Smart Mr Nene!

I have a feeder that feeds the cat automatically. But I think that Nene has figured out how to jump the automated system. Whenever I come back from the weekend away he honestly looks bloated. I think he’s figured out a way to cheat the machine and gets fed more than he should be eating. I’m considering putting a Nene-cam in the Kitchen just to make sure he’s not messing with the feeder. Cats are such creatures of habit. Even if the machine feeds him at 5 in the morning, he still wakes me at 5.30. Then I have to walk with him into the kitchen, point to the feeder and only then will he start eating. I don’t have the energy to get up at 5 every morning to feed him. If anyone has any suggestions on how to un-train him on the ‘let me wake him up so he feeds me routine’ , please let me know!


We are currently working on a collection of tiles for a major tile manufacturer. This project has been in the works for over a year and is still nowhere near completion – but that’s just the nature of this type of thing. I find that when I’m working on projects that take a long time, it’s best to enjoy the journey, rather than wanting to see it complete. It’s something I’ve just gone through with the book and hopefully this tile collection is something that will be coming out in early spring of next year. I will keep you posted on the progess.

Living in a city like New York where instant gratification is the norm, trying to take a breath and enjoy the process not the conclusion is something that I find very hard to stick with. Whether it is doing a job or eating my dinner or going to the theater, I am always rushing through it. That old expression of ‘Stop and smell the coffee’ is one that I need to listen to. I think if you don’t, you lose part of the enjoyment of the trip to your end destination. When you all are rushing through your day, what tricks do you use to ‘chill out a little bit? Let me know! I need as much help as I can get.

Ask Vicente: Setting the Budget

Name: Kathy
City: Cameron Park
State: CA
Country: USA


Just started following your blog. I am curious to know how many collaborative hours it takes to pull a project together for presentation. Therefore, how do you get a deposit or retainer from your client up front before knowing the total cost of said project?

Vicente Responds:

Kathy, You don’t ascertain the budget, the client tells you the budget. You don’t design the project until you have the contract, which stipulates the budget. In this office, it can take off and on from two weeks to a month and a half, depending on the scale and how many items need to be estimated. I try to do each segment of the process in concentrated time, whether it’s to do construction, then furniture, then fabrics – with each of them, I sit and work on it, pull back, take some time to work on something else and then I go back to the next one. I do one segment at a time, take a couple of days, then I go back to do furniture design, take time, then I do fabrics and colors. Each time I go back I revisit and look at what i’ve done up to that point with fresh eyes. It’s like cooking – you cook, then you taste, you add a little more, cook some more, taste a little more, etc. The estimating – getting all the prices together – is something that needs a good amount of time as estimate sheets need to be written out and come back from suppliers. None of this happens until we have a signed contract and retainer and we’ve gone through a questionnaire with the client to find out likes and dislikes so I know what my perimeters are.

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