Interview – Nicolene van der Linde


Man … I love blogging. This is a place where I get to share awesome people! It’s been a long time since CS has interviewed someone. It’s been a long time since I’ve had the time! But we are back and we starting with a beautiful soul. She is a women after my own heart. We talk the same language. We get excited about the same creative things and its so refreshing.

Nicolene has a background in law as well as lecturing law at Varsity College but her law career was placed on hold when her heart felt that practicing law was very different from studying it or lecturing it. Once Nicolene had children she found her herself with a much happier spirit being creative with her kids and in this her love for creativity that photography took shape.

” The photography bug bit very hard from there onwards. I think I have finally found my vocational passion! It is very creative but also very technical… actually a little bit of everything. I love it!”

Her home renovation journey has been an inspirational one. Never a dull moment in renovating is there?

Living in this solid old Durban North home with Nicolene is her husband Ewoudt and together they have two kids Luwaldt(4) and Limirie (2) &  four dogs. The house over looks the beautiful ocean but not close enough for salty spoils. However, it was in need of some modern love and personal spice. Nicolene really needed to find someone who would take their family into consideration while renovating as she was heavily pregnant at the time and wanted to use what they had existing to create their perfect space but that did not happen the first time round. Their first building experience (The Granny Flat behind the house) was rather a huge learning curve …

” With the granny flat we managed the process ourselves. We contracted builders, tilers, painters, electricians, plumbers and so forth. We bought and scheduled delivery of all the supplies ourselves. It was a grueling process. The first builder we had went awol with a portion of our money, and the admin around what should happen when was pretty intense. As was choosing all the finishes (we planned a certain look, but halfway through realised the floor we wanted wasn’t available anymore and had to change course half way). But luckily all turned out ok (and nobody got divorced or murdered in the process).”

exposed-brick granny-flat-bathroom

grann gr

Most of the material used for building and decor was restored and Nicolene tried to use whatever they had to make magic happen. Not solely for cost savings but because that is what being creative was all about!

” We kept the basics natural and organic- screed, wood, raw brick. Décor wise we always joke if its rusty or peeling we will take it, so the organic look was pretty much the natural choice for us.”

gra gran-bath

drawers gran

FRONT OF GRANNY FLAT: This is where they cooked outside most evenings while the main house was being renovated. Rain or shine.


The main house reno was done while they loved in the granny flat. This picture is of the view of the main house, ocean in the distance.
Walls were knocked down to open up the living area
Practical flooring & beautiful kitchen design make the perfect heart of the home zone for the family.
Ladder on display but used when needed!

entrance frame

CS- What tips have you got to share with someone who is starting a renovation? Plan, plan, plan (the look you want, budget, timeline… the list is endless). Finding builders you can trust is a big step in the right direction. Think outside of the box– we recycled our old garage doors into a linen kist and used walking sticks as towel rails. Don’t feel discouraged when the going gets tough keep your eye on the ball, it is so worth it in the end! Live in the space for at least a year if possible before renovating you get a comprehensive idea of your needs.

CS- Can you say what the best part of the reno was? Moving in! The space was ‘us’ and felt like home!

CS- Can you share your worst experience? As I mentioned the first builder disappeared with some of our money (hard lesson to learn). And we had a bad burglary in the middle of the process which meant we had to up security by installing an electric fence which of course took a big bite out of our budget.

CS- Looking back on it all, why did you choose the design and decor you did or was it just an organic way? I am an avid décor magazine reader and got lots of ideas there. We had a pretty good sense of what we liked as we had to save for a long time, so plenty of dreaming had happened! However, it was difficult putting everything together and letting some ideas go that just didn’t work.


CS- Having kids is a big factor in deciding on your layout and decor choice. Can you tell us what decisions were made for this? We wanted an open space where kids could play and everyone is ‘involved’ whilst going about their daily tasks. Nothing is too fancy and where very few things are ‘don’t touch that’. Most things are easily cleaned (like the leather couches and grass carpets) and I squeeze in extra storage wherever I can (example, some old milk cans are now home to a variety of balls).


CS- You are definitely a creative & hold a natural flair for ‘thinking out the box’
with designs… Can you share which item you made with whatever you
had lying around?
My favourite is probably our headboard made from old burgler bars from before the renovations. Oh and our TV unit which Jomo (our gardener and handy man) and I made from scaffolds used in the building process.



shelves kids-room8

Shelves in kids rooms also made from scaffolding, pretty awesome hey!?

CS- What would you do over again if you had the chance?Mmmm I currently have a bee in my bonnet to white wash the wooden floors…

CS- Would you do it all over again, ie do you enjoy the process and why? Hahaha, that depends on when you ask the question! The process is very exciting, but there are times that you are 100 % sure it’s going to kill you and you can’t take a minute more (of course having the right team will minimise this feeling). However… in the end it is a couple of months worth of tough going and then months and months and months of loving your space every day… So yes, I would definitely do it again!

Favourite aritists: Marike Prinsloo-Rowe- One day when I am grown up I would love to own one of her pieces. Ingrid Hall & Rentia Smith.

The car bed was made by Nicolene

Knob Kirri’s used as hand rails in the bathroom.

{Through Nicolene’s Eyes}

Sundays are about church and family time… and relaxing as much as possible with two toddlers around! My favourite memory in this home isthere are too many to choose from! Life is not complete without chocolate Super M’s (my kids would argue its strawberry) If we were the last family on earth we would live simply and farm organically. Today is a gift and a blessing and glorious! I love my country because there are a million places and things to be discovered. The way to a kid’s heart is being emotionally present and being involved. If I had the time I would watch a movie or 10, learn some new tricks in photoshop and read, read, read. My favourite corner in my home is the study because so much of my creative energy is spent there. I am cooking spicy chicken for supper. Nothing is better than seeing my kids be carefree. Being creative is like shooting stars in heart.

detail2 detail3 inter1 front-door


Man, dont you just love this women and her free creative spirit! What I love about her & her home is that she used something old and made it something new.She used what she had and with thinking out the box she created beautiful things!



♥ Oh my goodness! I’m so excited to share with you about this amazing women!!!

A few weeks back I was delighted to catch up with local creative Julie Smith-Belton. She is lovely. Filled with such calm and peace. You would think, being a mother of 3 and home schooling her children that she would perhaps hold some sort of frantic atmosphere with her, though with much respect I can say Julie is the opposite.

A few years back I saw her sewing work at a market at one of our local churches. I then wanted to interview her but have just not managed it until now! (naughty me) If you read the Ideas Magazine (September issue) you would have seen that Julie won the Celebrating Creativity Competition. Her Riaan Cruywagen doll (see below) was one of many wonderful and creative  contributing ideas from all around South Africa. When I was interviewing her a few weeks back, Ideas where about to come and see her at home and interview her for the October issue. Have any of you seen or read the October issue yet? I recommend it!! Or check out her BLOG for the ins and outs! I’ve added some pics of other sewing projects she has done as well as her photography – her list of creativity is endless and I just love it!

So I spent an afternoon speaking to Julie, getting to know this photographer, graphic designer, creative, mother and wife. Julie is a sister of a good friend, we have not really connected on a personal level before but after that day with her and finding a common ground which is simplicity, i can honestly say she has become a mate. I can totally relate to the desire of living a simple life. Julie shared her heart to follow Gods will in their lives, to let go of all the hindrances that strap you down. Rory and Julie’s passion to travel the world with their family has taken wings as they sold the unnecessary possession around their home and downsizing from a 3 bedroom unit to a modest and cosy home with a lot less ‘stuff”.

She is a stay at home mom to 3 adorable children. It’s not common these days to have a south african mom stay at home looking after the family but that is an important factor for both Julie and Rory. Their humble and calm approach to raising children is quite refreshing. I found that Julie taught her kids to live life instead of just going through the process of life and she teaches them that in such a creative way. Being practical and letting them learn things through doing it themselves and learning consequences for mistakes. I think it takes a lot of the pressure off the parent to allow your children to learn from their mistakes instead of trying to fix it for them all the time. I recently got advice that said “Children don’t do what you say, they do what you do“. 

Julie’s background is in graphic design, she is self-taught in photography and has become quite phenomenal at it. She shoots the odd wedding or occasion should she feel the passion for it and never forces herself to be creative for the work but to rather be creative when the mood takes her. I think if one is able do that then it feels like you never ‘work’ a day in your life!  Her graphic design and creative nature sure is inspiring in such an honest and real way.

One of the reasons why Julie and her husband Rory decided on home school their children is to make the most of the years and to teach a natural way. They felt this year was a year of grace. You may feel otherwise or you may agree, whatever you feel its your choice. I admire Julie for taking it head on and trusting her own choices. The best thing about parenting in Julie’s eyes is having a love inside her that she has never experienced before. 

On the creative side, her creative outlet is blogging, sewing, graphic design, photography and decorating. I bought one of her Humpback whales for my little baby’s room-Too stunning for words. (see pic)

Other sewing projects…

Saturday’s for the Smith-Belton’s include being out and about going to the beach, riding bikes,playing Lego and just being a family unit. For moms seeking a great place to eat with kids, Julie recommend88 Degrees Cafe at gateway, Mercedes coffee shop  in Umhlanga, Botanical gardens and Kids world in Ushaka.

Another idea and a super one at that, was creative workshops held at The Rock church. Thanks to Julie, Jil and Monique it has flourished a few times and included women/men  from all walks of life, getting together and being creative. Ideas Magazine even featured the 1st creative evening in their June issue! You will be advised by me if any more happen, unless you follow her blog yourself.

I’m telling you this women is amazing and she has a wonderful and sincere heart that travels with her all day, its easy to enjoy her company and its even more inspiring just knowing her. That is why I just had to share humble creative with you guys. You heard about her on Creative Stream 1st! haha

All photos area from Julie’s Blog Ludo Police.


Artful, INSPIRING & Blogging

Welcome to thursday everyone. Can you believe it’s nearly mid September???

I’ve said this before and I will say it again … what I love about blogging is the inspiring and talented people I meet daily. I wish there was more blogging time for me to show you more and more – the dream is to introduce you to many inspiring subjects.

I’m not sure if you remembered THIS interview done quite a while back here on Creative Stream? Ishtar blew me away by her love for creativity, washi tape, illustrations and workshops and I had to find out more about this Spanish UK living creative. Which you can read about here.

Today, I wanted to share her news that she had recently been featured in the Artful Blogging magazine. I  love it when people get recognised for what they are.


Oh my! It thrills me no end when creatives get acknowledged and soar through the sky of potential and dreams. Daniella Germain (who was previously interviewed by CS) has now launched her stoneware range produced by Ashdene. If you remember that interview, we shared on Daniella’s cookbook. Well I am so happy to share more news for Daniella. Recently, she launched her stationary range AND now she has let us all know that she has launched her stoneware range! Both very much carrying that style and flavour as My Abuela’s Table cookbook. What an achievement!

“Each piece was lovingly designed and meticulously hand painted with water colour and ink…very much in a similar style as Floribunda and My Abuela’s Table” –Daniella Germain

Floribunda by the way is Daniella’s stationary range and is beautiful to say the least. You can order it here.

{Below: La Cocina range}

{Below: Floribunda stationary range}

All photos from Daniella’s blog- i bought a pair of Camper boots and now i am broke


If you have blogged for a while or even just started looking into design and art blogs, I’m sure you have seen the work of Jen Ramos. I remember one of my 1st posts that displayed her prints and that was the day I started following Jen’s blog. Since then I have enjoyed her style and her attitude towards life, fashion, design and God. Do you know what I like about Jen? She is not afraid to say it like it is. I enjoy people with that attribute. It’s refreshing in this sometimes worldly world.

Now as Creative Stream is about creativity, it would not be a good enough blog if it did not display to you those who I believe to be truly creative. Cocoa & Hearts began its flourishing business when Jen started to showcase her love for art and colours. It truly has taken the world by storm with many paintings sold out within the week of being released. That just goes to show how fabulous her style and creative hand is.

Jen has written about how people relate to her art, some negatively and some positively. I guess that is art! People like it or they don’t and I feel that artists who can still work their heart into their art knowing the various tastes of consumers out there and not being hindered is indeed an artist!

Frankly, I love her work. I admire the simplicity of the linear paintings and how it catches your eyes. I love the emotion seen in the strokes she uses and of course adore the colours she so cleverly combines. Even Though this post is about Cocoa & Hearts I recommend you take a look at Jen’s prints. They are gorgeous as well. I have had my eye on them for years now … click here for her shop to see prints and more fabulous creations.

Let’s find out a little more about Jen as she answers some questions Creative Stream sent her about Cocoa & Hearts.

1- Can you remember the 1st time you picked up a paint brush to canvas? When was it and what did you paint, how did you feel?
When I was about 7 yrs old, but it wasn’t onto a canvas necessarily – it was on a piece of paper. I painted a scenery – like with an ocean & a sun, felt great!  I’ve always enjoyed drawing & painting, in fact it’s what I wanted to be when I grew up, an artist.

2- I know you are a graphic designer. You paint now as well. Does the one creativity work with the other? Do you find yourself often being motivated by one to progress in the other? Oddly enough, I don’t really mix the two at all. My inspiration when I paint is totally separate then when I’m creating graphics.

3- How did Cocoa and Hearts begin? When and why did you decide to make it into something? It’s a long story & a personal one. Perhaps I will tell it on my blog one day, but for now it is something that I had always wanted to do since I was a little girl and something im truly passionate about. I decided to make it into something in May of 2011 and im so glad I did.


4- Where did you live before you moved to New York and has your environment contributed to your painting style? I lived in las vegas for a few years, but my environment didn’t contribute to my painting style. I lived in a very suburban area, very unoriginal with very little culture. So, perhaps my desire for something colorful and different from what I was noticing around me is what I needed at the time. NYC is definitely a motivator, because everyone here is so creative and that alone is instrumental to my painting style.

5- When painting or choosing to start a painting, what factors do you consider to create what you create. (do you think about each painting or do you let your hand do the talking?) 🙂 I usually pray prior to beginning a piece. I ask God to guide my hands to create something people will love. Normally, that is all I do..I don’t think too much about what I want it to look like. I just trust that my hands will know which direction to move at that point.

6- In your opinion, what is the best advise you can give someone wanting to ‘go further’ in their art? Well, I would say building a large following helped me. So, building an audience to sell your work to, can help.  When I was blogging for the first 3 yrs – I had no idea that I would be introducing my readers to my artwork. I always thought of my art as being just in my home…odd. But I’m glad I brought it to my readers, as they’ve been quite welcoming & supportive. 

7- What do you love most about what you do (blog, design and painting) I love that I can see my work and say – I did that. Whether it’s in a magazine or being written about on design blogs, or just pinned on Pinterest, it’s cool to see other people getting into it. Thank God that I can say I love 99% of what I do.

8- And lastly – name your paintings by one word?  Colorful

Jen– thank you for sharing with me and Creative Stream readers. You and your work are inspiring and beautiful.


Please refer to Made By Girl and Cocoa & Hearts for prices and artwork.