You may enjoy some peeks around Berlin that I shared with illustrator Sandra Juto while we were out and about on Saturday in Berlin (Mitte). It was such an inspiring day, Sandra fills me up where sometimes people can only take, she is such a giving person… Thank you Sandra for being a total rock star!
I laugh so much with Sandra and for me, this is what I need when I’m away from my desk because I often get so caught up in only talking about design, decorating, blogging with my friends that there is never any down time for me to just “be” the crazy, playful and very silly Holly that I have been since I was a child. I don’t always want to be the leader, the teacher or the business idea generator. I love to follow, to share, to fade into the back of a room with a glass of wine surrounded by good friends crammed together on a sofa. We can often get so consumed with our projects that they take over our entire existence, have you noticed that with your own life and business? Especially as creatives, and for me as an American, business is sometimes all I think about. I learn with my German and Scandinavian friends over here that the topic of conversation is so much different when out socially than what I’m used to – we barely speak about business and when we do, it’s for a few minutes and then we move on to other topics. My goal for the new year, and yes I’ve already started to set them, is to think and talk less about business in social settings and to spend it instead on being more mindful, joyful and playful. I want to clear my head to make space for new things to flow in. That way, when I am back at my work desk, I can work with more passion and more efficiently. Sounds like a plan, man.
A few days in Berlin with my dear friends and students and I already feel revived and ready to take on all of my projects and this is a very good thing. I even went to the spa in my hotel for some relaxing treatments and as I looked out from my massage table to the glimmering Berlin TV tower, which reminds me of a huge disco ball, I felt nothing but total bliss. And that evening, when my friends and I opened a bottle of Sekt and shared it on the roof terrace of my hotel overlooking the city, I felt so grateful for all that I have in life and all that this blog and my presence online in general, has brought to me.
Now back to the point of this post! Would you like to see what Sandra and I saw while out on Saturday? I’ll also link below to some places that we ate at and shopped so if you are in Berlin sometime soon, you can visit them too. All of these places are in the same neighborhood called “Mitte”, so you can easily visit them all in within a single afternoon.
Places I Visited:
R.S.V.P. – Stationery shop, very sweet and organized. Lots of great washi tapes, too.
Marron – Great interiors shop, many things from Donna Wilson whom I love and furniture from companies like HAY. The overall style is very Danish.
The Barn – For coffee and pastries. Loved the decor in this cafe with the deep grays and rustic woods. So calm. Delicious cafe latte.
Do You Read Me? – A delightful magazine shop and some design books too. I bought the new Milk Deco, and interiors book from France made by the same people who publish the gorgeous Milk magazine. I’ll show you some peeks on decor8 later today.
Monsieur Voung – Delicious Vietnamese food, great prices, lovely atmosphere. I had the glass noodle salad with chicken and it was light and fresh.
Cafe Fleury – We ate brunch here on Saturday, charming little French cafe with great breakfast. I’ll definitely return again + again.
Barcomi’s Cafe & Deli – Delicious cakes and cookies – we split carrot cake, had it packed into two little bags, and walked around eating and exploring. It’s delicious and was the first “American” style carrot cake I’ve eaten here in the past few years so for me, it was a real treat.
No More Sleep – A small and very cozy coffee bar owned by Frederik Frede who is the founder of Freunde von Freunden and they’ve now printed their blog as a book and I saw it in his cafe and it looks great inside, very happy for them all! It’s near to R.S.V.P. so you can grab some Japanese washi tape and then go over for a coffee! :)
Pizzeria I Due Forni – Best pizza in town, it reminded me of the pizza napoletana my friend used to make… With the amazing flat delicious crust and really good house red wine served in no frills glasses – loved how relaxed and loud this place was – lots of energy!
Cupcake Berlin – 100% American style cupcakes – the baker is American so it’s a pleasure to go to Berlin just for a little comfort food fix. Note: They catered my book launch at the Soho House a few weeks ago and they also catered an event that I had with DaWanda in 2008… Everyone loves Cupcake Berlin!
Green Tea Café MAMECHA – Such a sweet interior and the menu items looked delightful. (Note: I didn’t eat there, only peeked in from the street).
Dudu – For sushi, recommended to me by a reader, though I didn’t go in. Everyone told me though that it’s great.
That’s all I can think of for now… Berlin is a big “foodie” and cafe place. There are also tons of places to buy clothing and shoes. I didn’t see a lot of interior design stores though, I found more in Hamburg, but maybe I wasn’t in the right neighborhood.
I had such a fun time in Berlin thanks to my friends and will return again when I can! A special thank you Sandra, Johan and Lutz for making my visit memorable and fun!
(images: holly becker)
Hello everyone! I was in Berlin again and now that I’m back home I want to share some highlights! This time, I taught a gift wrapping class for Anthropologie at the amazing Barcomi’s cafe where they had a “pop up cafe” this week to celebrate the launch of their new German online shop. I was able to chat briefly with owner, author and baking queen Cynthia Barcomi (a highlight!) before I got started and then, my students arrived and we made pretty and inspiring gift packaging and tags using torn fabric, masking tape, decorative papers, maps, paper punches, rubber stamps, cocktail napkins, lace, yarn, etc.
Below is a photo of me with my dear students (I’m in the center in green). There were 8 of us, but a few others joined in like my friend Sandra Juto and fashion blogger Camilla along with Jana and Massimiliano, so there were 13 of us total and it was such a fun bunch!
On the table you can see all of the things that we made. Each student made 4 projects, some did 5 — a box, a gift tag, a lunch bag and a sheet of patchwork paper. The patchwork “quilted” paper ideas was one that I learned from my dear friend Leslie Shewring that she taught in her washi tape class in St. Paul this past Fall at The Creative Connection event. I can’t take any credit for that idea but Leslie told me I could teach them how to do it so I did and they had a good time making their patchwork sheet of wrapping paper. Above you can see me with Anna Sterntaler, Simone Haffner, Annie Raymond, Toni, Ursula Markgraf, Julianne, Anja, Urszula Lotysz-Bossart.
My idea was to show them how to make gifts look pretty without always running out to the store for the typical roll of wrapping paper and pre-made bows and tags and so I taught them how to create beautiful gifts using what they may already have at home. I thought this was very much a part of the Anthropologie way of thinking as well — to be creative with what you already have because Anthro is known to be such an inspiring place to shop since they’re very creative with their own store displays using random objects to create gorgeous installations.
Here are some pictures of the things that I made. I used basic white boxes from a discount store and applied tapes, papers, torn fabrics and even cocktail napkins to decorate them. In Germany, white paper bags are everywhere right now for Advent so I used them to decorate as well. I told students that these bags are great for giving baked goods – just wrap cookies or chocolates and place inside with a sheet of pretty tissue paper or shredded paper.
I naturally went with my soft color palette with a punch of hot pink or turquoise. I think it’s important to go with what your instinct tells you and wrap gifts in a way that not only reflects your personal style but that shows the recipient that you thought of them in a special way and made the outside look just as nice as the gift waiting within.
The gift above was topped with torn fabrics as ribbon and a silver star.
The box above in purple and orange was wrapped using two cocktail napkins. One for the bottom, the other for the top, in two different patterns to add interest. If the cocktail napkin doesn’t cover the box entirely, that’s okay — you can trim it out with tapes, found papers and ribbons and it will look great!
I had such a great time, thank you to Massimiliano (Grazie mille!) for helping organize everything and for my students (Danke schön!) for joining me and Anthropologie at Barcomi’s for a crafty class!
(photos with white borders: anna sterntaler/all others: holly becker)
Inspiration surrounds us and to tap in, I love a good Sunday morning stroll. I’ve been taking them each week since I relocated to Germany over two years ago. They’ve become a very big part of my life, a ritual of the senses. I’m not a very structured person, I tend to like to work and do most other things when I feel creative because then I know I’ll do them well… but a little routine on a quiet Sunday morning feels nice.
Usually I’ll visit a park, garden or walk through the big city forest behind my house. I love the forest… the scent of forest air, fresh pine, firewood burning in a nearby chimney, that crisp cool wind against my face – it’s both calming and refreshing. A sunny sky is not a requirement for me, in fact it’s often a melancholy gray that feels far more comforting – like a large wool blanket lovingly wrapped around my shoulders.
My idle walks usually end up in the city, wandering through alleys, exploring both familiar and unfamiliar streets and always snapping photos with my iPhone. I love going from the forest to the city, only a few steps apart, because contrasts excite me. The organic versus the planned, hard lines then soft curves, dirt then stone. Often Sunday mornings allow me to compose song lyrics and construct poems in my mind, to explore my imagination and to go so deep in my inner world that my walks become almost dream-like where I’m altering how the story will continue and where it will end.
After 90 minutes or so, I usually require a cappuccino (smile) and brunch so I begin searching for a cozy spot to people watch and linger a bit. If the cafe is playing show tunes, jazz, or a little Frank and Dean… all the better. For me, this is the perfect Sunday. If I end up in a quaint theater for a matinee, perhaps something along the lines of Bright Star, Das Parfum (a bit dark can be good) or Lost in Translation, then I’m double lucky. I love a good melancholy film on a Sunday afternoon. In the evening, a glass of red wine in a cozy bar huddled around a table with good friends or breaking bread with cheese and olives at home – perfect. I’ve just had the perfect happy ending to my day.
When most people meet me, at least from what I’m told, they perceive me as being witty, charming, fun-loving and outgoing. Well, thank you because those are very nice things and I’m happy that most people are so sweet in describing me. I certainly do love a good time and people are my fuel. Though I must admit that too much time in the spotlight drains me so I need weekly “time outs” to escape crowds and light-hearted surface conversation to go deep and to simply live inside of my own head. Can you relate at all? These Sunday pauses do this. I can be a tad moody, even melancholy, very dramatic, and I’m quite a romantic and extremely passionate about so many things – especially behind closed doors or around my dearest friends. If I don’t have a weekly space for myself to refuel, I approach a new week with little zeal to do the things that I love.
That is why I found myself incredibly inspired this past weekend spending Sunday morning roaming Berlin. I didn’t have long, but in just a short time I snapped the photos in this post on my iPhone and found inspirational glimpses all around me in this most fascinating city. I hope my Sunday morning stroll inspired you a little too and I hope to get back to Berlin next week for more of the same. It’s nice to take a pause each week to reflect on what makes us, well US — isn’t it?
Sundays make me happy.
What about you, do you have a weekly tradition that you employ to center yourself and explore your imagination and creativity?
(images: holly becker)
Hello everyone! I’m off to Berlin for the weekend to throw a bloggers and book party along with Brigitte magazine, Callwey Publishing and Etsy and I can’t wait to meet everyone. The guest list is now closed and sadly, the location couldn’t fit all of you so we could only accept 50% of the RSVP requests. :( I had no idea so many would reply or I would have chosen a larger location, but now that I know then the next event will be in a large space where we can accommodate everyone. This event will lovely tomorrow, we did so much work behind-the-scenes to ensure that we have our guests taken care of from goodie bags to product and book giveaways, cupcakes to enjoy, there will even be a fun photo booth where we’re going to be able to upload photos to the web instantly. We’re thinking to do another bloggers event next year and if we do – we’ll make sure we can include everyone next time. The German blogging community is huge!
SO! I’ll be using Instagram while I’m away, if you use Istagram I’m “decor8″ and you can see my photos there as I upload them or you can follow me on Twitter because I’ll try to tweet fun glimpses as I go.
This is the final leg of my book tour for 2011 and though it’s been an amazingly fun 11 months of traveling to promote my book, being home for a few months will feel real nice too. I have so much decorating to do and lots of projects to share in the months ahead – AND a lot of blogging to do. I’ll also be teaching classes at my work studio in Hannover over the winter – I can’t wait to announce the class schedule and dates so if anyone wants to hang out with me in my home office for a day or two, I’d certainly love to have you. We can craft, decorate, I can show you some fun blogging tricks and we can drink hot mulled spiced wine. I can even take you shopping to my favorite stores. How’s THAT for getting creative?!
I’ll see everyone on Monday with a tour of a local shop, some great products I’ve been meaning to share, and tons of fabulous calendars for 2012 as it’s time for my annual calendar round-up to look for that everyday next week. By the way, that photo above is a collection of things I picked up recently – I know the palette if very fresh and spring-like, but I love the color combination still, don’t you?
(image: holly becker for decor8)