Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Poor squirrel...

On an average day, I am usually woken by my son around 6 o'clock. But today, I heard this strange, angry motorized sound. My first thought was that my son had come into our bedroom playing with a remote controlled car, but then I realized that he doesn't have one. I slowly turned around to see the time: 7 o'clock. Huh?! My son is still asleep at 7 AM?! I kept hearing that annoying noise and started to realize that it came from outside. When I pulled back the curtains I see this:

ARGH!!! Their cutting the trees?! Why the hell is that? They are our only barrier with the neighbors across the yard... There is nothing wrong with them, except that maybe one of them a bit further down the row might be sick, for it's leaves are turning brown. But the ones in front of our windows look just fine. There is even a squirrel living in one of the trees that has already been cut down...

Meanwhile, my son has woken up and joined me at the window. While discussing the poor squirrel, we suddenly see it running towards the most left tree in the picture below. It climbs all the way up and starts nibbling on something. While I am still busy pitying the poor little creature, my son remarks: "Never mind mum, there are other trees for it to make a home." OK...

And to top it off, later this morning I saw this yellow monster entering the building site. I don't know exactly what it is, but it looks suspiciously much like a pole drilling machine. I sure hope the construction worker's holidays last till the end of August...

Saturday, July 27, 2013


Yesterday, I went to the Türkenmarkt at Maybachufer, which got its name from the many Turkish stall holders (and buyers). At first sight, it is not a very special market. They sell the usual stuff like fruit, vegetables, (Turkish) food and clothing, but it is also one of the few places in town where you can buy cheap cloth at 3 or 4 euros per meter. Cloth is of course sold in numerous places, like Karstadt and Idee/KaDeWe (where they also have Kokka cloth) but there it costs at least 12 euros per meter. Which is not what I want because I am going to do some experimental sewing the coming weeks. 

There were also a number of 'modern' stalls, like this transporter bike stall where they sell items from repurposed materials. I especially liked the hats made of jute sacks, though I doubt I can persuade my husband to wear one... And there was a woman who amongst other things sold small handmade boxes at a very cheap price: I will show it later, for I have plans with that one.

At one end of the market there is a music corner where you can listen to street musicians while enjoying a snack and/or beverage that you just bought on the market. When I was there, a small jazz combo was playing and I spent some time lazing on one of the sofas that were placed on the left (not in the picture).

Oh yes, and I bought some cloth for a few unfinished projects:

I will keep you posted on the result of those...

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Lo Spaventa Passeri

While looking for the paper store RSVP in Mulackstrasse, I passed this lovely little Italian fashion store called Lo Spaventa Passeri on nr. 3:

Having been slightly disappointed by RSVP - in the sense that it was indeed very small and they didn't have sheets of paper, only stationary - I had some money to spare (ha ha!) and decided to have a look.

It was love at first sight: everything about this store is just perfect. I love the interior with the newspaper clipping pasted to the walls, I love the lamps, I even love the advertising board which says that all clothes are designed and made in Italy. 

But most of all, I love the style of the clothing: very simple, very nicely cut, very soft materials and very subtle decoration. I love this store!

And oh, lucky me! The summer sale had just started... 

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Tomato forest

My tomatoes have been doing their utmost best over the past few weeks, they are growing like crazy! One side of our balcony looks like a real tomato forest. I have had to bind them up and I now am very glad I bought these ridiculously long bamboo stalks. And if you look at the thread I used, you might recognize the 'knitting theme', for yes, it is indeed raspberry red/pink organic cotton.

I also have proof now that I have two different varieties: I did mark the seedlings of course, but my son found the neat rows of plastic cups quite boring and decided to arrange them in a more appealing way - by putting all of them in a wide circle with the marker straws laying in the middle. As if the seedlings were going to play 'who is who?' with them(?!). 

The plant above is most likely the cherry tomato, judging from the neat parallel rows in which the fruits are growing. It has produced an amazing amount of flowers so far, and is still producing new ones every day. The plant below (actually, two of them) looks to be a 'regular' tomato, although I forgot what the name is (note to self: make better markers next year). The mystery of the missing flowers is solved by the way, for in the end this plant did produce yellow flowers, it just took much longer than the cherry tomatoes. 

The only thing I am bit worried about is that the fruits will not be ripe before we will be leaving at the end of August... Let's hope that they will ripen soon!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Marta's book 'n box

I have been experimenting with some lovely chiyogami paper that I bought at my all time favorite shop here in Berlin: Modulor! It's probably the best craft supply store in Europe (though it is always dangerous to use big words). Because chiyogami paper is completely handmade, it's rather expensive so I only bought A4 size sheets to try out some ideas I had for creating boxes in Japanese style (not Japanese boxes, that is something quite different). Last year, I bought a large board cutter from the widow of a deceased bookbinder in Dordrecht (alas, bookbinding is a dying craft). Along with the cutter came a considerable amount of cut board, enough for at least 10 small boxes. There was no work description for these boxes, but they did not look too complicated. The best way to make the box was too include a hinged lid - only, I had never made such a box before. It took a while before I produced an acceptable box, but the result (below) was promising (there is always room for improvement...). 

The most difficult thing proved to be the cover: I wanted to use the chiyogami paper, but it was a bit too small. I had to cover the short sides separately, whereas it is custom to use a single sheet to cover the whole box. The advantage of covering the box with separate sheets is that you can adjust the pattern to match. And since I was busy matching everything, I decided to make a matching book with pockets.
I love this paper! More items will probably follow shortly, I will show you when they are finished...

Friday, July 12, 2013

On the mountain

Last week, I visited my dear friend Marta on 'her' mountain just outside Grenoble. It was an inspirational week with lots of laughter, good company and the most wonderful views from the terrace (even though the wretched hedge was still way too high).

The house itself perches on a steep allotment and when shot from below, it looks a bit like an old Japanese  wooden house. (But not from close by, though) In this picture, the cursed hedge aligning the terrace had already been cut somewhat lower by the humble gardener. When it will be cut to the right height you might actually see part of the windows. I will ask Marta to post a picture...

The terrace provides a perfect outdoor working/eating/chatting/relaxing space; when the sun is shining directly on the terrace, Marta puts up the cheese cloth 'sails' by fastening them to the balcony of the floor above and to the hedge on the side. A very cheap and handy solution, indeed.

And if the terrace gets too crowded, there is more space in the garden, including a hammock with a view and cherries for an easy afternoon snack (although they have all been eaten by now).

And then there is the potager, of course, which is an ongoing and very fulfilling project of the lady of the house. There are plants and seedlings everywhere around the house and in the vegetable garden and I loved to go out and fetch some delicious homegrown veggies for dinner every day. And if you will be visiting Marta and Eduard somewhat later this year and you will have chickpeas for dinner, then think of me, for I planted them. Thank you Marta, for this wonderful week! 

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Tomatoes revisited

Remember my tomatoes? Well, they have already outgrown their pots and needles, so I had to build them a bigger home. Since we are here only temporarily, I did not want to buy too many pots, as we all have to take them home with us. Bigger food buckets would have been a very cheap and convenient replacement, but none of us are big eaters...

In the end I bought some buckets at the 1-euroshop and bamboo canes at a hardware store. I planted the roots relatively deep; they grow upwards and need extra soil every week. 

The tricky thing this time was that the plants were already in bloom (yes!), and I was not sure if the flowers would suffer from the replanting session. But after just a few hours, they seemed happier than ever and they are still growing as crazy! The only thing that keeps puzzling me is that the plant on the left has real yellow tomato flowers (see below, on the right), while the other two plants have little green bells that seem quite empty (see below). I mean, I cannot see any flowery stuff in there. It seems that these are 'sterile plants' that apparently do not need pollinating(?). Maybe I should investigate a bit more on that subject...