Friday, 12 February 2016

Some More Colour

If you've been following my blog for a while, you will have seen quite a few "fashion posts" over the years. Not just to show off a new outfit, but I've sometimes written about what clothes and fashion mean to me, how I perceive colours and the way they can influence how I feel about myself all day.

For those of you who are interested, here are the links to some of those older posts:
here is one about dressing up (or down); here one about colours in general, and this one is about the colour red.

Last week, I was given a shirt I would have never chosen myself. It is very colourful (as you will see in a minute), and at first I wasn't sure at all whether I was going to keep it (and actually wear it). But then I found that there were bits of navy blue in the pattern, and I tried the shirt with a navy pair of trousers. I wore it to the office and felt good in it all day. And this morning, I find it goes well with my pair of red denims, too (although I would never wear those to the office):


Sometimes maybe we can not imagine something being good or suitable for us, but once we give it a try, we find out we actually like it. (Not just referring to clothes here!)


Also, I said I was going to show you another picture of the new, shorter hair. I like it better now than when I just came out of the hairdresser's:



Time to go to work. It looks like it's going to be a sunny day. Have a good one, everyone!  

Thursday, 11 February 2016

Off to the Bedroom!

Thank you all for your comments about my choice of wallpapers for the living room. Now let's move on to the bedroom - the two will be swapped, and I want to have a "feature wall" (I've read somewhere that it is called that when you have one of the four walls in a room papered, or a mural painted on it) in the bedroom, too.

For more than six years now, my bedroom has looked pretty much like this (minus the Christmas decoration, of course, and don't think I usually leave bags on my bed):

 
You can see it has a very different colour scheme from the living room. In the first picture, if you look at the right side, you can see the vanilla yellow paint that covers three of the four walls in that room (Steve did that for me). Only the "head" wall is done in pale blue, and I'd like to stick to a similar colour scheme in my "new" bedroom.


The wallpaper I have chosen for that room is this one:


Looks familiar, doesn't it? Yes, it's exactly the same design as the first one of the three I've put before you in my previous post.

Call me boring, but I could even imagine having the same wallpaper in both rooms - the grey one in the living room, the light blue in the bedroom. As the furniture and colour schemes would still be very different from one room to the other, I don't think it would look boring at all.

Anyway, I think I've made my mind up; for the bedroom, anyway! As for the living room, I still need to think about it.

By the way, I'll have the papering done by a professional. The patterns have to be joined perfectly, and I know I won't be able to do that myself. Painting the walls and shifting the furniture will be done by me and a team of friends and family. But not before Easter :-)

Monday, 8 February 2016

Decisions...!

These days, I am faced with a VERY first-world problem - which actually is not a problem at all: I want to swap my living room and bedroom, and in the process, redecorate. The idea is to have one wall in each of the two rooms papered, and the other three walls painted. 
The living room (she calls it lounge, my mother-in-law would call it front room) of one of my sisters-in-law in England is like that, one wall covered in a very beautiful wallpaper, and the others painted in a matching shade. I like her room very much, and although mine will never (and is not supposed to) look exactly like hers, the idea is the same.

I need to decide on a pattern for my living room and the bedroom. It wasn't difficult to decide about colours: Since Steve redecorated the entire flat in 2009, the living room has always looked like it does in this picture, all done in warm, earthy tones; a peachy shade for the wall, terracotta-coloured borders matching the armchair, and a brown-beige settee that I would have never chosen. Don't get me wrong - I liked this room, but it isn't really "me".
My colours are different, and my favourite combination is yellow and grey, as shown here. That is what I am thinking of when I picture my new living room. 




The new settee (which has not yet been chosen) shall be grey (neither too light nor too dark). The coffee table (an original 1960s one which belonged to my grandparents, just as their 1930s sideboards and the 1950s armchair) and sideboards will stay. The armchair is going to get a new (grey?) cover. The TV table is going to be replaced, and the desk can go - I have three desks for one person in this flat, which is really not necessary.

Today, my sister accompanied me to a shop where I was given a wide choice of wallpapers. I have narrowed it down to three, but not yet made my decision. They are all really beautiful, but will I like looking at them on one wall for longer than a year? I am certainly not going to start redecorating all the time - this is supposed to last a few more years.

I am of course not under any pressure to decide quickly, but I would like to finish the whole project in the course of this spring - probably some time after Easter.


First-world problems indeed...!

Wednesday, 3 February 2016

Read in 2016 - 3: Alle Toten fliegen hoch - Amerika

"Alle Toten fliegen hoch - Amerika" by Joachim Meyerhoff was a recommendation from my sister. She lent me her copy, and I am glad she did: It is a book I enjoyed very much.



The author was born the same year as my sister (1967), just one year before me. In this autobiographic novel, he focuses on his year as an exchange student in the US when he was 17 years old. But he also refers to things that happened in his childhood, and we learn about his life in a small town in northern Germany in the months before and after the exchange year. As he is the same age as my sister and I, a lot of what he describes is familiar; we were children and teenagers at the same time in the same country.

His year in the US brings him into contact with people so different from anyone he ever knew back home; their ways of life are unlike everything he took for granted.
His host family live on the outskirts of a small settlement in Wyoming. The landscape in all its immensity, the climate, the house and garden, the food, the clothes; all different.
School is nothing like school at home, either; subjects such as History and Sports have a completely different approach to what he is used to.

Joachim soon settles in and grows to like his host family a lot, with the exception of their youngest son, who makes it clear from the start that the German guest is not at all welcome.

The young man's adventures during that year range from taming a horse to making friends with a prisoner on Death Row, from visiting the Grand Canyon to having dinner with a family of bodybuilders.

Three months into his exchange year, tragedy strikes back home: one of his brothers dies in a car crash. Joachim travels home to be with his family for the funeral, but finds coping with their collective grief very hard. He decides to go back to Wyoming and complete his year there.

When he finally returns to Germany for good, getting back into his old life is impossible - he has grown and changed, but the small town has not. His family has seemingly come to terms with the loss of Joachim's brother, but the underlying sadness is palpable.

During the year that is the story's focus, the young man learns a lot about life and about himself.

I highly recommend this book, but as far as I know, it has not (yet?) been translated into any other language from German. It is the first in a series of (so far) three, and I am looking forward to reading the next one - it is already on my TBR pile :-)

Thursday, 28 January 2016

The Big House On The Hill

Towards the end of this post, I showed you a view across the river Neckar valley of a beautiful big house on the hill. I mentioned that I was going to do an extra post about it, and here it is.

That big house on the hill is the Schiller Nationalmuseum. Friedrich Schiller was a poet and playwright, and like many of his kind, he was also politically active and often used his writing to accuse (openly or veiled) the misdeeds of the ruling class, namely the then Duke of Wuerttemberg (Wuerttemberg wasn't a kingdom yet at the time). This got him into trouble more than once, but did not stop him.
Schiller lived from 1759 to 1805. He was born in the small town of Marbach, situated near my hometown. Here, in Ludwigsburg, he spent most of his childhood and youth. I won't tell you the whole story of his life here - you can read a lot about him on wikipedia. Let it suffice to say that he became famous and to this day continues to be considered one of Germany's most important poets and playwrights. You all know the "Ode to Joy", don't you? The music is from Ludwig van Beethoven, but the lyrics were Schiller's, written when he was 26 years old.

Back to the main topic of this post now:
90 years after Schiller's death, in 1895, it was decided that a museum dedicated to the works of this great son of Marbach was to be built there. In 1901, work began on the building you can see today.
In 1955, the Deutsche Literaturarchiv (German Literature Archive) was founded there. The necessity of more space soon became apparent. Other buildings were added on the top of the hill above Marbach, and nowadays, it is almost a small town in its own right, with the beautiful white building at its centre.


To the left (not really visible in my photo) is the 1970s-built complex of the actual archives and offices (there are more offices in the attic of the museum). To the right is the "Literaturmuseum der Moderne", opened in 2006 (click here for the English wikipedia entry). A bit further down the hill, to the right of the museum, is a hostel where students, authors and professors can stay while doing research work in the archives, sometimes for months.
Inside the hill, underground, is a maze of archive storage rooms, vaults and walkways, connecting all the buildings except for the hostel.

It is a fascinating world, and a changing one, too. The times when literature largely happened in print are long gone. Nowadays, no museum or institution about literature can give a comprehensive overview without a multimedial approach, and Marbach is no exception. Not everybody is happy about this, but we can't stop or reverse the  development. Still, I think the archive and museum people are doing a good job of incorporating the new with the old, without allowing the new to completely take over at the risk of losing the old.

Monday, 25 January 2016

Short!

Remember what I said at the end of this post? "I definitely need a haircut."

I wanted short hair again, as I've had for most of my life anyway, and short is what I got:


(Maybe one or two centimeters more will have to go so that the fringe is not over my specs all the time. But I'm still getting used to it, and have not yet started to "do" anything with my hair, other than wash and brush it.)

As a little girl, I nearly always had short hair. It was just that much easier to take care of, and my hair has never been good for wearing it long; it is too thin, there is not enough of it, and it's as straight as a bunch of chives. Therefore, my Mum usually made sure it was cut before it could reach any considerable length. A few times, we experimented with me having it grow a bit longer, and I was immensely pleased with myself when it was long enough to wear a little ribbon or barette in them, but then I always played with whatever hair accessory my Mum had given me, until I lost said accessory, which usually ensured my haircut was back to short.

I was a rather wild kid, too; I suppose what you'd call a tomboy. But I HATED it when people thought I was a boy, and spoke to me accordingly. I so wanted to be a beautiful girl with long curly hair, a princess! But it wasn't to be, and I guess I wouldn't have half as much fun as I did have back then if I had been the princess-type of girl I so admired.

Nowadays, I am so completely at home in myself, my hair doesn't matter that much anymore. In 2 years and 2 months, when I'll be 50, I'll try and stop having it dyed. If I like what I look like with grey hair (which first started for me before I was 30), I'll keep it. Watch this space :-D

Saturday, 23 January 2016

Fox Promenade

Maybe you remember that I suddenly fell in love with all things "foxy" (I really mean the animal!) last summer. So far, this has resulted in me getting a Christmas fox ornament from my sister and buying a fox mug for myself.

This morning, sitting down with my habitual mug of hot, strong, sweet coffee (no milk) in front of my computer to start the round through emails and blogs, a notice from Mozilla FireFox (which is my preferred browser) caught my eye: new themes were available.

Now, I am not one of those people who faff and tweak their browsers and other interfaces on their computers beyond recognition. Many of the addons and plugins available I don't need; just as I love my empty, smooth surfaces at home, I like my computer to be as clutter-free as possible (my favourite games do NOT count as clutter).

But today, I made an exception and added a new theme to my browser. It is called "Fox Promenade", and the top of my browser window now sports this relative of Fred Fox.


If you use FireFox and feel like a change of theme would be fun, you can find them all here.