Johanna Hörrmann Johanna Hörrmann 2013-02-26T21:41:00+01:00 In the making 3327 2013-02-26T21:41:00+01:00

In my head, and on my camera, I already have some photos to share. Right now, I want to simply share this little list as to not forget my good intentions to document the things I make. A new diaper pouch. Little pants for a growing boy. A birthday calendar. (And yes, Lisa, I’m still busy knitting!)

make, my one little word for 2013 3321 2013-01-03T21:42:00+01:00

After skipping a little word last year, I am excited to once again invite an action to walk by my side in 2013. For this year, my word is make.

It came to me after a talk about life with Nils right before Christmas, and it simply stuck. Last year was a good one as we grew as this family of three, but it was a challenging one, too. Energy-wise. Work-wise. Money-wise. Couple-wise. Balance-wise. Self-wise. I am optimistic that this new year can bring all sorts of great things our way, but I know that I myself have to take action to make it happen.

Whatever that may be.

Mach’s gut, 2012. Make it good, 2013!








it happen

As I’m writing this, Nils looks over my shoulder and says with a laugh, “one of your infamous list posts”. Less a list than a stream of thoughts, I say - ask my pen pals from way back, it’s how I function.

The Friday Project continues 3309 2012-11-07T11:54:00+01:00

10 weeks (and more) have passed, the swim course is over, I have hummed and hawed and decided on the celebration tag books as my first product, worked on a wedding, a birthday and a baby tag book prototype both in German and English, entirely forgotten about the whole thing and have now picked something completely else to get things rolling. Oh, and we’ve just moved to a new home, too!

merry christmas

These typographic holiday cards were designed and silk screen printed by me in September 2008, using white ink on gray chipboard and white and golden ink on kraft cardstock. Nils and I sent them out to family and friends and used some as gift tags on Christmas Eve that year. Nonetheless, a pretty big stack of left-overs has been patiently waiting for a new purpose ever since. So my newly revised plan for the Friday Project is to stop mulling over creating something new for now and simply send off those pretty cards for other people to enjoy. Hurrah to common sense!




The design actually has an interesting background story. I had the idea to show the whole phrase along with some simple graphic snowflakes, but it looked a bit boring after I actually put it together in InDesign. I printed a PDF anyway – and ended up with a blown-up version due to a PDF printer error, which then inspired the final design. I love accidents like this. That’s why I treasure the whole technical process of printing by hand, too: lots of opportunities for unexpected twists and turns to break up my often very clean designs.


The typeface I chose is Bree by TypeTogether, I had just acquired it for a university project and was madly in love with it’s round letter shapes. I actually appliquéd the Bree ampersand on a pillow case for Nils’ birthday that summer (and never got over the finished motive’s resemblance to the post horn logo of the postal services here in Germany).


On my agenda

  1. Packaging. Pack a ready-to-send sample package for a card + envelope. Create a small thank-you note / contact card.
  2. Photos. Decide wether my first photo shoot (on our old balcony) is sufficient or wether I want to take the opportunity of taping up the cards on a new-to-me gray wall in Max’ room. Choose and process the best shots.
  3. Pricing. So far, I’ve done about seven minutes of research, looking up prices for other silk screened cards on Etsy. Maybe 3,50 EUR for a single card plus a reduced price for a set of four? Calculate actual material cost and Etsy fees. Decide on price(s).
  4. Shipping. I have a love-hate relationship with the German postal service (this might be linked to my love of sending unusual sized and addressed letters) so I better figure this out properly. Calculate correct postage and packaging costs.
  5. Description. Research how other sellers deal with more than one language. Decide on English only, an English and a German listing or both languages in one listing. Write descriptions for the three different card variations. Going for a short and sweet description paired with clear product facts (size, material, color etc.) and ideas for use.
  6. Set up Etsy. Design a shop banner. Write a welcome message. Write a shop policy or whatever else I need.
  7. Figure out PayPal. I already have a business account, but don’t know what else it takes to prepare for a first sale.
  8. List cards. Exciting! Find out what difference it makes to have only one or, say, 4 available of each card. List.
  9. Something extra. Decide wether to offer custom addressed envelopes. Repeat steps 1 to 5 and 8 if applicable.


I was unsure about what legal status changes might occur, now that I actually want to sell something to a customer via an online shop that was made by myself in advance instead of billing a custom project I created especially for my client. Long story short, I called my tax advisors (which I can contact as often as I need to without paying for every call thanks to being a member of the Alliance of German Designers and covering the costs with my yearly fee – I bet I’m their best client indeed!) (okay, long story long after all) and have green light to continue with my current set-up. Great!

German insert: Ich werde nicht extra ein Gewerbe anmelden und diese Karten einfach im Rahmen meiner bisherigen freiberuflichen Tätigkeit als Gestalterin verkaufen.

Go go go!

Christmas cards are meant for Christmas – so I better plow ahead!

oben + unten + geradeaus 3306 2012-08-23T08:03:00+02:00

ein Augenblick auf Norderney, am Oststrand gen Westen.


up + down + straight ahead 3301 2012-08-23T08:03:00+02:00

a blink of Norderney, one of the East Frisian Islands in the North Sea, Germany.


The Friday Project 3281 2012-05-28T11:30:00+02:00

Three weeks ago, Nils and Max started a baby swim course, and for the first time in 9 months, I find myself with a regular afternoon of alone time at home. What to do with two glorious hours for ten weeks in a row? Tackle the Friday Project, of course!

When combining the urge to create with my hands / the need for creative play / the wish to start an Etsy shop / the desire to turn an idea into reality, I came up with this:

10 weeks time to

  • brainstorm and develop a product,
  • sort out the legal stuff,
  • open an Etsy account,
  • take photos + write descriptions,
  • figure out shipping + packaging,
  • set up shop and
  • track my process on this blog.

So here goes week 1 + 2 + part of week 3, too:

The things I do

Instead of fantasizing about could-be-interesting product ideas that never lead to any action (as I have done in the past), I compiled a list of crafty things I have actually created during the last 1.5 years or so as a starting point for realistic, authentic product ideas. Here it is, together with a couple of photos I had already taken, notes on materials and other things I want to remember:



celebration tag books as modular guest books for wishes, memories, anecdotes (stamped or printed paper tags + ring) {GREAT feedback. People asked me where they could buy this + asked if they could copy the idea. Sure!}


Glück & Leben (luck & life) cantucci jars for weddings + birthdays (glass jars + tags + handwriting + cookies) {GREAT feedback. We even received this as a gift in return on our own wedding.}




designbakery + other paper bags (screenprinting + labels + handwriting + tape) {GREAT feedback, especially the designbakery bags.}


gift parcels (address labels + packaging)


altered postcards (old cards + handwriting + stamps + bits) {LOVE writing + sending letters and cards.}



addressed envelopes (handwriting + stamps + tape) {writing addresses = FUN.}


soother clips + baby scarf (fabric + labels)


(top + bottom left photo: Sandra Schade Fotografie)

summer wedding party paper suite invitation + envelopes, escort cards, menu + table number cards, place cards, recipe cards + favor bags, thank you cards (typography + handwriting + stamping + stamps + tape) {This was a BIG paper project but extremely rewarding. Would absolutely love to work on suites for other celebrations!}


birth announcements (photo + handwriting + professionaly printed)

pretty little cards for loved ones / with quotes (paper + stamping + handwriting)

Love-You-Post-Its (handwriting) {just had to include these :) }

Some observations: Most of these items were presents – seems it is easier for me to craft for others than for myself (at least paper crafts, that is). Most of these items were pretty small, a label here, a bit of tape there – I love details. Half of these items didn’t get a lot of thought and time – I get caught up on thoughts, so the big ideas often just don’t happen. Most of these items feel quite natural and a bit “normal” to me – they are my finger exercises.

Note to self: This is what I do – so I should simply stick to one or two of these listed items for an easy start. Things can always evolve, if I want to continue down this track. Don’t make this complicated, Johanna – just make it happen.

(The course actually started 6 weeks ago, but Nils + Max + I missed out on our Friday activities 3 times out of these 6 due to various colds and field trips. Lucky enough, the boys (and I!) can catch up for it next term.)

A new friend 3277 2012-05-03T09:31:00+02:00

I am still living in the same city I studied in. Most of my university friends are not. I wondered how on earth this “making new friends in the city I live in” thing might work for someone working from home, whose only outing often is a short trip to the supermarket. Things shifted a lot when I became a mother.

Not only did I notice much more other pregnant women and young families walking about, I suddenly found myself in new surroundings, meeting new people, too. At prenatal classes. In the hospital. Post-natal gym. At the toddler group. Looking back, I see certain situations that taught me small lessons about this thing I call friendship, and my part in it.

I remember my mid-wife talking about the upcoming prenatal class, telling me that you usually click with at least one other woman attending, and that these friendships can be truly special bonds. However, after our first class meeting, I wasn’t so sure about that. The other pregnant women seemed nice, yes, but did I just meet my new best friend? Nope. I had honestly forgotten that you don’t just meet new friends, but make new friends.

I remember waiting at the hospital for a pre-registration of sorts, and the couple sitting opposite to me were talking about the color repeat of the shades, and some friend who was studying architecture. Now they seemed like people I could imagine being friends with. We talked a bit and wished each other luck. By coincidence, I met them again in the hospital a few days after we had both received our babies - more small talk, and we mentioned we might even meet again when it’s time for kindergarten or school. What I didn’t do is ask for their name. Or e-mail address. Boo.

Back to the prenatal class. Things changed when I was told Max had, again!, turned in my belly, and that it might end in a C-section. Which I was not expecting. I dug out the number of one of the girls I knew was facing a C-section, too, and called her. She didn’t answer her phone, but we bumped into each other the next day - and met for an introduction of our babes a few weeks later, then went to post-natal gymnastics together, met for breakfast, met for tea, went shopping for baby clothes (without our babies, nonetheless!) and now I see my new friend once a week at toddler group. So this is how it works. Talking. Connecting. Meeting. Inviting. Sharing bits of life.

Oh, and I asked my extremely cool hairdresser (who is self-employed and a mother of two boys) if she wants to meet up at the playground sometime, too. She said yes :)

Apart from “mom friends”, I have found that attending local meetings of my professional organization (Alliance of German Designers) is a great way to meet other designers who are in a similar work/life situation. Although both parents working self-employed seems to be a rare combination. I’d definitely love to get to talk with more families facing (and overcoming) the same everyday challenges!

Inspired by Elise’s article and call for comments. Thanks, Elise!

An un-update of Project life 3270 2012-01-29T11:32:00+01:00

I first started thinking about Project Life in 2010. Actually I could just stop right after this first sentence, and the story would have already been told – or I could sum it up with this second title all on its own: “Thinking about Project Life”.

Thinking being the key word here. But thinking is not what this project is about: it is about creating. Project Life is a concept and product created by Becky Higgins to simply document your life – using divided page protectors to hold journaling cards, photos and those little bits and pieces of everyday life you want to keep and remember. Sounds easy, right?

So this is what happens: Discovering it via a blog I read. Loving the concept of collecting and storing little bits to tell my story. Pondering wether to jump in or not. Wanting to try it out. Agonizing about the shipping cost to Germany. Starting to collect little snippets anyway. Talking myself out of ordering the kit. Deciding to whip up the basics myself. Starting to let things slip and not preparing anything to make things easier. Continue collecting and writing down stories for a while anyway. Not choosing photos. Hence not printing or ordering any. And then, ten months later: Sorting through a big stack of what feels like junk, throwing away lots of memories-turned-meaningless packaging snippets, pulling together three random pages of notes and clippings. Still no photos. Deciding to do it “right” this time around. Seeing all these perfect examples of neat title pages and up-to-date week spreads on my favorite blogs. Thinking I can do this, too. (I am a designer! I love paper! I have a life!) Feeling giddy to make it happen this time around. Agonizing about not being able to order the page protectors from yet. (Laughing about their perfect name, “Type A”.) Deciding to whip up the basics myself. Letting it slip. You get the idea.

Right now on my desk: two American Crafts page protectors standing in for the “real thing”, a stack of upcycled journaling cards, some with rounded corners, some still waiting to be punched, three cards bearing content, at least a handfull of “things I want to include” that still have to be cut down, the beginning of what might or might not turn into an opening page, random pieces of paper and the feeling that this, again, will probably not turn into anything I had in mind, although I think I love this project. I really do.

This can’t only be me. Any other un-updates out there?

we 3267 2012-01-08T20:05:00+01:00

nervous. excited. waited. surprised. overjoyed. welcomed. named. hurt. snuggled. cried. connected. carried. pushed. sat. slept. came home. laughed. walked. listened. sang. danced. watched. bathed. showered. changed. wiped. cleaned. screamed. healed. woke. checked. talked. ate. nursed. drank. learned. forgot. remembered. wondered. wandered. tickled. rolled. discovered. soothed. leapt. curled up. dreamed. skyped. dressed. undressed. washed. baked. cooked. drove. visited. worried. were seperated. reconnected. refused. touched. scratched. cut. combed. cooed. asked. grew. gained. celebrated. charmed. ventured. trusted. blubbered. loved.

Willkommen 3265 2011-08-04T22:46:00+02:00

So gut, dich zu sehen, Max. Ich hab dich lieb, mein Kleiner. 4. August 2011, 22:46 Uhr

welcome 3261 2011-08-04T22:46:00+02:00

So good to see you, Max. I love you, my baby boy. August 4th, 2011, 10:46 pm

growing 2963 2011-07-26T13:29:00+02:00





Only a couple of weeks to go - or maybe even shorter! Amazing. Crazy. Scary. Wonderful. Exciting. Awesome.