Jun 30, 2013

Ken, the Travelling Man ~ London Part I

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Bazooka Crafts.

A Travel Guide by Ken Downs
21.08. Berlin

I found out that I am an Aztec assassin. So was my great grandfather before me. For some unknown reason, the Aztecs love the number three; and assassins. And white people!? Aztassins are real! I then got a cool pig pokémon keychain.

22.08 Berlin (airport)

So hungry. Madness sets in....
Girlfriend busy on facebook. Maybe I should eat some of her.

Meet five British folk. One of them was gay. Ergo, 20% of British people are homosexual. A fairly low percentage.

Our plane comes in and we wait. And we wait. We wait some more. Eventually, an ambulance drives up to the plane. We're told not to worry, it's "just" a medical emergency. And to set our minds at ease, they announce that it was JUST a passenger. Not someone important like a crew member. A bad case of low blood sugar. They should carry an "in case of emergency" cookie tin or something.

5PM London time

London smells of squash. Strangely foreign and familiar at the same time.
I transferred some of my sweet, sweet euros into big, fat pounds. A purple Queen Elizabeth stares back at me. England is a different beast.
The train from Stansted seems pretty posh, and at £30 a ride, I would hope so.

8PM London Standard Time

Fried Chicken! All around me there are more varieties of fried chicken than I ever thought imaginable. That's something no one ever told me.
I grabbed a soft drink labeled as Mountain Dew Energy. It was just regular Mountain Dew.

9AM The Next Day

I come to an impossible decision. Yesterday I exchanged my old shoes (which consisted of a piece of rubber harder than the tarmac I walked on and a pair of strings to attach them to my feet) for some sandals. The fiancee thought it was a great idea. To be fair, it started out that way. But by 10PM, I learned that one should "ease" into a new set of footwear. So on to my impossible decision:
Should I continue to wear these sandals, hoping that the constant rubbing on my blisters will give them the kinetic energy needed for budding giving myself multiple, albeit miniature, versions of myself, OR; do I wear socks with my sandals?
Tough choice. Tough indeed. I always wanted a miniature army and Me's would make great pets!

Somewhere between 9AM and 5PM

We walk the streets to get a feel for the city. Somewhere between the Thames and South something Cathedral, as we walk we pass a caravan of harlot-ed up mini cars. Not Mini's, but miniature cars. I thought to myself, "It can't be: there's a circus nearby?" But alas. Clowns were nowhere to be had. These painted distractions of automobiles were actually taxis. What in the name of Haiti? Or rather, who had thought that seemed stylish or good in any sense of the word? The only positive aspect, I could think of, is that they are nearly impossible to miss. Which from a business point of view is kind of important.

As we continued to meander towards the river Thames, another, more garish sight became more and more common. And it has a name......I believe it was Wenkel, and a brief internet search while I type this tells me that THEIR names are Wenlock & Mandeville. He/She/it They were the Olympic mascots for the London games. And throughout the city you can see statues of these things doing various Olympic sports. These things are anthropomorphic Gumby/Cyclopes. The best part, of course, is that it is nearly impossible to distinguish what sports they are mimicking. Dressed as a Beef-eater? Long Jump? What IS This... My Mind, So Full of......FUCKS!?
A few more "What in the.....?"'s, some disjointed trailblazing, and the help of an old man, we found The MILLENNIUM BRIDGE!

At the beginning of the bridge was a tiny placket that called the Millennium Bridge "An art exhibit that transcends sight and sound". Neat-o thought I. Surely there must be an exhibit on the other side of the bridge. You know, by all those museums and stuff. That, or the bridge had become a "Piece of art" by the standards of the government. Oh how wrong can a man be?
First you must ask yourself a question; does explaining or describing art belittle it?
If you agree with the previous statement, than this exhibit is for you!
Along the bridge were a series of speakers that had a woman whispering various terms and statistics I assume involved the bridge and/or it's construction but I can't be certain. "12 million tons.... oil and petrol.... A British masterpiece" all whispered with new age-y hippy synth in the background can only be interpreted in so many ways. As I crossed the bridge I left thinking that my only interest in art must be in paintings because those seem to make sense to me.

Along the course of the bridge I ran into what always makes me wish I carried a pair of bolt cutters with me; Padlocks. Locked on various links and whatnot along the bridge, they fill me with an inner rage. Nothing makes a national monument look like shit of detracts from it's splendor like a hundred idiots attaching padlocks on something. I have no proof, but I believe this trend originated in Germany where this heinous act is most prolific. If you are reading this and you know someone or you yourself have done this, shame on you. Die in a fire.

When we crossed we walked along the riverside. And then crossed the river again, This time over the Tower Bridge. A much nicer bridge, and one without all the sultry and confusing whispers of the other. Across the bridge lies the London Tower. What appears to be some kind of citadel structure thing. It was then that I came to the startling realization; All of London's "antiquity" looks as if it was made in the 60's in an attempt to ape the previous centuries. I don't know the exact dates for sure, but I was hard pressed to find buildings that I was sure had been originally erected and maintained prior to 1900. Which is probably a good thing from a historical restoration point of view, but left me feeling as if London is in some sort of quasi-state, where if you remove the people and shops, could be any decade from today to 1950. It just failed to "transport me in time" if you will. So much history but no real historical identity. To be fair, a world war and wonderful urge to be in the forefront of industry since time immemorial will do that....

To be continued...

Jun 23, 2013

Kindergarten Crafts ~ Crabby Fellows

The future husband has been crafting again with the kids at kindergarten. I just recently introduced pinterest to him and the endless possibilities of crafty projects for younger children. After looking at foot- and handprint lobster art he figured it would also be nice to do a crab in this fashion.

Pretty neat idea:

Check out his past handprint project from last year's Halloween preparations:
Kindergarten Crafts ~ Crazy Bats

Jun 18, 2013

Ombre Espandrillos

Ombre is all over Pinterest & Co., so I though I'd hop on that bandwagon and dye my "new" Espandrillos. I got them via a Facebook Page called "Give it away" ("Verschenks"), where you can give away unwanted things without expecting something in return except for gratitude. It's rather beautiful really, people are giving away stuff from nail polish to old cars! I have given away loads of stuff as well and in return found some unique items myself, or items that I can make unique like these Espandrillos.

They were white in the beginning, but I'm a messy person and they wouldn't stay white really, so I thought for a while how I can make them pretty for me to wear.

I chose a bucket that was tall enough to hold the shoes & I still had some red dye lying around from the last craft fair sale. Following the instructions I boiled about 5 litres of water and dissolved the paint and one tablespoon of salt per litre.

Then I attached some string to the back of the shoes and tied them together.

Next you dunk the shoes in the dye water all the way. You could also start by just dipping a small portion and then more and more, but I chose the other way, dunking them all the way and then taking them out really really slowly, one milimetre at a time. The shoes have to stay in the dye at least 15 minutes.

After that's done I put them in the bath tub to "bleed them out"... haha.

They need to be washed afterwards with water until it runs clear, otherwise you might end up with red feet wearing the shoes!

Done! The Obre look is subtle, but good enough for me & in my opinion a very good outcome for a first try.
I used the rest of the dye to colour this shirt I got at a fleamarket with a coffee stain right on the front:

Turned out very nice as well, I think. Inside photography... oh well.

This post is part of Nina's Upcycling Tuesday and the Creadienstag.

Jun 16, 2013

Make Munich Report Part II: T-Shirt Printing & Soap Molding

Finally the second and last part of the Make Munich Report! Check out Part I about 3D Printing here. Make Munich was not only about 3D printing and technology hacks, they also had a good selection of crafty establishment from Munich like the HUIJ, an open workshop in Westend or the Werkbox, close to Ostbahnhof where you can even build you own screen printer in a workshop.

I was able to try out one of those screen printers and printed the logo of the Make Munich Fair. It's quite interesting really how a screen printer works and I would love to own one someday so I can stop cutting out stencils!

The HUIJ Team had two stations at the fair, one for clothes upcycling and one for soap molding. Of course I had to try out both!
This is a shirt I brought to print on, they had shirt to buy and print on as well, but I came prepared. First I put a piece of newspaper in the shirt, so the print doesn't go through to the backside.

They had stamps made out of cardboard and I picked this lovely moustache stamp and a hot pink. The last person to use this stamp had left me a gift of blue dots, but it was my fault really, I should have cleaned it off right.

What's missing? A monocle, duh!

The soap molding was pretty fun as well. I came prepared to this station as well and brought a cute candy mold. The soap I used was clear and I added red colour and rose fragrance.

They turned out lovely, don't you think? Cute rhino and lion soaps, really to sweet to use, maybe I'll gift them to someone.

So that was the Make Munich, too bad I can't be here for it next time, but I'm sure there is going to be a similar event in Berlin pretty soon.

Here's a small reminder of my Give-Away! You can still enter till June, 30th to win some fun stuff.

Jun 10, 2013

Guest Post DIY on "free like a bird"

My first guest post ever was just published on Aileen's wonderful blog free like a bird.
It is a tutorial in German on how I made some sweet Tetris Shoes.

Check it out here:

Jun 9, 2013

Potatoe Salad ~ "Berliner" Family Recipe

It's time for my first savory recipe on this blog, so I'm sharing my favorite family recipe potatoe salad. Haven't made it in a while, but nailed it again.

Here's what you need (for 5 people):
1 jar of pickles (keep the juice!)
1 big onion or a couple of spring onions
1 big apple
1 cup of tartar sauce or mayonnaise
15 big potatoes

Put your potatoes in a big pot on the stove and boil till they are cooked. In the meantime you pick a big bowl and mix the tartar sauce/mayonnaise with 1 cup of the pickle juice.

Cut up the pickles and mix with the sauce.

Cut up the onion/spring onion...

...and the apple...

...and mix with the sauce.

Now you wait for the potatoes to cool off until you can peel and slice them, then mix with the rest.

Done! I took this salad to our office picnic a couple of weeks ago & everyone enjoyed it. It was a lovely day at the Isar with lots of laughter. It's good to get out of the office from time to time and get to know your colleagues a little bit better.

If you want to see what the Isar looks like now after the flooding check the last Picturesque Friday Post.

Jun 7, 2013

Picturesque Friday ~ 07 July 2013 ~ Berlin / Munich Flooding Edition

This week there are no questions from Steffi from ohhhmhhh.de for the "Question-Photo-Friday" (Frage-Foto-Freitag), but I still want to share these pictures with you.

We spent the past two weeks in Berlin to prepare our move by finding an apartment & possibly a job and what can I say. We signed the contract for a new place last week & I just found out I also have a new job. YAY! Now the future husband needs to hear back from his interviews & everything will be perfect.

Here's some Berlin impressions:
Steampunk King Kong

"A club and a tree had to die for this "luxurious dream"".

Crows at the Mauerpark fleamarket.. such beautiful creatures!

"Sexist Crapshit" The new Barbie Dreamhouse Experience... I still kinda want to go.

Humana thrift store at Frankfurter Tor. One of the biggest department store dedicated to second hand item in Germany, four stories high.

Berlin Skyline from Warschauer Straße. I guess I'll be enjoying this viewalmost every day from now on, as my new employer is just around the corner.

Now for some Munich impressions. It's been raining almost the whole time we were gone and a lot of cities in Germany have problems with flooding.
Here's some pictures from my bike trip down the Isar yesterday:

"No swimming"

Water is such a fascinating element! It gives us life and can take lives so easily. I hope there wasn't too much damage done. Rosenheim, near Munich, wasn't as fortunate. If you'd like to help with charity, here's a contact:
Stadt Rosenheim: Freiwilligenagentur West, Judith Klinger, Telefon 08031/233870, E-Mail: jk@freiwillige-rosenheim.de
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