Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Extending the Gallery Wall

I'd said quite a while ago that I would at long last put all the remaining frames we had lying around to good use (and some of the new ones I bought, too - I know, I have a problem!) and I'm proud to say that, finally, many months after planning that, it's done! And fabulous.

I went about extending the frame wall differently this time in that, for the first time, I actually planned it. Up until now, I've just arranged the frames once on the floor, then pretty much starting hanging and making it up as I go. In case you haven't noticed, I'm not much of a planner... (Surprisingly, Micha is very un-German when it comes to projects like these and let's me wing it - unplanned - all in the name of just getting it over with as quickly as possible. He knows by now that me + planning = week-long procrastination.)

I used this method I had recently read on Young House Love that seemed simple enough and for which I already had all the necessary materials. It definitely took more time than I expected, but worked out quite nicely in the end. Basically, you lay all your frames on big pieces of paper (I just cut some off my roll of craft paper and the width worked out perfectly for our space), trace them onto the paper once you've got the arrangement, measure the distance to where the nail should be from the top of the frame, mark that on the paper, then hang the paper on the wall, hammer in the nails, rip off the paper, and hang the frames. Whew! That was a mouthful. Young House Love explains it in detail much better.

You can almost see the frame outlines here...

A lot of steps, yes. But every now and then, a bit of perfectionism really pays off. Especially when you're dealing with this ridiculous mess of frames.

After ripping the paper off, it was smooth sailing hanging the frames (remembering where each one went was not the easiest. It would have been wise to mark them on the paper somehow, now that I think of it...) But we (yes, of course Micha got involved once the ladder was pulled out because he does not trust me - fairly enough - with a hammer and a ladder at the same time) finished it all in one evening and now it's done and I love it!

And, more importantly (cuz I obviously knew that I'd love it), Micha loves it! Victory is mine (again :)!

I like that that wall seems so much more balanced now. Since our ceilings our so high, it really didn't make much sense to have the frames stop below the top of the door like they previously had (for way too long). (Ohmigosh, looking back on that, I can't believe I ever thought it looked ok! :)

Here's a shot with our fabulous Thanksgiving lights still hanging strong. And, um...some empty frames. All but one are happily now filled with pictures that make me smile on a daily basis.

Our fun prints include: a Bruins poster we got at a game a few years ago | Santa Monica pier anniversary poster from The Poster List | grey, hand-drawn map of Berlin from Dussman | Picasso print from Nat's and my Euro travels | old b&w print of the Friedrichstraße S-bahn (from a calendar) | Let the Sun Shine In print and  Turn on Your Love Lights print, both from Slide Sideways

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Our Long Weekend with Liz!

So, I'm finally over the flu (yay!), our visitor has left us (boooo!), and I at long last have a free minute away from my Half-Year of Improvement (Spanish class being my newest evening endeavor) to blog again. Yippee!

Liz arrived here - on her way to Rome - on Friday and in a very happy turn of events, brought the sunshine with her (thanks again, lady!). She was only staying for a short four days, so we had precious little time to pack in lots of fun and shenanigans.

The theme of the weekend turned out to be sunshine and microbreweries, though of the second we have few pictures. On Friday, we headed first to an Eisbären game - she also brought hockey luck to them! which promptly disappeared once she left... - then to Hops & Barley in Friedrichshain for some beers with friends.

After a leisurely breakfast on Saturday morning, we headed to our neighborhood weekly market for some of their gorgeous flowers (tulips and ranunculus, but of course) and then to the bigger farmer's market at Kollwitzplatz to bask in the newly arrived sunshine (seriously, it hadn't come out in months before this).

Who doesn't have Lust auf Käse (desire for cheese) at all times? | A wannabe Gulaschkanone 

It's never too late in the season for Glühwein

Heheheheh, that yarn name still makes me giggle...

Later that day, we'd invited some folks over for the very first beer tasting of Micha's home-brewed beer, an American-style I.P.A. I may be biased, but it was damn fantastic! And not just for a first beer, for any! I'm a big fan of this new hobby of his...

Market treats and homemade beer, yummmmm

No beer tasting would be complete without a set of absolutely ridiculous, mustachioed beer googles

For some reason, pretending to give babies beer
 never gets old 

Liz and Hanna bonded over the wee one's love of spoons | Liz and I channeled our inner 11-year-olds with Tattly BFF tattoos

We also made our way later that night to our second microbrewery of the weekend in Wedding and yet still managed to make our 11am brunch reservations the next day at Cafe Schönbrunn. Food is clearly our priority. 

Hanna subtitle 1: "Life is so hard! Who are you and what am I doing here?!?"

Hanna subtitle 2 (one minute later): "Oh, hey dad. What's up? Life is good. Elmo is awesome."

We ladies went on a sun-riddled stroll over to Mauerpark - with an obligatory prosecco stop, of course - while the menfolk either cheered on the Eisbären again or took care of baby to let momma off the hook for an afternoon (good man!).

That night, we brought Liz to her third and final microbrewery of the trip, where we also met up with an old university friend of Micha's, Glen, who Liz met when she first visited me here 5 years ago and whom her friend called Conan for the entire night. Apparently, he looked like Conan O'Brien to her (he really kind of does) and one year later, when Liz was back, we randomly saw him on the street and he actually answered to her shout of "Conan! Hi!" So now, to him she's the random American who very frequently just shows up in Berlin and calls him Conan and to me, he's the guy that's not actually named Conan but then what actually is his real name...

I merrily took Monday off to play one extra day with Liz, which we kicked off by heading to the least exciting place on earth, the Ausländerbehörde (Foreigner's Office) to renew my visa. While it didn't go as hoped - I didn't get the permanent one, just a two-year extension, darnit! - it did end up resulting in Hanna finding her new, most favorite and delicious toy: my expired passport. Which is now covered in baby drool and I don't even mind a bit.

Our very first Hanna-and-her-favorite-auntie self portrait | A comfy lap and a yummy toy equals a happy baby

We wrapped things up with tea and oh-so-decadent cake at the adorable Princess Cheesecake in Mitte (the name was obviously very fitting for us), then whipped up some red-wine-and-leek risotto (it's good to have a foodie friend) for dinner and just like that, the weekend had to end.

I'm really lucky that Liz visits so much, I have to say. Once you live in a place long enough, you stop getting frequent visitors as the newness wears off, but she makes it out here about once a year on average and I really really really really really am so thankful that she does. As Harriet the Spy once said, "good friends are one of life's blessings. Don't give them up without a fight."