Free friday - recipe

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I have lots of favorite foods and recipes, they change with my mood but at the moment I'm going through a springroll fase. I'm not talking about the fried ones but the more healthy and fun to make vietnamese rolls. 
I developed (yes, this was a very serious proof and error process, not to be taken lightly ;-) my own version and this little illustation shows how it's done!

ps. I use firm goats cheese which I cut in strips but you can also use the soft version and crumble it over the veggies, it tastes very good in these rolls as well!

Structures and patterns

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My students are very busy making black and white structures and patterns. They will be used when making one final illustration or booklet.

Preparing for green swap


I already received some lovely reactions (and even seeds in the mail) to my green swap call, thanks everyone! The first swap presents are going out today... I'm so enjoying this!

Update: You can still join the green swap! Just let me know your address and what seeds you have by sending me an email.

Free friday - Questions

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Today a financial topic:
What to do when clients are not paying (on time)?

When making an invoice, be sure it looks professional. This is an example of my invoices:

Mention a payment due date. Somewhere between 2 and 4 weeks is common. I only mention 'please pay within 14 business days' but you could add the actual due date as well (in the case above it would be 03-21-2013).

When a client has not payed within this time, I always call them. You can also send an immediate reminder but I prefer calling them first (I mostly do this a week after the due date). It's more friendly to ask first if they have noticed the invoice is not payed yet, maybe something went wrong? (After all we're all humans who do make mistakes or are a bit forgetful now and then). Most of the time they'll pay right after your call (don't forget to tell them you received the payment to show your appreciation).

If not, then send a reminder, maybe by email (mention the phone call you made and on which date) or by post. You can mention here that if the invoice is not payed within 14 business days from the date of your email/ letter you'll have to add 10% extra for administration. After this they will most likely pay.

If not (I fortunately have never had this experience), send a new invoice (to be extra sure, you can do this by registered letter) with the extra 10% and mention that if the payment is not received within 14 business days a bailiff order shall be issued (and additional costs will be transferred to the client). And if they did not pay in time, do so.

This all sounds a bit harsh but 99% of the time the issue is solved with just a friendly informing phone call. It speaks for itself that when a client is structurally not paying, not to accept any commissions from them anymore. After all, these are not the sort of people you'd want to do business with.

But... I'd like to stress that most clients are very kind and just human like you and me who will want to pay on time, so try to be a bit 'zen' about it.

That said, have a lovely weekend!

Green for the mind


I read the other day that nature calms your mind and makes you feel balanced, even when looking at it on a computer screen. So to calm and balance your mind, I'd like to present... the greens that grow enthusiastically in our home!

I really enjoy how spring in announcing itself by the first shy flower buds unfolding, little sprouts popping their heads above the soil and new leafs unwrapping. I'm already excited to start a new round in my veggie garden. Especially because I have this great book to assist me.

By the way, the second picture shows this plant 7 months after sowing.

Now that I'm writing this, a though crossed my mind... Wouldn't it be nice to trade some green?
If you have some spare seeds (or even a little plant, to trade if you live in my neighborhood or are in one of my courses) it would be fun to trade it with you for a little present with a 'green theme' from my hand!

I did buy some seeds the other day (cherry tomato, regular tomato, parsnip, round courgette, paprika, peas, pumpking, rocket salade, spinach and shallots) but would love to have more variation!
If you have seeds you'd like to trade (even if you live outside the Netherlands) for a 'surprise green pressie' please email me.

Update: I received so many lovely seeds and gifts from all over the world, thanks to everyone who joined in on my 'green swap', it made y day(s)!  The swap is now closed.

Two men and a sofa


We have a very very comfortable sofa, almost like a daybed, and Seb thinks so too. He perferably wants to cuddle there with M, especially when M's having a snack.
One problem though... since we moved to Ilpendam, Seb is a bit out of his routine and suddenly confuses the sofa with his litter box.
So until this habit has passed, he's not allowed on the sofa (to Seb's and M's disappointment) and got his own chair to chill on. Perfectly on eye level with whatever human is on the sofa. He seems to enjoy his new throne in the picture but don't be fooled... he tried to get on the sofa whenever M was not paying attention, pfff... bunnies.

Free friday - desktop wallpaper


In the light of my current positivity-project I'd like to share some of my favorite quotes in the shape of a free desktop wallpaper so you too can expose yourself to some positive thinking everyday ;-).
You can download it here.
Feel free to share it with whoever might need it. Let's spread that positivity!

Have a happy weekend!

Oh happy days...


There have been a lot of changes in my life lately: big choices business wise, moving from the city to a tiny village, and some more. I feel a bit embarrased to admit it, but it would be an understatement to say that I'm not so good with change, I'm terrible at it (but can't stand a rut either)! I drift away from myself when trying to handle too much change, and become grumpy, weepy and sad (even a bit depressed).

I'm trying to handle this by getting into a regular sleep routine, but that's hard because I have to travel three nights a week to Utrecht to teach and am back home at half past eleven (I'm not an evening person). I found myself still awake at 3 o'clock in the morning and pretty frustrated and grumpy (with my duvet and pillow on the sofa so I wouldn't keep my man from his sleep).

To deal with my resistance of change, to stop nagging and to get some positivity going on in my head, I'm now trying this new thing... One of my friends introduced me to the book: Feel the fear... and do it anyway, by Susan Jeffers. It's about how we hold ourselves back by nagging and finding excuses not to deal with things, being affraid. I'm halfway throught the book and started with affirmations...

Picture me having a bowl of muesli in the morning while listening to a woman chanting on my iPod: 'I let go and trust it's all happening perfectly' and then repeating it 10 times.
When I'm behind my computer I have a clear view on the notes on my wall saying: 'I can handle it', 'I am a positive and optimistic person'. I even have an affirmation app on my iPhone that shows me a new positive quote every day.

Ok. I have to admit, I feel a bit silly (you may laugh at me a bit, not too long please).
But I think I will stick to this for a while though... it might work!

The beautiful jewelry and photo are by Kaye Blegvads.

Just arrived...


A cute little girl was born last week and I had the honour to design the birth announcement card. It was delivered to my doorstep today (the card, not the baby) and I'm very happy with the printed result!

Do you want me to design a birth announcement card for you too? See here for more info.

Pretty little things

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Clockwise from the left:
+ found comforting meerkats in and old Flow Magazine
+ this inspiring card arrived in my mailbox today, send by this talented lady
+ pretty gift wrap paper by this wonderful shop, around a pressie from a good friend



 Our house is slowly going through a makeover... a little tour our the place.

Free friday

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Now that I'm living in the country I might as well start to enjoy the scenery. I started running with the couch-to-5K-app. I don't know if you're (or ever have been) into running but  with me it goes like this:
I get up in the morning and think: 'oh oh, it's a running day... This means dragging myself out there in the cold...pfff'. I put on my running outfit (I tried to make it more fun by buying a fancy little ensemble in black, white and pink, a dotty wind jacket included) and tune in on my ipod. Billy, my personal coach who comes with the couch-to-5K-app, tells me to 'get going' and here we go...

This all may sound like a drag but once on the road I get the ultimate feeling of freedom: just me, the road and some sheep grazing on the horizon. With Billy telling me when to run and when to walk, I don't even have to think and my head feels comfortably empty. In the end, I love it. And, the best of all: it makes me feel so good about myself, being sporty and all!

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