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A beautiful winter day in Auckland II

4 Aug

From Victoria Park Market we made our way to the impressive 328m high Sky Tower. Just when we walked past a very brave visitor tried  the famous ‘Sky Jump‘.   This is New Zealand’s highest jump and only Base Jump by wire. You’ll plummet 192 metres off the Sky Tower at 85 km an hour!

Sky Tower Auckland

Sky Tower Auckland

Definitely not my next hobby. Just looking at it, turned my stomach round. But the good thing is, it doesn’t  take long to arrive at the bottom.

After a little rest on a bench in Aotea Square (where kids love to feed the birds) I took some pictures of historic Town Hall with modern skyscrapers in the back.  Last time I was in Town Hall I saw Australian pianist David Helfgott (his life and music inspired the movie ‘Shine’) playing Rachmaninov.

I love the contrast between old and new architecture in the City of Sails.  Slowly we made our way down busy Queen Street. It has been a while since I was here. It is not really the shopping mile of the locals.

Town Hall, Auckland

Town Hall, Auckland

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But I couldn’t resist to pay a visit to my favourite Tea Shop of all times: T2, Queen Street. This shop really has flair and ambiente, which unfortunately often is lacking from NZ retailers (sorry, but it’s true).  I love this shop. You can smell the scent of tea leaves from little open metal boxes, you can try freshly brewed teas, the lights and the music make you want to relax and the super friendly staff is amazing and very helpful. I have never seen so many beautiful tea pots, cups and accessories in one place. Hey, and the black and orange colour scheme of the brand is really eye-catching. Of course all of that comes with a price tag! Several times I have gifted T2 sample boxes with a gift voucher to friends and family. And the staff takes pride in wrapping it beautifully for you.

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T2 - Auckland, Queen Street

T2 – Auckland, Queen Street

What a beautiful day in the city!

Greetings from New Zealand.  With Love,

Beate

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A beautiful winter day in Auckland

3 Aug

After weeks of being stuck behind the computer, I finally made it into the city, just for fun (and to entertain an overseas visitor…). With my son and his friend, who came to New Zealand for a few weeks to improve his English, we walked the streets of Auckland on this beautiful sunny day.

We started our little walk at the historic Ferry building, strolled along the Viaduct, through Wynyard Quarter with its new Restaurants, bars, cafes and a brilliant playground for kids. Then we reached the 140m long Superyacht ‘Ocean Victory‘, one of the 10 largest superyachts in the world. This huge 7 deck, 5 pool boat, owned by a Russian business man, sparkled in the afternoon sun and was definitely the center of attention.

Great contrast here: Big and small !

Ocean Victory - Superyacht visits Auckland

Ocean Victory – Superyacht visits Auckland

We walked further to Westhaven Marina and had a wonderful view across to the Harbour Bridge.

Westhaven Marina View on Harbour Bridge

Westhaven Marina view across to the Harbour Bridge

Ever since I lost all photos taken during a whole day photographic course in the city two years ago, I wanted to walk the city streets with my camera again.  So I was really pleased yesterday, when these two teenage boys didn’t complain, even though they had to walk with me for more than 4 hours (they were busy talking and catching  up…). We passed Victoria Park Market, but there was nothing happening. It was really empty, but the boys enjoyed a huge ice cream, while I opted for a large Flat White.

Victoria Park Market

Victoria Park Market

I love this old brick chimney.

…to be continued in my next blog.

Greetings from New Zealand,

Beate

 

 

Ein neues kreatives Chapter startet…

25 Apr

1-DSCN8875Nachdem ich ein paar Jahre in einem Buero gearbeitet habe, um unsere Finanzlage zu retten und den Europa-Urlaub vom letzten Jahr zu finanzieren, habe ich nun schweren Herzens diesen Job aufgegeben, um mich wieder der Selbstaendigkeit und der Kreativitaet zu widmen. Eingesperrt in einem Buero und festgeklebt an einem Stuhl, fuehlte ich mich wie ein Fischlein  ohne Wasser. Nun habe ich also meine “Freiheit” wieder und sollte mich eigentlich darueber  freuen, aber ich setze mich selbst ein wenig unter Druck, ein neues Einkommen zu schaffen.

Vor zwei Jahren hatte ich schon einmal angefangen, aber natuerlich mit einem Vollzeit Job nicht genuegend Zeit fuer beides. Nun erwecke ich diese Inspirationen vom Dornroeschenschlaf. Die Idee ist, frische und kuenstliche  Blumengestecke an Unternehmen, Bueros, Show Homes, Restaurants usw. zu vermieten und die Gestecke regelmaessig auszutauschen. Dazu einen Geschenke Service mit hand-gemachten und sinnvollen Geschenken plus Decoration fuer events, Weihnachten und Inneneinrichtung. Natuerlich geht das alles nicht so schnell, wenn man einen kleinen Hang zum Perfektionismus hat.

Zuerst musste ich die Webseite, die ich vor zwei Jahren anfing,  auf den neuesten Stand bringen und vor allem wieder online schalten. Da ich ja alles selbst mache und kein Computerexperte bin, ist das nicht so einfach und man kann das alles nicht mal soeben zwischendurch machen. Ich kam von einem Problem zu naechsten.

Erst dauerte es eine Woche, meine alte Webadress zu re-aktivieren, dann brauchte der Provider 24 Stunden, die Seite zu veroeffentlichten. Und dann waren da noch die Texte (English ist immer noch kompliziert!) und die Potos. Die sollten natuerlich toll aussehen. Was brauchte ich also? Zuerst einmal schoene Blumengestecke als Muster. Dann investierte ich mein ausgezahltes Urlaubsgeld in die Schoenheiten aus China, raste zum Grosshaendler, kaufte eine Kiste voller super echt aussehender Seidenblumen, dann musste ich die entsprechenden Vasen finden und, und, und. Die Photos konnte ich wiederum erst machen, als es aufhoerte zu regnen, anschliessend mussten diese bearbeitet werden und so ging ein Tag nach dem anderen ins Land.

Mit den Photos endlich auf der Website konnte ich die neuen Flyers entwerfen und zur Druckerei schicken, was wiederum zwei Wochen dauerte, bis die endlich geliefert wurden. Die Idee war, dass ich mit den Flyern und ein paar Musterblumen persoenlich zu groesseren Firmen und Bueros gehe, mich vorstelle und meine Blumen anbiete. Klingt doch super, oder?

Wenn da nicht diese kleine „schuechterne“ Charaktereigenschaft waere…. Der Gedanke ans „Klinkenputzen“ versetzt mich schon in absoluten Stress und koennte eine Panikattacke ausloesen. Viel lieber wuerde ich mich in einer kleinen Hoehle (oder Garage) verstecken, dort Blumen basteln und einen professionellen Verkaeufer-Typ losschicken, der einem Eskimo einen Kuehlschrank andrehen kann. Ich haette auch kein Problem, einfach nur meine Sachen im Internet anzubieten. Aber so funktioniert das natuerlich nicht. Nein, jeder sagt mir, „Du musst da persoenlich hin, Du bist Dein bester Verkaefer, Du kennst Deinen Service am besten. Geh los und verkaufe Dein Image!“ (mit einem imaginaeren Tritt ins Hinterteil!)

Well, das widerstrebt so sehr meiner Natur. Ich bin absolut kein Verkaeufer-Typ!!!!!. Im Gegenteil. Ich gehe jedem geschulten Verkaeufer aus dem Weg. Deswegen funktioniert bei mir auch kein „Laufschema“, das in grossen Geschaeften in jahrelanger Kundenbeobachtung ausgearbeitet wurde. Wo der normale Kauefer am Eingang einer Boutique nach rechts schwenkt zu den Sonderangeboten, biege ich schnurstracks nach links ab, so weit weg von der Verkaeuferin wie moeglich, damit die gar nicht erst auf die Idee kommt, mir eine kurze Hose und ein traegerloses Oberteil schmackhaft zu machen – und schon gar nicht in den neuen Sommerfarben: neon-pink und neon gelb!.

Der Gedanke,  einfach und froehlich mit ein paar Blumen unterm Arm, einem Prospekt in der Hand und einem lustigen Lied auf den Lippen in ein Unternehmen zu marschieren und mich der Rezeptionistin mit Bulldogen-aehnlichen Charakterzuegen auszuliefern ist mir ein absolutes Graeuel! Da kann ich nachts nicht mehr schlafen.

Dann kam mir die Idee, zwei Fliegen mit einer Klappe zu schlagen und den gleichen „fiktiven“ Unternehmerkunden  einen Geschenk-Service anzubieten. Geschenkkoerbe, Blumen und Delikatessen. Man will sich ja als erfolgreiches Unternehmen nicht Lumpen lassen, wenn es um „vernuenftige“ Weihnachtsgeschenke fuer lang ausgenutzte Mitarbeiter und neu aquirierte Grosskunden geht. Da darfs ja schon was kosten.

Tagelang habe ich die Konkurrenz im Internet ausspioniert und mir von meiner gut situierten Freundin ein paar teure Delikatessen und echten Champagner ausgeliehen. Diese Produkte sind ueblicherweise nicht in unserem Inflations-Warenkorb enthalten, und ich wollte auch nicht unsere komplette Finanzlage zum Schaukeln bringen, um ein paar Muster-Photos zu schiessen. Nachdem meine Freundin mir grosszuegigerweise, aber auch unter Eid, ihre Franzoesischen Pastetchen, die Italienische Salami, handgefertigte Schokolaedchen und delikat verpackte Trueffelpralinchen  ausgehaendigt hat, musste ich diese zuersteinmal geschickt getarnt vor meiner ausgehungerten Familie verstecken. Diese Burschen  haetten sich gleich darueber hergemacht, alle Dosen, Glaeser und Pakete aufgerissen und sich vermutlich anschliessend beschwert, dass es nicht schmeckt.

Aber bis zum Photoshoot kam es gar nicht, weil ich durch Zufall auf einer anderen Neuseelaendischen Webseite gesehen habe, dass man eine Alkohol-Lizens braucht, um auch nur eine einzige, winzige  Flasche Wein in einem Geschenkkorb zu verkaufen.  Was fuer ein Disaster!

Nach ausfuehrlichem Studium der Neuseelaendischen Gesetzgebung und den verwirrenden Regeln des Auckland Councils, wuerde diese Lizenz absolut meinen Investitonsrahmen sprengen. Das Verfahren dauert einige Wochen, der Antrag wird in der Zeitung veroeffentlicht, damit die Nachbarn und die Konkurrenz Einspruch einlegen koennen. Dann kommt noch jemand raus, um den Ort (der Tat) zu besichtigen. Man muss unter Eid schwoeren, dass man nix Alkoholisches an Minderjaehrige verkauft,  keine Parties und keine Orgien mit Alkoholausschank anzettelt und schon gar keinen Schnaps am Ostersonntag verkauft. Darauf steht die Todestrafe!

Hier musste Plan B her!

Also wieder zuerueck zu den Anfaengen und noch mehr Research im Internet. Und was soll ich sagen? Resultat: Ich habe festgestellt, dass man auch Geschenke ohne Alkohol verkaufen kann, aber natuerlich auch ohne Delikatessen. Das eine scheint mit dem anderen historisch verknuepft zu sein. Denn ein Fresskorb ohne „Saufen“ ist wie ein Wagen ohne Raeder.

Der Vorteil alkoholfreier Geschenke ist, dass ich dann auch nicht meine hochheilige Garage mit einer Selbstschussanlage verteidigen muss, zum einen gegen meine hungrigen Familienangehoerigen und zum anderen gegen minderjaehrige Alkoholiker.

Nein, ich mache nun etwas ganz anderes!  Ich drapiere dreistoeckige Torten und Cupcake Sets aus Handtuechern, bastele thematische Geschenkboxen mit  Einkaufsgutscheinen und konstruiere Farm-Fahrzeuge aus Baby-Windeln.

Na, was sagt man denn dazu? Das ist mein Plan B! Und dann war ich wieder eine Woche busy und musste all diese Babywindeln besorgen (unter den pruefenden Blicken der Supermarktkassen-Schwadron – Uerbergewicht oder schwanger?). Ich habe gestapelt, geklebt, gesteckt und gebunden, hier ein paar Schleifchen, da ein paar Stecknadeln, 20 meter Geschenkband, ein paar ausgeschnittene Blumen aus Tapetenmustern, 37 Spielzeugtiere, Tuell, Federn, Plastikfolie und eine neue Kiste mit kuenstlichen Blumen…

Und noch eine Woche spaeter habe ich meine Musterphotos fertig und kann diese auf meiner Webseite einarbeiten. Die Texte, die Groessen, die Preiskalkulation, die Verkaufsargumente, das alles wird vermutlich  noch eine weitere Woche dauern…. also noch kein „Klinkenputzen“ in Sicht. Und auch noch kein weisses Pferd in Sicht, auf dem ein professioneller Verkauefer-Prinz mit sexy Statur und italienischem Akzent vor reitet, um mich zu retten.

Nach einer weiteren schlaflosen Nacht, kam mir die Idee noch einen Blumenstrauss zu fertigen, um die Bulldogen vor Ort und gleich beim ersten Gespraech von der Schoenheit dieser echt wirkenden Blumenpracht zu ueberzeugen. Leider waren mir die Blumen ausgegangen und so musste ich gestern mal wieder zum Grosshaendler fahren. Und –wie immer- kauft man ein paar Bluemchen hier und da mehr, als man eigentlich braucht. Man weiss ja nie…

Heute sitze ich nun erneut am Computer und meine To-Do Liste wird immer laenger anstatt kuerzer (im Unterbewusstsein vielleicht nur, um den Augenblick der Konfrontation und der absoluten Panik ein wenig in die Zukunft zu verschieben?). In meiner letzten schlaflosen Nacht, die Dank der koeniglichen Katze, heute morgen um halb fuenf ein jaehes Ende fand (die Nacht – nicht die Katze!), hielt mich der Gedanke wach, was ziehe ich denn bloss an?

Wie muss man denn aussehen, wenn man erfolgreich verkaufen will? Mini-Rock und hohe Schuhe,  oder was Gebluemtes mit Rueschen und Spitzchen, passend zum Produkt? Neutral schwarz, um nicht von den Blumen abzulenken? Oder vielleicht mal neutrales Beige, um das Image ein wenig aufzuhellen, oder pink und purple – Ton in Ton mit meinem Musterstrauss? Du liebe Guete, ich glaube ich drehe durch!

Und dann ist da noch das Problem mit der Figur! Es gibt nichts Schoenes in meiner Groesse, schon gar nichts Schoenes in meiner Groesse, das bezahlbar ist. Und ich habe nichts im Schrank, was mir passt. So schnell kann ich nicht abnehmen. Ich glaube ich esse heute mal nix. Aber irgendwie habe ich Hunger. Vielleicht eine Saft-Kur. Ich habe gelesen, man kann easy 48 Tage nur von frisch gepresstem Saft leben (wenn man genug Zeit und Geld und Obst und Gemuese hat). Und natuerlich, wenn man sonst nichts zu tun hat. Weight Watchers vielleicht? Aber dann wird man da einmal in der Woche vor allen Augen gewogen und die Waage ist noch schrecklicher als die zu Hause und dann ist es einem peinlich und man will nirgendwo mehr hingehen. Jetzt koennte ich eine Tuete Chips essen…. Aber davon sind die Waden schon so dick geworden, dass die Winterstiefel vom letzten Jahr nicht mehr zu gehen. Wieso eigentlich? – verstehe ich ueberhaupt nicht. Die paar Kilo…. Aber wenn die Stiefel nicht passen, kann ich auch den Rock nicht anziehen. Rock und flache Schuhe geht ueberhaupt nicht zusammen. Das sieht so altbacken aus. Aber dann brauche ich auch noch eine neue Strumphose, falls die Stiefel jemals wieder zu gehen und der Rock nicht von den Motten gefressen wurde. Das wirft neue Probleme auf.

Seit Jahren habe ich vor,  mich mal persoenlich bei den namhaften   Strumpfhosenherstellungs-Direktoren zu beschweren. Es gibt keine bequemen Strumphosen fuer apfelfoermige Frauen unter 1.60m.  WIESO denn bloss???? Was haben die denn fuer Models, wenn es um Grosse XXL geht? Selbst XXXXXXXL schneidet den Bauch in halb und die Fuesse haengen 50cm ueber. Was soll denn das bedeuten? Man weiss ja schon selber, dass die Idealfigur ein vernebelter Traum aus der fruehesten Jugend darstellt, irgendwie fuer immer verschollen – aber muss man sich von einer nagelneuen Strumphose den Magen halbieren lassen und die Fuesse miteinander verknoten, nur um ein paar kuenstliche Blumen an den Mann zu bringen?

Und hat man endlich so ein synthetisches Ding in muehseeliger Kleinarbeit ueber jedes Roellchen gezerrt und gegezogen, dann kann man weder ein- noch ausatmen. Zur Kroenung beissen sich die wildgewordenen Zaehne des zu engen Stiefelreissverschlusses im Nylon fest. Das wiederum verursacht eine atomare Kettenreaktion von Laufmaschen, die kein Troepfchen Uhu oder Nagellack mehr stoppen kann! Vielleicht mache ich davon mal ein Video und schicke es als Hilfe-Ruf zu allen Strumpf-Unternehmen oder ich veroeffentliche es auf Youtube. Diese Wunderwerke der Kunststoffindustrie sind hoechstens fuer einen Bankueberfall geeignet. Oder um ein Auto abzuschleppen oder den Keilriemen zu ersetzen, aber definitiv nicht, um sich im Floral-Business zu etablieren.

Das ganze Theater ist mir zu stressig. Ich glaube ich bleibe bei der schwarzen Hose, den schwarzen Halbschuhen, dem noch schwaerzeren Top und vielleicht eine dunkle Jacke… Ausserdem habe ich noch ein paar Tage Zeit darueber nachzudenken.

Denn bevor ich ueberhaupt losgehen und meine Blumenpracht anbieten kann, muss ich noch die Geschenke auf meiner Webseite anpreisen, die Texte bearbeiten, eine neue Business Facebook Page zaubern, genaue Preise kalkulieren, einen Begruessungsspruch erfinden, alle moeglichen Einwaende und Argumente einer Bulldogge mit einem entprechenden Kontra-Argument im Keim ersticken, mein Auto waschen und polieren, die Garage aufraeumen, die Terrasse winterfest machen, Henry bei den Hausaufgaben helfen, sein Fahrrad reparieren, alle Rechnungen bezahlen, meiner Freundin die unverspeisten Delikatessen zurueckgeben, die Katze fuettern  und  all die anderen Punkte erledigen, die sich noch auf meiner To-do Liste befinden.

Lange Rede – kurzer Sinn. Ich muss jetzt mal hier weiter machen, sonst werde ich nie Verkaeufer des Jahres, Strumpfhosen-Modell, Bankraeuber, Computerexperte oder erfolgreich!

2010- Midlife Crisis, Pocahontas and life at the End of the World!

26 Dec

  

Personal Note: “Finally I have time to reflect on the year 2010.  As English ist not my first language (as you know), I apologize beforehand for any spelling mistakes, for choosing the wrong words or for building complicated sentences. It is not my attention to upset anybody! Maybe you know what I mean. It is complicated, but I try my best to use “understandable English”. So please enjoy my personal highlights of the year.     Beate

In July my world-traveling writer friend Angelika just sent me an interesting letter about hair removal, Brazilian Waxing and other methods used by American women to look good at places where normally nobody sees it.

I laughed my head off and I am very glad, that I am too old, too lazy and too poor for these things. And because of the weather and my apple shaped body type I am not wearing a bikini anymore.  I can’t afford Liposuction and because I am allergic to pain, I will not have Botox (wasn’t that used as neurotoxin during the Vietnam War?) injections or body lifting.  If you have a total body lift, they cut one circle around the waste, pull the skin up (like a pantyhose), cut off the overlapping skin and then stitch it all back together. From that remaining piece of skin, they can design new lips, new ears, or breast enlargements for you. Not for me! From time to time I pluck a hair from my chin, if the weather is nice I shave the hair under my arms and the ones on my legs will only be removed in summer when I wear the comfortable Capri pants with elastics around the waist – and that’s it!

 

As a good girl -not like Brittney Spears- I always wear underpants, mostly big enough to catch a rabbit, if necessary – you’ll never know! Because of my age I am not wearing miniskirts anymore, for comfort reasons I am not wearing g-strings and it is not my style anymore to wear see-through lace, silk, chiffon or handmade crochet dresses. All of those don’t go well with my love handles and the little “sausage rolls” on my back according to “Triny and Susanna” and “What not to wear”. That reminds me of Blackforrest ham . Everytime, I am really ready to become a Vegetarian, I get a terrible craving for Blackforrest ham and German bread (the one that feels like a brick). Is that normal or is it part of my midlife crises or is it psychotic preparation for hard times to come?

 

I am also glad, that the Soccer World Cup is over and we can go back to sleep at night. During that time it wasn’t my mortgage that kept me up at night, but the screams coming from the gun- secured Middle Earth area in my living room, where my lovely husband was fighting his personal war against international players and referees. I tried to buy that psychic Octopus on e-bay. It would have made a nice Christmas present for Bernie, so that he knows by Friday night, if his team is winning and if it is worth to get up that early on a Saturday morning.  And if the Octopus loses his magic, we can have him with soup for dinner. Or we could use him as a soap holder or automatic massage machine with a hand-made brush at each arm in the shower.  

 

My 49. Birthday passed by – very quietly. This year I haven’t invited anybody and I had no stress preapring a big party. Instead I took the opportunity to wash my car and clean up the garage. And the day before my birthday I made a “Kaese-Sahne-Torte” for myself (just like my Mum used to make it 20 years ago). I enjoyed it for breakfast, lunch and dinner and added a few pounds to my hips.

 

When I went to the bank to change my credit card, I was reminded to use the points that I have collected over the years and I didn’t know anything about. When I found out that I you can use the points in an electronic store, I (with my caring nature) choose a new flatscreen tv to make my lovely husband happy and to have a reason to open up the Middle Earth zone in my living room for other family members.  First creature to notice the new TV was big black fat cat Mimi. As usual she jumped on top of it, just to find out (still flying), that there was actually no space anymore for her 8.5 kg womanly body to land on.  

 

Since we haven’t had any vacation in the past years, I had booked one before last Christmas (2009) to surprise my lovely husband and my even lovelier son under the Christmas tree. Unfortunately and because of Christmas and school holidays related stress, I forgot all about it and I recovered the internet booking voucher during a clean-up session of my office drawers. Luckily the booking was for the weekend 26/27. March 2010 and therefore still valid when I found it a few days earlier. For nearly 10 years Henry tried to convince his boring parents to go camping and at the time of booking, I thought a weekend in an original Indian Tipi-tent would be the perfect alternative solution.   Alright- booked long ago – then forgotten – then re-discovered, I made the very quick decision: We are going! (even though the financial situation didn’t scream: holidays!). And we went. A booking is a booking! Raglan, a tiny little village on the west coast, 50km from Hamilton just takes three hours by car.  

 

One woman – one decision! Henry was very excited, Bernie was more concerned about the missed Soccer game on Saturday and if his soccer team will have any chance to win without him, and I was stressed with packing. Finally we loaded everything in my old car and off we went, heading down South.

 

Straight after passing the City of Auckland we had a “Smoko” break for Bernie in a little village, where I will definitely not stop on our way back home and hopefully never have a car break down in that area. But we went on, enjoyed the wonderful scenery, green hills, millions of sheep, inhaled toxic exhausts from the trucks in front of us and finally we reached the hills and bushes, where our Indian Tipi was  hidden. 

 

Unfortunately during internet booking they forgot to mention, that you could only reach the Tipi by feet and that is was around 1 km away from the reception and the parking place, where you had to leave your car. But real Indians are tough and therefore we started our walk in rather un-suitable shoes. We climbed up the hills, down the hills, over rocks, stumbled over roots, went through the mud and all the way trying to pull or push our  suitcases on wheels, boxes with food, clothing for any weather condition, Henry’s toy collection, his bicycle, my books and of course my art supplies. If we wouldn’t have passed a wooden sign, I thought we were lost in the bush by then. But no – we were still on track and with a final push and the last breath, we reached a flat green area on a hill, where our Tipi was hidden.   

 

Positively surprised about the freshly made beds inside and the not working Solar lamp, what was the complete interior of the tent, I fell on the bed and tried to breathe for half an hour. Henry was very happy and Bernie lighted his first peace pipe.

 

Everything looked very romantic. There were some other Tipis, but there was enough distance to have your privacy.  In the middle of it all we found a rustic, open bush kitchen.  And the organic toilet tract a la Friedensreich Hundertwasser was where all the flies circled. That reminded me of the wooden toilet hut we had in our garden in 1965, when my parents lived with three little children, no money and for historical reasons hated by the neighbours in a totally run-down house in a tiny little village in Belgium. And we had to clean our bums with carefully ripped newspaper squares. One of those cold winter evenings on the wooden plank toilet in Belgium I made the decision to do something with my life, so that I would never ever have to freeze my backside on such a “toilet”. And here we are: 45 years later, and I am paying $200 for the experience!

But even the shower with ice cold water can be romantic, if you keep an open mind and if you only stay from Friday till Sunday.

Bernie spent the rest of the day to secure world peace by smoking lots of peace pipes, I was a bit worried, how to survive, once it starts raining and Henry collected stones, sticks and built a BMX race course for his bike, which started at the Eco-toilets and went all the way down to our Tipi entrance. Like real Indians!

 

In the evening and during cooking and eating under the stars we met some other Indians, which came from all sorts of countries and who were used to not have a shower every day and travel the world just with a backpack and for practical reasons wear dreadlocks on their heads. That makes you think again if you really need all these civilization goods you spent your money on over the years. I am sure, that not one of the fellow Indians had sleepless nights, thinking how to pay their mortgage.  Our fellow Indians also didn’t have to pay for their Tipis and the Eco toilet, because they were volunteers and helped building rustic huts from empty wine bottles, straw and mud, so that these city Indians (like us) have the opportunity to test living a “wild life”.

 

Maybe we should sell everything and free like a bird travel the world with backpacks and glued hair.

 

Everybody was really nice. We had lots of fresh air and some wine (to support the wine bottle and mud building industry) and life under the stars made us very tired (especially the older Indians like Bernie and me) and my lovely husband didn’t muck around, he lied down on his bed and a minute later he was in dreamland. 

 

But to have at least one guardian keeping an eye on the tribe and even though I was extremely, tired, too I tried to talk Henry out of going on a nightly hunt with hand-made spears and on his bicycle.  Henry is a tough boy and the fresh air energizes him even more, so that his first glimpse of tiredness came not before midnight.

 

Then everything went quick. Two Indians were snoring and I was lying on my bed in the darkness listening to every noise in the bush until I realized, that the Tipi had an 8cm wide gap around the entire floor and I started wondering what kind of wild animal can squeeze through this gap.

 

 

New Zealand is famous for its wildlife and the possums (a mixture between cat and gen-manipulated Guinea Pig with a funny nose, brown round button eyes and claws like a Koala bear). That was the official description of my adventurous husband, who is the only one in the family, who came eye to eye with one of these monsters, when we lived in a farmhouse in Dairy Flat. Bernie and the little monster looked at each other in the basement of the house one night and then both ran off screaming in opposite directions. Anyway – at night possums come alive and try to find something to eat. How could I dare to just for one second close my eyes and fall asleep, thinking that a wild, hungry beast runs around our tent and tries to eat my lovely husband and son for dinner?

 

Hah!  Pocahontas was on a mission. No wild beast would ever get one leg in our Indian Tipi alive. In my mind, I saw us having BBQ Possum leg for breakfast. Then my “happy-end” got harshly interrupted by nasty Mosquitos, giant Wetas and other creepers and crawlers.  In the meantime the snoring went on and on from the large and the small Indian bed and I felt like a sole survivor in the Amazon. As more you think about the danger (if it is pitch dark and the only solar light is on strike), as more your imagination gets carried away with the things, that could actually happen.

 

What can I say? At the first glimpse of light entered the open top of our Tipi (so that you can see the stars while waiting for predators), I was totally exhausted, but also relieved to have saved the survival of my tribe. And while having an ice cold morning shower in the windy 100% natural wood construction and feeling very constipated, I came to the conclusion again, that I am rather a city girl than an alternative back- to-nature-Indian tribe woman. I prefer my comfortable porcelain toilet than doing my business behind a men-eating bush under the sparkling night sky.

 

During the second night (and more constipated and heavy like a sack of potato) I couldn’t care less, if a wild Grizzly bear would have eaten my lovely husband and son. By then I was so exhausted and tired, that I just gave up saving my tribe. Even when I woke up the next morning to find a giant Weta crawling along my leg under the sheets, I didn’t mind. Just a short scream and that was it!

 

Unfortunately we didn’t make it to the Hot air balloon Festival in Hamilton, as my husband Winnitou isn’t so much into cultural happenings. And on top of it he declared the whole three days as a non-driving weekend for him. Because of chronic tiredness and declining eye sight I decided then, not to drive in the darkness either and that way I again ensured the survival of our Indian tribe and also saved some possums from sudden death on the road. 

 

I am sure, Henry will remember our Indian life-style in the bush forever and I was very happy to sit on my own un-ecological and not bio-degradable toilet, on which you just flush the water instead of throwing small tree chips in there. You really forget sometimes how lucky you are to have hot water, whenever you want it. And my lovely Winnitou-husband found the weekend very relaxing!

Beate (Pocahontas)

Interior Design Principles: Harmony & Unity

18 Nov
To achieve Harmony everything in a room should be co-ordinated to express one theme, mood and style. It is very important in the initial planning of a home, or determining the interior of a room, to decide on the mood or style that you want created. And it is necessary to think of the house as a totality; a series of spaces linked together by halls and stairways with a common style and theme running throughout. This is not to say that all interior design elements should be the same but they should work together and complement each other to strengthen the whole composition. A way to create this theme or storyline is with the well considered use of color. Color schemes in general are a great way to unify a collection of spaces. For example, you might pick three or four colors and use them in varying shades throughout the house.
 

Well designed, harmonious master bedroom

 
A well-designed room is a unified whole that encompasses all the other elements and principles of design. Unity assures a sense of order. There is a consistency of sizes and shapes, a harmony of color and pattern. The ultimate goal of decorating is to create a room with unity and harmony and a sense of rhythm. Repeating the elements, balancing them throughout the room, and then adding a little variety so that the room has its own sense of personality accomplishes this. Too much unity can be boring; too much variety can cause a restless feeling. Everything from the trimmings on the lamp shade, the colour of the piping on the scatter cushion, to the light switches and cupboard handles need attention. As colour expresses the whole spirit and life of a scheme, details are just as important. They should not be obvious but they should be right and enhance the overall feel of the room. Juggling the elements and principles to get just the right mix is the key to good design.

 

 

Well designed Living Area – everything fits the Natural theme

 

Personal Note: Finally it feels like summer in New Zealand. It is nice and warm, the perfect weather for last Sunday’s School Gala and my open studio day, where I invited children to come in and make their own Christmas cards.

Have a happy and wonderful day!”   Beate

 

Interior Design Principles: Proportion and Scale

7 Nov

Good example for using two contrasting colours to create different areas in one large room

Proportion is primarily concerned with the relationship of one part to another. Our eye is pleased with good proportion and disturbed by poor proportion, but the choice remains a personal judgment.  It involves every aspect of design and is extremely visual. In Interior Design there is a “two-thirds to one thirds” rule as reference for the selection of colours, textures and patterns. Ancient Greeks designed all their buildings on the Golden section 2:3

Scale refers primarily to the relative size or character of an object or to its parts. This is in comparison with other objects either in whole or in part. A chair is small and a table is large, but either can be small or large in scale depending on the space they are placed in. Human scale too is of vital consideration. Rooms, furniture and equipment must be suitably scaled and designed to meet people’s needs and requirements. The basic aim of form follows function is lost if human scale is not considered. For example a kitchen should always be designed for the person who uses it most. Heights of work benches can be adjusted in relation to the person’s height, the implementation of the “work triangle” is important for a practical design.    

Often problems with proportion and scale in rooms are either they are  too small (dark, low ceilings) or too large (feels cold and unwelcoming). But there are many Interior design tools and tricks to still turn these rooms into cozy and comfortable spaces:

Interior design tips for small spaces and rooms with low ceilings: 

  • Use light colors on the walls
  • Paint the ceiling white, or lighter than the walls
  • Have lots of light – and use up lighters, to highlight the light ceiling
  • Keep home decor simple – limit patterns and choose small designs
  • Use mirrors and glossy finishes
  • Streamline your furniture – keep open spaces in mind when arranging them
  • Stay as tidy and uncluttered as possible
  • Consider a simple style – traditional designs can be too fussy and cluttered
  • Match the scale of your furniture to the scale of your room  
  • Wallpaper with vertical stripes can make low ceilings seem taller

Interior design tips for large rooms and high ceilings:

  • Use a darker color on the ceiling than on the walls
  • Bring the darker ceiling colour down to picture rail level
  • Use large scale, bold patters
  • Use lots of interesting, rough or fluffy textures
  • Try to create different areas by using colour as optical dividers
  • Use room dividers, columns or furniture to create smaller spaces
  • Fit lower hanging lights and down lighters
  • Use dark, warm colors on the walls
  • Use a darker color flooring
  • Match the scale of your furniture to the size of your room
  • Make sure you include lots of accessories, artworks  and décor items

 Samples for Proportion & Scale

Example for using a dark colour on the ceiling to visually lower it. A large or textured artwork on the wall behind the table would focus the eye and further improve the proportions of the room

 

Wonderful example for using texture, contrast and warm colours to turn a huge open space into a cosy and compfortable one

 

Example for a kitchen out of proportion and scale compared to the huge architectural roof design. It makes the kitchen furniture look too small and out of place

 

Personal Note: The last two days I had major computer problems. What a drama! But it shows how much we depend on our computers. I couldn’t do my internet banking or write my blog. And there are so many other tasks, I use the computer for. Even my son has to download his homework from the school website and he is still in Primary School! Alright, finally I am back on track, had to “de-clutter” my files and was reminded again (by my lovely husband and rescuer Bernie) to save my files on a regular base!

“In my next interior blog I will write about “Harmony”.  So, stay tuned and have a happy and wonderful day!”   Beate

Interior Design Principles: Rhythm

3 Nov

Good example for the use of repetition and contrast

In Interior Design rhythm is all about visual pattern repetition. It is defined as continuity, recurrence or organized movement. To achieve these themes in a design, you can use repetition of  lines, forms, colours or textures. Rhythm can also be created by progression, transition or contrast. Using these tools will impart a sense of movement to your space, leading the eye from one design element to another.

Repetition is the use of the same element more than once throughout the space. It can be a pattern, colour, texture, line, or any other element. Too much repetition unrelieved by contrast of some sort leads to monotony and too little repetition leads to confusion.

 
 

Example for Progression, where the eye is drawn up the stairs by increasing the height of the print collection on the wall

 

Progression is taking an element and increasing or decreasing one or more of its qualities. The most obvious implementation of this would be a gradation by size. A collection of vases of varying sizes on a sideboard creates interest, because of the natural progression shown. Progression can also be achieved through the order of  similar artworks increasing in height along a staircase, leading the eye to the next level, or via colour, such as a monochromatic colour scheme, where each element is a slightly different shade of the same hue.



Transition is a bit harder to define. It tends to be a smoother flow, where the eye naturally glides from one area to another. The most common transition is the use of a curved line to gently lead the eye, such as a spiral staircase or an arched doorway.

Contrast is easy to achieve by putting two elements in opposition to one another, such as a white and black pillow on a bed. Opposition can also be implied by contrast in form, such as circles and squares together or through a mix of contemporary with antique, modern paintings in a traditional room, mismatching chairs at a solid table and so on. Contrast helps to enliven a space and create interest and individuality, but it needs to be used according to the style and theme and with restraint, or it may lead to confusion.

Example for Transition, where the eye naturally follows the curved lines

 
 
  

Personal Note: “In my next interior blog I will write about “Proportion”.

My Kids Art & Craft Classes are in full swing.  Every Tuesday and Thursday after school I teach children how to prepare for Christmas by making their own Advent calendars, Christmas Cards, Angels, Christmas Stockings, handcrafted tree ornaments made of beads, felt, paper and fabrics, Christmas card garlands,  and so on.  We have lots of fun! I will share some easy to follow projects with you later on. Why not make it a fun weekend with your kids?   

 So, stay tuned and have a happy and wonderful day!”   Beate

Interior Design Principles: Emphasis

1 Nov

 

Emphasis is the focal point of the room. The focal point should be obvious as you enter the room; it is the area to which your eye is attracted and should be interesting enough to encourage the viewer to look further. Whatever is featured must be an integral part of the decoration linked through scale, style, theme and colour, so that everything else leads the eye toward the featured area.

If you don’t have a natural focal point in your space, such as a fireplace or a large window with a beautiful view for example, you can create one by highlighting a particular piece of furniture, a large artwork, an unusual sculpture, your favorite collection of things, a colourful rug or by simply painting a contrasting colour in one area.

In creating your focal point, also keep the feeling and use of the room in mind. In a bedroom the bed is often the focus as it is the purpose of the room. You can also create a focal point by grouping similar objects and compliment their surroundings in colour, shape and style. A strong focal point helps to keep the attention off the not so perfect areas in your room (like an old wardrobe door or a window with a not so attractive view).  

Good lighting is important to illuminate the focal point as appropriate. Many rooms suffer from a lack of dominance or a proper focal point, which results in boring interiors. What is the focal point in each of your rooms?

 Some examples for Emphasis (focal pooints) in a room:

 
 
 

 

 
 

A fireplace as focal point in the living room

 

 
 

 

 
 

A large abstract painting as focal point in a dining area

 

 
 

 

 
 

A large wall poem as focal point in a bedroom

Personal Note: “In my next interior blog I will write about the third principle “Rhythm”.

What a wonderful “Halloween Picnic” we had yesterday in our local park. Lots of families and kids came and enjoyed it. Even the sun was kind enough to shine for us.  

 So, stay tuned and have a happy and wonderful day!”   Beate

 

Interior Design Principles: Balance

31 Oct

Balance can be described as the equal distribution of visual weight in a room. An object’s visual weight is the amount of space it appears to occupy. A well-balanced room gives careful consideration to the placement of objects. The relationship between them, their colour, form, texture, pattern, and light are important aspects to achieve a great look and a feeling of completion.  In a room the mere arrangement of fireplace, doors, windows etc. can create the balance already. Unbalanced rooms create discomfort.  

There are three styles of balance: symmetrical, asymmetrical, and radial.

Symmetrical balance is usually found in more traditional interiors. Symmetrical balance is characterized by the same objects repeated in the same positions on either side of a vertical axis, for example in bedrooms, where both sides of the bed have the same night tables, lights, chairs etc.  Symmetry is a good way to achieve a sense of order and is often used, when formal effects are wanted, when focusing attention on something important is desirable, when the use of the room suggests symmetry or when contrast with natural surroundings is sought.

Example for a symmetrical balanced bedroom

Asymmetrical balance is often used in modern designs to create more lively interiors. Here balance is achieved with some dissimilar objects that have equal visual weight or eye attraction. Asymmetrical balance is more casual, but more difficult to create, because it suggests movement, spontaneity and informality. It is less obvious than the formality of symmetry and allows full freedom and flexibility in arrangements for utility as well as for beauty and individuality.

Example for an asymmetrical balanced bedroom

Radial symmetry is when all the elements of a design are arrayed around a center point, as in the spokes of a wheel or the petals of a daisy. Its chief characteristic is a circular movement out from, toward or around a centre. In homes it is found mainly in circular dining settings or spiral staircases. Though not so often employed in interiors, radial symmetry can provide an interesting counterpoint if used appropriately.

Example for a radial balanced dining room

 

Personal Note: “I hope you’ll enjoy my Blog and the new topic “Interior Design”.  In my next Interior blog I will write about the second principle  “Emphasis”.

Last night I went to a Halloween Party with the theme “Rocky Horror Picture Show”. That was the craziest and most bizarre costume party I ever went to….  

Later today we will go to a park and have a “Halloween Picnic” with the kids and lots of  families and lots of lollies. Fingers crossed, that the sun stays with us!

 So, stay tuned and have a happy and wonderful day!”   Beate

Principles and Elements of Interior Design

30 Oct

In the following series of blogs, I’ll introduce you to the principles and elements of Interior Design. These basics are used by professional Interior Designers as a guide in choosing each item or material to create a balanced and beautiful room setting. At the end of each article you’ll be able to recognize and maybe use the basic rules in your home. The seven principles of design are

  • Balance
  • Emphasis
  • Rhythm
  • Proportion
  • Scale
  • Harmony
  • Unity

 

The following 10 elements are the tools you can use to achieve the desired interior in relation to the above principles:

  1. Mood
  2. Style
  3. Space
  4. Line
  5. Form
  6. Colour
  7. Texture
  8. Pattern
  9. Contrast
  10. Lighting

  

Personal Note: “I hope you’ll enjoy my Blog and the new topic “Interior Design”.  It might be a bit confusing right now, but I am very excited to write about it, to explain the concepts in detail and to find photos with good examples.

My next blog will give you an insight into the first Design Principle “Balance”. So, stay tuned and have a happy and wonderful day!”   Beate