Thursday, 6 February 2014

Wow pow!

WitOpWit (W.O.W!) is a 'concept factory' out of Pretoria that conjures up ideas, products, events...pretty much anything and everything. I had the pleasure of working for Inge Wilkinson a few years back on a number of occasions and have seen W.O.W blossom into something really special. All of their products and ideas are quaint and one of a kind with attention to detail in every nook and cranny. The WitOpWit team is made up of Karlien Thomashoff, Inge Wilkinson and Marguerite Pienaar  who will also be showcasing their work at this years Design Indaba in Cape Town. Exciting stuff for these ladies...


Tuesday, 19 November 2013

When I grow up I want an apartment like this...

I've been following Joanna Goddard's blog a cup of Jo for ages and fell in love with her post about the home makeover of her NY apartment with Space and Interior guru Emily Henderson. The House Imp currently au pairing in also has a great big living room table with Stokke high chairs for the kids and child friendly chairs for the adults that even with withstand spaghetti sauce smears and sticky fingers. I just love the way they incorporated subtle hints of colour in the frames on the wall, the children's toys, and fresh flowers and the mix of old and new pieces of furniture. I cant wait to stay in my own place again, but for now My small au pair living quarters in Holland will just have to do...


Saturday, 2 November 2013

'Seventeen and sticky'...

Things on 'The December Diaries' front has been decidedly quiet due to PROJEKT.HOLLAND' taking the priority. Despite this, I still try and post on things I find of some worth.
I stumbled across this article that Amy Poehler wrote about her summer job as a teen. Her simple descriptions really put me in the places she described. I had never read anything from her before but found myself addicted.

"Article taken from 'The New Yorker'

Take Your Licks

by October 14, 2013

I was seventeen and sticky. It was the summer of 1989, and I was off to college in a few months. The Massachusetts town where I grew up was decidedly blue collar, filled with teachers and nurses and the occasional sales manager. My friends and I fell asleep to the sound of our parents arguing about car payments and tuition. It was our soundtrack, this din of worry. If you were young, you were expected to have a part-time job.
I got one, scooping ice cream at Chadwick’s, a local parlor that specialized in sundaes and giant steak fries. Summer jobs are often romantic; the time frame creates a perfect parenthesis. Chadwick’s was not. Hard and physical, the job consisted of stacking and wiping and scooping and lifting. At the end of my shift, every removable piece of the restaurant would be carted off and washed. Vinyl booths were searched and scrubbed. This routine seemed Sisyphean at first, but I soon learned the satisfaction of working at a place that truly closed. I took great joy in watching people stroll in after hours, thinking they could grab a late-night sundae. I would point to the dimmed lights and stacked chairs as proof that we were shut. It was deliciously obvious and final.
Chadwick’s was one of those fake old-timey restaurants. The menus were written in swoopy cursive. The staff wore Styrofoam boaters and ruffled white shirts with bow ties. Jangly music blared from a player piano as children climbed on counters. If the style of the restaurant was old-fashioned, the parenting that went on there was distinctly modern. Moms and dads would patiently recite every item on the menu to their squirming five-year-olds, as if the many flavors of ice cream represented all the unique ways they were loved.

There was a performance element to the job that I found appealing, to begin with. Every time a customer was celebrating a birthday, an employee had to bang a drum that hung from the ceiling, and play the kazoo, and encourage the entire restaurant to join him or her in a sing-along. Other employees would ring cowbells and blow noisemakers. I would stand on a chair and loudly announce, “Ladies and gentlemen, we are so happy to have you at Chadwick’s today, but we are especially happy to have Kevin! Because it’s Kevin’s birthday today! So, at the sound of the drum, please join me in singing Kevin a very happy birthday!”
I wasn’t sure yet that I wanted to be an actor. I was planning to go to Boston College as an English major and maybe become a teacher, like both of my parents. But when I stood in the dining room and demanded attention I was reminded of things I already secretly knew about myself. I wasn’t shy, I liked to be looked at, and making people laugh released a certain kind of hot lava into my body that made me feel like a queen.
This feeling didn’t last long. I’m not sure when the worm turned. Maybe it was during one of the many times we announced the BellyBuster. The BellyBuster consisted of mounds of ice cream in a giant silver bowl carried in on a stretcher. The busboys would have to pretend to struggle under the weight of this giant sundae as they lifted it onto the table and handed a giant spoon to the maniac who had ordered it. I would ease my pain by exchanging looks with one busboy who was always slightly drunk, and the ex-junkie cook who was always slightly grouchy. The cook spoke in bumper stickers when describing his disposition: “Of course I’m mean. It’s hard to be happy when you are standing this close to the fire.”
But the teen-agers were the worst. Teen-age boys, especially. They would file in, Adam’s apples bouncing, and announce it was their birthdays. Since Chadwick’s operated on an honor system, I would have to look into their sweaty, lying faces and smile like a flight attendant. Some of them would order their sundaes while asking me to “hold their nuts.” Was this the life of an actor?
I quit when the summer ended. I had started forgetting to charge for whipped cream. I was failing to use the ice scoop. A customer told me I was banging the drum “too hard.” She was right. I was angry; I wanted to be gone. It’s important to know when it’s time to turn in your kazoo. The nights would end with the wait staff in the parking lot, sitting on a car and drinking beer as we counted our tips. The boys would undo their bow ties and suddenly look weary and handsome. I would change into soft jeans and throw pennies at the dumpster. I was aching for what came next. I felt my whole life stretched out before me like an invisible buffet. I turned toward my future, mouth watering"

Friday, 4 October 2013



Things on The December Diaries front has been pretty quiet to say the least. I have good reason for this I swear. Life has taken somewhat of an unexpected turn. This is where PROJEKT.HOLLAND comes into the picture.

You see, I studied Industrial Design straight out of high school, and following 4 years of hard work, all nighters and pretty much a non existent social life, I went and did the socially accepted thing by getting a job. Life was somewhat on my side though due to my contract being a mere 6 months. Enough time to build up industry experience and make some hard earned money too. When I wasn't being productive at work, I was sitting daydreaming about Holland, bicycles, cheese and travelling Europe. Not a day later, the opportunity presented itself ,the only catch was being an au pair for 12 months, not something I ever thought id put down on my CV.
So here I am, as I write this post, in Holland living to what many refer may to as "living the dream". And that really is what I am doing. Despite the fact that I am not using the degree I studied 4 long hard years for, au pairing gives you what I call life experience. The travelling that comes with it doesn't hurt either.
PROJEKT.HOLLAND now serves as a platform to share my experiences, views, rants and ramblings whilst in Holland. Thus far Iv written about the food (bread bread bread) the places I have visited and yes perhaps one or two posts about the 3 boys I look after.
It may not be ' The December Diaries' but its pretty damn close....

Friday, 23 August 2013

The 'Ties' that bind...

So as I was reminiscing and looking through old photos, I came across one I took of my dearest friend Alison, or known to each other as 'Ties'. Its quite a funny story how our nicknames for each other came about, but since then, that's what we and all our friends call one another. It can get quite frustrating sometimes when going on Facebook and typing "ties" into the search toolbar, when I should be in actual fact be typing in Alison.
Ties has always provided me with a bed when visiting Cape Town and  I think after the electric blanket caught alight with myself, Alison and Camilla inside, our friendship has never been stronger, or in this case hotter. Ties has the best taste in music and always draws her fashion models super skinny. Her and I have been friends ever since she told me about her 'penguin conspiracy' in high school. The end

Tomrrow, Tomorrow, I love you Tomorrow...

I woke up this morning to grey skies outside, the best kind! I think the universe is preparing me for weather like this because things have really started to hit me today. Sometimes I ask myself " Tara, what are you doing?". I've never gone out into the big wide world on my own, and I can't even begin to tell you how hauntingly excited I am. Sometimes I don't even know how I feel, excited, overwhelmed, excited, scared. excited. As for how my close friends feel, they are probably sick and tired about hearing me go on about Holland. I don't blame them. The year my sister went overseas to au pair in New York, all she could do for the 6 months preceding up t the day of her flight was talk about it. I was quite ready to stick a pencil in my eye than have to listen to that. I was just jealous and I know it. But this time it's my turn. I printed out my flight details and stuck them on our fridge. This is what we do on my parents house whenever someone flies overseas and it felt like I had to document it just because.
My birthday is in the beginning of September, and I obviously won't be in SA to celebrate it
, so naturally my mom baked a cake for today and we will be smashing our faces in it later today. I can't wait.
Side note: am going to miss my Labrador, Keano, so much. I just thought I would share that...

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Feeling 'Design broody'...

You know how when people feel broody, and all they can see is pregnant woman, babies, and children's clothing? Well I suppose that's the case with me, but far, far from babies! Since my travel documentation to The Netherlands has been approved, all I keep seeing is news about the country, events, design and running in to friends who have family, friends and contacts there. Don't get me wrong, I am in no way complaining. I even created a Pinterest board labelled 'Dutch' . hmmm, Eager much Tara?
One of the events I'm looking forward to attending (and I mean one out of hundreds) is ELLE Decoration NL's 'Inside Design Amsterdam' festival that is celebrating its 10th year of festivities.
The festival spans over three days, starting at the ELLE Decoration Studio (Lobster House) in Frederiksplei and moving along various design hotspots within downtown Amsterdam. The festivals Facebook page is also a great way to keep up to date with which designers will be showcasing their work.

Their video snippet (on ELLE D├ęcor NL website) has made me 'design broody' times ten and I think Its about time I just get over there already. I am most certainly ready to close this chapter of my life and fling open to the next...

Side note: Apologies to all of those who I am making incredibly jealous, but to make sure you don't miss a minute of my travels, watch out for the 'P.H' blog (which is the abbreviated name to keep it a surprise) which will officially commence on Sunday 25 August.

Sunday, 18 August 2013

Farewell notes from friends...

I don't know what possessed me to host and organise a farewell. It's not for sissys let me tell you that. Half the day was actually spent running around like a headless chicken opening and sending off my guests. But you know what the craziest thing is, I wouldn't have changed it for the world. Seeing all my friends over wine and a braai was the perfect way to be sent off.

I invited a mixed array of my friends, some that I have known for almost 20 years dating back to pre school, primary school and high school days whilst others that I have known from my varsity years and through mutual friends. Although Most of my day was spent on my feet, the 'grapevine' told me that everyone had a jovial time with one another..whew!

I also got gifts. I didn't expect gifts but I like gifts. In our family we don't "do" gifts, so that moment of surprise when someone hands you one is just the best feeling in the world.
Chim, thank you for my farewell bracelet. I hope it keeps me safe on my travels and every time on look down at my wrist to check the time (the Dutch are very punctual) I will think of you. Although we have only been friends for less than a year, I feel like I have known you for a very long time. I so wish we had approached each other while we were still studying, we would have made such a great team!

Abby, what can I say. Our friendship dates back to Primary School  days and we have somehow managed to keep in contact and stay friends. I suppose this whole trip all started with you although you may not even know it. If I hadn't gone to One World with you, all the events that followed would never have happened and  I wouldn't be going where I am. Than you for the scarf, which is the most beautiful shade of yellow and grey, and the champers. I think I'll sommer pop it open before I board my flight!

Cecilia, I don't think I don't think I have ever received as big a bottle of wine as I received from you. I think this week will prove to test my alcohol tolerance, Thank you none the less. I will miss the very brief friendship we have had but will always remember all the effort you made and the coffee and drink dates where we poured our hearts out.

Cam, we have come a long way! Our friendship dates back to pre school days and play dates at each others houses. You have been such a good friend to me, and although we lost contact while in high school, it never quite felt as though we did. Thank you for the bracelet and the delish piece of fudge toffee, you sure know my where my weakness lies.

Alex, my dear friend. Your face always brightened up many a day in the testosterone filled hallways of the I.D department. Your effort in our friendship is something I truly value, and something I will never forget about you always say the sweetest things about me, and I wish you luck with everything you do, you are one feisty gal.

Sarah, my gorgeous friend. Our friendship has also been one dating back to primary school days. I always had such a great time with you and am going to miss you pretty face. Remember to "sit like a lady"...

My Cousins, Tarien and Mariska, for being the best cousins a girl could ask for. The world had better watch out for The Deacon and Van Heerden sister duo because we are on a roll!

Michael, I too have only known you for less than a year but your super chilled vibes and willingness to always go out and have a good time will be missed.

Graeme, I am going to miss our strange conversations about the world, design, music and architecture, but, I will see you soon, in Europe nogal.

Cara, my dear friend who I have known for such a long time. I am going to miss our chats and giggles and how you always told me you can't stand stupid people. We have had some good memories together and always think of you when I walk past 'Lucy' our wendy house...

Willem and Jurie, you guys are hilarious and I wish we had become friends sooner but alas, we will see one another at the Commonwealth games in Glasgow next year yes? Thank you for the wine, Its going to build up my tolerance nicely before I head over to The Netherlands..

and last but not least, the one person that too has made such a big impact on my life thus far, W.J Pretorius, but to me you will always be my Will. I don't even know where to start, there is just too much to say. Our friendship has been one that I will forever value. I have never had a friendship that has been so true and genuine and I can only hope I will find that In Holland. Thank you for all the photos, which is the best gift of all...

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Clog inspired shoes, how ironic...

These clog inspired shoes by Funkis are like the contemporary updated version of the traditional clog. I'd just love me a pair of each in all three colours, Yes I think that would do it...
'Funkis is an Australian company based in Sydney. Our  highly edited Scandinavian design stores have a wide selection of Scandinavian Design. Funkis is also an Australian  design company with a strong Swedish influence.'

White horse...

I'm compiling a post that will fully explain what this intriguing white horse is all about. I have been wanting to compile it for quite some time now, and finally got some time today. With that said, today has been a productive day to say the least. I printed all the postcards for P/H and am itching to start writing in them, but I suppose that would defeat the whole purpose of it. You are probably wondering what P/H stands for, well you'd better keep wondering because It will only be revealed come the 24th of august. I love me a bit of suspense...