Sunday, 25 September 2016

It's been quiet on these pages.. here are some news

A post for any family still sometimes checking in and wondering why there is only tumbleweed for news: Life has taken over and we are busy working our way through establishing Jason's glassblowing career, with the to be expected learning curves.

Apologies for the shortness of the update but here is at least a life-signal from us:

Jason is working a lot, creating some of his own glass and working for a new company (he started working with them in 2015) and giving a lot of glassblowing classes.

When not busy in the class studio he finally was able to return to his serious Tai Chi practice, which keeps us in the Bay Area as the teacher is sort of like Yoda but for Tai Chi. We do everything we can for Jason to be able to stay with his teacher as much as possible now. (We missed 3 full months of classes due to life interventions this summer, so much lost time, but we are focusing forward).

This autumn we have 2 pet- & house-sitting engagements lined up and are going to try and fill in the month of December, too, so that we can hopefully get Jason's work represented in Christmas and Seasonal retail...

We welcome suggestions of low cost craft sales with customers willing to spend between $30 - $300 on an heirloom gift item . And we also welcome suggestions for galleries and representation for Jason's high end work that we would love to focus on more.

Please DO check out

• Jason's glass website:
• Jason's glassblowing classes:
• The high end glass shop:

Beautiful sunflower seed and pomegranate seeds made from glass. The pomegranate seeds are translucent and light shines through them beautifully, while the sunflower seed, just like a real seed: is solid, opaque and very life like! Incredible skillsmanship by Jason Stropko!

Clear Glass acorns are one of Jason's most affordable, entry level creations for those who love his work and want to start small with immediately supporting the arts and filling their home with such a symbolic heirloom as an acorn, the seed for an oak tree... These are beautiful gifts for anybody who faces a new stage in their lives, for anybody whom you would like to give a get-well gift to, or for example for couples who embark on a life together with their first home, engagement or wedding! We purposely keep the price on these gorgeous light-catching pieces of art in the low range. We really want everybody to be able to own an entry level piece of Jason's. 

At the moment we are renting an adorable garden cottage in El Cerrito and will be here until our pet-sitting employments start up in mid-October. 

While investing our whole beings into Jason's own business we are happy to be flexible with living arrangements and it is so much fun meeting people's pets, getting to know their little characters and caring for them while testing out life in all different parts of San Francisco ( we have been focusing our pet-sittings on San Francisco because then they double up as opportunities for Birgit to photograph the city and it's quirks more readily, without needing to leave the pets in our care for longer than a handful of hours at most. 

Many pets that we look after receive their own petsitter because they need & deserve the attention and company, they often are used to family life and not being alone and this generally is the main reason we get hired. We have been taking our commitments really serious and treated each animal with the same love as we would our own, even the single puppy who simply was annoyed with us the entire time we were there to look after her and the cat. It turned out that the cat's bad temper that we were warned about melted into kitty-cat, soft pawed love, but the puppy just looked at us with every look like as if to say "WHAT did you both do with my family? Bring them back now you horrid humans." We gave her love, walks, treats but to no avail. This must have been the most loyal family dog that we have ever met. We felt so sad for her, she was clearly very upset, but there just was nothing more we could do but keep on being lovely and help her bridge this period of missing her folks as best we could. 

I am super happy to be able to confirm that this was the only time we experienced such a level of sadness in a pet. All other animals so far just decided to love us right back and welcomed us to be their temporary custodians.

us, 2015 on my birthday.


Friday, 26 June 2015

Housesitting team available from July 30th in San Francisco & Bay Area

Housesitting couple available in San Francisco and East Bay With a long list of references available. 

dates: starting any time from or after July 30th occasional days (maximum 2 in a row) before then possibleWe welcome initial communication by email.

We are a quiet and responsible couple of 31 & 39 years of age and are looking for an opportunity to pet- & house-sit during the month of August. You can count on us to provide affectionate care for your pet and to keep your house in the same order that you leave it.

essentially us:
Birgit: Artist / Photographer with interest in Holistic health, admin for Jason, teaches occasional German language classes
Jason: Glassmaker with professional hobby Tai Chi

Your pet would have company as I work mostly from home on Jason's business administration and marketing & photo editing work for my own photography business, while Jason is out depending on his schedule: working at a local glass studio assisting colleagues, teaching glassblowing or renting time to make his own glass. 

Jason is great for early morning dog walks and extended ones in the evenings, while I (Birgit) will be available to spend as much time as required with your pets during the day. Between us we can be the perfect match for your home and pet sitting requirements. 

We are genuine and sincere about putting your wishes for your home and pet care top of our list with a proven track record of excellent service given with genuine care and additional cuddles for the pets.

Our hobbies include Yoga, Tai Chi, drawing and photography, we both enjoy reading and occasionally watching movies or documentaries. We do need access to wifi.


We are non-smokers, we do not get drunk ever. Jason may drink a total of 4 small bottles of beer or share 1/2 a bottle of wine per week with me. It is unusual for us to empty a bottle of wine in a week. We do not take any kind of drugs at all, we also do not have time or energy to be party animals and very rarely go out in the evenings. {I promise we are also not entirely boring, life just happened this way and as we are self employed we are additionally focused on our tasks. When it comes to housesitting our lifestyle turns out to be a perfect compliment to home- and per-owners peace of mind}

Please reach out to us with any questions that we can answer in the meantime.

We are currently housesitting with a 2 month commitment in Bernal Heights, San Francisco and are available in the city as well as the East Bay starting July 30th. We have several excellent references from house & pet sitting that we have done in 2014 and 2015. 

I (Birgit) have received my green card last year and left America for 9 months to find somebody to take care of my apartment in England as well as to spend some time with Jason in Asia, where I have studied Thai Massage since 2011. We began our latest house- and in particular pet-sitting on June 1st. 

For pet-house-sitting lasting 4 weeks or more we offer our service FREE of charge. 
We charge $25 per day for agreements lasting 14-29 days and $50 per day for shorter arrangements. 
We have some flexibility in the pricing.

We have family in the area whom we can stay with as well as an open invitation for a rental place, which allows us flexibility that you may benefit from.

Monday, 8 June 2015

Amazing new things happening in the Life & Glass of Jason!

It is June 2015, we are in San Francisco, house sitting and caring for a small 10 year old dog and a characterful 7 months old cat. We are doing this in exchange for accommodation.
Everybody benefits, the home and animal owning family don't need to worry about leaving their pets in a pet hospital nor about the security of their home and we get to sample living in an area of San Francisco. 

This is a great way to get a feeling for living in different parts of the Bay Area. Last year we stayed in Richmond, San Francisco as well as Richmond, East Bay. The living experiences and feeling of the street life, accessibility to local transportation and all that we might need to day-to-day living varies between these locations. 

We really appreciate getting to sample slices of city life this way. Eventually we will need to select a compromise between affordability and location and start a nest of our own. In the meantime these housesitting opportunities allow us some great freedom to test the waters and leave breathing space for us to develop Jason's glass business and allows Birgit to get settled in, too. It takes time to network..

Anyway: here is a link to Jason's brand new online shop presence. Priced at prices that allow to live, not even lavishly, just frugal living.. Realistic prices, for real life artists, whom if we grasp the opportunities today we will one day find in the collections of Nationwide, perhaps international galleries and museums.. 

If you are friends and family seeing this: please make a physical note of Jason's new shop address. And please let us know that you saw this post by leaving a comment or sending an email. We will ask you to help us promote in due course but NOT yet. This is a pre-view opportunity, much of the site is not finished editing but do take a look: because it really is beautiful looking! 

We are planning a launch for Jason's shop and new product lines for July 1st - July 15th (fluid date at the moment as Birgit is the sole administrative & photographing & web - presence - designing  driving force behind the operation and can't tell exactly how long it will be). WHEN we do launch we will absolutely APPRECIATE everybody to help us create a SPLASH! 

Are you on board to help us splash!?

Friday, 8 May 2015

More from our time in Thailand

Here is me watching Jason eat Kao Soi, his favourite Northern thai noodle dish. Since we are vegetarian this is the vegetarian version with deep fried mushrooms in batter in the side bowl (which were tasty, but probably not nearly as healthy as we are used to living)

Street dogs occupy Chiang Mai, it was always an adventure to watch them run around in packs. The are a common sight at temples where the monks don't take objection if a dog walks into the temple and sits down at any time.

What did we do all that time in Asia?

Jason and I ended up being invited to a wedding party in Cambodia and got dragged onto the dance floor.. Jason filmed a short segment below. It was fabulous fun and we would have loved to stay longer but our friend who took us there had other plans for us. The photograph shows Jason not being let go and instead kept dancing on the dance floor. It was incredible fun, if it hadn't been 40˚C / 100˚F then it would have been perfect!

We visited cultural heritage sites, here for example Angkor Wat

We spent time at the Traditional Massage School with our teachers and at the end of our time Birgit did a photo session for the main teachers who are probably starting their own business in Japan soon.

Jason took music lessons with Manop and learnt the traditional instrument called Pin-Pia (in this picture you see his teacher holding a harp) 

Where have we been in 2014 - 2015?

We returned to Cambodia to meet with our friend Kanha who is a fantastic tour guide, specialising on a wide range of activities for tourists with a special focus on the old temple complexes. Kanha has a postgraduate degree in Education and is a really fantastic insider tip if anybody would want to make the most of their time in Siem Reap & at the Angkor Wat temples.We spent 2 weeks in Siem Reap, catching up also with Nakry who recently changed jobs from being employed as a silk farm guide by Artisans D'Angkor to being self-employed as a guide at the temples, too. Most of our time we tried to find cool spaces, the late March climate was often times 100˚F / 40˚C with high humidity. It was great to be able to see the heritage site again and to get a deeper insight into Cambodian culture.

Friday, 15 August 2014

Jason (Glassmaker) and Birgit (Artist, Photographer) are Houssitting in San Francisco and the East Bay

This post is quite dated (I add this note in May 2015)  but I will leave it up as it is until I have more time to work on Jason's blog again. 
This is from Autumn 2013, just before Jason returned to the San Francisco Bay Area for his job at the Glass Studio in Richmond (Cohn Stones Studios)

The picture below is yet more recent, from a ferry trip from Oakland to San Francisco, 2013.
Jason doesn't normally have a moustache, I think it was Movember and we all know that it is men's health awareness month, right? And to make all men think about their health (particularly prostrate health) somewhat more everybody should sport a moustache. Jason did his duties and now the world might be a better place.. We hope..

moustache - mustache ?

Thursday, 14 August 2014

Jason has been busy making new glass

But actually these photographs are of glass work that we just rediscovered in storage.
My absolute favourite 2 vessels are these two. See below for more from this treasure find of Jason's older glass work.

All Glass Items are available for sale, Jason initially said $125 each.
If you are friends & family then he will be very open to reduced price sale of $85 each
(this is an absolute steal, they are extraordinary beautiful. Get in touch if more than one vase catches your desire.).

Birgit will be busy listing each vase on Etsy in the next days and we are hoping for quick sales to significantly clear out the storage area that we have been occupying in the San Francisco East bay area.. Just call Jason on 510 375 8487 if you don't want to wait for the Etsy listing and want to make sure that you get the vase of your choice before anybody else does.



Thursday, 12 June 2014

We are house sitting in San Francisco

So it is official: since Tuesday we are house sitting and looking after one lovely dog and two super soft cats, right in San Francisco, somewhere on California Street..

The animals need special attention and a certain amount of company which is why we have the opportunity to swap pet care (and basic home care) for a month of free accommodation somewhere not far from Golden Gate Park, the Golden Gate Bridge and even a glorious beach. It is quite a commitment that we took on, acting for animals can be a bit like caring for children, in as far as you really can't casually neglect them because you would like to go and follow some impromptu plans instead.

So our lives for the next four weeks will be planned very much around the animal needs. It's good practice for thinking about having pets again ourselves in the future ( or even small humans). So far the dog is the impersonification of well behaved and the cats, well we have a hard time stopping cuddling them, they are easily the most relaxed and welcome cats we have ever met.

Currently our plans for the next 3 months look like this:
4 weeks house sitting {June - July}
4 weeks paying rent at a friends's place in the Mission, also in San Francisco, a central location {July - August}
4 weeks house sitting for Jason's uncle and aunt {August - September}

Which takes us to September and it is somewhat crunch time to plan ahead. Jason harbours phantasies of continuing house sitting beyond the summer, but that is only practical if we find an opportunity in the Bay Area as Jason's boss will be back from holiday and the glass-making will start up again, erects much full time.

Unless Jason's own work starts selling, in which case our options open up somewhat.

We a celebrating our 5 year anniversary since we met this July, it's pretty exciting. Such a long time with such an amazing human being.

Monday, 5 August 2013


Hello friends and family, here is a link to my lovely lady Birgit's you tube page, which has videos of her talking about her crocheted scarfs and neck warmers.

I have one made from Alpaca wool and it is utterly amazing! It's the warmest thing I have ever put around my neck. Anyone who experiences cold winters should have at least 1.

With the Holidays creeping in you just might find the perfect gift for a good friend or loved one.

Brown neck warmer: 20% wool & 80% acrylic                                                                              
Green neck warmer:  Merino wool, Cashmere & Silk

Ironically enough, neither of these
belong to me but they sure are comfy and aren't I just a great model.

Here's the link to her Etsy shop if you would like to order: