Thursday, January 31, 2008


What can I say? Indiepublic rocks!

Soon to come at my Etsy shop!


Feeling fresh after an insomnia fresh night of sleep, I thought I would just post a photo cube of three items that I will soon be offering at my Etsy shop Schaufenster. Here it is (if you want a closer look at the pictures, just click on them!)

One night at three in the morning, as I was suffering from the ravages of insomnia I thought "You, I wonder if it would be possible to combine hot pink, King Kong and Brooklyn?" And I found out it is! I have to finish hand-sewing the cool pink lace with a yellow undertone onto the shirt (hot pink, American apparel)but when I do, this altered fashion will be looking for a new home. I am still seeking inspiration for what to do with the vintage hat in the photo. It has a cool 70s/40s look to it, but I need to decide how I want to alter it before I put it up for sale. The third item is a bright blue felt cuff I made, then attached a puffy pink heart. The one in the photo is one I wear myself, so I have to wait until I get around to making another one to put on Schaufenster. Actually, all three of the items would look really cool together. Stay tuned. Who knows? Maybe someday they might be yours. In the meantime, please be a lamb and stop by my shop. I would be ever so grateful!
Buy Handmade

Wednesday, January 30, 2008


Man, am I ever tired. It's 11:30 and I'm seriously praying that I will be able to sleep. Soon I will take a bath and then we will see. I was looking at some of the the Internet sites today that I've heard like Indiepublic and Deviantart. It seems like one could just spend so much time on the Internet, couldn't one? But I'm feeling negative again. Sometimes it seems like I spend so much energy trying to grab at the world and the world just doesn't grab back. I don't know. Maybe I'm still disappointed that my story The Ring didn't get published in Glimmer Train. It got such good feedback and I really thought it would fit nicely there. I know rejection is the name of the game but I'm just tired in more ways then one. My husband's brother has an acquaintance painter friend (he is also a painter)who has been painting for 15 plus years and had his one and only show a couple of years back. His stuff is really amazing- there's this one where people are diving into a swimming pool that has such detail; the grass growing between the cracks in the sidewalk, the side of a girl's face; and so much feeling. His painting are filled with understated loneliness. And yet here he is, this amazing painter in his early 40s who has only had one show where he sold nothing. He is also a bit of a bitter hermit, holed away in his one room coal oven apartment in Prenzlauerberg. But he plugs away- keeps on painting though he barely makes enough to live, keep on painting though he has nothing to retire on, no house on Mallorca with the other German retirees for him. He has no choice. I have no choice. But I'm tired of not being noticed. So much of my life has been lived internally, like on this blog, as though I were born a half a mile below the ground and all of my life has been spent clawing inch by inch towards the surface. For the first time maybe I now feel like I am above ground but now I want to fly, to soar. I want someone to notice. It's funny. I have Virgo rising which is how I need to go through life: the cautious observer. But on the 12th house cusp I have the sign of Leo and if there is one thing Leo wants it is to be noticed. To be adored to be celebrated. The sign on the cusp of the 12th is your hidden motivation however, sometimes hidden even from yourself. My brother-in-law, who is also an astrologer, explained it as thus: Your ascendant is a dinner party you are throwing; who you invite, what you cook, where you are having it. But the sign on the 12th house cusp is the reason WHY you are throwing the party. If you have the same sign on the 12th as on the 1st then your motivations will match your actions: You are throwing the party because you like your friends and you would like to see them. But if the sign is different, your motivations won't necessarily match the outside, upfront action, i.e. throwing the party. You say you are throwing a party and making veal parmesean and inviting all of your best friends, but really it is an excuse to bring together Ron and Lisa, Ron recently divorced, Lisa attractive but terminally single. I live my life on the outside as a Virgo: stringing words upon one another into sentences, making lines of tiny stitches with a needle, scattering my thoughts and ideas and images in various places on the Internet. But I do it because I want to be noticed. Maybe even celebrated. This reminds me of a poem I wrote a while back when I was having my poetry renaissance for some reason. Here it is

Just as a stone drawn from a well
sparkles deep red with silver lines
that same stone will dull to brown and gray
once the water dries.

But haven't I already heard this story?

If my life were recorded in a leather bound book
by a scribe he would write: Here is where
she starts to live above the ground.

But sometimes I long for the richness
of my hibernation as does a seed before it roots.
How it's white heart beats beneath the husk
before it decides to shoot through earth.

Are each of us bound to stretch towards the light
bending our heads like sunflowers across the plains?
The scribe writes my answer to be yes.

But always my soul will sometimes cower in the darkness
dissolving into a wordless jungle soup meant to soothe
the throats of those who seek to shout across oceans.

Listen. Can you hear their voices
tangle in a wind heavy with salted air?

Nothing will ever mask their mournfulness.

Actually, that's not the one I was thinking of, but it also fight (they are all archived on MySpace)

Here is the other one:

To live the internal life is to hold one star you keep in a box at the back of your closet. Nobody knows its white brilliance or how it dances around when you let it out in your room at night. It is to dwell so deep you have forgotten your fire is not like the sun.

To live the internal life is to chop wood in the forest but not make a sound, your footprints as small as a swallow's. It is to know, by heart, all the lines on your hands in their jungle richness but with them, you sometimes touch none.

And the painter who paints the beautiful paintings alone in his one bedroom apartment in Prenlauerberg, his hands black with coal dust, will he die a sad man, regretting what he had done? Is a life with toil but no achievement, no notice, is it in the end worth it? Do I toil hard enough or do I get too distracted, my life scattering in so many directions like a jar of marbles dropped in slow motion? These are my questions. I want to leave here with an image.

This is me, by the ocean that I love....

Insomnia reared it's ugly head...

Yes, once again insomnia reared it's ugly head last night. I was so tired at 10 but was afraid that I wouldn't be able to sleep again and that is exactly what happened...I took some B vitamins today in hope that they might help. If someone reads this and has never had insomnia, it is as close to torture as you can come. Lying in bed, so tired, want to sleep but can't, wide awake as soon as you open your eyes. No creative wanderings last night though. I was too dang tired to get up even though I couldn't sleep. And then Mia started being really demanding, wanting to be cuddled and sleep in the bed (future parents to be, if you let your child sleep in the bed with you, you might never, ever get them out!!) Theoretically she should be able to self soothe now, or at least be learning it, and if Jasper doesn't get more sleep soon he is going to flip his wig. For the first time ever we put her crib in the other room and let her cry it off. Poor neighbors! I couldn't hear her this morning and ended up sleeping til 10 (which means I got maybe 4 hours of sleep. Yipee!) She probably woke up at 9 or something, because when I came into the room she was pissed!! I'm telling you, I would pay top dollar for a guranteed 12 hours of uninterrupted sleep....
It's been dark all day, with slate gray skies barely letting in the light. God, I hate Winter. I have some ideas for some stuff I want to make with vintage photographs I collect, also maybe a mini book with photos or some of the Poetic Beauties stuff with my poems. I will then, of course, put them on Etsy. But I have the feeling again that I need to slow down there. Every day I get a rush of anticipation, a "did I make a sale?" feeling. I've been marketing and going to the forums but still not making any. I don't want to burn out because I think it's such a cool idea and it's so fun making stuff again. Probably, I just need to get out, go to a cafe and do some writing. But in this weather? Ick...Jesus, this blog post is another downer. If you don't know me then blame it on insomnia and Winter because I'm not usually like this. On a more positive note, don't you think this little card is cute? (From an Etsy seller I discovered today.) I'm considering buying it.
Etsy: Your place to buy & sell all things handmade

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Pleased as punch...

So I had hardcore insomnia AGAIN last night. (Not pleased about that!) Up until 4 in the fricking morning even though I was dead tired....It's strange; insomnia is something that I often suffer from but it has changed the last few days. The reason I can't sleep is that these images keep on coming into my mind about things I can make for Etsy or in general. Creative I suppose, but for crying out loud! I can go to the hardware store in the afternoon the next day and get inspired. Didn't do any writing yesterday which I think is one of the reasons that I was so hyped up. I have a new theory: writing is my creative downer, making and designing stuff is my creative upper. If I only make stuff then I get kind of manic whereas if I only write I can get fed up and frustrated. Just got to keep the balance right.....Did some good free-writing today though. It's funny: I almost always write best in cafes I don't really like. I wanted to go to Hermannplatz today to get some sewing supplies and go to the aforementioned hardware store but I was just too dog tired to walk there and I tried to avoid the U-Bahn as it is a pain in the ass with the baby stroller. So I went to Locus, a cafe on Marheinkeplatz that I already know I don't like because it is boring and full of 68ers (old school Berlin hippies who can be a bit annoying sometimes). But I went there and it was great for writing; big windows to look out onto the square, not very loud, full enough (I can never write very good when there's nothing going on) but with people who were ok. Uptight though, at least a few of them. Since I've come back from my visit to California I marvel yet again how unrelaxed so many Berliners are. Sticks shoved waaayyy up their asses. A lot of young mothers are also really uptight. Like the one today who left her baby outside in the stroller as he was sleeping. She asked me to let her know if he woke up since I was right by the window. He slept for maybe twenty minutes while she read and drank her coffee. When he started to stir I told her and she leapt. She brought him in and immediately started scolding him "No Tilo, you're supposed to be sleeping!!" (He was only about four months old.) Even though he was totally calm and just looking around curiously she got all hectic, paid and left immediately. "Why not sit down with him in your lap or in the stroller and chill a little?" I thought. Mia sat on my lap there for two hours and played with her rattle while I wrote. Then again, I already know I'm lucky that she is that low-key. Several of my friends have babies who are waayyy more active. Ah, my lovely little lazy bones! :)
Now here comes the pleased as punch part: though the insomnia was torturous, I got two new things for Etsy out of it, both of them vintage items that I knew I wanted to add something to or alter for a long time, but could never think of any good ideas. The first one was an vintage ivory necklace that just didn't have enough pizazz. I kept on adding charms to it, etc., but nothing every worked. Then I combined a shell charm with a filigree one and low and behold: it worked! It has something kind of Virgin Mary about it which I like. The other piece was this cool belt printed with three wolf cubs. It was always missing something, but I had kind of given up on it. Then I started arranging some stuff on it and loved the 1930s buttons with the fabric. Funny, I had also given up on those buttons too. Thought I might even try to sell them on Etsy because I didn't think I would use them. Fun, fun, fun! That's what Etsy has been. But I'm trying to take it slow because I'm afraid I'll get disappointed if I never really sell anything again. I sold one necklace right away (beginners luck)and another one to a friend unexpectedly but since then nothing. When I first started doing CafePress I got really excited and into it. Learned all about Photoshop, added my own text and poems to vintage illustration, added effects to a lot of photographs. I did the whole marketing bit: MySpace, Craig's List, Squidoo, etc., etc. Still, I only got two sales from strangers and some more from family members. Very disappointing and discouraging, especially after I put so much work into it! I don't want that to happen with Etsy. I made a MySpace page yesterday and added those two new items. But I want to keep the focus on fun. Shucks, who am I kidding? Of COURSE I'll be disappointed if no one ever buys from me, but I'll try really hard to keep it into perspective and make sure I'm having fun. It is a creative outlet and expression, something that gives me joy, and although I would like the business side of it to also come somewhat into play (just make enough to pay for the hobby would be good enough to start with...)it's still not the most important point. Anyway, we'll see....For now I'll add a pic of those two new pieces I made things to the rages of insomnia!

Etsy: Your place to buy & sell all things handmade

Monday, January 28, 2008


It's been a bit of a blah day. Doing lots of little things and not really getting anything done. And still gray skies without the slightest bit of movement. God, we really take the sun for granted in California. I am most likely in Berlin for good but I will never, ever like or really get used to Winter. I just know it doesn't have to be like this. Sigh.

On a brighter note, I did make a new slide show for my etsy site. Here it is. Enjoy!


P.S. Tomorrow I will hopefully be more chatty and vibrant....

Man, am I ever tired...

I was up until three a.m. last night, typing up Men with Knives and chatting on the Etsy forums. I have a bit of an obsessive streak- it's a family thing. (p.s. isn't it always a family thing?) My new obsession is tied in somewhat with Etsy (although it DOES rock, so this is a good thing!) There is sometimes some sad stuff on there though, like a woman who begged people to buy her pet rocks or they would switch off her internet connection or another who wrote about how depressed she is because no one buys anything from her and all she does is market. She doesn't even get up to pee! Then again, maybe these are just another form of marketing, the pity sell or something. If I get that bad, please, someone, shoot me! It's not surprising that I've found another Internet interest. Since I've been at home with Mia I've gotten more into the Internet than I ever thought I would in a million years. And I say this as I'm writing an entry on my new blog. Sheesh! Well, c'est la vie.... Now off to make some coffee so I don't keel over....

Sunday, January 27, 2008

This is your Berlin Family

It's interesting to have the Berlin family here, my husband's family, to which I belong. I am a foreigner who speaks German with a fat American accent and I always will. And yet I am part of the family somehow and what a good feeling. We went out to dinner to celebrate my husband nephew Max's 19th birthday. There we were, with Max's mother and her new boyfriend, Max's half-sister, her father and his girlfriend, my husband and baby Mia, Alexander and his son. And, always coming late and leaving early, J├╝rgen. A bunte Mischung as they would say in Germany and far from being nuculear. But that is one of the things I love: Both of us come from broken families that have gone their own paths and are still so alive. I belong with a foreigner as does he and Mia bridges the gap. Just spent an hour or so chatting on Etsy forums. This is going to mean something to me, making things I love and selling them. I don't know how or exactly in what way. Maybe it will just open the door for a new idea as I think CafePress did. That's what I love about life. When it is like a wave you ride and you don't know when the ebb will stop but it is taking you and is secure enough. Just trust, sit back and see what will happen. Ok, now I need to type up the notes for Men with Knives. I have been putting it off long enough....

What a grand old day....

Life is simply full of surprises. Yesterday I was down and despairing, but today everything seems wonderful. Well, not the weather...That's as gray and crappy as it always is in Berlin in Winter. But creatively things are simply looking up. I finished a story that I've been working on forever, Men with Knives. It will surely need some tuning up but it is more or less a finished product and will be about 15 pages long I think. I also have new ideas for my Etsy shop, Schaufenster. I would like to add collage pendants with some of my photographs and text and some of the things that I will be sewing in my sewing class. It's funny: I think in some ways writing is like work. Painful, seldom fun but something that has to be done. But when I achieve something I feel so restful and such an immense satisfaction....Designing, sewing and making jewelry is more like creative play and oh so enjoyable. Yet when it is all I do I feel a little bit off kilter, as though I've eaten too much candy. That is the challenge: To combine work with play in a way that is satisfying. And all of it is creative. Teaching will have to come back into play too, because my daughter will soon be one year old and the year of government pay will be at an end. But I won't have to do too much of it which is good because I am a little burned out. And I want to live the creative life, pouring myself into what I do. For better or for worse, it is what I am made of....
If you want to check out my Etsy shop it can be found here: CafePress (which will soon be changed dramatically) can still be found here: As for the writing, maybe I'll post bits of it here, though somehow I have the feeling I would prefer to keep it more private. I shared a lot of it (especially poems) on my blog on MySpace so read it there if you want to get a taste for it:

Ok, enough links for now. Soon I'll feel like a slut for too much self-promoting. But this is who I am. Take a look if you like. If you don't it's just as well.

Ta ta for now and may the force be with you.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Home alone on a Saturday night

This is a dismal name for my first new blog on blogspot, but that is how I feel right now. Home. Alone. My husband went out with some friends of ours, a German woman and an Irish man but I had to stay home and watch the baby. Our ten month old Mia, the light of our life but recently, let's face it, a bit of a drag....We went to the Bay Area over Christmas where she got a lot of attention and I got to see a lot of people and the weather was good, not dull and gray like it is here in Berlin. And now I'm back here, alone a lot, with a baby who is ever more demanding. An Aries with Mars in the first house, for any astrology buffs. For those of you who don't know squat about astrology, that means I seriously have my work cut out for me. But I love being a mom. I do. It's just that now, for the first time, it seems hard. I went out with my friend Erica on Thursday night sans baby and hubby and I was like a crazy woman. We went bar hopping to three different places and it wasn't even 10! And my husband Jasper is also feeling the bug, hence his going out tonight and staying out for a while. I understand the need and I don't even mind giving the space but still....Here I am...Home alone on a Saturday night.
But the good news: I worked a lot on a short story that I'm happy with. I am an aspiring writer and have several finished short stories and poems and have been published in smaller magazines but recently I've been a bit discouraged. Maybe because a story I thought had a chance at Glimmer Train didn't cut the mustard. Maybe because I know there's a good chance that I'll spend all of my life slaving away on all of the stories and no one will ever give a damn. The problem is I have to write. If I don't- or when I don't- a small cloud of dissatisfaction gets larger and larger until I can't see straight anymore. I get irritable. Blame my own unhappiness on things not really related to it....But I'm not one of those people who is so "into" being an artist. Honestly, I wish I were something else. Something easier like say, a marine biologist like I wanted to be when I was in Junior High. There must be something satisfying in that. In getting excited about kelp samples and what not. Maybe it's just a case of the grass is greener on the other side, but let me dream now why don't you. What I also love is photography, sewing and making things. Hence, my new site at etsy with the name of Schaufenster. I've already sold two things and I've only been at it a week, so something must be right....Anyway, here's the stuff I sell. I have a feeling I'll be back....If you read this and just couldn't get enough, I also have a blog on MySpace where I post my wacky dreams among other things at MySpace.

Buy Handmade


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