Easy Details IV: Notes

This post is all about notes... and I don't mean the one you are noting down in your blackberry or any other technical gimmick... no, today its all about the good old fashioned ways of keeping notes in your mind by writing them down in the moment you had them. Therefore this post is about cork boards, fridge magnets and note boards and black boards.
Eventually I have all three in my home, because I' m disorganized enough to need as much help as possible...

Lets start with the Cork Board
It was always a favorite of me and I had cork boards since I am very young.
They are the perfect combination to keep photos, inspirations, doctors appointments and necklaces in place and order and you can always renewed it quite easily, according to your mood, season... and ideas.

This one is (of course ;-) a second-hand found and because the cork wasn't that good looking any longer, I kept some scrapbook-paper under the notes. This unify' s the look and the cork isn't visible at all.

Fridge Magnets
The small magnetic notepad on the fridge is my essential shopping list organizer.

When ever I open the door and something is missing or empty, I can write it down, before I will forget it...(because otherwise I do forget it.)
The other magnets are a wild mixture of real souvenir magnets; scrapbook embellishments, on which I sticked small magnets and pictures- like the Sanssouci-Castle bookmark, which got sticked together with self-adhesive magnetic foil to hold on the metal...

Black Board
Our black board is situated on an unusual place: in the living room and it is therefore more decoration than real organizer... I got it in dark scratched wood and it took some time until I reached the creamy off white- antique white effect, which it is showing now... I always thought about a black decoration or signature as well (f.e. Just the words: Les chats, in the down part), but never made it until now...

It is our place to write down things like: phoning him/ her; write this e-mail to... surf on these websites, write about this in your blog... so its actually my extended desk helper and it has always place for inspirational words and pictures... for the best ideas ... :-)


Pick of the week

This week I found something very small, but still not unimportant in my favorite store: three spoons, which once might have been a part of a much larger collection.
I didn't intended to collect, but to use them, because the seize was perfect to measure spices while cooking, so the Mountain-Police Spoon is now measuring turmeric powder and the Rolex-spoon is my favorite morning breakfast cereal eating spoon... and since then, I can also ask every day:... Where is my Rolex ...(spoon) ?.... =)


Happy Easter

Påsk - Swedish Easter

When I was much younger, every year at the easter holidays many people were coming to the island where we were living to celebrate the Easter days. Because our island is so small, it mostly got very crowded. Thats why my dad decided to go away as well, preferable somewhere where tourists would not go at Easter. So, we started traveling to Sweden every year.
It meant to drive to the North and even driving back in the vegetation zones. We were happy about the warmer temperatures, tulips and sun and then we drove into cold regions, the lakes were still frozen, the weather was mostly much colder... but we definitely didn't found much tourists, there.
What we found were small nice cities and the trees decorated with colorful feathers. This is not usual in Germany, as we only decorate with eggs and so we already brought multicolored feathers from our first trip to Sweden and in all following years we were decorating the trees in our garden with feathers, as well. That we were the only one on our island, who was doing so, was of course part of the fun.
But, because my island (Island of Poel) was just around 100 years German again, after belonging many hundred years to Sweden, we felt, that it is also a very traditional thing to do.
When I came to Canada, I remembered this tradition and bought feathers, too.
They are inexpensive, not destroyable from my cats and are looking slightly more natural than plastic eggs.
While trying to find other pictures for the feathers and also reasons for this tradition, I saw, that there are not just feathers, but even a lot of pictures of small cute Easter witches available... and I wanted to show them here, too...
The Children are walking from door to door, to collect candy and they give therefore pussy willows or birch branches with feathers on it, to them. These is a mixture of the tradition of blessing the house with willow branches (in Christian tradition it would have been palm leaves, but these leaves are quite rare in Sweden) and the Scandinavian Easter witch. The Easter witch is part of an old superstition, that the witches are very powerful during the Easter week and are making their black magic, before flying to the mountain or island Blåkulla to meet the devil. Nowadays it is a more cheerful and funny tradition and on every Thursday before Easter or on Easter Eve, you can see the small witches visiting their neighbors..

Easter Porcelain

Of course, there is also a lot of Porcelain available, to fit into the Easter scheme. Especially from the German companies Hutschenreuther and Goebel are dishes and figurines on the market, to collect bunnies, having porcelain eggs in every kind of design and to serve on dishes which celebrate the spring with small flowers and delicate designs.

Some of these decorations are a bit over the top and you should always be careful not to overdo it... but as Easter is just for some days, it is also allowed to have a little bit kitsch in the house, situated there and there... and around... :-)


Easter Egg-Traditions of the Sorbs

A post in the Blog of a friend (in German), reminded me, that I should not forget to write about the easter traditions of the Sorbs.
The Sorbs are maybe the only real ethnic minority in Germany. There are others, too.. like for example Danish people in the north, but they all have a neighboring home country and also the support of these countries.
The Sorbs are a Slavic tribe, which came many year-hundreds before and settled along the rivers of Spree and Oder and these settlement areas are their country, which is called Lusatia.
According to the places they were living in, they were called Upper and Lower Sorbs ... . Nowadays, Lusatia is part of the German 'Länder' Brandenburg and Saxony. In East German times there was done a lot to preserve the cultural identity and languages of the Sorbs, since the Wall broke down in 1989, it became more difficult for them to keep their language alive, as many things are endangered by less financial support for schools, translation of signs and other cultural programs. However, their ways of how to decorate eggs, became part of german Easter traditions as well and every year thousands of excited school children (and grown up people, too ;) work in the different techniques with wax, needle and color to decorate the eggs in the most colorful ways...


www easter

While searching through Google Images, I found these Easter Ideas from all over the world... Some of them are really nicely made, like the nostalgic paper egg or the natural look of the gingham pattern on the eggs...
It ideswq21 (sorry, cat on the keyboard) s interesting to see, what kind of ideas other people already had and maybe it is also a good inspiration to start painting your own eggs, as you still have two days left to decorate your house for Easter Sunday..


Special feature: OK Shop

The Berlin Shop of the OK-online catalog is situated at the Alte Schönhauser Street Number 36/37. It is the second shop of the Cologne entrepreneur Lukas Plum, who was starting his mail order catalog of inexpensive, exceptional, odd and still useful daily products of mostly developing countries in 1997, after finishing his art studies.

The Shop is selling daily products of countries like China, Bulgaria, India, Mexico, South Africa and many many more... most things are cheap industrial articles made of plastic, paper, tin boxes or wood, which maybe even can considered to be very ugly, but they are something special, because they are not available in Germany anywhere else.

For example you can buy a colorful egg carriers from Bulgaria for your whole family or 2 l thermoses from China with flower prints, Sandals made of old wheels from Ghana, tea glasses with sand inside the glas from Yemen or even watering cans from tin cans and a radio of recycled wires and crown caps from South Africa.
Many products are unique and colorful and it is fun to look at all these stuff in the small shop and think by yourself, what use it might have or even start thinking about the country were it came from.

I guess many company agents in the countries, where the products are coming from, were a bit confused, when they were selling these products to Germany, as they are of low quality and even in their own country considered to be less worth... .
But for us, they can be a very unique and special gift and the things are even in Germany never too expensive...

Shopping in Berlin - Hackescher Markt

While I studied and lived in Potsdam I naturally often went to Berlin (15 minutes by region train) for many cultural events and of course also for shopping tours. When I was looking for clothes, my ways often lead me to 'Bhf-Zoo' and 'Steglitz' (the nearest from Potsdam), while trying to find some Asian inspired things, I was traveling the whole city from 'Neukölln' to 'Westhafen' and when I wanted to find nice gifts for someone or even myself... or when I wanted to show Berlin shops to guests... then I was coming to the S-Bahn Station 'Hackescher Markt' in Berlin-Mitte.
On the junction between Oranienburger Street and Rosenthaler were a lot of tourist spots, like the famous 'Hackeschen Höfe', the other houses were often not renovated and still there were already designer shops inside... When you wanted to understand how Berlin (East) was changing over the years, it was the best place to see and shop... :-)
Especially in Alte and Neue Schönhauser street were numerous shops of Berlin designers as well as young international designers, like Miss Sixty, Replay, Camper etc. About all this shops I won't write today, but I will give my very own Top 8 of must-visits... There are a lot of other nice shops around, some of them are so small, that they were not online available... so don't bother if I forgot something... just have a close look at your next Berlin visit and enjoy.

1. Butlers
My first Shop is Butlers on Hackescher Markt 4.
Butlers is an european decoration chain, which opened eight stored in Berlin over the last couple of years.
The shops are selling everything for the home, from nicely decorated ideas for the kitchen, work, eating, parties and garden. It might not be an original Berlin product, but its still worth a visit and you can easily find something elegant, funny, natural, colorful or stylish for your sister, boss, best friend or just for your own home, with average prices... :-)

After a walk through the tourist hot spots and maybe even for a coffee in the Hackeschen Höfe, you can walk next to the court of Roses.. the “Rosenhöfe” which are a bit smaller, but therefore less crowded.

2. Sergio Engel
There, I liked to visit Sergio Engel jewelery, in the Rosenthaler Str. 36.
The company Sergio Engel is producing jewelery in Berlin since 20 years and they also have a shop in these Rosenhöfe. All products are made by hand and the parts are coming from well known quality companies, like f.e. all crystals and pearls from Swarovski Components. So, when you are buying one of their many ear rings or necklaces you are always bringing a real piece “made in Berlin” back home.

Now we are leaving the Rosenhöfe and crossing the street to the corner of Rosenthaler and Neue Schönhauser street. And that's how we are reaching Shop...

3. Tukadu
Tukadu is a very small beads and pearls shop with thousands of different beads and buttons, fabrics and other often unusual material. It is actually surprising, how so much can fit in the tiny shop. You can choose beads, buy and make something of it at home by yourself, you can start there on the spot or learn in a course or if you think, that you are just not creative enough or don't have the time, they also sell a little bit of ready-made jewelery.

Finally we walk into the Schönhauser Straße and decide to sit for a while in a café or visit one of the several designer shops in the street. One for real furniture design 'freaks', but also for several tourists is Shop Number....

4. Schönhauser 18 (Neue Schönhauser Strasse 18)
Since 1997, this shop is selling innovative new and old accessories, second hand furniture from the 1970 like brightly colored plastic chairs or classics from Mies van der Rohe or Arne Jacobsen. There are special Berlin Souvenirs for Breakfast or games with GDR motifs, Second Hand Bags from “Interflug” the former GDR- Airline and many other things. It is really worth a visit and even when you are just buying a postcard... you will like even this selection... I always have the feeling that I need to buy something out of this store, because it is all so great. The prices are above average... what is a bit slowing down my enthusiasm, but I love this shop :-)

Now we are walking to the end of the Neue Schönhauser Straße. At the junction to Münzstraße, you can visit the American Apparel store, or just have a look through the windows... how different the interior can be, one shop is having an elegant country theme with chandelier and wood, the very next shop (Acne Jeans I guess, but I am not so sure) is grey industrial style, with metal and everything is strict and technical.
We are now crossing the Münzstraße and following the road into the Alte Schönhauser Straße, until the Number 33/34, then we walk through the main gate, to the second court and there we can see our Number 5, which is this time not a shop, but a studio (I guess this Number is just for women;)

5. Wax in the City
This wax studio was the first one of the successful studio chain, which made waxing as a method of hair removal in Germany popular as well. The studios are light and beautiful, you can walk in without an appointment and the prices are perfectly alright. When I went there for the first time, I was afraid, that it will hurt and was surprised, that I actually nearly fell asleep while my hair got removed with nicely warm and good smelling, natural bee wax.

Some houses the street down comes our next Shop (6.) which I will feature in an extra post above this one... its the OK Shop and Mail order from Lukas Plum in Alte Schönhauser Str. 36/37.
Before we turn around, we can walk to the next store, which is a nice store with products from Nepal, Tibet and India. You can buy Sarees there and second hand channiya choli, Pillows and bed throws, crazy and warm accessories as well as you can sit for a while and drink a tea.
After this welcome break, we cross the street and walk back on the other side to have a close look on the shops there. Some smaller shops, like a Nightmare before Christmas/ Emily the strange etc. theme store or an English book store are awaiting your visit, until we reach the junction of Münzstreet and Schönhauser again.
Now, we are turning right and walking up the Weinmeisterstraße, watching with big eyes through the windows of an comic store and finally reaching the Rosenthaler Straße again.
After 5 minutes walk, we can see our next destination, at Rosenthaler Str. 17... Shop Number...

7. Waahnsinn Berlin
The name means craziness and is meant literally.. the shop is crowded, full and fun. They are specialized in second-hand retro clothes and furniture from the 50-70s with a lot of old east German furniture where many people get this feeling of: my granny also had the same, and now its chic again... But, they also have new design available, like for example new bags and the shop is taking its theme and style not that serious. Just have a look for old chairs and sunglasses and maybe you will start liking the shop, as well... :-)

8. Fluffy White Pink
The very next and last shop for today is pretty much opposite to its neighbor 'Waahnsinn' and its again a store, where the guys probably don't even need to have a look. It is the official Hello Kitty-Store in Berlin-Mitte at Rosenthaler Straße 15, and so the name is again... program. It's all about clocks and figures and every kind of merchandise from the cute, white Japanese Kitty and her other Sanrio Friends and the store concept by itself is real Sanrio-Design. Additional, you can buy a lot of clothes which are not just from Sanrio, but also other colorful hoodies, dresses and tops, so it is worth a look.

After the end of this Shop-List you can walk up the Rosenthaler to take the Underground-Train from “Rosenthaler Platz” or you can walk back to S-Hackescher Markt or U-Weinmeisterstraße or if you don't want to use the public transport right now and you still feel like walking, just go down the Münzstraße directly towards Alexanderplatz. ... :-)


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