It’s Here.

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Another semester fast approaching. A new contract signed. A yearning to “give back.” A running bug caught.

Life doesn’t slow. It keeps flying along, and I find myself challenged to dive in. I have this annoying need to control everything and an almost debilitating need to do everything perfect. The pace of life is beating that need out of me. It’s one thing to do things well: to pour yourself into them, but it is another when it is never good enough. When you’re afraid to try something new because you might make a mistake… that’s when you have a problem.

So right now my prayers (amongst many others) are to let go. To dive in. To live in faith of one so much greater than me.

Today I officially transitioned from “intern” to jr. designer. I have been given a permanent, full-time position which will allow me to take on more as a designer as I learn it. Today I was running all over a house that we will be renovating with a laser measure. I was assisting with our architectural lead in dimensioning everything so that he could go back to the computer and draft up an “as is” floor plan. It hit me: I’m exactly where I should be.

The blog won’t be fancy, and the text might be sparse, but I want to make record of this journey. My goal isn’t glamour. Instead, it’s to delight in simple things. To be proud of working hard. To find depths of faith and be endlessly grateful.

Happy September. It’s officially my favourite time of the year. The photo was taken on the first night of our vacation on the Sunshine Coast. Since returning from New Zealand, I have been in a mad love-affair with the west coast. Don’t get me wrong, New Zealand is stunning. I left a piece of my heart there, but I realized my soul lives for the west coast. If only the two were closer…

And I Thought a Break Was Coming.

Last 10 days of this semester. Currently in the “fall asleep when the birds are waking up” part of my week (weekends are when I do the bulk of my homework). I have two projects left, and I have been counting down the days to when I only have to work and don’t have homework deadlines looming.

I have mentioned that my internship is going well. The team at the office seems to feel that I am a good fit. Last week, I sat down with the owner and, to put it bluntly, he thinks it’s time for me to start transitioning from intern/design assistant to design lead.

Gulp.

He says that these past two months have given him, and the project managers, time to observe me. He is well-aware that I am not finished my school program, but he said that he sees the things in me that cannot be taught (intuition, creativity, organization etc.), and he believes that the company is well equipped to teach me the stuff I need to know before I start taking my own clients.

We stepped off the plane from NZ over a year ago. I signed up for design courses and have been running off my feet ever since (I’ve been in school 11 out of 12 months). I thought I would take the next couple months to just work at the design office during the day, and do a few shifts at the restaurant in the evenings. Instead, I am officially shifting from assistant to apprentice. It is highly likely that I am going to put in 80+ hours to get my first two levels of AutoCad during the first two weeks of July (enjoy that sun for me, because I’ll be hidden away in a computer lab).

Everything happens for a reason. Who would have thought that my working in a restaurant would introduce me to a local designer (who then mentioned to her boss that there was a design student looking for volunteer opportunities for the summer)? And it’s not just that- Becky (the designer) and I are on such a similar page that it blows my mind.

Hard work (I have “punched the clock” at 4am too many times to count), sacrifice (work, school, repeat), passion (it’s why I can stay up til 4am… uncaffeinated) have been met with opportunity- the recipe for an explosion. I say over and over and over again, I am meant to do this. 

So, it seems there is no slowing down. The education to take me from dreamer to designer is full throttle. Last year is was just school. This year, it is school (I’m going to finish my program in the next year or so), apprenticeship and a hell of a lot of swimming in that deep end.

Image Sources: 1.2.3.4.

Bearing a Bit of My Soul

When I wake up in the morning, I stumble around in a daze. I need a solid 30 mins to suck back a couple “cuppas” (New Zealand slang… remember I lived there once?) before I can get serious about my day. Scotty always shakes his head at me when I begin to calculate how early I have to get up for something. I always factor in the minimum 30 minutes I need to let the caffeine soak in before I can begin to get ready. Generally, I get up a solid 1 1/2 hours before I have to leave. I take 40 mins to shower and be ready, but I can NOT just stumble out of bed and into the shower. I have to process this.

Our thanksgiving was low-key. Weekends are a bit of a luxury in this stage of our life. The need to catch up on homework and make enough money to pay the bills usually dominates our Saturday and Sunday. I can’t complain. We had our fun down south. Now it’s time to work. But that meant I suffered intense pangs of homesick thinking about my own family on the island gathered around my mom’s dining table. We ended up getting a “sympathy dinner” on Monday night consisting mainly of the previous night’s left-overs, but it thrilled us- especially me, who got her very own Tofurkey completely with Vegan gravy (which I demolished two days later).

But despite the fact that this weekend was filled more with responsibility than festivity, I came out of it feeling pretty bloody blessed.

Friday I was bed-ridden with the worst migraine, complete with room spins and total nausea. By Saturday, I had regained my will to live and poured my coffee into a “to-go” mug and went for a walk with my man to the beach.

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Seriously nature? Can you be any more awe-inspiring? I’ve said it in numerous posts (on this and many of my other blogs), nothing can beat the beauty of nature- it’s insanely spiritual. There are no words. Your eyes take it in and it communes with your inner being.

Cheeseball and truth.

Since then, I have adjusted my morning routine. My half hour of coffee ingestion is done on foot. Creation is the first thing to greet me in the morning, and the inspiration it lends is incomparable. While in Spain a few years ago, I had one of the most soul-shaking experiences of my life: experiencing Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia. It is far more than just a building, it echoes creation, all of Gaudi’s work does. I have never been so inspired in my life than I was in that moment when I entered the Sagrada. To see how a man-built environment can be such a soulful experience lit a little flame in me. Design doesn’t have to revolve around the superficial. It doesn’t have to be about $500 throw pillows, or one-upping your neighbours. It can feed us, it can inspire us, it can move us in ways that we can’t put into words but can definitely feel.

Close friends and family know the journey I have been on in coming to this path in life: being a bit of a social-justice-environmentalist-bleeding-heart-i-wanna-change-the-world person who is passionate about creativity and design, and not just in myself, I love to hear about it in other people’s lives. For the most part, people tend to be self-deprecating when they show a painting, drawing or talk about an idea they have that might be considered artistic. But rarely have I ever come across anyones creative/artistic expressions and was anything less than inspired. I truly believe everyone has something to offer and they should really own it.

So how does a teenager who dreamt of being a doctor in Africa, who became psychology major and worked with marginalized young women in the foster system (that so many didn’t want to make time for, but can I just say that I have never witnessed such strength in any other person than these young women- I feel truly blessed to have met every one of them) proceed to the next step of pursuing interior design as a profession?

I have no clue.

But doors keep opening, and when I feel doubtful, I get a nudge- a “keep going, I’ve got plans for you”- I always thought that I would save the world by providing medical care to the third world, or by helping mend broken spirits and hearts to the marginalized. How design fits in, I do not know, but my values are still the same: I feel a responsibility to humanity, justice, and to the environment. The picture is so foggy right now but somehow design will fit that.

School, despite its moutain of work, is going so well. That colour assignment came back to me with a great mark and a note from my professor begging for my permission to make a copy of it to use in future classes. That insane drawing class I took this summer (the professor is famous around school for being the hardest on his students) came with an open invitation to apply at his architectural firm as an student-apprentice, and next week I have an interview with a designer downtown to see if I can do some kind of internship.

Doors. They’re opening. Yes, I am working my butt off, but I feel led. I feel encouraged.

I feel thankful.

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Take a Seat

Just a little Thursday afternoon chair “candy”- I think I might be a chair and light person. We just covered some of the basic types of lighting in class on Tuesday and I was seriously into it (who knew).

I am procrastinating on starting my drafting assignments. The precision and perfection required completely intimidates me. Guess I should just get the “first draft” over with (I don’t even want to get into how many copies I’m going to have to do over this weekend).

***Papa Bear Chair

Source: st.houzz.com via Cristine on Pinterest

***Ghost Chair

Source: glitterandgoatcheese.com via Olga on Pinterest

***Barcelona Chair

Source: 24.media.tumblr.com via Kenan on Pinterest

***Nadja Swarovski’s “Bear” Chair

Source: elledecor.com via Chelsea on Pinterest

***Redsmith Chair

Source: anthropologie.com via Molly on Pinterest

***”Rand” Wing Chair

Source: elledecor.com via Iana on Pinterest

***Acapulco Chair

Source: designspongeonline.com via Chelsea on Pinterest

***Louis XV Chair

Source: heimastore.com via Morganne on Pinterest

***Bubble Chair

Source: homedesigndecorating.com via Barbara on Pinterest

***Club Chair

Source: bloodandchampagne.com via Matt on Pinterest

***Eames Rocking Chair

IDS West

Last night was the opening of the Interior Design Show West down at the Vancouver Convention Center. There were so many great things to look at. Three and a half hour flew by and I had managed to collect more than 20 lbs of catalogues, business cards and brochures. I took a lot of pictures, and I fawned over a lot of things. Looking at just one piece would blossom into the mental building up of a space around it. So much fun.20120928-100022.jpg

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If you get a chance to head down there this weekend, I suggest you do (if you’re interested in that kind of thing). The dominant theme was wood. Lots and lots of wood. What I find incredible about it (other than the amazing natural patterns in it) is that one cannot help but touch it when they see it. It’s like a magnet… you just have to run your hand over it. There’s a connection to it.

Then there was the dress at the Norburn Lighting and Bath which was dripping in Swarovski crystals (and worth $20,000). I went a little cuckoo over the little Swarovski pendant lights hanging around it.

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There were lots of great products, ideas and emerging designers/stores/companies that deserve a closer look, but that’s for another day. I gotta go downtown and collect some fabric samples for my presentation on Alpaca fibre due Monday.

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