Musical Coasters

I haven’t decided yet whether these are going to be “limited edition” or perhaps the kick-off for moving my line into home-goods territory, but at the end of October I bought up some super thick felt in Berlin, packed it up and brought it to Paris and made these new musically-themed drink coasters.

Record Player Coaster

Instead of flipping on a record, you can set your drink onto the turntable and instead of moving around and around, it’ll stay in one place on your table which is exactly the point. It comes in red and brown and also includes and arm and two faux buttons to press to your delight.

You can find it on Etsy here:

Ghetto Blaster Boombox Double Coaster

As you may have noticed, I have a bit of an obsession with ghetto blaster boom-boxes and since they incorporate a circular element (the actual speakers), they seemed perfect to go hand in hand with cups – I just had to turn them into a coaster. It supports two drinks at a time and my oh my, look at those fancy buttons under the cassette deck!

You can press play, pause, stop and record. I dare you to make your next mix tape with this baby. But I’ll tell you now, it probably won’t work. However, it will hold your drinks!

You can find the coaster on Etsy here:

I would love to do a home-goods range of coasters, pillows and more. We’ll see! I’m back in the USA, land of the endless fabric stores and I will say the cottons are calling out to me.

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Move Your Money Portland

A little over a week ago the super talented and ever-so-affable Lisa Schonberg sent me an email about her latest project. Was it a new band along the lines of Kickball (MP3), Explode Into Colors, STLS or Thao and the Get Down Stay Down? Nope. She’s got all those bases covered and was getting involved in a new field – launching a music-related initiative to encourage Portland people to move their money from the big banks to community banks and credit unions. This is something I can get behind hardcore! And that’s just what she was asking – for people involved in the music community to pledge their support – either by moving their money by November 5th or to state that they already had. I did in the spring last year and promptly told her so.

Cue up a week later and the project has been launched along with a spiffy website that provides information as to why you should switch and resources to help with the transition.

Along the right side of the screen are the people who have pledged involvement. I took a screencap of where my name appears right after the site launched. Pretty good company, eh? Many more people have since signed up as well in support and the list continue to grow.

LocalCut did a write-up here:

In other related news, it’s super delightful to still be a member of the PDX music community even when I’m abroad. However, in under a week I will be live and in person in Portland and perhaps on the look-out to stir things up…

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Occupy Wall Street in Berlin

My new roommate Yony is obsessed with Occupy Wall Street. The moment I moved into the flat on Monday night, he remarked that my money skirt looked very “occupied.” Ha! We’ve since discussed Kanye’s presence and the livestream as well. I’ve been crafting up a storm this past week, including making more scrabble tile necklaces. On Friday night, Mr. Leyser commissioned me to make him a new earring to wear at the Occupy Wall Street protest in Berlin the next day. Originally we were gonna go the scrabble tile route, but then decided on a piece of cardboard to echo the signs being held by protesters. How much more legit can it get? And insane, amazing and out of control? So instead of going out, I – among other things – got down to business by writing on both sides, applying protective layers of mod-podge and then finally an air-dry resin to seal it in.
These are the results:

other side

On Saturday we made multi-lingual signs at the apartment and then headed out to Occupy Wall Street in Berlin:

That parting shot is where Lucy and I left our signs on Friederichstrasse before boarding the S-bahn. As we left, we saw several people stopping to look at and read them. What’s Park National bank? PLEASE READ this NY Times article. I first read it last year and was infuriated. While long, it is a critical read. It is heartbreaking and was the turning point of my disappointment with the Obama administration. This latest EPA bullshit obviously hasn’t helped matters either… This comes after completely selling out EPA administrator Lisa P. Jackson too…

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Glass Candy in Paris

Last week I returned to Paris on the eve of my birthday to partake in and photograph the tail-end of fashion week. I did not end up doing so, other than attend a champagne party for hotel in progress Jules et Jim. Shame on me, but I have an excuse. A very good one.

I did however manage to make it to see Glass Candy live!!! Whoo! I have been bumping “Miss Broadway” on repeat like it’s nobody’s business for the past few weeks, so it was perfect timing. That and I saw Drive on my b-day. Johnny Jewel all around…  Miss Anne-Claire Gallet aka Dactylo is the lady behind the party that they were playing and my blogging buddy of yore, so I got two guestlist spots. Clément and I headed down to bust out some hilariously lame dance moves and more while waiting for the duo to take the stage.

As with any Portland band that comes abroad (like YACHT playing Berlin in August), I did a photo review for Willamette Week/LocalCut. Many more photos can be seen + I wrote a mini-recap:

Glass Candy in Paris:

Some of the previous times I’ve seen the band:
Glass Candy at Rotture circa 2007
Glass Candy at the Roseland circa 2008
Glass Candy at Rotture circa 2009
Glass Candy at Superfresh circa 2010

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Onuinu Publicity Shots

While I was back in Portland I had the privledge of doing publicity shots for/with Dorian for his musical project Onuinu. While I’d seen the name on many a bill, it was listening to his song Ice Palace (MP3) in February that truly sucked me into his sphere. We started chatting via email while I was still in Berlin and then made a date to craft and shoot when I was back in the Rose City.

We got down to business directly across the street from my old alma matter Lincoln High School. Here’s some of what we came up with:

My concept came after seeing an origami display at the downtown library:

Not too longer after we took to a private study room at PSU to learn the fine art of origami thanks to a few online tutorials. First we practiced with regular old printer paper, and then once confident with our skills, we graduated to the fine art paper we had purchased at Art Media earlier.

Dorian’s instagram shots:

We met up again and got a real-life fabric shirt for him to rock and match. While at Ray’s we found this amazing monstrosity:

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New Felt Stuffies

So I guess, if you really look, you can find that there can be some advantages to spending time indoors against your will. Yes, after being sick FOR AN ENTIRE MONTH (bronchitis, a sinus infection and an ear infection – whoo!), you could say I spent a lot of time indoors. I barely held onto my sanity. What did I get up to? Aside from spilling dayquil and nightquil all over my bed, I also got down to some crafty time with some felt. I’ve always wanted to try stuffies and indeed I did, making a pizza slice and ghettoblaster, plus a host of Oregon themed ornaments.

Pizza slices and ghetto blasters are my most recurrent imagery – appearing as pinatas and giant cardboard props. I’m going to start making pillows out of fine cotton upon my return to Portland as well as coasters while I’m still here. Hello new products… However these stuffies I made just for fun…

*Side notes: The print that the pizza slice rests on? I’m gonna make that into a mini-skirt soon. Gonna be my Ke$ha skirt. Also in the background of the ghettoblaster pic is my skype chat with my oh so delightful soul-twin Darren and him talking about cards and stickers he’s gonna make. Can’t wait to craft with him again!

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Scenes from a VW Commercial: Casting, Fitting and Shoot

Last week on Tuesday night both Elliat and Katie came over. Elliat shared news of a casting she had gone to and that Katie was due to go to the following day. Consider my interest piqued. Katie said she’d send me the info over email as there was still one more day of casting remaining. Cue to Wednesday afternoon. I really didn’t have anything on my docket other than to go to the casting and Katie came over direct from it. She reiterated that I should go saying she really thought I had a chance at it. I concurred – I mean they were looking for a native English speaker to play a newscaster. Is there anything I have ever been more destined for? I played a newscaster in our weekly Winter is the New Summer Bargain Basement Broadcasts and people often tell me I sound like a newscaster. Even when we’re lying around on the floors of Paris apartments…

So armed with her words of very sincere encouragement I sent the casting director an email and finally jumped on the ubahn to arrive around 4:30 (the casting was going until 5). There I sat amongst other hopefuls, read a dummy script, drank some water and then was finally ushered into the audition room to read it through a few times, once for practice and twice on camera. Holding a remote as my microphone, I stood with a confident assurance. This was the role I was born to play. I think that attitude lent me a helping hand ;)

The very next day I got a callback!! He instructed me to keep my weekend schedule as clear as possible for a fitting on Saturday and then the shoot on Sunday. Berlin Festival and Tranny Olympics were the only things on my schedule so I said it wouldn’t be a problem and kept my fingers crossed. the next day after that, in the morning hours of Friday I got three missed calls (girlfriend needs to sleep and I’d already gotten up twice around 8am to let in an electrician and Katie’s friend Ivan who flew in from Stockholm for the Tranny Olympics I was DJing at). And of course once I’d joined the waking world, I came to find out the number was restricted, so I couldn’t call it back. Cue some minor franticness – I had a feeling I’d gotten the role, but was scared that my lack of response would cause them to award it to someone else). Luckily, all was secure. I got the part! The fitting was Saturday afternoon at 4:45 by Rosenthaler Platz, conveniently on the U8.

An image from my audition super-imposed onto a Mexico City backdrop as held by the director:

At the fitting I tried on a bounty of business-woman chic outfits in order to assume the appearance of the Mexican reporter I was playing. Yes, not American, but Mexican. I found out a lot more details of the commercial including the fact that it would be shown internally at a VW conference in the US in two weeks time to announce some major goals of the company.

Then came Sunday! Sunday! Sunday! So the Tranny Olympics? My DJ set was slotted to be 2-4am. What time was I actually stationed at the decks? 3:30am-5:30am. I got a whopping two hours of sleep before I had to be on the s-bahn and at the studio by the call time.

I walked past a VW dealership on my walk from the s-bahn to the studio and took it as a sign:

Studio entrance:

Morning catering:

I had two super awesome make-up artists working on my hands, face and hair. We had a grand old time talking about the lack of Berlin summer and gossiping in general.

At 1pm, we took a lunch break:

Then it was back up for wardrobe styling by Nana:

Lights, camera, action! I only had to do three takes and then I was done! The makeup people commented that I was the fastest (of five) of the day! Because my prop was a microphone and not in fact a Windows Phone, I obviously had to surrender my phone/camera during the shoot and therefore only have have behind the scenes/behind the camera pics:

Makeup Face

More Makeup Face

I loved everyone’s competence and positive attitudes. Sometimes when work is getting done, people can be short in order to focus on details and not interactions. Not the case here. The theme was “relax.” It was a really great environment to be in and great people to be surrounded by.

The day was a revelation! An affirmation! I have been so enthralled with film and Sunday was proof of my path. This is totally what I wanna do!! For reals! For keeps! My only experience thus far has been super DIY in terms of my or my friends’ projects and even though it was a small crew on set, it was just so amazing and eye-opening. God, the position I was most impressed with was production assistant. Like really???? There would be someone OTHER THAN ME to handle those things so that I could focus on directing and directing alone!?!?!?! And someone to set up the shot and someone to work out the lighting independent of the cameraman??? I obviously have known these roles existed, but to see them in action completely changed my depth of field. I saw how necessary they are. How much less stressful it makes things. How possible it makes things. But I don’t want a production assistant who is working for free. Otherwise I’ll get super micro-manage-y and scared. I want the budget to be able to afford to trust someone. I want money!! Don’t we all ahahahaha But Chris and I have always talked of our dream of paying people to model for us and therefore decreasing the amount of flakes. And I’m always the one working out the styling and wardrobe and color palettes of the clothing. Wow – to have someone do that for me and then present the final looks to me for approval so that it’s still my say and vision?? A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!

But let me just say, being the actor? Hella tight. I so wanna do that more. I have always approached my own projects as creating my own opportunities and after casting others in my music videos, I’d be able to make the leap to feature film and eventually cast myself. Sunday made me realize it’s totally possible to act and not have to be the one who created the opportunity. And it still be fun! And still be fulfilling! And it still be inspiring!

So now I am recalculating my return to Berlin. I leave in mid-November to return to the States for Christmas season and holiday bazaars. Now I totally wanna do a month in LA! Like badly…

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Land Gallery / Buy Olympia

Ooooh! exciting news! Miss Nilina has a new stockist! The fine and fabulous folks at and the Land Gallery storefront in Portland now carry my Crazy Like a Fox Scarves and Portland on My Sleeve tote bags! And my oh my do they look all fancy in the shop and on the website!

Here’s the direct link to the totes on Buy Olympia:

And here’s a bonus shot of Miss Christina Noelle Conrad rocking her Portland on my Sleeve tote bag that she bought from Buy Olympia after I posted the link on Facebook:

Photos courtesy of Bryan Weller, Pat at Buy Olympia and Christina. Mucho thanks to my mom for dropping off the goods!

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Brand New: Out Like a Lion Scarf

Not gonna lie, I had a hard time picking just the right name for this new little buddy. My previous two animal scarves – fox and wolf (isn’t that the name of a rad band???) both had a “Like” in their titles… “Crazy Like a Fox Scarf” and “Hungry Like a Wolf Scarf” respectively… both based off two popular sayings. So this little lion could’ve been called “King of the Jungle Scarf” or even “Lion Sleeps Tonight Scarf” because I’m partial to song lyrics too. Then there’s a boatload of circus references that could’ve been made. However, in honor of March weather sayings, I now introduce the Out Like a Lion Scarf as modeled by my esteemed roommate Romain (who just released a new single on Monday!).

Another not gonna lie situation – it’s hard to find fox material anywhere here in Berlin – be it at a fabric store or market. The only sweatshirt fleece in abundance at the twice weekly Turkish market I go to in Kreuzberg comes in primary colors – blue, red and yellow. I went home empty handed the first time I spotted the yellow fleece, but then the idea of a lion struck me. I quickly searched etsy to see if there was already a lion scarf phenomenon. There wasn’t (though I did find this listing), so I promptly went back and bought two yards. Yesterday I bought another three. So in place of foxes until I return to the US in November for Christmas season, please welcome the latest edition to my animal kingdom.

These lions are very limited edition for the time being. They can be spotted on etsy here:

I might just might be selling them at a stall at Mauerpark here in Berlin this upcoming Sunday. Elsewhere in the wild, I will likely be shipping some to Black Wagon and Tender Loving Empire in Portland, OR. Oh! And this is my first scarf to come in two drastically different sizes – kid and adult rather than adult/just wrap it around the kid’s neck ten million times size. More photoshoots to follow!

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Magazine Bracelets

Back when I was in high school, I made bracelets out of gum wrappers. I would buy them in bulk, not even eat the gum and just make bracelets to sell at Portland Saturday Market. Then Wrigley’s discontinued using paper wrappers. Not too long ago, I decided to revisit the concept, using magazine paper instead. I always love a good earth-friendly craft and seek anything that might involved recycled materials!

In the past few weeks I have come into possession some rather fine periodicals – ranging from interior decoration to German Rolling Stone, some issues of German Vice and Another Magazine. These were procured from a party at the Michelberger Hotel, a free box right beside my favorite craft store in Schöneberg and than a good deal of  thanks is due to Elizabeth for the majority (and most colorful) of the donations.

After I finish sizing, cutting, folding, gluing and weaving of the bracelets, I coat them in two layers of water-resistant glaze. Time intensive, sure. But sure fun to do while watching a movie…

Hearting the results:

The bracelets are currently available for purchase at Tender Loving Empire in Portland and online on etsy.

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