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« August 2013 | Main | October 2013 »

Some things I liked this week ...

Artnou

{photo credit: Artnau}

Work Hard and be nice to people ... is what kept me going the last couple of weeks ... I have to admit, it has not been easy to just move forward after being so disappointed by people I put my trust in and trusted with my business... but being able to share my feelings on Bloesem and all of you, my dear readers, online friends, sponsors and bloggers have been a huge support and I am really looking forward to a new season! But first some rest and fun ... the GrandPrix Singapore is here and it will be our first year to join the Party! ~ Happy weekend and see you back on Monday ~ irene xoxo

Weeds you can eat ... 

Seeing The Netherlands through the eyes of Hans van der Meer ... 

The bookhou pocket pouches are the best!

Clementine ... 

A very simple DIY leather key holder ... 

i Did iT 2.0 ... 

My friend is a wereldwijf for Linda magazine ... (Happy Birthday!)

Seeing Jan getting ready for 2014 ...

And Holly for her first baby ...

Alvar Aalto in pink ... 

I so agree ... she Get's it!

 And again in a completly different setting ....   

Workhardandbenicetopeople

 

 



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Hay opens in Amsterdam

BintiHome-HAYSTORE-AMSTERDAM-7266

{photo credit: Souraya at Binti Home}

It really is  a small world ... while having lunch with a new friend yesterday here in Singapore I learned about the new HAY shop in Amsterdam. My friend happens to be very good friends with the owners of Friday Next, also in Amsterdam. You might think what does Friday Next have to do with HAY ... well, they are the founders of the gorgeous and huge HAY shop too. 

Quite impressive what these two creative moms, Esther Blaffert and Paulien de Vries, have accomplished already ... and such an important impact they have on the interior design scene in the Netherlands. 

A lovely lady who used to work at Friday Next has been blogging for Bloesem before and I thought she might be able to help ... and yes indeed Souraya from Binti home ... was lucky to step inside the new HAY just before the crowds arrived and took some awesome images for us ... Enjoy!

BintiHome-HAYSTORE-AMSTERDAM-7273

BintiHome-HAYSTORE-AMSTERDAM-7277

BintiHome-HAYSTORE-AMSTERDAM-7279

BintiHome-HAYSTORE-AMSTERDAM-7280

BintiHome-HAYSTORE-AMSTERDAM-7286

BintiHome-HAYSTORE-AMSTERDAM-7289

BintiHome-HAYSTORE-AMSTERDAM-7292

BintiHome-HAYSTORE-AMSTERDAM-7293

BintiHome-HAYSTORE-AMSTERDAM-7261

 

Thanks Souraya for sharing your images with us. And if you ever need some interior design styling or photography help or avice just send Souraya an email, you will be in very good hands. You can find her online portfolio right here. 

Address: 
HAY on Amsterdam
Spuistraat 281 and 
Nieuwezijds Voorburgwal 326, Amsterdam

.. Binti Home
.. Friday Next
.. HAY

 

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Dutch Mountain House

Car_in_your_house

Ever thought of placing a car in your home? I haven't and I don't think I ever will but to be honest it does look kind of cool in this living room. The reason why I wanted to share this house today with you is because I love the architecture ... DeNieuweGeneratie designed an underground house somewhere in a beautiful nature reserve in the Netherlands... trying to adapt the home to its surroundings in the best way possible and not disrupting the environment to much... perhaps that's why they parked the car inside :) 

I love it , what do you think?

Dutchmountainhouse

BloesemLiving | Dutch Mountain House

Dutchmountain

Skateboardsteps

Winterhouse

Amsterdam based design office DeNieuweGeneratie was founded only a couple of years ago in 2008. This undergorund house called Dutch Mountain, was their first experiment and has lead the studio to a very productive first years. 

All images by Jaap Vliegenthart and John Lewis Marshall 

.. DeNieuweGeneratie (= The New Generation)

 

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i DiD iT

Bloesem_Singapore_apt_irene

{image by Marjon Hoogervorst ... my legs on my couch in our Singapore apartment}

I (finally) did it ... and it feels so goood! Time for Champagne to celebrate a new, refined and fresh look for Bloesem Living. I really hope you like it? I know I do ... not least because I designed, coded (with the exception of one page that is...:)) and built the new templates in typepad completely myself! You know me ... after so many years of reading Bloesem... I am normally not this immodest, certainly not looking to take centre stage... but in this case I am happy to make an exception ... and just wanted to let you know that a non-tech savvy – although now very tech-savvy … - blogging mom pulled this off!

Why you might ask would anyone in her right mind put herself through such a painful process… putting in more than 12 hours per day for long periods of time… well, I certainly did not volunteer for it... and you are right... this whole thing has been quite an ordeal to be honest...

I started out by doing the seemingly sensible thing… after making the design templates in photoshop for the new site, I hired expert tech-builders who, suffice to say, could or would not do what I thought we clearly had agreed … so another lesson learned the hard way I guess…

With hindsight it is difficult to imagine how I could not have seen the signs and perhaps I have been too naïve and certainly to trusting… so here it goes... some after-the-fact very basic wisdom and pointers from me when you are about to spend a bunch of money and time on 3rd party service providers… all of this appeals to common sense but it is easy to throw caution to the wind in the spur of the moment, so “bloggers beware”:

i.) Make sure to vet your service providers. Ask for references, then actually speak to them about their experiences. Yes you want to hear the good and the bad.

ii.) Don’t be tempted to pay 50% or more up front! Even when working with other freelancers who of course may be light on financial resources themselves. I still think anything between 10%-20% down payment is more than enough. Yes, you work on the basis of trust, but there has to be a balance. Make a payment schedule that ties with agreed deliverables. As a client, you have a right to see draft deliverables, within agreed timelines before further payments are made – and stick to the plan.

iii.) Don’t be a dummy! (I behaved like one for some time until I found I wasn’t one!) … there is much more that you can do yourself. Educate yourself even if you think you don’t have time. Yes, the learning curve will be steep but it is worth it. AND it will save you time and money later.

iv.) And, essentially, only hire service providers that are “better” than you… by that I mean, as is the case with hiring employees, there is absolutely no benefit in hiring anyone who pulls you down… the only way is up ... and your service provider should lead the way.

v.) One more thing… being a perfectionist (and I am sure you are too…) building this site myself, I had to accept that some things will not work to perfection, be it the design or tech specs, so a few happy mistakes or errors will remain but that is OK! See it as a sign of 'Handmade' and a sign of any proper DIY project I suppose … :)

Furthermore, I think this episode has for better or for worse hardened me a bit as a “business woman”… and perhaps that is a good thing… after all I do run a business and there is nothing wrong with taking a more business oriented approach to things like this. Freelancers like you and me should protect their businesses… businesses that are so precious to us and that we have nurtured along with hard work for many, many years.

My husband tells me I have now become “anti-fragile”... a term coined he says by this Wall Street guru who wrote a book with the same title... so, what does it mean? In the face of adversity, you are not only robust and survive, you actually thrive...! I kind a like that... I feel a bit anti-fragile today... and I do hope the feeling lasts... at least for the rest of the day…

Tomorrow will be blogging business as usual at Bloesem Living! ~ irene xoxo

 


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Keep Calm and Carry On

Looiersgracht_irenehoofs_bloesem

Dear Bloesem readers,

It has been one of those months where the work has just been piling up…backlog, backlog, backlog! I am sure you know the feeling … one step forward and multiple steps back… and on top of that, I am also back to a one-woman operation until I find someone to help out on all sorts of back office stuff and social media … (let me know if you can recommend anyone, preferably in my time zone…)

But I cannot complain, feeling completely re-energized by this wonderful mentioning of  the Bloesem Blog in the UK The Independent newspaper of last weekend… with Bloesem landing in 4th place of their blog awards …! So, thank you Independent editors, UK readers, you my dear readers and my sponsors for your continued support for Bloesem … which was needed more than ever before I can assure you for me to, as the British say,  “keep calm and carry on”…

 But not to despair … one of the reasons I have been in the trenches is because I am about to launch a revamped Bloesem … and I am doing all of the actual tech-work myself!! … talking about a steep learning curve … but looks like after two weeks or so outside my comfort zone … not sure in which zone I was :) but suddenly I saw the light … I think I might actually be able to pull it off!

Anyway, I promise to write a separate post on my “html/css coding travails” next week, sort of a Biz tutorial … my sincere apologies to all the sponsors, new and existing, for the delayed responses to your emails … it is great to see that there is so much interest in Bloesem and I will respond to you, so please bear with me … and while I am getting my admin house in order during the next few days, I will go a little light on the new posts … I hope you understand … Bloesem will be back in full swing in a couple of days … I will see you then! ~xoxo Irene 

ps. image by me of our Amsterdam apartment. 

 

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Place De Bleu

Placedeblue_yellowcouch

Hello my friends ... so sorry that I don't have time to write many words today for you, but I did make a collage off my favorite items from Place de Bleu ... a nice home interiors and accessories brand from Denmark ... do you like these too?

PlacedeBleu

 

.. Place de Bleu 

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