Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Etsy Labs Munich - Fun with Washi Tape!

If you're feeling crafty, join me along with other members of the Etsy Germany Street Team for an Etsy Labs Craft Night - Fun with Washi Tape! on Tuesday, June 21, 18:30 at the Haus der Eigenarbeit near Ostbahnhof. To sign up see the Facebook Event here.

I'll be there with a load of Japanese washi tape, printable envelope templates and scrap paper. The possibilities are endless!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Getting Married in Munich: The Rings

A friend asked me yesterday about the place where my husband and I had our wedding rings made, so I figured it was a good time to write about Bau und Roth and start my 'getting married in Munich' series.

We tried (and succeeded) using as many local artisans as possible when we got married here in the autumn of 2009. Not realizing how arduous (really!) the whole ring design/selection process would be until I had a frustrating experience* at one Schmuck Atelier trying to have a family diamond custom set into a new ring, I asked a work colleague where she had gotten her simple, attractive wedding band.

She told me about Bau and Roth, an Atelier in Glockenbach. She said the two jewelry designers that ran it were very nice, and that they would first make you a model ring in silver that you could wear for a week to see if you liked the design. Sold!

We went to the classic-yet-hip studio, and met with Elke (Elke Bau and Philllip Roth are the partners behind the operation.) She was, indeed, lovely. It was nice to be dealing with wedding stuff with young, non-stuffy, low-key people. She was patient, accommodating and talented. They had a great selection of original designs, one of which we chose as a starting point.

She made us a silver model pretty quickly (sorry I can't remember, but I think it took about a week) and once we had decided, we had our real white-gold rings within a couple of weeks (I think.) After the rings were finished she assured us that we could stop by any time if we needed any adjustment large or small. I recall taking her up on the offer and, as promised, it was no problem it all.

For two wedding rings, made out of white gold with engraving on both, the price was under 1000 Euros (but what we got was pretty simple). I signed up for their mailing list. They have a yearly open house, sadly we haven't been able to make it yet, maybe this year.

On a side note: I discovered one of the reasons there are so many Schmuck Ateliers in Munich is because one of the big jewelry design schools is here. Once the students get a taste of life in Munich, they don't want to leave and set up shop here.

Check them out:

Bau und Roth
Gold- und Silberschmiedemeister
Pestalozzistraße 5
80469 München
T 089 26 94 94 49
F 089 189 22 570

*some might have called it a Bridezilla meltdown

All images from Bau und Roth

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Yes, But I Love You, Berlin.

I was feeling pretty good about Munich's hipness quotient earlier last month. A friend was visiting and we spent a week touring the Viktualienmarkt, hanging around Gärtnerplatz and generally enjoying the sights and sounds of Spring bursting into life in München. We even saw Schweini at BOX, though this was lost on my friend, a fellow American ('It's kinda like seeing David Beckham' I explained)

"Munich's a lot hipper than I remember" commented said friend as we were walking around one day. This had a lot of weight coming from her, she's a long time inhabitant of Manhattan's Lower East Side, and a stylist to boot, so she 's always on top of the hot cool trends. "Right?!?!" I concurred, feeling a swelling sense of pride. Everyone is always going on and on about Berlin, but Munich really has a lot of cool stuff going on, it just doesn't hit you over the head like it does in Berlin. My friend went back to New York, and I quietly enjoyed my new, even deeper sense that, actually, Munich is where it's at, man!

Then I went to Berlin.

I went for a Mädelswochenende, and stayed with a friend who lives in Kreuzberg. It's not like I haven't been to Berlin before, I have, lots of times. But each time I go, I'm reminded anew, that Berlin is BERLIN! full of life, art, grit, people, trendy clothes, animals, babies, foreigners, restaurants, punks, yuppies, edgy neighborhoods, scenesters, bioladens, underground this and that, un-listentable modern music concerts. No, I can't honestly deny that indeed, Berlin is where it's at. And Munich; Munich is lovely but in comparison, it's just plain old Podunk.

But that's okay. I still wouldn't live in Berlin. A friend asked why and I realized that I have always gravitated towards smaller, more liveable second cities. I was born and raised in the middle of the sprawling megalopolis that is Los Angeles. As soon as I was old enough, I ran straight to San Francisco, which I had loved as child and teenager (you can actually walk there!) A stint working in London made me realize how much I appreciate the clean and the green of Munich, the bike paths, the timely public transportation.

I deeply enjoy visiting Berlin. I really do. But I love living in Munich.

So remember, Berlin, in spite of your too-cool-for-school attitude, just like Jesus: