Monday, January 26, 2009

Life and the Art of Making Peanut Butter Cookies

Many women say that having children has put a damper on their creativity. Luckily, this hasn't been the case with me. If anything, being a mother has torn down some inner blocks within myself letting me be more free and, dare I say it, action orientated. Since Lilly was born I've made a lot of new collages and jewellry, always humming and singing while I work. A sure sign, my husband says, that I am happy. Yesterday was an interesting case and point. It was a Sunday of a not so easy weekend. My husband worked long hours the week before and I was looking forward to some family time together as well as a break from the babies (or at least shared time). Reality, family style, reared its ugly head when my husband woke up on Saturday with a nasty cold and had to spend all day in bed. Still, I had a pretty ok day, made a new 50s nude ladies collage and worked on some ideas for new necklace designs. Sunday my husband was feeling a bit better but still laid down for most of the morning. I was hanging out with my babies, grooving as we do, but I was at a loss for what to work on. Not in the mood for art or crafting, not in the mood to read, the babies are doing their own thing. And then I was struck with inspiration, a let's-bake-cookies-eureka from the sky. Of course, they had to be peanut butter, a type of cookie that doesn't even exist in Germany except at Barcomi's, a cafe run by a native New Yorker. I used creamy peanut butter and listened to NPR, the babies sitting beside me. Mia and I ate lots of cookie dough and I'm sure my milk had a tinge of peanut buttery goodness for Lilly later. They were delcious!

Friday, January 23, 2009

A shooting session in the graveyard

Winters in Berlin are tough. Grey skies everyday, frozen dog shit all over the street (frozen if you're lucky that is!), grim faces... A native California girl, I've never liked it even before I had kids. Now that I have two young children, the season is basically unbearable. A double stroller, two sets of snowsuits, no car....Cars are expensive to have in Berlin and since we live in a great urban neighborhood we don't really need one (we can borrow my brother-in-law's if need be...) But still, babies, a heavy stroller, a subway system where nearly NO station has an elevator and only sometimes an escalator (very steep stairs in their place)I almost never leave the neighborhood. I've been keeping myself busy with creative projects so I don't go crazy. Jewelry making, collages, etc. for my two etsy shops. Still, there is a problem with light. In order to post the items I have made to offer them for sale in Schaufenster and Rose, red Rose I have to take photographs. Though lovely, our apartment doesn't get very good light. Many an afternoon I've driven myself crazy taken blurry picture after blurry picture. Occasionally I set up things in the courtyard in the back, but it's not really much fun even if the light is better. Yesterday I had a revelation: I need to take photographs and get out of the house a little bit. Why not go to one of the graveyards nearby? There are two really nice ones (including one where Brahms and Schumann are buried.) When Mia was in pre-school I packed up baby Lilly and headed to the one on Bergmannstrasse. The sun was actually shining and I got some great shots of both the necklace and two collages which was great. Photographs plus small winter outing equals sucess. Hooray!

Monday, January 19, 2009

New space for what's important...

Yesterday I emptied out a shelf of teaching materials to make room for my jewelery supplies. It felt so liberating. I've been teaching English as a Foreign Language for nearly ten years now. For a long time I found it really satisfying and fun, but for the past three years or so I've gotten really burned out. Always the same mistakes, always the same uptight, anal attitudes (Northern Germans are NOT very easy to teach, especially for someone from laid back California!!!) Cleaning out a shelf for my supplies was like a breath of fresh air, a statement that I am going in another direction more and more. Now I just need to empty out another shelf for my sewing supplies (all jumbled in a bag behind the bedroom door now) and another for writing notes and the transformation will be more and more complete. Believe and it will happen!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Ain't life grand?

I launched my new etsy shop, Rose, red Rose today. A lot of the ideas and inspiration came from my one month creative hiatus in California. When I was there I made the rose brooch pictured in the slide show below. I loved it so much that I decided I had to keep it, but it made a perfect logo for my new shop (which I named before making it.) So many new ideas, so many new things to make....Ain't life grand?

Thursday, January 8, 2009


Sometimes the best move for creativity is a little downtime. I've been in the Bay Area now for almost a month visiting my family here with my husband and two daughters. This means a big difference in my daily life in Berlin which usually consists of taking baby number one to pre-school and holding baby number two in my lap while I work on various creative projects. Like I posted before, I have started making a lot of new collages but things are too hectic here for concentrated work. But in my mind I've been expanding. I have many new images collected I'd like to work with as well as ideas for altered clothing (plan to open a new etsy shop for this work when I get back.) I'm also opening a new shop for jewellery which will be called Rose Red Rose. There are so many great vintage and antique pieces to be had in Berlin and I would like to combine them with new materials to make original pieces. Creating is so much fun. In some ways, I am the eternal child, excited about all these new possibilities, all these new projects to throw myself into. With so much to do even the Berlin winter won't be able to get me down.
Besides thinking up future creative projects I've been doing some shopping on etsy (first for gifts then for myself. It can't be helped!!) One of the best people I've bought from recently was Kathleen from Mata Hari Jewellery. A lot of people make jewellery from vintage brass -with a neo-victorian touch, but her pieces are especially beautiful and she also gives a free gift each puchase which is really nice.
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