Wednesday, March 16, 2016


What looked like a dream, a wish in waiting, maybe not to come true for weeks, suddenly it's real: Spring has arrived with all its sweetness, birdsong, the warmth of sunshine, a gentle breeze in the air, longer evenings with just enough chill to crave a fire and all the tiny blossoms, making the season so desirable. 

My daffodils look ready to bloom in a fortnight, tiny bluebells cover the still dormant grass, and the squirrels chase each other up and down the trees.

My impatience has given way to a a calmer joy, a mood elevation I can only blame the season for. My heart is filled with optimism and I feel energy rising again. 
Today I met my dear friend, Deirdre Verne, a fellow writer and mother, a woman I admire for her accomplishments. My own dwarf against hers I feel. You can find her fabulous books here and everywhere books are sold. We talked shop and how to build a story line, how to come up with credible characters and how to make it all work. It is always incredibly invigorating to exchange ideas and to brainstorm about writing with her. For weeks now I have struggled with a particular issue, something I have carried around for decades and how to deal with this in my writing. It had come to a point where I felt it crippled my abilities to tell the story and she simply said, do not worry so much, just write it all down, there is much time to change it and you can always edit it out. How little does she know how it has freed me. After we parted my head was spinning with ideas. Perhaps it was the sun, sending her rays over my keyboard, perhaps it was my friend's easy attitude to something which had loomed over me for weeks, but since that moment the inner blockage has disappeared and after I came home I sat down to prep-write. I dropped everything and typed away notes and sentences, which I did not want to loose until I would have time to properly write. When the phone rung, I did not expect anything unusual. But it was my teenage son, asking me where I was. I had overlooked the time and had forgotten to pick him up from school. 
Thankfully it takes just a few minutes to get him and I was only ten minutes late. I laughed to myself, this had, as far as I can remember, never happened. 
Shall I put an automated reminder in your phone, my son asked me slyly, but not unfriendly when he stepped into the car. Please do so I answered smilingly and he did. Now, if I happen to become entrenched in writing, some friendly reminder will pull me out of my reverie and bring me back to reality.

And now, as I write this, I see outside my window the old Magnolia tree with its long pink blossoms, leafless still, but ready to bloom. I am ready too. How I love spring.

Friday, March 4, 2016

March fever

March is the month of each year, when I am the most impatient. I feel spring fever, a restlessness of my body and sometimes my mind too. I have to hold the rains tight and bring myself back to the now. I want spring to burst forward, I want the temperatures to rise, I crave fresh green and the stir of milder air and sunshine in pale turquoise skies. 

Nothing can sooth that feeling and looking outside this morning and facing a sprinkling of fresh snow and an icy blow upon getting our son to school.... makes me impatient right again. So what's a summer loving girl to do? I redecorate. 

Our mantle in spring colors

Recent shell finds in Cancun

My treasured collection of spring colored books and old Easter bunny decorations.

I can't deny my love for birds and nests.

Glass, wood and green in a quiet way say spring to me.

And of course tulips too.

Anyway, yesterday, after almost two months of waiting I received decorator and inspiring blogger friend Anna Spiro's lovely book, named aptly after her blog, Absolutely Beautiful Things

Anna Spiro's captivating book.

After a first quick glimpse, I brewed fresh tea and sat down to enjoy a good long read. Her decorating skills have been long familiar and I had met her a few years back in New York. She is as lovely in person as her blog suggests. But what moved me so much more in her colorful book was her vivid description of her background, her warm recalling and recognizing of the women in her family, her mother, her grandmothers and aunts. It's a familiar thing. I owe so much as well to my mother and grandmother. In a subtler way perhaps then Anna, but I fully understand her gratefulness to the line of inspiring women, who all influenced and guided her to finally finding her own decorator voice and style. Her color/pattern preferences and design philosophy largely mirror mine and I smile every time I see her images. What separates us are our different backgrounds, the places we grew up and the climate we lived in as children and adults. This of course has a profound impact and surely shapes our understanding and inclinations when it comes to hues and light and how we might love brightness in everything or adore subtle shades of decorating or dressing. 
Looking back to my mostly grey looking childhood in East Germany in the 60's and 70's, I still mostly remember the faded colors of the windswept Baltic seashore, bleached sand, sun and skies and the pine forests. 

The dark, slow flowing river Elbe in my hometown Dresden and the fields of rye and hops growing at the surrounding hills. Muted colors. And yet I think back and I have also clear images of my grandmother's garden, filled with roses and summer flowers and the colorful paintings I saw at Dresden's famed museums and galleries. There was always color in my imagination. My grandmother had a lively way of describing her own childhood and her memories of Dresden and its splendors before the Second World War have made them somehow mine too. Just like Anna's mom, my own mother has a gift for arranging and from my earliest childhood I remember the joys of seeing her decorating for the holidays or bringing flowers and plants into the apartments we lived in. My mother's family handed down blue and white Meissen porcelain, they too had a love for beautiful things and I have inherited this love. My parents had bought in the late 50's a gorgeous chippendale dining set, at a time when most young couples bought 60's modern. They still live with it and whenever I visit them I adore it. 
After all these years, the scent and luster of the glass fronted vitrine is still the same and this is true for the large buffet, which holds all my mother's china treasures. Needless to say my parents never bought anything else after that. I have a deep appreciation for loved and collected furniture, some well made and valuable and some just fun and fabulous, worth no more then the paint it's been updated with.

Southern charm: Charleston, NC

But there is something else. I believe we all have a time, era, style, a climate we are most comfortable with, something which only reveals itself after we have lived for a while and for me it has always been the pleasures that come with what I call 'Southern living'. My mother told me the summer I was born was particularly hot and I guess the heat in the autumn after my birth has blessed me with a desire for warmer climates. Evidently, growing up in East Germany was very different,  nothing at all compared to the charms of 'Southern living', but once I had left East Germany behind my fascination with the South of France and Italy dominated my travel interests. Now, after having lived in America for more then twenty years, I dream of living somewhere near the shores of South Carolina or Georgia. It is impossible not to have been shaped by the culture, colors and patterns of the South in my style preference, just like Anna Spiro's heritage and love for vibrant colors and a wild mix of patterns has left its mark. She would fit into a antebellum mansion or a house by the beach with a wraparound porch covered with bougainvilleas and a garden with life oak trees, covered in moss. 

I wonder when my life will present the chance to live there. Maybe when our youngest is out of school? Maybe when I 'retire'? LOL! 
I have no idea. But I dream nevertheless and just like so many impossible things, which have happened in my life, things I could have never imagined, so this dream might come true sooner then later.

For now it's March in New York, snow, sunshine, cold winds and mild air chase each other around every corner and only the arrival of the robins and grackles make me hopeful its only a few short weeks until spring is finally here.

Happy spring, y'all! 


All images my own.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Whenever I cannot write

The call of the geese gets me all the time.

Whenever I cannot write... I rearrange things. I clean, I sort and somehow things get sorted in my mind. This is wonderful, because I can trust it works. While I clean this and sort out that, I listen to music or the birds, chat with friends via texts or simply marvel at the things I love: Books mainly and some old knick knack I always pick up here and there and sometimes I find artists who's work I'd love to support big time but my budget lets me only get tiny things. But tiny things can be big too, right?

Black Hibiscus candle and scarf from here and gold filled bowl from Christina Salusti, Woodstock,VT.

Thankfully my budget is small, otherwise our small house with small rooms would be even more overrun with.... things. Nice things, but nevertheless a lot. Every year at least once I promise myself to reduce. I do re-use though. A lot. Instead of buying new things I often buy used ones. Old silver, vintage cutlery, found pieces of furniture. Its clearly a passion and I also have promised often enough to open an ETSY shop to bring the things, which are hopelessly stored back into circulation. It hasn't happen yet. I somehow cannot part with things. But even I can see, I should. So shall I go head and do this?

Another of Salusti's beautiful bowls.

Whenever I cannot write.... I think about things, problems, issues, my family, my writing. Sentences pop into my head and then I run to my notebook or phone and write things down. Cleaning calms me. Others might choose meditation, but I clear my mind while I contemplate which bowl goes well with what candle holder and where I should put this wonderful sideboard, which has spent too many years of exile at the veranda. I stand and watch the sun move over from the dining room into the music room, where a golden afternoon light plays with the wooden blinds and beckons me to sit and tickle the keys of the piano. I often succumb to its calling.

Summer and fall arrangements

Whenever I cannot write... I let it go. I have learned over the last years that writing cannot be forced. Regret is a sorrowful master and I have dismissed it early in my (still short) writing career. I know I will pick up after a dry spell and that gives me great comfort. I know there are times I will not be able to sit down to write. Mostly during holidays, just like recently over the Christmas break in Vermont, when I had been happily occupied with my family, but too distracted through outings and other entertainments.
Dutifully I had brought my computer, but never opened it to write. I remember a few years back, being fretful, nervous about interrupting the flow, but somehow I've learned that these sometimes unwelcome pauses have hidden benefits. They lend themselves to contemplation and some distance gives me a new prospective. Now, when I am stuck with a particular problem I give myself a time out. I cook, bake, clean, rearrange. I tinker around.

Today's  work:  January collection in the morning.

And at night.

Today, a few days into the new year, I took down most of the Christmas decorations, although the tree is still up. Some candle holders and decorations needed mending, careful packing and as with every season or holiday I feel it passes faster and faster, Wasn't it only yesterday that I dug up the boxes from the basement? Back it goes.

Window sill in the music room with some fine editions of Penguin Classics.
Tree in a bed of acorns and fragrant star anise.

Winter light is bright and clear and every January I love to have the light come in and play. I love glass in winter. Sunlight, china, crystal, brass and silver, a white table cloth. I love candle light and it warms the brilliant light and bends the cold into something I like. It is as if the light cleanses everything, cleanses my mind too.

I love the clean, fresh look.
The day has passed and finally I sit down, a fire warming my toes, while the chilly air presses against the windows. A hot tea near my chair, my laptop at the ready. And now I just let it flow, let the day pass by and share my thoughts with you for what's it worth. Being creative is a bit like shape shifting. It applies itself to all ways of life and that is such a wonderful thing. Whether I make salad dressing or shop for dinner or sort the laundry, whether I think about any problem or rearrange my collection on my windowsill, I know my creative energy is with me like an invisible cloak. I am deeply grateful for life has given me such a gift. 

Most of these things have been everywhere in our house.

There are times when I feel the cloak has gotten caught somewhere and then I need to be still and rest. Particularly anger and creativity are on the opposite end of the spectrum for me. There are people who can funnel their irritations into creativity but that's not how it works for me. When I am in a temper, when I am too distracted to write,  I clean. My house is not overly tidy and I take it as a good sign. After all, I have other things to do....

A preliminary home for Chip's artwork.

An art print from a painting by Chip Evans, whom we met in Woodstock, VT a few days ago. 

I try to work on reducing stress. It's one of the very few New Year's resolutions. I hate them for I feel they are forcefully tied to a rather random date. (Sure, I do get the symbolic power of a new year.) But I prefer resolutions when I have a need for them. I get overwhelmed quickly and then all systems shut down. Not so good and too disturbing.

Tea at night.

But thankfully cleaning and sorting are great problem diluters and after a good day's work I usually can sit down and write. I take a deep breath or two, look with some satisfaction at the new arrangements and feel content.

Wishing you all good ways to resolve issues and if you like, try organizing your cupboards when you feel you are stuck. It's very invigorating and renewing. Here is to a fresh New Year, where problems shall melt away with the power of contemplating while cleaning...


Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Happy holidays

A warm hello to all my old blog friends and new readers,

It has been a while and surely much has happened in you lives and mine. Another Christmas awaits at the doorstep, towing New Year's Eve behind and this year working on my novel has become a much loved and regular task for me. Regardless, it is not smooth sailing, there are stretches of silence, literally and moments of despair, but luckily there are these incredible rare moments,when I feel nothing can stop me, when everything seems to fall into place.

View from my writing room
Writing is a quiet business, nothing is ever really visible to the outside world unless something gets published, which hasn't happened yet. Sometimes I wish I could open the small room, where I most of the time sit down to think and research, to read and look at other writer's work and write a little more and I could share it with you all. Personally I love to read about other artist's doings, the mechanics of creating, if you will. And then I thought why not at least try? Perhaps it has been done before, maybe there is nothing new to say, but it feels to me at least that inviting you in makes it more real. Does this make sense? So in 2016 I will write more here about my writer's life and the things which move me and the things I move.

The manuscript...
It's a lonely job and I feel oftentimes I bury myself in this invisible world and forget to see what's out there. Do not get me wrong, there is the family, friends, my interior design work sprinkled in, but I do miss something. Still there are hours and hours where I just sit and write. And so I have added something new. Something which will take me outside, towards women, connects me again to a base where I feel I can belong. Thanks to my dear friend Patricia of PVE, who has asked me to join, I have decided to become Style Ambassador to India Hicks. Yes, perhaps like Tupperware or Avon, but different too since its still small, but rapidly growing and very elegant and beautiful. I met the incredible energetic and passionate India Hicks a few weeks ago and after talking with her I became convinced that it's a worthwhile enterprise. Will I do well? I am not sure yet, but I hope I can work out the kinks and give it a good try. Usually I have a certain fear of committing to such business, where others have a direct interest of me succeeding. I fear I will let them down. There is a pressure, which makes me uncomfortable. But this is another plan for the coming year: Stepping out of my comfort zone.

First hosting party in December

I want to hold myself accountable and the discipline which I have learned to apply to my writing might come in handy. Just do it, is my motto. I have nothing to loose. Ok, I could not sell and grow as I hope, but it's no reason not to try. To be truthful, this daring yes to it has given me a kick, a delightful rise in adrenaline and I have had nothing but a good time with it. You might think writing and thinking and all the intellectual exercises might exclude such down to earth selling business? Think again. I actually feel it boosts my confidence, I'll get used to approaching people, trying to market something I believe in. It might actually sharpen my wits once I will need to sell my manuscript to editors or agents, who are totally indifferent or might perhaps be absolutely disinterested. A practice in marketing....

India Hicks and I
I have already started and yesterday I took heart and dialed the hotel where we will stay between Christmas and New Year and asked if they would agree to a trunk show. I have not heard from them yet, but the worse would be they'd say no. But I have a good feeling.

Christmas Fairy

This year has been quite eventful. My husband started in spring to work with an incredible energized start up company on Wall Street, long hours, but so rewarding, my oldest son made a short film about a fifteen-year old ballerina, which will be distributed at the Cannes Film Festival, yours truly worked as art director on it and we are beyond happy about his success. Find it here. Second son finished his Masters degree, daughter will finish High School in spring, and yes she went all alone to England and manages life there by herself. The baby boy towers over me and tells us in earnest he wants to be a lawyer. He is 15 and everything is possible.
Another year has gone by way too fast and as always I reminiscent about time and how important it is to use it wisely. Never has 'Carpe Diem' meant so much to me.
Maybe this is only possible with age. I do not see the evidence yet in my children, life still stretches endlessly in front of them.

Our holiday window

And so I try to use every day and fill it with passion and joy and happiness and the sharing of hope and love, I try to sooth some pain in the world, which is also filled with hatred and revanche and murder and it is the only thing I can hold against it. I am not without hope.

I wish all of you a peaceful year's end and new beginnings! This and health and love and may life be good to you!

I promise to open my little writing room in January '16 and tell you what I work on and how this all is going. I promise not to bore you. It has held me captive for almost 3 years now.

Perhaps you want to join me here and there on my journey.


Thursday, April 23, 2015

The process of writing

It has been a year and a half. Roughly. And almost a year to the day that I said good bye here. It has been a wonderful year of writing, learning. An eye opening time, a time I am so grateful for. I am not done, but I think I am getting there. Not that it will mean much, the next step to find an agent or a publisher will perhaps be the greater challenge. I feel still like a novice, a innocent child in the adult world of literature, but alas, just as innocent, I am hopeful. Wish me more luck. Writing is a lonely thing, not be shared really, not to be talked about and I have felt often during this time that I secluded myself. It is necessary, but not always comfortable. But I love it. 
I have hardly read any blogs, hardly done anything but write, only immersed myself in the times, read countless books of historical relevance and now I feel this is also my university, my time to study and truly history has become my new passion. A time of growth. As an old midwife and mother I can only say I am expecting, looking forward to the time of my confinement. To deliver.

I wish you all a wonderful spring time, after a long hard winter here we finally see some progress and just like this time of year I am hopeful and wish you all time for growth.


Tuesday, April 29, 2014

New beginnings and endings

Dear readers, friends,

I do owe you an apology. A blog is to be written in somewhat regular intervals. Otherwise it loses it's momentum. I am fully aware of it. 
I had reached a turning point, a little while ago. I tried to balance new interests with the existing ones, but it has gotten too hard to do so.
For a long time I've had played with the idea to write something other then my blog. 
And about a year ago I have started on a historic novel based on my grandmother's life. 
I call it a romanography....
Now I am rather deep into it and it takes my energy and it feeds me at the same time. 
I love it. 
It is exciting and invigorating and I hope it will become a real book one day. My family indulges me and they are extremely patient with me. 

Writing is an adventure, a tour de force, I am not sure where this force is coming from or where it will take me. 
It has simply taken over. And I let this passion rule!

But something else has occurred to me. My ability to write has also been shaped by reading your inspiring stories, all your persistence and watching so many of you making their dreams come true. Fighting for it and sticking it out! I owe you my thanks and gratitude. Without you, I might have never begun! And I hope one day to give it back to you! I will come to read here and there, maybe even tell a little how it's going, but I wont promise regularity! I just can't. Between the family, life and my writing there is not enough time to manage it.

I feel stricken and as I write I feel a knot in my throat, it is a farewell of sorts. This blog has been such a part of my life!

I wish all you you the very best, keep following your dreams and passions! 
As my children say: YOLO - You only live once...

Thank you for everything and please wish me luck!


I still bake bread and live this, now not so new anymore, satisfyingly healthy lifestyle, sometimes I share on the other blog part recipes and some of my creations. You might find me there. 
You can always contact me for advise or decorating dilemmas. 

Saturday, November 9, 2013

The 'statement' chair we love

When we moved into our first house, we were looking for a chair to read in, next to a couch, yet not part of a set. We love indestructible leather for the obvious reasons when raising a young family, a dog running and scratching every surface. 
We like an eclectic mix of old and new, modern and antique. After a little while we settled on a leather chair with sleek lines, low and extremely comfortable. A small ottoman completes the set.
It is the Montis LOGE  chair, by the Dutch designer Gerard Van den Berg. Masculine and elegant, it fits sleek into any eclectic design scheme. The chair invites a relaxed leaning, a cozy fit, the chair envelopes you and one can actually take a comfortable nap in it too.


After moving into our current home, it has become my husband's chair, his outline by now visible even when he is not sitting in it! This cozy corner is always calling his name. 

A few weeks ago I was ask by One King's Lane to write about a special chair in my home, using their resource guide as a help to describe it. Well, it would fit into the style section of modern European design chairs, and, although the chair was not listed as an example of the style period, it gives the searching person an idea where he or she might want to begin looking for something to purchase, or, if one comes across a particular model to look for guidance of style and possible period.

The chair has seen some changes, sometimes a blanket will be draped over an arm or, lately with the beginning of the colder season a huge sheepskin rug fills the length of the chair for more cozy reading time. 
The chair is a part of our home,  the music room truly unthinkable without it. After 15 years of daily use, the chair shows no signs of aging.... It might outlive us....

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