Take it to the Second Floor

As some of you might remember my dear friend Julie Fei Fan Balzer visited me last November for a couple days. We had actually planned her visit around our self organized event Mixed Media Circus  but we also planned that Julie and I were doing a lot of sight seeing and spending time together. We had a lot of brainstorming and ideastorming days 🙂

One of the things you might have to know is, that I have been in a really really tough time around then and as it turned out, it wasn’t me alone. My business in the art and craft industry started to be very busy, there were a lot of opportunities coming up, some of them as always sounded way better in the beginning as they turned out to be (I can’t tell you the numerous time you get asked to do something too good to be true sounding…and actually most of the time it is too good to be true), some of them were taking lot’s of time with low or no payment, some of them came along with toxic people…and so on. I was exhausted from all the planning, the diplomatic gymnastic exercises and trying to keep up and balancing all the opportunities and a private life too…and it is funny that I write this now…I am in a similiar place right now…BUT….I know now this will be all good in the end 😉

So anyway in this foggy misty weather- and mood like time, Julie came to visit and it was the best time ever. Seriously. We talked constantly about our dreams (!YES- the dreams, don’t forget the dreams and to speak them out!) and the fears to fail, to make the wrong decisions and the disappointments and the flaws and the …and the …and the…

It was so good to have someone to talk to who totally got what I was saying or not saying and what I was feeling. Someone who could relate and had the same things to go through too. Someone who could actually also word the feelings that my mushy head was not able to put in words. Julie’s visit and the awesome event itself were a big highlight and a wonderful eye opening time for me…and I did not only get assured that I have an amazing artsy friend…I gained a real friend for life too! Makes me all teary and happy at the same time….hahahha- so before I start collecting water on my keyboard let’s move ahead 😉

One grey, very rainy November day we sat for hours in a cafe in Berlin near the Hackesche Höfe jotting down various ideas and laughing too. We talked a lot about what we both were missing the most …the reason we actually had both started this adventure: The trying out new things…the eagerness to learn new things …to fail…to not care and still show it….the time to spent doing fun things…out of the box things…sometimes even normal boring things….

We decided to challenge each other forcing us to make time for creative failures and try outs and to actually share this with you…yep…no more hiding the ugly and bad in a trash can…or painting it over without showing it first- LOL

Funny enough…we came up with our name first…yup…no kidding. Before we finally decided on what we would do …we had already decided we would name it Second Floor. And as we came out…we stopped for a moment to put our gloves on…and I kid you not- the sign on the wall said literally translated “up to floor 2″….well… 😉

So anyway- here is the scoop on what you can expect :

  • Julie & I have made a one-year commitment to each other and our “Second Floor” project.
  • Every few weeks we will issue a challenge (just something to spark some creativity – sometimes starting without a prompt can be very intimidating).
  • Your assignment is to take that challenge and make some art.
  • Here’s the most important part: at some point you need to “take it to the second floor.”  What does that mean?  It means trying something vastly out of your comfort zone.  Doing something that might not work.  Experimenting with a crazy idea.  It’s all about pushing yourself.  If it works, awesome.  If it doesn’t work, awesome!
  • If you want to participate publicly, we’ll have a linky list for each challenge .  If you don’t want to participate publicly, that’s cool too.  It takes a lot of courage to put yourself – not necessarily at your best – out there.
  • We have a private flickr group set up for those of you who want to share sort of publicly but within the safe confines of a private group.  If you want to join the group, you will need to e-mail to secondfloorchallenge(at)googlemail(dot)com we’ll send you an invitation.
  • To grab a button for your blog, simply grab the code in the box under the logo:
Second Floor

Maybe this project will inspire you too to take the time to experiment and push yourself a little further. So we hope you will be joining tomorrow and check out what our first challenge will be. It is going to be shiny- that much I can say 😉



  1. Nat I need to say thank you to you and Julie, whose work I follow some time just by myself.Fisrt of all tks for sharing your feelings, that make me feel just one more in zilion people, which was very important to me.
    I am an artcrafter for hobby, that make me free to think outside the box, and I´ve been failing for some time, so so the fear of fail is not that big to me, but it´s still something that make my criativity stuck. So thank you very much and I´ll try the second floor.
    PS. I am sharing the same text in both blogs cause it´s so so true.

  2. wannabecraftygrandma says:

    I am really looking forward to your challenges. I figure if you guys can post your baddies as well as the goodies, I guess I can too 🙂 I’ll see you on the other side!

  3. The Dynamic Duo! I love this idea, Nat! You and Julie are so inspiring and full of heart, each in your own right–it is amazing what comes from the two of you together!! Can’t wait to see what the launch of Second Floor looks like tomorrow! Like a kid at Christmas–I feel like going to bed right now so the morning will come faster! Lol! Hugs!

  4. Looks like it will be FUN — can’t wait to see what you’ve got up your sleeve!

  5. I’m going to hike to the second floor! So ready for the trip! Thanks for leading this project, Nat and Julie!

  6. I will be back…. 🙂
    and i am looking forward to that

  7. I’ll be back tomorrow 😉

  8. I’ll be back tomorrow ;-).

  9. Nat this is a FANTASTIC idea! I’ve been in a creative rut lately, and this will help me greatly! I’m in!!! You and Julie ROCK!!!

  10. I am in!….I just have to figure out ( or rather get my wonderful brainy loverly daughter) how to add the blinky-do to my blog!….I am a failure with techno stuff……I am ready for this “journey”…you and Julie both are such wonderful inspirations!

  11. Sue Clarke says:

    You two are so wonderful together and I look forward to the Second Floor challenges.

  12. seeing that i know you both, Julie at Ranger U and Nat numerous times working same events, i know you both rock! i cannot promise to join in, i do have a few surgeries this year ( lol yeah, i get my boob reconstruction lol!) but i will follow you girls!!!
    and hey Nat, if you feel like taking a few days off to come and visit me in belgium, play with some inks and paints and whatever we find…. you know that i will pick you up at any cold train station lol xxx

    • Hi Sweet girl- wishing you all the best for your surgery!!! Huge hugs to you!!! and he he he-I know you will even await me with some yummie cardboard sandwich 🙂

  13. You girls ROCK!!!! (rockin’ on the second floor)
    I’m totally with you !

  14. I’m in and so excited…going to put this on my blog RIGHT NOW!!!!!

  15. Sounds interesting and exciting, let’s try!! 🙂

  16. I’m loving this idea, and the two of you are a great pair. Very exciting!

  17. You are amazing – both of you!! I would love to join in, even though it will be hard, but I love to challange myself!

  18. MichaelaBM says:

    sounds great. Leavinf my comfortzone sound scary ;-). I’ll do my very best….

  19. i would love to be a part of this!!!

  20. and I’m here tempted by Finnabair. 🙂
    this project sounds really exciting!

  21. As i said before – brave girls. I’m with you all my heart.

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