of mind breaking moments before I had figured out the designs, each of which had to be inspired by a Chef.
Mwaaaaaahhhhh I just did it, don't ask me how but the 11 Baubles were proudly presented last week at the event to be sold for charity: SOS Kinderdorpen. *

But all in life is relative. I thought I was facing a challenge.... meeting the Chefs and spending time in the kitchen I take a humble bow. Chefs are colleague artists but their performance contrary to mine has to be flawless AT THE VERY MOMENT it is expected from them. As an artist I can hide with my sketchbook or canvas, throwing away my initial doodles, but it is nothing compared to the pressure cooker of the kitchen. As a Chef you have to deliver right there and then! It was amazingly perfect and seeing the interaction and teamwork between the Chefs breathtaking. Big thank you to all to let me participate, taste and be inspired.... the team of Hotel Legend Sofitel The Grand, Lise Timmer, Claire Clark, Margot Janse, Ron BlaauwJoe Barza, Jerome Nutile, Frank Rosin, Wolfgang Becker, David Higgs, Vincent Farges, Kiko Moya and Athul Kochar. Every single one of them an amazing passionate person that strives for the best and at the same time deserves the best :)!

*This project would not have been possible without the relentless energy and workforce of Social Sofa who excecuted all my designs in such a fantastic way!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Life is a Marathon (ok make it a double:))

Because we need to burn 3 Michelin Star Chocolates!
With 3 Michelin Star chef Thomas Buhner of La Vie and his
agent Lise Timmer
Sleeping in Walhalla (yes that is really the name of this hotel!) 
Having my wall papers photographed for the website
Photo shoot at my home for Dutch Glossy
tools for the shoot
Make-up please!
My own line of scented candles made in France has arrived!
Sunday morning: breakfast in bed for my kids....
Feet up!
Life is not all about pretty pictures. In my last post I was writing about peace of mind, and yes I am continuing to try to live a life less stressful and not too much anxiety for my doing. What helps me tremendously in times of emotional and/or work related stress is running. Over the last year or so my running habit slowed down and so did my overall energy level. It was a downward spiral and it was quite a mental and physical struggle to get myself out of it. Before the summer holidays I promised myself to take a turn for the better and I kick started my daily runs while on holiday.
Running helps to clear my mind, to focus and feel happy. A friend pointed me to the Nike+ running app which I have been using now for about a week. I love it because I was quite clueless about my distance, pace, calorie burn etc. Click here if you want to know more about Nike+.
Running supports me in running my life's marathon: JUST DO IT!
Above are some snapshots of last fortnight's 'marathon'.
Wishing you all a fruitful week ahead! x


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