Tuesday, March 30, 2010

A Vintage Childhood

It probably comes as no surprise to anyone who knows me that I'm raising Miss Mia and Baby Li, well, sort of vintage. We don't have a television and they don't play anything on the computer. They have original vintage fairy tale drawings from the 40s on the wall in their play area and dig in the sandbox with these amazing sand forms from the 50s (got 11 of them for 1 Euro on ebay. Now that was a find!) I recently bought Mia a Jadite child's pitcher and an elephant figurine from a 1930s circus. For her third birthday, I've already bought her a 1950s Bakelite Viewmaster with 10 reels (another great ebay find) that looks a lot like this one here:


I'm not doing any of this out of some sort of nostalgic concept or as a revolt against modern life, although I do think it's better for kids this age not to watch much television (though I certainly can understand the need to put them in front of a video for that much needed 20 minute break...) I just like old things better than new things. Until they are old enough to tell me to knock it off, this is what they'll get....

I realized today that I had somewhat of a vintage-inspired childhood myself: although most of my childhood was in the 80s, both my sister and I were heavily influenced by musicals from the 1940s to the 1960s. Gigi, Funny Girl, My Fair Lady, we loved them all. This love started one afternoon when we went to a screening of Bye Bye Birdie at the Naninni Library in Tucson, Arizona. From that day forward an obsession was born. Today I watched some video clips from the musical on YouTube. OMG, Retro!!! Check out this clip:



Amazingly, I still know all the words to every single song even though I haven't heard them in almost 30 years....The modern retro me loved this version of Dick Van Dyck's Put On A Happy Face from the show, here sung by Vikki Carr.


Sunday, March 28, 2010

The Dress That Went Around The World

So Euro Week at etsy has been very, very good to me. Who can say why? Maybe it's partly because I was of this interview I gave about me and my shop on the brand-spanking-new German Street Team's blog. Most likely it's because etsy featured one of my items in their Go Euro article, this stitched kitsch postcard that has always been popular but never sold.


Until now that is. Fifteen sales in five days. Whatever the reason, I'm just thanking my lucky stars not to mention my lovely customers.

Packing up the various packages has reminded me of one of the things I love about running Schaufenster: it opens up this wonderfully international network. Here I am, this little old girl finding and making things in Berlin-Kreuzberg and then sending them off to Sydney and Boise and Paris. Case in p
oint, this dress:


This dress I bought at a second-hand shop in San Luis Obispo when I took a road trip to Southern California a couple of years ago. It sat in my closet for some time because I kept hoping I would finally loose those twenty pounds and/or the dress would magically fit me. Recently I've decided to come to terms with the fact that I simply love chocolate way more than I love sit ups or jogging. The dress will probably never fit me. Time for it to move on.

The dress was snatched by a leopard print fanatic from Israel earlier this week. From San Luis Obispo to Berlin to Jerusalem. Not bad for a little stretch of animal print cloth!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Life Lessons With Miss Mia


This morning at breakfast I turned to Miss Mia and said:

"Do you know what goals you should have everyday? To have fun, be creative and to celebrate."

Miss Mia looked up at me wide-eyed. "And to dance, mama," she said.

Yes, of
course. And also to dance. :)

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Trigger Happy

So the first bit of good news is that I seem to have brought Spring back to Berlin from California. Just the weekend before I left Jasper told me it had snowed again (and yes, this made me very, very angry. Grr...Winter rage!) but ever since I've been back the weather has been beautiful. As always, this means zillions of people on the streets eating ice cream, packed playgrounds and smiles all around. Springtime beat the grump out of old Berlin.

The second bit of good news is that Jasper had me buy a new camera lens when I was in the Bay Area. Technical stuff is always cheaper in the U.S. (though that's about the only thing. I couldn't believe how expensive groceries have gotten. Two, maybe three times as expensive as in Berlin...) plus the exchange rate is in our favor so I got a nice portrait lens, the lowest aperture being 1,8. Yesterday I took a jaunt around Bergmannstrasse with Baby Li to try out the lens. I've been using a Macro lens for quite some time and it was quite a fun challenge to try and adapt to a new one. You really have to adjust your way of seeing not to mention change some of your settings...Anyway, I still haven't totally gotten the hang of it, but I did take a few shots I liked. Here they are:


Schönes
Wochenende everybody. :)

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Honk Your Horn For Home

When I was in my 20s I was convinced the best way to live was to only have enough things to fit into two large suitcases. Everything else around you should be disposable so you will always be ready to leave at a moment's notice. Now in my mid-30s, I definitely can appreciate the meaning of the word "home". Home is where I spend a large percentage of my time and I want mine to be put together with creative intent, reflecting who I am and what's important to me. Still, something of my old philosophy has remained: although the housing market is still quite affordable in Berlin, I really have no desire to buy a house or apartment of my own. In Berlin it is possible to pretty much do whatever you want to a place you rent (paint, rip out carpet, perhaps even put a hole in a wall) as long as you change back certain things when you move out. Rent is reasonable and we have rent control. With a husband and two small children as well as two vintage teak sideboards I'm obviously not going anywhere else in a hurry. Still, I like the illusion that, if I wanted to, I could. A home with mortgage payments would only tie me down....

I would, however, love to own an apartment in San Francisco. My mother is now renting out the lovely Eichler house I grew up in and I would love to have a place in California which I could call entirely my own. Besides, it would seem so wonderfully decadent, like a kept lover who you put up just so you'll have someone who is glad to see you (or at least knows best to pretend that they are) on the odd occasion that you're in town. Still, the dream will most likely only remain a dream because the only apartments we could even come close to affording would be in neighborhoods like the Western Addition. San Francisco, unlike Berlin, is not exactly a city known for its affordability...


Speaking of San Francisco, when I was there I got to spend some time in my sister's lovely apartment in the Upper Mission. I love the little details that make a person's home their own, so I thought I'd share some of hers. Here goes:


Ever the thrift store huntress, my sister's apartment is filled with many treasures like these vintage Fiesta Ware bowls filled with tangerines undoubtedly from the Farmer's Market.


In the kitchen is also this adorable cast iron pig she bought at a shop on 24th street in Noe Valley, the same place where she bought Mia her first enamel baby cup (I was there, so I know.)


I love this vintage Vogue magazine cover, blown up and mounted on canvas. She found it, as usual, at a thrift store, and first wanted to sell it in her vintage shop, Golden Valencia Vintage, but then realized she liked it too much and hung it up in her hallway instead.


This ceramic prickly pear cactus proves that my sister does sometimes pay full price. She bought it at a chi-chi boutique, but found it to be a must have in celebration of our Tucson, Arizona childhood.


She also has many of our childhood treasures around, like this chair from the dollhouse our father made us when I was 2 and she was 4 (though the matching ottoman got lost somewhere over the years)...


...and this porcelain figurine, Old No Arms, which was actually mine when I was 5 or so. I slept with her the first few nights after my grandmother gave her to me. One morning, I woke up with cuts on my arm but I just asked for a few band-aids and then slept with her again that night. Even as a child, I knew what it was to suffer for love...


Last but not least, her big comfy brass bed and her kitty Aki.

Yes, my sister does indeed have a lovely home and a lovely shop as well (42 sales in just 2 months!) Several of the sales were to yours truly. Check out this fabulous boots I got.


And yes, in case you're wondering, she did give me a bit of a "sister discount" but not much. Shrewd businesswoman has now officially been added to her list of character traits! ;)

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Back In Town Baby!

So after a three week, somewhat baby intense vacation I'm finally back in Berlin. Etsy is throwing a bash on April 1st which I'm excited about going to. Yeah! Etsy is in Berlin now and in my fabulous neighborhood of Kreuzberg none the less. In your face Mitte and P'berg! Us Kreuzbergers know our Kiez is the best....

Now that I am back, I hav
e lots o' new stuff to add to my shop once I get un-jetlagged enough to take the photographs. In the meantime I've been altering some of my photographs which I plan to print out nicely and use as a sort of photo/free gift card to give to my customers. They are all pretty different, but I'll probably choose which one to include by the kind of thing the person has ordered or just by what kind of mood I'm in. Here they are. Let me know if you have a favorite of the six. :)

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