Britta's Letters from (and sometimes about) Berlin

Wednesday, 7 December 2016

A Stitch in Time...

©Brigitta Huegel

© Brigitta Huegel

At the moment I (re)read a book on the Swedish artist Carl Larsson, who lived with his wife Karin and their six children in Sundborn. The title of the book by Lena Rydin is difficult to translate -  "The Lust for Everyday Life" might do.
The couple created their home, garden, clothes - everything - in a very harmonius, simple yet elaborate way.  It makes you dream:

Well, and as often when I read something about interior design, I start changing my surroundings. Looked into a cupboard and took out an old tablecloth from my grandmother Elise von Kroge - hand-decorated by her in cross-stitch.
"Well - what a huge effort for decoration", I thought. "They must have had a lot of time on their hands."
And then, while rummaging with those patronising thoughts through that armoir, I found an Advent calendar - cross-stitched by ---  me!

©Brigitta Huegel

I did it when our son was about one year old - I had to count every stitch, because it was empty embroidery canvas without any print! Embroidering was something that allowed me to talk to him while doing something else - I can reassure you that after an embroidery period of half a year I never touched that stuff again (though I was very, very productive in that short time).
Then I looked at the table, decorated with that table cloth, and at my calendar, and I thought:
"Well, I'm not living in Sweden, and my name is not Larsson!"

And put both back into the cupboard.

©Brigitta Huegel

Sunday, 4 December 2016

Beautiful AND Useful

I thought about Cro's post 'using the valuable antique breadknife". I use a few things which haughtily believe that they should be standing cherished in a vitrine :-)
Here is my lovely Sheffield Grapefruit-cutter-set:

©Brigitta Huegel

The case is made of brown reptile-skin (maybe not allowed to be sold today) - inside beautiful off-white silk and a funny little device in dark-blue velvet to keep the knife in place. The knife has a Faux Bone handle, the slim spoons are Silver Sheffield and of excellent use even if you don't cut the grapefruit before, because they have little 'teeth' on one side.
But I do cut the fruit - always.
I, then being very young, was so impressed when at breakfast they served us the cut grapefruit in Gosford Hall Inn - a beautiful listed hotel in Cumbria (now 350 years old), - we were there in 1976 - coming back from Scotland in our old blue Merc (1969 with tail fin). Coming home (to Mainz then), I cut a grapefruit every day myself.
I don't know when the grapefruit-cutter was made - maybe around 1940 or the beginning fifties?
Anyway: they are beautiful AND useful - thus I use them.
Every morning.

Thursday, 1 December 2016

In Olden Times, When Wishing Still Helped...

©Brigitta Huegel

This morning I woke up (early as usual) and thought about fairy tales.

- Those I liked - the funny ones as "The Town Musicians of Bremen" (and that not only because I come from Bremen - no, even as I child I thought that their motto "You can always find something better than death!" might come useful some day :-)
- Those I disliked - the sad ones as "Little Brother and Little Sister" (even the beginning is heartbreaking!)
- those I had mixed feelings about - as "The Frog King, or Iron Heinrich" - I remember that I utterly detested that blackmailing frog ("..but if you will love me and accept me as a companion and playmate, and let me ... sleep in your bed" - hahaha), but was very much impressed by the fidelity of the Iron Heinrich ("Heinerich, the carriage is breaking apart!" "No, my Lord, the carriage it's not/ But one of the bands surrounding my heart...") and that I thought it just, but very strict of the King to say "What you have promised, you must keep".
I internalised that, (if necessary I forgo of my golden ball, if the price is a disgusting frog in my bed - till today I am unwilling to listen to their croaking that they are beautiful Princes under a spell) - and do only promise what I can keep.
And expect others to do the same.
Which shows that I am still very naively believing in fairy-tales :-) - but, on the other hand, have a streak of pragmatic realism too.

What really interests me: which were your favourite (or disliked) fairy tales? 

If you want to read them again:
- "The Town Musicians of Bremen" (great for old age optimism - after a little shock in the beginning)
- "Little Brother and Little Sister"
- The Frog King, or the Iron Heinrich"

Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Thank You All, My Blogger-Mates!

©Brigitta Huegel

I know that this year I was a bit unproductive in the blogger-world (I had a lot of other things on my plate, sorry).
But I want to thank you all for making my life richer: by reading your blogs, smile, getting ideas (thank you Elaine for the tip about the Christmas book - you see: I've got it!), lending an ear.
I hope that at least December will see more input of mine here.

Wednesday, 2 November 2016

The Agony of Choice, Mr. Karl Lagerfeld

©Brigitta Huegel

Yesterday I saw this "KARLBOX" presented in the KaDeWe in Berlin. Hundreds of beautiful colour pencils, crayons and pencils. For the astronomically modest price of 2.500 Euro
Every real artist - Rachel, Tom and Cro know that of course - needs good 'tools', and they have their price, but even a layman as I know that you mix most of your colour hues yourself - with a lot less pencils than those 72 in my Faber Castell Artists' Watercolour Pencils box

©Brigitta Huegel

When I stand in a drugstore in front of a shelf of 100 cream jars all promising everything under the sun - and we all know that in the end it all comes down to oil & water! - it happens that I walk out of the drugstore without buying anything. 

An overload of choice, scientists found out, stands in no correlation to happiness - it produces - and do I really need a scientist to tell me this? - STRESS
So: it is nice to have choice. But not too much. 
Because the most important 'things' you can't buy anyway: creativity and discipline and talent and inclination to work really hard for success. (And a little pinch of luck). 

The funniest thing, Mr. Lagerfeld, is, that YOU prefer BLACK. 
Which reminds me of a passage in a German children's book, König Mauzenberger: eagerly the King (Cat) mixed all the beautiful colours he had in his new paintbox. The result: 
Karl's Black. Single-coloured, monochrome, plaincoloured BROWN

Monday, 31 October 2016

Highway to Hell - Bavarian Style

Dear You, 
it's Monday - and Halloween - so here's a little uplift -from Bavaria :-) 

Thursday, 27 October 2016

Berlin in Five Minutes - SWEET!

©Brigitta Huegel
Dear You, 
You came over by aeroplane to Berlin. You are in a hurry, maybe you have to attend a conference - so there is not much time for sight-seeing?
Here is my sweet solution!
In 1918 the family "Wilhelm Rausch jun." started to produce chocolate for their "Private-Confiserie". .  Just follow your nose - the scent of chocolate - and lots of people - hurry to the Gendarmen-Markt in Berlin Mitte. Open the door to the biggest chocolate shop paradise of the world.
And here you can see (almost) all important buildings in five minutes -  created in chocolate!

The Kaiser-Wilhelm-Gedächtniskirche:  

©Brigitta Huegel

The Reichstag:  

©Brigitta Huegel

 The Berlin TV Tower: 

©Brigitta Huegel

The Brandenburger Tor:  

©Brigitta Huegel

But be careful and don't overeat, 

©Brigitta Huegel

though you might be tempted (this is only a little snippet of the truffle section): 

©Brigitta Huegel

The results of too much indulgence you see here - the Berliner Bär could not resist! 

©Brigitta Huegel

“When you are a Bear of Very Little Brain..."