Friday, 28 May 2010

Gone Fishing....

Yey! Summer days are here again. I love these balmy evenings spent catching our dinner and listening to the waves break. Worries wash away through the pebbles and the sun warms your soul. There's nothing like catching your own dinner straight from the sea - so fresh and sustainable.

Monday, 24 May 2010

Volcanic Design

The recent volcanic activity in Iceland is estimated to have grounded 10 million air travellers and has reminded us that despite our technological and cultural advances we remain at the mercy of the power of nature. Volcanic activity is at once both devastatingly destructive and profoundly creative, producing whole islands and archipelagos. The world map as we know it has been formed by tectonic activity. Today, I've decided to investigate some of the artistic creations that have been inspired by this most elemental phenomenon.

Jón Björnsson is the designer behind Bjoss, a fantastic array of design projects infused with originality and individuality. Taking inspiration from his childhood sandbox, Jón has used a simple mould and volcanic sand from the southeast coast of Iceland to make this austerely beautiful table. The table has a depression in the middle to hold candles, flowers or other decoration. In homage to those sandcastle days of his youth, Jón has titled this work simply "Bucket". Jón has revisited this method in his new volcanic sand vases titled "Flower Eruption". I love the textural quality of Jón's work.

The clean lines and slate hue of these Kirkstone Volcanic Slate basins really appeal to me. Kirkstone - Manufacturers and Suppliers of Architectural Stone via Momoy.

Olle Lundberg collaborated with Wendy Tsuji to combine two San Franciscan 1952 row houses into a striking townhouse with amazing results. The Serra staircase boasts treads of volcanic silicate while the bathroom was clad in the same volcanic silicate and punctuated with strips of bevelled glass. Lundberg Design via Interior Design.

Victoria and Albert, based in Shropshire in the UK, produce a range of baths made from volcanic limestone mixed with high performance resins giving a stone-rich alternative to both cast iron and acrylic. Their products range from the very traditional to the very modern.

Inspired by volcanic ash, designer Robert Stadler came up with these "ash bomb" furniture pieces upholstered in black leather. via Yanko Design

The volcanic rock tile range, Opus, from Italian tile house Casa Più has attained something of a cult status. Opus, "Volcanic rock, prisoner of colour", has a texture and organic form that breaks away from the geometrical lines of traditional tiles. "The designer tiles capture the most vivid hues, while their crude cracks and raw, organic edges hint at nature’s beautiful volatility" - Casa Più prides itself on using handcrafted techniques and only natural elements in it's designs. The website is worth a visit as much for reading their ethos as the stunning images of their work.

I am particularly attracted to designers that have drawn their inspiration from the natural world and these designers have captured nature in the very essence of her savage beauty. And while I'm hoping Eyjafjallajökull has quietened for now and won't interrupt my summer travel plans it bears remembering that a delayed or cancelled flight is nothing to the suffering she has caused for locals.

Thursday, 20 May 2010

The Fire Starter Sessions #2

A few more highlights from my quest through the Fire Starter Sessions by Danielle LaPorte. Part two is all about taking stock of your present power and making space to expand your potential.

Cocktail Line
I love this advice to have a genuine cocktail line at the ready that sums you up in half a minute, "a distilling of your reality, your talent, your dreams and your power". V beneficial should the opportunity for serendipitous promotion come your way! Danielle provides examples of how people often describe themselves and what they could actually say if they thought about it - and.. wow!.. there is such a difference! Maybe your day job isn't all that but your hobbies/ future plans are shining! This is not about faking it, this is about being "modest and powerful, factual and engaging".

"Facts + Feelings = Genuinely Compelling"

Ready for an eye-opener.....
Danielle quotes the excitingly sage advice of Marcus Buckingham :

"A strength is what you do that makes you feels strengthened! It's not necessarily what you're good at, or what you‘re capable of — it's what feels amazing when you do it!"

Now, this really resonates with me! Isn't this so liberating! Some of the things that feel amazing to me aren't things people expect me to do. "So what things make you feel amazing? What activities cause you to feel useful, vital, better-than-before? What feels so good and so easy to give that you give it generously? What do you do best—that gives you a rush while you're doing it?" Embrace these things. "Becoming You is your purpose."

"Your most valuable currency is what comes naturally to you. Cash in."

"What's chronic, repetitive, or inflamed in your life?"
What things in your life or your job would you like to stop doing? Sick of to-do lists? Why not make a Stop Doing List! A more powerful way to free up your time and inspiration. Danielle gives a practical while challenging stop doing list including the little things like constantly checking email/twitter/Facebook and the big things like taking it all on yourself. "Just because you can do it, doesn't mean you should" - see the FSS for Danielle's theory on "Competent - the silent killer". Free up time for the things that really inspire you.

"Passion will always move you in the direction of your authentic self."

Face Forward
I, personally, have a deep regard for our past, our heritage and all that goes with it but we can all let past experiences, habits and anxieties impinge on the present and hold us back. Danielle's mantra, "Stand in your present power", fills me with encouragement and empowers me. She tells us that in the workplace "We want to look ahead with you. Look backwards and you loose us". Again here, she gives examples of how people describe their work situation/company and contrasts them with what they could have said! A lesson in self-awareness and positivity!

See also:
The Fire Starter Sessions #1
The Fire Starter Sessions - Danielle LaPorte
Invest in Your Future "You"

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

A Contextual Cue....

I just took a mini break and had a glass of orange juice and a plain biscuit and was unexpectedly transported back to a four-year-old Jane on her orange and biscuit break in playschool!! I love the unending unconscious associations of the brain.

Tuesday, 18 May 2010


Journalist Tamara, Cynthia from the My Girl Friday Design Company and "whip smart wordsmith" Emma Alvarez Gibson have come together to produce the beautiful free eMag "Delish" which launched yesterday.

From an Irish seanachai to a human rights lawyer cum yoga teacher, from handmade how-to's to designer clothing - could it be that this magazine actually does have something for everyone!

With their aim "to focus on what's real, what's useful and what's beautiful" the crew at Delish have created a magazine which feels unique in it's combination of such varied content and it's aesthetic.

Jack of All Trades?

There are so many things I want to do, so many jobs I want to have. I learn about something new and want to get right into it. I still don't know what I want to be when I "grow up"! I saw this video on Etsy and now I want to upholster furniture for the rest of my days!

Process: Upholstery with Spruce Home from Etsy on Vimeo.

Thursday, 13 May 2010

The Fire Starter Sessions #1

So, I've managed to squeeze in some time to make a start on the first chapter of the Fire Starter Sessions.

"This truth is most evident: we entrepreneurs, artists, and change agents define ourselves on our own terms."

I love that Danielle LaPorte recognises artists and agents of change as entrepreneurs - you don't have to be a traditional business person to be creating something new! Changing perceptions is just as vital.

Danielle's advice for embarking on the Fire Starter Sessions: "be with this
program, give it some time, explore your creativity, your strategy and your approach to authenticity."

"Don't hold back your ideas"
The first piece of advice in the FSS is to be generous with your time, ideas and creativity. While I think I am quite a generous person in my everyday life I know I tend to play my cards close to my chest when it comes to ideas. I like to protect those flashes of brilliance until I've executed them into being and perfected them before I set out my stall. I'm fully aware that this perfectionist trait prevents me from getting other people's views, input and help, which would be more beneficial before rather than after I've completed a project. I am striving to conquer this reticence but it is quite a pressing issue in these days of intellectual copyright, the publish or perish mantra of academia and the speed of the online world. How much to "put out there"? Though even in the world of blogs it is obvious that the people who give more of themselves get more coming back to them.

"It doesn't really matter where you are on the scale of entrepreneurial drive. You can call it a hobby, a labour of love, or a world domination plan. You can call it ambition, hunger, inspiration, drive, a vocation, food on the table —whatever. You can crush the competition, unify an industry, or change just one person‘s life."

Danielle sets out gems of the best and worst business advice she's ever got. Here are some of my best advice favourites:
"• Don‘t spend it before you have it.
Before you earn it, you don‘t have it. Projections and ideals do not equal money in the bank.
Don‘t spend it when you get it.
"You need to feel the power of sitting on it, of letting it actually feed your creativity. If you spend it when you get it, you‘ll have to catch up with it, and that will sap your energy."
Only do it if it‘s fun. If it‘s not fun, make it fun. If you can‘t make it fun, then don‘t do it.
Be daring, be different, be first.
Moxy and uniqueness don‘t add up to much if you don‘t execute. Getting there first changes everything.
Create a “Culture of Yes”.
surround yourself with people who can trust your creative insanity. When dreamers unite, they get a lot done."

I love her outlook on bad advice - "Really bad advice is just great advice in reverse". I really clicked when I read one of the worst pieces of advice she's received: Just do one big thing. "In terms of overall development strategy and creativity, the singular focus route has never worked for me. I just can‘t do one project at a time. I need to feed different parts of my brain and spirit. And with more than one iron in the creative fire, the fire just gets higher." This really resonated with me - I'm always setting rules for myself like "I can't think about Y until I've finished X" etc. When really a little bit of Y inspires me to try to finish X!! Eureka moment!

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

The Fire Starter Sessions - Danielle LaPorte

I’m delighted to say that Danielle LaPorte has given me permission to reprint sections of her Fire Starter Sessions ebook that launched today and I've decided to take you along with me on the trip. Over the course of the next few of weeks I’ll pass on some of her nuggets of whitehot truth as we go through the book together!

For: People with a half-baked dream and no idea where to start; people with a plan; people with a business idea; people with entrepreneurial flair; people without entrepreneurial flair; you!

A direct, no nonsense ebook of instructions on how to get where you want to be in life, complete with videos, interviews and worksheets.

By pre-ordering I received a sneak preview chapter which has only made my wait for the complete thing even harder. I've flipped through the whole ebook and have set aside time later for a cup of tea, nice music and my trusty “Life-Changing Plans” notebook to really dig into it! Her workbook sections focus your plans and dreams into concrete “What I Need To Do To Get There” points and I like to devote time to it. Danielle has created an interactive experience that fills you with excitement at your own possibilities and a desire to run, not walk, towards your dreams. She tells you how to grab your future while still being true to yourself and others – no ruthless steamrolling over colleagues here! Nor is this a fluffy self-help book – no, this is a plan of action.

The Fire Starter Sessions: Spark Your Genius. Ingite Your Business. Make It Matter. from Danielle LaPorte on Vimeo.

I’m usually quite cautious about spending and I admit that the $150 for the Fire Starter Sessions did initially seem a bit high for me. But I’d already learned loads from Danielle and had been wishing for a one-on-one session with her ($500) so I let my excitement take over, justified the investment in “me” and grabbed the credit card! And I am so glad I did!

So, if you’re feeling you’d like to make the jump – go do it – you won’t be sorry! If you click on one of my links and buy through me then I get a percentage of the sale and you get the opportunity to become an affiliate yourself! As Danielle says, lets spread the fire and the coin!

(I have become a Fire Starter Sessions affiliate because Danielle beamed me up out of a rut I'd got stuck in and opened all the doors for me, because what she's doing fires me up and I want to spread the word and, of course, any coin this site generates is most welcome!)

See also:
Investing in Your Future "You"

Monday, 10 May 2010

Yellow and Grey

I recently saw an image of yellow and grey textiles which got me thinking about how well these two colours harmonise and how the combination really appeals to me. I’ve been gravitating more towards the colour yellow lately and I love the happy playfullness of it.

Image credits: 1. Alankin 2. mmoca 3. Marcobillo 4. Polly Wreford

Isn’t it curious that these two colours go so well together when they are often thought of as symbolising two very different states of mind. The colour yellow is stimulating and is associated with lightness of mood, springtime, warmth and happiness.

Image credits: 1. Door Sixteen 2. Southern Living via The Lennoxx 3. Brandon Barré Photography for 4. Ferm Living via Blue Moss

Stoic grey, on the other hand, has long been used as a descriptor of the dull, the undefined, the lifeless and the boring. And yet, together, this combination is harmonius and relaxing with an underlying joy. Interestingly, both are associated with intellect and ageing and the passage of time.

Image credits: 1. Susan Weinroth 2. 3. Little Green Notebook 4. StefenyStanyer

Of course, grey is also a very natural neutral colour and evokes a solid, earthy nature. The combination itself keeps reminding me of their natural combination in the yolk of an egg!

Image credits: 1. Naturesam9 2. Alastair139 3. Eren|thisvintagechica 4. Photophilde