"Bleiben Sie Buchleser!"

Sign on stack of books in a store window, announcing closing of store (in German)
I was sad to find this sign in the window of a little used bookstore on Berlin-Friedrichshain’s Niederbarnimstraße, where we used to look in regularly. We often found oddities, treasures and gifts there, in recent years priced by the kilo: a volume of Grzimek’s encyclopedia of animals that inspired us to buy the whole set; a beautiful hand-colored print of a hummingbird for a friend.
Dear customers! The used book store will close on May 1, 2014. I have enjoyed selling books to you, holding interesting conversations and getting interesting feedback. That’s over now and I will miss it very much. Keep on reading! —Anette Wargowske
We will miss you too.

Needle-sharp package design

Sewing needle packing with modernist design

The design of this packaging, for sewing machine needles, caught my eye. It looks quite Modernist to me, with the simple grid with a space for a different fabric and/or stitch pattern for each type of needle. Schmetz is an old German company, founded in 1851. However, I saw these needles in California.

Great Berlin windows: Malerladen


A voice sings out when you call this old-fashioned paint shop in Berlin-Kreuzberg: “Malerladen!” The full name  is actually Frauenkollektiv Malerladen, as it’s run by a collective of down-to-earth, middle-aged women. Coming from a variety of related professions, including carpentry and construction, they believe in renovating old Berlin apartments the old-fashioned way, with high-quality linseed oils and pigments to be mixed into paints and stains.

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Looking for lettering on the street


As you may recall, I took a workshop on hand-drawing lettering in December. The teacher, Martina Flor, started and ended the class by showing photographs of shop signage and other lettering on the street. I’ve also been looking out for great lettering on the street for many years, but haven’t been very organized about taking and collecting pictures of what I see. Continue reading

Winter Kohlrabi Salad with Garlic & Mustard Seeds


In my native California, it’s no sacrifice to eat with the seasons. At any time of year, some sort of juicy fruits and leafy greens are in season; winter means blood oranges, grapefruits, Meyer lemons. Only when I moved to New England at 18, then later to Germany, did I encounter the homelier winter produce of the colder regions, like parsnips, turnips, beets, and kohlrabi. Continue reading